Our 3 Budget-Friendly Fall Mantels

  702parkproject - fall mantels budget

Since we just officially moved in in May, this is our first fall in the house.  I had these dreams that by the fall, every mantel and every room would be beautifully (and differently!) decorated. HA!!! I was just lucky to get just a couple of rooms and 3 of the 8 mantels in the house decorated by mid-October!

The biggest issues?  Space and cost.  What stuffed our little apartment to the brim barely covers a couple of rooms in our “new” house.  I thought I had a lot to work with, but I was wrong, and it’s not like I could go out and spend a ton on all new stuff. Thank goodness for my mom and mother-in-law, who have helped me add to my stock, along with a few key sales.

My favorite by far is our natural fall mantel in the foyer. I like a lot of rustic looks, but to be honest, they usually just don’t really fit with the style and feel of our house.  I love how this mantel kind of marries a rustic and glam look together without feeling too woodsy or too fancy.

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The magnolia leaves and berries are from our yard, and the pumpkin was $3 at the grocery store, so this was a very inexpensive mantel to pull together.

I went for a more casual and fun look in the den, with lots of traditional pumpkins, gourds, leaves, and scarecrows. Most of the items I used were from the Michael’s clearance bins.

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I also picked up a pack of fake fall leaves for about $1 at Michael’s and spread them all around the house in various places for a little punch of fall here and there.  I think they really pulled this mantel together.

Last but not least was the dining room mantel. I stuck a couple of lanterns I had up there, and added a little fall ribbon to them.  The candle sticks usually reside on the mantel in the den, but I thought they dressed up the dining room a bit next to the lanterns.  I picked up the glass pumpkin, which is so beautiful and one of my favorite pieces, at TJ Maxx this year.  Throw in a little greenery from the yard and bam! Finished!

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Pretty simple, huh? And if you’re looking for just one more idea, I’ll share one of my favorites: candy corn! During the fall, you can use candy corn to decorate just about anything.


What are your favorite fall decorating secrets?  Do you try to stick to a budget?

PS- Don’t forget to enter for your chance to win a copy of the new CraftFail book!

CraftFail Book Review + A Giveaway!

We’ve all been there.  You find the cutest idea on Pinterest…a jack-o-lantern brownie recipe, a glitter high heel DIY, a peppermint wreath tutorial. You can do this, they said.  It will be easy, they said.  A few hours and maybe some tears later, all you’re left with is a big fat FAIL.

  Craft Fail

Well now you don’t have to feel alone, because founder and “chief executive failer” of CraftFail.com, Heather Mann, has just released her fun and awkwardly uplifting book, CraftFail.  In her witty introduction, Heather writes, “CraftFail is a celebration of the creative process, but unlike those perfect magazine shots and idealized online inspiration boards, we showcase the gruesome underbelly of the creative process…I do not want anyone to be discouraged from trying, but instead to be encouraged by the society of creative failers who are brave enough to share their craft blunders.”

If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, you really should. This book is sure to provide hours of entertainment, and there’s even a quiz to help you get started: Are you an all star CraftFailer?

Here are just a few of my favorites from the book…

The Union Jack Knit Cap Fail


The Hard Boiled Chicks Fail


The Caped Crusader Fail


And because Heather and I don’t want you to suffer alone, we’re giving away a copy of her hilarious book to one lucky reader!

Official rules: Simply follow the instructions below to enter. This giveaway will run until next Tuesday, November 4 at 10 pm.  The winner will be announced Wedensday, November 5. Free product shipping is included in prize. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Happy Failing!

Disclaimer: I did receive a free copy of this book, but all reviews and opinions are my own.

100 Years of History

Last Friday, I was honored to host the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) at our house.  I’m not a member, but this chapter was started right here in our foyer exactly 100 years ago, in 1914.  So when the club asked if they could hold the October meeting here, I was all for it!

If you’ve followed for a while or read our story, you may know that our house is historically registered as the Taylor-Gaylor house.  It was built by Charles Taylor in 1902 for his private residence, and in 1939, my husband’s grandfather, Charles Gaylor, bought the house with his wife, Mildred. Anyway, Charles Taylor’s wife, Emma, started the local DAR chapter.

Somehow we acquired the architectural inventory book for our town, which was published in 1987.  Our house is in the book, and the DAR was important enough to make it into the blurb!

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So, back to the party.  I wish I had better photos, but I was trying to snap a few quick ones while playing hostess.  But there were just a few things I wanted to share with you.

The flowers were absolutely stunning.  Seriously, jaw dropping.  One of the very talented members does floral arrangements using blooms she’s planted in her own yard.  She had no idea my dining room was purple, but the flowers could not have been more perfect for the space.

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The meeting was at 4:00 pm and consisted of “high tea.”  I served each cup, which was a lot of fun, and allowed me to meet almost all of the 50+ women there.  They were so cute in their fancy hats and gloves!

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The ladies brought lots of information on the history of the club, as well as the house, which we displayed on the piano.

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I enjoyed learning the history of the family that built our house, but perhaps the best part of the whole day was meeting the nieces of Mr. Taylor.  They came to the event and were thrilled to see the house now, as they had spent some time here as small children.  In their words, it looks “incredibly different, and incredibly beautiful.”  I’ll take that as a compliment! :)