Penny Project: Updated Fall Mantle

So, in spite of the fact that everyone’s favorite candy-filled holiday had come and gone, our mantle was still looking rather eerie. And, in case there was any question about it, I can confirm that black-spined books with titles like “Bones” don’t exactly shout, “GIVING THANKS!”

Which meant it was time for a less spooky fall mantle. In keeping with my shiny new idea of trying to keep projects under the 500 penny mark, I did all of my shopping around the house. I swapped out my black tomes with some neutral books and rearranged my tiny faux pumpkins. I also snagged some ivory candles, which I put to work as bookends.

I knew I wanted to add something a little organic and unstructured to the mantle, so I headed for the great outdoors, armed with a pair of garden clippers and the hound underfoot. The bare branch was the perfect companion for my skinny glass vase. I also considered re-homing the Pope, but in the end, he continued to preside over the mantle.

The mantle was almost done, with just one more problem to tackle: how to turn the creepy coffee filter wreath into a more holiday-agnostic version of itself. After extricating the black crow, I sifted through my wrapping supplies in search of a ribbon that could stand up to the job of holding the wreath. I came up empty, so it was time for Plan B: put the sewing machine to work making the perfect “ribbon”.  

You can make your own ribbon, too – here are the quick-and-dirty instructions!

You’ll need:

  • A hem gauge and cloth pencil
  • Cloth (twice as wide as you want your “ribbon” to be, plus 1/2 inch for seam allowance, and as long as you’d like)
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • A dowel

Since I wanted my finished ribbon to be 1.5 inches wide, I started by cutting a long, straight piece of cloth (measured to the same length as my black ribbon) aboout 3.5 inches wide.

Then I folded my cloth in half and ironed it flat.

I set my hem gauge to 1.5 inches and measured from the fold in my cloth, marking several spots at 1.5 inches to keep my seam straight. 

After a quick bit of sewing, it was time to finish off my ribbon by turning it right-side out. I started by folding the sides down and inserting the dowel into the folded part on one side. Then I stood the dowel up on the dining room bench (any hard surface will do) and pulled the sides of the cloth down around the dowel until my ribbon was right-side out. 

The last step was ironing my ribbon again after centering my seam on the back side.  Super simple, AND it took less time than going to the store to buy more ribbon.

So, thanks to this little sewing project, the final tally for the mantle update was $0, which is a price tag I can’t argue with.

Does your mantle change with the seasons, or do you rock a tried-and-true arrangement? This is the first year my mantle has gottten seasonal makeovers, and I have to say, I am loving it!

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