Wednesday, 8 October 2014

On The Mantel: October


October. It's properly autumn now, and one of my favourite months of the year. The air is cooling, the leaves falling and the mornings are damp and chilly. Clocks go back and afternoons shorten, while gardens are tidied up for the winter and bonfires lit. It's a smoky, mellow, misty month, when the woods are heavy with the scent of decay and full of feathers, conkers and pine cones.

I'm continuing with my monthly mantel project, marking the seasons and rhythms of family life with a hotch-potch of things that were found outside and in, things that were given to me, things that are precious, the old and the new. On the mantel this month: lots of pine cones, collected from the school playground and strung into a garland. (You can read about how I made it further down.)


A vase full of rambling rose hip and a smaller one full of feathers. We've been collecting feathers for weeks, with the aim of doing something crafty and creative with them. So far, they are still sitting in this pot.


A beautiful handmade wooden spoon I bought last weekend. (I am also using it to eat with, I've not gone completely mad.)


A clay bowl Bella made in school, filled with berberis berries from the garden. I like their bright orange colour, a nod to Halloween at the end of the month.


Feel free to join in! I should mention that Karen at A Quiet Corner has been documenting her monthly mantel displays throughout this year since January, and her blog is full of simple, beautiful seasonal ideas. Blogland is, as always, an interesting and inspiring place.

*****

How to make a pine cone garland

I'm not ashamed to admit that this perplexed me for quite some time. I spent hours squinting at images of all kinds of pine cone craftiness, trying to work out how on earth people had attached the string to the cones. I gave up and found the answer in Bella's box of beads.


You will need pine cones, a glue gun, some small wooden beads, a needle and thread.


Glue the bead to the base of the cone. Let it dry. Drink your tea. That's it.

I am probably the last person in the world to figure this out so feel free to mock me. But I do love my glue gun.


Thread a needle and draw the thread (I used regular cotton thread in a colour to blend into our fireplace) through each bead, going around the bead twice. This stops the cones sliding around on the thread, but still gives you room to position them evenly. 


Then, since it's Autumn now, light that fire. 

41 comments:

  1. I will surely not mock you - I think your solution with the beads is quite brilliant ! Last autumn, I struggled with small screws on top of the pinecones... Needless to say it did not work...

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  2. Genius idea with the beads! Love the garland and this is my favourite of your mantle displays yet - so beautifully seasonal (you inspired me to treat us to an Akice's Aviary poster for our living Doon wall a few weeks ago. My boys and even Woody love it:)

    Loved your very evocative descriptions of this wonderful season too. Time for nestling isn't it xx

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  3. Loved the beads idea, thanks for sharing!

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  4. Great idea, love the vase of feathers...xx

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  5. Such a beautiful garland! Those are definitely my kind of instructions - glue gun, beads, tea drinking! :-)

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  6. A lovely garland and such a great idea with the beads.

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  7. A lovely simple idea. Your mantel always looks good. I'd like to do similar, but as we don't have our own place, we don't have our own mantel to play with - hopefully one day! Thanks for the link to A Quiet Corner, it sounds like my kind of blog! I've bookmarked it for future reading, whenever I have chance!

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  8. Such a good idea to stick the beads on, I would never have thought of that. I made decorations last year using only the cones with little stalks to tie on to - this would have been much easier!
    I love your wooden spoon too. xx

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  9. Inspired...beads...who would have thought...humm me!! xo

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  10. love the garland and you mantle looks so pretty! x

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  11. Oh I want a glue gun! Loving the mantle decorations and especially Bella's bowl of berries. x

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  12. A brilliant idea, I have a glue gun & tea, now I need beads & pine cones.

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  13. We lit the fire last night. I love the smell as I come downstairs the next day, almost as much as I love the crackling flames in the evening. x

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  14. A clever idea, and a lovely autumn mantel. Excellent clay bowl, and I really love the wooden spoon. CJ xx

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  15. The garland looks great, just right for autumn.

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  16. The beads are brilliant Gillian. Love your mantel this month. Have you seen Lou' (Littlegreenshed ) painted feathers. They are beautiful. Thank you so much for the link, you are kind x

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  17. Your mantel looks very autumnal. What a great idea for stringing your pine cones. I'll definitely use that for hanging on my Christmas tree.
    Jacqui xx

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  18. The mantel looks great. I love what you've done with the cones. I loved your bird print so much I had to get myself one! Looking beautifully autumnal x

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  19. Just loved this blog, you have given me lots of ideas. I do so like your Bird Print above the mantle.
    Woo xx

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  20. great blog, love the mantle display and pine cones, usually just stack mine in a vasex

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  21. I do so love your 'On the Mantle' posts. Inspired use of glue gun and beads and those feathers and berries are gorgeous. x

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  22. The mantel is so autumnal and love the pine garland. Clever girl. Just walked past my mantel and thought I should do something different for either the seasons or festivities. Thanks for inspiration and take care.

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  23. The garland is so clever, I would have never thought of this!
    And I love the berries, I didn't know that's what they were called. I love coming here and learning new words ;)

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  24. At this time of the year I love picking red berries and branches from the park bushes and create flower displays at home.... I love your pine cone idea, genius! Xx

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  25. What a great idea! I would probably have just strung the string around a layer, then wondered why the pine cone fell off/or broke!

    Very nice mantel this month indeed!

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  26. Lovely autumnal mantel Gillian! I love the little pot of feathers. They are so pretty. The bead idea for the garland is great. I made a pinecone garland like this but used the tiny little eye hooks you can get in hardware shops. They have a screw in end which can be screwed into the base of the pinecone. I hung them individually too with baker twine on our Christmas tree. Bee xx

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  27. Just LOVE your Autumn mantel, Gillian! Here in Brazil it´s Springtime...
    (P.S.: You´re not the last person to discover how to attach the cones - I am!! LOL)

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  28. A lovely display for October. I don't have a glue gun - maybe I need one!

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  29. Hi Gillian, lovely garland of pine cones, great tip to add the beads to hang them which will help with the Christmas wreath too.
    Thank you
    Helen

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  30. Nope, I'd never of thought of that either ! The simplest ways are always the best - I'm thinking frosted pine cones for a Christmassy garland ♥
    Have a lovely Autumny weekend, Kate xx

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  31. I do envy you your mantel! We don't have one in our (rented) house and it's something I really miss... the next place MUST have one. No question.
    And you've reminded me to bring the pinecone garland downstairs. We too have jars of feathers on display. They have to stay out of Joe's reach just yet as he tends to demolish them...
    I'm going to do a 'nature table' each month until we get a mantel. It's the best I can do!
    The wooden spoon-eating thing sounds exactly like something I'd do. So yes, probably a bit nuts ;)
    And those berberis berries are quite Halloween-y. Love this time of year!
    S x

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  32. Ace idea, fixing beads to the pine cones. The garland looks great, Gillian x

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  33. I love your mantel display for October, it's just perfect.
    Marianne x

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  34. It looks very pretty and I love your solution for hanging the pinecones, very clever indeed! xx

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  35. What a cute fall mantle! I love pinecones. We have tons of them in our backyard. I've seen them for sale in pet supply stores as bunny snacks. Wow! I think, imagine if I had $1 for every pinecone!

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  36. Love the pine cones, especially as you can't see the thread, magic! I still have a tiny bowl Dan made must be 17 years ago, a treasured possession. Loving your autumn posts and the are making me try to be more optimistic about the demise of summer. Xx

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  37. I love your mantel display for October. My favourite is Bella's handmade bowl. You can re use that for your displays throughout the year. The pine cone garland is simple but very clever--lovely! x

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  38. Lovely mantel yet again! I got so inspired I just had to go rearrange my "mantel" (topshelf) straight away. Great idea with the little pearls glued onto the cones!

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  39. I love your Mantel displays Gillian! I feel quite inspired to faff around with my boring old ledge - it gets a tart up for Christmas and that's about it! x

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  40. Love the pine cone garland. Really must get myself a glue gun!

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  41. Such a beautiful display, really reflectingt his tiome of year. I do love these posts. And what a great idea for the garland!!

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