Tuesday, 11 October 2016

An Autumn Garland


In our old house I used to make garlands for our mantel all the time. They were invariably quick and easy; paper, card, felt balls, pine cones, feathers, crochet - I used to have a lot of fun creating seasonal arrangements on that mantel. Our fireplace was cream marble and always seemed cold to me, as though it needed lots of decorating and warming up, but at least the neutral colour of the mantel and wall behind it always made a good backdrop for a display. (You can see lots of photos of our old fireplace by clicking on the "mantel" label on the right hand side.)


I don't know why but I stopped doing that with our new mantel in this house. Partly it's the length of that huge slab of oak, and partly it's the funny lopsided chimney breast, but I still don't feel like I've really sussed out how to dress or style our current mantelpiece. A few things dotted there look lost, so I tend to go for the more is more approach, and just fill the space. I don't know if that really works either. 

But I felt it was time for a bit of seasonal prettification of the fireplace and an autumn garland was in order. And while I was making it I remembered how much fun there is to be had in once of these quick (and easy) craft projects. So much of what I make now takes weeks at least, usually months - sometimes a few years! - so it was fun to have made something in a couple of hours.  

I gathered together all my oddments of felt and chose my colours. I had a mixture of the acrylic stuff you buy in places like Hobbycraft combined with off cuts of pure wool felt. The wool felt is immeasurably nicer in colour, tone and quality, and has a slight stiffness to it which makes for a good shape on the garland, but I just made the best with what I had. Then I sketched some leaf shapes and cut them out on scraps of paper. 


Pinning the paper templates to the felt, I drew round them in fading ink pen then cut them out.


I threaded a needle with two plies of brown embroidery thread and stitched through the stalk of each leaf. 



Then hang in your chosen spot (mantel, mirror, dresser, shelf, banister....) and admire. A while ago I tapped a couple of small picture hooks into either end of the piece of oak above our stove and I use this to secure anything I hang there. 


Happy autumn crafting!



30 comments:

Jennifer Hays said...

So cute! Your mantle always gives me a little bit of envy since I don't have one. Love everything else you have up there too, it all looks very homey and cozy.

Gracie Saylor said...

Lovely! Thanks for showing us how you made the garland, Gillian. I have an odd two tiered mantel that does not lend itself to garlands, but I like your autumnal mantel arrangement. xx

Sarah said...

I like this very much, the colours look fantastic against your slab of oak and you've cut out the leaves so beautifully neatly.

Lynn Elmer said...

I LOVE your garland! Might have to have a go at one myself. Thank you for the inspiration. Lynn

Sol said...

I think this is my favourite garland, as it is actually something I could just about make! Looks lovely. and as always I love the bird ceramics.

Jules said...

A very pretty garland Gillian. X

Catherine said...

I always admire your mantels and I love to mark the seasons too. I spent the afternoon buying bronze and gold plants for two tubs by our front door. They look great with a small pile of shiny pumpkins and squash to one side. This is my favourite time of year!

eclectichomelife said...

Love it Gillian, quick projects are right up my street

Michelle H said...

I love it! Quick and pretty projects are so nice when you just want *something* decorative. I've always loved your mantels!

Librarian said...

Your new mantle does not look cold, and maybe only a few things on top don't look "lost" but emphasize the more minimalist approach of decorating that was popular in the time your house was built.
Anyway, it looks great the way you decorate it, and the autumn garland is just lovely!! I want one to go above my kitchen window!

VeggieMummy said...

That is gorgeous - beautiful shapes and colours. I do envy your mantel as we don't have one above our stove. xx

Sandra (Cherry Heart) said...

Is is so pretty. I thought I was over the mantel garland but maybe not, the idea of something with leaves appeals! And so does a couple of hour project instead of a mammoth one, lots of appeal there!

S x

Christina said...

I want one of those garlands NOW. I always love to see your decorations, they are simple and stylish. Some mantel decorations out in blog land are on the gaudy or overbearing side but never yours. Maybe you could write one day about how you experience colour and let us in on the secret of choosing combinations that look just right?

Jo said...

Pretty! and may I say just right! Jo x

Anonymous said...

This is lovely, Gillian. I love the colour palette. I really like your asymmetric fireplace/mantle and all the pieces on it. Like Jennifer, I have mantle envy as we don't have one here. I was chatting to a woodsman friend of mine last week, though, about whether he could make one for me. Before Christmas preferably! Fingers crossed. Sam x

Bela Dina said...

SO so simple and beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Lovely garland!!! Irune

Susan Smith said...

Hi Gillian, I'm just on catchup with my blog reading. I've gone through your September & October posts and love all your makes & oh, some of your yummy looking food. The garland for the mantel is very clever & I see what you mean be the wonkiness of that beautiful piece of timber, but I'm sure you'll enjoy thinking up ways to dress it. Take care.

Summer said...

Love this idea! A very cute garland ♥

AnnieOBTextiles said...

Gorgeous and I love the colours you have used. The heather and blue really make the other shades sing.

Kate-Em said...

Love this. It looks so pretty. I have plans for an Autumn garland that I really need to crack on with.

Angel Jem said...

Simple, but effective; isn't that the best time filler crafts?

Amy Spour said...

What a lovely, simple idea. I need to think of some smaller crafts to complete as my quilts take me a long time to finish as I am learning as I go. Thankyou for the inspiration.

Helen said...

It looks beautiful! We don't have a mantel in our new house - I have to confess I miss it!! x

mrsrobinson said...

Lovely autumnal prettification!

Penny said...

Very effective and pretty. I love how you dress your mantlepice x

Louise said...

Your garland is really lovely, the colours are so pretty!

Emma - a simple living journey said...

Oh thats beautiful! I might make a spring one for my lounge mantle. I too get into bit of a dilemma with what to do with it. I cant be bothered decorating it too much as it would mean I have to dust it more, but its too bland. A garland would look great!

xx

galant said...

Very pretty. Gillian.
Margaret P

Penelope Sanchez said...

I made these and they work great! I teach art at rather large elementary school. I’m so excited about this find that I will be sharing it next week at a workshop I’m presenting for art teachers in my district. I will proudly credit your blog for the find and share it with my fellow co-workers. Thank You!

Penelope
Ketterman Rowland & Westlund