Fall mantel

Greetings. Today, I’d like to share my thrifty fall mantel decorations with you.

The large tobacco basket on my mantel was a steal on eBay.

Did you know? The tobacco basket was used in the South, until about 1980, to display tobacco taken to market. Tobacco is a very labor-intensive crop. The leaves are picked by hand, starting at the base of the stalk. Back in the day, the leaves were carried to the tobacco barn where they were hand-tied onto sticks about three feet long. The sticks were then placed in tiers in the tobacco barn. A fire was lit and the leaves were cured to a rich golden color in the barn. When the sticks were removed from the barn, the leaves were sorted and graded, then tied into “hands.” A hand of tobacco weighed between one and three pounds. The hands were laid in the tobacco basket in a circle with the stem ends pointing to the outside. The baskets were then loaded and taken to the tobacco warehouse where they were sold at auction. At the warehouse, the tobacco baskets would be stacked about two high to reach a pile weight of 250 pounds of flue-cured tobacco. The baskets were made primarily from hand-rived oak, with the strips nailed together. The open spaces in the center of each side allowed room for a hook to be attached. The hook was used to pull the baskets onto the scales and to load the baskets onto trucks after the sale.

Just a little piece of history for y’all.

OK. The wreath is one of those cheap grapevine jobbies with a strand of fall garland woven into it.

The ribbon and  blackbirds are from Michaels.

The real gourds and pumpkins are from Bilgers Pumpkins near McVeytown, Pa. For more info on those, click here. The fake pumpkins were bought on clearance at Walmart a few years back. The candle holder was another Michaels purchase.

I bought both of these lanterns for under $20 at separate craft shops. I thought it would be a great idea to fill them with pumpkins and shiny orange glow balls (yes, that’s their official name). The shiny orange glow balls came from Michaels too.

Now for the banner. This was an easy peasy craft project, people.

I bought burlap garland at, guess where? Yep. Michaels. I cut out triangles from the garland, then wove them together with twine. Then I used my handy, dandy Silhouette SD cutting machine to trim the letters and curly cues out of black vinyl adhesive. Total time spent on this project? Less than one hour.

There you have it: a fall mantel. Enjoy!

“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.”

                                                                     ~Stanley Horowitz


The Lettered Cottage


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8 Responses

  1. Emily says:

    It looks great Susan! How did you come up with the Fall burlap hanging sign idea? I would have never thought to do that. Also, where do you suggest I get one of those printers you used for it? I’m dying to have one now! 🙂

  2. oh my gosh, that tobacco basket and the berry wreath on it scream fall! gorgeous!

    • Susan says:

      Thanks for the feedback! I use this basket above my mantel for most of the year (usually without anything on it). It gives a relaxed, yet chic feel to the room. I’m hoping to score some old wooden snowshoes to display above the mantel this winter. Stay tuned for details on that.

  3. April says:

    LOVE your mantle! So cute!!! I love the small pumpkins in the lanterns. I’m going to have to steal this idea. This is what I love about blogging…I get so many neat ideas! Thanks for sharing!

    • Susan says:

      Thanks for the feedback, April. I get almost ALL of my ideas (in some way, shape, or form) from other blogs. I agree they are an awesome creative resource.

  4. So glad to see you use our pumpkins and gourds in your home decorating idea’s.

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