My $15 Fall Mantel (Er, Bookcase)

On Monday I told you about the fall decorating challenge that has been organised by Jeanette at This Dusty House, and how I was a bad blogger and didn’t get my shopping and planning done on the weekend. Well, yesterday after work (because while I planned on going to the dollar store at lunch I had to go to a meeting instead – drat) I made a mad dash to the dollar store and tried to figure out what I was going to use to decorate my mantel/bookcase. It was HARD!!! It might be because Dollarama had a lot more Halloween items than ‘Fall’, but it’s more likely that I’m not great at trying to decorate on a deadline – I like to think and rethink my decor choices before making a decision (ahem – exhibit A, the chairs I bought over a year and a half ago and haven’t touched yet).

Anyways, I picked up a few things at Dollarama, and a few things at my local mom and pop grocer. The rest were items I had at home. Here are the items I used (and yes that’s a stuffed bear – I’m a kid at heart, and he’s cute): And here is my finished fall mantel/bookcase:

And the total cost of my foray into fall decorating? Here’s the breakdown:

  • Brown paper (to wrap the mums)– owned
  • Twine (to wrap the mums)– Dollarama – $1
  • Candles – Dollarama – $1
  • Candleholder – owned
  • White bowl – owned
  • Gourds – Local grocer – 2 for $1 = $3
  • Mums – Local Grocer – $3
  • Fall leaves – Dollarama – $1 x 2 strands = $2
  • Apothecary jar – Owned
  • Mirror – Owned
  • Bear with pumpkin – Dollarama – $1

I’m not quite sure how I managed to only spend $11 as I was absolutely positive I was going to blow my $15 budget. Maybe it helped that the surface I chose to decorate is fairly small so I couldn’t do a lot with it. What do you think? Was I somewhat successful in this challenge, or should I steer clear of all seasonal decorating from now on?

Don’t forget to see what the other bloggers participating in the challenge were able to do – click on the links below to visit their blogs.

Linked to: Beyond the Picket Fence, The Shabby Nest

The $15 fall Decor Challenge (Oh-oh – What Have I Gotten Myself into?)

Fall to me means some good things – Thanksgiving, Halloween, turkey, Pumpkin pie, and some bad – cold, rain and, even though it no longer applies to me, back to school (And no, it hasn’t escaped me that all the things I like about fall are food related). Fall is not my favourite season – that honour goes to spring, so it’s not one I really celebrate which means it’s very interesting to me to see fall being celebrated with such gusto all over the blogospere. Some people take their fall decorating quite seriously.

At my old apartment I used to hang wreaths (or other decorative stuff) on my door to mark different seasons, but that can’t be done in my current building, so I’ve kind of lost my seasonal decorating mojo. That’s about to change.

Last week the lovely Jeannette from This Dusty House put a call out on Twitter for some blog friends to join her in a little challenge. The challenge (if we chose to accept) was to decorate a space within our homes for fall with $15 of items we found from dollarstores, thrift stores, or other store where fall decor items are widely available for a few dollars. A lovely group of bloggers bravely took up Jeannette’s challenge, and here they are:

One major problem with the challenge is I don’t have a mantel which (other than front doors) is what I think most people decorate seasonally. A few emails back and forth between the participating bloggers showed me that I wasn’t the only one, so I’ve decided that the best mantel stand-in I have is my bookcase. Here it is in all it’s non decorated glory:

My fall ‘mantel’ before

I was going to be a good girl and go shopping on the weekend to get all my provisions, but stuff came up and I haven’t yet ventured to a dollarstore so I have no idea what I’m going to do. We will all be presenting our masterpieces to the world on Wednesday. After checking out their posts about the challenge today I can see that I’m a bit behind, so I have to get my act together tomorrow. Wish me luck!

DIY Dove Christmas Ornaments

I’m going to let you in on a little secret – I’m having a little trouble getting into the holiday spirit this year. I’m not sure what it is, but I just can’t seem to get really excited about the holiday that is fast approaching. I own a little fake Christmas tree and a selection of ornaments and I fully intended to leave them in my storage locker for the holiday season until last week.

I was flipping through the November issue of Style At Home Magazine when I spotted this:

Style at Home – November 2011 – pg 108

I loved one little aspect of the shot, and my plan to not decorate this year went flying out the window. Can you guess what part of the picture above inspired me? Since it’s a little hard to tell from my scan here it is again:

Style at Home – Nov 2011 – White Dove

Can you see it? It’s the white felt dove Christmas ornament on the top right.

Once I spotted it, I knew I could make something similar, and all thoughts of being a complete Scrooge this Christmas went out the window. While they were a little time-consuming, they are very easy to make.

Here’s what I used:

  • White felt
  • Pearl beads
  • Silver tulle
  • White craft feathers
  • Silver string

    What you’ll need to make the doves

My first step was to find a pattern for a dove. that was easy enough using Google, and with it on my screen I free-handed the shape I wanted. There are three parts to the dove – the body, the wings, and the bottom.

My Dove Template

I cut out my pattern, and then pinned it to my fabric. I cut out two body shapes, two wing shapes and one bottom shape in the felt, and two wings in the tulle.

Once the pieces were cut out I sewed the body together using a blanket stitch and then I stuffed the dove a little with some off cuts from the felt I was using to make my dove more three-dimensional.

Dove Body Sewn Together

Once the bodies were put together I added the wings. I decided to add the piece of tulle over my felt wing to dress it up a little, but you could do it without. The wings are attached to the body with a couple of stitches at the top – this allows them to stand out from the body which I think looks more natural.

Dove with Wings Added

I sewed on two pearl beads to make eyes, but I’m sure you could just use a little dab of glue.

Dove with Pearl eyes

Next, I took the craft feathers and decided on what length I wanted the tail to be. Once that was done I cut them, and then removed a little of the down from the quill to allow me to insert it easily into the dove. I used a little dab of glue to hold the feather in place.

Making the feather tail

My last step was to add the silver string. It turned out my string was too fat for my regular needle, but luckily I happened to have an upholstery needle with a big enough eye. All I did was use the needle to pull the string thought the top of the dove’s body, and then tie a knot in the sting.

Here is the finished product:

My Christmas Dove

Here is what this project cost (everything came from dollar stores):

  • White felt: $0 (I had it on hand from my bookend project)
  • Silver tulle: $1
  • Silver sting: $1
  • Craft Feathers: $1
  • Pearl beads: $1
  • Total Cost: $4 for 6 dove ornaments

I was going to just hang the doves, but I thought there should be something else on my tree, so I came up with what was the easiest project ever – it took about 5 minutes to make 15 ornaments.

What you’ll need:

  • Small mirrors (I used round ones, but they also had squares and ovals)
  • some ribbon or string
  • some glue – I used a glue gun

    Mirror Decoration Parts

All I did was add a little dab of glue on the back of one mirror, stick in both ends of the small piece of string and lastly stick on the second piece of mirror.

Here is what they look like:

Mirror Ornaments


  • 2 packages of 15 mirrors: $2
  • Small spool of silver ribbon: $1
  • Total cost: $3 for 15 ornaments

I was going to put all my new ornaments on my regular tree, but on the way home from work today I found a tree branch, so decided to try to replicate my inspiration image a little more.

My Christmas Tree

And here’s a close up of my dove:

Dove Close up

Felt Doves in My Christmas tree

I feel I have to apologize for the pictures in this post – I’m battling two difficulties – It’s now dark here when I leave for work, and when I get home, so there’s no opportunity to take pictures in natural light, and probably more importantly I have no photographic ability. Maybe Santa will be good to me and get me lessons;)

Linked to: The Shabby Nest, Domestically Speaking, Addicted 2 Decorating, Under the table and dreaming, Sumo’s Sweets Stuff, Polish the Stars, Coastal Charm, The Kurtz Corner, Thrifty Decor Chick, The CSI project