How To Decorate Your Mantel For Fall

Fall Mantels

Your mantel and fireplace takes front and center in your living room every day, but during the holidays, it should stand out even more. Because mantels are almost always the focal point of a room, what better place to decorate in the fall than that? Whether your mantel is small or grand, there are so many ways to spruce it up with cute fall decorations. We’ve gathered a few of our favorites below!

A fun banner: we like the idea of using words and sayings on your mantel. Hang a festive banner that says “thankful”, “give thanks”, “fall in love”, or for Halloween hang up a big “BOO!”. This one is a great way to involve the kids.

Decorate your mantel with pumpkins, but not the orange kind! We love the idea of unusual colored pumpkins, like these gold, white and sage ones. If your home decor doesn’t mesh well with orange, you can still get in the fall spirit with other colors. This look is very modern too, so you’ll definitely stand out from the orange crowd!

Hang a wreath inside! Get the family together to make a DIY fall wreath. There are so many DIY wreath tutorials online, it’ll be difficult to choose just one! We think this is a perfect way to decorate your mantel, especially if it was made spending time together because that’s what this season is all about. Thanks for reading, happy decorating and happy holidays! 

Top 9 Thanksgiving Hacks

There is nothing like the thrill of Thanksgiving, like trying to cook a four-course meal for twelve people in your kitchen that usually only serves four people - am I right? Ok, maybe thrill isn't the right word. Whether you're excited, panicked, terrified, or ready to call the Chinese restaurant for take out, here are some tips to help reduce your stress and make the most of your kitchen.

1. DIY Roasting Rack
No roasting rack? No problem! You can easily make your own roasting rack with tin foil or vegetables. To make the rack with tin foil, simply roll tin foil into a 1/2" thick line, and twist into a spiral shape to fit underneath the turkey. No tin foil? Try cutting some extra vegetables like onions (halving), carrots (peeling) and celery and line the bottom of the pan. The vegetable option gives added flavor to your turkey. 

2. Copy/Print your Recipes & Tape to Cabinets
If you are anything like me, I lose my recipes at least 14 times before I finish cooking the dish. Save yourself the hassle of searching for lost recipes, or trying to figure out what they say underneath the layers of spilled food by taping them to your cabinets. For the handwritten ones, or recipes in books, you might want to make a copy before taping them. Taping recipes also helps create "stations" in your kitchen when you have people helping you cook, so that nothing is forgotten and everyone has space.

3. Mashed Potatoes from the Microwave
Need extra space on your stove? Don't have time to boil potatoes? Use your microwave! You can microwave your potatoes instead of boiling them and it will save time and space. Microwave 4 medium russet, yukon gold, or white potatoes (6-8 red potatoes) for 8 minutes. Then, continue with your favorite mashed potato recipe! 

Bonus hack: For fluffier mashed potatoes, add baking powder when mixing!

4. Use Coolers/Ice Chests for Additional Refrigerator Space
 "Mom, there's not enough room in the fridge for the green bean casserole!" How many times have we heard that phrase, or something similar? Make more room in your refrigerator by putting some items in coolers/ice chests. For added ease, you can assign different coolers with purposes, such as desserts, appetizers, side dishes, etc. 

5. Slow Roast your Turkey Overnight to Free Oven
They say the smell of turkey makes you sleepy right? Get a good night's rest with the smell of turkey on your side by cooking the turkey as you sleep. Since it takes so long to cook a turkey, you can save yourself a few Thanksgiving Day headaches by cooking your turkey the night before. Your turkey will be fall-off-the-bone tender and juicy.

You can use any family recipe to prep the turkey, then use this little guide for baking a 20 pound turkey: 
Place turkey, breast side down in rack in roaster. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees. Turn turkey over; reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees. Bake uncovered without opening oven door for 10-12 hours. 

Bonus hack: Use warm chicken broth to bring it back to life if it gets cold, by pouring it over the turkey. This is also a great tip for dry turkey.

6. Prevent Pie Crusts from Burning with Tin Foil 
Don't you just hate it when you make a delicious pie from scratch and the edges of the crust are burned? It just burns me dum bum tss. To prevent such catastrophes from happening, simply wrap the edges of the pie in tin foil, leaving the center open to cook. Nothing else will change, just the edges!

7. Grate Frozen Butter for Dough
The biggest secret to fluffy and delicious biscuits is the cold butter. But boy is it a pain to have to cut into the dough! Save yourself some time and energy by grating frozen butter into your dough! This is also a great alternative to if you don't have a pastry knife.

8. Prep - Grocery Lists & Veggie Chopping Ahead of Time
You can budget time and money a little better by planning ahead. Plan out the dishes, recipes, grocery lists, and time in advance. 

By planning your menu early, you save yourself from those last-minute trips to the grocery store on Thanksgiving Day and get the added benefit of hitting sales on certain items by knowing you need them ahead of time. 

Chop early! There is so much prep work involved before making most dishes this holiday season, so relax a little by doing the leg work a day or two in advance. You can even put the chopped veggies/ingredients into separate zip lock bags with the amount written on the outside so you can just toss them into your pan on Turkey Day! For example, if your stuffing calls for 2 cups of onions, chop the onions, put 2 cups in a bag and label it "2 Cups - Stuffing". This is much better than trying to sew finger tips back on after dicing too quickly on the big day.

9. Use Slow Cookers to Keep Sides Hot
Instead of trying to overwhelm your poor oven on the busiest day of the year, cook your side dishes early and use a crock pot/slow cooker to keep them warm for hours! This ensures that your food will be served hot, without having to shove everything in your oven 15 minutes before dinner is served. 

I hope you are able to use these tips to have a stress-free Thanksgiving! 

A Thankful Spirit: Beds, Clothing, and Memories

With the arrival of November also comes the arrival of a thankful spirit.  November (and the holidays) are a time to reflect on all that we have and to give to those that are less fortunate.  In light of this this, I want to start the month by reflecting on a few things that we have to be thankful for...

1. Warm Bed

Beds are wonderful.  They offer a cozy place to rest our heads each night.  Beds come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can even be dressed up with the right headboard.  

Here are unique headboards to consider for your sleepy retreat.

This headboard is made from an old mantel.  So unique!

Source: Joss & Main
Source: Lovely Crafty Home

If you are looking for ideas on how to make your own headboard, click here.

2. Clothing

Clothing is definitely a reason to be thankful.  Aside from providing warmth and protection, it also is an avenue to show the unique personality of each individual.  With this in mind, be sure to take good care of what clothing you do have.  

Closets provide space to keep your clothing from getting squished, damaged, or dirty.

Source: Decore com Gigi

Source: Woodmaster Woodworks, Inc.

Source: Luv Decor

3. Memories

This day and age we have the opportunity to travel.  We are able to visit with loved ones and explore new places.  Our experiences mold us.  Usually, all we are left with are memories, pictures, and souvenirs.

Be sure to display those memories!!  

Built-Ins, even in the bedroom, can be a wonderful way to remind us not to forget our pasts.  Use built-ins for books, souvenirs, pictures, or any other trinket or treasure.

Source: Woodmaster Woodworks, Inc.

Source: DIY Network

Source: Two Inspired Design
For more great ideas, visit our previous post about bedroom built-ins!