Monday, October 17, 2011

A Peculiar Mantle Display

For weeks I've been thinking and thinking about what kind of autumnal presentation I might do on my fireplace mantle. While I waited, things started accumulating around my house to stimulate my yet incomplete thoughts. First, my husband brought home a box of osage oranges (sometimes people call them monkey brains). Those are the lime green orbs with a bumpy and convoluted texture on the outside. I love those things, and did you know that they keep spiders away? Then I was perusing the sale aisle at Michaels and saw some sparkly black ravens and purchased 5 (there are 5 people in my family, so that is my default number when I'm being spontaneous). My husband chopped down our old sunflower stalks and I had him save the expired seed heads for me. The tipping point on the creative scale was the beer I had on Saturday night, and with a gleefully unscheduled evening to inspire me, I started my mantle of dead flowers and natural curiosities.

If you were my neighbor, you would have seen me take several trips out to my dying and untended front yard to collect whatever was still sticking up from the ground. Dried up hydrangeas, sedum (technically alive, but not for long) and purple cone flower seed heads were left for me to gather. Luckily it was dark so I had no idea where the spiders were in the garden. That's wimpy of me, but spiders are a big impediment to my autumnal gardening adventures. They're everywhere!

I'm having a baby shower this weekend, so I wanted to have an elegant design that made you look twice and feel slightly creeped out. I put the ravens about the arrangement to suggest that they were plotting something while we weren't looking. The blank picture frame (I swear I've used that so many times this year!) makes me feel unsettled and, the river wood has such wonderful textural and bone-like appearance. The little prickly green things the ravens are chatting over are actually gourds or squashes or something. The vases were from my milk glass collection, which add a contrast of man-made ornamentation. Overall, I'm happy with the effect! My husband keeps calling it the mantle by Morticia Munster, which I think is a compliment. I'm still undecided whether I'll add a candle something-or-other but this is how it will look until then.

What are you doing on your mantles? Creepy or refined this year?

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