My plans to go yard sale shopping today were thwarted by the rain, so I used the time to do some long-overdue fall decorating.

I always struggle to get my fall decor up for the beginning of the season, because I’m usually planning my son’s birthday party. And it’s hard to get into the fall mood when it’s 80-plus degrees and still feels like summer.

I decorated my fall mantel wearing a tank top and shorts, and I was still sweating. But it was worth breaking a sweat.

rustic fall mantel with blue mason jars by

While our house is pretty traditional, we have a stone fireplace in our keeping room, and I wanted to decorate the mantel is a more casual, rustic style. The color palette I chose — cream, brown and aqua blue — isn’t one normally associated with fall. But there’s such warmth to it; I think it’s perfect for the season.

I just love those chippy boards. I bought them for 50 cents a square foot from a local architectural salvage place, and I didn’t do a thing to them before putting them on my mantel. I didn’t even wipe the layers of dust and dirt off them because I thought they were perfect, as is.

The boards were a perfect backdrop for the brown and aqua burlap wreath I made last year! (Don’t you just love it when that happens?)

Burlap wreath on old wainscoting by

And speaking of complementary colors — how perfect are these vintage blue ball jars filled with pecans?

Fall Filled Vintage Blue Ball Jars by AttaGirlSays

I purchased them both — and the blue-green tonic bottle — at yard sales, paying no more than $3 each. I love antique Ball and Mason jars, especially those zinc lids.

Rustic chippy wood fall mantel in aqua blue by

Here’s a look at the entire fireplace. I did add some orange pumpkins and fall leaves on the hearth. And I couldn’t resist adding just more one piece of that gorgeous aqua blue wainscoting. I also propped a vintage yardstick behind the picnic basket on the hearth.

keeping room decorated for fall

Here’s a look at our cozy little keeping room, located just off the kitchen and breakfast nook. We spend most of our time as a family in this room, so it rarely ever looks like this. There are usually toys all over the place, and the blankets and pillows usually wind up on the floor. But I cleaned up, just for you. It doesn’t look like this now!

I’m proud to say that I didn’t have to purchase anything new for my fall mantel and hearth, except the two ceramic pumpkins on the mantel. I bought those last week for $10 each at a local home decor consignment sale. I didn’t buy them specifically for the mantel, but I knew I would use them somehow in my fall decor.

rustic fall mantel with mason jars and chippy wood by

I already owned everything else — the chippy wood, the candlesticks and candles, the Ball jars and tonic jar, the burlap wreath, the picnic basket, the vintage yardstick, the fall floral swag and the foam pumpkins. Either I’m quite an inventive decorator, or I own a lot of stuff. I won’t tell you which!

I do have a little confession to make about this mantel. You see that wainscoting? Well, behind those boards are two doors. And our TV lives behind those two doors, so the boards and the wreath have been moved to the right side of the hearth so we can watch TV and play the Wii. But it was pretty while it lasted! Things can’t always be pretty picture perfect in real life.

Stay tuned next week for more fall decorating. I’m working on my dining room and my front porch, and I’ll also be adding some touches of Halloween to my interior and exterior decor.

I party at the following places:



  1. How pretty! Love the use of aqua! And those boards add such interesting dimension! I just love it all! …I had to smile when I read that you moved most of the vignette aside for practical use! ha! That sounds like my kitchen. My fall decor on the center island and breakfast table, should be on wheels! It gets shuffled back and forth several times a day …at mealtime! :)
    Rhonda ~Ramblings of a Southern Girl recently posted..When Less is Not Enough ~ Fall Mantel 2012My Profile

  2. Amy…love the boards and how you tied it in with the burlap wreath….love the blue jars and bottles too..great idea….
    and the hearth looks wonderful too….love the basket..I need to use mine more often….! Beautiful!!
    Shirley recently posted..Fall Mantel … We Gather TogetherMy Profile

  3. I love this color combo! Love it all-looks wonderful!

    Thanks for linking up at the CHQ Blog Hop! See you again on Tuesday!
    Barbara at Chase the Star
    chasethestar dot net

  4. Girl this rocks all around. LOVE the wreath, and the boards are a perfect back drop. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I just love that aqua with the fall neutrals. It’s such an unexpected and fun change. Those board and just perfect there on the mantel!

    Lynn Wood recently posted..Steal My Heart!!My Profile

  6. Love the vertical stripes of the boards! looks beautiful.

  7. Amy,

    This is so pretty! I think this is my favorite fall mantel yet! I love the blue and white with the distressing! What a fun way to decorate for fall!

    Thank you so much for inspiring me today!

    Thistle recently posted..Smiling and 35 Pumpkin ProjectsMy Profile

  8. I just love it, Amy! I really like the use of shades of blue mixed with all of the other Fall colors. You need to call me sometime when you’re headed to some of these salvage places! I’ve never been to any! Is there a place on your blog to subscribe to updates via email? I can’t find it.
    Suzy recently posted..Chic Chateau Showhouse – Kitchens, Laundry Rooms and MudroomsMy Profile

    • Suzy. I just added your email address to my email feed. You’ll have to confirm the subscription.

      I think I used to have a widget on the sidebar that said Subscribe by Email, but now it’s hidden. I’ll get that fixed soon!

      And we should definitely go junking sometime. I got these boards at a place in Madison. And I’ve been wanting to go to Architectural Salvage in downtown Greensboro for years, but never seem to make it on the days they’re open. Let’s make a plan to go some Friday or Saturday.

      — Amy

  9. Love those boards, they make the perfect backdrop! Very lovely!

  10. LOVE the aqua! Kind of obsessed with it at the moment. Great job!
    Jill recently posted..Fall Mantel Party with 52 MantelsMy Profile

  11. So glad to have found you via the Fall Mantel Party. Your mantel is wonderful! Love the aqua and the salvaged wood pieces with the burlap wreath are a perfect match. Pecans in the canning jars – so smart! Happy Fall!
    Suzanne recently posted..Fall Mantel 2012My Profile

  12. Beautiful, Amy! Featured your wreath tonight. Thanks for sharing at my place! xo Jami
    Jami recently posted..(air your laundry friday) textile partyMy Profile

    • Thank you so much, Jami. I’m just seeing this after getting back from the Southern Bloggers Conference. A blogging conference, and I didn’t boot up my computer once. Ironic, huh? Thank you so much for the feature!

  13. Teal or aqua (whatever you want to call it) is my favorite obsession right now! :)

  14. Jenn Campbell says:
  15. glenda ramee says:

    How did you make the wreath;????


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