A Fruit Filled Fall Mantel

September 25, 2012 | FILED UNDER: Uncategorized

As you can tell from my recent posts on my fall tablescape and fall container garden, I’ve caught the fall decorating bug! Today I tackled our fireplace mantel:

Pear and clove welcome sign

Pear and clove welcome sign

I had torn out this idea for the pear and clove ‘welcome’ decoration in a Martha Stewart Living a couple years ago and had been holding on to it in hopes of making it some day. Well, today was the day and it turned out great! Read on for a full tutorial.

How to Make the Fall Fruit Decorations

[Update: Unfortunately, this is a very temporary decoration. My pears started to turn brown around the edges of the cloves 3 days after making them. Darn! However, this would still be perfect for a special holiday meal or dinner party. I think the pears would also make awesome place cards – just put one on top of each plate with the person’s initial on them. Once your pears start to fade, don’t throw them out – see the end of the post for a quick stovetop potpourri you can make with them.]

This project reminded me of a fresh take on the old-school orange and clove pomanders – I love that the cloves can be used to spell out any word you want! It took under an hour to create the welcome sign. Here’s how I did it:

Pear and clove welcome sign tutorial

1. I went with pears because they were on sale at the supermarket today, but I think apples would work equally well for a fall arrangement. I made sure to find a pretty selection of pears – I specifically looked for some that had a touch of red on their skin and I love that one of them still had a little leaf attached. I also made sure to test that each of them stood up straight at the store.
2. I bought a big jar of whole cloves. Cloves aren’t cheap – this 1.25 oz jar cost me $15. I only ended up using a third of it, so I think I could’ve gotten away with a smaller jar. The good news – you can reuse the cloves (and the pears) for some homemade stove-top potpourri (see end of post for how!)
3. I used a brown washable marker to trace the letters onto each pear.
Pear and clove welcome sign tutorial

4. With a safety pin, I punched little holes along the outline of the letter to make it easier to insert the cloves. This is optional; your fruit may be soft enough that it is easy to just push the cloves straight in.

5. I started putting cloves tightly together all along the outline

6. I arranged the finished pears along the mantel and threw in a handful of apples on each side.

Fall fireplace mantel decor ideas

How to Make the Fall Arrangements

I wanted to add some height to each side of the mantel and turned to my trusty pair of tall green vases that have made their way into many versions of holiday decor over the years. I filled them with just a few things:

Dried fall leaves and grass arrangement tutorial

1. While shopping for pears this morning, I found these two dried fall bouquets at the supermarket for $2.99 each. 
2. I borrowed a few tall curly branches from my big glass vase filled with corks to use in the arrangements. They definitely add height to the mantel – they almost touch the ceiling!
3. I then added in some of the yellow grass / wheat and red leaves from the store. Since both were much shorter than the branches, I tried to stagger the height a bit by securing some of them higher up on a branch with a bit of clear tape.
Dried fall leaves and grass arrangement tutorial

I’m guessing this welcome display will be fairly temporary. But I would hate to have the pears and cloves go to waste. Once they start to fade, my plan is to use them in some stove-top potpourri I learned how to make from my friend Kathryn. All you do is cut the pears in a couple big chunks (keep the cloves in them!), and add to a pot of water with a quartered apple, some orange peels, and a cinnamon stick or two. Warm the pot to a simmer and before you know it your entire house will smell like fall. It is the best!

Don’t forget to check out my fall tablescape and fall container garden posts if you haven’t already!


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