Decorate with Crafts

Autumn Abundance

Our Country Sampler stylist shares creative ways to introduce fall color and harvest motifs to everyday living spaces.

Nancy Isch adores the color green; she particularly favors a hue she calls Depression green, after the vintage glassware she collects. She's woven the color throughout her Decatur, Indiana, home and even carries it outdoors, via her bountiful gardens (showcased in the 2019 edition of Country Sampler Gardens). "I've always loved that era and that color; it works well for all seasons," Nancy enthuses.

Inside the Colonial-style home she and her husband, Steve, built in 1972, the color pops against traditional country furnishings, including the 8-foot farm table and Hoosier cupboard in the great room, which they expanded by borrowing square footage from the adjacent garage. That ample space is where the couple host weekly dinners for their large family, which includes four children, 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Nancy decorates with family pieces and collections ranging from coffee-related goods to cake boxes. The latter reflect her love of cake decorating, a hobby she parlayed into a business that has her creating confections for as many as three weddings in a weekend.

Although green is a staple, Nancy enjoys echoing the outdoor landscape and adding richer colors to the mix for fall. "Each season is special in its own way," she says. "Fall is pretty inside and out." Working with Country Sampler stylist René Haines, she gave her great room a cozy feel. Continue reading to discover René's 17 clever ideas for preparing your home for pumpkin-spice season.


1. Set in stone. Construct a multilevel vignette with a vibrant runner as a base, incorporating items such as a soapstone foot warmer and small stool as risers to give select elements, including a galvanized tin filled with gourds and greenery, a boost.
2. Thinking caps. Repurpose old plastic eggs by spray painting them metallic brown and topping them with layered materials to create the look of acorns with dimensional caps. Try silk flower petals, small leaves and pinecone scales for a variety of textures. "Use your imagination when creating the caps," René says.
3. Golden glow. Replace a tealight with yellow or orange sunflower heads inside a small wood lantern to bring variety and additional ambience to a display that already features a candle that radiates a favorite seasonal scent.


4. Strung out. Fashion a festive fall garland from scrapbook paper and jute string. Cut acorn shapes from brown paper and cut acorn caps from several coordinating patterned papers. Punch two holes in the top of each acorn and weave jute through the holes as you add each acorn to your garland.
5. Artfully molded. Transform an old Bundt pan into a pumpkin by coating it with orange craft paint and then brushing antiquing medium in select areas for an aged look. Turn a twist of kraft paper into a stem and wired ribbon twists into vines. Glue these to the pan and embellish with a few silk leaves. Make pairs of small gelatin molds into mini pumpkins by gluing them together and applying white chalky-finish paint. Finish with a stick stem. Pair your creations with artwork that complements the pumpkin theme -- for example, a wood sign and stacking boxes.
6. Scoop, there it is. Set up a self-contained centerpiece by arranging decorative blocks, greenery and acorn accents within a large grain scoop. Include table linens, like braided place mats or a colorful doily, in similar harvest hues.
7. Bowled over. Top off small stoneware bowls with lids resembling acorn caps. Scour your collection for petite bowls that fit well with overturned wood salad bowls. Glue a small wood pull to the bottom of each salad bowl and place atop the selected bowls. Use them to hold small treats for a fall gathering.
8. Acorn accents. Dress up a place setting by wrapping burlap napkins and cutlery in a gingham ribbon and attaching an acorn with twine or jute string.


9. Rake rack. Hang a petite rake with the tines facing outward to serve as a ledge for holding a framed fall print. Highlight the artwork with trailing vine garland and a few silk leaves that reflect the colors in the image.
10. Foliage aflame. Take advantage of the cylindrical chambers in a tin candle mold to insert stems of florals, berries and leaves to form a brightly hued arrangement that fits well within a narrow windowsill. Reserve an opening in the middle of the mold to insert a battery-powered or electric taper candle.
11. Soft comforts. Create coziness and make use of the display space afforded by a wood settee or salvaged church pew. With no upholstery fabric to compete with, seasonal curtains, wall hangings (left), pillows and quilts can really shine. Lay out a quilted throw to backdrop a boxed lantern arrangement adorned with berries similar to those on the throw's border.
12. Drop in the bucket. Press a pail or bucket, like this wood example, into service as the foundation for a lush gathering of autumnal flowers. Mount a few small foam pumpkins on dowels so they will stand out from the foliage.


13. Blanketed in style. Utilize a blanket crane for a banner display spelling out the season. Make banners from wide burlap ribbon, creating a rod pocket on the back of each by stapling the material together. Staple lightweight framed letters to each banner from the back, staggering the placement of the frames for a whimsical effect. Craft different messages to reflect the time of year, or simply drape a decorative quilted throw or wall hanging over the arm of the crane instead.
14. Marvelous mantelscape. Ensure your mantel decor stands out by placing a horizontally oriented shutter against the brick. This weathered green example provides a verdant background that calls attention to a folk-art cat figure, yellow metal candlesticks, a clock and a Colonial-style tin lamp arrayed on the mantel.
15. Falling leaves. Introduce a vivid jolt of color to the fireplace with a leafy garland that flows along and over the edge of the mantel. To mimic a waterfall effect, glue coordinating leaves to varied lengths of jute string and then tie the strings along the garland, allowing them to dangle freely.
16. Cute cover-up. Camouflage a fireplace opening and its contents when not in use by turning a battered enamel tabletop into a chalkboard/fireboard. Cover the tabletop with chalkboard paint, applying several coats for complete coverage. Once the paint is dry, embellish the fireboard with colorful chalk graphics or a favorite fall phrase. "It's so easy to update for other holidays or seasons," René explains.
17. Fabric fancies. Pair fabric pieces with hard surfaces, perching plump cloth pumpkins on metal candlesticks or an old milking stool, positioning a rag rug by the hearth, or cushioning a rocking chair with a patchwork pillow featuring a warm harvest palette.

Harvest Thyme primitive galvanized tub, Gainers Creek Crafts
Pumpkin Patch 16-oz candle, Black Crow Candle Co
Autumn Sky quilted table runner, Choices Quilts

Pick Your Own Pumpkins oval stacking boxes, Fall Blessings blocks and Farm Fresh Pumpkins pallet sign, Gainers Creek Crafts
Timber Trail braided rectangle place mats and burlap napkin, Primitive Home Decors
Natural spring lace doily, My Vintage Soul

Town and Country wine curtain panel pair, Primitive Home Decors
Blessings Cornucopia print, Impressions on Market
Burlap Pumpkin Patch pillow cover, Piper Classics
Heritage Farms quilted throw, Powers Mill Primitives
Primitive harvest box lantern arrangement, Smicksburg Drying Shed
Autumn Tree quilt block, Retro Barn Country Linens

Wood blanket crane and tin Adelaide light, The 13th Colony, LLC
Repurposed Autumn Kitty, The Unique Black Sheep
Metal candlesticks, Home Decor For Your Style
Set of three pumpkins, Pine Cone Gift Shoppe
Cinnamon Mocha "Rug on a Roll" fabric roll, Rags to Rugs by Lora
Autumn Sky throw pillow, Choices Quilts

Written by Lisa Sloan
Styled by René Haines
Photographed by Scott Campbell