To get inspired for she shed holiday decorating (any holiday) it’s hard to beat Mary McCachern’s mastery. Every week hundreds of readers of her blog “Home Is Where the Boat Is” are enthralled by her newest tricks, DIY projects and vignettes that often revolve around her stunning potting shed.
We were lucky enough to connect with Mary during the writing of the first She Sheds book. Now, her shed graces the October page of this year’s She Shed Living calendar. Mary is a veteran of the retail business, where she spent many years running stores and merchandising shelves and windows. She’s the kind of genius behind those little shops that draw you in off the street like they have magnets in their doors.
All About Fall
Living in North Carolina means that summertime is typically pretty humid. That’s why fall is a welcome season for Mary. “I’m energized when October rolls around,” she says. “Plus I love pumpkins; the more, the merrier.”
The potting shed already has an autumnal color palette of natural brown and green — the ruby red door makes an easy transition into Christmas decorating, too. She relies on organic growing things for much of her decorating but sprinkles in pretty pieces from her vast collection of vintage glassware, garden tools, dishes and artwork.
If fall is your season, take some time to “harvest” decorations and build your own decorating prop closet. Some items will be used again and again and others such as live plants and vegetables will be replaced. Keep throwaway items to a minimum and be resourceful before you go out and buy new.
Decor List for Fall
- Dried flowers and rose hips
- Leaves and leaf branches
- Watering cans with character
- Buckets filled with flowers or found objects
- Farming tools
- Tin ceiling tiles
- Pumpkins, gourds and Indian corn
Dressing Up a Plain Shed
Mary’s been at this for years and is a real pro but she remembers what it’s like to start from scratch. If you are staring at plain walls, the best place to start is with display shelves. “You can make really nice shelves using inexpensive brackets and pieces of reclaimed barn wood or even fence boards,” she advises. These are dressed with favorite collections. Here are other tips she swears by:
Go on a hunt in your own house. You’ll be surprised how many perfect objects you already have for your shed decorating. Remember grandma’s odd dishes you put in the back of your kitchen cabinet? Pull them out and use some. Battered throw pillows can be recovered in fall fabrics, or covered with a throw. Candles, ribbon, last year’s faux pumpkins and stepstools (to give height to your displays) are all fair game.
No collections? Create some. Mary has a thing for galvanized metal watering cans and used a bunch of them to create an outdoor “waterfall” on her shed. They look wonderful all by themselves but they can also be embellished with July 4 flags, winter greenery or autumn leaf branches. Get inspired by Pinterest or simply shopping at outdoor vintage markets for like items you could gather together: architectural corbels, crate label art, art-glass windows, small statuary, pretty straw hats, etc.
Create varying heights for displays. Instead of arranging everything in one spot — on the ground or atop a single chest — use risers that stagger objects (like children in class photos, remember?). Mary suggests things like small benches, crates or an old stepladder. Risers are easily found at yard sales and thrift shops at low cost.
A Fall Wreath Idea
This year, Mary hit upon an ingenious way to make a unique fall wreath. She took her favorite fall plate and made it into the centerpiece of the wreath. Her ingenuity came into play with the backing — “I needed something behind the plate because it is smaller than the wreath and to also keep the plate from knocking on the door glass,” Mary explains. The answer: an old wicker placemat with handles on the sides.
Another neat trick is to use drapery hooks to hold the plate in place. They don’t harm the wicker and they hold the plate very securely. Mary finishes off her wreath with branches of bittersweet she finds at the local farmer’s market, some fall ribbon and a small vintage trowel — in the color of orange, of course.
Fall is an endless source of inspiration for many of us. Do you have a favorite fall display or project to share? Will you be using any of Mary’s decorating ideas? Let us know in the comments!