Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Sweetness of Autumn

 Well, it is official.   Summer 2013 has come and gone.   It's time to embrace one of the most glorious seasons.   Autumn is such a beautiful time of year and doesn't last long enough for me.   I love the cool weather, the colorful trees, picking out pumpkins and gourds and bright mums, making a big pot of soup or better yet, a succulent pork roast stabbed with cloves of garlic, roasting on a Sunday afternoon, with a pan of acorn squash baking right next to it.  The acorn squash has to be made with a huge pat of butter, dark brown sugar and a liberal sprinkling of cinnamon.   Add homemade mashed potatoes and pork gravy and you have a heavenly fall Sunday dinner.    Baked apples or a pumpkin pie for dessert makes the dinner complete.

 This fall, go out and support our hard working local farmers by purchasing their pumpkins, corn stalks,gourds and mums and decorate your home accordingly for the season.  Watch for things along the roadside to add to your outdoor decor like cattails which are in abundance right now and bright green osage oranges, free for the taking along any country road.   They look beautiful when placed with pumpkins, all lumpy and green, much like a gourd.  I've enjoyed decorating for fall since I was very young.   When I was still living at home, I would always take my mom to our favorite garden market and purchase stalks of corn and huge pumpkins which we displayed for the neighborhood to enjoy.
If you're lucky enough to have a lot of trees on your property, you also get to enjoy the crunch of their leaves on your lawn.   My parents house had three huge maples in the backyard and it was a tradition to rake them into a huge pile, running and jumping and burying ourselves.   Crazy fun and once we tired of the pile, we would burn the leaves which smelled wonderful to me back then.   I know it's environmentally incorrect to burn them now, but I miss that scent from childhood.  Every now and then, when we're driving in the country, you'll smell someone who still burns them and the odor takes you back to when you were a kid.   So eat, decorate and take in the wonderful colors of the season.   Before you know it, branches will be bare and a blanket of snow will be covering the land.   Embrace Autumn and all the wonderful things it brings!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Making of my "Woman's Cave"

If you are like me, making your home warm and cozy is a top priority of your life.  It is something that is always changing and evolving, from decorating season to season, rearranging furnishings and acquiring new or antique pieces to add something special to your living environment.  It also sometimes involved a total restoration or renovation which is something we took on this summer.   We had been putting off this big project for some time, until I finally got myself motivated by promising myself a new set of living room furniture after the big renovation was complete.  We have been needing new flooring throughout the house for quite sometime, but the weakening conditions of subflooring told me we could put the project off no longer.  This involved first of all, getting quotes and deciding if we wanted to replace carpeting or go with laminate flooring.  It also involved the application of a total new subfloor.   Once we signed the contract with the company and picked the installation date, I turned into a mad woman, planning and ordering and packing.  We ordered the new furniture to be delivered after the floor was installed.  We purchased a 55" Smart TV that I had been promising my husband for years.  This purchase should take care of birthdays and anniversaries for a few years!   We started packing up all knick knacks - did I mention I have a lot of knick knacks and BOOKS!!!   We went to U-Haul and purchased all sizes of boxes, took pictures on our phone of how the books and "things" were placed on the shelves so that we would have an idea of how to unpack them.  I meticulously labeled all the boxes with items and which room they belonged in.  The two major projects were my china cabinet filled with my Royal Albert Old Roses china and my beloved bookshelf in the bedroom.  We had our two strong football player nephews come and store all the boxes in the garage the week of the installation and lived in the shell of our house for a couple of days until the flooring was installed.   I decided on cherry wood laminate and am I so happy with that decision.  On the big day two strapping "russians" came in and worked their butts off for two days, the first day was spent ripping up carpeting and laying down plywood.  The following morning they were here promptly at 7:00am and by 2:00pm we had our floors, polished and gleeming, with all the big pieces of furniture placed back in their spots.   Those two men were magnificent!

Here's a picture of the work in process.   And below is a picture of my husband assembling the chairs I ordered from   Did I mention I love   Thanks to my sister in law who told me about her experiences with them.   I would highly recommend them!  Fast, free shipping.   Aren't these chairs gorgeous?   I thought they were a bit bold, but I'm in that frame of mind these days.   Bold and beautiful!

Here's just part of the finished project.   I also purchased a beautiful red couch and matching recliners from La Z Boy Furniture.   More bold colors.   Not at all like I previously had in my homes.   My first home was done in country blues and creams with ducks and geese and Laura Ashley bedding.   It was typical 1980's but beautiful and homey.   Those colors lasted until we built a home and I went with everything in shades of green, pink and ivory.   Even my 10 ft. Christmas tree did not have one ounce of red on it.   It was all done up in victorian shades of pinks and mauves, ivory pearls and soft green to match the carpeting in the great room.   I kept those colors but in a much scaled down version when we moved into a manufactured home.   After all, one doesn't have room for a 10 ft. tree anymore, but the colors of the "old" furniture went well with the neutral beige carpeting.   But now, with this big project I decided to go in a totally different color scheme taken from the Royal Albert Old Roses china pattern.   Reds and golds and oranges and pinks.   A bit daring but I am happy with the outcome.   It's made the living room warmer and more inviting.   The 55" flat screen Smart TV doesn't hurt.   We're ready to hunker down as cool fall evenings turn into snowy, blustery nights.   You are all invited to stop by anytime you find yourself in the neighborhood for a pot of tea, some homemade cookies, hot buttery popcorn and a movie.   I am so happy with myself for finally tackling the dreaded project and now I can reap the rewards!   Bring on the cool weather, the new TV shows - especially my beloved Downton Abbey.   I am ready to enjoy my new "woman cave" but don't tell my husband I call it that!   We'll let him think it's a man cave with a few feminine touches.