It may be too soon for some to even remotely entertain thoughts of fall, but for those of us who love the fall of it all let the countdown to fall begin.
Anticipating the joy of witnessing the changing of the leaves, trying out a new recipe featuring apple and spice and everything pumpkin nice, tailgating times, fairs and festivals weekends spent in quaint little country towns, Thanksgiving gobble and gather, and Christmas spent with the ones you love celebrations is what makes September through December the most wonderful time of the year.
Measure the length of the mantel- door-wall where you plan to hang the garland, including an estimation of how many loops you plan to hang. Add a half foot to a foot more, per loop, to your final measurement.
Gather the magnolia leaves. It will take approximately 25 leaves per each foot of garland.
Flip the magnolia leaves over to the brown/gold side. Take two leaves and put them together with their front sides facing. Wrap floral wire around the stems. Repeat this step until you have multiple paired sets of leaves.
Cut heavy twine to the length of the space measurement and add another foot. Start at one end of the twine and begin adding leaves. Tie the first pair using a simple knot. Continue to add the pairs by looping the twine under, over, and back around stems to secure in place, pushing them right up against the first pair.
Repeat until the garland is complete, tieing an overhead knot around the final pair.
Holiday decorating safety tips can come in holiday handy and gift you with peace of mind at this holiday decorating time of year. There is now a direct link between holiday decorating safety tips and year round electrical safety in general. We got a big lighting up the holidays shock last week which explains my radio silence last week.
Fire is the one thing I am deathly afraid of. Let me share with you several situations and events over my lifetime that have caused and stoked this dreaded fear.
When Places In The Home was being built, a group of delinquents neighborhood kids set the entire order of roofing shingles on fire. The sight, sound, and smell of the roaring pile of burning shingles scared me almost to death and scarred me for life. I was three years old, I remember the scene vividly to this day, and it’s this event that set a lifelong fear of fire into motion.
When I was five years old, my precious great-grandmother lit her gas stove with a match. She thought she blew the match out, but she did not. Prior to lighting the stove, she had emptied a pot of melted hot grease into the garbage can. You can almost be guaranteed that when a lit match hits hot grease, flame and fire is close behind. With expert precision and quick hands to rival Drew Brees, Mama Two grabbed the flaming trash can, used her foot to kick open the back door, and ran with can in hand into the backyard where she extinguished the fire with a can lid. Mama Two innocently marked me for life.
In 1974, my grandmother’s house suffered severe extensive smoke damage throughout from a lightening strike to a television left in front of a window in her kitchen. The television burned up and through the floor. My grandmother was on vacation in Florida at the time of the strike. With no one home to notice, the television smoldered for several days. Every wall, surface, furnishing and floor was completely covered and caked in soot. The soot was so thick it measured close to one inch thick inside closed drawers. Determined to face my fear, I insisted on going with her and my parents to meet the insurance adjuster for the initial walk through. Horrible sight that only served to exacerbated my fear of fire.
My parents and I were at the original MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas on the day before the horrific fire in 1980 that killed 85 people and injured 650. We were visiting with family who were guests at the hotel. Thankfully, they all survived the fire. They have rarely discussed the tragic ordeal with anyone for understandable reasons. The details they have offered are as awful as one would imagine, and haunt me to this day. Dave and I have been back to the hotel (now Bally’s) several times since, but I absolutely refuse to stay at the hotel.
My parents were staying at the Las Vegas Hilton in 1981 when an arsonist set fire to the hotel killing 8 and injuring approximately 200. Tragic details with the less shared with me the better caveat.
Last week, our electrical panel-service-wiring placed a bulls eye right in the center of my fear of fire and plans for the holiday budget. Two weeks ago I discovered there was no power to the master bedroom sitting and dressing area. The A/C would come on (welcome to November in Louisiana) but the compressor would not kick on. I called the electrician, he came out and replaced a breaker in the original and antiquated electrical panel, and power was restored.
Two weeks to the day same problem arises. Call the electrician, he comes by that afternoon, and within thirty minutes three electricians, two city utilities supervisors, and one scared to death homeowner stood in our kitchen discussing how soon Dave the Builder and I could vacate the house.
The electricians and supervisors got straight to the point; “Ma’am, your house is in danger of burning to the ground in its present state. We are going to pull the electricity panel and the electrical service to your house is being disconnected immediately.”
I’m usually strong- the “I’m a willow, I can bend” one in the group however, this was not the case in this particular situation. I completely lost it in front of all parties present. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I cried worse than I did when my daddy died.
Straw, meet camel’s broken back.
I’ll spare you the details of shock, inconvenience, and scrambling to figure out how to pay for the unexpected heavy four figure expense (does anyone really have thousands of dollars stashed and saved for emergency home maintenance repairs). Dave the Builder is a maintenance master at much, but electrical is not his forte.
My fear is fire. His is being electrocuted.
I got it together, found the silver lining, peace of mind, and good will toward electrician men. The new service is in, and power is back up and running, and it’s time to get back to normal (our normal anyhow). All of this got me to thinking a post about holiday decorating safety tips may be as cathartic to me as it is useful to some.
Placement is key. Place a live Christmas tree at least three (3) feet away from any heat source such as fireplaces, space heaters, heat vents, radiators, or candles.
Water a real Christmas tree daily to prevent or at least slow the drying out process.
Use lights with the label of a recognized testing laboratory approved for indoor use. A green holographic UL label means indoor use only, whereas lights with a red holographic UL label mean the lights may be used indoors as well as outdoors.
The look is lovely, but never use lit candles to decorate a Christmas tree.
Replace lights that are worn, have broken cords, or loose bulb connections.
Do not overload strands connections. Use no more than three standard size sets of lights per single extension cord.
When we were kids, one of the neighborhood families left their outdoor decorations on while away. The way too old and unsafe big bulb Christmas lights decorating one of the Oak trees in their front yard snapped, crackled, popped, and caught fire.
The fire quickly spread and engulfed the entire home resulting in a total loss. Don’t second guess decorations or discount warnings. If your going to be away from home, turn off and unplug your outdoor and your indoor decorations. Always turn off Christmas tree lights before going to bed.
I don’t want to pour cold water on the holiday parade, but water and electricity do not mix. Make sure to keep your hands dry and never, ever stand in water when touching holiday decorations or gadgets powered by electricity.
Do not cut corners with worn out extension cords or Christmas lights. Never run an extension cord under rugs, carpets, or furniture.
Vintage Christmas decorations bring back old memories, and more times than not come with the original wiring. Check for frayed cords which run a high risk of lighting up the holidays in the call 911, the house in on fire kind of way.
Do not burn evergreens, pine, gift boxes, or gift wrap in your fireplace. Dry greens and cardboard act like tender- burning hot and fast. The flames can quickly flare out of control, cause a flash fire, and send sparks out into a room and/or up the chimney igniting creosote deposits. Make sure to keep the screen before the fireplace while burning a fire.
It dawned on me last week as I was dusting (the all things house that make a home chore I love to hate) the bookshelves in the not ready for blog sharing time den could greatly benefit from an update-an edit-a rearrange. That started a I’m tired of-I’m bored with-I don’t like that chain reaction. An inspection of shelf, space and tabletop ensued, and the conclusion reached is I’m ready for a rearranging home decor accessories change.
Did you hear that?
That’s Dave the Builder breathing a sigh of relief as I assure him no painting, wallpapering or furniture moving will be involved in this most current update to our decor.
Oh, it’s coming, but more on that down the redecorating road.
It’s amazing how easy it is to stave off decor staleness by simply rearranging home decor accessories upon the shelves and tabletops of home sweet home.
I’m decorating to the oldies with the soulful sounds of Dionne Warwick and The 5th Dimension. The music is from 1967, but the look in this traditional ranch doesn’t have to be. I’m doing my decorista best to de-1967 this traditional ranch one project, one space, one rearranging home decor accessories at a time.
Stained woodwork works for some spaces, but this den is not one of those spaces. Dave the Builder suggested I give the stained woodwork a chance. I did and have for eight years.
That’s a lot of mulling it over.
This future project is on the fast track to the back burner due to prior “real job” commitments. Dave’s schedule is full through October, and although painting the den bookshelves tops my at home project list, Dave’s projects pay the bills.
Good and stylish things come to those who wait.
Isn’t that how the saying goes?
New cabinet hardware is a must, and let me tell you why.
Changing out cabinet hardware is an inexpensive update, an install I am ridiculously brilliant at, and delivers instant visual gratification.
Move it here, move it there.
Take a look at the look created.
Assign each shelf a focal point accessory and work from there.
To the left, to the right, to the center-no two shelves or vignettes are created equal. Style each shelf with objects of varying sizes and heights to create flow, balance, and to perfect the art of visual interest.
Feature items close to your heart, interests, and memories. The rule of you effectively applies to decorating and should be beautifully evident throughout your home.
This tarnished treasure sterling silver baby rattle is a four generation keepsake. It tells the story of past, present and future family members and reads like a compelling novel.
My taste in decorative porcelain figurines has gone to the dogs.
When I bought this color rich portrait last year, I knew I wanted it and knew the perfect place to hang it would present itself.
I marked the spot today.
One of the best buys at an antiques auction is when you luck up on a box full of old books in relatively good shape. I purchased a box of sixty (60) books for $30 all in.
Another example of a fantastic deal discovered and purchased at auction.
I still love the wallpaper in the foyer, but this Orchid has seen better days.
A meyer lemon tree could work, but I’m also considering the very trendy fiddle leaf fig in my rearranging home decor accessories scheme.
Small lamps, sconces, picture lights or a collection of all three will light up the currently lighting deprived shelves. I’m treading lightly (ha!) with this decision being ever mindful too much of a good thing can cast a particularly unattractive shadow.
Note to summer: We’ve got a lot of irons in the summer campfire. Summer simple suggestions in chic summer style for bedecking interior and exterior settings, entertaining, dishing up summer fare, and outdoor living it up easy peasy is greatly appreciated.
Southern, Northern, Eastern or Western Living- regardless of geographical location, summer living and loving decoristas have got the memo, and it’s all about keeping it summer simple and summer simple suggestions.
It’s kinda sorta tough to kick back, relax and savor the season when you notice heavy equipment sitting on the sidewalk in front of your house and you, the homeowner, have no earthly idea what it is doing there.
Seems our city water department has a little curb appeal water line improvement of their own in mind.
This does not make my summer simple suggestions list.
Progress isn’t always a pretty process, and the installation of a new water lines makes it difficult to achieve summer curb appeal style, but we forge on.
We trimmed the unattractive dead sago palm fronds and within a week new green growth emerged.
Here’s a trick in my simple summer suggestions repertoire for getting your Sago palm(s) summer curb appeal ready.
Sago Palm Care
Outdoor planted Sago palm care involves watering the plant regularly until it takes root.
I like the look and the drought tolerant aspect of the mature Sago palm.
Fertilize at least once a month beginning in spring to aid in active growth.
Covering the base of the plant with mulch will help to protect the roots from cold snaps.
In inclement winter weather or fall freeze, we cover the exposed Sago palm with a heavy duty extra large black trash bag to protect it.
If it’s not one thing, it’s this.
Cue The Rolling Stones, cause it’s shattered.
The lawn and garden guy’s super duper heavy duty weed eater took aim at a loose piece of exposed aggregate, obliterating the exterior glass panel of the patio French garden door.
One simply can’t patio pretty with ugly on parade.
Thank goodness for the friend who frequents our summer patio soirees that just so happens to own a local glass company.
It’s time once again to get your summer soiree on, and the ideas for fun in the sun or evening tiki torch, lantern or string light are flowing.
We’re working with what we’ve got in the front of the house, and if you are like us, you’re getting your porch, patio and deck hangin’ game plan down pat.
Comfortable, fun, relaxing, refreshing, simple, tasty and stylish as chic- this is my number one summer simple suggestions formula for a festive summer gathering.
If Ina Uses It
I read with interest an article listing the pros and cons of a charcoal grill.
The pros outnumber the cons, and personal preference trumps all however, the one pro of the charcoal grill worth mentioning is worth mentioning. Grilling on a charcoal grill ups the flavor quotient and gives great grilled flavor.
3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for brushing the grill
1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
3 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces grated Gruyere
12 small Brioche buns
4 ounces baby arugula
3 medium tomatoes, sliced in 1/8-inch-thick rounds
2 small red onions, sliced in 1/8-inch-thick rounds
Ketchup, for serving
Build a charcoal fire or heat a gas grill.
Place the ground beef in a large bowl and add the mustard, olive oil, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix gently with a fork to combine, taking care not to compress the ingredients. Shape the meat into 12 (2-inch) patties of equal size and thickness.
When the grill is medium-hot, brush the grill grate with oil to keep the sliders from sticking. Place the sliders on the grill and cook for 4 minutes. Turn the sliders over with a spatula and cook for another 4 to 6 minutes, until medium-rare, or cook longer if you prefer the sliders more well done. For the last 2 minutes of cooking time, place ½-ounce Gruyere on the top of each burger and close the grill lid. Remove the sliders to a platter and cover with foil.
Slice the buns in half crosswise and toast the halves cut side down on the grill.
Divide the baby arugula among the 12 bottom buns, top each with a slider, and finish with a slice of tomato and red onion. Cover with the top of the bun and serve hot with ketchup.
Dave the Builder and I bought a vintage picnic table from a fellow antiques dealer with the express purpose of featuring it in a summer display at Hopefully Classic.
I used a vintage picnic basket filled with hydrangeas for a super easy, super cute centerpiece.
You can make quite the keep it summer simple statement with a collection of glass jars or melamine vegetable bowl and whatever flowers, greenery or veggies are growing fresh in your yard or garden.
No garden or flowers on the homestead?
Check out the floral department and produce section of your favorite grocery store.
Mini watermelons on a natural table runner of Pittosporum paired with Lemon Lime Nandina is summer simple and summer chic.
Ears of fresh corn with the husks slightly peeled back in order to expose the corn kernels grouped in threes and tied with woven ribbon of your color, pattern and texture choice or metallic twisted rope is another fresh centerpiece idea.
Bring the sugar, corn syrup, and ¼ cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and cool. Puree the plums, cooled syrup, and lime juice in two batches, using a blender, until smooth. Stir the plum puree and yogurt together in a large mixing bowl.
Pour the mixture into popsicle molds, leaving about ½ inch at the top, as the mixture will expand when it freezes. Follow popsicle mold manufacturer’s instructions and freeze until solid, about 4 hours.
Have you heard about these new scratch-and-sniff Frozen Treats stamps inspired by summer and the whimsical watercolor illustrations of Margaret Berg? These will be great for those summer cookout-party-soiree snail mail invitations.
Holiday wishing you all a most fetching Friday and a lovely first day of December. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas as we trim the trees and deck the halls in glorious bring the holidays home fashion.
It’s the 1st of November. Do you know what your Thanksgiving tabletop and decorating plan is? Inspiration is everywhere, and we thrive on it here at Places In The Home. Let me share with you a few of the Thanksgiving tabletop and decorating suggestions and finds in seasonal color, texture and pattern to set the holiday tone and the Thanksgiving table with the look of the season.
Fall clearance sales are underway much to the delight of the tablescape maven. May I also suggest checking out dollar, craft, hobby, and fabric stores for candles, candle holders, decor, chargers, etc… Dollar stores are inexpensive to begin with, so there’s that. The upside to Christmas and holiday items being stocked and displayed on a store shelf near you earlier and earlier each year is the deep discounts on fall and harvest themed items shoppers see sooner and sooner in the season. The cream craft pumpkin from Lowe’s is 50% off, and the Ashland Finial Vase from Michael’s is on clearance. Both are calling my name.
After creating the gallery I remembered Dollar Tree stocks a white stoneware dinner plate with gold rim. You can’t go wrong with a set of white dinner plates with gold or platinum rims. A simple yet elegant white dinner plate makes a strong argument for the perfect foundation plate, and complements almost every china pattern known to man.
My style preference leans traditional. Classic tableware and vintage linens set most of my holiday tablescapes and Thanksgiving tabletop, but I do like to gift the eye a decorative surprise.
Marry a traditional china pattern to a modern and/or contemporary pattern.
Intermingle pops of bold color with the customary fall palette.
Mix seasonal buds and branches with roses and taxidermy.
I am always impressed and amazed when decor accents and accessories that normally would not be paired together come together in perfected contrast to create remarkable beauty.
One of the best pieces of Thanksgiving tabletop and decorating advice I can offer is this: I embrace the words do small things with great love. Incorporate pieces, finds and treasures you love into your Thanksgiving tabletop and decorating. Personal mementos and collections tell a compelling all things house that make a home story.
Places In The Home is in full-on Thanksgiving Home for the Holidays mode. Pre-planning broadens the window of time between Halloween and turkey day, and although I’ve pre-planned the stuffing out of my Thanksgiving decorating, time is tight. Here is the extent of my Halloween decorating. Happy Halloween!
All things in full-on Thanksgiving Home for the Holidays mode slides right into the home for the holidays motif. A play on words World Series style.
I love planning the Thanksgiving tablescape, sideboard decor, scrumptious sides and delicious holiday desserts. Searching for lovely tabletop finds that capture the essence of the holiday rivals that of decor and menu planning, designing and developing.
I’m seriously considering setting a place at our Thanksgiving table for the guys and gals of USPS, UPS and FedEx that serve our neighborhood route. We see them more than some of the family members who will be breaking holiday bread with us, and they come bearing parcels and packages.
The Places In The Home Thanksgiving table is being set with a trio of china patterns. Starring as the simple yet elegant dinner plate set is the Grace pattern from Pier 1. Autumn by Lenox makes a first time appearance to the Places In the Home Thanksgiving table compliments of my brother. The ex-wife left, the Lenox did not. Holiday desserts will be served on vintage ironstone dessert plates of unknown pattern.
Today’s Home for the Holidays inspiration gallery features Thanksgiving dishes of traditional and new-traditional pattern and color combinations for your holiday tablescape consideration.
Happy midweek all! Today, because I am a proud mama and weddings are all around, I thought I would bring you into The Places In The Home fold by sharing with you this photo gallery from the please join us for a bridal shower we hosted for our son and his lovely fiancée when they were home for our nephew’s wedding in May. Seeing that the happy couple live in Canada, it is difficult to be live and in person for the showers and luncheons celebrating the couple. Skype and FaceTime amaze me, but pales in comparison to actually being in attendance in the moment. It didn’t take long for me to come up with the idea of throwing the couple a surprise bridal shower.
The future Mrs. is not only taken with our son, but with Fixer Upper, Waco, Chip and Joanna Gaines and Magnolia Market. What better way to surprise a Southern farmhouse chic girl at heart than with an afternoon Southern farmhouse chic-Southern charm-Southern hospitality eat, drink and we’re getting married bridal shower.
Clear glass jars brimming with fragrant magnolias captured the farmhouse feel and lent a simple yet elegant touch. When entertaining, I find it helpful to know your audience and to play to their taste. The thought is in the decorating and entertaining details, and it’s that attention to detail that brings about a rave review.
Faux flowers have their place, and in the bridal/wedding weekend celebration that place was inside an antique porcelain pitcher placed in the center of the dining room table. I’ve been known to pre plan the s*%! out of a soiree or celebration. Pre planning affords me the opportunity to find theme appropriate decor pieces and impressive dinner and drinkware at a price point that makes me very happy.
I always like that theme!
It also gives me time to shop sales and order items with plenty of shipping time to spare. A case in point is the tulip bundles found on eBay. You must allow at least three weeks for arrival when ordering from China, but the price savings makes it an appealing option. The quality is apple to apple when comparing the faux tulip bunches to the ones I see in my retail rounds.
The bride-to-be admired the tulips several times over the course of their visit which pleased me to no end. It was obvious the tulip bundles captured the essence of her preferred decorating style, and that signaled decorating success.
Crochet doilies and lace napkins dressed the table in vintage style.
Tulle is my gift wrap ribbon and bow material of choice.
Tying the knot in white wedding and something blue tones is simple in theory, beautiful in delivery.
Gifts for a newlywed kitchen filled with love.
Vintage handkerchiefs make lovely wedding and bridal gifts, and my almost daily Etsy search for just the right one for each recipient became second nature. I purchased vintage monogrammed handkerchiefs for the bride and groom-to-be, her mother, and each member of the bridal party- a to/from gift from me and Dave the Builder. I also purchased vintage monogrammed handkerchiefs for my nephew, his bride, his brother who was his best man, and for my brother- the father of the groom. Did I forget anyone?
We began the bridal shower nibble and nosh with a cheese board featuring several cheeses, fresh Louisiana strawberries, blueberries, fruit dip, mixed nuts, dried cranberries, dates and figs. The future groom loves my chicken salad so chicken salad it is. I served the chicken salad with a tropical fruit salad garnished with avocado slices, Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey. We also dined on a true Southern favorite, buttermilk biscuits and honey ham sandwiches. I made a mayonnaise and Dijon mustard dressing to go with the sandwiches. The beverage station featured water with lemon slices, raspberry tea, almond peach tea, Riesling and Merlot wine.
For dessert, we decided to surprise the couple with a cake in true bridal shower fashion. The cake decorator and I got together and came up with an abbreviated version of the above wedding cake. The icing color was a soft shade of ivory and the cake decorator suggested a “bouquet” of roses to top it off. Dave the Builder thought the silver wedding bands added a nice touch, and the monogrammed cake topper was an on trend accent.
It’s become somewhat of a tradition to give each bride and groom in the Places In The Home family a heirloom silver sugar spoon as a wedding gift. To this we added a silver-plated wedding cake server set and the monogram wedding cake topper to complete the gift package.
The bridal shower was a big surprise and a big hit. Our son finally figured out why I kept insisting he bring an extra suitcase with him. The extra baggage fee charge is a bargain compared to what it cost to ship items from the US to Canada. I was informed the Kate Spade cutting boards were used the night they arrived back to Canada.
That’s all the thank you needed.