Signs and Sounds: Fall or Autumn Wishfall Thinking

Signs and sounds hinting at an early fall or autumn leads to wishfall thinking.  Concrete proof of fall’s preview peppers the Places In The Home driveway, sidewalk and patio with yellow leaves intermingled among summer’s last holdouts.  As I blog and type “Dancing In The Moonlight” by King Harvest is currently playing on Music Choice.  Now “Night Moves” by Bob Seger is playing.  Two songs played back to back with the lyrics everybody’s dancin’ in the moonlight and with autumn closing in. Changing colors, temps and tastes.  Oh yeah, this is happening.

yellow-fall-leavesWe crazy Louisianians grab hold of the slightest hint of a fall weather preview and hold on for dear life.  Hey, speaking of crazy Louisianians

britney-ellenLouisianians  Ellen DeGeneres and  Britney Spears

Dave and I stood on the front porch for a few minutes Friday night listening to the high school bands playing during the local football Jamboree.  Humidity and mosquitoes crashed our party, making me wish for fall even more.  Hope springs or falls eternal, and I can testify to sure signs of wishfall thinking- shorter days, a changing sun that casts a bright white light through the windows, and wind chimes that play a North wind lullaby.

roux-gumbo

The first gumbo feast of fall is soon to be cooking in the big blue pot.

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Okay.  I couldn’t wait until the official arrival of fall for a gumbo feast.  No respectable Louisiana cook can talk about gumbo and not break out the big blue pot, make some roux, chop up the Cajun trinity, and whip up a pot of chicken and sausage gumbo.  C’est si bon!

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The hunt is on for Sportsman’s Paradise activities to do.  Fall festivals of pecan, tamale, meat pie, and funktoberfest are on our fall calendar of events.

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A new to me vintage mixing bowl is ready for fall recipe duty.

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A bag of fresh and faux apples and a dash of wishfall thinking leads the inspired charge to create delicious apple themed recipes and diy projects.

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A Guide to Apples from Williams-Sonoma


1.  Cortland – Crimson in color with a sweet flavor and crisp texture.  Best for:  applesauce and apple butter.

2.  Red Delicious – Softer in texture with a mellow, not-too-sweet flavor. Best for:  apple cider

3.   Braeburn – Reddish-orange with green and yellow streaks and a unique sweet-tart flavor.  Best for:  cooking and baking

4.  Gravenstein  –  A juicy apple with a finely-grained texture and a light yellow or red skin.  Best for:  applesauce and apple cider

5.  Gala  –  Sweet, aromatic and crisp with a light-red color.  Best for: eating raw and applesauce

6.  Fuji  –  Crisp texture and dense flesh with a sugary-sweet flavor.  Best for: eating raw

7.  Pink Lady  –  Crisp in texture and bright pink with a tart-sweet flavor.   Best for:  eating raw

8.  Golden Delicious  –  Very sweet to the taste with a golden yellow color.   Best for:  applesauce and apple butter

9.  Granny Smith  –  Very tart and crisp with a bright green color.  Best for: baking


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Wishfall thinking exhibit A as in a fall diamond in the summer rough.  The seasons they are a-changin’.

 Fall Autumn Wishfall Thinking

There is nothing like a good fall preview or autumn sneak peek to build the anticipation of seasonal things to come.  By all accounts, it’s fall y’all!

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Making Things Pretty

Over this past weekend, Dave the Builder and I were arguing chatting about all things house that make a home. Over the past 30+ years of togetherness in everything from friendship, marriage, child rearing and business, we have been known to have our cuss it and discuss it moments. Making things pretty can get ugly sometimes- it’s part of the process.  The quickest way to diffuse a contentious all things house that make a home moment is to start a new conversation about starting a new project!  The allure of design and decorating possibilities has a very strong appeal.  It works for us, and it worked again this past weekend.

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Constructing a fall entryway display wasn’t exactly on my fall decorating weekend to-do list, but neither was a building brouhaha.  I adopted the I’m a decorator not a fighter attitude, and from there decorating inspiration and let’s project something harmony began to“fall” into place.

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Our don’t overthink it display evolved from items amassed for decorating times like this- an antique spindle bed post, a wooden garden basket, clippings from our cotton stalk stash, mums, a collection of faux gourds, a piece of wood from the bayou, a planted boxwood, concrete pineapple statue and one lone white pumpkin.

making things pretty

I phoned the Canadian snowbird aka our son several weeks ago with my request for pics of true fall foliage.  Louisiana will eventually see fall colors, but I was looking forward to seeing images of true fall crimson reds, deep purples and tawny maple golds.

JJ-dogsJ, J, Ollie and Caramel the Wonder Rescue Dog

It seems a Canadian cold front/rain event did away with the crimson red and deep purples leaving behind only the tawny maple golds and sweater weather. Although not my first choice, faux flowers and seasonal decorating accouterments fill in the blanks nature can’t.

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Sharing in the hand me that and it needs something responsibilities, we spent the afternoon making things pretty for the fall of it all.  As I put the finishing touches on the fall entryway display, a gust of crisp fall air blew across the porch to the delight of Dave the Builder, the kitty cat and this decorista.  Perfect timing!

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A pot of strong Louisiana coffee brewed for two made the afternoon near perfect.

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Photo editing is a wonderful concept.  I am becoming more and more enamored with this part of the making pretty process.  When you can take something slightly imperfect and invest time, effort and vision to produce a work rich in substance and beauty, the result is visually amazing.  Photo editing, decorating, marriage- you get the picture.

fall-theme

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A Most Fetching Friday

fetch·ing

/ˈfeCHiNG/

adjective

adjective: fetching

attractive.

synonyms: attractive, appealing, sweet, pretty, good-looking, lovely, delightful, charming, prepossessing, captivating, enchanting, irresistible

This week’s Fetching Friday features impressions and inspirations associated with the star of the moment, October.

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Hello, October.  I’ve been anxiously waiting your arrival.

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Berthe Morisot Tureen and Apple

Cucurbita_pepo_small_edible_White_Pumpkins_9.16via

ff-blanketsStyle Me Pretty – Photography by Judy Pak Photography

Seatings and settings.  Crisp evenings set the tone and texture for seasonal tablescapes with attention to cozy details.

rolling-pinRustic Olive Wood Rolling Pin

Currently craving.

ff-apple-pancakeApple Pancake

I hope you have a most Fetching Friday.

Love your style!

A Most Fetching Friday

fetch·ing

/ˈfeCHiNG/

adjective

adjective: fetching

attractive.

synonyms: attractive, appealing, sweet, pretty, good-looking, lovely, delightful, charming, prepossessing, captivating, enchanting, irresistible

This week’s Fetching Friday features signature signs of the season in sight and word, warm reminders, a DIY project, and a pair of birds from a distinct feather.

Autumn_Koyasan_Wakayama04s5s4272via

Warm is a hot topic of fall conversation.  We have entered the season so closely associated with a changing and impressive palette.

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It may be a coincidence, but it seems the senses become heightened as the days shorten, colors deepen, spices and aromas entice and the tones and textures of nature engage us by sight, sound, touch, smell and taste.

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I call this the apple of my eye wreath.  This stunning DIY apple wreath on fall home tour display at The Wood Grain Cottage is my kind of DIY project.

Apple-Wreath-by-The-Wood-Grain-Cottage-12-682x1024

Lowe’s knows color.

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Natural elements come together to create a tablecsape with a nod to the seasonal influence of color, texture and pattern.

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This time of year is deliciously referred to as soup weather, and this Pumpkin-Chestnut soup recipe from Martha Stewart is a quintessential fall favorite.

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A member of the duck, swan and goose family, the ruddy shelduck or Tadorna ferruginea is a distinctive species mostly found in central and Southern Asia.  Beautiful markings, don’t you think?

ff-birdsvia

I hope you have a most Fetching Friday.

Love your style!

Must Love Cinnamon Oatmeal Cake

The calendar officially reads September.  I don’t really need to consult a calendar to know a change is in the air.  A glance out our kitchen window in the late afternoon gives it away.  As the dog days grow shorter and first signs of changing colors make their presence known,  thoughts of fall naturally come to mind.

fall leaves

If you’re a fall baking enthusiast like me, now’s the  time to take inventory and stock up on the essential seasonings of the season.  To know me is to know my number one fall baking requirement- must love cinnamon. This leads me to my second fall baking requirement- September is time to bake something, anything, that includes this most delicious fall baking ingredient. Let me introduce you to the recipe for Must Love Cinnamon Oatmeal Cake.

cinnamon sticksvia

 

Must Love Cinnamon Oatmeal Cake

Ingredients

1 cup quick cooking oats

1 ½  cup boiling water

1 ½  cup all-purpose flour

2  teaspoons ground cinnamon

½  teaspoon nutmeg

1  teaspoon baking soda

1  teaspoon sea salt

½  cup shortening

1  cup granulated sugar

1  cup firmly packed brown sugar

2  Tablespoons dark Karo syrup

3  eggs

For topping:

1  stick butter

1  cup shredded coconut

3/4  cup packed brown sugar

2-3  Tablespoons milk

1  teaspoon vanilla

1 cup pecans, chopped

cinnamon

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease or spray with cooking spray a 9 X 13 baking pan.

Combine quick-oats and boiling water together in a small mixing bowl and let stand 20 minutes. In a separate mixing bowl combine the  flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and sea salt.  Using a whisk,  blend the dry ingredients together to eliminate lumps.

sugar

In a large mixing bowl add together the granulated sugar, 1 cup brown sugar and the shortening.  Mix ingredients together on medium speed until combined.  Add in eggs, one at the time.  Beat in the oatmeal.

creamed sugar

Gradually add flour mixture to the wet mixture, beating until well combined. Pour batter into prepared baking pan.

cake batter

Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes, or until knife inserted in center of cake comes out clean.

For the topping:

coconut topping

In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, combine 1 stick butter, coconut, 3/4 cup brown sugar, vanilla and  milk together.  Stirring constantly, cook mixture until it boils.  Stir in chopped pecans.

brown sugar

Pour topping over the cake and spread evenly over top of cake.  Allow cake to cool before serving.

must love cinnamon oatmeal cake

Enjoy!

It’s Never Too Soon…

To look toward the beauty of a changing season, fall home decor and recipes! We’ve had our first preview of fall thanks to cooler mornings here in the deep South. I posted a tease of this post to my Facebook page and Twitter account for a midweek share, but I couldn’t wait.  I makes no excuses nor apologies for my gush, excitement and early seasonal planning for what I am convinced is the absolute best time of year on all points weather, decorating, entertaining, tailgating, baking and designing.  Wow, that’s a long sentence!  That’s the great thing about favorite things- they compel us to share the excitement.  Why cut corners with descriptive words that enhance the thought and beautifully get the point across?

autumn leaves

Seasonal tablescapes, recipes, home decor and  decorating embraces fall with a hello, old friend welcome.  Rich, warm colors perfectly accentuate indoor and outdoor spaces prime for feathering in seasonal splendor. I’m getting my fall Gotta Have It list in order. Staying close to home and heart with home decor accessories selections in a vintage and antique theme comes naturally to my tastes. Practice does make perfect, and striving for my retail gold medal brings much joy and style. is fun, keeps things decoratively interesting, and doesn’t have to break the bank.  A great serving piece, table linens, throw pillows, lamp, wall accent, rug-  it doesn’t take a complete space overhaul or remodel to introduce texture, color, or pattern of the season to your interior or exterior home decor. Oh, and don’t forget the menu. Talk about one of the most delicious ways to welcome a new season.  Let’s fall!

fall home decor and recipes

From left to right:

Antique White Pumpkin Tureen with Ladle:  Pier 1 Imports $39.95

Ellsworth Industrial Clock: Kirkland’s $69.99

Vintage Staffordshire Ironstone Fruit/Dessert Bowl Dish Bowls: Etsy $12

Feast Platter: Crate & Barrel $49.95

Birch Covered Round Pot w/Liner: Save on Crafts $9

Conscious Table Runner: H & M Home $9.95

The thrill is in the hunt, and hunt I’ve done over the last two weeks for new and vintage items for fall decorating.   H & M Home is now available online with US shipping.  Can I just tell you my keyboard is still in a state of search overload shock!  The Conscious table runner, with a seasonal nod toward a bountiful fall harvest, is under heavy consideration. Great look, great price.  Fall feasts reminds me of a neighbor friend who was known for a strict and steadfast entertaining rule she swore by. She insisted an empty cake plate on the buffet was the epitome of bad manners.  With that rule and fall in mind, I will furnish my recipe for Homemade Chicken and Rice Soup as a culinary accompaniment to the antique white pumpkin soup tureen on my Gotta Have It list.

Homemade Chicken and Rice Soup

 

Ingredients

1  Tablespoon olive oil

2  Tablespoons butter

1  red onion, finely chopped

2  ribs celery, finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

¼  cup chopped fresh parsley

2  32 ounce cartons chicken broth

1½  cups cooked white or wild rice

2  skinless chicken breasts, cooked and sliced

½  teaspoon garlic powder

½  teaspoon Kosher salt

½  teaspoon fine ground black pepper

2  Tablespoons white wine

1  cup half and half

 

Directions

Heat olive oil and butter in a oven over medium heat.  Stir in the onion, celery, parsley and carrots; saute until slightly tender.  Pour in chicken broth, stirring to blend.  Add sliced chicken, white wine, garlic powder, Kosher salt and pepper. Turn heat up to medium-high and bring soup to a slight boil. Reduce heat to low. Add the cooked rice and half and half, stirring  to incorporate.  Allow soup to simmer for at least 1 hour.

Is there a hint of fall in your part of the world?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 image: via

 

Keep Calm And Harvest On: I’m Not Quite Through With Fall Decor Just Yet

I’ve known for sometime that I like this time of year, but I believe I’m heading into I love it territory.  Fall is the gateway to the season of warm colors, cooler weather celebrations, and the holidays.  I wait all year for this time of year to roll around and I want to enjoy the look of fall decor for as long as I can. I’m adopting a stop and smell the cinnamon and apples attitude.

wreathw-682x10241Southern Weddings

Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas decor ideas and decorations are in stores and magazines issues, but I remind myself to keep calm and harvest on.  I’m not quite through with fall just yet.

Where’s the enjoyment in realizing the planning, time, money, and effort you put into warming up the place in and home decor accessories is in decorative vane?

branch-light-fixture-dining-room-rustic-with-adirondack-antlers-birch-bark

via

This space definitely got the natural elements works memo.  Stone masonry, white cedar logs, and birch bark veneers carry out the Adirondacks feel year round.

The spot on twig chandelier and stag horn candle holders emphasize the season and put the finishing touches on the rustic package. Your good-to- go with natural elements and a from September to spring.

via

October is National Apple Month. This Chesterfield sofa is a green apple knockout!  The Chesterfield sofa is a standard fixture of classic decors. Higgins excels in craftsmanship and details, notably the back pillows stuffed with 50/50 feather/down blend and quality leather and fabric choices.

Speaking of apples and October…

October is synonymous with parish fair time, and no trip to the fair is complete without a red candy apple. Guess what came to mind when I spotted this red glass lamp base and Fairhaven burlap lamp shade?

1. Red CA Red Glass Lamp Base from Target

2. Threshold™ Fairhaven Burlap Lamp Shade from Target

3. Sherwin-Williams Real Red SW6868

4. Sherwin-Williams Heartthrob SW6866

boar-john-derian

John Derian’s Fall Frolic fall collection of digital notecards and party invitations has a vintage vibe. The artist based them on 19th-century pieces from his own decoupage archive.  These fall frolic invitations are anything but boaring.


1. Gratitude Dinner Napkins from Pier 1

2. Royal Staffordshire Brown “Stratford Stage” Serving Bowl By J & G Meakin from Etsy

3. Turkey Spreader from The Royal Standard

4. Pine Cone Salt and Pepper Shakers from West Elm

 

This time of year gives our seasonal home decor choices a permission slip signed go ahead- get cozy, relax, and stay awhile.

That Reminds Me: Seasonal Home Decorating Ideas

Allow me to introduce you to the image that got the seasonal home decorating ideas flowing a couple of weeks ago. The dark wood of the bar stool legs, the predominant natural wood beams, the neutral color palette, and the ironstone vegetable dish in the cupboard collectively turned my thoughts to fall.

via

Thoughts of fall reminded me it was time to begin putting together ideas for a fall tablescape. The barley twist bar stools reminded me of a pair of vintage barley twist candlesticks I know I have somewhere. The quest to locate the barley twist candlesticks turned up empty however, it lead me to the Wedgwood candlesticks that worked out better in the long run. Isn’t it funny how an image or an item in that image can initiate the decorative snowball effect?

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Textures,  finishes, and color palettes evoke thoughts of warmth, coziness, and hominess- qualities so closely associated with cold weather days and nights. Seasonal home decorating ideas often are inspired by the senses.

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The versatility and style is year-round, but there’s just something about a basket that is woven into the fabric of fall and winter.

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Forget the pie, this is my idea of a slice of pumpkin love!

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Pumpkin, ginger, and cinnamon- from kitchen to table to home decor accessories to color palettes.

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via

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In a few months from now I’ll be writing about how I can’t wait for spring flowers to bloom, summer colors, and there’s nothing better than the taste of barbecue. For now, I’m looking forward to the first really cool night and the feel of a down comforter. Also on the fall treats list is the delicious scent of cloves and oranges throughout the kitchen and dining room, and the highly anticipated first taste of a pumpkin spice latte.  

1, 2

Okay, now it’s your turn. What is it that you hear, see, feel, smell or taste that reminds you of fall?

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Recipe For A Monday: Pumpkin Apple Muffins

Two of my favorite ingredients for fall~ baking and crisp, sunny afternoons! This afternoon I felt myself beginning to hit the proverbial mid-afternoon wall. Quick! I need a pick-me-up. Dave the Builder and crew would soon be moseying in for an afternoon cup of joe. I reasoned the big kids need an after work snack every now and then, and a fall afternoon beckons for a batch of pumpkin apple muffins. To the kitchen!

Pumpkin Apple Muffins

Ingredients

½  cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

2 cups peeled and diced apples

1 cup canned pumpkin

2 ½  cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½  teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons nutmeg

2 teaspoons ground cloves

 

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease, spray with cooking spray, or line  muffin tin with cupcake liners.  In large mixing bowl combine pumpkin, sugars, oil, and eggs until combined.

Fold in diced apples and set aside.

 In medium mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices, mixing thoroughly.

 Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring until incorporated. Repeat adding the remaining dry ingredients to wet ingredients stirring all together.

 Evenly divide batter among muffin cups.  Bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick or knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Makes 12 large muffins.  Adjust cooking time for regular sized muffins.

 I prettied it up for an afternoon tea party for one (and a picture for several hundred).

 Easy, filling, delicious, and oh, so fall!

enjoy

 

Warming Up The Place For The Season

Home decor treasures that reflect our interests and individuality celebrates personal style.  I appreciate all styles and tastes in the realm of home design and decor, but I marvel when it is a reflection from the mirror of the lives lived within.  I like putting things here and there that unmistakably show my personality- the treasures, trinkets and trash. Treasures, Trinkets and Trash was the name of my grandmother’s antiques shop, and a term I use quite often. Great term!  One of the best parts of September is updating and displaying  fall home decor accessories.

A mid-afternoon editing session spent rotating out spring and summer accessories welcomed in fall and a walk down memory lane.  Accessorizing for fall is a great way to warm up a space.  I always like to “promote from within” by swapping things around and staging areas with items I currently own.

The pair of blue Dalmatians are a part of our family.  I purchased the pair from a small antique shop in Knoxville, Tennessee years ago. I love them almost as much as I love Tennessee.   What’s better than two pieces of blue and white porcelain?  Three pieces, of course!  Enter the Blue Danube pitcher.

Antique books make a stately decor statement.  I picked up Cimarron and Madame Bovary at an antiques auction.  Like many items purchased over the years at auction, the books never made it to the shop.  My maternal grandmother surprised me one birthday with a 1936 first edition;second printing  hardcover version of Gone With The Wind.   It is a treasure for sure.

My dear neighbor friend knows how I love frogs.  He picked this bronze beauty out at market in Dallas especially for me to add to my collection.  Acorns,pine cones, turning leaves, berries and one lone cotton stem capture the look of fall in Louisiana.

The music box is a cherished Christmas gift from my son.   In one of the images above you can see the antique sterling silver rattle my grandmother gave our son when he was born.  I’ve never grouped the two together until today.  As I grouped them together,  I wondered why I never made the connection before.  That’s the great advantage to editing from within our homes-everything old has the decoratively ability to become new again with a little imagination and styling. 

Is this not a sad face only a frog lover could love?

Seasonal colors and textures weaved throughout a space is a simple way to transition decor from season to season.  A coffee table styled and accessorized with mementos,  a cozy vignette, or a plush throw draped over a fireside chair will easily introduce the look and feel of the season to a space.