Not unlike those of the mice and men of Sir Robert Burns, my “best laid schemes” did go awry this past week. I had intended to adhere to a more regular writing schedule, but Middle was stricken with some flu-like malady early in the week, and I got completely off track. Then my parents visited for the weekend, and sneaking away to work on my blog didn’t seem hospitable. So, more than a week late, we now return to our regularly scheduled programming!
Glorious autumn returns to the northern hemisphere this Thursday, September 23! Brisk mornings, dramatic sunsets, and vibrant foliage are soon to follow. Here in the Carolinas, the orchards are full of apples for picking, and pumpkins are piled high alongside flats of pansies and golden chrysanthemums at the neighborhood garden center. Every fall, I am humbled and renewed by the beauty and bounty of God’s creation at harvest. Whether it’s a spectacular vista of fiery autumn color or a single yellow leaf on the brick sidewalk, I am inspired to bring some of this season indoors. As a matter of fact, I have a few paintings that remind me of fall year round.
My favorite way to decorate for fall is to walk around the yard (and maybe the neighborhood!) and snip and clip branches of color and interesting twigs and seed pods, but, sadly, some of my family seem to be allergic to these things when they’re brought indoors. So, years ago, I began shopping for the best “fake” or “faux,” if you prefer, leaves and branches and gourds I could find. Florists usually have the best things, and they’re often marked down after Halloween! In the front hall
Every year I add a little to my stash, and then as I go about decorating, I add a few real leaves, twigs, acorns, apples, and gourds to my arrangements. It seems to work well for us.In the family room. The Mister and I bought the canoes on a trip to The Balsams in New Hampshire. I suspect they might have been made years ago by a young camper in the White Mountains.
I have a few fall decorating rules that I’ve invented over the years—they have no real basis in design. They’re simply meant to keep me interested and to make my family happy.
In the kitchen
Rule number one is No big pumpkins before October 1. Please don’t misunderstand, I love pumpkins, but two months of pumpkins gets a little boring, and besides, the apples and pears deserve their time to shine! In the living room
Early in October, I’ll stop by the farmer’s market and pick up a few odd-shaped pumpkins, which I’ll then add to the perfect faux ones I saved from when we lived in Florida, where the shelf life of a real pumpkin is frighteningly short! In the family room
Rule number two is No Halloween decorations before October 15. Halloween is fun, and I have some terrific old decorations that I’ll show you later, but two weeks of Halloween is plenty for us. Besides, once the decorations are up, then I can’t resist buying those fun-size candies, and then I can’t resist eating them. (I have seriously thought about stringing the empty wrappers to make a Halloween garland, but it was just too depressing.) On November 1, all the Halloween items are re-packed, and the fall decorations are freshened up a bit for Thanksgiving. I’ll post about that, too. In the dining room
Rule number three is Our house shouldn’t look like a gift shop, which isn’t to say I haven’t bought things at gift shops as well as discount stores. It’s just that these items need to be blended with other items, handmade or old containers, for example. In the family room
And, of course, although my status is one of mere wannabe decorator, I know that all the great designers insist that one must know the rules before one can break them. So, here is my rule-breaking arrangement of obviously fake pumpkins on the sideboard in our dining room. I’ll add to this arrangement as the season progresses; I really like the silvery tones in the dining room, especially in candlelight.