Monday, October 27, 2008

A Little Autumn Decorating

I had a few things left over from my rainy afternoon the other week. I decided to add a few more inexpensive items to the mix & see what I could come up with.

I spread everything out, sized it up, & started arranging. And rearranging.

We've had a bit of a cold snap lately, so I brought in the mums & the pumpkins.

And the faerie.

The boys weren't quite sure what to make of her.

After a while, the lounge started to shape up.

My daughter & I got a bit silly at the store, & thought adding some stripey "Halloween" stockings would be a fun idea. The orange twinkle lights added a nice touch.

Here are some close-ups of the details:

There was an extra string of twinkle lights left over, so we dragged out the little tree that sits near the fireplace. The front porch had been looking a little sad & lonely once the mums & faerie had a new home, but not any more!

And the nice thing is that most of the decorating will carry over until Thanksgiving, so part of my prep for the big day is taken care of already!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Caramel Apple Pie

'I'm hosting Thanksgiving this year (yay!), so I"m already starting to go through the recipes. I like to mix things up a bit & add something new every year. Don't get me wrong, we always have the traditional fare; I just like to add a twist here & there.

So Sunday, I decided to get a bit creative & try something new.

If you've read my list of 20 (40 actually) favorite things about Autumn, you know I love caramel apples.


So, I thought, why not put the flavors in a pie?

The results were delicious!!!

Caramel Apple Pie (Click the link for the full recipe.)

At this point, things got a bit messy & I didn't want to be digging flour out of the camera with a toothpick! Plus, I got a little side-tracked while the pie was baking (blog to come).

But once it came out of the oven?


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Autumn Porches on Parade

When the "drive by" challenge was first proposed by Melissa at The Inspired Room, I knew immediately which porch I would "shoot" first. (Click on her link to enjoy the tour!)

Every year, the family that lives near the High School decks out their porch & yard for the big Homecoming Weekend.

After that, I took the camera with me on errands, back & forth from Marching Band, to work (ok, admittedly making me a tad late on a day or two), on extra drives around the town.

I found a number of porches decked out for Autumn. Some of the pictures are a bit blurry, unfortunately, as I had to zoom quite a ways to try & get a good shot.

I chose my favorites, broke them down by category, and here you have it: My Autumn Drive By.

Best "Themed" Porches. Special merit for most original use of a pot belly stove for the porch in the lower left.

Best "Curb" Appeal, for the porch decorating that started at the street.

Best Wreaths

Best "Extended" Porches

And My Favorite Porch Overall, closeup.

Phew! Now my daughter can stop hiding under the seat when I drive!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Own Front Door

Inspired by all the Fall decorating going on around the blogs, I got my own entry way ready for the "Drive By".

Now, I have to admit, I haven't been much for Autumn decor in the past few years. I guess I'll fall back on the excuse that I was just too busy. Or, maybe I was creatively zapped. Or maybe I just go so used to coming in through the garage that I barely even noticed my front door anymore!

I'm glad to say that a little inspiration (and a lot of mums) goes a long way! And I was able to incorporate a lot of things from my "Things I Love About Autumn" lists!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Enchanted Forest

As a child, I was lucky enough to live across the street from an enchanted forest.

Really, I did.

An honest to goodness, full of magical creatures, enchanted forest.

You entered through a narrow gate on a little path. The first thing you encountered was a magic lamp post standing smack beside a little fir tree. It was as if it was lifted straight out of Narnia, that little lamp. It stood there, a silent sentinel, guarding the entrance. But it always let me pass.

The path meandered along through ancient oaks & towering pines, eventually reaching a tall stone castle. I rarely stayed on that path, preferring instead to wander off into the trees. In summer, it was always shady & cool. And in autumn, the oaks would burst forth in brilliant reds, yellows & oranges & drop their leaves for me to play in.

The treetops were filled with flocks of crows. They would watch as I walked along underneath, cawing in protest. They weren't actually crows, you know. They were really the evil guards of the castle were the wicked queen lived. I was careful to always walk away from that castle so that they wouldn't alert her to my presence. I knew what she had done to the prince long ago.

Squirrels scampered among my oak trees, pretending to gather acorns for winter. I knew better. They were really magical lions masquerading as squirrels, protecting me as I walked in that enchanted forest.

The wind played in the branches of my oaks, singing & sighing. It wasn't really the wind though. It was the voice of the beautiful princess that had lost her prince to the hands of the evil queen. She still sought him, looking behind this tree & in that hollow. I would help her look, never finding him.

I did find faeries disguised cleverly as flowers; dressed in sparkling white, purple & yellow skirts of petals. I also found faeries flitting around on butterfly wings. There were orange monarchs, yellow tiger swallowtails, & every great once in a while, the Faerie Queen herself would appear, in her black wings & shimmering jewels set in her swallowtail. And I would bow low to her & offer her something shiny that I would always keep in my pocket just in case.

At the top of the hill, my enchanted forest opened into a wide grassy field. The path reappeared & wound its way through milkweed & burr bushes down to the river. The river was where the tree spirits lived. The weeping willows, with their long "hair" reaching down to the water, & their wide "laps" waiting for me to climb up & sit for a while to listen to their stories.

You could see the castle turret from the safety of the willows. Every once in a while you could see the shadow of the queen pass as she surveyed her lands from the top of that turret. I would crawl further up the willow so she wouldn't see me.

I was safe in that enchanted forest. The magic protected me always & follows me to this day.

Other people never saw my enchanted forest. No, they saw only the trees, heard only the crows, & thought the castle was just a college campus.

But I knew better!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pumpkin Farm

We finally got a break in the rain on Thursday & got to go play at the pumpkin farm!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Rainy Autumn Afternoon

I had big plans for my Sunday afternoon yesterday.

I was going to drag the beautiful daughter off to the pumpkin patch & get some great shots for a nice little Autumn photo blog.

Of course, the skies had other plans; I woke to an overcast & chilly day that threatened rain.

Enter Plan B.

Since I had to run errands anyway (#1 on the list, cat food!!!), I decided to stop at the craft store & pick up some things to bring the front porch up to speed for Fall so I could actually include it in the "drive by" on the Oct. 20th blog. As luck would have it, I stumbled onto a 50% off sale! I neglected to get a cart, so I must have been a fair sight, stumbling through the aisles grabbing bits & pieces as the muse hit.

I ended up with a wonderful collection of potential decor.

Never mind that I had just cleaned the house before I left on my little excursion, I spread everything out on the floor & sat back to hope a design sort of hit me.

It did.

I started with the gilded pheasant feathers (in keeping with my "Autumn Images" theme), & added some deeply colored grape leaves (pre-glittered, of course), & finished it off with a little beaded garland.

About this point, it was time to start thinking dinner, & what could be better on a rainy weekend afternoon than filling the house with the smells of the infamous family favorite, Chicken With a Carrot Up Its Butt

I had been to a farmers' market a couple weekends ago & filled the window with a collection of potted herbs to get me through the long winter.

With dinner in the oven, I made up a smaller version of the wreath for the front door. I still need to pick up one of those handy "over the door" holders. Hopefully, the rain will stay away & I can run to the farm at the end of the road & pick up a matching mum (or two) & get the entry ready for the photo shoot.

I managed to get the last of the glitter off the floor by the time the chicken was done (& both the Pack & the Brewers had lost).

I did remember to pick up cat food, but the boys love the chicken as much as we do!

All in all, not a bad way to spend a rainy day!