Monday, September 27, 2010

C~ing Things

This cool, cloudy day has me seeing  c~ing things in a new light.

Cloudy + Candles = Cozy

It's true the clouds are making it rather dark and gray in here this afternoon, but there is still color and a whole lotta c~ things to be found here and there.

For lunch, a colorful salad . . .

Sprinkled with crumbled cheese.

A cardinal watches me eat lunch as I think how glad I am to have filled his feeder before the rain began.

After the cardinal left, this little chipmunk climbed into the cage.  You know that cage that is designed to keep critters out.  Ha ha, I could get mad, but he is just too cute.  Now we could carry this further and name him.  Any guesses on what that name might be?  Why Chip, of course.

C what I mean ~ lots of c's around here today.

And what would a cloudy, cozy, candle burning day be without a creamy cup of coffee?

C U later.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Love From The Late Summer Garden

A glance out the window on this day in late summer would lead one to believe that the flower gardens have given up the fight.  The weather forecast for the past two weeks:  90 degrees and no rain in sight.  The weather forecast for the forseeable future:  90 degrees and no rain in sight.  No wonder every living thing out there looks a bit like it is gasping for it's last breath.

As is often the case with my garden, it had a lesson to teach.  For while I was out watering this morning I couldn't help but notice that upon closer inspection there is still a lot of beauty to be found outside my window.  Not only that but there is a bit of L-O-V-E tucked in here and there.  Like, for instance, this heart shaped sedum flower (above).

At first glance the zinnia plants look very sad.  The foliage is mostly brown and crispy.  This little yellow butterfly didn't seem to mind and with a bit of photo cropping who needs to know ;). 

In fact, I'm still able to cut bouquets.  This one went to work with me one day.  After I set it next to my purse I felt a picture was in order as I thought they looked so happy together. 

The American Beautyberry is indeed beautiful right now.

This pretty butterfly doesn't mind that there are only 2 blooms left on the pincushion flower.

And speaking of butterflies ~ the butterfly bush is still going strong.

There seems to be a lot of purple love happening around here :).

I even discovered some purple shamrocks popping up in the herb garden.

Love shows up in unexpected ways sometimes.

Last fall, after my mom passed away, we went to Tennessee to attend a memorial service at her church.  We also visited my parent's house for the last time.  As we stood in the backyard, a flood of memories washed over me.  This would be our last visit to the home that my parents retired to.  This was the place where we came on vacation every year, the place where many happy family memories were made.  As I stood there I thought how hard it would be to close this chapter of my life ...  I thought if only I could keep a little piece of this place with me forever.  Right then I looked down and noticed these 2 rocks shaped like hearts.  I knew instantly that there was a reason they were there.  Though my parents reside in heaven now, they will always be my parents ~ watching over me and sending love my way.

The Mom's Garden stone was given to me by my boys for my birthday one year.  I thought it was a sweet gift for two teenaged boys to pick out.  When I look at it surrounded by my special heart shaped rocks, I feel loved.  So, you see ... there really is love to be found in this late summer garden. 

I hope you are feeling loved today.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fall Smells in the Kitchen

To me September is synonymous with apples.

When I lived in Michigan, September signalled the opening of the local cider mills.  We were lucky enough to have one in the little town where I lived.  I have fond memories of that sweet and delicious apple cider accompanied by a freshly made doughnut covered in cinnamon sugar.  Yum!

I no longer have a cider mill nearby and I couldn't find any at the grocery store yesterday, but I have decided that this apple juice is almost as good.

I had recently seen a recipe for apple butter that sounded sooo good.  The recipe called for a mixture of apples.  I chose Granny Smiths, Braeburns and Johnagold.  After a bit of peeling those apples were ready to begin the process of becoming apple butter.

I wish you could smell the heavenly scent that was wafting through the air in my kitchen this afternoon.  Sweet apples mingling with cinnamon and cloves ~ the smell of fall.  Well, I can't share the smells with you, but I can share the recipe.  If you would like to try it you can find it by clicking here.

What would apple butter be without a good piece of bread to go with it?  As my apple butter was simmering away, the bread machine was working hard on a loaf of Harvest Bread.  Recipe is here if you are interested.  It smelled  (and tasted) quite heavenly too.  You know I could never recommend recipes without tasting them first ;).

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

~ That Fresh Feeling of Fall ~

FiNaLly . . .  a hint of FaLL has come to North Carolina.  The temperatures have dropped ever so slightly and the humidity has let up too. 
It was such a nice feeling to be able to open the windows for a while this morning and re-acquaint myself with the smell of crisp fresh air.

Apparently this bit of cooler weather was all I needed to get the urge to do a bit of FaLL NeStInG.  Well, that and a recent stop at HomeGoods. 
For quite awhile now I have been looking for a fall themed picture to hang above the fireplace.  Normally there is a print with blue hydrangeas and a yellow bird up there.  It works well most of the year, but when all the oranges, golds, russets and greens of Fall come into the room, it looks a bit too springy/summery. 
The trip to HomeGoods last week yielded this fall themed painting.  At first I wasn't sure I liked it.  But, since it did have some blue and yellow in it and the size seemed good, I decided to bring it home and give it a try.

A bit of shopping from the attic, a few snips of my limelight hydrangeas and a few minutes spent gathering books in just the right colors . . .

I get a lot of books from the thrift shops.  Sometimes I buy them to read and other times I buy them for their colors.  This time I went to the bookcase and searched for books in some of the colors in the painting.  They are a good way to spread the color to other areas of the room.

They also come in handy for elevating small knick knacks.

~ A simple pumpkin adorned with autumn leaves ~

~ A squirrel gathering acorns ~

This little squirrel planter was a recent find at the antique store.  There is a 
 tree in my neighborhood that grows tiny acorns.  As soon as they start falling I will be gathering some up to put in the planter.

When decorating a room for fall, it's nice to add candles.

As the days grow shorter, they cast such a warm and cozy glow in the evening.

Sometimes they even make pretty patterns on the wall :).

  At times I wonder whether it is worth the time and effort to decorate for the seasons now that our nest is empty.  I think I got my answer last night.  After a walk in the slightly cooler night air, we came home to watch a movie.  I opened a few windows, lit the candles and made some popcorn.  After a long, hot summer this change was just what was needed to give us a sense of renewal.  And although I think my husband wouldn't care one way or the other if the house was decorated for the season . . .

He was the one who climbed up the ladder and arranged the display way up on top of the cabinet on the left.  He even seemed to enjoy doing it (but don't tell him I told you that ;-).

Edited to add:  I'm linking this post to Melissa's Fall Nesting Party.  Thank you Melissa for hosting this fun event.