Friday, September 23, 2011

Autumn's Here ... Hip, Hip, Hooray

***  Autumn has officially arrived ***

When the fresh fall air starts moving in, my thoughts turn to apples.  I can't wait to pick them, eat them and bake with them.

How about cozying up your kitchen with a little fall-time baking?
This Caramel Apple Cake tastes wonderful and makes the kitchen smell good as the scents of cinnamon and nutmeg mingle in the air. Last week I had a birthday dinner for my husband and I knew this was the cake for the occasion. The recipe can be found here.

Fall is such a great time to get outside and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Autumn gardening holds an entirely new appeal as the heat and humidity of summer slowly disappear from the horizon.

It's fun to freshen up the garden with mums.  At this time of year I remove the plants that have been barely hanging in there all summer and add a bit of fall color in their place. 

As the days get shorter it's nice to cozy up the nooks and crannies inside.  Small lamps and candles in fall scents work great for this.  I'm currently burning spiced apple candles, but next month they will be changed to pumpkin, only to be followed by my favorite November scent ~ Yankee Candle's Harvest.
It sounds a bit like the candle of the month club, doesn't it? ;-).

I am looking forward to lots of porch sittin' time this fall.  It has been so hot here this summer that there was almost no time spent sitting outside.  I plan to change that. 

To me fall is the time for soups and stews and chili.  It's time to dust off the crock pot and enjoy the smell of dinner simmering away after being gone all day.  It's time to fill a bowl full of gourds and acorns and set it in the center of the table.  An easy, yet pretty centerpiece as we gather around the table to enjoy those fall meals.
Autumn has arrived.
Time to enjoy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

As The Rain Fell Softly

As the rain was falling softly this morning, I scampered around my yard like a little squirrel collecting acorns and flowers.

Roses for the living room.

Hydrangeas for the center of the kitchen table.

Mums for the family room.

Along with the mums I brought in a few sprigs of Nandina berries.
Love the pretty fall hues they are taking on now that the weather has cooled down.

I left plenty of them for the birds though because ...

I strive to be a good neighbor to the birds.

When the shelf had been dressed for fall, I went back outside for one last time.

It seems one of my rather ornate vases was in need of something simple to fill it.

And since my American Beautyberry bush has gotten rather large huge, I knew it wouldn't mind letting me have a few sprigs.  Being the good bird neighbor I am striving to be, I left plenty for my feathered friends.

As you can see the purple berries will go nicely with the ornate vase.  I spotted this vase in a consignment shop one day and was intrigued by the way three vases were joined together.  As I was trying to decide whether all of the "ornateness" was a bit gaudy, I spotted this ...

A sweet little cherub waving and now she appears to have a purple topiary at her side :D.  So now the time has come for me to join her in waving goodbye to you.  

I need to accomplish a few things before I take my book and a cup of tea (Constant Comment) into the living room to do a bit of reading.  So glad I went scavenging this morning as the reading room will be so much more cheerful with the roses and beautyberries adding their brightness as the rain continues to fall.

Wherever you are and whatever you're doing today, I wish you beauty and bright spots along the way.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Tale of Two Vines

All summer I watched as my morning glory vine grew.  Taller and taller, twining and twining it went.  Up, up, up ... higher and higher it grew.

On more than one occasion it tried to wind it's way into the garage until I gently directed it back where it belonged.  You might be thinking that this is a tale of one of those wildly invasive morning glories.  Quite the contrary.  This is a tale of the morning glory I planted from seed in the spring.  The morning glory that bears the name of "Heavenly Blue", which is the main reason I plant it.  That blue flower is truly heavenly.  It was beginning to seem like my wild vine was going to remain ,not quite as heavenly, green.  That is until last week ...

Heavenly and Blue.

It took a while long while, but it was worth the wait.

The morning glory wasn't the only vine around here to be slow to bloom.  The cypress vine (aka:  hummingbird vine) did the very same thing.  Here you see them growing towards each other.  I think they're about to shake hands and congratulate each other for successfully keeping the resident gardener in suspense.

Finally, the last holdout is blooming to the delight of the hummingbirds and me.

And the vines have gone from shaking hands to holding hands.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Day for Remembrance

Flying my flag today and ...
remembering along with my fellow Americans.

"Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding. "
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Happily, Hopelessly Sidetracked

The plan this morning was to begin putting a few fall touches in the kitchen.  Not feeling ready for pumpkins quite yet, I thought I'd head in the apple direction.  So, off to the attic to see what I could find.

Along with the apples, I brought down these wooden blocks and somehow found myself spelling this which somehow ended up next to that old photo of my mom and her dearest friends. 

My thoughts turned from apples to eggs when I came across these salt & pepper shakers.  Given to me as a gift by mom and her dear friend when I was a newlywed, they made me think of how much those two women loved to shop for "bargains."  Remembering their excitement when they brought them to me, I knew they needed to be part of the decor.

That old photo is nothing fancy, but when I look at it I feel like I can almost hear the laughter that was always present when these friends got together.  I'm pretty sure I can even smell the coffee and knowing them if there was coffee, there was also dessert.  Very likely a pie.  Mmmm ... warm memories.

When I was done, I noticed that there wasn't a single apple on display, but instead there were a few shelves that made me smile.  My quirky collection of odds and ends conjure up memories of  HAPPY TIMES for me.

As is often the case around here, once I finished that area, I decided the shelves in my glass front cupboards could use a little attention so ....

out to the garage for the step stool to get the teapot down from the top shelf and move it to the bottom shelf.

which led to moving these off of the bottom shelf.

and then subtracting a few items from this shelf.  Does it seem odd to you to have a petite high chair on your kitchen shelf?

I might have thought that too, until I saw the bunny ... with the hoe and he is carrying a carrot which definitely makes him qualify for the kitchen, right ;D.  I guess today he should be carrying an apple, but maybe he is as sidetracked as I am.

It's hard to tell by looking, but I was up and down the stairs and step stool today more times than I can count.  
Once I was done the cupboard looked much neater and better organized.

The island ... well that's another matter entirely ;/.