Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Inspired by a Paper Napkin

While planning for a recent impromptu dinner party, I decided to let the napkin be my inspiration for setting the table.  I am always amazed by the beautiful paper napkins that are available out there.  Some of them are almost too pretty to use.  I say almost for a reason ... more on that later in the post.

 I went peeking around in my "prop closet" and found some beaded fruit and velvety leaves.  Did any of you used to watch Christopher Lowell on the Discovery Channel?  He had a home decorating show (in the 90s, I think).  Anyhow, he had a "prop closet" where he stored things that he used to decorate with when they weren't in use.  Often when he was going to begin a new project he would first visit his "prop closet".  I haven't seen him in years, but a quick Google search led me to this page .  I didn't take the time to read through it, but it does look like he offers some good holiday tips on his blog so I'll be back to visit him again later.  His taste in decorating wasn't necessarily my style, but I always found him to be inspiring.
Anyhow, I digress. . .


 I gathered up my leafy glasses and candle holders.

Must have candles to cozy things up on a cool Fall evening.
In my dining room I have an antique dresser that is used for storing tablecloths, napkins, etc.  During my recent organizing flurry, I designated one drawer for each season.  To set the table for this dinner I opened the Fall drawer and chose the tablecloth and candles too.  It was so nice to have everything all organized.  Wonder what took me so long? :).

With little effort and no expense, my table took shape. . . all thanks to my dinner napkin.

Oh, and about those napkins being almost too pretty to use . . .
when it became evident that my mom could no longer live on her own and we were helping her pack up her belongings, we came across a big bag full of napkins for all occasions.  As I looked through them I was reminded of the many times she has hosted happy gatherings and used many of these napkins.  Perhaps there were some left in the package and perhaps some of the packages she found too pretty to open.  Either way her days of creating pretty tables and happy get-togethers was now behind her.  For reasons I can't quite explain, it made me sad to know those napkins would never be involved in her "company's coming" plans again.  In a strange way it was a reminder to me that the time to use the pretty napkins and the good china is now.

Since I have a drawer full of pretty napkins for all occasions, 
I'm challenging myself to use them now to make memories with my family and friends.  I think I tend to be a procrastinator when it comes to entertaining... always thinking someday I'll do it and then someday never seems to come.  I guess inspiration can come in all forms and for me a simple napkin is just the inspiration I seem to need. :)

Today I am tuned to CNN and keeping those of you in the path of Hurricane Sandy in my thoughts.  Stay safe.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Making Happy Fall Memories

 All of that cleaning I talked about in my last post has led to numerous donations to the local thrift shops.  So many things that I have been holding onto for years have gone on to new homes and I am loving the feel of open space in my cupboards, closets and attic.  I was beginning to feel like my stuff was ruling me and I was spending too much of my time moving things around.  While I do like to change things up for the seasons, I am ready for a much simpler approach to it all.  
It feels like my load has been lightened and I'm ready to get out there and enjoy the season... the beautiful fall season.

This Fall season has been a lovely one here in North Carolina.  The clear blue skies and cool, crisp days have a way of luring us outside.  Last weekend our oldest son asked us to accompany him and his girlfriend to the local pumpkin patch.  It's not every day that our grown kids want to hang out with the parents, so when this offer came along we were happy to join them.
 We took a hayride out to the pumpkin patch and searched high and low for the perfect pumpkin. 

We visited with the farm animals, had our fill of apple cider and soon it was time to head for home.

 Had to make sure the pumpkins made it home safe and sound :D.
Yesterday I called my neighbor to see if she was interested in a little day trip.  She was, so we headed out for a drive through the country oohing and aahing at the sights of farmhouses surrounded by trees of gold, orange, russet, yellow and green, cows grazing in the pasture, pumpkins growing in the fields and folks out in their yards raking leaves.  Eventually we ended up at the antique mall.  With my new mindset on minimizing the stuff, I was quite content to just window shop.  Although there was one little item that was calling my name.  One of those things that I've been looking for for quite awhile and it finally surfaced in this antique mall.  I will feature it in an upcoming post and I think you'll see why it couldn't be passed up ;-).

 Our final destination was Carolina Lily where we enjoyed our Picnic-in-a-Pot lunch under the sprawling magnolia tree.  We enjoyed getting caught up on each others news as the birds chirped in the background. 

 Wondering what might be in that Picnic-in-a-Pot?
A very large piece of corn bread with honey butter, Harvest wild rice chicken salad with pecans and craisins, pumpkin pie crumble cake and iced spiced apple juice.  Mmmm, Mmmm ... a very tasty fall lunch.

This lightening of the things in my home has made way for more time for spontaneous events in my life and I'm kinda really liking that.  One time I read an interview where the person was being asked what she collected and she said she collected memories made with her family and friends.  I liked that answer and while I will probably always have a few collections of things that are special to me, I think I'd rather work on the memory making.
Here's to creating some happy memories with the special people in your life.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Knock Knock ... Fall Calling

Today was the type of day where being inside all day just wasn't an option.  I know because I tried it.  Deeply immersed in the deep cleaning I am presently giving the guest room... which happened as a result of cleaning out the attic... which stemmed from re-organizing all of my kitchen cupboards... well, you get the picture, don't you?  Does this happen at your house too?  Anyhow, this morning I set out to stay in the guest room until it was ALL done.  I started out this morning by opening the windows to let the glorious fall breezes waft in.  As I was cleaning and sorting I couldn't help but notice the crystal clear blue skies and the tree tops with leaves of yellow and orange.   The guest room is on the 2nd floor, so we're in the treetops up there.

 When I took a lunch break from all of the cleaning, Peanut dropped all sort of hints that she could use a walk.  Being the good pet owner that I strive to be, I was pretty much obligated to take a break to walk the dog.  So we headed out for a quick walk to the end of the trail and back.  But, when we got to the end of the trail the blue skies and fresh air beckoned and we didn't want to come back so ... we didn't.  We just kept on walking... enjoying the sights and sounds.

 In a short while we saw our friend, Nancy, out in her yard.
She said she was about to walk her dog and asked us to join her.
Being the good neighbor I strive to be, how could I say no?
We walked and talked for 2 more miles and if we didn't end up at my driveway, I think I'd still be walking.

The autumn season offers so much beauty.
It's time to get out there and enjoy it.

Linking this post to Vee's Note Card Party.
All pictures taken in previous years of a few October Outings.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Happiness Arrives in the Mailbox

If a package appeared in your mailbox bearing this signature, would there be any doubt that it came from a very artistic sender?

A few months ago I discovered a new blog and was immediately taken by the beautiful artwork of Michelle Palmer.  I am in awe of such talent and I think I read her entire blog in one sitting.  Not long after discovering her blog, I was so excited to learn that I was one of the winners of a giveaway she so kindly offered to her readers.  You can read about it here .
 As you can see, everything arrived so nicely packaged by Michelle.  I will admit that for several days I didn't open the individual packages because they looked so nice as they were.  I hated to mess them up :-)Eventually curiosity got the better of me and I carefully removed the staples to reveal the beauty of Michelle's artwork.

~ Harvest Perch ~
an original art illustration on fabric

~ Something to Crow About ~
 an original pen & ink illustration on linen

 ~ Scarecrow Joy ~
 an original transfer from one of Michelle's original watercolors
(this guy makes me smile every time I see him)

and he has a pin on the back.  Perfect for pinning to my jacket (as soon as it gets cool enough to wear one).
If you haven't discovered Michelle's blog yet, you're in for a real treat.  Her most recent post features Frost Fairies in the garden.  While there's no frost here yet, the on and off rain showers are making the morning glories happy.

~ Thank You to Michelle ~
Your kindness and talents will be treasured always.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Warming Up a Chilly Day

 When I got in my car to head home from work today the outside temperature was 48 degrees.  Quite a change from our low 80s yesterday.  As I drove home contemplating what to have for dinner, the windshield wipers seemed to be trying to decide whether to be on or off as the drizzle kept trying to obscure my view.  I, on the other hand, was trying to remember how to make the heat come on after all these months of A/C at full blast :).  

 I think a day like this calls for a nice big pot of soup for dinner.  Luckily I made one of those a few days ago and still had plenty left.  It would be just the thing to chase the chill away.
Once home, the house seemed dark and gloomy.  So, as long as I didn't have to spend a lot of time on dinner, I decided to see about warming up the table.  My flowers are currently putting on quite a late season show.  I went out and picked a few dahlias, swamp sunflowers and several different colored mums.  I cut the stems very short, filled a low bowl with water, added the flowers and one floating candle to the bowl and ended up with a quick centerpiece to brighten the table on this gloomy day.

   Soup and simple centerpieces ...
my recommendation for warming up a damp, dreary day.

~ Kim

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Rolling Out the Welcome Mat for October

Somehow, when I wasn't looking, September gave way to October.

So, I thought it was high time that I gave a proper Welcome to the beautiful month of October.

  I stopped at the local garden center yesterday to see what I could find to give my front entrance a "freshened up for fall" look.  I couldn't resist this big orange pumpkin with a hint of green and the smaller white one.  I liked the idea of an ornamental kale for color and texture and added the narrow shrub in the back for more texture and height.

 I found a tray of nine little mums at Lowe's.
They have been the perfect size to tuck in here and there in my fall containers.

 I added another mum and my little trick or treater to the other side of the doorway, a wreath on the door . . .

a few baby pumpkins lined up across the railing (we buy these in bags like potatoes come in at BJs) and I think it's safe to say we're ready to welcome October.  The weather is cooling down and it's time for sipping cider on the front porch.

~ Welcome October, so glad to see you again ~

~ Kim