Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Few Fall Touches

 In the midst of my fall decorating, it seemed necessary to capture a picture of those shadows on my coffee table.  Very briefly the sun peeked out and cast her lovely rays across the room. Our sunshine has been in scarce supply since the autumn season began.

My favorite method for changing the decor up for the seasons...
Soft Hits station playing on the satellite TV.  Gotta love those oldies that I can sing along to.  Rest assured the windows and doors are closed so nobody other than Peanut is privvy to the concert.
You can see how Peanut is tolerating it as she is passed out on the chair.  Poor dog!

The decor doesn't change much from year to year, but it always seems to includes books, birds...

squirrels and vintage pottery.
 I've been editing my decor keeping just enough to celebrate the seasonal shifts.  The thoughts of carting bins in and out of the attic is becoming less and less enticing as the years go by.

On occasion the books come decorated for fall as is the case with this old copy of Heidi.
Now that I like ~ dual purpose decorating.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Time to Cozy Up in the Kitchen

In two more days the calendar will confirm the official start of the autumn season.
That first nip of cooler air always turns my thoughts to cozy kitchen time.
After the heat of the summer, it feels good to turn the oven on once again and spend the day cooking and baking as the wind whips and the leaves whirl outside.

Now is a good time to put some thought into which cooler season recipes are worth re-visiting or which new recipes will be tried for the first time.
Maybe a nice moist apple sheet cake or perhaps a pan of brownies.
Decisions, delicious decisions :-).

When it comes to cookie baking, the choices seem endless.
Ginger Snaps and Snickerdoodles offer that touch of autumn spiciness that I find so appealing right about now.  Oatmeal raisin just plain seems like something direct from grandma's warm and loving kitchen and chocolate chip... in my book you can never go wrong with chocolate chip cookies.  Which brings to mind a very dear blog friend who bakes them at the drop of a hat to share with friends and neighbors and even her dentist.

 Despite my love for fall baking, I try to limit my sweet intake more these days.
Maybe one day I'll whip up an angel food cake and top it with some fruit.

Of course the cozy fall kitchen doesn't just mean baking.
It's also fun and appealing to create delicious, tummy warming meals on the stove top.  I'm looking forward to soups and stews and chili again.

In the midst of all the creating in the kitchen it's important to pause now and then for a restoring break.  A warm cup of tea works well.  One of my favorite teas for this time of year is Constant Comment.  How about you, do you have a favorite fall time tea?

As the autumn season moves along it will be more important than ever to take those restorative breaks because... ahem... I think we all know that turkey time will be here before we know it.


This year I received an unexpected surprise in the mail that has made me more excited than ever for my fall baking and cooking.
That dear blog friend I mentioned earlier sent me every one of the baking pans you see featured above.
She even sent that darling tea pot which was something I had once seen in an antique shop and reluctantly passed up.  I had kind of regretted that decision ever since.
  Each time I look at these sweet treasures from the past, I will be reminded of the kindness of Karen.  I've been reading her blog, Life Is Good ever since I started blogging.  She inspires me every day to get outside and walk more, to treat others with kindness and most of all to look for the good and happy things in life.  If you've never visited Karen's blog, I invite you to do so.  

Thank you, Karen for adding a heaping helping of sweetness to my kitchen!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Fruit Flies Have Met Their Demise

 For the past week we've been noticing fruit flies in the kitchen.
They seem to multiply by the hour.
Last night I stumbled upon a home remedy for this problem on the internet.
I figured I had nothing to lose by trying it, so I poured the ingredients into a glass, set it on the counter and went to bed.

 The ingredient list was simple:
  • Fill a glass 1/3 full with apple cider vinegar.
  • Add 2-3 drops of Dawn dish detergent. 

In the morning I was pleasantly surprised to see that this simple idea was a success.

 Just thought I'd share in case you, too, are facing the fruit fly battle.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Gifts from Nature

 My little collection of bird's eggs were scattered here and there.  Some tucked into drawers, some inside flower pots, a few were in a vintage birdie nest that I was putting away for the season.
Through the years I have found them on the ground or left behind in the nest boxes.  All but one are empty which makes them very fragile. 
Today I decided to find a better home for them.
Somewhere that I could appreciate their beauty and they would be safe from being broken.

This wee cloche seemed like just what I had in mind.
 It occurs to me that some people might not get the whole bird egg collecting thing.
So, as long as I'm admitting to that, I'll also admit to finding a little bird feather collection in one of my drawers.  Only four of them and they are all blue.  I considered tossing them, but decided to add them to my vignette instead.

I guess it's no secret that I am a bit of a bird lover :-).
I also like to incorporate a few touches of nature into the decor.
Pretty and the price can't be beat.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Slowly Slipping into Fall

Hello There Friends

 The daily temperature reminds me that technically it is still summer.  
However, those subtle little changes are in the air telling us that a new season is right around the corner.
In the garden all of my mums are in full bloom, the Autumn Joy Sedum is getting ready to put on it's show and the Swamp Sunflowers are loaded with buds just waiting for their turn to shine.

 Last night I was surprised to notice that it was starting to get dark and it was just past 7:30.  Another sure sign that fall is on it's way.
While I'm not sure how I feel about the days seeming shorter, I am looking forward to lighting candles and small lamps here and there to cozy up the house.

Not feeling quite ready to succumb to completely decorating my nest for fall, I opted to gather a few things together.

A vintage tablecloth, mums from the garden, a couple candles and a few salt dough scatters I made several years agoSimple touches, but just enough to keep up with that subtle shift of the seasons that seems to be in the air now.
Wishing you all a wonderful late summer/almost fall weekend.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

In The Late Summer Kitchen

It all began with the onions.
One step into the pantry and it became clear that something was a little off.  Usually it's one of two things:  the onions or the potatoes.
On this day it was the onions.  Even though I had just purchased the bag and they all appeared to be fine when I looked them over at the grocery store, a few of them were starting to become soft... just soft enough to leave their less than desirable scent  in the pantry.

 Before things went from bad to worse, I decided to salvage what I could of the offenders.

Now I'll be ahead of the game.
Into the freezer with these.
How thankful I will be the next time I'm preparing soup or one of the many other recipes requiring chopped onions.

Once that was done I checked in on the garlic chives I had drying on the kitchen counter.
This was the first time I'd grown them and wasn't quite sure how to use them.  I watched a few YouTube videos to learn more.
I watched an Asian chef instruct me to snip them up with scissors and let them sit on the counter for a few days.  It worked beautifully.  It seems they are used extensively in Asian cooking and have been grown in China for thousands and thousands of years.  He suggested using them in soups throughout the winter.
I also watched a farmer pointing out how they grow and drop seeds in the garden, thus making new little plants.  The farmer suggested they are good anyplace you'd like a mild garlic taste.  He suggested using them fresh on top of pizza or in potato soup.  Mmmm... sounds good to me.
Do you use them?  If so, what is your favorite way to use them?

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Once the garlic chives were tucked into my spice drawer, it was on to dealing with the zucchini that needed to be used.  I wish I could tell you that it came from my garden.  I may be the only person who can't grow zucchini.  Tried twice. Failed twice.  Won't be trying it again.
I have found that the zucchini from the grocery store works just fine in my favorite summertime cake.

Into the oven.
The countdown begins.

By now I'm getting tired of being in the kitchen and everywhere I look is a mess waiting to be dealt with.
Yikes, I'm getting out of here.

 I'm escaping into the living (reading) room with my healthy summertime coffee drink.

My large and rather diverse selection of books awaits.
I'm thinking The Enchanted Barn by Grace Livingston Hill might be the one or maybe I'll just sip my coffee and gaze at Vintage Cottages.  Either way I'm not coming out til the timer goes off.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

One Fish, Two Fish

 One of the first questions people ask us about the new backyard pond is "Are you going to put fish in it?"
The answer:  "Yes"
As of yesterday six little goldfish have found a new home.

 We were advised to let them float around in their little bag for about 20 minutes to get acclimated.  

When the time was up, Brett released them into their new Home Sweet Home where we hope they will be very happy.
This is all new to us so we are learning as we go.
We've been doing a bit of research on caring for the little guys and found interesting information on their care and feeding (or lack of) here.  
I'll keep you posted on their progress.
For now I feel like a new mother who is constantly checking on their well-being.  Right now they are very small for the pond and it seems they must be hiding as I never see them.  On the bright side, I don't see them floating on the top belly up.  I hope this just means they are happily munching away on the underwater vegetation.

On another note, here we are in September.
I'm looking forward to cooler temperatures so that we can sit outside more often.  We tried it early last evening and nearly melted.  Our temps here have been in the mid 90s.  Coupled with the humidity it feels more like the upper 90s.  
So tell me, are you enjoying the cooler, crisper early fall temperatures yet?