Dressing Up for Fall

When the girls were little, I had this rule. You can’t decorate for Halloween until after my birthday. My birthday was already overshadowed by sports and homecoming, I didn’t want to compete with Halloween, too.

And then last year, we had the floors redone. Who can forget Orange is the New Green? Our great room literally glowed.

Orange floor at sunset

I’d had enough orange; it was November before I decided to decorate for fall.  This year, I don’t have volleyball games twice a week, no school meetings, and my floors are lovely, so no major renovation chaos.

A few pumpkins and faux leaves can change the whole feel of a place. Sometimes less is more.table with pumpkins

And sometimes more is more.


I love the mix and match nature of these decorations that were gathered over time. The candle toppers from Ben Franklin look right at home with the straw pumpkins I picked up this year from Target.  I like the layering of the leave placemats with the Dollar Store pumpkins I covered in yarn a few years ago. And if you take the time to get really close, you’ll notice my little inside joke.

poe books

I don’t usually decorate the china buffet for fall, but maybe I’m getting tired of same old, same old. Dog noses and tails knock everything off end tables, so this is the perfect place for a few breakables.


My kids are gone, I gave away the window clings, but these Halloween decorations make me smile. And this pumpkin looks right at home amongst the crystal.

pumpkin in china

It doesn’t have to be a lot, just a few pieces can set the mood. Addining some faux leaves and pumpkins to the usual decorations cozies it up for fall.

leaves and placemats

Whenever I take Baby Girl to the mall, I make her wander through Z Gallerie with me. I almost never buy anything, but when we were dorm shopping, I picked up a few sprays of orange orchids with a touch of sparkle.


Don’t be afraid to pull out the wire cutters if they aren’t the right height. A strong rubber band came in handy to keep this arrangement together. Moving the orange throw to the chairs by the fireplace adds that little touch of color.

fireplace and chairs (2)

I’ve been looking for some fall colored pillows. The MR has pointed out that some of my pillow choices are quite scratchy. Pier 1 has some beautiful pillows in stock right now, but beads and bobbles aren’t very comfy. I’m trying to be more discriminating.

I love to pick up seasonal decorating at the end of the season when it all goes on sale; because after all, fall comes around each year.

How do you add that fall feeling to your home?


Sad Goodbyes

This past weekend, we said our goodbyes to a wonderful lady. My sister-in-law and friend for life’s mom died in September, and we attended her memorial service.

She was a fiesty lady who with a smile and a laugh made everyone feel at home. Her pastor said the three most important things in her life were her family, her friends, and her faith. That’s a wonderful legacy.

I remember years ago now, my sister-in-law wanted to stop by the old house with her mom to check out by garden. Well, I was a little nervous. The MR was in charge of a majority of the landscaping, and my garden wasn’t always growing the way I wanted it to. I saw weeds and patches euphemistacally called “natural areas”.

After showing her the honeysuckle covering the pillars of the front porch, I pointed out a corner where nothing wanted to grow. It was too cold, or too shady, or too wet—just plain too something whatever that was. She knew just the thing. She had a shamrock plant with pink flowers that needed dividing. It would grow great in this spot.

Sure enough it did. I had a large clump of green shamrocks boasting delicate pink flowers before we moved away. That’s why I was so happy to find a shamrock plant in her collection of houseplants to take home as a reminder of a sweet lady so full of life.

shamrock 002

It will also remind me to take those extra steps to make my family feel loved, to make my friends feel special, and to put my faith first.

Take time to treasure the ones you love.


September Potpourri at Our House

You never know what you’ll read about when you stop by here. In September we covered plants, gardening, maintenance, knitting, harvesting, winemaking, decorating, and moving on. Sometime I wish I were a little more focused.

We’ll get knitting out of the way, since that’s the MR’s least favorite part. Sometimes he just skims those posts, but they really speak to truths that relate to other areas of life. Knitting Weather talks about learning something new. Whether it’s reading a book, taking a class, or listening to a podcast, we can all benefit from another’s expertise. The Power of the Block encourages you to take that extra step that turns something from good to great.


We all want to finish well in knitting and in life.

There’s nothing like homegrown produce. We enjoyed Tons of Tomatoes on our trip to Chelan in quick and easy pico de gallo. They also attracted a ton of fruit flies, but that’s another story.

big tomatoes and romas

In other harvest news, we’re trying our hands at The Age Old Art of winemaking. After letting the “must” froth for a few days, we ran it threw the juicer. That may not have been the wisest choice. We had seeds flying everywhere and some fairly thick wine.

But we had this whole plan. The MR ordered pie weights, since we didn’t have enough wine to fill our container.

pie weights

We boiled the weights, while we were removing the skins and seeds from the must. Then we put them all in our special jug with the cool valve on top.

wine in jug

Sometimes things just don’t work out. It was time for Plan B. The MR drilled a hole in the lid of our old jug, and the wine went back into the 2-quart container that we started with.

wine in 2 quart 2

The directions say you don’t want any air in the container, so we made sure it was good and full. So much so, that the gas valve on top was filled with wine by the next morning. I don’t think they meant that full, so we drained off a bit. And now we wait. In another nine months, we’ll see what’s what.

I talked about The Beauty of Form and The Beauty of Wisdom—sometimes I get on this weird repetitive kick. No, I wasn’t talking about myself, I was talking about plants of course.


The MR planted some Russian sage along the base of the retaining wall across the stairway from this beauty. Next year, we’ll have flowers and plants to soften the edges and start taming the overgrown hillside.

Rain can be a major pain. We had A Gully-Washer early this month requiring plenty of raking.


Rain also seeps into all the cracks and crevices on the deck. In order to ensure Firm Footing, we had the deck recoated and those soft spots fixed while we were on vacation; my apologies to the housesitter. We did get back in time to chase the dogs away from newly painted stairs. Just look how the deck sparkles in the sun.

Deck corner

Our Baby Girl has left us for the joys of college, and we’re all entering New Chapters in our lives. I know she’ll be learning amazing things this year.

BG in the car

And me and the MR we have big plans, too. While I didn’t talk him in to buying a Lake House, I just might talk him into some new deck chairs. These adirondacks were so nice to lounge on in the afternoons.


They might be a bit too traditional for our place, but we’ll find something. I’m tired of moving chairs from one side of the deck to the other all summer chasing the sun or escaping the heat, depending.

What were the highlights of your September? 





New Chapters

After 21 years, my job description is changing. We moved Baby Girl to college, and suddenly we’re empty-nesters.

On Wednesday, my car was filled to the brim with all the necessities of dorm life. When Sweet Miss moved away, we had a minivan plus her car; let’s just say quarters were tight on that five hour drive down to Oregon.

BG in the car

We spent the first night visiting Sweet Miss and The Fella. The next morning, it was an hour drive south for move-in day with thousands of incoming students.

Thankfully, BG is on the second floor of her dorm—only two of the dorms on campus have an elevator. And her roommate’s minifridge was a better size for their cramped quarters. One less thing to move up those stairs.

It took a few hours, a trip to the bookstore, and plenty of problem solving to establish a little order.

On Bed

Using the upright folding method—think hanging files rather than stacks—I was able to get seven pairs of jeans, six pairs of jean shorts, and four pairs of yoga pants in one drawer. Go Mom!

My obsession with neat and tidy did cause a little trouble. I received a text the next morning asking whether the bed set came with a top sheet. It does look neater with everything tucked in, but it can be difficult to navigate when it’s late and your roommate is sleeping.

Baby Girl attended her first day of classes today on the start of an amazing journey.

And now after 21 years as a stay-at-home mom, I  have some time to reevaluate my life and take on some new challenges. Tomorrow, I’ll be turning 49 and this is going to be a great year.  I’m excited to be sharing it with the MR.


I can’t wait to see what’s in store for all of us.

Wishing you joy and strength as life’s changes come your way. 

(Also wishing my dad a very happy 76th birthday. We love you Papa Willy!)




The Age Old Art

While the garden has been a bit of a bust, the orchard has had its best year ever. I picked a basket of apples, a half dozen plucots, and a few plums. The real hit has been the loads of currants and blueberries.

All that netting the MR put up last spring kept the birds away, so we could actually enjoy some of our fruit. Last year, birds ate all of our grapes, and we weren’t sure what to expect when it came to harvest this time around. One of the vines was loaded with clusters, while the other two had nothing.

Grape vines

Now that we have a bowl grapes, what next?


They taste good, but they’re full of seeds. Yes, we’re spoiled. Me and the MR were talking it over a few weeks ago when we were on vacation and decided we could go into the wine business. OK maybe that’s pushing it, but we were inspired by visiting wineries and chatting with all the nice people. We figured we’d at least make a bottle.

People have been doing it for thousands of years. How hard can it be? Saturday, we washed up our bowl of grapes, picked out stems and earwigs, mashed them in a bowl with a potato masher (this step may require protective eyewear), added local honey (thank you Sara), winemaking yeast, and a campden tablet, and put them in a crock (or a half-gallon jug because that’s all we had).

Our Wikipedia instructions said to make sure the jug was filled to within 1 1/2-inches from the top, and if not to add some filtered water. Ours wasn’t, so I did; that was a mistake.

I’m sad that I didn’t take a picture right after making our “must”. The juice was clear and white; I figured we were making white wine with our Stuebben grapes.

Now it’s still frothing and a lovely dark magenta. The t-shirt fabric rubber-banded to the top was a yellow/beige to start with.


We’ve had a bit of trouble with overflowing, and those are fruit fly traps next to our jug of wine. They are quite interested in our doings.  A splash of wine and a drop of dish soap in a jar lid usually gets rid of the pests.

In a few days, we’ll be filtering out the skins and seeds and putting it in the larger jug with the fancy stopper to release gas. This container needs to be full, so I believe we’ll be buying marbles or pie weights and adding them to take up some of the volume.

If we like the wine half as much as the fruit flies, it’ll be wonderful. I’ll let you know in nine months. Maybe next year’s goal will be two bottles.

Any creative uses for your harvest this year?




The Beauty of Wisdom

When me and the MR go on vacation, we take long walks and discuss the landscaping stealing ideas for what we might like at home.

A few years ago, we were inamoured with Russian sage. Wouldn’t it look great on the hillside? The MR bought seeds, they sprouted and we moved them to gallon containers. Then all winter, I was tripping over plants in the sewing room.

I moved them outside, covered them with a garden blanket, and they died. Our visions of bee balm and sage growing in wild abandon on the hillside were quashed.  But just a few weeks ago we were in Chelan, and next to the patio sat this beautiful specimen.

Russian Sage

We’ve always liked Russian sage, maybe it was time to give it another try. Instead of growing plants from seed in the fall, the MR bought actual plants—not tiny bareroot stock.

We’ve had fairly good luck with transplants this year. Unfortunately, some of the plants the landscapers put in aren’t deer resistant. These New Zealand impatiens were all the same size when they were planted. Two of them just get a lot more pruning from the wildlife.


On the other hand, deer don’t seem to like sage at all. The herbs we planted three years ago are huge, and the pineapple sage by the steps is thriving.

pineapple sage

We thought clumps of Russian sage next to the wall would soften the look and add some color to the hillside. Since it’s drought-tolerant, we don’t have to have sprinklers on the hillside; and let’s be honest, this time of year, there’s no shortage of water.

RS up close

I know it’s hard to see the sage amongst the weeds, but I have faith it’ll grow even in this rocky soil. Maybe I’ll have to go out with my hoe and clear a few dandelions.

RS circled

The MR also moved a few crocosmia bulbs from over by the deck. Can’t you just picture it? Tall, silvery-gray stems adorned with purple flowers backed by red, spiky blooms.

Our bee balm from the past few years has died, but we could a little of that into the mix, too. Before you know it, our rugged hillside will be a thing of beauty.

What are you planting this fall? What would you do with an overgrown hillside?




The Lake House

A few weeks ago, we drove over to Lake Chelan for a few days off with our sweet girls and their friends. Since this is a nearly annual trek, I suggested to the MR that maybe we needed a place of our own on the lake.


With all the maintenance at home and our love for travel, he wasn’t eager to add a vacation home to the mix. Rentals abound at Wapato Point, and we would miss the joys of mini-golf and volleyball matches.

The past few years, we rented different houses—each with its own special character. This year’s shingled, charmer boasted a row of adirondacks for reading and enjoying the view.


I was totally in love with these detailed ceilings. They’re way to fussy for our home, but I love all the moldings.

Ceiling 2

I need to remember to put away my purse and travel bag when I’m taking photos.

I also miss the simple joys of having a bedside table. Our sleek, built-in platform bed makes them difficult for our master suite.bedside table

This traditional dresser, and old-fashioned chair shout comfortable cottage at the lake.

crisp white dresser

I think we need a mirror by the front door, if only for the beautiful reflections.

Entry mirror

We had a restful week of reading, relaxing, and playing cards in this sweet, getaway home.

The back patio

It wasn’t as warm as some years, but the haze from the wildfires held off until the last day.

Haze 2

Don’t you just love the dew on the grass? It makes me smile every time.

Does your family have a favorite place for relaxing?