Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Decorating for Fall at My House

Labor Day weekend kicks off my fall decorating frenzy.  By then, I am sick to death of summer and though we still have summertime here in Sarasota for about six weeks after that, I like to get an early jump on the my favorite season.  Below are some of the fall vignettes in my home.  At the end of the blog, I'll give you a few tips I have found useful for getting that fall feeling.

This is a table in my living room.  I love the pumpkin topiary and the fall-colored M&Ms in the little crystal bowl.  I have a lot of books and I change those that I display with the seasons.  The one in the photo is on the work of Paul Gauguin and has a lot of oranges, reds, greens, and yellows on the cover.  I have a collection of antique magnifying glasses, of which two lay on the book.  One of my antique majolica plates with the pear on it is on the plate stand, with a reproduction green majolica plate behind it.  The antique table it is all sitting on, my husband and I bought when we were first married in Michigan.  The lamp is my very favorite one I own.

This is a sweet little red table, also in my living room, that I love.  It displays a ceramic apple and pear and a little ceramic strawberry on a leaf that Gila Meriwether gave to me as a birthday gift one year.  Above that is a colorful oil painting and then the black-shaded sconces are wearing soft green wired-ribbons and wired leaves and fruit on the sconce arms. 

 This is in my family room, which I faux painted years ago to look like parchment paper.  It has my collection of antique red and white transferware hanging on the wall.  In front of them are two brass candlesticks and then the scarecrow arrangement that Sara Bagley made for me.  When I chaired the Scarecrow Festival for Spanish Point several years ago, we had members of Founders Garden Club create different arrangements for each table at our kick-off party and then we sold them.  I bought this one and I adore it.  It makes me happy just to look at it.  The candles are from Village Candle in the Warm Apple Pie fragrance.  It all sits on a black armoire which holds our TV.

 This is also in my family room.  On the butler's table sits a silver teapot lamp atop more books in burgandy and gold.  The lighted ceramic jack-o-lantern was made by my mother-in-law for me many, many years ago.  Even though it has been broken and glued back together, seeing it each fall brings back warm, loving memories of her.  The cream-colored pumpkin was a gift from my mother and the little pumpkin on the right that you can barely see, is also another ceramic from my mother-in-law.  She also gave me another lighted small stacked pumpkin ceramic piece that I use every year in our bathroom as a nightlight.  Fall flowers are tucked in to give the arrangement a softer feeling.

 This vignette is on a big square table that I hate, but it is good for displaying things.  It is much too modern a piece for me, but my husband likes it.  Anyway...Two large scarecrows make a statement in the corner with several gourds/pumpkins arranged with fall foliage.  The brass bow-candlestick lamp is another of my favorites that I have had for a long time.  Three pumpkin colored pillar candles sit on glass candle holders in varying heights.  I bought the candle holders a few years ago at CVS, can you believe it, during Christmas for about $8 for the three of them.  I had thought they might make a nice, little extra gift for one of my daughters, but I liked them so much, I kept them for myself!

 This is a Lemax fall village that I bought at Michael's Crafts store.  I have a big Dept. 56 Village for Christmas and I liked that I could do a little fall village inexpensively.  For anyone doing villages of any kind, the varying of the heights are really important.  It all sits on a bleached pine chest that holds all my napkins and tablecloths.  The  brass lamp is getting quite pitted over the years, but I love it all the same.  The primative painting is a Ruth Russell William print.  It normally hangs above the chest, but is currently hanging too high and I can't seem to get my husband to rehang it lower, so I just took it down and leaned it against the wall.

 This is in our breakfast area.  I have always adored the large ceramic rooster and I think fall is the perfect time for it.  I change out the glass candle holder contents with the season and use them in different parts of the house.  Right now they are filled with black beans and green lentils and last year used I yellow and orange candy corn.  At Christmas time I have used red hots candy and then last year I used walnuts still in their shells.  I have also used small pastel colored malted egg candies for Easter. I bought a cannister of multi colored silk fall leaves several years ago.  I have used them over and over in different places and have found they are really useful when you want to add a bit of color.

 A close-up of the place setting.  I have Old Maryland Engraved sterling flatware.  I especially wanted that particular pattern because it has a nice area to engrave your initial.  Belinda Coffrin at Coffrin Jewelers has an engraver who will design a special font for you and he did that for me.  It matches the scroll work already on the pieces.  I am so happy with it and it makes me smile every time I use them.  The heavy white stoneware plate is from a set I bought at the old Maas Brothers a hundred years ago and the green is reproduction majolica.  I bought the little metal fall leaf napkin holder at Jacobson's about 30 years ago when I was the manager of the home dept. at the Southbay store.  The green goblets are from a set that are all individually hand blown.

 This vignette is on a large buffet that sits as you walk into my house.  Obviously, I am a book-lover and what you see is just a tiny, tiny portion of my books.  Most of these are decorating books.  The painting on the left is an original Erika Blue watercolor of a park in Atlanta.  The two other paintings I bought at Jacobson's when they had the home store upstairs on St. Armand's Circle.  Oh, how I miss that store!!  A fall foliage spray and my favorite smelling candle - Orange Cinnamon - is in front of it.  I had a candle with that fragrance several years ago and searched and searched for a replica.  Finally I found it, of all places, at Publix with Village Candles.  Stop and smell it sometime when you are in Publix.  You will love it!

A close-up of the fall foliage.

What I do to invoke that fall feeling in my house:

1.  I start right at the front door where I hang a fall wreath and lay out a fall doormat.  I have them at my back door, too.
2.  I make sure to light fragrant candles all over the house every night, unless I am making something particularly fragrant for dinner.  I like the house to smell really nicely when my husband gets home from work.
3.  I set out small bowls of candy throughout the house - either in fall colors like the M&Ms or in fall wrapping, like bite-size Almond Joys, or Mounds.  My grandkids love to come over!  One time, my youngest granddaughter, Madeline, actually just put her whole face right into a bowl of M&Ms and started eating, like a little piggy or like Randy and the mashed potatoes in the Christmas Story movie. 
4.  I replace all the kitchen towels and pot holders with fall inspired ones.
5.  I make liberal use of pumpkins, fall leaves, and scarecrows and put something in every room.
6.  I decorate outside my house too, with cornstalks, hay bales, scarecrows, and pumpkins.  I also fly small fall flags.
7.  I like things that light up, like my ceramic pumpkins and my little villages.  It makes the evening have a nice glow to it.
8.  I use big rustic, wooden bowls of fresh apples and pears on my kitchen counter.
9.  I like to have at least one fresh flower arrangement in the house at all times.  This time of year, I usually like mums.
10. And finally, I always have fresh apple cider and caramel dip in the refrigerator for those impromtu party moments or for when I just want to treat myself with a glass of hot mulled cider with a side of cut-up apples and dip.  Yum, yum!! 

I hope this inspires you to bring a bit of fall into your home!

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