" of the ways I attempt to create at least a thin layer of authenticity 
is to shun holiday or theme specific manufactured decoration."

When I read this quote at French Kissed and saw her incredible photos
I realized it expressed what wasn't quite "right" with my mantel as arranged yesterday.
It wasn't so much about the orange as the
Halloween-specific manufactured decoration.
So I'm tweeking today.
I'll also be ironing this table runner...

 and finding the perfect spot for this white ceramic pumpkin  that I created last year
or the year before (or the year before THAT) at a ceramic shop.
(Time flies when you're 62!)

thanks, maxine!

This was my motivation!  That's all it took.
I got it done!

I think I'm going to decorate the shade yet....somehow.

Yep!  The crow needs to be turned THIS way.

Thanks, Maxine! 
Note the additions to the mantel here.  I think it's full enough now
 I'm turning out the lights now...
leaving to meet a friend for coffee tonight.
Wearing a denim jacket and donning a scarf.
The weather is damp and cool.
I'm chilly.  All. The. Time.

a perfect and simple autumn pleasure

I'm still working on the "presentation" part...
but I've got the "basics" mastered!
I enjoy serving our "dumplings" in these thrifted blue and white bowls.
Years ago when I asked my grandmother her recipe for DELICIOUS apple dumplings,
her eyes twinkled and she shared her "secret"--the  Better Homes and Garden Cookbook.
Page 171 in my old copy*...
They're economical,
and a simple autumn meal.  
We enjoy ours with with milk.
A few slices of cheddar cheese and a cup of decaf coffe
and we're good to go!
*I substitute brown sugar for white sugar, leave the peel on the sliced apples,
and recently have been rolling out the dough
and constructing our dumplings like a cinnamon roll.
This particular batch was made with whole wheat flour.
(I had it measured out before I remembered
I'd filled the flour canister with whole wheat flour.)
Be kind.
 Remember - this is a 40 year old page!!!
Click on either to enlarge.

Feminity in the Fall

A friend crocheted the cape I'm wearing today.
I adore it.
I love the feminine way it falls.
I like the weight of it...great for this in-between season.
I didn't select the colors...I need a long grey skirt to REALLY do it justice!
I just couldn't wait to wear it.
 Since I'll be in front of a small group, gesturing and moving about,
 I have fastened it with this pin--a thrift store purchase.
Thank you, Misty.

No-Cost Entertainment

 The nearby County Extension Garden,
 maintained by Master Gardeners,
 was our destination this first day of autumn.
 Free, beautiful, and exceptionally lush today...
we acquainted ourselves with new plants,
revisited the familiar,
 and marveled at the textures, colors, and groupings.
 So many no-cost and low-cost entertainment possibilities exist.
Sometimes all it takes is a little initiative to discover them.

Simply Chic

"In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
"'Think simple' as my old master used to say - meaning reduce the whole of its parts
into the simplest terms, getting back to first principles." 
Frank Lloyd Wright
"Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity." 

Nothing thrills me like finding simple items like this white creamer 
and wooden bowl for twenty-five cents each.
I haven't been thrift store shopping for several weeks, 
but I ventured out today.  These were my favorite purchases of the day.

chic-ness interrupted

The cool weather we've been enjoying gives me a great excuse to bring out the black long-sleeved T's that could be considered my "uniform".

In this case, it covers the rash of poison-SOMEthing I acquired a few days ago.  (However, while hiding the rash, it also irritates it.) It's hard to be chic when covered from head to foot - literally - with an itchy rash.

The chic-est thing I've done the past few days is soaking in a tub of water laced with oatmeal flour and Epsom salt.  However, I am gathering many chic ideas from Fiona to incorporate into my schedule as soon as I get this poison out of my system.

My chic-ness has been temporarily interrupted.  I plan to resume it
in a few days.  Meanwhile, I'm going to finish reading A Cluttered Life: Searching for God, Serenity, and My Missing Keys by Pesi Dinnerstein.


I'm going to dream about winning two days of art classes and an overnight stay at NaDa Farm!   It would just about make up for all this discomfort!  (Even if I don't win, I think I'll make at least a weekly virtual visit to the farm.  It's a very inspiring place.)

cornflower blue--still my style!

 This morning I baked some banana bread, choosing a Corningware bread pan.
It's pattern is the same as several casserole dishes
we received as wedding gifts in 1971.
 Since then, I have collected many other pieces--larger and smaller casserole dishes,
 coffee and tea pots,
 three sizes of handled "skillets",
and a pie plate, too.  Somewhere...
 ...and even some utensils!
Thrift stores are my primary sources.
Glass lids are the hardest items to find.
Cornflower Blue is the name of my pattern--the first design released,
as well as the one produced in the most quantity.
This simple decoration became the trademark pattern for over thirty years.
The handles were quite small and the earliest pieces had sloped sides.  
After 1972 the sides became straighter and the handles became larger. 
I keep my eyes open for this pattern while thrift store shopping.  
I use many of these from time to time--like this morning for instance!

chinese fire drill

 There's nothing like a housewalk to get my decorating juices flowing!
Yesterday my husband I toured several houses
on the West Central Neighborhood Association Housewalk.

When I got home, I thought about this floor lamp
which I had recently moved into the dining area of our kitchen.
Something wasn't "quite" right.
Then I remembered the oak-based floor lamp
that was standing behind my recliner in the living room.
It would be perfect here beside our oak step-back cupboard!
It is!
I couldn't wait to take a decent picture in the daylight.
No sir-ee.
We bought the oak floor lamp at a garage sale.
I'm not sure where the brass one came from.
After church, the brass one is going upstairs beside my bed.
The one that is currently there will be moved to the spot behind my recliner.
Kind of a Chinese fire-drill!
(Is that a politically correct phrase?)

thrift store chic?

The more I think about it, 
the more sure I am that there is not a whole lot that is
"chic" about me.
I WANT to be chic.
I admire chic in others.
But I'm not.
Once I looked up "chic" in the dictionary.
I can't remember what it means.
I only have a general idea.
This morning as I put a fresh table cloth on the table, 
I took a look around the room.  
If there is ANY chic here,
it's all THRIFT STORE chic!
I don't know.
Is there such a thing?

everything french

 I couldn't tell you why I'm fascinated by all things French
but it was hard to pass up these two books 
when I stumbled on them in a thrift store.
(The bottom one is actually "from Holland".)
Sunday while at Barnes and Noble (see my prior post),
I thumbed through the 2011 Fall-Winter issue of Country French
I jotted down descriptive phrases that stood out to me
as much or more than the pictures...
"marries the routine with the refined"
"practical sophistication"
"understated elegance"
"stylish serendipity"
"graceful composure"
"captivating maturity"

I think those phrases capture why I'm intrigued
by everything French...