Fall Finery

Sometimes it is the simple things in life that bring great joy, like a drive on a beautiful fall afternoon. Although autumn arrived precisely on time, by the calendar, the trees have been very slow to signal the change of the seasons. As October drew to a close, I began to think that the trees were going to just drop their leaves, without a flash of color first.

Cooler temperatures and a bit of rain at last provided the necessary catalyst. Yesterday I noticed golds and oranges and reds showing up. Today I had the opportunity to drive south into Arkansas, and appreciate fall’s finery.

It is difficult to adequately capture the beauty that I drank in today. The world was aflame with color. Where just a week ago there were dull greens and dry browns, today there were vibrant yellows, splashes of deep crimson and every shade of rusty orange possible.

The older I get, the more I cherish fall. The crisp cool air is welcomed after the heat and humidity of summer. And the earthy hues of autumn rival the explosion of color from spring’s flowers. I like wearing my boots and jackets and hoodies. And this season is my favorite for decorating my house. From here, I transition right into holiday decor.

While in Arkansas, Greg and I stopped at Crumpet’s Tea House. This was a delightful first and the perfect mid afternoon destination. We arrived about half an hour before closing, but I had time to savor a small pot of pomegranate and berry herbal tea. I will stop by again earlier in the day next time, and try their lunch.

On the drive back to Joplin, we paused in several places to capture the beauty of the day. Because I love water so much, there was often a creek or river flowing nearby. We got a close up look at the crane above, who was calmly fishing for his dinner.

I didn’t walk through nature today, however, I drove through it, I experienced the wonder of the season, and the result was the same. I felt such peace, such gratitude for this time of year. In autumn, every leaf does indeed become a flower, to paraphrase Albert Camus. What a gorgeous bouquet I visually gathered today.

Welcome Autumn

The autumn equinox today marked the end of summer and the beginning of fall. Although the equinox signals shorter, and cooler, days ahead, the temps this afternoon soared into the high 80s. In spite of the lingering heat, I decided to start the fall decorating.

As a kid, I ranked fall as number three in order of preference for the seasons. Summer, with its long days of freedom, was my favorite time of year, followed by spring and then fall and winter. Now spring and fall tie for my favorite seasons. The reappearance of my flowers, plants and herbs in the gardens give spring a slight edge in my heart. But oh, I do love this time of year.

Changing my house over to a new season begins with my front porch. The welcoming change begins here and then moves throughout the house. This is a good time to clean and declutter and throw away, in preparation for the upcoming holiday season.

I also love using an abundance of candles. I always intend to keep lighting candles, after the Christmas decorations are packed away. However, realistically, as the temperatures climb I feel less and less inclined to light candles and create additional heat. The arrival of longer nights naturally inspires me to dispel the darkness with light, hence more candles.

I usually add real pumpkins, gourds and potted mums to my fall decor. This year, I decided to do something different. Rather than purchase anything to accentuate what I have, I chose to create using only what I already own.

So instead of grouping real pumpkins beneath the table on the porch, I added a vintage gas can, a metal bucket and a weathered hurricane lantern. I like the way this fresh grouping looks.

The biggest challenge, in playing this game of using what I had on hand, was redoing my vintage red box. I call this cherished piece Annie’s Box, as I brought it home after my Aunt Annie passed away a couple of years ago. I freshen the box with the seasons, adding terra cotta pots of pansies in the spring and colorful begonias or coleus in the summer. For fall I normally replace the summer flowers with tiny mums or yellow pansies.

I nearly wavered and headed to the Garden Center. But then I had a nudge of inspiration. Near my raised vegetable bed, ground cover has appeared, sporting stalks of tiny purple flowers. I don’t know where the plants came from. Perhaps the seeds were carried in with the dirt used to fill the raised bed.

This afternoon I carefully dug up some of those volunteer plants and potted them, adding them to Annie’s red box. They look wild and beautiful, in the box, with a few pinecones tucked among the clay pots and a garland of rusty stars wound around the handle.

Near Annie’s Box I grouped a vintage copper teapot, a cinnamon scented candle, a sprig of red and yellow berries, and left over from summer, a dark red coleus in a copper pot. I am very pleased with the transformation of the box, and I didn’t spend a penny on any of it. I enjoyed revving up my creativity instead.

As twilight deepened, I lit candles on my newly decorated front porch. The flickering flames not only add warmth and charm to the porch, they welcome in this new season and and send light outward, literally and figuratively, into the world.

Welcome autumn.

Journey 257: First Fall Vignette 

Autumn is still almost a week away, officially. But it’s making an early appearance at my house, as I opened up my boxes of fall decor today. In keeping with my practice of allowing my journey to unfold, I changed over only one area today, from summer to fall, going where I felt drawn. The vintage suitcase in the bedroom was transformed this afternoon. 

 

I was excited about this fall vignette because of two vintage pieces that I can showcase. Last year I included Grandpa Moore’s porcelain doll for the first time. This little beauty is 115 years old! I’m very careful with her. She spends most of her days safely stored away. I like to use family pieces, though, and enjoy them when I can. Her green, yellow and orange dress makes her the perfect fall accessory. 
 

And new to the vignette this year is a vintage pocket watch, with a locomotive engraved on the back. This beautiful piece, in its little cloche, came home with me after Greg’s dad passed. Greg believes it belonged to one of his grandfathers, but isn’t sure if it was handed down from the maternal or paternal side of the family. This is one of those instances where I long to ask Dad Moore one more question. I love the way the pocket watch adds interest to the display and a reminder that time is precious. 

 

I lit tea light candles in the four candle holders tucked within the suitcase, and the tall jar candle with its bronze metal topper. It looks homey and beautifully fall like, this simple vignette. I love fall…the colors, the scents, the cooler temps, wearing jeans, hoodies and boots, sitting near crackling fires in the fire pit. The only thing about fall that I don’t like is the keen awareness that winter with its icy coldness and short gray days is coming  next. However, to soften the blow, fall also ushers in the holiday season, which I love and my family enjoys to the utmost. It’s a worthy trade off. 
  

Day 292: Fall Floral Arrangement

fall arrangement close up

What a beautiful, tranquil fall day. Each warm sunny day is a gift, this time of year. I had time this afternoon, in the midst of much needed housework and completing the fall decorating, to relax in the garden, savoring a cup of tea while soaking up gentle sunshine. The garden never fails to bring a smile to my face and joy to my heart. It also inspired my first today!

As I looked at the last offerings of the flowers and herbs still flourishing in the garden, I decided to gather blooms for a fall bouquet. I don’t cut flowers very often, preferring to enjoy them in their natural state. However, with the first hard frost, these plants will go dormant for the winter. I cut a selection of blooms and sprigs of herbs and brought them inside.

Using a white pitcher, I created a fun arrangement. I’m certainly not an expert on floral designs. I just went with what was appealing to me. The bouquet has a mix of plants, including yellow Blanket Flowers, white Snow Hill Salvia and the delicate looking Pink Fountain Gaura and among the herbal plants, I included Russian sage, lavender and three varieties of basil. I like the casual way the arrangement came together and I LOVE the way it smells! I included the flower filled pitcher in the fall vignette on the dining room table. Every time I walk by, the fragrance makes me smile.

I am really happy with the arrangement! At first glance, it resembles a spring bouquet. On closer inspection, it is apparent that these blooms are fading, albeit, they are still beautiful, still smell wonderful. I love the grace of that. What a wonderful reminder of this past season and the gift of beauty and joy that the garden has given to me.

Fall arrangement boquet