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Countertop Review

This time last year I was packing up our house to prepare for our down-to-the-studs renovation in our kitchen, family room, and master bath as well as the addition of a screened porch. The family room wasn't originally part of the plan, but that's a post for another time. The kitchen was where I really had to plan and scheme, and, yes even fret, to stay in our footprint and budget and to get the function and look I wanted. I love a challenge like this, though, so despite some occasional frustration with my client (aka me! ), I enjoyed the process. A key "want" of mine was honed marble countertops. There are dozens--maybe hundreds--of blog posts, articles, and showroom sites that compare various types of countertop materials and their pros and cons. I read most of them and took notes from a lot of them in the months leading up to our start date. One of the most helpful things was visiting a sweet friend's kitchen, where I was able to ask questions about cleaning, a

Falling into Place

Not unlike those of the mice and men of Sir Robert Burns, my “best laid schemes” did go awry this past week.  I had intended to adhere to a more regular writing schedule, but Middle was stricken with some flu-like malady early in the week, and I got completely off track.  Then my parents visited for the weekend, and sneaking away to work on my blog didn’t seem hospitable.  So, more than a week late, we now return to our regularly scheduled programming!IMG_2409
Glorious autumn returns to the northern hemisphere this Thursday, September 23!  Brisk mornings, dramatic sunsets, and vibrant foliage are soon to follow.  Here in the Carolinas, the orchards are full of apples for picking, and pumpkins are piled high alongside flats of pansies and golden chrysanthemums at the neighborhood garden center.  Every fall, I am humbled and renewed by the beauty and bounty of God’s creation at harvest.  Whether it’s a spectacular vista of fiery autumn color or a single yellow leaf on the brick sidewalk, I am inspired to bring some of this season indoors.   As a matter of fact, I have a few paintings that remind me of fall year round.
My favorite way to decorate for fall is to walk around the yard (and maybe the neighborhood!) and snip and clip branches of color and interesting twigs and seed pods, but, sadly, some of my family seem to be allergic to these things when they’re brought indoors.  So, years ago, I began shopping for the best “fake” or “faux,” if you prefer, leaves and branches and gourds I could find.  Florists usually have the best things, and they’re often marked down after Halloween!IMG_2437 In the front hall
Every year I add a little to my stash, and then as I go about decorating, I add a few real leaves, twigs, acorns, apples, and gourds to my arrangements.  It seems to work well for us.IMG_2432In the family room.  The Mister and I bought the canoes on a trip to The Balsams in New Hampshire.  I suspect they might have been made years ago by a young camper in the White Mountains.
I have a few fall decorating rules that I’ve invented over the years—they have no real basis in design.  They’re simply meant to keep me interested and to make my family happy. 
IMG_2428In the kitchen
Rule number one is No big pumpkins before October 1.  Please don’t misunderstand, I love pumpkins, but two months of pumpkins gets a little boring, and besides, the apples and pears deserve their time to shine!   IMG_2422 In the living room
Early in October, I’ll stop by the farmer’s market and pick up a few odd-shaped pumpkins, which I’ll then add to the perfect faux ones I saved from when we lived in Florida, where the shelf life of a real pumpkin is frighteningly short!   IMG_2434                    In the family room
Rule number two is No Halloween decorations before October 15.  Halloween is fun, and I have some terrific old decorations that I’ll show you later, but two weeks of Halloween is plenty for us.  Besides, once the decorations are up, then I can’t resist buying those fun-size candies, and then I can’t resist eating them.  (I have seriously thought about stringing the empty wrappers to make a Halloween garland, but it was just too depressing.)  On November 1, all the Halloween items are re-packed, and the fall decorations are freshened up a bit for Thanksgiving.  I’ll post about that, too.IMG_2421                               In the dining room
Rule number three is Our house shouldn’t look like a gift shop, which isn’t to say I haven’t bought things at gift shops as well as discount stores.  It’s just that these items need to be blended with other items, handmade or old containers, for example.         IMG_2435   In the family room
And, of course, although my status is one of mere wannabe decorator, I know that all the great designers insist that one must know the rules before one can break them.  So, here is my rule-breaking arrangement of obviously fake pumpkins on the sideboard in our dining room.  I’ll add to this arrangement as the season progresses; I really like the silvery tones in the dining room, especially in candlelight.
I hope to add a touch of fall to our front porch and deck this weekend.  Do you decorate for fall?  I’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions!


  1. I love your little canoes!

    You had me at the Ode To a Mouse :O) I have a few little field mice in my book shelves and wall units :O) Every time we are in Scotland we pick one up. I remember growing up my gran had a plate in her kitchen of the little field mouse :O)

  2. I love your decorating ideas! Looks beautiful.

  3. Rule #3 is a great way to put one of my pet peeves. Houses are homes, they are not displays. Thank you very much.

  4. i heartily endorse all your design rules.
    they are so pragmatic and easy to

    my only deviation is that i skip halloween
    to give thanksgiving as much time as i
    give Christmas. i'm sort of nutty about

    but NO pumpkins before october!

    your paintings are beautiful.

    how's the college boy?


    ps. remember when you posted about
    a mission trip to peru (?) and i said i
    could never do that? well, i'm going on
    a mission trip to brazil in three weeks.
    it took my daughter to get me there. :)

  5. Looks fabulous! Makes me want to put down the computer and start decorating!

  6. Your decor is beautiful and so welcoming and cozy. :) xoxo

  7. I have everything... Just haven't gotten them out yet. Will do tomorrow! I love autumn decorations, just not so big on Halloween!


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