I get my inspiration from everywhere, either a dress, a painting or a sunset…. I hope any images here help you find yours, it only takes a little bit of imagination and always looking at things with the eyes of the soul instead of our physical, limited ones, limits that come from our minds and that are only imposed to ourselves by us … Imagination is limitless.
Decorating the mantel for each season has to be one of my favorite things. It is always unplanned, that is the way I like it, at least at home … grab a few things from around the house and put them together having a good time, enjoying the process and playing, the same way I used to play with barbies when I was a little girl and also later on, not so little. Decorating their houses, mostly made of cardboard boxes and dividers (I think evaporated milk came that way at the time, I think wine comes that way still now) was my favorite activity along with designing their wardrobe, and since we were eight brothers and sisters, there were always plenty empty boxes available to play with. Those dividers were a dream come true, I was able to change the rooms distribution any time I wanted! (designers dream!)
This year I wanted to keep things simple, made a promise to myself about not over thinking so stuff gets actually done! The problem was when I thought about making a post about decorating the Mantel for Fall, I felt the need to “finish” it, to make it better. Moving things around I “discovered” I needed to purchase a few items … I don’t want to buy more stuff, I really want to spend more time living and enjoying than trying to make things perfect…good is good enough, right? or at least it should be, so…I didn’t buy anything! (Who am I?! I don’t know this woman!)
These are some pictures of the mantel with a few variations…couldn’t stop myself from playing with the things and broke one of the candle-holders! I would had liked the moss balls to be bigger and some of the pumpkins to be smaller… oh well, what a surprise! Isn’t that the way it always goes for everybody?
Taking pictures with my iPhone is not very professional, I know! the indoor photos look gloomy and colorless and the definition is not that good…This looks so greenish, yellowish, “horriblish”… it looks so much better in person. I promise! perhaps I should upgrade to an iphone 6, just never wanted to do it only because it came out, don’t understand the need to have the latest gadget when I know for sure I barely understand all I could do with the one I already have… that is at least my impression.
The two windows flanking the fireplace are facing north and this particular area between the two of them is a bit gloomy… There is a big mirror on top of the fireplace to bounce the light coming from other places and a light above it, but for some reason it isn’t enough…very unnatural and cold light! I know I could do better, but since we’ve been almost moving several times… it wasn’t worth the hustle, or so I thought … it is always worth the hustle!
I’ve been in love with old silver forever and always have fun imagining where those old pieces could have been…I am a romantic, what can I say…the images in my head are pretty stunning… extremely handsome, elegant, well spoken gentlemen, walking around trying to capture the glance and imagination of breathtakingly beautiful women exquisitely dressed and coiffed ….everybody is having a wonderful time, conversations are interesting, intelligent and passionate and ….nobody is texting! The settings are old hotels with amazing architecture and furniture you only dream of and old mansions full of history and romance, the kind we rarely see anymore …. and of course, All this VERY unlikely to have ANY relationship with my silver pieces found at second hand stores, flea markets or state sales! No connection to reality whatsoever! … but hey! It is my imagination, right?! No need to be timid or frugal there… no budget restrains!
Coming back to reality I should say, I like freshly polished silver as well, occasionally I prepare a “special solution” to clean it, mostly around the holidays, you only have to line the sink with aluminum paper, fill it with hot water, add the non toxic ingredients I found on Pinterest and Voilà! Just submerge the pieces for a while and they all come out shining and reflecting light everywhere… brilliant! (Specially when I didn’t have to polish it!) Soon I will share the formula, it is like magic! I only want to make sure I know how to properly credit the source. Did I mention that I have an obsession with light? I need it bad, I love spaces filled with natural light and a great lighting plan, that is a must ! You can lose almost everything you’ve accomplished, design wise if you don’t have the right illumination….
Don’t you think silver pumpkins are gorgeous?! I do, they are just so pretty and elegant! It’s like they decided they didn’t want to be “loud” like their lovely, more common orange sisters! These grayish pumpkins are the snobs of the family along white ones! Orange ones are the happy eternal teenagers… Too bad the light didn’t help me here and the gorgeous gray pumpkin looks almost a shade of one of Pantone’s pastels for 2015…. I had yet to put a candle inside the orange goblet and it was and is bothering me immensely! Candlelight is so pretty, romantic and soft…. I find it flirty and happy! Few things can claim they can do for ambiance and mood what these little wonders do!….Contained fire…Do we even realized what we have with candles?! It literally is Contained Fire!!! anywhere we want them, whenever we want them! Awesome! Genius! Priceless! Brilliant! yes, very bright indeed, CANDLES bring magic to every space and make the ordinary look extraordinary!
That branch with the “caramel drops of Autumn” tilted the vase and went too low, wasn’t intentional… looks bad!
This is a small space so I should keep it simple… but Fall makes me feel warm and cozy inside and sometimes has me longing for the cluttered look of lived in spaces… I think it’s the same feeling we experiment during Fall and winter when we wrapped ourselves in soft blankets and cuddle in our favorite chair, sofa or bed (yes, more likely a bed..) and lose ourselves in a book or a movie, even a cheese one, a “chick” movie my boys used to call it … and then they watched it with me and even liked it! (Omg… those sweet memories … I’m not going to cry!)
I took a couple of things out to create some breathing space, what it’s called negative space, it is as important as all the stuff you want to display, your eyes should be able to rest and travel from one thing to the other with ease, there should be a nice flow and harmony among all the pieces in the composition, here it works because your eyes can take all in without being overwhelmed with too much clutter… almost!
– Not so much here though!
So… this is my mantel for the season, sometimes you should go with your impulse and if you like the result, if it makes you happy, then that’s the right one for you at that particular moment, if you get a pleasant feeling, go with it!
UPDATE -As the season progressed and the bright days of Fall got darker and bare, I felt the need to add color to the mantel and home to replace what we lost outside. Here are some pictures, that for some reason have better light than the previous ones that look so bad…
That poor pumpkin is dying!…. Hold on baby! Only a couple of weeks to go! You don’t want to be called rotten… do you?…
The leaves outside are almost gone… That makes me sad… everything is turning gray and dark so I needed to brighten up the mantel inside
And that makes me happy!
That was it, I didn’t mean to talk forever about so many different things…hopefully it doesn’t read that way…
I finished the front porch’s urn today. Perhaps I should have waited to finish the door’s wreath to post this but I’m not sure I am going to make one. The porch is kind of small and since I made the planter pretty big I don’t want it to look like too much for the space!
Have a great weekend and go somewhere you can admire nature’s ever changing colours….
As predicted I wasn’t happy with the end result, the problem is that having a small space and it feels crowded right away. Pictures were taken with my iPhone kind of late in the afternoon so I didn’t have much light to begin with. Today the branches I added from the field behind my house had started to wilt …. I had to take them out of the picture literally. I decided NOT to make a wreath for the front door this year. I went to the basement to find a simple one I could work with, adding real branches and stuff like that, you know, anything that looks and feels autumn, like pine cones, cinnamon sticks, fall foliage, olive branches…. only to realized I had donated most of the stuff to the local thrift stores…. what to do?… so it hit me. I don’t have to make everything just because I’m trying to write a blog, it is ok Not to want to work and just curl up with a book and a cup of cocoa and read! Sounds good, right? Sadly it only sounded good to me, I have homework to do, MATH homework… I hate math… but I have to do it…
Right then I decided it wasn’t bad to use a wreath I found from when my kids were little, who is going to say anything? and if so… who cares? Simple, keep it simple… that is something I have to remind myself sometimes… it isn’t that I don’t know it, it’s just that sometimes I feel that I have to do everything from scratch and now I don’t want to. And it is ok.
Here are some pictures of my simpler front door urn. I edited a lot and I feel more comfortable with it. My house is way too simple and small for the first one I made.
It is hard to let go of Summer’s long, sunny days, specially when here, in Wisconsin, Winters are so long and cold. Spring and Autumn are my absolute favorite seasons, sadly they never last long enough!
The flowers in my living room’s coffee table are still summer blooms and look as lovely as ever, but even though we are getting a few more beautiful sunny days here in this corner of the world, it is soon and almost suddenly going to change..
– These came from my backyard
For a peruvian girl like me, who gets the Winter Blues bad, it doesn’t help if those darker, colder, shorter days… would find me still with a few tired summer planters looking sad and old… this week I decided to take action and start my Autumn decorations even little by little so I won’t feel sad when the cold gloomier days arrive…
This year I will keep it very simple, there are no kids at home any more and I still get emotional thinking about it. It is a mixture of feelings, the sadness of letting go of spring’s fresh air, green grasses, soft rains and happy blooms … Summer’s long, bright, lazy days, full of bike rides, picnics, lake swims, bonfires, roasting marshmallows, making s’mores … my kids’ childhoods and teenage years! … and the wonder and excitement of this new season to come with all the beauty and discovery it brings! Gorgeous crisp, intensely colorful days full of magic, where you can walk endlessly admiring nature exploding on fire! So much passion… so powerful … Just like summer’s colossal thunderstorms! New lives starting for my boys and myself… I have to work on Not letting the tears obstruct the view of all the blessings around me and all the fantastic things to come….
Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring breaks and every special occasion just aquired a new brighter feeling about them and became more exciting and joyful than ever! The promise of the boys coming home makes everything wonderful and special! Now I can just enjoy them and NOT clean after them! at least I don’t mind it anymore! When they were still living at home, it was an absolute joy when my daughter and my two older boys, who live in Pennsylvania and Florida respectively at the time (everybody is moving now a days!) came home for the holidays, birthdays and graduations !!! We were crazy excited and overjoyed for days before it happened! but, being so far away made it difficult to make it home more often, therefore there were many sad moments and endless hours spent on the phone trying to fill in the blanks that their presence would have filled otherwise….
CHANGE … life sometimes doesn’t prepare us for THAT kind of change…. it’s wonderful, it’s good, it’s right… and like the seasons of the year and the seasons of our lives, IT’S ALWAYS GOING TO HAPPEN! All seasons have their own beauty and purpose and definitely they bring their own JOY… It’s just taking me a little bit longer to adjust….
Oh, yes! I was writing this to share my attempts to start my Fall decorations with my entrance urn and the two half whiskey barrels I have in the backyard, even though they are not finish yet! I still need to go find some branches to add!
– Dog not included!
It’s not even necessary to use flowers, sometimes a combination of plants with pretty leaves, grasses in different heights, colors and textures,( vegetables are a beautiful thing to use too!) and some gourds and pumpkins make a gorgeous combination for your planters.
– Added another pumpkin to the right side planter too and it’s looking a little better each time.
– Look at the subtle changes in colors and textures! Perfection! That Kale is beyond pretty, can’t get over the hues!
AUTUMN …. What a magical season! Everything feels calmer, kinder and softer. There is a quiet feeling of reflexion and introspection in the air and in our souls. Despite the crispiness in the air, there is a warmth inside of us that grows every day with anticipation… The leaves are falling, sign that all is going to be made anew again… what a promise!
PUMPKINS AND MUMS…
Home becomes once more the center of our lives, we grow closer to our families, we reconnect with our friends …. We feel more than ever the need of meaning and purpose in our lives … a nesting feeling comes back stronger than ever…. Books and blankets, boots, sweaters and scarves, go together perfectly with apple cider, hot cocoa, hearty soups and warm apple pies ….
There is a stillness in the air that reminds us of a time, when priorities were quite different and life made more sense!
We borrow nature’s colors to cover ourselves, inspired by the ever changing leaves of the Fall … we fill our homes with the intensity of Autumn and it’s jeweled and earthy palette and with the quietness and muted tones of golden fields of wheat or greyish heavy skies that often look like they are about to cry… we just don’t know why… Is it from sadness or joy?… or just to wash away our worries and doubts … I wonder…
Hoping to inspire you to fill your homes with the glow that these Legends of the Fall will cast into our homes and into our lives! After all change is always good, right? Change makes us grow because it challenges us.
SWEATERS AND MITTENS, CHICKENS AND KITTENS…
LONG WALKS WITH YOUR BEST FOUR LEGGED FRIEND, PRICELESS!
Pumpkin Soup with Sage and Bacon serves 4
2 T butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 lb. floury white potatoes 2 1/4c of pumpkin flesh, diced 2 3/4c vegetable soup 1c cream, not low fat 2 t freshly grated ginger 1/2 t lemon juice 1 pinch grated nutmeg salt and freshly ground pepper 4 sliced bacon, diced 5 fresh sage leaves 1 T extra virgin olive oil -Heat the butter in a large saucepan and fry the onion and garlic
-Add the potatoes and pumpkin, cook for a few minutes, stirring -Stir in the vegetable stock and cook for 25 minutes until the vegetables are soft -Puree all in a blender, return to pan and add the cream -Add a bit more stock if desired -Add the ginger, season with lemon juice, salt, pepper and nutmeg -Fry the bacon in small pan in the butter until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towel -Add the sage to the pan and fry for 30 seconds -Add the bacon and sage to the soup, drizzle with the olive oil and season with fresh pepper
FOUNDED THIS IN 5TH AND STATE BY DEBRA PHILLIPS, I still can’t figure it out how to link to other people’s websites or blogs. Sorry!
Deliziosa, dolce, gustosa, la vellutata di zucca è un ottimo primo piatto, ricco di vitamine e sapore. Questa portata si può facilmente personalizzare, a seconda dei gusti di ognuno, impreziosendola con dei Porcini, o ancora con formaggi come il Taleggio o il Pecorino, oppure optando per preparazioni più leggere e delicate con i porri, le patate, o lo zenzero. Oggi scopriamo una versione saporita: la vellutata di zucca e speck.