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Rather than re-decorating. . .

and given the need for less change once you have a man in your life,  I had to find smaller creative outlets.  So here are some of the projects The Girl and I embark on when the seasons change (or when I get a bug about something).


Fall Mason Jars


I purchased the Marmalade Potpouri from Strawberry Hollow for Fall, and used it place of the beach glass.  Beautiful glow and the added bonus of having the scent as well.  The glass jar covers work to keep the scent strong when not in use.  Found inexpensive cinnamon scented tea lites at a big box store and I keep those needle nose plyers handy. 

Time to change over the candles and the mantle garland.



The Flute Theory


Have you ever set a formal table with champagne flutes?  Neither have I.  For the most part, I use them as a pair with my hubby, or in large groups of friends standing at a cocktail party.  So, why buy eight of the same style when you can buy four pairs in different styles?  You could buy only one of a kind, but I have found that couples tend to choose the same pair and don’t mind if they get each others mixed up. Besides, it’s classier than those wine glass charms.  

I started doing this accidently, when I received a beautiful pair as a gift from friends when I first moved to CA.  By the time I left CA, I had made it my style to purchase two sets of flutes to commemorate an occasion,  giving one set to the commemoratee, and keeping one set for myself as a commemoration.  

Not to mention how much fun you can have shopping tag sales, antique shops, and consignment stores, which is where I have found the most interesting ones.  Here is the Fall lineup.  (Yes, of course I have them for different seasons, doesn't everyone?)


Barbara's Black Cats

See?  I told you they were simple.  Right before her big party, the Santa Ana Winds blew in.  At the time of publication, she was still looking for the cats ears in the garden.



Painted Black Pumpkin Cats

These were really very easy to do.  Just make sure you spray paint the pumpkins a few days in advance, and if you do two coats, give it time to dry.  We used Ultra Pro spray paint from Kimble Midwest, which you can order via their toll free number.

We used black felt cut into triangles and stick on rhinestones for the ears, orange grossgrain ribbon and stick on rhinestones fors the collars, and green glitter foam paper we found in the felt section, with more rhinestones for the eyes. 

Then we used florist tape to hold the pumpkins atop one another, hold the collars around the neck and to fix the eyes and ears to the heads.  The ears, eyes, collars and tails are easily removed for next year.

Without piercing the pumpkins themselves, no muss, no fuss, no fruitflies.  Grace took them home so they could keep her company since she had decided to pass out candy this year.  I'll bet they last until Christmas.



It's getting very Halloweenneee!

Chris cringes when he hears me say this.  In all fairness, I only say it on October 1st, as that is the official start of the Halloween season around our house.  That means Halloween Movies, Halloween Projects, Halloween Costumes, Fall Recipes, Fall Foliage, and Fires.

I hate carving pumpkins.  I've tried every gadget there is, and there is simply no way around the mess and the fruitflies.  So this year we decided to paint pumpkins instead.  And not those goofy clown-looking things from the grocery store.


We wanted Glamour!  We wanted Elegant!  We wanted Easy!  We wanted Cheap! 

We got three out of four.  Cheap they were not, but the good news is that the expensive craft supplies from Michaels are reusable, so there is definately an ROI for next year.   (See Black Painted Cats below)

After that, we raided my closet for a glamorous witch costume for The Girl.  Not very difficult as most of the clothing in most women's closets is black anyway.  Just add hat, broomstick and stripped socks.

So easy I had time to do my decorating inside and make Coq Au Vin for our favorite guests, Tom and Beth.


Mini Pumpkins: A quick little trick


I remember clearly thinking when I saw this in one of Ms. Stewart's magazines, "This can't be! What if it's a cruel joke?  What if it's a cash bar?"

It only had two items on the shopping list.  It only had one tool.  It only took five minutes.  But it was.  And it is this simple.


Mini pumpkins
Tea Lite Candles


Sharp paring knife


  • With the paring knife, carve a hole into the top of the mini pumpkin roughly the size of the tea lite candle.
  • Remove the top by it's stem.
  • Push the tea lite candle into the top of the pumpkin.  No need to carve out the inside as it holds the tea lite candle in place should you carve the hole too big.
  • Light.  Sorry about the fruitflies.




Nichols and Stone Rockers



Being the Queen of Rocking has its issues.  It started when I was a toddler, and someone (I’m pretty sure it was Rene, my fairy godmother), bought me a rocking horse.  I rocked it so hard, I tipped it over backwards, and my mother and father had to buy me a new one. 

Three rocking horses later, they said, “No more!” 

That didn’t stop me.  In the back seat of the car (my father thought the car was stalling), neighbors’ children’s rocking horses, and then eventually rocking chairs.

My mother bought my father a Lazy Boy recliner rocker one year for Christmas.  While it was his chair, for the most part, I commandeered it when he wasn’t around.  I rocked.  I rocked so hard, I broke the springs.  Lazy Boy sent new ones.  I broke those.  For almost 10 years, I broke the springs, and Lazy Boy sent new ones.  I think they had set up a regular shipment by the time the chair itself was ready to be retired.

After that, I spent the next few years coveting those dark, heavy pine rocking chairs that all my friends got with their new, heavy, dark pine, cannonball bedroom sets.   I wanted one so bad, but they were very expensive.  In the 70’s, a wooden rocking chair for $900 was a luxury I could not afford.

While I was out Antiquing several years ago, I happened upon one of those chairs.  At $150 dollars and in perfect condition, I snapped it up and brought it to my parent’s house.  I had two Brumby Porch Rockers (otherwise known as Kennedy Rockers) I had purchased just as the factory was going out of business, and they had gone with me from DC to CA.  But now I had a rocking chair in Connecticut. 

When I bought the house in Branford, one of the first pieces of furniture to get moved was the Pine Rocker.  It went right in front of the fireplace, and it got used.  So much so, that I would get chair envy whenever one of my guests dared to sit in it.  There was only one solution:  I needed another one.

I was on the hunt.  I had researched the chair itself (I turned it over, looked on the bottom and then Googled what I found, very extensive), and discovered it was made by the oldest furniture company in the United States, Nichols and Stone, out of Gardner, MA.  In fact, they still make rocking chairs, but not my precious pine version from the 70’s.

One afternoon I get a call from Chris (still dating at this point).

Him: “I think Grace and I found a rocking chair for you”

Me: “How much?”

Him:  “$20.00”

It was a perfect match.

After that, I became the Rocking Chair Hunter.  Every one of my guests who sat in that chair wanted one, and since then I have found four more, so if you think you are now going to find one, think again.