Thursday, October 8, 2015

Embracing Fall . . . Outside

Those who know me well, know that 'my' season is summer and that fall, while beautiful, makes me sad because I know it means winter is around the corner.  However, THIS year, I am committed to 'embracing' fall (we'll talk about winter later) and seeking to enjoy the beauty of it.  I am really working on being grateful for each day and not complaining about the things I don't like.  So in keeping with that theme, I began with outdoor decorations.  My first inspiration was this beautiful porch.  Now, I have looked and looked for the source of this photo to no avail so if you know where it originated, please let me know.  I love the fact that this porch made me see fall in a new 'light'. 
In my attempt to recreate this, I began gathering what I had and filling in with pumpkins, mums and gourds.
 The chair and stand were already on the porch from summer.  I added the mums in baskets I already had, threw a fall tablecloth onto the stand and added gourds.  The battery operated lamp was a Christmas lamp. I just replaced the Christmas greenery with a silk mum.
 I put plastic bowls in the baskets so I can water these without getting the chair or table wet.
I saw this cute idea of adding bows to the pumpkins at fynesdesigns .  I really like how it adds something 'extra' to a plain pumpkin. 
 Did you notice how shiny my pumpkins are? I did a little research on how to keep those pesky squirrels from eating your pumpkins and spraying with hairspray seemed to be the one that most recommended so that's what I did.  Day two  . . . so far, so good!
 This old minnow can was on the porch all summer as well with the white lights in it.  I simply put a metal bowl on top of the lights inside and plopped a mum plant in!
 I didn't have a cute metal gate or crib mattress frame but I DID have a few of these fence panels that a friend gave my hubby because he KNOWS how I like all this kind of 'stuff' and he just KNEW I'd find something to do with it!  I just added a little screw and hung the welcome sign on the fence panel and propped it against the wall.
 And finally, my favorite part, the grapevine and lights! Now this took some 'thinking' to come up with a way to hang the grapevine from the soffit.  I know there are siding clips you can buy but I opted for suction cups.  Of course, they wouldn't stick to the aluminum so what did I use to attach them?  E6000 of course!  I know some people are gasping that I glued suction cups to my siding but honestly, no one will see them and I plan to use them year round to decorate the porch.

 I found these at the Dollar Tree.  I removed the hook part because I wanted to feed wire (or in my case, twist ties) through the hole and wrap around the grapevine and lights to attach.
 I added a few leaf garlands (also from Dollar Tree) and so far, it's all staying in place.
 I'm really happy with how this turned out.  It will also transition easily into Christmas with some simple changes!  I am grateful for each day, grateful that I have a home to decorate, family to share the season with and so much more so again, I am working to embrace fall!  (I'll let you know if I'm as successful with winter!).

Monday, September 14, 2015

Baked Honey Berry Oatmeal

I'm really trying to "embrace" fall this year.  It always makes me sad because I know it means summer is over and winter is on the way.  As part of my "embracing" we went apple and berry picking this past Saturday.  It was a beautiful day out in the country and we came away with a bushel of beautiful apples and baskets of blackberries and raspberries.
 I found this wonderful recipe for Bake Honey Berry Oatmeal at Apple of My Eye's blog and thought I'd give it a try this morning. Since I have to be at work at 7:00 a.m., I prepared the dry ingredients and wet ingredients the night before so all I had to do was assemble and bake.  One note though, I did not melt the butter and add to wet ingredients the night before.  I thought it would solidify in the refrigerator so I melted it and added it before combining everything.
 This is what it looked like before baking.  I decided to save my blackberries for a dinner recipe so I used blueberries with the raspberries.
 The recipe says to bake 15-20 minutes.  Mine was not nearly baked by then so I actually baked it an ADDITIONAL 20 minutes so 40 total.  It came out fully cooked, bubbly and yummy looking!
 It was SO good that we each took a piece with us to work to enjoy for a mid-morning snack.  
 I've tried the "overnight" oatmeals and did not care for the consistency but this baked version is amazing!  The recipe says to serve hot OR cold.  I didn't think I'd like it cold but I did try it and yes, it is indeed good both ways!
 Embracing fall (and my handsome hubby) in the orchard (wink wink) 
So how are YOU embracing the season?  Are you like me -- sad to say goodbye to summer or are you an "all season" person?

Friday, September 4, 2015

Fence Board Art

 I love working with old, weathered wood.  Fence boards are a great medium for all kinds of projects! I have gotten several different types and widths all for free from friends, curbsides and freecycle.  This sign was made by attaching three boards side by side.  
I do most of these signs by painting the letters on.  I print them out on copy paper and trace onto the wood using graphite paper, then paint.
Usually I'll go over it all with final "light sanding" to distress a bit more.  My hubby came home the other day with a trunk load of fence boards that someone gave him!  
This sign was for my son and daughter-in-law's rehearsal dinner.  It was made from two pieces of old wood siding.
Using a different method for applying the image, I created these little boards to give away as favors at the rehearsal.
So keep your eyes open -- there are so many possibilities with fence boards!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

"Where Is the Ham?"

“Jehovah-Jireh” is one of the many different names of God that we see in the Old Testament. It literally means "The LORD will provide".   We see that this is the name Abraham used when God had called him to go up to Mt. Moriah and there, sacrifice his only son, Isaac as an offering to the Lord.
As they near the site, Isaac asks his father about the offering or sacrifice.  They have everything BUT the needed sacrifice so Isaac asks “Where is the lamb?” What is Abraham's response to his son's question?  “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son”. (Genesis 22:1-8)
So here's MY take on this . . . "Where is the ham?"
 In recent weeks, (as in many times during our married life) we found ourselves with way more "month at the end of the paycheck".  I'm a pretty frugal shopper to begin with but these past few weeks really presented some challenges.  Yesterday morning, as I was doing my grocery list and menu for the week (and looking for the cheapest meals I could come up with), my husband returned home from the men's breakfast at our church . . . carrying a 9X13 size pan full of . . . ham.  He said there was a lot left over and they insisted he take the bulk of it.  He almost refused it, but then took it.   THAT I said will be our meals for the week!!
I know that He provides . . . I just have to be reminded sometimes.  
So we didn't find our meals on a mountain, but God provided them to us in a different way.

Today . . . a ham and cheese quiche, tomorrow . . . Ham and white beans . . . then Ham and potatoes . . . 
Here are some of the great recipes I found in case YOU have an abundance of ham to use up!

Impossibly Easy Ham and Swiss Pie
(I used ham, broccoli and cheddar)

(My beans are canned so I'll just bake this in the oven)

Leftover Ham -n- Potato Casserole

How has God provided for you recently?  I'd love to hear your story!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Summer Mantle

Summer is my season -- I love everything about it including decorating my "mantle/nook" in my living room, to reflect my favorite place to be -- the beach.

Most of the shells came from our favorite spot -- St. Simons Island, Georgia.  We vacation there every year and hope to retire there some day.

 I kept a lot of the larger pieces the same (my vintage scale and books) and just added this cute string of seashell lights and a decorative fishing net.

 I draped the netting up onto the sconces and attached onto the old windows I have hanging on the wall to either side of the nook.
 The netting extends down to this basket I painted.  It's always filled with something to reflect the season.  The little birdhouse was a gift from our neighbors and is made of stained glass panels.  It's so pretty when it's lit up!

 This little picture actually has interchangeable sayings for the four seasons.  I made it by attaching a piece of metal to the base and the quote boards have little magnets so each piece snaps off and on. You can see how I did this on my post, "Four Season Art".
 Now isn't this the SWEETEST little nest?! I treasure this -- my girls found this on a walk years ago and brought it home to me.  There were no eggs in it of course but through the years I've collected Robin eggs from abandoned nests or found on walks in the woods.  I've had people ask, "Don't those eggs rot and stink?!".  Well, no.  None of mine have.  I didn't do anything with them to 'preserve' them and I've had most of these for several years now.  I wish I knew what kind of bird made this nest -- any ideas?  It's woven of extremely fine grasses -- no mud or sticks.  It's just lovely.
I always have a few 'anchor' pieces in my vignettes and then fill in with smaller, seasonal pieces and try to tie it all together with something like the fish net, or fabric, lace, etc.
 Now for a few shots I took yesterday of the butterflies on my phlox.  So lovely!

Not only popular with the butterflies but the bumblebees certainly were enjoying the flowers yesterday as well!  
 These flowers are so fragrant and have a fairly long growing period so my house is filled to the brim with them right now.  I hope you are enjoying the summer and soaking in all of this warmth and sunshine while you can (at least those of us up north are!).

Thursday, August 6, 2015

What A Way To Go Brownies

 Okay.  So if you are looking for a healthy, low-fat, non-life threatening dessert . . . close this post right now and move on.  If you are looking for a simply, to-die-for dessert . . . read on.  As you can see from the major ingredients above, this is NOT heart-healthy.  Now if you know me, you know that this is NOT my typical dessert -- I pretty much stick to quinoa, rice, beans, low-fat, low-cholesterol . . . blah, blah, blah.  But every once in awhile, I allow myself an unhealthy indulgence and these brownies fit the bill!
The original recipe was found on a delightful blog, "Deliciously Yum".  Kathi shared this recipe and she calls these Krispie Peanut Butter Cup Brownies.  You can click on the link to get the recipe. I followed her recipe exactly.  The only suggestion I have is that after they chill in the refrigerator, let them set out for about 10 minutes before cutting.  If you try cutting them straight out of the fridge, the rice krispie top tends to separate from the brownie part.  Once I let the sit out a bit, they held together just fine.
Is your mouth watering yet?? This made a 9X13 of these killer bars.  They were so thick and rich that I cut them into 1" squares.  The first plate went to the Women's Bible Study dessert fellowship and there were none left.  I had a second plate of them that went to work with me . . . gone.
As an added bonus, after removing the brownies from the baking dish, I scraped out all of this luscious goodness!  About a cup or more of the 'dregs' -- so I put it all in a ziplock bag and tossed it into the freezer.  I'm thinking this will be awesome as an ice cream topping (fat free ice cream, of course) or to go on top of angel food cake slices!
So eat like a bird for a few days, THEN, head on over to Kathi's site and make these brownies!

Linking to these parties this week . . .
The DIY Showoff (Monday)
I Should Be Mopping the Floor (Monday)
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday (Tuesday)
Cedar Hill Ranch The Scoop (Tuesday)

Ivy and Elephants (Wednesday)

The Thrifty Groove

The Feathered Nest (Friday)

The Charm of Home (Wednesday)

Simple Nature D├ęcor

French Country Cottage

The Enchanting Rose (Tuesday)