November 4, 2014

From Mid-Summer to Mid-Autumn - Whoosh!

Wow...once again, I'm lagging far behind in this blogging thing. The high-speed activity level of the year has continued unabated and I barely have time to think, let alone write, but I'm grabbing these few minutes to update a bit.

I'm limited these days to using the fireplace mantle as my outlet for creativity...there just hasn't been much time to do more in the house, so the mantle it is.  About six weeks ago, as the leaves were just starting to change here in the Northeast - I took the photo above at a lovely horse farm nearby at the height of peak fall color about 3 weeks ago - so I decked out the mantle for fall - well, actually for Halloween more precisely. I've managed to accumulate quite a few fall items that I carry forward from year-to-year, so it was a treat to break them out again even if I wanted the warm days to linger for a while. Fortunately, the warmer temperatures did linger, so I cannot complain. It has been a lovely autumn season and there are still many trees with brightly colored leaves, though the "peak" of the foliage display has passed.

So, for autumn/Halloween, I used some new pieces and some treasured items.

The centerpiece of my autumnal decor is that sweet pumpkin teapot. It's an exact replica of one that my late mother gave me about 20 years ago as a birthday gift, but, sadly, it was broken by one of my mischievous kitties (at my former home). I realized over the years that it was a special keepsake and I wanted to find another just like it, if I could. Well, don't you know, I did find one on eBay and at a reasonable price, so now it takes pride of place at the center of my mantle for the fall season.

The teapot is surrounded by some Halloween items I've had for a few years - none particularly costly - many picked up at local discount stores, thrift stores or church sales, but I just liked their style or feel. Most were less than a dollar.  The larger faux pumpkins/gourds I picked up last winter when my local K-Mart was closing. (Glad there's still another one about 15 miles away or I'd be very sad -- K-Mart is great for fun things like this -- sometimes they're a bit hokey and overdone, but easily re-made or minimized with a change of ribbon, etc. for a more elegant style.)  I also love the little metal votive candle holders with the cut-out pumpkins - they're a bit hard to make out in the photo, but so fun at night when illuminated!

For another inexpensive seasonal element, I cut out two sides of a six-pack carton of Blue Moon pumpkin ale. I'm not a big beeer drinker, but if I do have a pilsner on occasion, I like the fuller flavored brews like the richly flavored ales one finds at this time of year.  I thought the appealing graphic design of Blue Moon's pumpkin ale carton was very well done - and fun! -so there is one side of the carton adding a bit of bright blue contrast to the orange of the pumpkins. I found the little blue terra cotta jack-o-lantern votive holder at Goodwill a few years just spoke to me.

If you look closely, you'll see a small wooden black cat hanging ornament with an applied jack-o-lantern just to the left of the teapot spout. I think my mom gave me that one, too, for my birthday one year (November 1), so I gather she thought it was a cute combination of elements that would appeal to me, being a cat person, too. In the foreground is a charming small banner that I picked up at a delightful gift shop in Kinderhook, NY, several years ago that features beautifully hand-made primitive items. This banner consists of three sections of a stiff paper, faux-painted to mimic wood with a pinked edge and, cleverly hand-lettered with "The Witch is In" and "Halloween". The sections are strung together with heavy black thread and it's a hoot! 

I must confess Halloween, while fun for me as a child, has never really been my favorite celebration. As I've gotten older, I sometimes avoid the fray and go out for dinner - no more costume parties for me, thank you - but a commitment kept me at home this year, so the handful of trick-or-treaters I did greet wasn't much of a bother and, fortunately, I was prepared for them.  I just remind myself that it's always a fun tradition for the kids - especially the littlest ones - so I just rolled with it. It was fine.

Now that Halloween has past, I've put away those items and have started pulling out the Thanksgiving pieces, but before I get heavily into that celebration, I'm giving the mantle a bit of focus on just the fall season. I've replaced the pumpkin teapot with a fun new one that I just found recently that works perfectly.  I'll be posting images of the current mantle display soon, so stay tuned for that and the change-up to Thanksgiving. The holidays are rolling in fast and furiously now, so I promise it won't be long!