The Joy of Giving. This year more than ever, I hope that it is a time of giving and showing compassion. We can never really know what the next few years may hold for us, but we do know that when we open our hearts and give, it makes us feel wonderful too.
It becomes a bit of a countdown this time of year, finding the last gifts, wrapping presents, planning meals or trips. Maybe you research charities for a lovely end of the year gift where it is needed.
Whenever I see lots of presents all wrapped up, it makes me think of what a great time of the year it is to remember some of the best charities who depend on us to help them do their work.
Please consider checking Charity Navigator to see how a particular charity spends the money that is donated. You can check to see how the CEO of the organization is paid and if they are paying a good portion of the donations to professional fundraiser companies. Both are red flags that may make you give you money to a more worthy charity. Sometimes it might surprise you to see exactly where your money goes. Just because a group calls themselves a charity doesn't mean that they really are doing much charity work at all.
Most people who do the research will also tell you to look in your own home town, maybe first. The cancer centers, or centers for women and children in your area may have more need than the ones you see on TV all the time and may well make better use of your money and gifts. There are homeless shelters, pet rescue groups, charities that take care of those in need everyday, right where we live.
Fall is loved for its beautiful colors and it is just as wonderful to enjoy those same colors inside your home as well. You can use real and fresh leaves (as in the vase above) or dried magnolia leaves, with their rich color combination of copper and green for the perfect look and colors of Fall. If you use the preserved leaves, you can carry that element into the next season too. Almost everything in the vase is from nature - dried flowers, leaves and feathers along with only a few faux leaves here and there to fill it out. So depending on where you live, you might find everything you need for a pretty arrangement right outside your door!
Previously I have shown you the magnolia leaf candle wrapped with the leaves all facing on the copper side, and also with the with the copper alternating with green. You gather from Nature and your garden to create a simple, or even more elaborate arrangement than this one. Here I used the candle in a white concrete garden container. It was filled with a floral foam so I could easily stick the leaves, berries and picks into it. It was covered with moss so you can't see the foam. The pumpkins can be painted with either flat white paint, or chalk paint.
The candle arrangement is on the dining table, but it can easily be moved to your coffee table when it's time to get the table ready for a dinner.
For the entry table it was simple to remove all the Halloween related elements and keep everything that felt like Fall. The antique books and rusty lock are a wonderful balance of autumn colors against the shiny silver and the white pumpkins. The pumpkins are a mixed of painted, mercury glass, and velvet ones, giving you a nice range of textures to add more interest.
Black and White for Halloween, Elegant and Whimsical.
As the cooler Fall weather finally reaches us, I usually get a burst of energy and a desire to get some projects done. This year we have been hard at work for a couple of months already. So it feels more like time to sit back with a good book or great movie. Although I'm not doing as much Halloween decorating this year, I have noticed there is no need to add pretend spider webs or dust to make things look scary. It feels like a layer of dust is on everything!
We're working on the den/family room. We found some damage in there, and I thought we should tear somethings apart before hiring anyone, so we would know exactly what we were going to be dealing with. Like the ol' days, it turned out to be the first step in just doing the work ourselves, even though I swore those days were gone. After the demolition, things have gone very well, slowly without rush, just getting it done. We have a lot to do yet. Somehow "re"modeling and working around older construction always takes twice as much effort and time.
Now if I can just get a magic broom to go sweep up the dust bunnies, I think I could continue reading a good book and enjoy the show. I hope you are all enjoying your season of Autumn.
Those silly crows certainly enjoy a Halloween gathering. Give them a few minutes to roam freely and they are all dressed up with hats and collars, too. I think they are imitating the art of my little witch Izabella decked out in a snazzy black hat! For the entry table, I made a tall pumpkin topiary with white pumpkins and a more traditional orange one in the center. This way I can have some Fall color by leaving it as is when Halloween is done.
On the mantel is another (faux - foam) pumpkin painted with Annie Sloan Chalk paint. Why? I just like the way the paint looks, it covers over orange very well, and I already had it on hand. Another crow with her party hat a few spiders, and a mercury glass gourd makes a fun arrangement.
A sister crow sits on top of a small rattan chest along with a beautiful antique vellum book and a sweet little plush velvet pumpkin with a paper clay stem.
DIY Ideas in the post for you to try:
1. Painted foam pumpkins. Any good paint will work. You might have to use one with a primer in it to cover up the really strong orange ones. But if you have some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, it works very well.
2. Make some little hats and collars for your crows. Really simple to do, the hats are just a cone and a circle of black construction paper. Cut a hole in the center of the circle and attach to the cone.
For a quick collar, you can use a cupcake paper liner or weave a wire through some vintage (or new) lace and make a circle out of it. Or you can use wired ribbon, cut off one side, and pull the wire on the other side to gather it into a circle to put around the neck.
I love the fact that so many people still find fun and joy in Halloween.
The days seem to have suddenly grown shorter, even though the cooler
weather hasn't found us yet. It will soon
enough, so there is no
complaining here. I am sure that Halloween will still be lot of black
white for me, and the Mercury glass pumpkins and the velvet pumpkins are still favorites.
Beau Bunny and his friends are decked out in Halloween attire in the
shop and available now.
Emily Grace likes to pose with her sweet black
kitty and Raven, too.
Fall is my favorite time to fluff the nest! The shorter days means less daylight to work on projects, the cooler temperatures sure help. So let's get painting!
I'm sure the shop owners shop owners and workers were laughing as we walked out the door with the old frames. The frames looked really bad and didn't give much hope of looking better any time soon. The sellers must have thought what a stroke of luck to find anyone who would actually pay money for that old junk. But their junk was a perfect find for me.
This one was actually in two pieces. The inside needed to be reattached to the outside molding. And some of the original carving was missing. It was certainly past its prime in life. It made me so want to make it look good again. Here's how work with different colors and using a wet distressing technique.
The velvet pumpkins are such a pretty addition to your Fall and Halloween décor. You can certainly have them out from September through Thanksgiving. One of the nicest ways to finish them is by adding a real pumpkin stem which adds a touch of realism and rustic charm. You can save them from your own pumpkins each year, or use ones you found at the market maybe. It is so interesting to see how many different shapes the stems take on while growing.
Sometimes you might need a certain size or a more whimsical look than you might have saved. I had one pumpkin stem that was my favorite, but it was too large for
this little velvet pumpkin. So I used the real stem as inspiration for making one the right size.. This one is
made of an air dry clay. It will say "air dry" on the package. Sometimes it might be paper clay, but there are other kinds as well. The one shown here is a paper clay type. It is very easy to use, and you can keep it from drying
out by when you store it for longer periods of time by keeping a damp paper towel in a plastic bag with it.
Update: May 2016
The urn was painted 4 years ago. It has been on a covered step/porch area
out of the direct elements of sun, wind, etc., but it has also been outside with my other pots for months at a time. It looks exactly like it did when it was first done. The only changes have been keeping the plants to a nice size. Even succulents can get quite large. The aloe grew a lot and was cut back and some put in the ground or in other pots. The other succulents have been clipped as need, but all did very well. It is now about time to replant the whole thing, but it lasted for a few years with very little attention. The urn itself is doing a bit more aging with the rain and humidity, but the paint has held up very nicely.
After going without rain for some time and spending so much time watering to keep all the pretties alive, we had a few days of non-stop rain. Another downpour early this morning, before the plants could dry out even a little from the last few days. Mother Nature teaches us patience or why it's good to buy plants where there is a one year guarantee.
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