Fall front porch 2014

It took forever to pull this porch together for fall. Southern Florida doesn’t seem to be the best place to locate hay stacks and pumpkin patches are all but non-existent. We did find a small hydroponic farm where we bought all our small pie pumpkins. The big one we bought at Walmart!

The other challenge is, of course, the double doors. I had a pumpkin wreath from last year that I love, so I did my best to create another one for the other door. Happily, Hobby Lobby still had all the same kinds of materials and everything was 40% off.

Front porch for fall

I’m happy with how it all turned out. The mums were only $2.77 a piece which is nice because I don’t generally have great luck with them. I’m hoping I can keep them alive through Thanksgiving! The rug I went searching for on purpose. I thought I’d find something at IKEA and I did. But I didn’t want to pay $30 right now. I found the small tan rug at Old Time Pottery for $11.97. Old Time Pottery was fun, but I miss the Christmas Tree Shops in Albany!

Fall porch left

Fall porch left 2

Scarecrow close up

I found the cute little scarecrow at a church yard sale years ago for $1.50. I always smile when I pull him out.

The little yellow mum looks a bit — sparse. To be honest, it looked a little sparse when I got it but I hoped the blossoms would all bloom and it would be nice and full. Then one of the kids accidentally stepped on it in the car on the way home and broke off FIVE blooms! Oh well. It still gives the little pop of bright color I wanted. And let’s be honest. In my home, plants don’t have a long lifespan anyway.

Do you decorate your porch for fall? Before I started blogging, I never did anything except throw an old wreath on the front door. I made a wreath about 18 years ago by wrapping a string of fake leaves around a wreath frame and sticking on maybe five little pumpkins with hot glue. I used it for the next 15 years! I’ll admit. That was cheaper than what I do now. But I love coming home to a nicely decorated porch. It’s worth a few bucks to me.

This week’s plan of action

This week is about little projects. I don’t want to spend too much time or money on things this week with Friday being Halloween. Here’s the plan:

  • Post photos of the front porch (yes, I actually finished it!)
  • Make a scrappy pumpkin like the one posted on The Turquoise Home
  • Make some inexpensive fall artwork with acrylic paint and scrapbook paper
  • Re-do a craft for the master bedroom that went awry
  • Take lots of pictures of the kids on Halloween!

Short and sweet but that’s how some weeks go! What’s your plan for this week?

A little more fall decorating plus something fun for the kids

I think I’m finally finished with the decorating! I’ve got a couple of things I want to make to add to the decor, but I’m essentially done. Yay!

I got a little too detailed about the kitchen and got in “super clean mode” before decorating. Which, in retrospect, is a little silly because I don’t do much decorating in the kitchen. I like to keep the counters pretty sparse. But hey, at least I have a really clean kitchen. And I’ve kept it really clean for four whole days!!

kitchen fall 1

kitchen fall 2

cookie jars

top of supply closet

The other bigger was the bookshelf in the living room. I’ve been eyeballing that shelf for months in it’s cluttered, disorganized state. One day last week I decided I had had it and I took everything off. I told the kids they could choose five movies each to keep out and the rest were going in storage. I was sick of looking at a whole entire bookshelf full of movies when the only time we turn on the TV, we watch Netflix!

bookcase mess

Then I got busy and couldn’t get the bookshelf the way I wanted it. I boxed up the extra movies and put the keepers back on the shelf. Dd6 put a bunch of fall decor on the shelves but none of us had time to really “style” it until a couple of days ago. It sat like this for too many days:

bookcase not styled

We invited a new church member to our home for lunch on Sunday afternoon. Just the incentive I needed to make that bookcase look a little nicer.

living room bookcase

The front porch I’ll share next week. I’ve had a lot of trouble pulling it together. Hay stacks were nearly impossible to find! Then there was an accident with one of the mums. It’s still hanging out in the sunshine trying to recover before I take pictures.

While I was puttering around with the fall decor, the kids were pouring over a rainy day activities book and begged me to make a stuffed cat. I had picked up a Halloween fabric remnant at Hobby Lobby last week for $1.40 and decided it was perfect. We actually made three cats.

three cats

The kids were thrilled.

three kids three cats

It’s been a great week. I loved that we weren’t overloaded with activities. And I tried not to squeeze in too much DIY. Although I love it, I took time to play with my camera in my free time this week. The little kids were perfect models. The teen boys — not so much. They have promised to be sweet this weekend and let me get a family shot with the hay stack and pumpkins I finally found! If I get a decent shot, I’ll share it. In fact, I’ll probably share even if I don’t get a decent shot. ha ha

Have a great weekend everyone!

This week’s plan of action

How was your weekend? We had a very busy one following a busy week with my husband out of town for three days. This week, believe it or not, looks kinda normal! The only “extra” in the schedule is a spaghetti supper at the church one night. I even signed up to bring store bought rolls to the supper knowing I needed an easier week this week. Here’s the plan:

  • Photograph the remainder of the fall decorating inside the house. There isn’t much, but there are a couple of areas I finished over the weekend.
  • Finish the front porch
  • Do something with those frames I bought at the yard sale!
  • Paint one of my plain bar stools with milk paint

On the home front I mainly just want to keep the house maintained, catch up on laundry and do some massive grocery shopping. We had a guest for lunch yesterday so the house is looking pretty nice. Hoping to keep it that way!

I’d also like to get our Christmas card picture taken. I can’t believe it’s already October 20th! How did that happen?!?! I’m not sure what I want to do for the picture this year. Last year was our first Christmas in Florida and we did a beach picture. I’m toying with the idea of getting a remote for my camera so Mom and Dad can get in the picture, too. We might do the beach again, or maybe somewhere with lots of Spanish moss.

Any big plans at your house this week?

Mini fall home tour

I’ve been promising a fall home tour for a couple of weeks now. I almost made an excuse again and posted about something else, but why don’t I just give a mini tour instead? My husband has been out of town this week. In my naive little mind, I thought I could do all the school, all the school activities, all the cooking, all the grocery shopping, shopping for extra things we need, take a field trip to a pumpkin patch, AND get the house ready for a photo tour on the blog. You now what really happened, right? I pulled off most everything but the house went to pot. Thankfully, I’ve been photographing little areas as I decorated over the past few weeks, so I can show you some things!

We’ll skip over the front porch for now and call it a work in progress. I moved the white bench into the foyer and set up the pillow vignette similar to what I did last year in New York:

Fall pillow vignette 2014

Pillow vingette 2

My ceramic jack-o-lantern from my oldest sister found a home on the antique desk in the foyer:

antique desk close up

It sits on a Halloween doily I made decades ago and is flanked by two witches pot tea-candle holders.

antique desk close up

Walking into the music room, I used my piano as a mantle since I have no fireplace in this house.

piano mantel

There was no real method to arranging things. I put a bunch of stuff on the piano and added or deleted until it looked right.

piano mantel left

piano mantel right

I’ve only managed one little area so far in the living room. I made the burlap pumpkins last year using this tutorial.

burlap pumpkins vignette

Finally, I’ve set up one area in the kitchen with the new to me scale I found over the weekend. (I told you you’d see it again!)

Cookbook corner

Cookbook corner2

There are no fall leaves to speak of in Florida right now, so I clipped some lantana out of the front flower bed. At least it’s fall colors! Unfortunately, I forgot to add water to my pitcher and it was dead the next morning.

Cookbook corner3

I probably won’t do too much more fall decorating. I hope to add a few more real pumpkins around the house, do a little more in the kitchen, and work on the front flower beds and front porch.

What about you? Do you do any decorating for fall? After blogging for over a year, I’ve realized I must like fall decorating more than any other season except Christmas. Something about the smell of pumpkin bread baking in the oven puts me in the mood to spread around some orange and yellow and brown!

Why I love my burlap wreath

My husband isn’t crazy about burlap. I’m happy he endures a little of it for my sake. I admit, it does smell a little yucky, but I love with the natural earthy element of burlap. Plus, it’s versatility can’t be beat.

I made this plain burlap wreath about a year ago:

burlap wreath plain

I added some apples and instantly had a fall wreath:

burlap wreath close up

Around Valentine’s Day, I took the apples off and replaced them with some glitter hearts I found attached to some fake flowers at Dollar Tree. In about five minutes, I had a classy Valentine’s Wreath:

valentine burlap wreath

This week as I’ve been adding fall decor to the house, I decided to change it up again. I thought about adding some fake spiders and making a spooky Halloween wreath, but I’m not really into the scary decor — I let my kids take care of that. I’m more of a harvest decorator and I like to keep fall decorating simple.

I happened to find myself in Hobby Lobby the other day. One of the benefits of driving an hour and a half to Tae Kwon Do class twice a month is that it’s near good ole Hob Lob. I was actually there to pick up yarn for dd12, but picked up some black tulle and this letter “B” while I was browsing:

Plain letter B

After a little black spray paint that I had on hand, the “B” looked a lot snazzier:

Spray painted B

I hung it from the back of the wreath with some thin black ribbon and added a bow at the bottom with the tulle. It doesn’t scream fall or Halloween, but it blends nicely with the other decor:

B wreath

What are your thoughts about burlap? Do you love it or not so much?

Yard Sale Finds

Our church had it’s annual yard sale this past Saturday. I might have spent less, except that I was looking at the items for sale all day long (plus a couple of days helping prepare). And donating to the church can’t be a bad thing. Here’s what I scored:

Even after almost a year in this house, I’ve got several blank walls. I picked up a few frames to remedy that situation plus spruce up dh’s office at work, too:


The night before the sale, I grabbed this vintage kitchen scale. I can’t pass up a scale! You’ll see it again in the fall tour later this week.

Kitchen scale

My bake sale was almost directly across from the jewelry table. I don’t look often at jewelry at yard sales because it’s generally a tangled mess. Not at our yard sale! Our jewelry table was laid out like a boutique. I snagged a couple of necklaces for $2 each:


Following church the next day, we had an “after the sale sale.” I picked up a panda beanie baby for my panda collector, this Soda Stream for dh to have in his office:

Soda Stream

and this pair of solid wood ottomans:


I’m hoping to finally get my feet wet with re-upholstery on something safe like an ottoman. I’ll still have to make my own trim, but I’m hoping someone from church with a zipper foot attachment will teach me how to do it. I’ve already got a vision in my head for these. Once that happens, I can usually get motivated!

Finally, I was gifted with this solid wood night stand that did not sell:

Missing drawer table

Missing drawer table 2

It’s missing the top drawer, but I’m hoping to find a basket that will fit perfectly. I’m planning to try some milk paint on this piece since it was a freebie and I need to practice with milk paint. I’m picturing it in black with some distressing to let the brown peek through and match the basket. What do you think? What would you do with a piece missing a drawer?

This week’s plan of action

Happy Monday, everyone. Hope you had a great weekend! Did you get a lot accomplished on your list last week? On the non-blog related list, I did get the boys’ hair cut before picture day. Ds16 even gave the photographer a great smile! I baked for the yard sale every chance I got and I’m happy to report it was a great success! Several other ladies contributed baked goods as well and we all had a great time hanging out all day Saturday.

Bake sale

There was a glitch in our advertising and we had no customers for the first hour which was more than a little scary given the work that was put in to pull it off. The guys jumped in and helped make some huge signs and bought balloons and by 9:30 a.m., we were booming. I was so impressed with the organization at that sale. Every single item was priced and categorized. If you showed up looking for retro items, kitchen items, children’s shoes, whatever, you could see immediately where to go. It was awesome!

yard sale 1

Here is this week’s list:

  • Cut dh’s hair
  • Tae Kwon Do on Tuesday
  • Ballet Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
  • Visit a pumpkin patch
  • Monthly grocery shopping


On the blog side of life, last week’s list looked like this:

  • Clean the house really well including all hot spots.
  • Place all fall decor
  • Photograph a fall house tour
  • Attend a holiday open house at Robyn Story Designs.

I’m happy to report that at least some of this got done. As I mentioned last week, the kids and I took most of Monday off to catch up on housework. We did do a little science (and my 16 year old went to work with dad as he felt he couldn’t afford the time off) and we counted the housework as home ec, so the day wasn’t a total loss. Also, we won’t take all of today off (Columbus Day) to make up for last week. We got a ton accomplished and the house feels so much better! I seriously cannot function when it’s too messy.

I placed most of the fall decor but still need to tweak the living room and work on the kitchen. I took pictures of the other parts of the house so photography for the fall tour is about half done.

I made it to the holiday open house at Robyn Story Designs. It was tough to squeeze it in but I’m so glad we did! We had such an enjoyable time and I can’t wait to go back with a little more money in my pocket. It almost felt surreal to see a Miss Mustard Seed milk paint display!

Robyn Story Designs

If you missed it, you can see tons of pictures from the open house here.

On to the blog to do list for this week:

  • Finish fall decorating and photography
  • Post fall home tour
  • Practice photography skills
  • Share what I scored at the church yard sale
  • Prep a small end table for painting

I think that’s probably enough for one week. What about you? Are you hitting the busy time of year?

Robyn Story Designs

Robyn Story Designs

Today I had the privilege of attending the Holiday Open House at Robyn Story Designs in Tampa, Florida. When we were still living in New York, I decided to try Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint and ordered samples from Robyn Story Designs. I had no idea at the time that I would soon be moving to Florida!

The open house was a feast for the eyes even before you entered the store.

Large scale

I asked upon arriving if it would be OK to take pictures. The lady I asked graciously said yes and thanked me for asking. There were so many wonderful things to look at it was hard to know where to start!

RSD open house 1


RSD open house 2

RSD open house 3

RSD open house 10

The kids were fascinated with all the little Santas tucked away in every corner.

RSD open house 4

RSD open house 5

Santa ornament on the tree

Santa ornament

Dh found an adorable little owl ornament…

owl ornament

And he gave a pair of masculine lamps a big “thumps up”!

Thumbs up

The store is much bigger than it looks from the outside. There were rooms upon rooms filled with treasures. As we rounded one corner, I spotted some Annie Sloan chalk paint.

Chalk paint

Chalk paint 2

I knew we were getting close to one of the main reasons I wanted to visit — Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint!! The displays did not disappoint!

RSD open house 8

RSD open house 9

They even had a cow head.

Milk paint display

MMS milk paint display 2

The family wasn’t quite as enthralled with the milk paint display as I was, so I had to tear myself away and walk into the next room. Again, the entire store was filled with wonderful ideas and designs and you had to remind yourself to look everywhere — even up!

Santa in the moon

look up


flowers 2


knobs up close


I enjoyed seeing design books displayed on many of the shelves:

RSD open house 7

RSD open 6

One whole room was laid out with edible treats of all kinds for the guests:

food buffet

All of the staff were lovely. I thought I might get some sideways glances or nervous looks walking through with my whole crew, but everyone made us feel perfectly at home. We were asked several times if we had enough to eat and drink and the children were complimented on their nice manners.

Thank you, Robyn Story Designs, for a beautiful and inspirational afternoon.

The Holiday Open House at Robyn Story Designs continues on Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

This week’s plan of action

The “plan of action” jargon seemed to work for me last week so I’ll keep it up for now. Until it doesn’t work. It’s late Tuesday night so I don’t have a whole lot of week left for action, but it definitely helps keep me on track to announce to blogland what I’m planning to do. This week is going to have more family/church stuff in it than furniture and decorating. I’ll squeeze in what I can, but I’m not going to stress about it.

The non blog related list:

  • Hair cuts for the boys – school picture day is Friday (homeschoolers have picture day, too — if they want to participate)
  • Ballet on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings
  • Help with church yard sale prep on Wednesday afternoon
  • Bake lots for the church bake sale
  • Work the bake sale during the yard sale on Saturday morning

Blog related list:

  • Clean the house really well including all hot spots. This may not sound blog related, but I really cannot place fall decor on cluttered surfaces. :)
  • Place all fall decor
  • Photograph a fall house tour
  • Attend a holiday open house at Robyn Story Designs in Tampa. I’m SOOOOO excited about this one. They sell Miss Mustard Seed milk paint!

A tall order as usual but I’m already making headway on some of it. The kids and I took a home-ec day on Monday and got most of the housework done. Now if I can just keep it clean long enough to get all the decorations placed!

Have a great week everyone!