Monday, September 30, 2013

All Things 20

It's nearly October... that means fall is here and with it comes sweaters and knit blankets and mittens and scarves.  Currently I have two knit projects in the works; one is an alpaca wool scarf to match my gray wool pea coat, the second is a variegated brown and taupe cross front sweater.  I'm very excited to wear both.  Snugg-le-y!  

Whether you knit or crochet, or neither, or whether you purchase you knit goods prefabricated, here are a few soft and cozy ideas to spur you toward those chilly mornings and crisp evenings.

My first love of cooler weather is breaking out the soft, warm blankets.  It has been a number of years since I've crocheted, but I still love the feel of a soft yarn against cool skin.

There is nothing quite as wonderful a soft hand-made knit scarf and mittens :)  Mittens just make you want to wave at people.  They bring out the kid inside of all of us.

There are few things as comforting as a warm cup on a cool day.  Just makes you want to slow down.  Linger a while longer.  Little known fact: people who are given a warm cup to hold at parties find the people they are talking to, to be more trustworthy.  

If you are a knitter or a crocheter, you can create these little darlings in little to no time.  Last year I created several in a fireside evening.  You can purchase a sleeve of disposable coffee cups, wrap the cozy around the outside, and stash a $5.00 coffee gift card inside.  Makes a great gift. Don't forget to include a cute gift tag, "A little love to warm your heart."

Only By His Grace,


Friday, September 27, 2013

All Things 19

I did it.  I wore my boots.  That's right!  I did!  I know people are still running around in shorts and flip flops...but I wanted to wear my boots. And since I'm over 40, I can wear my boots if I want to.  Right?  Right!

Here are a few cute fall-inspired outfits for those of you looking forward to pulling out your fall wardrobe.

I am loving the navy dress with the mustard sweater!  This sweet little outfit can go from summer picnic to autumn hayride by changing out sandals for boots, and adding a quick sweater and scarf!  So

How cute is this?  What is more classic than jeans and a white shirt?  Again, toss on a sweater, a scarf and some boots and you're moving from summer right to autumn.  Warm and cozy.

So what makes this outfit so stinkin' cute?  The hints of green! The scarf and bag are just so fashionably cute, but add in the nail polish and it's over-the-top adorable.

Last, but not least, this has to be my favorite outfit I've seen this year.  The colors in the scarf and earrings are warm and autumnal, but also have a flair for the vibrant.   Personally, I would add taller boots, but this look is so cute I can hardly stand it.

What are your favorite fall fashions?  What's your go-to fall fashion accessory?

Only By His Grace,


Thursday, September 26, 2013

All Things 18

There is just something about Autumn...  Something about the chill in the air, the crisp clean air, the vibrant colors that sparks a feeling of being alive within us... It is like the last beautiful sunset before a long dark night... 

We walk a little slower...

We linger a little longer...

We snuggle in, we enjoy the change, we savor every last minute.

What do your fall plans include?

Only By His Grace,


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

All Things 17

I am so enamored by the color trends I'm seeing recently.  I love the emerald greens, the persimmons, the corals...but I'm especially crazy about teal.  It doesn't matter whether it's a deep, rich velvet teal or a soft, sea-foamy teal.  I love it.  Nearly every room of my house has incorporated teal in some form or fashion, now.  

This bluish color incorporates itself well into a winter blue and white scheme, but how can we incorporate such a summery color into an autumnal decorating scheme?  How can we extend the season of teal into the Fall?

Let's take a look, shall we?

Whether you're a knitter or not, this soft colorful knit throw just calls out to us to snuggle in for a cup of cinnamon tea, or a chapter or two in a good book.  This pattern amazes me, as a knitter.  But I believe a self-striping variegated yarn would make an equally stunning addition.

What makes this room Fall worthy?  I think the amber color of the fireplace build-out and draperies really transition this otherwise summery room right into fall.  The warm tones of the wood floor also work well to warm up the space.  Just imagine, if you will, what all those beautiful trees will look like in a few weeks.  That, my friends, is how you transition a summer room into an Autumn room.  Toss in the knit blanket we just talked about and you're well on your way to a warm autumn evening by the fire.

There are also easy ways to incorporate this beautiful teal color into your fall color scheme, without a lot of expense.  Temporary accents pack an equally decor-heavy punch when used in the right way.

Let's look at a couple of Autumn table settings that use teal - in a natural, and simple way.

When you take your yearly trip to the pumpkin patch or farmers market, pay attention to those off-color pumpkins and gourds.  Those white-ish varieties will often carry a blue green hue - one that is perfect for a teal themed fall table setting.

How about a few teal leaf bread plates?  These plates are slightly darker than the pale table cloth used in this setting.  These subtle addition bring life to this otherwise neutral table.  While you're thinking about you have a set, or pieces of grandma's china?  Could be the era it's from may have just the color you're looking for.  What a great way to pair the new with the old and give a loving nod to the traditions and memories of the past.

If, like me, you've become obsessed by this color trend, take a look around you at the accessories offered this year.  I'm sure you'll find a few that can be multi-purpose items that will carry you through fall, into the winter, and straight way into spring and summer.

Only By His Grace,


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

All Things 16

Can we just talk about pumpkins today?  There is something magical about a pumpkin lit up after dark. The twinkle of the candle's flicker... It just love that warm glow.  Something about it makes me feel welcome when I come up the walk and find a pumpkin waiting for me at the door.

Now, I love the pumpkin carving experience, really I do.  Each year I carve pumpkins with my kiddos.  We separate the seeds from the slimy pulp, lightly salt them and toast them in the oven.  Then, when the pumpkin seeds are toasted and cooled, we sit down to watch "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."  

I love a Halloween jack-o-lantern as much as the next  But my favorite, all time make me ooh-and-ahh are those artfully carved pumpkins that are more a work of art and a labor of love.

Here are a few I found from Ladies Home Journal, Country Living Magazine, and apartment therapy.

Enjoy...maybe get a little inspired.  

What pumpkin creations will you be making this fall?

Only By His Grace,


Monday, September 23, 2013

All Things 15

It's been so warm here - and not very much like Fall at all, but the evening temperatures are dropping, and the dew is growing heavy.  This week's evening temperatures are forecast to fall into the 40's.

I don't know about you, but that calls for an extra blanket on the bed and a warm pair of wooly socks for my tootsies.  

I have had my heart set on learning to knit socks.  I believe I have the skill...I just lack the time.  I fear by the time I completed a pair, I be too old to bend down and put them on my own feet.  sigh.....

My chilly little toes could wiggle and snuggle in these...

When the weather turns chilly and the evenings are cool, there is a comfort to a warm pair of snuggly wool socks.  There is something relaxing to just wrapping up in a warm blanket, tucking your feet up under you, sipping a cup of warm cider and diving into a good book...or movie...or board game with the kids.

The point is, Fall is the time of year for settling down from the hustle and bustle, taking a moment to breathe in the crisp clean air, and remind yourself what life is all about.

Only By His Grace,


Saturday, September 21, 2013

September 21...

Goodby summer.  Goodbye weekly lawn mowings.  Goodbye lemonade on the deck.  Goodbye wasps and stinging creatures that fly.  Goodbye 10:00 sunsets that keep me awake as I slumber in my bed.

Hello Fall!  Hello late sunrise and early sunsets.  Hello sweet pumpkin muffin candle.  Hello fall wreath for my door.  Hello mums.  Hello apple cider and hot cocoa by the fire.  Hello photo ops on the nature trail.

Hello sweaters and boots, scarves and mittens.  Hello warm winter stockings and denim jackets.  Hello fire place and candle light.  

Hello chili and stew.  Hello snugly afghans and wooly pillows.  Hello grandmas quilt for the bed.

It's been too long since I've seen you.  So happy you've stopped by again.  

Only By His Grace,


Friday, September 20, 2013

All Things 14

Who's ready for a field trip to the pumpkin patch?  We have one pumpkin patch we've been visiting now since my daughter took her first kindergarten field trip to the patch.  That was eight years ago, and it is now such a family tradition that we look forward to it each and every year.  

Our pumpkin patch has a hay bail tower for the kids to climb on, a corn maze, duck pond, pony rides.  There's a picnic tent with grilled hamburgers, hot dogs and corn on the cob.  But the real reason we go is for the pumpkins.  Those glorious, orange and white pumpkins.

What's better than driving up the gravel road seeing a beautiful display of bright, orange pumpkins?

There's usually a fantastic display at the farmer's market as well.  I love the offerings of fresh fruits, harvest vegetables, home made fruit butters and preserves.  It's enough to stop me in my tracks.

But the real thrill comes from walking through the patch, finding that one pumpkin you  know is the perfect one for you, taking out the knife and slicing though that prickly tough stem and carrying it home.

A day at the pumpkin patch...well, I can only think of a few things that get any better.  I'm not a pumpkin snob, but I must say...the white ones are my favorite.

Only By His Grace,


Thursday, September 19, 2013

All Things 13

We're coming down to the wire, aren't we now?  Just a few more days until the official first day of Autumn. I'm starting to see tinges of yellow in our back meadow, and I've been seeing reds and oranges popping up around town.  I'm getting very, very excited.

I love a nice, neat clutter-free home.  More so now than when my kids were smaller. Maybe they have less stuff, maybe they're better at picking up after themselves.  I don't know, but our home is pretty organized most of the time. But when Fall comes a'knockin'.... I get the desire to bring in all sorts of things...

As soon as I start lighting my fall scented candles and dreaming of the day I find apple cider at the supermarket, I begin my search for cinnamon pinecones.  I love to place them in a basket or galvanized bucket beside the fireplace.  Our fireplace is ventless gas, with no open screen, but the everlit pilot light gives off enough warmth to heat the pine cones and give off a wonderfully glorious fall scent.

I think this "vase filler" is the cutest idea yet.  I have a glass vase on my coffee table with a vanilla candle and loads of tiny sea shells from one of our beach adventures.  But in just a few weeks, I plan to find myself a small tree branch and cut it into one-ince pieces to use for filler for the fall season.  I'm loving this added touch of outdoors that will be reminiscent of our summer nights beside the fire pit.

Last on my list of autumn inspired ideas - and also on my list of things to accomplish -- are these recycled sweater pillows.  This week I will be scouring a few thrift shops for off white, cream, taupe, and pale teal sweaters to recreate this look.  

What are your favorite ways to warm up your autumn?

Only By His Grace,


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

All Things 12

I don't know about you, but Fall is very busy time of year for our family.  Cross country meets every weekend, church events on Sunday, school programs during the week... we sometimes meet ourselves coming and going.

What's a girl to do with such a busy schedule?  Work her wardrobe so that it works for her instead of against her, of course.

This outfit can easily go from a business casual day at the office to the school play simply by dropping the heals, adding the animal print flats and a denim jacket.  Presto - changeo!

I have to admit, I have seriously love this little outfit. The Navy blue dress paired with the natural brown in the shoes and belt are adorable.  Toss in the white and blue bag and chevron scarf and my heart goes pitty pat.

This outfit is ready for anything.  Of course, I'd have to toss an extra pair of ballet flats in my bag.  This ecru pencil skirt paired with a chambray shirt is ready for a day at work, a dinner date to follow, and will take you around town in the meantime to finish off a couple last-minute errands.  

Just because you're busy this fall, doesn't mean you can't look good while getting things done!

Only By His Grace,


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

All Things 11

I love fall decor.  After a hot summer where we spend our days cooling off in the pool, staying up late enjoying the evening on the deck or patio, there is just something about coming back indoors, settling into a soft sofa and snuggling up next to a warm fire.

Whether your home is decorated in a modern, traditional or rustic theme, there is a fall twist you can add to your home.

The orange, the sage green, the accents of walnut... it welcomes you into this home.  The sun may be shining through the window, but this family room is all about Fall.

Can I just say, "Yes. Please!"  This room amazes me. The pattern on the wing chairs, the pale teal trim work around the French doors, the walnut ladder-backed dining chairs, the black bamboo arm chairs, the modern persimmon sofas... Mmmmm. Mmmmm.

And if you lean toward a more rustic, casual look, this living room is for you.  From the big dough bowl of pine cones to the pine chest of drawers, to the orange leather club chair, this room is all about Fall.  Oh, the sofa and arm chair may be white, but this room is ready for fall.  A warming fire in the fireplace, a paisley throw on the arm of the sofa, the antlers on the wall... I'm ready to snuggle in with a good book and waste the night way.

Only By His Grace,


Monday, September 16, 2013

All Things 10

There is something reminiscent about the smell of Fall.  Smell, more than any other of the five senses, has the power to evoke fond memories from our past.  If that is case, why wouldn't we want to use the most comforting and relaxing scents to burn memories into our hearts? 

Cinnamon is a powerful smell that reminds us of warm apple cider, cinnamon pancakes and pumpkin pies.  One of my favorite fall tricks is to purchase a few highly scented sticks from a craft or dollar store and simmer then in a pot on the stove.  Welcome - Home!

Another great way to bring the scent of fall to your home is by making a quick pomander.  Simple press whole cloves into a fresh orange and your house will smell divine!  If you're feeling inspired and in awe, you can reach for the citrus peeler and get creative with the orange rind, first.  Either way you slice it (ahem) you will be infusing your house with wonderfully organic smells of the autumn season!

Only By His Grace,


Friday, September 13, 2013

All Things 9

When the weather turns cooler and the days grow shorter, home and hearth beckon to us to come on in, settle down, and linger at the dinner table for just a few more minutes together.

Once the weather gets a chill to it, we know it's time to pull out the crock pot, put in a roast and get ready for some good eatin'.  Is there anything any better than coming home after a long, tiring, cold, rainy day to a warm house that smells like home-cookin'?

One of my absolute favorites in green beans.  There is something absolutely autumnal about it for me.  Maybe it's because it was always a family staple at our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, but there is something about green beans that just says fall to me.  These look absolutely relish.  Sautéed green beans with toasted pecans?  Yes, Please!

 And what fall wouldn't be complete without a sweet potato pie?  I spied a few beautiful yams at the market last week... I think this meal is on my menu in the very. near. future!

Only By His Grace,


Thursday, September 12, 2013

All Things 8

Fall, more than any other season, I think, calls people out of doors.  There is something metaphorically beautiful and substantially peaceful about the idea of going dormant for a while -- and what better way than to go out in a blaze of glory?

Today's stop on our Fall Color Tour speaks to that desire to get outside and enjoy the season.  So load up the car with a wool blanket, your hiking boots, a picnic and take to the open road...

Whether you're a city girl or a country boy, grew up on a farm or in the concrete jungle, there is something soothing about taking a leisurely drive down a country lane or dirt road to a find secluded picnic spot. 

State parks are wonderful places to find a day hike, an short walk to a waterfall, or beautiful landscape by which to open a picnic basket, enjoy some apple cider  or pumpkin spice coffee and breathe in the crisp fall air.

Places such as this water wheel mill aren't as unusual as you may think.  A quick google or bing search for day hikes in your local area may turn up more treasure troves than you ever dreamed.  I recently found a whole "village" within an hour's drive of our hometown.

How about a bike ride?  Come long has it been?  Remember the feel of the wind in your hair, the freedom of the open road.  State and local parks are wonderful areas to ride during the fall.  You don't have to go just have to go.

This, I believe is the epitome of a gorgeous fall hike.  It reminds me of so many we've taken in the Great Smokey Mountains and in the nature conservatory beside our neighborhood. 

I don't know if I've ever told you, but our subdivision backs up to a nature conservatory.  There are hikes and bike trails, farm animals to feed, historical building to visit and tour.  It's spectacular in the fall.  As soon as I see the first yellow leaf out my kitchen window I start planning a day trip.  We pack a picnic basket, a few water bottles, I load up my camera and we go.  We take apple slices for the horses and the mules (Taco and Salsa) and we take stale bread for the cows and goats.  Oh, and there is a barn cat that just simply can't be ignored...he won't let you.  

I can't wait for the first cool day of autumn so we can walk over to the Black Acre and enjoy a beautiful day of hiking and nature.

Where are your favorite local haunts this time of year?

Only By His Grace,


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