Fall Touches at My House

It goes without saying that I enjoy decorating – making my home personal and comfortable for my family and friends.  But over the years I have moved away from “holiday” decorating and more toward “seasonal decorating”.  I’ve gotten rid of most of my accumulation of things that are specific to any one  holiday — other than the Christmas tree ornaments of course!

My pared-down, simplified approach to seasonal decorating is to reflect a little of the colors from the outside, on the inside of my home.   Fall with all its beautiful hues of yellows, oranges, browns and reds, guided me to bring out accessories  that I have in those colors.

Here’s how I introduced some simple fall touches in my dining area.

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Starting with the mantle, I did a mix of things from nature – feathers, pinecones, indian corn and a few faux pumpkins and gourds.

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I added a few shiny pieces as well – a silver pedestal for the pumpkin, brass candle holders and the gold-framed picture – just so the composition didn’t get too dull and flat.

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The bittersweet is weaved in throughout to sort of tie things all together.  Incidentally, if you live in Mount Bethel, you can find bittersweet growing along the river between Mount Bethel and Portland.  Also, you’ll find it over by the Bangor Schools on School Road and Centerville Road.  Bittersweet is so beautiful. I love it for fall.

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For the table, I pulled out a rag rug  that I had.  I like using rugs on my farm table because they are wider and more textural than traditional table runners.  I wash them in my bathtub before using them.  A word of caution here –  old rag rugs are usually not color-fast.  I ruined a red one by washing it and it turned the fringe pink!

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If you like this idea, but can’t find a rug long enough, you can lay two rugs end to end and get the same effect.

The old dough bowl stays on the table year round.  It’s just sheet moss from the craft store laid over a bunch of packing peanuts.  I will add some pinecones to it in the winter and a few seashells in the summer.  Otherwise, it just stays as it is until I get tired of it!

I warmed up the two end chairs with some spiced color pillows, as well as a gold and yellow knitted pillow over by the fireplace.

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The knitted pillow was my first and last (I think) knitting project.  It was way too hard for a first ever knitting project but I was determined to finish it.  The pattern was from Country Home magazine about 10 years ago and it was designed to resemble the colors of old yellowware bowls.   My pillow is full of imperfections but from a distance it looks okay.

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 I brought out some amber color drinking glasses, my mismatched butterscotch bakelite flatware and some old blue plates that my parents collected over the years at yard sales.

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When my dad passed away , my mother divided up the collection and gave each of her three children a service for 16!  I like blue in combination with the traditional fall colors.  It’s a bit unexpected I think.  We are hosting Thanksgiving this year so all of these things will be used then.

What a gorgeous Fall season we are having.  Enjoy! Debra

 

 

 

Sweater Pumpkins

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At the beginning of October, Debra blogged about crafting with sweaters.  We’ve had so much fun creating these mini pumpkins out of old sweaters this past week! Yvonne over at the blog Stone Gable, has great instructions for making these sweet little things.  You can read her instructions here.  In addition to her instructions we also found it helpful to run some quilting thread or double thickness thread down the top, through the pumpkin and back up to the top again where we simply tied off.  This helped us control the shape of the pumpkin and allowed it to sit more securely without tipping over.

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We also found it helpful to trim off some of the stem before wrapping with wired paper twine (found in the floral section of most craft stores).  This took away  some of the bulk of the stem.  I love the way they turned out and I may use them this Thanksgiving for place cards that guests can take home with them.

I like the pumpkins plain, but if you want to embellish further, simply use your glue gun to attach a leaf (also cut out from an old sweater).

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This would be a great inexpensive craft night project or set up a craft table at Thanksgiving for your guests to make their own… keep them busy while that Turkey is baking!

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Happy Fall!

Elizabeth

French Mattress Style Cushion

I really like the look of french mattresses with all of the tufting and detail along the edges.. like this one from Country Living.

These mattresses are hand made in Texas by one man who fas been making them sense the 30's... Filled with cotton.....the edge is that way to maintain the shape,I think they are beautiful

Here’s some from Ballard’s:

Suzanne Kasler Signature 13oz Linen Farmhouse Cushion

And here are some other examples of french mattresses from Pinterest:

Driven By Décor: A French Mattress-Style Cushion for my Window Seat

A French Mattress-Style Cushion for my Window Seat

Because they are hand made, french mattress style cushions are very pricey.  I recently made a knockoff french mattress cushion for my  window seat.

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I found a great tutorial here at anoregoncottage.com.

DIY Tufted French Mattress Cushion {Ballard Catalog Knockoff}

Here’s my window seat before I made the cushion.

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I found a large piece of foam at a thrift store and while it wasn’t as thick as I wanted, the piece was large enough so that I could double it.   If you have really thick, dense foam, an electric kitchen knife works great for cutting it to size.  I put a little hot glue between the two layers just to keep them from slipping around when it was time to insert it into the cover.

In the past I have purchased foam locally at the American Ribbon Factory in Stroudsburg, PA.  I’ve also purchased it online where you can find many options for thickness and density.

My cushion isn’t nearly as thick or detailed as a real french mattress but overall I am pleased with the result.  Eventually, I think I will add a few more knots to make it a little more tufted.  This was an inexpensive but  labor intensive project.  Now I understand why real french mattresses are so pricey!

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Molasses Cookies (Gingerbread Men)

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I had so much fun leading a Food Demo for a  group staying at Tuscarora Inn and Conference Center yesterday.  Two of the recipes that I demonstrated are already on our blog. You can check out Homemade Granola here and Pumpkin Pie Cake here. The third recipe, Molasses Cookies, is another family favorite.   These cookies showed up in my lunch box often when I was a child.   I love this recipe because it calls for simple ingredients that I usually have around my home.  It’s also a great dough for making cut-out cookies at Christmas (or anytime!).  My son loves it when I make them into the shape of footballs and pipe white icing on for the laces.  We also package mini gingerbread men for Christmas gift giving.

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Ingredients:

3/4 cup shortening

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

3 tablespoons molasses

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 1/4 cup flour

Directions:

Mix above ingredients.  Roll out dough on floured surface and cut into shapes or roll into balls, coat with sugar and flatten.  Bake for approximately 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  Frost with Royal Icing if desired.

*note:  If using this recipe for cut-out cookies, chill the dough for a few hours before rolling.  This will make the dough much easier to work with.  The dough also freezes well so feel free to make ahead of time and store until you’re ready for baking and decorating.

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People love these happy mini gingerbread men and we enjoy giving them away at the Hope Craft Market the first weekend in December.  I know it’s early, but I like to at least start planning ahead for Christmas gift giving and homemade gifts from your kitchen are always welcome!

Or simply enjoy these cookies year round like we do.  You don’t need an excuse to enjoy these cookies!

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Elizabeth

Sweater Pillows, Candle Cozies and More!

With the weather turning cooler and the leaves changing color, our thoughts have turned to cozying up our homes for fall.  There’s nothing like wearing a soft, warm sweater for fall so why not incorporate them into your home decor?   Elizabeth and I have enjoyed upcycling old sweaters that we find at thrift shops, rummage sales and even in our own closets.

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For pillows, we start by cutting the sleeves and turtleneck off (if there is one)  and then cutting the remaining sweater into a standard size pillow (18 inch, 20 inch, 12×16 inch) .

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The larger the sweater, the larger the pillow so a men’s XL or XXL sweater  is great for this purpose.  To make a  sweater pillow you simply sew up 3 1/2 sides, and  leave an opening to insert a pillow form.  Sometimes you can use the existing side seams and just sew across the top and partially across the bottom. We finish the edges with a zigzag stitch to minimize fraying and then turn the pillow cover right side  out.  We insert a pillow form and then hand sew the opening. Lately, we have been adding a zipper so that the cover is removable for cleaning.

Here’s a few that are presently in our Etsy store:

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If a sweater already has buttons or a zipper up the front, you can actually incorporate it right into your pillow cover, like we did with this one:

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 and this one which had a zipper up the front:

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Sometimes we combine a sweater with a different fabric for the reverse side. Here’s one that is a combination of a green wool sweater on one side, and navy wide wale corduroy from a men’s shirt on the reverse side … two looks in one pillow!

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No piece goes to waste and that includes the sweater sleeves. These look great slipped over a vase or candle cylinder.  Just cut the sleeves to the appropriate  and hem the bottom raw edge either by hand or machine. Actually, I’ve been known to just leave the cut edge unfinished when it is for use in my own home!  You can also use the neck of the sweater for a shorter vase.  So simple.

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 Here’s some we did that have a beachy look by using a cotton open weave sweater…so pretty with the candlelight peaking through:

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The sweater scraps get turned into flowers that can be pinned on to existing pillows to embellish them for fall.  Lately, we’ve been experimenting with making larger ones for greater impact on a large pillow.

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We showed how to make sweater flowers here.

And check out these adorable sweater pumpkins made from sleeves from StoneGableblog.com!  I am anxious to try this.

StoneGable: SWEATER PUMPKINS

Hope you are enjoying adding some fall touches to  your home!

Debra

Coming soon…Home Spun Style Weddings

We’re so excited to be working on the launching of Home Spun Style Weddings! Several of our products work well as wedding decor and over the years we’ve had requests for custom orders. So, we thought it would be simplest to launch a separate store on etsy for this purpose with the emphasis being on custom work. Here’s a few examples of our products:

Banners

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Book Bundles

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Table Runners

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Lavender Ring Bearer pillows

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Milk Glass

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Fabric Flowers

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One-of-a-kind Gifts

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We love assisting couple’s on their special day.   Hope you consider us as you plan your big event!

Elizabeth

DIY: Painted Porch Pumpkin

I love fall and recently spent a little time adding a few fall touches to my front porch.

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If you follow our blog, then you know that one of my go to craft projects is hand painting numbers on just about anything.

I have done it on the back door of our previous house:

On a mailbox:

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On some vintage glass jars:

And now our house numbers on a faux pumpkin:

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Just like in previous projects, I printed out the numbers using Word, rubbed across the numbers with a graphite pencil, and then taped the paper to the face of a faux pumpkin.

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The surface of the pumpkin is curved and a bit bumpy which makes taping to it challenging but the method still works fine.

Then we traced over the numbers, pressing firmly with the pencil.  Because the pumpkin is soft,the pressure of the pencil created a groove around each number. This made it even easier to paint them.

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We used black satin interior/exterior paint that I had on hand and a very fine paintbrush.

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While I used a faux pumpkin, a real pumpkin would probably also work fine.

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These projects could also be accomplished using a stencil or stickers.  I prefer the transfer method though because it costs next to nothing and doesn’t necessitate running to the store for supplies when inspiration strikes!

Happy Fall Y’all!

Debra