Friday, September 28, 2012

On the Days You Think Your 9 to 5 Stinks....

just remember that there are worse jobs!
Cleaning/painting water towers just might be one of them. :)

My Sedum Autumn Joy has turned to a darker pink/burgundy color.

I like when they turn dark because all the bees leave.  Have you ever noticed that? When light pink there are 100's of bees in this area. Once they turn this color, I hardly see any bees.  Since this is the area where visitors walk up to my front door, I prefer no bees!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Raven Nevermore Vignette

One hundred and sixty seven years ago, Edgar Allan Poe published a poem about a talking raven and a student distraught over the loss of his love named Lenore.  To this day it is one of the most popular poems ever written.

It's a spooky poem with a supernatural vibe, making it perfect for Halloween.  I did a Raven (imagine the blackbird is a Raven) scene two years ago and decided to do it again this year.  It's the only use I have for my antique black typewriter. :)  I like to imagine that Edgar Allan stepped away from his typewriter while in the process of typing his poem--never to return. Over the years cobwebs have formed over the entire table.

Certain unfortunates have met their demise while attempting to loot the uninhabited home.

A ghost or two now hang around the old place.

A boo bunting -- just because...
It's  a fun vignette to create. Here is the full tabletop:
The bunting brings out the orange in the oil painting above the table:

I bet Edgar Allan would be quite amused to find that people in 2012 are using his poem as inspiration to decorate their homes.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Skeleton in Pumpkin with Coleus Centerpiece & New Chair Seats

I am already changing the table! While rummaging through yet another Halloween tote, I came across a skeleton head that I thought would work nicely in my centerpiece from yesterday's table.

Don't you think he goes so nicely with the skeleton straws?

 On a recent comment Eileen mentioned that she had more Halloween decorations now than she did when her children were small.  I understand completely, Eileen.  I have tons more than when my son was home.  Once he became a teenager, he never really appreciated my holiday decorations anyway.  DH is always appreciative of all the work I do for holiday celebrations, so that inspires me to do a little extra decorating work.  As long as we both enjoy it, I will continue to do it.

When I got home from work today, I recovered my breakfast counter chairs in a neutral beige fabric.  They used to be in a blue/burgundy fabric that matched my old sofa.  Now they are blah beige and that works perfectly for me right now. :)  I am planning to make some head rests for the green sofa from this same fabric.  My new sofa did not come with head rest fabric panels and I am really  missing that.  I feel like within a year this sofa is going to show wear (I had my old one for 20 yrs and it showed very little wear).
 You cannot tell in this pic, but the upholstery seat fabric has a nice nubby texture. 

I think I have recovered these chairs at least five times in the past 10 years.  It is so easy. I just cut the fabric to size and use a staple gun to attach it.  It took less than 30 minutes to complete 5 chairs.

I hope you are all having a great first week of autumn. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall /Halloween Tablescape

I completed the tablescape from my little teaser post yesterday.  I bet many of you knew what I was up to (at least my long-time readers).   I will show it in black and white first, so those of you with sensitive eyes can get your sunglasses.  It looks pretty tame here. :)

Got those sunglasses on?  OK, here is the same picture in color....
Orange, chartreuse, black, purple & yellow are the main colors. The drinking glasses are actually purple, but it is difficult to tell that in these pictures.

  I went out on the deck and cut the foliage for the centerpiece.  I used a similar foliage bouquet a few years ago and really liked it.  I needed some orange in the centerpiece, so I cut down the two crocosmia blooms that I had in the picture frame arrangement I showed you last week.

The coleus came from the same arrangement.  Coleus does not like cold temps, so it probably would not have lasted through the week outside.  I bet it's quite happy that I brought it inside where it is considerably warmer!  That chartreuse variety is a good match to the chair backs, don't you think?

I also think the Vaseline candlesticks that my mom gave me years ago are a nice match

I made the quilted table runner  and chair backs a couple of years ago.
I really like this bright runner. The only time I can use it is near Halloween.
Actually I don't think this table is all that Halloweeny...only the skeleton straws and the spider candles suggest Halloween...unless you glance over at the curio cabinet... 
The purple glasses are stored there. Since I put them on the table, I could not leave the cabinet bare, so I  replaced them with orange pumpkins and a silver skeleton head..I am working on other Halloween decorations  in the near vicinity.  They are not yet complete, so I will show you those on another day.

Happy fall 'Yall!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Just Checking In

I know I have not posted in a least longer than is normal for me.  I have been busy with the typical life blog intrusions.  I thank all of you who have stopped in to find nothing new....I know, I hate when that happens to me, too.  A double thanks to those who stayed around to read a few older posts and left me a comment. 

I did do a few blog worthy things, but I can't show you until I complete the project.

Here's a little hint at what I have been up to today:

I will show you more when I get it completed.

In the meantime, I hope you are all enjoying this wonderful cool (cold and rainy here) fall weather as much as I am.

Be back soon,

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tree Frogs must have an Internal GPS system

While cleaning up the deck, I threw away a wicker table that had seen better days. I had a bird house planter  on that table. When I removed it, there was a big tree frog living underneath. I gently kicked him off the deck into a flower garden area.

A bit later, I brought out some pillows and other thing to spiff up the area.

I used a double decker birdhouse as a centerpiece on the table. Right after I decorated my new table area, I went outside and found the tree frog right back in the same area where his original home was.  The table I tossed out was replaced by a chair.  The tree frog was sitting in the sun on the arm of the chair.

As you can see the handsome fella left a little gift of froggy doo-doo.  YUCK.   I went inside to get something and when I came back out, he was on top of the mat I had just put on the table! I think he saw the double decker bird house and thought it would make a nice new home.

Whatever the reason, I do not want him on the area where I plan to eat dinner.
I don't think that is an unreasonable thought, do you?  I gave him a little nudge to turn him back around, hoping he would jump off the table.
I had to gently push him to the deck floor and then ever so gently  off the deck (4 ft drop, but he always lands in the flowers, hanging on to a stem, so it's not a harsh landing. Five minutes later I walked around to the area where I had knocked him to and found he had already climbed all the way back up! Do you see him on the left side?
Unbelievable! I ran back up the stairs to find him just a few feet from his original home.
"Stupid frog. Get out of here!" I yelled as I gently knocked him back down.

Five times I did this and five times he returned to the exact same spot.  I guess I will just  have to learn to share my deck with him.  As DH said, after five times, he deserves to be left alone. I think most of you will understand why I insisted on eating dinner inside!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

(Almost) Autumn Deck Rearrangement

I spent a couple of hours on the deck this morning removing about a dozen ugly spent containers as well as the two framed planters on the lattice wall.  There was still a few weeks of life left in many of my planters, so I reorganized those.  I clustered the ones that still looked decent to show off their best sides.  I even reused the green picture frames.

I love this Proven Winner Colorblaze Keystone Kopper coleus with the autumn-acceptable clash of the orange croscosmia.
Here is the whole container cluster:
I did a second cluster arrangement around the whiskey barrel on the opposite side of this entrance. 

It has red Rembrandt dahlias.

I just pulled the red dahlia containers from this corner crate display of red and pink dahlias.

 All of the pink were hit by whatever  bug has been destroying all my dahlias, so I cut those back and just left the red with the sweet potato vine.  This area is now home to my white glider.

I did a blue/green table arrangement in the area where the white glider sat all summer.

I have since decorated this area a bit, but the sun is washing out pictures, so I will have to show that on another post.

I think I should get at least a month of enjoyment from this new deck-or-ating.  I am hoping to have at least one meal out here on the green table.

Look what DH found today:
A humongous bright green caterpillar!  I think it's one of those tomato-eating horn worms. Am I correct?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Autumn Mojo--the Cold-Weather Spark has Ignited

I am really getting into the early fall weather we have been having. It has been in the 40's at night, which is perfect weather for sleeping under one of my quilts. Since I have no clothesline, I hung the quilt over a few chairs on the deck before putting it on my bed.  I like a fresh air smell the first time I pull one of these fall-weather warmers up to my chin. This blue Jacob's Ladder quilt is the perfect weight for late summer/early autumn snuggling.

In a few weeks, I will replace it with something warmer.

I have more energy in early fall, and last night I cooked a from-scratch meal--almost unheard of on a working weeknight in my kitchen.
I made a crustless chicken pot pie (chicken stew) in a white sauce. It was delish and I can't wait to eat it again tonight.  A buttery biscuit underneath would be perfect, but DH wanted rice, so I made rice instead. I have no recipe as I just threw things together.  I know, I hate when people don't give me a recipe! Sorry.

For the past month, I have been adding to my cold-weather working wardrobe.  This is my latest purchase--a red  wool flocked jacket.
I think I already own the black lace tee underneath--or something very similar.
One of this week's goals is to bring up a bin or two of my winter jackets and haul my lightweight summer jackets to the basement.
I have a few new bloomers to show you.  My Sedum Autumn Joy flanking the driveway is now at my favorite stage--this light  pink color.
I moved some difficult-to-place colchium bulbs to this front yard garden and they are now blooming through the ajuga and under the Sedum Autumn Joy:
 I think I have finally found a spot where I can appreciate their dainty blooms.  I can look outside my living room window and see this garden. 
I also like these 'Fireworks' grass seed heads in my garage urns..
Last, but certainly not least, I still have Patti's rain lilies blooming in September!
Patti, is that normal?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

First Toad Lily Bloom

Isn't she lovely?
Too bad you can't even see the flower unless you take a picture in macro mode!  Because I like to show  my readers the truth, here she is blooming along the garden path:

I wish someone had shown me this before I plunked out the cash for 11 of these from Breck's (to add insult to injury, of the 11, only six have survived).  I had no idea the flower would be so tiny, you can barely see it with the naked eye.   I am thinking of moving these to the whiskey barrels on the deck where I can better appreciate their delicate beauty.

Remember this Hyacinth bean vine on my arbor?

Well, it produced a bloom!
I see more flower buds, too.  I am happy about that, but I really expected this vine to completely cover the arbor and have dozens of purple flowers turning into long purple beans by September. It is a disappointment, but at least a seed or two from the packet took and I did get a flower (unlike the other packets of seeds I ordered from this company and nothing came up).  I take success in any form I can find it! :)

It was pretty cool this morning and I loved it!  I can't wait to do some fall baking like I did last year:
pumpkin bread, hand held apple pies, English muffin bread, cookies.................. don't you just love autumn?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

More Dahlia Predators & Pasta Pepperoni Beef Bake

This has been the worst year for pests eating my dahlias! Now I have these beetles nibbling away:
I googled and found out they are spotted cucumber beetles. I am ready for this season to end so I can clean it all up and forget about it until next June.

On to a more tasty subject for humans...
I make this Pepperoni, Beef and Pasta Bake a few times a year and I always change it up a bit.  Since I keep cooked ground beef in the freezer with celery and onions, this is an easy dish for me to make. I just thaw out a pound of the cooked ground beef mixture before I begin.

 I don't use a recipe. You don't really need one.  I will just tell you how I did it because I really HATE to see food on a blog that I want to make and they don't give me a clue as how it was made.

Just cook a pound of your favorite hearty pasta (al dente as it will be cooking for another 30 minutes in the oven).  For two people this will make at least three meals.  Layer the pasta with a tomato sauce  (jarred spaghetti sauce is fine). I also used a yellow cheese sauce because we like that flavor. If you don't, just use 2 jars of spaghetti sauce.  Layer the sauces, pasta, ground beef and pepperoni twice.

This time I had fresh summer squash that I sauteed with fresh Farmer's market onions and scattered it over the top.  I also used a dozen of DH's Roma tomatoes on the top. I skinned,seeded and diced them first.
Lastly I added a cup of Mozzarella to each of the larger pans.

I wrapped these two in wax paper, then foil, and then a brown paper bag. I don't like freezer burn!
I put the labeled bag in the freezer.  We will enjoy these on a blustery winter day sometime between December and February. 

We had the two individual dishes for dinner and they were very good.

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