Tuesday, September 30, 2014

"Good Day Sunshine"

Immortalized in the well known Beatles song, 
the lyrics stated, "good day sunshine". . .  
. . . .and that's what we enjoyed on Saturday for the 
Fall Festival at SuzAnna's Antiques and the 
Vintage Village here in town.

Hand painted signs are really popular again and there 
are some fabulous ones made by dealers at SuzAnna's.

For those of you perhaps waaaay up north, or living abroad, 
and not familiar with southern expressions, "HEY, Y'ALL" 
means Hello/Hi all of you! Yes, there is a different 
language spoken here in the south, and it took me awhile 
to get it. . . and even after 37 years here I still 
sometimes have difficulty when I hear a true southern 
accent rife with southern colloquialisms.

My personal pretty purchase for the day - the English 
(made in Staffordshire) tea pot naturally. 
Never have enough - although I did cull my collection 
some time back so this makes just three. At just $9.00
I couldn't pass it up.
The lovely girls - granddaughters Cassie, Jasmin 
(who works weekends at SuzAnna's), 
my fabulous friend Vanessa who now lives several 
hours away but came to see us, and Susie, co-owner 
of the shop with her daughter Jenny. Sorry Jenny we 
didn't snap you in this one, you were working so 
diligently with your many customers!
This lovely sign said it all. 
As always, we had fun here, then Cassie, Vanessa and I 
headed to Anthropologie for more eye candy browsing - and 
a little buying (show you later), then met up with my Bob 
for some thirst quenching iced coffee at Starbucks.
A perfect day in every way.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Fall means fashion. . . . . . . .

I'm catching my breath after a very busy weekend.
It's time for a fashion post from these parts!
Here in the southeast the humidity still hangs heavy in 
the air and the temperature has been heating up to around 
80F by noon. Not at all like true Autumn weather, 
but most enjoyable, especially when yesterday we headed 
back to the countryside and pumpkin farm in brilliant sunshine. 
Yes, never fear, I will be sharing more pumpkins in my 
next post, and yes I think you will love them!

I also had a marvelous time at the Fall Festival at
SuzAnna's Antiques at the Vintage Village on Saturday, so 
I'll be sharing that too. Some very special people came to 
town and were treasure hunting with me!

Today is dreary and showery, but that's perfectly OK.
Sweaters and boots have come out of storage and are 
ready to wear any day now!
I love Autumn/Winter clothes. 
I am a cool/cold weather person.
 I love soft pull-on hats and snuggly scarves. I have a 
drawer full of gloves and wrist warmers, and another of 
cuddly ankle to over-the-knee socks. 

I love this lightweight casual sweater for Fall days 
when a woolly sweater is just too heavy for my area. 
I bought this one in both grey and black at H&M - under $20 - 
washable, feels so silky yet cozy and will be great for 
layering as the temperatures drop later.
Leather pants, no way at my age, but I have invested 
in comfortable, classic, black knit ankle pants 
from J.Jill.

I'm picky about footwear. I would really enjoy just 
one new pair of boots for the coming season. 
I have flat riding boots and shorter boots, still in 
great shape, so looking now for a pair of ankle booties 
with bit of a heel. 
Would love grey leather - these from Cole Hahn 
are my favorite. A bit pricey, but well made, all leather,
 and a classic style that won't date, I'm not into extra 
pointy toes and skyscraper heels. . . .plus they gave a 
$50 discount last week, and free shipping.
When I hear the UPS truck pull up today they will be on board!

I've finished knitting up my skeins of beautiful natural 
wool purchased in the Falkland Islands last year. 
A cozy scarf, very plain and classic in style.
When I wear it on chilly days I'll have happy memories 
of my amazing voyage to Antarctica.

I'd like a new Winter bag, something more 
constructed. I'm so tired of fishing through a soft 
bag and digging through the conglomeration of items piled 
in the bottom . . . just know there's pen or a Ricola 
down there somewhere!
I found one for Summer, soft leather outside but quite 
sturdy with three distinct sections and several smaller 
pockets to organize stuff - and loved it.
Anyone checked the bag section in T.J.Maxx lately?
What happened to discount priced merchandise there?
Many racks of high-priced designer labels now.
Last week the first bag I looked at was marked down 
to $398.00! 
Many others were in the $200-$400 price range, crazy!
Still looking for mine needless to say.

Are you adding anything special or fun to your Autumn/Winter wardrobe this season? 
Do you shop for bargains?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Measure, roll, chop, stir, bake, eat . . . .

What's missing from this Autumn afternoon
tea break? Something homemade to nibble on perhaps.
This was my grandmother's china. It's delicate and
really not for outdoor use, but now and then I just
enjoy making a cuppa in that exquisite little teapot.
The memories of my maternal grandma come flooding back. 
I loved her dearly.
I spent a lot of time with her. 
She cared for me until I was four and started school 
because my mother had to work. . .but I only had her 
until I was eleven. When she died, her leaving 
left huge emptiness in my life.

I do enjoy baking something for teatime or dessert, 
especially if company is expected. Yes, I know, there are
nice pastries at bakeries, even some grocery stores, but
I always feel a sense of well-being when I've taken time
to bake something from scratch, don't you?

Blueberry muffins. . . 

. . . a blackberry galette. . .

. . . or a nice slice of cake.

Will you be baking over the weekend?
Now the days are cooler heating up the kitchen
is no longer a problem. 
My oven will be baking a blackberry and apple
crumble. . . .and those butternut squash!

Friday, September 26, 2014

. . . . . . .pumpkin eaters!

When at the pumpkin farm recently, I also gathered 
some smaller pumpkins and just-picked butternut squash
for roasting.
Did you know all pumpkins are excellent for cooking.

Freda at the farm told me to use the small green-striped 
(top left above) squash for a quick, delicious dessert.
She cuts off the top, scoops out the seeds, tosses in 
some brown sugar, cinnamon and butter, and microwaves for 
a few minutes . . . can't wait to give it a try.

We always love butternut squash, steamed and mashed 
with a knob of butter, alongside similar rutabagas 
(swedes to the Brits!), and some greens, on a veggie 
platter - perfection on a cold winter night. 
However, roasting butternuts is even better. Peel 
and cut into 2" pieces, drizzle with olive oil, salt 
and pepper, toss and roast in a 425F pre-heated oven for about 
25 mins., turning halfway to get nice brown edges, 
until fork tender.
My two golden pumpkins above, picked out by Freda as 
the best ones for roasting, will be cut up and oven baked just 
like the butternuts.

All pumpkins are excellent for cooking, according to 
the French, who are experts in coming up with fabulous 
savory and sweet dishes containing these rustic 
cultivars of the squash plant.

Long ago, the Native Americans roasted long strips of 
pumpkin over open fires for food, they also dried strips and 
wove them into mats. The origin of the pumpkin pie occurred 
when the Colonists sliced off the pumpkin top, scraped out 
the seeds and filled it with milk, spices and honey, then 
baked it in hot ashes. . . .much better, and healthier, 
than a microwave.
Sounds quite delicious to me!

Do you have any special pumpkin or squash recipes to share?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Oxford Green . . . . .

This is the lovely shop I discovered on Saturday evening 
while having a glass of wine at the Oktoberfest. Of course 
hubby, and most other people on the green where live music 
was in full swing, were quaffing large glasses of beer - 
I'm just not a beer drinker - so he managed to 
find me an overpriced plastic cup of a not too 
bad chilled Sauvignon Blanc. 
What a great guy I have!

The shops were open late so when we rounded a corner and 
spied this inviting doorway, we decided to look around.
I love it when I enter a shop and someone calls out 
"Welcome" and really seems to mean it, as owner Shawna 
(left above)did. I love it even more when the merchandise 
is gorgeous, and when I ask if I may take photos for my 
blog, the answer is, "yes of course". 

So, take a look at the shop dressed for Autumn,
 and the pretty items that caught my eye.
Shawna, and her assistant Angelica, also design 
beautiful informal floral arrangements, the kind 
I love. I must go back and get some pics of their 
work with flowers another time.

I was thrilled to see my long time blog friend 
Vicki Archer's book on display - I know many of you follow 
Vicki's fabulous blog.

I love this shop, so full of color - that's something 
with me being such a 'neutral' decorator in my cottage.
On my wish list here would be the original painting 
(local artist) of the irises, one of those beautiful 
birdhouses, the floral inspired trumeau style mirror, 
and some of those gorgeous blue planters. 
I also love the menswear fabric pumpkins for fall decorating.

So, what would you like to take home from Oxford Green?

Edited: Here's a few of the beautiful flower arrangements I told you about.
I went back today. Rain is coming down in buckets, but as I'd
already made lunch plans at a restaurant almost next door, I was 
able to take a lovely friend with me and introduce her to 
the pleasures of Oxford Green.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cottage decor for Autumn . . . . .

Autumn is a second Spring when every leaf is a flower
~ Albert Camus

Autumn touches inside the cottage are quite minimal. 
Although we've no overseas travel planned to take us away 
this Fall, I just want to keep things simple.

I've saved and dried the two largest sunflower heads from 
the garden, complete with their seeds intact. They are really 
so beautiful. I had to cut them from their five foot stalks 
before the squirrels or birds made meal of them.
Perhaps I'll sow these seeds next Spring and the cycle 
will be repeated - I like that thought.

These dainty 'stripeys' will become dessert later! 
I'll tell you how in an upcoming post on cooking squash 
and pumpkin.

I'm using two of the grey-green pumpkins here in the 
antique French dough bowl on the dining room table - they
blend well with those great spools of linen thread.

That's it for now - but I may do something floral when I find
the right blooms, something loose, wild, with berries and 
leaves, perhaps a walk in the country, through the fields, 
along the hedgerows is required. 

Have you done any interior decorating for Autumn yet?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hello Autumn . . . . .

The Autumnal Equinox brings the 
fall season to the Northern hemisphere 
at 10:29 PM today.
Are you ready to celebrate this
beautiful season of the year?

The weekend was busy. After the visit to the pumpkin farm on Friday, see my previous post, I also visited the Vintage Village and SuzAnna's Antiques on Saturday. The lovely Jenny was on TV last week as part of the 'Garage Gold' show on the DIY network, and she'll be in more episodes later. You may want to watch out for this show.

Sharing pics of a few treasures from SuzAnna's for those of 
you who love 'the hunt' for antiques, vintage and more.
I especially enjoyed photographing a few rusty finds - the 
color for Autumn, and definitely great with bright blue,
such as the azure Carolina skies of the perfect 
'Indian Summer' weather we're having. 

SuzAnna's Autumn 'flower' made from rusty saws 
is a hit this season.

Next weekend will be another busy one at The Vintage Village 
when Saturday's Fall Festival celebration will take place. 
Fingers crossed the great weather continues.

Saturday evening Bob and I also stopped by the early 
Oktoberfest celebration at nearby Lafayette Village 
shopping venue.
While there I discovered another really great shop for home 
and garden decor - I'll soon be sharing the lovely things
I found there with you soon.

Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile.
 - William Cullen Bryant

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pumpkin country . . . . .

This post will wow you with color! Autumn IS on its way, 
and here's proof from the fields of our beautiful 
North Carolina Piedmont area.

My partial stack of beauties - and Jasmin still had to add 
her picks . . .

I love taking country drives away from the hustle and bustle 
of the city.
On Friday we headed south to Harnett County. Partly sunny 
skies, very warm temperatures, and yet a feeling of Autumn 
was definitely apparent as we got farther away from town.
Tobacco fields were starting to be picked, hay was baled, 
corn was gone, fields already being ploughed under and new 
Winter crops were being planted.

When we arrived at our destination, Johnson's Pumpkins 
were waiting, plentiful and pretty, every color, every 
size and, as always, hard to pick favorites from such 
an array.

Perhaps even more enjoyable than choosing pumpkins, 
was spending time with not only farmer Doug - Bob loves 
'shooting the breeze' with him, and his welcoming wife 
Freda who always gives me great recipe tips for cooking 
the pumpkins - but a lot more of the Johnson farm 
family including their children and grandchildren.
Their grandson Easton above, permitted us to watch his 
efforts at hill rolling, posed for me with the horses in 
the nearby pasture, and talked us into playing ball with 
him in the farmhouse driveway. I assure you this was no 
quick stop to grab pumpkins and drive off, it was a truly 
wonderful afternoon visit with the nicest people imaginable.


This was granddaughter Jasmin's first visit with us 
to the farm - I think she'll enjoy going again. 
She took some awesome photos, nice to be young, 
able to crouch and get up again! 
Perhaps she'll share them with you later.

If you're close by I think you'd truly enjoy a visit to 
Johnson's Pumpkins as we do. It has become an annual 
happening we look forward to in September. In fact we 
even stopped by in July just to have a chat - Doug 
introduced us to his cows, and took us on a stroll 
around his pond, from there we could see the fields 
where Freda had planted her pumpkin seeds. We know
the hard work involved to grow from seed to harvest
on a family farm is huge, so much of a successful 
harvest depends on the weather. This was an usually 
wet Summer here in this area of North Carolina so
there were problems - quite honestly though I still 
think the Johnsons pumpkins are magnificent as always. 
I also purchased baking pumpkins and butternut 
squash, more on those in another post.