Monday, September 23, 2019

the first day of autumn

A few glimpses of what welcoming the first day of Autumn looked like today.

Usually I would have gone for a drive, but there were thunderstorms on and off today, so I decided to just stay home instead. Every now and then, the sun would break through and highlight the dark stormy clouds and everything would look so pretty.

I freshened all the flowers up with cuttings from the garden.

The leaves on the Chestnut trees in the front garden have started turning brown and are littered all over the lawn.

I've put away a lot of my blue pieces, but I left the pair of ginger jars on the mantel for now. I like the slow transition from summer to fall. When I'm ready to add some pumpkins and gourds to the mantel, I will find another home for these, but until then, they will stay.

Two really easy ways to add a little bit of coziness to a room? Some natural firewood by the fireplace, and some throws for chilly mornings or evenings by the fire.

This one conveniently hides my books and things. I learned this trick from my mother in law.

The first pumpkin has made it's appearance, along with a potted kale.


I've washed and added warm weather clothes to the boys' wardrobes. It's no where near sweater weather right now, but at least I'm prepared. And in an unusual moment of foresight, I even ordered the needed snow pants and winter coats for the boys. That always sneaks up on me and by doing so early, I took advantage of a 50% off  Labor day sale!

It also looked like slices of peach pie after school. I made this one this weekend. I really only make pies in the fall, save cream pies with graham cracker crust in the summer. As Thanksgiving is not far off, at least here in Canada, I have to practice a few times before I make them then.

And while pumpkins have arrived, and I'm tempted to completely outfit the front entrance, I'm not  ready just yet to say goodbye to my simple Boxwoods in my urns, so they'll stay for a while longer.

I might however, see if I can sneak out once the littlest ones are in bed, to go sit with a Pumpkin Spice Latte for a while by myself. Maybe with a book? Hockey season has pretty much begun, so I don't think I'll be missed terribly.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

a pumpkin stand

Fehrhaven Farms, the farm stand I frequent for my pumpkins and gourds each year, has officially opened, and is looking as lovely as ever.

There is always an excellent selection of all my favourites: white varieties like Luminas and Flat Boers and tiny Casperitas, the dusty Blue Jarrahdales and nubby Marina Di Chioggias. And sometimes, if I'm lucky, she'll have a couple Musque de Provence, the large, Cinderella-like orange variety with deep ridges and a slightly flat top, which makes them perfect for stacking.


And to round out your autumn display, she even has some hay and pretty broom corn for sale.

If you're local and looking for a good selection, pop by her stand.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

a classic pumpkin loaf

A staple in the kitchen, once the words pumpkin and spice start popping up everywhere it seems, is a classic pumpkin loaf.

I have tried a few different recipes, but my go-to recipe is from Martha Stewart Living. It's not just that it turns out perfectly every time, or that it makes two perfect loaves (which seem to last just as long as one loaf), but that it's a pretty straightforward recipe that I know by heart, so it's just comfortably familiar.

Pumpkin Bread
from Martha Stewart Living

Preheat oven to 350. Butter two loaf pans.

Melt 1 1/2 sticks of unsalter butter (12 tbsp) and set aside
Set aside 1/2 c. of buttermilk and four eggs.

In a bowl, sift the following:
3 1/4 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
3/4 tsp. kosher salt

In the bowl of stand mixer, mix the following to combine:
1 15 oz can of pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling. (*note - In Canada, our common tin of E. D. Smith's pure pumpkin is actually 796 mL, which means you only need a half can for this recipe.)
1 c. of dark brown sugar, packed
1 c. of white sugar

Add butter and the 4 eggs. Scrape down bowl and mix thoroughly.
Alternate dry ingredients with the 1/2 c. of buttermilk, finishing with the remainder of dry ingredients.

Mix just until combined. Scrape down bowl. Divide evenly between two pans. Smooth out tops and bake in middle of top rack for roughly an hour. The recipe calls for 70-80 minutes, but I start checking at 60 minutes. Insert a toothpick to check if loaves are done. Cool 10 minutes and then remove from pan to finish cooling.

The loaves get the perfect, muffin-like top, and are nice and moist. Another reason I love the recipe is because it's so versatile. A slice is perfect with a generous amount of butter, stored in your pocket for a nice walk or as a quick breakfast on the go, or to make it a little more special, some swirled cream cheese frosting and a sprinkle of toasted walnuts does the trick. Either way, it won't last long.

It's also the perfect after school snack with a cup of tea.

And if the smell of pumpkin bread baking isn't enough to send you searching for your pile of knitted sweaters and Hunter boots, seeing the garden take on it's fall hues will do the trick.

Monday, September 9, 2019

a fall project - front door planter

I wanted share one of a few quick little projects I have for some really simple, inexpensive fall decor.

The first is this planter basket that I have for our front door. I wanted something that felt like autumn, but wasn't overly pumpkin-ey just yet - transnational decor, if you will. 

Originally, I had seen Nora Murphy hang a similar kind of woven basket from her door, filled with gourds. I loved the look, so I started looking at thrift shops, trying to find a similar basket. I knew I could order one, but if I could find one to reuse first, I knew it would be so much cheaper. Sure enough, within a couple days I had found two. I think I paid $2 for this one.

I picked up a couple ornamental kale and cabbages.

I love the details on our front door, as well as the colour.

I removed the plants from the pots and loosened up the roots a bit.

Then I just planted them in the basket.

Now, these are outside, so when I water them, the water will just drain out of the basket. The root ball was quite elaborate and tight, so I'm not too worried about loosing soil. You could easily line it with some plastic and then plant them, but I would then add some packing peanuts or something for some drainage, so the roots aren't sitting in water.

This was a two minute project that cost me less than $10, and it looks great for September!

Sunday, September 8, 2019

an afternoon at the christie antique show

I don't know what it is about fall, but as soon as the weather starts to turn cooler, I get the itch to browse antique markets and sales.

I think in the spring, as summer is approaching, I find myself paring down my home, lighting things up. But as fall arrives, I find myself adding some layers and warmth to my home. I mean, this is what we do with our wardrobes, so it's only natural that our home goes through a similar sort of seasonal change.

Anyway, I love walking around a good show, and the Christie Antique and Vintage show is the best outdoor show in Canada. It spans over nearly ten acres, all spread out around the conservation area. Some of my favourite vendors, specializing in European antiques, always have beautiful booths and great collections.

This year, if I wanted to attend, I had to bring all four boys with me. I really had to think about it before committing, but in the end, I just didn't want to miss it. It's only one day, and it only happens once in the spring and once in the fall. I was able to bribe the boys with snacks and hurry through in less than two hours. And while I didn't maybe see as much as I could have without them, or take my time looking through things, I did see most of it!

This was a gorgeous blue cabinet, with all the right wear, as well as a few really pretty ironstone pitchers. He also had some beautiful bread boards and some old portraits.

(As we came up to them, Willen said to me "Oh look, more paintings of people we don't even know. You can put them with the other ones we have.")

This booth, Booth Eight, had a few antique pine pieces for great prices. Sadly they were sold.

I loved this little bowl. I liked the size of it.

I also really wanted these ginger jars.

And this blue platter was a great price, so it came home with me. The only thing I ended up bringing home.

If you're interested in attending, the next show is Saturday, May 23, 2020, from 8 am to 5 pm, rain or shine. Mark your calendars!