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September 30, 2015

Hooo Said That!

Hoo hooo hoooo!
It's autumn already again??

The autumn pendulum is swinging and once again I've brought out my extra long basket to decorate for fall.  This is the 4th year I've used it.  I like to think of it as a gathering basket.  I was going to get rid of it because it's so darn big, but I decided to give it another try.

Pictures of previous years
2012
2013
2014
Kind of fun to look back!


I stuffed it full of things I have saved and a few new pieces.

 I added some Metallic Rose Gold craft paint (Martha Stewart) to the white pumpkin to give it a little more warmth.  I used a cotton ball to spread it on lightly.

I started with a heavy amount of paper in the bottom so the pumpkins would sit high up and it also helps hold some of the fall stems and pics.

The burlap wrapped pine cone balls came from Michael's this year as well as the owl. There is one on the backside too.

I like the crazy wispy fronds and added them for a little height and movement for the eye.


I found this runner in the drawer.  I think I used it last year for another arrangement.

The evening sun shines in for a few minutes.

Rich fall colors kissed by the warm autumn sun.
 This makes me want to warm up some cider!

It's chilled off here this week.   A cool front moved in and our daytime highs are going to be in the upper 50's to low 60's.  It feels good but a little chilly in the evenings.   
Sweater weather!

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September 25, 2015

Homemade Apple Pie

It's definitely apple season around here!  When we went to the Farmer's Market last week nearly everyone was walking out with apples.

Some years ago I ordered these Martha Stewart pie tins when she used to have her on-line store.  

(I used my cell phone as I went along so they're not the best quality)
My kitchen is cramped so I work in small areas.  I hand cut all the apples- my favorite is the Granny Smith apples for a pie ( I used the whole bag because these were organic and a bit small.  They don't seem to grow Granny Smith's in our area so I buy them at the grocery store.  I have used Honey Crisp apples from the Farmer's Market and the taste was good but they got a little too soft too quickly. 

Even though I buy the pre-maid Pillsbury pie crusts (dough in the cooler)  I sprinkle flour on the counter (which I always clean well before doing this) and make sure the pie dough has a dusting on it before I put it in the pie dish.

First I mix the flour, sugar and spice in a bowl so it's evenly mixed and sprinkle over the top of the apples as I start piling them into the pie shell.  I cut tabs of butter and put five pieces on top.  My mom taught me these steps and I stick with them.

I fold the top layer in half and make cuts into it for venting then set it on top so I can crimp the edges.

I fold the crust under to catch the bottom layer and then I crimp the edge using my fingers.

I haven't mastered it to where it looks perfect after baking but it sure is good!

I used a small cookie cutter to make pine tree cutouts to vent the pie with this one.  It got a little over browned but it was still good!

I bake mine for 15 minutes at 450 to set the pie crust, then reduce to 350 for approx. 45 minutes.  When it's bubbling out of the crust you know it's ready!

Sooo good!  

My basic apple pie recipe is:
3/4 C Sugar
1/3 Cup Flour
1 1/2 t apple pie spice
Tabs of butter

Load the pie with lots of apples.  Combine together sugar, flour and spice so it's evenly mixed.
Sprinkle the mix over the apples as you fill it (I usually do a layer, sprinkle and then a top layer and sprinkle again- and I use all of the mix).  Dot the top with 5 tabs of butter (not margarine).
For the Pie Crust I use Pillsbury's Pie Crust (dough from the cooler at the grocery store)
Cover with top layer of pie (which you've cut vents into)
Fold and crimp the edges
Bake at 450 (F) for 15 minutes, reduce temp to 350 (F) and bake
for approximately 45 minutes.  When you see bubbling coming out of the crust it's done!

Allow to cool for a couple of hours or more before eating!

This is a link to a printable copy "here"

Have a wonderful weekend!

September 24, 2015

Blue Skies and Buffalo

Who would expect that little old Traverse City, Michigan would have buffalo!
 Behind our home is a large stretch of land which includes a local greenhouse that supplies a lot of the garden centers in the spring and some buffalo!  They get moved to different areas to graze and this time they were close to the road.

The big one staring at me in the first picture decided to stand up and do his duty...I guess that's what he thought of me!!  LOL

This calf was nursing on mom.  I didn't want to disturb them much so this is all I got with my zoom.
One fall morning in 1989 I was opening the shades and to my surprise a few buffalo were in my front yard grazing!  They had broken out and decided my yard was a good spot.  We called the farmer and he and a couple of others rode over on horses and got them back to where they belonged.  Too bad I didn't have the thought to take pictures back then.

 The land they graze on has a pretty nice view.
These fences are not beauties but do the job of keeping these guys in check.
They have busted out a few times and been found wandering the highway.  Let's just say it makes the news!

That long strip of blue on the horizon is the West arm of Grand Traverse Bay.  It's a good distance away but still visible.  We have a local grocery store called Oleson's that has been selling buffalo meat for years.  They say it's lower in cholesterol too.  Seems to taste pretty much the same as beef cattle (although I'm sure there are those who would argue about that!).

A maple tree turning color already at a neighbor's home.  
The season of color will soon begin!
Sorry about the low quality pictures, I need to carry my camera more often.  These cell phones do come in handy though!

Just for fun (since Tex featured her frog last week) I'm adding a picture of this tree frog who thought this was a good spot to hang out at our garage.  His color was adapting to look like the paint. 

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September 23, 2015

Welcoming Fall Into My Kitchen Dining Nook


Happy First Day of Fall Everyone!!

I found a new little table to go under the plate.  I felt it needed something below it.  I added a doily (Heritage Lace) to soften the black.  I stuffed the bowl with filler and laid some faux corn cobs with husks in a circle like a wreath and set real miniature pumpkins on top.  The coppery looking glass candle votives were from Pier 1 a few years ago.


I also brought in an Étagère I ordered from Ballard's.  I decided I wanted something tall in this corner and this seemed to fit the bill.  There was a sale that influenced my decision to order but it took a while to come because the color I chose was back ordered. 

It took me a bit of fussing with what to put on the shelves.  I started at the top with some white ceramic pumpkins and a couple of leafy branches tucked in with them. 

I layered two sets of plates in this little chicken wire crate (Michael's) the sunflower pitcher has been with me a good while.

 I've been reusing this copper metal pumpkin for a long time.  The owl votive holder is new from Pier 1.  The little wire mesh candle votives came from Pottery Barn several years ago.  I layered a silk sunflower between the wire and glass for a tablescape and kept them that way.

 Some table accessories

I layered in some faux pumpkins and gourds into the metal bucket I found early this summer at our Hallmark store.  It's made to look old and is fairly lightweight.

I've been trying to keep some white mixed in so it's not all oranges.


The gourd shaped pitcher was new find from T.J.'s along with the pumpkin plates.
The pitcher is by Fitz and Floyd. What a deal too- about 1/3 the price of buying it on sale elsewhere!

I relocated the white pumpkin that was on the formal dining as seen in a previous "post" table to here.  I want something easily removed as well as not too tall to see each other across the table.  

Welcoming Fall into my Kitchen Dining Nook

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September 21, 2015

Reflecting Fall on the Entry Table

Like it or not, fall has started here up north.
I've been in denial and resisting the impulse to decorate for fall but now that we're nearing late September I've decided to embrace it.

I took this picture not far from our house.  It's changing color in a half and half fashion.
There are dots like this popping up along the countryside, but it's still a good ways off yet before we will have a full blast of color.

So on to my entry table...
The sun was just starting to come through the back windows but the table wasn't bright enough to take a picture so I turned the light on.  This is actually a morning shot!

I found a few new table linens at T.J. Maxx.  I liked this runner because of the embroidered design and the linen like fabric it's.  I was planning to use it on the dining table but it ended up here.  

 I showed a quick glimpse of my bird cloche on my Friday's post.   I poked in some bits of raffia to add a little feeling of straw to be mixed with the pumpkins.  I kept the artichokes that I had already been using in this cloche before.

See the velvet pumpkins! This was a little pre-packed box from Pier 1 that included three velvet pumpkins, a faux pumpkin and gourd, some leaves, berries and raffia.  I'm sure it's intended for a bowl display but I made up my own version.  

 I spotted a six pack of these large burlap leaves at Hobby Lobby.  They came in a few colors so I spread three out to set underneath the cloche.  They all had a bent wire on them like they were ready to be hung on a tree or something.

Last year's glass pumpkins and a golden metal leaf I found at a boutique store.   The white one lights up and has a timer.

So there you have my Reflecting Fall on the Entry Table!

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