decorating with dodi

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Where the "Livin' " is Easy!

Now that you have been officially welcomed, let's head into the living room. I ended up leaving the new wood pumpkin here...for now. There are truly so many others places it could go and look nice but I just haven't had time to "tweak" yet.

I must say, I do love the way the rust of the urn is repeated in the pumpkin leaves and the gray of the wood is almost a perfect match to the chest...serendipity? And then the two copper vases? Ahhhh!

I almost recently threw out these velvet pumpkins. I remember a few years back when they were the rage and I went to every pumpkin patch asking if I could pick up their broken stems. I loved these things. But now, not so much. Except that I did want to use the large, wooden box that I made and the pumpkins fit the bill. Now I'm glad I kept them!

I don't think I've changed this table display in a few years. I love the rusty candle-holder, the old glass jug with wooden holder and the candelabra with glass beads that I got at Z Gallerie many years ago. It looks black in this picture but it too is a rusty brown with iridescent amber leaves and beads twisted all through it.

And look where the tin pumpkin ended up. I really thought it would sit next to a tin pitcher or jug but the book just cried out for something else and when I sat the pumpkin down there, I loved it.

So that is the living room for now. I had company yesterday and we started our "catch-up" session in this room. I had the pumpkin lights lit and the Yankee candles-Autumn Leaves scent-burning. It feels so cool and inviting even though the air outside is still stifling. When the kids are back to school, it is autumn in MY house...that's my story and I'm sticking to it!! Stay tuned,

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Oh Yes I Did!

You just knew I couldn't wait another minute! Once all of the stores started bringing in autumn scents and colors, I gave myself permission to do the same. And, I think my blood pressure has already dropped 20 points! I love everything there is to love about this season. Once the leaves and pumpkins return to our home, I could literally stay here and never leave!

So just for starters, I'll show you the front porch. My camera lens kept fogging up because it was so hot and humid-sorry the pictures aren't great but I think you will feel welcomed if you should stop by!! I am patiently waiting for the mums to arrive so I can swap out all of the planters!

Expecting an old friend any minute, so I will sign off but there is much more to come. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

It's Officially Official!!

Even though I posted the kids back-to-school pictures, it is never officially the start for me until we have some sort of get-together. We have many, many obstacles in our way these days-schedules just keep getting crazier-but I usually hold out and in the end, we find a way to make it work. This year was no exception.

Even though I would rather have the kids here for a day to do some crafts and cooking/baking, I will be happy with what I can get. And so, this year, I did the decorating, cooking and baking myself.

I used a lot of my old stand-bys again this year. I love the red, black and school bus yellow color theme...and, of course, apples, notebooks, pencils, crayons flash cards and "book worms".

I wanted something on the menu that I could make ahead...I would rather be visiting than cooking when everyone is here. But, I also wanted to try something new. I started with this chicken dumpling casserole. Because it is done with layers and not all mixed together and has a dough batter as one of the layers, I wasn't sure if I could assemble it too much earlier than when it was oven ready. I did do all of the prep on each of the steps ahead and because it bakes for almost an hour, it worked out well. I must say, this was delicious and I will make it again!

I also made steamed broccoli and cauliflower, a huge salad and cheesey garlic pull-apart bread. The bread tasted good but I don't think it was worth the effort of all of the steps that it took to make. I thought it looked better than just garlic bread, but I don't think I will make it again. I think by the end of the prep for this meal, every kitchen appliance and lots of pots and pans had been put to use!

It was kind of nice doing this this year after school had already started. We got to hear all about the kids' new classes, teachers and changes-this year's biggest change being NO HOMEWORK in elementary schools. The new superintendent did lots of research and doesn't see the benefits of it. She would rather the kids read at night. I must say, I have not met many upset parents either as trying to get kids homework done after they have had football practice, riding lesson and some semblance of a family dinner can be nerve wracking-not to mention then baths and getting stuff ready for the next day. I guess we shall see where this leads.

Normally the kids would be making the dessert but with this year's schedule-and the "need" to get into the pool", I baked this cookie pizza ahead. Then, I just gave Presley the necessary equipment and she got going on this.

I love how our "one smart cookie" turned out! We served it up with moose tracks ice-cream and dessert was a hit!

Meet the newest member of the Holland clan. This guy is a golden doodle but his father was a standard size black poodle and I guess he is going to lean way more in that direction. He is about 18 months old and tall! His head can get right onto any table in the house so a food sentry is needed once you start serving. But, he truly is a gentle giant and gets along so well with his much smaller golden doodle sister.

So, of course, you know what this means. In my head, if the kids are back in school, summer is over!! Yep, I couldn't stand it another minute...I have started bringing out the fall. I figured if I didn't do it soon, it wouldn't even be out a month before I start getting out the Halloween. Boy, time sure goes quickly in the life of a holiday and season obsessed crazy lady. Stay tuned.

Friday, August 11, 2017

I Know, Right?

Sometimes you are just too tired to fight logic.

I saw this beauty on a quick trip to Hobby Lobby this morning and it "spoke to me". I looked at the price and decided, nope, I could make that. But then my inner self started yelling and I knew that right now, I just don't have the time or the energy to whip up one of these cuties in time to use it for this year's autumn decor. And then, when my eye caught the 40% off sign, I knew it was destined to happen. Yep, right into my cart it jumped.

The gray tone of this pumpkin has me thinking I will be using it in the foyer on the gray chest so I put it there to see how I like it-and I do. And, of course, the rusty leaves and tendrils couldn't be any better!!

I will have to see what I used to have here for autumn but I know this guy will somehow get worked into the vignette.

And then for unfinished business...when I last posted I told you I had just returned from picking the first pumpkins of the season. And, I wasn't lying. I have truly been waiting a year to get my hands on these beauties!

The whole story starts many years ago with one of my girls' most beloved middle school teachers. Not only is she a gifted teacher, but very creative as well and she and I became friends and actually did some craft shows together. Fast forward all these years. She is now retired and has used her passion for art to fuel a second career. She started painting and began showing her work in small venues...and it just took off. Her sense of color and whimsy shines in her "bloomies" paintings as well as her renditions of cows, dogs, sheep, etc. But for me, her pumpkins were the stars of her first large show. I couldn't make it to her premiere showing and by the time I got there, they were all gone and she had taken so many commissions that there would be no more pumpkins for awhile.

I finally got the nerve to ask her if she would be doing any more this year and she told me she had done so many last year that she was about over them but she had had a number of requests like mine so she would do up a limited number this year and I could have first pick of the crop.

I was so excited and anxiously awaited her call...which finally came the other day. I went out to her beautiful home and when I got done looking at all of her beautiful decorating and fabulous property, I made my decision. A traditional orange pumpkin for me:

And, this more muted, cream pumpkin as a birthday gift for daughter #1-who is as crazy about holiday decorating as I am. I hope she loves it. Not to mention that it was painted by one of her all time favorite teachers!

I went out this morning and bought a pretty wooden easel to use to display my pumpkin. Right now it is sitting on our family room mantle but I'm not sure where it will be when all things autumn leaf and pumpkin come out pretty soon. Wherever I put it I know it will be the star!! Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Back-to-School Fun

Well, school started today and we were not able to squeeze in our traditional back-to-school fun so plan B is to have them over this weekend-or next if they have to head out of town this week-and fit in what we can. If nothing else, the kids can make the dessert and I can handle the meal. Since they will have a bit of school under their belts, we can hear all about it.

In any case, there will be favor bags that I make up so I went ahead with them today. For some reason, I got brown paper lunch sacks in my head so I went with that. They're really not as cute as I had envisioned but once they see them and tear into them, it really won't matter any way.

This year I filled their bags with hand sanitizer, chap stick, pencils, pens, glue sticks, the traditional "Smarties" and cool pencil holders. The boys' are industrial looking with several zippers and fit into a 3-ring binder and Presley's is just clear but full of glitter...just right up her alley! They will also take home the gummy worms and composition books I bought after we use them in the table decorations.

Presley had a small birthday party this week before school started and we were so happy to be there. It was really hot outside so once we headed out, hubby and I pretty much rooted ourselves on the covered porch and watched the fun from there-hence, not many activity pictures but they had fun!

As you can probably tell, the theme was "horses" fitting in with Presley's new passion.

One activity will be Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Horse. Presley made the game board.

Then, of course, she wanted a pinata. Mom was kind of hoping they would have enough else to do that they might forget about it but no such luck. 

One of the few times they were quiet was when they were all concentrating on the horse paintings. There were stencils available for them to adhere and paint over, trace around and fill in or just plan sketch and paint. It is always so much fun to see how different else painting turns out!

Some of the master pieces.

I love that face although I'm not sure what caused it!

And then today, the four youngest of our grand children headed back to school. So hard to believe that we're down to just four. The other three will have their first days of college this year but I guess it's just not the same without Mom there forcing a smile when you really are not at all happy that your summer vacation has just ended-lol!

I just got back from the pumpkin patch-yep, I got first pick of this year's beauties. I'll explain soon. Stay tuned. 

Friday, August 4, 2017


...and the living is easy. I realized this morning how slow my life becomes this time of year. We are in the dog days of summer and not only is there no reason to celebrate-other than the fact that we're all still breathing-but I don't have the energy to even think up a project-and we all know how much I love a good project.

And so, today's post is just to let you know I haven't fallen off the face of the earth but things are just slow around here. Today is though, our youngest grand daughter's birthday and we ran over to her house this morning to sing Happy Birthday to her and give her her presents before she headed out of town for yet one more vacation before school starts next week. She will be having a little friend get-together next week but we didn't want to miss her real day.

Thank goodness that a "little birdie" shared with me some gift ideas. Apparently we got the idea from the top of the list because this little one who is totally "horse" obsessed these days was beside herself when she opened our presents. It always makes me happy to put a smile on a grand child's face-especially this cute one!

I'm off to check water in fountains and flower boxes. I told you things were slow around here. But there is hope for a change of things and football and riding will be starting, temperatures will change, all things pumpkin will appear and I will come back to life soon. I promise! Stay tuned.

Monday, July 31, 2017

I Love Target

I didn't have a lot of time today but I made one quick run into Target and got almost everything I wanted to stuff the kids' back-to-school favor bags-including some "apple" chalkboard clothespins to close the bags. I was going to make something fancy but when I saw these and remembered how short on time I am these days, I figured they would do the trick. I still think I'll make a $ Tree run just to see if I can add anything else but now it's down to finding a date and deciding on the menu! So many choices from years of Pinterest. Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

It's That Time Already!

So, depending on whether you are a student, parent or teacher, you might have differing opinions on whether the summer went too quickly or too slowly. From my "Nana" perspective, I think it flew by this year. And so, I am scrambling to come up with some new and different back-to-school ideas to celebrate with the kids.

Unfortunately-or fortunately...once again depending on where you are standing-this year I am going to have to settle for something a bit different than usual. Usually I have the kids over for the whole day and we make decorations, favors and food. Then their mom and dad join us for dinner. But, as is happening all the time these days, the kids are more and more involved in their own pursuits and scheduling becomes harder and harder. This year, football practice has already started for both boys and since they're not on the same age level, their practices are on conflicting that takes care of Monday through Thursday. And then, even though they have had a summer full of different vacations, they are squeezing in two more-which will take us right up to the day before school starts with all of the back-to-school shopping and scheduling still to be done.

I am nothing if not flexible these days. So now I am thinking that I will end up making the meal and favors and just having them all over for dinner one Friday night after school has started. That way we will be able to hear all of their impressions of new teachers, class mates, etc. Won't be quite the same but it will still be fun...and one more memory for them to keep.

And so with that in mind, I have started to gather up some things I have held on to from years past and am starting a list of some things I want to gather this coming week.

I am going to try some new recipes-probably something chicken, smashed potatoes, a few veggies/or salad, some kind of yummy homemade bread and I think this guy for dessert. the menu isn't in concrete just yet as I'm having fun looking at all of the ideas I have pinned.

I'll let you know what I settle on and I'm sure there will be lots of pictures to share. Stay tuned.