Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Lush Autumn Centerpiece

In thinking about how to add some impact to my very monochromatic living/dining room area, I decided it was time to infuse the space with a little seasonal color. I had two goals when planning a centerpiece for the dining room table: add drama (in other words, "go big or go home") and spend $0.00.

So, I began gathering all sorts of faux branches, berries, leaves, moss, etc. that were in storage from last year, and also some drying hydrangea from the back yard, and I set to work. There was a flurry of activity as I poked, glued, and fluffed stems into a favorite green glass urn.

Take a look at the glass Chinese lanterns draping over the pumpkins...ok, I confess, these are new this year. But they were only $3.50 a stem at a consignment store. There were only two available...I would have bought scads a few more if I could have.

I do think I succeeded at creating a dramatic effect here...(too dramatic?) Either way, this centerpiece will add color and life to the room until after Thanksgiving.

Thanks for stopping by today.

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Hearth Room Dressed for Fall

Haven't all of the blogger home tours been great lately? It's so much fun to get a glimpse into other creative people's homes! Here at Renaissance Mermaid, I've been working on some Fall touches of my own.

Our hearth room is the easiest to has a fireplace mantel and my beloved wall vases that I change with the seasons. And these photos also give you a peek at the new floors I alluded to in a post about my entryway (you can read it here.)

Lately, I'm a fan of subdued decor for the seasons and holidays. It has to do with not spending a lot of money and liking a tasteful, minimal approach. My go-to decor piece lately is branches. I love the way they add movement, texture, and interest without being too bold. In this room, I've used them on the mantel, in the wall vases, and on the coffee table.

You may have seen these brass antelope in my September Meditations post. They are on the move this season :)

Here, I've combined branches from the yard with faux thistle and feathers for my Fall wall vases.

I'm loving these zebra pillows from far as I'm concerned, animal prints are neutrals, for sure!

And this pheasant art piece was something I found last year at a local consignment shop. It adds another little jolt of deep orange to my mostly-neutral room.

Do you like our greyhound bookends? I have to use restraint where greyhound decor items are concerned. I suppose a little goes a long way..."sigh". This cute brass box called my name at a thrift store when I was on the hunt for something else.

I recently moved the bookshelves from other rooms into this space. I have no idea why this light-bulb moment took so long to strike me. The bookshelves fill up the corners nicely and add some much-needed visual weight.

Something I want to work on is making this room one that we use more. For some reason (no tv in here?), it seems to be a space we look at and walk through more than sit in. Maybe ottomans in front of the chairs would help...hmmm, dilemmas of the empty nest...

Thanks for joining me on my mini-tour.

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Monday, September 14, 2015

September Meditations

I enjoyed creating the August Meditations so much that I decided to make it a monthly project. For September, I built my vignette around dark autumnal colors, metallic finishes, art, and texture.

"But now in September the garden has cooled, and with it my possessiveness. The sun warms my back instead of beating on my head ... The harvest has dwindled, and I have grown apart from the intense midsummer relationship that brought it on."
- Robert Finch

"Smoke hangs like haze over harvested fields,
The gold of stubble, the brown of turned earth
And you walk under the red light of fall
The scent of fallen apples, the dust of threshed grain
The sharp, gentle chill of fall.
Here as we move into the shadows of autumn
The night that brings the morning of spring
Come to us, Lord of Harvest
Teach us to be thankful for the gifts you bring us ..."
- Autumn Equinox Ritual

September's Baccalaureate
A combination is
Of Crickets - Crows - and Retrospects
And a dissembling Breeze

That hints without assuming -
An Innuendo sear
That makes the Heart put up its Fun
And turn Philosopher.
- Emily Dickinson

September: it was the most beautiful of words, he’d always felt,
evoking orange-flowers, swallows, and regret.
– Alexander Theroux

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Autumn Emerging on the Porch

The Labor Day holiday always seems to signal "Fall" to me. The sights, sounds, and smells are changing, even if the temperatures hover in the 90's. These past few days on my walks, there have been fallen leaves crunching underfoot, and they smell like autumn. The spiders are crafting elaborate webs between bushes and fall perennials, and every evening cicadas loudly hum their seasonal song.

I decided it was time to add a dash of something different to my tired front porch. This summer I tried a monochromatic scheme in shades of green and decided to continue that into Fall by replacing dusty miller with mums and switching out the bright summer wreath.

I put a new one together which subtly announces that summer is giving way to the more muted shades of autumn. Hydrangeas are ready to start their drying process and make perfect cuttings.

A bird pillow (which started out red but got a dose of green paint) and a sunflower pillow add to the seasonal transition.

I also moved our wooden "R", which had hung in the living room for quite some time. I had originally painted it green and embellished it by staining and adding wooden ornaments from the home improvement store. It works well on the green front door with a fresh coat of black paint.

I haven't gone full-out Fall yet with pumpkins, etc. but am taking a gradual approach. It looks like green and white pumpkins will be in order here soon...

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Glory Days Shadowboxes

I married into a sports family...athletes, coaches, referees, name it, it's been done to some degree or other. And who doesn't love a little walk down memory lane, back to the glory days of youth? Now, I don't have so much as one athletic bone in my body. I couldn't engage in a sport if my life depended on it! But one thing I can do is create a piece of art (or three.)

For my hubby's home office I selected a few pieces of memorabilia and put together some very special shadow boxes. "Our" sport is basketball (although my guys might argue that these days they're all about Husker football.) But back in the day, hoops were king in this family! My father-in-law played, my hubby played, and our son followed in their footsteps.

To begin this project, I purchased black shadow boxes at the craft store. Then I set to work deciding what should go into each one (which truly was the hardest part...picking and choosing from the photos, awards, newspaper clippings, etc.) I wanted to have a good representation for each of them which displayed who they were as players.

Here is my father-in-law, the family patriarch of basketball. (He passed away a number of years ago, so these mementos are especially meaningful to my husband.)

And then we have my hubby in his prime. (He's #10...with the cute legs.) This is a nice little reminder of when he was named "Mr. Hustle" for his quickness and work ethic on the court. (These days his "hustle" is more of a saunter on the golf course, haha.)

And here is my "baby" during his hoops days (the one with the ball in this photo.) You can see that his greatest aptitude was actually toward academics, but we were thrilled that he played ball for most of high school as well.

With a little time and creativity, it's easy and fun to design personal pieces of art that reflect our families' interests and memories. I'll bet you can imagine all sorts of great ideas for shadow box, kids' activities, holidays, reunions, special events...

Wouldn't a shadow box be a perfect jumping-off point for a collage wall? The possibilities are endless!

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