For many of us it is the best season of all
Can’t you just see the magic happening each and every day you wake up? Yes indeed, autumn is moving into town! For many of us it is the best season of all. When we put summer away for another year and bring out all the yummy hues of fall.
Mad for Plaid
I have always been mad for plaid. A favorite jacket from my childhood was a little red plaid flannel from my Mom. I have a photo of my sister and I, in those matching jackets, standing in the snow at Trail Ridge—so cute. I do believe that was the beginning of my love of plaid! Whether you have a bit of Scottish heritage in your blood or simply love a plaid snap-front cowboy shirt, plaid is always in fashion. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a Ralph Lauren collection (home or fashion) without a plaid, and a peek at the Fall 2013 collection confirms it with a glorious classic plaid.
I must admit I cringe when I hear clients say, “I don’t like plaid anything.” Plaid is so friendly and unpretentious. This is especially true when it comes to decking out the house for the arrival of fall! With its amazing extravaganza of warm delicious colors, this one fabric has the ability to create the entire spectacle that fall becomes.
How do we bring this little workhorse of a design to our interior and exterior décor so it can radiate “Home Sweet Home”? Well, plaid ribbon is a given and it’s cinch to find at Walmart, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby and Joann’s. Whether you are drawn to the drama of wide ribbon or to the narrow, I have suggestions for using both.
For the front door, craft a burlap wreath with your own two hands. A quick Google search for “burlap wreath” will find several instructional videos on just how to create one of your own. Top off your gorgeous new wreath with a wonderful fall-hued plaid bow! Maybe even mix an additional ribbon with some pumpkins into the bow….pretty striking!
Stack up antique books or cookbooks tied up with fall ribbons and suddenly you have a remarkable seasonal accessory.
Deck out your pillar candles with wide plaid ribbon tied in a square knot. Gather together about a half-dozen for a mantel display, suddenly they demand that you take note of their presence. Maybe take cinnamon sticks and march them around a candle and tie it up, with what else "plaid ribbon"! Or tie up a bundle of cinnamon sticks with luscious ribbon.
Find the most perfect plaid ribbon for your home and tie up your napkins for a fall dinner.
Bundle 3 ears of colorful Indian corn with ribbon and place on the vanity in the powder room or tuck several into the bookcase.
For a different ode to fall, wrap up battery-powered pillar candles (with the luxury of a remote) in burlap or even a rich burnished orange corduroy. Slip-stitch closed, add a touch of ribbon and perhaps some preserved fall foliage, and line them across the dining room table.
If it’s too warm for the fireplace, open the doors and load up the fire box with fall dressed candles, faux pumpkins, maybe a jack-o-lantern or two and some fall leaves. Light the candles for an amazing warm glow, perfect for an evening of ghoulish tales by the flickering light. Take this chilling evening a bit further and listen to the classical piece HYPERLINK "http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&ved=0CDUQtwIwAg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DYyknBTm_YyM&ei=-r1RUpqSKIi88wSDuICQDA&usg=AFQjCNGhJTRbnVPaQrLCedQjW_2ymeDdUg"Camille Saint-Saëns - Danse Macabre with you favorite evening beverage, sure to put you into the Halloween spirit!
One more little note about plaid: Do some research at www.scotclans.com to see if your family’s last name has a “clan plaid.” I found out that my maiden name, Robinson, has a clan plaid called Gunn Tartan. This is a great way to introduce a special plaid into your home, maybe a newly upholstered chair, window treatments, or a simple throw tossed over a chair.
The Rise of Burlap
Other fabrics can certainly help introduce fall into your home, including burlap. The use of burlap is on the rise for adding a bit of rustic farmhouse or French appeal to an interior. Natural beige burlap is experiencing a huge surge, but you’ll also find rich mustards, splendid burnt oranges and even eggplant among the hues available!
Check out www.burlapfabric.com for pillows, runners and placemats. You can give these burlap beauties a little oomph by stenciling on your monogram or fall leaves for a bit more personality. Blend burlap with your home’s color palette by adding touches of ribbon—for example, tie up a burlap pillow like a gift with ribbon and a simple bow, then tuck it into the back of a chair. (Speaking of…we all know about the power of the pillow when it comes to freshening up décor and making seasonal changes. Take a look at Pottery Barn’s pillows to add some fall fancy to your sofa or entryway bench. You’ll fall in love with the pheasant pillow cover—it's smashing!)
Bring the Outside In
Gather up your glass hurricanes or any oversize glass containers—even the old clear candy jars found at places such as Ace Hardware. Try a new look for this year by layering grapevine wreaths, acorns and a nest of leaves (real or preserved) topped off with a battery-powered pillar candle. Look for all sorts of wonderful fall decoration ideas at www.save-on-crafts.com; you won’t be disappointed!
Cloches and bell domes are another way to bring a little autumn sparkle into your home. Turn the cloche upside-down and load it up with faux apples, pears or various pumpkin sizes. Place a charger (large round plate) over the opening, turn it right-side-up, and you have the perfect centerpiece for that amazing soup supper. Be your own “Martha” right here in Augusta, you smarty-pants you. As Martha says, “It’s a good thing!”
The Fragrance of Fall
Nothing says autumn like the earthy scents of a walk in the forest or an apple orchard bursting with ripe apples. And, of course, there’s the fabulous aroma of baking a fresh apple pie! Does home ever smell as tender and sweet when something that mouthwatering is baking in the oven? And don’t even get me started on pumpkin! Scents have the most amazing ability to make us remember long ago forgotten events. So many memories and loving moments are stirred up in our brains with the smell of such homemade delights. How many of you can close your eyes and remember what came wafting through the door when you went to your grandmother’s home when she was baking?
Potpourri and scented candles are just two of the many delightful options we have to enrich our homes with fragrance. I love scented candles, so I light the candle of the season every morning as the coffee brews. The combination of the two smells makes a trip into the kitchen an olfactory treat. Adding the perfect fall aroma is probably the easiest and least expensive way to celebrate this season, so find your scent today!
Simmer Your Own Fragrance
For a natural alternative, start saving your orange peels, apple peels and pear skins in a baggie or storage container in the refrigerator. Then, simply fill a small saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Add the peels you’ve saved along with cinnamon sticks and whole cloves. Continue to boil for a few minutes, then turn the heat down to simmer. Add water as needed, usually every 30 minutes or so.
Oh the house will smell so magnificent! Once this brew really develops its aroma in your home, you can turn it off and then boil it again to welcome everyone home after a day of work or school.
Enjoy this fall we have before us. Linger outside in the warmth of the day, as all too soon we’ll be bundled in sweaters and adding quilts to our beds. Don’t you just love the magic! I will be here next week to chat! In the meantime, a few inspirational words from Elizabeth Lawrence:
“Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.”
Jan Colvin has been a professional interior designer for over 25 years (Allied ASID). She accredits her mother Pat Robinson and Lucille Chase for her intense interest and love for design.
She has taught interior design at the college level and operated her private design business since 2001. Look for her new book soon!
Jan welcomes questions, which will be answered in her columns. Send your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org