Monday, November 23, 2015

Decorating for Thanksbirthoween

It's a mixed up holiday of our own invention, so the opportunity to be creative was terrific.
(For an explanation of Thanksbirthoween, see my earlier post)
Budget -- basically frugal.
I played with grapevines, leaves and pine cones.
Using what was at hand or free in nature. 
The Birthday gifts were wrapped with shipping paper and leftover wallpaper found at a thrift store. 
Odd bits of ribbons, yarns, jute string and even fabric found in thrift shops added more color.
The most difficult thing I took on was mismatched dinner plates salad plates and cloth napkins. 
Mismatching has become very popular, and I love it, but when you look at a lovely image all put together it seems so easy.
This was not quite perfect, but still fun.

I discovered several things:

Keep to a very narrow color palette, including specific tones in that palette.

The shapes of dishes matter. Some of my dishes were more bowl shaped at the sides, and these don't work as well as those with a slight well and a defined, flat rim.

I discovered that creating individual settings was easy, but making the whole thing look right was much trickier.

And mixing modern designs with antique designs adds a layer of complexity. Some of my favorite individual settings just did not work together.

I have been collecting colorful water glasses for years. These helped tie it together.

I hate tall fussy floral arrangements in the middle of a dining table. I much prefer to see the people I am enjoying dinner with! Four delicious Comice pears and five simple candles was perfect for our centerpiece. And we ate the pears the next day ;)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Pumpkin Eaters

I love photographs of front doorways beautifully decorated for fall, and many times I have tried to create a welcoming entry for our home. But Oregon has other ideas.

Cornstalks mold in the soaking rain, and then the wind breaks and shreds them all over the yard.
Fall arrangements fill up with wind driven soggy leaves and decay overnight. It's just more maintenance. What is pretty for half a day ends up a black slimy mess all over the porch.

So this year, I just set out a lot of pumpkins. They don't seem to mind the wind and rain. Ah, even this has its problems.
We saw the jay start it two weeks ago. What could we do? He has all the time in the world.
This morning as I snapped photos of our saboteur, he suddenly flew away. Had I scared him?
No. Cue the other miscreant.
As soon as the chipmunk scurries away, the jay comes back. So much for my fall decorating.
Back and forth they go.
The Blue Jay
And the chipmunk.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


We are so glad that our two daughters are forming their adult lives, fully engaged in careers and
committed to their own social circles and of course, their husbands and extended families.

This is a great comfort.

But occasionally we need to consecrate time together.

I have seen that major holidays can be a point of contest in other families, so we avoid having any expectations. One day is the same as all the rest to us! We don't want a day of celebration to become a torment of guilt, or worse, a mad dash from one party to the next in an anxious attempt to please everyone.

So we have started making up our own traditions.

It started when our youngest went off to college in another state. Her favorite holiday is Halloween, and though she had fun with her new friends, it just was not the same for her as Halloween on the farm, with the darkening Oregon skies, the wind whipped birch tree casting amber leaves like enchantments, the rain soaked fields of pumpkins.

So when she came home on Thanksgiving break, we would often have a little Halloween as well. Why not?

A few years later, we found that including our new sons-in-law, five of us had birthdays in October and November.

And also with their marriages, Thanksgiving got complicated, as should be expected!

So we invented Thanks-Birth-o-Ween. This will be our third, and I am unreasonably excited about it.

This year we will celebrate the weekend before Thanksgiving. It will be a day of feasting and games and presents. There will be pumpkins, hot cider and walks in the rain.

For now, it's time to decorate! (To be continued)