Friday, September 23, 2016

Early Fall Home and Garden Snippets

Truth be told, I was ready for fall before we left for our great American road trip in mid-August. Obviously, Mother Nature was not. Nonetheless, I put away my hummingbird feeders just before we left, and even brought the yard furniture and umbrellas in. Once home, I quickly changed out a few seasonal vignettes, both outdoors and in, so I could keep the feeling, even if only in my mind. Finally, it's fall.
Pumpkins were purchased the first week of September. I buy at least one mum in bud stage, and then plant it mid-November, when I typically remove the pumpkins from the porch.
A few pumpkins were added to the garden as well. Otherwise, things are quite messy in the garden by this point.
The Mexican sunflowers did NOT disappoint! Each place where I planted them (three), they grew taller than my 6' brick walled fence. I will have plenty of seeds for next year!
Happily, I could see them serving the birds, bees and butterflies too. I even saw a hummingbird on them after vacation, more than a month after I took the feeders down.
Much work needs to be done to clean up the garden, but not until it cools down. Inside, though, I played with textiles, dishes, and a few other items for an early fall flourish.
The pillow cover that looks like a miniature yo-yo quilt was purchased on our trip while shopping the Sundance Outlet in Salt Lake City. It reminded me of a collage of fallen leaves. It's made of raw edged circles of different fabrics, stitched at center like buttons.
I changed up my sideboard in the sunroom for my first fall seasonal display.
Just a few other items were sprinkled around areas of the house which see higher traffic, either in passing or by actual usage. The breakfast table....
....the dining room.
Fall is here. Let's do cozy, shall we?
I'll be participating in a blog hop of autumn-inspired tablescapes, September 26-30, hosted by Celebrate and Decorate. I hope you'll come back and see another new tablescape of mine on Thursday, September 29, as part of that series. Thanks for your visit today!

Happy Fall, Y'all!
Rita C. at Panoply

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Fall Tablescape: Cornucopia, Canyon, Currier, Color!

Some of my favorite things about fall include cooler temperatures (even if only in the mornings and evenings), a clearer blue sky than the blanket of summer haze, and more intense color, caused by a natural combination of the slant and brightness of the sun, changing leaves, and the last hurrahs of the garden.

My tablescape today is the compilation of all these things:
Cornucopia, Canyon, Currier, Color!
I was happy to return home from a recent cross-country trip, and slip into the mood for fall. As part of that prelude to fall, I wanted to create a tablescape of my interpretation of some of the best of the season, a cornucopia, if you will.
The wicker cornucopia (which I already had) started with a simple fresh bouquet of flowers and greens cut from my garden: Mexican sunflowers, butterfly bush, periwinkle, white lavender, and Otto Luykens foliage. I added simple fruit - orange, pear and apples - to the mix, along with Indian corn, a few miniature pumpkins, and nuts gathered from daily walks, and it casually became my table centerpiece.
After nixing several choices from my stash of vintage textiles, I finally settled on a pale yellow damask cloth as my base, and used the flip side of the handsewn, spiral runner I purchased last year and used in this post.

Many of the sights we took in on our trip included some of our National Parks, including the ever-popular Grand Canyon. It was by accident that I discovered, earlier in our travels, one of the souvenirs I knew I wanted from this trip. It was a set of Pendleton-USA's National Park series jacquard napkins; specifically, those inspired by Grand Canyon National Park (one of the four available designs and a park which we planned to visit). BAM! They were available at the Canyon Village Market! Rich in color and texture, I knew they'd make the perfect accessory to the table I had in mind. The brass napkin rings were a great purchase from blogging friend, Diana, of Adirondack Girl at Heart's Vintage Shop.
I pulled out my vintage Currier and Ives American Homestead series china (manufactured 1950 - 1986). Each piece within the place settings  (along with the serving pieces) are titled differently, and each title depicts familiar scenes of working families' homesteads (see photo below, with those titles on various pieces). I bought the china from a neighbor's yard sale, and used only a portion of it to set a prior table in July (see those posts here and here). Many of you commented on your memories of this china in your own households; my mother had it too. :)
For place markers, I picked up pine cones from the neighborhood and stood them in copper peat pots. Name cards can easily be tucked between the cone petals.
The wood-like texture of the chargers are faux - an inexpensive Pier 1 sale purchase, as are the golden amber glasses (acrylic!). The flatware is vintage Oneida (1945), in the Bordeaux pattern, yet another nod to the harvest season with grape clusters on the handles.
Once completed, there was something very satisfying in the play of color and textures of this tablescape for me. It definitely was a good springboard for adding a few more touches of fall which soon began to crop up through the higher trafficked areas of our home. Those changes will soon be seen in a post to come.
Whether you're embracing changes in the season indoors or outdoors, I hope there's a sense of inner peace in whatever you're doing and wherever you are.

Thanks for your visit at the table today. I hope you leave a bit inspired, and feel free to leave a comment! By the way, I am a no-revenue blog, and no compensation was received for mention of any products used in this or any other tablescape I create for my blog posts.

Rita C. at Panoply

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Miscellaneous Musings No. 4

It's time for me to do another dump of random things that have been filling my pre-frontal lobe of short-term memory. I did a brief research on where this random stuff is stored, and that pre-frontal lobe appears to be responsible for my very active, sometimes overactive, brain.

I mentioned in my last musings I like and notice signs. Pictured below is yet another sign I noticed, when dropping off a package at my daughter's home. The sign's on her front door (to which her 10 year old nephew noted, "hey wait, you sing and dance". Yea, and I bet she does a little of the other, too.
A sign of the season....puttin' up hay....Hey!
Field of Hay
Another sign of the season...haulin' the hay (as captured, going down the highway, tethered, on a flatbed trailer).
Tractor Trailer Load of Hay
Which reminds me of this hilarious video I saw recently. If cats said "Hey!" instead of "Meow". Watch, and be entertained.
I caught this display (pictured below) when my sisters and I were antiquing in July....I think maybe the booth vendor was struggling with the styling here, do you agree? The sex, the season, and the items for sale....what?? It was good for a chuckle.
Train Wreck of a Display
Speaking of chuckle, when my sisters and I are together, we almost always have more than one 'pee your pants' laughing episode. In the video below, I'm reenacting one of those moments. As soon as we pulled into the driveway of sister J's house on our last visit in July, she came out to greet us, waving, and then did this (watch, it's only 4 seconds):
Ohmygosh, we just about died laughing. Just one of the many times in those two days. Sister M and I typically have at least 1 or 2 of those same kind of moments when we're restyling our spaces at the antique mall, too.

On the topic of gardening, I could pull weeds, truthfully, every day of the growing season, and still never be finished. My husband helps me pull them, too, and it's become a bit of a ritual, if not compulsion, almost daily. There is one thing that lightens us up in the process, though. I cannot tell you how many times we may go out, pull weeds and overlook this one particular type (pictured below, among the garden plants and then against the wall).  One day those suckers may be 2" high and, the next day (especially after rain), they'll be nearly 2' high, no kidding! We often play a little game of it, quizzing each other on, "where's the weed?" in a particular bed, to see if it's as easily overlooked by the other, as it seemed to be for our own (lack of) observation.
Do these weeds make my butt look big??
Where's the Weed?
Here's a bouquet of weeds Rose of Sharon that sprouted from last year's seeds. Remember, when I cut that shrub down in March, I said I'd probably still have seedlings for years to come. I was hoping I'd be wrong.
Rose of Sharon volunteers
And what about kudzu? Holy cow, it's like something out of a sci-fi movie in this neck of the woods AND city. The pictures below were taken from the passenger's seat in the car, and that stuff is everywhere!
Kudzu Monsters!
Kudzu Highway
Back to the subject of compulsions, ...I admit it, I have my fair share of quirks, and so does Mr. P. The Maxine cartoon had one recently that made me laugh:
"There should be support groups for women who can't put their dishes in the dishwasher dirty."
Guilty, as charged. My son-in-law once told me washing the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher was like wiping your butt before you take a crap. He may have a point. I also read  - somewhere - that a dishwasher actually performs better when you put the dishes in dirty. Sometimes I don't run the dishwasher for a few days, though, and I can't stand the thought of food on the dishes and utensils that long. For more on Maxine's creator, John Wagner, and how she morphed into such a character, click here. It's interesting.

Here's another thing that demonstrates mine and Mr. P.'s quirky sense of order (below):
Straight line
See how nice and vivid that stripe is painted on the road's edge? That's right in front of our parking pad. (The faintly visible 8 on the road is another story, another day). Now, look at this one (below):
Interference
See where the stripe gets painted on the grass? That's a neighbor's, just beyond ours. Although we don't have a grass edge on the side with the parking pad, we do have grass on the opposite side of the street. But we don't have painted grass. Nor do we have random weeds growing between our concrete and asphalt seams. That's because Mr. P. meticulously weed eats the grass away from the street and finishes the grass cutting with a blower, so that when the road does get striped, it won't be on grass. The city striped later than their normal June date this year but, thanks to our compulsive nature, we stay ready. :)

Seems Mr. P. is among those guys who know their wives are going to take pictures of most everything, but I don't necessarily do it for my blog. I've just always taken a lot of pictures, whether it's at the antique mall, my garden, decor changes, travel, etc. Now, it's every time I make a meal, he says, "aren't you going to take a picture?" lol.
Cheddar Bacon Chicken Ranch Pasta - Simple to Make!
Truth is, the real meals never look as good as the tablescape glamour shots, for which I'll go to such lengths as climb ladders or straddle a bench for the perfect overhead view. I've nearly gotten caught up in a ceiling fan in the sunroom, and attacked by wasps outside. Here's an outtake from that alfresco dining experience a few weeks ago (below). You know, one of the ones where you hold your camera out, overhead, and hope you have the subject centered?? Obviously, my aim was a bit angled toward my feet.
Little did I know there was a wasp's nest under the corner of that bench. When I picked it up by the underside to move it, out they flew! I banged my knuckle up pretty good bad as I flailed my hands, air Ninja style, and hit it on said bench as it dropped. Then I declared war on the wasps, and got out the Raid. No dishes were harmed in this scene (it happened as I was breaking it down), only my hand was collaterally damaged. It looked like I had a boxing glove on afterward.

Never mind the hands, did you like my sandals? They're Chaco brand (no compensation here, nada), and I've been getting a lot of mileage out of these this summer! They're great for garden, water, or adventure (hiking) with their nylon web straps - but the soles are like earth shoes from the 70s. Remember those? Very comfortable, and I even walk several miles at a time in these. But, let me tell you....they took me almost an hour when I first bought them to get the straps situated just right. They are totally connected throughout the footbed, and when you pull one strap in one place to loosen it, it tightens in another.  Cause and effect, baby.
The 4th of July typically means fireworks, but this year one local guy apparently decided he was going to have his own show...in his car. I know this story could have had a tragic ending but, fortunately, it didn't. So, after reading it (article link in caption), it struck me as funny on several angles.
Vehicle Fireworks Incident
One angle: notice the sign that reads, "DEAD END". Second angle: the story recounts the driver as noticing smoke coming from the floorboard. I had this vision of the Flintstones peddling their feet on the pavement through the floorboard, making sparks. Third angle: the story mentions a nearby building, a car wash, was partially melted as a result of the fire. Obviously, the car wash was not running at the time.

My neighbors - both sides - had their own fest of fireworks right on the riverbank on the 4th. Once lit, they looked and sounded like they were exploding right out of my attic! I found myself reacting much like most dogs.....very anxious and stirred up, and wanting to bark.

Speaking of dogs, I have several granddogs - three, to be exact. A lot of my blogging friends have grandbabies, but not me. I have granddogs. Wanna see my very social granddog at his favorite place in the world, doggy daycare? He even made their Instagram account, he's so sociable. And handsome!
Handsome Granddog
Here he is again, with a new (to me) and fun app called Prisma, in a mosaic finish.
Prisma Effect
Finally, here he is with all his buddies, on a different day:
Buddies
He loves his friends.

Don't we all?

Mr. P. and I have been on a Great, American Road Trip (GART) through most of August, and I've accumulated so many notes, I may just have to draft a special edition of musings for that 6,000+ mile trip sometime soon. Just one example: suffice it to say, I really worked on my public restroom muscles on that trip. ;)

So, what random thoughts do you have on your mind? Add them to my musings with your comment!

Rita C. at Panoply

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Traveling Totes Summer Fun Recap, Another Giveaway!

Welcome back to the Tales of the Traveling Totes Adventures! Today's installment is a recap of all the summer fun we've been having since our last post on June 1. I'm glad you're here, and hope you'll read through to the end of this post for a chance to win our tribe's giveaway in this installment!
Traveling with MacKenzie-Childs and Kate Spade
It seems summer has flown by and, for the most part, life has been good. Miss Luna C and I started off our month of June with a little bumpy ride, as Mr. P. delivered an unexpected baby kidney stone.
We spent more than 12 hours in the ER early in June, and although it was very real labor for Mr. P., the baby kidney stone was apparently not full term. Another almost 3 weeks went by before the baby stone had to be taken surgically. I'm happy to report all is well with Mr. P. once again, and Miss Luna C provided much needed assistance with carting magazines and snacks for me while I waited......and waited.

Mid-June marks the annual MacKenzie-Childs sale which leads up to the barn sale in July. Traveling Tote tribe members somehow got onto a new tote jag, and I think we are all now proud owners of new totes! My town tote arrived in late June, and she is aptly named after my town. Meet Miss Charley C. She's the perfect size for quick trips and/or everyday use!
Rita C and Miss Charley C, at the Ripley Antique and Flea Market
Miss Charley C made her debut travel to an antique and flea market held in a nearby town on Independence weekend. It was a day of concession food, and lots of unanticipated Panoply buying!
Christa of 60 Grit, and me with Charley C, after loading the SUV
We ended up filling the SUV to the max, thanks to the gal you see pictured above. You can read more about that adventure and all the cool things we bought from Christa here.

Mid-July had me traveling with both Miss Luna C and Miss Charley C, to Bristol, TN, with Mr. P.
Signage in Bristol, TN/VA. "Bristol VA TN A Good Place to Live"
Bristol is a unique, small town that borders both the Tennessee and Virginia state lines; hence, the signs pictured above. If you travel down State Street, you can actually be in one state or the other, depending on which side you're traveling or standing. :) 

It so happens Mr. P. went to school in Bristol, TN, and the occasion for returning was the funeral of his college basketball coach. As sad as that occasion was, it was also an utterly delightful reunion of 8 of 10 (2 are deceased) of Mr. P.'s first and second string basketball team members. I was able to catch a photo of  7 of 8 guys (the other had already left), and we all had lunch together after the service. (I should've had one of the guys hold my bag, right??)
Mr. P and college basketball teammates at an unplanned reunion, Bristol, TN
After the services, Mr. P. offered to take me antiquing in nearby Abingdon, VA, which is a little town I love to shop and spend time in. One of my favorite shops, Foxglove Antiques & Etc., was my choice for the limited time I had. As you can see, I managed to make good use of my time.
Rita C with Miss Charley C outside of Foxglove Antiques, Abingdon, VA
While we were shopping, the shop owner (Karen McClanahan), went gaga over Miss Charley C, and we chatted about our Traveling Tribe. Karen pulled out her latest bag she had purchased recently in Charleston, SC, and we ended up having way too much fun with bags and photos. She even had Mr. P. modeling her bag for the photo ops that she so gladly took charge of handling.
Rita C and Mr. P. having fun with bags at Foxglove Antiques in Abingdon, VA
On our trip home from TN, Mr. P. and I made a stop at Tamarack, in Beckley WV. If you're ever traveling WV Turnpike (I-77 / I-64 at Exit 45) and you've never experienced Tamarack, you simply must stop your next opportunity! Simply put, it showcases the best of West Virginia's artisans in a retail center. The food court offers notable regional cuisine, and has been reviewed and given accolades by Southern Living, among others. At any given date, there may be exhibitions or stage performances on site, so be sure to check their calendar of events at the link provided if you do travel that way.
On the day we traveled through, we took a little break, browsed a few of the shop kiosks, and I naturally took some photo ops. :) These photos all featured Miss Luna C, both indoors and outside. See my own display of Greenbrier China here.
Miss Luna C, posing with Greenbrier China and Those Shoes by Mik Wright
Miss Luna C, horsing around with Jeff Fetty's forged steel horse sculpture.
August was, by far, the most travel Miss Luna C and Miss Charley C have seen to date! As this post is published, Miss Luna C and Miss Charley C are still on a Great, American Road Trip (GART)! So far, here's where we've been in terms of geography:
Road Trippin' USA: KY, IN, IL, MO, IA, SD, WY, ID
Along with these states:
UT, CA, AZ, NM, NV
We've covered over 6,000 miles so far, and are heading back home right now. These are some of the places we've been:
The St. Louis Gateway National Park, MO
Sioux Falls National Park, SD
Smithfield Ham Plant was just down the road from Sioux Falls (you could smell ham in the air, but this little piggy was interested in what was in the bag!)
We visited the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD (a must-see tourist trap - that facade changes annually, and is constructed totally of corn!)
We were ear!
Badlands National Park, SD
Wall Drug Store, SD (another tourist trap - even Annie Oakley was bored out of her mind!)
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD - still a work in progress, begun in 1942
Mt. Rushmore National Park, SD
Cody, Wyoming Rodeo Stampede Park
Yellowstone National Park, WY
Needless to say, we saw lots of cowboys and Indians along the way, some faux...
And some real....
Cowboy at Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
We visited Promontory Summit (UT), where the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads met and the final, golden spike was struck in 1869. (and once again by me and Miss Charley C!).
We climbed city peaks (Salt Lake City, UT)
And we hiked down into red dirt canyons (Arches, Bryce and Zion National Parks, UT)
In fact, after so much traveling and red dirt, Miss Luna C had to make a pit stop for laundry in Moab, UT to regroup.
And then we lost our heads and landed in Sin City for the night....

...and took in Cirque du Soleil's production of MJ One before our early morning getaway.
MJ One at Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas
We finally reached our turnaround point, the Pacific Beach of San Diego, after two weeks.
Pacific Beach, San Diego CA
As we began our trek back east, we crossed the historic Route 66 more than once.
We visited the Grand Canyon (AZ)
Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum (Santa Fe, NM)
Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, NM
And that's just part of it! More states were traveled on the return home - Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee  and Kentucky (again) - before crossing back to West Virginia - HOME!
Making our way through Tennessee, we stopped in a couple places, and Miss Charley C proved to be popular among its notable residents, including these:
West TN Music Museum, Brownsville, TN
And Mike Wolfe's Antique Archaeology (Nashville, TN)
Antique Archaeology, Nashville, TN
Quite apart from the Traveling Totes Tribe, I'm sure I'll be summarizing the highlights of this Great, American Road Trip in a few posts here on Panoply, so be sure and watch for those!

ONTO THE GIVEAWAY!
Our host for this installment's Traveling Tote Tribe giveaway is Emily @ The French Hutch. One lucky reader who leaves a comment on Emily's September 1 post of will have their name thrown into the hat for an opportunity to win the following:
September Traveling Totes Giveaway
Our giveaway is a very versatile container in the classic MacKenzie-Childs' Courtly Check pattern, along with two different sizes of paper plates, in colors perfect for fall. Be sure to stop at Emily's and leave your comment to enter the giveaway.

We will offer a MacKenzie-Childs giveaway with our next five posts, each time with a different host! Until our next adventure (coming December 1, 2016), thank you for traveling along. It's a pleasure to have your company and visit!
Where have all the other Traveling Tote tribe members been of late?  By all means, go check them out at the links below. If any of you out there in blogland are also MC traveling tote-carrying chicks and want to join us in our adventure sharing, just let one of us know by dropping us an email. 

For the background on this series of related posts, you can read all about the makings of the Traveling Totes Tribe here. Catch Miss Luna C's earlier adventures by clicking on Traveling Totes under the drop-down menu bar Travel header (top of blog), and you'll find all those posts. Thank you for coming along on our tribe's adventures!

Rita C. at Panoply

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