Fall is my favorite.
I unapologetically love the falling temperatures, the early-darkening sky, and the pumpkin-flavored everything.
Other than Christmas, fall is the only time of year that I really change anything in our home and call it decorating. This year, I've been a bit busy with other things (three people in diapers, for example) and hadn't thought much about decorating yet. When Bonnie of A Knotted Life asked me about participating in this blog carnival, I thought it would be a good incentive to get things done.
It turns out it was a good incentive to get things started.
Hey, it's okay. I'm a perpetual work in progress. My surroundings may as well be, too. Things are constantly evolving around here. As our lives unfold, we add to our decorating...cut flowers from our yard, acorns from a hike, painted pumpkins from our annual pumpkin painting party, our Thankful Tree around Thanksgiving, banners and art created for various saint days.
I like pretty things, and I like to see beauty around me during the day. I could spend lots and lots of time hunting for seasonal baskets and rugs and throw pillows that are just right at TJ Maxx and Tuesday Morning. I love flipping through Pottery Barn catalogs, finding amazing tea cups in antique stores, and buying candles, picture frames and potted plants. I love arranging and rearranging things in our home.
But this isn't a decorating blog, and there's a very good reason for that.
It's because I like things to be perfect, and when I get caught up in making things look exactly the way I think they should, I can forget that my family lives here (and that they have other priorities than making sure their bath towels are all hanging evenly and with appropriate spacing). Our house is warm and welcoming, but it's not ever going to look like a page from Southern Living. Most of the surfaces are covered with books...between homeschooling, George's grad school books and general reading, we have a lot of them around. There are too many Legos and sippy cups without lids. There are always toys and shoes and superhero capes on the floor in most of the rooms. We pick them up throughout the day, but the kids move them around as they create elaborate adventures and storylines. When I watch them play, I'm thrilled that they use so many different pieces and loose parts in their play. When I stop watching the play and start focusing on the mess instead, it just stresses me out.
What I really need to feel calm about the state of my house are pockets of peace- little spaces on which I can rest my eyes when they are overwhelmed by the rest of my life. These focal points can help keep me sane when the books are overflowing their baskets and the Playmobil guys have taken over the bathroom sink again. Realistically, any decorating I do needs to be out of reach of the smallest people and on a surface that isn't going to become part of a stop-motion dinosaur film. (If we had a mantel, it would fit this purpose, but we don't.)
Realizing I need to narrow my focus to create these pockets, I put my energy into decorating the top of our piano this season. At SuperSam's request, we also worked together on a garland of fall leaves to hang in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room. Finally, I made a wreath for the front door. (We always have a wreath. I like to make them, and I change them seasonally. Sometimes that's all I do, but we do have a wreath.)
Here's the one I made for fall this year:
I'm not thrilled with it yet- I think I'm going to add more fabric flowers around the D. (I'm excited about my new magnetic wreath hanger, though- no more Command Hooks falling off at odd times!)
The other easy place for me to change things is our table. This is our family at Michaelmas dinner. We've kept the centerpiece the same...cloth with leaves, sticks, pinecones, stones and other found objects. This will evolve, too, as we go on nature walks and the kids add their treasures to the table.
The final part of our seasonal decorating is our book basket. The books rotate with the seasons, and so does the basket. I just recently replaced the white one that held our summer and beach books with this one, full of our fall favorites. (Notice the piles of seasonally inappropriate classics, a huge green Bible and a few other random books just hanging out on the table. We could really be running a library if we could keep the books in order on a shelf.)
Seeing the children grab books from the basket and curl up on the sofa together makes my heart happy. Really, this is what it's all about for me...creating a place that's warm and welcoming for the people I love to do what they love. This is our space to be together and live our lives. I had fun adding a few fall touches to it, and I'm happy to share them with you...as long as you remember that there are three giant totes in my kitchen filled with hand-me-down clothes to be gone through and several baskets of laundry in the hallway that need to be folded and spiderwebs above the door on the front porch that should really be swept down and some toothpaste smeared on the hall bathroom door.
It's okay. This is my life. If you stop by, I'll clear a spot at the table and make you some tea, but I can't guarantee that I'll have vacuumed the floors.
For more fall inspiration, check out the rest of the blogs participating in the carnival!