Autumn Décor: 5 Tips to make your home feel like fall

“Notice that autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

The subjects of your design should speak of your soul.

1. When choosing seasonal décor, be sure to consider the color of your walls & furniture!
When shopping for seasonal décor such as throw pillows, rugs, wall art & prints, or even holiday dishes these factors are important. My living room walls are a slate blue & my furniture is gray, so I tend to purchase things that accentuate those colors and the primary hues.

Pro Tip: For example, I often put white or light colored objects up against or on my living room walls. This draws the eye as soon as you enter the room.

3. Using real pumpkins & gourds along with natural vines brings a sense of the outdoors in. These are real pie pumpkins, but you can purchase fake ones. I used my Cricut to make the letters & then laminated them. I adhered them onto the pumpkins with a piece of tape & presto… a great mantel or centerpiece. I have bittersweet vines that grow in our woods, so I cut vines and wove them around the pumpkins.

Pro Tip: When purchasing pumpkins & gourds be sure the stem is securely attached, there are not Knicks or cuts, or any soft spots. This will help them last longer. Also, spraying your pumpkins & gourds with clear acrylic spray will give them longer life as well.

5. This photo is of my foyer. When you come into my home through the front door, this is the first thing you see. I decorate this area for each season (I have the cutest snowman tree for the holidays!!).

As you can see, I’ve taken elements from my living room and tied them into this area. My goal is to make each person who enters our home feel welcome!

Pro tip: My foyer is a light gray so I’ve used décor to match this space as opposed to my living room with it’s dark slate blue walls.

Decorating has always been a passion of mine, whether it’s indoors or outdoors. My gardens are an expression of the things I love, as is each room in my home. Today I wanted to share with you some of my autumn décor throughout my home. I can’t wait to share my Thanksgiving & Holiday designs with you… I love this time of year!

Here are a few tips I follow when decorating each room in my home. 

2. To change or not to change, that is the question! Most of us have art work on our walls, tables, & on the floor.  Adding decorative items like seasonal signs or other wall art, table trays, vases, sculptures, etc. add so much to the display. Beauty is in the details!

Pro Tip: Balance is the key, so use decorative items that compliment what you already have.

4. Switch it up from year to year! These two pictures of my fireplace show some variation however only slightly, I do like to switch things up. I’ve had different artwork and mantel décor each year. The photo of the live pumpkins with Thanks on them is what I previously did before my glass & ceramic pumpkins.

Pro tip: I shop at the end of the season and take advantage of the huge clearance sales. Then I pull out all my goodies the next year & it’s just like Christmas!

Bonus Pro tip: I keep all my holiday decorations in clear plastic totes with an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper saying what is in it along with the year it was used or is planned for!

“Your home should tell the story of who you are, and be a collection of what you Love.”
Lebo Grand

If you enjoyed this post, please Like, Share, & of course Follow me here and at my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100049613212778.

Happy Day,
Jean

Bruschetta with Feta Cheese & Balsamic Glaze

“To make a great garden, one must have a great idea or a great opportunity”
Sir George Sitwell

Aaron & I were in Myrtle Beach last summer and visited a local restaurant where we ordered pizza & bruschetta. To my surprise it was served with feta cheese & a delicious balsamic glaze. The best part about it though was that Aaron loved it!! I could hardly get him to eat my ‘basic’ bruschetta, but he devoured this. So of course I decided to put my own spin on this for my sweet little guy to enjoy at home! 

Our Favorite Recipes

INGREDIENTS:

  • I loaf Italian bread unsliced
  • 6-8 large roma tomatoes diced, Heirlooms are the most flavorful!
  • 2 fresh garlic clove minced or 2 tsp jarred
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil + ¼ cup+
  • ½ cup fresh basil, snipped- Watch my video on how-to snip basil or any fresh herb in the video to the right
    OR 2 TBSP dried
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, snipped OR 1 TBSP dried
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1- 8 ounce container feta cheese crumbles
  • 1- 8.45 ounce bottle of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena glaze (I love the Kroger Private Selection brand).

With the garden bursting at the seams with ripe tomatoes, now is the perfect time to experiment with new recipes. Let me know if you have any tips for your bruschetta in the comments below!
Watch this video on how-to snip basil & other fresh herbs!

1. Combine in a medium sized bowl all ingredients EXCEPT feta cheese and balsamic glaze; mix well. Set in the fridge for 30 minutes.

2. While the tomato mixture is in the fridge, cut 6- 1” slices of Italian bread; use the ¼+ cup of olive oil and brush oil on both sides of each slice; place on a cookie sheet and toast bread on both sides under a broiler until golden brown. Remove and set aside.

3. Once bread is toasted, spoon tomato mixture evenly over bread; sprinkle 1 TBSP feta cheese on top of tomatoes; drizzle glaze over top.

Serve immediately with any pasta dish, chicken or fish dinner!

PRO TIP:  When snipping your fresh basil, bunch about 8 to 10 leaves, hold firming with your fingers and snip with kitchen shears. Also, be sure to only use the ripest tomatoes, and of course Heirlooms are best!

Added bonus tip: This recipe has been altered from the original in my cookbook. You can go to my blog at www.fordragonfliesandme.com to purchase my original cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats. The cookbook has almost 1000 recipes on almost 500 pages! Check out the Cookbook Testimonials while you’re there!

Garlic: 4 Easy Steps To Plant Your Fall Garlic

“Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.”
Alfred Austin

Garlic-Thyme Infused Olive Oil- See recipe link below

Did you know that September is the best time to plant your garlic for the following season?
Garlic is a staple in our home, and goes into most dishes. 

There are two types of garlic, hardneck & softneck. Generally hardnecks tend to be more flavorful, where softneck varieties have a more mild flavor. These flavors are determined by the location & temperatures in which they were grown. Hardneck garlic grows best in Northern climates and can withstand cold winters down to zone 0. Softneck garlic prefers hot summers and mild winters from zone 8 to 12. 

Garlic Scapes
Only hardneck varieties will develop garlic scape’s. These are the seedpods that will grow up out of the center of the garlic’s neck. These are harvested just before they begin to develop the ‘seed’. If not cut off, the plants energy will work towards making the seeds rather than a large bulb of garlic. The scape has a delightfully mild garlic flavor and can be added into many dishes including omelets, pasta sauces, meats, and more!
Heirloom Garlic German Red

Here are my top picks for each variety.


Hardneck: Music is a delightful and pungent flavored white bulb.
German Red, a beautiful variegated bulb of white and red hues sporting a wonderful garlic spice to the pallet.


Softneck: Corsican Red originated in the Mediterranean island of Corsica and has a mild, complex & fruity aroma. Inchelium Red has a medium spiciness with a mild pungent taste.

Choose a large, well proportioned bulb

Step 1: Choosing the perfect garlic bulb is essential. Make sure there are no defects, rotten spots, and find the largest bulbs. Whatever qualities the bulb you choose has will be developed in it’s next generation.

Music Garlic

Divide the bulb into individual cloves

2.  Once you’ve selected the best bulbs, divide them into separate cloves. Leave the skins on.

This is the appropriate way to plant your clove.
Burying the garlic

3. Make a hole in loosened soil about 4 inches deep. Placing the flat root side down put one clove into the hole; cover with dirt and tamp lightly; I cover with mulch, which happens to be grass clippings here.

Step 4. Repeat this process, planting your cloves about 4 to 6 inches apart.  I recommend you place a stake in the ground marking it as garlic and the date you planted it. Despite our best intentions, we will forget! I even go as far as to take a photo & put it in my garden journal/ planner for the following growing season. If you plant in raised beds it will definitely be easier to remember, but still jot it down!
If you don’t keep that kind of information, I highly recommend you start!

Garlic is not for the faint of heart, it takes patience but the reward is worth the wait!
…now walk away and dream of spring, because this is where the patience starts.

Click this link for my recipe for Garlic- Thyme Infused Oil. It’s wonderful to toss in pasta or baste on fish or any meat. https://bit.ly/3R4b8dm

If you enjoyed this post please like, share, and let me know your tips & tricks for planting garlic. What’s your favorite variety?
Please follow me on Facebook for fun & informative posts!

Happy Day,
Jean

Spring To-do List, Using Old Ladders In Our Gardens, Yummy Soft Boiled Eggs in a ‘Green’ Nest

Spring is a time of new birth and rejuvenation. It’s when we look around and simply stand in awe at the beauty surrounding us… forsythias vibrant yellow… the sweet aroma of apple and cherry blossoms… lavender lilac bouncing in the breeze carrying the scents through the open windows… searching out the first tips of rhubarb and asparagus.

This is a hedge of 'Miss. Kim' lilacs we planted in our front yard three years ago.

This is a hedge of ‘Miss. Kim’ lilacs we planted in our front yard three years ago.

Spring… there isn’t quite anything as perfect in my mind.

Yesterday I was walking to the greenhouse when my feet went ‘squishhhh’ in the mud… I loved it, especially wearing flip-flops. Yes, I know it was cold, but it was almost 85 degrees in the greenhouse when the sun was shining! Neil was helping me and his feelings were a tad bit different… more of exasperation from the heat- he likes the cold. I’ll take the heat and a sweaty brow any day of the week over bundling up to keep warm.

Spring is also a time ‘to-do’ lots of stuff! As most of my dragonfly readers can testify, I strongly encourage lists- for everything! Garden and yard projects are no exception. I love the feeling of making the list and scratching off each item as it’s accomplished. I’m a visual person and I think that’s why lists make so much sense to me… plus they keep me on track.

This photo is of my chalkboard in my office where I keep my 'daily' lists.  I add sticky notes below as things need to be done.

This photo is of my chalkboard in my office where I keep my ‘daily’ lists. I add sticky notes below as things need to be done.

Scanning through my yard and gardens I’m seeing the multitude of things I need and want to get accomplished this season. I have a couple windows of opportunity before and after my ‘busy’ times, so I must utilize that time wisely. I thought it would be interesting to share this years list with all my dragonfly friends… now don’t be alarmed when you see it… I have lots of helping hands around our farm!

My list of outside jobs to do this year…
Painting:

back of garage
potting shed
front of greenhouse
back of hoop house
repaint back door where dog scratched

2. Fix arbor in front of hoop house- put new lattice on sides and top
3. Put post up at small herb bed for wisteria
4. Move raised beds from beside hoop house to cut flower raised bed garden
5. New flower bed around potting shed

6. Plant:

Pink climbing roses at back corners of potting shed
Rose of Sharon at back corner of house in back yard
Rose trellis on front of house at living room window

7. Finish Patio:

planters
floor and sides

8. Ladder trellis on side of garage over tea bed in Potager

Here is the photo I mentioned a few blog posts back. I got a photo of it the other day.  I'm so excited to do this on my garage this summer!  Can't you just see it covered with pink roses!

Here is the photo I mentioned a few blog posts back. I got a photo of it the other day. I’m so excited to do this on my garage this summer! Can’t you just see it covered with pink roses!

Number eight is one of the topics of this post. I often talk about my love for garden junque, it’s one of my favorite things about cottage gardening. I love being able to artfully incorporate what I absolutely adore, even though some people consider it trash. There are oodles of items that can be used, but lets look at old wooden ladders today.

A few posts ago I mentioned this ladder trellis- well I stopped the other day and took a photo of it… not the greatest, but you get the idea. I plan on doing this on the side of my garage over the tea bed in our Potager and planting… you guessed it, a climbing rose… but first I have to find them! So if you read my guest post at Flea Market Gardening ( http://www.fleamarketgardening.org/2013/04/04/flea-market-windows-how-to-make-a-decorative-mini-greenhouse/ ) you’ll understand how patient I can be!

Uses for ladders…
*Ladders can also be used in your flower beds to put potted plants on (see photo).

This is a really cool old ladder that I picked up at a garage sale for a couple bucks... so cut with pots!

This is a really cool old ladder that I picked up at a garage sale for a couple bucks… so cut with pots!

*I also have a ladder on one of the columns on our front porch that a climbing rose uses.
*Lattice/ trellis- I have a few ladders that go across the top of my pergola for the vines.

To many they are just something to climb up, but on my list, they have a much higher calling 😉

Spring is here and greens are coming in abundantly… and so are the eggs! Here’s a yummy recipe to use what you have- Enjoy friends!
Soft Boiled Eggs in a ‘Green’ Nest

Farm fresh eggs just laid in one of our farms many nesting boxes!

Farm fresh eggs just laid in one of our farms many nesting boxes!

1 Bunch of Chard, Kale or Spinach, stems and ribs discarded
1 1/2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/4 tsp Red Pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 Eggs

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Chop your greens into bite size pieces and toss in the oil and seasoning to coat evenly. Spread evenly in the bottom of a 10″x10″ glass baking dish and bake for about 30-40 minutes, till crisp. Remove from oven and divide into 2 bowls and create a ‘nest’ with a hole in the center.
2. While greens are baking, bring a 2 quart pot of water to a rolling boil and gently lower eggs into water, turn off heat and cover. Let eggs sit in water for 6 1/2 minutes for soft boiled eggs.
3. Transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water and let sit for about 1/2 minute. Working carefully and quickly, peel eggs, and place in center of nests. Season and serve immediately.

Be sure to come on over to Dragonflies Facebook for lots more photo’s and extra info plus tons of great links to other interesting sites. Hope to see you there…
https://www.facebook.com/pages/For-Dragonflies-And-Me/550000798362651?ref=stream
Happy Day,
Jean

Country Cottage Gardens: Top 10 cottage flowers and more

front_arbor_clematis_bloom

Hi all my Dragonfly friends… I have a new post at The Detroit News, The Good Life blog… check it out! Be sure to give it a like and leave me a comment that you came by from WP!

Here’s the direct link:

http://blogs.detroitnews.com/thegoodlife/2013/04/01/country-cottage-gardens-top-10-cottage-flowers-and-more/

Enjoy Friends,
Jean

More from For Dragonflies And Me

Hello to all my For Dragonflies And Me friends. I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to my new Facebook page dedicated specifically to my Dragonfly friends. I will be posting extra things there every day like recipes, poems and quotes, photographs and othere things that I think you will like… I hope to meet you all over there soon…

Here is the direct link to follow
http://www.facebook.com/pages/For-Dragonflies-And-Me/550000798362651?skip_nax_wizard=true

Enjoy Friends,
Jean