Here's Hoping...

Here's hoping the weekend weather is reasonably fair, because our plans include all of this (and so much more)...the outdoors...and horses!

Soup Season - Butternut Squash Soup

It's soup season! Yesterday, I made one of my favorites, Butternut Squash Soup. You can find the recipe link here. All the delicious ingredients just pop in the crockpot at the beginning of the day. 

And at the end of the day, you puree it all, and voila...soup!

I served it with grilled cheese sandwiches with chipotle cheddar cheese. And all the leftover soup is going into the freezer in individual portions.

One of those portions, plus a small salad, and a little wedge of sharp cheddar cheese is my very favorite winter lunch. I can hardly wait!

Exploring Walpole, New Hampshire

A couple of weeks ago, Colette and I went to lunch at our favorite French bistro tucked away in a charming town of New Hampshire's called Walpole. After feasting on salads and soup and pomme frites, we walked and drove about the town. And this is what we saw...

Beautiful Greek revival architecture.

And porches! Porches everywhere. Such an unusual number of porches, that I suspect the town went through some sort of remodeling frenzy in the 1830's-1850's perhaps where everyone just had to add a porch like the neighbors across the street.

And wrap around porches, from which you could view the comings and goings in town.

Pretty little details.

Outbuildings and old barns.

Then we roamed the countryside, following dirt roads to their end, past cornfields in the midst of harvest time, and up and down hills. Two of my favorite sights were garden surprise. Ahhh...I'd love to sit in this one with a cup of hot tea and a good book on an autumn day!

This brick one is tucked into the orchard and difficult to see, but isn't there everything to love in this scene? A folly. An orchard. A pair of Adirondack chairs. And, I do believe, that might be a root cellar in the foreground. Be still my heart!

The charms of Walpole seem quite endless...and that makes me happy.


With the change of seasons, it is time to gather in the supplies to keep us warm and cozy and keep everything pretty around our home. Here's my list of fall necessities to purchase:

For the garden:
bulbs to plant now for spring blooms

For decorating outside:
cornstalks, various pumpkins, and mums
- Bitter Apple (This is a spray used to deter puppies from chewing on important household chairs. I have found that spraying the outdoor pumpkins with a liberal dosing of it every couple of days keeps the squirrels from eating the pumpkins.)

For personal beauty:
- toenail polish in an autumn color
- shoe polish and rain protector
- body wash and lotion in a heavier scent

For the pantry and kitchen:
- dried cranberries
- canned pumpkin
- smoked cheeses
- crackers
- whole nuts for cracking
- teas
- Starbucks hot cocoa mix
- autumn cocktail ingredients
- bundles of sage to dry from the garden
- whole grain mustard
- apple butter

For prettying inside:
- small pumpkins
- gourds
- Indian corn
- sprays of bittersweet gathered in from the countryside
- pheasant feathers

For cozying:
- beeswax for making tealights to last through the winter
- pillar candle
- scented candle for the kitchen
- flannel sheets (or at least to make sure everyone still has an adequate set)
- throw blankets (or make sure they are all freshly laundered)

Like all the squirrels that are so busy snipping acorns from our oak trees and carrying them back to stuff into their nests, I am busy gathering in supplies too. To each their task!

Goodbye to Summer - Hello to Fall

Today is the last day of summer! In our family, we were quick to embrace it at it's unofficial end, the day after Labor Day. And today, Colette and I stopped in at Hutchins Farm in Concord, Massachusetts to purchase a few squash. It was fully stocked with wonderful pumpkins, apples, numerous variety of squash, and root vegetables, creating a lovely autumn scene.

Fall Clothing Color Inspiration for the Blonde

This is not my usual type of posting, but it's that time of year...a changing of the seasons...when my mind turns to my wardrobe. I've pretty much stopped wearing sandals, and I've put away my white skirts and basket purse. I'm about ready to switch my closet around so the summer clothes are in a less accessible place, and I try my best to stick to autumn colors, even on warm days like today.

Lochcarron of Scotland | the worlds leading manufacturer of Tartan:
Photo credit: here.
But dressing for the rich-hued autumn season can be challenging for us fair skinned blondes. It takes a little thinking outside the box...a searching for the colors of autumn that are not quite so obvious. But I love color! And I see inspiration for it everywhere! So, I thought I'd share a little color combo inspiration for the blonde this autumn from my Pinterest board. 

Blondes look great in blue! And even blue can look autumnal when paired with a scarf in a yellow-gold. Note that it's a warmer shade of blue. Look how lovely that looks! Just keep the blue next to your face.

Photo credit: here.
Smoky blue with a touch of yellow.:
Photo credit: here.
And cobalt blue look great with orange!

Wear blue with a touch of yellow-gold-orange.:
Photo credit: here.
Mini Pumpkins.:
Photo credit: here.
One of my favorite colors for autumn is robin's egg blue, because it pairs well with coral-orange, orange, copper, brown, and even plum. It looks great with coral jewelry too!

Photo credit: here.
Love how chestnut brown and muted robin's egg blue go together.:
Photo credit: here.
Copper-brown and robin's egg blue.  Carolina Herrera:
Photo credit: here.
Brown and robin's egg blue. Tweed Hacking Jacket - Heritage Collection:
Photo credit: unknown.
Robin's egg blue (background color) with plum.:
Photo credit: here.
Autumn is grape harvesting pairing any shade of purple with brown is a great autumnal look for the blonde. I'm trying this color combo out for the first time this season.

Lavender and copper-brown.:
Photo credit: here.
Gentle brown and deep lavender.:
Photo credit: here.
Gray is a great autumn color that makes other colors rosy-orange leaves...just like a rainy day can make the autumn colors seem more intense.

Photo credit: here.
Gray with coral-pink.:
Photo credit: here.
Chocolate brown was a color I never wore...not once in my life(!)...when I lived in California. But here in New England, I embrace it as my main base color for fall. Pants, skirts, sweaters, vests, scarves...all in chocolate brown. I love the pairing of brown on brown...toffee brown with coffee brown, different hues of the same brown, caramel brown with chocolate striking! Interestingly, every time I see a color pairing of brown-brown, it's a vintage ensemble. Let's bring this look back!

Coffee on toffee.  Coat    1898    The Metropolitan Museum of Art  #1890s:
Photo credit: here.
Toffee brown and coffee brown.  (Dress 1880, American, Made of silk):
Photo credit: here.
Brown on brown.  Brown is an under used color for evening wear...but how stunning it can be!:
Photo credit: here.
Dress 1818, British, Made of silk (Gothic Regency):
Photo credit: here.
Another new combo I'm looking forward to trying this fall is purple with bright celery green.

Vogue September 1993 The Velvet Touch:
Photo credit: here.
Cabbage green and crushed berry.:
Photo credit: here.
Even though it's a bit bold for fair skin, I do like color combos that pair with deep plum, or copper.

Teal and deep plum...gorgeous for fall.:
Photo credit: unknown.
copper and peacock blue:
Photo credit: here.
And when you want to go with riotous autumn color, pair it all with plenty of pinks and rose!

Lovely colors for blondes for fall.  Yarrow floral arrangement // photo by dna photographers // flowers by Lush Florist:
Photo credit: here.
Autumn pinks, red-oranges, and browns.:
Photo credit: here.
Pinks and soft-oranges for autumn.:
Photo credit: here.
I hope you've gained some autumn color inspiration! Just remember to keep those true autumn colors (oranges, golds, yellows, etc.) away from your face, and use them as accent pieces (scarves, cardigans, purses). Coral jewelry and copper jewelry look fabulous on blondes! Enjoy a colorful autumn!


Thank you so much for your prayers on our granddaughter's behalf. After going to the hospital and waiting, the doctor was involved in a serious, emergency procedure on a newborn that was expected to take the rest of the day, and necessitated cancelling our little one's procedure for today. So, our family and many others, have changed course and have been praying for this little baby. Please join us! 

Our granddaughter's procedure will be rescheduled.

Brimfield Antique Show - Take a Look!

For the second time ever, Colette and I went to the Brimfield Antique Show this week! We were so excited that she had Tuesday off work, because it was our one and only chance to go, given other commitments on our calendars. We packed our totes with bottles of water, cash, trail mix, and other necessaries for surviving a day of some serious antique shopping.

The Brimfield Antique Show happens three times a year and runs for five days each time. Antique dealers pitch their tents in the fields along a mile-long stretch of highway that runs through the small Massachusetts town of Brimfield. We began at the beginning, which is entirely sensible, and shopped nearly the entire show in about six hours!

And of course I took pictures! Would you like to armchair travel to Brimfield? I'd love to show you! Follow me. I'm the one in the red pants and shoes!

We loved the booths where the vendors made an effort to capture the spirit of a New England autumn in their displays! So appealing!

Ahhh...a quintessential Brimfield scene! It's the opportunity to shop booths like this that draws people to Brimfield over and over again.

Everything, big or small, can be found at Brimfield...from silverware to canoes. Isn't that white canoe just so gorgeous?

I admired the oodles of flags, patriotic bunting, and swaths of red/white/blue fabric. You should know that the going price for a full-size, cloth, U.S. flag in excellent condition at Brimfield is about $65.00. So, if you see one at an antique store near you for much less, snatch it up!

We marveled at these 8-ft. long snowshoes. What? How can that be? It turns out that they were once part of a store display, and not cast-offs from a giant.

I admired this farmhouse table. Isn't it novel? I'd never seen one with a rectangular base and an oval top. Excellent idea, since you can always seat more people at an oval table.

Brimfield is a great place to add to a collection you might have...from shoe forms to Japanese fishing floats to European deer antlers. Aren't fishing floats captivating in their beauty when grouped together?

Time for lunch. There are plenty of food trucks to tempt you with everything from garlic pizza to gourmet grilled cheese. Colette opted for the grilled cheese with cheddar, fig jam, and arugula. Yum! And since we were in Massachusetts in the autumn, this sandwich vendor had exactly what I wanted.

As you know, I love a good picnic, because I sort of thrive on creating happy memories for people. So this booth, with its beautifully displayed picnic accoutrements, was our favorite of the day! 

And this picnic basket, with so many of its original pieces, was beautiful too!

Brimfield is a great place to find the unusual.

This was one of the more unusual items we saw...a large wooden box, lined with tin with compartments for ice cream. Each compartment was about 12" across and 16" deep. When full of ice cream, it must be very heavy. 

The weather was alternately misting light rain or the sun was threatening to come out. But by afternoon, we were hot and thirsty, so we stopped for one of the famous Del's frozen lemonades. Delicious!

Then Colette headed back to the car with her purchases, while I dashed back to purchase one more item. Her purchase for the day were: two vintage wool blankets in autumn colors, a brass pheasant to sit on her desk, two hat boxes adorned with hunting scenes, and a polo mallet.

And I bought these: four butterscotch-colored bakelite forks to add to my picnic collection, a small thermos (in mint condition) with a leather case, and a European deer skull. 

The deer skull was hung in the kitchen today. (Did you ever notice they hang in the kitchen at Downton?) Well, it continues a long tradition in Europe and early America of displaying antlers as a reminder that God has given us the beasts of the earth to be responsibly used for food.

I hope you enjoyed armchair traveling to Brimfield! You really must go in person sometime!
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