November 2008


Apartment Therapy directed visitors to Nettleton Hollow the other day. It’s a great source for finding branches to decorate with, and it inspired me to pull together some branch-centric ideas. While buying sticks and branches retail guarantees quality and variety, there is no reason you can’t just bring some in from your yard. We are talking about plain ol’ sticks here.

AT had a post devoted to branch ideas last week, but the photos reminded me more of a beach house look and aren’t really my style. Cool to see people decorating with them, though. 

For the autumn I really like these birch branches, either in natural or white:

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Tie a bundle together with a gorgeous orange, plum, or brown sash for a seasonal touch. 

Pottery Barn also sells a faux persimmon branch, which is pretty and not too badly priced ($14 each). A large bundle of branches is what I call “white noise” in decorating. It’s there, but not the central focus and easily overlooked. Instead, a group of sticks leaning up against a wall adds to the overall feel of a space without drawing attention. On the other hand, a singe branch in a pretty vase can be used as a centerpiece on a dining room or coffee table. Used together, these two ideas can bring a blank room up to date, with a seasonal touch that steers clear of kitsch. 

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pavement

I started this blog with a few goals in mind. First, like many amateur bloggers, I wanted a place to catalog random finds and thoughts I come across in real life and online. Second, my day job occasionally lets me interact with design/home/lifestyle Web sites, and I wanted to join the community to pursue my own interests outside of work.

But finally (here comes my manifesto), if anyone else comes across this blog I want it to be a reminder to me and an inspiration to others that we need to take time to enjoy the changing seasons, the months, the weeks, the world as it passes us by. We need to be paying attention to new foods, new scents, new emotions, and embrace them. Otherwise we will suddenly end up five years from now wondering where the time went. I think this is the reason cultures have holidays. Besides the obvious ties to seasonal customs, they help us pause and embrace the day. 

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and it is one of my absolute favorite days of the year. As a harvest holiday, it brings all the wonderful seasonal food, which in turn bring perfect colors and aromas into the home. And as a holiday with no expectations of presents, or excessive drinking, or late night partying, we all get to enjoy each others’ company. Now I know many people find their families stressful and cooking for a full house can really put the pressure on, but there is no reason to take the day so seriously. 

Just pause, take it easy, and remember to enjoy what you are experiencing. BoingBoing linked to this wonderful photo taken in the UK of leaves permanently frozen in a just-paved street. The person who took the photo grabbed this moment in time because she was paying attention. My goal with this project is to get others to pay attention so we can all enjoy these perfect, fleeting moments.

Some might argue that decorating your home with literal translations of the season is a bit much, but I love to bring the outside in. I found this print by Robert Socha on Etsy, which, if done right, can help to transform a room. I don’t advocate repainting your walls every few months, but keeping a neutral tone and swapping out art can refresh a room.

October Rain

The BBC has a wonderful page of seasonal food broken down by month. Under each individual food, the site lists a variety of recipes to try out.

For November, they have listed chestnuts, cranberries, parsnips, goose, and beetroots. I love chestnuts when the weather starts getting chilly, so I tried out Nigella Lawson’s Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and pancetta. The recipe is very straightforward and a great way to twist a traditional side dish with new flavors. And because it includes pancetta, you could easily eat leftovers on their own for lunch.

You can find her complete recipe here. UPDATE: Looks like that link died. The same recipe is also here.

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