Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Shades of Fall Mantel

I finally finished my fall mantel. I'm showing  it a little later than I normally like, but I do show up eventually. I love all the warm shades of brown this time of year, so I wanted a softer look for my mantel. I decorated it simply adding a mix of things and also added some decorative scrapbook paper for an accent. 

I've blogged about this open area above our fireplace before. It is one of my least favorite features about our house. It's about 3 feet tall so many of the things I add to decorate it with look very small in comparison.

 I would love some large shutters to add as a backdrop, so hopefully I can get those before too long. I  would also have to add some larger pieces to fill up this space, but since I'm thrifty minded I decided to go with a smaller display and focus on the details.

Since I love an easy project I put together this simple grapevine wreath with a shabby burlap bow. I already had the burlap and wheat on hand, so the cost was just a few dollars  for the wreath, and I also added some decorative fall stems in soft fall colors that could also work for spring. I really like the texture it adds hanging on my burlap memo board. 

Since I enjoy working with papercrafts I knew I wanted to make a few pumpkins out of scrapbook paper. I found some frenchy looking paper and using strips, created my pumpkin with a burlap accent and jute wrapped stem. I forgot to show a tutorial on this, but it was quite easy to put together. 

The scrapbook paper was rather flimsy, so when I finished it I added a small straw to the center with some adhesive to prop it up, otherwise it would have been rather flat. Now it looks like a proper pumpkin!

The other scrapbook paper was rather thick and I thought that would be better to make a pumpkin, but I didn't like the look so I just made a small frenchy one. 

I had these white gravy boats with a fall design, so I added some faux flowers and used them as a container. I filled my apothecary jars with some filler I had and included some decorative fall  paper for an accent. 

Last fall I saw all kinds of pretty wooden blocks in blogland with fall accents so I knew I wanted something similar for my fall mantel. I couldn't find blocks in the size I wanted that would stand up, so I found these  little wooden frames instead. I stained them in a soft chestnut color. 

I found this decorative paper with the fall leaves and used it for my frames. I was glad I found this because I  wanted to make a quick project and wasn't sure what to do, but when I found this decorative paper I knew it would be perfect. I thought it added such a pretty fall look to these little frames.  

I love the interesting  leaf design on each one. 

All of them are so unique. I found the specialty paper and mini wood frames at Joann's. With everything on sale the cost was under 10 dollars. Lovely accents at a minimal price!

I love decorating for fall, but I don't have many fall accents in softer colors, so I was happy to find these. 

After I took this photo I thought the apothecary jar looked like a wine bottle with a decorative label.  Or maybe it's just because I like wine!  

The softer colors of fall have always appealed to me. 

It's been unusually dry this month, usually by this time we have had more than our share of rain. So I'm really enjoying our fall in the Pacific NW for now. 

  Just a little reminder to myself to enjoy it while it lasts.
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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Discover the Pacific Northwest

My husband and I are not natives of the Pacific NW, we’re originally from the Midwest, but in the ten years that we have made this region our home, we have fully embraced it and truly appreciate what it has to offer. We live in Vancouver WA, which is the oldest city in Washington state, so it has an interesting history to go along with that distinction. We have at times been confused with the other Vancouver, in B.C., but we have our own identity and are also referred to as the Couve.

Our lovely city is located just across the Columbia River from Portland OR. Our population is currently around 200,000 and I feel we have a slower paced lifestyle 
Salmon Run Clock Tower-Vancouver, WA
compared to a larger city such as Portland. We do enjoy having Portland close by to visit. There are many wonderful attractions there.We have the same beautiful views of the mountains, such as Mt. Hood, gorgeous scenery and attractions, such as Salmon Run Tower in Esther Short Park. In addition we also have  great shopping, dining and less traffic congestion. I
t can also get quite soggy here during the rainy season, but it does keep everything green including our beautiful lush forests. 

If you are interested in finding out about our city from a historical perspective then you should visit our Vancouver website.  One of our hidden treasures is the Vancouver Historic Reserve.  Dine at the beautiful Grant House and explore the grounds of this scenic area. It has beautiful well kept historical buildings that date back to the civil war, as well as military barracks and Fort Vancouver. You can discover more on their site and I posted about the Reserve in a previous post, so visit here as well.  If you're interested in airplane history, stop by Pearson Air Museum to see their latest exhibits.  

About 40 miles north of Vancouver is the small town of Longview, which is well worth a visit as well. It is often overlooked partly because of its size, but it has the most beautiful lake with a park like setting.  Lake Sacajawea is surrounded by lovely old trees and historic homes and is so lovely in the fall. There is also a lovely Japanese Garden located in the park as well. If you would like to see my previous post of this area in the fall visit here. 

A trip to Washington is not complete until you have visited the great city of Seattle. Located 160 miles north of Vancouver, Seattle is one of my favorite cities to visit. With beautiful views of Mt. Rainier along with a visit to the historic Pike Place Market and Space Needle, there are endless things to do in this lovely waterfront city. If you visit in the cooler fall months don't forget your rain gear!

Pike Place Market Source

Oregon Coast

If you love the quiet and solitude of small coastal towns and lovely beaches, we have some affordable getaways for you  down Highway 101 on the Oregon coast.  Also, the rugged coastline can’t be beat for its gorgeous array of scenery. From Cannon Beach to Brookings-Harbor OR, and the many small cities in between, there are a variety of activities of all kinds. Cannon Beach has a beautiful website for you to visit. I love the scenic beauty of this beach, from Haystack Rock to the charming shops there is something for everyone here. 


A little further south is the charming town of Florence. My favorite shopping area is in Old Town Florence. It is full of fun vintage shops and awesome eateries, such as Waterfront Depot. You’ll find a lovely variety of seafood here as well. The climate is drier in Southern Oregon, so you might find the that the massive sand dunes of Florence appeal to you. There are many activities on the dunes, so it is well worth a visit. 

 Munsel Lake in Florence
The 40 mile stretch of dunes, from Florence to Coos Bay is known as the Oregon Dunes Recreation Area and it definitely lives up to its name. The Oregon Coast also has its share of lighthouses, especially the beautiful Heceta Head located near Florence. The Oregon Coast Visitors Assoc. has a great site with links to all the cities on the Oregon Coast along with  great places to stay and points of interest. 
Columbia River Gorge

The beautiful Columbia River Gorge is waiting for you between Troutdale, OR and Maryville, WA. The things to see and do in this area are too numerous to list, so visit the link above to find out more about this wonderful region. You can also visit my earlier post for more images of the Gorge. I would like to mention one of my favorite places to stop in the Gorge Is the awesome Multnomah Falls and their Multnomah Lodge restaurant and lounge.  You can see my previous post on the falls here.  You can also check into the website Multnomah Falls is a Must for some basic background of the area.

Scenic Mt. Hood 

The pinnacle of all is the majestic Mt. Hood. Considered by many to be the crown jewel of the Columbia River Gorge, Mt. Hood is the tallest point in Oregon.  Find out more about this beautiful area at Travel Oregon and the Mt. Hood Chamber of Commerce.  It is also one of the most beautiful mountains ever, especially when the snow covers its majestic peak. If skiing, snowboarding and outdoor activities come to mind you will truly enjoy your stay here. You can stay in one of the many affordable cabins in the area or indulge yourself in the beautiful Timberline Lodge.

This is just a small sampling of the beautiful scenery in our region, so if you are looking for a relaxing affordable getaway with a variety of outdoor activities, the Pacific NW may be just the place for you. 

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Frenchy fall vignette

I love all the beautiful colors of fall. I also like the softer and more muted colors as well, so I've put together some simple fall touches of brighter fall colors and I'll show my softer shades in another post. 

I've posted about my little bookcase in our dining area before. We had to sell a few larger pieces of dining room furniture because they wouldn't fit in our dining area, they were no longer my taste anyway, so it was a nice change. We have very little wall space in the dining area, so I decided to use this simple little bookcase since it went with our small dining set. This isn't my ideal arrangement, but it will work until I find something to use in place of it. 

I wanted to turn this little corner into something colorful for fall and use some of the things I already had. I decided to make it a french style fall space and started with the lovely printed canvas of a decorated french style shelf that I found at my favorite collectible store.  Even though the flowers are pink, it had the look of a fall print to me and it was just the right size to fill up my blank wall. I used this as my inspiration piece and continued from there. 

I already had this charming french market sign that I found at Target, so I added it as my starting point.

I found a woven basket that worked well on my top shelf and added some fall pumpkins that I already had with some  newly fallen maple leaves. I like to use natural elements when I can, especially in the fall. I'm on the hunt for some acorns too!

I added a small basket lined with a checked tea towel and more maple leaves. I like the frenchy farmhouse appeal of it. I have had this brown and cream bowl forever, it's one of my favorites and looks perfect for fall. 

I changed the decor on my second shelf a few times adding a couple of pieces of my Frankoma pottery. I've always loved the color of these pieces and thought they added a nice accent.

The colors of the maples in our neighborhood have been gorgeous this year. Last year they were more subdued. A simple basket filled with a variety of colors of fall leaves makes an easy and inexpensive accent to your fall decor.   

As I've mentioned before, I do love the simple things. Lovely veining in these gold colored leaves.

I tried a few things under this french market sign and decided I liked this wall basket the best. It already had burlap on it from a previous project, so all I had to do was add the natural looking stems that I found at Joann's. I really liked the soft golden color and the realistic look of the stems. The writing on the french sign has a distressed burlap look which goes well with the basket too. 

Like many of you, I love hydrangeas, especially dried ones. I don't have access to a hydrangea bush, but I was able to find some that looked rather realistic at Joann's. I really like the different shades and muted colors in these. I added them to a simple bronze pitcher that I already had and completed my vignette. 

Originally I wanted my top shelf to replicate the printed canvas, but I knew that would be too much. There is a lot going on in that print, and I do prefer a simpler look, but it has grown on me and I like the color and french style it adds to this small dining area.  You can turn even the smallest space into something special when it's filled with lovely  things that reflect your style.  Thanks for  stopping by!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Colorful collectibles and cowboys

I don't have my fall decorating done yet, I usually do small touches of fall anyway, so I wanted to share a visit we made to one of my favorite vintage collectible stores. This store also has a charming cafe and ice cream shop.

These pictures were actually taken last year. I wanted to wait and show them in the fall, since they have such  a lovely selection of fall pieces. The General Store is located in the small town of Troutdale, Oregon on the historic Columbia River Highway. The highway leads to the  Columbia River Gorge. I shared more about the Gorge in an earlier post. 

There are so many delightful items here that I hardly know where to start. This is a rather picture heavy post for me.  I love all the vintage reproduction farmhouse signs on the wall, and all the other farmhouse goodness.  

I'll begin the tour outside and show this amazing bronze statue of a weathered cowboy and his faithful companion.  The statues are located in front of a business next door to the collectible store. 

They also have a moose and an elk that look quite majestic as well. Perhaps they are all grouped together to represent the changing landscape of our country. 

There is wonderful attention to detail on the cowboy's clothing.

The aged look of the cowboy is beautifully done. Love the hat as well. 

No self respecting cowboy would be without his favorite sidekick. Usually it would be a horse, but in this case it's his devoted canine companion. 

 Moving inside to the General Store. It's filled to the brim with all kinds of lovely collectibles. Along with all the farmhouse goodness that I showed at the beginning of my post, there are these beautiful bird signs and figurines. I really had to restrain myself to not buy something because I loved almost everything. Unfortunately, hubby was there to keep me in check. A lot of things were out of my price range since we had a budget to follow for our mini vacation. Also I have minimal space to display things, so I decided to put off buying anything on this visit anyway!  Following a budget on a trip is not fun!

They have very low lighting in here so some of these photos are rather dark. Wonderful vintage signs on the walls and of course a rooster too!

I wasn't a big rooster fan when we visited this store last year. They really appeal to me now. Such a beautiful design and color on all the containers and bowls. 

They do such a wonderful job displaying these collections. Love the clock and the crystal bottle stoppers. No decisions necessary, I'll take everything!

 I love clocks of all kinds. There are some cute mini snowshoes in front of the lamp. I didn't even notice those until I looked at the pictures later. 

The General Store has three floors, so there is so much to look and plenty of dark corners.  I wanted to share this large drying rack with all the cups. Just lovely!

More lovely crystal flowers and crosses. I like this dark silhouette of decor against the  rustic scenery outdoors. Lovely figurine candle holder. 

I had to share these quirky frogs and their cute expressions.

Some magical looking mushrooms....

with their wild looking pumpkins and squash! I love their faces, even though they are a bit scary looking!

A rugged looking statue of a ship's captain with his life preserver.  Love the vintage looking Coca Cola barrel and coffee can too!

More great items on the top level with this interesting tobacco sign and musical instruments. 

They had some adorable fall decor. Love those owls!

And my favorite fall display. These adorable birds, leaf bowls and the sweet elf type figure. So pretty! 

A bit of decor for Thanksgiving. Lovely fall colors!

I've always loved western themed decor. Love the rustic look and the lamp on the left with the horse base. That is quite a lamp!

 Beautiful horse bookends and marvelous things of metal and iron. They definitely have something for everyone here! We visited again this year and I did buy something that I will share later.  Hope you enjoyed traveling through the collectibles with me! 

 And I can't forget the wistful cowboy, longing for the way things used to be. 

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