Autumn fruit and pinecones in old dough bowl on my dining table
Hello! I'm sitting here in my cozy den with my feet up ready to write my post after what seems to have been an hour of uploading and editing my photos. Posting is very time consuming for me and for that reason I'm lucky to get out one per week. I just noticed my next post will be number 650.
I sometimes think of them as short essays. So, as much as I want to get around more often but not have so much for all of you to read at once, I think I'm going to continue to fail at that. Bear with me.
Writing has become much more of a presence in my life since I started writing for the lake newspaper. I have a deadline and I've learned a lot about myself and self-discipline as a result of that. My column is a full page spread with 4-5 photos of my own. And I was recently very chuffed to see that the editor, who titled my column himself as "Lake Life" recently changed it to "Lake Life With Jane". Anyway, I have to have the October column in by Thursday night and of course, I'm a procrastinator with a capital 'P'.
Old cabinet in living room
I brought some of my fall decorations out, just a few touches to add here and there. I think I was spurred on by a trip to the grocery store early Sunday morning for dog food. I walked by some sunflowers at quite a nice price. Once I brought them home and with a sweet Indian Summer breeze blowing through all of my open windows, I simply felt like adding some bright colors and warmth. And, my ulterior motive was to have photos for my column. :)
Lower part of the same old cabinet in living room (!)
I keep my decorations pretty neutral but most of my fall pieces go back years and years when everything was bright orange. I'm finding that I like a little bit of that here and there. It's real and true. Accept nature in all it's color and glory, not to match your décor.
What really makes me smile is how much I held back on my mantel. This huge fireplace has always been the bane of my existence, simply for it's monstrousness. As time goes on I get a little more affectionate about it, like a cranky old relative who eventually pulls on your heart strings as you grow to love those sharp edges, imperfections and a steadfast refusal to budge. I know this guy will never leave us, it's The Husband's pride and joy.
Carol from Art And Sand made me this last year. In a unique giveaway, she asked her friends to tell her what they would have on a banner that she'd create. This was my 'word' and I was one of the winners. It was co cool to pull it out the other day and it's at home on The Monster.
I have three windows I alternate on my mantel...I simply love them. I used to have a vintage mirror but Emily stole it. Okay, I admit, The Husband and I were going out antiquing one day and Emily, about 19 at that time asked us to find a vintage mirror for her room. And we did. Just gorgeous. And for awhile she let me use it above the mantel. When she got married and moved into her own home she took it with her. Sob! But, I have my windows. I added a few fall colored leaves and a wire acorn filled with potpourri. Plants I bought on our jaunt to the burbs that I wrote about in my last post. Simple. For once. :)
Finally, a little container of pots with fall flowers in the family room.
We had a nice dinner tonight. I have to admit that when the kids were young I relied on spaghetti and a jar of red sauce along with a loaf of bread and butter for a quick dinner. Not healthy but better than a can of 'Spaghettios'. Still, The Husband is not a fan of pasta and a jarred sauce so I've been tinkering with my own sauces for quite awhile. Tonight I did Bolognese sauce which basically involves adding meat to your tomato sauce. Here you go:
Jane's Bolognese Sauce
1 pound Italian sausage
2 T butter
1 medium yellow onion
2 carrots thinly sliced
1 stalk of celery thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 28 oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 T dried fennel
2 T dried Italian seasoning
1 T cinnamon
Pinch of S&P
1 pound cooked spaghetti
1/2 cup reserved water from cooked spaghetti
Brown sausage in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove to a colander to drain. In the same pan add the butter and saute the veggies. When somewhat soft add the canned tomatoes and remaining seasonings. Simmer on medium heat 1 hour, stirring every now and then and scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. After 1 hour most of the liquid from the tomatoes should be evaporated. Add 1/2 cup of the water in which you cooked the spaghetti...this will not add anything except starch to bind everything together. Arrange spaghetti on plates and top with sauce. I served this with crusty bread and butter. This makes a huge amount...could easily serve 6. I love the leftovers! Remember that the sauce is going to take an hour not counting the prep---you do not want to be surprised if you decide to make this a half hour before dinnertime! (hate recipes like that). Enjoy!
Still working on that den. For such a tiny room it's taking a long time. I am the type that once I get things the way I want them I rarely change anything up except for some easily moved around accessories. I was so excited to have found this table at Pier 1 for a great price. It's a mahogany brown on top and the base is black. The finish is stunning. I ordered it at the store as they didn't have it in stock after I saw it online. The Husband came along to pick it up Saturday. He is a lover of fine furniture and really wasn't expecting anything up to his standards but he knows this room is my baby. Once we unwrapped it and set it where we thought it should be, we then fought over that, er...discussed it and finally stood back, admired, fawned over and basically treated it like our firstborn. I can't say enough about Pier 1. Quality with a capital 'Q' (the second time I've done this in my post--I'm competing with Sue Grafton).
Okay. On the vacation front. Leaning very much towards a flight to Nashville and after a few days a drive to Gatlinburg where I have found a great little cabin in the woods along a lake. Blissfully rustic and quiet. A few days later we'll drive to our place in Asheville and after 10 whole days following months of nothing but busyness, chaos, nerve wracking events and a freaking broken arm...we will fly back to Chicago. And then the holiday season will be coming around and I will be back to neurotically posting about my crazy life.
Right now I want to give a shout out to a lady that got me started in blogging (and I tell her this all the time), Lidy, from French Garden House. She is a remarkable woman with an awesome shop filled with French antiques and goodies. She currently has a feature in Victoria magazine. Click here and have a wonderful visit with this lovely soul.
Lastly...love and prayers to the family of our dear friend Ceekay who passed away Monday after a 9 year battle with ovarian cancer. She was a lovely and brave lady who had a blog that was always lively and fun. And send some hope and prayers to those struggling along the Hungarian borders. It's heartbreaking to watch but worse to be living. And of course, here in our country, let the wildfires in California end soon without any further loss of life of or animals.