When Autumn Leaves Start to Fall

I am new to being a fan of the fall season.

Sure, I have always loved a pumpkin latte as much as the next middle-aged mom. But the prevailing feeling as leaves flew through chilly October air in the last decade, and particularly when I still lived in New York City, was dread for the impending winter and sadness for summer’s departure.

Here in rural Ohio, though, in a small town literally built for autumn charm – I finally get it. Fall festivals abound as do autumn campfires and hot local cider (With tequila! mmmm – what a combo). My commute is a picture postcard of fiery leaves suspended over lakes and pastures. Pumpkin and apple picking, which used to involve a daylong jaunt in traffic from Staten Island to rural New Jersey or Upstate New York is now practically in my backyard. Halloween in my little Village is like something from a Hallmark Movie, with 300 adorable little trick-or-treaters trolling the pretty historic district, greeted by homeowners on their front lawns who are genuinely happy to see them. What’s not to love?

Honestly, the most profound reason why fall has thrown me for a loop for the last few years is –  my beloved mom suddenly passed away on October 28, 2011. Her wake actually took place on Halloween that year, and while I know she appreciated the macabre irony of that from afar (she had a rather dark and wicked sense of humor), the skeletons, coffins and gravestones so ubiquitously used as front lawn decorations around Halloween were almost unbearable for the first few years after her death. The whole month of October became a battle with anxiety, grief, and dread.

But this year, something has truly shifted. I am not weighed down by the impending anniversary.  I miss her as much as ever, but the pain isn’t nearly as profound. I have even come up with a fun Halloween decorating plan (stay tuned!), which is a very big deal for me in my grief journey.

I have been having far too much fun warming up every little corner of my house with leaves and pumpkins. And I know that is just what she wants me to do (she loved holiday decorations almost as much as I do).

So, while many bloggers (who are not procrastinators) have already moved on to Christmas, I (finally) share my fall decor tour!

Check out my thrifty tablescape of fall fabulousness!

The “tablecloth” is actually a 6 x 9 foot drop cloth that I washed and dryed for softness and the “runner” is just burlap topped with autumn-colored extra-wide mesh ribbon from ReStore. Also from ReStore is the super cute wooden crate I scored for $2 over the summer. And the grapevine pumpkin is a recent $4 acquisition from Goodwill. Also – I remembered I have plants outside that I can clip and use (why this always surprises me I’m not sure- chalk it up to city girl mentality). With on hand decor and home-picked greenery, the whole centerpiece cost all of $9, and my new “tablecloth” and runner combo rang in at less than $20!

Can we talk about my obsession with Dollar Tree ceramic pumpkins? They look so much more expensive than they actually are! And they are one of the few things that I will start buying for fall in summer, because boy do they fly off the shelves quickly.

I LOVE having picket fence in front of the front porch to decorate! I scored these fence sections during Burton Trash Day and I can not wait to style them for Christmas too!

In the interim, my scarecrows seem quite happy hanging out there.

My fun drawers-turned-side tables are sporting pumpkins that the boys picked themselves:

And check out my front door!

The containers are fashioned from light fixture rings scrounged up from my garage, cardboard, and a thrifted fabric napkin, ringing in at a grand total of .25 cents for both!

Finally, check out my new fall porch pillows:

Since I am (still) afraid of my sewing machine, I made these cute rustic pillows in a clever no-sew way, using two 18-inch pillow forms, a yard of 45-inch wide burlap, twine and hot glue. I simply folded the burlap around my pillow form so that there was no need for a bottom hem, cut slits in both sides that I tied together with twine, and hot glued a top seam. Then I glued on oversized Dollar Tree felt leaves. This was maybe a 30-minute project at most that cost less than $7 per pillow (it would be even less if you have the pillow form on hand – mine were $8 for 2 at Walmart).

Happy Fall, y’all!



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