Autumn Decorating As Art

HOLIDAY DECORATING IS AN ART FORM.  October is my excuse to begin, but I’m not into the grave yards, comic inflatables or giant spiders, even when Martha  declares them chic.  Decorating according to Sharon is a representation of all the tangible things that made the holiday of our childhood memorable in the first place.  If done tastefully, autumn decorating can warm up your harvest home from October through Thanksgiving–or until the tree goes up.

Outdoor Entrance Display

Incorporating seasonal elements into existing perennial borders is an effective way to take advantage of landscaping already in place.  The addition of pumpkins, corn stalks and a potted mum or two puts a smile on the face of customers entering this Door County shop and restaurant called Coopers’ Corner. 
Table-top Display

A small table becomes a focal point in our great room when real grapevines are laced with fall leaves and twinkle lights.   Why wait for the Christmas season to break out the tiny lights.  Twinkle lights are as warm as firelight when the temperatures cool.   In autumn, I bring out favorite framed art work to serve as a seasonal background.  The village snow scene will live on this small table throughout the winter season; only the decorations around it will change.  I will add red berries and greens to the vines for Christmas and icicles for January.   The creamy-glazed art pottery vase adapts to all seasons,  adding a rich accent and matching white candles. 

Crockery or wooden bowls or baskets piled high with seasonal produce like red apples and golden pears are pretty enough for a centerpiece when sprigs of rose hips, fresh bay leaves or rosemary branches are tucked in as well.  Try a botanical platter display instead of the traditional vase arrangement.  Place a bundle of fresh lavender, rosemary, holly, everygreen, bay leaf branches, eucalyptus, unshelled walnuts, pine cones, and whole spices on a heavy stoneware turkey platter.  Top with bright berries such as crab apple or rose hips, pepper berries or beauty berry.  If these are not available, buy a bag of cranberries and string them on heavy thread.  Intertwine the cranberry strand among the fresh botanicals, allowing it to tumble over the edge.  The trick is to artfully display all botanicals so that they are not piled, but placed.  A tuft of real moss from the garden peeking out from underneath is charming.  Tie a generous bundle of cinnamon sticks together with natural twine or raffia and snuggle in among all the goodies.   This centerpiece is a definite conversation piece. 
The botanicals will all dry in place with varying results.  All will dry, but colors will soften and leaves will become more brittle with time.  If composed fresh for a special event, it should last with good color for at least a week or two.  Definitely hang the cranberry strand from a rack to finish drying after your centerpiece is replaced.  The berries will turn dark burgundy and dry firm.  If stored in a dry place, it can last for many holidays to come.

About Sharon L. Clemens

Sharon and husband Merle and their children owned and operated a specialty shop and restaurant in a restored dairy barn for thirteen years in a village in Illinois. After closing their restaurant, they converted the barn into the family home and moved their shop to the garden level. They operated a collectable shop as a home-based business for another thirteen years before retiring to the country life. Sharon has been a special feature guest on the local NBC telelvision affiliate and has spoken professionally on topics relating to herb gardening and cottage lifestyle. In addition to conducting workshops and programs, Sharon writes a weekly cottage lifestyle e-newsletter called “Cottage Chat” and a Word Press blog: Seasons of Farm Grove. She has written five novels, The Younger Girl, Door County Cottage, Timeless-A Door County Love Story, Door County Cabin and Door County Escape, love stories with traditional values set in Door County, Wisconsin.
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