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Entertaining

Festive Outdoor Decor to take you from Fall to Thanksgiving

Just a few easy changes make your home's decorations work from September thru November
Filed Under > Entertaining

The minute October, more like September, hits I’m ready to decorate my porch in all of the festive-goodness the season brings.  However, when I first bought my home four years ago, I found that I was spending a ton of money decorating for each season: fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. So over the years, I’ve made it my mission to figure out how to make my outdoor decor able to transition through the seasons with only minimal changes. And after a few rounds of trial and error, I think I’ve finally gotten it down well enough to share.

Before I dive into the details, I thought it important to share that this is not my home.  This is one of my Waiting On Martha Home Retail Manager’s gorgeous home. I think it’s important to state that because you may be looking at this and feel, “my porch is not near this large so this look just won’t work for my home.” Well trust me, my porch is tiny (like tiny-tiny), and this same formula works, I just use less of it.  So whether you have a giant farmhouse with a sprawling yard, a row home stoop, or even an apartment balcony you want to make feel more festive, this will work. I promise. Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty shall we?

When building the “bones” or base of the outside design I first start with the idea of fall. For me, fall means corn stalks, mums, and plenty of pumpkins. The great thing about starting here is it’s obviously the first season, but all of the fall decorations will also work for Thanksgiving.  If you have any pillars to work with, corn stalks are a great way to decorate those.  All you have to do is tie the stalks around the pillars using two ropes and then peel back the corn husks to reveal the corn.  Corn stalks are pretty inexpensive and will last from fall to Thanksgiving. Corn stalks also look great flanking each side of a garage, or any driveway gates or fences posts as well.  For this particular look, I used two bunches of stalks per pillar, so four total, with each bunch costing $10 each. If you know a local farmer, he or she may even give you a few bunches for free!

Next up, pumpkin stacks and mums.  Mums are the quintessential flower of fall. I love them because they come in a variety of colors and as long as you water them they can easily withstand the Georgia heat.  Typically I pick them up at Costco or Home Depot and then place them in my large apple barrel baskets which I get at Hobby Lobby. The apple barrel baskets will be a one-time investment that you’ll have for years to come. I personally love to mix up the sizes and colors of the mums to accentuate all of the colorful pumpkins.

Which brings me to my favorite part, pumpkin stacks.  Warning, this is the most expensive part of the look, but for me going to my pumpkin patch and supporting my local farmers is something I look forward to each and every year so I just bite the bullet and know that pumpkins are always going to cost me a bit of dough.  They’re costly mainly because I love the specialty pumpkins; the whites, greys, greens, and princess pink pumpkins which are harder to find.  These specialty pumpkins are also the easiest to stack because of their shape. I do make sure to work in the less expensive standard orange pumpkins, and also talk to the owner of the pumpkin patch about pumpkin rot which I suggest you do too  Because of the Georgia heat and also the bees, sometimes pumpkins rot before the season ends.  My guy makes me a promise that if that happens to any of my pumpkins I can just come by and pick out another at no cost.  That way I feel like my investment is worth it because I’m assured my decorations will last the entirety of the season.  Another option is to go faux. Faux will save you money year over year, and time. Plus faux pumpkin stacks like these have gotten very close to looking like the real deal.  Completely up to you.

To finalize our fall (which remember will also be our Thanksgiving) design I completed the look with a great wreath and doormat. I chose to go with a green pumpkin wreath rather than your traditional orange because I knew with the mums and pumpkins I’d have a lot of oranges already present. Totally your call though on color, just buy a good wreath. Wreaths can be a bit of an investment, but I believe they’re the one thing you should actually invest in. Out of everything you’ll see in this post I’ve had the wreath the longest, 4 years now.  And it’s still in perfect condition. I’ve purchased less expensive wreaths in the past and what I’ve found is they simply fall apart. So if you’re able to, listen to Miles Redd and “buy the best and you’ll only cry once.”  That and store it in a great wreath box like this

Lastly, adding a festive doormat is the perfect way to cap off any design. Because I typically find that all the fun, festive doormats, to be too small for the actual space I love layering the doormat on a larger rug such as this.  It adds depth to your design and allows you to switch out doormats easily. I’ve got a pumpkin doormat shown here, but just after our shoot, my new one came in that’s a bit more on the fun side.

I’ve scoured the internet and the closest I can get to mine (the one in the picture) is this one from Frontgate. Typically my store has these exact ones, but we sold out within the first week of putting them up. I promise next year I’ll buy more for y’all.  But there are some gorgeous harvest colored ones I’m loving like this one from Williams Sonoma that would look just as good.

And with that, we’ve completed the perfect outdoor design for fall and Thanksgiving. Now, without disrupting the overall scheme, it’s time to add a bit of Halloween into the mix.

To take my porch from fall to Halloween all I did was switch out the wreath and doormat, plus added a few crows and witches brooms.  

Because the crow wreaths were smaller, I decided to hang two vertically with fishing wire to really make a statement.  The doormat, witch-themed, to match my overall theme. Crows from Amazon I placed in the mums and on the pumpkin stacks. And lastly two crooked, old witch brooms from my shop. I mean how easy is that? Changes that took me less than 10 minutes to complete, with items I’m able to use for more than one season.

*Sorry the brooms are too tall to ship, but if you’re local stop in we’ve got plenty left*

Halloween Porch Ideas Halloween Porch Ideas

All in all, I couldn’t be happier with the way this look turns out each and every season and I know you’ll love it too and let it transition you from September thru November.  Happy fall-Halloween-Thanksgiving friends! Truly, MKR
 


 

Photography, Rustic White Interiors

Carrying On Holiday Traditions with Vietri

Choosing the perfect holiday pattern to grow year over year
Filed Under > Entertaining

Growing up during the holidays, one of the things I remember most is my mother setting the table on Christmas Eve. Dressed up in her Christmas best, she would carefully remove each piece of Christmas China from the cabinet placing it all around the table in preparation for the big day.

Every plate was rimmed in gold with a hand painted Christmas tree and holiday snow scene at the center.  And I would watch her with anticipation, knowing that tomorrow, we’d all gather around the table and for one day eat off the fanciest plates I had ever seen.  Yes I had an obsession with table settings even back then.

Year after year we’d gift my mother new pieces to add to her collection, a collection that still graces her China cabinet today. As I grew older, and adopted my own holiday traditions I knew this was one I wanted to keep.  But choosing a collection; which pattern, which brand…seemed daunting.  How do you choose?

I had actually been putting off choosing a pattern for years now.  That was until the Vietri Lastra Holiday collection, and like a fine wine or a great piece of art it just spoke to me.  When I saw those hand painted trees I honestly gasped out loud…honestly.  And I just knew this was the collection I had been waiting for. The Lastra Holiday collection was the perfect mix of lighthearted whimsy and pomp and circumstance.

Complimenting the Lastra, or any bar cart, the Drop Glassware Collection is mouthblown in Veneo, Italy.  I first spied the Drop Glassware Collection during The Southern C Summit this past summer and added them to my cocktail cabinet right then and there.  The collection is both playful and classic, plus look how beautifully it shows off my favorite holiday sangria recipe.

Lastra Salad Plate

When starting a collection salad plates and baking pieces are a great way to go.  You can easily layer salad plates on top of your everyday tableware and still get the look you’re going for. Then each year you can slowly add in the additional pieces to complete your collection.  How gorgeous would these Lastra Salad Plates look on a red dinner plate!

Lastra Salad Plate | Lastra Square Platter | Lastra Baker

So this year, for the very first time, I’ll begin my own Christmas Eve tradition and my Lastra will be the star of the show.  Tell me friends do you have a holiday table tradition?  Truly, MKR

P.S. My friends at Vietri want to help you start your own collection this year, so use code WOM50 and take $50 off any $200 purchase.  Happy collecting!

Photography, Kathryn McCrary | This post is in partnership with Vietri.  A brand I love and adore.  All opinions are 100% my own.

Easy Apple, Citrus & Cinnamon Stovetop Potpourri

An easy way to fill your home with the smells of the season
Filed Under > Entertaining

Stovetop Potpourri, Waiting On Martha

If you’re a Pinterest addict like me then I’m sure you’ve seen the dozens of pins boasting large pots of seasonal goodness that is stovetop potpourri.

I hadn’t thought of making any DIY potpourri myself because I’m an avid candle lighter and essential oil diffuser.  But recently when faced with an over abundance of fruits that would likely spoil if not used I decided to give it a whirl.  And I’ve got to say, I was impressed.

Easier than easy, stovetop potpourri is basically a giant diffuser filling your home full of whatever citrus, herbs, spices and possibly even vegetable smells you choose to use.  Based on what was in my refrigerator and pantry, I decided to go with a harvest-esq potpourri vibe combining crisp granny-smith apples, grapefruit, lemon, orange, cinnamon sticks, and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary from my garden.  

After the potpourri began whirling I noticed it wasn’t quite hitting all the fall fragrance notes I had hoped so I grabbed my favorite essential oils to lend a hand.  By adding just a few drops of clove, cinnamon bark, lemon, orange, and rosemary we were now officially in business.  I mean, the smell…I can’t even begin to explain how wonderful, and festive, stovetop potpourri is!  I’ll definitely be making this before entertaining guests this season.

I’ve included the recipe below, but feel free to mix up the ingredients and play around with the recipe.  I do highly suggest adding in some essential oils though if you have them.  Not only do the essential oils really amp up the smell, they also allow you not to have to add as much of each ingredient which in turn saves money. Cinnamon sticks aren’t cheap people!  Enjoy! Truly, MKR

P.S. If you don’t have any essential oils my question is why not? Read about why I love them HERE and check out the other ways I’ve used them HERE, HERE and HERE.
 


 

Easy Apple, Citrus & Cinnamon Stovetop Potpourri
An easy, DIY Stovetop Potpourri perfect for bringing in the warmth of the season.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 Granny Smith Apples, sliced
  2. 2 Lemons, sliced
  3. 2 Oranges, sliced
  4. 2 Grapefruits, sliced
  5. 2-3 sprigs of Rosemary
  6. 3-6 Cinnamon Sticks
  7. 3 drops Clove Essential Oil
  8. 3 drops Orange Essential Oil
  9. 3 drops Rosemary Essential Oil
  10. 3 drops Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
  11. 3 drops Lemon Essential Oil
Instructions
  1. In a large pot add fresh fruits, cinnamon sticks, and rosemary. Fill the pot with water till it's 3/4th full.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low/simmer. Add essential oils. Allow to continue to simmer to fill your home with an amazing smell.
Notes
  1. **Do not leave the stovetop potpourri unattended.
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