4 Easy DIY Fall Wreaths

Transition your seasonal décor from summer to fall with these four easy DIY wreaths.

Welcoming guests to enjoy your hospitality or greeting you as you arrive home again, your front door always makes a first impression. Of all the ways to create a friendly and well-styled entry for the season, a wreath is the one of the simplest options. I collected and dried natural materials to craft these four DIY fall wreaths that beautifully bridge the seasons between summer and fall with farmhouse-inspired style.

Eucalyptus and Craspedia

The key to arranging eucalyptus is in forming the greens around the frame while they are still supple and fresh. After letting the leaves dry for a few days, the dried craspedia balls were glued into position on the DIY wreath.
The key to arranging eucalyptus is in forming the greens around the frame while they are still supple and fresh. After letting the leaves dry for a few days, the dried craspedia balls were glued into position.

Yellow craspedia is a cheerful addition to this wreath, made of two types of eucalyptus. I started by drying the craspedia a week in advance by hanging it upside-down in bunches. Fresh from the flower market, the wide and round leaves of the Silver Dollar eucalyptus and the long, narrow stems of the Baby Blue variety were woven into the wire wreath frame. These were allowed to dry on the wreath frame and will retain their shape and color over time. However, you’ll have to enjoy the fresh scent of eucalyptus while it lasts, as it diminishes after drying.

Wheat

When the wheat almost completes the circle and the overlap becomes difficult to maneuver, wrap up the floral tape and switch to hot glue to fill in any gaps on the DIY wreath.
When the wheat almost completes the circle and the overlap becomes difficult to maneuver, wrap up the floral tape and switch to hot glue to fill in any gaps.

As summer turns to the season of harvest, greet it with a wreath of dried wheat! These golden stalks are wrapped with floral tape around a thin wire frame in bunches of three for a sleek silhouette. A hand-lettered “Welcome” is the final touch across the burlap banner that can be customized with any message. I recommend assembling this wreath with a vacuum cleaner nearby, as the dried wheat tends to shed quite a bit during the wrapping process.

Statice

Let the statice completely dry on the DIY wreath form to avoid brittle stems.
Let the statice completely dry on the wreath form to avoid brittle stems.

A hearty flower that retains its shape and color from fresh plant to dried cutting, statice is both relatively inexpensive and forgiving to work with. Using floral tape and a small wreath frame, add each bunch of statice while keeping the flower heads close to the wreath frame. Once the circle is complete, wrap a gingham ribbon around it and finish with a sweet bow.

Cotton and Grapevine

The brown star shapes are the same pods but without the fluffy cotton. Intersperse these throughout the DIY wreath for variety.
The brown star shapes are the same pods but without the fluffy cotton. Intersperse these throughout the arrangement for variety.

Nothing says “farmhouse” quite like the cotton stem. The dried plant is elegant, earthy and easy to work with. I started this wreath by pulling a pre-made grapevine wreath in half for a less bulky look and securing the new, thinner form with wire. Next, striped linen cut into ribbons with pinking shears was wound through the vines, and cotton pods were placed over the lower half of the wreath.

Make a DIY wreath to complete your entryway this fall.

 

 

 



Create Cozy Feelings with Fall Farmhouse Decor

10 Items to transform your home for the season of harvest

Create Cozy Feelings with Fall Farmhouse Decor
Via Balsam Hill

When the cool breezes of autumn begin to blow the last remains of summer away, a definite shift takes place. Instead of late evenings outdoors, we begin to think of happy evenings indoors, enjoying good company and delicious comfort food. The rhythms of the seasons are so comforting, and these picks for your home perfectly capture the essence of the transition from one loved season to the next. With warmth and color, they are both practical and charming additions to your fall farmhouse decor.

1. Freya Glasses

$68 at anthropologie.com

Create Cozy Feelings with Fall Farmhouse Decor

 

2. Suzanne Kasler Perch Baskets

A set of three on sale for $99 from $149 at ballarddesigns.com

 

Fill these round baskets decoratively or practically for your harvest farmhouse decor.

 

3. Rust Indian Pattern Rug

$225 at woodwaves.com

Create Cozy Feelings with Fall Farmhouse Decor #romantichomes

 

4. Galvanized Vases

$24.50 – $49.95 at potterybarn.com

Your home will be a true harvest farmhouse with these galvanized vases.

 

5. Autumn Oversized Plaid Throw

$79 at ballarddesigns.com

Farmhouse harvest style requires some plaid and this cozy throw is the perfect addition! Create Cozy Feelings with Fall Farmhouse Decor #romantichomes

 

6. Weathered Terra Cotta Pumpkins

$39 – $99 at ballarddesigns.com

Nothing says harvest farmhouse like fall pumpkins and these terra cotta specimens will last forever. Create Cozy Feelings with Fall Farmhouse Decor #romantichomes

 

7. Twig and Faux Berry Wreath

$29.99 at worldmarket.com

This twig and berry wreath captures the essence of a harvest farmhouse.

 

8. Decorative Wicker Wagon

$219 at Balsamhill.com

This decorative wicker basket will contribute to your indoor or outdoor harvest farmhouse decor.

 

9. Antiqued Brass Cargo Lantern

On sale for $10.49 from $14.99 at worldmarket.com

Lanterns are a harvest farmhouse must-have.

 

 

10. Vintage Wood Chargers

$24 at potterybarn.com

A harvest farmhouse is characterized by natural pieces like these vintage wood chargers.

 

 



Pumpkin Spice Spritz Cookies

Enjoy the flavors of fall with these pumpkin spice spritz cookies!

When the days become crisp and the leaves start to fall, there's nothing more cozy than snuggling up with a good book, a mug of something hot and a plate of cookies. This autumn, our plates will be full of Fabiana's delicious pumpkin spice spritz cookies. 
Enjoy a little something sweet!

When the days get crisp and the leaves start to fall, there’s nothing more cozy than snuggling up with a good book, a mug of something hot and a plate of sweet treats. This autumn, our plates will be full of Fabiana’s delicious pumpkin spice spritz cookies.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • natural orange food color (optional)
  • Sprinkles for garnish
  • A spritz cookie press fitted with a pumpkin-shape template

What You’ll Do

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on medium-low until well combined and airy, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the vanilla and the egg; mix to incorporate.
  • If desired, add a few drops of natural food color and mix until combined.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
  • With the electric mixer on low, add flour mixture slowly to the butter mixture. Mix until just combined. Do not overmix.
  • Fill the Cookie Press with cookie dough.
  • Press the cookies onto ungreased baking sheets.
  • Decorate cookies with seasonal sprinkles.
  • Bake until firm and golden, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Remove cookies from oven and let set for 2 minutes.
  • Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Enjoy!

Baking fun and festive desserts is one of Fabiana’s many talents and passions. She regularly shares her delicious recipes on her blog, Ciao! Newport Beach and on instagram.

 

A sweet and spicy treat to enjoy this fall! #romantichomes


Host an Intimate Alfresco Thanksgiving Gathering

Move the Thanksgiving table outdoors and give guests a cozy alfresco dining experience.

The colors of Autumn are nicely balanced at this elegant Thanksgiving table setting
The colors of Autumn are balanced nicely at this elegant Thanksgiving table set simply with vintage white Wedgwood china and natural wood accents.

Warm weather in some parts of the country often allows for entertaining outdoors in late November. Living in southern California has permitted me to take the party into the yard to celebrate Thanksgiving on many occasions. This tablescape proves how easy it is to create an elegant alfresco Thanksgiving experience for your guests to enjoy, and best of all, these table setting basics can easily work indoors as well.

Take Your Gathering Outdoors

Using Mother Nature’s bounty as your backdrop, position the table in a spot that’s both intimate and pretty. This year our guest list is on the small side, so pulling together a table for six is easy as pie. With a larger gathering, set up several tables near each other and vary the tableware slightly to add interest to the overall look.

The key to hosting a successful Thanksgiving gathering is to plan your tablescape a few days ahead. Lay out your plates, glassware, napkins and everything else earlier in the week.
The key to hosting a successful Thanksgiving gathering is to plan your tablescape a few days ahead. Lay out your plates, glassware, napkins and everything else earlier in the week. On Thanksgiving morning all you’ll need to do is transfer it outdoors.

Set the Tone with Your Favorite China

Choosing the right plates for your Thanksgiving table is important because the patterns on your dishes will guide your choices for the rest of the table. In this instance, I wanted to create an elegant dining experience with casual overtones so I chose two subtle patterns of vintage Wedgwood china that work nicely together. Just a hint of gold on the salad plates offers the perfect seasonal accent and contributes a little sparkle to the fall color palette.

Accents of gold on the salad plate used in this Thanksgiving table setting coordinate beautifully with the brass candlesticks and yellow roses
On this important holiday, two patterns of vintage Wedgwood china set the tone for an elegant dining experience. Accents of gold on the salad plates coordinate beautifully with the brass candlesticks and yellow roses.

Add Seasonal Touches

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a little hint of autumn décor, but we don’t want to overdo it with turkey figurines and brightly colored pumpkins. For this table, a pot filled with natural dried wheat, multicolored grape leaves harvested from the garden and a few glittery pumpkins are all that’s needed to add that Thanksgiving flair. Natural wood in the forms of cutlery and charger plates add another fall-like element to the table and contrasts nicely with the white table.

A trio of ironstone creamers holds white and yellow roses alongside glittery pumpkins at this Thanksgiving table setting
A trio of ironstone creamers holds white and yellow roses while glittery pumpkins and fall leaves remind us that it’s Thanksgiving. Simple, low-profile arrangements at the center of the table keep the conversation flowing.

Instantly Create Ambiance with Candlelight

Nothing can duplicate the magic of candlelight. Tiny flames flickering at table add the perfect dose of mystery and romance, not to mention candlelight makes everyone look more attractive! Brass candlesticks are the choice at this table, but votives, small lanterns and hurricanes work nicely as well. I love how the gentle glow lights up the vibrant amber glasses on the table too. Adding cozy candlelight to your surroundings extends the party ambiance into the yard and expands the whole alfresco experience.

Cozy candlelight sets the ambiance of alfresco dining at this Thanksgiving table setting
A tidy bow made out of jute twine keeps silverware and napkins together for each guest. At the center of the table, a macramé runner adds yet another layer of texture and acts as the foundation for the seasonal décor. Cozy candlelight set throughout the garden expands the ambiance of alfresco dining.

Mix in a Few Romantic Elements

There aren’t many things that are more romantic than beautiful, fragrant roses. Three small ironstone creamers hold petite bouquets of white roses with one symbolic yellow rose in each. The yellow roses represent happiness and friendship while the white roses express remembrance. Family, friends and memories are an integral part of Thanksgiving, and these roses symbolize how important new friends are while we call to mind Thanksgivings of days past.

The amber of these vintage glasses brightens the table of this Thanksgiving table setting
The amber glow given off by these vintage glasses brightens the whole farmhouse table while at the same time adds a gleam of seasonal color.

Plan Ahead

A great way to keep things running smoothly on Thanksgiving is to plan ahead. A few days before, lay your settings out indoors on the dining table so you can start formulating the look you’d like for your outdoor table. This way your plates, glassware, napkins and everything else will be ready to go on Thanksgiving morning, and then all you’ll have to do is transfer it outdoors. Enlist the help of friends and family members who may be eager to lend a hand. After all, the key to hosting a successful Thanksgiving gathering is being organized, that way you’ll stay calm and enjoy the day.

Crafting beautiful tablescapes is one of Fabiana’s many talents and passions. She regularly shares her inspiring designs on her blog, Ciao! Newport Beach and on instagram.



Nora Murphy’s 18th-Century Country Home

This designer's Connecticut home is a neutral canvas that adapts easily for each season.

Nora Murphy's country home is decorated for fall
Nora enjoys entertaining in the autumn ambiance. “Don’t blow out the leaves,” she says. The sights and sounds of nature add to the earthy and enchanting feel.

If you find an 18th century gem, it can be a challenge to update and make it your own without taking away its aged appeal. When Nora Murphy, designer and owner of Nora Murphy Country House, and her husband Rick moved into this 1767 home in Newtown, Connecticut 15 years ago, they fell in love with its location and structure and settled in with some initial improvements.

“Any house we live in, I let the house tell me what to do,” says Nora. “When we moved here, our previous stuff didn’t work with the feel, so I introduced an earthy palette.” Years later, when her son Conor moved out, Nora needed a change. “I call it Project Refresh,” she says.

The Summer Room has a Cape Cod theme in honor of the family's favorite vacation spot
The summer room is themed for the family’s favorite vacation spot: Cape Cod. “This is our most authentic original room,” says Nora. The original 18th century fireplace and cubby doors were stripped of their white paint to bring them back to their original state as much as possible.

Light and Bright      

Nora draped the home in a white color palette, painting the walls different shades of white and covering all her furniture with creamy white cotton denim fabric slip covers and tying them with white twill tape bows. “[The slipcovers] are washable and easy to take care of,” says Nora. “I can now drag chairs to different parts of the house, and they’ll still work.”

Along with the easy care comes a casual elegance from the draped furniture that adds a romantic look to the outdoor accents. “The architectural simplicity of the home gave direction to what the inside of the home should look like,” says Nora. “I wanted it light, bright and nature inspired.”

The hanging basket is kept full of fresh flowers to brighten this sunny spot in the hall.

Home in the Garden

Among the neutral color palette that Nora carried throughout the house is her outdoor garden theme. Wooden tables, outdoor lanterns and large-scale plants and florals grace every room of the home to add a touch of the great outdoors to her interior. Nora also collects vintage copper watering cans and antique gardening tools that reside in the hallway gallery. “Everyone is always asking me about my antique French harvest basket,” says Nora. “It’s perfect for holding seasonal flowers.” The gallery connects the 18th century parts of the house to the newer parts, creating a seamless transition with its checkered flooring, made to appear old.

 

The chicken coop had an extra wall so they decided to install a library there.

Old Additions

 They made additions to the home, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at it. “The house was in good shape when we moved in,” says Nora, “but the bedrooms were really tiny and had low ceilings.” To compensate, they raised the ceilings and added large windows and doors to bring in natural light and showcase the surrounding nature.

Perhaps the biggest addition was their master bedroom suite that used to be a chicken coop. “We wanted an old structure for the add-on, so I looked up dismantled antique buildings and found a company that will take apart antique barns and build them back up at your location,” says Nora. The coop was built in 1857 and closely resembled the exterior of their home, blending the new structure with the old.

The kitchen’s aged look comes from its oak floors and wood accents. The island was made from the barn floorboards by the previous owner.

Curated Collection

This look could not be pulled off without Nora’s sense of simplicity. “It’s a good thing to part with things,” says Nora. “The things that don’t fit anymore, I sell or give away. That prevents things from accumulating, as my tastes and style evolve.”

Creating a neutral canvas with her white slip covers allows her to easily decorate throughout the seasons with a few minor changes. “During winter, I bring in tartan wool pillows and change my artwork,” she says. “It changes the entire room.” This look ensures that your aesthetic won’t be static, but will instead change like the color of falling leaves in autumn.

Like Nora’s house? See the spotlight shine on her fall dining room!

 



4 Homemade Upgrades to Your Store Bought Pumpkin Pie

Take it easy this Thanksgiving with the convenience of a store bought dessert and the impressive flair of homemade flavor.



A Peaceful Home with Autumn Appeal

Rachel Paxton combines a neutral color palette, vintage furnishings and cozy textures for a look that is both elegant and comfortable.

Homey yet elegant, the china cabinet in the dining room is a family heirloom, as it once belonged to Rachel's great-grandmother. Pulling a wooden bench to the inherited dining table is a kid-friendly touch.
Homey yet elegant, the china cabinet in the dining room is a family heirloom, as it once belonged to Rachel’s great-grandmother. Pulling a wooden bench to the inherited dining table is a kid-friendly touch.

What a dramatic difference paint colors and finishes can make! When Rachel Paxton, editor and designer of the website, Maison de Pax, and her husband were shopping for a new home in Austin, Texas, they were surprised by what they found inside this two-story house with a traditional, white-brick facade.

“It was head to toe yellowish beige with a Tuscan feeling—lots of faux travertine tile and warm buttery ceilings and walls,” says Rachel. “It’s just not our style. I love warm wood tones with lots of whites and grays, so a big part of what we did was changing the palette of the space.”

Rachel Paxton of Maison de Pax brings a comfortable elegance to her decor with rustic finishes and traditional furnishings.
Rachel brings a comfortable elegance to her decor with rustic finishes and traditional furnishings.

So, she set out to redo all of the colors and finishes of the home to make it appeal to her taste and function well for a family. All the upstairs rooms had a pale beige carpet, for example, which wasn’t going to work for their family, which now consists of four kids, ranging in age from seven weeks to seven years. “I’m not going to be able to keep carpet that clean with a bunch of kids,” Rachel says. “Before we moved in, we replaced all the beige carpet with wood floors.”

A double-sided fireplace provides a homey warmth to both the living room and family room.
A double-sided fireplace provides a homey warmth to both the living room and family room

Artful Touches

Most noticeable in Rachel’s home are the antique furnishings and decor with a fresh, old-meets-new look. “We spent a couple years living in France, and I have a love for French things, so I like to give little nods to French style, [like] the dining set has a French flair,” says Rachel.

One lovely focal point in the home is a fireplace wall with bookcases Rachel had built in their living room. Formerly a freestanding fireplace in the middle of the room, Rachel switched it out with a double-sided fireplace and bookcase. “We built the bookcase next to the fireplace to close off half that opening and the double-sided bookcase acts as a wall between the living room and family room,” Rachel says.

Having enough shelf space for books was important, as Rachel Paxton’s husband used to teach high school English, and they both have a love for literature. Antique books—some in English and some in other languages—have beauty and character in and of themselves.
Having enough shelf space for books was important, as Rachel’s husband used to teach high school English, and they both have a love for literature. Antique books—some in English and some in other languages—have beauty and character in and of themselves.

Having enough shelf space for books was important, as Rachel’s husband used to teach high school English, and they both have a love for literature. Antique books—some in English and some in other languages—have beauty and character in and of themselves. That’s why Rachel chose to display them backwards with their spines facing out to show their color and age.

“I thought it was neat to see that side, and it gave a more neutral feel to the bookcase,” Rachel says. “We have tons of other books elsewhere that we read on a regular basis [and aren’t on display], so it’s easy to keep these turned around. A lot are antique books with irregularly cut pages. I think they were hand-sewn, and you can see the texture of the pages. I thought it was pretty and just went for it.”

"One of the home's best features is the windows. I love all the natural light we get," says Rachel Paxton of Maison de Pax.
“One of the home’s best features is the windows. I love all the natural light we get,” Rachel says.

Neat and Kid-friendly

Much of Rachel’s home has a stylish rustic vibe, and her antiques lend a sophisticated touch to the aesthetic, but she’s careful about making everything kid-friendly.

The china cabinet and table in the dining room are very special, as they once belonged to Rachel’s great-grandmother. She previously had some upholstered chairs from her great-grandmother in there, but they’re packed away for now, considering the small children. Those were replaced with a wooden bench that not only has country charm, but is more practical for the little ones’ meals and schoolwork when they homeschool part-time.

Much of Rachel’s home has a stylish rustic vibe, and her antiques lend a sophisticated touch to the aesthetic, but she’s careful about making everything kid-friendly.
Much of Rachel’s home has a stylish rustic vibe, and her antiques lend a sophisticated touch to the aesthetic, but she’s careful about making everything kid-friendly.

“We use our dining room table for art projects all the time, and the china cabinet houses everything from crayons and markers to school books, glitter and Play-Doh. We just keep it all behind that door and put everything away when we’re done,” Rachel says.

The view from the entryway into the dining room reveals the heirloom table, perfectly set for an autumn gathering at Maison de Pax.
The view from the entryway into the dining room reveals the heirloom table, perfectly set for an autumn gathering.

She’s also mastered the art of curating décor and carefully hiding away things that should remain hidden. Upstairs in her boys’ room, they converted a closet into a reading nook with wooden crates repurposed as a bookcase styled with vintage books and a few toys.

Downstairs, they have catchall storage for kids’ stuff that won’t clash with the home’s charm or coziness. “We have baskets downstairs that we hide toys in, but we try to not let the house be completely overrun with toys,” Rachel says.

 



The Prettiest Pumpkins For Fall Decorating

With so many unique varieties to choose from, we've picked the prettiest pumpkins for natural fall decorating.



Natural Fall Decor is Simply a Walk in the Park

Pull on your coziest sweater, it's time for a stroll though the autumn trees to discover natural (and free) fall decor.

“Autumn brings a second spring when every leaf is a flower” – Albert Camus

For many of us, fall is a favorite time of the year. The changing colors, crisp air, cooler weather and abundance of pumpkins all make up the season’s splendor, the inspiration of poets and nature lovers alike. So, what better way to pay homage to autumn’s glory than by bringing nature’s golden harvest into your own home?

A stroll through a wooded park or your neighborhood can yield a bounty of decor opportunities in the forms of fallen pinecones and acorns, as well as branches of changing leaves. Here are our suggestions for bringing the nature indoors.

Styled by Nora Murphy / Photo by Darryl Arbesman

Vibrant Leaves

Snip thin branches baring leaves that have transformed from green to their autumn hue.

These can be arranged into tall vases with stunning results as seen in Nora Murphy’s dining room tour or assembled into garlands and wreaths for the table, front door or something less expected, such as this chandelier.

Like flowers, fresh leaves may not last very long once they’ve been cut.

If you plan to use fresh leaves as a centerpiece while you entertain, take into account the time involved with process of putting the centerpieces together.

Thankfully, these branches look lovely with little effort for an elegant and naturally imperfect style.

Pinecones and Acorns

When it comes to pinecones and acorns, where one is found, there are generally dozens more nearby. This makes a large collection easy to find all at once for a “more is more” approach to decor. Shallow bowls or clear glass centerpieces allow these natural artifacts to show off for full effect.

However, if you do choose to find these in the wild, be sure to check them for critters that would be unwelcome in your home. KariAnne of ThistleWood Farms has a funny story about one such mishap that you can read here.

Potential problems can be exterminated during the cleaning and drying process. First, soak your finds in a solution of vinegar and warm water for about an hour. Next, lay them out until they are dry to the touch. Finally, spread them out on an aluminum foil-lined cookie sheet and set your oven at 200 degrees fahrenheit. An hour should do the trick, but we recommend checking the progress half-way through to turn your acorns and pinecones over. Drying in heat will also cause pinecones to open, or bloom. Don’t be afraid to add drops of essential oils like orange, cinnamon, or nutmeg to capture wonderful fall scents.

To be fair, a stroll through your local craft store will also produce these items in everlasting faux varieties.