As I think back on 2017 and realize what a great year it was, I look forward to 2018 and wonder what I want to accomplish in my life, my house, my relationships.  Do you do that – reflect and look forward?

I’m not a big New Year resolution maker but certainly want to be a better person, a better wife, mom, neighbor, etc., but this year I’m adding to the list.  I want to be a better blogger!  Blogging is for you as much as it is for me so I want to ask YOU what YOU’D like to see more of or less of from County Road 407.

Don’t worry about hurting my feelings, you won’t.  I’m ready!  I have on my thick skin whatever-you-say-bounces-off-me-and-on-to-you suit.  😉   So get started and take my 2018 Reader Survey!

1) What would you like to see more of on County Road 407? (Click all that apply)

2) What do you struggle with in decorating?
3) What areas/rooms in your home do you feel you need help?
4) When I decorate a new space, do you prefer to see the entire process from start to finish or only the end in all its glory?
5) How do you find out about NEW posts from County Road 407?
6) Do you follow me on Social Media?  If so, which one(s)?

8) How often do you visit County Road 407?
9) What other suggestions or comments would make County Road 407 better or the best blog ever?

Name (Optional)

## 3 Fall Centerpiece Ideas Using 1 Fall Garland

I think most of us who decorate for fall probably have at least one piece of fall garland.  What do you do with yours?  I use them all over the place but this post is about 3 fall centerpiece ideas using 1 fall garland strand.  And because we are busy, especially when we cook a meal, these fall centerpiece ideas are going to be super easy.  Let’s get started!

The strand of garland below is only 4 foot long.  I loved the color in the leaves because it works perfectly with my fall dishes.  (Yes, I have fall dishes.  Remember the post Confessions of a Plate Addict?)  I inserted a sheer ribbon for added personalization.  You know it can’t just stay the way I found it.

You can see this strand was plastic and not expensive at all.  I think it was $9.99 from you know where… Hobby Lobby! And the ribbon was left over from another fall project. It would look nice with any sized ribbon. You might want to tuck it in a little better than I did. I’m way to impatient – sorry. Subscribe below to receive new blog post notifications by email ### Fall Centerpiece Ideas Look #1 I have a couple of lanterns that I purchased from Home Goods. They have been used on the mantel, next to the TV and now here. The lanterns use batteries and are great for a casual, simple, rustic look. I just wove the garland around. You could also add ribbon to the handles if you’d like. ### Look #2 This time I grabbed 3 glass pumpkins that were given to me by a very dear friend. She knows I LOVE fall. With these pumpkins it keeps the garland strand more compact leaving you with more room for glasses, food, desserts, etc. You can use any type of pumpkin. These sit on short pedestals for height. Oh wait! Speaking of desserts… I made an Apple Pecan Spice cake the other day that was so delicious. Everyone loved it. I’ll put the recipe at the bottom of the post in case you’re interested in totally wowing your family and friends like I did! ### Look #3 For this last look I dug out my rusty candle holder and intertwined the fall garland. You can see I used candles and pumpkins both. I hope you see how you can make 3 fall centerpiece ideas using 1 fall garland. Notice that each look is simple and you can easily use what you already have sitting around. Fall centerpieces don’t have to be extravagant to be eye catching. Make it easy on yourself – You have enough to do! ### Bonus Recipe! (by: Alyssa over at www.therecipecritic.com) Apple Pecan Spice Cake w/ Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting – yes please! Ingredients • 4 cups Granny Smith Apples, chopped into small pieces • 2 cups sugar • ½ cup vegetable oil • 2 eggs, lightly beaten • 1 teaspoon vanilla (I added another 1/2 tsp and used Mexican Vanilla) • 2 cups all purpose flour • 2 teaspoon baking powder • ½ teaspoon baking soda • 2 teaspoon cinnamon • ½ teaspoon nutmeg • 1 teaspoon salt • ½ cup milk • 1 cup pecans roughly chopped • Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting: • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese frosting, room temperature • ¼ cup butter, softened • 2 teaspoon vanilla • 1 cup golden brown sugar (I didn’t know what that was so I used light brown sugar) Instructions: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan. Set aside. 2. In a large mixing bowl, combine apples and sugar. Stir in oil, eggs, and vanilla. 3. In another mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add the flour mixture to the apple mixture. Add milk and stir until just combined. Add chopped pecans. 4. Pour into prepared 9×13 inch pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely. (My bake time was considerably longer before the toothpick came out clean) 5. To make the frosting: Beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. Add butter and continue to beat until smooth scraping down sides when needed. Add vanilla and brown sugar. Beat for 5 minutes until it is light and fluffy and the sugar has dissolved. Spread evenly on top of the cake. Refrigerate after frosting. (We didn’t refrigerate before we dug in and I sprinkled chopped pecans on the icing as well.) Enjoy! Save ## A casual fall tablescape I had planned to visit Pier 1 this weekend because of their event called Style Destination. They gave ideas for table settings, bookshelf styling and ideas using string lights. I seriously enjoyed it. Partly because my mom came with me and partly because I won a$10.00 gift card during the random drawings!  It also gave me a chance to pick up a few things and play around with a casual fall tablescape.

We are definitely a casual family so when I style a tablescape in our breakfast or dining room, it stays only for a short time.  Why go to all that work?  It’s fun!  Plus the centerpiece stays so it’s still pretty.  It’s just the dishes that get put back in the cabinet.  We eat out a lot and I might forget to dust the dishes then accidentally plop food on them when I do actually cook – guh row dee.  And I haven’t forgotten that it’s still summer but I want to give you a few fall ideas so in the near future you can do a tablescape of your own.  😉

### Pulling a Tablescape Together:

I started with an inspiration piece.  Something that would coordinate with the white pumpkins I’d already made.  (If you’d like to see them, click here)  I chose a table runner.  You can use a plate, a napkin ring, floral arrangement; just about anything that gives you a place to start (the inspiration).

I love this table runners color and texture.

You don’t have to use orange and red for fall decor.  The colors in this tablescape are soft blue-green, whites and buttery golds.  But the plates have just enough pop to bring a vibrancy which pulls things together.

The woven place mats add texture and pull the similar color from the leaves and edges on the fall plate.  The soft green and gold pumpkins in the plate coordinate with the colors in the table runner. Can you see how it’s all coming together?

Something Pier 1 mentioned was placement of your napkins and napkin rings.  She said we could put it in the middle of the plate, stacked in a glass or place them on the side.  In this instance, I chose to add mine to the top right corner of the plate.  You can see the plate is too cute to cover up.

Just add a few more things to your centerpiece that are similar in color and keep things symmetrical.  Keep it even on both ends and an odd amount.

During the demonstration I asked where the proper placement was when you take the napkin ring off the plate.  She said she doesn’t like a cluttered table so she uses a bowl somewhere on the table and instructs guests to put the napkin rings in the bowl.  Since I only have 4 rings, I added a small vintage plate for mine but keep wondering why in the world haven’t I thought of that?!  I can see how pretty it would be if you had 8 – 10 guests and the napkin rings were hydrangeas or some flower.  Boom Bam – an instant and very nice centerpiece!

What did y’all do this weekend?  Did you put together a casual fall tablescape or redo the mantel?  Maybe sit out by the pool and get a tan?  Did you build something or complete a DIY project?  Let me know!

Save

Save

Save

Save

## Everyday centerpiece with vintage bottles

Who doesn’t like fresh flowers?  I actually know one person who is allergic therefore isn’t a fan – poor thing.   I feel sorry for her.  You can see from the picture below I like all kinds of flowers, even weeds/wild flowers.  And that I prefer to keep the table centerpiece fairly simple for an average day.

Well I checked out Courthouse Antiques in Anderson, TX last weekend and picked up a few vintage bottles.  I’ve decided to use them as my new everyday centerpiece on the table in Navasota.  It’s my excuse to have fresh flowers all the time – wink wink and a smiley face.  If you could see my face right now trying to wink, you’d laugh and think I was having a spasm of some sort.  I’ve never been able to wink.

Anyway, I gathered a few more bottles I already had around the house and purchased \$4.00 flowers at the grocery store.   Placed them in a cluster on the galvanized table (DIY found here).  Voila – a new everyday centerpiece with vintage bottles.  Seeing them every time I walk through the main thoroughfare makes me smile.

When deciding to cluster the items together, make sure and choose an odd number of pieces.  I’ve used seven.  Keep them varied in height as well.  Both of these tips will keep your centerpiece more appealing.  But if all of your items are the same size, just cut the flowers in various heights.

In this collection there are old vinegar jars, apothecary medicine bottles, a soda bottle, and a magnesia bottle that still has the stopper/lid.

The soft colors, the unique shapes, the stretch marks and air bubbles – I love each imperfection.

### Look at these other ideas for vintage bottles!

In this post she painted them making the labels really stand out.

This wall vase shown here in this post seems like an easy DIY.

You can embellish them like she did in this post even though it starts out giving you ideas for vintage jewelry (other fab idea).

You could even decoupage them like in this video!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

## Tips for an al fresco ready tray or centerpiece!

I’ve always wanted to dine “al fresco” in Navasota.  Doesn’t that sound fancy shmancy?  Aaal frescooo.  But even though I can mix a fancy Italian word that means outside with a farmhouse yard and a view of moss covered trees and cows, there’s still a few things that deter me from actually doing it.  There’s the humidity, the heat, the mosquito’s, the infestation of crazy ants (that’s what they’re called) and the lack of planning ahead.

Although the first 4 excuses are out of my control, I can go ahead and put together a tray so I’m ready when/if we get a cool front and God decides to wipe out the bugs.  So I’m going to share tips for an al fresco ready tray or centerpiece with you just in case you can dine outside!

### Step #1:

Begin with a tray.  Make sure it’s sturdy and large enough to hold everything you need so you are making minimal trips in and out.  Take weight into consideration when choosing.  I decided to use this white tray from Pier One; it’s big but light weight.  It could get heavy once you’ve put everything on it.  It’s like those nice pretty crystal or cut glass pitchers you fill up with orange juice.  My word it’s so heavy you can barely pour from it.

### Step #2:

Decide on a color scheme.  The one above will work for the entire summer with it’s green and yellow.  Pull things from around the house that you may use as decoration.  Keep in mind you’ll want a centerpiece for the table outside.  While looking around, check the fridge like I did.  Lemons, limes, apples, oranges, no bananas, pears – they would add nice color.  It doesn’t need to be a lot and remember to try and keep the tray lightweight.

### Step #3:

Gather your plates and utensils.  I use white plates and bowls because they go with everything and usually use a mason jar to corral the utensils.  Paper plates or plastic is fine too.  I have a set you’d never know were plastic until you picked them up.  That’s the stuff you use when you’re having a large gathering.  Like a Southern Baptist picnic when everyone brings a casserole and it’s served buffet style.

### Step #4:

Set your dishes in the tray first.  Now add the next largest item which will probably be the actual outside table centerpiece.  I used a jar full of weeds (excuse me – wildflowers) for this summer look.  Easy to come by and cheap/free!

### Step #5:

Next add the necessities like the jar of utensils and napkins.  I added candles just in case we were having an evening soiree.  LOL – another fancy shmancy word.   I also added a towel.  You never know when you might have a spill and it adds soft texture to the tray decor.

### Step #6:

Time for the finishing touches.  Add the rest of the decorative items you gathered from around the house.  You’ll want to vary the heights to make things more appealing.  And place your color in at least 3 different locations.  A triangle formation always looks good.  The small boxwood wreath can be tied to an outside chair and the lemons and limes can be added to drinks.  The perfect touch of color for a summer time centerpiece.

Since it’s almost Independence Day and because around here we are already decked out for the occasion, this tray is donned with extra red, white and blue.   I gathered my decor items, decided what to use as an outdoor centerpiece and varied the heights in the tray.  Can you see little ol’ Elsie the cow screaming ouch because I stabbed her in the back with flags?  I told her it was for a national celebration but she looks as if she’s still screaming.

With these 6 easy steps, you’ll have a beautiful al fresco ready tray or centerpiece.  All you need to do is pick it up and tote it outside.  This one seems like it’s going to be heavy so I’ll ask my man slave (aka the Mister) to help.

If you’d like to see the other July 4th decor items we have at the farmhouse, you can see the living room here and the front porch here.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save