Can you tell I like alliterations? Well, I like changing up decor too and although we haven't done too much of that with all of our basement work, I did manage to put up some fall decor this year. I may change it in a week for halloween, but I can always put it back up for Thanksgiving!
Last fall we were all about the porch. The porch is like a greenhouse in the summer but when the fall temperatures drop it's the perfect place to sit and enjoy all the new fall colors. The majority of our fall decoration took place on the porch but this year, that's not really an option. For weeks the porch was filled with garage sale items to be priced or waiting until the big day and although I never thought to take a picture, you'll have to trust me: there was junk EVERYWHERE! Also, since we're debating tearing down the porch (more on that later) we're trying to be as minimalist out there as possible, pretending that 'indoor' space doesn't exist. As if those excuses weren't enough, I found out the storage bin with all the porch decorations is buried under our other storage items that will eventually make their way back to the basement - totally inaccessible for now!
Since I couldn't decorate the porch this year, I focused on the dining room since we have two buffet surfaces and a table to decorate!
So, for the dining room decor, I had to work with what I could find around the house or in nature. First, I decided I liked the summer chalkboard so much that I made it again for the fall. I found an autumn subway art image as inspiration and with a wet rag and chalk, this ended up being free and quick! Since the organ sold, the frame is temporarily propped up on our window buffet but we're hoping to include it in whatever art we add on our now empty living room wall.
Source of inspiration picture (right)
The chalkboard is grounded with two real pumpkins and a grapevine pumpkin (from Target) as well as a bushel of 3 Indian corn cobs. The bird flew out of the cage (with it's magical plastic wings) and I replaced it with three pillar candles. The other corner of the window buffet has 6 more candles (the three tall ones were on the organ and the three small ones in a drawer, but all the bases are from Target.) There's something about fall that makes me want to light some candles and start warming up the house with their aroma and flickering light!
The hutch buffet is being watched over by this owl lantern I found on clearance last year at Target. I love how the light shines through him at night! Some acorn tops collected from walks around the neighborhood are mixed with wine corks to create a textural 'nest' for Mr. Owl.
For the table arrangement, I made my only purchase: three gourds. (Until a candle disaster...) At 59 cents a piece, I spent under $2 for the table! I started with three leaf place mats I picked up at Walgreens last year. Unfortunately, before I could even photograph the beautiful table, we had company over and a candle mishap!
So I had to spend over an hour scraping wax from both the leaf placemat and turquoise tablecloth. And then I went and spent $20 for 4 different sized flameless candles from Target. This is the first time I've chosen these over real candles, but so far I'm really liking them! They still have a vanilla scent, are safer for kids (guests, not ours), and I don't have to worry about another wax mess! They last longer too, and I'll be able to use them for other seasons since they're a simple vanilla pillar candle.
I added some wooden pillar candle holders but instead of putting candles atop them, I topped them with two of the gourds and some leftover acorn tops. A lantern got some cinnamon sticks sprinkled around the bottom (which I had a huge bag of from Christmas) and another smaller candle. The squirrel is my favorite addition. I picked up this little fellow from the garage sale and although he was intended as a gag gift, I couldn't let him go just yet!
We want to eventually add something to the now bare wall in the dining room (since the TV has moved to a more normal spot in the living room) but for now, I repurposed a game I made to use at work. I bought scrapbook paper in a variety of colors that matched our living room (browns, greys and turquoise), used three different leaf paper punches to make at least one type of leaf in each design (some papers were reversible with different colors on each side), and laminated them. With my preschool students, I can have them sort the leaves by shape, or by color/design. Since they're laminated, I can also draw letters or shapes on them to make a matching game, or letter recognition game. After using them a few days with my students, I brought the leaves home and hung them with 3M hooks on the wall. It's not something I love enough to be permanant, but for a few dollars worth of paper, and multiple school use ideas, I think it is perfect for this year!
Aside from the dining room, I added a few upgrades to other corners of our house as well.
New owl towels in the kitchen suggest fall with more modern colors. They were $4 each at JoAnne's (with some coupons) and just magically happen to match a notepad that I already had for all our grocery lists!
I also found a new door mat that I had really wanted from Target last year, but was gone before it could go on sale. So, I was delighted to find it in new condition at Turnstyle for $10, half off what it was originally. It's more Halloween than autumn, but I think the 'Welcome' message is neutral enough to have it out all season.
So there you have it, an autumnal abode from the Allens! Have you made any last minute seasonal changes to your home too?
Now that we sold the organ we have lots of room in the living room. The organ took up a ton of space so we didn't have room for a coffee table. But now that it's gone, the possibilities are endless!
Well, not completely endless. I had some criteria for new furniture in the living room. First of all, I didn't want to spend over $150 for something, and I really wanted to spend less than 100. I also wanted something kid friendly since we want our own children some day and we have kid company often enough to think of them. I knew ottomans were a good option for extra seating, storage and had a soft enough facade to be fall friendly. So I was pretty excited when I saw two ottomans at Homegoods for $69 a piece.
Actually, I didn't find ottomanS (plural) I found one... and had to drive across the city to get it's matching partner. The ottomans are upholstered, kind of tuffed and have storage space with a smaller ottoman inside!
I thought we could put blankets in one, toys in another (again, lots of friends with kids!) and then use the smaller ottomans in another room or as extra seating/leg rests.
We were a little on the fence about these though.
- We like that they're versatile
- Have extra storage
- Match the lines in our other furniture
- Are soft so kids won't hurt themselves on the corners
- They're a little too small for the room
- It might be too much gray (I can't believe I said that!)
- We're worried about keeping them clean. Seriously, we ate dinner on them one night and it was treacherous.
- They're a little expensive ($70 each and not on sale, we can do better)
In the end, we returned them. If you want them they're at Home Goods in Eden Prairie!
I've got a whole pinterest board full of inspiration but nothing concrete yet! I also have a free ottoman in the garage waiting to be recovered, but I didn't find the perfect fabric when JoAnne's was having a 70% off sale and I think it's too small for both the couch and loveseat, so that project may have to be finished for the basement room instead! Do you have a suggestion for a coffee table, ottoman, or something else decorative yet functional?
I used to have a bit of a problem with G.A.S. - Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Specifically with vintage musical instruments. Most of it revolved around trading, selling, and upgrading my guitar gear but on a few occasions I even acquired rare keyboards that I knew I wouldn't play, just because they were cool. The greatest piece of gear I ever acquired was a Hammond B3 Organ. Organs might seem lame but not this one, it's the greatest rock/jazz/funk organ ever invented. It was built from the 50's-70's and has made it's way into every genre of music for the past 60 years. I even hear it in new music. It's pretty easy to pick out this organ's distinct sound, especially since it's often paired with a speaker (usually the "Leslie" brand) that spins around in a box creating a vibrato sound. Here's what it sounds like.
Here's a more mellow version that I hear more in pop music. In this video, the B3 is playing the chords in the background, it's just B3 and drums at first, can you pick it out?
The tale of the sale
Anyway, all that just to say I LOVED having a B3 for the musician street cred but I almost never played it. In fact, half the reason I kept it around was because I wanted to sell it someday when I needed a chunk of cash - since B3's have been out of production for 40 years they've become quite valuable.
I tried to sell the organ before we bought the house to help finance the down payment but unfortunately the recession had put a damper on rare organ sales. I tried to sell it again when we started saving for the basement but again had no luck. I've actually posted the organ on Craig's List a dozen times over the last few years, lowering the price a few hundred each time, but I would barely hear a peep other than scammers and people who wanted it but didn't have any money (oh the economics of Craig's List).
I had pretty much given up hope on selling the organ. The thought of donating it to a church before tax season began crossing my mind. As a hail marry long shot we mentioned the organ on Craig's List when we announced our garage sale. We didn't even say anything about it, just listed it in a series of sale items between toys and DVDs. A few people asked to see the organ at the sale but I think they mostly just wanted to see one in person. Halfway through the sale, though, a guy asked to see it and seemed a little more genuinely interested. He had even driven 100 miles to come check it out! I agreed to pay for a couple updates to the organ and a week later the deal was done and we were hauling it out to a moving truck for him to take it away!
We have our living room back
Katrina always liked the look of the cherry organ and it was definitely something unique to have in our living room, but she never loved how much room it took up. It was basically a coffee table or the organ but never both. We were so excited about selling the organ we forgot to take a good picture of how it looks in the room. Here are some random pics of it we had saved. This one is of Katrina playing the organ right after our wedding when we had no furniture and tons of boxes from wedding gifts.
Once we got our furniture we worked the organ into the set up.
And here's the most recent picture after we painted, bought a rug, and put curtains up.
Also, when we moved our TV out of the basement for the reno, the only place to put it was in the dining room. Awkward! We thought it was so weird we didn't even take a picture of it. If we ever took a picture of the dining room for the blog it was always, "take the picture from this side so you don't see the TV." Yeah, lame. In that tradition, we
forgot to didn't take a picture of the TV in the dining room but here's what it looks like in the living room.
This is still temporary as we're going to make a permanent home for the TV in the basement once it's finished. A credenza or low bookshelf will most likely replace the TV next year, but for now, we're enjoying watching TV from the couch, not the dining room chairs!
Thanks for the help
The story of the organ wouldn't be complete without mentioning what a gigantic pain the organ has been to move. It weights over 400 lbs and getting it, moving it into my rental, moving it from my rental to our current house, and moving it out to the moving van for the seller have all been an ordeal. We owe a HUGE thanks for our buff friends that have helped move it each time.
In related news
We've been saving, saving, and saving for the basement since last winter and we were super close to having all the funds to finish the basement without any debt or loans. As of the day the organ sold, the basement is officially funded! Happy dance So while I loved the organ for the last 6 years, I am excited for this new stage of life and for our more spacious home!