We had fabulous weather all last week with temps in the upper 70’s.  This is pretty unusual for Minnesota so we all think we stole a week away from an early winter.  Warm days at this time of the year are treasured.  The cool nights combined with warm days really make the fall colors intensify.  I have lived my whole life in this climate and every fall I am still amazed at how beautiful this season is between lush green of summer and frosty white of winter.  I think you can see how my fall fabric collections were influenced by my surroundings.  Even the simplest image would have been an inspiration.

 

This past weekend was also the last of our Sunday night boat rides around the lake.  Everything is pretty wrapped up for the winter. Boats are put into winter storage and docks and boat lifts are pulled out of the water.  It was a pretty night and we got the last trip in right at sundown.

The wind and rain in the forecast will eliminate the remaining leaves on the trees but these are hanging on for dear life.  This orange tree outside my sitting room window actually casts an orange glow into the room.  This is always the last tree in the yard to “give up”.

 

This is what greeted me last Thursday out my front door.  When the leaves are changing, everyday is different.  I can see this view from my living room and from the main hall of the house, so every time I walk down the hall I see this.  I really hate to see this week end.  I am sure big changes on on the way.

The bench on my front steps is a fun place to decorate, so I change it often.  This might be able to hang on until November and then the Christmas/winter arrangements will be next.

In October, I host a birthday dinner for a friend that has been a tradition going back decades. I am always happy to have October as my month to host the group.  I have found a great cookbook that was written by Amy Thielen.  She is a Minnesota native that was trained in the culinary environment of New York city.  She and her family have returned to MN and her cookbook, The New Midwestern Table has become a favorite of mine.  Check it out at your local bookstore or Amazon.

I made her Chicken Wild Rice Casserole for the main dish of my dinner and served it with red cabbage (Ina Garten’s recipe) and baked winter squash with a maple syrup glaze.  I will definitely make this meal again.

For dessert, I served a Caramel Apple Cream Cake, which was also a hit. I found the recipe in my recipe box and have no idea who it came from but saved it for years and had never made it. The original recipe directions included making it in a bundt pan, which I did.  It was pretty, but a little hard to serve.  Next time I make it, I will use a 9″ x 13″ pan.  That way I can skip the step of cutting off the top to make a flat space for the apples and the bottom will be flat making it easier to serve with the extra whipped cream topping.  I snapped this picture before cutting and topping with the whipped cream.

Get recipe here.

I have taken on the task of stitching small  wool felt animal and figures for the Countdown to Christmas envelops my daughter uses for Taylor and Ella in December.  Technically, I should come up with 50, so I better start in ernest TODAY.  Kerry and I made this extravaganza 3 years ago.  The kids love it so it will go up again this year.  They are not candy eaters so other small treasures are needed for the envelops each day in December.  They are growing up so fast, I think maybe this year might be one of the last that they would be excited about finding these in their envelopes each morning.  So far, I have made three….that makes 47 to go.

I made the envelopes (one for each kiddo, for each day) from left over envelopes and Christmas cards and small felt figures from craft stores ad well as scrapbook papers.  I punched a hole in the corner of the envelop and used narrow ribbon to tie onto branch bundles that Kerry gathered from her yard.  The envelopes have held up well and can be used again this year. 

I think I should put string loops on the wool felt figures so they could hang them on the little trees they have in their rooms during the holidays.  It will keep them from getting lost in the shuffle with the other thousands of little things in their house they have collected.

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