Dressing up for Fall (sorta)

As I mentioned in our last post, I’ve got a chair project on hold.

chair back

It was a $5 garage sale find. She was in sad shape when we brought her home (last fall!), but we like her curvy lines and know she can be a looker again.

cane cutting chair cushion cover

She had three layers of cushion covers on. Unfortunately, all of them were too worn to keep.

I really wanted to finish it earlier this month, so that I could link it up to WhisperWood Cottage’s Talent Scouting Party. We had such a great experience with this last spring, and it was really thrilling to see our project in print this summer in Cottages & Bungalows magazine.

This (sorta) Old Life:  cottages and bungalows feature

This month’s party theme is autumn decor, and the chair in my head would have been perfect for it. She’s going to be dressed up with these:

rocking chair materials

But this is a low-priority project right now–which is why the chair frame is still waiting for its last coat of paint, and likely will be long after the party has ended.

thissortaoldlife rocking chair frame side

However, while working on our last post, it occurred to me that we might still be able to join in the festivities over at WhisperWood Cottage.

It all started when Cane said that my photos of our new old-school chair were a little too spare.

This (sorta) Old Life:  70s school-desk style chair

“You need to dress it up some,” he said.

So I played dress-up while he took pictures:

rita fussing with pillow

As I fussed around with a warm throw and a fuzzy pillow, I found myself feeling all kinda cozy-ish.

Maybe it had something to do with yet another day of gray skies and cool temps (really, not complaining in the face of scorching droughts elsewhere…okay, maybe just a little), but the idea of getting all snuggled up with things soft and warm was really appealing.

So I threw another blanket on the other chair in the room:

thissortaoldlife throw on white chair

The day before Cane had come home with a new vintage painting, and I tried it out on the wall of the library.

We love the bright paint-by-number that’s been hanging there since early spring…

This (sorta) Old Life: Vintage paint by number

…but we also like this one, whose subdued colors seemed to go better with the cozy throws and the cushy pillows.

This (sorta) Old Life: Vintage painting

Looking at the painting more closely, I noticed the bare tree with just a few lingering leaves, and I suddenly realized what I was doing:  switching things up for fall. 

And then I thought, Hey, I can join the party! This is autumn decorating, right?

We’d already swapped out another piece of art in the room, a photo I snapped in the spring that featured a blooming flower.

spring flowers in cemetery

In its place we put the embroidered owl I picked up a few weeks ago. He’s warmer, and…c’mon, he’s an owl and it’s a library. Really, where else could he go?

thissortaoldlife owl detail

After moving things around a bit, I hopped on over to the party to check out what others have already linked up. And then I started wondering if this is a party where we’d really fit in.

Or if it would feel more like some parties I went to in junior high, where I was wearing not-quite-the-right-things and didn’t quite know the right things to say and didn’t want to partake in some of the not-right-for-me activities going on.

rita in 7th grade

I was rockin’ the puka shell necklace back in 7th grade…but not much else.

Don’t get me wrong–the links at the party are full of beautiful spaces and clever crafts and all kinds of posts oozing autumn from every image. (Kind of like those junior high girls who had perfectly feathered hair and Bonne Bell Lipsmackered lips.)

But here’s the thing: While we love our house full of our quirky things, our library isn’t oozing fall, and it doesn’t look much like anything I see in magazines. None of our house does, and likely none of it will, even when it truly is fall.

thissortaoldlife library overview

I mean, our mantel is going to look the same in October as it does today. And there likely won’t be a pumpkin of any sort anywhere until a week or so before Halloween. Maybe.

This (sorta) Old Life mantel

So, I did what I did back in junior high to figure out the complexities of social scenes:  I talked with my best friend.

Cane and I came to the conclusion that we’re not decorating-for-the-season kind of people. At least, not in the way we typically see it done.

We like to cozy things up a bit for fall/winter, which means more texture, warmer colors, accessories we like to use in cooler weather.

This (sorta) Old Life:  library table lamp shelves

This (sorta) Old Life ottoman with chevron throw

This (sorta) Old Life:  Fuzzy pillow

This (sorta) Old Life:  Vintage art

This (sorta) Old Life:  Chair with vintage throw

We like to open up and air out for spring/summer, which means cleaner surfaces, lighter colors, and expanding to outdoor spaces (or bringing the outdoors in).

sunflowers in jar

But that’s about all we do. We get why others like to go all out, and we figure everyone should dive into whatever floats their boat, but full-on decorating really isn’t our thing, no matter what the season.

This (sorta) Old Life: Library corner with vintage school-desk chair

We don’t really know how to do it and suspect that even if we did, we don’t have enough money/time/energy to do it well.

Our kind of autumn decorating doesn’t take much of any of those. Even new pillows are a pretty cheap decor thrill, and our thrift-store accessories are affordable, too. (The Grandma-made throws are usually less than $10, and our vintage art often is, too.)

Come fall, we want to make sure we have plenty of days to marvel at the foliage, cook comfort food, and hang out in the last days of sun–and the resources to do so.

This (sorta) Old Life: Neighborhood in fall

This (sorta) Old Life: Autumn mobile

This (sorta) Old Life:  Making apple pie

This (sorta) Old Life:  Corn maze

This (sorta) Old Life: Fall tree fort

We talked about skipping the party, wondering if joining in would be a bit like going to a costume party with no costume–but we’ve decided to go. We like a lot of the other blogs hanging out there, and we figure all the best parties have a good mix of people.

We’ll be the quiet ones who came late, wearing our usual simple mix of vintage finds and personal treasures, looking a little out of place but glad to be having fun with everyone else.

This (sorta) Old Life: Vintage lamp

Kinda like 7th grade, only way more comfortable.

How about you?

Do you decorate for the seasons? How do you transition from one season to the next? What most says “fall” to you?


We’ll be sharing this at both WhisperWood Cottage and at Pancakes & French Fries (where I never worry about not fitting in).

william morris project