On the left, what you see is something that was supposed to be a teal pumpkin. It's still left out from Halloween, as in last month October and yes I know it's now November. I got the idea off Pinterest.
There on the right, sitting like it thinks it's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown is searching for, that's from something I saw in Midwest Living. Only in Midwest Living, it didn't look like a pumpkin sitting in a planter, the way it does here. It looked like Step Right Up to the Best Autumn Decorated House, folks!
This Harvest Duo of Shame should make me hang my head with the weight of a thousand lost Pinterest dreams, but nope. It doesn't. Autumn is the season for crafting and The Season O'Crafting and the missteps of a lifetime have built up within me a healthy dose of immunity from fear of fall failure.
Since 1995, I have set out to discover the secret to domesticity. I tried for the first ten years on my own by following Apartment Therapy and then on to the next decade with family in tow through the tutelage of Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Ladies Home Journal, and the baddest homemaking b*tch of them all, Real Simple. Every August, I bring home supermarket fall issues and spread them before me. My index finger follows directions line by line with the same diligence that I take with the Tylenol bottle before dosing my children.
My intent is the pursuit of hominess, memories, vibrancy to create a life for the people I live with that lets them how very much I want to gift them with a home that makes them proud. This is why I plant flowers, it's why I stick $30 blown glass garden center orbs around the yard that promise to mesmerize and glow like a trail leading to a fairy garden on a summer night. The flowers I plant die before the first leaves turn in September and the only way any fairies find their way to our home is if they have a teeny weeny three inch tall seeing eye dog.
Autumn is the most patient of the seasons with me. It lures and sings in a breathy whisper, I fall into step, trance-like with hopes and dreams to beckoning words like cozy, intimate, warm, home. I close my eyes and sway side to side as fiery reds, comforting oranges, soothing yellows, life affirming merlot and cranberry purples dance invitingly before me.
Right about now is where you hear the record needle scratch.
Crafts and things homey are not my nature. That's another way of saying, they don't come easy to me. You think that when you've had half a century of failed homey experiences, that you'd connect the dots and come up with letters that spell G-I-V-E--U-P. But I can't turn away from the haystack bundles and the corn centerpieces, and I never will. Because the song that the exquisite photography paints of turning your home into a haven will never fall upon deaf ears with me. You can do it, Alexandra, just get a pumpkin, put it in a pot. Autumn up your home--You can do it. Before long I'm humming along with the tune, knowing all the words, and next thing you know I'm grabbing the keys and jumping in the van on my way to a pumpkin patch.
You can do it you can do it you can do it, I hear the verse in my head. And then in a low, hushed whisper, It'll be amaaaaaaaazing.
As patient as autumn is with me, it is at the same time my biggest cheerleader. Autumn removes all fear and doubt and magically year after year, wipes the slate of my memory clean, CLEAN I tell you, from the decorating disasters of the season before.
Who remembers the pumpkin pancakes that tasted like Play-Doh?
What about the tri-color field corn you hung from the front door as a harvest welcome and the squirrels had at it?
Remember when you Martha-Stewarted that bowl of foil wrapped chocolate and left it on the porch to welcome trick-or-treaters while they waited for you to come to the door but the chipmunks got to it first and OD'd all over the front stoop?
Nope, not that either.
Surely the brown bread and raisin egg-free milk-free peanut-free loaf that weighed as much as a brick has got to come to mind?
Autumn has blessed me with craft amnesia, any disasters released to the air. She is that benevolent preschool teacher who puts her arm around my shoulder and encourages me that maybe this time, Alexandra, you'll be able to stay within the lines--you just have to practice.
The season of warm colored hues and brisk energizing temperatures has made me hopeful, hardy, and resilient. See that teal mess of a pumpkin up there? I'll recover. And the pumpkin sitting in the planter like it's majesty of its patch? I'm already over it.
Every beautiful autumn I try. And every autumn my neighbors walk past seeing a new kind of decorating horror. But I have no worry of embarrassment! Autumn is my queen and has me ready for next year's pondering of crafty pleasure: it involves chicken wire, a collection of red leaves, and some old railroad ties from behind the trees out back.
The autumn decorating world is my oyster! Nothing holds me back when I have a half off discount coupon to Michael's in one hand along with freedom from the fear of mortification in the other.
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