At 10:22 a.m. on Sept. 13, there was a breeze. And with it came some cool and some crisp.
Oh, sure, by noon it was close to 90, but I got my little fix.
I felt fall before it was even official. Nine days early!
We all whine about not getting enough fall here in Florida, but you can find it if you try.
But the biggest challenge, we decided, was figuring out how to decorate for fall in a way that works with our Southern/coastal sensibilities. Here's how we did it for the table setting shown here and on our cover:
If The Hues Fit
If you thought you couldn't mix traditional fall hues - orange, yellow, brown - with a coastal color theme, think again. Orange and pink, yellow and gray, blue and orange, and brown and green are among the hottest color pairings right now. Even alone, coastal colors such as an orange-y coral or a bright green (let's call it apple instead of chartreuse) can take on a fall feel.
What We Did
We found bargain dishes ($4 per plate) at Tuesday Morning in South Tampa that combine fall's orange, red and gold hues with softer sea greens and blues, and we paired them with some blue dishes already in the cupboard. (Nearly any shade of Fiesta dinnerware would have worked, too.) Then we put the place- settings on a weathered wood table stained aqua years ago. An (almost) perfect match!
It's In Our Nature
Fall decorating is all about celebrating nature. So is seaside style. So what if we couldn't find any lovely leaves? Florida has plenty of pine cones and grapevine - two of the more popular items found in fall decorations. And although it's difficult to grow a happy, healthy pumpkin here, gourds are doable.
What We Did
We cheated on the gourds - the pretty pile here came out of a bag sold at Bed Bath & Beyond in Carrollwood (a splurge at $12.99). But the pine cone is the real thing, and the grapevine was so fresh, we had to pull off the green leaves before coiling it around our centerpiece. For our coastal contribution, we added seashells, sand dollars and sea glass to the mix to keep the colors balanced. And we dragged the table down by the lake in the backyard for even more natural ambience.
Autumn's beauty comes from the maturity of the season, so it's a fitting time to flaunt much-loved heirlooms - think Grandma's old platter or Mom's silverware - or newer treasures that look like heirlooms.
What We Did
Our table is a grand mix of old and new. The base of our centerpiece is an old bread board with lots of delicious imperfections. The table, too, has been around forever. Our new "heirloom" is an urn we discovered at Anthropologie in Tampa for just $8. We popped a pine cone into it, and got that antique-y look we were going for.
Got A Light?
The right light always sets a mood. It's getting dark earlier and earlier; why not take advantage and light some candles around the house? Add to the autumnal vibe with a scented votive, perhaps in a nice spiced pumpkin or vanilla. Or go all out with a candelabra or chandelier or candelabra. It's far too warm for a cozy fire in the fireplace - but a fire pit or chiminea will give you the same autumnal aroma and crackle.
What We Did
We kept it simple and used three cream-colored pillars ($3.99 each at Michaels in Carrollwood) tied with natural raffia ($2.49, also from Michaels). We echoed the look with the raffia ties on our cream-colored napkins. The fire pit didn't make it into the picture, but you can bet we'll light it up when the time is right. Bring on the marshmallows!
Sources: www.hgtv.com, www.coastalliving.com, www.bhg.com, www.southernliving.com