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Thursday, November 26, 2020

What's a Few Raindrops When You're With the People You Love

As so often happens in the Pacific Northwest, the forecast shifted as Thanksgiving neared. However, it didn't look like it would be a complete washout, so we decided to make our outdoor plans a go. Mostly, the rain was just an occasional sprinkle Thursday afternoon. I had suggested everyone wear a parka with a hood. That advice made the difference between being miserable and having fun despite a few raindrops. It was a great day. We stayed socially distant and outdoors. 

This was the first time in almost three months that we've seen our son and daughter-in-law. To get together for Thanksgiving (and stay safe and keep to the governor's orders) meant we would need to do something entirely different. The idea of an outdoor cookout was floated to all parties. Maybe you can guess -- November cookouts are not the norm for our area. 

Around 11:30 AM, this is how the patio was looking -- rather damp, but the heavy rain appeared to be gone. We dried off the chairs, moved a couple of small tables into place, and I began my work transforming the patio into an autumn gathering spot. For social distancing, each household had their own side of the fire ring, more than 6 feet apart.

Over the last week, I'd gathered up all of our autumn-themed decor items, both from indoors and from the porches. I had a couple of table cloths, lots of faux flowers, candle jars, a lantern, faux and real pumpkins and squash, a wicker cornucopia, and some outdoor ribbon.


Since it was still looking like a drizzle could occur, I began my sprucing up with the most weather-proof items first, this time the outdoor ribbon. I tied bows around the 2 newel posts at the base of the deck stair railing. (You'll notice that we desperately need to paint the stair railings and  stair risers.) Ribbon is a super cheap way to decorate for holidays. This is Dollar Tree ribbon purchased about 4 or 5 years ago. I keep reusing it year after year.


Next, I placed a faux pumpkin at the base of the stairs leading onto the patio, one on each side. As I've mentioned before, our yard is plagued with rodents squirrels. Leave a real pumpkin out on the porch and by morning there will be nibble marks. So, for outdoor use, I opt for craft pumpkins. These two are from Michael's, also bought about 4 or 5 years ago.


I have 3 small square tables, which was just right for 1 table between every two chairs to share for drinks or plates. I added a candle jar with battery candle and small pumpkin as decor to the back of each little table. Again, a little ribbon turns a canning jar into a holiday candle jar. The battery tea light candles are from Dollar Tree, bought about 8 or 9 years ago but used judiciously (so they last for many years).


I have one longer bench table that I used as a complimentary decorative element, a second focal point of sorts. Here's where the bulk of my decor was laid out. While my husband was lighting a fire in the fire ring, I was quickly placing items. The table cloth was a piece of yardage from Jo Ann Fabrics about 20 years ago. The galvanized French flower bucket came from Michael's 3 years ago and has different faux flowers rotated in and out of it for the front porch, depending on season. It will go back on the front porch filled with cherry red faux geraniums for the Christmas season later this weekend. Today it held faux sunflowers. The lantern was a clearance find at Kohl's (used a $10 coupon) several years ago, with a clearance votive candle from after Christmas sales at the local drugstore in a cleaned out votive holder from an office gift 3 Christmases ago. The squash is something we grew this summer (actually, it volunteered in a patch in the yard -- Woo Hoo!). And to the left is a wicker cornucopia (bought at the thrift store 6 or 7 years ago) filled with more faux flowers. By the way, my faux flowers for outdoor use always come from Dollar Tree. 


Here's the whole autumn gathering spot, waiting for the six of us to, well, gather. Each chair had a throw blanket and pillow. Some of us used the throws as extra wraps when dusk fell and some of us used them for seat cushioning.

I mention where and how I've acquired all of the decor pieces that I used on Thursday to illuminate just how inexpensively this sort of temporary decorating can be. And in my case for Thanksgiving, all of this cost me absolutely nothing, as these were items that I already had but just moved around and into place for the occasion.


The candle in the lantern was lit just before our guests arrived. However, it wasn't until daylight faded that the candle's glow a became prominent added light source.


The sun sets around 4:30 this time of year. By 6 PM, the moon was peaking through the clouds and stars were out to see. The last of the logs were burning down, signaling an end to a wonderful afternoon.


In the aftermath, I asked all of my family members if they would consider doing something like this again. I received a resounding "YES" from the whole bunch.

You know, I recognize that a lot of folks have no interest in decorating an outdoor space to be enjoyed for 5 or 6 hours total. This is something that I do that I take considerable joy in the doing. Perhaps there is an aspect of home-keeping that particularly appeals to you. This is mine.

Happy Thanksgiving and have a wonderful weekend, friends!


12 comments:

  1. Your outdoor area looked very pretty and cozy! You put a lot of thought into setting it up comfortably and it sounds like that paid off. Way to think outside the box!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Cat. I hope you and your family had a nice Thanksgiving.

      Delete
  2. Flexibility is the name of the game these days. So happy that a good time was had by all even without the best weather. We lucked out and had a nice weather day and were quite comfortable eating outside on our porch.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Live and Learn. I'm so glad that you had good weather for eating outdoors. You're right, being flexible really helps during this period.

      Delete
  3. Love it! I also would have put out a few decorations. When I had friends over this summer for a patio visit, I gathered some flower pots and added a string of twinkle lights. And my daughter and I made a bunting and banner for her outside birthday party. Simple things like that make me feel more festive.

    Glad you had a fun family time. It sure brightens your mood, doesn't it?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kris,
      Thank you. Oh your flower pots and twinkle lights sound so lovely. Making the bunting and banner for your daughter's birthday must've made up for the difficult circumstances of our pandemic celebrations this year.

      Delete
  4. Happy Thanksgiving (or post-Thanksgiving!)

    We had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch since we moved my son into his new home most of the day. Just me, hubby, son and daughter. My 87 YO mom and I cleaned the house on Wed. afternoon (she wanted to help so we did this together!). We went home about 4 pm where I started a rotisserie chicken to roast and got everything going for mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and corn spoon bread. So good to sit down and have supper around 6 pm.

    Two and half days of moving and now I have a huge basement apartment to clean this weekend. It will be good to get that done.

    Alice

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Alice,
      What a busy day you had and you still made a good Thanksgiving dinner! It sounds yummy -- I love spoon bread! Good luck with the cleaning.

      Delete
  5. Lili, your space looks so nice and festive (and your backyard is lovely as well). I thought of you with your cooler PNW weather as it was 78 here yesterday in NC. It was great as my husband and I could visit with my mother and my sister and her family while masked (not taking any chances with my 89 year old mother) outside on mother's deck--in shorts and short sleeves!

    I'm not sure that I really would have thought to decorate the fire space, had you not shown your inspiration and your interpretation. So pretty and definitely a nice effect. I'm embarrassed to admit I have a fire pit that I've only used once. In my defense, it's always breezy here on the coast and since I lost a house to fire 15 years ago, when I saw those little airborne embers I panicked and quickly extinguished the fire. I'm thinking that perhaps on one of our occasional still evenings, that I should give the fire pit a second chance. Then, if I'm NOT going to use it, I should probably gift it to someone that would.

    So glad you had a wonderful visit with your family and that it was well received. You have a great weekend as well. Thanks again for the inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lynn. I'm so jealous! 78 degrees sounds like a summer day for my area. But I'm also so glad that you had the kind of weather that allowed you all to visit with your mother in a safer situation.

      Oh yes, I can imagine not wanting to use your fire ring, given both the natural breezes and your personal experience. I'd feel the same way, I think.

      Hope you had a good weekend!

      Delete
  6. Very nice decorations!! Presentation makes a huge difference, to warm the spirits! Your efforts to bring joy to your family is precious. I wish I had the mindset to do this, once our children grew up, I did not take any interest in decorations. Have a nice day!!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Laura.
      I think that we each have our own way of bringing joy to family members, so don't sell yourself short. What you're doing for your grandson is exceptional, IMO.
      Wishing you a wonderful day!

      Delete

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