Fall Forward

Fall seems to set in with a flurry at the Dream House. A week or so ago Mr. Blandings’s sisters and their husbands were in to celebrate their mother’s 80th birthday. The week preceding was consumed by cleaning and fluffing and laughing and eating. All came off without a hitch and it was such a treat to have the women and men who have known Mr. B since birth here for such a happy occasion. I was reminded that I was merely a vessel; apparently, the boys all look just like him.

Most of us have had what we believe to be H1N1 and managed to dodge lice, which, while not uncommon among school-aged children still makes me itch just to type it.
This week my pulse is jumping as we have friends coming in from out of town and I can’t wait for them to see the city for the first time. Our weather was dreary last week and I fretted to Mr. B, “I hope it’s sunny and warmer. And that the trees turn a little more. But that the leaves don’t fall before they get here.” “I’m not sure that’s in your control.” I stared back in wonder at the irrelevance and sanity of this remark.
The visit has triggered a whirlwind of activity. The front hall needed a bit of spiff. Something, heaven knows, but I wasn’t sure quite what. The image above provided inspiration and the framer promises that the pieces will be back in time. Stay tuned.
In addition, I had sworn off junk. No more place holders, only really good pieces. Sadly, the Paul McCobb tables/consoles/chests that would be ideal flanking the bay in the dining room never seem to be a priority over football fees and field trips and food. Nick Olson provided inspiration here and if the consoles are not forever pieces, they may move on to one of the boys’ first apartment someday.
Mr. Blandings has the cookbooks out and keeps interrupting my painting and gilding with queries of dishes and desserts.
And Halloween is on the horizon. “What are the boys going to be?” a common question. For the last two years I have had a new code, “What ever your costume is, it exists in this house. Use your imagination.” Grumbling eventually gives way and they all come up with something of which they are usually quite proud.
My mania has peaked, I think, but I am never happier than when I have that creative muse whispering in my ear.
Image, above, Elle Decor, it graced the cover of the December 2006 issue, design by Shelton, Mindel & Associates. Photography by William Waldron. The image appears in the fantastic new book, Style and Substance, The Best of Elle Decor by Margaret Russell, which I received for review from the publisher.
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24 thoughts on “Fall Forward

  1. Hello Mrs. Blandings:
    I share the pleasure you take in the inspiration to roll up ones sleaves at such times. We recently had 35 members of the Institute of Classical America tour our house, followed one week later with our hosting a celebratory brunch for 25 out of town guests for a dear friend's 50th birthday weekend bash. What a whirlwind of activity was required (and fortunately occured), what a controlled frenzy! Am happy to report the tour went off without a hitch to appreciative "oohs" and "aahs" and the brunch was a smashing success. Am quite positive your friends will be extremely happy to visit you and your family.
    As ever, Reggie

  2. I have that same conversation with Josh all the time, "Ugh, can you help me?" "Sure." He says – you know, 'cause he is from Kansas. "I need to make the weather better."
    To his credit he has never said, "Stop trying, this 13 Indians thing is not working for s**t." 🙂

    I know it will be great, you are in my thoughts.

  3. Might I add, and quite the "vessel" you are.
    I was twitching by the mere mention of lice, alas I felt so much better when the word "imagination" came to roost. Do share what the boys will be.
    My daughter wanted to be something "good" – which made this "vessel" prouder than any doting Grandmother. (none of those scary horrid creatures round here, they can only produce night-mares.)

  4. loved this – can't wait to see the changes.

    boy can i relate. i have the family hanukkah party each year and spend weeks sprucing, updating, and cleaning for it.

    ben always says i spend more on the house in the weeks prior than on the party itself. that's what happens to people who love their house i suppose.

    love you.

  5. Patricia,

    Can't wait to see the art when it's back from the framer.

    I always think it's the lines of furniture that make it a forever piece, not necessarily the pedigree.

    Happy fall!

  6. Reggie – How I wish I had been on that house tour. I'll keep you posted on the visit. When it's all said and done I know it's about the people and not the stuff, but the fluffing is so much fun.

  7. Patricia – the youngest is going to be a hippie, which I think is hilarious because I don't know how he knows what a hippie is. The middle will be Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes which is a good fit in every way. And the oldest – undecided, but you know, he's 13. I'm sure he will cooly shrug on something – he's not too cool for candy quite yet.

    One of my friend's daughters, in the midst of pop stars and sexy nurses, decided to be Nancy Drew. My friend was over the moon.

  8. Your vessel comment made me think about anthropology 101, University of Oklahoma the spring before the summer of love (1969 for the aspiring hippie). An endowed professor, with his gray hair and age adding to his serious demeanor declared, "Anthropologically speaking, women are simply semen receptacles." One of my prouder moments: I and about 50 other women stood up and walked out. Vessels and receptacles indeed!

    So agree that pedigree for furniture, like people, is not required if grace, and good attitude are there. Have a wonderful time. By the way, you mean you can't control the weather?

  9. HBD – my blood is pumping at just the telling of the story. So glad you walked instead of just wishing you had.

  10. Such a great post…

    My 14 year old budding fashionista will be Rachel Zoe. I believe it's better to be creative than just purchase a store bought costume, but that's just my opinion.

    Can't wait to see what you've done to fluff your gorgeous nest!

  11. The thing is, you two don't look that dissimilar, so it's really hard to say who those boys resemble more!

    I'm glad to hear you handle halloween costumes like I do. And nice shout out to the FTC blog police.

  12. Love your blog, and when I saw your comment about lice I had to mention that I just got an email from my daughter's preschool this morning that 3 cases of head lice had been reported…in her class. Lovely. Just lovely.
    Lice. It's not just for white trash anymore. (Lol)

  13. It must be the time of year… mania has reared its ugly head around here, too. Every weekend booked solid and no time to keep the house in order between frantic cleanings before guests arrive.

    Gotta run… all faculty reception here tomorrow evening. "Containment" is our new strategy.

  14. Loved your comment over @ The Hedge today Mrs. B. And while Mr. B. keeps brandishing those cookbooks about & still wants to get into the kitchen, you have no worries about finding out about name changes. I can so relate to having to prioritize household discretionary spending. One day I'll be brave enough to calculate how much I have 'donated' to our Orthodontist over the years for the 5 boys. Of course, I'll need to be sedated & in a quiet place at the time. Enjoy your guests & your invigorating Fall weather.
    Millie ^_^

  15. Mrs. B-
    The McCobb piece is fabulous! It sounds like you have no shortage of inspiration, I'm sure the visit will be wonderful!
    I have to side with Mr. B in wondering what will be on the menu…Keep us posted!

    David @ Ashfield Hansen Design

  16. There are many millwork supply companies that sell online that supply porch parts and finials. The other idea you might try is places like Ballards, or Kohl's.
    Kohl's had 2 classic looking "urns" in chocolate brown. They are resin and could be painted white. they also would not be subject to weather changes that crack wood. They look great on a table on the porch or in the yard.

    If you watch for sales they could be had for less than $20 each.


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