Thursday, October 29, 2009

Making a House a Home--Halloween Style; and a Few Yummy Fall Recipes!

Meet Dana. Wherever I have lived there has always been at least one individual in my neighborhood that becomes my lifesaver and sanity. In my current neck of the woods, one of these friends would be Dana. She has brought me dinner when our household has been sick, treats for no reason at all, flowers and a luxury magazine I'd never buy for myself on my birthday, and has shown up on my door step when somehow she intuitively knew I was having an awful day. She is always insightful as we try to solve life's problems and as we commiserate about raising teenagers, and well...we just laugh when we're together, and I love her!

Now, Dana has a darling home. It's one that you walk into and you instantly feel at ease, comfortable, cozy, and at home. I love visiting her house. Another thing I learned quickly when she moved here was that she loves Halloween more than anyone I've ever known! About August she is pining to put up her decor! So with that, I just had to share with you how she makes her house a home, Halloween style. So, while it might be too late for some of us delinquent decorators (I did finally get up my decor two days ago!) to apply these ideas for Halloween, but we can always utilize her cozy ideas for the rest of the year. Enjoy the tour...

Doesn't her front door look inviting in the photo above? I love how she utilizes twinkle lights with her garlands year round--not just at Christmastime.

When you walk into her home, her entryway is bedecked with all things festive. This hanging quote is one of my favorites that describes her to a T...

Simple, yet such festive table decor...

Don't you just want to sit down in that cozy corner and read for a while?
Every nook is so inviting...

Always a candle burning to make her home smell delicious.
Notice the tiny details in the ribbons and tags...
I love the simple basket of apples displayed in the background.

I LOVE these festive wreaths tied to the backs of her chairs!
Um, I want to eat dinner here.

Berries on the chandeliers... Another one of those extra little touches that adds so much.

Dana is also a fabulous cook! I've adopted many of her soup and bread recipes into my repertoire, and my family is never disappointed. I have made her Cream Cheese Potato Soup countless times, and we absolutely love it around here:

Cream Cheese Potato Soup

6 medium potatoes diced (I like to use new or red potatoes and leave the
skins on)
1 large onion finely chopped
1 cup celery finely chopped
1 quart water
4 T. butter
3 T. flour
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp dill
1 package softened cream cheese
1 tsp minced garlic
(can also add crumbled bacon if you desire)

First saute' the onion and celery in a little butter. Then combine
potatoes, onion, celery, water in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil;
reduce heat and simmer until tender (about twenty minutes.

In a skillet melt butter; add flour; cook and stir until mixture bubbles. Remove from heat. Stir in milk. Return to heat; cook and stir until thickened.

Stir mixture slowly into potatoes; cook and stir until thick. Add
seasonings, garlic and cream cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and
blended. (If you are going to add bacon go ahead and add now). Makes 6
cups. (I always double it).

Shelli here again...I'm making this delicious pumpkin recipe again today. I must be a cinnamon junkie, as I took a look at the recipe Dana had given me a few years ago, and I had upped the cinnamon to 4 tsp! (So, decide how strong you like your cinnamon...and you know me, I can't ever resist an opportunity to add few mini chocolate chips as well!)

My Mom's Delicious Pumpkin Bread
(this bread is so moist and because it has no eggs in it people with egg allergies love it too)

5 cups flour
4 cups sugar
4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 cup water
1 large can pumpkin (not the pie mix)
1 cup oil

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl and add water. Add pumpkin and oil.

Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees in greased pans. Make sure to insert toothpick in center before taking out to test them to see if they are done. When done take out and let cool a bit, then turn them out on their sides to cool some more. Mmmm good.

Thanks, Dana, for giving us a tour and sharing these delicious recipes! Enjoy!


  1. Shelli you are way too sweet. The road has gone both ways in our friendship I think the world of you as much and your home is every bit as beautiful and wonderful and cheery and welcoming! You are such a great friend and I cherish you! Love Ya LOTS and LOTS, Dana...

  2. WOW! What a gorgeous and inviting home! It looks like it belongs in a decorating magazine.

    I really love the Berries on the chandeliers, I think I will have to try that! It is actually something I think I could handle! :)

    Thank you!

  3. Adorable stuff you have.. I love your blog!

  4. What a fun site. I need a cup of tea and some free hours to peruse more - which I will later today. BUt I just had to comment on your cream cheese potatoe soup. Sounds yummy and easy enough to alter for my dd who can't have dairy or gluten. Thanks for sharing! BTW I came here via todays creative blog.

  5. That soup sounds yummy! I think I may try making it this week!

  6. Wow! I want to live next to you guys! I love everything. What a great job decorating. So adorable! I am going to try that soup recipe for sure! Thanks so much for sharing such beauty.

  7. What a gorgeous home! She has a real knack for simple beauty. I absolutely love that sign hanging in her entryway as well as I love the wreaths on the chairs! And THANK YOU for sharing that soup recipe! I would have never thought of putting cream cheese in it...mmmmm....I am definitely going to try this out.

  8. All I can say is WOW! Gorgeous decorating!

  9. Shelli, does the pumpkin bread make two loafs?

  10. Hi, Lizzy!

    The pumpkin bread makes quite a large batch. This last time that I made it I used a large loaf pan and 4 smaller ones, I believe. There was plenty to go around! Let me know how it works out!

  11. Thanks Shelli, thanks also for your nice comment on my blog!


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