Life as I know It

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San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Friday, October 4, 2013

Decorating with Mother Nature

Naturally. Someone asked me what I would call my "decorating style," and all I could say was "naturally." Here is an example of an easy, natural, "stained glass" window. All you need are two sheets of Plexiglass, some dried leaves and blooms, and duct tape to "frame" the two sheets. Simple! Directions for this and many nature crafts are in my book Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars by Workman Publishing.

I love this time of year and try to bring as much nature indoors as possible. So simple and free and all a gift from Mother Nature. Thanks Mother!

This time of year all my pockets are crammed with acorns. Who could resist them?

And pottery bowls are filled with mosses, lichens, and bayberries.

It's all about the leaves...and twigs...and bark...and acorns...and mosses...and gourds...and pumpkins...

...And how to use them. Now is the time to collect and press your favorite leaves to use as gift cards and place cards.

Sara May made this for her mom.

Simply soak branches of leaves (crush end of branch to allow absorption) in a bucket of one part vegetable glycerin to two parts warm water. You'll be able to tell when the leaves have absorbed all they can when they have little beads on them that look like dew. I NEVER hang these indoors because the glycerine can drip off the leaves onto furniture, etc.. 

Apples, pepper berries, and snowberry in a wooden bowl. Snowberry is a Symphoricarpos that is native to North America and is NOT edible.

The best table decorations. Candles, gourds, squash, pumpkins, pomegranates, persimmons...

I love having the pumpkins as kitchen guests.

Not many words, but you get the picture, right? I love it simple and natural. My bountiful gardens and the local farmers' markets keep me stocked with every bit of decoration that I, or you, could possibly need. Love it.

I am working on my two new novels, one is about a young girl on an island in Maine, the other is a contemporary novel about a girl who grows six inches in a summer and is taunted by her friends. If you have any stories to relate about being tall, well, I would love to hear them.

As of today, most of the work on Running Out of Night is finished. Next time I see it it will be in book form. I love the cover and the interior illustrations, which I'll share with you as soon as my publisher allows. This has been an exciting and busy ride, but I've loved every moment of the process.

If you, or someone you know, would like me to make a school visit and presentation, just drop my husband Jeff a line. I will be available in winter 2014. Talking to groups of children is one of my favorite things.

Sending love across the miles,


P.S. DeeDee Osborne, I never saw it in bloom! We were gone, but the birds enjoyed everything.


Anonymous said...

I have your book and I made the framed plexiglass leaf display, I also use glycerin for preservation, my oak leaves last all winter!
I enjoy my visit here so much, its a treat because I have been reading your magazine articles for so long, to fin you here in blogland is wonderful! Your home looks wonderful for Fall, hope you and husband are well, best wishes from Canada!

Blondie's Journal said...

What a treat to see a post from you, Sharon! I hope all is well. Mother Nature bears so many gifts and I'm always grateful to give extended life to the ones she boasts in the fall. Very simple and pretty, your kitchen is suited for natural vignettes. I'm excited for our oak tree to drop acorns, I've never seen a branch of them up close...could it be that I'm too~~~~

Short. Yes, a hindrance all my life. 5'2, although I think I've shrunk a half inch since I hit fifty. I've always wanted to be a bit more graceful and it seems you just can't pull it off without the height! Anyway, I am so looking forward to hearing more about your books! And I'm wondering, will you be returning to California soon? Hope I'm not prying.

Sending much love,


Blondie's Journal said...

Sharon...quick question. Will you be getting more copies of A Day in the Garden? Thank you.


La Table De Nana said...

I love simply natural too:) Everything is just right..That kitchen of yours:) LOVE.

The plexiglass idea is great fun..
I like gathering leaves too..and acorns..our squirrels take the tops of though!
I have heavy stories.. not tall.. when I was 10-15..oh lala that wasn't fun..
Taunting..bullying.. not nice..
I bet your book will be lovely.
Have a great weekend.

Pom Pom said...

I LOVE your kitchen and I'm so excited about your books!

Bernideen said...

Love photos of all fun naturals!

Nellie said...

What wonderful displays, Sharon, and the most beautiful comes from nature, definitely! I think nothing is prettier than the colors of Autumn on display!

Happy October!

LindaCTG said...

Oh, so beautiful and inspiring as always. How do you do this? Anyway, I'm with you on nature's gifts as our best art, indoors and out, and will follow your example. Love you.

Pat said...

The touches of fall in your kitchen and surroundings is so comforting. What a pleasure to work amidst such lovely natural colors.

Bonnie K said...

Everything is beautiful. I am jealous, since we just got 4 feet of snow.

kj said...


My heart is fluttering from possibility.

I loves you ms Sharon lovejoy


Pondside said...

That would be a lovely little project to do with the grandchildren. I like the natural way too - there are no prettier colours.

Anonymous said...

That last picture is so pretty with all the rich colours. I like the plexiglass idea, so simple but with a big impact.

rebecca said...

Just yesterday morning, Husband and I walked the trails of a recently-developed land trust site. It was SO tempting to walk off the property with samplings of the Nature-All objects that brought me such simple pleasure! (Oh well, plenty right here "under my nose" at my own property...)

So good to read your post, Sharon!

Julie Marie said...

Hello dear cousin... love all of your beautiful Nature decorations... your wreath full of Autumn leafs is so pretty!... our home too has Mother Nature's treasures everywhere... and LOTS of pumpkins, Indian corn and gourds... all of our phonebooks are full right now with pretty leafs pressing in them as my actual flower presses are too full to hold any more too... have been spending my days out in our beautiful countryside soaking up all of Fall's splendour... do you ever dry your gourds to make things out of later?... your kitchen looks so warm and inviting... I would love to be there sipping coffee and chatting with you... so excited for your new books!... wishing you happy Autumn days, xoxo Julie Marie

Vee said...

Stories about being tall? I wish! I did recently tell a blogging friend that I got lost in a pumpkin maze. John reminded me that I was short, but not THAT short. (I meant corn maze, but my mind being what it is these days...out came pumpkin instead.)

Wonderful natural displays, Sharon! You've taught some new-to-me ideas.I have glycerin for preserving leaves, but knew nothing of this wreath making. My natural decor is pretty much limited to bittersweet, pumpkins, and apples.

So you are home in California again?

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I really love your fall decorations and creative ideas! I also enjoy "simple and natural" in nearly all places in my life these days!

As for being tall, I'm 6 foot--I've always been at least a head taller than all my friends--People would think I'd failed a grade, and I had to 'prove' my age to not be charged more on a movie ticket growing up. I was always put in the back row in photos. And I could just never date anyone shorter than me--And then there were my pants that were always a little too short making me an easy target to be constantly teased about 'high-waters.' In fact, I still can't wear cropped pants because I feel self conscious in them. But I learned to love my height, but have to admit it took awhile. Good luck with your books!!!

Lori ann said...

LOVE it all, nature is the most beautiful way to decorate for sure. and i really love your kitchen sharon, it's so perfect.
xxxxxxxxxxx lori

Tanna said...

Sharon, thanks so much for commenting on my blog so that I could find my way here. LOVE your guest cottages (we have our Old Girls, rental properties that we have restored with love). And, I absolutely agree with your comment, patience and tenacity are the keys to all of life! blessings ~ tanna
ps love the leave project, too.

Mim said...

i love the warmth and cozy feeling in your kitchen and also love the pears display - wow. it's such a lovely time of year now.

I am the shortest in my family - all the women are about 6 feet tall, and I am 5'4", so I have no stories about being tall, but only stories about always having to look up at my cousins, and admire their height, their ability to have clothes hang just so on their lanky frames, and wishing I could grow up like them. With their long legs, they could run faster, play basket ball better, and (since we lived in NYC) could run away from trouble faster than I could. I hope your story lady enjoys her beautiful height.

Lorrie said...

Pumpkins are the most cheerful of dinner guests and never complain about the food. They are so delightfully round and brightly colored.
Natural is a beautiful way to go - these are the days I pick up pine cones and acorns on my walks.
Your kitchen looks warm and welcoming.

Susan said...

There's such a warm feeling of fall when you use Mother Nature!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Kim at Golden Pines, and others who have asked to remain anonymous. Your letters have touched me deeply. We need to work harder to teach our children tolerance and respect for each other. Such heart wrenching tales about being the outsider in a school setting. Please keep the letters and comments coming and I will save them to incorporate in my book.

Thank you!

Judy C. said...

Your blog is such fun. I just discovered it and will want to read some past ones, too. I met Susan in Hudson, Ohio, and she graciously signed my books and was so friendly!! You two are so lucky to have found each other! Girlfriends are so precious. I'm grateful for the ones I have. I'm off to sign up for your blog. Thnks so much.

Sara1025 said...

Oh my, another enchanting blogger like Susan, and you're friends! How lucky can I be? I LOVE her book and would love to have another for my daughter. Off to sign up for your blog!

Jan from Northern CA said...

I'm a newcomer to your blog. I came via Susan's facebook page.....and am so glad I did. Not only for the chance to win a copy of her wonderful book, but to see all the creativity you have as well. Wonderful! I will come again and appreciate all of your lovely ideas.
Jan from Northern CA

Lili said...

You have an endless supply of ideas for decorating using nature's bounty...I always love to see what you come up with! xoxo

Somerset Wedding Girl said...

This makes perfect sense to me! Why not use mother nature to decorate, it's so beautiful after all!