Weekend Foraging at Rivermont

Fall in East Tennessee at Rivermont | Hannah & Husband

If you follow on Instagram, you know that Fall is in full swing in East Tennessee!  Can you get over those colors? This weekend was good for my soul. We made some progress here on the home front, I did a little foraging, and I made meatballs.

Meatballs | Hannah & Husband

I know under normal circumstances meatballs aren’t really that big of a deal. But for our poor Rivermont kitchen, which seems to pride itself on always looking like a disastrous “Before” picture, that evening of smelling delicious was homey bliss. So let’s just celebrate them for a second, ok?

*/blissful thoughts about meatballs… Dean Martin singing in the background…/* 

Thank you. Maybe the best thing that’s happened in the last week was getting the chimneys inspected and repaired. A fireplace was high on my list of requirements for our next space so I was ridiculously excited about this. So excited, in fact, that we’ve been going through firewood like it’s our job.

Fire + Fall Mantle | Hannah & Husband

Kindly ignore the oddly-sized mantle decor and the wood box in the left of that picture; I couldn’t resist the snapshot. When your house is one big work-in-progress, you’ve got to just roll with it.

Nandina Berries & a white pumpkin atop our mantle | Hannah & Husband

On Saturday, I did a little foraging in the backyard. That’s where I clipped these beautiful berries from the nandina bushes. I’m pretty in love with their color, which is a very orangey red that’s perfect for autumn decor. I also went on a little treasure hunt for these beauties.


Pecan | Hannah & Husband

Guess who learned to shell pecans this weekend? I even have the little cuts on my thumb to prove it! And you see that guy below? That’s a brownie I baked with pecans FROM OUR BACKYARD! Foraging with delicious results is the best kind. I just can’t get over it. (Click here to get the recipe for Woo-Woo’s Quick-as-a-Wink Brownies.)

Woo-Woo's Quick-as-a-Wink Brownies with  Pecans | Hannah & Husband

So Happy November from Rivermont! I hope your weekend was absolutely lovely.

Happy November | Hannah & Husband

Rosemary Cider

This post and the recipe for Rosemary Cider originally appeared on January 8, 2013. As I was sipping cider this week, I couldn’t resist sharing it again. Enjoy! 

It should come as no surprise that one of my favorite tasty discoveries this season came in the form of a cocktail. Although, it may surprise you to know that this particular concoction is alcohol-free. (But don’t worry, I came up with a little drunkiepoo version just in case that’s your thing!)

To give credit where credit is due, I actually first had cider with rosemary with one of Dale’s fried pies, which, if you’re a local, is also a must-try!

Rosemary Cider from Secrets of a Belle


Apple Cider (I’ve found Simply Apple is also quite delish!)
sprig of rosemary
Knob Creek (if desired)

– – – – – – – – – – –

Fill a jar with apple cider.
Add a sprig of rosemary and seal.
Let mixture sit in the fridge for a couple of days.

Drink cold, or heat it up and add a little bourbon! Equally perfect for extra chilly walks in the park or snuggling on the couch with a good book.

Speaking of books…

illustration by Donald Chaffin for the first US edition of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox

illustration by Donald Chaffin for the first US edition of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox

This illustration may or may not have prompted this post and my recent download of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. Have you ever read it?

Hello, Autumn!

Hello, Autumn! | Hannah & Husband

Hello, Autumn–you taunting vixen you! It’s been so dry here that leaves were falling from the trees without changing colors, and I was beginning to wonder if Fall, my very favorite season, was just going to let us down completely.

Then yesterday, it happened! After a couple good rains, I caught a few glimpses of color in the trees on my drive home. Sure enough, I stepped out of my car and felt that familiar *crunch* under my feet. It is Autumn after all!

I always wonder if Fall energizes everyone the way it does me. Fall makes me excited, inquisitive, and restless all at the same time. Do you think the school year begins in September because Fall is the time that children get the most curious and mischievous? Or is it the other way around?

Hello, Autumn! | Hannah & HusbandWhen I was in college, early morning walks to class in the Fall were so invigorating. I’d put Outkast on my iPod (remember the year of Hey Ya?) and clutch my coffee for dear life. It wasn’t quite cold enough in the afternoons to warrant tights with my skirts so there was a cold, damp chill on my legs might as well have been caffeine.

Art history classes, design classes, drawing classes, and printmaking followed by time at the library leafing through art books that were too heavy to carry home. In the afternoon, I’d grab a caramel apple cider and spend hours with my sketchbook. So many ideas!

Hello, Autumn! | Hannah & Husband

Tomorrow, I’ll be talking to a group of students in the graphic design program at UT. I’m so excited to spend another early Autumn morning on campus.

Usually around this time of year, I’m setting goals for things I want to accomplish over the next year. (You can see a past list here.) For this season, I think my only goal may be to spend more time reading art history books, asking questions with no answers, and doodling in my sketchbook. Just making room for new ideas.


Setting New Goals

I know most people think of Spring as the time of new beginnings, but I am the exact opposite. I *love* Autumn! With the leaves changing colors and a little chill in the mornings, I suddenly have an inexplicable burst of energy. We must clean out the closets, dust the baseboards, and think about all the things we’ll do to prevent cabin fever this winter.

Last week it started. In a way, I took my momma’s advice. She always says, “Change your hair–change your life!” If that makes you skittish, she says the same thing about shoes.


So I decided to go blonde. I blame it on turning 28. Suddenly I realized I was 12 years away from 40, and I should probably start getting some of the weirder things out of my system now. Then, I sat down and did what I do every year around this time. I set a few goals for the year ahead.


2013 Fall Goals:

1. Get out the sewing machine and learn to use it (again).

Disclaimer: I’ve known how to sew since I was 6 or 7. (My mom’s an incredible seamstress so that was sort of a given.) However, when one’s momma is not around to thread the machine, the whole undertaking becomes quite overwhelming.

2. Read more books.

3. Bake the perfect loaf.

Husband is a fantabulous baker. I don’t hear timers. 

4. Doodle and paint more.

So tell me…

What are your Fall Goals?
Do you set goals each season?
Have you ever gone blonde on a whim?

Fall’s Simple Pleasures

Cue Ella & Louis singing “Autumn in New York”…

Saturday morning Husband & I woke up with the windows open. There was a crispness in the air that was unmistakable: Autumn is on it’s way! It’s my very favorite time of year, and here are a few reasons why…

Our dining room table early this morning.

Our dining room table early this morning.


1. Buying candy for the sole purpose of making adorable decorations.

2. Having an excuse to order boots online.

3. It’s the only time “peeping” won’t get you arrested.

4. Having an excuse to say “bouquets of sharpened pencils” any time you go to the supply room.

5. The inexplicable urge to watch old episodes of “Coach” (and perhaps crush on a young Craig T. Nelson or fawn over Shelley Fabares 80s hair).

6. Apple Cider… Wait… Caramel Apple Cider.

7. Afternoon drives in the mountains.

So, tell me, what’s your favorite thing about this time of year?


Hello, Gorgeous! : Random Links to Start Your Week


When I first started reading blogs several years ago, Alicia Paulson’s “Posie Gets Cozy” was one of the first ones I read. Not only does she make incredibly beautiful things, she is a beautifully poetic writer. She’s also the type of writer that makes you feel like an old friend after reading just a couple of posts. Needless to say, when she announced that she and her husband recently had the privilege of adopting a precious baby girl, I couldn’t help but cheer.

In case you are unaware, November is National Adoption month, and this is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart. There are so many children out there who need a family or, more accurately, a safe place to be loved. So go  read Alicia (and Amelia)’s story and then pray about maybe donating time or funds to those kids who haven’t been lucky enough to find their place yet.


Last week I posted this photo on Instagram. (How did we eat lunch before camera phones?) I couldn’t resist. This is my favorite time of year to grocery shop! Fresh cranberries and cider are on display in every bodega while baking powder and Swanson broth are sold in bulk at the market. I am a firm believer that making your own food leads to a more beautiful life so if you’ve never been much of a cook, this is definitely the time to start! I’m going to be posting lots of basic recipes over the next few months to help us all learn some skills while we hunker down for winter starting later this week with this basic cranberry relish. It’s the perfect condiment for turkey sandwiches or tart taste to have on the side of your Thanksgiving plate.


This week, I couldn’t help but laugh when I came across these LIFE magazine images from 1945. Animal sweater are *everywhere* these days, and I must admit that seeing how adorable these girls look in them, I may actually have to give in to the trend. Although, I think this saxophone sweater may be a bit more my style.


Halloween Candy: Bourbon Apple Bundles with Caramel Sauce

Disclaimer: These may be a little messy for trick-or-treating, but they are the perfect thing to calm you down if you are trying to spend a leisurely evening at home and those sugar-hopped kids won’t stop banging on your door asking for handouts.

On Saturday night, we threw a dinner party, which had several fabulous outcomes. First, we invited some of our very favorite people so we had a great time drinking, eating, and eventually playing music, which seems to be how most of our dinner parties come to a close… at 2am.

Second, I made up this dessert that may or may not be my new favorite thing. Oh, and I topped them with my first *ever* batch of caramel… I’m pretty positive I can make magic now just in case you were wondering.

Bourbon Apple Bundles with Caramel  Sauce

2 green apples
1 box Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets
1/3 C light brown sugar
1/4 C all-purpose flour
1/4 C bourbon of choice (When cooking, I always use Jack Daniels.)
1 tsp cinnamon
*chopped nuts to top if you like

– – – – – – – – – –

1.) Preheat your oven to 400° and thaw your pastry.

2.) Peel 2 apples. Thinly slice them and then cut them into 1/2 inch pieces.

3.) Mix together brown sugar, flour, bourbon, & cinnamon with your apples.

4.) Cut your puff pastry sheets into 9 square pieces.

5.) Use a small spoon to put a bit of the apple mixture in the middle of each square.

6.) Stretch the pastry a bit and bring together opposite corners. You want the apples sealed into the pastry as much as possible.

7.) Lay out bundles on a baking sheet or baking stone that has been covered in parchment and sprayed with Pam.

8.) Bake until the puff pastry is a golden brown.

9.) Drizzle with Ree Drummond’s (aka The Pioneer Woman) caramel sauce. *

10.) Top with chopped nuts if you choose, but remember who you’re serving. There are so many allergies now!

*A small note on the caramel, after everything was mixed & melted I brought the caramel to a boil and continued whisking. This helped thicken the sauce. I only boiled it until it started to thicken and then I cut it off.

Also, to make drizzling a lot easier, I put the sauce in a little creamer pitcher. It looked adorable, worked perfectly, and then was easy to store. When I used the caramel sauce again yesterday, I just heated the pitcher in the microwave which was just long enough to soften the caramel but not long enough to make the pitcher hot.


A Little Daydreaming

*This Dress the Part was inspired by a *lovely* layout (see p.90) in the Sept/Oct issue of Lonny Magazine.

It’s Fall Break and Sophie has snuck off to the North East to spend a weekend with her beloved grandmother. She’s packed an old trunk with just what she needs (a few books & a stylish outfit–the necessities!) in hopes that she might sneak some of grandma’s beloved treasures back home with her.

As with any stylish college girl, Sophie is never without good literature. On this trip, there are three books packed away in her chest:

Franny & Zooey : for American Lit, of course

the Capote classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s : to celebrate 50 years

and a little David Sedaris for a touch of comic relief!

Kate Spade Cardigan & Earrings She couldn’t resist the built-in corsage and bows. //  Pink Hunter Boots In case she needs to muck around in the pumpkin patch.

clockwise from the top:

Grandma was so sweet to give Sophie this old Avon peacock perfume bottle that has been on her vanity for ages. (You can get your own on Etsy, I’m sure.) //  These hand-painted Japanese figures from Grandma’s trip to the Far East in the 60s will look perfect atop Sophie’s mantle. (Etsy) //  Grandma taught Sophie a new stitch to practice. (She’s planning on taking a cue from Design Sponge and making her own calendar to dress-up the wall of her apartment.)  //  Sophie is never without a bottle of wine. Her current favorite? The Velvet Devil and, to top off the bottle, these Hofdame bottle stoppers from Anthropologie. //  Sophie has been lusting after this pink lamp for more years than she’d care to count. This time, it’s finding it’s way into her chest… after all, what are the odds of Grandma going into the guest room any time soon?  //  Sophie couldn’t resist sneaking a few of these wool blankets into her chest for a cold winter’s night back at school. (I saw these on Etymologie last Fall.)  //  Every girl needs a monogrammed pillow! (these little lovelies are from Jonathan Adler)

Happy Daydreaming!