October 28, 2010

Counting down to Halloween…

martha stewart pumpkin owl

The spookiest night of the year is almost upon us…thank goodness we survived our ghost walk last night! {image via}

crow's nest photography

My preppy 80s attire for a costume party a few weeks ago…the closest thing to dressing up I’ve done…even Michael Jackson showed up for an impromptu Thriller performance!


My mantle is adorned with candy corn, spiders, bats, and ghouls… it’s actually not a mantle, but a sideboard…it works as a mantle in a pinch.


And tonight (after celebrating the belated birthday of a dear friend), I will hopefully be making these spooky cupcakes! {via}


We might just watch the southern beau’s favorite Halloween classic…Sleepy Hollow (the cartoon Disney version of course!).

What last minute shenanigans are you planning before this weekend?

October 27, 2010

Trail of Terror….sort of


I guess I should apologize to those of you readers who aren't crazy about Halloween....it's definitely one of my favorite holidays to celebrate so I wanted to do several spook-tastic posts. I understand that everybody isn't all about it, but it holds such special memories for me. While I was growing up, we would put on our costumes (usually homemade) and parade around town to all our grandparents' houses. Sometimes we hit up the neighborhood, sometimes we did the church events. I still love it because it makes me feel like a kid.


Tonight, the southern beau and I are going on a ghost walk! Usually our ghost hunting adventures consist of stopping by Starbucks and driving around the college campus in our town. One time, I saw what I swear was a ghost in a window of the physics building. He says it was just an overhead projector. No matter, tonight is a real ghost walk. We've actually done this same one before, but it was 2 years ago so I'm hoping they have some new tales to tell. Basically we walk around the downtown area of our city with a guide and hear some legends about things that may or may not have happened at different buildings and sites. It is totally embellished, totally cheesy and totally awesome!


I don't do haunted houses and I don't do scary movies. The ghost walk is about as brave as I get. I like to celebrate with the friendlier elements of the holiday...i.e. candy corn and glitter! Anyway, if I don't post tomorrow, you'll know that the ghost walk did me in! ;) Only kidding. {also, I got a little slap happy with Picasa/Picnik today…if you hadn’t noticed. Try it if you’re looking for an easy photo editing program for people who aren’t super technical}

October 26, 2010

We’re a little bit country….Wedding edition


This past weekend, I attended the wedding of my aunt and what a fun event it was! Held outdoors at our family farm in the country, every element was just as sweet as it could be. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect…one of those bright fall days, not too hot and nary a cloud in the sky.


No southern wedding would be complete with sweet tea (made by the groom!) and other yummy baked goods (courtesy of my Me-me). With an outdoor setting such as this, simple is always better. A burlap table cloth, pumpkins and other natural elements really created the scene.



Hay bales covered with quilts served as seating and the backdrop, a gorgeous yellow field. One really fun thing about this wedding was the casual feel. I guess I’ve never attended anybody’s nuptials in blue jeans before, but there is something so nice about being comfortable and leaving your high heels at home.


Yes, this is an operational outhouse…can’t say that I used it, but it made for a cute picture! I actually have another country wedding that I want to share with y’all, but I don’t want you to feel overloaded on weddings, so I’ll hold off on it for a bit. Have you ever attended a wedding in the country? Maybe you’re planning on having one! It definitely makes for a memorable experience!

October 25, 2010

Southern happenings: Appalachian Quilt Trail


It is no secret that this blog’s author loves the south. Otherwise it might be difficult to write about it (and brag on it) day after day. To me, the south is a wonderful place full of history, culture, tradition and plenty of soul. While in some parts of the world, being treated kindly feels like a privilege to be earned, here in the south we believe it is everyone’s right. Even if you’re a Gator fan. One very neat thing to see in Tennessee is the Appalachian Quilt Trail. A program to promote economic development and tourism within the state, the Trail consists of historically significant sites such as barns, rural mills and other locations having been decorated with square panels, hand-painted to look like quilts.


The trail is now 300 miles long and currently consists of 330 sites, although that number is still growing. Many of the sites coincide with other venues…such as corn mazes (seasonal), antique shops, and a winery. What a fun, almost scavenger hunt-like excursion this would be…driving through the country tracking down quilts! And unless you visit an adjoining attraction, the quilts are free for viewing every day of the year. I have only seen a few of the ones in my area, but I’d love to plan a trip to some more. It seems that you can plot out your trip by length, attractions, and whether you’d like to stay overnight.


Several other states besides Tennessee also have quilt trails. Have any of you visited a quilt trail?

October 22, 2010

October’s Party


October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came-
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.


The Chestnuts came in yellow,
The Oaks in crimson dressed;
The lovely Misses Maple
In scarlet looked their best;
All balanced to their partners,
And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow
New fallen from the sky.


Then, in the rustic hollow,
At hide-and-seek they played,
The party closed at sundown,
And everybody stayed.
Professor Wind played louder;
They flew along the ground;
And then the party ended
In jolly "hands around."

--George Cooper


Hope you lovelies have the most wonderful weekend imaginable! Tune in next week for pictures from some sweet southern weddings, a delicious squash recipe and lots more spooky fun as we count down to Halloween!

October 21, 2010

Halloween Moon Pie Magic


Ever the fan of easy projects, I got to work (along with the southern beau) the other night and whipped up some fun Halloween treats. I saw this in an old issue of Southern Living and couldn’t wait to try it. Gather up some Moon Pies (we used the mini version of this southern staple), icing (homemade or store-bought…you can guess which I used) and candy toppings. Now you are ready to assemble.

Recently Updated3

First, decide how you want to decorate your Moon Pie. Since I found some cute gummy eyeballs, I wanted to make a few spooky faces. Use icing to attach the candy to your pies. Since the white icing made too stark of a contrast, we opted to tint ours orange. Besides the gummy eyes (which I found at Dollar General), we used Reese’s Pieces, candy corn, Lifesavers, and sour gummy tape (for the tongue and mouths). Our motley crew looks a bit rough in this picture, but in reality was quite cute.


For a couple of “pretty” ones, I covered one side of the Moon Pies with icing and then carefully stuck candy into it in an attempted flower pattern. The icing set up in the fridge for a few hours and this helped it hold the candy more securely.


These creations can easily go on a wooden skewer or popsicle stick (see below)for a fun decoration or party favor. The cellophane bags are from Dollar General and the twine I had on hand. I think I’ll probably make another batch of them closer to Halloween to give out as treats. And even though I thought they might taste funny what with all the mingling flavors, I had one today and it was delicious! I mean, it is a Moon Pie after all. We had a blast making these fun little treats…hope your family will too!


October 20, 2010

Kerosene Cucumbers


{my spooky snack}

I'm a huge fan of small town festivals which always seem to have lots of little ladies peddling their wares. Apple butter, homemade jams and pickles are things I look for when attending such events. I mentioned a fun Oktoberfest event that I enjoyed in Nashville a few weeks ago, but one aspect of my adventure turned out to be less than positive. One of the goodies I purchased was a jar of homemade pickles labeled "lime water." This doesn't refer to lime, as in the fruit, but instead to a crisping agent (calcium hydroxide) known as pickling lime. I think it's sort of an old-fashioned method. Part of what intrigued me was the vivid color of the pickles and part of me bought them because I figured I could get a blog post out of the experience. Little did I know that they would poison me!

I guess poison is a strong term and I really have no proof as to what (if anything) happened. All I know is that after I ate a pickle, my vision was blurry and I felt sort of tipsy (Not that I know what tipsy feels like...love you Me-me). Sadly, the southern beau forced me to throw the entire jar of electric green non-fruity pickles in the trash. After reading more information today, I found that pickling lime has been known to cause botulism when not rinsed correctly from the pickles!

This post is a public service announcement of sorts...it's wonderful to support local products, but when somebody makes something in his or her home, there's no guarantee that it is according to standards that are required for commercial sales. I think it's smart to make sure anything we buy like this has an intact seal and doesn't have any strange colors or smells. And if it tastes less than normal, don’t eat a whole jar of it! Trust your instincts folks. At least I stopped after a couple of bites.

Have you ever eaten lime water pickles? Have you ever bought something like this that made you feel a little sick? We live and learn I suppose.

October 19, 2010

Funny Face


My mom participated in a seed swap this year and these squash were among her bounty. I love their color and shape and wanted to do something Halloween-y with them as part of my seasonal decor. I saw the ones below in an old Country Living magazine, but since I’d like to end up eating mine, I didn’t want to carve them up just yet.

squash carved

Carving pumpkins can be hard, and once they are carved, their shelf-life is pretty short. I decided to turn my squash into Jack o’ Lanterns a different way.


With a few scraps of paper from an old magazine, scissors and double-stick tape, I was able to give my squash lots of personality that I can easily remove when it’s time to cook them. I had the best time choosing the perfect shapes and colors for each feature. I love walking past them everyday because they make me laugh. I know you can also use paint to decorate punkins and the like, but this was super easy and doesn’t mar the skin. 

My blog bestie is busy making pumpkin pancakes and my culinary whiz college pal is making pumpkin bread…What delicious pumpkin (or squash!) creation are you thinking of crafting?

October 18, 2010

Win a Bag for the Cure


Since joining my college sorority ten years ago, I’ve looked forward to participating in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure every year (I know they don’t really call it Race for the Cure anymore, but I can’t seem to call it anything else). Current partnerships with Komen, the NFL and other organizations have helped my sorority to spread awareness and promote breast health. One of the projects we did in college was to distribute shower cards with instructions for how to do a self breast-exam.

69363_124405424280494_121781051209598_132136_2264096_n {Here’s one of my dearest college friends hanging with the mascot at a TN Titans Think-Pink event…she’s the president of her area alumnae chapter for our sorority…ZTA}

think pink{THINK-PINK is a registered trademark}


I know there are a ton of products available right now with pink ribbons, logos, etc. and they all claim to support breast cancer research. I think it’s important that we do our homework and make sure the proceeds actually go where we think they do when we make purchases. I saw these cute reusable bags for sale at my local grocery store and thought they might be a fun thing to give away. Fifty cents from the sale of each goes to Komen for the Cure. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but if we all pitch in, it adds up.

If you’d like to win one of these adorable bags, just leave a comment on this post! I’ll choose 5 winners on Friday October 22nd! Maybe you’re a breast cancer survivor, maybe you’re doing your first race this month, maybe you just like pink...whatever you’d like to share, comment away!

October 15, 2010

I’ll do the honors…Awards all around!

antique trophy country living
One thing that I really love about blogging is how supportive all the other bloggers are of each other. From leaving daily comments, re-posting on twitter and “liking” on Facebook, there is no shortage of community where we can build each other up! Awards are another great way to let a blogger know that you love what he/she does. While these might not be actual trophies or those fancy acrylic awards, a little virtual pat on the back does a body good! 

I understand that some folks would rather not participate, which is also fine. I just wanted to take today’s post and give out two awards (both created by moi) to some of the wonderful friends I’ve made along this journey. If you are looking for a bit more reading material, these are a great place to start!
home grown blogger award
The photo for this award was taken at my great-grandparents’ farm…they’ve passed away, but the legacy they left was a magnificent one!
In no particular order:
Farmchick at It’s a Small Town Life …this lady is such a talented photographer and her glimpses of daily life “through a fishbowl” make me long for simpler times and a town with less traffic. Her Thoughtless Thursday posts are works of art!
Lana at Walking the Off-Beaten Path…never short of farm adventures, Lana shares her exciting experiences with her Tall Guy, including visits to festivals, machinery mishaps and her unique perspective which will definitely make you smile.
Tyla at Tire Swings and Fireflies…we both call Tennessee home and I love it when we visit the same places, even if we haven’t managed to be at the same place at the same time yet! Plus she’s got a gorgeous new Halloween header and I do love Halloween!
Mary at Life in a Small Town…a sweet friend who always has a kind word. She shares her life including her handsome sons, Chubby Hubby (her words!) and all the fun they have living in a small southern town.
Now, for the next award…
weeping cherry award
Searcy at Old Southern Garden…if you’re looking for scenes and stories of a simpler more peaceful time, look no further! I know we throw the term southern belle around loosely, but from her writing style alone I’d be willing to wager that this blog’s writer truly personifies that phrase!
kLl at Little Southern…we not only share the same town, but we root for the same team as well! Perhaps I’m just living vicariously through the adventures of a sweet college gal having much fun!
Ashley at Miss Ashley in Mississippi…this lovely southern sweetheart has a great perspective and her posts include fun & useful info about fashion, food and more! She is a Fla Gator fan, but I’ll let that one slide!
The Southern Lady at The Southern Blossoms…I just recently found this wonderful blog whose author is living in Japan with her darling family…and she still manages to keep all her southern traditions at the same time! She shares lots of insight and plenty of great images of life abroad.
Tiffany at Holiday…another new find, this dear one might be my long lost bff! Our shared faves include fried okra, banana pudding, the velveteen rabbit, flea markets and old souls! Her blog is lovely and so is she.
Angela at Slaughterhouse Rules…sometimes crafty, sometimes cheeky, but always tons of fun with this amazing writer/blogger! I got hooked after watching a video of her hubby attempting to say “Arnold Palmer” and then she lovingly makes fun of him for the way he said it!
The Rules: Whatever you want to do! If you were given an award, feel free to pass it on. But don’t let it be something burdensome if you’d rather just bask in it for yourself! If anybody else would like to give these awards to a blog you consider deserving, give away!
Hope you all have a weekend full of adventures!

October 14, 2010

Silver Shamrocks!


Halloween is just around the corner and since I wasn’t exactly pleased with my original spooky display, I went back to the drawing board. I’m a collector and I always have a bunch of things sitting around, so I tried to pare it down some so that the scariest things could shine.


Sometimes you need a little extra oomph and thanks to 2 Japanese Maple branches and a can of spray paint, I got just that. Using the metallic silver spray paint, in about 5 minutes my branches were transformed. I can’t wait to try out the gold for Thanksgiving/Christmas decorations.


Don’t forget to send me porch pictures if you want to be included in this Saturday’s “Front Porch” post!

October 13, 2010

Front Porch: Show us yours?


This is not my house. This is not my porch. I wish it were. I would love for this to be my house, but alas it is not. This is a house I saw while in the darling area of Germantown, near Nashville. I have a small patio off the back of my condo, but my heart longs for a porch like this one. This porch…is perfect.


I’m thinking about doing a weekly Saturday feature here on Southern Belle Simple called “Front Porch.” I would love for folks to send me pictures of their porches (either decorated for the season or just as they are) and I can share them each week. I thought about doing a linky, but this way anyone with a porch can send in a picture even if he/she doesn’t have a blog. I’ll also periodically share lovely porches that I’ve run across.

A person’s porch is kind of his or her jumping off point for the world and I thought it would be neat if we could share a little glimpse of our worlds with each other. Does this sound like something you’d be interested in participating in?

{email pictures to southernbellesimpleblog@gmail.com}

October 12, 2010

Nothing gold can stay

ayla fall

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold,
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.

ayla fall 2

Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

-- Robert Frost

Hope you all get a chance to enjoy some gold as the leaves change!

{photos by my talented cousin Ayla}

October 11, 2010

An extra helping of style: Sara Hicks Malone


Just when I think I’ve explored every square inch of blogland, I stumble upon something truly lovely that I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of before. In this case, the something is a someone…Sara Hicks Malone. She is the creative mind behind Sara’s Party Perfect, a fantastic spot for all sorts of wonderful inspiration. Sara is a graphic designer extraordinaire and resides here in the south, specifically Nashville! Her house was featured on design*sponge awhile back and somehow I missed that too! {see her punchy front door above}

sara's party perfect


Here’s a tablescape Sara created for an end of summer meal. Her brown table runner is simply butcher paper, but I love how it looks against the white background of the table. This is a perfect example of how we can take a few basic things and make something pretty and memorable. Even if you are just cooking for yourself…it makes me smile when I sit down to a meal with a real cloth napkin and lit candle.


How are you making today feel special?

October 8, 2010

Cool Breeze, Tight Squeeze


Thanks to some uncommonly cool temperatures in my neck of the woods, I decided to move all the plants from my patio inside for the past few nights so they wouldn’t freeze. Since I am a bit challenged in the window department, I usually have to rearrange the furniture when this time of year rolls around. The current cold snap snuck up on me so I haven’t had a chance to find permanent indoor living spaces for my green babies for the winter. Some of them come to live at my office where they can get more sun.


I have found a few good tips for transitioning plants that have been outdoors. These have worked for me, but my plants are fairly general…not much specialized care is needed.

  1. Wash foliage with plain water…I try to wipe off the top and bottom of each leaf
  2. Add a little extra (fresh) soil to each plant or repot entirely if it looks like it has outgrown its current container
  3. Check for bugs…adding extra soil seems to help with this issue
  4. Keep a spray bottle handy to mist the plants. The biggest issue of bringing them inside over the winter is the dry air. Keep them a little moist!
  5. Put every plant on a saucer…you can go totally cheap with those clear plastic ones or repurpose odd plates and bowls


The image above is not mine, but I do have Christmas Cacti like the ones pictured here and I have to say they are the easiest plants I’ve ever grown. I bought two of them for $1 each at a yard sale a couple of years ago. When a piece falls off you can root it in a different pot. I now have about 7 different containers of this lovely plant which will bloom later in the year.

039 {my Christmas cactus right before it bloomed last year}

040 {close-up of a bloom}

I’m sure y’all have greener thumbs than mine…any tips for keeping things alive through the cooler months?