Fall Home Trends 2021 – Transition Through Halloween

This lovely Jo-Ann Fabrics tablescape incorporates many of 2021’s autumn trends: burnished metals, woods, creamy pumpkins, grayed leaves and muted plaids

Are you interested in home decor? I don’t have a big budget but I like adding touches to my home that make it feel updated.

If you can’t afford to change your whole decor, you could think about these colors and texures in throws, pillows, paint color, candle jars, table linens, or accent pieces.

A style that blends into the holidays…

If you love the restful and easy-going look that is in style this fall, you could also think about making your transition fall decor blend into your Halloween, Thanksgiving and even Christmas decorating. You could definitely take these trends through the winter holidays: natural accents like greenery and pinecones, creamy pumpkins, soft plaids, velvet furnishings, warm woods, soft metallic sheens. Less glitz; more simplicity. Monochromatic Christmas trees with fewer decorations in muted, earth tones will be big this year. The brilliant deep sapphire/navy colors appearing on walls and accent pieces (and clothing) this fall is also making an appearance on 2021 trendy trees with a deep blue decorating theme.

Home design reflects our emotions and stage of life 

I feel like the comforting, nostalgic themes so apparent in home design this fall are a response to the world-wide trauma we have been experiencing. Is it a coincidence that after the corona virus, young people are gravitating to styles that remind them of their grandparents?  This casual style is also a reflection of the stay-at-home conditions many of us experienced — working, studying and playing at home. People’s attitudes about global warming and the environment are also big influences on this look — where you see pieces that look like they were repurposed from other items or used instead of purchased new (although much of it is actually new). Eclectic, recycled and simple, homey looks tend to have a resurgence in times of economic difficulty.  The irony is to achieve this look, you actually have to spend some serious money! Or…do you?

DIY this style for less!

Don’t have any money? Some of these looks are DIY. Drive around and see what people throw out on the curb (like porch furniture).  Cruise around older, established neighborhoods with larger single family homes on a Sunday afternoon or right before trash day and you might snag yourself a free coffee table or bookcase.

For example, velvet furnishings, especially sofas and chairs, are very big now. And yes, a velvet chair is awesome in the fall and winter, but do you want it around forever? Maybe not. Take the Drew Barrymore velvet chair pictured below. Do you love it? Well, that costs over $400. Now, those tube chairs were everywhere (Ikea). You might have one. Or you can buy a new one at Walmart for $100 that is microfiber. Then, you  can get a velvet slip cover for a tube chair in that SAME shade for about $25 at Walmart.

There are lots of ways to get this style for less.  You can find great deals on furniture at estate sales, Good Will, Craigs List, yard sales and Facebook Marketplace and the Buy Nothing groups on Facebook.

A collection of treasures to be had from Facebook Marketplace

Or look by a dumpster in your apartment complex! I have a gorgeous, carved wooden dresser in my room that I rescued from the trash, my dining room chairs also were rescued from there, and my dining room table was a freebie on the Buy Nothing Facebook group. My sister repainted a long, 70 era chest of drawers and uses it as a buffet in her dining room; she stores linens and cutlery in the drawers and it looks fantastic. The great thing about these pieces is that they typically have “good bones.”  They are sturdy pieces made with wood and nails, not MDF and glue. And the rattan and wicker ones are typically not that heavy, so they may be easy to transport. These vintage pieces hold up well to every day use and respond favorably to a little refinishing. Mixing style eras, fixing up used furniture and updating pieces with paint or wallpaper are just some ways to achieve on-trend look for less money.

My point is — high end retailers are basically creating that recycled look — for $400 – $500 dollars — when you can often find free furniture and tchochkes. With a little clean-up,  fabric recovering or paint, you can recreate someone else’s trashed item into an amazing and on trend piece. Here are some trends to look for online/in stores or create yourself…

Drew Barrymore’s quirky home designs for Wal-Mart sell out quickly. They feature arty, feminine, “one-of-a-kind-but-it-actually-isn’t,” “look-what-I-found!” style (like the formally attired dog painting). The rattan pendant light is $69 and the the velvet side chair is $418.

Look for simplified, feminine designs with nostalgic or crafty touches, like old framed needlepoint art, applique, crochet throw blankets, quilts, chenille bed spreads, pottery, filmy white window sheers, and anything that looks vintage and is hand painted (like the tole black tray I gleefully rescued from the side of the trash this summer). These store-bought items you see at Anthropologie, Crate & Barrel, Urban Outfitters and other high end stores look like you scored some one-of-a-kind finds at a rural yard sale or antique store. There is a definite boho vibe to this look that is less ” purple mandala” and more “cozy flea market” in Santa Fe colors.

This Fall 2021 Crate & Barrell kid’s room incorporates lots of fun, fall touches and spicy colors. The green wood chest of drawers is on point. And check out that yellow telephone!

Matchy-matchy furniture, bedding and lamps are out. In the Crate & Barrel bedroom above, you can see that the bed, side table and chest of drawers are inspired from distinctly different time periods.  The look is more casual and eclectic. What keeps these rooms from looking like a yard sale is minimizing clutter and keeping the styles simple and clean looking, with complementary or monochromatic, sophisticated color schemes — and VERY selectively choosing the right era pieces (and very few) — more 1970s.

This velvety lamp with in sage green with warm gold metallic accents and a nature-themed shade (sold separately) in spicy fall colors embodies many 2021 fall trends (Anthropologie).

A muted, soft grayed color palette: this October’s orange is a soft terra cotta, black has been replaced by pearly light gray, white is now cream, green is featured in shades from light sage to olive, the rose pink is pale and dusty, the black and white buffalo plaid of last year is gone and replaced with light gray and spicy tone plaids. There is the surprise of deep, saphhire blue in little touches like vases, glass pumpkins and candle jars.

Textiles include throwback-era favorites, like chenille (bedspreads), raffia, rope, burlap, canvas, crochet, pottery, leather and velvet.

Woods are very big this fall with an emphasis on reclaimed woods, natural looks and stains, sometimes in combinations of colors.

This reclaimed wood wall hanging from Brixon Geometric is sold on Etsy.

Rattan, caning, wicker and bamboo and other woven touches are still popular as incorporated in light fixtures, side tables, coffee tables, plant stands, and side boards.

Metallics look burnished, hammered or antiqued: golds and brasses and some silver. I’m seeing this color that’s not quite copper, brass or gold — but more like a blend of those tones. Not as pink as rose gold, but definitely warm. Like — a brassy gold?

The small scale and gold finish of these metal baskets make them on trend for this fall into winter. Display them on your open, wooden shelves in your kitchen. Line with a tea towel and put some apple or pumpkin muffins in them! Affordable, too! Dollar Tree ($1/each).

Wallpaper. Here is a selection from Drew Barrymore’s collection, Wal-Mart. Highly patterned wallpaper like this is great for accenting the walls of smaller spaces, like the inside of a walk-in closet or a powder room, or even the interior of a bookcase or cabinet. Notice the on-trend color of blue in the lamp and the rattan table. Paint colors for walls this fall are in earth tones — notably green in grayed tones, like sage and rosemary.

Natural touches are in. The look is plants, plants, plants. Not a fan of indoor plants but that’s what you see in the photos: lots and lots of plants. Even the kitchen cabinets are painted green in herbal colors (like sage and rosemary).  Not wild about dried flowers but they are making a small resurgence as is everything else 70s. Wall paper in wild florals and leafy motifs. Everywhere green leaves. Succulents are not as big this fall but still around.

Who needs cabinets? People are taking cues from tiny homes and going with open shelves. Kitchen subway tiles are getting replaced by more boho, colorful backsplashes — and lots o’ plants! There is clutter here but the uniform size/scale and colors of items make the shelves look neat and organized.

Accessories… Include the afore-mentioned plants, pottery, ceramics, squat, small round glass jars and vases, as well as patterned area rugs for those wood floors. The half-dipped look is still in, now in earth toned paints (pretty easy to achieve that DIY). The scale of these pieces is pretty small.  The look should be 70s but not 30s or 40s. This is not shabby chic or farmhouse. What else I’m seeing: a pre-digital sensibility to add that quirky, nostalgic flair: turntables and vinyl records, stacks of books, mid-game chess set displays, analog clocks and rotary telephones.

Check out Michael’s Craft stores accessories in warm fall colors – feather pillow, jars, bowls, dried flowers, wall accents.

Did you see any trend that spoke to you? What will you try this fall?

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Classic Movie Day! Free-to-watch online horror movie classics

You’ve heard of Christmas in July, right? When people play Christmas music and watch Christmas movies in July?

Well, how about we start the tradition of Halloween in May?

Today would be a fine way to start because it happens to be Classic Movie Day! I wanted to share with you that there are many great horror movie classics on TubiTV.com.  You can watch them online. You don’t even have to register, if you don’t want to. Here are some I recommend viewing, if you love classic scary movies. I put them in order of date.

Continue reading

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Happy Halloween…until next year

Photo by u0410u043bu0435u043au0441u0430u043du0434u0430u0440 u0426u0432u0435u0442u0430u043du043eu0432u0438u045b on Pexels.com

Ah, Halloween night…when the veil between this world and the next is thinnest! I hope your celebration is spooky and fun! Thank you for joining me here to celebrate all that is wonderful about fall and Halloween. It’s been a challenging year but we are making it work out the best that we can.

I would like to extend a special thank you to the subscribers. I’m honored to have you. I don’t earn any money from this but I do get a lot of satisfaction knowing there are readers out there! Big pumpkin hugs to you!

After Halloween ends, I invite y0u to join me on the Cool Yule blog…where we will celebrate the best of winter and the winter holidays, including Thanksgiving (yes, technically a fall holiday), Christmas, New Year’s and other celebrations.

Take care, everyone!


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Happy Halloween! Let’s watch Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

Let’s celebrate Halloween and wrap up 2020’s Horror Movie week of 1930s and 1940s films with a mildly spooky, classic comedy. It takes place on Halloween so I thought this was the perfect choice for today.

Like many movies of its time, Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) was a popular Broadway play before it was made into a comedy.  The New York Times called it “good, macabre fun.”

Starring Cary Grant and Peter Lorre, the movie also featured actors from the Broadway production in the most memorable roles, including Josephine Hull and Jean Adair (the Brewster sisters) and John Alexander (Teddy Brewster). Frank Capra (It’s a Wonderful Life) directed the movie.

I read that after U.S. service men watched this while stationed, they used to yell “Charge!” like Teddy did — and it took a while for the commanders to figure out that they were mimicking the movie! That’s kind of funny 🙂

I don’t want to give too much away, but one of my favorite scenes occurs in the very beginning when the Brewster sisters hand out Halloween goodies to trick-or-treaters, including ENTIRE PIES! Did they really give away whole pies in those days? Lucky kids!

I was in this play when I was a young woman. I played the female lead of Elaine Harper. That’s me in the photo. I had to scream and get tossed around by the villain and kiss the star! It was a lot of fun.

The movie is available to rent online on YouTube. The preview below links to the video. I hope you enjoy it and I hope you have a very Happy Halloween.

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It’s Horror Movie Week! Let’s Watch The Mummy (1932)

When I was a little girl, my mom worked late on most Saturday nights at her second job. I would wait up for her to come home while watching “Shock Theater” on Channel 8 in Richmond, Virginia. This was a late-night horror movie program featuring the host, Bowman Body, a vampire-like comedian. They often showed a mummy film and I first saw this movie on that program.

The next day, my sister and I played monsters, and I would pretend to be the Mummy, dragging my left foot dramatically as I lurched around, moaning and snarling like Boris Karloff.

I guess I was an odd little girl! But I still love horror movies and this is one of my favorites. You can rent it on YouTube. I hope you enjoy it.

From YouTube: “Boris Karloff’s legendary performance has become a landmark in the annals of screen history. As the mummy, Im-Ho-Tep, he is accidentally revived after 3,700 years by a team of British archaeologists. It is revealed in a flashback that he was a high priest, embalmed alive for trying to revive the vestal virgin whom he loved, after she had been sacrificed. Alive again, he sets out to find his lost love. Today, over 50 years after The Mummy was first released, this brooding dream-like film remains a masterpiece not only of the genre, but for all time.”

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It’s Horror Movie Week! Let’s watch Dracula’s Daughter (1935)

How often is a female the protagonist of a horror movie? I can tell you: not often. Of course, in Carmilla, sure, and in some of the Hammer films, they are, but still. If not unique, it is certainly unusual when that the “monster” protagonist of a movie is a woman.

Gloria Holden steps into the role of Countess Zaleska. She is beautiful, mysterious, intelligent and cold. And she doesn’t want to be a vampire, anymore. But, like her side kick reminds her, it is simply in her nature.

She also has a fabulous wardrobe (Ms. Holden also worked as a model).

The Countess is a subtle vampire. Unlike her male counterparts, she cannot hope to woo or overcome her victims (both male and female) without help. So, she lures them, with the assistance of her servant. I particularly enjoyed the creepy interaction between Countess Zaleska and her manservant, Sandor. They interacted almost as peers (unlike the henchmen in other movies).

She then surprises them at a vulnerable moment. One way she causes them to be vulnerable, in the case of her models, is by having them partially undress. For this reason, and others, some reviewers determined that there were deliberate lesbian undertones to this movie.

Since this was also true in Sheridan LeFanu’s vampire story, Carmilla, I can see that.

Themes of loneliness, desire, control, willpower and male and female roles in relationships emerge, as in all vampire movies. There is a poignant scene where she expresses the desire to change that is reminiscent of the struggle of an addict or alcoholic.

One interesting tidbit is the way she lures some of her victims is by telling them she needs an artist’s model. In real life, Gloria Holden had worked as an artist’s model.

You can rent and enjoy this movie on YouTube. Let me know what you think of it!

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It’s Horror Movie Week! Let’s watch The Old Dark House (1932)

This is a beautifully restored rendition of the 1932 Universal Horror classic that may be rented and watched on YouTube. Starring Boris Karloff, Charles Laughton and Melvyn Douglas, the plot revolves around the story of stranded travelers who seek refuge when caught in a storm in the Welsh countryside. The five people come upon an old house, and find themselves at the mercy of its strange and dangerous inhabitants. Drunken attacks, pyromania and murder result. Like most 1930s films, the horror is infused with episodes of comedy and romance.

The movie is a based on a 1927 novel, Benighted, about disillusionment after Word War I. The film’s director (James Whale), cinematographer and set designer also worked on Frankenstein. It’s not a long movie. Enjoy!



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Happy National Black Cat Day! Let’s watch Cat People (1942)

Are you a cat person or a dog person? I’m more of a dog person myself. But this movie isn’t about that. Like Dracula’s Daughter, Cat People features a woman protagonist who has an evil and dangerous streak.

This celebrated 1942 RKO studios film was directed by Jacques Tourner (I Walked With A Zombie and Night of the Demon for Columbia Pictures). The camera angles and lighting in Mr. Tourneur’s films give them an evocative, moody and mysterious quality. The plot is about a young woman, Irina (played by Simone Simon), who believes she is cursed to shapeshift into a beautiful but homicidal black panther whenever she becomes sexually excited. Newly wed, she refuses to have sex with her husband for this reason. She seeks the help of a psychiatrist and spends afternoons visiting a panther in the zoo. But when a woman appears to show interest in her husband, she begins to show her claws.

One author opines that maybe she doesn’t transform at all, noting that you never actually see her turn into a panther. Maybe she has a mental illness and believes she does. Or maybe she is sexually repressed and cannot bring herself to meet the realities of marriage. These are interesting ideas!

Other themes explored in this movie include the nature of romantic love, superstition, violence, religious devotion, sexual jealousy and power.

You can watch this classic movie on YouTube.

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Happy National Black Cat Day

Black cats are an enduring symbol associated with Halloween. And why wouldn’t they be? They’re nocturnal, difficult to see at night and a little easy to spook — just like we are on Halloween! Today, we love the fun image of the Halloween cat. But that wasn’t always the case.

Our Halloween traditions began as ancient Celtic traditions. In those culutres, black cats were considered lucky and somewhat magical. However, elsewhere in Europe, black cats were believed to be associated misfortune or witchcraft for centuries. The superstition that black cats were unlucky, especially if one crossed your path, originated in Germany.  Sadly, some black cats were burned along with people who were accused of witchcraft. Cats were burned at the stake in France and Belgium. The Puritans who colonized New England also burned black cats on the day before Lent to in the belief it protected their homes. Even Edgar Allan Poe, who was a cat lover himself, perpetuated this notion in his story, “The Black Cat.”

But black cats aren’t unlucky at all. The truth is, black cats are really amazing! One interesting feature about black cats is that they carry a gene that provides them with stronger immunity to disease than other cats. They also have a sweet and playful nature, and become attached to their owners. Many black cats are American Shorthairs. They have soft, dense fur and  tend to be good mousers.

I grew up with a mostly-black and white cat (also known as a Tuxedo cat) and she was the most amazing and intelligent creature. She jumped on the TV (which was next to our apartment door) every evening when she heard my mom’s footsteps, as she came home from work. She would meow and meow until my mom came inside, and then she would continue to meow, almost like she was asking her questions. She didn’t do this to be fed because my sister and I fed her. I think she just really liked my mom! 🙂

Unfortunately, black cats are not adopted at the same rates as other cats. Some shelters will not allow these ebony beauties to be adopted around Halloween because they are sometimes treated as props for parties rather than long-term companions.

If you are looking for a long-term, loving cat companion, consider adopting a black adult cat.

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Toon Tuesday! Mickey Mouse in the Haunted House, 1929

orange mickey

Poor Mickey!  This one is a little scary.

It’s interesting to note that this was released only about six weeks after the Stock Market crash. People must have appreciated the levity in early December.

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