Friday, October 18, 2013

craigslist plays houzz

You know how design-y websites, like houzz (which I love), but also remodelista, and design sponge, and, you know, others, often do little articles/posts with a general theme of "here's what you can make/do/buy - but, mostly, buy - right now, to celebrate the season, or make better use of your living space, or embrace this new trend"?  You do.  I like the idea of crafting a suggestion book like that (and actually, I've done something similar before), but with craigslist, instead of, you know, West Elm.  (Notthatthere'sanythingwrongwith West Elm.  Except that it's overpriced.  That is wrong.) 

So without further ado, my very own ideabook: how to welcome the fall with things you don't need to buy from your* local craigslist, but at about 10% of the prices articles like this usually suggest you spend on seasonal items you don't need. 

What more iconic way to enjoy the cooling temperatures than in an old-fashioned ($25) chair by the fire? 

Or even better - a rocking chair ($50): 

If you're not fortunate enough to have a fireplace, this little ($50) electric version will actually heat a room, and imitates the charm of yesteryear:

Maybe even a ($99) salvaged fireplace mantle to complete the look:

A night out in the crisp air by a bonfire would be lovely, too - for which, of course, you'll need some fuel.  A large pick-up truck's worth, just $60! 

And for a bit of light by which to converse over the flickering flames, why not an oil lamp ($30) from yesteryear? 

And of course, as there's a nip in the air, I know I find myself reaching more for the cabinet full of tea.  Which would be perfectly capped off by a beautiful kettle ($35) to get the water ready:

And a charming set to steep and serve it ($30):

I don't know about you, but I spent all summer lamenting the hassle of firing up the oven.  I have been looking forward to fall baking!  And these measuring cups ($33) are pretty enough to leave out - a good reminder that it's time for a batch of cookies and a pie:

Regrettably overpriced, however.  For those really ambitious with their culinary adventures (or anyone who has recently slaughtered a hog), this classic countertop meat grinder ($50) is a must:

(Full disclosure: I own one.  Though mine cost $5.  I haven't used it yet, but the store has had crazy sales on pork loin and I couldn't help myself.  One of these days I am definitely going to try my hand at making sausage.)  And the fall kitchen could hardly be complete without a cauldron ($35):

Besides spells (of course), that would be perfect for a batch of butternut squash soup.  (Roast the squash until soft; then cool and remove peels and seeds.  Sautee a diced onion and a few cloves of minced garlic in butter.  Then add the squash, mash with a spoon, and finally puree.  Set over low heat and add maybe half an ounce of bleu cheese and an ounce or so of minced sharp cheddar.  Add salt, black pepper, ginger, and nutmeg to taste.  Add water and stir till you reach the desired consistency, then correct seasoning.  Finally, add a handful of minced fresh oregano that you couldn't figure out to do with in the garden all summer.  If you don't eat dairy, increase garlic and herbs, and substitute chicken stock for water.  Will vanish from refrigerator unbidden.) 

The advent of fall also hails the onset of the "holiday season," and long-awaited visits from loved ones.  What house guest could fail to be charmed by morning coffee from a ($15) samovar?  This is actually electric:

And, hey, maybe a little decor for the guest room ($25):

For those whose visitors may include small children, this little guy ($39) is cute enough it doesn't need to be banished into storage when the visitors depart:

And of course, if we're preparing for Christmas visitors, the number one thing to lay in is sleds ($50 for the shorter ones):

I think that's probably overpriced, too, though.  Depending on your accommodations, this may or may not also be helpful ($40):

The ad says it makes a great planter, but that seems like wasted potential to me. 

Much better than the fall Ballard Designs glossy, IMHO.  Now, your assignment: figure out what items would really enhance the utility and comfort of your home, and what things you don't actually need.  (I vote for a good kettle and firewood.  Also, cider.) 

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