I love the colors of autumn in the South. You've got your traditional reds, browns, yellows, and oranges...
But you also have unexpected splashes of pink, white, and green. The camellias are just starting to bud out, and what beauties we have this year!
Lovely creamy orange ginger lilies are still holding up their heads...
...and we've got more nice spheres of white all around our front door.
The fir trees are setting up their cones, which are light green, all over the yard.
We even have a few late-season zinnias still producing!
Somehow these odd blends of colors go together well and produce a very pleasing appearance in our late November yard. And those branches of yellow leaves on our driveway? I picked them all up, of course, and made big bouquets.
It's especially nice when the late-afternoon sun comes slanting in the windows...
I haven't had much time for crafting lately. This is my busy season and I'm generally working 9 hour days (or longer) on my business. However, I gave myself a day off this weekend and made a quick and festive plaid pillow in about 30 minutes.
I will post a tutorial later. I'll be making plenty more of these!
I've also been baking like crazy! In preparation for Thanksgiving, and some extra for Todd's office, I baked about 7 batches of cookies, 2 loaves of pumpkin bread, and a plate of cheesecake bars in the past week alone. Our freezer is fairly bursting! I haven't had any myself, though...not one single bite. I'm not there yet, but I'm officially nearing the end of my "six weeks of no sugar" plan, and I'm ready to wax philosophical about it.
I've always been crazy about sugar. I love to bake, and sweet treats are my favorite. I crave sugar all the time, and in the past have tried to limit my consumption to a few servings a week, although that tended to grow when I was cranky, tired, busy, or stressed. I noticed that I gained weight this past spring and early summer, and I knew there was a direct correlation between the amount of sugar I was eating and the number on the scale. I have always been too afraid to limit my sugar - what else is left? What about my baking? It's just too hard! I'm fond of saying, too, that I don't want to live in a world where I couldn't have a cupcake when I wanted one. Six weeks, though, seemed manageable.
I stopped eating all sweets - cupcakes, ice cream, candy, pie, cookies, bars, syrups, etc. I allowed myself 1 TB of honey a day and WHATEVER ELSE I WANTED THAT WASN'T SUGAR. I had tried to be relatively low-carb before, but now I embraced them. Oatmeal every day! An occasional sandwich...with bread! Roasted potatoes! I didn't really miss the sugar because I so enjoyed my meals. I had other pleasant side effects to help me along: I suddenly started having higher-quality sleep. No more waking up at 3 a.m. and reading for an hour - I slept all the way through the night. I had more energy and felt better. A weird but definitely welcomed side effect was weight loss. Sugar triggers me to eat a lot, so take out the trigger, and my eating naturally moderated. I lost 8 pounds in 5 weeks, doing nothing different except removing sugar from the equation. I bounced back up a couple of pounds recently, but I realized that my desire to eat has become so quiet, and I've been so swamped with work, that I've been forgetting to eat like I should. Not eating enough + regular vigorous exercise = weight gain. I'm happily eating an extra 200 calories today!
With all of these wonderful discoveries, will I ever go back to sugar? Oh, yeah! My six weeks are up on Thanksgiving and I plan on having several cookies and a big piece of pie. But I won't stay on sugar. I've decided to live one week on sugar/three weeks off sugar every month. I'll have a few days a month when I can get an ice cream cone, have a brownie, and make a big cookie sandwich dripping with homemade buttercream filling. I'll have a week where I won't sleep as well, won't feel as well, and won't perform as well at the gym. Then I'll have three weeks where I will. I think it's a nice, tidy ratio and I look forward to putting it into place after my Thanksgiving week!