The dog days of August are still with us in parts of the country, but in other places, the heat and humidity are lifting

The dog days of August are still with us in parts of the country, but in other places, the heat and humidity are lifting; it doesn't matter what the weather's doing, just knowing we are about to turn the page to September, sets my clock a tickin'...the air smells different already; even now, the woods are singing with crickets, a sure sign the season is changing. The other sure sign is that I've been waking up lately with a strong urge to redecorate.

Joe and I leave the island in a few weeks .... Girl Kitty's favorite sitters are moving into our house to take care of her while we get our "room with the view" on the westward bound train, September 12. We're going to St. Paul, Minnesota for the CREATIVE CONNECTION EVENT that starts on the 14th (you can click to read about it -- it goes through the weekend; is only $10 at the door to get in for Market where they're having lots of darling fun booths; and for the book signing which includes all the authors appearing at the event --if you're nearby, come see me!). After that, we head for California where I'll be signing books and calendars at the famous REMNANTS OF THE PAST antique show and sale in San Luis Obispo on October 9. (If you're nearby, come see me there too!) It's going to be very hard to leave home at my favorite time of year, I'm already kind of whining about it despite the fun we're supposed to be having. By the time we get on the train, the first little chilliness will be here. We ought to find a little fall in Minnesota too! As for the redecorating, I'm not going to wait; I started this week. Because when we get back it's going to look like this around here:

I don't want to arrive back home in the middle of October, walk through piles of leaves to the front door and find straw hats, light blue rag rugs, and pink votive candles waiting for me; I don't want to see the Summer Book still sitting on top of the fridge. I want to come in to coziness, to hooked rugs on the kitchen floor, wooden candlesticks ready to light, warm quilts on the sofa, fall potholders and dishtowels on my stove; wood stacked in the fireplace, chrysanthemums blooming in the garden. I want the garnet pillows to be plumped on the sofa in the wood room, where we can get cozy right away, get out the knitting, and watch a wonderful movie like Hobson's Choice (which, btw, if you haven't seen, you would LOVE-- a true British classic!)

So I'm getting ready the time we leave, it will all be done. I'm decorating the house, one little corner at a time; cleaning and redoing the top of the fridge, putting the owls on the shelf above my stove, fluffing up the coffee table; changing throw rugs, pillows, and hand towels in the guest bathroom. I love these rituals, feel like they make everything better; when I get home all I have to do is pop the apple crisp in the oven, fill the bird feeders, and voila, it's fall! I was rearranging one of the bookshelves yesterday and was reminded, have I ever mentioned how good the book Howard's End is? You would love it if you need a wonderful fallish thing to read. All about a house and the people who love it.

I just finished designing the new 2013 (yes!) calendar covers this week. This is why I never know what year it is, I work too far in advance! I also have good news, the new BLOTTER CALENDAR has just arrived! I also designed you a fun (and free!) INVITATION you can print out and use for your fall parties.

And here's another surprise, to thank you for all your support and kind words, a little decorating assist for you this season, drawings for two very special things for your home. There is a button in the right-hand column of my blog at It says SUBSCRIBE. This button came with a "random chooser" for all our contests...anyone who's signed up there is automatically entered in all of our contests! If you've already signed up, you're good to go, if you haven't, be sure to do it, because here's what we have for you...number one...

...a fine art giclee, called "Grandma's Bowl." I painted this for my grandma in 1979, one of my very first paintings. It's been printed on beautiful thick archival paper, so well done I can't tell the difference between the original and this GICLEE PRINT. It will come to you signed and numbered.

And the second is this HOOKED RUG, designed by me; I have one in my kitchen and just love it. Hope you (the lucky winner) will too! (But if not, you'll have a pretty good Christmas present all ready to go!) It's 3 x 5, perfect size to put in front of the kitchen sink; a 100% wool, quality hand-hooked rug, which should warm up any kitchen perfectly! We're going to give everyone a couple of weeks to get signed up and maybe even tell some friends...we'll draw for both prizes on the day I pull out of the driveway, that's September 12. We'll let everyone know who won on FOSB (our Facebook page) and TWITTER. And of course, we will notify the winners via email.

There is one other good reason to keep your eye on our website, lots of good seasonal recipes will be going up, detailed photos of how to do this and that. I'm loving the blog, the comments from our readers are so much fun. Love everyone talking to everyone else, it's like FOSB in that way. I've received such beautiful snail-mail for so many years; I always wished I could somehow share it with all you amazing people would know you are not alone, that there are more out there, wonderful, just like you. And now it's happening! Love it; we are the original good guys club. xoxo

It's pouring rain here right this moment! Joe just walked in the door with a sack full of corn he got at a local farm -- so I'm off to the kitchen to shuck corn for dinner -- fresh corn, yum! Hope your days are filled with the energy of the changing season; enjoy these fleeting days of summer, go pick wild asters, make something with tomatoes, get those last PLUMS and PEACHES: wander country roads and stop at yard sales, find cute dishtowels and potholders for an autumn kitchen. Plant mums. And be happy.