Inspired by Nature, Whitney Miller Decorates for Fall
What I love about fall is the rich color palette from chocolate brown to burnt orange. When I am decorating my house from season to season, I strive for adding unique pieces. For example, instead of the usual round pumpkins, I use these various height rectangle blocks. To create at home, paint the blocks orange, glue on a stick stem and complete with a burlap ribbon. This makes a beautiful mantel décor piece.
Looking for a cost effective tablescape centerpiece? Go natural — it’s as easy as looking outdoors for your décor pieces, including pine cones, sticks, nuts, wild fruits, etc. For my centerpiece, I used a river birch log that has cut-outs for candles. I feel like candles help create a calming, romantic, or comforting mood. Also, I love large pine cones for a dramatic effect. For a DIY décor project, spray paint the pine cones with solid paint or with glitzy glitter paint. And of course, my table setting isn’t complete without my Entertaining Collection tumblers.
Along with using items from nature, raid your pantry for decorating items including rice, nuts, dried fruits, beans and more. I filled a glass vase with brown rice and then added a candle. Brown rice pairs well with the burlap ribbon. If you don’t have a glass vase, hollow out a pumpkin or winter squash like butternut. Fill the vase with candles, flowers or sticks.
Now that you are ready for fall, invite friends over to admire your handiwork and to enjoy a tumbler full of my Southern Horchata!
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons long grain white rice
- 1 cup toasted chopped pecans
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup simple syrup*
- Process the rice in a spice grinder until a powder forms. Place the rice powder, pecans and cinnamon in a large bowl. Cover with 4 cups hot water. Stir. Cover and let sit overnight.
- Pour half of the mixture into a blender and add 1 cup cold water. Blend until smooth.
- Gradually pour the mixture through a cheesecloth-lined wire mesh strainer over a bowl. Using a rubber spatula, press the mixture to capture the solid and release the liquid.
- Repeat the process with the remaining mixture plus additional 1 cup cold water.
- Clean the cheesecloth. Repeat the process of straining through the cheesecloth to produce a smooth, thin liquid.
- Pour the liquid into a quart glass jar or pitcher. Add the vanilla and sweeten with the simple syrup. Cover with the jar lid and shake or stir to combine. Chill.
- Serve in the Entertaining Collection tall tumblers over ice.
* Simple syrup: In a 4-cup measuring cup, add 2 cups granulated sugar. Pour 1 cup boiling water over the sugar and stir until dissolved. Allow to cool completely.
When she was just 22, Whitney Miller won the first U.S. season of the Fox show MasterChef. She is the author of Modern Hospitality: Simple Recipes with Southern Charm. While working on her second cookbook, she frequently travels around the U.S. and as far away as China to conduct cooking demonstrations and culinary classes. For more, visit whitneymiller.net, connect with Whitney MillerH on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @whitneymillerH.