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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

November Book Club Fall Fare

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The November meeting of the Monday Book Club met at my house for lunch and discussion of this month's book selection.  Preparing for the book club gathering, I wondered about what to serve that says Fall and thought about how to decorate the deck for the season.

What food and decor will welcome friends in a special way?  What things will make the day memorable? What to serve and to display that will create lasting memories of our times together as good friends eating, laughing, and enjoying a good book together?  How to create snapshots in our minds that we will lovingly recall?

For many parts of the country November is damp, windy, and cool, even cold, and calls for hot drinks like apple cider to warm everyone.

But not in north Texas the first Monday in this November.  Daybreak was full of sunshine with promises of temperatures in the mid to high 70s by noon.

Drinks changed from hot to cold.  Easy to do with apple cider.  No  H O T  apple cider on the menu for the the book club.

Instead, C O L D apple cider served outside on the deck under the shade trees was a refreshing drink with a seasonal taste, a taste of Fall. 

White mums, purple and yellow violas, a spiral ivy, and oak leaves with acorns helped set the season as Fall despite the warm weather.  An old Singer sewing machine base topped with glass made an excellent outdoor drink station.  Just today I saw an old sewing machine base for sale at a local flea market, priced at $39. 

Cool weather and a shady spot are perfect growing conditions for the variegated spiral ivy that added a touch of green to the drink station table.  

An old leaky outdoor water faucet with a green crusty patina was replaced with a new faucet and now helps hold down the paper napkins in case of breezes. 

Perfect outdoor appetizers that say Fall are grapes and cheese.  Plus they are easy to serve... no forks or plates required.  And for friends who are trying to eat healthy, fresh fruit is always a welcome appetizer. 

Looking for cheese to go with grapes?  Consider Apple Smoked Gouda cheese that added another traditional Fall taste, apples, to the book club gathering. 

Hot artichoke dip and bite-size tortilla chips were also easy to serve outside on an old weathered redwood bench that served as a coffee table. 

Table centerpieces are sometimes in the way of the food and conversation.  Try using simple potted olive trees like these for adding a little greenery to a serving bench without crowding the food or blocking conversation.   

Ten book club members snacked on the appetizers and cold apple cider while I finished the last-minute lunch details.  After lunch inside, we gathered again on the deck for the discussion of Sydney Chambers and The Perils of the Night by James Runcie.  Many of our books are thought-provoking, socially-conscious selections, but this month's book was easy reading that left me with an uplifting feeling, similar to the Mitford series written by Jan Karon.  

Monday was a perfect Fall day spent with long-time friends who always make me smile and who always create snapshots in my mind to recall. 

See the following for additional views of the new deck. 

Can you believe that in only three weeks we will be celebrating Thanksgiving, and 
then it will be time to begin decorating for Christmas? 

Mark your calendars for Christmas inspiration from all over Texas 
when over 20 Texas bloggers share a window into Christmas in Texas

Stacey at Poofing the Pillows
is hosting
December 7-11, 2015

I was thrilled when Stacey invited me to be part of this 
first-ever Christmas blog hop of over 20 Texas bloggers, and 
am honored to be on the first day line-up on 
Monday, December 7, 2015. 

Several of the bloggers have shared their plans with all of us, 
and this is going to be a great Christmas blog hop! 
You don't want to miss any of the posts 
that include decorations, crafts, recipes, and even a fashionista. 

Watch for more details in the weeks to come. 

Please join me at these inspiring sites...




  1. Everything looks lovely.

    I have my grandmother's sewing machine base in the garden as a table for Steve when he is at the BBQ. I am giving him a birthday party soon and I think I need to get a larger piece of wood to make the table useful for the party. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Judith,
    What a beautiful Fall setting for your book club meeting, dear one!!!
    Love the faucet napkin holder!!!
    Great choices of cheese and fruit for appetizers!!!
    I've not seen honey Crisp Apple Cider here, but our grocer does carry Honey Crisp Apples.
    I'll make an inquiry.
    We have the Louisburg Cider from Louisburg, Kansas, but it does contain cinnamon.
    I'm allergic to cinnamon, so I'm very careful about purchasing Apple Ciders!!!
    Thank you for inspiring me to enjoy our beautiful Autumnal Days out~of~doors!!!

  3. Hi Judith, love the faucet holder, and the table with glass opens the beauty up. Your rustic country setting is inviting :)
    I will have to see if we carry Apple honey cider here, It sounds refreshing and crisp tasting.

    See you soon, enjoy the beauty November adds to your days and,
    all it inspires.


  4. Lovely, Judith! I was waiting for the second part of this pretty post! :) The faucet napkin holder is too charming!

  5. Judith. Everydetail is perfect. Your post has me yearning for those 70 degree days back in September. It is now cold and rainy here. You so deserve the honor of your place on The Christmas In Texas Tour! I look forward to the journey!

  6. Judy, everything looks so beautiful! I know you all had a wonderful time...and you were so right to have something to hold down those napkins. The Texas winds are something else and come out of nowhere ever so quickly! I will check out this book. I love Jan Karon's books and like the every day, uplifting stories! Can't wait to see the Texas Christmas Tour!

  7. Looks like a beautiful spot for a book club. Thanks for joining Home Sweet Home!


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