Friday, April 30, 2021

The Practical "Unplugged" Vintage Lifestyle

Article and YouTube Video by Rain San Martin *Photo of Rain by Sage San Martin.

Beyond reenactment, a vintage lifestyle is taking the best elements of a chosen time era and incorporating them into everyday life. This may include home decor, customs, fashion, and lifestyle habits. Though some go so far as the "historical reenactor", attempting to emulate an accurate portrayal of a historical time for educational purposes and enjoyment. 

When I speak of "vintage" as in "vintage lifestyle" it's important to note key character traits as described in the dictionary.  We'll look at a few definitions found in the Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.

Vintage 2) of old, recognized, and enduring interest, importance, or quality, classic. 3) Dating from the past, old. Old-fashioned. 4) Of the best and most characteristic. 

All of the above definitions apply to a vintage lifestyle. As you can see, this is a highly curated life. 

Below are Amazon affiliate links to items I use and love. This helps to support this site at no extra cost to you:

Greatly limit technology use - Reflecting on technology creep.

From my vantage point there is no more impacting step to take toward living a a vintage lifestyle then limiting technology consumption and use.  Prior to the 1930s most households lived an unplugged lifestyle.  It was this decade that the majority of homes were plugged into the electrical grid for the first time. And with it, families began to gather around the radio instead of the hearth. Gradually unplugged activities were replaced by additional electronic entertainment.

The television began to take presence in homes during the 1940s, growing stronger each subsequent decade.  Add to this video game consoles of the 1970s. By the 1990s homes were filled with TV's, radios, CD and DVD players, gaming stations, personal computers, and the internet.  With each passing year individuals spent more of their personal time being entertained with electronic and digital media. By the early 2000s continuous texting would interrupt productivity work flow or face to face interaction. If this wasn't enough all would change forever after 2007, the introduction of the smart phone coupled with the rise of social media! By 2010, the year the iPad was released, society (including students in the classroom) had officially entered into the Matrix. 

Unplugged lifestyle.

Learning how others lived before electronic media and modeling this behavior for as many waking hours as possible will help us to reclaim our lives.  Though I am a Blog writer, YouTube video continent creator, and composer I consume a minimal amount of electronic media. Over the last few months, I reduced my consumption of online content, video, and audio entertainment to 1 day per day week! This I did in response to my 30 days unplugged lifestyle experiment. During this time I discovered I desired to live even more of my life unplugged.  This does not include essential computer work, which I try to limit to 3 days per week. If you have a day job that requires a computer or when you do mandatory household computing this does not count as electronic media.  It was only 6 years ago, in 2015, that I first began to unplug on Sundays, gradually increasing my days without electronic media. I embrace silence. When I do plug-in,  I use it to find the most unique and enjoyable content possible. Something I can take with me throughout the week.

The magnifying glass.

Gradually replace modern household items. Rather than jumping ahead to reading glasses you may simply need a focused lamp light or magnifying glass. I love my brass wooden model we have displayed on our mantel. Worthy of a Sherlock Holmes novel. 

I had an ongoing wishlist of items to gradually replace over the years. When it's time to replace one I ask, "Is it vintage or Gothic in style"? If not I see if I can hold out. Our home style is Old World - Enchanted Cottage. 

Avoid plastic when possible. 

Five years back, in 2016, we began the process of replacing plastic fans with metallic vintage inspired models.  One effective way to learn about a practical vintage lifestyle is to study tips for living an eco - friendly lifestyle. Using as many metallic and wood items as possible.  Over time you may very likely develop a strong aesthetic preference for lasting quality materials.

Shopping Bags

I keep washable fabric tote bags at the ready in my trunk at all times. During the events of 2020-2021 many stores would no longer bag groceries with tote bags brought in by shoppers. I then asked if I could bag the groceries myself, using my own. Thankfully the answer was "yes".  This keeps unnecessary waste out of our landfills.  

Do kitchen work by hand - The minimalist kitchen

Unless I'm making a smoothie or hummus I do all kitchen prep by hand. For homemade salsa, I chop by hand. Rustic simple whole foods are my go-to.  Modern gadgets are blissfully not present.

Physical maps

Rather than pulling up Google maps by default to see a geological location consider a few alternatives.  In the book "The Glass Cage", Nicholas Carr writes of how part of our brain has atrophied due to relaying on Artificial Intelligence for tasks such as navigation. We can look to the past for inspiration in unplugged map viewing. A vintage inspired globe is perfect for gaining a birds eye view. In the 1990s I used a physical Thomas Guide, a book of regional detailed street maps, for navigation.  Today these can still be used in place of a GPS or Tom Tom.  Also on my wishlist, is a world atlas.

Physical address book.

I used to keep all of my contacts in a digital document only.  Now that I am spending most of my time away from the computer I reach for my old fashioned address book

These suggestions on how to live a practical vintage lifestyle are some of the ways I myself have discovered. You may also wish to view my YouTube video, The Practical Vintage Lifestyle.

Enjoy the journey of an "unplugged" vintage lifestyle!

Rain ⌛

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

My Simple Easter


 

Article, photo's, and YouTube audio podcast by Rain San Martin

Happy spring! I'll be sharing some of my simple Easter tips with you.  As a Christian, I celebrate Easter as a religious holiday. I also incorporate whimsical spring elements into the season.  Most importantly I keep things simple. 

Decorate

In February I gradually take down the winter decor, setting the stage for Valentines. Transitioning entirely to the spring theme by March 1st. This includes Gothic elements. The aesthetic of Gothic Weddings are my biggest inspiration during the spring.  Incorporating natural rustic floral decor, merged with whimsical mysterious vibes. Wine, orange, and black flowers are mixed in with pops of green.  Sculptures such as ravens or other smaller birds are included in my gothic spring decor.  

Below are Amazon affiliate links to items I use and love. This helps to support this site at no extra cost to you:

Prep meals and buy Easter basket treats in advance. 

The key to having a simple Easter is doing things ahead of time.  I have two children which I plan simple Easter baskets for.  Taking precautions to avoid anything that is excessive or wasteful.  I don't purchase throwaway toys, sticking with high quality chocolate. Though I have included a toy from time to time, when they were younger.  Something simple, yet nothing that would quickly end up in the landfill.   I avoid plush toys, unless I feel certain it is something they would keep long term, and continue to enjoy. A popular theme over the last few years has been Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. You may have noticed that grocery stores have been featuring peanut butter and chocolate.  I am a big fan of this satisfying combo! For the kids I bought a giant Reese's Peanut Butter Easter Egg, a Lindt Milk Chocolate Easter Bunny, and a small carrot shaped bag of Reese's pieces. For my husband and I, chocolate bars, so we could enjoy the Easter fun too!  When the kids have their treats I make sure they don't consume too much in one day. We have a weekly limit of two days per week. Keeping the meals low in sugar and healthy throughout the week. 

In advance I do my grocery shopping. No last minute trips. A few days before Easter I prepare a couple of dishes which I can warm in the oven. This year I made a batch of crock pot green beans and buttery yellow mashed potatoes. From Costco I picked up Chicken Apple Goada Sausage. This meal is warmed in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes prior to serving. 

Easter eggs.

Before Easter I make a batch of hard-boiled eggs.  This was the first year I created homemade natural Easter egg dye. I used turmeric, cinnamon, blueberry, and paprika which I simmered on the stove for 30 minutes and strained. I then steeped the eggs in the warm mixture for 30 minutes with vinegar. The result was a natural looking batch of bird eggs. 

Prepare breakfast sandwiches the day before. 

I place foil on top on the breakfast sandwiches and warm in the oven. This makes a nice Sunday breakfast, freeing up the morning for church. This helps to avoid the need for rushing out the door, which will add stress. A slow, simple, and pleasant lifestyle is the aim.  

Set out the next days clothes for a smooth Sunday morning.  

This habit I already have in place as a part of my "Evening Routine".  On church mornings I set out the clothes for our son. As a Christian, I believe Jesus died for my sins and rose again on the 3rd day, Easter Sunday.  Good Friday is a time of reflection. Daily I pray throughout my tasks. Currently I'm reading the devotional, Every Day in His Presence by preacher Charles Stanley. I see him as my "Spiritual Grandpa".  

After church I warm the mashed potatoes, green beans, and sausage in the oven.  No convection oven or microwave necessary! Simply set the oven for 350 degrees and cook for 20 minutes, or until sizzling.  Add water to the cooking tray for moisture.  

Simple Easter baskets and egg hunt

3PM I set out the Easter baskets.  The kids will enjoy some of their treats. I spend a few minutes taking photographs, before the egg hunt which follows. Not many years of this left, as they are getting older! Time marches on. For dinner or an old-fashioned light "supper" each person can make themselves an egg-salad sandwich. I highly recommend making something with your hard boiled Eggs. A few examples include deviled eggs, egg salad, or simply with salt and pepper .

Rain 🌼

Friday, February 26, 2021

Morning Coffee Ritual

Post, photography, and YouTube Video by Rain San Martin

My favorite part of the day has always been the morning coffee, as I peruse lovely quaint magazines. An unrushed slow morning opens my mind to reflection and is a reward for the days work ahead. 

Below are Amazon affiliate links to items I use and love. This helps to support this site at no extra cost to you:

Why I like the French Press - Remembering the Golden Age of Coffee Shops

Reflecting on growing up, like most households, our family started with the ubiquitous drip coffee maker in the 1980s. My mom a coffee connoisseur, eventually replaced this with the French Press. In the early 1990s coffee shops grew in popularity offering gourmet beans, which were not yet accessible in grocery stores. The French Press was made available on these coffee house shelves for purchase. I myself adopted this for our go-to coffee maker. The process is simple: Pour hot water over the ground coffee beans, steep, press down the filter, serve.  

I miss the homey mom and pop shops offering specialty coffee, pastries, and friendly slow-paced customer service. They would remember your name and had no reason to hurry, or be distracted with the not yet invented smartphone. This was before multiple Starbucks appeared in every city, across the nation. Mom would order a Double Cappuccino using very little raw sugar, eventually switching to the stronger Macchiato.  We would sit, chat, and rave over our comforting beverage. Today, I occasionally go to coffee for a date with my husband, or for one of our children's special outings, yet I deeply long for the Golden Age of the coffee shop in America. 

 

Lighting the Candles

In the darker months of winter I set out natural white pillars on the mantle within the fireplace. I light incense on the gas stove to burn the candles. During this time, lights remain on our tiny tree, along with pine cones and greenery of the season. 


Magazines 

A stack of home living themed magazines are taken out from the Craftsman style built-in dinning room drawer. Victoria, Southern Lady, Southern Living, and Country Living are set beside the vintage rocking chair. This is supplemented with a local Whatz Up (Things to Do In Fort Wayne) weekly publication. These are read from cover to cover. The collection has been deliberately curated, safely away from mainstream news. I greatly encourage you to read physical printed magazines rather than their digital counterparts.

The Hourglass 

I turn the brass 30 minute hour glass over to pace my time. Sands passing through the hour glass sets the mood for a slower pace. After reading and sipping the dark blend on the vintage rocking chair I gaze out the window. A cheerful scene of birds inspire me. Berries that remain from the fall, hang on wintry branches, a treat for Robins, Bluejays, and Cardinals.  Perched they rest in contentment for a short break. They know of no troubles outside their domain habitat. They work and enjoy the daily pleasures of life.

You may also view my Morning Coffee Ritual companion video. 

What's your favorite daily ritual?

Rain

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Winter Homemaking

Article, YouTube Video and photography by Rain San Martin 

Holidays have often placed an artificial starting point for the seasons, appearing to truncate them. As soon as Christmas is over, retailers set out spring merchandise! Magazines feature an emphasis on the New Year, Valentine's Day, and spring cleaning. Yet why not focus on the season of winter which has only just begun? This is a time to embrace a quiet cozy season. We'll dive into how lights, natural rustic decor, seasonal treats, and old-fashioned letters, coupled with the practice of simplicity can bring wonderment to the season of winter. 

Winter Lights

Here in America most people take down their festive lights within a week or two after Christmas. Yet you need not celebrate Christmas to display cheerful lights. Because it is the darkest time of year, with the shortest days, there is no more relevant time to display warm outdoor and indoor lighting. Opt for classic white or pair with blue or green. Candles and oil lanterns can also be featured. A hurricane lantern may be placed on the front porch. Pillar candles on your mantle and fireplace. Votives sprinkled on table tops, grouped in a vignette with rustic decor. You may leave up your tree, removing the ornaments. Its gentle glow can brighten your spirit through January and February. 

Rustic Winter Decor

It took me years to develop an awareness of how to incorporate natural elements into our home's decor. As a society we have been conditioned to purchase everything from signs to faux flowers. I love these decorations as much as the next person! Yet gradually throughout the years I have learned how to take advantage of our natural surroundings to create charming seasonal decor, just as our ancestors did in centuries past. Pine cones can be gathered and grouped together in a bowl. Branches with wild berries may be arranged in a vase. Evergreens made into a wreath or draped on the mantle.  

Winter Treats and Cozy Dishes

Peppermint flavored everything is my go-to in the winter. Peppermint Bark and Mint Brownies are two invigorating treats I've made this winter. I also stock hot chocolate, mini candy canes, marshmallows, whipped cream, and sparkling sprinkles for hot chocolate on Sundays. 

One of the best ways to embrace the seasonal changes is to switch up your menu. Expect a bit of overlap. Both fall and winter have cozy vibes.  I keep homemade chili at the ready. Chicken and whole grain rice soup with homemade chicken broth is another wholesome favorite. Sweet potatoes are a staple. You'll always find a batch pre-cooked in our fridge. I like to crisp them up in the oven with olive or coconut oil and a side of roasted green beans with walnuts. Alternatively, for breakfast, I may have sweet potatoes with spinach, eggs, and cheddar. Though the months are chilly I highly recommend airing out your home a couple of times per day. Especially after cooking. The fresh air will make the home smell nice while providing fresh oxygen. 

 

Winter Stationary 

Rather than mail cards for a specific holiday I write long-form letters by hand.  I aim to write 1-2 per month.  Decorative winter-themed letter-head and matching envelopes can be obtained from an office supply store. You can also buy wintry blank cards, with pictures of snowscapes to be used all season long. Another option is to keep high quality blank letterhead paper with similar multi-purpose envelopes. These you can customize with hand-drawn snowflakes in corners, stamps, or stickers. I just ordered a collection of "Winter Scenes" forever stamps from USPS, and look forward to using these January and February. There's a snow owl, a barn, and a red Cardinal (our National bird in Indiana), among other serene snowy scenes. 

Sounds 

I use to take down our chimes during winter, yet now I keep them up year-round. On one of my evening brisk walks, I noticed the clanging metallic bars from neighboring homes. The ground was covered in snow creating a natural sound absorbent material.  Thereby making a unique mystical sound. I also leave sleigh-bells on our front and side door handles. A cheerful tone upon each entry and exit.  

You may also view the video on this topic on my YouTube channel.

Take your time and enjoy the Slow Winter. 

Rain ⛄


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

My Evening Routine - Fall-Winter 2020

 
Post, YouTube Audio Podcast, and Photo (self-portrait taken at Lindenwood Nature Preserve in Fort Wayne) by Rain San Martin
 
A productive Evening Routine involves a series of healthy rituals. Including habits that aid in simplicity of life, long term goals, fitness, preparation for the following morning, and peaceful relaxation. Though your evening routine may be far shorter than mine, I've included daily rituals from the late afternoon through bed-time.

4:00PM: Desk Work

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I check email, do paperwork, process bills, and do anything clerical related. Whether it's ordering gifts online or filling out a form. Considering these are my least favorite work activities, I find sticking to three set days per week greatly simplifies my life and minimizes stress.

5:00PM:  Passion Project Hour

Homemaking comes first! Yet I have ALWAYS fit in time for my Passion Projects (aka Creative Business Projects). This is the spice of my life. Which adds fuel to my homemaking motivation. The key here is that these projects are optional. During my evening session I do video editing for my YouTube channel, a companion to this blog site, related photography (which may also be posted on Instagram), or misc. passion project tasks.  Clearing out blocks of creative focus time helps to make progress on lifetime goals.  I aim to fit in 2-3 hours per day for this, 5-6 days per week. As the winter months progress, I often switch this evening time block with my Power-Walk block so that I can view the dusk and twilight. 
 
My first and most important Passion Project Hour is in the morning when I do my blog writing.  When time allows, I work on composing and recording music in the afternoon. My most recent album, Cemetery Closing Time, was creating during brief 1 hour time blocks, two to three days per week, over the course of multiple years. Please note, I am extremely careful of how I spend my time. I keep my schedule as clear as possible to allow for the most important routines and rituals in my life.  Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!

Below are affiliate links to items I use and love. This helps to support this site at no extra cost to you:

6:00PM: Small evening meal, evening power-walk, (work out with weights M/W/F), final straightening. 
 
Sitting on the front porch, I warm up with a small cup of home-made chili. Taking in the painted dusk-sky, in shades of gray. Melodious chimes in varied sizes and materials play atmospheric tones from house to house.  The evening power-walk is one of my most anticipated rituals, which I do on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. I grab my winter jacket, fluffy hat, scarf, and gloves. Then head out the door for my little adventure. All feels possible during the walk. I search for wintry holiday lights, which add wonderment during the darker months. My favorite decorations during this time of year are the eerie flickering (electric) candles placed in windows. According to legend, it is an old-fashioned tradition, from the old world. During colonial times, before the era of hotels, the candle was lite as a signal of hospitality to those passing through the town. Informing travelers that a safe room was available to stay in. 
 
7:30PM Prep for Bed.

This includes shower and healthy grooming rituals. Clothes are set out for the following day. And yes, this a wise FlyLady ritual! The days main events are written on the mini-chalk board after reviewing the calendar. My favorite calendar for years has been John Sloane's Country Seasons, which is filled with paintings of quaint life during the 1800s.

8:30PM Read in Bed


Another joy of my daily routine. I have a stack of books which I rotate through each evening. A couple of them include: Houdini!!!, The Career of Ehrich Weiss, and Lightning Man, The Accursed Life of Samuel F.B. Morse, both written by Kenneth Silverman.  I should also mention a couple of books that I've been tremendously enjoying during my breakfasts and lunches: In The Victorian Style by Randolph Delehanty and Richard Sexton, and Winter Living by Selina Lake. My goal is to have lights out by 9:30pm. 

May you enjoy creating an evening routine of your own! Note, you may also enjoy my YouTube Audio Podcast on this topic.

Rain

Monday, November 2, 2020

Halloween Treat Decorating Party

 

Post, YouTube Video, and Photos by Rain San Martin. *Photo's including Rain by Winter San Martin.

For many kids the most fun part of making treats is decorating them. I had hosted a few children's Halloween parties and thought a mini-decorating party could be a fun alternative.  Join me as I share my fun and simple steps.

The guests arrived in costume. Our son invited three buddies who were also brothers. They were dressed as Minecraft video game characters, with the youngest brother dressing as Hot-Rod from Transformers. Our daughter was Jack Skellington, her friend Red-Riding hood.

Below are affiliate links to items I use and love. This helps to support this site at no extra cost to you:

Here is a quick glance at the supplies I used, yet you can customize the list:

Rice Krispy Treats.

1 bag of large Pretzel Rods.

1 bag of Tiny Twists Pretzels from Meijer.

1 bag of Oreo's, any flavor you like. Halloween Oreo's with orange icing are a favorite for many. 

Chocolate candy coating as the base for decorating, which includes:

1 container of white chocolate candy coating. 

1 container of milk chocolate candy coating.  

Food coloring.

Coconut oil to smooth out melted chocolate. 

Decorative toppings, including:

A variety of Halloween sprinkles.

Candy eyes.

Cookie decorating icing in black and orange. 

Rice Krispy Treats. To prepare for the Mini Decorating Party I made a double batch of Rice Krispy Treats the previous day.  They were sliced into 2 x 2 squares and stored in an air-tight container. I followed the directions on the back of the cereal box and doubled the recipe. If you've never made them before, nothing is more simple: Butter and marshmallows melted in a pan, mixed into rice crispy cereal. 

Two bags of plain pretzels and pretzel sticks, along with a bag of Oreos were placed aside for decorating the next day.

I melted candy coating chocolate in a stainless-steel mixing bowl over a simmering pot of water. This is a nice alternative to a double boiler. Mixing regularly with a wooden spoon and a few tablespoons of coconut oil, creating a smooth consistency. I then poured the chocolate into two separate bowls, which I added pumpkin orange and monster green food coloring. Adding a touch of red with the orange for a deeper shade.    

Other toppings include:

A variety of Halloween sprinkles. I bought Wilton Halloween Ghost Mix, which was filled with orange and yellow jimmies, and tiny candy ghosts. 

Candy eyes. I bought a large package of Assorted Candy Eyeballs by Wilton, and was shocked at how fast the kids went through the box creating multi-eyed monsters. One Oreo creature had 10 eyes! I suggest setting out a limited amount of this product, so there will be more leftover for other days of spooky fun.

Cookie decorating icing in black and orange. 

Time to decorate!

The kids primarily made Monster Guys with the Rice Krispy Treat squares. Dipping them into green, orange, or chocolate brown candy coated chocolate. Topping them with Wilton candy eyes. Some characters were turned into larger creations entering pretzel sticks for edible arms and legs.

My decorating plate was primarily of small pretzels. I submerged them into the candy coated chocolate, then quickly poured a variety of sprinkles over the salty and sweet treat. These made for a wonderful treat later in the week. I love flipping through a festive Halloween treats and DIY book as I enjoy my chocolate Halloween pretzels!

My husband Sage even dropped in to make a few treats wearing his new Circus Ringmaster Jacket and Top-hat from Spirit Halloween.  Yet on Halloween night he pulled out all of the stops, putting on full makeup!

 

Thanks for joining me for this Halloween Treat Decorating Party. I hope you enjoy my video as well. As you can see this sort of gathering could work for many occasions. May you enjoy the rest of the autumn season! 🍂

Rain 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Halloween Homemaking


 
Article, photography, and YouTube Audio Podcast by Rain San Martin
 
The Halloween season is passionately my favorite time of the year, more so than the holiday itself.  For me October 31st, marks the end of the celebration. The grand finally. And it is the days throughout September and October that I cherish most. These are some of the reasons why: Cool autumn leaves in shades of yellow, orange, red, and brown. Front porches bedecked in pumpkins and mums. Spooky fun decor, with festive lights in orange, yellow, and purple. Inspired Instagram and Pinterest images by fellow content creators, sharing their whimsical treats and spaces. Opportunities to wear my "Boo" scarf with silly ghosts on my belt.

As a keeper of your abode, whether this is part-time or full-time, you can be the seasons Halloween entertainer. Even if you live alone. I'll share with you how I celebrate the entire season of Halloween and give you tips for creating your own fun. So put on your fall apron and lets get to work!

Below are affiliate links to items I use and love. This helps to support this site at no extra cost to you:

Plan and prepare: 

Check out a few Halloween treat and DIY books from you local library. You could also buy a new book for long term reference. My favorite author on the subject is Matthew Mead. Matthew Mead Halloween Tricks and Treats is a classic!

Decide when to decorate and pick a theme.

When the calendar flips to September, I put away the spring-summer decor and transition into the Fall and Halloween spirit. An annual trip to Michaels kicks off the season.

Our year-round Gothic decorations will stay in use however. Rather than changing my decor theme each year, I gravitate towards classics.  A Rustic Vintage Halloween theme has been my go-to style for years. Weaving autumn decorations with spooky whimsical pieces. I create simple vignettes. Few decorations are used as I enjoy a minimalist lifestyle.  I've selected two focal areas, the mantel and the front porch.   

 

The mantel.  

The first thing I took out this year was the brass candelabra. A staple for Victorian Spooky ambience. Last year I purchased a small gilded mirror from a historic neighborhood garage sale. This adds Victorian mystery to our mantle year-round. I DIYed my own spooky fabric making two shades.  Using painters cheesecloth I dipped the shear fabric in black tea bags for an aged cream shade, resembling moth-worn sheets. Next I soaked the left-over white fabric into black clothing dye, creating a gray spiderweb-like effect.  

 

My perched crow sculpture is from Michael's. The Fall Bucket List sign,  was joyfully discovered from Bloom'n Things (now located in Shipshewana, IN). Strung across the mantle is a fun Halloween banner which I created during a video tutorial. Here I cut out uniform (double backed) triangles on brown shipping paper. Next I pasted black card-stock as a back drop, painted on letters, then placed each triangle over the twine.

  
The porch.

The second area I spotlight is the front porch. I make sure to have sprayed off the deck, cleaned the windows, and overhanging near the end of the summer. This makes a clear slate for fall. On a wreath hanger I placed a Treat-Or-Treat sign. This paired well with the Vintage Inspired black cat and jack-o-lantern floor sign bought this year at Michaels. 

Fresh pumpkins are grouped on the porch. Strung orange lights are draped along the perimeter of the door using nails as a guide. Fiery candy corn yellow lights illuminate, just above the steps, creating a mini canopy. This glow greets me each evening I return from a power-walk adventure.   

Optional embellishments.

My husband Sage, and our son Orion made hand-drawn spooky silhouettes using black card stock and white paper. These are placed on windows.  Our kitchen perimeter has a layer of faux autumn leaves garland.  Another black raven is perched on the cabinet tops.


Treats.

Our family has treat-day twice per week. This is when I pull out pantry sweets, which were safely guarded throughout the week. Sometimes I prepare baked goods for the occasion until needed for treat-day. Our children love to help with baking. This season we prepared a double batch of cookie cutter dough, freezing half for another time. These were cut using Wilton Halloween Cookie Cutters in ghosts, pumpkins, and candy corns. To decorate I melted white chocolate candy coating and mixed in food coloring. Sprinkles, candy corns, and decorative icing were also used. 

Here are a few more ways I enjoy Halloween Homemaking, and so can you:

*Have a family pumpkin carving party.  Put on a spooky Halloween playlist.  I'm always curating mine each year. It has a mix of ambient eerie music paired with upbeat tracks.

*Set out a seasonal puzzle.  We cherish our All Hallows Eve puzzle by Dowdle! Our family loves working on this charming Halloween town puzzle every year. I get lost in the intricate details of trick-or- treaters, the pumpkin patch, Jack-o-lanterns, and more! 

*Make a couple of DIYs. The process can be restful, and you can enjoy your accomplishment in the upcoming years. 

*Host a mini-treat decorating party.  Have guests dress in costume.  Set out pre-made treats to decorate with melted chocolate, icing, and sprinkles.  You can do this alone too! Make yourself an autumn themed beverage and have a party for one. Why not? And no, you do not need to do a virtual Zoom meeting for this. Enjoy the peace of being unplugged.

Most of all keep things simple. Never commit to more than you absolutely feel comfortable with. Don't rush. Savor the moments of life.  

You can also listen to this Audio Podcast on my YouTube Channel.  

May you have a Slow Autumn and magical season!

Rain 🎃

The Practical "Unplugged" Vintage Lifestyle

Article and YouTube Video by Rain San Martin *Photo of Rain by Sage San Martin. Beyond reenactment, a vintage lifestyle...