Even California Decorates For The Seasons, Or, Saturday Morning at 9:22am

I woke up early this morning, as usual. Today was darker than yesterday. Not just the infinitesimal shortening of winter daylight – our rain has arrived.

The San Francisco Bay Area has a “summer dry” climate. Everything browns from June to October. Sometimes we have long, long droughts, but in a normal year, rain falls off and on from December through April. This is our winter, our green time.

So in California, we grow and cocoon at the same time. Huh. I think that’s something I will need to consider, now that I’ve said it. It’s like we run to ground in our houses, but the natural world flourishes on its own. Or something? Who knows?

In any case, my seasonal decor revolves around sofas. Come winter, I change out the throw blankets, from sky blue to tobacco. And I think about changing out the pillow covers, from Marimekko blue and green to something brown and smokey.

This morning, when I woke up in the dark, I remembered I hadn’t picked up yesterday’s mail. Our mail slot opens into our garage, no mailbox in the snow, just a tiptoe across an oil-stained cement floor, California rain splattering the shake roof.

There I found the Samuel Scheuer catalog. Do you remember, they sponsored a giveaway for us last year? The holiday hand towels? I’ll be bringing mine out in December, I imagine. For now,  look at those baby alpaca throw blankets up top. All the colors of all the seasons. For your winter, red? Must be what, six different shades? (I know, expensive. We can just look.)

Or these pillows, woven linen from Libeco? I’d have to see them in real life; it’s all about texture.

California’s version of holiday tartan, I suppose. If cold places wrap up in green and red, reminders of berries and dark leaves under the snow, maybe we do earth tones. Burn sweetgrass candles, remember sun on the hills, thank every spirit we can for the rain.

I like to think about furnishing my house for winter, about wrapping up in blankets and napkins and tablecloths, even if just imaginarily on a rainy morning. Imaginarily, is that a word?

Have a wonderful weekend.

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  • How interesting-I didn’t know anything about SF Bay Area climate and seasons-I ‘ve imagined something completely different.
    I think ,I would like it,rain instead of snow
    We are quite predictable here-red,green,gold….or some silver with white
    But,can’t think about it so early (and surrounded with red,red,red velvet in Vienna)
    Those throws,,,,,gorgeous!

    9:08 am
    Lisa said...

    @dottoressa, Vienna in red velvet. That’s a whole novel right there. I think you would like it here. If you ever find a way to make the trip, I will so gladly dedicate some days to showing you around.

  • I love the throws too and the sound of changing out for autumn. Here in London the weather turned today suddenly from sunny and golden to rainy and grey. I love snippets of life in California, my favourite USA state. I’m preparing myself for Christmas, dreamt of it last night, decorations, food and people. I turned 60 this year and now I want to make the most of every season and year event. Please keep on posting Lisa, I love your Saturday thoughts and intimations of life from far away. XXX

    9:10 am
    Lisa said...

    @DaphneJonquil, I am so happy to share snippets of California, and quite pleased we’re your favorite;). And I’m glad these Saturday postings are working out, I think I’m gradually finding my rhythm.

  • Portland Oregonian here. Weather is rainy and dismal. I am thinking about replacing gray curtains with something cheerful. Maybe a shade of yellow to allow light and your idea of tobacco and green pillows/throws.

    9:13 am
    Lisa said...

    @StellaA, I could imagine that in the Pacific Northwest you might want something warming and light to take you through your rains. It sounds beautiful from here.

  • I for one am sooooo ready for daylight savings to be over. I hate that it doesn’t get light in San Francisco until well after 7:00! Of course, I don’t love the dark at 5:00 part of the equation, but somehow the dark mornings seem more of a burden to me.

    I love the colors of the blankets – very tempting. I got one of those from One Kings Lane several years ago for less than half the price of “standard retail price” – you might keep an eye out for them in case them they come back. Have you ever been to the Golightly Cashmere website? They have lovely ponchos that are extremely cozy – great for travel, but also very nice for sitting around the house on a chilly evening.

    9:16 am
    Lisa said...

    @Kate, No, Golightly is new to me! I got my light sky blue throw from One King’s Lane, but it’s not alpaca, and I suspect will not be as durable as a result. I too am so glad to see the back of DST. I suspect we morning sorts all over the country feel the same:).

  • Pretty mild here in MA, actually 70’s. Amazing for November. Sunshine has been great. Our leaves have pretty much fallen. The season has changed but the warmth continues. Last couple of winters we had very little snow. Love your throws. Vibrant colors lift the spirit when darkness of winter surrounds us.

    9:20 am
    Lisa said...

    @Susan, “Vibrant colors lift the spirit when darkness of winter surrounds us.” Physical and metaphorical, both. xoxo.

  • As a New Englander I was so taken by Bay Area weather when I went to college there. First came months of perfect weather – sunny, warm but not hot, and low humidity with cool evenings (the sort of rare days that cause people in other places to play hooky and go on picnics.) Every single day…

    Then in late fall it started really raining. I had to bicycle around a big campus and I recall my pants steaming in class. Ha Ha. But what a payoff! Those rolling grassy hills turned the most gorgeous green! And there were astounding tree-sized fuschias and camellias blooming on campus in the depth of winter! I also loved that you could just drive a few hours to the Sierras if you want some winter snow – and then come home. What a climate!

    The Bay Area is also where I first saw and adopted cyclamen as Christmas flowers – common everywhere now, but not 30 or 40 years ago.

    9:21 am
    Lisa said...

    @Wendy, Oh my gosh I love your stories! The steaming pants, ha! Thank you for showing my home through new eyes, and so eloquently.

  • I just fell in love with one of the more recent Marimekko prints, Letto. Depicts autumn at a Finnish swamp… I find the colour combination to be very soothing and enticing, although I normally stay away from all things brown.

    A couple of years back I spent a lot of my time in your neighbourhood – basically spent all of my holidays there (I think I even attended a very noisy and joyful Easter Egg event in a park quite close to you).
    I really miss the Bay Area hills… the sky and the smells… and the bright orange poppies.
    The colour scheme is very different here in Finland.

    5:10 am
    KSL said...

    That’s a beautiful Marimekko print!

    9:27 am
    Lisa said...

    @Tiia, That print is quite beautiful. I got my pillow covers on Etsy, as it happens, here. https://www.etsy.com/people/mummiquilts. She specializes in Marimekko prints. We had a bit of a issue – the covers were 1 inch smaller than advertised, so the cushions are QUITE firm, but I liked the print so much I kept them and just deal.

    And an Easter egg event? You were here? Was it in Burgess Park perhaps? They do have one every year, and yes, it’s lovely and noisy.

    I too love the smells of our hills. The burnt grass, the creosote plants. I’d love to see Finland some day.

  • You’ve got me wondering if there’s anything I could do to sort of change my house around for the seasons – right now it’s pretty seasonless, but I do feel it looks better when it’s not summer…

    Gorgeous throws, which can also be used for wraps.

    9:31 am
    Lisa said...

    @KSL, True, could also be big wraps. And I never even considered changing my house when I was working, way too far down the list of priorities. But now that I am writing in my living room, these small things have a much bigger impact. With your color sense I imagine you could do something spectacular with these, if you decided it was worth the trouble.

  • Just bought a new sofa for the den, swapping out brown for a beautiful shade of blue, so now I have to rethink the colors a bit. I love those Marimekko prints and the new sofa is a mid-century modern look, so I am going to have to consider Marimekko pillows. I can remember wearing Marimekko in the 70s. So nice to see it come back. Thank you for the heads up on the weather. Love reading your Saturday morning posts!

    9:35 am
    Lisa said...

    @Jane, I too enjoy seeing Marimekko come back, especially as they’ve never deviated from their aesthetic to follow simple fashion.

    Glad these Saturday posts are working for you, I feel more and more comfortable with this schedule/practice.

  • Down here in Southern California things are a bit different because our winters are not as cold and foggy as in the Bay Area. Hot or cold, where I live amid rolling hills of orange and avocado groves, we have pure golden sunshine most of the year.

    Therefore, my color scheme all year is ivory, gold, mossy-ferny green with touches of black. In the fall I can add terra cotta and rust which play nicely with the gold and green. At Christmas I swap out the terra cotta and rust for splashes of red and maybe a bit more gold to enliven the dark winter evenings. When spring comes, violet and very soft light olive are the accent colors.

    HINT: Everything works with green! And, the house and gardens have “Vanishing thresholds” (a Tara Dillard thing). I don’t have time for major redecorating for the seasons so a few carefully placed pillows and seasonal flowers do the trick.

    9:37 am
    Lisa said...

    @Carol, I love the thought of violet in this. I too have a “vanishing threshold.” In fact, almost an invisible one, as we’ve floor to ceiling windows all along one wall of the living room. So, like you, I have to be aware of the relationship to green – and since the tree fell down – the color of the sky,

  • Winnipeg, Canada…snow bouncing white light into the house.

    9:37 am
    Lisa said...

    @Georgia, Sigh. Sounds so lovely and so exotic.

  • Marimekko prints are always a cheerful choice…and greening up outdoors must be refreshing…a change even though it is not snow, is invigorating.

    We had snow after a blissful week of sunshine at the cottage…
    I do not change much of our decor for the seasons…only a few accents like the white mini pumpkins on a tray with candles in our dining room…in summer fresh roses from the garden and always there are orchids.
    The dust bunnies are chasing each other around on the wood floors right now as the furnace is going full tilt to keep us from freezing with the nasty Arctic Front on our doorstep!

    9:39 am
    Lisa said...

    @Bungalow Hostess, Oh boy winters like that feel so, as I said above, exotic to me! And the greening is refreshing, it gives us hope just as we start to shiver! Hope things warm up in your neck of the woods soon, I cannot imagine that your beautiful cottage is really anything like covered in dust bunnies;).

  • As the lucky winner of the hand towel giveaway I can attest that the quality of the towels and embroidery was excellent, so I would expect the throws to be wonderfully luxurious. I’m busily trying to justify getting one by thinking about how low the cost is after amortizing it over many years, and how much pleasure we’d get out of something so cozy.

    9:43 am
    Lisa said...

    @MJ, I remember you won. So glad you’ve enjoyed them. In terms of cost of every day items, I’m finding more and more that my real aesthetic pleasures do come from things like throws and kitchen counters. The fancy stuff I’m content to reuse year to year. The daily stuff, I’m wiling to spend when I find that thing of real beauty.

    I mean, within limits;).

  • I am not a fan of winter (we live where it snows and gets very cold), but I do like the shorter days for one reason: I don’t feel guilty for spending all day in bed with a book if it’s crummy weather outdoors.

    Our winters are so bad that I feel obligated to take advantage of the nice weather in the summer, even though I want to stay in bed and read in the summer, too.

    PS I love the Marimekko pillows. We have Marimekko sheets for the summer. It’s almost time to change to flannel. :(

    10:18 am
    Lisa said...

    @the gold digger, I think that was the hardest thing for me about living back East, the sense of obligation to take advantage of nice weather. In California, as you know, the nice days are so frequent one can mope about as much as one pleases never mind the weather;). And Marimekko ought to make flannel, those Finns need their warmth!

  • It’s raining here too. And very bare and brown, now that most of the leaves have fallen. Still when the sun comes out it makes the orange and red leaves still clinging to the branches look amazing. I love this kind of weather for wood fires and reading and tramping through the woods looking for Christmas trees. But in a few weeks, I’ll be whiny if we don’t get some darned snow!

    10:20 am
    Lisa said...

    @Sue Burpee, I will cross my fingers for your snow. Funny how our climates become so ingrained in our beings, almost like an addiction.

  • Thank you very much,you’re so kind :-)
    It would be a pleasure-who could know what the future brings :-)

    10:24 am
    Lisa said...

    @dottoressa, :)

  • Lovely, poetical description of the Bay Area seasons, and the throws are gorgeous. I’m dreaming of cooler days in Austin. Wednesday could front, I hear, so those throws would do nicely.

    10:25 am
    Lisa said...

    @Deana, Thank you. And I hope you’re getting some cooler weather – Texans deserve winters too if they want them!

  • Lisa, I love this time of year. It’s my favorite with fires and leaves and all the beautiful colors. It’s really something to behold! Today I was outside all day and marveled at the puffy clouds, which is rare here too. I don’t know that catalog, but will look for it. I just bought from two nice places for new bedding that I never did before- Pine Cone Hill for a new duvet and cover and Snowe for sheets. So far I am loving them. Did you do RewardStyle before? I am, but don’t do it enough. They want more and that is not me. So who knows I may do the same as you. Enjoy your week! Kim

    10:26 am
    Lisa said...

    @kim, I did RewardStyle for a while, but didn’t care for them. I switched to ShopStyle, HIGHLY recommended. But the work of links etc. eventually took too much time away from my long form project, or at least too much attention, so I’ve stopped.

    I’d not heard of Snowe, so thanks for the recommendation!

  • The time change has been playing with my sleep pattern!I have NEVER had that problem before………anyhow YES up in the dark 4 am.
    I was day dreaming about TABLECLOTHS and settings YESTERDAY!!!God knows I have enough NAPKINS!
    ITS BEEN COLD TOO…………….not that is a bad thing my BODY just wants to stay wrapped up!

    10:28 am
    Lisa said...

    @LA CONTESSA, I bet your Thanksgiving will be GORGEOUS! And I hope the piggy enjoys:).