A Seasonal Shift…

Several years ago, after a storm, as if Neptune or a mermaid had tossed a treasure of sand dollars on the shore, I found these on a walk. Sand Dollars in their natural hues- earth tones, amethyst, silvery too. Natural wonders found on seashores tend to be my favorites all year round. Still. I’d rather walk the beach in early Fall. It’s true. Shells. The colors….Grays, Vanilla, Sandstone, Peach Nougat and Greens are timeless colors, yet not always associated with Fall and Winter. This year they are! Even our seafood is at it’s best from September to April- Royal Red Shrimp achieves that fabulous color when brought up to the air from the depths of the sea. Succulent Oysters- leave behind color combinations in their shells that are amazing. Use those hues often this Fall and Winter. These along with Sand, Sea, Sky, Purples, Whites and Silvers are the tints to use when planning updates to home, wardrobe, branding, photo shoots and more.

Just think- *Use the Colors of the Shore, for a seasonal shift. Bits of gray stone, sweet gum balls, Loblolly Pine needles with a pop of autumn color are inspiring. Those were seen at Bon Secour Bay during November- a classic color combo. Now, really if you want to feast your eye on Autumn Color- all of the red and orange tones are in just one bowl of Seafood Gumbo! If it looks good in a bowl? Chance are- your designs will too! Don’t be afraid to blend reds and oranges.

Tone the rich bright colors down with grays, amber, vanilla and sand- that too is a winning combo. Now, you know we must have hot peppers to season our seafood- guess what? Those shades of Red, Samba, and radiant Orange are among this year’s color palette- especially autumn on into early winter. Bring them all together in a tweed and you’ll see all of the vibrancy of Fall.

If the sea and sky are the main stars of 2020? And soft whites, pearl grays and shifting sands are the supporting cast? Well then, these vibrant hues are the resounding accent notes! You’ll find them almost everywhere- from beds of Zinnias to turning leaves…farmers markets and vegetable gardens…the colors of a new season are all around you. These are the seasonal color shifts you need right now.

Choose which ones you love and add a bit of color bring the new seasonal color to all you do. Your online presence, your product pages, your online shops will look updated and your brand will be in tune and renewed.

Love y’all,, Brenda

Abundant Fall…

For the Beauty of the Earth… for Seedtime and Harvest…


for Fields and Farms…


for Vines and Orchards…


And for Those who heard and answered the Ancient Call- ‘Be Fruitful and Multiply’…we are grateful. To the Creator of All, for Your faithfulness to provide the Beautiful Abundance of Fall, we thank You.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day! Love y’all, Camellia

*all photographs are obviously mine

Early Fall Flavors…


In the South, we don’t get a nip in the air signaling Fall as other regions do- we see the signs of Early Fall by what is ripening– Figs, Pecans, Muscadines, Pears and Peanuts are just a few. Most Southern households of my youth kept Pickup Foods on hand for visitors or an afternoon snack- you know, just in case you feel your sugar drop or if you’re in a fog.  A Pound Cake, Fresh Fruit, Roasted Pecans,  Cheese Straws and perhaps a spicy snack like old fashioned Raisin Bars.  IMG_3350

With early Fall upon us, we don’t want the heavy flavors of Winter but we do enjoy a change of pace as long as we don’t have to heat up the kitchen too much! Raisin Bars or a variation is found in quite old cookbooks- they are not very sweet, easy to make and quick cleanup. The method for making our Raisin Bars is unique and lends itself to variations.

Camellia’s Cottage Raisin Bars

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift 2 cups of all purpose flour, 1 cup of sugar, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ground cloves and 1/2 tsp. of salt.
  • Combine 1 cup of dried raisins, 1 cup of water and 1 stick of butter in a saucepan on low heat until butter melts. Add 1 tsp. of vanilla.
  • Then add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, mixture will foam up.
  • Quickly stir flour mixture into warm butter/raisin mixture. It will be a ‘wet mix’ and not a stiff dough.
  • * If you use a large saucepan, these can be mixed in one pan!IMG_3147
  • Spread immediately onto a buttered parchment lined cookie sheet with a low rim. Spread as thin as possible.
  • *I used another piece of parchment to make sure the dough is pressed to the edges of the pan. Please make sure it is thin as the Raisin Bar Cookies will not be good if the dough is thick.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 22-25 minutes. Do not overbake.
  • Dust with powdered sugar, then cut into bars while they are warm. 

  • Raisin Bar Cookies are not very sweet and lend themselves well as a Cheese Board addition.
  • *Variations are numerous- these can be a ‘clean out the pantry’ bar cookie! Dried Cranberries and Walnuts instead of raisins is very good.
  • Or make the bar cookies without raisins, adding 1/4 tsp. of ground ginger, a fine grating of fresh nutmeg and 1/4 tsp. of finely ground black pepper to dry mixture. After the dough has been spread in the pan, sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the dough, and press in slightly before baking- this is an excellent combination! I am sure you can come up with even more additions!IMG_3360

Camellia’s Cottage Toasted Pecans literally take just minutes to make and if you don’t hide them they are gone in minutes.

  • Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a medium saucepan. Swirl 2 cups of pecan halves in melted butter. Spread evenly on a baking sheet. Bake in a 250 degree oven for 30 minutes. Salt to taste. *Watch carefully during roasting. Pecans will be darker when they are toasted, but certainly not burnt! *Store cooled roasted pecans in tins, jars or airtight container- IF there are any left!  IMG_3351

Pecans are literally eaten all over the world; yet by far, the Southern United States consumes more Pecans than any other region! In Alabama, from the Eastern shore of Mobile Bay toward Foley, there are old groves of Pecan Trees which are famous!IMG_3355

Figs were brought here by the Spaniards and while California is the largest producer. Spaniards helped settle the South, so we continue to be influenced by their food and flavors. Many old Southern Homestead Farms boast at least one Fig Tree; Celeste Fig Tree is an excellent and reliable variety that can be grown successfully in the South.  The farm my husband grew up on had a very prolific fig tree close to the house.  Southerners love fresh figs, dried figs and fig preserves- and fig leaves are so beautiful on food platters! One of my favorite Early Fall savory dishes is to nestle Figs, Sweet Onions and Apples around a Pork Roast. *Add garlic, apple cider, salt and pepper- this is a truly amazing main dish. The Flavors of Early Fall are in the air here at Camellia’s Cottage but we still want the Fresh Flavors of Summer. IMG_3356

The combination of Fresh Figs, Roasted Pecans, early Mandarins and cool Raisin Bars seems to be a perfect summer platter, along with a long tall glass of Lemonade, Iced Tea or even Wine, perhaps a cool Chicken Salad Sandwich or a bowl of Pimento Cheese and crackers- it’s a light refreshing Lunch or Supper of Early Fall Flavor!

Love y’all, Camellia

*We continue to pray for the wonderful Folks of lower Texas and along western portion of the Gulf Coast, this area and her people play a critical role in U.S. Oil and Gas production not to mention our beloved Texas Fruits and Nuts, Citrus, Gulf Seafood and more… please join us in sending good thoughts their way, and give to the American Red Cross and other recovery efforts if you can.


imageIn the South, Fall is usually the shortest season of the year. Summer starts cheerfully in May, then trudges until the end of October. The new magazines are Showoffs with Fat Pumpkins, artful pictures of Fall Fashion, even Autumn inspired Apple and Pumpkin Pies- to be honest, I never say Autumn and I’d take a Sweet Potato Pie over Pumpkin any day! The magazines show Fall Home Décor and  stunning photographs of Fall Foliage- it just galls me, here we sit sweltering in the heat! That glow Southern women are known for comes from the heat and humidity that stays with us almost all year round…By Fall? We pine for, we long for cool crisp air- we would dearly love to put on fall fashions, except you cannot go outside – you must be inside under the air conditioner to wear your cute sweater set and boots. The Weather Channel gets a huge Southern audience in the Fall for Hurricanes, First Frost Dates or Scorching Temperatures in the high 80’s. Folks just start runnin’ for the hills.  Honestly a Fall like this one is enough to make you willing to give up Iced Tea for one cool breeze! At SEC football games, it has been so hot the players had to have IV’s for dehydration! Alabama often has stunning Fall Color- that means the leaves have turned pretty colors, just not here, this year.  This Fall is one of those curl up and die years; giving us the sense that the yard is saying –‘Ok, ya’ll,  I give up, I’ve had it with this heat, I’m taking a nap.’  I got up my courage, and decided in the last few days to root around and see what I could find in the Yard and the store that said- Fall.


I found Green Figs that are still ripening, my second crop of Arugula and believe it or not  heat resistant Tomato vines have some tiny green ones growing- even though deer had a snack on the top leaves, we’re still picking Jalapenos, they’re hot too. A few Zinnias are getting the last word with Green Envy®. I have begun to get out a few Fall decorations like the Cotton Wreath and the little carved wood leaf man, which was a sweet gift from a dear friend…

Braving the heat, those sweet Dogwoods have fat Red Berries with crumpled brown and yellow leaves sidled up to a few cheerfully green but limp leaves. I love to find Pinecones which are dropping in disgust now. At the grocery store, there was a happy looking bin of Tiny Pumpkins and Apples which survived the trip over to Alabama. We have  Beekeepers and even more Pecan Growers-…listen, we don’t say Pee-Can…that’s something Yankees came up with- we say Pa-cahns.  The abandoned Hat Nest looked sweet on a bench. Hydrangeas, enough to fill more than two large galvanized tubs- are drying inside now. The much aligned Golden Rod is shyly showing up. Our ‘Mums for Music’ are popping open their Red Blooms in perfect harmony.


Right here in the Yard at Camellia’s Cottage- (we don’t say lawn in the South- it’s yard, front or back) there are subtle signs that Fall is here… All in all, I felt a bit better about our no-show curl up and die Fall when I put together all I had found…I’d love to hear what’s going on in your yard…and how you’re celebrating Fall! Meanwhile, I’ll sip some iced tea and keep up under the air conditioning! Oh me…

Love y’all, Camellia

*Eden Elementary is a local school which raises funds for their Music Program by selling wonderful Mums in the Fall and Ferns in the Spring- we love supporting music programs for children!