fall decorating ideas for the kitchen

Umm…just in case you were wondering….I’m a little impulsive.

Are you surprised?

I’m always leaping before I look.

And begging forgiveness instead of asking permission.

And prying my foot out of my mouth.



Like when I randomly decided to sing in front of the crowd at the Arkansas Jamboree….or when I knocked my husband over as I rushed out of the stands at boot camp graduation.


Plenty of good times with me and my impetuous self.

But nothing….nothing tops the story I posted last year about when my garden club met my roast.

I hope you enjoy just as much the second time around. 🙂


The Talk of the County

Can we still be friends if I tell you I’ve never made a roast?


I’ve lived in this kitchen for four years and many other kitchens before that…..and none of them had ever seen a roast.

Until recently.

I’m not sure what started it.  Maybe one too many nights of gas station pizza or macaroni and cheese or hot dog pot pie.  Maybe I was inspired by Southern Living or those delicious pictures on Foodgawker or maybe I’ve always wanted to apply to be a contestant on the Next Food Network Star.

Whatever it was….whatever the reason…..I decided that the day had come…..

…..for my kitchen to meet its first roast.


So I began my roast making journey where all people head when they want to buy a cut of meat or paint a room or buy a garden hose or purchase a new set of all-weather tires.

I went to the mecca for all things roast related.


And there my journey almost ended.

I stood staring at the Wal-Mart meat counter in absolute consternation.  The roast selection was overwhelming.  There were chuck roasts and round roasts and rib roasts and rump roasts.

It was too much.

Almost overwhelming.

I’m just a simple hot-dog pot pie girl…..trying to make dinner for my family.

A random Wal-Mart customer voted “most likely to cook a roast” saved the day and came to my aid.  She was wonderful.  She not only picked out a roast for me….she walked me over to the baby carrots and the onion soup mix and gave me specific instructions that included a crock pot and water and potatoes and sent me on my way.


And so I brought my roast and my onion soup mix and my baby carrots…..here.

Home to the kitchen that had never seen a roast before.

I faithfully followed the Wal-Mart roast guru’s instructions to the letter.

Then I turned the crock pot on and waited.

And waited.

I was so excited.  Every now and then I would open up the lid and the water would bubble and the carrots would steam and the most delicious smells would waft out into the kitchen.

It was amazing.


After 5 hours of crock pot cooking…..I opened the lid and peered inside to see if it was done.

It didn’t look done.

It looked pink.


Was pink good?

Was it cooked?

Was it done?

I was stymied and stifled and confused and clueless.

And left with the question:  “How is a person with absolutely no roast experience expected to tell if a roast is done?


So of course I did what anyone would do when faced with a cooking dilemma.  I did what anyone would do with a possibly under cooked roast.

I placed it on a plate and covered it with foil and drove it to…..

…..gardening club.


I said it.

Gardening club.

Here’s where the whole leaping before I look comes in.

I’m not sure it was the brightest of ideas.

And maybe not my finest hour.

I’m not really sure why I thought the garden club members would have the answers.  I don’t even know why I even thought that driving a roast to garden club would be a good idea.  I just knew that I knew there were people at garden club.  People who pruned hydrangea and grew azaleas and cross-pollinated day lilies and who I was pretty sure had a least once in their lifetimes……

…..cooked a roast.


And so my roast and I hightailed it to gardening club.

I walked in late to the meeting….harried and windblown and disjointedly lugging my foil-covered roast.

I sat down gingerly at the table and waited.

I waited for a lull in conversation and then I quickly raised my hand.

Nervously I cleared my throat.

“Ummmm……excuse me.   I am really excited about making a container garden and all that and I can’t wait to learn all about it…

…..but I really need your help.”

Nonchalantly….I slowly removed the foil from the plate and pointed to the large hunk of meat with a random piece of carrot still clinging to it.

Silence and blank stares met my gesture.

You could have heard a pin drop in the room.


What had seemed like the most brilliant of plans back in my kitchen was sinking like the Titanic.

I braced myself and continued, “Can….can….umm….can you all tell me if this roast is done?”

No one spoke.  

They just stared at me in disbelief.

As if the mere act of bringing a roast to garden club defied all reasonable thought and explanation.

As if this was going to be the talk of the county on Monday.

And then from the back of the room I heard a voice.

At last….I thought…..finally…..someone is going to help.

Some one would guide me and explain the unknown mysteries of the intricate task of cooking a roast until it was done.


Expectantly I turned to the elderly lady in the back of the room as she spoke again.

“How nice of you to bring a roast” she said with a sigh and an air of resignation.

“But dear…..cooking class is the next week.”  🙂

My kitchen never saw that roast again.

It never even made it out of garden club.

We snacked on the well-done roast as we discussed our container gardens.

And then I left with my empty plate….

….and stopped for gas station pizza on the way home. 🙂


PS  Nothing really has changed since last year.

I’m still not really making any roasts.

We still like macaroni and cheese.

But on the bright side….I’ve been busy making plenty of dried hydrangea wreaths to decorate for fall. 🙂


Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for prince snow farm prince snow farm

    I LOVE this story KariAnne. I am finally confident cooking these types of things! You need to roast a chicken with carrots and potatoes and rosemary. It is VERY easy, promise, and makes your house smell like fall should. I'll make a deal....I'll come there and do some gardening and cooking....you come here and do some decorating. After a week or 2 we trade back. Oh we may have a reality show here!

  2. Image for melissa @ DaisyMaeBelle melissa @ DaisyMaeBelle

    Oh who I wish I could have been at that garden club meeting! I so would have been there! How charming...a gardening club in a small town in Kentucky!? That sounds too ideal :) And, I would have told you if the roast was done! Life to the full! Melissa

  3. Image for Roberta Roberta

    Even your "oops" are inspiring...sitting here in my kitchen,as the sun comes up,with my special mix of "arthritis" tea...I am laughing out loud at your candor...and completely forgot about the horrible pain in my knee.Seems I ripped something yesterday at what will no doubt go down in history as the best wedding we ever attended...we danced so much I tore something in my knee and can barely put pressure on it....but thanks to your adorable attempt at creating the perfect roast...I am remembering my first Thanksgiving turkey...the one I left all the gizzards in, because nobody told me otherwise...and my family graciously ignored my blunder, proclaiming it the best bird they ever ate! I wish I could hug you for constantly enriching my life on soooo many levels...now that I have found you....I cherish your imput....keep 'em comin'.

  4. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    Ah, Miz karianne.......this was my first go-around with your roast story. My goodness, throughout the entire recounting I couldn't settle down. I bounced from, "Seriously?", to "Oh my GOODNESS!", and an occasional "Oh no you didn't...." LOL, I was relieved for you at the out come.....my first laugh for the day! Thank you, again, for your delightfulness and willingness to share it! PS I would encourage you to have a great day, but I know you're going to anyway! I mean, why would this day be different from any other of your days?! TTFN

  5. Image for Amber @ Black Rooster Cottage Amber @ Black Rooster Cottage

    Those darn crockpots! Haha! I have an admission: I never knew why you kept talking about gas station pizza because on the West Coast, I'd never seen one. Now upon moving to Alabama, I know EXACTLY what you're talking about and I have been known to pick up a "Bros." pizza on late Volleyball nights. ;) Have an awesome Monday KariAnne!

  6. Image for Christine Christine

    You cooked a roast perfectly! I cook roast once a week....for 20 years....ok, almost every week. Don't second guess yourself, you cooked it just as I do all the time. Another little tip....leftover crock pot roast...(just the way you cooked it) ..makes great Stew OR.... Beef stroganoff.....and they're both so easy it's criminal, I swear!!! and if I'm lying you have my FULL permission to use my full name and picture on your blog to call me out on it :-) If you want the recipes I can email them or blog about it and I'll give you my number as back up.....but trust me when I say you cooked it perfectly! a hunk of meat that size is usually going to end up pink inside but cooked. (You can always cut it into smaller serving pieces and cook it to get rid of the pink if you're not a pink eating meat person...my hubs like well done to the flip flop stage)

  7. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    This is one of my favorite Karianne stories! Just as good the second time around! I am anxious to see those wreaths though! ;)

  8. Image for Sandra Sandra

    I just want to say that that kitchen is AMAHHHHHZING. The colors and texture blend: NAILED it. Thanks for sharing the story too:) Always need a little pick me up on a Monday morning in chilly NY.

  9. Image for Gee Gee

    Made me giggle all over again. Luv the story... and I luv the fall additions to the kitchen. My nemesis is the meat loaf. Yes, the all American staple... shhhh. don't tell. Happy new week!!

  10. Image for Christina from Dallas Christina from Dallas

    Well the question remains, did you cook it correctly or not? Was it done or not? I gotta know so I can cook one too!

  11. Image for Nancy Carr Nancy Carr

    You are a joy! Love everything you do including your roast story. Cooking in a crock pot is really easy and I encourage you to do it again with beef, pork, chicken and more. Blessings

  12. Image for jordan jordan

    Ok, seriously...you HAVE to make this roast. As in, go to the store TODAY its that good. https://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2012/02/slow-cooker-three-envelope-pot-roast.html You literally dump it all in..put in on Hawaiian rolls with a slice of swiss (we don't use the horseradish sauce) and there are leftover to put over rice the next day (if the leftovers make it!). You will die at the goodness. Seriously. I think my husband about passes out when he walks in the door and smells it. SO GOOD! Slice up some potatoes real thin, brush on a little melted butter and sprinkle with season all at 350 for 20 or so minutes and you will have a HAPPY fam!!

  13. Image for Khadija Khadija

    Oh no! Well, they must have liked the roast, otherwise they would not have eaten it! Make a smaller one next time. Watch a Julia Childs video on youtube about how to make it. :) She's the best cooking teacher ever!

  14. Image for Jona@bohowillow Jona@bohowillow

    Love this! I have tons of different ways I cook roasts, depending on if we want super tender fall apart results, or slice and cut - or garlic, onion, or horseradish. Hit me up next time you decide to go for it!

  15. Image for Teri Teri

    LOL Come on down to TN and we'll have a southern cooking weekend! Pot roast, fried chicken, smothered pork chops... with all the trimmings. Easy, easy stuff once you do it once.

  16. Image for Angela Angela

    I just love you!!! I do a lot of thinking before speaking or anything for that matter. SOMETIMES it works out great and others...well you know! ;) Hugs, Angela

  17. Image for GinaE GinaE

    The secret to cooking a pot roast is the LONGER you cook it the better. I don't think your roast was done at all. Mine were always tough until I figured this out. You can tell when it's done, when it practically falls apart. Chickens, in the crock pot or roasted in the oven are a staple in my house. Just email me anytime, and I'll help you.

  18. Image for Regina Regina

    You have to try it again - it's the easiest impressive meal you can make. :) And in the crock pot, you CAN'T BURN IT! :) That's my favorite part . . . . Love this story - and I agree with one of the previous posts - they must have liked it to clean it up! LOL Have a wonderful Monday!

  19. Image for Jill Jill

    Dear Fellow Leaper, You crack me up! Thanks for making me laugh at lunch as I admired your beautiful kitchen! HiHo! Hi Ho! Off to paint I go! Thanks for making it a Happy Monday!

  20. Image for Susan Susan

    Your blog is one of the most beautiful blogs I visit, but let me tell you another thing...It's THE FUNNIEST!! You should, and I say this with a completely straight face, WRITE A BOOK!!! Every, single time I read your stories I think I'm reading a wonderful story not unlike the wonderful stories of Lewis Grizzard. Seriously, I'll say it again...well, you get my drift.

  21. Image for Carol Carol

    I wish you would tell about some of your decorating instead of just showing pictures. I would love to know about the recipe at the back of the plate race and the stencil on the able top how you did it etc? I love stories but you have to much decorating talent not to share that, instead of just writing short stories.

    1. Image for Thistle Thistle

      Carol, Thanks so much! I get sidetracked by the stories sometimes. Here's the link on how I made the plate rack you were talking about: https://thistlewoodfarms.com/built-in-plate-rack. And here's the link to the how-to on the recipe wall: https://thistlewoodfarms.com/not-a-level-in-sight Happy day friend! karianne

  22. Image for Donna Donna

    OMgoodness... I am sitting here with tears rolling down my face and laughing my head off... You weird, wonderful lady! I love your stories so much! Just had to say! Xx

  23. Image for Karen Karen

    I tried to make my first roast in one of those cooking bags. I put the roast, potatoes and carrots with some of that onion soup mix in the bag but... forgot to poke air holes in the bag. It was sooooo dry! I wanted to cry from embarrassment. My mother-in-law, whom was a fantastic cook, reassured be that she too had a few mishaps when she first started cooking. My mom made the best tasting, most tender roast beef I have ever had. I will miss my sweet beautiful mom and all of her wonderful meals. She died unexpectedly last week, today was her funeral. It is still hard to believe :0(.

  24. Image for katie clooney katie clooney

    What a riot!! You may not know how to cook a roast but did you tell your garden club members that you have an incredibly successful blog that inspires people as well as makes them laugh? Sad to tell you that we are moving from Mckinney to Boston. Haven't put the house on the market so hopefully I will be here to hear your speech and meet you. Also... can you let me know when our appt. is in Sept. ?

  25. Image for Betty Marshall Betty Marshall

    Dear KariAnne, I love visiting your place (the website). I am joining the others encouraging you to cook for your wonderful family. You are too creative not to be able to cook. A slow cooker is so helpful when you are a Mom. You can do it. Keep up the good ideas, BUT don't let the blogging take the place of your family. Betty

  26. Image for Vickie Vickie

    Next time, just Google it! I love a gal who doesn't know her way around the kitchen (except when it comes to decorating)! Last Thanksgiving I cooked my very first turkey. Yes, my 2 married daughters and I printed the Google directions, "Turkeys for Dummies" and made the most delicious (and only) turkey in the history of my kitchen. Good thing my mother brought the stuffing. And the gravy. :) story. It could have taken place in our small town. hehehe

  27. Image for mary mary

    Thank you! I look at your wonderful home. Immaculate, beautiful, calm, in a word perfect. I envy; the green eyed monster presents itself and then leaves just a sense of inadequacy in its wake. Then you remind me. I may chase after the messed of three dogs, struggle living on a budget, constantly clean and still find dust but darn it, I can make a heck of roast! I really enjoy your blog! Thanks for your humor and reminding me to keep mine!-Mary

  28. Image for Heidi Heidi

    Now THAT was a good story! Loved it! I hadn't discovered your site the first time you wrote it, so this one my first encounter with the roast story. You know, Karianne, you kind of remind me of myself. (An older you, but albeit, a version of you.) At 58, I have never tried cooking a roast, a fish or a fowl. I can play a heck of a Chopin Etude, but cook? Not so much. The conclusion of MY story, however, is that my husband became a fabulous cook. He was hungry. My children were hungry. I was hungry. So now we all eat lovely meals and after the dishes are done, I serenade the love of my life with Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven and more! Sometimes, the serendipity of life is just too wonderful for words.

  29. Image for Kathy Kathy

    Oh, my dear - I could just hug you right now! I just made a roast for sunday - in the crock pot - I think we need an S.O.S. alert in blogland! This was such a wonderful story - I'm sure the garden club enjoyed it :) Here's how I made mine - if you care to venture down this road again - large chuck roast - 1 envelope Lipton onion soup mix-1 can beefy mushroom soup - 1/2 lb baby carrots - 4 to 5 baking potatoes, washed cut in 1/2 and then each 1/2 into thirds. 2 onions peeled and sliced - 1/2 can of water (from the soup). Place roast on bottom of crock pot - layer with slices of one onion. Sprinkle over lipton soup mix. Top with carrots and potatoes and slices of remaining onion - pour over beefy mushroom and then water. Cover and set crock pot on high. I did mine at about 9 am and by the time we returned from church at about 2 it was done. Hugs from Georgia! Kathy

  30. Image for kelley @ Miss Information kelley @ Miss Information

    There is hope, I blog food and my dad likes to tell the story about how I called crying in college because I burnt my pop tarts! Next year at Haven you just need to come stay at my house a few days after and I will give you some cooking lessons!

  31. Image for Debbiecz Debbiecz

    Oh my,I don't know if I should laugh or cry. So I did both. My 17 yr old daughter just walked in, took one look at me and asked if I was ok, had I been crying? Yes I replied. I've been reading a blog, about a roast, at garden club. Oh Lordy, she replied. Our club has a cooking demonstration coming up. maybe I'll bring a roast.

  32. Image for Lisa Lisa

    I just sat here rolling laughing as I read this story!!! You are hilarious! I also laughed because I am not much of a roast "cooker" either. I have been known to call my dad, sister, best friend.... ANYONE while I am at the meat counter at Walmart. Because, to me honest, like you, I am CLUELESS when it comes to roast. I have recently put a note in my phone that lists which cut of meat I am suppose to buy! I mean, really?? How can it be that difficult? Thanks so much for making my Monday night brighter!! You are a hoot!!! Of course, I am kind of interested in the - I think you called it "hot dog casserole"!!! :-))) Lisa

  33. Image for Susan Susan

    OMG!!! I am in my bed reading this and I am laughing my head off! You are hilarious! This just ended my day with a good laugh! Love your stories!

  34. Image for Christine Christine

    Oh Karianne! hahaha! Roasts in the crock pot are the easiest thing on earth to cook. Just plop it in with a can of cream of mushroom soup and a dry pkg of onion soup with carrots, onions and potatoes the red or yellow kind you dont have even peel them. Put the lid on and let her cook! The house will smell so good!

  35. Image for Diana W. Diana W.

    Bless Your Heart! I feel for you! I have a pound cake recipe that is requested at every family gathering and any potluck I ever attend. I have made this cake for over 20 years and it is Fabulous! The rest of the story? My husband and I dated three years and January will be three years married and NO pound cake I have EVER made specifically for him has turned out. I can make them for ANYONE else. Anyone but the love of my life. For him they are burned, undercooked, mealy..... something gross Every. Single. Time. Don't despair My Sweet! Go to my Pinterest page : https://pinterest.com/divadee113/cook-it-real-slow/ This is my Crockpot recipe board and there are some great and wonderful recipes there. I adore crock pot cooking and it is pretty much failsafe. If you cook it for the length of time stated, it will be ready. Done and Done! Can't wait to hear about your next attempt, and thanks for the chuckle !

  36. Image for Mike (CraftyDad) Mike (CraftyDad)

    Love your funny story (as always!) Hey, if roasts aren't your thing, then don't worry about it. Mac and cheese is one of my faves -- I'd eat that stuff every day. No issues there. Sorry, but I'm not sure what hot dog pie is all about. However...I have a great family-friendly recipe for Hot Dog Stew that I'll share with you (and all your lovely readers). Your kids might like it as much as mine do. Be sure to give it a try. It's super-duper easy. And tasty too! Here's the link: https://www.craftydad.com/2013/05/21/busy-days-and-nights-call-for-make-ahead-meals Let me know what you think!

  37. Image for Betsy(@coastal-colors) Betsy(@coastal-colors)

    Love this story! I have no idea how to tell it a roast is done either! I always called my mom or MIL! Now, I just cook mine in the crock pot for six hours on 2.5 and call it done! Mike eats it so I guess it's okay! You're too funny! I seriously adore this story! Thanks for another smile!

  38. Image for Charlotte Charlotte

    Thanks so much for sharing. After all the years of roasting I still worry that the meat is done enough, but not too much, and that the flavor will be just right. My solution - taught my children to cook. Much easier when laughing and sharing the perfect, and not so, perfect results.

  39. Image for Adrienne Adrienne

    Loved your story! I think anyone who has done a roast must have a story. I know I do! A little tip for next time: when you cook in the crockpot DO NOT lift the lid and keep checking on it - no matter how tempted you are! (And I'm always tempted and often don't do what I'm about to tell you!) Every time you lift the lid you lower the temperature inside the crockpot and you slow the cooking process. Wouldn't it be nice if they made crockpots with little 'hatches' so we could peek and taste-test? ~Adrienne~

  40. Image for Martha Martha

    That story was really funny! One of my friends at Junior League, one time asked me where could she find the "chess" at the grocery store for chess pie and if I hadn't looked it up myself I would be the one asking for the "chess", also. There might be hope for us (clueless in the kitchen) yet! I'm still laughing over your story! Hey, we are great at other things, like putting colors together, choosing furniture, hanging drapes, and making a floral arrangement and putting that party together. We even know where to go for the best take out! Love your blog! Your house is beautiful!

  41. Image for Judy Judy

    Hi KariAnne, ironically I made a crockpot roast today. But, I have to say it was not nearly as exciting as yours was! ha! Love your humor!!

  42. Image for Joyce Joyce

    Love this story and so can visualize all of the details! You know, my Mother was the Queen of roasts-nearly every Sunday! Warm Hugs, Jemma

  43. Image for Kelly Buettner Kelly Buettner

    Very funny story @thistle. Reminds me of the first roast I made as a newlywed my first winter in Alaska. It was so overdone, my husband and I ended up throwing it out the back door into the yard thinking the moose might enjoy a little snack. If I remember correctly, it was still sitting there in one piece when the snow thawed several months later. I'm still not much of a roast maker 25 years later.

  44. Image for Katie Katie

    Love the story! Was wondering where your island is from?? I'm in a desperate need to find one and yours looks perfect for what I need! Thanks, Katie

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