So, it's fall. The calendar says it, and for once, the weather appears to be — well, maybe not cooperating, but at least not actively resisting.
Still, it's not cool enough yet for coats or fireplaces or changing leaves or any of those other outward and visible signs of the season. So if you're really wanting to get into the autumn spirit, you'll have to figure out some way to do it yourself.
Which means, I've decided, bringing a little orange into your life. It's everywhere right now, so it won't be hard — and unless you want it to be, it won't be expensive either.
A few of my favorite orange things around the admittedly limited part of town I was able to explore last weekend:
• Velvet-edged table runner ($39-$59) and napkins ($48 for six) at Pottery Barn. These come in four autumn colors, but the orange is soft and deep — perfect for a Thanksgiving table. I also liked the soy/cotton throw (marked down to $60), which looks like a knitted sweater and puts those scratchy acrylic things your Grandma crocheted to shame. If you work or study at home and need a pick-me-up, check out the super-bright-orange office chair (marked down to $299) or a more muted orange stapler or pencil cup ($19 each).
• Rainy fall weekends are perfect for geeking out on a good craft project: Knit yourself a pick-me-up-orange felted handbag with a couple of skeins of Lambs Pride Brown Sheep wool yarn in Orange Creamsicle ($8.50 each) from the Yarn Mart. There's a sample sitting on the counter. Or for something a bit more muted, make a scarf from a few skeins of unbelievably soft Qina yarn ($9.50/skein), made from 80 per-cent alpaca and 20 percent bamboo. It comes in a gorgeous burnt orange shade. You would sit outside in the cold on purpose just to wear this yarn around your neck, it's that cozy.
• Up the street at Eggshells, my top pick is a translucent orange Blenko glass water carafe ($40). It's square-shaped and simple, and would look great as a vase on a sunny windowsill. A bit more whimsical: A wooden cone-shaped salt and pepper set from William Bounds Ltd.'s Pep Art collection ($39). Each is a different shade of muted orange, decorated with polka dots. Fun without screaming in your face about it.
• OK, OK, clothing. I look terrible in orange, so it wasn't my priority. But: Ann Taylor Loft has corduroy trousers in a bright, sunny shade ($50). Perhaps best for those whose behinds are on the less bodacious side. (For the rest of us, there's also a nice scoop-neck cotton sweater, $40.)
One more thing:
If you need an excuse to start your Christmas shopping early or just treat yourself to something new, it's time again for the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Partner Cards. Buy a card for $50, and you'll get 20 percent off purchases at 140 Central Arkansas retailers from Oct. 25 through Nov. 2. (If you're counting, you'd need to spend just $250 to break even.) Proceeds from sales of the cards go to help cancer patients in Central Arkansas. The list of participating stores is a Who's Who of locally owned retailers, plus a few national chains, in-cluding Ann Taylor and Harold's. There's plenty to choose from. Find the complete list at www.uams.edu/partnerscard.
You can buy a card at many of the participating retailers, or by calling 686-8286, visiting the Web site, or going to Room 150 on the first floor of the cancer institute.
Also, Red Octopus at the Public Theater, Alcee Chriss III at First Presbyterian Church, Harvestfest in Hillcrest, the Arkansas Times Hog Roast, Wildflower Revue at South on Main and Made By Few in Bentonville.