Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Our Cottage Retreat (Part 2)

Yesterday you saw the first half of the cottage.  Today, welcome to the rest.  As in the last post, all my "before" photos are photos of photos (so not great quality, but give you the idea of what changes took place).

This is the before and after series of our tiny master bedroom.  Pretty much just big enough for a queen bed and dresser.  But, what it lacks in size, we made up for in cottage style charm.

Vintage hats form a border along the ceiling all around the room and vintage linens (including hankies and tablecloths) decorate the walls.

The two black and white photographs are of my two sets of grandparents on their wedding days.

The second bedroom is not only tiny, it is teeny tiny!  This was the only thing I could capture on film of the original set up.  The bunk beds took up 60% or more of the room.

There was a large closet in the right front corner of the room.  Since we don't live there year round, closet space is not as important as it is in a year round home, so we took off the doors and incorporated it into the footprint of usable space in the bedroom.  This made SO much difference!  We were able to put the bunk beds in in a different direction which opened up the main part of this little space.  We were able to bring in a dresser and a chair and the girls still have some floor space to spread out on.

The following room was originally a three season porch.  Unfortunately, the condition of the space was so nasty, I set to work on it right away and never thought to take photographs.  Trust me, it was nothing picture worthy!  I had the worst allergy attack of my life while ripping out a carpet from the floor.  Goodness knows what I encountered!  We ripped out a second door, eight large storm windows, hideous walls that looked like the inside of a barrel, pulled down moldy, mousy sheet rock and I don't even want to remember what else.

New sheet rock went up, wide pine floors laid, fresh green paint and vintage style wallpaper lighten and brighten the space.  The door on the right leads to a little utility closet that also got quite the overhaul but is too tiny to photograph.  The room now offers year round comfort and warmth and adds a huge amount of usable space to our little retreat.

And finally, while our cottage is not along the lake shores, it is only a hop and a skip away.  The views are breathtaking, the waters welcoming to boaters and swimmers (and many a family of loon).  There are many islands to explore and plenty of undisturbed shoreline.  This picture was obviously not taken any time recently, but this is how I always think about it and what I look forward to seeing again soon as springs warm up is just around the corner.

Thanks for stopping by.  Hope you enjoyed your tour.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Our Cottage Retreat (Part 1)

Well...I think it has been months since I promised photographs of our happy cottage retreat.  Today is the lucky day for those of you who like a home tour.  So welcome!!

This is the before photo of the place as we saw it on the MLS listing 8+ years ago.  It was built in 1960 and saw minimal change or update as the years sped by.

Here is is now (well this summer, when I last snapped a photo).

For all of the following photo series, I've included "before" pictures.  These are all photos of photos that were printed out on copy paper and hung in cupboards to remind us of how far we brought the place, so please excuse the poor quality.

The main space in the house is a combination living room and dinning room.  As you can see, it was dark and dark!

Today it is a bight and comfortable, happy and welcoming space brought about primarily with lots of creamy white paint.

The kitchen was a mishmash of bathroom wall tiles, cracked and stained counter tops, non functioning appliances, pealing flooring and hideous wallpaper.

We recessed a new refrigerator into a pantry closet and installed a full size gas range in place of the original fridge.  The old apartment sized stove left and we were able to add more counter and storage space in its place.

New flooring, bright paint, new counter tops and vintage style wallpaper helped transform it into a joyous place to prepare our meals.

The bathroom was truly nasty.  The first time I showered in there, I was left with the feeling of needing another shower (somewhere else) to recover from the first one in the nasty bathroom.  We gave it an intense overhaul over a few days time one cold February vacation.

We totally gutted the room down to studs and put in everything new.  We did it on a very tight budget and walked away with a new bathroom for about $800.  Sweet!

Well, I've probably shared enough with you for today.  Pop over tomorrow and I'll share the rest with you, which includes the two bedrooms and a transformed three season porch, now year round room.

Thanks for stopping by.  Hope you enjoyed your tour.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pretty Vintage Finds

I did a tiny bit of antique poking last week and brought home a couple of goodies.  Nothing earth shattering , but a few fun trinkets.

Some vintage bark cloth in a lovely pale blue pattern, a vintage pattern (love the aqua color), two vintage hot pads, a vibrant pink flowered towel and a lovely vintage travel sack.

I should look so lovely in a bathrobe (pardon me, I meant to say dressing gown!)...

Love this handmade travel sack.  The details on the trim and stitching are what caught my eye.  I bought it  primarily for the totes and bags it may inspire me to make.

And these crocheted pot holders are twice as thick as most of the vintage ones I find.  These were made with some heavy duty kitchen work in mind.  They are in perfect shape and I will be giving them a work out in my own kitchen for cooking chores and delights.

All of the colors I was drawn to and purchased are heralding in the soon to come spring season.  I may be a wee bit early, but I am always ready to immerse myself in spring.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pretty on my Table

I stopped recently at the monthly market sale at the White Home Market in Wilton, NH.  The theme this month was romantic prairie.  Now I'm not sure I would call the things that I saw and bought prairie-like, but they were pleasing.  And the tittle did lure me in the door.  So prairie or not (and that is hard to come by in New England) it was a lovely show.  I was specifically looking for something pretty for my dinning room table.  I had bought fresh flowers a couple times recently, but as lovely at they are, I feel bad buying them too often and bringing them into my home.  They are commercially grown in large quantities using pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers and vast amounts of petroleum in the farming and shipping process, none of which is a friend to man, beast or earth.  I prefer to laden my table with them in the summertime when they come from my own organic garden or the lovely organic cutting farm in Peterborough, NH that I like to frequent.  Two conventional, out of season flower purchases was about all I could handle, so the search began for something new and novel for my table.  Fortunately, I found something right off.

This large open canister combined with a silver tray my hubby was given on a business trip in Mexico makes a lovely centerpiece.

It came with blue eggs and green berry twig in place of the pine cones and dried pods I put inside.  It is officially still winter here after all, so I put in my substitute for the time being.  When I decorate for Easter and spring, I will bring back the eggs and berries.

A pleasing purchase, don't you think?

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lovely Eggs

I often buy my eggs from the dairy where we go to get our raw milk.  They are a hot commodity though, and it seems to be the luck of the draw to get there before they are all gone.  I was fortunate enough to find a carton in the cooler last time I went by.  When I opened my carton of eggs I discovered three lovely green speckled eggs amongst the regular browns, beige and the occasional blue.  I have never been the recipient of a green egg from the dairy chickens.  Wonder if there is a new hen in the coupe.  She sure lays lovely eggs.

My camera just can't do them justice.  The two in front are a soft green and the one in back a brown with green undertones.  

Most days it's the simplest of things that bring me joy.  I think that is the secret to contentment in our lives.  If we wait for the big "wow" moments to make us happy, we miss countless opportunities to revel in God's goodness to us.  Thank you for pretty eggs in my egg basket!

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Valentine Bracelet

I was blog hoppin' last week and catching up on one of my favorite blog sites, Whimsy.  They had lovely pictures of some of the new displays in their shop in Illinois.  A heart charm bracelet caught my eye.  Surely I can't go visit their store to check it out (a wee bit of a commute from MA) so I contacted them by email and was promptly answered that they would be happy to ship it to me.  Gotta love the internet!  I had it in the mail a few days later.  It was so fun to open up the package and discover not only my bracelet tucked inside but a pretty presentation along with it.  What a happy surprise.

A little shredded sheet music and a butterfly cut from an old book page and topped with vintage seam binding tied in a bow added such a delightful tweak to my happy package.

Tucked inside the tissue paper was this super fun heart charm bracelet.  I'll be wearing it on Tuesday for a happy valentine touch to my outfit.  Thank you Whimsy!!  
And to all of you, thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out Whimsy's blog (link in my blog list at bottom of page).  Hope you're finding joy today!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Makin' Valentines!

This past Monday night, we hosted my daughter's small group from church and their moms for a valentine craft night.  The girls and ladies had access to lots of goodies from my studio and the tools to create one of a kind valentines for friends, family or just someone they hoped to touch with a gesture of their thoughtfulness.  I wish I had thought to grab the camera while they were crafting, but we were all enjoying our time together, I completely forgot.  But here is a peak at what I did remember to capture.

Vintage postal stampers, vintage sheet music, vintage photographs, vintage alphabet stamps, decorative scissors and punches, felt cutouts, valentine die cuts and more.

Vintage and new glitters.

Vintage millinery flowers.

Vintage keys, pretty twine and vintage postage stamps.

We also had a lot of typing going on at the the two vintage typewriters.  It was so much fun to have a whole group over to craft and enjoy the bounty and the happy atmosphere of the studio.

Here are two of Heidi's sweet valentines.

I was so content watching all the crafting going on and visiting (and keeping dogs at bay) that I saved my crafting for later.  Once the house was quiet and settled for the night, I returned to the studio to make some of my own valentines.   This is a new cozy little crafting corner I set up, complete with my grandma's kitchen stool for me to sit upon.   Here is my favorite valentine.

Hope you are having a nice weekend.  Looking forward to sharing more fun with you later this upcoming week.  Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Clever Curtain Hold Back

As promised earlier, here are the photos of the curtain hold backs I made for the new lace curtain panels in my entry way. The window had previously had a straight valance, but with all the redoing going on in the house, that changed.  I replaced them with full window-sized lace panels that I wanted held back on the sides.  I had seen some metal 'arms' in a curtain catalog, but at $12 each, I wanted something more affordable.  I poked around in my workshop to see if anything might fit the bill, when I came across some silver I had picked up at an estate sale.  Included with the pieces were some large serving spoons.

They had very pretty details on the handles and I figured they might be just the ticket.

I wanted to polish them up a bit without making them too shinny, so just a little rubbing with very fine steel wool was all it took.  Next I drilled a small hole in the bowl of each spoon using the drill press.  Be careful if you try this as the spoon gets very hot.  Let it cool before handling it for the bending.

Next I bent the handle over the back of the spoon so that the pretty details would show when it was mounted.  I predrilled my hole on the moulding and attached the spoon, adjusted the angle to how I liked it and tightened it down.

And voila!  Curtain hold backs!  It is now so easy to let the curtain panels down for privacy if I choose and back up when I want them.  No ties or hooks to deal with, it's a one second job.

I LOVE how these turned out.  Elegant, simple and unique to me!  And considering I picked each spoon up for a nickel at the estate sale, I think I my ten cent job is far superior to the twenty four dollar pair in the catalog! 

Lastly, an update: the dining room is officially done.  Draperies back up and new wall bedecked with my a sample from my linen collection, along with three tea cups I held onto from a childhood collection.

Oh happy day!  I get to make a check on the check-off-when-done list!!  Only about a hundred more to go!!

Thanks for stopping by.  Hope you are finding joy in your day.  (And remember,  joy is a state of mind, NOT a state of circumstances - a lesson I often need reminding of myself.)