Saturday, March 25, 2017

Living Large In Small Spaces - Baix Empordà, Spain Stone Cottage

A fabulous stone cottage in Baix Empordà, Spain is this week's Living Large In Small Spaces featured home.

Welcome to the ninety-eighth post in the series
"Living Large in Small Spaces".

Nothing brings me more pleasure than to discover small homes from other parts of the world to share with you here at A Joyful Cottage.  From last week's wee cottage -- a new build in Scotland -- we travel to Baix Empordà, Spain for a look at a stone cottage literally raised up from the ruins of an old barn by architect Lluís Auquer.

Stone walls and plenty of wood (including the beams original to the barn) create a rustic backdrop for the eclectic furnishings. The addition of skylights, windows, and doors that allow a relationship with the outdoors, bring natural light and cheerful living to this space.

One great room serves as living, dining and kitchen. The custom dining table, which doubles as an island, was sized for the space. Floor pavers are traditional tuff made in La Bisbal.

The countertop -- made from a pile of recovered antique marble-- was designed to complement the restored marble sink.

The bathroom is so charming. I wouldn't change a thing.

The arch is original to the barn. Sliding doors divide the space for a second bedroom.

Glycine, a deciduous plant, creates shady outdoor living on this pretty porch. 

How could you resist this spot?

After our lunch settles, let's head for the pool.

Whatever activity one chooses, living in this cottage would be lovely.

Enchanting, wouldn't you agree?

Read more about the stone cottage on El Mueble here
Architect: Auquer i Prats.

Join me next Saturday for another post 
in the special series

Living Large in Small Spaces

See more home tours in the 
Living Large In Small Spaces Series here.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Cottage Life - Weave Your Own Life

"We sleep, but the loom of life never stops, 
and the pattern which was weaving 
when the sun went down 
is still weaving when it comes up in the morning."  
-- Henry Ward Beecher

Last night I added fringe to my latest twined rug, so now I can pronounce it finished.

I'll be selling the rug at the Spring Fling Bazaar April 8, which I am organizing. And which, by the way, is coming together nicely. We have 20 participants lined up. I've distributed the flyer I created and did a phone interview with our local radio station that will air the week of the Fling. 

Besides the rug, I'll be selling my fabric/mixed media collages. This is one I completed on Monday.

I experimented with adding hand embroidery to my design.

The butterfly is just one image from The Graphics Fairy Vintage Spring Printables she has available for download. I printed it onto a Lutradur mixed media sheet. In person it has a faded look reminiscent of an old stamp. 

I was happy to find the butterfly, as it works so well with the florals and the bit of sheet music I used in the collage.

My collages aren't refined. Certainly not polished. I like to think of each one as a homey collection of odd little things -- sweet bits of frayed memories -- that tell a story and, hopefully, evoke an emotional response.

Most of you know I'm married to an artist. His art is refined. He's received awards, has showed his art in galleries, been interviewed by periodicals. It would be so easy to feel intimidated by his work, to feel what I do is so. . .amateurish. My rugs, my collages, these pieces are in a completely different realm. But here's how I see it:

It's not a competition.

I applaud his talent. I'm thrilled that God has gifted him with the ability to put brush to canvas and create a painting that brings joy to those who see it. 

Silver Plume Antique Shop Watercolor by Dennis Reinke

And I'm blessed to have many of his paintings in our cottage.

Spring Mantel at A Joyful Cottage

This week Rue at An Old Fashioned World wrote an excellent post about being yourself on your blog. Just be who you are. Be real. Good advice. 

I stopped comparing my blog to all the mega popular blogs a long time ago. I even broke the cardinal rule of blogging. . .

"Do not take a blogging break or you'll lose your followers."

You mean all 10 of them? 

Ok, I'm kidding about only having 10 readers. I think it's currently up to 11.

Seriously, though, if I need a break I'm going to take one. Believe me, it's better for everyone involved. Especially my sweet husband. 

It took me awhile to figure out this whole blogging thing, but I feel like I've nailed it. I don't say that pridefully. I say that gratefully. And I'm not talking about building my blog's readership, improving SEO, Analytics, yada-yada-yada. Heck, I don't even know what most of that stuff is. I just write about what I love -- cottages and cottage gardens. Small spaces that live large. And I hope that once in awhile I'll actually encourage someone by writing about these things.

And maybe it's working. Because every so often I get an email that makes my day, like the one I received a week ago from a reader whose husband is retiring, and now they're in the process of downsizing:

     I don't have a blog but really enjoy reading yours. . .

     I am struggling with moving from a 3 bedroom ranch to a 2 bedroom apartment. I have been de-cluttering (amazing how much stuff one collects over the years) and reading about your small spaces has been really helpful. . .

Just wanted to say thanks for the inspirations!

See, this is one of the reasons -- perhaps even the #1 reason -- I blog. To encourage others. To inspire them to weave their own life the way they dream it could be. 

I'm doing it. 

Little by little I'm doing it. And so can you. 

Let's do it together, shall we? 

I'm cheering you on!