Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Cottage Life - Mon Petit Jardin

Hello Cottage Friends,

I'm sorry I haven't been around much. It seems like last week everything hit at once. Just one of those weird weeks that I'm sure all of us experience in one form or another from time to time. I helped out a disabled friend by planting some plants for her. Another friend went out of town for three days and asked me to water her gardens. It's been excessively hot here for days and days, so watering is a big deal if we want anything green to live, and it all has to be done in the morning before ten o'clock while the temperature is still tolerable. Then I got stung on my left leg by something I couldn't identify and I had an allergic reaction. It hurt and itched like crazy. My ankle swelled, even though the sting spot -- which turned out to look like a major bruise -- was just below my knee. It was just weird. I took Benadryl and it knocked me out. Yada, yada, yada. Sorry, to bore you with the details. It wasn't fun. But it's much better now. . .almost healed. 

"Give all your worries and cares to God, 
for He cares about you." 1 Peter 5:7

For those of you who would be comfortable doing so, I'd like to ask you to pray for a family in our church whose daughter was killed in a one-car accident a week ago Sunday. Her two year-old son was in the back seat. He's fine, no injuries. His mommy's death is so tragic, so sad. It is a reminder to me that each day is a precious gift from God and to remember not to take loved ones for granted. Hug them while you have them.

About a month ago I revealed my backyard garden project .

I told you I planned to do something with my enclosed garden to add more charm. This is how it looked then.

Little by little I've been working on it, and this is how it looks now.

I finally found a use for all the things I've been hoarding in my garden shed. I've had the hanging planters for several years.

This old mailbox -- picked up at a junk shop for $1 -- had been sitting on a shelf, waiting to be repurposed.

I had always planned to turn it into a flower box, but needed the right place for it. Mon Petit Jardin garden gate cried out for it.

But it still needed something to hang from the newspaper holder, so I painted a little 25 cent metal tray I found at the thrift store, punched holes in it and hung it with twine. The fleur-de-lis on the flower box set the tone for the signage.

A couple of years ago I picked up this chair at the thrift store for $2 thinking that I might actually try to restyle it with a new back, paint and upholstery. It has such great bones.

But after researching how to put on a new back I decided to scratch that idea. I mean, come on, I only have so many waking hours in a day and I've got better things to do with my time than take on a project of that magnitude. I knew, though, that I'd come up with something to help this discarded chair live up to its potential.

So I painted it, and stapled chicken wire (which I just happened to have on hand) to the back and seat. 

I molded the chicken wire in the seat opening to hold a coco liner.

Voilà! My chair has new life as a planter.

It holds a geranium, and two vines that will, I hope, eventually cover the back.

Ten days ago our garden group toured two gardens. The first one was full of cottage charm. I took photos of the garden and the home which I'll share with you in an upcoming post, but for now I want to show you one photo I took of this adorable wagon.

I've been seeing plates used in gardens all over blogland and have thought about how to incorporate some in my cottage garden. It seemed like I needed a focused spot to do this, and my little garden seemed like the perfect place.

I found these little plates at my favorite thrift store, Soroptomist, yesterday. They were only 10 cents each.

I also discovered this little cottage candle holder, which I thought would look pretty cute repurposed as garden art in mon petit garden.

I painted a wooden tray I had and "planted" that, too.

I may do a little tweaking as the summer progresses, but overall I think my little garden is happy with its new look. It was easily accomplished and cost only a few dollars. That makes me smile.

I apologize for not visiting and keeping up with all of you. I will be making the rounds now that things have settled down a bit. Thanks for hanging in with me. Hugs.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Living Large In Small Spaces - The Doll House, Plymouth, New Hampshire

Welcome to the 110th post in the series
"Living Large in Small Spaces".

It's been an impossibly busy week, so this week's feature is easy on me a virtual tour of a super charming house in New Hampshire. Grab a cold drink, relax for 3 1/2 minutes, and enjoy this great tour with blue grass music to get you tappin' your toe.  Have a great weekend!

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.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Living Large In Small Spaces - Gracie the Caravan

This week's Living Large In Small Spaces feature is "Gracie", a caravan located in Wales.

Welcome to the 109th post in the series
"Living Large in Small Spaces".

In the summer of my twelfth year, my mother planned a one week girls' getaway -- just the two of us stayed in an old-fashioned travel trailer permanently set in a woodsy area of a nearby recreational site. The trailer was so cute. It wasn't old enough then to be "vintage", although today it certainly would be. We lounged, swam in the pool, read books, took naps, and went for rides on the paddle boat in the lake. Meals were fuss-free sandwiches and chips, fruit, chocolate chip cookies and lemonade. For a special treat we walked to the snack bar for an ice cream cone. That week in the trailer remains one of the fondest memories I have of time spent with my mom.

Gracie the 1950's caravan reminds me of the trailer we stayed in.

Once used as a shooting hut for the owners’ family and friends, Gracie was moved to her new spot and fully restored. The relocation involved three separate farmers, a low-loader with driver, a fork-lift operator, and a tractor and trailer man. 

Caravan in the woods

The interior retains much of its vintage charm.

Kitchen and door outside

A sweet little place.


Bright, cheery and carefree.

Self catering caravan in Wales

Inside of caravan

Large bed

Unlike the trailer my mom rented, the walk to the shower and loo is a short one; they're just outside.

Caravan, loo and shower rooms

Electric shower

What a view!

Stunning view from shower

There's a little spot to relax outside.

Camp seating and firepit

With a stunning view of the surrounding Black Mountains.

Camping with a view!

And fields to explore.

Logs by tree

Even without the paddle boats and the ice cream bar, I think Gracie would be a lovely place for a girls' getaway, or any kind of getaway for that matter. I'm sure Mom would agree.

All images are owned by Blaentrothy Holiday Cottages and used here with their permission.

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, July 5, 2017

Cottage Life - Random Beauty

Last night's sunset.

Hollyhocks in the backyard beginning to bloom. 
(I'm so glad I convinced Dennis to transplant these
when he cleared the landscape for his new studio/gallery.)

Petunias in the front yard

Western Tiger Swallowtail visiting my color bowl.

Yachats, Oregon
(Maybe our most favorite place to visit and 
where  I'd like to be right now 
because it's reaaally hot here.)

Hope you're finding random and not-so-random
beauty where you are.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Living Large In Small Spaces - Unique Santa Cruz Beach House

This week's featured small space is a beach house in Santa Cruz, California that may surprise you.

Streetcars tiny house

Welcome to the 108th post in the series
"Living Large in Small Spaces".

When Mary and Gerhard Ringel first saw the little house that would eventually become their home they had no idea what lie in store for them inside. From the outside it looked like an ordinary little beach cottage, but once inside Gerhard told his wife they were standing in a streetcar, and that, in fact, there were two streetcars that comprised the home. Mary was "blown away". 

The two cars are covered by a regular roof, which explains why from the street one would never know the house is made from two decommissioned streetcars from the early 1900's. The two cars were set next to each other, with a 3½ -foot space connecting them. The first streetcar is comprised of the living and dining room. The second houses the bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen. An addition on the back extends the bedroom by 8 feet, bringing the total size of the home to 750 square feet. Quite a downsize for the Ringels, whose former home was 2,500 sq ft.

As this before photo shows, when the Ringels purchased the home it needed a lot of work. 

The streetcar ceiling above the TV was sagging 2 inches which caused Gerhard to duck every time he came into the living room. He jacked up the ceiling himself and reinforced it with 2-by-8s.

When they moved in the streetcar windows were a faded acrylic plastic. Gerhard built light boxes with led lights inside. To create the look of stained glass he had acrylic panels cut in various sizes, then bought window film that has a faux stained glass pattern and he and Mary put the film onto the acrylic panels.

Next Gerhard built light fixtures to illuminate the panels from behind. The panels are equipped to change colors as desired, from blue moon to red sunset.


A daybed in the living room's nook serves as extra seating, or a bed for guests.

Streetcars tiny house

The Ringles removed all the flooring and installed hardwood in the living room and bedroom, and replaced rough red tiles below the gas heater with granite.

The cherry dining table is one they brought from their previous home. Gerhard cut it down to fit in their new dining space.

Above the doorway to the kitchen is an original cast iron bracket, one of many found throughout the streetcar structure.

The kitchen spans the 3½-foot space connecting the two streetcars as well as part of one of the streetcars. The ceiling was installed  by a previous owner, as was the tile on the floor and counter. Original to the home, the kitchen cabinets were repainted in white and apple green. When the Ringles took possession of the house the cabinets were painted orange, mint green and yellow.

Originally, the cottage was painted in "a lot of crazy colors. . .very Bohemian". The Ringles wanted to "keep the energy" which is part of Santa Cruz, but as grandparents felt they needed to tone it down a bit. The interior and exterior color palette was chosen with help from local artist and painter Gregory LeBaron, who also did all the painting. 

They restored the clawfoot tub, and LeBaron created a custom paint and sponged it onto the sides. Gerhard designed and built the copper shower curtain rod to give the tub the feeling of more space.

Surface-mounted medicine cabinets were replaced with recessed ones and a pedestal sink was added.The door is original to the streetcar. “It makes a rumbling sound like rough wheels rattling over a metal track.” Out of respect for the history of the streetcar, they kept the door.

With the 8 foot addition, the bedroom in this small home is spacious.

The door leads to the backyard. 

Several cob structures surround the outdoor living space. 

Streetcars tiny house

Cozy, cheery and full of charm.

Streetcars tiny house

I love this funky little cottage.

You can see more of this home, including a video that gives a full tour of the home on Houzz here.

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.