Monday, December 31, 2012

A Joyful Cottage Look at 2012

Thatched cottage at Kings Somborne, Hampshire photo by Anguskirk: (Some rights reserved)

As I write this post from our cottage, snow is lightly falling outside and I'm thinking back on the past year. I'd like to do a little 2012 reminiscing with you, but first can we talk about this thatched roof cottage? In my humble opinion, this is a darn near perfect gem. It looks to be early spring when this photo was taken, so let's imagine this scene in spring or summer, when the garden and whatever is clinging to the picket fence are in full bloom. Enchanting, I'm sure. In the meantime, that red door gives a burst of glorious color to the exterior.

I started A Joyful Cottage blog on February 28th this year with one intent: to share my love of cottages and cottage living with you. I've gathered just a few photos to highlight the year. You can click on any of the links for the full spread. 

My first post kicked off A Joyful Cottage Giveaway of my husband Dennis Reinke's art. The winner  chose Napa Trellis from the plethora of prints we featured.

In March we looked at cottage shutters, window boxes, arbors, and Irish cottages. My favorite post that month was the St. Patrick's Day tour of Pam's White O'Morn cottage in Ireland. 

Not only was it a delight to show Pam's cottage, it was the beginning of my showing you other cottage interiors, and gardens. Like Heidi Matthies-Jaster's cottage garden in Burton, Texas in April.

In May we looked at "pretty things", a collection of eye candy for any cottage,

and three Welsh cottages compliments of Caroline at Blaentrothy Welsh Holiday Cottages.

And, yes, more Welsh cottages in June, with more thanks to Caroline at Blaentrothy Welsh Holiday Cottages.

July was a special month for me. Claire at Unique Home Stays in the UK contacted me after seeing my blog and asked if I'd like to blog about the charming Pixie Nook Cottage, a holiday home her company manages. (It was so encouraging to have someone contact me for a change.) :)

My love for cottage porches prompted my August post (and made me wish I could take a nap on one of the lovely summer porches pictured there).

In September Caroline at Blaentrothy made it possible for me to show you the fabulous Bryn Eglur Cottage. It remains one of my favorites. How I love that cottage and the garden that surrounds it.

And the black lab. (Adorable, no?)

Fall is a beautiful season, and my mid-October post was full of autumn inspiration.

A tour of The Old Smithy Cottage in Wales was a November treat, thanks to Marie of Sugar and Loaf.

That brings us to December and a tour of a little 60's ranch home that grew up to become a cottage. Kim of "Niesz Vintage Home...and fabric" accomplished an amazing transformation and showed us that any abode can speak "cottage".

I can't tell you how much you all mean to me. Thank you so much for enriching my life with your presence. To be able to share my passion for cottage living and meet so many wonderful, gifted people like you is sheer joy. And that's what life should be. Every day is a gift and we should en-joy it. I've got so many ideas for this blog in 2013. I hope you'll join me here often and share the cottage joy.

With prayers that the New Year will bring many blessings to you and your family,



Inspire Me Monday

Monday, December 24, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Christmas Cottage

All week I've been looking at my favorite blogs and drooling over the Christmas decorations pictured on their pages. Mystical mantels, festive foyers and tantalizing tabletops. And Christmas trees? Well, let's just say I'm all agog at how many beautiful looks can be created, with no two tannenbaums looking alike.

Since my own holiday ornamentation can't hold a Christmas candle to what I've been seeing, I've been reticent to blog about my personal decorating. (I mean, talk about understated.) But then the parental side of my brain took over and chastised my inner child for apologizing, reminded me that I live in a 640 sq ft cottage with limited space for storing holiday decorations, and that maybe -- just maybe -- there are readers of this blog who would appreciate knowing how I get around space challenges and stay within my limited budget when decorating for the holidays. And who knows, they might come away at the end of this post feeling pretty darn good about their own decorating abilities after seeing my attempt at decking the halls (she wrote with tongue firmly planted in cheek). And I love to make people feel good. :)

In case you're wondering, that is our cottage in the above photo. Those white specks are falling snow.

Here's a close up of the front door. Pretty simple. A string of white lights and a wreath. Oh, but that's no ordinary wreath. It's a $2 thrift store wreath. 

Here's what it looked like when I bought it; trimmed with apples, berries and twisted willow. For two bucks, how could I resist? 

Of course I had to remove the tacky plastic bow and leaves because they're. . .uh, you know. . .tacky.

This is my back door wreath; also a $2 thrift store find sans pine cones. I wired those onto the wreath. They came from our yard -- cost $0.

This is what I call my green and silver corner of the living room. Except for the pretty angel (a gift from one of our children last Christmas) and the bayberry candles (found on clearance and smelling oh-so-good) all of the decorative items were found in a local thrift shop, with no single item costing more than $1. I just love it when I look around my every day cottage and find things I can use in new ways for a special occasion or holiday. It's kind of a game for me.

I love the shabby chicness of this planter 

and the little tray. 

To me they're the perfect "finds". And zero storage problems. After Christmas I'll change out the candles to red for Valentine's Day, and put the angel and green candles in my under-the-bed storage container. Although the angel could stay up all year, I like to change things up a bit. And it will feel special to get reacquainted with her next December.

My hubby surprised me with this poinsettia in the charming woven planter several weeks ago. It sits atop the steamer trunk my Belgian grandfather brought with him to America in the late 1800's. 

With all the downsizing I've done over the past five years, this trunk is the one possession I won't let go. I've had it all of my adult life. It's traveled with me from the midwest to the west coast, back to the midwest and now to the Colorado Rockies. Wherever I've landed it has proved a worthy companion. Right now it's a great place to keep carry-on luggage. (There's a lot of room inside. And in a small cottage dual purpose furniture is the only way to go.)

Would you believe this is our Christmas tree? No, really. This. Is. IT. It's not just a little extra table top tree to dress up the corner of the chest. It's the only Christmas tree we own. It's not that I don't like real Christmas trees, or even faux trees. It goes back to that 640-sq-ft-cottage-with-limited-storage thing. Where would I stow the tree and ornaments? Besides, this cute little tree is handmade, it's cottagey, and it only cost $2 at the thrift store. (No, I don't have an obsession with $2 items. It's just a coincidence that all the pre-owned Christmas goodies I bought recently were $2.) I've got just the right storage spot all carved out for it. 

I may not have a mantel to decorate for Christmas, but I do have a charming red gas stove in the corner of our living room.

My geranium has joined in the Christmas festivities, too, by producing beautiful red blooms amid her greenery. She's such a show off.

So there you have it. That's my Christmas decorating in its entirety. Nothing fancy. Nothing to "wow" anyone, or make the Christmas Cottage Tour, but it's home and it's warm, and Dennis and I are incredibly blessed to have a roof over our heads when there are so many people who don't. 

Oh, do you remember I told you in my last post that our neighbor's cottage is lit up like Santa's village?

I took a photo last night through our cottage window to show you. Isn't it pretty? That's the back of her cottage at dusk. There's more prettiness on the front. Ignore those funny checks in the photo created by the window's screen and look at that adorable snow-covered cottage with the magnificent mountains in the background. This is the view from our living room. 

Did I say we're blessed?

Hoping you're feeling blessed, too.

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

A 60's Ranch Home Gets a New Cottage Identity

It's December and Christmas is fast approaching. I know this because my neighbor has decked out her cottage with its annual Christmas lights. It looks like Santa's village over there. I love it though. I think Xcel Energy loves it too. :)
Although the photo I chose to lead off this post isn't a Christmas photo, per se, this Irish cottage certainly displays a festive air with its bright red door and trim against the white stone. Toss in some green grass and trees, and there you go. . . the colors of Christmas. It's too bad we can't see the interior of this particular cottage. Please don't weep, though. I have discovered another cottage with an interior I think you'll enjoy.

Recently, while searching the web for interesting cottages and decorating, I ran across photos of a charming little cottage in southern Ohio. 

It turns out that Kim the cottage owner blogs at Niesz Vintage Home...and fabric. After spending some time perusing her blog I decided her cottage was one I wanted to share with you. Kim has been great about allowing me to use her photos, as well as providing information about the cottage and her fabulous vintage fabric business. I trust you'll enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

The armoire belonged to Kim's grandmother. Kim says, "This particular piece was in a corner of [her] attic with a broken door and painted three different colors . . . but I could see it fitting right in at my house. It did eventually receive some additional crown mouldings and a coat of cottage white paint."

This 800 sq. ft. two bedroom cottage began life as a 1960's ranch home. Kim and her husband purchased the house soon after they were married, and lived there 19 years before purchasing a larger home in 2010. Over the years the couple installed hardwood floors and crown moulding, gutted and remodeled the "tiny" kitchen, and partially finished the basement. Thus transforming the somewhat ordinary small rancher into a warm and welcoming cottage. 

Architectural details added by Kim and her husband make the 60's ranch home look like a traditional cottage.

The couple installed new hardwood floors throughout their home, performing all the work themselves.

The home is decorated in cottage style with many family heirlooms and vintage fabrics. As owner of Niesz Vintage Fabric & Design, Kim has wonderful fabrics from which to choose.

 Kim made this beautiful floral pillow from some of her vintage fabric. She changes out her pillows with the seasons or if she just wants a "change of pace".

More pillows and drapes Kim made from her vintage fabrics.

The cupboard in the corner of the dining room is an old kitchen cabinet that houses Kim's cookbooks, wine glasses and serving pieces. 

An old side-light window fills in a corner to, as Kim explains, "visually balance the small cabinet on the other side of the room." The pretty tablecloth is a quilt made by Kim's mother-in-law from yoyos she found at a yard sale. 

Kim describes the kitchen makeover as a "long project". But look at the beautiful result. So worth the effort.

The shower curtain was made from vintage drapes Kim lined with a water resistant fabric. 

Kim's feminine fabric choices soften the strong architectural details in the bedroom.

Kim's cottage bedroom features a fireplace mantel repurposed as a headboard. I've seen a number of headboards made from mantels, and I think Kim's is one of the finest. She designed the covered panel so that it would be easy to change the fabric. (Wouldn't it be fun to give it a Christmas look with festive material in the insert and evergreen on the mantel?)

Another bedroom view shows off Kim's enchanting chandelier.

The clocks came from Kim's Grandma's attic.

The tiger maple deacon's bench and slag glass bridge lamp both belonged to Kim's grandmother.

A touch of shabby chic.

This charming vignette atop the vintage dresser features a baby picture of Kim's "Gram" and a doll from her grandmother's collection.

Of the antique bisque baby doll Kim says,"Gram had quite an impressive antique doll collection. Although I'm not really a 'doll person' (even as a kid, their fragile nature made me nervous). I do like this sweet little girl. Thankfully, the majority of that collection is being curated by other family members."

I could do an entire post just on the superb heirloom treasures Kim has acquired from her grandmother's attic. I'll share a few more with you. 

"This cute little piece is from my grandmother. I love the little chicks and eggs so much and it brings back fond memories of grandma's kitchen," Kim says.

The condition of her grandmother's graniteware collection is amazing.

A granite and pewter coffee set.

Kim's blogs about her finds in a regular feature called "Treasures from Grandma's Attic". She also shares her many DIY projects, such as the mantel headboard, in "Weekend Projects".

Kim's "Easy Weekend Project" - Fabric Tabletop

About her sweet cottage Kim says, "Although it was a challenge to keep it from looking too cluttered, I really enjoyed decorating the cozy rooms."

A tour of Kim's cottage wouldn't be complete without a walk through her inviting garden.

The lovely Kim on her patio.

Kim's hanging baskets are stunning. She made them herself by filling moss-lined baskets with chartreuse sweet potato vines, coleus and multi-colored impatiens.

The couple built a brick patio and trellis and installed a small pond off the back of the house.

Goldfish swim around a yellow water iris.

Kim purchased this delightful clothespin bag on ebay.

A quaint rose-covered shed gives a homey touch to the backyard. 

Behind the shed is a vegetable garden.

Kim and her husband made an impressive transformation in the front of the house, too. From this. . .

To this:

They added a front porch and installed a bubbler fountain and new landscaping.

Kim explains how she came to start a vintage fabric and design business. "I've been selling vintage fabrics for about 10 years now. I guess it all started when I found a box of 1940's floral curtains while clearing out my grandma's attic. I wanted to use them for pillows and slip covers, but they were in perfect condition and I couldn't bring myself to cut them up. That's when I started hunting around at flea markets and antique stores for vintage fabrics. I was hooked. It wasn't long before my collection started to outgrow the small second bedroom that I commandeered as my sewing room, so that's when I started selling."

This is only a small sampling of Kim's vintage fabrics.

Most of Kim's vintage fabrics are acquired from local estate sales and flea markets."I sell mostly unused fabric yardage from the 1930-70's. But, I also have some drapery panels, kitchen linens, feedsacks, and miscellaneous vintage 
textiles," she says.

Kim also designs and sews accessories like this fabulous tote with interchangeable sashes.

Oh, there's just so much more I could show you, but you really will have to visit Kim's blog to see it all.

In one of her blog posts Kim gave her reasons for blogging. 
"I wanted a place to share pictures of my garden, spark interest in lovely old fabrics, and perhaps, inspire creativity (my own and that of others) with a DIY project. Looking at beautiful photos or making something with my own two hands is mood altering, it makes me feel good. (And much less expensive than a therapist, I would imagine.) I LOVE seeing all the beautiful home and garden pictures, lovely paper collages, and sewing projects on other blogs, and I can only hope that when others visit my page they feel a little better, too." 

Kim, all I can say is "mission accomplished." Many thanks for  sharing.

And thank you, dear friends, for joining me on this little excursion. I hope you feel as inspired as I do.


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