Top Ten Posts of 2013

As we get ready to welcome in the new year, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at 2013.

Judging by the number of views received on all my posts the past twelve months, these were your favorites:

#1 - All American Cottage Tour

Hilltop Cottage
Copyright © 2012 Ross Chapin Architects Used with permission  

I have to say, this may be my favorite post this year, too. It was an honor, and so much fun to feature the wonderful homes of Ross Chapin Architects. It took many hours to pull the post together, but it was worth it. In a real estate world of cookie cutter homes, Chapin's charming cottages are a tribute to American design.

#2 - Baking At A Joyful Cottage - Cranberry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

The popularity of this post tells me that many of you like cookies. I'm right there with you, my friends. If you tried this recipe, I hope it met your expectations.

#3 - Finding A New Writing Space in Our Joyful Cottage

For me this is a bittersweet post to revisit. Right after I published it Dennis and I started talking about selling our sweet cottage in the Rocky Mountains. If you've been following our journey, you know that we sold our cottage in July 2013 and began our search for our next home in Oregon.  (We're still looking.) Our complete top to bottom remodel of the 1926 Colorado cottage was a labor of love. You can read all about it at Remodelaholic, where it was featured.

#4 - More French Cottages

Que tu aimes à gîtes de France comme je le fais?

#5 - Bread Baking at A Joyful Cottage - Honey Wheat Bread

Long live the loaf! The greatest invention since sliced bread is more sliced bread.  (I think you must agree with me.)

Oh my, we do love to look at pretty gardens, don't we? I especially like cottage gardens like these, and enjoyed my stroll with you.

My husband brought home a truckload of furniture from a yard sale. One piece which probably originated as a kitchen cupboard became a bookcase for my office/sewing/craft room.

Photo owned by Knockahopple Cottage and Tours. Used with Permission

It was a privilege to introduce you to Irish American Liam Hughes and his charming guesthouse in County Tipperary, Ireland. Many Americans may dream of owning an Irish cottage, but few will take the plunge that Liam took. We also had a chance to see the beautiful shard jewelry he designs.


After we sold our Colorado cottage, we headed farther west for a 5-week tour of Oregon. This post chronicled our return to Colorado in preparation for our move to Oregon in August.

#9 - To Paint Or Not to Paint

I like to paint furniture, but sometimes a piece -- like this chest of drawers -- speaks a different language. As Sue at Serendiptiy Vintage Furnishings says, "Each piece 'tells' me what it wants to be. . ." .  Exactly.

#10 - My $7.29 Table Redo
This was another piece that spoke the language of natural wood. When I got underneath all that yucky black paint I found a really pretty piece. It remains one of my favorite furniture redos.
I hope you enjoyed looking back at 2013 with me. It appears that cottages, food, flowers and furniture makeovers rate high on the list of things you like to see. Which suits me just fine, because that's what I like, too.
Thank you so much for joining me on my journey. You make it joyful. Your comments encourage me, inspire me, and make me smile. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, the best part of blogging is meeting nice people like you.
God bless you in 2014, and please come back on January 1st when I kick off my new month long blog party: Every Room In The House.  
Come as you are and bring a friend.
Hope to see you then!
 Sharing with

Random 5 Friday

Hello all my beautiful friends.  I hope you had a wonderful Christmas

It's Friday and you know what that means: Random 5 Friday with Nancy @ A Rural Journal.

Let's get random, shall we?

#1-  Just We Two.  Dennis and I celebrated Christmas with snacks, movies and a country drive. It was a beautiful day here; sunny with temperatures in the 50's.

Wallowa Lake - 5 minutes from our apartment.

#2 - Long Distance.  Our children are scattered all over the country and couldn't be with us, but we did receive phone calls that made us smile. My son said the grands love their pillows, and that the whole family was impressed with my handiwork. That made me feel pretty good. Let's just admit it out loud, we like to be stroked, don't we?

Sprocket Pillows for Our Grands

#3 - Thanks, Honey. Dennis gave me a gift certificate to my favorite quilt shop, so you know where I'll be headed very soon. Especially with a 20% off coupon burning a hole in my pocket.

#4 - Scrap It. I'm still working on using up my fabric scraps. This is a hot pad I'm making (or it could be a potholder -- you decide). I'll put these two pieces together, with a square of an old thick towel for batting, and then hand quilt it. It's been a fun project because there's no pattern involved and I'm frugally using materials I already have.  The block on the left was super fun. I just kept adding little scraps until I got the size I wanted. Doesn't get any easier than that.

#5 - Fowl Play.  I've mentioned before that I might like to own chickens. While on a walk last summer I took this photo of a neighbor's chicken coop with my iPhone. I love the black and white roosters. I think they're Barbed Plymouth Rock. Can anyone confirm this?

2014 is just around the corner. I'm getting ready to launch the Every Room in the House Monthly Blog Party. I hope you'll plan on linking up on January 1st.

Wait! Was that random #6? Oh well. . .

Thanks for stopping by. I love it when you say "hi".

Patchwork Star Ornament

"Get Your DIY On" has been hosting the 16 week Fall Party Challenge.

This week's theme is "Stars". Everyone is invited to  link up an actual star project or any favorite project from the past. 

I decided to accept the challenge literally and came up with an actual star. After sifting through my fabric scraps (you know I'm on a mission to use up all my scraps, right?), this is what I created today.

Yup, a little patchwork star ornament for our tabletop tree. Cute,  huh?

I used Karen's tutorial at BlondeDesign.

Pretty easy. I think I'll make patriotic versions for next July 4th.

I'll be celebrating Christmas with my husband the next few days, so I'll say it now. . .

Have a very Merry Christmas!
And thanks for being my cottage friend.
I'm linking up with "Get Your DIY On".  You can join in the fun, too.  Link up your Star or a Favorite Project.

Random 5 Friday

I'm doing a happy dance. Nancy @ A Rural Journal is back with Random 5 Friday.

Okay, I'm in. Here are my randoms for this week.

#1 -  Create.
This is where I've spent most of my days this past week -- at my sewing machine.  While we continue the search for a home of our own, I have to say I do enjoy this large room I can call mine. This is where I sew, write, and pursue other fun projects. Some day I'll show you the rest of my creative space.
#2 - Reality Check
I racked up some hotel reward points that were useable for magazines.  (Can you believe they still print those?) I ordered Martha Stewart Living, which came this week. It's the Christmas issue. One of the features is "Our Finds - Gift Guide", which is the staff's picks for Christmas gifts that we're supposed to rush out to buy. Sooo, let me get this straight. There are people who actually would pay $650 for a bird bath to give to someone for Christmas? Seriously?

#3 - Christmas Décor
Um, I hate to admit this, but I'm probably the only home and garden blogger on the planet that didn't decorate for Christmas. Now, I love Christmas. And I love decorations. Honestly. I've spent hours admiring all of  the Christmas Home Tours in blogland. But we're between homes and I just can't get excited about dressing an apartment with festive attire right now. I did manage the Christmas runner and tabletop tree, though. And I'm displaying this handpainted holly plate I found at a thrift store. (After looking at the $650 bird bath above, my $1 plate should help you regain your normal breathing pattern.)

#4 - Patience
Three months ago I ordered a chair from a local furniture store. Being a rather instant gratification kind of person, I'm surprised at my ability to wait this long. It was worth it, though. The chair arrived yesterday, and I couldn't be more pleased. It's beautiful, comfortable, it reclines, and the fabric looks even more perfect than I imagined it would when I chose it. It reminds me of the French bentwood hoop armchairs of the 1930's. Perfect. (Ahem, notice my husband's easel and art hodge podge in the background? Can you see why we need an actual h o u s e   w i t h  a  s t u d i o?
#5 Speaking of art. . .
I'll be attending my husband's art show at a local gallery tonight. Here's a photo of one of the paintings in the show: Peace on Earth. Isn't it heavenly? I love it.
If we don't connect before Christmas Day, I pray you'll have a blessed, peaceful, love-filled day. For us it's a time to celebrate our Savior's birth. He is the source of our joy, and what makes our home A Joyful Cottage, wherever we are.
Love and Hugs,
Celebrating with all my friends at Random 5 Friday.

Sprocket Pillows

"Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel. . ."

Can you tell I've been listening to Christmas music?

All my favorite songs and carols filled the air while I made gifts for our grandchildren.

This afternoon I finished their "sprocket pillows." I'm so happy to show them to you.

I'm pleased with the way they turned out.

Each pillow reflects the personality/interests of the child who will receive it.

Emma, twelve, is very feminine. Her room is painted lilac, so I chose pretty floral and solid fabrics for her pillow.


Oliver, nine, is a baseball boy. I found a really fun baseball print at the local quilt shop. Paired with the red and blue fabrics, I think it very much reflects "America's (and his) favorite pasttime."


Isn't the star pattern on the back cute?

Damon, ten, is a science guy. He's fascinated by insects, plants and animals. 'Twas a bit of a challenge finding the right fabrics, but I think I did okay with the final selections.


The paw prints on the back keep things lighthearted.

So that's it. It feels good to have these finished. They were a lot of fun to make. Pretty easy, actually. I plan on making some for myself in 2014.

If you're interested in making sprocket pillows, here's the tutorial at Cluck, Cluck Sew.

Are you ready for Christmas?


Sharing with:
Get Your DIY On - Handmade Gifts
Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy
Tweak It Tuesday at Cozy Little House
What we Accomplished Wednesday at Green Willow Pond
Share Your Cup Thursday at Have a Daily up of Mrs. Olson
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life

My Christmas Table Runner Revealed

It's beginning to look a little bit like Christmas here at the Reinkes.

This morning I finished my Christmas runner.

I wasn't sure what to do with the back of the runner. After a visit to my local quilt shop -- and a chat with Sue, the beginner quilting class instructor -- I decided to make it reversible.

My goal was to create a runner using only leftover fabric from my class project. All the blocks were pieced from said fabric. The only material I purchased for the runner are the pine cone fabric on the back and the binding.

Considering this is my first solo project, I'm content with the way it turned out. (I just hope no one looks too closely at my handiwork.) Would I do some things differently next time? Definitely. My seam ripper was my best friend as I worked on this, and I discovered that, unlike my instructor, I must use pins. Actually, I went a step further with the binding, and basted it before machine sewing it on to the back side. It made me feel more confident about tackling that sewing task. That being said, I learned a lot -- really -- and I know I'll improve with each project I complete.

Just for fun I took the long scraps leftover from my runner and made braided garland for our little tree. Very homespun, don't you think?

I'll be making another trip to the quilt shop this afternoon to buy fabric for my next project: sprocket pillows. Christmas presents for our grandchildren. (Shhh, don't tell them.)

Stay tuned.

Sharing with:
Share Your Cup Thursday at Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson
Craft Frenzy Friday
Link It or Lump It
Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy
The Scoop
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday at Coastal Charm

Tour of Number Seven Cottage in Wales

I have a lovely Wales cottage to show you today. But first I want to share something I'm very excited about.

Starting January 1, 2014 A Joyful Cottage will be the home of the monthly party "Every Room in the House".

Every month -- January through December -- will have its own theme room. All month long you'll be invited to link up posts from your blog that focus on that particular room in your home. For example, January's theme will be the Kitchen, and any post that has to do with your kitchen can be linked up. It can be anything from a set of mugs you found at your favorite thrift store to a total kitchen remodel. . Whatever you want to show us from that room. This party promises to be a lot of fun, with only a few guidelines to keep things orderly.

I hope you'll plan to join me January 1 for the Every Room in the House party.
Okay, now that we've got that out of the way, let's get our cottage tour started.
Welcome to Number Seven, a lovely stone cottage in Dolgellau, Wales.
This cottage may be small in space, but it's large in charm. Cozy and comfy. I think you're going to like it as much as I do.

The sitting room centers around a wood burner with stone hearth. Gorgeous exposed beams, twin chandeliers, and a warm color scheme create a welcoming atmosphere.

The dining area features an antique bench and a charming painted cupboard filled with delightful china.

The table base is painted the same green color as the cupboard's back. Window coverings are a charming mix of red & white checked shades and floral curtains.

The cheerful kitchen possesses old world charm. A red cooker sits in what was probably the hearth at one time. A slate floor holds to traditional cottage appeal.

This is a very pretty bedroom. Here's a perfect example of successfully mixing fabric patterns in the same color family. Creamy white furniture completes the cottage charm.

The second bedroom features more stone and a skylight with a sweet little curtain held by two rods.

I'm crazy about this cute little step up bed with the colorful quilt. Great for curling up with a good book.

The modern bathroom is simple in design. A whitewashed ceiling beam and stone tile trim give the room architectural interest, while the skylight washes it with light. A rustic door gives a nod to the past.

Back downstairs French doors, leading to a terrace, give a view to the village.

A quaint stone wall surrounds the terrace. Privacy and beauty combined.

I hope you enjoyed our look at this little cottage, and found inspiration here.

A special thank you to Caroline at Blaentrothy Cottages for allowing me the privilege of sharing it with you. You can see more of this cottage and others at their website:

I hope you enjoyed our look at this little cottage as much as I did.

A special thank you to Caroline at Blaentrothy Cottages for allowing me the privilege of sharing it with you. You can see more of this cottage and others at their website:

Have a joyful week.

Sharing with:
Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy