Friday, November 22, 2013

Random 5 Friday

It's Friday and I'm back with my Random 5.

1. Today is the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination. I remember exactly where I was when we got the news. I was 13 years old, on a field trip bus. The driver had the radio on, and as we were boarding to go back to school the announcement came across the airwaves. Classes were suspended for the rest of the day. When I got home my mother was sitting at the kitchen table in tears. We sat and cried together. Such a sad time.

2. I've learned two new quilt blocks this week using online tutorials.

Christmas Tree from

Star from
Add caption

These will be part of a Christmas table runner I'm making. I've challenged myself is to use all the leftover fabric from my first quilt project, and not purchase any new fabric. Stay tuned.

3. Dennis and I have committed to daily walks. Yesterday we hiked along a nature trail and came across wild rose bushes. I admired the rose hips so much that he took out his pocket knife, trimmed off a sliver, and handed it to me. When we got home I put his sweet gift in my little rose pattern sugar bowl.

4. Speaking of roses, at the suggestion of Rose, who blogs at Time Stand Still we purchased The Last Brickmaker in America. We loved this movie. I highly recommend it. (Thank you Rose for telling me about this excellent movie.)

5. A couple from the church we're attending gave us a dozen eggs. I love the pastel colors. As we continue to look for property in Oregon, I'm thinking it might be nice to have a place for a few chickens. Fresh farm eggs taste so much better than those from a supermarket.

And that's my 5 randoms for this week. 
Hope your weekend is filled with joy.
I'll be sharing with:
Friendship Friday at Create with Joy

Monday, November 18, 2013

My First Quilt - The Top is Finished

In October I signed up for a beginner quilting class at our local quilt shop, along with four other women.
We made the 40 1/2" x 40 1/2" sampler quilt from the workbook Start Quilting with Alex Anderson,
Here's my finished quilt top.

40 1/2" x 40 1/2" Quilt

We learned to make 7 different blocks. Sue, our instructor, showed us so many shortcuts and shared great tips.
Block left to right, Top Row: Rail Fence, Log Cabin, Flying Geese
Second Row: Flying Geese, Square Dance, Rail Fence

Taking a quilting class is one of the smartest things I've ever done.
Bottom row right: Friendship Star

I had so much fun, formed new friendships, and learned a creative -- as well as practical -- craft.
Blocks Top Row: Nine-Patch (left), Nine-Patch Variation (right)
My favorite block is the flying geese block.
The final step is the quilting. I've ordered a walking foot for my sewing machine, which will make the sewing easier. Once it arrives I'll finish my quilt.
I chose the colors for this quilt based on the colors in my home office/studio. And because I also thought it might look a little Christmasy.
Dennis says instead of hanging the quilt in my studio, we're going to hang it in the living room.
I can't wait.
I can't close today without remembering the people in the Philippines and Illinois. My thoughts and prayers are with them.
Sharing with:
Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Tour of Brassey's Contract Cottage in South Cheshire

Photo courtesy of Blaentrothy 'Holiday Cottages'

Welcome to another cottage tour here at A Joyful Cottage.

It's my pleasure to show you Brassey's Contract Cottage, a meticulously restored half-timbered 17th century thatched cottage located in the town of Edge in south Cheshire.

The cottage is named for the British civil engineering contractor Thomas Brassey (1805-1870). It was here that Brassey closed the deal to purchase the land for the railway line between Chester and Shrewsbury.

When the present owners purchased the cottage it was in a severely deteriorated state.  They have lovingly restored it to its current beautiful condition.

This cottage is delightful in both its architecture and its décor.

The kitchen bubbles over with charm. Take a look at that chandelier and the exposed beams. And who could pass up the apron front sink?

Photo courtesy of Blaentrothy 'Holiday Cottages'

I do believe this is a kitchen out of my dreams. Just the right shade of creamy yellow on the walls to contrast with the white cabinetry and open shelving, and the slate counter tops. The cream built-in cooker with the black pipe tops off this cottage kitchen.

Photo courtesy of Blaentrothy 'Holiday Cottages'

The warm and cozy drawing room pairs antiques with modern furnishings for a classic traditional look. The equestrian paintings, the leather chairs, and the cupboard in the corner all work beautifully with the exposed beam ceiling and the large fireplace.

Photo courtesy of Blaentrothy 'Holiday Cottages'

The floral fabric and ruffled lamp shade soften the room's mood, keeping it from feeling too masculine. Even something simple like adding a table with curved legs can keep a room from appearing severe.

Photo courtesy of Blaentrothy 'Holiday Cottages'

The sitting room is light and cheery in pale blue with a hint of cocoa.

Photo courtesy of Blaentrothy 'Holiday Cottages'

I love this wingback chair upholstered in a dog print. The chair, along with the tailored window treatment tones down the feminine qualities of this room just enough. I really like the way the owner has added just the right touches in each room to accomplish this balance.

Photo courtesy of Blaentrothy 'Holiday Cottages'

Here again, the dark coffer and the fox are overtly masculine, but the floral fabric and the slim lamp add ladylike touches to this hallway.

Photo courtesy of Blaentrothy 'Holiday Cottages'

Photo courtesy of Blaentrothy 'Holiday Cottages'

While the fabrics and patterns vary from room to room, the colors flow. There is a hint of pale blue in the  drawing room that repeats predominantly in the sitting room. Beige in the sitting room is picked up in the hallway fabric, and the added blue and red in that fabric is repeated in the dining room's chairs and the blue and white plate display, and ties in with the drawing room's blues and reds.

Photo courtesy of Blaentrothy 'Holiday Cottages'

Books in the library continue the color flow; picking up the reds, blues, beiges and cocoa. So subtle, yet very effective.

Photo courtesy of Blaentrothy 'Holiday Cottages'

The same multi-colored striped carpet in the drawing room is used on the stairs and in the master bedroom. Red pops throughout this room.

Photo courtesy of Blaentrothy 'Holiday Cottages'

 The master bath colors tie in with the bedroom carpet.

Photo courtesy of Blaentrothy 'Holiday Cottages'

Another bedroom is tucked under the thatched roof. Very charming.

Photo courtesy of Blaentrothy 'Holiday Cottages'

This is a second bath. I wanted you to see this stylish sink.

Photo courtesy of Blaentrothy 'Holiday Cottages'

Outside the cottage garden invites lingering, and leisurely walks.

Photo courtesy of Blaentrothy 'Holiday Cottages'

A big thank you to Caroline of Blaentrothy Holiday Cottages for allowing me the privilege of featuring Brassey's Contract Cottage at A Joyful Cottage. You can learn more about this wonderful cottage  on the Blaentrothy Holiday Cottages website.

 I hope you've enjoyed our tour of this lovely rescued cottage. What do you think of it?
Sharing with:
A Bouquet of Talent Linky Party at Life of Lakeshare Drive
Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My $15 Born Again Bookcase

When we sold our home in Colorado and moved to Oregon, I didn't expect to live in an apartment. I mean, what is a woman with a cottage blog doing living in an apartment? Well, for now this is where God has us, and so I'm trying to be content with that and make this contemporary apartment. . .
feel more like this cozy cottage. . .
The Old Smithy Welsh Cottage
Challenging, huh? Especially when I'm doing it on a self-imposed budget.
Well, baby steps, as they say.
One of the blessings of living here is having my own personal space -- a 12' x 15' second bedroom -- in which to create (something I didn't have in our previous 640 SF, 1 bedroom cottage). It's still a work in progress, but I have made some strides.
In September I showed you my "desk" -- a vintage table makeover.  Today I want to show you another project I completed for my space.
A glass door bookcase.

Here you see it with some of the other yard sale finds Dennis brought home. He picked up this little honey for $15. Yeah, pretty amazing deal.

This piece probably began life as a kitchen cupboard. At some point crooked plywood shelves were added, and it was painted white with a blue trim.

Layers of contact paper and wallpaper covered the interior.

After removing the top few layers (remember when hearts were all the rage, right after the fake green bamboo? Oh, you don't? Never mind, then)

 I discovered this vintage floral wallpaper. . .

and this vintage windmill wallpaper.

And because somebody decades ago went to all that trouble to prettify their little cupboard with real wallpaper, and because I'm a sentimental push over for things like that, I stopped. The interior remains delightfully shabby.

Dennis made new pine shelves, and spaced them so I have more room for books. The new shelves are nice and straight, too. I decided not to paint them for now. Maybe later I will. Maybe not.

I covered the cupboard in two coats of white paint I already had,

did a little distressing,

and my born again bookcase was good to go.

Now I have a place for all my books.

Other things that make me smile rest on top.

And our apartment feels just a little more like the cottage I dream about.


Thanks so much for visiting. I hope your week is off to a joyful start.

I'll be sharing with:
Inspired Sunday at Sunday View
Tweak It Tuesday at Cozy Little House
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday at Coastal Charm
Share Your Cup at Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson
Inspire Me Wednesday at MamaBuzz
Homemaking Party at Hope In Every Season
We Call It Olde Linkup at We Call it Junkin
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life
Tutorials, Tips and Tidbits at Stone Gable
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Shabbilicious Friday link party at Shabby Art Boutique
Link Party at Redoux
Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest
Craft Frenzy Friday at Craft Dictator
Friday Favorites Linky Party at I'm Not a Trophy Wife

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Random 5 Friday

Happy November!

These photos represent a few of the random things I discovered this week (5 to be exact, as I play along with Random 5 Friday at Nancy's A Rural Journal).

1. Gate. This gate is the entrance to a garden situated between two commercial brick buildings in our little town. Here it is with a very light covering of snow on Monday.

2. Rainbow. A full rainbow pierced the sky Thursday morning. Dennis and I rushed outside with our cell phones to capture it. Rainbows remind me of God's faithfulness. "I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth." (Genesis 9:13)

3. Tiny Cottage Kitchen. I'm crazy about this little kitchen I found while perusing the net.

Sunflower Cottage Kitchen

4. Eyeglass Dish Tray. I discovered this at the thrift store for $3. I couldn't resist it. Now I always know where to find my reading glasses.

5. An old cottage that appears abandoned. Another discovery in our little town. I believe it was a beauty at one time.

Thank you for visiting. Hope your weekend is filled with wonderful things.