Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Celebrate Spring With A Firmoo Giveaway!

Last week I posted a review of Firmoo sunglasses.  I was very happy to receive positive comments from readers who have purchased glasses from Firmoo. It's confirmation that they're a respected company.

Now I'm happy to announce that the folks at Firmoo are hosting a generous giveaway here at A Joyful Cottage. When I say generous I mean 9 lucky first-time buyers will have their choice of either a free pair of 1.50 index single vision lenses eyeglasses (shipping and handling fee not included in the giveaway), or a voucher for $10 off one pair of non-prescription sunglasses. 

I want to reward my loyal readers, so this giveaway is open to those of you who read and comment here regularly. After all, you're what keeps this little blog going. This isn't about growing my blog, it's about giving back to my friends. 

Here are the rules:

  • If you've left a comment on my blog in the last 60 days, please feel free to enter the giveaway just by leaving a comment below and telling me whether you want the free eyeglasses or the $10 off sunglasses voucher. 
  • Giveaway ends April 5, 2016 at 12:00 AM EST and is open to residents within Firmoo's Shipping and Service Area (See here for full list) and who have never purchased through  
  • Nine winners will be chosen and their names announced here on April 6. If you're a no-reply commenter, make sure I have your email address so I can send you the details to claim your glasses.

That's it. Pretty easy, right?

These are just a few prescription eyeglass frames offered in this giveaway that caught my eye (no pun intended). 

You can see all of the great prescription eyeglass styles offered in this giveaway by clicking here. And click here to check out Firmoo's wide selection of non-prescription sunglasses. 

So spring into action, Cottage Friends. 

(Get it? Celebrate Spring -- spring into action. Oh well, never mind. Leave your comment to enter the giveaway and good luck!)

Disclaimer: I was given free product in exchange for a review of Firmoo, unrelated to this giveaway. All opinions are my own.  I am in no way being compensated to run this giveaway. This giveaway is open to new Firmoo customers only. The free eyeglasses covers frames with 1.50 index single vision lenses picked from a select collection. The winner will still need to pay shipping and handling fees. The $10 off vouchers can be used on any sunglasses sitewide.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Living Large In Small Spaces - Seven Little Potting Sheds We Love

This potting shed collection is bound to inspire even the brownest green thumb to pick up a trowel.

Welcome to the seventy-fifth post in the series
"Living Large in Small Spaces".

After spending most of the week in my own humble potting shed, I'm anxious to share these fetching sheds with you. 

1. This extraordinary stone shed was built to compliment the residence, which would never make the Living Large In Small Spaces hit parade due to its extensive size. We'll take this petite potting shed, though.

Imagine the joy of planning and potting in this beautiful space.

2. Here's a unique potting shed. The front side of the shed is a pump house for a fountain.
A closer look reveals vintage garden tools.

3. Now this cute little potting shed belongs to a true gardener. The glorious flowers testify to the fact.

And so does the interior. This is a working shed, but one that still manages to be absolutely charming. I love the drying flowers hanging from the rafters and the art glass hanging in the windows.

4. Tiny, but mighty is this sweet cottage-look potting shed.

A minimalist shed that does the job, and is itself planted in the midst of a lovely garden.

5. This classic white potting shed has farmhouse appeal. I'm sorry we can't get a detailed view of the interior, although I can see a sweet red wagon on the back wall. I love the apron and hat hanging on the door and the yellow hand pump in the garden.

6. When is a potting shed more than a place to putter? Just look at this unique space.

Part retreat (there's even a hot plate for making tea). . .

And then there's the guest quarters in the loft. No question, this minimum space has been designed for maximum use.

7. And finally, for those who have limited space and funds, here's a simple, yet attractive potting enclosure. .

Source: Shed Blueprints

I hope you enjoyed these potting sheds. Sometimes just seeing a photo can get the wheels turning. 

Which of these potting sheds is your favorite?

Join me next Saturday for another post in the special series

 Living Large in Small Spaces

See more home tours and small living ideas in the 
Living Large In Small Spaces Series here.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Bunny, Berm, Furniture and Artful Blogging

Our cottage has been aflutter with activity this week. 

Dennis has been sculpting the berm at the front of our property in preparation for planting trees, shrubs and flowers. 

I finished the bunny planter makeover with just a light distressing, and now will plant some pansy seeds  in her little bowl.

Last Saturday we took a trip to Nampa, Idaho (about 3 1/2 hours from our home) to pick up this wall cabinet at Sweetly Chic Boutique.

This is Amanda, proprietess of the shop. 

The lovely Amanda in her shop Sweetly Chic Boutique

Amanda is sweet and accommodating, and her shop has a lot of pretty things very reasonably priced. If you get to downtown Nampa -- a great place to shop and eat -- be sure to check out Sweetly Chic Boutique. It's in the Village Square Mall with other vintage and antique shops and a superb Vietnamese restaurant, where we had lunch.

This is a dresser we found and purchased around the corner at the Idaho Thrift Store.

Dresser Before Makeover

You can see in the photo that the top is pretty beat up and there are other rough places on the piece; but it's all wood, has good bones, and we got it for a good price. I've already sanded down the top and have given it one coat of dark walnut stain. I may put another coat on, and then I'll paint the rest of the dresser. I'll show it to you when it's finished.

On a side note, remember I said I'd probably decoupage the plastic pot that holds my Christmas Cactus?  Well, I did.

I used some of my fabric scraps for this quick fix, and I'm satisfied with the results. It looks so much better than the strapless sundress the pot sported previously.

Are you familiar with the quarterly magazine Artful Blogging?

I received a complimentary copy of the Spring issue in which they featured my blog's header in the Banners We Love section.

Here it is at the top of page 132. 

It's surreal to see my header and name displayed in this beautiful publication. The other featured banners are so fabulous; I'm just thrilled A Joyful Cottage is included. All of the credit for the banner -- a rendering of our cottage -- goes to Dennis Reinke, my talented artist husband, incredible architect (retired) and all around wonderful man.

Artful Blogging is a stunning 144 page magazine with articles and photography created by bloggers themselves. I'm learning a lot from the content about blogging and photography.

Marian Parsons of Miss Mustard Seed fame wrote an enlightening piece about what she learned by conducting a readers survey and how it motivated her to change the direction her blog was taking and "write from the heart." 

Marian's photography is heavenly.

I've only scratched the surface of what Artful Blogging offers, but so far I like it so much I'm asking for a subscription for my birthday. (No compensation for this opinion, I'm just really impressed with the magazine.)

A final photo taken this morning: my studio geranium.

Dennis and I will enjoy a simple Easter celebration this year. Worship at our church and then most likely a drive and lunch in a restaurant afterward. However you spend Easter, I pray you'll be blessed.

"He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. 
Come, see the place where He was lying."
Matthew 28:6

Monday, March 21, 2016

Firmoo Sunglasses

I love sunglasses. 

Ever since Mom bought me my first kids size pair, sunglasses have been my personal fashion statement. So, when Firmoo offered to send me a pair to review I said, "You bet!" ( Because, you know, a girl can never have too many sunglasses.)

Firmoo is an online optical store with an unbelievable array of affordable prescription glasses and sunglasses, as well as non-prescription sunglasses. 

Ordering my sunglasses was super easy. Their website is easy to navigate, plus they have a nifty tool that allows the customer to upload a photo of themselves for "try on". 

After trying on a plethora of sunglasses, I narrowed my choice down to two styles. I liked these aviators, but I own a pair much like these.

So I went for something completely different -- Style OMJ8058

Now THAT's a fashion statement! Pink shades!!

And cute little glasses decorate the arms. Who could resist that?

My sunglasses arrived by regular mail in about two weeks, which is what was estimated. They came very well packaged; the glasses were wrapped in two layers of plastic, tucked inside the very cool hard case. Also enclosed was a soft case, a cleaning cloth and a glasses screwdriver on a key chain. Very handy.

The sunglasses are very good quality, and they're light, which makes them comfortable to wear. I really appreciate that because often sunglasses hurt the bridge of my nose. Not so with these.

If you're in the market for glasses or sunglasses at great prices, check out  Right now they're offering special Spring Savings. Click on the logo below to go to their site.

So what do you think? 

Fashonista, right?

Disclaimer:  I received a free pair of sunglasses from for review purposes. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are 100% my own and I received no monetary compensation. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Living Large In Small Spaces - White O'Morn Cottage Revisited

Today's featured cottage  White O'Morn is located in rural Ireland.

Welcome to the seventy-fourth post in the series
"Living Large in Small Spaces".

In honor of St. Patrick's Day and my Irish friends, I thought it would be fun to share a cottage I first blogged about four years ago, long before the Living Large In Small Spaces series was conceived. There may be many of you who have never seen this delightful cottage, and so my friends I bring you White O'Morn Cottage. 

Pam and her husband Paul are Irish, and owners of White O'Morn, which is their holiday home and a place where Pam likes to hone her crafting skills. 

If you happen to be a fan of the vintage film "The Quiet Man" with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara, as I am, then you may recall that Sean and Mary Kate's cottage was called White O'Morn. Pam is a big fan of the movie and has "copied and recreated the cottage in the film as far as is practicable."  

Pam is the proprietess of Unapam, an Etsy shop where she sells her handmade crafts and vintage goods. These little green shamrock shoes are her handiwork.

Okay, so that gives you a little background on herself. I know you're dying to see more of Pam's cottage, so let's move on with Pam as our tour guide. (My comments are in italics.)

The emerald green half door (what we Americans typically call a dutch door) is so welcoming, isn't it? In the first image you saw the flower boxes on the window sills. Here you get a better view of those wonderful sunflowers.

Looking from the interior through the half door you'll feast your eyes on this lush scenery. Pam says she never gets tired of the view and likes to lean on the door and contemplate. I would like to join her.

Isn't this a glorious view?

"Mary Kate so loved her crockery and such. She used the beautiful Willow pattern dishes and so do we. This dresser is in the living room of my cottage opposite the door just as she had it in the film. I noticed she had some white cups hanging so I must get myself some of them too." ~ Pam

The Living Room

Smart kitty to curl up here for a nap.

Living Room Mantel Decorated for Christmas

"The Quiet Man Corner"

The Kitchen

"We never got to see that end of the cottage but it must have been the kitchen end as is mine. My cottage has exactly the same layout as the original (but then most of the three roomed cottages were laid out like that. I wonder if it looked anything like this. This is an original 1920's handmade dresser and it came from an old cottage in Ballinamore, Leitrim. It was taken out about 8 years ago and placed in a damp shed. It was to be used in another cottage in Aughvas but the owners got a new kitchen and it was never used. When I got my cottage and needed furniture they very kindly offered it to me. The feet/legs had rotted away on the wet floor but I managed to prop it up and give it a painting and it is my pride and joy." ~Pam 

"OK, I know this is not a pretty picture - but to me it is fantastic! It shows the vintage Belfast sink (butler's sink) with its copper taps/faucets. We got it up -FINALLY - after two years of storing it. The kitchen seems to be an endless project."~Pam

"When the Light Is Right"

"Another set of pictures I took I call... 'When the Light is Right' These are mostly of items in the deep window sills with the sun streaming over them."~Pam

(The deep window sills in Pam's cottage were the inspiration for the kitchen garden window in our own cottage.)

"Pink, porcelain, paper or  painted . . .you just gotta love roses. . ." ~ Pam

More Lovely Treasures

Pam made these charming chenille and flannelette cot sheet pillows

"Hmmm...these are just begging to be crafted into something SWEET! Let me work on it 
and I'll get back to you." ~ Pam

Pam copied this customized chandelier

"I may add some more  to it and even fix some of the matching saucers around the stem. Like many of my projects it's a work in progress!" ~Pam

The Garden

"This little fairy has been sitting in the corner of the garden for about two years. In that time she has lost her wings and if you look closely you will see tendrils of some kind of moss entwining her legs and arms and waist. 
She is being claimed by nature." ~ Pam

The original White O'Morn cottage used in "The Quiet Man" looked like this. . .

Sadly, it now looks like this. . .

The owners let it deteriorate.

But Pam and her husband have lovingly cared for their own White O'Morn, and if we close our eyes and listen carefully I think we'll hear Maureen O'Hara singing 
"The Isle of Innisfree."

I first discovered Pam's cottage and her wonderful crafts at her blog White O'Morn Cottage, Ireland. Sadly, she no longer blogs, and we're all the poorer for it. However, her blog is still up and it's a joy to read.

Visit Pam's Etsy shop where she has some wonderful articles for sale here.

Join me next Saturday for another post in the special series

 Living Large in Small Spaces

See more home tours and small living ideas in the 
Living Large In Small Spaces Series here.