Cottage Life - Weave Your Own Life

"We sleep, but the loom of life never stops, 
and the pattern which was weaving 
when the sun went down 
is still weaving when it comes up in the morning."  
-- Henry Ward Beecher

Last night I added fringe to my latest twined rug, so now I can pronounce it finished.

I'll be selling the rug at the Spring Fling Bazaar April 8, which I am organizing. And which, by the way, is coming together nicely. We have 20 participants lined up. I've distributed the flyer I created and did a phone interview with our local radio station that will air the week of the Fling. 

Besides the rug, I'll be selling my fabric/mixed media collages. This is one I completed on Monday.

I experimented with adding hand embroidery to my design.

The butterfly is just one image from The Graphics Fairy Vintage Spring Printables she has available for download. I printed it onto a Lutradur mixed media sheet. In person it has a faded look reminiscent of an old stamp. 

I was happy to find the butterfly, as it works so well with the florals and the bit of sheet music I used in the collage.

My collages aren't refined. Certainly not polished. I like to think of each one as a homey collection of odd little things -- sweet bits of frayed memories -- that tell a story and, hopefully, evoke an emotional response.

Most of you know I'm married to an artist. His art is refined. He's received awards, has showed his art in galleries, been interviewed by periodicals. It would be so easy to feel intimidated by his work, to feel what I do is so. . .amateurish. My rugs, my collages, these pieces are in a completely different realm. But here's how I see it:

It's not a competition.

I applaud his talent. I'm thrilled that God has gifted him with the ability to put brush to canvas and create a painting that brings joy to those who see it. 

Silver Plume Antique Shop Watercolor by Dennis Reinke

And I'm blessed to have many of his paintings in our cottage.

Spring Mantel at A Joyful Cottage

This week Rue at An Old Fashioned World wrote an excellent post about being yourself on your blog. Just be who you are. Be real. Good advice. 

I stopped comparing my blog to all the mega popular blogs a long time ago. I even broke the cardinal rule of blogging. . .

"Do not take a blogging break or you'll lose your followers."

You mean all 10 of them? 

Ok, I'm kidding about only having 10 readers. I think it's currently up to 11.

Seriously, though, if I need a break I'm going to take one. Believe me, it's better for everyone involved. Especially my sweet husband. 

It took me awhile to figure out this whole blogging thing, but I feel like I've nailed it. I don't say that pridefully. I say that gratefully. And I'm not talking about building my blog's readership, improving SEO, Analytics, yada-yada-yada. Heck, I don't even know what most of that stuff is. I just write about what I love -- cottages and cottage gardens. Small spaces that live large. And I hope that once in awhile I'll actually encourage someone by writing about these things.

And maybe it's working. Because every so often I get an email that makes my day, like the one I received a week ago from a reader whose husband is retiring, and now they're in the process of downsizing:

     I don't have a blog but really enjoy reading yours. . .

     I am struggling with moving from a 3 bedroom ranch to a 2 bedroom apartment. I have been de-cluttering (amazing how much stuff one collects over the years) and reading about your small spaces has been really helpful. . .

Just wanted to say thanks for the inspirations!

See, this is one of the reasons -- perhaps even the #1 reason -- I blog. To encourage others. To inspire them to weave their own life the way they dream it could be. 

I'm doing it. 

Little by little I'm doing it. And so can you. 

Let's do it together, shall we? 

I'm cheering you on!



  1. The Spring Fling Bazaar will be a hit and so will your items.

    It's fun to share thoughts, photos, and memories on blogs, but my favorite part of blogging is developing a "friendship" with those who read and comment.

  2. Nancy, I love this. I was encouraged by Rue's post too. I love the blogging circle of friends I've found myself in and think they are the best, loyal to the nth degree, even when I too drop out of blogging sight. And I adore getting peaks into their individual lives too. I think we all come to cheer each other up, cry together, laugh together. An amazing thing to happen via the internet.

    Your own art is lovely. I bet your husband loves yours as much as you do his. I imagine you really have to watch the impulse to collect too much of pretty pieces of fabric and little embellishments. Because you never know when you might use it!

    I hope the bazaar is a smashing success,

  3. Oh My Nancy . . .
    what a lovely post . . .
    If I lived near Wallowa I would be there for your
    Spring Bazaar . . . and hopefully first in line
    to purchase your "piece of art" . . .
    I love your woven rug . . .
    As I have said before, the design, pattern, hours of weaving . . .
    a treasure indeed . . . I hope it finds a "treasured" home . . .

    I appreciated your thoughts on blog, blogging and for you,
    (and for me) the feelings of the absence of competition . . .
    As I have evolved into "this world" . . . I found it is what I love best.
    A place where I can be me . . . and meet the many other creative, sensitive,
    colorful, caring, loving, inspiring others who express "their me."
    No competition . . . such a sense of "being free" . . .
    Maybe I am breaking blog rules . . . certainly not as intention
    just me being me . . .

    A few years ago when I first started taking paint and brush
    and color, design . . . expressing only what my eyes could see, feel . . .
    I realized this wonderful gift of unique self . . .
    No competition, free to be you, free to be me.

    You are special woman . . .
    I love your woven collage stories . . .
    Thank you for your "gifts and inspirations" . . .

    I wish you an exciting Bazaar Day . . .
    I hope you'll have time to take some pictures
    and share them on 'A Joyful Cottage' . . .
    Love ~

  4. Nancy, this is a great post on several fronts.

    I love that you are talking about your art. I've never considered myself very creative because I don't often pick up and make things. The reason: I'm afraid it will look like junk. In parts of my mind I realize that this is just silly and should be put aside. You are really making me thing! Your creations are beautiful!

    About blogging...a couple of years ago I thought I'd really get serious about blogging and possibly even see if I could make a little money at it. It completely burned me out! Sitting at the computer too much is required to make money and I just don't want to live that way. Guess how much money I made...$1100.00 That's not enough to be missing out on beautiful days and many other and better things in life.

  5. I agree so much with your view about blogging. I do it to encourage, to share our lives with family and friends who don't live nearby. I've found a whole community of friends and its been a blessing for 10 years!

  6. I love your blog Nancy I dont know to write in inglish but I enjoy everything

    1. Dear Nelly, you are so sweet. I can't tell you how much I appreciate this comment. God bless you. xo

  7. You weave heart-warming items AND heart-warming words!
    Since my father has come to live with us, I've gotten rid of most of my rugs, but if I could justify having one, it would be one of yours! How beautiful! ♥

  8. Great minds think alike!
    I'm with you about blogging.
    Plus, I LOVE your twinged (artwork) rug!
    I would really enjoy coming to your Spring Fling Bazaar. FUN!!
    I would love to come to the

  9. Such a beautiful rug, and your mixed media has that touch of gentle loveliness which makes me wish I could cross the ocean and attend your Fair.
    Your husband is indeed a talented artist (does he do prints of his originals?), the two of you compliment each other which glorifies the Lord immensely.
    Ah yes, forget the stats and the blog 'hype' yourself, encourage, share Jesus, and enjoy what you do, what you write.
    I am writer in my heart more than a stitchery designer, so blogging is breath to me most days. I feel incredibly humbled that people read it, that God blesses it, that it has been the means of meeting some truly delightful women across the world (you included x).

  10. Your rug is absolutely gorgeous, Nancy! You may not consider yourself an artist, but your handwork proves otherwise. I hope your Spring Fling is a huge success!

    Your husband's painting of the antique shop is delightful!

    I hear you about not following the blogger "rules". Right now I've been so busy, but I haven't got anything blog worthy to post about, so I don't. I'm not blogging as a business, so I pretty much come and go as I please. Who needs the pressure of blogging on a schedule?! Not me. :o)

    Have a great weekend!

  11. This post is so lovely and why I love your blog and hold it so dear to those I look forward to reading. You are real and express yourself so beautifully in your sweet cottage, your weaving and your collages. You have nailed blogging....and after the responses I got on my recent post, I hold those bloggers, like you, closer to my heart because we are of like mind. I might have to fly out to Wallowa to go to the bazaar just to get one of your collages!!

  12. Nancy- Your blog readership must have increased as you typed because if you only have 11 readers you have at least 12 comments. lol
    So true-what you say is so true. Be yourself. It is so easy to get caught up in comparisons when you are blogging--who has what--who does what---the size of readership, etc. I decided early on that was not 'my thing'. I blog about what I like--things I find FUN OR FUNNY....sometimes both at the same time if I am lucky. I blog about grands and food and struggles and conquers. One of the reasons I like coming here is because you are real! What you see is what you get and I like that. That is what you get with me, too---like it or ---well, you know.
    When I first met Kris (JunkChic) she said- You look just like you do on your blog--you are just like you blog---- uh...hello....doesn't everyone? She quickly assured me that not EVERYONE is who they pretend to be in
    Okay- off for the night here soon. I am helping someone else prepare their house for sale. They are moving UP in size--we are moving down...and that is the cycle of life, I guess.

    Happy weekend- xo Diana

  13. Dear Nancy, this was a beautiful post, in photos and thoughts. You are an inspiration to many and I am happy to be one of your followers.

    Your rug is very sweet, love the colors and your collage is happy and spring looking.

    May you and the other vendors do well at the show.

    Have a wonderful weekend with your dear husband ~ FlowerLady

    1. God bless you, Rainey. I appreciate your friendship so much. Thank you. xo

  14. Good morning Nancy!

    First of all, your rug is beautiful. And to compare oneself to another, well I think all of us are faced with this life lesson at some point in our lives, but we eventually figure it all out. And when we do, all the better, because we have to reconcile with our own flesh, our own creative soul.

    Secondly, social media has taught me quite a few life lessons as well. Just recently, I was questioning my own worth, based on my "low rank" in the social media world. YES, I did. Stupid, I know, but then after I educated myself a little about how social media got started and for what purpose, I realized something frightening and something very important: create for the sake of the GIVER of the gift that is in my care but will hand back over one day to HIM, and to not allow myself to accept a false identity via the created and cultivated media culture sometimes based on falsehood. There is much to say on the subject, but in sum, the only way to find our true identity is to act like Jesus, in all things. Let's create with joy and continue to improve only to find the secrets of mastery, for the sake of the JOY of it!

    Much love!

  15. Great blog post! I love your blog - it's refreshing and inspiring - and I'm glad to be one of your followers. I look forward to your posts. Like you, I decided long ago to stop comparing my blog to others and just be me. I had to give myself freedom to post when I can and not worry about it when I can't. Guess I'm just being myself. Your rug is beautiful! Comparing your artistry talents reminded me of how often I tend to compare my musical gifts with those of others. Mine is from many years of training and hard work - and I'm proud of it and my style. There are styles and skills I have not acquired and there's a reason I'm not a rock star! That's not how God gifted me. Your words helped me remember the joy of relaxing and being me! Thanks, dear friend - you've inspired me again!

  16. Nancy this is my favorite post of yours. Since retiring I have let go of trying to be "good enough" and comparing myself to others arts. That is the one thing I love about mixed media art and collage, anything goes, all is good. Now creating art and quilts is relaxing and meditative. As for taking a break from blogging, I have not blogged since last August and I don't know if I will continue. Part of my commitment to the retreats I have gone to is to give back through a project. I will probably start a new blog for my project which marries art with prayer. I will send you a link when it is up and running. Hugs and blessings.

  17. Your collages are adorable and I admire how you invented them, so imaginative and creative. I am sure it is very satisfying. I really enjoy your blog and look forward to each post even if I do not always comment.

  18. Nancy, you are amazing! I am a huge fan of your straight forward, no nonsense writing . . . be yourself, after all that is the person God created. I hate competition. We all have talents that are given to us in the proper measurement, and getting caught up is strife is so damaging to ourselves and anyone that has to be around us. If anyone starts looking too close at my work, I figure they can just find a lot to criticize, if that's their thing. After all done of us are perfect, certainly not me, but God's not finished with me yet :)
    I love your work and wish that I was closer to attend your Bazaar.
    Happy Spring!
    Connie :)

  19. Oh Nancy love you and your post. You have life in good perspective. I have learned as I have struggled these past few years that blessing are all around you as you suffering. Looking to see those makes all the difference. Life can give us twists and turns but how we react and move through them is so important. I love blogging so much and all the wonderful friends I have come to know but now that life is in transition for me I have had to let go of my blog a little bit. I think sometimes we all need a break to refresh. I think we all have so much to offer each other and there does not need to be competition. Life can be hard enough. Loved this post today. Thank you for always sharing your honest and caring heart with all of us.

  20. Hi Nancy,
    Thank you for the honest way you write. I have always appreciated the honesty in what you write, from the happy times to the hard times.

    Good luck at the sale.

  21. Oh, sweet friend! You surely ARE such an encouragement!! To me and to so many others...only eternity will reveal the magnitude of the impact you make on this world with your sweet, loving spirit and kind words. Your creations are just beautiful, and I trust the Lord will send many buying customers your way! Sending much love and many hugs to you today!

  22. You are too kind, my friend and I'm very flattered. And apparently you have more viewers than you think, because I noticed a flow of traffic coming from your site lol

    I sheepishly have to admit, that although I am me on my blog, I do sometimes worry that it's not good enough. It's only once in awhile, but it happens. I think everyone does that on some level though. When I get that way, I think it makes me write better than normal, because it inspires me to be a bit snarky ;) Oh well, it is what it is.

    Anyway, thank you so much! I hope your bazaar does really well and everyone enjoys it, especially YOU :)


  23. This post really touched my heart Nancy. First of all, way to go with the Spring Bazaar (my question in my email was answered, lol)! Your efforts will pay off, and I hope very special times, memories and friendships ensue. Your art, while it may be different from your husband's, is no less special! It is art, in a different form! My daughter can oil paint, she is a whiz at it, but I can't draw a stick man to save my life. However, I can sew, and scrapbook, and bake/cook, all of which she cares nothing about... and so that what makes life so amazing. I have always told my kids to be who you are, and don't try to be someone else. Follow the path the Lord has for your life. After all, if we had all been created alike, wouldn't this world be a terribly dull place! No, I love the expanse nature of creativity in its many and varied forms, and your collage pieces and weaving are a work of art in themselves. I don't know a thing about weaving, I can only look on at your work in wonder!

    So this is an excellent, wonderful advice my friend! I pray you have a most amazing time at the Spring Bazaar. Many hugs and much love to both you and Dennis :)

  24. Nancy, I love your little rug that you made.

    A thought provoking post. I've been thinking of removing my number of followers for awhile now.

    Life is busy, and I don't always have the time to blog regularly. Plus I don't like to buy things for the sake of buying. I rearrange a lot, but I don't like rearranging for the sake of photos. I tend not to follow trends. I like old vintage dusty things sometimes mixed with something new if it really will work. Gardening does not interest a lot of folks. But I am always surprised and grateful that after a hiatus or a silent period, I still have the same dear visitors, which is so lovely, and that is the point of blogging at least for me. I am a hobbyist... that's me in so many things. xoxo Su


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