Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Castles, Crowns and Cottages

I can't recall how or when I first discovered Anita Pelayo Rivera's blog Castles, Crowns and Cottages. Only that I've been following her now for several years -- perhaps more than that -- and have been immeasurably blessed by her person and her incredible talent that spans so many areas. She is a French teacher by profession, a harpist, a dancer, a poet and a photographer. This is the short list. There are so many more gifts that this beautiful soul possesses. 

anita pelayo rivera les dames d'abord

Anita posts frequently on Instragram at les_dames_dabord, however there are times when she graces the world with a blog post, and it's in those special moments where she combines her stunning photography with her poetry, and often a musical piece, that my heart rejoices. In a harsh and crude world where serenity and pure romance are in short supply, Anita gives us a lovely sanctuary that renews our weary spirits. I am grateful that Anita is in the world, and that I have the honor of calling this amazing woman my friend.

I hope you'll visit her gorgeous blog. You will not be disappointed. Here's the link. And here's the link to her Instagram page, too.



Sunday, July 14, 2019

Buy a Chair, Get a Job

If you've been following this latest chapter in our Texas journey, you know that I'm in the process of furnishing our new-to-us apartment. 

The first thing on my must-have list was  a dining table, which I blogged about here.

Next on the list was living room furniture. I had a vague idea of what I wanted. It needed to be comfortable, have a vintage look, fit my love of cottage style, and have a reasonable price tag. I looked at several local furniture stores, with no luck. Then I remembered I had seen a chair I liked at Pier 1 in Kerrville about six months ago. I thought I might find it, or something like it, at our local Pier 1. 

Dennis and I went to Pier 1 and within a few minutes of walking in the door I found the chair I wanted. On sale, with an additional special markdown for that particular store. Well, okay, then!

I love the details on this chair. Overstuffed and tufted, with nailhead trim and turned legs. It's described as blue-striped on the seat and arms, however the blue is more of a seafoam green. The back and seamed side panels are a gray blue.

Never mind the blue painter's tape on the floor. That's where the matching ottoman will go. (More about that later.) Dennis and I have measured out and taped the furniture placement in the living room to make sure everything fits.

Now here's where things get really interesting. While the sales associate was taking care of everything, I chatted with the assistant manager. One thing led to another and I asked her if they ever hire. She said they actually were in the process of hiring, and she suggested I go online and fill-out an application. I did, they interviewed me and I got the job. So for the past month I've been working part-time, and that's kept me pretty busy and slow to post here at A Joyful Cottage. 

One of the perks of working for Pier 1 is that I get a nice employee discount, which is really helping with the expense of furnishing our home. I ordered the matching ottoman and loveseat, and they should arrive this week. I also ordered a gray velvet wing chair for Dennis, which I think will be a nice addition to the pinstriped pieces. 

I've been working on the bedroom, too, and hope to soon be far enough along to show it to you. 

I'm really enjoying my new job. I mean, really, working in a home decor shop is a dream come true for me. Helping other people choose items for their home doesn't even feel like work. 

"And my God will supply every need of yours
 according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." 
Philippians 4:19



Thursday, July 4, 2019

Bathroom Storage Reveal

Welcome Cottage Friends,

We've been in our new to us home for just over a month now and every day I thank God for bringing us here. Although it's a rental, I feel like it's home. I am content.

Thanks so much to all of you who left sweet, encouraging comments on my last two posts. I'm so blessed to have you in my life. You are my friends -- many of you have been with me even before I began blogging at A Joyful Cottage, way back in the days when I had my first blog Joyful Altitude. I still marvel at the fact that you've stuck with me through all the changes in my life. God bless you all.

Okay, at the end of my last post I promised to share with you Project #2 at A Joyful Cottage -- the makeover of this piece.


First, a little background. 

We have a very nice bathroom with double sinks and mirrors, two drawers in the vanity, and a large medicine cabinet over the commode. 

Realtor Photo

I've never had a bathroom with two sinks and wondered how we would utilize them. As I started to organize our bathroom I began to see the wisdom in this set-up. If I gave Dennis the medicine cabinet for his stuff (and believe me he has a lot of stuff), he could use the sink on the right side and have good access to everything he needed (plus, he's tall and the cabinet is mounted a bit high for my 5'5" frame). That left two drawers that I could use for my things. Hmmm, but I wanted to use the other sink on the left, and the drawers would not be handy.

But wait!

There's that open space under the vanity to the left of my sink. . .

It was meant to be used for a vanity stool, however it's in an awkward space right next to the bathroom door and, besides, although I think true vanity tables are terribly romantic, this set up doesn't match that vision. 

But what if I converted this space into usable storage? Could I find a little chest of drawers, or something else, to fit in that small space? There are space restrictions because of the way the bathroom was remodeled to accommodate the undermount sinks (which I love, by the way). So, I needed something no bigger than 20"Wx28"H. The depth was not a problem.

Was it possible I could bag something that would fit? I love a challenge, I'm patient, and I have an active imagination. The game was afoot!

One day while browsing through a resale shop in town I spied the black shelf unit in the corner of a dealer's booth. I got out my measuring tape and was delighted to find it was 

19.5"Wx28"H. It was being used as a display piece for milk glass. No price. I spoke to the woman in charge and she called the dealer and asked if she would sell it. "Yes, for $20," well within my $40 budget. So, I paid the nice lady and Dennis loaded the shelf into our car. All the way home  I imagined it painted white with baskets to hold my toiletries and other personal items. Similar to this. . .


I already had paint left-over from the dining table project, so no money spent there. The baskets took more time to find than the shelf unit did. They had too look good, be big enough to hold my stuff yet small enough to fit on the petite shelves, and to stay under budget they needed a price tag of no more than $10 each. I first found some light gray baskets at Lowes at my price point that I thought would work, but when I added them to the shelf I thought "Nah". They just didn't do it.

Then I found two white Broyhill baskets at TJ Maxx for $12.99 each and I knew they would be perfect. Since I didn't have to buy paint and the baskets were so right for my vision, I was happy to go over my budget by a few dollars.

And here is my bath storage reveal. 


I'm so happy with the way my bathroom storage unit turned out. It looks good, holds everything I need, and at $46 total it was way less expensive than any ready made piece I found. There's a space between the right side of the shelves and the cabinet that I'd like to fill with something. I'm still mulling over ideas.

Oh, and on a side note, there's a large empty space in the back of the storage unit that I'm using to store travel totes. If I need to get to them I can just take out the bottom basket, reach in and pull out the totes. (As nature abhors a vacuum, so does this space-maximizing girl.)

Are you wondering how I'm using the two remaining drawers in the bathroom? Well, it just so happens the bottom drawer perfectly holds 12 rolls of our favorite toilet tissue, and the drawer above it is available for overflow items that we both use. 

I just love it when an ideas takes wings and flies.

Happy Independence Day to all my American friends.

Joyful hugs,