Thursday, April 27, 2017

Springtime Garden Blessings

 

Where do I even begin to express myself how I feel about this time of the year? PARADISE is what comes to mind. What have I ever done to deserve to live in such beauty? All seasons have beauty, but I feel in the springtime, when everything bursts forth in color, is when God REALLY shows His awesome, indescribable ability to CREATE. I’m so grateful for it.

We are blessed to live on a property that is completely private. No one can see us. We have neighbors not too far off, but they can’t see us and we can’t see them. We have acres and acres of land in three directions that aren’t settled. The fourth direction points toward the road, where there are people, of course. To give you an idea of our surroundings, here is a photo I took the other evening when we were out for a walk..

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That’s our home maybe a quarter mile off. ( I’m just guessing, not good with distance) If I’d turn around in the spot where I took the picture, I would see more rolling hills with no houses for a good distance. Again, just guessing, probably a few miles.

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To think that we are only a few miles from Berlin, and have this much stomping ground is something to be thankful for. Now, just praying it stays that way!

We have been having such beautiful weather so far this spring. The flowering trees and shrubs are blooming to their fullest.

I took so many pictures of my gardens the other day that I collaged some together so I wouldn’t slow down your loading time too much.

I always enjoy other people’s garden tours so I will share these pictures with all you gardeners..

Enjoy the tour..

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Pebbles was stalking frogs, as you can see by the guilty look when I said her name.:/

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I hope you are all having a lovely spring!

Thanks for vising my blog!

-Mary

Sunday, April 9, 2017

TheWhiteCottageCo News

 

A few months ago I wrote a blogpost introducing you all to my Etsy shop, and now I want to give you some updates on how it’s going and share with you some of the products I’m adding to the shop.

First of all, Etsy is a challenge to get started. I was aware of this when I opened my shop and I set out with a big dose of determination, vowing I would not give up, even if sales would start out slow. With the home decorating products especially, it’s hard to become noticed since there’s so many of that out there.

I’ve watched a lot of testimonies and tutorials on Youtube, just to get advice on how to proceed with opening a shop. My sister has a thriving shop called GreenLeafGardens, so she has helped me out a lot too, which I’m so thankful for!

So far, with opening my shop in mid February, I’ve had so much fun! No, it’s not going crazy with sales, but from what I’ve heard about Etsy, it’s doing okay. My best selling product so far has been this vintage hare table runner..

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I’ve also sold a few Easter signs…

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IMG_7294                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               The wood I use for these signs has a story behind it. The place where we live, the white cottage, as I like to call it, is my home place. It is where I grew up and have a lot of good memories. One of them being helping my dad finish out our barn. It was basically just an empty pole building that we used for our barn and we added box stalls for the horses. We even framed in a separate tack room, which was a highlight for me, being the horse lover I was. I remember how much fun it was drawing out a print of the layout of the stalls and tack room. I could already picture myself grooming my horses, which were tied in the cross ties in the center aisle, and walking into the tack room to get the saddle and bridle to go for a ride.

Anyway, we did make all the stalls with rough sawn wood and it looked like a barn out of a magazine, or so I thought at the time. :) It stayed that way for years. The wood grew darker with age. To make a long story short, we ended up turning the barn into a garage, so all the box stalls were removed. I should mention this wasn’t the easiest feat, since we used all nails to fasten the boards! Evidently that was an era when screws hadn’t quite made their mark yet. So now, we have this stack of nicely darkened wood, just waiting to be turned into something beautiful again. :)

Needless to say, I have plans to add more signs to my shop with this wood. It is a heavy wood, which makes the shipping a bit pricey, but its too perfectly aged to not use it!

The other thing I love creating is paper scrolls. A few years ago, around Christmas time, I was reading someone’s blog and they had a picture of their crafting room, all decorated for Christmas, and hanging on the wall was a big roll of brown craft paper. She had unrolled a portion of it and wrote a Christmas message on it. Thus began my scroll art idea.

  I have also since made some black ones, after finally finding a paper heavy enough to suit my taste. I did find a heavier white paper on a roll also that I want to make some white ones too.

I have a few scrolls hanging throughout the house and love them. You would think paper wouldn’t hold out, but it does! And they are easy to store, should you want to switch it with something else for a while.

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I make the verses or sayings for these scrolls with my Silhouette Cameo. (the greatest invention ever!)

They take some time and the vinyl is a little pricey, but I love making them! I have a lot of ideas I want to try yet, the only drawback being finding the time to do it. The possibilities are endless!

Another thing I’m excited about that I don’t have any pictures to share yet, is a daily wipe board calendar I’m working on. I know from experience that life goes more smoothly if you write down reminders to keep an orderly schedule. What would be more fun than being able to do that on an attractive, wood framed calendar with little magnets to add charm to some of your days? Keep checking my shop for this!

Spring is my favorite time of year and it’s always so much fun to decorate for the season. I just added this cushion cover to my shop yesterday…

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It’s made with my latest favorite, bleached drop cloth fabric. I bought the image and transferred it to the cover. I also added the words “nostrum Nidus”, which is Latin for “our nest”. The cushion pictured resides on our sofa and it does add a nice springish touch to our living room. I am sure it will stay throughout the summer too.

Another springish addition I added to my shop is this galvanized bucket..

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I discovered why it said “for decorating purposes only” when it started leaking. :( Next time I would use a liner to hold the water for fresh flowers. It would work perfectly as a planter since you want some drainage for that.

I will try to add updates of my shop every now and then. You can visit TheWhiteCottageCo. by clicking here.

I hope you all have a nice week and thanks for stopping by!

-Mary

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring Cottage Decor

 

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow..

Awe, I can’t believe its here again, my favorite time of year! The sight of the earth bursting forth in color, the smell of “green” in the air and the sound of birds singing their hearts out. Today I even heard a frog croak in our garden pond! It was a bit rusty sounding at first, but he finally found the right note. :)

I have been working on getting some spring decorations up that I will share with you here. I am not quite finished in the living room, so that will be a later post, but for now, I will give you a tour of the dining area, all springified …

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Some changes I made to our dining area are the drop cloth curtains, which you can read about here. I also added the little cabinet in the corner. It was a left over from the vintage fair that I didn’t let go. I do that sometimes, if it’s something I’m kinda in love with, I’ll put a good price on it and not back down. :) The cabinet was a mint green color during the fair last year, so that may be some of the reason it didn’t sell. I then painted it duck egg blue, thinking I would have it in the vintage fair this year, but plans changed and I ended up painting it white for our dining room. I painted the inside back a charcoal gray. Here is the before picture of it..

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Below is a picture that has the different decorations numbered, along with a short explanation of how I did it or where you can find the object, if your interested. :)

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1. Drop Cloth Curtains that you can read about here.

2. A chandelier that I found at a garage sale for $15.00. ( I am still looking for bulbs that will look better than the ones pictured. Maybe a jar for a shade? We shall see:))

3. A restored barn wood sign, which I sell on my Etsy shop.

4. The glass terrarium is really just an upside down vase with the lid of a glass canister glued to the bottom. (or top now) The bunny is my son’s piggy bank, which hasn’t seen any coins for years that I painted white. The little plant in the pot is fake.

The eggs are a whole other story! I read a tutorial on how to use real eggs for decorating purposes and so far I’ve been quite impressed with how they’re holding out. I used a t-pin to prick a hole on each end of the egg. I wiggled the pin around to make a larger hole. I then straightened a paper clip and used that to stir the inside of the egg, to get the yolk thinned. Then, I blew into the one hole, blowing the insides out of the other hole. It was really not that hard, though I felt a little light headed at times. :/ I ran a little water into the egg and blew that out too. After draining them a bit, I painted the white shells with acrylic paint. I’m hoping I  can store these eggs and reuse them next year.

5. I made this little wreath out of Boxwood sprigs. Using thin, green wire, I attached the pieces to a larger wire circle.

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Inside the cupboard there’s a cute print of a bird cage that I got off of The Graphics Fairy website.

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I think there’s a peeping tom (literally) photo bomb in this picture. :)

Now, on to the buffet..

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Designing paper scrolls is a big part of my life since I opened my Etsy shop, but this one I can’t sell since it’s a song title. If you are interested in a scroll, visit my Etsy shop to see more. I also do custom work.

I made the little cage out of chicken fence and the birds are from Dollar General. (They were bluebirds until I claimed them. :)) I snagged the cute little Daffodils at Aldi for a few dollars and the Carnations are from Walmart. I am loving the cheer real flowers bring to a room! :)

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I hope you are all having a blessed spring. (yes, we can say that now! :))

Thanks for visiting!

-Mary

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Drop Cloth Curtains

 

Hello everyone! I know I haven’t been posting regularly this winter and I apologize for that. I’ve been caught up in getting my Etsy shop up and running, spring cleaning, and just the usual every day tasks that never cease.

Some of you have messaged me wondering whether all is okay and I assure you it is! I find that I have less furniture makeovers going on during the winter since I do a lot of my painting on the outside. So hopefully once the weather breaks I will have more makeovers to post about!

Yesterday I had a lot of fun making new curtains for the dining area. Last winter I had made burlap valances for these windows and I still remember how much time and muscle I put into them! You can read all about it here.

I still like the look of the burlap feed sack curtains but felt they were a bit too rustic for the rest of the kitchen/dining room. My favorite décor and about all I pin is farmhouse style décor. I am sure if you follow me on Pinterest you probably know that, but seriously there’s nothing as inviting and down home as this style! I love neutral combinations of whites, grays and natural wood. I also have dreams of adding shiplap walls to our home someday, giving it that fixer upper look. :)

So yesterday I set all Etsy and spring cleaning things aside and focused on getting some spring décor up, which I will share with you later on. But for now, we will focus on these very simple, inexpensive valances that I made.

First let me ramble a bit on my newly discovered fabric that I’m sure I’ll be using a lot in the future.. drop cloth canvas..

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After doing a little research online on how to work with this fabric, I decided to bleach it to a lighter color first. I filled our laundry room tub / sink about half full with cold water and added around five cups of bleach. I then soaked the canvas for three hours, making sure it was all covered with bleach water. (I set soap jugs and other heavy things on the fabric to get it to stay down)

After the three hours were up, I washed it in the washer at a regular cycle, with the usual laundry detergent, and dried it at a normal setting.

I fell in love with this suddenly soft, light, lineny fabric that smelled so good! Before, it was very stiff and too tan for my liking.

You may not be able to tell by the picture but here it is after it was bleached..

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After hemming the valances, they were ready to hang. I basically just made rectangles, without even making a pocket for the rod. The fabric hangs so nicely, there was no need for one.

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It’s always hard to take good pictures with the focus being the window, but hopefully you can tell how light and farmhousy this fabric is!

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I will definitely be using more of this fabric in the future! I’m thinking pillow covers, table runners, etc..

I hope you are all having a great week! Thanks for visiting!

-Mary

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Bench Makeover

 

Last week I had the privilege of meeting a very special family whom I did some painting for. I had the most enjoyable time with them and miss them already:) They were such an inspiration to me and we had a lot of good talks. :)

I am not presently painting for people on a regular basis but this was arranged last year that I would do some painting this winter in their kitchen, including a cabinet makeover. This I will post later on.

I also redid an old wooden bench for these people that I want to share with you on this post.

First, here is a before picture of the bench..

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We’ve been having some beautiful February weather so I was able to paint it outside..

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After two coats of white water based paint and some sanded edges it looked like this..

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I wanted to add a quote to the top of it, something that would fit for a kitchen, since that is where the bench will reside…

I used my new favorite toy, the Silhouette Cameo to cut out a quote. When I cut out stencils, I use cheap contact paper instead of expensive vinyl for the stencil.

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My favorite part of this process is peeling away the contact paper! :)

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After a coat of Annie Sloan wax, the bench was done!

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I hope you are all having a great winter…Thanks for visiting!

-Mary