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What a great way to celebrate my 50th post!

Here's the story, of a lovely lady, who had just moved with her family to Minnesota. Feeling lonely, and in between boxes of unpacking, she traveled to blogland. There she "met" lots of familiar faces who share her (healthy) obsession of "home-making". Feeling inspired and needing a new "challenge" she said, "I can do this, I can become one of these bloggers, the kind who share my passion for slipcovers, lamps, chandeliers, a good flea market, a great find, a good recipe to make for the family, sisal rugs, transferware, family pictures, painting and then repainting, gardening, organizing etc...

And then it happened, life got in the way of blogging. She tried to keep up and posted irregularly. She got 27 followers! And some nice comments to boot!

Now I promise to more....

Today, one of the bloggers who first inspired me, the fabulous Nester is having a Lampapalooza event and I am happy to join in. The Nester is really one of the big reasons I started my blog and she was nice enough in the beginning to give me some much needed words of encouragement. Thank you Nester!!!

This chandelier is my favorite light fixture in our cottage. I purchased it shortly after we moved to Minnesota. It is vintage French and worth every penny I spent (actually it was not that expensive). I love it. It is not unusual for me to switch out every light fixture in a home after we move in - I really think changing lighting can bring a dramatic change (for not much $$) in the look of a room. There is only one fixture in our current home that I did not change since we moved in a year ago.

I have many lamps in my home. I try to connect a couple lamps to an extension cord that plugs into an outlet that works off a switch. It makes it much easier to turn on and off multiple light fixtures in a room. I don't know about you, but I get a lot of grumbling from my husband if he is the last to go to bed and has to turn off all the lamps! A switch is an easy way to ease the task.

Now, I completely understand that I am not practicing energy efficiency in my home....however, I refuse to live with dimly lit, dark rooms. Just to let you know I am a BIG recycler, if that helps my case!

Lamps warm up spaces, make a home feel cozy, and done right, make YOU look fabulous!

Small lamps are great for bathrooms and counter tops. This vintage small Asian jar has been made into a small lamp and provides just the right light on my kitchen counter top next to my stove.

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Mrs. Meyer's Cleaning Products

Today, I am truly a "stay-at-home mom". It's cleaning day at my cottage!

Ever since I started using Mrs. Meyer's cleaning products, the chore of cleaning my cottage has become easier. Besides being biodegradable and phosphate free, Mrs. Meyers products use natural essential oils that make your home smell devine! My favorite scent is lavendar...but yours may be geranium or verbena. They also make dishwashing liquid and hand soaps. I purchase my products at Target but you can also purchase directly from the website

Have a lovely day!

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Happy Summer from Forever Cottage

I don't know about you, but summer starts on Memorial Day for me. This year, I am ready - the kids are so busy with big homework projects, class parties, recitals, soccer tournaments, teacher gifts, author celebrations, etc. All the madness makes for one crazy worn out momma.

For me, the lazy days of summer are the days I long for.

We have lived in our cottage for just over a year and have spent considerable time sprucing it up. Thought I would share a picture of our front porch complete with the new sidewalk and the grass my husband has worked tirelessly on make as green and dandelion free as possible. Oh, and those 18 hostas I planted over the weekend. Chances are, if you are visiting this summer, this is where you are likely to find me.

As an added bonus, you get a picture of my dear daughter Emma and our dog Zoe. While out taking photos of the front porch, Emma reminded me her sister had been pictured on my blog but she had not. she is....

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I'm addicted to......Bird/Nest stuff!

A couple weeks ago I admitted to my love of all things bird/nest related when it comes to decorative accessories. In the spirit of sharing, I thought I would come clean today and share pictures of how this addiction shows up in my cottage. I am serious, when out shopping/flea-tiquing etc...I sometimes have to stop myself from adding to this "collection". It can get a little out of control and I never want my house to look "theme-y" (yes, that is a word I just made up).

I love the vintage nest egg prints you can buy very inexpensively on ebay - and they certainly beat the many reproductions out there. I framed these in inexpensive frames from Michaels.

I have only one really nice piece of art in my cottage. I have always had trouble committing to art. My parents bought this wonderful painting of a nest for my birthday last year after I had seen it in a gallery (ok, a funky shoe store that was also showing this particular artists' work - because why go in a gallery when you can go in a shoe store and find fantastic art along with a fabulous pair of shoes?).

This is a favorite sign that sits on the shelf above the stove in my kitchen. I purchased this sign at a favorite monthly flea market in Oregon while movers were loading our truck that would move us across country. I also bought a "few" other treasures and had to call the movers to tell them not to leave until I returned and could load my purchases on the truck!

This sign has been hung somewhere in each of the last four homes we have lived in. I love the color.

In the Forever Cottage it hangs on the stairs leading to the mudroom along with lots of black and white pictures and other favorite items mixed in. I love mixing pictures with other items like signs, letters, vintage calligraphy samples, small botanical prints, small mirrors and anything in an interesting frame.

And finally. This sweet pillow was purchased at my favorite store, Anthropologie.

My cottage has this funny "nook" in our entry way. For now, I have this small bench with the pillow on it - a perfect place for the kids to put on their shoes before heading out to catch the bus!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day dear readers. I know I will pause this weekend and think of all the brave service people who have fought for our wonderful nation and those currently serving and keeping us safe. I am grateful.

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A Departure

I was gone this past weekend - back to Pennsylvania to attend the Penn State graduation of my ......HUSBAND. Yes, that's right, at 44 years young he received a master's degree. We were all super proud.

This post is a definite departure from the regular (and quite frivolous, if I may so myself) content of this highly sophisticated blog but thought I would share this momentous occasion with all of you. Oh, don't worry, I managed to get in some good shopping while I was back in Pennsylvania at my favorite Pottery Barn Outlet and will post those pictures tomorrow.

I also discovered a new Anthropologie concept store called "Terrain". They just opened in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania and it is an Anthro owned home and garden store. You would have thought I died and gone to heaven, the kind of heaven where God hired a fabulous stylist direct from Anthropologie to decorate the heavenly place. I even took some pictures with my iPhone to share with all of you later this week!

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Good Junk

Today I stole some time and went to my favorite monthly occasional sale. While I am saving my cash for my Farm Chicks trip next month, it was such a beautiful day I could not resist the short jaunt to the country for some good junk hunting.

Loved these Windsor chairs!

Loved this little vignette set up with summer inspiration. Notice the sign in the back, it reads "Slow Children Playing" - how great to hang in a playroom!

And finally, this chicken coop/feeder was hard to pass up! I pictured hanging it in my garage to store gardening supplies.

I am leaving town for the weekend but will back next week with pictures of my cottage. Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

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We have been really working hard on the outside of our cottage now that the weather has gotten so nice in Minnesota. Integrating a garden while creating great curb appeal is our priority. My poor husband spent the weekend removing landscape rock the previous owners had spread in all the planting beds - a BIG job to say the least. Now the beds are ready for my favorite perennials, planting compost and mulch.

I have big plans for our little cottage. These pictures provided some great inspiration. A picket fence and some window boxes are definitely in our cottage's future!

Stay tuned for pictures of my Forever Cottage coming soon. In the meantime, enjoy some great outdoor spaces....

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{That's my Girl}

This is Abigail, or Abby as she now likes to be called. As her mother, she will always be Abigail to me, the name she was given at birth(while knowing full well she would one day be an Abby).

Abigail is my 7 year old "baby". Sometimes she reminds me so much of myself it is scary. Abby is always up for tagging along with me on my flea marketing quests and lingering at Anthropologie. She is a quintessential "momma's girl".

Abigail is in first grade this year. I LOVE first grade. I sort of feel like it is the last grade of real innocence...before "serious" school begins in the second grade. First graders are sweet, wide eyed and full of energy and enthusiasm.

In first grade, you still make Mother's Day gifts (my 4th grader did not). Abigail's wonderful teacher (the kind she will remember her whole life) had the kids make a place mat for their mom. On the front of the place mat each child had drawn a "portrait" of their mother. On the back of the place mat the teacher had asked each child what was special about their mother. She typed the responses so you were able to see what each child said about their mom, how precious the responses were!

In the spirit of this blog, I thought I would share with you all what my sweet Abigail said about me.....

Yes, right there in black and white my "Abby" says about me, "She helps me! Every night she tucks me into bed! We love going to dance together on Fridays! She is really good at making our house look like a cottage!"

Some moms bake cookies, play a mean game of Monopoly...this mom can make a house look like a cottage!!!

I love first grade, does she really have to go to second grade?

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Missing My Monthly Magazine Fix.... Are you?

I am a recovering magazine addict....a forced withdrawal, mind you, made possible by the cancellation of so many of my favorite decorating magazines. I think I was up to approximately 7 monthly subscriptions a few short months ago. Little did I know I was such a rare species who enjoyed the good old fashioned feeling of holding a magazine in my hand and happily flipping the pages to lust after all the beautiful rooms there were to look at, be inspired by! Many times, after the kids were in bed and the last load of laundry was folded, I would open the pages again and study the pages, noting favorites, reading the accompanying article and making mental notes of things to try in my own home. Ah, the good old days.

I especially miss my Cottage Living and their style editor extraordinaire Heather Chadduck. Heather has moved over to Coastal Living where her spot-on cottage style is lost, if not wasted. Heather, if you are reading this PLEASE go somewhere we can see the REAL you...your cottage fans miss you! And, if you really need somewhere to express your inner-cottage goddess, you can come to my cottage .....I am just saying....

The magazines I still get are appreciated all the more! Better Homes and Gardens is a steady-Eddy in my book. This month (May 2009) was a great issue. I spent alot of time studying the pictures of the beautiful home of Trenna Lange which was featured in the issue. I would describe Trenna's home as contemporary cottage. I love it for it's mix of vintage wares, contemporary accessories and clean aesthetic. Trenna's home is warm, cozy and personal and done on a real-world budget! Love it.

Below is a picture of her living room. The chandelier is l-o-v-e-l-y....

How about you? What are all of you doing to get your decorating-inspiration-fix?

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The Lettered Cottage Giveaway

One of my very favorite blogs is The Lettered Cottage. Layla is a young, vibrant, creative talent. She in the midst of renovating a charming cottage with fabulous style on a budget.

Layla inspired me to begin this blog. I "heart" her even though I have never met her!

Today, Layla is hosting a giveaway in honor of the one year anniversary of her blog. See the beautiful burlap table runner pictured above? You can find it here at Coastline on Etsy or enter her giveaway and be the lucky winner of one of these beauties personalized for YOU.

Please stop by The Lettered Cottage today!

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Happy May Day everyone!

As I have mentioned on this blog before, the kitchen of our cottage was created for an episode of an HGTV kitchen renovation show (before we purchased the house). The kitchen is wonderfully unique...but akward in some places and a bit short on storage.

Needing a place (or cabinet, more specifically) to store some of my larger appliances, I removed a glass panel from one of the cabinets and replaced it with a not-so-great linen "mistreatment".

I was NEVER satisfied with outcome but liked it better than looking at this....

This week, I got a bee in my bonnet so to speak and got to work...with this!

And did a little of this.....

And now have this wonderful new addition to my kitchen....

With just about 5 weeks left before school gets out for the summer, I am on a mission to accomplish some house projects. I look forward to sharing those with you here. How about you? Do you feel the same sense of urgency to get some things done before the summer comes?

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