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it's official, i am a, my first blog award

The baskets I purchased at the Farm Chicks from my friend Cindy's booth, Tarte have finally been wired and hung above my kitchen island!

I love the result.

This was a very easy project. I purchased all the wires and components at a electrical supply store. Instead of paying them $30 per fixture to wire them, the nice man at the electrical supply store gave me a quick tutorial.

My husband drilled a whole in the top of each basket and then I proceeded to give him the same tutorial the nice man at the electrical supply store gave me. I let my husband do the assembling.....(don't ask, it's just the way we roll around here).

I made the cord covers myself - out of an old vintage linen dishtowel. I literally cut the two strips and sewed the sides together and slipped it on the cord before we hung the pendants.

After both were hung and we had turned the power back on we held our breath and flipped the switch.....ahhhhhhhhh!

It worked!

If you remember, I blogged about much more expensive versions of basket light pendants here.. I think my version is quite comparable and certainly less expensive. I paid $20 per basket and about $45 for the electrical components needed to wire them. Not bad I must say...

On another (and yet totally exciting) note, thank you to the Junk Garden Girl for giving my first blog award! She is a relatively new blogger like me - so go check her out. It is always so nice to get nice comments when you wonder if anyone is reading you!

Have a fabulous weekend everyone!

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........grey area.............

A few (ok, maybe a couple) months ago I posted some laundry room inspiration pictures.

I have a spacious laundry room in my cottage that looks moderately 'ok' (I'm being generous). It has all the makings of one kick-butt laundry room - a half bath right off it, a generous sink, cabinets, a closet and most of all space.

When we moved here well over a year ago, I had the entire interior of our cottage painted....except the laundry room. I dreamed of doing a fun color in the laundry room...what exactly that would be escaped me as I prepared for yet another move across country.

And now, after living here well over a year (as I mentioned above), I have finally decided what that fun 'color' will be.....if you can call steel grey a color. See the picture above for what I am talking about!

Seems a little bold for me - given that my most of my house is painted BM 'Gentle Cream'. What do you think??

I have lots of other plans too, so stay tuned!

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Summer Transportation..........

This is our second summer in Minnesota....

Summer is the best time to be in Minnesota (despite the mosquitos)....

This summer we decided to stay close to home and really get to know our community.

We are lucky that we live in a very "bike-able" area. Last week I told my girls that we were only going places that we could get to on our bicyles. We had fun and were creative in how we entertained ourselves.

The rockin bike pictured above is my bike! It was a given to me by my husband and children for my birthday a couple (ahem!) years ago when I celebrated one of those milestone birthdays that end in a zero!

My bike makes people smile when I pass them. I love it!

This weekend I took my bike on a tour of my neighborhood along with my camera. I promise to share some pictures with you later this week.

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Hooked on House & Home Magazine!

My frustrations with the lack of good decorating magazines has been well documented on this blog....don't even get me started....

I was so pleasantly surprised after I took a leap of faith yesterday and purchased a Canadian decorating magazine called House & Home. (BTW - I do not know how to get all my photos the same size in this post - bear with me!)

I thoroughly enjoyed looking at a magazine once again that inspired me. House & Home is not Cottage Living - think more Domino.

The content of the magazine focused on a more modern asthetic with vintage items thoughtfully placed. I love the balance! It really is the look I am going for in my own home.

A perfect example of this mix is the vintage architectural piece placed over the bed in this photo. Love it!

What are you hooked on today?

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Needed.....A Flea Fix!

Feeling sorry for myself that I was not in the Pacific Northwest over the weekend to go to the fabulous Barn House Flea Market,or in St. Charles, Illinois to go to the wonderful sale at Lola B's Boutique. I set out last Friday to see what my favorite Minnesota occasional sales had in store this month...

There were lovely things - some of them pictured above. But boy was satisfaction hard to come by just knowing what I was missing!

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New from Restoration Hardware.........

I think I am in love.........

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One talented chick...(and an admirer)......

I am really not fond of putting my picture on this blog - wouldn't you rather look at photos of pretty interiors instead???

However, my talented new friend Kasey(pictured with me above at the Farm Chicks Antiques Show) from Lola B's is having a generous giveaway! So head over there and get yourself entered!

Kasey is also having a fantastic occasional sale tomorrow at her home in St. Charles, Illinois. She was featured this month in Country Living magazine - so I recommend shopping early!

Have a splendid weekend!

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Basket Case............

I have long wanted to create pendant lights out of vintage baskets for over my kitchen island. In my head, I pictured come cool old french baskets with linen cord covers above to the ceiling. Are you following???

At the Farm Chicks Antiques Show I found 2 matching baskets that I knew would work beautifully.

I came home motivated to convert my baskets into wonderful pendant lights. Then....I clued my husband into my plan. He rolled his eyes and questioned whether or not that "would look good?". It made me doubt my dream....

But I went ahead and took my beautiful baskets to my local lighting/electric store. There I found a nice gentlemen who thought my idea was brilliant! He helped me assemble the necessary wires and components to make my dream a reality.

Slowly but surely, I am working on wiring my baskets. I still have not convinced my husband to take down the wonderful schoolhouse fixtures that currently light our kitchen island. Perhaps after he gets home from his week of golfing (and I have been parenting solo) he might be more cooperative.

In the meantime, I have been checking the internet for inspiration. Low and behold, look what I found on this site today! The two fixtures pictured above can be purchased from a wonderful store called South of Market (for much more $$$ than my do it yourself/dream in my head version). This fancy-schmancy home decorator store has validated my dream.

There are plenty of other wonderful things on their website. I think these industrial/French stools would look especially wonderful at my island with my new basket pendants hanging above them!

This chaise is tres chic!

And who knew that framing vintage French hangers could become art (yes, art - check out the prices of these babies). This look could easily be reproduced for much less.

I am feeling inspired, how about you? Opinions on my pendant light dreams??? Good idea or am I just a basket case?

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Guilty Pleasure

Anyone know this beautiful, fresh faced single girl???

I admit it - reality tv is one of guilty pleasures.

One of my favorites has always been the Bachelor/Bachelorette.

Jillian Harris is the current Bachelorette working to find her prince charming on Monday nights in front of millions of viewers. I liked Jillian from the start (and was my favorite gal from the Jason season of the Bachelor). Beyond being beautiful, she seemed to be intelligent, a quality often missing from reality show participants.

Jillian had a VERY handsome group of men to choose from - with some duds and wackos thrown in for good measure. At times she frustrated me. Perhaps at age 42 with 18 years of marriage under my belt she could have called me and I could have offered up some perspective! Of course, she never did.

I would have told her to keep the nice guys, dump the ones with foot fetishes, country music careers and aspiring break dancers. I would have told her to put less value on which men told her their "feelings" - good men often have a hard time with that while the ones that tell you are often not sincere.

But thank you Jillian - for Monday evenings when I put the kids to bed, pour myself a glass of wine and watch you fumble along trying to find that "perfect" prince charming.

Anyone else watching Jillian??? Who will she choose?? I don't particularly have a favorite but would love to hear from others who are watching...

Oh, and by the way - the kick-ass sis in law.....she won the Hardrock 100 (for the women), came in 3rd overall and set a new women's course record - 27 hours and 18 minutes.. I am in awe.

Enjoy your day!

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Bear with me as I stray a bit from my usual content (decorating, home-making etc..).

This kick-ass looking runner is my sister-in-law. She runs 100 mile Ultra-Marathons - and WINS!

This weekend she is defending one of her wins last year in Colorado. The race begins at 6 am on Friday. She expects to finish sometime Saturday morning. I am not kidding....she runs continuously for over 24 hours - at 11,000 ft, in the mountains, on trails, through rivers, over snow, in rain/hail etc...and WINS!

My brother "paces" her for the last 40 miles of the race. This picture was taken of them last year. I love it! I am proud of them - to me they do the extraordinary with humility and grace. They are wonderful examples to my children. They make me think about what I can do in my own life to set personal challenges (don't look for me to run an ultra marathon, I know my limitations!).

Our family is off to visit Chicago for the weekend so I will be away from blogging. Have a wonderful weekend friends.

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When life gives you lemons......

This fabulous lemonade stand was gifted to our children by a neighbor ....

This neighbor has teenage children who don't do lemonade stands anymore....

We share the lemonade stand with our next door neighbors (who bravely have four children).

Hours of summer fun - no technology needed.

Have a lovely day!

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Cottagewood Celebrates the 4th of July!!!

First, I must recognize a milestone here at Forever*Cottage - I have 50 Followers!!! Let me just say, I appreciate each and every one of you. I read so many blogs - and aspire to make this blog MORE - so thanks for your support and inspiring me to be creative in my home and in my life.

As I have mentioned before. I live in a neighborhood called Cottagewood. We moved here almost a year and half ago. While the Forever*Cottage was not our ideal home, we knew immediately that this neighborhood was for us! At the center of the neighborhood is the Cottagewood General Store - dating back to 1895, the store is now owned by the community through the establishment of a community foundation.

The Cottagewood General Store is open April through October and is the neighborhood gathering place. For the adults, a place to enjoy a cup of coffee, a latte, and sandwich or salad. For kids, it is a place to ride your bike and pick out candy from the wall of choices, have smoothie or ice cream cone. The store even serves pop in the old glass bottles!

Every Friday night, the neighborhood gathers at "the Store" for Grill Night - a weekly cookout ($6.00 buys your a hamburger or hot dog, a bag of chips, potato salad and a drink). Grill nights give mom's a much needed night off from cooking dinner and a chance to connect with neighbors and friends while the kids play in the park.

Celebrating the 4th of July at the Cottagewood General Store is a longstanding tradition in our area. The festivities begin with a bike/wagon/golf cart parade (see pics below) and continues with games in the park, cookout, music, popcorn, face painting, the reading of the Declaration of Independence and a raffle to benefit the Store.

My girls are ready for the bike parade!

The Cottagewood General Store!

And yes, hats - there seemed to be lots of hats!!!

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