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Junk Bonanza

Good evening gals!

Most of you know I live in Minnesota. And while I do a fair amount of complaining about the l....o....n.....g winters, one of the best things about living here {like most places}are the people I have met.

You may have noticed that when I redesigned my blog, I also rewrote the "About Me" section - including my desire to pursue a few passions of my own...

Just over a year ago I was lucky to meet the infamous Ki Nassauer - really the woman who made the word "junk" hip and cool, validating for all of us who love shopping for vintage that we were on to something! Ki has written books devoted to incorporating vintage items into your home decor and most recently was co-editor of Flea Market Style magazine. The Junk Bonanza Antiques Show is Ki's round-up of the 200 best junk dealers in the midwest and will be held in Shakopee, Minnesota on September 16,17 & 18.

I am honored that Ki asked me to author a blog devoted to promoting the Junk Bonanza and highlighting the Bonanza vendors! I did my first post today and thought I would share the link with you! Being able to pursue my creative passions alongside someone I have admired is a dream come true!

Included in the first post is a giveaway of two Early Bird tickets to the Junk Bonanza 2010! I would just love hearing from you, especially if you plan to attend the Junk Bonanza! How about a blog party?

Memorial Day 2010

May your.....

* hearts be filled...

* your margaritas chilled....

May your.....

* wienies be roasted....

* your marshmallows be toasted....

Can you tell I am a feeling a bit punchy today? Might have to do with the fact I just spent an hour in Costco with half of the world stocking up on Memorial Day "necessities". Can you say, "cocktails will be served early this evening"?


My girls have a "school's out" countdown calendar on the chalkboard.....

I am struggling with how I feel about school ending....for lots of reasons........

Today as I passed this chalkboard on my way to the laundry room, like 57 times, I appreciated that I was doing the 57 loads of laundry in a quiet house with no one asking me for playdates or a ride days of such solitude while doing completely hideous housework are numbered.

My big girl will head to middle (gulp!) school next year.....I am sad that her elementary school years are coming to an end....but know she is ready, even if her mother is not.

I have many "projects" I want to complete before our summer vacation officially begins - some I have started and can't wait to share them with you...

Oh, and I am heading to Farm Chicks Antiques Show next weekend - with some girlfriends who I love and miss - definitely looking forward to that....

I guess I have resigned myself to.....ready or not....summer vacation is coming!

Are you ready????

scratch n' sniff...........

french lilacs blooming in my yard....

means summer is here!..........................finally!

wish blogger had a scratch n' sniff feature....

then i could share the best part of these gorgeous blooms with you!

what about where you are?

has summer arrived in your neck of the woods?

Chocolate Chip and Banana Muffins

I have not made a habit of posting recipes on this blog but thought I would share one of my girls' favorites with you. These muffins are a no fail winner as an after school snack....and they have bananas in them so they must be healthy, right?

Chocolate Chip and Banana Muffins

1 1/2 cups sugar (I use just one!)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
2 cups mashed overripe bananas (about 6)
3 large eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips (or you can use the large ones too!)

1. Preheat ove to 350 degrees and line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper or foil liners. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, melted butter, bananas and eggs; mix thoroughly. In medium bowl, mix the flour with the baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until the batter is evenly moistened. (by the way, to simplify, I mix all of this in my good old Kitchen Aid mixer). Stir in the chocolate chips.

2. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake for about 28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. (In my Euro convection oven they bake in 20 minutes)

This recipe originally came from Food and Wine magazine, which I guess means that while the kids enjoy their muffin with a big glass of milk, you might consider enjoying yours with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc!


Serena & Lily...

So I was sitting down at my computer this morning, getting ready to compose an oh so profound post about the Serena & Lily catalogue I received yesterday when a girlfriend called and suggested meeting for breakfast....well, I was in the shower getting ready before you could say "eggs benedict"!

After breakfast my friend suggested a trip to Nordstrom Rack - they were having a premium denim sale.....and I just couldn't let her go needless to say, I have been out all day!

Sorry to have kept any of you waiting on announcing a winner of yesterday's giveaway, but hey, a girl has her priorities!

But back to these gorgeous images....

Aren't they divine?

Serena & Lily really began as a go-to source for beautiful children's and nursery bedding - with a corresponding paint line too. They have slowly added more accessories and furniture pieces.

In the new catalogue they are featuring their new custom upholstery line with some really fabulous traditional-with-a-contemporary twist fabrics. Oh, and a paint line with a manageable number of beautiful paint colors from which to select!

With all the posting on my recent catalogue deliveries, can you tell I may be just slightly missing my decorating magazines? Are you listening New York publishers??

***The winner of the giveaway (chosen by the very scientific method of asking my daugher at breakfast to pick a number between 1 and 20) is Kiri with the new blog! Congratulations Kiri, please email me and I will give you the specifics on getting your button!

Good day!


***and don't get all excited and stuff cause I am NOT giving away my bike!

With the help of a fabulous blog designer, Forever*Cottage recently got a major makeover (although I am thinking the new look really is more of a make-under given that she is quite simplified and sports a much cleaner look). Jenna from qadesigns was fabulous to work with and really has a fresh aesthetic that you just don't see over and over again out here in blogland.

When thinking about my logo, I really wanted something that represented the cottage lifestyle that I live in our little lake neighborhood. The bike pictured above was my 40th birthday gift from my children! During the summer, that pink bike is my primary mode of the beach, out for ice cream, to the parks, restaurants, farmer's market, even trips to the grocery store.

In celebration of my new blog design, I wanted to giveaway a blog button - for YOUR blog designed by Jenna of qadesigns! I am sorry if you don't have a blog...I got nothing for ya! (now anyway!)

To enter, simply leave me a comment - you could even tell me what your logo would be and why! Yep, that's it. I will close the comments on Thursday morning and announce the winner.

Have a splendid day my friends!

It was love at first sight!

Yep, that's her pictured above....

All 8'x 8' of her...

Of course, she doesn't always look like this....someday I will show you her "everyday" look.

She looks extra special because she got a mini-makeover this weekend.

If I was being honest, the mudroom in our cottage is what really sold me on the house, period, end of story.

In addition to the three built in lockers pictured above, there are three MORE identical lockers on the opposite side! Yes, that's a grand total of SIX lockers....if there was such a thing as a family-storage heaven, this would be it.

And while the mudroom looked pretty good and functioned very well for us the last couple years, the painted black cabinets had faded and were pretty scratched up. In the interest of full-disclosure - I would have LOVED to paint these puppies white/cream because I am not a huge fan of the black. However, I am a realist and know that the black, in this particular room, is much.more.practical. And my family already has a lunatic mother telling them to not put their feet on the white slipcovered sofa, I will generously spare them a lunatic mother telling them they can't hang their soccer bag in the mudroom 'cause it will scratch the white cabinets. Hey, even I know I can only ask them to put up with so much and still love me...

So this weekend, I gave the old girl a fresh coat of paint and added cute little metal name plates on each locker.

To lend some perspective - our cottage was originally a split-level home. The mudroom and laundry room are a half-level below the main level (in what used to be the family room!). It was a fabulous idea to carve out more modern conveniences - ie. a mudroom and large laundry room - within the footprint of an older home. I wish I could take the credit... but the only thing I can take credit for is exclaiming "SOLD!" when I first saw this mudroom.....

But don't get the idea that just because we have an ideal mudroom that we have an ideal home.....we gave up alot in other areas....small bedrooms, small dining room, less than adequate master bedroom closet space.....just to name a few.

Someday these mudroom lockers will be empty, no soccer bags, cleats, dance bags, coats strewn will remind me where we were in our life when we bought our little cottage....and how that mudroom meant sweet love at first sight for me!

I am linking up with Between Naps on the Porch's Metamorphis Monday!

Have a fabulous day!

Wisteria love...

Do you get the Wisteria catalog?

It really is my favorite mail order home decor source. While I do know they have an outlet store, I still can't believe they have not opened any retail stores.....Hey people from a retail store, in Minnesota, preferably!

I love that Wisteria has unique products that always seem to be "on trend" but not in the mass produced "Made in China" kind of way that we are too often seeing nowadays (sorry Pottery Barn folks!).

And these days when my mailbox is void of any good decorating magazines, getting the Wisteria catalog is a happy day! I really love the styling and photographs of the room vignettes......inspiring!

How could you not have a wonderful evening sitting around the table pictured above? I am in love with those french bistro chairs and drafting stools! And the light fixtures above the table? Fabulous!

Oh, and this settee....swoon!

Take a seat.....

If I may say so myself, one of the best ways to spend the lazy days of summer is sitting in an adirondack chair, preferably with a nice cold beverage and good company.

The chair pictured above is on the front porch of my cottage. My porch is shaded so this spot makes an ideal late afternoon/early evening spot for enjoying a glass of wine and chatting with a friend.

Adirondack chairs just scream c-o-t-t-a-g-e, just like picket fences, window boxes and trellis'.....They are a happy place!

Oh, and I love me a hammock....

We have one in our backyard...and when the mosquitos are not out,it is a mighty fine place to take a summer nap. Just recently, on these warm spring days, we have been doing homework in the hammock....

An adirondack chair on a beach....heaven! Add a good book, some sun and a tropical beverage and I might never leave....

The image above is from Coastal Living, the one below was taken this afternoon at my cottage....

I know summer is around the corner - long lazy days spent at the beach, with no homework, no schedules and no worries....ahhhhhh!

Extreme Makeover....Blog Edition

So what do you think?

It was time for my little bloggy home to get a fresh coat of paint, so to speak...And when I saw what Wendy at The Shabby Nest had done, I knew I had found a great blog designer!

Let me know what you think of the new look. I will post more on Jenna (the designer) and host a giveaway to celebrate my "updated" look! Come back soon!

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