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Forever*Cottage in the Press!

I began writing this little ol' blog about a year and half ago with no real intention or purpose. I knew for sure that I was passionate about decorating, what I call "home-making" {creating a comfortable and inviting home for my family and friends} - and doing so creatively, incorporating vintage elements found at the flea markets, occasional sales, travels and great home stores that I love. Some artists work in oils, bronze or acrylic, I happen to work in beadboard,throw pillows, rugs, lighting, tile and slipcovers! I make no apologies. For the most part, this blog has represented this passion of mine, and I hope it will even more so in the future.

Our family has moved around so I have had the opportunity to express myself in homes across the United States during my many "artistic phases" - let's see, there was the red dining room phase {do you still have one?}, the grass cloth wallpaper phase {still love it}, the mcmansion house phase, the must love cottage phase {current and lasting} and in my early years {when living in a downtown loft}, the contemporary leather couch phase {the horror of it}!

At the beginning of the summer, I was contacted by Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine - our local lifestyle magazine. The writer asked if I would be interested in sharing my ideas for what cottage style/living means. I was honored and thrilled for the opportunity.

So, when I returned to Minneapolis today, I headed straight for the news and magazine stand at the airport. Lo and behold there I was on page 44! They even photographed some of my personal pieces - ironstone and a big letter "E" that I have in my daughter's room!

If you are visiting Forever*Cottage because you saw the article - WELCOME! If you are local and would be interested in my help with decorating your home in a collaborative style, picking paint colors, incorporating more personal items and vintage elements into your decor, please let me know in the comment section of this blog or email me}.

If this doesn't demonstrate just how important it is to follow your passions and see where they lead you, I don't know what does! I know there is so much more ahead....

Giveaway Alert

My friend Suzanne at Privet and Holly is hosting a fabulous giveaway. Just thought I would let y'all know.

Also, I just posted a great giveaway on the Junk Bonanza blog! Go check it out!

As for me, I will be heading home from the Pacific Northwest tomorrow - so after I dig out from under the piles of laundry, stacks of mail and return from the grocery store etc...I will be back to visit with all of you. In the meantime....your weekend!

.....the queen of tarte...

The blog world has been "buzzing" about the fabulous Barn House Flea Market and its uber-creative hosts, Joe Apodaca and Jermonne Swendell.

Cindy Dockins {aka The Queen of Tarte} has been a steadfast "partner in crime" at Barn House - participating in many of their sales, and like any diva, doing her own thang!

So...I did a bit of a happy dance when I found out that I was going to be in Portland for the Queen of Tarte's Flea Market sale which was held this Saturday at her elegantly decorated barn in Oregon City, Oregon. I am serious when I say, this barn is so beautifully decorated, I wanted to move right in.....or maybe just throw a fabulous party!

Joe, Cindy, me, my friend Allie, Jermonne

And while Cindy puts on a really great sale, with a fabulous collection of vintage goodies, she invited her good pals, the Barn House boys to join her, along with a few other vendors.

These folks know how to host a modern vintage sale - smiling faces to greet you, cupcakes, lemonade, great country tunes playing in the background, an edited collection of vintage wares, textiles that include slipcovered furniture, pillows and dishtowels, antique lighting, architectual pieces and new products with a vintage flair!

Did you notice that above I described this as a "modern vintage sale"? I really think it is the only way to describe the fresh take on vintage that Tarte and Barn House are doing. It is not about alot of stuff - just a few statement pieces (think cupboards, armoires and collections ie. ironstone), mixed with a few industrial pieces, textural pieces, objects from nature and some feminine slipcovers (preferably in white).

I left inspired!

Unfortunately, my one suitcase only holds so much so my purchases were limited. As always I bought metal storage containers - 3 for my laundry room. I promise to show you how I use them in a future blog post. Oh, and Cindy is going to make some slipcovers for the industrial stools I bought last year at the Junk Bonanza - I will show you those too.

Day three....of three...

photo from flickr

Packing, packing and more packing.....

Cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning.....(anyone else like to come home to a clean house?).....

Those were the themes of my day yesterday!

Off to my favorite place, Oregon! I plan to blog, we'll see how that goes!

Oh, has anyone else noticed leaves turning colors where they live? I did yesterday and it was a vivid reminder of the impending fall season!

just realized i am going a bit crazy with exclamation points {!} today, must be excited!

Day two....of three....

Day two with no children started off fine enough....woke up later than an ultra-quiet house....watched Matt and Meredith while checking email....

Decided I should probably tackle the mountain of back-to-school paperwork that was collecting on my desk and go through the more than 100 emails I had been "saving" on my computer....

I finally looked at the clock.....3 hours later! Still in my pajamas and suffering what can only be called "a severe case of computer butt"....I laced up these puppies for a much needed run...

Then after an evening spent with some wonderfully creative women over a couple glasses of wine, I returned to a very quiet I dare say.... I miss my girls!

Tomorrow I leave for Oregon to see my besties and eventually reunite with my girls at my parents' home.... One more post before I go. I pinky promise (as my friend Kasey would say)pictures from the Queen of Tarte Flea Market with the infamous Barn House boys when I return in September!

day one...of three...

You might remember from my last post that I am spending three days IN MY OWN HOME with no children. To me, this is the simplest of luxuries!

And while my head was spinning with project ideas and dreams of cleaning out closets and rearranging rooms etc.....I actually woke up quite paralyzed by the whole idea of what to do first!

Do you know what I mean?

My days are mostly dictated by children's schedules, so to have entire day to plan or accomplish things for me and me only was a bit....paralyzing, like I forgot what that was like or even how to do it! I sort of sat there in a "what do I do first" daze.

So.....I began by doing something I had to do, visit a crazy fabric warehouse for the styling project I am working on for the Junk Bonanza.

I have visited SR Harris in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota before but I am always just amazed by the amount of fabric one warehouse can actually hold.

Much of it is not good (think calico and bad polyester chenille).

But for those willing to spend some time digging, you can find some really great fabrics - for everything; upholstery, clothing, quilting, ugly bridesmaid dresses, you name it!

You might even have a place like this where you live and may not be so impressed by these pictures. But yesterday at the 2 hour mark of my visit, I thought to myself, I MUST show my blog readers this place, they are not going to believe it.

Not to worry, I sort of got my groove on in the afternoon. Cleaned out the girls' drawers to make room for new school clothes and then enjoyed dinner out with the hubby.

Stay tuned for a report on day #2....otherwise known as "the day I got computer butt"...


Do you recognize these designers?

I just met them last night.

No, I have not been watching Design Star on HGTV, as much as you might expect that I would.

** Hey peeps at HGTV - you might want to do a show that actually allows the designers to design rooms that reflect who they are - forget the ridiculous "design challenges" that have no basis in reality (no pun intended!).

Design Star had frustrated me in the past so I tuned out...that is until last night.

I loved both designers who made it to the finals. I especially loved that all the designers opted for collected looks in their designs - using vintage and repurposed items that are accessible to ALL of us! Low and behold!

I am home with NO children for the next three days, working on lots of Junk Bonanza projects. My girls are on a road trip with their grandparents. I will fly west to Oregon on Thursday, hang out with some friends in Portland (shopping the Queen Of Tarte Flea Market, yippee!)and meet the girls at my parents' home in Bend, Oregon next week!

Happy Monday friends!

Food & Wine....for kitchen design!

First and foremost I want to thank everyone who left such supportive comments on my last post. It was entirely uncomfortable to reveal something so personal on this blog, but something I felt was right to do. I promise to do more so that you can get to know me....I especially look forward to sharing some overdue house projects that will be tackled once my girlies are back in school. AND, I am styling a tabletop vingette for the Junk Bonanza flea market/antiques show in September that I am super excited about. back to our regularly scheduled program...

I was browsing my latest issue of Food & Wine magazine and began to drool....

No, not over a delicious recipe or yummy cocktail concoction....

Over THIS kitchen.....

I find myself a bit obsessed with kitchen design, and really am drawn to unusual design and kitchens that have elements that are not traditionally found in kitchens, like great artwork or upholstered seating, or great windows....

I love the double square islands, one for working and one for seating....and the beams and brick, and stove and the quirky way they hung the vintage Italian chandelier, the planked walls, reclaimed hardwood floors, open about this pantry below???


** kitchen design by Paige Schnell of Tracery Interiors.


Waiting to exhale....otherwise known as "the longest post I have ever written".

Where to begin?

I have to be honest with you.....

I have been keeping a secret....

No, not THAT kind of secret.. like, .....that Cottage Living magazine is making a comeback and has named me, not that, silly! But if any publisher is considering, I would love to join forces (for good, of course) with the infamous Heather Chadduck, former Cottage Living style editor to bring that favorite back!

Now, where was I?

The crazy economy of the last couple years has really affected lots of people, in so many ways....are you feelin' it?

Well, last October, my family got to feel it in a BIG way.

You see, my hubby's entire career has been spent in the healthcare industry, and as we all know that industry has been deeply affected by the economy and recently passed 'legislation' ..... Long story short, my husband was told last October that his job in Minnesota was being eliminated (along with many of his colleagues throughout the country). His 'news' however came with a silver lining....his company was looking for a place for him and would keep him posted....

The news was sobering....and scary....for me but mostly for my husband who had been a successful and dedicated employee and had enjoyed being steadily promoted during his career.

I don't know about you, but my manly man partner has a bit of an ego and boy had it been bruised, big time!

Luckily, we learned in early December that they were placing hubby in a rotational (temporary) position that basically required regular travel to the west coast. Ahhhhh.....we breathed a sigh of relief and felt a bit of calm for the moment.... I got my mind around the fact that I was going to be a single parent, certainly not ideal, but ok because it meant that at least 'we' had a job - albeit, if only temporary. At least we had some time to figure things out and had hoped that in the meantime the company would place him in a permanent postion.

Days turned to weeks and weeks to months.....I have felt so many emotions within me, anger, hope, disappointment, shame, bitterness, fear, panic, resentment, hopelessness, optimism, regret......I could go on.

I coped with the emotions by disconnecting, from friends and from my home, so NOT me - but I felt change was coming whether I wanted it or not and why get closer to people and things if it only meant saying goodbye. Disconnection became my safe place where there was no need to explain 'our situation' to friends and neighbors. My long list of house projects was definitely put on hold, no need to stress hubby out by spending money and frankly, my enthusiasm just was not there to improve a home we may have to leave.


But guess what?

After eleven months enduring the roller coaster of one day feeling hope only to be followed the next by feeling disappointment, WE GOT GOOD NEWS on Friday!

My husband has a permanent position (if there is such a thing?) with his company here in Minnesota. (insert l-o-n-g exhale).

I have learned so much about myself during these stressful months and I can honestly say that I am a better person, wife and mother for having been forced to take this journey. Now don't get me wrong, I hope we never have to go through something like this again. But I know now that it really is the simple things in life that matter the most, that our situation, no matter how hard, does not compare to those who are dealing with the loss of a child, or spouse, divorce, or illness. These last eleven months have put lots of things into proper perspective and made me oh so grateful for things that I had perhaps overlooked or taken for granted.

And while I have shared so much on this blog, I have been uncomfortable with sharing such personal struggles. But I know I can't be alone. Whatever it is that you may be struggling with I hope you find your peace.

The real deal.......

For as long as I can remember, and just like my girls playing "dress-up", I have played decorator in my own home.....I admit, it is costly hobby and my time could most likely be spent in more noble pursuit, but makes me oh so happy and satisfies all sorts of creative instincts I seem to have.

I happen to have a friend, Kate, who is a real life out all my "dress-up" fantasies of going to market, buying trips and purchasing inaccessible "to the trade" fabrics......

Last night I got the opportunity to attend the grand opening party of Kate's new design studio and shop in Excelsior, Minnesota.

The Sitting Room Home specializes in helping homeowners create a fresh, traditional and collected look in their homes. A girl after my own heart, Kate mixes high end pieces with more moderately priced accessories and even vintage finds!

I *l-o-v-e* these vintage framed french letters!

This is Kate, she probably wants to kill me for posting this picture - but I thought it was a beautiful profile shot of her looking all happy!

If you are in Excelsior or need design services in Minnesota - go see Kate!

The Sitting Room

380 2nd Street

Excelsior, Minnesota

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