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Cali bound.....

where it all began!

Our family is California bound to watch this cute soccer
player {who turns 15 a month from TODAY} 
play in 'the best of the best' San Diego Surf Cup
soccer tournament.  As her mom, I am bursting
with pride at her accomplishments on the soccer field,
but more importantly, who my soon-to-be freshman
in high school is as a person - her work ethic, tenacity
and values have all shown up big this summer.

I will be taking the next week off from blogging but
wanted to tell you all how much I loved the love
YOU showed me on my last post.  You girls
obviously LOVE a good thrift store score!
I worried about being all, 'look at me and what I got'
so your kind comments and online cheers were 
heartwarming to say the least!

Also - thanks for all the suggestions on where to 
get my shop-on in SoCal - I will try and get to 
as many as possible and share photos in a blog
post when I return!

Ok - off to be a cray-cray soccer mom!


I hit the thrift store jackpot....[finally!]

I don't often visit thrift stores, I leave frustrated
and underwhelmed.  But if, like me, you read many design blogs, you
often hear about all the terrific finds that the dedicated 
thrift shoppers score.....and think, "well if they can, so can I."

 This summer, I had decided to do a little experiment,
I would visit my local Goodwill on a regular
basis.  Most visits were quick - the Goodwill is
near my gym so I would run in quick after a workout,
literally head straight to the back to the home goods
section, walk each aisle with purpose - with special
attention paid to the vintage brass department, 
vintage porcelain {for blue & white}, lamps
and vintage wooden goods.....lastly, I would
hit the furniture aisle.  Now mind you, my
Goodwill is relatively small and so is their furniture
section.  However, a couple weeks ago, 
I hit the furniture jackpot {at least for me}.

Right there, next to the random Ikea cast offs and diaper changing
stations was this beautiful European pine cabinet!

I kid you not!

Girls, I had a PHYSICAL reaction.....I almost threw
myself on top of it for fear someone else would grab
it from me {ha!}.  Instead, I gathered myself and determined
that, in fact, I was not dreaming, Then I did what any self-respecting
lover of vintage pine would do - I grabbed the price sticker off, 
yelled to the closest Goodwill employee that this was MINE
and proceeded to snap iPhone photos and send them to 
all my best girlfriends who would appreciate my sweet discovery!
{heyyyyyy, Allie, Meg & Carrie!}

How much you ask? 

$89.99, seriously!

So what's the moral of this story, you ask?

Go to the thrift store and go often......


Can you help a girl out?

Our family is traveling to California this upcoming week -
We are mainly going to watch our favorite soccer goalkeeper
and her team play in the Surf Cup soccer tournament in Del Mar.

But momma also wants to shop.......I could use some 
recommendations for 'must visit' home dec stores in
the San Diego/Del Mar/Laguna Beach/Dana Point/La Jolla areas.
I am always looking for new, fun places to find
unique accessories and inspiration! 

Can you help a girl out?

Book Shelf Styling....

One of my favorite things to do for clients is to style
book shelves - it is an area of design that
I feel most confident and creative.
It's even better when the client has unique
collections and interests.

The photo above and the one below are
book shelves I love - they are well
styled and have the 'collected' look I usually go for.

I guess you would say, I am not a minimalist!


This photo below is a cupboard
in a client's home that I worked on yesterday.

Yes, it still has some work to be done - see that naked 
upper left corner?  But what I love most about this space,
and others that I have the privilege of working on, is that
it is a reflection of the people who live in the home.
We were able to include her husband's collection
of Stephen King novels and mix in her recent
flea market finds - including some great brass pieces
{I may have had some influence on that!}.
What we end up with is a beautifully collected look.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Life lately........

Dear Summer 2013,

You are sorta kicking my ass, but
I love all the fun you bring:
* projects
* sunsets
* late night garden watering
* theatre camp
* national soccer championships
* reunited sister-love
* backyard puppy snuggles

Your friend, Jill

Sneak peek....and my opinion on bunk beds!

I spent the better part of the last week working on
covering the very saturated dark pink walls in my 
youngest daughter's bedroom with a coat
of Benjamin Moore's Fresh Mint paint.
Phew, I am NOT a patient painter -
I'd rather hire a painter but with the help of
a friend, we knocked it out in a few days.
After many showers, I am still scrubbing paint
off myself - I am seriously a messy painter -
but that's another story.

This room has many issues.....some both good/bad, like built-ins and a 
window seat and some downright challenging like the weird small door that
leads to a finish room - originally intended for storage but my
girl uses for a playroom {it's a Barbie disaster zone!}.

Another challenge is the overall size of the room, it's on the smallish
side.  However, it has a mac-daddy walk-in closet that I actually 
wish had been made smaller in order to give the room 
more space!  But we didn't build the house so we live
with what we bought - which is pretty darn great!  

When we moved in my girl was dying for bunk beds.
And in the throws of moving and feeling the guilt of that,
in addition to seeing the value in the extra bed, we
went ahead and bought a "twin over full" bunk bed.

Functionally, bunk beds make sense if you have to have
two children share a single small room but I have
come to realize they just take up so much vertical 
space that they actually make a room feel so
much smaller.  AND if you asked a kid if they were
comfortable to sleep in, I think 9 out of 10 would
say a resounding "NO"............

So, after a lot of begging from my soon to be 
6th grader, we ended up removing her top bunk
and will put the single mattress on a trundle instead.
Gahhhhhh, I hate wasting $$$ on furniture but in
the end, her room feels so much bigger and 
we did not lose the extra bed for sleepovers,
sister sleepovers etc.....Live and learn.

I am working on finishing touches on the room
and hope to have some before and after
photos soon.


My Tween's Room......

As I mentioned yesterday, my youngest daughter starts
middle school this fall.  Although she will always 
be my baby, she is definitely acting more like the 
tween she is each and every day {in good ways!}.

Abigail's favorite color has always been pink. And when
we moved into our home two years ago, my moving guilt
allowed ME to allow HER to paint her room
a bright pink.  She loved it then but has grown 
tired of the pink {YIPPEE!} and asked if we could
paint it this summer.  Needless to say,
she did not have to ask me twice.

I whipped up the design board above for the cutest
11 year old client I know.  Just like my adult clients,
the design board allowed us to get on the same page
and for Abigail to see all the room's elements and how
they would work together.  Ultimately, this is HER space
and I am a huge believer that kids have to have some control
over their spaces.  The bedding is 
what she currently has and IS staying so 
we are working with a very light mint on the walls
with pink/navy/yellow accents.

There is lots of personality in the room - the quotes
I chose were ones any tween girl needs to hear.  
I will use the Barbie Fashion calendar
to frame a collection of individual sketches -
my girl loves Barbie AND fashion.

Mostly, I hope this space is inspiring and comfortable
for my daughter.  And of course, that she can keep it clean too!

Too busy....

I know I am not alone when I say, "I am too busy".....
us mom-types tend to take on too much in an
effort to not disappoint anyone but while everyone
else is happy, happy, happy, we are MISERABLE.

This quote, spotted on Pinterest, spoke loud
and clear to me yesterday after yet another
busy weekend where I did lots but not a lot
of what I really wanted to do.
That must stop.

Summer is speeding by and in a few short
weeks I will have a daughter in high school {gulp!}
and another will begin middle school.  I want
to enjoy these weeks and be present for all 
the excitement.

I also have some decorating projects in the works.
Those are coming to the blog - soon.

So, what have you been up to lately?

*** BTW - thanks for all the nice comments regarding
my amazing sister-in-law.  She ended up having to drop
out of the race at mile 89 - after experiencing similar health
issues to those she experienced in 2010 and 2012.  She had 
a two hour lead over the next closest female runner and
was on pace for breaking her own course record!
She, of course, is disappointed but we are so
proud of her for making a wise choice for 
her health.

Vintage art......

When I was in central Oregon last week for the 4th of July, I managed
to get out and hit a few antiques stores with my mom.
I was feeling in a bit of an antiquing slump -
even my Farm Chicks finds didn't really excite me - 
but hitting a few new places held some promise!

Well, I really found some great things, including
this beautiful vintage oil painting!  Can you believe
it was just $20?  It was unframed but I happen to 
have an old frame that fit it perfectly!

I am so happy with the color it brings to this corner
of my living room - and LOOK my fiddle leaf fig plant
is still fiddling along!

I am a big believer of using REAL art in your home -
I literally cringe every time I see someone carrying
a poster out of Ikea or HomeGoods -
not that there is anything wrong with grabbing
something if you need to fill a space, but with a little
patience and perseverance, your walls can look
a whole lot more interesting!  And REAL
art doesn't have to break the bank!

What great finds have you discovered recently?


Cottages & Bungalows Photo Shoot!

I was contacted a few months ago by the magazine
Cottages & Bungalows.  The editor, Jickie Torres
asked if I was interested in having my home or 
a client's home photographed for the magazine.  

I have had the experience of a photo shoot in my
home {and styling shoots}but I really felt my current home is
'unfinished' and I just didn't see it possible getting it
magazine ready on her deadline.  So, I sent some
scouting shots of my friend Meg's house.

When I posted photos of this home here on the blog,
you all went crazy so I knew that it was a house
that must be published!  Thankfully, my friend
graciously agreed to the shoot!

Here we are all are!  From left to right - Meg, Jickie,
Bret and me.  It was HOT in Portland on this particular day!

Jickie, the editor, took on the role of stylist
for the shoot - so I just watched and chatted 
with a dark house.....I think the single
biggest surprise at photo shoots for homeowners
is to discover that photographers turn off all artificial lighting.
And for my friend Meg {aka a woman who loves
lamps as much as me - I swear it's part of our bond!}
 that meant turning off
a lot of lamps!  'Cmon everyone - lamps make
a home feel cozy...when in doubt, add a lamp, I say!

Look for Meg's house next spring in an issue
of Cottages & Bungalows!  


Wishing you a peaceful and 
stylish {whatever you are on purpose} Sunday.

Happy FoUrTh of July!

source unknown

God Bless America!

Happy 4th of July to you all!


{*the winner of the Ramsign giveaway is
comment #22 - which was the number chosen
by my daughter} Courtney, email me at!

Enamel Sign Giveaway!

RAMSIGN is a small company that specializes in manufacturing and selling classic enamel signs (house signs and house numbers) based upon original designs and techniques.  They contacted me and asked if I would offer a giveaway to my readers. And I said, "heck yea".

RAMSIGN is offering ONE enamel house number sign to a lucky Forever*Cottage reader.  In order to enter the giveaway, visit RAMSIGN's website, then come back and tell me what you think of their products.  For a second entry, "Like" RAMSIGN on Facebook and come back and leave me a comment that you did so.

The giveaway will close on Wednesday, July 3rd at MIDNIGHT PST.
I will announce a winner on the Fourth of July!

Good luck!

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