Monday, May 31, 2010

Cottage Charm Giveaway Winner

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in my Cottage Charm Giveaway!  I especially appreciated all of the wonderful blogs that people suggested.  I still haven't finished visiting all of them yet, but I am enjoying each and every one.

Using, the winner is number 13, Lisa Macomber!  Congratulations Lisa.  Please email me with  your address and what letter you'd like on your platter.

Thank you Kim, from Twice Remembered for hosting the Cottage Charm Giveaway this year.  It was fun to participate . . . and I actually won Grace's giveaway over at Sense and Simplicity!  I was psyched to win the beautiful plates and glasses.  It gives me something to look forward to and I will be running to get the mail every day until I receive them!

I hope everyone had a relaxing Memorial Day weekend!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cottage Charm Giveaway

When I started this blog in February of this year, I began thinking of the Cottage Charm Giveaway hosted by Kim at Twice Remembered.  I knew I wanted to participate but I wasn't sure what I'd give away-- besides, May seemed so far off.

May - the month I'd be pulling out flip flops, relaxing with a good book in our hammock under blue skies, going out for soft-serve chocolate ice cream and watching Imani play countless baseball games. 

May, the first course to summer.

It's hard to believe it's half over!  All month I've been thinking about the Cottage Charm Giveaway, watching as talented bloggers put together great giveaways that demonstrate what "cottage" means to them.

I thought of buying something or getting a gift card -- those are always great giveaways.

But I wanted to give something that I created with my own hands.  What represents "cottage" more than something homeade?

Unfortunately, my quilting skills aren't yet up to par. . .

and since I'm moving, I don't have a whole lot of time for crafts.

I could knit, but it's nearly summer and wool doesn't exactly conjure feelings of summer.

So, I decided I'd give away a white monogrammed platter.

I can't say exactly what shape it will be, because that's part of the treasure hunt.

If you win,  you can let me know what letter you'd like on your platter and I will order it and create it for you.

It will look similar to the one I made that is displayed in our living room:

This giveaway will close at 5pm Monday, May 31 and is open to all US residents, regardless of if you have a blog or not.  You can enter up to four times by doing the following:

1. For one entry, leave a comment on this post and tell me one of your favorite blogs (besides Decorating Addiction and besides your own) and why you like it.

2. For a second entery, follow this blog-- leave a separate comment mentioning that you are part of the "support group."

3.  For a third entry, blog about this giveaway and link back to it (leave a comment telling me you did so)

4.  For a fourth entry, post my button on your page.

Remember to include your email address so I can contact you if you win!  Good luck!  I'm looking forward to discovering a bunch of great blogs!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Question of a House's Legacy

One good thing about moving is that it makes you clean out your house and re-evaluate all of the things you've collected over the years.   Sometimes, you come across stuff that's been stuffed away and stored and you realize, it should be displayed. 

Recently, when Jason was cleaning out our garage, he came across something that was left in this house as part of the estate when we bought it.

Originally, we tried to donate it to a historical library, but at the time, the library was renovating and said they didn't have room.

We're kind of glad, because it is a really cool piece and Jason decided to dust it off and hang it in our guest room.

It's a certificate of service for a person named E.R. Aldred for the Horseheads, NY fire department dated March, 1890.

We have no idea who this is, or why it was left in our house.  Our house was built in the 1940s, and, to our knowledge, no one with the last name of Aldred owned the property.

Nonetheless, it's an interesting piece of local history, so we decided to hang it proudly in the guest room.

As I've mentioned before, our house was filled with remnants of someone else's life.  It was really sad, actually.  Prior to closing, the deceased woman's children came through and took what belongings they wanted to keep. 

I was saddened by their choices.  They left boxes of their mother's poetry, love letters, books and tons of other sentimental items and instead, they chose to keep objects that had more monetary value - like pieces of solid wood furniture. 

I spent countless hours reading the journals and books of poetry that were left behind.  I found joy in piecing together who this woman was and what meaning her life had, yet at the same time I struggled with reading the writings at all, fearful of violating this woman's personal thoughts and feelings.  

She was a peace keeper -- a lover of animals and of life.

So I struggle with the question one of my dear blogging friends, Deborah from The Fairfield House posted yesterday to my blog.  She wrote:

"Stephenie, There are pieces here that we feel belong to the house and not to us. So, if we ever decide to leave, they will remain. Are you going to leave something that you found behind? Imagine what you will discover in your new old house!"

I understand what Deborah means in that houses have a life and history that go beyond their owners.  But I struggle with the thought of leaving some of the wonderful belongs behind -- not so much because I cherish objects -- but because I feel a desire to protect what was so freely discarded before.

What if the new owners throw away this woman and this house's history because they don't see it "fitting in" with their decor?

What about all of you? Have you found treasures in homes you've purchased?  Do you feel the desire to keep and preserve them or leave them as part of the house's legacy?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Estate Goodies

When we first bought our house, not only was it painted a million crazy colors, but it also smelled like cats.  On top of that, it was an estate and it was filled with the previous owner's belongings.

The first thing we did was pulled everything out onto our front lawn and had an estate sale.  We didn't even take the time to put price tags on the stuff.  The goal was to get rid of everything as quickly as possible so that we could begin to renovate the house.

Our lease was up at our old apartment and we needed a place to lay our heads.  We couldn't function in this house with all of the previous owner's smelly belongings.

Looking back, people got some great deals.  We had a jar of old marbles and some collector went through and picked out a couple he liked.  I think he gave us $25 for two.  I'm sure they were probably worth more but at the time, we didn't care.

We sold hundreds of cigar boxes, old magazines, futons, and other objects that marked another person's life.

Fortunately, we kept some things, like this old picture.

And about a hundred Buddhas.  (We're not Buddhist, but we really liked all the Buddhas for decoration).

Here are just a few of my favorites.

This lady, who sits on our window ledge (along with the turtle and the little thing next to her).

This guy who's missing a hand.

This garden Buddha who was sitting outside near an urn of cat ashes (I'm not joking).

This jolly little guy who acts as a book end.

And a variety of other Buddhas who sit on our bookshelf.

The other day when he was cleaning out our garage, Jason found another old object that was left with this house.  He brought it in to display in our guest room.

I'll let you know what it is tomorrow, but I will tell you it's NOT another Buddha. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Guest Room Lamp

The consensus was that the burlap lamp shade that I found at the Salvation Army for my guest room lamp had to go.  Most of my readers either told me directly or sent me an email saying they didn't like the burlap lamp shade.

I love honesty, so thanks.

I liked the texture of the lamp shade, so I wanted to try to save it somehow.

First, I decided to spray paint it white.  It took several coats.

Next, I took some of the left over fabric from the folding chair that I refinished and cut two strips.  I carefully glued these pieces onto the lamp shade at the top and the bottom, tucking and gluing the ends in as I went along.

And here is my new lamp shade.  I hope you like it more than the plain brown burlap.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Another Bird Cage

A few weeks ago when we went to Hub's Place, Jason found a rusty bird cage he wanted.   You probably remember how I was on a search for a bird cage a while ago and I found this great one at TJ Maxx.

Well if you've learned anything about me and Jason from reading this blog, you know we rarely stop with just one of anything.  We become fixated on stuff.  Remember Jason's obsession with coffee cans?  Thankfully, that's died down a bit.

I wasn't sure we needed another bird cage, but Jason really wanted it so it was added to our collection of junk.

The other day I noticed something new placed upon our treasure chest in the family room.

Now we just need to put something inside of it.

Should we fill it with candles like we did our other bird cage, or do you have a better suggestion?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spray Paint Freaks

Remember when I told you about the fan dilemma around our house?

It's still not solved.

But we did finally decide to keep this old fan.

And after a very small debate, Jason took this fan apart and gave it a face lift.

I am loving the new look but I'm a little disappointed that we don't actually use it.  Although it works, we are a little fearful that the old wiring could be a fire hazard.

We've thought of re-wiring it, but then there is always the concern that little Maggie might get her tongue chopped off.

I think we'll just keep it as a decoration for now.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cheese Dome Cloche Club

Jason and I have been on a bit of a spray paint binge lately.  We have spray painted so many of our Hub's Place treasures and I've failed to show them all to you, so over the next couple of days, I will reveal some of our before and afters in an effort to catch you up.

First, since I've joined the blogging community, I've seen so many people create their own cloche by using a cheese dome. 

Anyway, I found this cheese dome at the Salvation Army for $1.99 and I knew I was going to copy everyone in blogland when I bought it.

I also snagged a couple of the glass domes for $1 each, but they were missing the bases.

I spray painted the base with oil-rubbed bronze spray paint and now I am officially part of the chesse-dome cloche club.  I know, I should really add a pedestal to it like Allison did over at House of Hepworths  or Thrifty Decor Chick.  I just didn't have a candlestick and I am happy with it just the way it is for now. 

I'm counting myself in the club even without the pedestal. Maybe if I find a candlestick at the Salvation Army or Hub's Place, I'll take this little cloche to the next level.

I put some cheapo lemons from Tarjay in it for now because I'm paranoid about putting real fruit on a spray painted piece of wood.

See that table that the new cloche is sitting on?  It's getting ready for a coat of black paint too.

Oh, and as for the domes, I am using them on plates and plate stands and I really love the look.

Are you in the cheese dome cloche club?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow

One of the best aspects of a Do-It-Yourself Wedding is that you get to keep all of the things you buy to decorate for your ceremony and reception.

After our DIY wedding (See Two Addicts Become One), we had an abundance of vases, baskets, buckets, and candles . . . not to mention a whole house full of beautiful flowers!  Because our honeymoon was delayed a couple of days due to inclement weather, we were able to return home after a couple of days of staying in our hotel.   When we walked in, it smelled like a florist's and the site was breathtaking.  There were shades of pink flowers in every room.

We couldn't stand the thought of throwing all of these flowers away, so we gave some to friends and relatives, but left the vast majority in the vases when we left for the honeymoon.  Needless to say, when we returned, it didn't exactly smell like a florist's anymore.

Anyway, I still use many of the items around my house that I used in my wedding.

One of the items that have gotten a lot of use recently are the little tin buckets that were used to hold rose petals for guests to toss after our ceremony.  See them hanging on the chairs at the end of each row?

For a long time, these little buckets were stuffed away in closets.  Then I discovered chalkboard paint and used them on my mantel.

Most recently, Imani got busy planting herbs in them for my windowsill herb garden.

I wrote with chalk what was planted in each container and placed them on my window sill, just above my sink.  You'll see that the cilantro is growing the fastest, which makes me happy because it's one of my all-time favorite herbs.  Jason, on the other hand, hates cilantro.  He thinks it's overpowering.

Do you have an herb garden?  What's your favorite herb?

Linking to:  Shop the House Sunday, Metamorphosis Monday

The Girl Creative

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bittersweet Goodbyes

"All changes are more or less tinged with melancholy, for what we are leaving behind is part of ourselves."
-- Amelia Barr

My distance from blogging isn't because I don't love all of you.

It isn't because I'm lazy either.

The real reason is that our home search is over.  We found a house and our offer was accepted, which means saying goodbye to our first home.

  It's been a good little house, and it's come such a long way - just check out the "Our Fixer Upper" page. 
Jason and I both have a habit of getting attached to people, places and things, so although we are incredibly excited about our next adventure, we're busy saying goodbye by putting the final touches on this little Cape that will undoubtedly make someone a great home.

It's difficult each day making sure every area of our house is spotless, just in case a realtor shows it while we're off at work.  While we both know it's necessary for the realtors to show our home in order for it to sell, it's far more emotional than we originally thought it would be.

Jason hates the thought of other people walking around our house, peeking in our closets when we're not home.  I don't mind that so much.  We both hate the thought of leaving something that we worked so hard on in the hands of new owners -- people we're trusting will take as good care of this house as we have.

I've had to stop Jason from doing any more home improvements.  He's annoyed that we won't complete the house by getting a new roof or tiling the backsplash . . . in our minds, we're leaving the house unfinished.  I'm not the type to leave something unfinished and neither is Jason.

But all of these feelings of sadness are coupled with excitement about our new house -- a house with history.

I can't wait to tell you about it.

Oh and don't worry - I will still show you the final guest room re-design, the office "nook" and all of the other projects we've completed before we leave!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

Watch Imani draw the winner to my first giveaway!

And here's what the winner's comment said: 

"My husband and I just bought our first house and moved out of a tiny apartment into four bedrooms plus bonus room.  EVERYTHING is a decorating challenge, as there isn't anything to decorate with yet.  While the blank slate is fun, it's also extremely intimidating.  Thanks for all the inspiration on your blog and congrats on reaching 100 followers!"

Congratulations! Hopefully, the new magazine will be chock full of great ideas to decorate your new home.  Contact me to let me know which magazine subscription you are selecting and your address.

Thanks to everyone who entered the drawing and Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I Think It's Because We're Young

A few weeks ago when Jason and I went to Snooty Fox Antiques, we were inspired by the many cool ways Dick and Jane displayed their antiques.

They are the king and queen of repurposing and I just felt the urge to take a million pictures so I could copy everything at my house.  But I'm not that bold . . . yet.

I also wanted to touch everything like a little kid in a toy store. 

Jason and I both loved how Jane had a lot of plants and flowers in various bowls, buckets and dishes.

So we picked up what we thought was an oversized white mug.  Jane had it proudly displayed on a table with a beautiful lilly planted in it.

When we went to cash out, Jane giggled, "Oh good," she said smiling.  "I'm glad to see someone else who loves chamber pots."

Isn't that what people used to use to go to the bathroom?  I was feeling very foolish but I didn't say anything.

I casually moseyed on over to Jason and quietly whispered, "Did you know that mug was a chamber pot?"

"Ewwwwww . . . it is?" Jason asked.

Phew. I was so relieved that he didn't know either.  He always knows more than me.

It must just be because we're young, I justified in my own head.  I notice I've been doing this a lot lately as I approach my mid-30s. 

"Do you still want to get it?" I asked.

"Yeah, you?" he asked.


 A little repurposing here didn't bother me.

And so . . .

Here's my chamber pot proudly displayed on my dining room table. 

Imani is often interested in the history of various antiques we bring home so when I told her what this used to be used for, she got all grossed out and swore she wouldn't eat if it was on the dinner table.

It's still there and she doesn't appear to be starving.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ladders Aren't Just for Climbing

I've been noticing ladders lately, and not just because Jason's been using one to climb up and fix the soffits on our roof.

I've noticed that I like when people incorporate old wooden ladders into their decorating.

I first noticed it when I discovered one of my favorite blogs, Philigry.  Katie has an old ladder just propped up against a wall in her living room.  I like how simple it is.


Then I spotted a ladder used to hold a blanket in Pottery Barn.  For $179, this baby could be mine.

Image: Pottery barn

I set off on a mission to find a ladder for my living room, but I wasn't paying $179.  Jason and I came across a great ladder at an antique store around the corner from our house called Barn House.

We placed it behind a leather chair in our family room and I draped an antique flag over it.

I'm reallly loving how it looks with the flag as a backdrop behind the chair.

I love when people take an ordinary object and use it for a completely different purpose -- one of the common techniques among many interior designers.  Ladders are just one of the many objects that are often re-purposed in decorating.

Some people use ladders as pot hangers in their kitchens.

Image: Woman's Day

Here, a step ladder is used as a plant stand.

Image: Country Living

And here, a ladder is painted white and incorporated into a holiday display with a wreath.

Image: Country Living

But one of my favorites, and probably one that Jason and I will soon copy is here, where the ladder is turned sideways and used as a shelf.  I love it.

What about you? Have you used ladders to decorate?

Pssst:  Don't forget to enter my first Giveaway!

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