Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Reflections of Joy

Last Saturday my hubby found a couple of antique shops we hadn't known existed. He knew I'd love them, so I went out to meet him there and found this "JOY" reindeer ornament. As mentioned in a previous blog, I collect Christmas "JOY" ornaments - mainly for my daughter who has the name "Joy".

I love Christmas and December and winter weddings! One of the happy occasions of December is my anniversary. On the 29th I will celebrate 32 years with my husband! Then two weeks after Christmas my nephew is getting married - on my birthday!

Last October at another nephew's wedding, my Joy caught the bride's bouquet outside the wedding chapel. Now she is planning a wedding.

One year later...

 ...the proposal outdoors at a sentimental location!

A tour down memories lane in 2008 and 2009 with outdoor Christmas and anniversary celebrations with hubby...

Christmas party in Newport Beach...

...our cabin backyard...

our 30th anniversary!

Happy Winter Holidays!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Nostalgia

Christmas is a joyful season yet mixed with nostalgia of yesteryears. I remember my mother spring cleaning once several years ago. She showed me a few things she didn't need anymore that I might like. One of them was a Christmas pillow. I've treasured it ever since. I always loved that pillow. Now it goes wherever I go. In the RV, across many of the States. Now in my cabin. It makes me think of Mother. I miss her all the time. Today, I missed her even more. She loved Christmas, decorating, cooking, celebrating with family. Just a pillow, but it's a token of love, a mother's love that stays with me.

I have a daughter named Joy. She's my miracle. Each Christmas I buy her something with the word "Joy" to add to her collection. Below is a "JOY" reindeer ornament I found this past weekend at an antique store.

These two Christmas characters, the teddy bear from last year and the Santa from today, are a gift from a vendor at my day job. His wife makes the peppermint and white chocolate candy (Santa). Since last year's candy she made is long gone, today I made my favorite No-Bake Chocolate goodies to go in the teddy bear. The two characters are sitting on a mirror I purchased recently at
at an antique shop.
Leaning in the background is a board I found in a trash pile. I couldn't resist making it into a chalkboard!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cabin Christmas

Let's begin with a little cabin history. This desert cabin is my fixer upper that is about to be remodeled in a major way. There's a story behind this little cabin. When hubby and I first went to look at it, we couldn't see it from the road. 

It was hiding behind a forest of trees. We learned that the couple who had owned the cabin both died. The man died first, and his wife died not many months later. And they weren't old. A relative had inherited the house and let a business acquaintance live in it. The acquaintance became a squatter. As I walked through the house, the squatter tried his best to discourage me from buying the cabin. Squatter lost. We won. Cabin became ours. It took us nearly a year to clean up the junk, the yard, and the cabin. The squatter had moved furniture from the cabin to the outside. So much junk. Ugh! I did save a few old treasures like two vintage windows, one of which hubby and I closed off a kitchen opening with. 
Another treasure I've spray painted chrome. 

Since I moved from an RV to even a cabin, it's like starting over. My furniture is scattered around Texas in my parents' home and in one of my daughters' home. So, it's like starting over - and it's so much fun! I get tickled when I see the beautiful furniture and homes in blogs and then I see my little abode with a futon that I picked up at a yard sale for $15 and an old desk I dragged from the trash by the road and...oh I could go on, but I'll save it for another blog.

Terracotta Christmas Tree
The cabin has a fireplace, and I am decorating it daily for Christmas. Hubby and I went up to the mountains last month and brought back bunches of huge pine cones. I've been making pine cone topiaries, painting terracotta pots, and making terracotta and pine cone gifts. This morning I made a tiny Christmas tree with branches from outside. I found the little chili pepper ornaments at a craft fair last weekend. The snowman globe and Santa I picked up from an after-Christmas sale last year. 
Our plan is to begin house renovation in January. The cabin foundation and a wall or two are staying. Since next year I should be in the Mediterranean beauty, this is the last Christmas in the little cabin as it is. I'm decorating rustic and cabin style. 

The pine cone in the vintage tub was one of my Christmas craft projects from last year...
and more pine cones below that I dipped in wax ...

 Whether family is near or far, you can have Christmas joy in your heart. The secret is to give of what you have to others. No matter what situation you find yourself, someone else in the world has it worse. As you bring joy to others, the Christmas spirit will find its way to you.
I'm joining Sister Saturday at Southern In My Heart

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Old to New Cottage Design

Fixer upper houses - should you fix them up or tear down and start over?
 Our story:
The fixer upper is a cabin with mountains in the distance. Within half an hour you're in the mountains. The first time my husband and I saw this little place, it was surrounded by trees. I fell in love with the cabin and could imagine fixing it up. However, the place requires much work, and we decided to do a major remodeling. Like keep the foundation and a couple of walls. Our designer came up with a plan...


...a Mediterranean plan. Designer Bill is a custom designer. He designs to fit our ideas and needs.
This is it, my friends - our custom design! The plans are complete now. The building phase is coming soon. Until then I get to enjoy decorating my little cabin for Christmas!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chalkboard Terracotta Gifts

One of my choices for Christmas gifts this year is a chalkboard terracotta pot. It can be given with a plant, or stuff it pretty with festive paper and candy. The terracotta costs less than $1.00, a box of chalk for about $1.00, and a can of chalkboard paint for $7 or $8 can make lots of terracotta pots.   
Happy Crafting! Oh, and don't forget to add a box of colored chalk!
I'm posting to Penny Pinching Party at The Thrifty Home.
I'm posting to Thrifty Thursday at Tales from Bloggeritaville.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Terra Cotta Painted Christmas Topiary Pot

This is the little terra cotta painted Christmas topiary I gave to my friend on Thanksgiving Day. It was so much fun to paint. The huge pine cone and stick used for the trunk were handpicked from the mountains nearby. Acrylic paints were used. Painting crafts reminds me of the time I was about five years old. We had moved into the new house my dad had built. Mother told me, "You're going to have your own room. You can decorate it any way that you want." She reminded me in later years that one day she didn't hear me so she went to check on me. I was very busy drawing colorful pictures all around my walls with my crayons. She said it was so funny and that she couldn't bear reprimanding me because, after all, she had told me I could decorate my room however I wished. I suppose that's why painting makes me feel like a kid again - it's so fun.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rustic Southwest Colors & Lighting

On chilly days after the day job, it's tempting to eat out. Where else but Jose's, my other half's favorite Mexican food restaurant? Yes, we rose to the temptation yesterday. This Jose's recently changed their decor, and I just love the clay tile roof they used above the booths. They painted the walls with different complementing hues, a popular southwest style also used in homes. My friend has adopted this style for her home, though she chose soft colors. She is a superb painter, keeping those lines and corners perfectly even and straight. When my Mediterranean cottage beauty is finally built, I think I must keep her in mind for my painting needs. For you rustic lovers, here are some photos of Jose's from last evening. You never know, something might get your brain whirling with rustic ideas to use.

Have a wonderful day, my friend. Come back soon. I'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Simple Joys

When I read my favorite blogs, I am in awe of the beautiful photos of creativity. Often, I get antsy to hurry up and get my fixer-upper remodeled into the Mediterranean beauty it's planned to become. The bottom line is I want to fix up the place I live in now. Now it's a cabin. Nearly every time I go into the kitchen with the cement floor, I am itching to paint it. The kitchen walls...well, there is much to be desired there. But most of the walls will be coming down before long when we remodel. I must stay focused on that Mediterranean beauty our building designer is working on.

With the holidays upon us, naturally I'm wanting to decorate for the occasion. Rather than spend time and money on what is to be replaced, I've looked around at the things in the cabin I can use. That doesn't include the boxes in the loft. I began with my new baker's rack. Next I added a few pillows, then three of the pinecone topiaries I've been creating, and three single pinecones. Oh, and I had placed the two architectural pieces on the bottom rack after priming and painting them. I'm not through with them yet, and the bottom rack seemed to be a good place for them for the time being. Those are the among the four pieces I recently picked up for $6 at a yard sale.

The second rack has a photo of my parents. My dad gave me a Mother's Day card in May after Mother passed away in March of 2008. I framed the card and placed their photo in it. Mother loved to read Country Living and other home decorating magazines. I added past issues of November and December Country Living magazines under the picture of my parents. After all, don't we think of family when we think of Christmas?

Rick Warren's "The Purpose of Christmas" topped it off. This little book reminds me to think of the simple joys of life.

One of my simple joys of the day was to splurge on a magazine I was drawn to. Can you guess why? Ah, it had to be the words, many words. I love words...
cottages & cabins...
headboard (hmm, that headboard I found in the trash pile has become a HUGE project)...
Retro Bungalow...Shack...
 TIMBER FRAME CABIN yes that's me! 

It's a wonderful magazine full of ideas: Country Decorating Ideas Presents #110 Cottages & Cabins 2010.

Simple joys of life may be cooking for our families; reading a book or a magazine; talking with spouse, children, friends; or painting a pinecone for your Christmas decorations.

JOY - delight, happiness, pleasure, gladness, cheerfulness

May you have a joyful week!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Window Chalkboard Project

Got old windows missing glass panes?

This vintage window was used to cover an opening in my cabin kitchen. Chill has set in, and we needed to close off this opening. The chalkboard was painted the second time today, so no writing on it yet.
I was planning to paint the window Shabby Chic style, but Mr. SW Cottage preferred the old natural look. The wall hanging in the top pane was purchased at an antique store and fit perfectly for this project.

...and this is the vintage window (you can see where the window didn't completely cover the area). The old teal green store cabinet came with this little fixer-upper cabin. I'd like to restore it. In the meantime, it is coming in handy as a pantry.

May your Thanksgiving holiday weekend be blessed!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mediterranean Mission Design

Mediterranean Mission Design is a mix of the Mediterranean and Spanish Mission combined. Webb's Drafting & Design Service is designing the Mediterranean Mission for the fixer-upper I purchased with my husband. Last night we reviewed the updated plans. It's a beautiful design! It even has my requested wraparound porch. I love it. Bill Webb is great to work with and an excellent designer. He is based in Southern California but designs homes in most other states as well.  To get a quote on your custom home, additions, garage, or patio, give Bill a call at (760) 247-2222. He's been in business approximately 20 years.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Decorating Traditions

It's time for holiday festivities and time to get the Christmas decorations out! Or, is it? Does festive Christmas decorating overpower your home the week of Thanksgiving? How do we get back to the basics of being thankful for the simple joys of life, food to eat, clothes to wear?

Today I'm especially thinking of memories of a praying mother and a mother-in-law who taught me their ways of being grateful for family. Though it is the week of Thanksgiving, every day is a time to be thankful.

I'd love to hear your comments of Thanksgiving memories.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pine Cone Topiaries

Looking for a gift for a friend with a love for nature? Give a pine cone topiary! An old form of nature art, topiaries have decorated cottage gardens for centuries and still go great in 21st century cottages.

Vintage, festive...

the natural look...

nature's decor - a simple pine cone adds a rustic touch...
 a Christmas bag full of huge pinecones, scented or unscented...

Order your topiary today. Or, make one of your own. To order a pinecone topiary or the supplies to make yours, see Rustic Country Vintage on

Friday, November 19, 2010

Vintage Gift Inspirations

Looking for vintage Christmas gift inspirations? I saw these beauties last weekend at Carriage House Antiques... 

 love this bench...

... and this ceramic tile coaster...

...and isn't this Shabby Chic piece beautiful?

Thank you for visiting! I welcome your comments and hope you'll come back soon.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rustic Pine Cone Gift Projects

Pine cones make attractive, unique gifts for your lady and men friends. An area near me has large pine trees that produce huge pine cones. I gathered several last year and decorated the cones with different colors of wax and ribbons and gave them as Christmas gifts to several coworkers at my day job. Throughout the year I noticed that each individual left the pine cone on display. The men preferred the natural pine cone with no decorations. This year I'm creating other uses for the pine cones (I'll share the photos later).

To decorate pine cones dipped in wax, go to your local Michael's or other hobby/craft store and look in the candle/wax aisle. Michael's has candle-making booklets with ideas to choose from. Choose your wax and colors. I used a small crockpot to heat the wax in, and that worked well. However, next time I'd like to use a larger pot to heat the wax in - easier to dip very large pine cones. After the pine cones are dipped and dried, decorate them with your favorite ribbons. Your friends and family will love the rustic pine cone gifts!

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Antique Store Raffle Winner Gift, Finds, and Photos


I found these wood trim treasures at the antique store and brought them home. Can't wait to use them. Some ideas I'm thinking about are:
  • use as a wall decoration instead of a headboard 
  • use a couple of the smaller pieces for the headboard I found in the trash pile recently 
  • any more ideas anybody?

Hmmm...this might look perfect in hubby's man cave...

and I so like these Scrabble letter words:

Yes, I did come home with the baker's rack, and it's beautiful [(excuse the wall; we're remodeling :) ].
I'm posting to Show and Tell Friday @ My Romantic Home