winter blues

There’s yet another winter storm forecasted for later this week.  Admittedly, I am not totally devastated by this news.  Why?  Well, because I’m bringing the spring indoors with perky pastels and pops of color to pass the final stretch of winter.  Plus I’m planning a trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show to get an early dose of spring gardening.  Assuming the winter storm doesn’t get in my way.

Cottage Living Room - Bergere Coffee Table-5866

At any rate, I’ve been having a ball with the new European Colors in the MMS milk paint line.  Today I am sharing a coffee table updated with Bergere.  It is a bit of a smoky light blue and pairs well with white wax for a beach cottage look.

MMSMP Bergere

The table base was painted with 2 coats of Bergere with the addition of bonding agent.  The chunky turned legs remind me of a cross between farmhouse and beach house style.  Ryan built and stained the top.  It is a big, sturdy piece that will be around for years.  Imagine the hours of Monopoly that will be played on that thing.  This piece will be for sale at The West End Garage.

Monkey fist knobs are a great accessory.  I love these.  We now carry them in both locations in various colors.  They are all hand-knotted and made in the USA by a small family owned business.  Aren’t they fun?

Monkey Fist Knobs

Did that tray catch your eye?  The colors are just perfect.  It is made out of reclaimed barnwood.  We have a few of these available in the chippy blues seen here.

Cottage Living-Barnwood Tray

P.S. I am searching for the first mate that pairs with the captain lamp seen here. I put out an SOS on instagram with the mate’s picture.  Let me know if you see the first mate lamp for sale!  We need him.

Old Salt Ship Captain Lamp

 

 

 

 

 

tiny house living

Have you been following the tiny house trend that has swept the nation over the past few years?  I am totally captivated with the concept and it seems to be making its way east.  I have been following this site and I’m smitten with the homes that are built using reclaimed materials. Surely you can see what there is to love…

Honestly, I don’t know if I could commit to tiny house living 100% because I love stuff and I’m a bit of a hoarder quite frankly.  In 2013 we downsized to approximately 1000 square feet of live/work space.  At times it can be hard.  Not so much living small but working small.  On the other hand, it presents a fun challenge allowing one to push the organizational boundaries, consider how they use and store items especially clothing and kitchen gadgets.  Clothing was the area that we purged most when downsizing due to limited closet space.

We often daydream about owning a tiny guest house at some point.  How fun would it be to put friends up in their own secluded tree house or cabin coming in at just a few hundred square feet of comfortable living space?  We have casually looked at pre-fab cabins although I’m not sure that this is the route we’d go if given the opportunity to own a tiny house.  When it comes to owning a tiny house there are utilities to consider, land use ordinances and many other legalities and associated expenses.  Spoiler alert!  That is where our dreaming has stopped at this point but never say never as this trend is becoming more mainstream and accepted.

We’ve actually had our share of tiny house stays over the years while traveling across the states.  Often I consider how the spaces were used in those rentals to accommodate two people.  I dug through my archives to share two of my favorite tiny house stays.  Both were stand alone buildings at about 300 and 400 square feet including a kitchen, full bed and full bath.  How much more do you need?

New Mexico Casita

Casita actually means small house in Spanish.  I loved the outside of this building.  It fit right in amongst the Santa Fe architecture.  When you walked into the home, you faced the sleeping quarters.  The kitchen and bath were to the right.  Another beautiful architectural feature was the brick floor.

NM casita/ tiny house

NM casita interior

Colorado Cabin

Both of these homes had distinct exterior features and private outdoor space.  The cabin just outside of Aspen was a dream mostly due to its setting.  When you walked into the knotty pine cabin there was a seating area to the right.  Straight ahead was a sleeping loft which was above the bathroom and kitchen spaces.  I like the loft for the fact that it saved space in the living quarters however I’m not sure that climbing a ladder into bed every night is ideal.  I’d prefer stairs to a loft.  The majestic view from bed was worth it though!

CO tiny house cabin

CO cabin interior Aspen, CO

Would you ever consider tiny house living?  If so, would you choose a lofted sleeping area or one in the center of the home?  Rustic reclaimed building materials or modern and new?

playing dress up

Winter could also be dubbed elastic pant season.  At least for me.  Tell me I’m not alone in that admission.  Monday runs into Tuesday and Tuesday into Wednesday, all while sporting thick sweats or yoga pants (on a good day), usually paint covered and topped with some sort of crazy cat lady house coat.  The joys of working from home in a vacation community in the dead of winter warrant cat lady wardrobe status.  As soon as the season changes and I find my style senses again, please dismiss that image.  Until then, picture my XL men’s flannel and paint sweats topped with a Waldo-like beanie.

Now that you have that visual, let me tell you about what I’m working on.  I’ve got a number of pieces in the hopper in various European colors  including a secretary in Arabesque, a nightstand in Layla’s mint and a Marzipan/Schloss layered drum table, to name a few.  I can’t wait to get them finished up, photographed and posted.  The pretty pastels all hint at spring.

European colors

In the meantime, I did a little window shopping.  Clearly I’m dreaming of warmer days when I will remove some layers, wear proper wasted pants and bare a little skin again.  Eliza J dresses are modern but with a hint of vintage style which is exactly what I like.  I found a fantastic range of new dresses that correlate to the new European colors in Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint line.  I never stray far from paint and I thought this was a fun way to translate the new colors…

Eliza J

“Arabesque” is definitely a feminine, soft ballet pink just like the skirt on the right.  I’d say the skirt has a shimmer of “white wax” to it as well.

I wouldn’t mind wearing this “Schloss” faux fur now in lieu of my flannel.  Definitely no need to wait ’til spring for that greige number.  Both Schloss and the jacket are equal parts gray and brown and a bit of a chameleon depending on the surroundings.

“Marzipan” is incredibly creamy and flowy.  It is light and breezy just like this gown.  Not quite white, though I wouldn’t wear it to a wedding.

“Mora” is definitely my favorite and so is this lace dress.  That sheath really captures the spirit of the new paint color which is a light silvery gray with more than a hint of blue.  This one changes a bit with the lighting.

“Bergere” is kind of smokey blue.  Well maybe not smokey but definitely not sky blue either.  It is as if light blue has a gray finish to it similar to that flirty little dress.

“Layla’s Mint” is the final new color in the line.  I can’t quite put my finger on a description for that one nor could I find a dress to relate to it.  Stay tuned.

Please feel free to come to our next Milk Paint Demonstration on Saturday, February 27th at noon at Serendipity Shops.  Unfortunately I will not be wearing one of these elegant Eliza J dresses but you can check out the lookbook here.  Nor will I be wearing a house coat and elastic pants.  Thank goodness.

snow way

Finally Cape May county got hit with a snowstorm!  Usually we just get rain or a dusting when winter storms move through the region.  This storm was all ours though, dumping a manageable half-foot Monday night.  The snow quietly enveloped the region – from coast to farmland.  Very exciting.  The tide seemed to slow down just enough to allow the water to freeze under the frigid temperatures.  It is almost unbelievable to see the beach in this state, isn’t it?  Ryan was on feeding duty at the local alpaca farm.  I tagged along to visit the animals who seemed less than impressed with the snow.  Just look at their expressions!

snow at Sunset Beach Cape May-5834

 

hello love

Yesterday I pulled out our lone Valentine decor at home.  I quickly arranged a bouquet of heart roses.  This simple craft is an oldie but goodie.  Guess what, it’s not too late to make a bouquet for your love!

roses

You’ll need:

  • Felt
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Sticks

Cut felt into hearts.  Glue heart ‘petals’ and ‘leaves’ to sticks and voila!

DIY valentine roses

Happy Valentine’s Day!

prepping cabinets for milk paint

It’s happening.  We’re milk painting builder grade oak kitchen cabinets, my friends.  It was only a matter of time! Here’s a glimpse of what we’re working with over at the cottage.  Don’t worry, that ancient stove is long gone.  In fact, the cabinet to the left is gone too as we made way for a dishwasher. kitchen cabinets before We removed the cabinet fronts and got to work prepping them for milk paint.  The doors have a beautiful, simple shape that will benefit immensely with a good cleaning, new paint and hardware. IMG_5799 Cooking grease, grime and residue all needed to be thoroughly removed.  I prefer to do this with a natural cleanser as to not introduce any harsh chemicals to the surface of the wood which milk paint may resist. I used a scouring pad to lift any grime while also lightly roughing up the current finish.  Then sprayed and wiped the surfaces.prepping cabinets for milk paint .. Vinegar is a fantastic natural cleanser.  But who can stand the smell of vinegar for very long?  Long enough to scrub 14 cabinets, 3 drawers and a lazy susan anyway.  There is a very easy fix for that…oranges! citrus cleanser-5807 About a year ago my friends introduced me to the simple concept of making citrus vinegar cleanser and I’ve never looked back.  I use it all over the house.  The oils in citrus peels also have natural cleaning abilities. DIY Citrus Cleanser Simply fill a glass jar with your orange, lemon and grapefruit peels and cover completely with white vinegar.  Seal the jar and allow the peels to soak for a minimum of a month.  You can shake it up from time to time.  The longer the peels soak, the stronger the citrus scent will be.  Figure out the ratio that you like best.  I let this most recent batch soak for about 3 months and it smells heavenly however the yield in cleaning solution was lower as the peels really soaked up the vinegar. citrus cleanser-5790 When you’re ready, simply funnel or strain the cleanser into a spray bottle and start cleaning.  The remaining vinegar soaked peels can be composted.  Smile because you just saved a ton of money! citrus cleanser-5794 Here’s a sneak peek of where the cabinet fronts are with one coat of MMSMP Mora and bonding agent…  To be continued. citrus cleanser-5801