Sunday, November 11, 2007

My rescued pet

Hi Beau, the newest little boy in our family! Doesn't he look sweet? My husband calls him our "miracle dog". Beau was abandoned about half a mile from our house and came to us one afternoon about a month ago covered in ticks and fleas and very, very hungry. I called the nearby neighbors to be sure he didn't belong to anyone and after no one claimed him he became our little boy. He immediately got a good bath and annointed with tick drops and a flea collar and has been my little shadow every since. I took him in to the vet for a check over and found out he is about 6 months old and a full-blood Jack Russell terrier. Beau is very well-mannered and is already housebroken and has claimed his spot on the foot of the recliner or the bed (when he isn't IN the bed, completely under the covers and at the foot of the bed). As you can see in these photos, Beau was very lucky to find a family to love him.

Cleaning Au Natural

What could be better than cleaning your home with all natural cleaners? While I was browsing blogs one evening I came upon this lovely website, French General. As well as having absolutely lovely antique French textiles, there are also wonderful tips and recipes for making and using organic cleaning products which can be found in the Au Natural section of the website. I can't wait to try these chemical-free cleaning products in my home!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Recycled Decor - Cottage Bedroom

How I turned THAT to THIS!

I was aiming for a "shabby cottage" look when I started redecorating this room. First, I painted the paneled walls a color called White Chocolate...yum! I got a real bargain on a scalloped floral wallpaper border at a local store for only $3 a roll in the clearance bin and it was perfect for the look I wanted to achieve. With that done, I began looking for curtains, and came up with a pair of matching embroidered sheer white floor-length panels and topped them with a pair of lace valances also in white....these were yard sale and thrift store finds. The off-white crochet-edged comforter and matching bed skirt were also thrift store finds, although I bought the bed skirt several years before I bought the comforter. I think I paid about $15 for both pieces. The vintage patchwork quilt on the end of the bed came from the antique shop my husband used to own so it was a freebie. I found the crochet throw at a thrift store for a couple of dollars. I think the bed itself was the hardest item to find because I wanted just the "right" bed for this room. I finally found it sitting outside a fleamarket in a neighboring town. It had been white but was weathered and chippy when I found it.....and best of all, I only paid $10 for it!

Above the bed is an old window frame that I hung another thrift store lace curtain behind and used as wall decor. The nightstand came from a local second-hand store, and the lamp was actually two purchases. The lamp base was a $3 yardsale find and the shade came from the clearance aisle at a discount store. On the side of the room you can't see in the pictures, is a beautiful old 1930s era dresser that I painted white (as I recall, I paid about $25 for it at an auction). I decided to enhance the "shabbiness" of the decor with the two old mirrors, that I only paid a few dollars for, and left them chippy like they were when I got them. Since these photos were taken I have also added a 1930's overstuffed armchair upholstered in rose pink satin that I bought from a friend for $25. So for only a few dollars I think I achieved the shabby cottage style I was trying for in this bedroom. What do you think?

Recycled Food

You are probably thinking ewwwwwwwwwww! Well, this post is about recycling your leftovers into a new, tasty meal. Here is one of my favorite recycled dishes:

Baked Potato Soup
Serves 2

2 leftover baked potatoes, skin removed
3 cups milk
2-3 T. flour
1 T. margarine
Dash of salt.

Melt butter in a medium size saucepan. Add flour and salt, and then add milk slowly. How much flour you add will determine how thick your sauce is so you may have to adjust the amount to your liking. Cook until bubbly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add baked potatoes that have been cut into chunks. Top with any or all of the following: sour cream, chopped green onions or chives, shredded cheese, bacon bits.

Serve with a tossed salad and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Recycled Decor - Cottage Living Room


My cottage living room is furnished and decorated entirely with hand-me-down, garage sale, thrift store and otherwise recycled items. The first photo shows the living room as it was when I took possession of the cottage. The walls were painted blue and the trim was white. After painting the walls and trim "White Chocolate" and adding a cottagy border, I began furnishing and decorating the room. I wanted to achieve an "elegant but cozy" cottage look.


I found the green floral satin sofa at a local thrift store for $65, and the burgundy wing chair with matching ottoman (not shown in this photo) at a weekly auction for $35. The shabby off-white desk was a gift from my husband.....he had purchased it (probably at an auction) to strip and refinish but I loved the chippy painted look and left it just like it was. I hung my Guardian Angel picture, purchased for $45 at an auction, above the desk. Items on the desktop include a teapot that once belonged to my favorite teacher (my mom bought it for me when the family had an estate sale), an old smoke deflector from a hanging oil lamp (bought at auction for $5, and a bell jar bought at a fleamarket for $3. The throw pillows were all thrift store finds, ranging in price from $1 to $3 each. In the corner between the sofa and wing chair is an old radio cabinet (without radio) that I purchased at another auction for about $30. The wall shelf once held a turn of the century kitchen clock, but my husband kept the clock and gave me the shelf for the cottage. I fell in love with the vintage floral area rug and had to have it when I saw it at an was my most pricy purchase for the living room at $85 but it really added "cottage" to the look of the room. On the windows I have a double layer of curtains with the floral top layer pulled back to reveal the solid panels beneath. My mom donated the solid panels, and I found the floral ones at a thrift store for $3 each. The floor lamp belonged to my grandmother and I put a thrift store shade on it and added fringe for a total cost of less than $5. I just recently added the large ottoman which I use as a coffee table. I bought the ottoman from a friend for $10 and plan to recover it to match the rest of the decor with coordinating fabrics from my stash here at home.

On the other side of the room is the fireplace. Originally the cottage had no fireplace, but I created this faux fireplace to add a cozy look. One afternoon when I was on my way to the cottage, I drove past a house and there was an old wooden fireplace surround sitting on the front porch. Being me, I knocked on the door and asked if it was for sale. The owner first said no, but then relented and sold it to me for $35! I took it home and didn't even need to repaint just fit right in like it was meant to be there. I added a set of electric logs that I bought at a yard sale for $3 and placed some used brick around the bottom and voila! The Victorian fern stand on one side of the fireplace, and the stacked hat boxes on the other side were both purchased from a friend's antique shop, $10 for the fern stand and $15 for the hat boxes. The mirror above the mantel was donated by my mom, and the pottery and candlesticks on the mantel were all fleamarket finds, for a total of about $20.

On the other wall, I have a grouping of vintage art that is on loan from my mom, as well as an Eastlake armchair that belonged to my grandmother, and a television that I brought from home.

So this how I used recycling to furnish my cottage living room for about $350!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Recycling for Christmas!

A couple of years ago, after spending TOO much money on Christmas gifts, I suggested to my family that one of the gifts we give each other should be "recycled". Our definition of recycled in this case is pretty liberal.....the item can be bought at a thrift or second-hand store, or it can be something we have that we no longer want and think someone on our Christmas list might like. Of course, I have been known to drop a hint or two when I visit my kids or my mom.....they have lots of things I wish they'd recycle to me this Christmas!

Along the lines of recycling for Christmas, right now I am in the midst of recycling old draperies, lace tablecloths and other vintage linens into beautiful, one of a kind Christmas stockings which I hope to have listed on my website, Cozy Cottage Gifts and Decor,very soon.

Happy recycling everyone!

Monday, August 13, 2007

The little things count too......

Reduce....the amount of the Earth's resources that we use.
Reuse....don't just bin it, could someone else make use of it?
Recycle....can the materials be made into something new?

Recycling doesn't always have to be BIG event.....there are many small ways we can reduce, reuse and recycle every day. I regularly reuse plastic shopping bags to line the small trash cans in my house instead of purchasing small size trash bags at the store. The way I see it, if I empty my six trashcans once a week I have REUSED 312 plastic shopping bags and REDUCED my plastic consumption by 312 trash bags each year. At about 20 trash bags per box purchased new that is about 15.5 boxes of trash bags I HAVEN'T purchased each year. If everyone practiced this recycling effort just think of how many less plastic trashbags would need to be produced every year!

Another small effort I make has to do with water conservation. If I (or anyone else in my family) doesn't drink the full glass of water they have poured, I use the left-over water to water my houseplants. Why pour that water down the drain when it can be put to good use?

Now....I would like to hear some little ways YOU reduce, reuse or recycle. Just leave a comment after this post telling us what you do and I will add your comments to my blog.

Yes, you CAN make a difference!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Welcome to Twice Upon a Time!

Because I live in a rural area where we don't have a recycling center available, I worried that I had not been doing my part to recycle and conserve. Suddenly one day it occurred to me that I have actually been recycling all of my adult life without even realizing it!

Merriam-Webster defines the term "recycle" as: to adapt to a new use, to make ready for reuse and to bring back. Each one of these definitions can be applied to my decorating projects. When I shop, I never shop for new items. My favorite shopping venues are auctions, estate sales, thrift stores, yard sales, fleamarkets and antique shops. My own personal decorating style leans toward the shabby cottage look; however, I have helped others decorate in a more minimalistic style. Both of these looks were achieved without purchasing anything that was brand new, never used.

If this type of recycling interests you be sure to check back soon for upcoming posts in which I will show you pictures of my 1920s cottage completely decorated and furnished with recycled, second-hand, and hand-me-down items that have been given a new life. Meantime, please take a minute to scroll to the bottom of this page and take my shopping poll.