30 Days of Gratitude…Day 4…..

Lately, I’ve been missing “home”, my little cottage abode in Sacramento.

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I feel it calling me, with it’s comforting, soft colors, relaxed easy feel, and comfortable furniture.

 

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Dining room

Home is where I have my collection of crystals, needlepoints, and wooden pieces waiting to be decoupaged.

 

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Decoupage table using napkins

 

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miniature fireplace using faux marbling and napkin decoupage

 

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Mixed medium birdhouses

It’s like an old familiar friend calling me.

 

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Old world tapestry over bed

I’m in my second year of living part-time in Hawaii, part-time in Sacramento.

Even though I’m not retired, nor am I employed by any company, I’ve had the opportunity to explore my options, make enough money to survive, and I only have my family to thank for that.

 

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Galley Kitchen

While I’m in Hawaii my family keeps the home fires burning in Sacramento.

Wherever I am, I find ways to generate income by helping others, and selling things I’ve collected.

 

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Radio cabinet found on road and decoupaged

Today the thought occurred to me that I would love to have a home in both places, continue to go back and forth.  Why not?  I’m already doing it.

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View of living room from kitchen

I’ve not been able to make a decision, or choose between the two places, picking one over the other as my destination of choice.

And for now, I’m okay with that.

I feel so much gratitude for the family members who have allowed me to come and go.

 

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Heart ornament on bookcase

I call in blessings to them for their generosity of Spirit, as I have been truly blessed.

 

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Plumeria Offering

Thank you, Thank you Thank you! And So It Is!

Cottage Mavens, maybe you have family or friends that you would like to thank today.  You can offer a blessing to them on a mini-altar, give them a call, or send them a note.

Thank you all for visiting my post,  please sign up so you don’t miss any.  Let’s continue on the Gratitude journey together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 Days of Gratitude…Day 6….

How to create a loveable, livable Cottage

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When creating a room to have a cottage look and feel, there are some basic elements that say “cottage”.

The home I’m staying in for the summer is a rental, that sits near the ocean.  It definitely has lots of designer touches, so I decided to shop- the- house, and give this room that everyone seems to love so much, a bit of personality.

It has the “bones” of a cottage, but not the layering to give it that homey feel.

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Before picture

The walls are painted a soft gray. The white slip covered sofa is already in place, with the sisal rug, driftwood mirror, metal lamps, natural wood end tables, and a blue and white theme.

Even though this is a Beach Cottage, you can use these basic elements for your cottage no matter where you live.  Just use natural elements from your landscape and natural environment.

My daughter added the bookcase and the white desk and chair.  She calls this room the library.  The sofa, even though it’s slipcovered, makes out to a double bed to accommodate guests.

Since my sister and mom will be visiting, I wanted to take it up a notch to make them feel more comfortable, and give the room a more “inviting presence”.

Cottage Basics

1. a slipcovered sofa – preferably white, but can also be ticking fabric, or floral, even velvet will do.  Natural fabrics are a must.

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2. Pillows with mixed prints and scale ( too many pillows in the same size can look over crowded). See before picture.  I love floral pillows in a cottage, too.

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3. Details from Nature – blown glass, rocks, shells, metal sculptures, horns, antlers, plants.

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4. Soft lighting – lamps, salt lamps, candles, and lots of flowers.

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5. Bright colors ( since the room was already blue and white, I decided to introduce some pinks and turquoise). Don’t be afraid to mix it up a bit with some unexpected colors!

 

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Something personal – one of my paintings from a trip a few years ago.

6. Interesting wall art ie. vintage prints, words, wall decals

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7. Simple accessories

 

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Something hand made

8. A laid back look and feel with a place to put your feet up.

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9. Natural fragrance – herbs, moss, fresh flowers.

 

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Vintage surfer print

 

10. A space that says you!

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A way to express Gratitude to your self, or your guests, is to make your rooms as beautiful as you would like them to feel.

Each one of us is the King or Queen of our castles, and we can live in a special happy space, and feel gratitude every day.

You’re worth it!

A few words from Sonia Choquette “The Answer is Simple” oracle card deck:

“The Spirit is a sensitive light body and is influenced by the environment it finds itself in.  Dreary, dark, messy, cluttered, un-clean surroundings send the Spirit out the door and invite the goblins and trolls of negativity to move in and camp out in the corners.

It’s time to set this right:  Open the blinds, clear the decks, paint the walls, change the lightbulbs, and decorate the atmosphere where you live. Make your environment a proper home for your Spirit. Your Spirit must dwell in  a cheerful and festive place, filled with color and live plants, fresh flowers, clean windows, and bright light.

Your Spirit is a holy guest in your body and must be treated as royalty. You wouldn’t disrespect visitors with an unwelcoming environment or expect them to dwell in your mess, and you shouldn’t disrespect your Spirit by giving it less than the tranquil setting it deserves, either.  Take the time to create a festive and bright atmosphere for your Spirit.  Be happy to welcome it home. Give it the proper surroundings, and put out the best you have to receive it.

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30 Days of Gratitude…Day 8…..

The process of letting go, and knowing what to keep.

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My daughter said “It feels good to let go of things!”

This last week has been a busy one.

Last Wednesday, I met with the movers to empty an office space that was being used for storage.

We would be bringing all of it to the house we’re staying in to prep it for a yard sale.

I was flown to Hawaii specifically for this purpose.

My daughter had been paying for the storage for 6 years, since her divorce, and wanted to use the space for a photography studio for her business.

There were 20 stairs to climb and it required 6 strong men to move a three bedroom house that had been crammed into a 10 x 17 foot space.

Living on an island, I discovered that it was harder to come by furniture, and there are many transients, who don’t really invest in the good stuff.

The furniture we would be selling was all solid hard woods from Bali, some antiques, and some upholstered items.  And we were hoping to make some money.

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As we neared the date, the housekeeper offered her 19 year old son’s help, and I agreed.

After the first day, we started getting a different perspective on what we had, and how much we were willing to part with it.

We extended the yard sale to the second day, as we still had all of the upholstered pieces and most of the case goods left to sell.

Since my daughter is in the process of looking for a house to buy, she decided to keep all of the case goods if we could find a spot in the current rental for them.

The second day, our young man, helped us move the bookcases, night stands, and consoles to various rooms, to be stored until her nest move.

We had visited a consignment store as a backup plan, as the furniture left from the sale needed to be gone before the next weekend as there would be a party.

The consignment store would charge for moving the furniture and keep 50 percent of the sales.

We decided that this would be a last resort.

If the “last resort” was to go to consignment, I figured that even if I slashed our prices we would still make more than if we used consignment.

I was listing on Craigslist and Facebook local sale pages.

 

We had two balmy days with fragrant tropical breezes, and no rain.

It was like a revelation for my daughter to realize that she could actually keep most of her cherished pieces and make use of them now.

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$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Lesson learned – – –

  • storing furniture for 6 years, you’ve paid for it 10 times over at $500 per month
  • It cost over $800 to have it moved from storage
  • we paid our helper $100 for two days at $10 per hour
  • Our profit was about $700
  • my daughter now has nice furniture for her new home that she loves, and she will only have to buy some key pieces to fill in

Cottage Mavens,

When considering what to let go of and what to keep:

  1. Try to invest in solid wood furniture with classic lines – it will last your whole life, and has better resale value if you decide to sell it
  2. Before considering storage, unless it’s for a short period, let your stuff go.  Sell it, give it away, consign it.
  3. The money spent on storing items can go into your savings account and give you a new start later on.   Think of the fun you’ll have buying new stuff with all the money you saved.
  4. It takes a strong back to move furniture.  I’ve been sore for two days working that sale, helping to move all of that furniture.
  5. It costs more money to pay someone to help you move it.
  6. It’s better to donate useable stuff, than to throw it away.  Someone less fortunate can always use it, and it won’t go the land fills.

We took two carloads to the donation center.

I have much gratitude for this valuable lesson.

I met some really nice people in the last two days.

We got to know the neighbors a little more.

My daughter is no longer paying for storage.

 

 

Dear Diary…Day 7…of the 27 things for 27 days countdown….

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It’s time to lift the veil!  Feng shui is more than most people may imagine.  It’s a matter of life and death.

I woke up earlier than usual this morning.  I feel like it’s time to take this clutter clearing business to the next level.  I feel like some people may not want to hear this, or even deal with this level.

We are such creatures of habit and have been schooled by the T.V. for the past 65 years or so.

I remember our first T.V. It had a rounded greenish screen enclosed in a wooden case on legs.  It was black and white.

Every Sunday, Dad would pick up a dozen donuts and we would head over to our cousins house, the kids riding in the back of the pick-up, to watch the Walt Disney Hour.

Until 7:30pm, when the show started, all of us cousins, 3 boys, 2 girls, and some of the neighbor kids, would play “Ditch”, where we formed teams and played “Hide and Seek” all up and down the street.

When the television marketers began to see what a valuable tool mass media could be in relationship to selling to a larger audience, and how the use of ads and commercials could influence Society’s buying decisions, a new monster was born.

All of that being said, even though I could go on and on, I really want to focus on the beliefs that have been hypnotically induced by advertisements and the media.

The beliefs in products that are advertised to make our lives better, that are in the long run, making our society sicker by bringing chemicals into our homes that cause all sorts of illness, foods that create tension, apathy, brain fog, and rob our bodies of energy while silently killing us, and causing diseases that are passed on to our future generations.

As people become more aware and stop using products and foods that are laden with chemicals that are robbing us of our ability to use our intuition by desensitizing our minds, our bodies , to our very own senses, our planet will begin to heal.  Our quality of life will return.

It’s time to return to our Grandmother’s and Grandfather’s ways.  The ways of living simply.

We’ve become frazzled consumers by trying to live up to some ideal, super human, type A lifestyle, where every thing is germ-free, over-saturated with chemicals, and full of uppers and downers just to cope with every day life.

I say, that’s what the “veil” is all about.  It’s keeping us distracted from who we truly are.

I’ve seen a lot of people in the last few years whose life has been turned upside down.

Whether it’s the loss of a job, the loss of a loved one, a sudden change in a way of life through catastrophe, or health issues, the Universe is issuing a wake-up call.

And now is the time that we take the universe seriously.

It’s time we listen to the call that comes from the bees that are dying, to the whales and the dolphins who continue their mass beachings due to sonic testing and plastic pollution in our oceans.

This is a cottage necessity for our future generations.

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My Dear Cottage Mavens,

Here are some things that you can do today, this week, to bring more peace and stability into your homes and to help heal our planet.

  1. Go through your pantry and remove all processed foods or anything with chemicals that you cannot pronounce.
  2. Avoid shopping down the processed food isles in the grocery stores.
  3. Discard all toxic cleaning products, hazardous products,” perfumed ” products like heavily perfumed laundry soaps, fabric softeners, anti-bacterial soaps, hand sanitizers, etc.
  4. Think about the products you use every day and the long term investment in you and your family’s health.
  5. Do your deodorants contain aluminum?  Does your toothepaste contain Flouride?  Is your diet full of sugar?  ( these will dull your I.Q. and lead to Alzheimers and cancers).
  6. Aspartame which caused early death and tumors in rats is now in most candies, diet drinks, and anything artificially sweetened.
  7. High fructose corn syrup is genetically modified.  So is anything made with wheat, canola, and soy.  If it’s designed to kill bugs, it has to be killing our gut bacteria.
  8. Take a before and after picture of your self, and our housemates.  The inflammation and the bloating will decrease, as many allergies, headaches, aches and pains, depression, lethargy, just not feeling good will lift away.
  9. The agitation, the nervousness, the aches and pains in your body will start to leave as you return your body to it’s natural state of being .
  10. Your intuition will become more clear, your sense of smell will return, your eye sight may improve, and you’ll experience a state of well-being, which will carry you through every day occurences with more ease and resilience.
  11. Check your prescriptions for side effects, and look for natural alternatives.  Are you willing to sacrifice other areas of your well-being by taking these things into your body?

These are things that we cannot see or notice because they happen over a long period of time.

They are the silent killers that are the plagues in today’s society.  And they are being marketed to our children every day through the media.

Our homes are our sanctuaries.  We have control over what can come in and serve our greater well-being.

This is only a place to start as we educate ourselves, our families, and our friends.

So, start today.  This may be the biggest clutter clearing yet!

It’s time to lift the veil and live your Greatest Self!

Affirmation:  The divine Design of my life now comes to pass.  I now fill the place that I can fill and no one else can fill.  I now do the things which I can do and no one else can do.  Florence Scovill Shinn

Disclosure:  This article is not intended to offer medical advice or diagnose any illness.  Please consult your doctor.

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Ms. Peabody’s Old Fashioned Washing Powder

Combine –

1 cup Borax

1cup Arm and Hammer washing soda

1/2 cup grated castile soap

Use 2 small scoops or 2-3 Tblspoons per load of laundry.

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I got the above grater at Ikea, and the soap at the Meditteranean market.

 

Easy Pleasy Butternut Squash Soup

This is probably the easiest and one of the tastiest soups I have ever made.  Even a bachelor could pull this one off with aplomb! ( is that sexist?)

 

This is basically all you need besides water and salt.

1 Organic Butternut Squash

1 can of organic Unsweetened Coconut Milk ( use one cup if squash is small)

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Line your pan with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit

Do not cut squash ( I gave up trying to cut a raw squash a long time ago), just wash the outside and remove the label.

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Bake for 40 – 60 minutes, or until knife is easily inserted and it feels soft inside.

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Scoop out the squash.  Bundle the skin and the seeds into your foil for ease of carrying to the compost or the trash.

Put squash into blender

Add Coconut milk and 1-2 cups of filtered water ( no more than 3 cups of liquid Total) to the blender.

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Start the blender on slow

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Pour into bowls and enjoy!  The tempurature should be just right!

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Salt and Pepper to taste.  I like the Pink Hamalyan Sea Salt.

Serve with your favorite crackers.

imageIt’s light and tasty, sooo good for you, and very satisfying.

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In Ivy’s Cottage…..

…the smell of freshly brewed coffee permeates the air…
Ivy and Mr. K’s house is nestled in a quiet neighborhood with old growth trees.
Empty nesters, with 4 small grandchildren, who came by to visit regularly, they had out grown their old neighborhood, and enlisted the help of an established realtor friend whom they had known since highschool to help them find a new home that fulfilled their wish list.
Untouched since the 1970’s, this new home was over flowing with potential.  It offered a rustic appeal with old brick fireplace and high pitched ceilings, and a garage with a sizeable workshop.  With large windows looking out to the expansive view in the back yard which boasted fully matured citrus trees, including a Meyer Lemon tree and 2 orange trees, it had an indoor/outdoor feel for the Nature lovers.  When she saw the large eat in kitchen,and  spacious rooms, Ivy knew this was a place where she could make a new home for her and Mr. K.
So, when she called and asked me for some help, I was delighted.
She was making a fresh start, and had a blank slate to work with.  We would start in the living room.
Being a quilter, Ivy loves bright, vibrant color, especially sky blue which she had planned to paint all of the  rooms in.
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It was a bold choice, and I knew we could pull it off with the right balance of color and a good mix of pattern and texture.
Since the room is long and narrow, we decided to paint one wall two shades darker to bring it closer, creating an optical illusion that makes the room seem less narrow.
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Ivy did her homework and had her inspiration pictures ready for me.  As it turned out, she also favored neutrals, and woods, with some elements from Nature.
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The room had to be family friendly to accomodate growing children and the family pet, Roxie, who is also like one of the family.
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Roxie is a little shy.
We shopped for furniture, focusing on comfort, with floor plan in hand.
Ivy chose a lively upholstry fabric for the chairs and pillows, that helped decide on the color scheme, and grounded and complimented the new wall color.

 

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Chair fabric with nail head trim.
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Roxie’s bed in the background

Once all of this was in place, it was time for the two of us to do a little “power shopping” for some accent pieces and accessories to finish the space.

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She already had some artwork that a dear friend had gifted her, and some modern shelves that she had been saving for the right spot.

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Artwork on back wall.

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A favorite painting.

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Some accessories with a nod to Mr. K.

For nine years, working as an interior designer, I had a lot of practice ” power shopping” in our huge store, Aegean Designing Whims.  It was a full design center where I had everything at my finger tips to complete an entire home, from flooring to kitchen and bath remodeling furniture, art work, custom draperies, and accessories.
We even took in some antiques on consignment.
I could walk through the store, using my visual memory of the clients home and pick out everything that we needed for the finishing touches.
We even had a talented lady who would make floral arrangement, and I learned to make my own to suit the style of the room.
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Now that I’ve relocated to Sacramento, I often take my client with me to local stores so that we can purchase things on-the-spot.
Ivy took me to a couple of hot spots that she knew of where we found lots of treasure.
I’m somewhat of an intuitive designer, and really try to get a ‘read’ on my clients taste.
So, when Ivy and I went looking for artwork, and came across this bird painting, we hesitated, as we had just started our search, and headed out the door.  As we approached the parking lot, we paused and looked at each other and agreed that we should get that painting NOW.
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I think it’s her favorite thing in the room.  Positioned on the far wall, it welcomes visitors as if to say ” friends and family gather here”.

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It takes time to put together a home.  Each room is like a block in a quilt.  And when all of the blocks come together , you have a place that comforts, nurtures, and supports you in your daily lives.
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More and more people are becoming do-it-your-selfers, with all of the TV shows, blogs, Etc. showing you how.
A competent designer, who is open to working with your vision, can be the catalyst to help you get the job done.
So, if you feel stuck, ask for a consultation.  It could be just what you need to get the ball rolling.
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