My son built this cottage for Honey, Sugarwings picked out the colors, pink for the walls because it is her favorite and Honey colored shingles for the roof to match the dog. I thought of adding the pickets after we took out part of the fence to add the new addition to our house.
My boy designed it, from some vague, rambling descriptions I told him.
Thanks, Adam, it is cute as can be!!
The breezeway of our home connects the main (old) house to the addition with my studio, my husband's office, and our son's apartment. It is the room that every one sees, the central entrance to all areas of the house.
Yet, it has gone to the dogs and cats. We feed the cats in there, up on top of a cabinet so that the dogs can't eat their goodies. And we leave the window open a few inches, with the screen removed so the kitties have easy access to the room. We learned the hard way to leave that screen out, those cats are insistent about being let in, if there is a screen barring their way, they rip it apart.
The little dogs hop in and out of the window too, but Honey is too large. Although that doesn't stop her from trying. Whenever I walk through the room and see her poking her head through the gap, I always say, "Hello, Mr. Ed". (Remember the palomino who had his head through the top half of the barn door to talk? ooh, I've really dated myself with that reference)
This is also the room where the muddy shoes, rakes, tools, and toys end up. Along with wheelbarrows of firewood in the winter. It has become more of a mudroom than the breezy patio room that I had envisioned. Too many items pile up, as people go in and out of the house.
But, in the last year, I smartened up and placed a couple of cabinets out there to hide at least a percentage of the clutter. And recently, I finally got around to painting this large wardrobe. It's wood stain stood out too much in this space.
Much better! (You can see a before in this post)
Dorothy Rosebud left us months ago, due to her phobias of the momma cat and Honey's playful puppyhood, that both left her trembling in fear. And crying out. Sometimes, she would get a glimpse of Honey and start shrieking. That squeaky toy noise got Honey's attention and she would run right at the tiny, little girl. Then, poor Dorothy would hide in her cubby hole under the stairs for 8-10 hours, not coming out even to potty.
She was terrified of life on the farm.
My pal, Beth offered to take her in and love her. Beth and Jeff did love her, but due to a problem that developed with her brother Button, one of Beth's other dogs, little Dorothy Rosebud had to leave their home.
At first, I was afraid I was in for more heartbreak. That Dorothy would be too scared to be here with us. I made a call to another friend who could care for her.
But while this little girl was away, she developed some confidence. Honey grew up, and is more under control. The momma cat's kittens no longer needed her protection. Things felt a tad bit safer here for a tiny dog. No one was picking on her.
She's been back in my arms for a week now and I am thrilled that we kept her. And grateful that Beth kept her safe til it was time to come home.
When I was a kid, finding a 4 leaf clover and learning how to do a back flip into the pool were two driving forces in my life. I'd sit in the yard for hours, fruitlessly searching through the patches of green, desperate to find my own lucky charm.
And as for the flip? I'd put on a heavy sweatshirt, to deaden the pain of slapping the water with my back, and relentlessly, toss myself off the diving board, trying to learn that trick. It was a good thing I had the sweatshirt, because my back got a lot of slaps, I never once made it all the way around into the turn to land feet first in the water.
I gave up on ever learning the flip when I was in my thirties, but never gave up on my hope of finding a 4 leaf miracle.
When I saw my friend, Angie, and Dewdrop's gypsy mama both gathering handfuls of 4 leaf clovers in a matter of moments, I doubled my efforts with some hints from them both.
What I discovered is that discovering one is kind of like those magic pictures that were so popular in the 90s. It's a way of looking at it, not simply searching. They are out there, if you can focus your eyes in the right way to see them.
Happily, I can now find one anytime I feel the need for a piece of luck to hold in my hand. But mostly, I just let them grow, and not pick one unless necessary. It is nice to know that the grass around my cottage is filled with Luck.
I've been known to scratch at the grass with a rake, and sprinkle clover seeds all around the yard. These plants are so much more interesting than typical turf. And the hope of a flock of four leafers spreading through the lawn, is a nice thing to think about.
Hmmm, now that I've learned the clover trick from two experts, maybe I should tap the knowledge of my circus performer family and finally master the backflip???
Somehow I doubt that I'll do that... but if I do give it a try, I'd better fill my sweatshirt pockets with as many lucky clovers as I can find!!
Our breezeway takes a beating over the winter. It is too cold for me to care about cleaning it up, cats make it their home, we stack firewood out there, and it just becomes a mess. Sadly, it is also the entrance to our home and it never looks all that welcoming in the coldest months.
The paint has needed touching up for a while, so I decided to tackle that small job first. Well, I thought it would be a small job....
First mistake? I used the wrong can of pale blue paint. I had brighter blue freckles from one end of the room to the other. Because, of course, I was efficient and finished the job quickly, and didn't realize the colors weren't a match till the paint dried and I was long done.
I rarely use a drop cloth, because I'm pretty tidy and don't drip, unless it is a big job and I start to get tired and careless as it goes on.
And I didn't drip this time either.
But I did leave the lid off the can while I went to the store to buy more paint. And the cats checked the color out while I was away.
I didn't save the name of the original paint, or any samples.
Which might have been helpful, even though the hardware store no longer had that brand of paint, I could have at least done a computer color match.
I pride myself on not only, not being a dripper, but on also having an excellent eye for remembering colors. (uh, except for using the wrong can of paint, that doesn't count, does it? That was not paying attention).
So, I bought what looked like the right shade and once again repainted the freckled areas I'd created by using the brighter blue. This time, I painted entire boards, not just spots and I have to say, it was looking good.
Til it dried
Paint always dries darker.
Well, at that point, I wasn't giving up. I did NOT want to repaint the whole room, those boards are hard to get in and around, I couldn't use a roller and that sounded like a BIG job. (although, as much time as I'd spent messing up and redoing, I probably could've repainted the whole shebang another color much quicker)
So, I started adding white to the color I'd purchased, since the shade was right, the tone was just too dark.
And it worked. I don't think you can see the patches, and the room looked so fresh and clean that I touched up the doors and washed the curtains too.
A clean coat of paint on the door is so much more welcoming, isn't it?
The Christmas wreath on the door is perked up for springtime too. I pulled off the winter trimmings and stuck some pink roses into the grapevine. Then clipped a bird and eggs to the nest (there had been a big white dove, and some ornaments in the nest).
None of them are glued down, and the stems seem to be staying in pretty good.
This urn was stuck in front of the new gas line pipes. It doesn't completely hide them, but will help until the azalea gets bigger and does its job of obscuring the pipe.
And now, I'm ready for the next project. There is a lot of spring spiffing up to be done around here. (like painting that wardrobe in the first photo. I bought it late fall and haven't tackled a redo on it yet)
I'm also Spring Cleaning in the Boutique, if you'd like to take advantage of my urge to purge the inventory, please use THIS link to access the shop. All items will be 50% off including the tutorials and existing sale prices.
Our garage has needed repainting for a long time. Especially since we rebuilt the doorway for the boat to fit into it.
Years ago, I used to paint furniture with an air compressor and spray gun, often leaning the pieces against the garage while I worked. Mostly I used whites, but I used quite a variety of shades from snowy to cream to ivory. So, there were faint, layered outlines of chairs and headboards all along the side of the building.
The trim had been pretty messed up too. It is good to have a carpenter for a son, our boy rebuilt the wrecked trim and gave the building and the shed next to it a fresh coat of white paint.
Now, our whole yard looks revitalized. I've always said that paint is magic, and this sure proves it. What a difference.
Haircolor can be magic too. I was still feeling the effects of a long, grey winter (funny how the lack of snow was more depressing than getting snowed in and feeling trapped, huh?) and decided to get a pick me up of a shot of blonde.
I felt much better after!
In other Around The Cottage news, Honey has been busy digging. She finds moles and starts a collection on the porch where she can keep an eye on them. A few times a week, I go out and gather up her latest critters and throw them in the trash.
Between the 4 cats proving their love to me by bringing decimated creatures to the front door, and Honey's skill in hunting moles, I'm used to picking up and disposing of carcusses.
This latest catch really surprised me, though. A snake?
Aren't reptiles hard to come by in Kansas in the winter? She managed to find one. I guess she dug it up from somewhere.
She also seemed to have found a carpet cutter. There was not razor blade in it, thank heavens. And who knows where she got it. And is it now part of her snake hunting arsenal? She has put it in her pile of favorite things. Usually there are a few insides of toys and cushions, along with her sticks and bones, and dead things. And always in this spot where she can proudly watch over them.
Our yard is mostly holes now, Honey is busy looking for more items to add to her collection.
We'd heard that if you bury a balloon in a hole a dog has dug, they will dig it up, pop it, and frighten themselves so much, they will never dig again.
Sugarwings and my husband thought they'd give this a try and filled a few of the many pits in our yard with colorful balloons.
We didn't consider that Goldens are bred to retrieve birds and have gentle mouths. Honey found all the balloons, retrieved them, and was thrilled to get new toys to carry around and play with. Not a single one popped and scared her. She was just excited to find so many bright and fun things to egg her on into digging to look for more.
So, now Honey has her habit of searching for hidden treasure underground reinforced, not cured. We need to find her a new skill...
Sugarwings is learning a new skill, she has signed up for circus classes. Here she is doing silks. Next up, after our trip to Cali? Trapeze!
I'll be back from California soon, but if you'd like to sign up for the Farewell to Downton swap, you don't have to wait for my return. Here is the info.
As I wrote this before I left on my trip to Florida, we had a major cold spell. Our pipes didn't freeze up over night, but only because I know the drill. When temps plunge into single digits, the curtain comes off the cabinet under the sink, to let the warmer air in the house circulate through there to the pipes.
Of course, every time that I forget to do that, we wake up to no water in the kitchen.
Honestly, I shouldn't be such a wimp about the cold, this has been a remarkably mild winter so far. And here I am flying off to the land of guncles and sunshine right when it is at its worst.
But I cannot get warm! And I feel like my skin is made of ancient tissue paper that is disintegrating. No matter how much cream I slather on, no matter how many pots of water I set to simmer on the wood stove to put moisture in the air, nothing helps.
And my poor toes. They can't remember what it feels like to be pink and warm.
Sugarwings has had the opposite of the complaints that I've had. She wants SNOW and LOTS OF IT. We had this little dusting of flakes and she was so happy, she couldn't wait to get out there with her dog and show her how to catch snowballs. (While dressed in a fashionable scarf)
If this is the only snow we get, I'll be pleased as punch, myself. Or maybe there will be enough snow to satisfy these two while I am away this week. That would be ideal. They get to chase snowflakes while I soak up some sunshine, and we are all happy.
I plan on returning from my time in the South with a much better attitude, once my toes have been reaquainted with sandals and sun. My plan is to soak up enough rays of light to get me through the rest of this dismal time of year. And to remind myself that for some odd reason, I do enjoy living in Kansas.
Boy, am I glad to be getting a break from it right now, though.
I hope your holiday was full of joy. We had some fun experiences, and plenty of laughs. With lots of hugs.
We started out our two day, holiday extravaganza with a nice, long walk in the woods on Christmas Eve.
It has been mild weather, ideal for a light jacket and some time in the trees.
Albie took that literally, and showed off his climbing abilities. That boy loves to climb trees.
Dewdrop likes to be a damsel in distress waiting to be saved from her perch in the branches.
And her Pop Pop is always happy to step in and help her down.
Katie's girls are as adventurous as Albie and showed off their circus skills by straying off the path and up the branches at every turn of the trail.
Of course, when you hang out with trapeze artists and circus performers on a regular basis, things usually get interesting.
We also had a big, family yoga session before our dinner Christmas Day.
Which soon led to a human pyramid.
Or three. (Although this one is only 2/3 human)
Notice that I am not in any of the piles? I was in charge of Santa Hats and photos. Somehow, I wasn't added to the stacks of people, I think my reputation for clumsiness is pretty well known.
Our Thursday was full of exciting deliveries, there were presents being left on the porch all day! One was a package of steaks which came with DRY ICE packed in it.
I was intrigued by the dry ice and used it to create a mini fog machine in this old, silver coffee pot, with the mist flowing from the spout and around the evergreen branches. (Adding rubbing alcohol to the block makes clouds of swirling fog rise from it)
We also tried making sushi on Christmas Eve.
Tried pretty hard.
Then my husband got us some take out.
It was a little like the Bumpas' hounds ruining Christmas dinner in A Christmas Story.
On Christmas morning, we had evidence of the Jolly Old Elf's visit, by the tracks of glitter left on the floor. And I have a feeling, I'll be seeing remnants of that holiday magic for the rest of the year.
The evening ended with Elf and Nightmare Before Christmas, after a big poker tournament where Ryan won 40 bucks from his cousins and was beaming with pride.
I'll leave you with a few more pictures of our celebration, and wishes for a happy holiday season to you too.
Look who graduated from puppy school!
She didn't care for the hat, and wasn't all that impressed by her diploma. But she was fascinated by the cupcake I got.
Although, as a grad, she knew better than to beg, or to jump up and steal it from me.
Sloan was much better at posing with the hat.
Garnett wouldn't give it a try. She and Honey are pretty good friends, they probably agreed with each other ahead of time that they wouldn't wear the graduation caps.
I think an intermediate class is in order for Honey. Big dogs are harder than small ones and I'll take all the help I can get.
Plus, she needs another shot at posing with the hat!