Friday, June 27, 2014

Being creative by using what you have

Good morning Folks ~ Here it is Friday already.  It is hot and humid down here in s.e. FL. I’ve been staying indoors for the most part.  After Monday’s 3 hour work out in my main garden area, I’ve not felt like working outside. Next week we are supposed to have cooler weather. I hope so, because by then the grass will really need mowing.

Inside I’ve been decluttering, sorting, rearranging. It can be hard at times, getting rid of things, but in the end, it can certainly be good for body, mind and soul. Plus rearranging things gives one a new look and perspective.

I’ve rearranged old Oriental rugs in living room and bedroom. I’m not able to empty the bedroom at this time to lay down the rest of laminate flooring that is stacked in the workshop, so I did the next best thing, worked with rugs to cover up old gray linoleum and repair work on the floor itself. It made a big difference and I feel better.  The little wicker rocker I just got for $3 at a yard sale is in there and last night Miss Tork used it as her bed.  Sweet.

There’s work to be done throughout this little cottage, all in due time. I want to get more sheets  of faux bead board paneling for the bedroom. That’s what I’d like to do next, at least one whole wall, which is the west wall and the wall one sees coming into the bedroom.

The cottage is tiny by today’s standards, 665 sq. ft. But, these days, there is a major trend of downsizing to smaller homes for lots of reasons. We moved into this little place in the summer of 1973, after coming home from my husband’s tour of duty for the US Navy, in Rota, Spain where we lived for three years. This little place sat on 1/3 of an acre and is an L- shaped piece of property. It is now 1/4 of an acre as the county came through with imminent domain, and took footage across the front of our property to take the road from two lanes and no sidewalks, making it into 5 lanes and sidewalks. The noise level has increased, and traffic is much closer than it was, but we worked on making this our little haven in this crazy world that we live in. It is our humble home sweet home.

We built a workshop, a dream of DH’s, and a couple of outbuildings, all to code. I have a small shed for storage of bulk items and my washing machine. I ‘solar’ dry the laundry. Gardens have been created through the years, and junk is being cleared from the property, part of DH’s last wishes for me. It is slow going, but it’s only been a little over 18 months, and everything takes time.

I live on a limited income and am thankful for the many blessings in my life. Yesterday I went to Walmart for a few groceries and to see if they had any nice but inexpensive flat full sheets to use as chair covers for a couple of chairs in the living room. (I am looking for a couple of matching chairs, but they have to be a certain size and of course the right price too. These two chairs have seen better days, for now they will keep on working.) Anyway, I stopped at the Salvation Army thrift store first to see what they might have, nothing, on to Walmart, zilcho there too, and then to Target, and nothing their either. Plain and boring and did I really want to spend the money on something I wouldn’t be happy with?

I thought of a bolt of fabric my boss was going to get rid of and I took and thought why not. Let’s see if it will work. The fabric is upholstery and very nice. I cut it to the size of a full sheet, lengthwise, and width was just about right so I didn’t have to cut that. The fabric is just draped, easy on, easy off.

When I put the fabric on the chairs, I couldn’t quit smiling. It is so ‘gypsyish’ and goes with our style, it changes the whole look of the room, adding more richness in color.  I love it. We have always been eclectic, so this is just part of who I am. My husband would have liked this new look.

The living room is a wreck as I’ve got books and magazines stacked that I am going through and other stuff that I’m figuring out what to do with.  (Excuse the hanging wire as it goes to the stained glass shade.)

The fabric colors go great with the old Oriental rug in here and with all of the art and other colorful things too.  We paid $5 for the lamp shade, and my husband took two matching pieces of stained glass in our collection to make the piece that is in the window. The driveway is on that side of house so after he left this planet, I moved this piece from bedroom window to the living room window.  The morning sunlight shines nicely through it and sheds a lovely glow in the living room.



Morning sunlight into messy living room, which I need to prep and paint.  It looks much nicer in here when the little sofa is cleared off.


This is a view from the living room into my space where I blog and also create.


Here is my latest little craft project, the little beaded strawberry.

I just hung it over the American Indian pincushion I have. We found her many, many years ago, probably at the local flea market we were going to at the time.  DH made the fish lucite etching, and I did the beading for the necklace that it is hanging from. I have Indian blood on my father’s side, and I am a Pisces, oh yea and I like strawberries.


The strawberry is made of a nice creamy colored moire fabric from a dear friend, who gifted me with some different materials from her stash.  Thank you Maggie.

I used some sweet seed beads gifted from another friend, Chris, a few years back when I first started using beads. The felt for the top I had, bought at either Walmart or Michael’s.


Etching done on the back side of lucite domed piece. DH also did etchings on polished seashells.  I’ll have to see if I can find one or two of them to share here.


Well, here you’ve had another glimpse into Plum Cottage living. 

Thank you for visiting.

Hope you all have a great weekend ~ FlowerLady

Remember to be thankful and content, and be creative with what you have too. You’ll be surprised and pleased with the happy results. I am. Winking smile



One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Oh my
I am so impressed.
Everything looks beautiful.
I have covered to very old
crewel chairs with twin size sheets - will post a picture :)
The chairs purchased almost 60 years ago, excellent quality and just do not want to spend the money to recover.
My living area in this small home I built 5 years ago is about 800 sf with additional space on loft since I have 4 children and need when they visit or 5 grandchildren. My son lives in Thailand and has about 400 sf.
Smaller is better and all we need
plus our gardens :)
enough shared...

Deb said...

I love your chair coverings and your American Indian doll. I love the pictures you show of your cozy little cottage. Bigger is not better. Many of us need to downsize and be happy with less. Enjoy your weekend.

lil red hen said...

Yes. it does all look like a wonderful place to find contentment. Small places can be very homey; too many huge houses these days, where I imagine not much of them is used. Very nice fix for your chairs! Have a good day!

Rebecca said...

I ♥ Plum Cottage. I think that was a great decision - using that fabric to cover the chairs....and how I like the mirror hanging over the couch!

Our current house isn't large, but I'm still keeping my eyes out for something smaller. Your post makes me even more serious about this :)

Balisha said...

Why look at what you've done. Those chairs are beautiful. Just goes to show what a woman can accomplish with just a bolt of fabric. Did you use the whole bolt?

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Home, sweet home! Cozy, warm and welcoming. You created such a lovely place, Lorraine!
The Indian Girl is absolutely gorgeous!!! Love it!

Sallysmom said...

Love that fabric. So glad you got it.

Rebecca said...

I forgot to ask if sometime you'd show the pictures/paintings up close for me(us). I see two on one wall and another reflected in the mirror. They look interesting to me. :)

Terra said...

Your Plum Cottage is comfy and welcoming and I like all your decorative touches, both artistic and from recycling. We closed off the back of our house now that we have an empty nest, so I agree, small is beautiful.

Nancy J said...

Your fabric is super, and I love the new look. A bit like down here, one day at a time, we have a cool morning, 10C, feels like 6C, and will be lots cooler tonight, some rain, and still very dark at 6 a.m. Hugs, Jean.

Kit said...

Looks wonderful! I really need to do some purging when I get back from Oregon. My pantry downstairs has become a catch all and is driving me crazy. That would be a good chore for August when it is hot and hard to be outside. Have a great weekend my friend. Love, Kit

Betty from My Irish Cottage Home said...

The doll looks so pretty and I like what you did with her. I have been known to put bedspreads over our couches and chairs when we have to. I remember not too long ago before we bought our couch a few years ago I put a sheet of plywood under the cushions because the couch sagged. That set was over 15 years old and had seen its last day. I think you did a wonderful job covering your chairs.

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

Dear Lorraine,
Thank you so much for letting folks know about the ironing board covers. I could not think of how to get the link on my post. I also didn't really want people to think I was pushing someones products...though I guess I really was! :)
I LOVE the fabric on your chairs. It's just plain beautiful! Your home is about the size of the one we live in before the huge family room and fireplace were added. The rosy living room is really my place..where I read and curl up with my Kindle and books. I love that the coffee table I found has a drawer in it.
It's so much fun looking for things second hand that we need..and sometimes the search goes on and on. I am so pleased you found the perfect material. It doesn't even look like "throws" looks permanent! And the stained glass. LOVELY! I have one for my living room window..and I ought to rehand it. It fell and upset me so much I was afraid to hang it back.
I enlarged all of your photo's and the arched opening into the other room is just ...WONDERFUL! How I love curved archways. Had I my way..we would have a few in this little home..but..being that it is from the 1950's, I decided to keep it in that era. Thus the OLD oven.
I have just enjoyed my visit with you SO much today!
Big hugs...

M.K. said...

Thank you so much for the tour of your home! I love, love LOVE houses -- large and small, brick or mud, makes no difference. I find them fascinating. That large oval mirror is a real beauty! I love that fabric. Maybe you could trim it more to fit, and use a staple gun to attach it underneath. We did that with a chair bottom, and boy did it work well. Enjoy your little home, your spot on the globe :)

Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

You do such a great job of finding ways to use different things. The fabric is great for your chairs. We rented a house once that included some furniture. I did the same thing to match all the pieces in the living room. I found sheets and used a couple of throws. There is always a way!

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

Your chair covers turned out to be beautiful! I love the pattern and colors in them. It was a treat to get to see your pretty stained glass windows, hanging lamp, and the fish etching that your husband did. The little strawberry is adorable. Your home looks so pretty and cozy!

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

I like your cottage very much! Nice and cozy! Love the arched doorway and that nice big mirror over the couch. I can imagine how beautifully the light shines through those stained glass windows!

I'm a Pisces too but I like raspberries :)

Rose ~ from Oz said...

A busy and thoroughly enjoyable post Lorraine! The chair covers are perfect and as you say compliment their surroundings. (lucky you!)
Well I have no exotic blood in me, my daughter is a Pisces, but I do ADORE strawberries!
Enjoy your weekend dearest Lorraine!

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Beautiful decorating. The chairs look elegant in their new covers.

Sunray Gardens said...

The chairs look nice with that fabric on them. The beaded strawberry is very cute.
Cher Sunray Gardens

Anonymous said...

I love every square inch of your cottage and always feel honored when you "invite" us in.

Love & hugs,


Thistle Cove Farm said...

Rainey, it's all so cozy and filled with love. Those two chairs look amazing with the fabric draped atop! I'm too tired to rearrange furniture; I'm happy with getting things clean. Next week I want to shampoo rugs; there's always something to do, isn't there?

Darcie said...

I admire your resourcefulness in ALL things. I picture your cottage being so cozy, and adore the archways in your picture too. If we all could be more like you, and just use what we have...there would be a lot less waste that is for sure.

Julie said...

Your cottage is cozy and very welcoming! i love that bright floral pillow on that chair on the right in the photo. Beautiful. Love your white strawberry too!!!!!

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

It's quite amazing what you can create from what you already have - very satisfying too.

Flower Freak said...

Hi Lorraine, Thank you for sharing Plum Cottage. I love it! You've done a great job making it a home. Sometimes, I think limited income and small spaces are a blessing. They bring out the creativity in us.
Happy Gardening! Sally

Mrs. E said...

I love your little space. And everyone I know seems to be downsizing--including me. You inspire me to get with it again this summer. (My playing time is over and it is time to get something done around the house--which is kind of play time for me, too!)

Morning's Minion said...

I've tried to leave a comment--keep getting email messages that tell me your server doesn't respond--or some such.
At any rate, wanting to affirm that the nicest and most interesting homes are those that reflect the owner's skills and creativity. Yours looks welcoming.

Jeri Landers said...

I am all for "making do" with what's on hand. It is a fun challenge causing one to think outside the box and end up with something really unique. The Gypsy fabric is perfect for your eclectic look. Your place is cozy and darling. I always have loved that arched doorway and the mirrors on the wall really expand your space.

Consider It All Joy said...

Well, your chair covers turned out just great! Sometimes we just need to look at something we have in a new way! Great job. Glad you are working on a new project :) As always, thanks for stopping by my blog! Blessings, Cindy

Georgianna said...

Hello, dear Lorraine,

It's wonderful to visit and get caught up with what you've been up to. I very much enjoyed this tour and applaud all that you do to make your home so charming and cozy. It doesn't take money so much as ingenuity and creativity, which you have in abundance.

Wishing you a very Happy 4th!


tina said...

I enjoy glimpses into Plum Cottage. It is all so very real and I appreciate you sharing.

Jillayne said...

Love your chair covers Lorraine. I'm kind of glad you didn't find what you were looking for as these seem to me to be so much better than anything you could have bought. I have a bit of a bohemian streak myself so can fully relate!
Cleaning, sorting and purging seem to be constants for all of us, as if we are always having to do battle to keep an orderly, simple space. I know my spaces are not as simple yet as I'd like them to be, most especially, my creative spaces, but I am trying - that has to count for something, doesn't it!?!

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Hi Lorraine,
Thanks for stopping by my blog. I sure am not keeping up with things very well these days. I'm glad I made it to see what you are up to. I enjoyed the two most recent posts, but was moved to leave my comment here. I love your creativity, and thriftiness! That fabric is beautiful!

I am not sure if I knew about the county using some of your land to go widen the road like that. Was there opposition to it from anyone?