Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Progress. Finally!

I have been a real slacker in posting lately, haven’t I?   
Between celebrating Christmas…yours was good, I hope…and working at the house in Hooterville, I haven’t had time to be on the computer much.
The weather has also continued to be most uncooperative for good picture taking inside the house so it has been difficult to get updated photos of the progress that were worth sharing.
No new photos = no new blog posts.
Significant progress has been made though!  People are already saying, “It doesn’t even look like the same house.”
Thank goodness it doesn’t!  That was my goal.  :)
Today I’ll give you a tiny sneak peak and hope the sun comes out long enough for me to get a lot of  decent pictures later this week.
The carpet and wood laminate floors are IN! 
I am very, very happy  with the laminate.  I agonized over picking a color.  I didn’t want anything that was too orange, too yellow, too red, too dark, too light or too busy.  It turned out to be just perfect.  Pretty much exactly how I hoped it would look.
Remember the foyer BEFORE?

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Here’s the foyer AFTER!  I am doing the “Happy Dance” here people!   A pretty new door that lets in some natural light is on my wish list.

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Although it is not showing up well in the photo, the wall color in the foyer is sort of a dark French vanilla (Valspar “Shoreline Haze”).  Even though I’m not usually fond of beige tones, I ended up really liking this color and used it in several places throughout the house.
Do you remember the “Hallway to Hell”?  How could you forget, right? It probably gave you nightmares after I showed it to you before.   It certainly gave me a few sleepless nights.


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We all know what a difference paint (and carpet) can make but when I compare the pictures of the hallway, it still amazes me.  WOWSERS!    Pay no attention to the hanging light fixture and doorbell chime, and missing electric outlet, and switch plate covers.  We’ve still got a few little details to finish up.  :)
Here’s the breakfast room BEFORE.  Ugh.


And “AFTER.”  I’m having an intense  love/hate relationship with this shade of green (Valspar “Panacea”).   Most of the time it comes off looking  just a little too “minty” for me.  But then  there are certain times of the day when it looks more “limey” and I like it better.   I’m waiting to see how it looks when I get furniture and artwork in here.  However,  don’t be surprised if I end up deciding to repaint at a later date but, for now, this color  will have to do because I still have 3 bathrooms, the laundry room and eventually the kitchen that need painting first!

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I’d like to achieve a casual French country cottage look in the breakfast room using greens and blues.  The photo below (from the Better Homes & Gardens website) is my inspiration photo.  


Wait until you see the French country dining table and chairs I bought off of  Craigslist to use in the breakfast room.
And I’m anxious to show you the freshly painted and carpeted formal living and dining rooms, as well as my inspiration photo for the dining room but I’ll save those pictures  for another day.
OH!  I almost forgot.  We’ve also completely changed gears on our plans for the 2 old barns that needed significant rehab.  You might be just a wee bit surprised at what we decided to do.  Hint:  Gotta love Craigslist!  ;)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Like so many of you, I still have  last minute holiday preparations like wrapping and cooking to do,  but because I have met so many really nice people through this blog…
some with blogs, some without…
I just had to take a minute to thank all of you for spending time here, and for  the many  kind, complimentary and supportive comments and emails you direct my way.   I truly appreciate each and every one.
So, no matter which holiday(s) you celebrate this season…


From me to you!


If you have time, turn your speakers on, click here and enjoy this beautiful animated Christmas card.
*Comments are closed on this post. 

Instead, go eat, drink, and be merry!

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Favorite Christmas Shop

During the past few weeks, we’ve had a lot of rainy, dreary days here in the Tampa Bay area of Florida where I live.  This is not my favorite kind of weather.  Normally, you couldn’t pay me to leave My Cottage of Bliss on a day like this unless I absolutely had to,  but recently I  ventured out in the icky weather and drove across one of the bay area bridges.


Since I don’t have any Christmas decorations up at my house this year due to working long hours at the house in Hooterville, I badly needed to get into the Christmas spirit.  The best place I know to do that is at one of my area’s best Christmas shops…
Robert’s Christmas Wonderland. 
Susan  at Thoughts From Over the Rainbow is having a  Deck the Halls party  so I decided to link up and take you along because  Robert’s is THE best place to get anything and everything  to “Deck the Halls.”


Trust me, my photos do not do justice to the magical beauty of this amazing shop!
Unfortunately, my camera lens was not wide enough to capture the entire icicle archway that leads to the tree room.IMG_0802
A life-sized figure of Santa Claus greets you as you pass through the icicle archway and enter the tree room.



There must be millions of strings of lights hanging from the ceiling, making it feel like a winter wonderland.  If you are shopping for an artificial tree, this is the place to come.  There is every size, shape, color and variety.


I have been toying with the idea of  getting a white tree for a couple years and I loved this one.  Instead of the miniature lights, it had big, fat, white lights.  It was so pretty!


This heavily  flocked tree was pretty too…but probably almost  as messy as a real tree, I would think.


Roberts also has quite an assortment of colored trees…coral, lime green, teal…





How about a purple tree decorated with Mardi Gras masks and beads?


Royal blue decorated with blue & white ornaments, and huge white snowflakes…


I wish I had gotten a better photo of this pretty pink tree decorated with shells.


For the coffee lovers, this tree was decorated with coffee-themed ornaments.  They had used bronze wired ribbon to simulate coffee “pouring” from a plastic Starbucks cup.


Their selection of themed ornaments is unbelievable.  This was part of the “sweets/baked goods” aisle.


Tropical, beachy ornaments are popular here in Florida so they had several aisles devoted to those themes.



A display case with many different styles of  mermaids…


Hmmmmmm…how about this construction worker “merMAN” for your tree?

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They have several very large tables set up with Department 56 and other snow village scenes.



Cute Madame Alexander dolls…



I love the Possible Dreams Santas…


Like beach themed ornaments, the tropical Possible Dreams Santas are popular here in Florida.


My daughter’s favorite…Painted Ponies



And for all of you dishaholics…gorgeous  Lenox pieces.


There are several display cases with beautiful Nativity sets of different styles and sizes.



This Nativity set was almost life-sized. 


Robert’s Christmas Wonderland is open all year long so if you are ever in the Tampa Bay area, be sure to save time to visit. They are located at 2951 Gulf To Bay Boulevard, Clearwater, Florida.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Old Christmas Catalogs: A Walk Down Memory Lane

When you were a kid, did you get excited when the new Christmas catalogs arrived?  I know I sure did.  I would spend hours and hours looking at  the toys, hoping Santa would bring me all of my favorite things. 
Unfortunately, I haven’t had as much time as usual to visit all of my blog friends lately because of the amount of time  we have been working on the house in Hooterville but recently, during a few free minutes I did have, I was blog-hopping and ended up clicking on a link for an interesting website called Wishbookweb.com.  (Sorry, but I  don’t remember which blog it was where I saw the link.) 

Edited to add:  I now know where I originally saw the Wishbookweb.com link!  It was on the blog, Unshelved Words.  Thank you “Summer Gypsy” for posting about this link.

Wishbookweb.com  is an archive of some vintage Christmas catalogs from as far back as 1933.  It was fun to look through the old catalogs to see what was offered and the prices.
In 1933 you could order a pair of personalized stockings from the Spiegel catalog for just 98 cents!


A new wringer washer was $69.50 in 1933!
In the 1942 Sears Wishbook, a 7 room colonial style dollhouse was only $1.19.
As a teenager, I would  go through the Christmas catalogs and mark all the clothes I liked.    Just for the fun of it, I searched the 1969 and 1971 Sears Christmas catalogs, and the 1970 J.C. Penney Christmas catalog because those were the years I was in high school.  I wanted to see if I recognized any of the clothes I liked back then, or perhaps even outfits I actually  found under the tree on Christmas morning.
I had a pair of these stylin’ white lace-up “Granny boots” from the 1971 Sears Wishbook.


I also had the blue and white plaid skirt (#6), the solid blue U-neck sweater (#8)  and white blouse (#7)  from the 1969 Sears Wishbook.  This page also made me wonder what happened to this model (and what she looks like today, 40 years later).   She must have been the highest paid teenage model of the era because she was everywhere.  She regularly modeled in all of the catalogs and Seventeen magazine.   I remember her name was Colleen.  Won’t you sleep better tonight knowing that?  ;)


When I saw this page, I almost jumped out of my chair!  I had that white sweater dress with the red and navy stripes.  I had forgotten all about that dress but  I. Loved. That. Dress.   It sold for $13.97!   Even though I had consciously long forgotten this dress until I saw the catalog page, I think it is very interesting that about 8 years ago I bought a white Tommy Hilfiger, long-sleeved pullover sweater that had those same red and navy stripes across the chest.  I really loved that sweater too so I guess I’m quite partial to red and navy stripes on a white background!


At Christmas in  1986,  my daughter was 4 1/2.  From the Sears Wishbook that year, I bought her the two dresses on the left; the black and white dress and the red dress with the white collar.  She loved the black dress because the circle skirt would poof out when she twirled around.


It was also fun to scan the toys to see what Santa brought her.  Oh my!  This must be where her horse obsession started. My Little Pony.  She had about a bazillion of these.  In fact, I still have all of them packed away because she doesn’t want me to get rid of them!


I know everyone is really insanely busy at this time of year but if you find yourself with a few free minutes and would like to take an enjoyable walk down memory lane, check out Wishbookweb.com. and see what you remember from your past.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Miscellaneous Happenings in Hooterville

Fact:   The house in Hooterville project is whipping our butts.
This would have been quite an ambitious project even if we were in our 30’s but  since we are well into our 50’s, all I can say is…
Eeeegads!  WHAT were we thinking?!
Initially, we were planning to do most of the work ourselves but after we came to our senses, we realized it was just not humanly possible.  Even calling in reinforcements for help with things like clearing the overgrowth, installing the fencing, and some of the interior prep work and priming, it has still been a huge undertaking.
Intellectually, I know a lot has been accomplished in 6 weeks but when I look at the pictures, it seems like very little has been done.  The place still looks like an old run-down farm and I’m beginning to wonder if we will ever get it looking decent in our lifetime.  ::sigh::
Here’s a few things that have been happening.
This was the view looking toward the south end of the property before it was mowed.


This is basically the same view after mowing and a few fence posts had been installed.IMG_0708


This was the overgrown edge of the pond…before.


In this photo,  the shoreline of the pond has been mowed but still needs some cleaning up.


There has been a lot of trimming going on around the house and barns too, as evidenced by the huge brush pile below.  The chain link fence in the background is 5 feet high so you can see the brush pile is several feet higher than that.


Some of the stalls in the main barn were missing doors (??) and/or bars across the front.  They have now all been replaced.  New automatic waterers and feed buckets have been installed in each stall too.


The main barn didn’t have a feed room so hubby bought a 12 x 16 shed off of Craigslist to store hay and grain.   He trucked it in on a trailer he also bought off of Craigslist.


He now has a tractor too, which he also bought off of Craigslist.  He’s working on installing new lighting in the main barn which is why there is a bunch of wiring laying in front of the stalls on the right (if you click to enlarge photo).


We now have German Shepherd #3.  Meet “Logan” (on the left).  Daughter has fostered several dogs for a local animal rescue.  Logan was one of her foster dogs  and she decided to adopt him.   He’s very fond of our old girl, Jasmin (laying down).

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Daughter has brought over 2 of her 3 horses.  What a thrill it is to finally have our own place to keep her horses!


Approximately 70% of the inside  of the house is painted but every time I have been over to the house in the last week or 10 days, it has been raining or much too overcast to get good interior pictures that accurately reflect the colors.   (I’m about *over* this dreariness day after day.  This is suppose to be “sunny Florida,” for heaven’s sake! ) 
I have just a week to finish up the painting because the wood laminate and carpet will start being laid Wednesday, December 16th.  More interior photos will be coming soon.
I will leave you with a photo of a Hooterville sunset.