Friday, December 31, 2010

Construction Zone

The remodel on this bathroom started this week.

Everything was ripped out and we’re starting from scratch.

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I can’t wait to see it come together and show you which vanity I decided on!  Hopefully, I should have pictures of an almost complete bathroom next week.

Meanwhile, I hope everyone has a safe, happy, healthy and prosperous 2011!


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Frosty In (Hooterville) Florida

For the past two mornings, the view out the back door of the house in Hooterville has looked like this. 


We’ve had freezing temperatures overnight and everything was covered in a blanket of frost. 


Like this past January, the farmers in the area have been watering their crops  all night long which, in turn, has depleted the water supply in the underground aquifer.  As a result, many residents who get their water from wells have  found themselves without water, including us.

Some days this city girl wonders if living in the country is all it’s cracked up to be.   Call me crazy and/or spoiled  but I really like the convenience of having water available whenever I want it so I’m not too happy when I turn on the faucet and nothing comes out, or the toilet won’t flush because there’s no water.   Fortunately, however, we have a very deep well  and about 40 minutes after the farmers were required to turn off their sprinklers, the aquifer had replenished enough that our well was able to start pumping water again.  Hooray!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas 2010

christmas candles

Are you ready?

My gifts are wrapped, the groceries are bought, and I’ve done as much of the food pre-preparation as I can.    Before I head off to the house in Hooterville to spend the holiday there, I wanted to wish all my loyal and supportive blog friends a very Merry Christmas!  Blessings to you all.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas By Candlelight

Sort of at the last minute,  my daughter decided she wanted  to have a  Windswept Farm   Christmas party  this coming Thursday night  for our boarders and  people she knows from other barns  so I put the packing on hold to help her pull some things together for the party. 

Several days ago, it occurred to me it would be nice if we had  some type of decoration to place on  the  tables where the food will be set up.  We’re trying to make things look festive but most of my Christmas decorations are  packed  for the upcoming move to the house in HootervilleSince  I didn’t  have anything readily accessible from my Christmas decoration stash, I was going to have to buy something.  But what?    “It”  needed to be simple and cheap, and certainly not too fancy because we’ll be partying outside around the barns.   

I turned to Blogland for inspiration and of course, I was not let down!  On several blogs I saw variations of canning jar votive candles and thought I’d try making my own.

IMG_2578 (C&E)

Seriously, the hardest part of this  project was finding the darn jelly jars!  I went to two Wal-Marts, Target, Big Lots and K-Mart without any luck.  Who would have thought canning jars would be so hard to find?!  Finally, a K-Mart sales associate suggested I try the grocery store across the street. 


Then I was off to Michael’s and JoAnn craft stores  for a few supplies to decorate the jars.  This  also  proved to be  a bit of a challenge because the Christmas stuff was pretty well picked over.  (Just a little more than a week before Christmas, what did I expect?) 

I decided on one little bag of red bead-like balls and one stem of faux Christmas greenery that had multiple sprigs and a few miniature pine cones on it.  I already had a ball of  jute twine at home.

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For each jar, I pulled off one little sprig of greenery from the main stem and attached it to the neck of the jar with my glue gun.  I wrapped the jute around the neck of the jar two or three times, tied a knot in the front, and  untwisted the jute ends to make them “fluffier.”  Then I attached the red balls and pine cones in the area of the knot with hot glue.  I varied the placement of the red balls and pinecones so no two jars were identical.   Similar.  But not the same.

To simulate snow, I poured  about 1 inch of  Epson salts into each jar and set a white votive candle down into it, making sure the candle was placed  well below the rim of the jar so the candle flame could not make contact with any of the jute twine I had fluffed. 

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I decorated a dozen  jelly jars  but they were so quick, easy and inexpensive to make, I think I’m going to go back and get 12 more.

If 12 jars of flickering candlelight are good, 24 jars should be even better! 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Is It Weird To Be Excited About a Bathroom? In the Barn?

Recently I mentioned some improvements have been taking place on the Craigslist barn, including the addition of a bathroom back in that alcove on the right. 


The bathroom is FINISHED and, weird or not, I’m excited about it! 

This will be a huge convenience to our boarders.  For the past 11 months, the boarders ( and workmen, for that matter)  have had to come up to the house, or go to Daughter’s house, if “nature” called.  I always worried some might just attempt to “hold it” rather than impose by asking to use our bathrooms.  Now there is no need for anyone to be uncomfortable while trying to spend time enjoying their horse.

If you don’t count the construction…

and the overall barn concrete project…

and the plumber…

and the cost of putting in a septic tank…

I actually spent less than $10.00 to “furnish” this bathroom!   I only had to buy the black trash can and the wall-mounted toilet  paper holder.  Everything else  we already had. 

The arched, beveled mirror hung over my daughter’s dresser when she lived at home.


The light fixture, toilet and pedestal sink came from here.  The pedestal sink looks a whole lot better in here than it did where it was!

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This cute horse print was in my daughter’s room when she was a little girl.  I simply took it out of  its original skinny, light wood frame and remounted it into this chunkier black frame I already had so it would pop against the light walls.

IMG_2551 (C&E) 

Someone gave my daughter this other horse print a few years back and I  bought the paper towel rack a long time ago for something and ended up not using it.  (Maybe I should spray it black?)

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The bucket  was a green St. Patrick bucket that was decorated in  shamrocks and had “Pail of Ale” written on the side.  I found it at Goodwill several years ago for a couple bucks and it was a “pending” project that I never got to.  I decided to abandon my original idea for it, sprayed  it black and put it to work holding extra rolls of TP.

IMG_2553 (C&E)

I think at some point we are going to have to make a decision about staining or painting the concrete floor,  as well as  the T1-11 plywood we used on the walls.  However, those are projects  for another day.  My main goal for now was getting the bathroom usable.

So there you have it…the barn bathroom that has me doing the happy dance! 

It’s not fancy but it’s sure better than some of the barn bathrooms I’ve had to use over the past 19 years since my daughter first started riding horses.  A few of them were little more than an outhouse.  (ick)

And speaking of bathrooms…the renovation on this bathroom is scheduled to  start the Monday after Christmas. I’m also excited to see how that all comes together.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Brrrrr! Is This REALLY Florida?

weather 12-14-10

When it’s THIS cold in Florida in December, that’s not a real  promising sign it will be a mild winter for us.  

January and February are generally our coldest months and even then we don’t usually see too many days where the thermometer seems to be stuck in the 40’s during the day (and much lower at night).  But that  is exactly the type of weather we have had  for the past few days.  The wind chill has made it seem even worse.

This is the second winter in a row we’ve experienced bitter cold.   The house in Hooterville  is in an area heavily populated with farms, especially strawberry farms,  and many of the crops were  damaged by a long stretch of unusually cold weather we had in January.  The strawberry fields were only re-planted about 6 weeks ago so I’m sure the poor farmers  are moaning, “Oh no, not again!” and worrying about their tender, young plants.

Being new to the Hooterville area last year, I was in awe at some of the wintery sights we saw.  Now…

Not so much.  The newness has worn off for me.  

Those of you who live in the colder climates and deal with  freezing temperatures year after  year…

I don’t know how you do it!

At noon today, there were still icicles  in the orange grove next to the house in Hooterville.

IMG_2557 (C&E)

Have a closer look…

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Yep, it sure looks like a repeat of last winter to me!   :(

Needless to say,  the fireplace at the house in Hooterville has gotten  a good workout during the  past few days.  When my hubby brought in some kindling wood in an old plastic 5 gallon paint bucket, I knew it was a good excuse  to run out and buy the cute, round seagrass basket (located with the Smith & Hawken items at Target) I’ve been drooling over for a couple months.

On the chalkboard label it comes with, I felt compelled  to write my commentary on the cold weather.

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As a lover of  warm weather, green grass, capris and flip flops…


I’m about ready to move farther south.

Or better yet…



Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tables For the Family Room

In my quest to furnish the family room at the house in Hooterville, I have tried to shop according to “my style” and the list of things I love.  The slip-covered sofa, chair and ottoman I bought was an easy decision (although that purchase later  turned into a disaster).  

Finding a media console for the TV, a coffee table and  sofa table is a whole other story.  Those three little pieces of furniture have been giving me absolute fits.

For months I have been mulling over all the different possibilities.  I really didn’t have a clear idea what I wanted until I visited Marcy @ Antique Chase.  Right there in Marcy’s home was nearly everything I loved from “my list”  but I especially fell in love with how  her white slip-covered furniture looks with the pine pieces she has used throughout her home.

Antique Chase (  photo source:  Antique Chase

Antique Chase  photo source:  Antique Chase

As a result,  I have been perusing  furniture stores and the internet, looking for a  TV console, coffee table and sofa table.  It’s no easy feat to find the pine finish in furniture these days.  Much darker woods seem to be more the trend.  And it’s even harder to find the pine finish in a style I like!

I didn’t want or need the three pieces to be an exact match as they won’t be sitting side-by-side in  the room, so after weeks and weeks of searching, here’s my tentative choices:

The “Hyde” turned leg coffee table from Pottery Barn  in the rustic pine stain.

Pottery Barn Hyde turned leg-pine 

This “Wilshire” Sideboard in an antique pine finish. 

For the TV, I’m considering the lower section only of the  Coastal Living Cottage console in the finish they call  “Boardwalk.”  (I originally posted about this line of furniture by Stanley Furniture here.) 

Stanley-Coastal Living console Boardwalk

This doesn’t appear to really be a  true pine color but it’s the only thing I’ve been able to find that I even remotely liked the style of AND came close to a pine finish.  This piece is also quite pricey but since I typically keep my furniture foooooorever, I might splurge.   After a few phone calls, I found a retailer in Tampa that has it on display in this finish so I think I just need to see it in person.

Can anyone suggest any other good sources for pine finished furniture before I make my final decision?  Or should I just GO for it with these?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Finding My Decorating Style

I’m a little slow.  After  being married and decorating my  home for nearly 38 years (next week!),  it seems it has just been in the past 3 1/2 years  I have finally been able to pin-point certain  decorating looks, colors and decor items  I love living with day-in and day-out, year after year.

I like many different decorating styles.  In fact,  sometimes think I have decorating attention deficit disorder but after I sat down with pencil and paper and made an actual list,  a pattern emerged and there were some things  I realized I am drawn to time and time again. 

I never tire of:

  • light and bright
  • white! white! white!
  • pastel colors, especially soft greens and pinks
  • black and gray (over brown and beige)

avintagewhite.blogspotphoto source: A Vintage White

  • wrought iron
  • wicker & rattan
  • baskets
  • floral anything, especially roses (art, fabrics, china etc.)
  • garden/nature decor (clay pots, birds, bird houses & cages, nests & eggs etc.)
  • greenery, especially ivy, ferns and topiaries

(Someday, I hope the front porch of the house in Hooterville looks just like this!)

source unknown via savvysouthernstyle.blogspot photo source: unknown

  • 2" white faux wood blinds
  • plantation shutters
  • crisp white bead board
  • shells and beachy decor

photobyDanMayersphoto by Dan Mayers 

  • great moldings  around windows and doors
  • crown molding
  • no (or very simple) fabric window treatments 

ss_BHG144111photo source:  Better Homes & Gardens

  • lace
  • crystal candlesticks
  • tea cups
  • white pitchers
  • milk glass

    Did I say white?

www.countryliving photo source:

  • slip covered furniture (neat & fitted, not sloppy)
  • painted  furniture (especially white!)
  • curvy furniture
  • furniture with details like carvings or moldings


Although my first choice will always be white furniture over wood tones, I am drawn to some wood pieces if they are:

  • semi-rustic and aged looking (but not too beat up)
  • light to medium tone in color

ss_SIP940494 photo source:  Better Homes & Gardens

For many years I thought my style was Traditional but clearly, my preferred decorating style is really the more informal Cottage Style…actually a mixture of  Romantic Cottage, Beach Cottage, French Country Cottage, and maybe to a lesser degree,  English Cottage.

Have you ever stopped to really think about what decorating looks, colors and decor items you are repeatedly drawn to?   If you are sort of  floundering around, looking for your decorating style,  I bet  you will find it if you make a list of the decorating elements  in your home  you love and never have the burning desire to change.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Jolie In Training

I’m interrupting the post I originally planned because I would like to share a photo that touched me and brought tears to my eyes.

Yesterday, my daughter loaded Jolie on a trailer and made a six hour drive north to Tallahassee, Florida.  There is a woman up there who has experience in breaking wild mustangs and apparently, she has a real knack and reputation for accomplishing it quite quickly.  She is going to work with Jolie for the next 30 to 60 days and get her rideable.

My daughter just emailed me this photo she took of Jolie’s first lesson this morning. 

Jolie in Tallahassee  12-2-10

That blue eye does look a little wild with alarm but…


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

One Chore Leads to Another

 IMG_2529 (2) (C&E)

My efforts at the laborious job of packing for the move to the house in Hooterville continue but I got a little side-tracked again.  

With all the time we’ve spent renovating the Hooterville house and farm over the past 13 months, it’s been  a while since I’ve taken the time to  do any heavy-duty dusting  in My Cottage of Bliss. 

Apparently longer than I realized!

Dusting has never been my favorite housekeeping job anyway but when I started to wrap and box up the nick-nacks and collections, I was actually repulsed by how grimy everything felt. 


I couldn’t bring myself to pack it all up without washing it  first.  This is when I wish I didn’t have so many collections!

Pictured above are pieces of my grandmother’s milk glass which she gave to me through the years prior to her death 4 years ago at the age of 99.  I haven’t even gotten to my mom’s crystal pieces, my Precious Moments figurines, or the china cabinet yet! 

I’m just really ready to have this business of packing and moving DONE so it’s a pain to have to take the time to wash this stuff before I wrap and box it for the move.  I have to keep reminding myself that even though it’s slowing me down now,  it will save me time later.   It will be wonderful to  just unpack and immediately put my (clean) collections  away in their new home.

What’s your favorite and/or least favorite housekeeping job?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

thanksgiving dinner 

This time last year we had just bought the house in Hooterville about 3 weeks before Thanksgiving and had a mile long list of  projects that needed to be accomplished by January 1, so we opted to save time in the kitchen by having our Thanksgiving dinner at a  buffet restaurant down the road.

We actually enjoyed the buffet’s offerings so much, we’ve decided to have our Thanksgiving meal there again this year.  My hubby’s family will be joining us.

How are you celebrating Thanksgiving this year?  Are you cooking at home, or eating out?

 Happy Thanksgiving from My Cottage of Bliss!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Improvements to the Craigslist Barn

The  house in Hooterville has not been the sole focus of our renovation projects.  For the last month  or so, a lot of work has been taking place on the partially built barn we bought off Craigslist in January.

One big project we have been working toward for many, many months was finally completed about 2 weeks ago.   Four  big trucks arrived to pour concrete down the center aisle of the barn.


Up to this point, the center aisle had  just been dirt, which always looked so messy and was…well….



Concrete made a world of difference and with the help of a leaf blower, it will be much easier to keep neat and clean.


Of course, for posterity’s sake, we had to write in the new concrete…

Windswept Farm      Est. 2010

My daughter also sunk one of Tango’s actual horseshoes into the concrete and her name was written inside the curve of it.  Tango the Movie Star now has her own tribute, just like the stars who have been immortalized at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre Hollywood Walk of Fame.  ;) 

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When we bought the Craigslist barn, it had  six  12 ft. x 12 ft. finished stalls and the space to add six more.  We just had two more 12 ft. x 12 ft. stalls built as well as a double-wide 24 ft. x 12 ft. broodmare stall for mother and baby (photo below) because my daughter wants to try to breed Tango again after the first of the year.  If at any point the larger stall is not needed, a partition can be built to turn it into two 12ft. x 12 ft. stalls, like the other stalls in the barn.



Two of the 12 x 12 areas intended for stalls were turned into wash racks (areas to bathe the horses).



This open area on one end of the barn was enclosed and went from this…


to this.  


It will be a tack room were our boarders can store their saddles, bridles and miscellaneous horse stuff. 

Within the next week or two, the red siding will also be finished on the upper portion of the barn.

Looking down the center aisle, the new  tack room is on the right.


On the left, directly across the aisle from the boarder’s tack room, will be my daughter’s own private tack room.  To the right of it, in the back portion of that alcove,  there will be a bathroom for the boarders.  Yeah! That has been a long awaited addition so the boarders won’t have to come up to the house to use the bathroom anymore.

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It looks like the designated painter (me!) will soon have more painting projects to work on…the tack room and bathroom  doors and trim!