Friday, February 26, 2010

Farm Tables

Have you seen this publication on the newsstands?

IMG_Cottage Style

When I was in the grocery store last week, I quickly flipped through it and  was absolutely smitten with the lovely cottage rooms featured inside so I tossed it into my shopping cart. 
Once I got home, put the groceries away and had time to sit down with a cup of tea,  I picked it up to take a closer look.    I was surprised to see  the  ONLY advertisements  were inside the front and back covers so it’s actually more like a soft cover decorating book than a typical ad-laden magazine.    One hundred forty-four pages of nothing but cottage style inspiration (which made me feel a little better about paying the $9.99 cover price)!
In my recent laundry room post,  I mentioned how I thought I might like to use a small old farm table in the laundry room  at the house in Hooterville  to fold clothes on.    Let me tell you, there were plenty of  gorgeous farm tables with loads of charm in this publication!  It was farm table nirvana! 
Here are four of my favorites.  Of course, the overall style of each room in these photos  isn’t too bad either!

farm table 1 Cottage Style

farm table 3 Cottage Style

farm table 4 Cottage Style

farm table 2 Cottage Style

Seeing all of these pretty farm tables really got me more inspired than ever to find one for the laundry room so this week  I went out scouting  at a few local antique stores.  I saw several possibilities but nothing that really WOWED me and made me fall in love until…
I saw THIS!

IMG_1287 (C&E)

Admittedly, it did look a little grungy but I thought with a good wipe down  it should clean up nicely.  Overall, everything about it was just about perfect, including the size.
My  absolute favorite part was the wood top.  I just love  the old worn patina it has!  


And although I don’t usually go for furniture with paint that is this chippy, I have to admit there was something that got me right in the heart when I saw the different layers of paint.   I’m not one to usually hesitate to take a paint brush to most furniture but I think even I could have trouble painting over the all of the history here.  Notice the  turquoise paint showing through, which would look great, I’m sure, in my aqua laundry room.

IMG_1287 (closeup)

I couldn’t find a price on the table so I asked the antique shop clerk about it.  He didn’t know the price but  said he would be glad to  contact the owner of the booth and call me back.
The answer…
It was for display purposes only.
Booooo hoooo hoo!  I’m so disappointed.
My quest for a farm table continues.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Thrifting I Did Go…

a thrifting I did go…
high ho the merry ‘o
a thrifting I did go!
And I got darn lucky too!
Recently I went on a little thrifting expedition hoping to find  some treasures for the house in Hooterville.
At Goodwill I found this mirror for only $15.00.    It’s difficult to judge the  scale in this photo but the mirror is quite large (and very heavy!).  I plan to use it in the formal dining room.

IMG_1201 (C&E)

You might recall I showed you my inspiration photo,  a dining room designed by Layla over at The Lettered Cottage for one of her clients.   I may not have any furniture for the dining room yet but now I’ve at least got a mirror!

BRIGHT_DESIGN_PLAN-layla  photo source:  The Lettered Cottage

I was having a VERY GOOD Goodwill day because I also found these four blue and white bowls and a candlestick to add to the blue and white collection I have started for the  hutch in the breakfast room.  Each bowl was  $3.00 and the candlestick was $2.00.

IMG_1094 (2)

At an antique mall I came across a small blue and white lamp that I think will look cute on the breakfast room hutch.    I  paid $14.00 for it, which I didn’t think was too bad, considering how much lamps generally cost. 

IMG_1249 (C&E) 

At the same antique mall, I  was happy to find  a bench to place at the backdoor in the laundry room.   It’s a generous 4 feet long…the perfect length for the wall where I want to put it.  The price was perfect too.  All the benches  I have looked at have been at least twice the $40.00 I paid for this one.   I definitely have plans to strip the yellow paint off but I haven’t decided exactly how I want to re-do it.  I may paint it white and distress it.  I may end up staining it.  Or maybe I’ll paint it black and distress it since I’m thinking I want to use black as an accent color to the aqua I  painted the laundry room walls.  As the room starts to come together, I’m sure I will be able to get a better sense of which option will look best.


Yes, it was a very productive thrifting day!

Linking up to Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays @ Coastal Charm

Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Random Ponderings and the Giveaway Winner

I think I jinxed myself.
Last week in  my 100th post, I noted that the 100 posts I had written on this blog had come to me fairly easily despite the fact that I had initially been apprehensive about starting a blog for fear “Blogger’s Block” would strike right off the bat. 
Of course as soon as I wrote that,  I hit the wall. 
I’m suffering from a bad case of Blogger’s Block this week! 


Maybe it’s just the winter doldrums but try as I might,  I’ve had major difficulty finding the motivation to  take any of the vague ideas that are twirling in my brain at any given moment and  formulate them into a completed post.
It’s not helping the blogging process that inside projects at the house in Hooterville are temporary stalled for lack of funds so I don’t even have  any new decorating projects to post about.  Buying the Craigslist barn last month was not factored into the renovation budget. Therefore, when we diverted the money we had planned to use for the kitchen and bath remodels, furniture, new  window treatments etc., on the purchase of the new barn, well…those other projects have had to be  put on hold until we can regroup.    I could TELL you about projects I WANT to do but I think we’d all rather SEE COMPLETED projects.


Since I also think we so many of us are longing for spring after this long, cold winter, I have at least included a few spring blossom photos in this post for your viewing pleasure and hopefully I’ll have my blogging mojo back in a few days. 
Meanwhile, I’ve been pondering some things and wondered if you have had any of these same  thoughts too.
  • Why are lamps and lighting fixtures, chandeliers, etc., so darn expensive?  Even basic, no-frill designs can run a couple hundred dollars…or more.
  • Why do some bloggers not date their blog post entries?  A year or two from now, won’t they look back over their blog and wonder WHEN they wrote those posts?  With no date, how does a reader determine how current the last post is, or how frequently the blogger posts?
  • Why can’t the bra manufacturers make an underwire bra that lasts through more than a few wearings and washings before one (or both!) of the wires poke through? They can design suits to protect astronauts  from all kinds of atmospheric conditions while  hurling through space but they can’t make an underwire casing that can withstand the  daily movements of an average woman .
  • Why do retailers and restaurants think we need to listen to loud music while we shop and dine?  There have been  instances where I have actually left a store without making a purchase because  obnoxious music was playing way too loud and I just needed to GET AWAY.  Chasing  customers away with music doesn’t seem like a very smart way to boost  sales in this economy.
  • Why do so many people feel the need to constantly have a cell phone plastered to the side of their head?  Why do people feel the need to answer their cell phone when they are in the stall of a public bathroom?   (YES, I have been in the next stall and heard that happen!)  What is so frickin’ important that it can’t wait until you get back home (or at least done doing your *bizness*)?   I’ve even  seen two people walking side-by-side, both talking to someone on their cells phones instead of each other!  Hmmm…maybe they are talking to each other…via their cell phones!
  • Am I the only one who doesn’t see  the allure of Twitter?  I can’t help but wonder if we have become such a narcissistic society that we really think people want to know every single little trivial thing  we are thinking and doing every second of every day?
  • Why does dirt look black on a white car but it looks white on a black car?


And finally…
something of substance and interest:

To see the winner of my 100th post giveaway


Go say “hi” and “congratulations” and then scroll down through her recent posts to check out the awesome laundry room and office makeovers she is working on.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

PMU Mares

Chances are, if you are a menopausal woman or have had a hysterectomy, you have probably heard of the  drug called Premarin.  Maybe you are currently taking it, or have taken it in the past.  If not, it is likely you know a woman who has been on it (maybe your mother or grandmother) because reportedly,  from 1975 to 1999, Premarin was the most prescribed drug in America.
Premarin (including Prempro, Premphase, Prempac, and Premelle) is a drug put out in many forms (pills, creams, injections, patches, vaginal rings) and is used to reduce the symptoms of menopause in women or women who have had a hysterectomy. Premarin was one of the first drugs available when hormonal therapy for menopause was introduced in 1946.  It has also been  prescribed to eliminate the risk of osteoporosis .
Premarin® stands for Pregnant Mares' Urine (PREgnant MARes' urINe).  
Yes, Premarin is made up of conjugated estrogens obtained from the urine of pregnant mares.
To produce Premarin, PMU mares are impregnated and during the last 6 months of the pregnancy they are fitted with a UCD  (urine collection device) strapped between their hind legs.  For this 6 month collection period, they are  forced to stand in a small stall, usually no bigger than 8 feet long, by 3 1/2 feet wide.  Many PMU mares are large breeds like draft crosses because the larger breeds produce more urine.  In this very confined space, they cannot walk more than a few steps in any direction.  There is barely enough room for them to  lie down.   Their water intake is limited so the urine will be more concentrated.

pmu-2 photo source: the Internet

Just before foaling, PMU mares are taken "off line" and allowed to foal in outside paddocks.   Within six months of a successful breeding, they are returned to the PMU production line again.  Mares that do not become pregnant within a very short time are usually sent to auction or straight to the slaughterhouse.

pmu4photo source: the Internet

PMU mares are basically baby machines that are impregnated as often as possible, and for as long as possible, sometimes for more than 10 years straight.   The foals of the mares are considered a by-product of the business and are taken from their mothers when they are  2-4 months old instead of the normal 6 months.  Foals removed from the mare are sometimes fattened on feedlots and then sold for slaughter. The ones not sent to feedlots go straight to the meat auctions, or are sold to resale agents. A small number are sold by foal rescue operations to mostly U.S. rescue organizations.
Since research has proven that estrogen increases the chances  of cancer in women, there has been a decline in the production of Premarin. By 2003, sales of Premarin plummeted 30% from their high in 1999 and have continued to do so as more and more studies linked the drug to life threatening ailments and women have been made more aware of these studies. 
As promising as this sounds for ending the barbaric treatment of PMU mares and slaughter of their foals, my research for this post revealed other HRT (hormone replacement therapy) drugs are in development that would still use the urine of pregnant mares.
Nevertheless, many PMU ranches are being closed, leaving thousands of  PMU mares from  Canadian and North Dakota farms to find new homes or face an uncertain fate.
My daughter recently adopted a PMU mare who came from a  North Dakota PMU farm.
Jolie is a 10 year old draft/paint cross.  Look at that face!  Isn’t she beautiful?  She’s in need of a good grooming but that will have to come in time.
IMG_1125 (2)
The  rescue agency handling Jolie’s adoption assured my daughter Jolie was  “halter broke,” meaning she was trained to lead and tie obediently.  Unfortunately this does not appear to be the case at all.  In essence, Jolie is basically wild.  She will not yet allow anyone to get close enough to touch her so she would not voluntarily submit to allow a halter to be placed on her.  On the positive side,  she has started to eat a little grain from my daughter’s hand and she is beginning to let my daughter stand next to her. 
To complicate matters, Jolie is “in foal” and should deliver sometime in the next 2 or 3 months.  If she does not gain some trust in people before then, it is possible she might not allow anyone to handle her foal either. 
Without a doubt, my daughter has her work cut out for her.  Much patience and training will be needed to help Jolie  overcome her PMU mare past.
Obviously, not everyone has the ability or desire to  adopt a PMU mare or a PMU foal but you can still help their plight  by educating  yourself and others about the mistreatment of horses used for the manufacture of Premarin® or other HRT drugs using pregnant mares urine.
If you are using Premarin, why not talk to your doctor about trying one of the many synthetic and non PMU organic alternative estrogen-replacement drugs and spare the horses like Jolie?



IMG_1123 (C&E)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

100th Post Giveaway

It has taken me a while to reach this milestone.
Nine months, almost to the day.
This  is the 100th post I have written on this little ‘ole blog of mine.
One hundred posts from someone who was apprehensive about starting a blog for fear she would experience “blogger’s block” after only a few weeks.
When I sat down to write that first post, I never dreamed I had 100 posts in me.  And much to my surprise, most of them were written rather effortlessly too. 
Anyway, it has been a while since I have had a giveaway so I thought 100 posts was reason to celebrate with another one.
Here’s a little something I purchased especially for one of my readers…

IMG_1181 (c&e)

A pink rose (or maybe it’s suppose to be a peony?) mug, coaster and tray set. 
No matter which flower it is, I think tea, coffee or hot chocolate would taste even better sipping it from this pretty mug.   And I’m sure a few cookies, biscotti, or a muffin would be completely calorie-free if it was served on the coordinating tray.  ::wink wink::  Or how about hot soup and a sandwich?  Yum!

(Note to self:  I NEED to buy myself one of these sets too!)

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I like to keep my giveaways simple.  I know you have more important things to do so I don’t ask you to tweet, post, follow, or stand on your head for more entries.
If you are interested in being entered, just leave a comment on this post by midnight (Eastern time) Sunday, February 14, 2010.
Easy peasy.
Everyone is welcome to enter.  If you don’t have a blog, please be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win.  If you would prefer not to publish your email address in the comment section, feel free to forward it to me via email at: 

IMG_1184 (C&E)

Whether you have been here for all 100 posts or this is your first time, thank you for taking time out of your busy day to stop by My Cottage of Bliss.   I am humbled and so very appreciative.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Precious Gift

Recently, I received a package in the mail.
A combination “Just Because/Happy Housewarming” gift from a sweet blogger/friend.
When I opened the box, I literally gasped when I saw the most BEAUTIFUL  bunny tassel especially HANDMADE  to coordinate with the blue and green French Country decor in  the breakfast room at the house in Hooterville.

IMG_1166 (C&E)

Unfortunately, my photography skills do not even come close to showing how darling this tassel really is!

IMG_1174 (C&E)

Cute, cute, cute! 

Who would do such a kind and thoughtful thing?
Gloria from Happy To Be, that’s who!
I have *known* Gloria for several years now…first from Rate My Space and more recently  through blogging.  When I started my blog, Gloria left me one of my first comments and I think she was my first follower!
If you have never visited Gloria’s blog, you really should.  Such a wonderful person she is!   Sweet.  Big-hearted.  She has a great sense of humor too!    And if you want to see some amazing pieces of history, you should check out her blog posts on the fabulous antiques she has collected.  I’m convinced her extensive collection would put the Smithsonian to shame.
Thank you again, Gloria!  I truly LOVE my bunny tassel! 
Every time I look at it, I will think of you and smile.  :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Laundry Room

I’ll be completely honest.
It was primarily the laundry room that sold me on the house in Hooterville .
The laundry room and its unlimited potential more than compensated for all of the other things I didn’t/don’t particularly like about the house.
For a laundry room, it’s GINORMOUS.
I forget the exact dimensions but it’s at least 14 feet x 14 feet!  It’s actually bigger than any of the 4 bedrooms, or the kitchen.
Believe me, I’m not complaining but I can’t help but wonder…
WHY would someone design a laundry room that is considerably larger than the bedrooms or kitchen?
Here’s what it looked like the day we looked at the house.  I loved the pretty back door. And I actually liked the vinyl tiles.  The black diamonds and aqua border in them would have worked perfectly with the color scheme I wanted to use.   But, unfortunately,  the tiles were in really, really bad shape.   Beyond salvageable so the floor was destined to be replaced.




Three days after I finished painting the laundry room a cheery shade of aqua (Valspar “Aqua Frost”) we had “The Flood” and the paint peeled around the seam of the wallboard and near the floor where it got wet.  ::sigh::   Re-mudding the seam and repainting is on the “To Do” list.  (The hole in the wall is only temporary and was cut by the plumber so he can access the water pipes from the bathroom on the other side of the wall and install a sink for me in the laundry room. )


Also on the “To Do” list is cabinets.  Lots and lots of white cabinets.  Definitely a cabinet to hide the hot water heater.
I plan to make the “sink wall” in the photo above the dog feeding station with a cabinet to hold the 40 pound bags of dog food I buy, a place to store the canned cat and dog food, and perhaps even one of those tiny  refrigerators for opened cans of pet food.  I’m even thinking about a small microwave  too, for taking  the chill off dog/cat food that has been refrigerated.  (Our pets are SO spoiled!)
The long wall below is actually 2 or 3 feet longer than the photo shows and I envision floor to ceiling cabinets running the entire length of the wall.


Maybe something similar to these Closet Maid cabinets…

IMG closetmaid 

To the right of the back door, I would like to have a place to sit down to put on shoes.


I LOVE this idea!  Isn’t it great?!  Only I think I  would need a smaller/shorter version since my wall doesn’t look this long.  I already told my hubby I have dibs on one of the stall doors on the old barn he is going to tear down.

funkyjunkinteriors photo source:  Funky Junk Interiors

I’ve been told the electrical plugs on the window wall can be easily moved over (and dropped behind the washer/dryer)  so the washer/dryer can be centered under the window.  Once they  are centered, I would like upper and lower cabinets installed to the left and right.  I’m also trying decide what kind of window treatment I want to use.  I believe this room is also big enough to easily accommodate a table for folding clothes so I’m on the lookout for something with some character…maybe like a small farmhouse table. 

IMG_1154 (C&E)

If you have been visiting me for a while, you might remember some months ago I wrote a post where I was undecided if I should get  a front loading washer because of all the horror stories I had read about the high rate of mold issues in front loading machines. 
As you can see, I decided to try a (Samsung) front loader.  I’ve only done about 4 or 5 loads but, so far,  I am really liking it.  However,  I can already see that if I am not diligent in wiping it dry after the last wash, it will probably become moldy very quickly because there is quite a bit of water the collects in the detergent dispenser drawer and the rubber gasket around the door.  We’ll see…

So there’s a little peek at the laundry room.  
Obviously there is a LOT more work to be done here.