[ sorry for those of you who received this twice: i was having technical difficulties! ]

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So, there are periods of time when I go about my days in my little cottage without the thought of a new addition or project.

Maybe I’m busy with My Faire Lady Designs orders and don’t have time for it.
Maybe it’s other things in the schedule.
Or maybe it’s that I just don’t even have a project in mind.

And THEN there are other days when I am FLOODED with ideas,
and with Type A personality in high gear, it simply MUST be done.
NOW. TODAY.
Tomorrow might be okay, but today is better.

So, here are just a few projects from the past months.

And I kind of laugh seeing these picture, because really, when does my house look ready for pictures except when I intentionally get it ready? Right now there is a big pile of laundry waiting to be folded on the sofa. There are kids’ papers piled on the table. The pillows are all askew on the living room floor. Just so you know, people! I don’t live in a perfect house either. :)

The Family Rules sign… This is a beautiful reminder of my friend Ruth. She had the same one in her home, and it so perfectly fit what she made their home to be. Since her passing, several family members and friends now have this in their homes as well. ♥

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Oversized family picture in the living room. This is an idea I had seen around different blogs, but when my friend did a similar thing, I knew I wanted to do it! :) It’s the engineering print size (24 X 36) only available in black and white, at office supply stores. We wrapped it around a foam board to make it look like a canvas, and I may still go overtop of it with modpodge to make it look more canvas-y. Total cost: approximately $8. Crazy!!

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A few new pillows – they are so easy to make, and they change up the living room so cheaply. [ruffle pillow from Target, all others handmade]

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It’s the little things, folks. :) I found this key ring at Hobby Lobby for less than $5. It fits the key decor in the living room (I didn’t try to go with a theme, but I guess I collect keys!)

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And since I’m into oversized things, here’s another new one: a large wall map above my newly-painted desk.

Amelia inspired me to repaint my black desk another color, so I used some leftover paint my husband had from a job… It was perfect, and my husband wondered why I waited years to do it!

The map I bought off ebay for super cheap, but it’s not the color I was expecting. I was hoping for more blue-ish tones to coordinate with my desk. But, I can’t beat the price and find another one I like for the same deal, so it stays.

The idea was to use map pins to mark places in the world I’ve been. I had thought previously I’ve done a fair amount of traveling. When I was finished marking the countries, I was flooded with the realization that 20 + countries really isn’t very much in God’s huge creation! He is so vast, and varied, and so huge!

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Love Note Banner: I used a thin ribbon and sewed on black & white pictures and love notes from my husband… “his banner over me is love…” ♥

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The kitchen. My sisters inspired me to do a plate wall… They had seen the idea on Ruche, so we all agreed that we would do one. Kidding. Actually, I said, “I’m going to do one too!!” :) I found a few plates at yard sales and the rest were ones given by my grandmother years ago.

At first, I just tried generous portions of stick & tack. BAD IDEA. There were crashing plates at all hours of the day, and finally one night at midnight I took them all down after hearing a darling one break. Ruche recommends museum putty, and they weren’t joking. They also recommend tea cup plates, and they weren’t joking about that either. I hung two larger plates using the official plate hangers with springs, but the rest are now secure and not one has fallen since using the museum putty.

I feel a little English with my tea plate collection. I LOVE it so.

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Since I added plates above the mantel, I took down the plates above the door and hung oversized (see, I told you I’m on a binge) silverware there instead.

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I think I mentioned my free pendant light before? Well, here she is again. Hanging right over Audrey (I had to name my sink, she was so pretty).

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The second of our two bedrooms now holds all three kiddos. Until we finish out the upstairs, which isn’t too near in the future, I’m trying to figure out a way to creativity, cozily, and in a very organized manner hold two genders and three children in one small-ish room! It is the biggest challenge of our living quarters.

This is Hudson’s new corner.

My husband is worried the bed looks too girly. But we have no full-size crib. So we do a boyish sheet, and add the whale pillow gifted from Amber, and make a blue pillow from scrap cloth, and hopefully it’ll work for now. :) The large ‘H’ is from Hobby Lobby, and spray painted.

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I was asked the question recently, “What does creating a lovely home mean to you? Is it a creative outlet, a way to care for your family, a way to use your talents, is it because it makes you feel good? Anything goes!!! and there can be multiple reasons!”

It was a good question, and I answered back after a lot of thought. What are the motives behind doing what I do? The real reasons? It is because of what people will think if I don’t, or what they’ll think if I do? It is because it’s fun? Why is it important to me? And how does Jesus be glorified in it all?

Before I give my answer, I’d love to hear your thoughts! What does creating a lovely home mean to you?

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45 thoughts on “Cottage Newbies

  1. Jenny

    you are just plain super-talented!
    and thanks for posting so much more lately. i am babysitting today and it gave me more fun in my day.
    love the plate wall, the pillows, olivia’s outfit on that 2nd pic down, and well all of it!
    i have tackled a few things lately, but never have time to upload pictures- you inspire me to at least “want” to blog more. someday…..
    it’s all so crazy awesome. crazy!

    Reply

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      If I would inspire you to blog more I would be SO happy. :) I just love when you do! As for me posting more often – I’m not sure what happened, but it’s not a “goal” or anything with this new place. We’ll just see how long the inspirations last. Ha!

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  2. Shannon

    Love. Come decorate for me. :D

    Creating loveliness in the home means “Peace in storm.” It’s a place I like to be, to relax and enjoy quietness.

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  3. Esther

    What is home to me? Home to me is whites and creams and greys with dashes of natural wood and reflective mirrors and simplicity – bright colors drive me nuts. :) As a woman who didn’t know what I liked till I was 50 or that I had artistic abilities in my way, this was quite a discovery!
    I love taking throw-aways and restore them into beauty. I’d love to have lovely free-hand flowing writing but that’s not to be – it’s simply not there! :) LOVE your house!

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  4. Joelle

    You have lovely home! I love the oversized family picture in your living room. I have one too, and was absolutely thrilled with it (and the price)! :-)

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    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      Those oversized prints are genius, aren’t they! I wish I could thank the first person who thought of that idea! :) She has so many grateful people who loved big pictures but don’t want to spend for a canvas!

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  5. Shy

    Woah, explain more on the “canvas” print? Exactly how do you go about getting that? Love it and can’t break down and buy a canvas!

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    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      Shy! Hello! :) For the big print, you take a picture to Staples in a cd and tell you them you want the engineering print size (only available in black and white). The picture should be decent quality because it does get really big, but it’s cheap enough that you can always re-do it if you want! :) It’s on very thin paper. Then you get foam board from a hardware store (Lowe’s or Home Depot or Ace, etc) and cut the board several inches smaller than your print. We used spray adhesive and sprayed the foam very well before smoothing the picture on top and around the sides. And viola’! It’s a fantastic canvas-looking picture for super cheap. :)

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  6. Aimee Weaver

    I must admit I get a little bit giddy when you post pics of your adorable cottage. LOVE every little corner of it! Creating a lovely home to me means surrounding myself and my family with things that are meaningful and bring peace in the midst of life. It’s also a way for me to express my creativity.

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  7. Thelma

    i already commenting about this post once, but I do realize it is more fun to get comments on the ACTUAL post, so I’ll do one here too:-)
    Lovely home….hmm…. i like the question. I think it’s texture and warmth. Surrounding yourself w/ things that speak to you, that bring inspiration and beauty. I like when a home has soul, when it doesn’t look just like it’s out of a catalogue, all matchy, but when it’s pieced together w/ lots of lovely. you know, kinda like your home?:-)

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  8. Michelle

    I sat and just stared at each picture for a little bit to drink in the beautiful details! So, so pretty. I probably say this about every room in your house at some point, but I really think I like your dining room best. Every time I see it I just feel as though I’ve had and ahhhhh moment. :) Why do I create beauty in our house? Why do we create beauty anywhere? Whether it’s a party for the kids, the clothes we choose to wear, the flower gardens ……….. I think because beauty and perfection are attributes of God and it feels right. I just wish I could get myself to FEEL right when I’m TRYING too hard to get to perfect and frustrating myself and everyone else in the process. ;) So why do I do it? I think because creating a beautiful space does make me feel good … it’s the little thing that lasts unlike general housework which is pretty much just upkeep and gets undone in 5.3 seconds. A beautiful space (however that is defined for you) feels restful to us and allows us to regroup and energize. I’ve asked myself that question a lot b/c I moved out of a home that felt beautiful to me (because it was a reflection of my style) into something that was so completely not and it REALLY changed how I felt about being at home. Maybe for some people creating a home is more about comfort and for others it’s more about style and for others it’s more about I don’t know what. But in the end, we all create a place of belonging, I think. (I can always tell it’s past time to go to bed when I start rambling!) Thanks for the mini tour of your gorgeous little cottage!

    Reply

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      Yay, a long comment from Michelle! :) I love it! The dining room I really like too… It’s so simple and maybe that’s why I like it so well? It’s a very restful room. I don’t think I’d like my whole house so neutral, but that’s probably why I like this one so much. But I loved what you wrote about creating a home… Yes to everything!! My experience is opposite you – for me it was going from a rental to now owning, but I can relate so much… There is still a home that can be created, even though it may look different than your “dream” home. And home is more than a house! We could have a whole discussion on this. :)

      Reply

  9. Hope Helmuth

    Lovely home, inspiring post. The question you asked is one I often ask myself. Sometimes I feel guilty for getting so excited over things such as cooking, decorating or creating things. Why am I doing this? I have slowly worked through it to realize God made us to be creative. The tingling in my bones about a new idea is straight from God- it’s a gift. After all, look how creative He is!

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    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      I get so excited over things like that too! And that almost-hyper feeling about a new idea… :) that’s me too! I love that we are created in the image of God, and how He gave us the gift of creativity through Himself! So so special! I love what you said, Hope!

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  10. Lindsay Gallegos

    I am totally in awe!!! What a beautiful gift you are giving to your children by keeping such an amazingly ordered and lovely home. I’m sure your hubby doesn’t mind either. ;-)

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  11. shelly

    I can’t even tell you the good feelings that your beautiful little place gives me. I think a big part of creating beauty for me has to do with *meaning*. I want the things we celebrate and the way we decorate, etc. to express what we believe and be part of rich heritage and tradition by which we and our children will remember God, His works, and His people . . . That’s my heart, but then I can get quite frustrated in trying to make my ideas reality because I don’t feel like the “skilled & talented” part of me is very blessed. :) That’s where I loooooong to have someone come in and help me pull things together!

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    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      I love what you said! The meaningful part of having a home – not just decorating because it’s in style, or because someone else likes it – but because of wanting to reflect who we are as God’s people. Beautiful!! And you have done that SO much in your home – you are FAR more talented than you realize! Would we live closer I’d love to come over and exchange kitchen and house tips. :) xo

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  12. Bevy

    ((SIGH))

    You have a lovely home… all around. I love that Home Rules, the plate wall, all of it. This home, your home, exudes creativity and practicality. But to answer your question. What does creating a lovely HOME mean?!?! This sounds cliche but home is where the heart is. And YOU and ME – as homemakers, we are the heart of the home. The temperature, so to speak. And so… what we do and love, in our homes, is a reflection of us…using the gifts (of creativity, talent, purpose, intention) that He has given.

    Thank you for sharing your inspiration. I love it..

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  13. amber~.

    love.every.little.bit.
    i’ve seen the canvas print idea before and wanted to try it.. but actually i forgot about it until your post. haha! old {er} age will do that to ya! and the banner over your bed. love any kind of prints/cards/ hanging from string that way ~

    creating a lovely home to me is a place that reflects who i am and what i want others to feel when around me. so the words comfortable. safe. relaxed. welcoming come to mind. i do believe decorating is more about the spirit behind it than the place itself. and you do that well, my friend – create with such graciousness.

    Reply

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      I forgot about that canvas-style print for a long time too! But was it ever fun to remember and get it done! Now I want to do them everywhere! :) And yes to decorating being more about the spirit behind it than the place itself… I have seen that and experienced it in homes – you can just FEEL whether it’s for self or for the blessing of other people… Amazing. You have inspired me so with your home!

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  14. Maria Beiler

    Soooo lovely! I want to pin it all! :) Wishing for some fun projects to do while we wait for baby… this gives me some inspiration!

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  15. Rachel

    oh, it’s gorgeous-ness!
    20 countries? only 20 countries?! that seems like a pretty big number to me!! ;)
    creating a home?! YES! i love it! however, what i tend to think as creating a home is so often not what it really is. you know…i want to add beauty and create new and different things to ‘enhance’ what is our home, but in reality, creating a home is meeting the needs of those in it and sharing the days together and loving and being where we are….for me anyhow.
    lovely posting, as always!

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  16. Jerin

    Wow, I am in love with your home! Your decorating style is so much like mine, yet I feel like I have a long way to go when it comes to decorating….so it inspires me every time you post pictures of your house :)

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      1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

        Thanks, Jerin! I am inspired by many people as well! :) I got the fork and spoon on ebay, but Hobby Lobby sells several different styles too, and I saw that Target has a silver set right now too! I would trade mine in for those if they weren’t so expensive!! :)

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  17. lora

    so beautiful!! i love all the little vintage touches. and my favorite is the paper tree on the wall with the birdcages in front. so gorgeous!!

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  18. Aimee

    I despair! How do you make such a perfect looking home?! If I only had a bit of your talent…and how do you manage to squeeze in these projects with three littles?

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  19. Chels

    You inspire many people, Clarita!!
    {including myself…I read your blog and it makes me want to go decorate =)}
    To me….a home is a haven. A place where people (the family ultimately, but then also others) can come together and enjoy peace and beauty and EACH OTHER. A home is a place to get away from the busy culture around us and just relax together. A home is the place to put into practice that wonderfully old-fashioned and often forgotten/lost art of hospitality.
    Through hospitality, and having a home where people can relax and enjoy….the home is the perfect place to model to others, through hospitality, how having Christ at the center of the home can make a family blessed and peaceful and JOYFUL.
    And I think a home is a place for a mother to express her love for beauty and making something lovely for her family.
    I think you are doing all that and I bless you in it!

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  20. Twylene

    Love it all! Creating beauty to me means surrounding us with meaning…things that have sentimental value (I’m kind of a sentimental freak), things that point us to our Father, things that remind us of everything there is to be grateful for, things that others may look at and say, “Why’d she keep that?” :) It’s also important for me (not that I’m always good at this) to remember that my list of projects as long as my arm, a house that’s sparkling-ly clean, and my helpless feeling over the loss of perfection are mere trifles when compared to the precious gifts my family members are…they will remember and I want them to remember good things, not perfect things!

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  21. Jessica @ This Blessed Life

    Oh Clarita, I love it when you post! Your blog is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Your house is such eye-candy for me. :) And I just love hearing about your life with your kids – I see you with 3 and it gives me hope that someday I can thrive with the 2 I have. I still feel a little like I’m drowning over here!

    As far as your question – one book that you might find really interesting is “Scribbling in the Sand” by Michael Card. We were required to read it for one of my freshman-level music classes at college and it’s a great, thought-provoking read. He basically makes the argument that we create because inside everyone is a little creator that reflects our big Creator. I used to struggle with feeling guilty over buying paint or spending some money on craft supplies. Was it frivolous? Shouldn’t I be sending this extra money to missionaries, or something? But over time I realized how lavish God was with His creation. Think about the intricacies of flowers, the splendor of a sunset, or even how silly some animals like a hippopotamus are. God didn’t have to give us taste buds or color receptors in our eyes or the ability to smell. He could have made the world black and white, given us only the ability to smell dangerous objects, and our daily food could have been gruel. I mean, really – would we have known the difference? But He chose to lavish us with the exuberance of color, sights, and smells. Thinking about this changed my whole perspective and lessened the guilt that I felt. I feel better now about taking pride in my house and spending little bits of money here and there to make this place we live beautiful. (Of course, 95% of what I buy comes from yard sales and Goodwill, so I’m not making us go broke though my hobby, either.) Anyway, that ended up being a lot more long-winded than I meant! Sorry! :) Keep showing pictures!

    P.S. I noticed your name on my daughter’s page – thank you so much! You have a unique first name so it’s easy to notice you. ;) I’m assuming by your blog and your last name that you’re Mennonite (I hope it’s not wrong to assume that?) – if you knew my last name you’d probably smile because my husband’s father grew up in South Central PA and grew up old order/strict/not-sure-what-you-call-it Mennonite. So my last name is Mennonite, too – who knows, you might have a few friends with my last name! lol

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  22. Jennifer from Chesapeake, VA

    Every time I see your cottage I just L O V E it.

    My home isn’t perfect, it never will be. Something is ALWAYS messy. But making beautiful spaces in my home is restful for my soul. I feel like when there is order with some beauty thrown in I can actually THINK better (if that makes a lick of sense). I am convinced that is why I have such a neutral palette in my house beige, cream, with a little black and white thrown in. It is easy on my eyes. Restful to my spirit. Nothing is fussy, but it IS cozy. I am a huge bargain hunter and love to thrift shop. My husband and kids love their home too, and that makes me smile.

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  23. denise@victory rd

    your home is lovely. the colors and all the little details are darling. i saw your post over at “home made lovely” where you had a pic of a tan couch with a cream and floral pillow on it. can i ask where you found the floral pillow. the material is EXACTLY what i am looking for for a family room. thanks!

    Reply

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it. :) The floral fabric pillow I made, but I bought the fabric fairly recently at a fabric store. I don’t know if Joann Fabrics or some other big place would carry it, but it was on the very large round rolls of fabric and more of the upholstery fabric feel. I wish I could give you a brand name, sorry! :(

      Reply

  24. Cindy Fox

    Hey, feel like I’m playing catch up on your blog today! =) I loved this post, the things you’ve done to your place and your ideas/creativity that come so natural for you! *come help me!* =) where did you get the Family Rules print? I love it?!?

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    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      Cindy, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get back with you! You asked where I got the Family Rules canvas… It comes from J. C. Penney, and is 24 X 72″ I think – or somewhere right around there. I’ve seen similar ones at Hobby Lobby, or other stores like Bed Bath & Beyond or department stores. I love it too!

      Reply

  25. Lauren Lockhart

    I just found your blog and I must say I have never come across a blog on the web before that just oozed love, happiness, and love for God like your blog did the minute the link opened! What an inspiration! I’d love to know what color you painted your kitchen walls as i am about to do the same thing and the color was just so peaceful and clean that I just have to know what it is!! :-) Thank you for a beautiful blog!

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    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      Hi Lauren! Thank you so much for your sweet words! ♥ Praise Jesus. The wall color that we used has since been discontinued, but the closest match I found is ‘Harbor Fog’ by Benjamin Moore. I have loved the peaceful color in my kitchen and don’t regret the choice! Happy day!

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