Posted by Cobi on Monday January 14, 2013 at 07:00 AM
One of the privileges of being a magazine editor (as I was for many years) is that the odd time, you get to feature something of your own personal experience.
This home sits around the corner from my own and I have always admired it - as most people in our neighbourhood do.
A few winters ago we captured it on film for Gardening Life magazine.
The use of red against the winter snow is fantastic and looks great well beyond the holidays.
Our neighbours make the most of their little cottage in the city and really know how to create charm without fuss.
Even the big city blogs agree as it was featured in Habitually Chic this past December. Who says the suburbs aren’t chic?
Posted by Cobi on Monday April 23, 2012 at 07:00 AM
There’s something about screened-in porches.
They’re so relaxed.
And they’re the perfect place to enjoy ‘outdoor decorating’!
Like painting a ceiling blue.
And playing with all those great new indoor/outdoor fabrics.
You can see my own porch by clicking here to an older blog entry.
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to watch a movie in a screened-in porch on a summer night?
Screened-in porches have that ‘family-board-game-feeling’ like at the cottage.
Kids of all ages love the ‘camp’ feeling they evoke.
I guess it’s just that whole romantic notion of living life at a slower pace.
And hey, if it gets us to do that, we might even be able to say they’re good for our health!
Posted by Cobi on Monday August 30, 2010 at 06:59 AM
I have a little collection of fishing tackle boxes at our family cottage.
Here they are sitting on a children’s chair I have. I love the colours of them.
Particularly the beautiful greeny blue on the bottom one. It’s the colour of water.
But any of the greens are lovely too.
If not pretty, there’s something charming about the rough findings of a well worn tackle box.
I have to admit, I have yet to find a function for my boxes, but here are a few ideas I found…
And so as summer winds to a close, and life becomes more organized, maybe I’ll tackle one of these ideas at the cottage in the fall. Or maybe I’ll just go junk hunting for another hidden gem of a treasure box.
Posted by Cobi on Monday August 23, 2010 at 07:00 AM
I snapped this picture right before we were about to leave our cottage for home.
Such a simple thing but it made me happy to leave a little group of ready-made hurricanes for the next group to enjoy (we rent in the summer), without worries of anything precious. I filled any jars we had kicking around the kitchen with sand from our beach and a few finds of shells and rocks and voila - not original but charming none the less. Here are a few other inspirational pictures I found….
The jars don’t have to be special to make an impact. Give new life to regular canning jars you’ve tucked away for when you find time to make grandma’s raspberry jam.
Of course, the old blue jars are more special…
The other thing we did this holiday was buy some wire at the local hardware store and fashion hanging hurricanes to bring home as a gift to my sister-in-law. We thought it was kind of fun and personal that we collected the sand and little finds from our own beach where she has visited and enjoyed.
There’s something so charming about a homemade lantern…
Here’s a cute idea for parties ~ replace hook holders for solar lights with jar lanterns. A real flame to light the way seems so much more special.
Of course hanging lanterns on tree limbs, fences or porch beams always looks rustic and beautiful…
Just be sure to use lots to create a real impression…
One last thing - how cute is this - what a great party idea! I practically have enough of these in my basement to pull this look off with no more cost than the lemonade. This idea’s almost good enough to make you want to plan an end of summer party!
Posted by Cobi on Monday August 16, 2010 at 07:00 AM
I thought I would show you the painting project my kids did with me this summer holiday in PEI.
We did it in an hour or two not including the walk on the beach to collect pebbles for one player and scallop shells for the other. Of course anything local and plentiful would do.
I had a little box left over from something else and it worked perfectly to keep the loose pieces in (don’t forget you need extras to make Kings!). We screwed it down so it stays in place and no doubt it will turn silver like the table by the end of the summer.
When I got home from the cottage I went on google to search for other versions of our table but found very little ~ amazing! I had no idea we were so original .
Let me know if you’ve painted a checkerboard on anything and how it worked out. After we did this, I was thinking we could have painted the entire surface of the table in a checkerboard pattern and then participants could have set up a game on whichever squares they chose ~ one end of the table or the middle. it might even look a bit like a tablecloth. I know, I know…never satisfied.
Here’s the christening game on the table…’check’ it out…
Posted by Cobi on Monday August 09, 2010 at 07:00 AM
At our cottage in PEI, we have a clothesline. Here’s a shot of it in the morning…
And here’s a shot of it in the evening…
The wind is always blowing on that wee little island and the lawns are big and flat making for perfect ‘clothesline country’.
I have a book at the cottage that’s all about the clothesline through time…
There’s actually some interesting trivia.
Clotheslines and clothespins came along in the early 1800’s when the idea for using rope to hang clothes was borrowed by an inventive housewife from her seafaring husband. Maybe in PEI, who knows?
Shortly after came clothespins with the push kind coming first…
…and then the spring or clip kind was patented in 1832.
Now of course we have the choice between wood and plastic pins…I like them both…
It’s fun to imagine the changes in clotheslines - where they’ve been hung, and what’s been hung on them - over the past 200 years….
Farm denims and cotton bedding…
50’s aprons and teatowels…
Smirfs, Barney’s and Babybops…
Not to mention the places they’ve been hung…
All over the world…
City and country…
In different styles, like the umbrella…
And if you think you don’t have the posts for it, you can always be inventive like this creative sole who used a shepherd’s hook from the garden store.
Hanging clothes on the line just feels good.
Plain and simple.
Posted by Cobi on Monday July 19, 2010 at 07:00 AM
One of my favourite collections is my bits and pieces of milk glass. It’s particularly fun to use in the summer.
I use the vases for flowers and leaves from the garden - hosta leaves and hydrangea look great.
But also for votive candles - the white glass just glows (sorry I don’t have a shot at night).
I also have some pieces at our cottage in PEI, they’re perfect for holding a single Lupin or Daisy bloom.
But here’s a use I hadn’t thought of…
What I love about milk glass is that it’s so easily available. There’s always a few pieces at any thrift shop at any given time and for next to nothing - you can get it for $1.00 - $2.00 a piece, less at garage sales.
What that means is - it’s easy to amass a collection in no time.
Check out this one…
But you don’t have to have tons to make an impact:
Just a few pieces look great together.
Or even just one…
It’s also easy to grab a bunch of pieces if you’re throwing a party.
And with a bit of florist tape, it’s so easy (and affordable) to do your own arrangements.
Notice that all of these flowers are cut quite short so the look plump and full, not tall and spindly.
The white glass looks great at weddings.
But don’t just think flowers, check out how great this moss looks. This whole display could be done for under $5.00!
I love this shot…and I actually own 6 of these tumblers, but I don’t have a wire holder…hmmm….gotta run…
Posted by Cobi on Monday July 05, 2010 at 07:00 AM
I was just looking at this cute pocket board we have in our cottage, here in PEI.
It hangs over a bed and guests use it to keep the odd cd, ipod, novel, jewellery, a watch, sunscreen…it’s surprisingly handy.
And it got me thinking that everyone has a few old pairs of jeans in their closet, if not a stack!
And if they don’t, every thrift shop has denim just waiting to be bought for nothing.
If you’re at a cottage this summer, it might be a fun project to make something out of old bluejeans.
Here are some ideas….
If you’re up for a big project, you could try a quilt. The pockets are a fun addition:
Or here’s a small project that you could make up fast for stocking stuffers later in the year:
Here’s a fun idea, add a pocket to existing pillows you have at the cottage.
For a young friend, these purses are cute:
I’d like to make these cutlery/napkin holders - what a fun idea to take 10 or 12 to someone’s cottage for a hostess gift:
Or if that sounds too ambitious, how about two pot holders? The pockets are the perfect size for hands of course:
And here’ a summery look, you’ll be smashing serving lemonade in this:
Forever in Bluejeans Babe!
Posted by Cobi on Monday June 07, 2010 at 07:00 AM
I was in PEI recently, opening our summer cottage for the season, and it occurred to me how much I used coat hooks to decorate the walls.
Coat hooks, and versions of, are a practical substitute for art, particularly at a cottage or country home.
They fill the wall space nicely and can be both decorative and useful.
I snapped a few pictures of mine to show you.
This is a piece in our master bedroom…
It’s made of reclaimed wood and vintage door knobs. So smart.
Here’s another version of it I found on the internet - a great DIY project.
On another wall in the same room I just used hardware store peg boards to fill a blank space…
Pretty cheap wall art.
Downstairs we have a lavender coloured room and I found this old piece of cottage green wood someone had used for coat hooks, the colours look great together. It’s been hung a few times as you can see by the holes but it’s got a lot of character and holds pjs, bathing suits and t-shirts with ease…
And in another bedroom we hung a traditional accordion coat hook contraption, which does the job…
Behind the front door of our place is a cool project from a few years ago when we took a canoe paddle and screwed drawer pulls into it. I forgot to take a picture of it but you can see a bit of it here….
Here’s another great front door shot I found…such an affordable solution and I love the look…
And how cool is this random idea…
Here’s a more controlled, modern look…
At a second entryway in PEI, we hung this vintage French piece. It’s an amazing colour and really handy for catching caps, keys and the dinner bell…
And check out this magazine article for a fun cottage idea….
No matter what you do, be proud of your hang ups. We all have them!!
Posted by Cobi on Monday September 07, 2009 at 07:00 AM
And just like that, it’s over.
Would we all agree? The shortest summer on record.
The only upside to the end of summer is the calming feeling of ‘taking back the house’.
What I mean by that is little things like not only emptying the weekend bags but also giving them a shake to get rid of the bits of sand and actually putting them away. Of putting the coolers away too and filling the fridge at home with food that will be eaten and not just left to sour or transported back up to the cottage. Of moving the tennis rackets that sat at the front door all summer and the fan that sat in the upstairs bedroom. Of giving the kids the last freezies and getting the ice box back to just ice. Sad symbols of summer’s end, yes, but also comforting in a way that only ‘order’ can bring.
Speaking of kids, lets all enjoy a moment of silence in respect for the parents out there who are breathing a sigh of relief this week. You know who you are - you made this summer the “best ever” for the little ones you love, regardless of the expense or exhaustion that making those memories may have brought.
Yup, another summer down, but the quiet of September is always lovely in a melancholy kind of way. Low-in-the-sky afternoon sunshine that glows through the trees and the lonely sound of cicada’s while the kids are back to the first days of school. A welcome respite from the chaos - at least for a few days.
Posted by Cobi on Monday August 17, 2009 at 07:00 AM
I know not everyone has an old lobster trap kicking around waiting to be used for a project, but this worked out so well, I had to share it with you. And who knows, maybe some of my East Coast friends can use the idea?
On this years summer holiday at our cottage in PEI, Bob and I had to make a trip to the dump where there was a large pile of wood refuse, and being the island, a good part of it was made up of lobster traps and parts there of.
Surprisingly Bob and I both spied the same beautiful piece in particular that was just the simple arched frame, with no netting left on it and weathered to a perfect grey. My agreeable husband kindly climbed the pile and grabbed it for me - they’re heavier than you’d think! - and as we threw it in the van, we agreed we’d do something with it, although we weren’t sure what.
By the time we got home, I knew what. Bob screwed it to the side of our outdoor shower - it happened to fit the shower frame perfectly and we had a great towel rack up within 10 minutes (and no arguing!). It would also work vertically but the support wasn’t as good in our situation, it might be in another.
Anyway, it works like a charm and was easy peasy lemon squeezy to install - as easy as squeezin’ lemon on a lobster, by!
Oh, another little tip that even non-islanders can use: 2 years ago we painted the aluminum siding of our cottage gray to match the colour of the weathered decking, spindles and lattice around the place. It’s made the cottage look so much more cohesive (the odds and sods and bits that don’t line up blend in now) and we just use white trim on things that we do want to highlight like the screen doors. It’s a great idea if you have weathered wood on portions of your home or cottage that you don’t want to paint or stain (ie. maintain) - paint the other parts of the building to match!
After going through tons of grays and trying to match one to a broken spindle that I carried around in my purse, the best colour match was SICO “sketch” #6206-31 and the product my painter used for the aluminum siding is latex 811 Velvet. It goes on beautifully and stays on great (touch wood - or rather, aluminum ).