The Year In Review

Hello everyone,

As the year draws to a close, it’s interesting to see how much I’ve learned over the year. It’s been different, for sure.

I started Cottage Heaven in February and opened an Etsy store. Initially, it was going to be selling repurposed items like these – an old dresser door I turned into a chalkboard, which I actually sold

This lovely beach-themed clock made from a wooden fruit bowl I found in a second-hand store. This clock is now part of the decor in my work room

and this end table which I painted and added a French address to

But then I decided that these items were very expensive to ship and I wasn’t really set up for shipping large items like this.

So I started experimenting with lighter items. I love table linen and linens of all kinds, so I started fabric painting place mats like this sea horse

But I soon discovered that I love the French-country theme and painted this table set

It soon became a best-seller and I enjoyed this kind of painting so much, I extended it to a table runner

and made various tea towels

Just as I was starting to have fun, around the corner there were many changes looming. Restructuring in my company lost me my job. After the initial shock, I was actually quite excited at this opportunity to try and do fabric painting of linens full time, although I knew I would probably have to continue working as my, er, cash flow was not exactly wonderful. After a couple of interviews, I realized that, in order to get another good job, I would have to upgrade my skills. And so began and long and sometimes frustrating process, of applying for government funding for an expensive course in International Trade and Freight Forwarding. 

In between the many forms, research, employer and employee interviews in the industry and visits to my employment case worker, we decided to move house to an area where we’ve always wanted to live. We found a little 1945 cottage on a half acre and the nightmare of moving began

I loved this little old house, but it needed some tender loving care, to be sure, and the first order of business had to be the very overgrown and uncared for garden

But first things first – set up the garden furniture and have a nice cold drink

It took two weekends to clean it all up 

 And many wheelbarrows full

But underneath it all, we discovered that somebody had once loved this garden

And soon we had a never-ending supply of roses in vases around our house

Renovations began – slowly. I discovered lovely hardware painted over by somebody

and an ugly wallpaper border

Which was removed very quicky and turned into this

Not the most professional of jobs, but much more pleasing to the eye.

We upcycled and repurposed some stuff – an old TV stand got a coat of paint

Our dining-room table was sanded down and stained to create a farmhouse look

A new look for our bedroom furniture

A new couch

and doggy beds made out of the old futon mattress

Some reorganization and decluttering had to be done

Of course, all work and no play … so we managed some outings to make the most of our summer. A visit to Steveston fishing village for prawns and salmon

Granville Island for a birthday lunch and a visit to the Farmer’s Market for our supper

The Buddhist Temple

Wine tasing at Lulu Island

And, of course, so summer is complete without a trip to the beach with a girlfriend

Summer turned into fall and all the beautiful colours that go with it. Our glorious sunshine continued and the daisies and roses continued to bloom into November.

Soon, Thanksgiving was upon us and I painted some fall and Thanskgiving place mats

And had the family for a Thanksgiving feast of cornish hens and all the trimmings

All too soon, thoughts turned to Christmas and I got busy making Christmas things for my Etsy store

Place mats and napkins

Wine bottle gift bags and Christmas stockings

Glasses cases for stocking stuffers

a cushion cover with a British theme

and a new slip cover for my living-room chair

Winter came early and gave us this, the week before Christmas

But a few days later it all melted – a beautiful sunrise emerged

We decorated our living room. Our big tree was too big for our tiny living room, so I had to compromise with a smaller tree

With money being a little tight this year, I made some of the gifts

And before I knew it, Christmas Day arrived – another feast with the family

Silly hats are compulsory 🙂

I learned some things along the way. How to use my sewing machine without this happening

New ways to get my family to eat vegetables

And a whole bunch of things to make with blueberries as we discovered 3 bushes of them in our back yard

I learned to count my blessings – that there are no wrong turns, just unexpected paths 

To choose love – always

And to appreciate my beautiful surroundings, no matter what the season

Another thing to be grateful for – my government funding for my course was approved 4 days before Christmas. So it looks like I’m going to be a student again for the next 6 months. 

May the New Year bring many unexpected paths for you all and may all your tomorrows be rich and long.


Vibrant Colours and Completed Slip Cover

Hello again,

I’m trying to get better at blogging more regularly 🙂  

I came across this saying yesterday by Mark Nepo (love his books) “There are no wrong turns, only unexpected paths.” This got me thinking of all the so-called “wrong turns” I perceive I have made in my life, and thinking back, they really weren’t wrong at all. Just because I didn’t get the life I planned, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. The unexpected paths I have ended up journeying down, have been filled with incredible experiences. 

I’m furiously making stuff for Christmas gifts and am knitting a lacy scarf for my daughter. Today I will paint some mugs for her and her boyfriend.

Here’s how the slip cover I mentioned last week, turned out.

It still needs some padding, but it looks pretty good.

I loved what I did with the swallows last week, but thought they needed some colour, so I experimented with blue and yellow this morning and came up with this

I really like it. I will make up a place mat and napkin set tomorrow morning and see how it looks.

Until then, enjoy where your unexpected paths take you.