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.