Cottage Heaven: Spring cleaning part of the Kitchen & New Bedding

Hello Cottage Heaven Friends

Well, it’s been a tough week getting myself ready for yet another exam on Friday. I don’t think my brain’s worked this hard in years! I was looking forward to relaxing in my back yard with a couple of glasses of wine, maybe puttering around getting the vegetable garden ready and sanding the little shelf thingy in the kitchen. But all of that was not to be. Despite the weather man’s promise of sunshine, it didn’t happen! More rain.

I woke up yesterday morning feeling a little under the weather – maybe another cold coming on – but I had to at least make a start on the kitchen as it was getting a little out of hand. So I cleaned up some of the cuboards, especially the pesky corner cupboard that had oodles of room, but not all that accesible as it’s in such an awkward position. I have thought about getting one of those lazy susan thingies, but I don’t want to install it as I don’t know if we’re going to be here that long. So I ended up putting all the stuff I didn’t use that much in there and then throwing all kinds of other stuff into it as well and ended up with this mess

This meant that to get to anything useful, not only did I have to crawl around on all fours, but I had to move all sorts of junk to get to it! So the first thing I did was take everything out of it.

I found all sorts of things I’d been looking for for a while now. That lovely blue vase, the mason jar, a white cannister I had been wondering about, and about 8 empty jars I’m planning to make candle holders out of – I wondered where they had all got to! My plan for the empty jars is to have Mr. Cottage Heaven make something like this

We have some chains left over from hanging pictures, so I don’t have to spend a thing!

But I digress … after reorginizing it all, I ended up with this

Much better.
I also found the baggie thing that I used to put used plastic grocery bags in. I had been using this arrangement
which is an eyesore and fell off the door handle every time I opened or closed the door! Not such a great idea after all. So I hung the plastic bag holder somewhere out of the way but still accessible

and … problem solved!
After that I did a quick wiping down of all the kitchen cupboard doors and the fridge door – all of which seemed to have some kind of brown liquid spilled down them. Honestly, I don’t know how they get like that. I’m pretty sure that I don’t throw coffee or gravy at them and I usually wipe the cupboard doors down every day or two. While I was doing that, I noticed that my new fancy schmancy dish dryer was looking a little, er, cloudy. One tends to overlook these kinds of things since the dishes that sit of them are supposed to be clean, but they do get grungy over time. So I washed that and the cutlery holder

and finally, the book holder that props up my recipes books when I’m cooking. 

I thought my eyesight was getting worse, but it turns out that it was the smudges on the the glass cover 🙂
After sweeping and washing the floor, I ran out of steam, so the other half of the kitchen will have to wait for another day and it was time for some shopping therapy anyway.
After spring cleaning my bedroom a few weeks ago, I decided that my bedding was looking a little, er, worn out, so off to the bedding store we went and bought new sheets and a comforter.

Now I’m sure you’re all thinking, as was I, that white is not exactly the most practical of colours for my bed, especially with 3 dogs in the house, but I fell in love with this and with the feel of it all and so threw caution to the wind and brought it all home. During the coming week, I will dress it up with some french country pillow cases and post them.
While we were shopping – I bought some lovely clothes for spring and a new pair of running shoes – we put a deposit down on a new mattress which we will pay for next weekend and have delivered. The mattress we have now is just horrible. It was given to us, almost new, by a dear friend. What we didn’t know (or even asked about) was that it was extra firm!! Now I’m sure that’s just perfect for a lot of people out there, but it never worked for us. I thought I would get used to it after a few months, but it’s been 3 years now and my poor old body still aches all over – and Mr. Cottage Heaven too. So, we finally capitulated and bought ourselves a mattress to suit our needs. I’m so looking forward to getting a good night’s sleep again where I don’t wake up aching all over. 
All that shopping made us extremely hungry and so we popped into the Spaghetti Factory for Pesto Chicken, salad, a limoncello martini and decaden chocolate torte!
I’m noticing all sorts of things starting to bud and bloom in my garden. This pretty little yellow tree
and some more bulbs
All three of my rose bushes have loads of buds on them, including the one that I ‘rescued’ in the fall and moved. I wasn’t sure if it would survive, but it has.
Have you been following along with my 100 Happy Days Challenge? Check out my FaceBook page for more about that.
Hopefully I’ll manage to sand and paint the little shelving unit next week and post it. I’ll probably be able to give the dining room buffet it’s face lift next weekend also, so watch this space.
Cheers for now.
Jane
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100 Happy Days!

Hi Friends, I just heard about the 100 Happy Days Challenge from Elsie at A Beautiful Mess. I must say I am intrigued. You can read about it here. It’s a challenge to document something that makes you happy every day for 100 days, and then share it.

I love the idea of this challenge. As mentioned in my last post (read about it here), I didn’t have such a great week last week with a series of little things going wrong. When that happens, I forget that life it still good. This challenge will remind me to count my blessings – even on the not-so-good days.

I wanted to invite you to join along with me on Facebook. I’m going to start on Monday.

Don’t forget to use the hashtag 🙂

Hope your Sunday is wonderful. We’re going downtown on the skytrain. It’s my first trip on the skytrain. I’ll tell you all about it next week.

Jane


Cottage Heaven: Spring Cleaning: Week 3 – Living Room Plus TV Stand Upgrade

Cottage Heaven: Angels in the Climatis

Well, hello again,

I was going to tackle my work room, which has somehow turned into a junk room, but I couldn’t face it, so I moved on to the living room instead. I know, I know, I’m procrastinating. But to tell you the truth, I’m just a teeny bit tired after last weekend’s marathon and I was really wanting to finish the TV stand upgrade – much more fun.

The living room didn’t need much work as it’s fairly clean anyway (see where I’m going here?). So I did a quick clean of the walls, windows, pictures and dusted everything else. After the long winter with all the doors and windows closed for so long, the place was a little musty (to say the least), so I made the same solution I made when I ‘refreshed’ the mattress – a mason jar full of baking soda and a few drops of essential oil. You can use any scent you wish – I have jasmine here, so that’s what I used. Give it a good shake and then sprinkle it all over the carpet and let it sit for about an hour.

 In the meantime, I took the slip covers off the couch and put them in the wash.
Then I vacuumed the carpet and put the slip covers back on the couch

After a little bit of tidying up, the living room smells fresh, the couch is clean (I love those Ikea slip covers) and I can move on to what I really wanted to to – upgrade the TV stand …

Here’s a reminder of what it used to look like before I painted it pale gray

Ugly, huh?
So, I painted it pale gray
Much better! But then I wanted more of a fresh, beach-cottage look and found the perfect colour from a sweater I bought recently

I didn’t want the entire TV stand to be that colour – just a hint of freshness, so I painted just the inside, leaving the rest pale gray. The result is this
I LOVE it! It brings a really fresh look to this room. I also reminds me that I desperately need a rug in this room. Actually, as with the dining-room, spring cleaning the living room has brought up a entire new to do list. Looks like it’s going to be a busy summer.

So much for my plans of also getting the dock station stand thingy sanded and painted. It rained most of the weekend, which means I couldn’t sand outside. So it’ll have to wait until next sunny day which, I hope will be before this weekend.

I hope you all have a grea week.

Talk to you soon.

Jane

Cottage Heaven: Spring! Gearing up for Planting Vegetables and a New Kettle

Happy Friday Cottage Heaveners! And it can’t come too soon for me. I’ve had a series of things go wrong this week – I know we’ve all had weeks like that. Nothing major, but I completely lost the plot yesterday morning which ruined my entire day. Yesterday was the day I had to present my business plan in class and it took everything I had to smile and speak in an even voice. But, I managed it – and then went back to being grumpy again :). Today was yet another exam which, fortunately, was pretty easy as my concentration level was not exactly the greatest.

But, enough of that! I consoled myself today with some shopping therapy in preparation for our vegetable garden this weekend. Hopefully the rain will hold off. I’ve been seeing little bulbs sprouting up all over the the place this past week and it really feels like Spring today – lots of sunshine and warmth. I even managed to walk from the car to the store without my coat on and the kitchen window is open letting in lots of lovely fresh air.

It looks like there are loads more still to bloom under the trees and in the front and side garden bed. We weren’t in this house at this time last year, so I’m interested to see what will come up over the next few weeks. I just love bulbs.

So, in preparation for the big puddles in our back yard and the clearing of our vegetable garden, I bought these babies

Aren’t they cute! I just love them!

And then, on my way to the check out (isn’t that always when it happens?), I saw this on sale (half price) and just had to have it.

Our other electric kettle died suddenly a couple of months ago after 15 years of loyal service. We had a back up that we used on the stove, but it’s not the same.

Looking a little sad, don’tcha think? So when I saw this one, I fell in love.

Well, that’s all for now. Tomorrow I’m going to buy the paint for the TV stand upgrade. It’s going to look beautiful! Also going to paint the kitchen docking station stand. So come back to on Monday or Tuesday and see how it all turned out.

Have a great weekend!

Jane

Spring Cleaning – Week 2, Room 2. The Dining Room



Hello again spring cleaning buddies,

You know, when you spend a lot of time in a room, you don’t really notice how messy things are getting and how dusty! You go about your daily life and before you know it, things have really gotten out of hand without your noticing a thing. Our dining-room is, in my opinion, the best room in the house. First of all, it’s really spacious compared to the rest of this little house. It has windows that look out onto the front yard and, on the other side, the back yard. And then, of course, there’s the back door which is easy access for me to let the dogs out without walking too far. It’s a lovely, sunny room and I love spending time in it. It’s also attached to the kitchen, which is handy. 

So when I decided to tackle this room, this is what I saw (to my horror)






Wires all over the place, electronic devices everywhere and general catch-all for … well …. everything.



And my poor tree looking very unhappy still in the original pot that I bought it in at Christmas. Have you noticed that this was my Christmas tree this year?




And what was supposed to be a hanging space for a couple of scarves and a hat or two, became laden with bags, coats and goodness knows what else is underneath all that!





I needed to do something – fast! 

The electronic devices and all their various chords have been a source of irritation for me since, oh, when we first moved here in July last year. I was hoping Mr. Cottage Heaven would come up with a solution, but I’m fast discovering that he doesn’t see mess the same way I do. In other words, he doesn’t see it at all and therefore doesn’t see a problem with this set up.





So I decided to make a plan of my own. I turned the French box thingy on the top of the book shelf, into a temporary docking station. Now don’t laugh, ladies (and the occasional gentleman), but I was desperate. So I came up with this




 thought it was pretty ingenious at such short notice. This is how I did it. I placed an old towel folded up in the box to provide some cushioning and height




and then I cut holes for our cell phones into a piece of cardboard I found in the recycling (for once I’m grateful that Mr. Cottage Heaven didn’t put the recycling out last week).


and then I put all our electronic devices into it



Not bad, huh? Next week I’ll pretty it up a bit, or maybe find a more permanent solution. I do love that box.

I also found a more suitable extension cord – one that was longer – to plug everything into.





Much better, don’tcha think?

So, feeling quite smug by this time, I took my poor, sad little tree and repotted it.

It looks pretty happy now.

After that, I tackled the cleaning.

Cobwebs – so many cobwebs.

Walls. I use a mop for these – much easier, in my opinion.


Roller blinds

Windows. Look at the dirt on that rag!

Chairs. I’m seeing a new to do list emerge from all this. These chairs definitely need re-painting

No idea where the red came from.





I’m planning on staining the seats the same colour as my table top and then painting the rest a darker green – or a green stain … I saw something like it in Pier 1 last week – love!

And the bookshelf/docking station needs a coat of lovely pale gray as does the table the now happy tree is on.

Lastly, cupboards and floors – I found Christmas decorations tucked in a corner of this broom closet





This is the final result of this half of the dining room




What a difference! I should print out this photo and stick it on my fridge to remind myself of what the dining room could look like 🙂
Since I’d been at it for two hours, I took a break and had a cup of tea

This lovely cup and saucer was given to me by my youngest son’s girlfriend! I just love her. 🙂

Next, the other half of the room. I’d been kinda dreading it because there’s much more to clean on this side. I moved the fridge and the buffet and cleaned the floor and walls behind and underneath them. Lots of dirt and dust back there and a couple of hair ties, bobby pins, a tube of glue and my kitty’s toy. He was quite happy to have it back.

Next, I took everything off the buffet and gave it a good wash




And then more walls, windows, roller blinds, floor. Put it all back together and ended up with this lovely sight






Finally, I cleaned up the unsightly coat situation


Now I think I’ll put my feet up and have a glass of wine!

See you next week for yet another room.

Cheers!

Jane






A Business Plan! (Finally), and Growing Vegetables

Happy Weekend, Cottage Heaven friends!

You know, I have known for years that having a business plan is the best tool for a successful business. It outlines your vision and gives you all the strategies you need to turn that vision into reality. But I didn’t put my plan onto paper because I have it all right here in my head, right? WRONG!! What’s in my head is the vision, not the plan.

So last week, I sat down and started a living, breathing business plan. And you know what? Instead of it being the boring chore I thought it would be, the more I put it all down on paper, the more excited I became. As I went through the strategies and steps, I could see where I am now and where I want to be and how to go about it. 

It prompts you to think about what you really want to do. And what I REALLY want to do is more of the upcycling/restoring side of things more than the hand painted linens (although that part of it is really fun). I just love the idea of taking something old and discarded and “rescuing” it and turning it into something both functional and beautiful. Like this, for instance






This was an old dresser we found abandoned on the side of the road a couple of years ago. With a bit of sanding and paint, we turned it into this


Sadly, it doesn’t fit into this little old house and so is languishing in my shed until I move house again and it can, once again, grace my living room.

And then I made a chalkboard out of the middle door



Which was actually my first sale on Etsy!


And then there was our dining-room table that we bought at a thrift store for $35 – (table and 5 chairs) from this

To this


So now I have a plan and am looking forward to spending many a happy hour scouring salvage yards, thrift stores and everything in between for supplies.

Now that Spring is close and the promise of summer just around the corner, Mr. Cottage Heaven and I have decided to grow our own vegetables this year. We have half an acre behind this old house, so what better than to have a vegetable patch filled with lovely vegetables and herbs that are not full of chemicals and pesticides?

















Next weekend, we plan to start work on this and over the next week or so, I will be buying some seeds to start indoors. We have a lovely sunny area in our dining room which will be perfect for this. Watch this space.

I got a request for a custom order for napkins with a pretty desert rose design my customer has on a plate set. Here’s the rough design I sent her. Very pretty indeed.


I hope you all have a good weekend. According to the weather man, it’s going to rain here all weekend and Mr. Cottage Heaven is working tomorrow, so I plan to continue with my Spring cleaning plan – the dining room. Go to the Cleaning page of this blog next week to see how that turned out.

Adios dear friends,

Jane

Spring Cleaning – Already!



Hello – the sun in shining today!!! And it’s warm – 14 degrees! I’ve been thinking about cleaning for a few weeks. It’s been a long winter and this little old house is beginning to smell and feel very musty to me with the doors and windows being closed for months on end. So I’m resolved to clean EVERYTHING, top to bottom and in between, and this weekend seemed like a good time to start. Spring is just two weeks away. Spring cleaning might take longer than two weeks, but the thought of a lovely, fresh and clean house is pretty appealing to me right now.

So, first things first – I needed a plan. I love plans, even if I don’t always stick to them. At first I thought “A Room a Day” but that’s just not going to work with my schedule. So maybe a room a week. Since there are only 6 rooms in my house, it sounds do-able to me.

After this initial post, I’m going to move it to it’s own page – called Cleaning. That way you can follow along with my progress and maybe do some spring cleaning of your own!

Last week I read a great post on a blog called Make it Do – http://www.make-it-do.com – about how to clean your mattress, so yesterday I started with the bedroom.

My first task was to give my three dogs a bath! They sneak up onto the bed when I’m not looking and smelly dogs do nothing for a fresh-smelling bedroom (or any other room for that matter). I’ll tell ya, I had 3 very unhappy dogs for while 🙂

Next, I stripped the bed of all bed linen, including the bed skirt and put it all in the wash.


First – I stripped the bed of all bed linen, including the bed skirt, and put it into the wash.







Next, I lifted the mattress off the box spring and vacuumed and dusted. I also wiped down the wall, floor and skirting board behind and underneath the bed. I was horrified to see so much dust underneath the bed since I try to sweep under there once a week!

Then I put the mattress back into place and made a concoction as per Make it Do’s instructions. You could just use straight baking soda, but I loved her idea of adding a few drops of essential oil to it. Make it Do used Lavender, but I have Jasmine here already, so I used that. So pour about 1 cup of baking soda into a mason jar (or any old jam jar you have laying about) and add 4 drops of essential oil to it. Put the lid on and shake up the jar. 

Using a kitchen strainer, sprinkle the baking soda mixture all over the mattress and let it sit. Leave it for an hour or more – I left it for the time it took to finishing washing all the bedding.



Using the hose end of your vacuum and an upholstery attachment, thoroughly vacuum the mattress.


Say goodbye to the dust mites and other nasty things – in my case, doggy fur and doggy, er, scents.The baking soda helps draw up any moisture and deep dirt. It also deodorzies and leaves the mattress smelling fresh and clean. I also love the faint scent of the Jasmine left by the essential oil.

Once that part was out of the way, I cleaned and dusted everything else – walls, book shelf, night stands, lamps, windows, doors, light switch, dresser and the inside of my closet. I managed to de-clutter a few things along the way and found my old teddy bear under the bed!! Poor thing – I wonder how long he’d been there for. I also found various socks,mis-matched, of course, a tennis ball and a pair of old jeans.


Now my bedroom looks so very clean and smells beautiful!


Next week the living room!

See ya then and hope you have a good week.

Jane