Friday, August 27, 2010

A Moment Captured In Time

There we were viewing a beautiful waterfall like I had never seen before.

It was as if time stood still for that moment.

The train had stopped for a short minute so the passengers could take in the fantastic view. We sat on the narrow railroad tracks teetering over the beauty that seemed to take our breath away...we were speechless. Yes, even my four year old twin boys were speechless and still.

A true miracle!

Have you been able to enjoy the beauty of God's creation lately? Look around, breath it in and enjoy! Take in special times, words, and experiences that maybe only last for a second, a minute or even a day.
You just might be changed forever!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Decorating With Gray - The New Neutral

I have really been enjoying the new trend of decorating with gray. You might even want to consider gray in your own home. The color gray is popular today in paint, wallpaper, fabrics, and furniture, and very fashion forward. Gray has been moving up the ladder and pushing the standard tans and beiges out of the way!

Why not think about using this soothing and easy living color in your home? If you are worried about it being too cold. You can always pair it with a warm color, such as yellow or pink. You can also choose many different grays that can be warm in hue, even having a green or brown hue to the gray value. Let's take a look at some great rooms decorated with all kinds of different shades of gray.

Go have fun decorating with gray!
(first 6 photos courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens, and the last 2 photos courtesy of pottery barn)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Haystack Salad Recipe – A Great Crowd Pleaser!

This recipe is a family favorite in our house and great for company. You can vary the ingredients to personal taste, making it a good choice for company and kids!

I apologize that I don't have the actual picture of my own salad made up. In my quest for other haystack recipes I ran across a really great one, so I am using a picture and adding the link to another haystack salad right here. This one pictured below is actually the Hard Rock Chicken Haystack Salad. You can see how wonderful this stacked salad can look!

Here is the recipe for my Haystack Salad version. It is very different then the one above. It just goes to show how fun and varying this recipe can be. Have fun experimenting and trying different versions!

Frito Chips
Cooked rice (brown or white)
Chili beans heated
( not to be mistaken for chili, but canned beans in a chili sauce. Easily found in the bean section of the grocery store)
Grated cheddar cheese
Green Salad
(this can simply be shredded lettuce, or you can add other ingredients that would be in a salad Such as: tomato, carrot and green onion, olives, peppers, etc.)
Ranch or Blue Cheese Salad dressing

*Notice I didn’t put any exact amounts. You will have to gauge this according to how many people you are feeding.

Put out all above ingredients in order, buffet style, and let people layer the ingredients on their plate. It will make a tall haystack! The beauty of this recipe is that your family or dinner guests can make them the way they want.

If you want to do a Mexican version of this recipe. Add taco meat to the list and substitute the salad dressing for sour cream and salsa.

Or…put it all out and let people choose!

Friday, August 20, 2010

I'm Dreaming Of A White Kitchen!

Oh how I love a classic white farmhouse kitchen! I am in the midst of planning mine. I have been looking at cabinets, counter tops, farm sinks, and everything else under the sun. I can't wait to see how my new farmhouse kitchen comes together!

So what is so great about a white kitchen? It is a classic and without a doubt a perfect choice for my house. I am trying to find the perfect balance between updating my house to have all the modern conveniences and well laid out floor plans, and at the same time, make sure the vintage charm is maintained.

Here are some wonderful farm kitchens. Maybe you will start drooling like me!

Do any of you dream of a white kitchen? OR... maybe you already have a great farm style kitchen! If so, tell us what your favorite thing about your kitchen, or what you dream of having.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My confession...a desperate fabricaholic!

As many of you know I am in the midst of a home renovation project, which requires facing all the things that are filling my home! I keep trying to get rid of unnecessary CLUTTER!

However...ahem... I have become aware of a small or maybe....ummm... large problem? shhh. don't tell anyone let's keep it between you and me.

I seem to have an obsession with fabric, linens and the like. I have been faced with a somewhat large collection of items I am accumulating. First there is my weakness for cozy cottage bedding, quilts and sheets. Not to mention my love of retro inspired aprons, tea towels and hot pads in my kitchen. If that isn't enough....then there is my stack of vintage reproduction tablecloths I adore! I could go on, but this is getting embarrassing! Can you see me blushing? Needless to say I see no hope for me!

Here is my official confession:

Hi... "I am Denise...The Cottage Chick and I am a fabrictextileclothaholic.

The biggest problem is that I am like any other addict. I am gonna tell you I will stop, but as soon as the next wonderful quilt, or plushy pillow strikes my fancy, I will be right back at it. Oops! That probably was the wrong thing to say, huh?

I guess I am now supposed to look within myself and try to figure out the deeper reason lying hidden within me, as to why I have this "obsession". I can't seem to come up with anything other then, I LIKE IT? Oh wait, I LOVE IT! I love surrounding myself with things that inspire me and make me feel happy. I am rejuvenated by color, texture, feel and pattern. All of which is in fabrics!

Whew... so glad I got that off my chest!

I hope you still like me and can accept me as your cottage chick friend! Just keeping it honest you know. What about you? Do you have a pension for something that just seems to call your name?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My Cottage Renovation...An Ugly Duckling!

Wow- what a week it has been. We just started this renovation project a week ago, and have we ever made progress! So happy you have joined our family on this journey. It's going to be a fun ride for sure! Now mind you... none of it is "pretty" yet, but so exciting all the same. Its exciting because there is PROGRESS happening!

This week my hubby could see how happy I was to have work done on this old house o' mine. This is what I have dreamed of, you know? But never thought it would be me!

I have watched everyone else on HGTV get their remodels and huge renovations done. I've drooled over kitchens that I wish I could have. I have watched my fair share of Extreme Makeover shows. But now it is my turn! I feel I need to pinch myself to see if this is really happening. But low and behold it is!

Here are the highlights of what we accomplished in this first week of renovating...

Old asbestos siding removed from house and outbuildings

Drilled holes in side of house...making way for blown in insulation. (Looks like a giant birdhouse!) Going to have a toasty home in the winter. Yay!

BEFORE: Old siding off...check out that wood underneath- its an adventure seeing what is underneath this house!

Progress: New Siding and trim going up! What an improvement!

See ya soon for more of the step by step process of my cottage farmhouse renovation! Hang on... it will get more exciting as we go!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

House Colors...Trying To Decide

This week I am pondering on house colors for my 100 year old farmhouse. We are starting to put up new siding, so I will be faced with CHOICES! So many choices of paint colors. Since my house is old, I wonder if I should go with a classic color combination or choose a more modern color scheme?

This week on Facebook I had some differing opinions, but very useful all the same. I would love to get more feedback. What do you think? What color should my new/old house be?

Here are some inspiration photos I am contemplating...

Leave me comments and let me know what you think!

Friday, August 6, 2010

My Cottage Farmhouse

Renovations have officially begun this week on our 100 year old farmhouse! We will be documenting the progress as we go, right here on The Cottage Chick blog.

Look for progressive photos and videos as we take you on this ambitious project. We will remodel, rejuvenate and revive this old historical house into a cozy cottage home.

Here is the master plan for the farmhouse...

1. New paint, siding and trim
2. Chimney removed and old furnace replaced with a heat pump.
3. New Roof
4. New 3 car garage
5. Kitchen expansion giving an additional 6 feet of space.
6. New entryway
7. New dining room
8. New breezeway which will accommodate a mudroom and laundry room,connecting the kitchen and garage.
9. New family room addition, complete with a fireplace and covered porch off the back side of the house.
10. Above the family room will be a new master bedroom and bathroom.
11. New family bathroom upstairs
12. New well and septic (boring, but necessary)

Ambitious dreams I know, but we are excited about the progress and hope you enjoy seeing the renovations as well! Come join us on this exciting journey.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Decorating With Plates

I love decorating with plates! Plates are easy to find, inexpensive decor and can add color and interest to many areas through out your home. Great places to find plates is at garage sales, flea markets, and goodwill. I also love TJ Maxx for great deals on plates, especially if you want a matching set. When you go on the hunt for plates, try to search complimentary colors that will display well together. Look for interesting shapes and edges to the plates to make for a fun eclectic mix.

You can add plates on shelves and in plate racks. Or for fun, think outside the box and try adding plates in new ways. Let's look at some great ideas here:

Try adding small saucers around doorways and window casings to add to the architectural details of a room.

Why not go for the gusto and make a collage of plates all over the wall?

How about over a fireplace mantel? Here notice how the blue and white stands out against the white paneled wall.

This pink room is so sweet and shows a great example of plates becoming part of the window treatment and window casing.

Love the rectangle shaped plates to this display, and the graduated sizes. You could also do this same thing with trays.

Love this circular pattern that was used to create an interesting focal point to a room.

Another great fireplace mantel idea. I love the arched plate display here! The plates become part of the entire look here.

Maybe you would like to start decorating with plates? Its cheap and easy and adds character to any room!