Cuckoo Clock

I’ve always loved automaton, perpetual motion machines, music machines and anything with movements & gears. Cuckoo clocks are a particular favorite, & I picked this one up recently at a VERY good antique shop clearance sale! I had to do some repair & paint, but now it’s up & working :)

I often dream about a little cottage tucked in the woods, filled with all sorts of tools and everything that a woodworker / clock maker would need to create the most enchanting little creations. There’s lots of clocks ticking, and wood carvings in different stages of being finished. Then, as I see the hands hard at work in my minds eye, I move up to see their face… whoops it’s me 😉

Wouldn’t that just be the sweetest!

This little cuckoo clock is a 5 leaf, 1 day, musical clock made in the black forest of Germany. It was such a great deal, & needed very little work, so I couldn’t resist.

I’m not much for the bright colors, so as you can see here, we needed to do something about that.

Cuckoo Clock Repair

Whenever you move a cuckoo clock, be sure to put a wire through the links of the chains closest to the holes. This keeps them from falling off of the gears.

Cuckoo Clock Repair

I’m thankful that all of the parts were included with this one. That almost never happens in places like this.

Cuckoo Clock Repair

Don’t you just love these dancing couples! Not only are they beautifully dressed for a night out on the town, but they give us a show with the music every hour.

Musical Cuckoo Clock

You can see that the top left clip that attaches the carvings needs to be fixed.

Cuckoo Clock Dancers

Instead of re-staining the piece, I decided to use a watered down black paint. That way, a bit of the color can still shine through, while darkening everything quite a bit.

Then I carefully removed the ever so tiny nails from the face of the clock, and propped it up with some folded newspaper to keep the paint from getting on it. (wow – those are the tiniest nails I’ve ever seen!)

Cuckoo Clock Getting Painted

Here’s a better view of the chains & the wire protecting them from falling off of the gears.

Cuckoo Clock New Color

You can already see a huge difference in color!

Cuckoo Clock Getting Repairs

I’m holding the carvings up to see how the colors are coming, and to be sure that I got the clock face back on straight.

Cuckoo Clock Getting Put Back Together

It’s starting to really come together now!

Cuckoo Clock All Done

Now, it’s finally finished & ready to go! I love the dark color against the robin’s egg blue walls.

Now for the final test… removing the wire, pulling the chains, setting the time, and swinging the pendulum … and … it works!!!

Cuckoo Clock - 5 Leaf, musical, 1 day

I am so thrilled to have another clock in my little collection … I wonder what will be next 😉




Here’s how cuckoo clocks are made in the Black Forest in Germany

Jack In The Pulpit

{Surprise}

It’s amazing what surprises you’ll see when you’re looking for them!

Needing a little break from work, I decided to take a walk down one of our woodland paths. I always expect to find some little treasure, so I keep my eyes open for them. I was inspecting the progress of the lilies of the valley in front of an old stone wall, when right there in front of me, my eyes caught this gorgeous green & purple “Jack in the pulpit”! I’ve never seen them in our forest before, and I was definitely not expecting to find one so beautiful!

Jack In The Pulpit

Native Americans gathered the fleshy taproots, dried them to eliminate the poisonous qualities, & then used them as a vegetable. I’m not big on poison, so I think I’ll just stick to enjoying their beauty 😉

Jack In The Pulpit

I plan to keep my eyes open for the seed pods in the fall, so I can plant them & expect to see many more covering our woodland floor!

Take a few minutes for yourself today… you never know what surprises await!

Violets Are Blue

Violet Bouquet

After a long hard winter with snowbanks over our heads, it was such a delight to see the snow melt away, and masses of tiny violets begin to unfurl their leaves. I know from experience, that in what seems like a blink of an eye, the violets will be sending up their precious deep purple blossoms. And this year, like every other before it, the violets haven’t let me down!

To some, these sweet little plants can be considered an unwelcome guest. And although I do admit to having more than expected pop up in the cottage gardens, each spring I welcome them like the arrival of a long awaited friend.

Violets in Spring

With their heart shaped leaves, and sweet little faces, how can you not love these little gems?

Garden Violets

And just look at that gorgeous deep color!!

Deep purple violets

I think I must be a kindred spirit to the Victorians, as they too had a deep love for violets. They used them for perfume, ate them in salads, candied them & used them to adorn their cakes & pastries, pressed them for use in their crafts, & used them as an ingredient in many of their toiletries.

People called “violet-sellers” would have baskets filled with nosegays and tussie-mussies, and sell them from the street corners. And it wasn’t just the women buying them to pin to their dresses, but the men also had a love for violets & tucked them into their lapels & the brims of their hats.

Violet Tussie-Mussies

Violets could be seen on everything from china, jewelry, home decor, & ladies stationary.

Violet Bouquet

The Victorians also felt that different flowers had different meanings, and that they could be given as a “silent message” that actually spoke volumes to the recipient.

If you received a violet, the giver was giving you a message of affection.
The white violet meant deep affection, while the blue violet spoke of faithful love.

Violet Bouquet

I gathered several bouquets for our home, and here is one that I put in a vintage inkwell that belonged to my grandfather. He loved flowers, and I think he helped pass that love on to me. So here are some blue violets in honor of my love for him … until we meet again.

Violets in Vintage Inkwell

If you don’t have any sweet violets in your yard, I’m sure a friend would be willing to share a plant or 3 😉

Chalkboard Art And All Things New

Even with several feet of snow still on the ground, you can feel spring in the air!

After you live in a place for a number of years, you become familiar with the ebb & flow of the seasons. The way that one season pushes while the next season pulls is undeniable, even though temperatures may try to convince us of a different story all together.

Our resident pair of crows have begun breaking twigs in the tree tops to build their nests, as they do every year. The birds are not only growing in number, but beginning to break into a joint chorus of song. Those sneaky little skunks have been spotted wobbling around the grounds at night (as if we wouldn’t notice). Numerous owls have been spotted hunting for food, a new surprise for us all this year. The sun has been giving us more than our normal share of warming rays. And the river has finally broken through it’s top layer of snow & ice. Why, I can even see a blade or two of grass in the front yard near the cottage garden.

Winter comes every year, and every year spring follows winter ~ spring is on her way!

This has all made me want to bring some “newness” into our little nest. As I looked around our home and thought about what I needed to do, I decided to bring some fresh designs to our chalkboards, put away the deep mustards found in the yellow ware collection (for now), and replace it with the antique whites found in the new & growing ironware collection. We also have several sweet little animals that join us for spring.
 
Here is our $2 vintage cabinet find, filled with everything white & spring!
Vintage Cabinet Decorated For Spring
 

“It’s A New Season” ~ I love the little vintage chalkboard that I found in an auction box last year! The galvanized metal buckets with their sweet little porcelain tags were another amazing deal! As a matter of fact, everything on this side of the cabinet was either a gift (like the beautiful white pitcher from my friend Diane) or only cost $1 or less!
Vintage Cabinet Decorated For Spring
 

I recently decided to keep my eyes open for vintage ironstone pieces to use in my decor. This lovely little platter was .79 at a thrift store nearby. Black wax is a weakness of mine, as you can see with these little spring lambs wearing their rusty little bells 😉
Ironstone Mini Platter
 

One of the fun things about decorating “you own” nest is, you can use whatever makes you happy…and moss from our forest make me happy!
Ironstone Bowl
 

And who doesn’t love a stack of freshly pressed French linens!
Ironstone Dish and French Linens
 

This ironstone platter was my most recent find at a local thrift shop, and expensive it was at $4.99! I’m kidding of course! My husband can tell you…I spotted it, scooped it up, tucked it under my arm, and smiled like a kid in a candy shop! I thought is was the perfect backdrop for one of my grandfathers vintage Easter postcards from his collection.
Ironstone Platter and Vintage Easter Postcard
 

Galvanized buckets in Vintage Cabinet
 

Here’s another black wax sheep adorned with his smart looking rusty bell. He loves his spot atop this stack of wee little miniature books (another weakness).
Black Wax Sheep and Mini Books
 

Some more moss from our forest tucked into these little aged terracotta pots.
Candles in Mossy Terra Cotta Pots and Wire Basket
 

I love the antique white color & glass glitter sparkles of this sweet little bunny.
Prim Bunny and Black Wax Sheep
 

Depending on the season, I have several wrought iron little animals to use in our decor, including this little dove.
Iron Bird
 

Our magnetic chalkboard needed a spring facelift, so I decided to display a few nest & egg pictures that I kept from a favorite old calendar, and chalk the saying – You Make All Things New.
See the tutorial for creating this chalkboard here
Chalkboard Design - You make all things new
 

Don’t you love all of the different kinds of eggs!
Chalkboard Design Spring
 

I tried to get all fancy with the word “new” LOL!
Chalkboard Design for spring
 

This little black wax lamb just wasn’t happy until he got his favorite spot on the red chalkboard, because it matches his collar.
Black Wax Sheep
 

Thankfully, he didn’t mind the vintage Easter postcard sharing the space with him 😉
Black Wax Sheep on Chalkboard
 

Here’s the new spring design on the big red chalkboard, before lambsie took over. The bee in the laurel wreath is one of my favorite designs!
Chalkboard Design - Bee And Laurel Wreath
 

Winter comes every year, and every year spring follows winter. Spring is on her way, so why not celebrate by brightening up your space with some of the things you love!
 

Little Things – Take joy in the little things, and your joy becomes a big thing

When you can enjoy the little things in life, each day will be so full, that you can lay your head on your pillow knowing you’ve left no joy unturned.

We made It! Here in Upstate NY, we’ve just lived through the coldest February in history. Everyday I hear people complaining about the temperature, the snow, and numerous other thing. All I can think of is… their days must be terribly exhausting! It takes so much energy to continually find fault with the world, when they could be spending their days with a smile on their face, and a heart that is not only thankful, but satisfied with the many blessings in our lives.

Today, even though it was cold outside (we had -24 last week, and that was not windchill!)… the sun was shining & I had eyes to enjoy it. The birds were singing & I was blessed to be able to hear them. Our home was filled with family & laughter, which is one of the greatest joys of all… and so much was right with our world!

Even though I realize that true joy does not come from “things”, I wanted to help inspire you to enjoy the little details of your life. So, I decided to take you for a walk around our home & share some little details that bring a smile to my face.

If we’re not careful, we can spend so much time waiting & looking for the big things, that we miss out on all of the wonderful little details & joys in our day.

Beyond the windows on the back side of our home, we can watch the river as it flows through the forest. It has been so cold this year, that the top of the river has nearly frozen over. Add to that, the several feet of snow that we’ve gotten over the past few weeks, and we can now see what we’ve never seen before… the river totally covered over! But this has also given way to another sweet surprise, we can now see the footprints of all the animals that share our little forest!

River Footprints

Cold snowy weather also brings lots of different kinds of birds to the winter feeders! How precious is this little chickadee!

chickadee

And this gorgeous little Junco.

Junco

A shelf full of great books to read while inside.

Bookshelf

No matter how big or how small, there’s something so satisfying about having a terrarium! I like to imagine what it would be like to live inside…in a tiny little cottage :) This one is filled with miniature sinningias… one of my favorite plants!
terrarium

I have a shelf on my plant stand dedicated to my tiny orchids, and I just love the tiny little buds that they all have right now!
orchid buds

This wee little orchid, with wee little buds, in a wee little fenton glass vase… one of my favorite things.
orchid buds

And the tiny little orchid flowers <3 orchids

Don’t you love the deep blue colors of this piece of stained glass! My dear friend Diane made this piece, and we love the color it gives to the room, as the light spills through it!

stained glass

Soapstone chalk…one of my new favorite things. It was part of a gift given to me by my daughter Casey & her husband Zack for Christmas.
soapstone chalk

My husband made this set of shelves for our dining room, and every season I “shop” through my cabinets & find things to decorate with. In preparation for spring I decided on pear green as this season’s accent color, so my pottery dishes (another Christmas gift from my husband many years ago) are the perfect compliment.
Dining Room Shelves

This was the first piece of McCoy yellow ware that I ever purchased. I spotted it at one of my favorite little shops & fell in love with the “earthiness” of the clay. But because it was a WHOLE $15, I didn’t buy it the first time I saw it. About a week later, since I was still thinking about it, I went back scooped it up :)
McCoy Dining Room Shelves

The deep green glazing on the rim of this little McCoy piece is so beautiful. I even love the little chips, where the yellow ware clay peeks through!

McCoy Pottery

I found this sweet little vintage tin & vintage postcards at the same lovely little shop. Since it has beautiful green markings, I had to use it.
vintage tin

Olive Oil – there was something so beautiful & satisfying about this bottle of olive oil, that out of everything in the store, I used my gift card to buy it. I’m not sure if it is the beautiful shape of the bottle, the gorgeous color of the oil, the delicate wax seal, or the ornate metal label that caught my eye. I have a feeling it was all of the above! I just know I love the way it looks on my kitchen windowsill, with the light shining through the oil!
Olive Oil

This little stained glass pear was made by the same friend who made all of my other stained glass pieces. Thank you Diane, for providing so much beauty & enjoyment in our home! And… since it IS a pear, it had to be here.
Stained Glass Pear

This lovely handcrafted platter was another Christmas surprise from my husband. A few years ago, we saw it while wondering around a beautiful kitchen shop. Noticing how much I admired the hand painted woodland scene on it, he went back & bought it for me! He’s such a love!! The scene is filled with animals surrounding a castle in the deep forest. The folkloric design is from the 17th century, & is handcrafted in a small Portuguese pottery. I also love the black matte finish of the wrought iron display rack. Each time I walk by, I admire the hard work of a skilled artist from a little pottery far away, and the love of my husband & joy on his face when he was able to surprise me with something so beautiful.
Provence Platter

Painted furniture is one of my favorite things, and I love the details on this piece.
Painted Cabinet

This handcrafted pitcher was a piece that I won in my early days on the web. Helping others build their business was/is my business, and this was a special gift from those early days. Don’t you love those pops of green! And of course…there is an actual pear sitting on top of a vintage scale that I found while digging through a junk store. The little wooden butter bowl was a surprise discovery in the bottom of a $1 box at auction.
Painted Pottery

These lovely dried berries are some that I used in our Christmas decor, but displayed in this beautiful green glazed pot & enjoyed by these sweet little white birds…I had to let them stay a while longer! They also remind me of the special day my husband & I had while berry hunting together in the snow <3 Dried Berries

Here you can see the new curtains I made for the season. Years ago, I found a great discount fabric shop filled with beautiful bolts of fabric! At those ridiculously cheap prices, I had to pick up a few of my favorites, knowing I’d find a way to use them someday. Well, this pattern has finally had it’s someday as our new spring curtains! The gorgeous chalkboard was a favorite find at an auction last summer, and the picture is me pretending to be a chalk artist 😉 I do love it though, since the “bee in the wreath” graphic is one of my favorite things. The vintage linen with the green stripes was a $1 find last fall, and the table runner with the lovely shades of pear green was a new find.
Chalkboard Corner

And finally… this is a favorite corner in our dinning room. I love having the window to peek into the forest, the french baking rack filled with finds, the new mantel my husband & I made together, and most importantly … the table & chairs which means family & friends gather here <3 Dining Room Corner

Sometimes joy jumps at you with surprise, and sometimes you must go on a joy treasure hunt! While you’re spending these longer cooler days inside, they don’t have to be void of joy! And, it doesn’t have to come in big expensive boxes. Sometimes it can come in a surprise $1 from an auction, something you found on the curb & re-purposed, or even in something you’ve made yourself.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this walk around our home looking at a few of the “little things” that bring me joy each day, and may you take time to enjoy the little blessings in your home!
 

For The Love Of Autumn

 

Autumn Colors

As with spring, autumn brings with it a sort of nesting instinct. Kitchen gardens are giving up the last of their harvest, and cottage gardens the last of their blooms. The trees are now taking center stage with their coat of many colors, and pumpkins & mums are greeting you at every doorstep. Here and there are beautiful stacks of firewood, speaking of the cozy evenings by the fireplace yet to come, and the loving hard work that provided it.
 

Candles give off their spicy autumn scents, and birds are now showing up by the dozens at the feeders. Apple picking, pumpkin farms, cider, chili & corn bread, hay rides and fall festivals of every kind fill these sunny warm days, while the chill of evening is growing stronger. Squirrels & chipmunks scurry back and forth at a fevered pace not only collecting nuts & other foods for their winter pantry, but leaves and other bits for making their home more cozy place for their family during the colder season to come.
 
Where spring was a time of building & creating nests, autumn is a time for making the nest an even more cozy place for the family to spend their time together…kind of like snuggling into a cozy, protected, warm place… HOME.
 
I too feel the urge to bring bits of nature into our home. It think it reminds us to be thankful for the bounty of the season behind us, and while we’re snuggled up inside, it speaks life!
 
Here are a few of the beginnings of our Autumn decor <3   It has begun...   Here's a pile of Autumn goodness getting ready to be turned into our lovely fall decor. Autumn - pumpkins

 

I’m in love with all of the shades of white, yellow, and green that we’re seeing in the pumpkin patch this year!

Autumn - white pumpkins

 

My husband created this display area & mantel for me last year, and I love the light colored pumpkins mixed with a bittersweet crown & large bittersweet wreath. (bittersweet is one of my favorite things…can you tell? :)

Autumn Mantel

 

And here’s a close up of one of the little white pumpkins & her bittersweet crown on the mantel. I love the evening lighting in this room!

Autumn - white pumpkin and bittersweet crown

 

Even though it’s just begun, I’m excited about where it’s going :)