Garden Sheds Offer a Unique Focal Point in Your Cottage Garden


I wanted to share a recent letter from our email bag. Bill needed some help coming up with a few creative ideas for his new cottage garden project. He is trying to pull together a little cottage garden complete with raised beds and a Victorian style chicken coop, where an old above ground swimming pool used to be.

As I share with Bill, I hope a few of these ideas will also give you the creative boost that you need to get started on your own garden projects!

I enjoyed seeing the display of boxes. I have made a couple of Halloween boxes out of cigar boxes. They were appreciated. We have a church auction in October and I plan to make more boxes.

Help me out here….I have an 8′ x 10′ garden shed that has been used for chickens and is currently occupied by rabbits. I would like to re-paint it and decorate it in a Victorian style.

We recently removed an 18′ round above ground pool from the yard. I am making two 4′ x 8′ raised beds to put in this area, and I will also be using some wrought iron type fencing with it.

Any decorating ideas would be appreciated.


Dear Bill,

When you’re starting from scratch, you have so many wonderful options! You could do just about anything you can imagine to your little building!

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

You could…

  • Simply give it a pretty coat of paint

  • Paint a mural on the outside to make it look like a victorian house

  • Add a few wooden elements from an old Victorian house (can be found at salvage yards)

  • Put in a few stained glass windows – or paint the current windows with glass paint to look like stained glass windows… you can’t tell the difference from a short distance!

  • South side

    Inside view of window

    Closeup of right front window

  • Add a pretty front door, which you’ve painted a pretty color 😉

  • Add some wooden window shutters

  • Add a cupola on top

  • Put shingles, recycled slate, or tin on the roof

  • After you paint, add some white picket fencing around the outside of the building (you could nail it right to the sides)

  • Garden Shed with Hanging Tipsy Pots by snowbunny

  • Add a few window boxes & fill with pretty flowers & climbing vines such as morning glories

  • Add a few stones around the front to plant a “little cottage garden” inside

  • Lay down some flagstones for a cobblestone path

  • Make a little wattle fence to go around the Victorian cottage

  • If you don’t have any windows, hang up an empty window frame & treat it like a real window

  • Don’t let the fear of the “expected price tag” keep you from getting started with this wonderful project! Many times, you will be able to get these elements for free or very low cost if you think creatively!

    Here’s where to start:

    – Yard sales
    – Flea markets
    – Salvage yards
    – Free section of newspaper
    – Along the curb (many times you’ll see a free sign)
    – Beside a dumpster
    – Construction sites, they will usually let you have discarded items free!
    – Check with your local township to see what houses are scheduled to come down in your area, then go have a look & see if you can use anything in your project… ask for it 😉

    Here are some more beautiful pictures of Garden Sheds to give you even some more ideas!

    My Dream Garden Shed

    garden shed

    Garden Shed

    garden shed chapel

    Garden Shed

    Bonnies potting shed with window

    Here is a very tiny house (used as a light in the cottage garden), that you can quickly gather ideas from.
    Victorian Cottage

    And… if all else fails & you can’t decide what to do with your garden shed… try this 😉


    Build Your Own Vintage Style Storage Cubby

    My husband likes to take me on little dates. Sometimes we’ll go for a ride around the countryside, or maybe we’ll share a meal together. Many times, he’ll choose the Cracker Barrel for breakfast, both because we love the food, and because he knows how much I love to peek around in the gift shop. He’s such a sweetie 😉 I can honestly say, that each time I walk into the gift shop, my eyes are immediately drawn to the tables, cubbies, and other display pieces!

    I don’t know how many times I have walked into an antique shop or home decorating store, and fell more in love with the display pieces than the items that are actually for sale!

    While the sweet little sales lady at the Cracker Barrel shares the discounts of the day with me, I simply smile while thinking… but I want the display unit! I remember actually asking one little lady about a particular display unit, only to have her say… honey, that would probably cost you an arm and your leg! And she was right (mostly anyway 😉

    I recently came across some really cute display pieces in a well known catalog, and as my little sales lady predicted, the prices were meant for the wives of Kings (not that I don’t think of my sweetie as a King mind you 😉

    I don’t know what it is about me… maybe it’s the creative thought process that my mind goes through… or maybe it’s just the “I know we could make that” syndrome… but whatever the reason, my brain kicked in gear!

    I wanted to find a nice storage unit that could be used for multiple purposes such as the – kitchen, entry, hallway, or garden house. My hunt was a great success, because today I found this great project for a “chicken coop style” storage unit over at Sunset’s Fresh Dirt Blog.

    If you’re style of decorating is…

    – Country Farmhouse
    – Cozy Cottage
    – English Cottage
    – Shabby Chic
    – Primitive

    Well, I should have just said ANY style, you will love this project!

    Download The Project

    Here’s another version from Lowe’s

    As you can see from the picture above, Nina decided to leave the plain wood finish on her cubby, but I can see mine being painted with a nice thick coat of “chippy style” crackled paint!

    There are so many color combinations to choose from! How about… cream & black, mustard & red, taupe & light blue… see what happens when I start thinking!

    And you won’t believe how much stuff this type of unit can hold! I have a friend who keeps her’s right inside the front door. Then, when the daycare children come in, they put their shoes, hat, gloves, lunches, school papers, etc., in their own cubby!

    Think about all of the different things you could fill your new cubby with…

    – crafts
    – videos & CDs
    – books & magazines
    – Plants, pots, and garden tools
    – a pantry
    – all of your quilts & other linens
    – dishes & kitchen display
    – scrapbooking supplies

    I know you will enjoy this special piece!

    * Share your special storage pictures with us in the comment section!


    Turn Everyday Ordinary Boxes Into Beautiful Home Decor

    I think there is a quiet joy in finding an object that was once used as a workhorse in society, then allowing it rest in it’s later years as an object of beauty. It’s kind of like… turning it out to pasture for everyone to look at & admire.

    Boxes are one such object that immediately comes to mind.

    Once thought of as simple ordinary storage containers for feed or tools, they have now become objects of great decorating affection!

    In doing a bit of research, you will uncover ordinary nondescript boxes that were used for everyday items, all the way to very special boxes made to hold particular items such as; bibles, jewelry, cigars, chocolates, hats, cheese, wine, shoes, and matches.

    I thought we’d take a look at some of the creative ways that different people have given ordinary boxes new life in their homes, but first I’d like to share a few ideas with you for your own boxes.

    When you’re out at the summer sales, keep your eyes open for boxes. Don’t worry about what they look like right now, because I’m going to give you some ideas to turn yucky boxes into yummy ones 😉

    Here are a few ideas:

    – You could leave the box as is – just clean it up a little. Sometimes the vintage look is best untouched!

    – Perhaps a little color would be nice? You could give the box a coat of paint, a light brushing for a shabby look, or a nice crackled “cottagy” finish.

    – Maybe you’d rather pull some bits together in a collage? You can use anything that comes to mind with this technique! Here are some things that come to mind right away… wallpaper bits, hand crafted paper, newsprint, old love letters, pages from a vintage book, wrapping paper, pretty tissue paper or napkins, fabric, pictures, ephemera, scrapbook paper, or sheet music.

    ** If you would like to use music in your design, you are going to love me for sharing this resource! Here you’ll find several music books from the very early 1600s that you can print off for free! I think they would be marvelous printed on some vintage looking paper!
    This one is called “Pammelia” and it is from 1609
    Here is one called “Deuteromelia” from 1609
    The last one is from 1611 & it’s called “Melismata”

    At this site you will find thousands of free vintage pictures to use!
    Free Vintage Clip Art

    Lets peek at the ideas of some other friends to see what they have come up with.

    Kris has turned these ordinary cigar boxes into beautiful places to display even a most prized possession!

    blue and pink box covered with vintage paper

    vintage box top

    beautiful paper covered cigar box

    top of cigar box

    Look what Jean has done with these stacking boxes!

    I love the primitive look, so these boxes are “way” beautiful to me 😉 I love how she has made them look like they’ve come right out of an episode of “Little House on the Prairie”!

    vintage hat boxes

    brown primitive hat box

    stackable boxes - vintage colors

    Look at how Pam has used all different kinds of boxes as storage and as beautiful decor for her open studio shelves.

    decorated boxes

    Here, she took a pile of old wine boxes and turned them into beautiful boxes to use on display!

    wine boxes

    covered wine boxes

    Here’ a wonderful little tool box, that now has new life dancing with flowers!
    You’ll love poppin’s blog as well!

    vintage tool box with flowers

    Here’s a beautiful box that Natasha’s father made for her out of old pieces of wood covered in green chippy paint. She uses it to hold her favorite magazines.

    vintage box with chippy paint

    One of my favorite things to see in the world of boxes is… the re-purposing of vintage sewing machine drawers. I think about how the sewing machine probably worked so hard for it’s owner over the years, only to be thrown out or replaced by a newer version, when they didn’t have use for it anymore. How appropriate that we at least take the drawers and put them to work in new ways… now to girl finally feels useful again 😉 Silly… I know… but it sounds like a wonderful children’s book 😉

    Here Joy puts a beautiful drawer (library drawer) to work as kitchen storage… beautiful storage I might add:)

    vintage sewing machine drawer

    Kris has made her sewing drawer into a place to display her pink baby shoes!

    shabby chic pink box

    pink baby shoes

    This drawer is used to display china
    vintage china

    What a wonderful display idea from Cedar Junction! Isn’t this the cutest!
    vintage bunny display

    I love this wooden box that has been re-purposed as a perfect place to put the garden tools after a long day’s work.
    vintage tool box

    Don’t you love Abbie’s sweet cigar box turned collage supply center!
    vintage cigar box

    Moss is one of my favorite “bones” of the garden (along with trees, rocks, and ferns)… so this is a perfect project for me! I love how Sarah captured the beauty of something otherwise so very ordinary, but here in this vintage box… it’s a sight to behold!


    ** Be sure to tell me about your boxes in the comments below!

    Creatively Yours,

    Build Your Own Little Cottage From Recycled and Found Materials!

    I’ve always loved the thought of building a tiny little cottage from natural *mostly* free materials.

    You might not have realized it, but there are people everywhere, who are building their own little cottages from free supplies that they have gathered from their property such as; mud, straw, sticks, and stones! And, no matter how hard the big bad wolf blows, he won’t be able to blow these little cottages down… not by the hair of our chinny-chin-chin 😉

    With a little bit of know how and very little money… you could be in a little place of your own in a short amount of time!

    Something about having a little cozy place to bake some pies, hang pretty little curtains, and be surrounded with piles of cottage gardens… is the melody of my dreams!

    I think I hear music 😉

    How to Make Beautiful Beads From Recycled Newspaper

    paper mache beads

    I love finding ways to turn everyday common items, which would otherwise go into the garbage, into beautiful items that everyone can enjoy!

    So… when I came across a gal who was making beautiful beads from recycled newspaper, I had to share the idea with you!

    When I saw Helen’s beautiful beads, I asked her if she would mind sharing how she made them. After hearing from her, I realized that the methods used for these beads, were the exact same methods that I have used for several different projects including; costumes, handcrafted paper, and sculpted home decor items. I think what I love about her beads though… is the natural earthy look that they have. Please click on the pictures & visit Helen at her Flickr space!

    What better way to pamper yourself than to make something so beautiful that costs nearly NOTHING! It would also be a great way to make some beautiful gifts for less than pennies – while recycling those pesky piles of old newspapers 🙂

    Perhaps you could also earn some extra money by making a nice little business out of your beautiful new creations! I’m sorry… there I go again… always the business mind 😉

    paper beads

    Step #1 – Gather a small pile of newspapers from the recycling basket.

    Step #2 – Rip the paper into small pieces


    Step #3 – Put the pieces of newspaper in a large stock pot

    Step #4 – Pour enough boiling water over the paper to cover

    Step #5 – Allow to sit for an hour or so

    Step #6 – Stir the paper to help break it down a bit

    Step #7 – Drain as much water out of the paper as you can

    Step #8 – Add enough glue to the paper to help it hold together in a ball shape (any glue that is clear when dry – such as Elmer’s, or PVA)


    Step #9 – Roll the paper into round balls being sure to squeeze out as much moisture as you can while rolling (you can make any size you would like)

    Step #10 – Let them dry for a few days – rolling them every several hours – until they are completely dry

    Here’s a mix of paper & felt beads. I love the look of this mix!
    felt beads - and paper bead necklace

    Step #11 – Sand each bead down with a bit of sandpaper to remove rough edges

    Step #12 – Drill a hole in each bead that is big enough for the material that you want to string them with

    new bead necklace

    Step #13 – Paint them with left over craft paint

    Step #14 – Give them a coat of varnish

    beautiful beads made from recycled newspaper

    Think of all of the different variations that you could make with this technique! The colors & stringing material possibilities are endless! I think some pretty pink beads strung on black velvet ribbon will be my first pampering self indulgence 😉

    And… don’t stop at just making beads!

    How about…

    – Little hearts for a Valentine’s Day banner, or to grace the front of your handcrafted cards

    – Tiny beads to make earrings

    – Little snowmen with a coat of cream paint – drenched in chunky glass glitter

    – A nice chunky key chain made from beads & ribbon

    – Snowballs strung on a ripped piece of homespun fabric – to make a snowball tree garland

    Well, I think you will agree when I say that these little bits of recycled newspaper are some of the most beautiful bits I’ve ever seen!

    Projects Sent in by Creative Readers

    Today I wanted to share some of the wonderful creativity of our readers! I love getting letters & pictures of your projects, so if you have something to share… please take a minute & send it in!

    Ingrid sent in a note to let me know that a picture of my little “prim” sheep included in a post about decorating for Autumn inspired her to make her own “paper” version of the 3 sheep to hang on her front door.

    Here are our 3 little sheep, which were given to us by some friends.

    Crow Sheep Family
    Prim sheep Sheep Family

    Here’s Ingrid’s letter & a picture of her creative project.

    Hi Pearl,
    I love your site. I really like your design and decorating style, especially the idea of using what you have! Right on sister. I posted about you on my own blog today, because you inspired me. I had come across your sheep on another blog, they inspired me to make my own version, take a peek!
    Thank you for the great ideas and inspiration,

    3 little sheep

    Shelley stopped by and left me a message after I posted the article about making cinnamon & applesauce ornaments. You probably remember me saying that the ornaments could be used anytime of the year – especially for Valentine’s Day.

    Well, here’s Shelly’s note & a picture of her beautiful creations!


    Thank you for your wonderful blog. I don’t know how many times I looked at your Christmas decoration pictures. They are inspirational. I had been meaning to make the cinnamon applesauce ornaments before Christmas, but it never happened. My daughter (12) and I made heart ornaments today for Valentines Day. What fun! We had to remind her brothers several times not to eat them (we added a bit of Elmer’s glue to the recipe). The smell is wonderful. Every year she and I host a Valentine’s Day Tea for her Girl Scout friends, and we always have a little treasure bag for each girl to take. This year the cinnamon ornaments will be a lovely addition!

    I also wanted to tell you that I found a lovely Christmas quilt (I had been sighing over the one you put over your table) at an after Christmas sale for only $7. I could not believe my luck! It is so gorgeous – and worth the unplanned trip to the mall my teenage daughter begged for.

    Thanks again for your blog. It helped me through the long season with five kids.


    Here are the cinnamon & applesauce decorations that Shelley & her daughter made.
    Cinnamon Hearts