Fun Easter Projects and Traditions…..

Easter is soooo early this year!

I’m not quite ready to think about it….but I better get with it.

Here are some of the fun projects we enjoy doing at Easter….you can click on the title of each to be taken to the post with the how-to’s, etc.

Just this weekend I gave these to a lovely group of teen girls that spent the weekend with us…’s the how-to….

Vintage German Easter Egg Treats

basket of vintage easter eggs 2

This is our favorite way to dye eggs…..I just love the colors:

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

naturally dyed eggs on silver tray

Ever know the stories behind Easter Traditions?

I shared some in this post:

Easter Traditions


We had fun making these last year, too….

Vintage Sheet Music Eggs

Vintage Sheet Music Eggs main

Here’s the recipe for

Easter Story Cookies


Have you started looking for the

Pine Tree Crosses


I shared about our

Easter Egg Tree …… and how you can make your own….

easter egg tree

And we love the yearly tradition of doing a

Passion Tree

passion tree 2011

Well…those are some of our fun yearly traditions that we enjoy… you have any special Easter traditions? I’d love to hear about them!



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Movie Madness Bags ::: {Great Gift Idea}

For many years we have had a fun, little gift that we keep on hand. When our children were younger this was the ‘go-to’ birthday gift when they were invited to parties.

It makes a great teacher gift, neighbor gift, thank you gift, birthday gift, etc.  Well, you get it! It makes a great gift for just about anything.

What is this fun gift, you ask? I present to you……

The Movie Madness Bag!

Movie Madness Bag_Great Gift Idea

You will need:

a clear cellophane bag

some fun candy

a few pieces of loose candy..bubble gum, kisses, etc.

a microwave popcorn

a drink…canned, juice box, whatever

a gift card to rent a movie from your favorite rental spot

Something fun to tie it up…raffia, twist-tie, ribbon, rope

a fun Movie Madness tag

{You can download the free printable of the one we use here.}

Or, you can easily make your own.

Movie Madness Bag items

I usually keep about 8-10 of these made up and in our gift closet…ready to go when needed.  The total cost of this gift is around $7…..and they are so fun to receive. Who doesn’t like having everything they need for a movie night in one bag!?

It’s great for all ages.

Movie Madness Bag...great teacher present

We’ve given them to preschoolers and grandparents.  You can personalize them as you wish….a fun, pink, fluffy ribbon for a girl, some rope for a boy, etc., etc.

Movie Madness Bag_Great Gift Idea

 What are some fun gift ideas that you keep on hand?



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Paris Grey Etagere {China Cabinet}

I shared last week about the wonderful antique etagere that we found during our barn treasure hunt…..I thought I would share the finished project!

Here’s how we found her…inside the barn at this wonderful place…..

Found treasure - Vintage Etagere

You can check out some more before pictures here.

Painted with Paris Grey Chalk Paint…..

painted etagere

And filled with white dishes……

paris grey etagere main paris grey cabinet white dishes inside cabinet white dishes in etagere paris grey china cabinet

I did not use any wax on this piece, but I did slightly rough it up a bit.

We are loving it! It looks perfect in the dining room, and has opened up so much cabinet space in the kitchen when we took all the white dishes out of the cabinets.

Now…you know what I’m thinking.


You’ve got it.

I want to paint the walls.

I have some fun ideas……

This may or may not be a form of insanity.

I’ve always thought sanity was really overrated, anyway.

What are you up to?


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Vintage Etagere {China Cabinet}

A few weeks ago I shared how we were so very honored to be special Memory Keepers…you can read about it here.

If you follow me on Instagram you have been a part of seeing some of the wonderful treasures that we have been gifted with. {If you’d like to follow on instagram here’s my handle: cottageintheoaks}

We now have a huge storage room full of wonderful vintage and antique furniture and items that we have lots of fun ideas of what we’d like to do with……here’s  a look at the first one that we’ve tackled.

Here she is…when we found her.

Found treasure - Vintage Etagere

Forlorn. Standing on her head. Needing a bath and some TLC.

How do I know she was a she? It was the curvy legs.

She was missing her door…but that didn’t bother us a bit.

Found treasure - Vintage Etagere

Here she is in her new home….the dining room. Handsome has repaired her badly damaged, curvy leg…and built her two new shelves, and a new bottom, since her original ones were missing.

Vintage Etagere

We’ve scrubbed and cleaned her up….and was so happy to find out she has vintage, wavy glass! We’ve been letting her settle into her new surroundings for a few days now….and this week she will be getting a coat of Paris Grey. She’s excited.

Vintage Etagere

And then she will be the keeper of all of our white dishes and serve ware.

Vintage Etagere

Can’t wait to show you the finished product! {Actually, I can’t wait to see it myself.} 😉

What are you up to this week?



Cottage Office…….

One of the things I love about our office is the wonderful light that floods in all day. It has the perfect location in our cottage to catch all the good light.

This room is quite the workhorse. We run our businesses in here, do schoolwork, and I hold staff meetings with my staff. {Hence, the sofa! We like comfy spots to sit!}

Here’s a few shots of a couple of areas of this room…and a list of all the projects that have been shared from this hub in our home. =)

Handsome built the two desks to fit together in an ‘L’…but if we ever wanted to use them separately we could. I love them because they are very simple and don’t burden the room down with heavy furniture. They were built with high-grade plywood and 2×4’s. We had a piece of glass cut for the top of each.

Home Office - Cottage in the Oaks Home Office - Cottage in the Oaks

When you have a home office you really have to be creative to not allow your home to turn into a business.  We use fun, vintage storage to hide all kinds of things.  They are handy when we need them; but when it’s time to ‘close shop’ they are not staring us in the face.

We also use this room as a second sitting area when there are lots of people over.  So we don’t want it to ‘feel’ like an office.

On these shelves we use vintage cigar boxes to organize all kinds of things…cables, small notes/papers, etc. The little miniature drawers hold paper clips, jump drives, etc.

Home Office - Cottage in the Oaks

Each week I transfer what is on the digital calendar/planner onto a desk pad so I can scribble things out and have a quick overall look at the week. {The link to print your own is at the end of this post.} I love to scribble things out when they are done. I am not a checkmark girl. I want to totally scratch it out! {If you are a therapist…please, don’t tell me what that means. It might scare me.}

Home Office - Cottage in the Oaks

I loved this picture that No. 1 Son drew of his little sister when he was about 6….I keep it framed on the desk with some sweet notes the kids left for me. Daily blessings and encouragement…..we all need it! =)

Home Office - Cottage in the Oaks Home Office - Cottage in the Oaks

Filing cabinets are sometimes a necessity….but not always very pretty to look at. These are simple metal filing cabinets that we painted to be a bit more fun.

We also removed those hideous louvered closet doors and put up a linen curtain instead.

Home Office - Cottage in the Oaks

This lamp was my grandmother’s.  She made it out of seashells that I found for her as I was growing up.  I added a simple shade with some fun pom poms glued around the edges.

Home Office - Cottage in the Oaks

A friend was cleaning out this Ikea chest with shelves several years ago….it was bright, fire-engine red. I painted it a soft blue and it holds a multitude of stuff! Whew!

Handsome found the vintage skis a few years ago and brought them home… he knew I would love them.  BUT, what he didn’t know was that they were the same kind of skis my mother used to competitively ski with! She cried when she saw them. These skis have actually had that effect on many people. They were a special find.

You can find the sketches of Jesus here. {Everyone loves those!}

Home Office - Cottage in the Oaks

We love to travel…so we all love maps.  I was thrilled when I found this vintage-looking map that was actually up-to-date… we can use it for homeschool.

The lampshades are edged in Cape May diamonds and pebbles that we have found on our trips to one of our favorite beaches, Cape May. =) The how-to is listed at the end of the post.

The circle frame how-to is at the end of the post, as well. This is how we cleaned out over 75 frames! It was a fun project.

Home Office - Cottage in the Oaks

I inherited a lovely solid cedar chest from my great aunt years ago.  We painted and distressed the outside to use as a coffee table in the office. It, too, provides a tremendous amount of storage.

Home Office - Cottage in the Oaks

We use this vintage beach pail to put our used ink cartridges in…until we can turn them back into the office store.

Home Office - Cottage in the Oaks

And you always need rolls of paper at the ready!

Home Office - Cottage in the Oaks

Here are the projects that I’ve shared over the past couple of years from this room:

Repurposed Frappuccino Bottles

Vintage French Inspired Desk Pad {Free Printable}

File Cabinet Makeover

Curtains for Doors

Circle Frame

Hidden Storage

Painted Cedar Chest

Cape May Pebble Lampshades

Hope your week is off to a super start!


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Hidden Storage…….

As a family of 5….we’ve got a lot of stuff!  We clean out pretty regularly, but with this many people under one roof it takes a lot of organization to tame the clutter that can accumulate.  Also, we homeschool….so, there are lots of extra things that we need that most families don’t have to find a place for…..

Here are some of our creative ways that we have organized things we need, but then cover it up so we don’t have to look at it all the time…..even when things are organized they can sometimes appear like unnecessary clutter.

We have several VHS movies, etc. that cannot be purchased on DVD…and a few overflow DVD’s that we organized on an over-the-door wire hanger. T.A.C.K.Y. I can’t stand those things! BUT, it worked perfectly for what we needed.

However, it was very cluttery-looking even when the door was closed, because you could see them all hanging back there.

I did a few *wink* *winks* and Handsome put a 1×6 board on the door to hide the mess.

{Isn’t he nice?}

Hidden Door Storage Hidden Door Storage

In our entryway we have shelves that house many books…..we are bookworms! And even though they were nicely lined up on the shelves….it created a busy-ness look that I didn’t want. So, I cut two linen panels out of some material I already had and thumbtacked them to the top of the shelves. I then used hemp rope to roll them up part of the way and hold them where I wanted them.

Entryway Hidden Storage Covered Shelves

**Pre-warning** Excuse the wrinkles. They happen. It’s the lived-in look.

Here is one of our homeschool shelves that stays packed with materials!  I covered them with a fitted linen cover.

Homeschool Storage Homeschool Storage

And here is another set of shelves that store LOTS of miscellaneous things….simply covered with curtains.

You can check out all the other ways we’ve used curtains as doors and covers here.

Curtain-covered shelves Covered shelf storage

How do you hide or contain clutter…even if it is organized?



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Valentine Mantel……..

We don’t decorate a whole lot for Valentine’s Day…but we do have a bit of fun in little places around our home.  I was in the mood to change the mantel a bit…and it was a tad too early to make it ‘springy’….so, I did a little impromptu Valentine Mantel.

valentine mantel

I gathered up all of the grainsack and red French ticking sachets that I could find around the house and put them in a little wire basket lined with linen. They are all filled with lavender and smell soooooo goooooddddd!

grainsack hearts

With three violinists in our home we have lots of violin sculptures….I thought they were perfect for the Valentine Mantel……..

cupid playing violin austin sculpture of violin and cello

Then I just filled in the rest of the space with all the white pitchers that I could find in the cabinets and on the shelves! I think I will fill them with roses for next week.

valentine mantel 2013

For the garland I used trim and ribbon in pinks, reds, and whites.

Valentine's Day MantelIt was fun to shop our cottage and pull this together. I love doing that. Didn’t spend a dime!

Do you do any Valentine decorating……or do you just sit back and enjoy the chocolate?

Hearts to you~


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Displaying Special Items {Cloches}

We love to display special photos, mementos, gifts, etc. in our home. So, we are always looking for unique ways to keep out things that are special to us….where we can see them daily.

Recently when No. 1 Son returned from China he had brought me back some really special mementos from his trip. I wanted to keep them out….so here is what we did with them.

displaying special items

I thought it would be neat to go with a ‘specimen-type’ display….since that’s kind of what they were. I found a small cork base at the art store…and used a tall, skinny glass cloche that I already had. So everything wouldn’t be flat and on the same level I used a cork to elevate one of the items. I then printed out teeny numbers to glue in front of each special item….to ‘label’ them; and then I created a tag to hang on the outside of the cloche with the explanation of what each item was….corresponding with its number.

displaying special items under cloches

It’s been fun to keep these special items out when others take a look….they know what they are! The items were already special…but by displaying in this way it highlighted them and made them a part of our home decor. =)

Do you have some neat ways that you display special items in your home?

Happy Monday~


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Vintage Kitchen Chandelier…..

OK….I can already tell. This is going to be the ‘Year of Lighting’ here at Oak Cottage.

A couple of weeks ago we were out of town and found this gorgeous, vintage chandelier……had to have it!

We no longer have an ugly fluorescent square light in our kitchen…..woohoo! I detested that light…but just hadn’t found the right one to take its place. {Well, actually, I HAD found some…but since they cost more than the whole cottage, I kinda figured I better keep looking and keep my mind open.}

And, then, in walked lit up this lovely! {I’m going to be painting the black cord to match the chain so it doesn’t stick out so badly.}

kitchen chandelier

Excuse the mess…..we were in the process of a few projects……

cottage kitchen chandelier

One of the biggies on our list is to get rid of the popcorn ceiling. Why in the world do they put those things in???  Ugh.

vintage chandelier chandelier in kitchen

Lighting can make or break a room. Have you ever walked around your home to see if you might want to change out lights to change the feel of the whole room? That’s what we’ve been doing around here lately. The consensus? Yep…we want to change all of ’em!

Happy Tuesday~


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The Honor of Being a Memory Keeper……

We had a great weekend! It just went by too fast, as usual.

We had the great honor of being invited to walk through a friend’s family farmhouse and outbuildings….ones that will be demolished in the next several weeks.  I think it has been almost 20 years since they have been lived in…..but such treasures to behold. We loved hearing the stories about each building and the people and the rich lives that were lived there. I also remember Christmas caroling at this farm as a little girl.

To make it even more special….we were invited to take anything that we would like. What an honor! This included the actual wood on the walls and outside……just incredible!

Each building was full of such wonderful, valuable treasures….ones that held great stories and had been overseers of a family living life….the fun times, the hard times, the seasons, the little ones, the grown ones, the generations. The in-laws, the out-laws……. all sitting down together and having ham from the smoke house and fresh eggs from the chickens.

The huge horse barn…still with hay in the hay loft and troughs, the smoke house, the large chicken house and run, the pack house/barn, the farmhouse, and the hallowed home of a special worker that lived on the premises for most of his life.  Such a special, special place.

We didn’t take it lightly that we were offered such a treasure….to not only get to hear about the wonderful memories created here; but to actually get to be a small bit of the ongoing story. To be able to gather treasures and continue to use them …….. when others share their special family items with you, it is an honor…because you get to be a memory keeper. It’s like taking a small flame from a large fire and using it to start a new one…..

Even when the original fire goes out….it lives on in the new fire.

I wish I could share every picture that I took this past weekend…but there are 150! I’d shut down the internet! So, here is a little peek. I won’t share pics of all the treasures that are now with us…..but I will be showing all the fun things that we do with them over the year.

Isn’t this wallpaper lovely?

vintage wallpaper in farmhouse

The wonderful hallway telephone alcove is now with us…..and we have some fun ideas about where we are going to put it in our cottage. {And we may or may not even have a vintage telephone that still works that might be put in it….and used. =)}

vintage phone alcove

Another beautiful wallpaper…….

vintage wallpaper

The floors, ceilings, and walls are covered in gorgeous wood….much of it will be reclaimed and used as a wood floor…..won’t it be gorgeous. Tongue and groove..hardly any nails in any of the boards.

reclaimed wood

Be still my heart!  This is the outside wood siding on all of the outbuildings….isn’t it gorgeous?  We brought a load home…..Handsome is giddy.

reclaimed barn wood

This is the ceiling in the horse barn….you should see the beams! They just don’t make wood and beams like this anymore. WHY!? Why has our wood gone wimpy?

vintage barn wood

The large barn/pack house….. I wish I could just scoop it up on a trailer and move it to our yard. Seriously. For real. I would do it. I considered testing the whole “Up” strategy… many balloons do you think it would take? I’m perfectly willing to give it a try.

farmhouse barn chicken house

There were bird nests everywhere! Some even on top of the curtains in the living room. As we walked through the house and buildings…there were no rodents or bugs, not even spiders! {Here is the South…that is almost unheard of!} I think it very special that there were only evidence of birds living there….birds stand for life.  Even though the family wasn’t living in this farmhouse anymore…the birdsong filled it with life and vitality as it aged.

If this farmhouse was going out…it was going out in style, holding on to the joy. No amount of weather, time, or vandalism can take that away.

bird nests

Here are a few treasures we gathered…..the skeleton key has already found a home on top of the piano…..

skeleton key

In one of the upstairs bedrooms we found all sorts of fun ephemera…..even an old motel room key. {How cool that we knew the original owners of the motel a waaaaayyyyy long time ago!} Vintage coupons, trip logs….and when I saw this banner, “Miss Danceable”….well, you know I HAD to have it! Printed the year before I was born. Prophetic, don’t you think? *wink* *wink*

My favorite in this picture is what appears to be a little ball of thread….but it is actually a small, tatted doily…..I will be reshaping it soon. Tatting is a lost art and is very hard to find.

found treasures

The dining room chandelier will now proudly hang in one of our rooms….we are deciding which one. I feel some Paris Grey chalk paint coming on…….

vintage chandelier

I love the vintage wiring… is cloth-covered. I am all about vintage light fixtures….but always have the wiring checked….and REPLACED before actually installing and using a vintage light fixture. When Handsome takes the wiring out….I want to do something fun with that, too. He will be putting all new wiring in, so it will be able to be used safely. NEVER USE VINTAGE or OUTDATED WIRING!!!! 

vintage wiring

Here is some more fun vintage coupons….I plan to use these in upcoming pieces of artwork. So many neat things you can do with them……

vintage coupons

Beautiful vintage books! You know how special I think these are! Ideas for these have flooded my brain……..and if it wasn’t for some sweet tea….might have shut me down!

vintage books

And this cute, little vintage basket is now our fatwood holder…….

vintage fatwood basket vintage fatwood basket on porch

I’ll stop there for now……and show more later. What a special weekend…….

Here’s to the newly ignited fire….

Yours Truly~

The Memory Keeper