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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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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Farmhouse Sink {Finally!}

We have searched for years for a wonderful, vintage farmhouse sink to replace our stainless steel one. Of course, before we were searching for one….we would find them everywhere! ha!  You can quite often get a wonderful old farmhouse sink for around $50-$100 and then have it refurbished for another $50-$100.

But, alas, it was not meant to be.

Then, this past fall, we were in Ikea and discovered that they had exactly what we wanted….and, true to Ikea, it was an incredible price! So, after searching forever…we finally have our great farmhouse sink in place.  And, let me tell ya….it will hide two weeks of dishes!

We chose a Moen faucet …… I had seen this particular faucet in Atlanta when I was there last summer…and I loved it.  I’ll put the links at the bottom of the post for the faucet and the sink; as well as, the quick, YouTube video tutorial that we used to install it.

Here it is going in……

farmhouse sink

And here is the finished product…….

farmhouse sink farmhouse sink

We are loving it! Do you have something that you want to add to your home that you have been searching for forever?

Here’s the links:

Moen Faucet

Ikea White Farmhouse Sink

Quick tutorial of how to put it in!

Happy Tuesday, Lovely Ones~


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Ready Made Curtains {Using Curtains as Doors}

When trying to organize and make the best use of the space we’ve been given in each room we have found a wonderful way to add character and charm AND hide stuff!

Quite often we use curtains as doors…. door curtains, if you will.

We’ve used curtains as closet doors in our office… you can read about that here. {Made from printed linen}

ready made curtains

We’ve used curtains under kitchen cabinets and under our new farmhouse sink…..{Made from a painters drop cloth} You can view our cottage kitchen here.

ready made curtains ready made curtains

We used them on our sideboard in the dining room to hide the massive amount of storage that was created and to make accessing the stuff under there easy. {It also softens and adds warmth to the room.} {Made from linen} You can view the tutorial on how to make this sideboard here.

ready made curtainsWe also use curtains on our bookcases in the living room. {Made from French ticking} Our living room redo posts can be viewed here…..and it is ongoing!

ready made curtains

The living room is the hardest room in our cottage to take pictures in….weird lighting. I am determined to figure it out and master it one day. If you hang around long enough you might get to see it! {I just hope I still have my eyesight and all my real teeth when it happens!}

I love what it adds to the rooms……so much prettier than a door. Also, it’s much less expensive than adding doors to cabinets and bookcases, etc.

You can use ready made curtains purchased at a store, or you can easily make your own. I made the ones in our home and it was such a quick fix. For some of them it did not even involve sewing. For the ones that it did involve sewing….it was just a quick hem up the sides.

My favorite rods are the cafe curtain rods or the spring loaded curtain rods. Sometimes I slide the curtain right onto the rod…. using a pocket in the top of the material; but most of the times I use cafe rod clips. The clips make the curtains open and close so easily.

Have you ever used curtains in places besides windows?



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Motherism Bathroom Signs……

When the autumn Pottery Barn catalog arrived I fell in love with some cute signs that were in there. They were fun sayings on vintage paper and then framed.

I was about to purchase them for our new master bath…they were just what I was looking for to fill the big space left on the wall.

Then it hit me…how easy would they be to create myself!??

So, I uploaded a scan of some vintage paper and selected the size that I wanted the prints to be, added my phrases and fun wording, sent it off to my favorite printer, and Voila! For a mere $20 total I had my $100 Pottery Barn knock-offs hanging on the wall.

Can I get a woo to go with the hoo!??

motherism signs motherism signs in bathroom

If you would like to create something similar…you can use any free photo editing software, such as Picmonkey, Gimp, etc…you don’t have to have Photoshop. It took me about 10 minutes.

They are perfect in the big, empty spot on the wall.

I hope you have a super weekend!

Stay warm~


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Vintage French Ballet Locker… {Master Bedroom Makeover Inspiration}

This year we have two rooms that we would like to start {and hopefully finish!} redoing.

In our family when you turn 13 you get to redo your room…and our Little is turning 13 this year. She is so excited. She has been creating design notebooks and mood boards for the past 2 years! ha! {I don’t know who she gets that from???!!!} She has been creating and planning, and picking out. It is an understatement to say that she is more than ready for her room redo.

The other room we hope to makeover is our master bedroom. We want to declutter, add a custom headboard, we have some neat ideas for the walls…….and an incredible piece of furniture that we just started designing/working on this past weekend!

Our inspiration was this wonderful vintage French ballet locker…

Vintage French Ballet Lockers


Isn’t it great? Here’s another one…..

Vintage French Ballet Lockers


Well….we have been trying to design or find a piece of furniture that would take the place of several of our current pieces….helping with the decluttering part of the makeover. When we saw these pieces we were incredibly inspired! Being former professional ballet dancers just made the idea even more special.

Handsome is going to build us a set of “vintage” French ballet lockers just like the ones pictured above….but about twice as big {four rows of lockers instead of just two}. I think they are going to be incredible! I will then proceed to stain/paint/distress them so they will look 100 years old. 🙂

I can hardly wait!

What goals do you have for you home this year? Any makeovers or refreshes you hope to make? What creative projects do you have on your radar?



Top 12 of ’12 {Top Posts of 2012}

IMPORTANT NOTE:  If you subscribe to Cottage in the Oaks through a reader/RSS feed….within the next week we will be switching servers. This should not interrupt your feed, but sometimes it can. ugh. I certainly don’t want to lose any of you….I love having you here! So, if all of a sudden you don’t receive a post be sure to come back here and subscribe again so we can get back on track! 🙂 Fun things are coming in 2013….we’re getting an overhaul. 

Now, onto our regularly scheduled program…….

It’s always fun at the end of each year to see which posts have received the greatest views/hits over the past 12 months. Quite often it surprises me!

Today I pulled up our stats and made a list of the Top 12 posts of 2012.

Thought I would share them with you here in order {you can click on the name of each post to be taken to that particular one}…….

New Built-In Dining Room Sideboard

sideboard finished

Our Cottage Kitchen

cottage kitchen vignette

Winter Front Porch

winter front porch

Drop-Cloth Numbered Napkins

numbered napkinsSpring Front Porch

spring front porch

Our Cottage {Master Bath}

cottage master bath

Starting Seeds

seeds in trays

Painted Piano

piano after

Summer Front Porch

summer front porch 1

Chalkboard Lidded Jars

main pic

Chalkboard Chargers

chalkboard charger main

DIY Apothecary Jars

vintage apothecary jarsSo, there you have it…..the Top 12 posts of 2012! It was fun to see what was the most popular. Did you have a favorite?

I hope you have fun here on Cottage in the Oaks….it’s a blessing to have you as a reader. I’m honored and humbled that you guys like to see what we are up to and hopefully get inspiration while you hang out here a bit. 🙂

I hope you have a wonderful last weekend in 2012!



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DIY Victorian Christmas Crackers……

As long as I can remember we have had Christmas crackers at each place on Christmas Day. You can find them at many stores…but we have always made ours. When you create your own you can put inside exactly what you want to!

diy victorian christmas crackers

Each year we have special ornaments for each family…and label them with the last name and the year, then put them inside the crackers. We have Christmas with my side of the family on Christmas Eve at my parents’ home; and then we have a big Christmas Dinner here at our house on Christmas Day for Handsome’s family.

ornaments inside crackers

Want to make your own?

You will need:

toilet paper tubes or paper towel tubes cut in half

fun little things to put inside {fun thins are ornaments, candy, paper crowns, small pens and pencils, fun words or wishes, etc.}

string or ribbon

any kind of paper or tissue paper


inside christmas crackers

How to do it:

Put all the fun little surprises inside the tube.

making christmas crackers

Roll the paper around the tube the long way and tape.

how to wrap a christmas cracker

Tie each end with ribbon or string and then trim the ends to the length that you wish them to be. Be sure to tie the ribbon or string tightly…close to the tube.

victorian christmas cracker

Put them at each person’s plate for a special dinner! We always include tissue paper crowns in ours…and everyone has to wear them throughout the meal.

tissue paper crowns

Christmas Crackers are something that everyone looks forward to each year…they have become part of our Christmas Dinner and Christmas Eve traditions with both sides of our family.

Do you have any special traditions that you started in your family?

Merry, Merry~


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8 Fun & Easy Christmas Decorations to Make

We are in full Christmas swing here…how about you? I thought I would share a few of our fun little Christmas touches we’ve added this year….really easy ones.  {I also listed with the links at the end of this post the other ideas from last year with the how-to’s…}

I do not like the labels that come on most products….like jar candles, plastic storage boxes, etc. I’m that crazy person that when I see someone has left the label on the plastic storage container I have to hold myself back. I just want to run over and pull it off! Truly. It is all I can do to keep from doing it. And, if I know the person, I actually do it. ha!

SO, to cover up our jar candle labels I used upholstery webbing…..ya gotta love upholstery webbing. It usually comes in red, a dark forest green, or black.

covered yankee candles uphostery webbing

For this little project I just cut the webbing long enough to overlap and hot-glued it together. It forms a little sleeve that can slip off and be used on another jar candle when needed. {But be sure to glue it tight enough that it doesn’t slip down.}

yankee candle cover yankee candle covered

Another way I used the webbing was to add a little fun to the pillows that we have on the porch swing…..

webbing on pillows

Another fun, quick project we did was make some little word labels for two of our vintage silver foil tabletop trees.

vintage silver tree with labels

Using craft paper….we printed some fun words, cut them out, outlined then in German glass glitter {my favorite!}, and then glued hangers on the back. For the hangers I just used wire ornament hooks and straightened them out, then curved them to make a hanger for each word.

hangers for word tags word tags for tree tree labels

I am noticing that I really liked using the word ‘fun’ in this post. Fun!

Here are some other Christmas projects from last year {just click on the title of each one to be taken to the post with the tutorial and any free printables}:

Snow Balls with No Snow! Includes free printable!

snow balls on porch in basket

Initial Wreath

Initial Wreath

Russian Tea {Great for teacher or neighbor presents!} Includes free printable!

Russian Tea and TeacupBaby Jesus’ Bed….a fun activity for the whole family

baby jesus' basket bed

Christmas Journals

art journaling

I hope you all are having a great week so far…..the days are just flying by, and I’m trying so hard to slow them down.



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