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!

Blessings~

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Christmas Around the Cottage…….

I’ve almost got all the dust bunnies wrangled! This Saturday is our annual Christmas party….and we just might have a clean cottage. 🙂 This will be the 18th year of our party…it is something we look forward to all year.  Can’t wait!

Here’s a little view of Christmas around our home this year.  Just a few little peeks….

No. 1 Son made this little nativity when he was 3…it is one of my favorite decorations. It sits atop a Bible from the 1800’s, open to the Christmas story.

nativity and bible

My grandmother’s creche….complete with rooster and turkey. 🙂 {And a pomander that needs to be replaced….good grief! Just noticed that. ha!}

creche

12 Days of Christmas table setting…with the original meanings of the 12 days printed on a scroll and rolled up. {I’ll be sharing this free printable I created in coming days….}

christmas dining table

Olive wood nutcracker from Israel……

olive wood nutcracker

Vintage cameras join the snow globes….

vintage camera christmas

On December 1st we start the advent calendar…made from small muslin bags with numbers stenciled on them. Each little bag holds a treat, coupon, etc.

advent calendar

Vintage chocolate mold from France…..

vintage chocolate mold

We added this fun felt mistletoe this year….we collect all things mistletoe…..couldn’t pass up this cuteness…..

felt mistletoe

We had fun making our centerpiece this year.  We gathered tons of glass jars…all different shapes and sizes, and vintage salt shakers….filled them with ‘snow’ and trees.

snowglobe centerpiece christmas centerpiece

The cars are ready, too…….

wreath on c

What kind of decorating are you doing around your home?

Merry, Merry~

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The Porch in Autumn ::: Fall Front Porch

Those of you that have been here for a while know that I love to change our porch with the seasons.  And, you know how I feel about porches…last week I shared that if the kitchen is the heart of the home…then the porch is the soul.

I thought I would share our fall front porch with you guys……it was so fun to do!

fall front porch

I love to see how many different kinds of pumpkins we can find at the patch.  Check out that crazy one behind the lantern…..I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it. But I had never seen one like it, so it had to come home with us. Does anyone know what that kind of pumpkin is called. {And, no, the name of it is not “Weird”} 😉

fall front porch

fall front porch

The French cafe sidewalk chalkboard that Handsome made last year is another fun thing that we enjoy changing around and using in all sorts of ways.

fall front porch

Corn stalks….can you have fall without corn stalks?

fall front porch

fall front porch

fall front porch

I just got back a few hours ago from our NYC trip…..I might need to spend some time on our porch today….just staring…..into space…..with coffee…..

Blessings~

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Some Favorite Reads……

Magazines are so fun…like a mini vacation or getaway. My form of Calgon!

My very favorite for years was Cottage Living….it is no longer produced. *sigh*

cottage living magazine

Same with Country Home….they only do 4 a year as special publications.

country home magazine

Here are some of my all time favorites that I really enjoy reading……..many are Stampington Publications……they produce wonderful material! I also LOVE the British version of Country Living….such a treat. I wish you could subscribe here in the states.

favorite magazines

I also absolutely LOVE this one…published only 4 times per year.  You can usually get it at Anthropologie or Williams-Sonoma.

kinfolk magazine

And this one is a new one that is neat……based out of Kentucky. You don’t hear of too many magazines being published in Kentucky! {I love Kentucky!}

Folk Magazine

Here’s a new e-book featuring 40 bloggers about decorating your porches for autumn…..guess who is one of the 40 bloggers???  {Right..it’s me! You guys are SO good!} You’ll have to check it out…it’s fun!

{Just click on it to be sent to the page…..}

autumn front porches

Do you enjoy looking at/reading magazines?  What are your favorites?

Blessings~

Decorating with Seashells

This year I have pulled out all of our seashells and wanted to have them all over the place for summer.  We’ve had a lot of fun seeing if we could get shells in each room of the house….they’ve even made it to the porch!

I have always lived not too far from the ocean….so seashells have always been plentiful and brought home by the loads. If you don’t live near the ocean there are wonderful web sites that you can order shells very inexpensively to add a bit of the beach to your home in the summer.  Nothing says summer like a seashell…..

Here are some places we have used seashells this summer…..

In the dining room on a silver, footed tray…..

silver tray with seashells

seashells in silver tray

decorating with seashells

seashells

seashells on dining table

seashells on tray

 In a wonderful driftwood bowl in the office…..

shells in driftwood

seashells and driftwood

driftwood basket with shells

 We’ve used small ones to cover frames……

seashell frame Just sitting on a bookshelf……

starfish on shelf In a basket under a stool {a fun surprise when it’s moved}

seashells in basket

seashells under stool

 On our front porch……

starfish

starfish and bee skep

starfish on porch

starfish on porch

 On our summer mantel……

seashells in jar

seashell garland on mantel

seashells on mantel

shells on manel

mantel shells

seashell garland

As filler in lanterns……

shells in candle jars

Just leaning up against frames on shelves…..

seashells by frame

Do you use seashells in your home anywhere?  Maybe you don’t even like the beach or shells….is there anything else that you like to fill your home with in the summer?

We’ve accomplished our goal, I think, of having shells in every room this summer!  We will probably be finding shells at Christmas. {I just found some Christmas tree in the sofa yesterday.}

Happy Wednesday~

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Painted Interior Doors

When we bought Oak Cottage almost 17 years ago

we spent about 4 weeks working on it before we ever moved in.

We loved the solid wooden doors that were all over the house….

so thankful they were not the hollow-core ones!

But…because of the openness of the house plan, and the fact

that there were nine doors that could be seen almost

all at once…..that was a lot of plain, white doors.

We wanted to do something fun with them.

So right after we painted all the walls…

we painted the doors…….

in a fun harlequin pattern.

It was so easy, and I did all the doors

in the whole house in one day.

It takes longer to tape them off than to paint them.

I thought I’d share about our doors this week because

after having them this way for almost 17 years we are

 thinking about doing something a little different.

{Well, it’s on that 2012 list of 573 things

we want to do in the house, so…….}

But just in case it makes the cut for this year,

I thought I’d share them before they were changed.

If you’d like to add some fun to your doors

they don’t’ have to be solid wood; but they do

have to be flat…without panels…for this particular project/pattern.

Here’s what you need:

1. Painter’s tape or frog tape

2. Spray paint or regular paint in choice of color {we used an antiqued brass on our doors}

Here’s how ya do it:

1. Make sure doors are clean…wash them well and let them dry.

2. Tape off your pattern with the painter’s tape or frog tape. We did a harlequin pattern by measuring the door and sectioning it into thirds. We wanted a large diamond in the middle and then half of one on the top and bottom to look like a continuing pattern.  Mark any measurements or markings that you need to make in pencil. You could do all sorts of fun patterns….checkerboard, stripes, color blocks, etc.  If you have  a lot of doors that are seen at once…I would suggest doing them all the same pattern and color. I have done many different patterns on other doors over the years….it make such a fun statement!

3. Once your pattern is marked off with the tape be sure to cover the area around the door…the floor, etc. to protect it as you paint.

4. Spray or brush paint your marked-off door! {We used spray paint and had all nine doors done in under 45 minutes…..but brush painting will work just as well.}

5.  Allow the paint to dry and then carefully remove the tape.

Tah-dah! A fun door!

You can see what we did to our kitchen door here.

Hope your week is off to a great start….I think we are well and ready to tackle the week.

Happy Monday~

Sharing with: Skip to My LouTip JunkieToday’s Creative BlogNot JUST a Housewife,  Blue Cricket DesignThe Shabby Creek CottageWhipperberryThe Idea Room,  Between Naps on the PorchFrench Country CottageThe Lettered CottageThrifty Decor ChickFunky Junk InteriorsAt the Picket FenceMy Uncommon Slice of SuburbiaCommon Ground,  DIY ShowoffHome Stories A to Z a.k.a. DesignSomeday CraftsOrganize and Decorate Everything,  2805Making the World CuterThe Girl CreativeCraftomaniacCarolyns HomeworkFingerprints on the FridgeTatertots & JelloSerenity NowNo Minimalist HereSavvy Southern Style, Coastal CharmMy Romantic HomeRedouxJust A Girl504 Main733 BlogWe Are That FamilyCreating Really Awesome Free Things, Miss Mustard SeedHandy Man Crafty Woman,  The Charm of HomeDelightsome Life

Mixed Media Wreath

I took some fun art classes over the month of December from several

fabulous artists…..so much fun! And I’m ready to use some of the new techniques that I’ve learned!

Lately around here we have been in the clean out/list-making/organizing mode;

which means I haven’t been able to make very many things.

But, I took some fun time out over the weekend to

make this fun, new, mixed media wreath…

all with just scraps that I had on my art shelves.

The only thing I had to purchase was a styrofoam wreath form

and several styrofoam balls.

Some of the scraps that I used were:  burlap, yarn, vintage papers, buttons, various

leftover sewing materials, decorative pins, etc.

Now that my art shelves are cleaned out and organized….

I’m itching to start those many projects that I’ve been

“list-making” about!  We have some pretty fun projects planned

for 2012…..how about you?

Have you made anything for your home lately?

Sharing with: Skip to My LouSumo’s Sweet StuffTip Junkie,Today’s Creative BlogNot JUST a Housewife,  Blue Cricket DesignThe Shabby Creek CottageWhipperberryThe Idea Room,  Between Naps on the PorchFrench Country CottageThe Lettered CottageThrifty Decor ChickHouse of Hepworth’sFunky Junk InteriorsAt the Picket FenceMy Uncommon Slice of SuburbiaStuff and NonsenseCommon Ground,  DIY ShowoffHome Stories A to Z a.k.a. DesignSomeday CraftsOrganize and Decorate Everything,  2805Making the World CuterThe Girl CreativeCraftomaniacCarolyns HomeworkFingerprints on the FridgeTatertots & JelloBe Different Act NormalSerenity NowChatty ChicsNo Minimalist HereDIY By DesignSavvy Southern Style, Coastal CharmMy Romantic Home, Freckled Laundry, Beneath My Heart

Winter Front Porch

When it was time to take down Christmas decorations

I realized that so many of the things we had used on our

front porch for Christmas could still be fun for the rest of winter.

Our live, evergreen wreath still looked great….

so I just put a burlap bow on it and left it in place.

The little metal plaque that is above the wreath reads:

“By wisdom a house is built. And through understanding it is established.

By knowledge its rooms are filled with

precious and beautiful treasures.”

Proverbs 24:3

Even though this scripture isn’t referring to a literal ‘house’…..

I like having it on our literal house as a reminder, a picture of what it is speaking about.

As I have fun decorating and filling our literal house with lovely things…it reminds me

that I need to be doing to same, even more so, with my spiritual ‘house’.

I loved the branches that we stuck in a large pot of dirt….

so, I just took off the glittered pinecones and left the pots of branches in place.

The skis, sled, and ice skates still work for winter, too!

{We are all still hoping for ‘wintery weather’ around here; but I don’t think we will be having any this year.}

Handsome made this fun, double-sided French cafe sign for me a while back;

and we love using it in different spots.

The front porch is my favorite place to use it.

I drew this New Year’s greeting on it for at least January…..

it can easily be changed for different occasions.

The old, wooden ladder holds vintage grain sacks that are too stained to use

for things like pillows, etc……perfect for outside, though.

And we just put our faux snow balls on the table….

still hoping for real ones! 🙂

{That wood peeking into the bottom corner of the picture??  That’s the wood that Handsome

is using to build the new sideboard in the dining room with….woohoo! Yippee!}

It was fun using all these things over again for the new season.

I love taking what you already have and using it with a different twist.

Did you repurpose any of your Christmas decorations for

the winter season?

*******

Even though we aren’t getting any snow…..

it’s freezing here in Eastern NC!

Staying Warm~

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Painting Faux Grain Sack….

We are still in the midst of the Living Room Redo….but definitely closing in on finishing.

Just a few little things we’d like to add here and there.

I absolutely LOVE European grain sacks….and collect them whenever I find them.

The grain sacks  that I have, though, are not the ones that I wanted to use in the living room.

So, until I find just the right ones….I painted some faux ones!

I will replace them with the real thing whenever I find just the right ones.

{Sorry—I took these pics before I ironed them….but you can get the idea!}

I definitely did not de-wrinkle and poof-up for these pics….forgive me. 😉

Here’s what you need:

1.  pillow covers {I made my own out of linen, aida, canvas; but you can purchase them already made..or make them out of any material you choose.}

2.  Pillow inserts…if you do not already have them

3.  Paint in desired colors — acrylic is fine {you can use the little bottles from Michael’s, etc.}

4.  Fabric/Textile medium….DecoArt or Martha Stewart Crafts from Michael’s ,etc.

5.  Paint brushes..foam is best

6. Painter’s tape or masking tape

Here’s how ya do it:

1. Tape your stripes….in whatever pattern you desire: one broad and one thin or several thin or thin/broad/thin—look at pictures of grain sacks that you like. {You will have to do only one stripe at the time; but it dries quickly…so, never fear!}

2.  Mix your paint with the textile medium according to instructions.

3. Paint your taped-off stripe….but don’t make it opaque if you want a worn look.  You will almost be dry-brushing in some areas—let your paint run out on the brush.

4. Once that stripe is done and dry, remove the tape—and tape your next stripe.

5. Sew up your pillow covers—put the inserts in—and enjoy!

I did a couple of red ones on aida for Christmas—-they are not my favorites because the red was too bright. Ah, live and learn! They were still fun for the holidays—next time I will know to go with a deeper shade of red for a more authentic look. Each one of these pillows cost just a few dollars to create. {I used the pillow inserts that I already had.}  So, they are a great fix while I am waiting for the real thing to appear before me….at the right price, too! 🙂

Enjoy~

Sharing with:  Skip to My LouSumo’s Sweet StuffTip Junkie,Today’s Creative BlogNot JUST a HousewifeBlue Cricket DesignThe Shabby Chic CottageWhipperberryThe Idea Room,  Between Naps on the PorchFrench Country CottageThe Lettered CottageThrifty Decor ChickHouse of Hepworth’sRemodelaholicFunky Junk InteriorsAt the Picket FenceMy Uncommon Slice of SuburbiaStuff and NonsenseCommon GroundDIY ShowoffHome Stories A to Z, a.k.a. DesignSomeday CraftsCreations by KaraYesterday on TuesdayOrganize and Decorate EverythingThe Inspired Room2805Making the World CuterThe Girl CreativeCraftomaniacCarolyns HomeworkFireflies & JellybeansFingerprints on the FridgeTatertots & JelloBe Different Act NormalI Heart Naptime, Freckled Laundry, It All Started With Paint

Christmas House Tour {2011}

I hope your weekend was as fun as ours!  It flew by….but we enjoyed every minute.  I’ll share a few pics from our party later this week.  I’m also still trying to get all the past Christmas pics together for this week, too. 🙂

OK, did anyone watch “Christmas in Connecticut” this past weekend?  How did you like it?  We watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” last night.  Am I the only one that cries every time Mr. Gower slaps George?  I know it’s coming…I prepare.  I still cry.  Sometimes I even go into the kitchen to get something to drink so I can miss it…..and I hear it and cry in the kitchen. Anybody else do this?

Melissa is having a great “House Tour” today at The Inspired Room.  Go check it out!  Lots of fun houses decorated for Christmas. I love to see each person’s individual style.  Wouldn’t it be awful if we all did the same thing?

Here’s some little collages of  different spots in our cottage this year…….

Hope your week is off to a super start!

Merry, Merry~

Linking to:  Skip to My LouSumo’s Sweet StuffTip Junkie,Today’s Creative BlogNot JUST a HousewifeBlackberry VineBlue Cricket DesignThe Shabby Chic CottageWhipperberryThe Idea Room,  Between Naps on the PorchFrench Country CottageThe Lettered CottageThrifty Decor ChickHouse of Hepworth’sRemodelaholicFunky Junk InteriorsAt the Picket FenceMy Uncommon Slice of SuburbiaStuff and NonsenseCommon GroundSomewhat SimpleDIY ShowoffHome Stories A to ZPassionately Artistic, a.k.a. DesignSomeday CraftsCreations by KaraYesterday on TuesdayOrganize and Decorate Everything, The Inspired Room, Jennifer Rizzo2805