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?

Blessings~

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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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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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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.

Blessings~

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Cottage Bathroom Update….

Here’s an update on our Master Bath Update. ha! We’ve almost finished…just need the hamper and the new toilet!  I can’t believe that we might actually FINISH an entire room in just a few months.  Wow! This is something to celebrate. At the bottom of the post I’ve included the links to all of the how-to’s, etc. that we’ve shared on this cottage bathroom makeover.

pharmacy cabinet

Here’s all the links for the how-to’s…..

DIY French Apothecary Jars

Paris Grey Mirror

Country Grey Table and Chair

Painted Faucets and Hardware

DIY Industrial Pipe Towel Bar

Faux Cement Painted Countertops

Pallet Art

Removing and Changing Hinges & Doorknobs

DIY Vintage French Apothecary Cabinet

Hope you are preparing for a great Thanksgiving……

Blessings~

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Burlap Curtains

Burlap is one of my favorite things to use….just under European grain sacks….anywhere I need fabric in our home. Ever since we started the living room redo a year ago I’ve been looking for just the right thing to put on the windows.  They are very large windows and cross the entire front of our cottage.

I found these great rope tiebacks at an outlet type store….and I knew that whatever I did to the windows I wanted to use them! And, of course, rope leads straight to burlap in my mind. 🙂

I wanted the curtains to be very sheer…didn’t want to cover up the view or block the natural light. {I LOVE natural light….don’t like lamps too much.}

We ran across these wonderful rolls of landscape burlap at an old general store when we were out of town one day….and I knew they were perfect! They are a very loose-weave burlap. They are 3′ x 12′ each and only cost $6.00 a roll. ha! Cannot beat that. Curtains for 3 large windows only cost $36.

We loaded up on 6 rolls and they’ve been waiting in a closet for a few months …… waiting for me to get to them and make curtains. Last week I got out the sewing machine, started sewing, and my machine decided to stop working. Grrrrrrr. I was determined to get these curtains up. SO, I whip-stitched the top seam……and hung them on the rods, trimmed the bottom a bit longer than the floor, and then……YEP, I hot glued the hem! Done. {If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know how I feel about sewing machines. It’s bittersweet and doesn’t always bring out the best in me.}

From start to finish I made floor-length curtains for 3 large windows in under an hour. And….I love ’em. Thank you whip-stitch and hot glue! You know, it actually looks better than if I had sewn them on the machine.  You do not see a seam anywhere. All things work together for good, you guys! 😉

What have you been doing in your home lately?

Covered in burlap fuzz~

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Grain Sack Covered Handles……

Handsome has LOTS of games! Especially ones like tavern puzzles, binary arts, etc.  We needed a fun place to put them that could be easily accessible so they could be used, but a little bit hidden. 😉

We found these perfect baskets with lids….and stacked them in our living room; but it drove me crazy that the handle holes were so big that you could see inside and it looked a bit junky. ugh. {The very thing I was trying to avoid.}

I love vintage grain sacks……European ones, especially. I try to keep a stack to use for all kinds of purposes.  I thought little pieces of grain sack would be a perfect ‘handle hole cover’.

So, I cut small pieces of grain sack that were about 1″ larger than the handle openings on all sides and hot-glued them inside the baskets.  I only glued the top of the grain sack ‘flap’……so when you stuck your hand in to lift the basket they wouldn’t get in the way.

grain sacks

grain sacks

I love it! Problem solved.

Do you have any little things in your home that are driving you crazy and you would like to fix?

A little less crazy~

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How To Season Chalkboards

We love chalkboards around here….they are everywhere; and we use them in so many ways – inside and out. They are also the #1 seller in our etsy shop!

So, I thought I would make sure everyone knows how to ‘season’ a chalkboard.  Many people don’t realized that whenever you purchase or make a chalkboard that it is very important to season it before using it.  If you don’t then when you write on it the chalkboard will become ‘burned’ with the words, etc. that you put on it.

It’s a very simple procedure………

1. Take a piece of chalk and rub it vertically across the entire board.

2. Then, do the same horizontally.

3. After the chalkboard has been covered with chalk gently erase it with a felt eraser, dry paper towel, or soft towel. If you like a newer-looking chalkboard you can use a damp paper towel.

It’s ready to use!

Chalkboard paint is very porous…..and if you don’t fill all those little pores with chalk, then the board will become burned with whatever you first put on the board and it will look as if you can’t erase it. {As if it is ‘stained’ with the original drawing/words.}

Make sure you do this to each chalkboard…whether you made it yourself or purchased it.

Blessings~

Sharing with:  Tip JunkieBetween Naps on the PorchThrifty Decor ChickFunky Junk InteriorsDIY ShowoffHome Stories A to Z a.k.a. DesignSerenity NowSavvy Southern StyleMy Romantic HomeJennifer Rizzo

French Apothecary Cabinet ::: Pharmacy Cabinet

When we moved into Oak Cottage our first little one was only 2 months old.  We kept all of our medicine upstairs in a cabinet that was over the washer and dryer and could be locked.  It wasn’t very convenient; but was great for a home with little, curious ones over the years.  Now that our ‘little ones’ aren’t so little anymore….we were ready to have a real medicine cabinet that was downstairs – preferably in the master bath.

So, when we began our master bath re-do this summer we created a fun French Apothecary Cabinet just to suit that purpose! We wanted it to look very old….what we were really looking for was a vintage/antique French apothecary cabinet; but the ones we found were just too small or not suited for the purpose we needed.  SO, we built our own and made it look ancient. 🙂

pharmacy cabinet

Here’s how we did it:

1. Handsome built a frame with shelves….we measured our medicines/first aid supplies and spaced the shelves according to what we needed.

pharmacy cabinet

2. He created a door out of thin plywood/luan and created an edge with lathing strips mitered and glued on with wood glue.

pharmacy cabinet

3. I painted the entire cabinet in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint  Old White.

4. I then took a found French graphic that I liked, printed it out and blew it up to the size I needed.

5.  Using artist’s tracing paper I traced the design onto the door.

pharmacy cabinet

pharmacy cabinet

pharmacy cabinet

6. I did the same with a large red cross.

pharmacy cabinet

7. I then went back with ASCP in Paris Grey and painted the design that had been traced.

pharmacy cabinet

pharmacy cabinet

8. THEN, I sanded the living daylights out of it! Until it was worn and distressed!

9. I finished it off with ASCP dark wax.

pharmacy cabinet

10. We couldn’t find oil-rubbed bronze vintage hardware….so we painted some new hardware with oil-rubbed bronze spray paint before putting it on the cabinet.

pharmacy cabinet

Ta-daaaahhhhhhhh!

What do you think?  We are loving it! Now all our first aid and medicine is in one place in our new master bath…..woohoo!

What fun project have you been up to lately?

Blessings~

Sharing with:  Tip JunkieBetween Naps on the PorchThrifty Decor ChickFunky Junk InteriorsDIY ShowoffHome Stories A to Z a.k.a. DesignSerenity NowSavvy Southern StyleMy Romantic HomeJennifer Rizzo, Miss Mustard Seed

Antiqued / Distressed Kitchen Island ::: From the Archives

I just returned from NYC at 2:00am!  Whew! It was a fabulous trip, but I am beat! I’ll share some of our fun with you guys soon!

I was greeted when I returned home with LOTS of etsy orders. {Yay!  That’s always fun!} But I have to share with you that two of the orders were extra exciting…..Williams-Sonoma {you guys KNOW the love I have for Williams-Sonoma!} and West Elm {another love!} had ordered chalkboards!  Woohoo! How cool is that!? Two of my favorite stores ordered from our store. {I’m a bit giddy….can you tell?}

SO, I’m off to make chalkboards and package things up…..I hope you guys won’t mind if I share a post from a little over a year ago.  We are still enjoying our antiqued/distressed ‘crate’ kitchen island….I thought I would share that project again, for those of you that may not have been with us over a year ago. 🙂

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The kitchen redo seems to be taking much longer than we planned.  We’ve been waiting to find the perfect farmhouse sink—so we can then do the concrete countertops—so then we can……..

You know.

BUT, a couple of weekends ago I had fun redoing the kitchen island.  It has a butcher block top and I wanted to distress it and make it appear to be like an old European shipping crate that had been repurposed into an island. And then, of course, restored.  We do the craziest things.

Here’s what you need:

~ sander/sanding paper

~ stencils

~ stencil paint

~ stain {we used Minwax Special Walnut}

~ clear, matte sealer

~ brushes

Here’s how we did it:

1. Clean and sand the top of the island

2.  Lay out your stencils—and stencil! Since we wanted it to look like a shipping crate, we laid them out a bit haphazard and in different directions.  We used black acrylic paint for this part.

3.  Once dry—sand your stenciled areas so they will appear worn

4.  Stain—with the grain—your island.  Go right over your stencils.  Do not allow the stain to puddle if at all possible.  DO NOT WIPE OFF THE EXCESS!!!  Usually when you stain furniture you would want to do this—but to make a piece looked distressed and old, skip this step. It will create worn markings and spots—looks so great!

5.  Repeat #4 if it is not as dark as you would like it to be—-or if you are happy with it, move on to the next step.

6.  Follow the directions of the clear sealer—and seal with 3 coats.  Make sure you use a matte sealer for the antique/distressed look.  Shiny/Gloss doesn’t cut it for this. 🙂 We use Polycrylic.

7.  Wait at least 24 hours before using or putting anything on it.

I love it!  What do you think?

Now………I heard Ikea has great farmhouse sinks that don’t cost an arm and a leg……….hhhhhmmmmmmmmm………

Hope your week is off to a great start!

Sharing with:  Tip JunkieBetween Naps on the PorchThrifty Decor ChickFunky Junk InteriorsDIY ShowoffHome Stories A to Z a.k.a. DesignSerenity NowSavvy Southern StyleMy Romantic HomeJennifer Rizzo, Miss Mustard Seed