Thursday, April 30, 2009

Decorating with Drop Cloth Drapes...

Please stop by to read today's Thrifty Shopping article titled Decorating with drop cloth drapes. A special thank you to Layla at The Lettered Cottage for allowing me to share her idea and drop cloth drape photo. Layla is incredibly creative and talented. Currently Layla is helping her neighbor Jessica remodel and decorate her home, and the best part is that Layla is sharing the transition on her blog.

If you have time, please take the garage sale survey on the side bar.

Thanks for stopping by...
Renee @ Cottage Lifestyle

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Screen Porch 360º…


Screen porch tour…a 360º view.

When I bought my 1906 four square seven years ago it had a tiny, tiny kitchen (click here and here to read about it and to see the new kitchen). Put on an addition to make room for a new kitchen and screen porch.

The tour starts at the back screen door and goes counter clockwise back to the screen door. Hope you are ready for a lot of photos.

See the bench before and after here. Found the stain glass golfers at the Elko flea market aka Trader’s Market in Elko, MN.


The red folding tables (remember I love anything that folds…easy to store and easy to move) at a garage sale for a few dollars.


The curtains are for privacy…got the idea from my friend Jayne. Depending on the weather and my mood I will tie them back.

I keep them up all year as they are a good wind/snow barrier. 3b Bought the red rug at a local antique store during a sale. I only buy rugs that will fit in my washer. Lollie enjoying the day. The red foot stool needs some TLC.

I like that the curtains don’t touch the floor…just enough space for Lollie to keep an eye on the neighborhood.


The drop leaf table also came from the Elko flea market. I spray painted it and did a very poor job…it is going to get a sanding and new coat of paint.



I originally bought the window mirrors for my living room, but didn’t like them there.

I was all set to return them and my friend Laura suggested I put them on the back porch.

I can’t remember where I got the light on the left…but the one on the right was purchased in an antique shop in Aptos, CA.

And it is very dear to me as my friend Margaret who died of cancer in 2008 was with me when I bought it.

My neighbor Bob was kind enough to help me rewire both lamps so they would have a new, white cord.


The chairs were bought at a local antique store and my favorite slipcover maven, Sandy recovered them with some material I had planning to use for a quilt.

One is a rocker and the back on the other one can be set in three different reclining positions.



The WOOF hooks were a gift from my friend Sharon. I wonder how I lived without it as I use it constantly.

The walking the dog sign was purchased in a pet store in Alameda, CA.


Next to the chair is a fridge I used during the kitchen remodel. I was glad it fit on the porch, as it is so handy for entertaining.

I am amazed it still works as it has been on the porch since 2002. Here’s a peak into the kitchen.



Bought this watercolor for $2 in an antique store in Victoria, MN. I was attracted to it because, while it is so ‘stiff’, it is way beyond anything I could draw.


The view below is my view when I am horizontal on the bench.



We’ve come full circle. I hope you enjoyed the tour.

I will be spending as much time as possible on this porch this summer…little blogging, little reading, and lots of entertaining.


Please take the garage sale survey on the side bar. I am looking to get feedback from 100 bloggers.

Thanks for stopping by…

Renee @ Cottage Living

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Strings of pearls...

Love these milk glass plates, and I am not even a fan of milk glass. I don't know if they have a name or not...if they don't, they should be called string of pearls. Bought nine of them at a garage sale a year ago. Paid $1 a piece...which seemed like a lot at the time...but I am so happy I didn't pass them by. They are the perfect dessert plates.

Please take the garage sale survey on my sidebar if you haven't done so already. I will be using the results of this survey in an upcoming Thrifty Shopping article on

Special thanks to all my blogger friends that have visited me on I appreciate your support.
If you would like to receive the articles directly you can sign up to receive the articles via email by clicking on the 'Subscribe to Email' button next to my picture on, or sign up for an RSS feed which can be found under the title of any article you select.

Thanks for stopping by...
Renee @ Cottage Lifestyle

Monday, April 27, 2009

10 Uses for Orphan Sheets...

Stop by and read my 10 Uses for Orphan Sheets article on Creative ideas, photos and tutorials by Vanessa of Vand Co. are featured. Thank you Vanessa!

Thanks for stopping by...
Renee @ Cottage Lifestyle

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Neighborhood Watch Redefined...

My neighbors know my love for free finds. On my way back from a doggie play date, I was walking by my neighbor Randi's house just as her husband was getting ready to put this dresser out on the street. Of course I couldn't leave it behind as I have been looking for an affordable dresser for my green guest bedroom. Not having a tape measure with me I measured the depth and length using my arm. Not sure why I even bothered as it wasn't as if I knew what size the space was where it will go. Even though my measuring technique was a bit archaic, I somehow knew would fit. It is going to need some TLC.

Being on foot I couldn't take it with me...but I couldn't leave it...what if it wasn't there by the time I got back.  Fortunately Randi's husband was willing to put it aside for me. Hopefully our weather will level out soon and I can get outside to sand and paint (plan is to paint it white). Love the detailing and knobs.

AsI was on the way to the grocery store my neighbor Linda called to tell me she had spotted an old wood bookcase in the neighborhood. Now, that is neighborhood watch at its finest. So on my way home from the grocery store I headed to the intersection where it was spotted andI have great neighbors it was still there (wahoo!).

Back of book case below.
I have great neighbors. Maybe I should distribute a flyer to all the neighbors letting them know that I am scavenger and always on the lookout for 'junk'.

Thanks for stopping by...
Renee @ Cottage Lifestyle

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Blogging spot...

Short and sweet post today...the weather was warm enough yesterday to blog from the front porch.

Thanks for stopping by...
Renee @ Cottage Lifestyle

Friday, April 24, 2009

Round-robin clothing exchange and more…

Per a prior post…I started a gig as the Thrifty Shopping Examiner (freelance writer) for the Minneapolis website. Finally, all those years of junk shopping and dumpster diving will be put to use. I will be writing three to four articles a week about searching thrift and antique stores, occasional, rummage and garage sales, flea markets, and dumpsters for deals, sharing junking, repurposing, recycling, and decorating tips, and fabulous blog finds and ideas (I already have four of our favorite bloggers willing to share...stay tuned to find out who they are).

As I browse the blogs I will be on the lookout for a thrifty find or idea. If you have any note worthy finds and decorating ideas and wish to share them, I would love to feature them in an article. Of course, I would give you credit for each idea/photo and include your blog address. You can contact me by clicking on the email button the sidebar or send an email directly to

I was waffling about keeping my blog going…so I think what I am going to do…is on the days that I have an article on that I think you would enjoy…I will mention it here and you can decide if you want to link over to to read it. On the days I don’t have an article on I am hoping to have a post here.

Please check out my first article on titled Round-robin clothing exchange and more.
Important note…the photo of me on the website is of me and my dog Lollie, but they cropped it so it looks like I have black fur on my face…hopefully it will be fixed soon.

If you are interested in writing for the about a topic you enjoy, and have questions the process, let me know.

Thanks for stopping by…
Renee @ Cottage Lifestyle

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bag it...

A few posts ago I showed you a new wallet that I bought at a friend's garage sale for $2. I thought it would match my new briefcase, and it does. I love my new it at TJ Maxx for $25 and in doing some research online and found that it sells for $75. The last time I got a new briefcase was 1991 and it was a gift.
If you haven't already, please take the survey in the sidebar.
Thanks for stopping by...
Renee @ Cottage Lifestyle

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

News and Decisions...

The News...
I am going to be the Thrifty Shopping Examiner writing articles for ( The articles will be focused on searching thrift stores, antique shops, occasional sales, flea markets, and garage sales for good deals, as well as tips on junking, repurposing, recycling, decorating, etc. and promoting upcoming sales.

Articles will include good deals and finds from stores, flea markets, garage sales, etc., and fabulous blog finds and ideas (I already have three of our favorite bloggers willing to share...stay tuned to find out who they are).

As I browse the blogs I will be on the lookout for a thrifty find or idea. If you have any note worthy finds and decorating ideas and wish to share them, I would love to feature them in an article. Of course, I would give you credit for each idea/photo and include your blog address. You can contact me by clicking on the email button the sidebar or send an email directly to

The Decisions...
Back when I started my blog on November 18th I had this crazy idea to do a post every day for a year (currently at 160 posts). However, I am undecided if I will be able to do a daily, along with writing 3-4 articles a week for I originally thought I could use my blog content for my examiner articles and vice a versa...not sure how well that will work. So, do I give up on my 365 days of posting and just do a post when I can or do I bag the blog all together?

As soon as my first article is live on ( I will include a link to it and encourage you to stop by and support me.

Don't forget to respond to the survey I have on the side bar. I plan to use these results in an upcoming article.

Thanks for stopping by...
Renee @ Cottage Lifestyle

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Before and After...

This bench was sitting in my brother's garage and didn't fit his family's decorating style. I asked if I could have it back in 2003. Bought three outdoor cushions at an 'end of the season' sale at a local store. Why are cushions so expensive?

I tried to live with the dark wood, but it didn't fit my hospital white look. So at some point I painted it white, had blue denim slipcovers made for the cushions as well as for some old pillows I had on hand. Two or so years ago while in the Hamptons I bought a blue and white throw which I draped over the cushions and back of the bench. I use table cloth weights on the portion that hangs off the back to keep the throw from slipping down when someone sits on it.

I love this bench because I can stretch out and take a nap. Since the picture above was taken I have hung drapes on my screen porch for privacy. More pics of the screen porch soon.
Don't forget to take the survey in the sidebar.
Thanks for stopping by...
Renee @ Cottage Lifestyle

Monday, April 20, 2009

Come on in...

This is my front entry/mud room.  I have to laugh as I write the word mudroom. More often than not the time a mudroom comes in handy is during the winter. However, I don't allow folks to enter the front of my home in the winter because the wood porch steps are like a skating rink. In the winter everyone comes to the back of my home and enters through the screen porch. The other reason that I don't use the mudroom in the winter is that it is if anyone were to hang their coat or leave their would be miserable to put them back on.

This little space, which was very difficult to photograph, has a bench with a cushion that was made for a wicker loveseat (which I no longer have), a few pillows, painting, coat rack and coat closet (opposite the bench and not in the photo).

Check out the pillows on the bench...they were made by the talented, Canadian artist Helen Downing Hunter. Not only can she paint (see painting below), she can sew, decorate, garden, etc. Check out her home if you don't belive me.
The painting below is the original from a page in a book titled Crabby Crab that Helen illustrated.
The scene seems so appropriate for my home by the water.
In the photo below the coat closet is the door on the right.

If you have a second please take the survey in the right hand side bar. I am interested in getting an idea of what percent of items at a garage sale you think are new or haven't ever been used.
Thanks for stopping by...
Renee @ Cottage Lifestyle

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Just Boxes...

Hit a neighborhood garage sale yesterday. Oh, so excited to go, as I was thinking there would be gobs of sales, as it was advertised as a 45 family sale...but it was one sale that 45 families contributed to. Bought three Estee Lauder boxes that zip open/closed for $2/each. I didn't even ask for a bargain because it was for a good cause.

My mind is racing with ideas as to what they can hold…CDs, photos, jewelry, books, Wii and TV remotes, make-up, scrapbooking, sewing, knitting goodies, and under the counter storage for toiletries. Also, handy in a kid's room or in the car for toys. Wouldn't they make great gift boxes?

Thanks for stopping by...
Renee @ Cottage Lifestyle