Happy Thanksgiving

I Love You Like Biscuits & Gravy Letterpress via cottagemagpie.com

You know what I am thankful for? All of you. Never in a million years did I guess that I would drop off the face of the earth for nearly two years, then come back and have you all welcome me back, eager to hear what I had to share. It’s like coming back home after a very long trip, and being welcomed back to family. Thank you for that. It means more than you know.

I hope that today, wherever you are and whoever you are with, that you feel welcomed, too. Embraced by the love of the people around you, whether they are family, friends, or even strangers. It’s a time to remember that we’re all in this together, all us creatures on this big ball of rock hurtling through space. Let’s love each other. I certainly love all of you.

Happy Thanksgiving, my far-away friends. Many blessings for you.

With love,

~Angela :-)

P.S. It really is kind of funny that I have this sign in my kitchen, since I have a billion food restrictions due to an ongoing illness so I haven’t had biscuits & gravy for years. But friends, I still love them. Someday I’ll get to have them again. Meanwhile, I do, truly love you like biscuits & gravy.

Shall We Chat?

Entry Hooks and Aqua Clock via cottagemagpie.com

Sometimes things don’t work out exactly the way you planned. I’m sure that’s not news to anyone. I’m 47 now and I don’t think anything in my life has ever gone exactly the way I planned. Sometimes more so, sometimes less. Here’s something that I didn’t plan: I didn’t plan to blog for 10 years. I also didn’t plan to take a year and a half off of from it. But these things happen.

Honestly, the last couple of years have been…. interesting? Yes, interesting. In the “may you live in interesting times,” interesting. As in some of the craziest times of my life. But also some of my biggest growth as a person. I have a lot to share with you. But I have a question: what do you actually want to hear? I mean, we all know I can talk and talk and talk–but I’d like to start by listening. Why do you come here? What is it you hope to see when you find out I’ve put up a new post? What interests you, inspires you, motivates you? I’d like to know.

Comment below and tell me: what are you struggling with in your home? What do you want to hear from me? How can I help you?

Thank you for taking the time to chat with me, and sticking by me all these years. I look forward to visiting more with you in the months and years ahead.

With love,

~Angela :-)

Ripple Effect

Lilac in Bloom via cottagemagpie.com

Kitty on a Blanket via cottagemagpie.com

Years ago, when I used to watch TV, I used to watch a lot of This Old House, and one of the episodes they had advice on how to survive when you’re living in your home while renovating. The biggest tip was, “Make sure you have a Switzerland and a Germany,” meaning: make sure you have at least one room that “doesn’t get involved” (stays unaffected by the chaos, a retreat or sanctuary from the mess) and one that is super organized to hold all of your tools and equipment for your projects.

We knew instantly that this was brilliant, genius advice. We ignored it. Steadfastly. For years.

I think we’re finally listening. Mr. Magpie is determined to finish (yes, actually FINISH) our home office, and that is going to be our Switzerland. I admit I would have preferred to have our Switzerland be our master bedroom, but we’d vowed we wouldn’t start any new projects, so the office it is. Technically it was already under construction. Meanwhile, I’m trying to work on a space for our Germany.

Wainscoting in Progress via cottagemagpie.com

Meanwhile, of course, there are repercussions to all of this. The contents of the office is in the family room. All of our other projects are still waiting for attention and Miss Butterfly picked all of the tulips. Again. It’s becoming an annual tradition.

Tulip Quilt in Progress via cottagemagpie.comPainted Frame Picking Colors via cottagemagpie.comVintage Dishes to Hang via cottagemagpie.comTulips in Mason Jar via cottagemagpie.com

Our bikes were stolen from out of our backyard over the winter, so as we slowly acquire new ones we’re finding places to store them inside. It makes me feel very young and urban to have bikes in the house.

On the upside, our garden is growing. It’s full of weeds, but growing. I managed to weed the Gazebo Thing and Miss Butterfly and Mr. Magpie brought home some pretty flowers for our front pots. The plum trees are covered with fruit, and the tree peony is blooming with massive huge blooms. If only I had planted it in a better spot! It’s cantilevered out to reach the sun, the poor thing.

Gravel Patio via cottagemagpie.comAnnuals for Containers via cottagemagpie.comTiny Fruit on a Santa Rosa Plum via cottagemagpie.comTree Peony in Bloom via cottagemagpie.com

So it goes in the haphazard world of Cottage Magpie. I used to feel bad that I couldn’t seem to operate on the classic “blog” type of schedule. You know, pick one room, work on it exclusively, show all the projects you did then show the room all done? That schedule. It sounds great. It makes for a great reading experience, it makes for a nice linear progress in the home, it makes for easy categorization of posts…. But alas, we just don’t work that way. We’re so busy and it really is a lot of work. Satisfying work, sure, but still a lot of work. So we follow the muse, and since our muse has ADD, it’s never going to be one straight line from start to finish around here. I’m okay with that.

Speaking of, did I ever show you my little sewing table? I rearranged the living-room-slash-sewing-room last month so it would feel less crowded, and I put the sewing machine on a little table with an end table for a seat. It’s right in front of my design wall and I’m really loving it so far. I was going to show more pictures but there’s still boxes and boxes of stuff to try and sort through, and I just don’t have that kind of nerve. But soon, I promise.

Sewing Table and Design Wall via cottagemagpie.com

Speaking of promises, I’m going to write part 2 of the moulding story next. So I won’t leave you hanging for too much longer. But in the meantime, I hope it’s beautiful where you are. Are you working on a project? Do you do things in order or all over the place?

With love,

~Angela :-)

Birthday Goodness

Birthday Goodness via cottagemagpie.com

Birthday Goodness via cottagemagpie.com

Last week was my birthday. I love this time of year. Not just because it’s my birthday, of course, but also because everything seems to be bursting forth outside. The big cherry tree on our street always blooms about now. It always seems like it’s blooming just for me.

I’ve been continuing to fuss with the front room art wall above my new-to-me couch. This poor wall has been patched and re-patched so many times from all the various art wall attempts it’s a wonder it doesn’t just fall down. So many holes!! This last time I was absolutely, positively certain that I had it just right, and then the next day realized that the arrangement was way too high. And cluttered. And, well, I’m doing it over again.

Here it is, the bottom half moved down. Still working on the top half–painting frames, that sort of thing. I’m stuck on a color for one of the frames, so that might take awhile. [Read more…]

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Sewing

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Sewing via cottagemagpie.com

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Sewing via cottagemagpie.com

You can always tell when I am coping with a large amount of stress in my life because my sewing output, like, quadruples or something. It’s not that I spend particularly more or less time sewing, it’s just that when I am sewing I am in Full Production Mode. You know what I mean? I’m all about getting things D. O. N. E. Done.

I don’t know why I find that so helpful in stressful times. Maybe because it helps me to feel like in some small measure I am still in control in the midst of the chaos around me. I was in the same mode when I finished the patchwork on The Happy Quilt last summer. At any rate, it is what it is, and as anyone who walks through my front door can tell, now is one of those times. [Read more…]

Finding Myself: When I Grow Up?

Finding Myself: When I Grow Up? via cottagemagpie.com

Finding Myself: When I Grow Up? via cottagemagpie.com

I‘ve been sick for the last week or so, so I’ve had lots of time to lay on the couch and ponder my life. Admittedly, when you are sick and miserable and can’t do anything about anything, pondering your life is probably not the best idea. However, ponder I did.

I have been feeling like my life is too complicated, too frantic, too messy, too much. I have been talking about this for awhile, reading amazing books like “Simplicity Parenting” and “The Joy of Less” but I’m still struggling with how to make real change. My problem is that the things I *want* to get rid of, I can’t, and the things I *can* get rid of, I don’t want to. So, I’m stuck, and around and around I go. [Read more…]

Our Family Adventure: Moving a Piano

Our Family Adventure: Moving a Piano via cottagemagpie.com

Our Family Adventure: Moving a Piano via cottagemagpie.com

You’ll never guess what we did last weekend. We bought a piano. I know. We already had one. Still have it, in fact, until we can find a buyer for it. But that piano never belonged here. We bought it from an antiques store, and it seemed great when we found it, but it was during the crash and money was so tight that we had to buy it on layaway. When it was finally delivered to our house, both Mr. Magpie and I were shocked. This wasn’t the piano we had purchased, was it???

I still don’t know for sure what happened. It was similar to the piano we had chosen, but it wasn’t at all like we remembered. It was massive, for one thing, and [Read more…]

You May Have Missed: Spring Gardening Posts

You May Have Missed: Spring Gardening Posts via cottagemagpie.com

You May Have Missed: Spring Gardening Posts via cottagemagpie.com

So, you may or may not remember this, but about a year ago January I decided that I was going to go back and fill in all the history from my adventures when I had time. I have taken all these pictures, and for one reason or another, not all of that made it onto the blog. And that’s okay, you know, life happens. But the blog has really become my own historical documentation as much as it is a way to share, and I wish it were more complete for that reason. So, I decided that I would just go ahead and put posts up at the date those things would have happened and let them life in the history. At least they’re there for me to reference that way! 🙂

I thought that every once in awhile I might let you know that those were there, in case anyone felt inspired to check them out. So from time to time you’ll see a “You May Have Missed” post, and [Read more…]

Happy May Day 2014

Happy May Day 2014 via cottagemagpie.com

Happy May Day 2014 via cottagemagpie.com

Is the sun shining where you are? The flowers blooming? The birds singing? Well, I live in the land of rain and more rain, but today, oh, today, the sun is shining and it’s the perfect beginning to summer. May Day! Happy May Day! A few days ago it was in the mid-fifties and raining, and today it is 80 degrees and gorgeous.

Of course, 80 degrees feels hot to me now, but by the end of summer it’ll seem cool and refreshing. But for now I’m just enjoying the sensation of my bones being baked warm. I feel like I’ve been cold since November. Even the hot car seems soothing to my aching joints and chilled feet. Food is growing, people are smiling, and it’s a joy to be alive, it truly is.

I know I’m gushing, but I just can’t tell you how blessed I feel to have the sun on my face, to live in a beautiful place, to eat food grown by my friends, to share the joy of life with the community around me. My heart is so full.

My May Day wish for you is that wherever you are, whether the sun is shining or not, that you will feel the warmth of it in your heart. That you will be surrounded by love and light and joy that carries you through summer. That you can have a moment to savor the unfolding of the season, to look forward to the pleasures of sweet berries, juicy sun-warmed tomatoes and cool water on your tired feet.

All my love to all of you,

Happy May Day!!

~Angela :-)

Tulips, Daffodils and Tigers

Tulips, Daffodils and Tigers via cottagemagpie.com

Tulips, Daffodils and Tigers via cottagemagpie.com

Last year when the tulips bloomed, Baby Girl picked them all for me. All at once, happy as can be, she picked them and gave them to me and I decided to be thankful for them. We had a chat, though, about how next year, when the tulips came back, we would pick some of the tulips. Some.

So, a few days ago, after being outside for a few minutes, Baby Girl came storming back into the house, jumping up and down and screaming, “Mommy!!!!! The tulips are blooming, the tulips are blooming!!! I can pick some of them for you! Just some.” [Read more…]