Shall We Chat?

Entry Hooks and Aqua Clock via

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 :-)


I think it’s possible that I am the last person on earth to be on Instagram. I’m still getting the hang of it — I don’t know how to get actual pictures from the blog on there, or how to search by hashtags, or what the best filters are. Usually I would figure every little detail out first, but this time I’m just jumping in.

Here’s a bit of what I’ve shared there in the last few days.

First off, this is Baby Girl’s new bed. She’d been asking for a twin bed instead of the double we had scrounged up for her.

Twin Pine Sleigh Bed via Cottage Magpie

I know I never got around to telling you about this great score I had gotten — we had found a clawfoot tub at Habitat ReStore for only $75! Great, huh? But we didn’t want to rip out the bathtub we made gold-pressed latinum to have installed in the hall bathroom, so we planned to use it in the master bathroom when we redid that. Can you picture it? Clawfoot by the window? Right? Right?

Yeah, except that we have no idea if and/or when we’re going to do that remodel. We might move. We might do a major remodel. We don’t know. SO it was just stored in there, collecting dust and barking shins. Seriously. But it just so happens that I have a good friend who is remodeling her bathroom right now, and needs a clawfoot, so we sold it to her for the $75 we paid for it. And, that was almost the whole amount we needed to buy this bed and mattress set for my little girl from another family in our neighborhood. Isn’t it cool how things work out like that?

The Orange Chicken Dresser via Cottage Magpie

The weird thing is that the bed is smaller, but we can’t fit as much furniture. So I had been voting to move the orange dresser with the chickens on it out of her room and maybe into the family room. I mean, I looooove that thing. It was a $30 Goodwill find. I even managed to talk her into changing it out. But I couldn’t do it. It’s so perfect in there, and the pink, purple and orange color scheme we’re starting to collect is just so great, I can’t bear to take it. So it’ll stay.

For part of her bedroom project, I have been collecting up quilt squares so I can make her a patchwork quilt. I wanted to include more orange in it, and so I got this dress at the thrift store:

Coral Eyelet Dress via Cottage Magpie

But I couldn’t bear to cut it up! I have some issues, apparently. It’s so pretty, though, I finally gave up and hung it up on the wall in my workshop. I love the color. Of course, now I need something for the other side of the mirror. Not sure what will happen there, yet.

Oh, and I mentioned that I can’t decide on the colors in here? It’s driving me nuts. More on that as soon as I can clean it enough to take a decent picture.

Meanwhile, though, lots of creative things are happening anyway. The very very very last of the Christmas gifts is almost assembled (look away, family-type people):

 via Cottage Magpie

And my Scrappy Trip Along quilt is almost done being tied:

 via Cottage Magpie

And while I was sick I started crocheting these amazing flower squares, using this pattern, and I. Can’t. Stop.

 via Cottage Magpie

So things are happening, in true haphazard Magpie fashion! What are you up to?

If you are on Instagram, go ahead and find and follow me there, or leave your username in the comments so I can find you. As for me, I’m at on the web or @cottagemagpie on your mobile device. If you have any great tips or helpful suggestions, leave those in the comments, too.

~Angela :-)

Fixing the Journal

Valentine Cottage in the Snow via Cottage Magpie

Cotoneaster Parneyii in the Snow via Cottage Magpie

First of all, thank you so much for your supportive and kind comments on my post from yesterday. I was a leeeeetle nervous about sharing all that, not to mention talking about that taboo subject, money. But it felt good to do it, and you guys were so sweet to me! Thank you. I actually got kind of choked up reading all of your supportive comments. It really meant a lot to me.

So, meanwhile, there’s one other thing I wanted to tell you before we get back to “real life” posting. Over the years, there’s been a ton of stuff I wanted to share with you that I didn’t get a chance to. I’ve never known what to do about all that content. These pictures are a perfect example, both taken in January of 2007 but never posted.

Something a friend of mine said yesterday (over on Facebook), made me realize what I wanted to do. She said that her blog was a journal, a chronicle of her goings on, and that even if nobody read it, she’d want to have it.

I feel exactly the same way. I love connecting with all of you, but even if nobody ever read my blog, I would still have it. I love having that history. I get a great kick out of looking back and seeing how far we’ve come. Plus, let’s be honest, since we move at a glacial pace, I need visual references. Right now, that record is incomplete. So, it may be a bit radical, but I’m going to go back and fill in the important details.

Since this is mostly for me, I’ll try to be selective. I won’t include every single thing, just the things that were important to me, or had really beautiful photos, or that I am sad about not sharing at the time. I’ll just do them one or two at a time so they don’t swamp your reader, and I’ll include a little note so that it’s clear it’s one of “those” posts. Finally, I’ll try to keep them roughly in season, so January posts of yore will go up during January of this year and so on. Hopefully, this will provide not only a more complete record for me, but also a richer history for you.

Okay! I think that covers all the housekeeping I wanted to cover as we swing into the new year here. Next up we’ll get back to talking about what’s going on around here!! 🙂

Thank you again for being the must loving, supportive group of friends a girl could ask for. I couldn’t have asked for better.


~Angela :-)

Before Vs. After: Who Do You Love?

So I’ve been wondering. What do you guys like to see? Are you all about the “live” action, seeing the ugly as it happens? Or do you like “all pretty all the time?” There’s many ways to write a blog, but what do you like to read?

I think about this frequently as I’m working on things that aren’t particularly photogenic while I’m doing them. Like right now I’m working on that slipcover, and the fabric hutch, along with the bathroom and Baby Girl’s room (because we have company coming in a few months), and so there’s lots happening, just not lots that’s pretty.

So I thought about all the ways that I’ve seen blogs handle this, and I noticed a few common themes. I’m sure there’s a million other ways to do it, it’s not like this is an exhaustive list, but these seem to be the most common ways that I noticed.

1. The “Live Action” Blog .
Everything that’s happening gets shown, as it happens, whether it’s pretty or not. Tutorials might come as you go, or might come at the end, depending on how fast the “live action” is going.
Pro: You get to see things progress “real time.”
Con: You have to see a lot of ugly posts before you get to the “good stuff” (i.e. the reveal).

2. The “Before/After” Blog.
There’s usually one post showing a “before,” then a lull, then one post showing the “after.” If there’s tutorials, they come after the big “reveal.”
Pro: Not a lot of ugly messy posts.
Con: Lots of waiting for afters, and not a lot of visibility into the “real” process.

3. The “Keep the Conversation Going” Blog.
This is a varation on the Before/After Blog, except that the spaces in between “before” and “after” are filled with other things. Pinterest posts, Features of other bloggers, discussions of style, decorating tips and tricks, linky parties, etc.
Pros: Lots to read, see and discuss.
Con: Still a lot of waiting to see the blogger’s actual projects, and still not a lot of visibility into the real process.

4. The “All Eye Candy All The Time” Blog.
This blog doesn’t really have “befores” — only afters. There’s big afters once in awhile (rooms), but the rest of the time there are mini-afters (a basket, a box), pictures of thrift store finds, vignettes, “corners of my home”, “little moments” that kind of thing.
Pro: Pretty, pretty, all the time pretty. Who doesn’t love eye candy?
Con: Since the focus is on the pretty, there’s not a big focus on tutorials, befores or any of the in-process stuff.

So. What do you prefer? Do you have a strong preference? Does one of these types of blog really excite or interest you?

In addition, I do really want to know what you want to read HERE at Cottage Magpie? Because I’d like to deliver what you are most interested in reading.

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

~Angela :-)

A Fresh New Start

Flowers From Garden

Cottage Pillows

Up until now, my blog has been a constantly evolving project. I’ve changed focus, changed topics, changed formats and changed designs. I’ve split it up, put it together, left it to linger and just about everything in between.

It’s possible that I have a problem with focus.

This summer I’ve been focused, too, on everything except Cottage Magpie. I’m having a baby girl this month (any minute now), and that’s been taking up most of my attention.

But I’ve been itching to get back and share everything I’ve been working on. And I thought: what better time than to start with a fresh new outlook, new design, new start.

So here it is, just in time for baby girl’s birthday. The old stuff is all still here, but I’m starting fresh from here on out.

I’m excited to be back, and I can’t wait to catch up with all of you!

My very best,

~Angela :-)

It’s (Gonna Be) A Girl!!

Peony Blossom

I promised I’d let you know as soon as I found out whether I’m having a boy or a girl….well, I found out today.

It’s a girl! She’s not due to make an appearance until October, but at least now I know.

Finally, I can shop!!! 🙂

~Angela :-)

Expecting Another

Prunus Kwanzan Cherry Blossom

Hi everybody!

There’s something I have been wanting to talk to you all about. I know that some of you noticed that there was a couple of months or so where I dropped off the face of the earth and didn’t post. Then I just sort of started posting again and didn’t mention being absent.

Well, there’s a reason for that! I was nauseous for a few months there, so nauseous that I couldn’t be at my computer for more than a few minutes without getting seasick. And then I wasn’t nauseous, but I wasn’t quite ready to talk about it yet.

But now I am.

And yes, if you’ve already guessed: I’m expecting! Tee hee! Our little bundle of joy is expected in mid-October. Of course, I’m dying to start on the new nursery, but I’m waiting until next month when I find out whether we’re having a girl or a boy. I’ll let you know.


~Angela :-)