Ripple Effect

Lilac in Bloom via

Kitty on a Blanket via

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

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

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

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

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 :-)

The Moulding Saga, Part 1

The Moulding Saga, Part 1 via

Those of you who’ve been around awhile might remember that four years ago (FOUR!!!) I worked really hard to put new moulding into my daughter’s room.

Today? Today, I ripped all of it out. Which I admit is pretty shocking. But here’s the thing. When we put that moulding up four years ago? I knew within days that it was the wrong choice, but I didn’t know what to do about it. [Read more…]

Somehow, It Blooms Anyway

Somehow, It Blooms Anyway via

Somehow, It Blooms Anyway via

So, I may have mentioned this already, but most of my time this summer has been consumed by helping my Mom move to a fantastic retirement community, clearing out her old house and putting it on the market. It’s a huge, mammoth, gargantuan job as you can probably imagine, and it’s taken all summer so far and there’s still miles to go.

My house? Nothing is happening at my house except the accumulation of unfinished chores. Inside, the only thing changing is the growing piles of stuff. In the garden, any progress that had been made has completely been overtaken by the six-foot weeds and healthy crop of dandelions. I’m sure the neighbors are wondering if I’ve taken up dandelion farming. [Read more…]

All Cleared Out, Where Do We Go?

All Cleared Out, Where Do We Go? via

All Cleared Out, Where Do We Go? via

When I declared so boldly that I was going to finish my living-room-slash-sewing-space once and for all, I forgot I was going to have to pack the whole room up and clear it out. Ugh!! Isn’t that just the hardest part ever? Having to figure out where to put all that stuff so that it doesn’t (a) swamp the rest of the house, yet (b) is still accessible is just hard. Haaaaard!!!

Okay, it wasn’t that bad, it just took FOR EVER. But I’m happy to say that not only am I don’t clearing the room but we’ve actually done the first teeny, tiny bit of work! Yay! So, given our current rate of progress, we should be done in, oh, say, 37 years! Woo hoo!!

Kidding. I’m sure we’ll [Read more…]

Garden in Bloom: June 2014

Garden in Bloom: June 2014 via

Garden in Bloom: June 2014 via

Aside from my birthday month of April, I think June is one of my favorite months. The whole garden bursts into bloom and it’s such a joy to watch it unfolding every day. This garden needs a little attention. Some things have died off and others taken over. Some of the perennials need dividing. So it’s not in as full of glory as it was a couple of years ago. But it’s okay. It’s still a cheerful burst of color to enjoy.

The weather this year has been unusual to me. It’s been warmer and wetter than I remember from previous years. Muggy and overcast isn’t the most common condition where I live. Overcast, sure, but then rainy and [Read more…]

Living Room, Before

Living Room, Before via

Living Room, Before via

I just realized that I never actually did a full “before” post of my Living Room here at Pear Tree Cottage. It was included in the very first post for the house, (“Welcome to Pear Tree Cottage“) that I did back in (gasp) 2007, but I never looped back around to show you the nitty gritty. So, since I’ve decided to get this room done, done, finally done, I thought I might go ahead and give you the goods on what this room looked like when we bought the house.

It’s been through many, many iterations since then, and I’ll share a little summary of those next week, but for now, here’s a little look back to 2007, featuring my [Read more…]

Continuing Progress in the Back Garden

Continuing Progress in the Back Garden via

Continuing Progress in the Back Garden via

Flowers continue to bloom and fade, and little creatures come and go, and I keep chipping away at cleaning up the back garden so I can feel guilt free about focusing on the shed garden this summer. Now that it’s June, the proportion of sun to rain has increased, though we still have little spatters here and there.

But with the increase of good weather, and the decrease of children’s schoolwork, I’m starting to make bigger strides out here. The herb garden I put in a few years ago had gotten kind of ragged. Originally it had herbs, decorative and [Read more…]

Spring Flowers in the Rain

Spring Flowers in the Rain via

Spring Flowers in the Rain via

The garden here evolves on a daily basis this time of year. With the mix of sunshine and rain, things are growing so fast (*ahem* like my lawn *ahem*). I find myself wanting to take a little tour every day just to see what’s newly blooming, what’s about to bloom, what’s already fading.

The weather is mercurial. Some days we have squalls and rainstorms sweeping through the otherwise sunny days. Other times it’s unrelentingly drizzly, and the flowers bend under the weight of all the water.

My favorite days are when it’s a little bit of both, a little but sunny, a little bit rainy. Then the light does amazing things, and [Read more…]

Garden in Bloom: May 2014

Garden in Bloom: May 2014 via

Garden in Bloom: May 2014 via

Luckily for me, the garden doesn’t care if it’s cleaned up or not. It just blooms and blooms anyway. This time of year is so fun with the peonies all peeking out their heads and gradually opening to a frilly, blowsy celebration of joy. I love waiting for this show every year. Most of the best action in my garden all takes place in this one little part, the garden around the Gazebo Thing and the part next to it where I put the bird and butterfly garden. I did all that work our first summer here. I took lots of pictures, too, but never shared them. I’ll have to go back and do that, soon.

But in the meantime, you see what’s blooming. These gardens don’t have as many blossoms as they did originally–I think they need a bit of dividing and editing, but I’m still enjoying what’s going on, and [Read more…]

Refocusing: My Sewing Studio

Refocusing: My Sewing Studio via

Refocusing: My Sewing Studio via

So, I have a little bit of Decorating ADD. I think you all knew this already. I think I knew this already, but wasn’t quite ready to admit it to myself. But it’s true. Sometimes it’s for practical reasons (can’t afford the next step, can’t logistically do the next step, can’t physically/mentally do the next step, don’t have the skills for the next step). But sometimes it’s just, you know, “OOooh, SHINY!” (This blog is called Cottage Magpie for a reason, people.)

Case in point, my recent obsession with the once-again-large family room (and the new-to-me iron daybed I got to put in it (and the Bohemian quilt I made to put on that)). I mean, yes, it was the right thing to do, and yes, it was a good evolution in our space to open it back up, etc. etc. etc.., but [Read more…]