The Garden Shed. Inside. Before. Yikes.

The Garden Shed. Inside. Before. Yikes. via cottagemagpie.com

The Garden Shed. Inside. Before. Yikes. via cottagemagpie.com

So, I don’t know about you, but when I posted about how I was going to do my One and Only Project outside in The Shed Garden this summer, didn’t you immediately really, really want to know what was inside the shed?

Okay, well, I already know, but if it had been someone else’s life I would have been dying to know. So I thought I’d show you.

But here’s the thing.

It’s scary.

I mean really, really scary. [Read more...]


The Ways We Say, “I Love You.”

The Ways We Say I Love You via cottagemagpie.com

The Ways We Say I Love You via cottagemagpie.com

When you have close friends or family with Asperger’s Syndrome, you spend a lot of time building your own personal Rosetta stone, learning how to translate between what you think you heard and what was really meant. It’s like being in a close relationship with someone who speaks a different language, except that since you both speak what appears to be the same language, you trip all the time over mistranslations. Doesn’t “egg” always mean “egg”? Turns out, not so much.

This can be a challenge when it comes to talking about love.

For the record, I believe that everyone needs to be loved. Romantically, platonically, familially, spiritually. It’s a necessary part of our well-being. [Read more...]


Scrappy Pink & Green Irish Chain Started

Scrappy Pink & Green Irish Chain Started via cottagemagpie.com

Scrappy Pink & Green Irish Chain Started via cottagemagpie.com

Of course, the thing about Spring is that it may be sunny some of the time, but it’s rainy a lot of the time, and so I can’t be outside every day working on my garden project. Of course, I don’t mind too much because I always have things to do in my studio! Most recently I’m working on a scrappy Irish Chain quilt for myself. It’s getting warm enough here now that my duvet is too hot so I really need the quilt so I can upgrade from the mish-mosh of blankets and throws I’m using now!

I’ve always wanted to make an Irish Chain quilt. In fact, most of you probably don’t remember, but when I was first blogging (back in the mists of time) I shared was my epic failure in attempting an Irish Chain quilt at the time. I mean, it was terrible. I eventually got rid of all of those 2″ pieces and went on to work on other projects, intending that I’d come back to my beloved Irish Chain sometime.

Well, that time is now. [Read more...]


This Year’s Garden Project: The Shed Garden

This Year's Garden Project: The Shed Garden via cottagemagpie.com

This Year's Garden Project: The Shed Garden via cottagemagpie.com

Are you one of those people who has a clear idea of what they can and can’t get done in any given timeframe? You know, who is selective about their projects, realistic about completion times, good about finishing what you start?

Yeah, me neither.

But I’m trying, I really am. One of the things I’ve finally figured out is that I can only do one garden project a year. Truly, just one, not one plus-really-I’m-hoping-to-squeeze-in-five-more. ONE. I mean, why always be hoping I’m going to get an unrealistic set of tasks done and be constantly discouraged that reality doesn’t measure up? Why not set a realistic, achievable goal and then feel great about my easy win, right? [Read more...]


Purging, Sitting, Stitching and Vintage Art

Purging, Sitting, Stitching and Vintage Art via cottagemagpie.com

Purging, Sitting, Stitching and Vintage Art via cottagemagpie.com

So, a funny thing happens when you post about Spring (Spring!!). Mother Nature decides it would be suuuuper funny to dump massive quantities of snow all over your proceedings. Um, yeah. Like A LOT of snow. The day after I pushed “publish” we were treated to a snowstorm of (for the Pacific Northwest anyway) epic proportions. For four days I didn’t go anywhere and nobody came here. Which was kind of awesome because it meant that I could tear my whole house apart! Ha!

I’ve had some bigger furniture swapping projects that I’ve been avoiding because it would mean major chaos fallout for a few days while I put things back together. You know the kind of project I mean? Where you are playing musical furniture between four different rooms and everything in those four rooms has to be dumped on the nearest available surfaces or crammed in boxes so you can just get the pieces moved around? And then you’re left with an entirely wrecked house?

Yep, one of those projects. [Read more...]


Welcome Spring, aka Purging All of the Things

Welcome Spring, aka Purging All of the Things via cottagemagpie.com

Welcome Spring, aka Purging All of the Things via cottagemagpie.com

Can you feel Spring coming? I can. I can smell it in the air. I can smell the dampness of the soil thawing and things starting to grow. There are crocuses and daffodils starting to emerge in the garden, and I can start to envision what it will be like when all the roses start blooming in early summer.

There’s something about Spring that just makes you want to Spring clean, doesn’t it? When I was a kid my Mom always wanted to do Spring cleaning in April or so, which never made sense to me. By April I just want to go out out out out out outside. For me, the urge to declutter and clean comes right now — the end of January, through February. It just feels like a natural thing, to sweep out the house and be ready for warmer weather. [Read more...]


Simple Summer Sunshine Quilt Finished

Simple Summer Sunshine Quilt Finished via cottagemagpie.com

Simple Summer Sunshine Quilt Finished via cottagemagpie.com

Thank you all so, so very much for your incredible support and loving comments on my big post last week. It was a hard post to write and scary to publish, but now that I’ve done it I feel such a sense of relief and liberation. I really hadn’t realized how much I was letting the blog stress me out! Letting go has been like having the fresh Spring breezes clean out my mind.

The hardest part was going through a loop-de-loop of feeling like I had to justify all my newly found “free time” by filling it up with activities for the children. Apparently I have a deeply installed sense of shame about idleness. (Or perceived idleness, since apparently my inner critic doesn’t seem to think that writing, sewing, reading, gardening, or decorating count.) I’m working on it. I truly believe (at least, intellectually) [Read more...]


Finding Myself: “Blogging” vs. “blogging”

Finding Myself: Blogging vs. blogging via cottagemagpie.com

Finding Myself: Blogging vs. blogging via cottagemagpie.com

When I started my blog in 2006, I intended Cottage Magpie to be the online cottage version of Better Homes & Gardens. This is a little embarrassing to admit now, but it’s true. I wanted to create a resource for cottage decorating, gardening, sewing, recipes and holidays that would rival the big gorilla of home publishing, but all based on my own projects that I was doing at home.

Hey, a girl’s gotta have dreams, right?

But it didn’t occur to me that Meredith is a huge corporation with literally hundreds of people to produce all that content. I mean, I knew that, but I didn’t think it mattered. I think I was still used to my time working in dot com companies [Read more...]


A Collection for Baby Girl’s Room

A Collection for Baby Girl's Room via cottagemagpie.com

A Collection for Baby Girl's Room via cottagemagpie.com

Baby Girl’s room has been such a journey for me. I’ve had expectations that were just SO HIGH that I could never move forward with any of my plans. I’d get started, do some work, get confused, get discouraged, start over… In her short little life her room has changed so many times, it’s kind of embarrassing. So far she’s had two rooms, three beds (plus a crib), two china hutches, two dressers, two nightstands, and we haven’t even discussed paint colors. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Most recently, just before Christmas, I got a wild hair and decided to finally paint the bed white (and the inside of the closet). I’ve been waiting forever to do it, and Christmas was not the best time, but I just did it anyway. Baby Girl helped. We had fun. And as much as I do actually love pine, I love the white so much more for her room. [Read more...]


PKM and a 1930s Assortment

PKM and a 1930s Assortment via cottagemagpie.com

PKM and a 1930s Assortment via cottagemagpie.com

Did any of you get fabric for Christmas? Me neither. But I *did* get a gift certificate to the local fabric store. I’ll be excited to use that. In the meantime, I did splurge a bit on fabric for myself. I had to take my poor sewing machine up to a quilt shop in a town over an hour away to be repaired for a large-but-not-exhorbitant amount of money, and while I was there I just had, had, had to buy some of the 1930s reproduction fabrics. I really can’t get enough of them.

I also may have gotten a little carried away on Fabric.com ordering some Christmas-y fabrics for next year, too. You know how I have all that white and red in my bedroom at Christmas now, and I was thinking how cute it would be if I had some pillowcases in bright red or bright green or bright aqua to kind of add some excitement, right? [Read more...]