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 :-)

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  1. Since I don’t live far from you – it’s beautiful here, too, as you know. The ripple effect has hit our home. We are working to finish the restoration of my little, vintage trailer. I shared a blog post today that says it all – my dining room table has become a painting place for the inner workings of the trailer. One thing leads to another and soon we can’t find anything we’re looking for. But, it’s going to get better! I know it is!!

  2. My Hubby and I use to watch “This Old House” with Bob Vila and Norm Abram too. We had just bought our first house so we were interested in fixing up homes back then. I use to tease my Hubby saying that “Norm could do it” whenever we were thinking about a project.

    I love your sewing nook with the quilt background and painted little stool! It is so cute. We just moved into a new home and I’m working on putting my sewing/craft hobby room side together. We have millions of boxes everywhere. But my corner of the huge hobby room is wonderful. I finally have room to walk easily around my cutting table. Actually I could dance around it and not hit anything.

    Don’t worry how you post on your WIPs. I’m not like most of the home blogs either. Sometimes I forget to take before photos even. I figure there are enough step-by-step repair and remodel blogs out there already that do a better job of explaining “how to” than I ever could. LOL!

    Love your Magpie Cottage!

  3. ohh look at those fabrics, the patterns are divine! such wonderful colors, looks like spring has finally begun! x Motte

  4. Our house projects are exactly the same way! I so wish I could knock a room out, photograph it, and show it off! We, too, need a Switzerland, currently our bathroom would come the closest, hahaha! I’m also very bad about deciding what I want to keep to decorate with and what I should probably get rid of. I don’t have tons of storage space, but still have things that I just hate to part with! It will help to have things closer to completion, but my little hoard of things I really like sometimes slows my progress down, too! Everything has been just floating from room to room, though things really are finally finding permanent (for now, heehee) spaces. We’re getting there!

    • Hi Michelle — I think I am finally getting to where I don’t have to keep a million extra things around for “just in case” decorating! It’s so liberating, isn’t it? Thanks for stopping by! ~Angela~

  5. So sorry for your bike loss! I want my whole house to be Germany. Preferably in Germany.

  6. Some amazing photos here! I’m glad to see your flowers are looking so great. And your little sewing area is amazing. So cute!

  7. Hi Angela 🙂

    Glad to see you’re still blogging!

    Don’t feel bad, I don’t work on a one room at a time theme either lol Your home is looking beautiful though 🙂


  8. That’s really brilliant advice! I hope you’ll share your progress soon. I always love your photos and the way you tell your stories!

    • Thank you, Jen! I wish I could take credit for it, but alas, it was This Old House. But it’s good advice! ~Angela~

  9. Having a Switzerland and a Germany would certainly be helpful, but a creative swirl works in it’s own convoluted way. I love your muse with ADD. Wondering if she pops in over here when she’s not at your place.

    Love the colors in these photos.

    • Thank you, Lynda! I like to think it’s not so much ADD as much as a giant game of musical chairs because I’m cheap and don’t want to buy anything. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! ~Angela~

  10. “Make sure you have a Switzerland and a Germany” – haha I love it. Really, a fantastic idea to keep organized, and to remind yourself that you have a little place to retreat to!
    I also love the little sewing table corner, so colorful!

    • Thank you so much, Motte! I would like to take credit for the idea, but it was totally the host on This Old House. But very useful! ~Angela~

  11. What an interesting idea. I’m in a desperate need of some switzerland and germany on my house, because every single room is affected by the children’s toys chaos. Love the post!

  12. Robert Wallace says:

    The tea cup plates are wonderful. They remind me of some my mother used to have.

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