Cedar Cottage, home

On Sub-Par Photography Skills and Deep Gratitude

January 27, 2015

Let me begin by saying our hall is one of the most difficult spaces to photograph. Combine the low light, close quarters, and the glossy surface I’m trying to capture, and you’ve got the perfect photographic storm. Behold!

IMG_0350 I know, right? It looks like someone was a little tipsy when trying to frame this piece. Not a parallel or perpendicular line in the whole thing. And the glare. The GLARE, people! All I wanted to do was show you our most recent addition to our home. Something we’ve been working on framing since we moved in. And this was all I managed to capture.

I tried from another angle to no avail.


MmmHmmm. More glare. More ghostly images of the part of the space I’m not trying to show you. But look closely.

IMG_0360 If you squint a little you can see what it is. Original blue prints of our cottage! When we bought this home, we were gifted with an entire box of plans, receipts, photos, and yes, original blueprints of the house. And now we finally have them preserved and on the wall.

As I was becoming more and more frustrated with the photo-editing process, something struck me.

IMG_0350 Superimposed on top of the original blueprint was a glimpse of the house as it is now. From before it ever was, to our nest today. As I looked at the image, my mind wandered, thinking of all the lives that have come and gone in this home since these plans were drawn up. Births. Deaths. Weddings. Deep sorrow. Great joy. And now our family has the privilege of continuing the story. Poor photography? Perhaps. Rich in history and deep gratitude? Without question.

craftiness, design ideas

Pucker Up, Buttercup: Easy Valentine Decor

January 25, 2015

If you are like me, I’m reeeeally feeling the need to infuse a little color and warmth into these cold days. I think that is why just a touch of Valentine’s Day decor is oh-so-appealing as we round the corner into February. Here’s the thing, though: I don’t want to spend much (if anything) on those little touches since they hang around for such a short time. Enter today’s little project. And the best part is that you probably have everything you need right at home. Bonus! Take a look at what I whipped up:

IMG_2096 Yup. That’s it. Just a little frame with a smooch and a few sweet words. Voila. Instant art, warmth, and whimsy. And just for a little mental image to make you giggle, here’s a peek at my “practice smooches.”

IMG_2108 That’s right. A little pucker paint, white paper, and a frame. That’s it! Need a few French words to fancy it up a little?

je t’aime = I love you

je t’adore = hubba hubba

bisous = kisses

embrasse-moi = kiss me

tu me manques = I miss you

mon petit chou = my little cabbage (a term of endearment)

mon coeur = my heart

mon amour = my love


An easy, inexpensive, and fun way to liven up the cold winter nights, no? Pucker up, friends!!!


Cedar Cottage, family, home, stuff I like

Finding Delight

January 19, 2015

In my neck of the woods, like all over the country, it has been a bit chilly. Like 20 degrees for days at a time.With a big side of gray clouds. Not really what we are used to here in West Texas. As much as I love snuggling up next to a warm fire, this girl was in serious need of a little sunshine, both figuratively and literally. Based on a few conversations with friends, I was not alone. I decided it was time for me to go on a little treasure hunt. I had a few rules, though, to keep it interesting. First, I wasn’t allowed to spend any money. Sometimes retail therapy is just a little too easy for me. It had to be stuff I already had. Second, it had to be found within my home. Finally, it had to be something that had some meaning behind it. None of this, “Oh, it just made me smile!” business.

Off I went to see what I could find. Behold!

IMG_2036 First, our sweet banister. It is original, it is unique, and most of all it reminds me of my little pug friend, George, whose tail curls up on his little hind quarters like a cinnamon roll. Makes me smile every time.

IMG_2054 This shot I took at the Museé D’Orsay in Paris a couple of years ago. It’s now a canvas that hangs in our home. One of my favorite places in one of my favorite cities, mingled with memories of a formative trip with my students. Pure delight.

IMG_2047 Blondie’s warm, snuggly boots (warm and snuggly always brings a smile) kicked off next to the dining table in anticipation of…

IMG_2033 …what I’ve dubbed “Posh Pong.” When you play ping pong beneath a chandelier, it is a little extra special. We had a set similar to this when I was a kid. Love that there are all new memories being made around this table. Delicious.


These original sconces. There are several sprinkled throughout the house, and I love thinking of the warm glow they’ve cast on many generations. I am quite blessed to be one in a long line. Sends sparks to my soul.

And finally…

IMG_2057 …actual sunshine! Seeing these shadows fall brought great delight, as did the warm rays dancing on my cheeks. Yes, you must sometimes have clouds to appreciate the sunshine. And I do. Very much so. How are you finding delight in the gray of winter, friends?

design ideas, home, Tutorials

Bedroom Refresh: DIY Slipcovered Headboard

January 6, 2015

Happy new year, friends! I’m not necessarily one to make resolutions, but I do love the clean, fresh feeling that comes after putting away Christmas decor and cleaning to the corners. It’s also the time of year I like to freshen my bed a bit, and this year I wanted to add a bit of coziness as it’s been quite chilly in my neck of the woods.

Not long ago my friend Holly suggested that an upholstered headboard would really soften things up, and she is right. They are lovely to lean into while reading, but it wasn’t in the budget for me. Also, Dr. Kyle might have relegated me to the B & B downstairs if I asked him to muscle one more large piece of furniture. So, I decided to work with what I already had in place. My solution? Slipcover my headboard. Shoot, I’d already mowed down the footboard with a reciprocating saw a few years ago, so what’s a little upholstered embellishment, right? Here’s what I came up with!

IMG_1978 I started with an inexpensive quilt I found at TJ Maxx. I flopped it over the headboard and measured and cut it to size.


I finished the cut edges with neutral pleated cotton twill tape from M&J Trimming in NYC. Next, I added wide, white cotton twill tape for the ties. Here’s a close up. I love the texture and body of the twill tape. It makes for nice bows.

IMG_1993 For a little extra squishiness, I layered a thick fleece blanket under the slipcover. Bonus. Even Rufus agrees that it’s extra cozy now.


Bless his heart.

How have you freshened your home this new year? Do tell! And may it be a happy, healthy one full of all sorts of goodness, dear readers.



stuff I like

Stuff I Like: Snuggly Edition

December 28, 2014

It’s math time, friends! Here’s your word problem of the day. If one lives in an 85-year-old home with 52 windows, what is the relative chill factor when it is 25* outside? The answer? Chilly. I mean, I’m no math wizard, but I do know that most homes our age don’t come with lots of insulation, so staying warm can be a bit of a challenge. Do I mind? Not in the least. I mean, I get to live in a place loaded with charm (I still can’t believe that I get to live here, people), so a little draft here and there is something I’m happy to accommodate. In fact, I’ve made it my mission to find ways for us to stay warm and toasty without having the heat cranked up every minute of the day. Need to up the snuggle factor at your house, too? Here are a few of my favorites:

snuggly.001 1. Barefoot Dreams Drape Front Cardigan  Y’all, hear me now and believe me later-you will never want to take this cardigan off. It’s soft, snuggly, and not so thick that you look like the little brother in A Christmas Story in his snowsuit. And it’s cute! You could easily wear this baby to pick up the kids or stop by the grocery store. Bonus.

2. k. hall studio Lavender Hand Cream I know what you’re thinking. No, this isn’t snuggly, but well moisturized hands in the dead of winter rank high on the comfort scale, and this stuff does the trick. When I bought it, the woman behind the counter said, “Oh. This will change your hands.” She did not lie. And it smells heavenly.

3. Draft Dodger/Door Snake Yes, it looks weird. But if you live in an old house, I’d wager that you have gaps under your doors that let in actual swaths of sunlight during the day. This little gem (essentially a long fabric tube filled with uncooked rice) stops drafts before they ever get to you. Pretty smart, and an easy diy project if you’re even the slightest bit handy with a sewing machine. For an added bonus, add the essential oil of your choice to the dry rice inside for a little winter pick-me-up.

4. Barefoot Dreams Hooded Robe Sexy? Nah, but oh my is it snuggly. In fact, I challenge you to find another robe that makes you feel like a jillion cozy bucks. Seriously. So, you may not be able to pull this one off at the local Piggly Wiggly, but for at-home wear it can. not. be. beat.

5. Capri Blue Candle in Fir & Firewood Again, I know this isn’t actually something you’d cuddle up with, but there is no denying that a great candle can seriously improve the mood of all that smell it. I bought this in late October but didn’t light it up until just before Christmas. I’m still asking myself why. Anthropologie doesn’t show this on their website anymore, but it is worth busting through the doors and yelling, “Fir & Firewood. Stat!” Hopefully they will meet your candle needs post haste. It’s worth a shot, anyway.

6. Ugg Bailey Bow Boots People. They’re Uggs. And they have bows on them. ‘Nuff said.

7. Pottery Barn Cable Knit Throw Cozy cable knit goodness on one side, fleecy sheeepskin-like goodness on the other. Dreamy. Just add a warm cuppa and a good book.

8. Jo Malone Wild Fig & Cassis Bath Oil A splurge? Totally, but there’s nothing like a good soak to warm you from the inside out. Don’t want to drop $65 on some bath oil? No worries. check out my easy (like, really) recipe for bath salt that will send you into bathing bliss for pennies.

9. Smart Wool Crew Socks Yes, they are wool, but they are merino wool. That means they are as soft as a whisper with just a little cushion on the bottom. And they fit like a dream. No worries, you can wash and dry them like any old socks without any risk of shrinkage.

There you have it, friends. A few of my favorites for staying toasty as old man winter blows his way through west Texas. What would you add to the list?