"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it's established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." Proverbs 24:3-4

Monday, July 31, 2017

A Birthday Gift

"Home is the nicest word there is."
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder 

(A view of the countryside that we call home...)

Hello again, friends!

I had a birthday recently, and I'm excited to show you the gift Micah made for me!

When we purchased our farmhouse and surrounding land eight years ago, we inherited this antique tree with the white porch swing dangling from it...

It quickly became one of our favorite places on the property, and we have thoroughly enjoyed it over the years!!!

It's our private, storybook little spot that we've been blessed to call our own!

When we're here I think we're inside one of our vintage children's books, because it reminds me of some of the beautiful illustrations that I ooh and ahh over every time I'm reading to my children. 

"Up into the cherry tree
Who should climb but little me?
I held the trunk with both my hands
And looked abroad on foreign lands."
(Foreign Lands by Robert Louis Stevenson)

I love that my children are being raised on hills, and trees, and meadows. Just the way children were raised many, many years ago...

"... Off they went, climbing joyfully up the Alm. The green Alp was covered with blue and yellow flowers, and their wide-open petals seemed laughing back at the sun, while everything shimmered and shone. Heidi scampered hither and thither, shouting for joy. Gathering great handfuls of flowers, she stuffed them all into her apron; for she must carry them home with her."
(An excerpt from Heidi in the Alpine Pasture, by Johanna Spyri)

Just free to run and play and climb...

What a delightful life...

We always enjoy a nature walk on the trails first, before stopping at the swing for a nice, shady rest...

Sometimes we stop by the pond so that the children can pick the raspberries that grow wild there. And other times we get lucky, and spot a doe or a fawn running around on the trails...

(Can you see her?...)

We all hush! And freeze! And hold our breaths...

This is exciting stuff!

(Poor thing was confused at the sight of us...)

When she darts off we resume our walk.

This lovely drawing of a mama walking with her baby reminds me of Elsa and myself when we walk the trails. (Just much better dressed! Haha...)

It's from the wonderfully charming Marigold Garden nursery rhyme book by Kate Greenaway.

Aren't her illustrations adorable?!

Of course, this one reminds me of my children in our tree...

See what I mean?...

We even come down here during the winter months, if we can...

Yes, this has been a wonderful place for us through the years. 

My prayer has always been that my children will have the happiest of childhood memories on our beloved tree and swing!

So, you can imagine the disappointment I've felt lately when I began to notice our swing slowly rotting and breaking down...

"Oh, I just can't bear the thought of losing this swing!" I said to Micah one day.

He didn't really respond.

Men usually don't.

But now I know it was because he was thinking...

Thinking of a way to restore our tree swing.

On the evening of my birthday, just a couple of weeks ago, we all decided on an after-dinner walk. As we usually do...

 We got on our trails just like normal...

(This is the way to the swing...)

And Nola said to me, "Your dream is about to come true!"

That caused me to laugh (and be a bit suspicious)! Haha...

As I approached our tree, I saw the back of a brand new swing!

I couldn't believe it!

A new, handmade (from treated lumber, so it will never again rot!) tree swing just in time for my birthday!

(I thought Micah was spending a lot of time out in his workshop! Haha...)

What a surprise!!!

Nola was right... A dream come true!

Micah made it much wider than the last swing, so that all the children can swing on it with me.

Just like so...


We will now have many more years of enjoying this spot!

And I will have many more years of living in my own make-believe, story book life.

It's not quite real-life, but as Liza Minnelli once famously said... 

"Reality is something you rise above."

In my mind, our tree climbing and swinging moments look like this...


Don't burst my bubble!


What a wonderful birthday gift!

I am happy...


~ Courtney ~

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Big Girl Bed

We were long overdue in getting Elsa moved from her crib into a bed!

It was getting embarrassing since she is not a baby anymore!


I guess we just didn't feel rushed because she liked her crib and slept happily in it.

But she has lately learned how to crawl out! So, once I realized I no longer had the crib as a confinement option, I figured we might as well put her in a bed!

I hope you all are having a marvelous summer!

We've been up to all sorts of different things...

Taking day trips to visit quaint, nearby towns...

Going to our children's Tee-ball games...

And of course, enjoying being home!

We keep busy out in the yard and garden...

And on projects inside, too... like Elsa's bed...

So... What do you think?

I am actually quite excited about it!!!

This is the 'Before'...

All four of my babies slept in this crib. And just like that it's gone! 

(We sold it to a nice family who needed it.)


But there was no time to get sentimental.... I had decorating to do!!

This is what this corner of the girls' room looks like now...

I used blankets and pillows that we already had. 

Except for a new set of white sheets, I didn't purchase any new bedding.

I am very happy with it!!!

Do you see the lamp in the corner?...

I really love to have bedside lamps for cozy reading ambience, but initially didn't have one for Elsa's bed. 

The first night she slept in the bed, the corner looked like this...

But the other day I happened to be at a thrift store with my mom and kids, and found the floor lamp for $4.00!

It is a heavy, solid brass lamp, which I am happy about. Elsa won't be able to knock it over easily. 

(A quick word on thrift stores... If you are willing to dig around in a little junk, you can find pieces for your home extremely inexpensively! Of course, we don't want to junk up our homes, ladies. But there is no need to spend our husband's hard earned money on lavish decor. I have decorated my home with mainly hand-me-downs from family, and thrift store finds. Just be willing to go and look and dig around a little... And while you're digging be thinking! Think about the needs your home has!)

There was another little shop next door to the thrift shop I found the lamp in. That's where I found the shade. It was $6.00. So, for only $10.00 I was able to give Elsa an adorable, useful, bedside reading lamp.

The lampshade actually came with a double!

A set of two!

But my one-tracked mind could only think about Elsa's new bed project. All the rest of us have had lamps by our beds, so I only bought one. But when I caught up with my mom and she found out that I had only purchased one, she sent me back into the store for the other.

The lady behind the counter probably thought she was experiencing deja-vu! Haha... Like, Hey!... Didn't I just see you up here buying that lampshade?

I told her my mom made me come back in for the other one so that I would have a set.

She said, "I wish my adult daughter listened to me! She just thinks I'm a nag."

I said a few words to try to encourage her about her daughter, and we laughed together. 

When I got home I was really glad I bought the second shade! Because now Nola has one by her bed, too!

I think they're adorable!

Friends! I have a crib-free house full of big kids!

How did this happen?!!!

You blink... And your babies aren't babies anymore!

*Big fat sniff*

But, Elsa has loved her new bed, has transitioned to it well, and feels very proud of herself...

So, how can I feel sad?

Sweet dreams, Elsa...

And sweet dreams to you as well, dear readers...

Until next time...


~ Courtney ~

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Little Things

"We sometimes underestimate the influence of little things..."
~ Charles W. Chestnut

Hello again, friends!

I am hoping to write today about the importance of little things in the home.

I'm thinking mainly about the details of home decorating.

~ ~ "It's the little things that make life wonderful..." ~ ~

And I would add... that make a home wonderful, too!

Have you ever walked into a big, beautiful home... maybe the type of home that is new, and a lot of money was spent on it... but it didn't feel like a home?

I think that's because the details, the little things, have never been incorporated. 

Of course this is only my opinion, and I am no expert, but I thought it'd be fun to show you a few of my little things...

I got a few new, fun things for my home, so that's what got me thinking about this topic.

I found a piece of antique embroidery on Etsy that I fell in love with.

Here's a close-up...

I was so impressed with this piece because it's from the 70's, and it's very difficult to find vintage embroidery from that era that doesn't have browns and oranges in them, since those were the trendy colors of that time.

I decided to make it into a pillow...

Isn't it adorable?!

The embroidery is on a blue linen background, which I think makes this a bright and airy throw pillow... perfect for summer!

I do want to mention something else, too, (hopefully I won't get too off topic...) and that is that it's important for those of us who live in older homes to be mindful of our home's history when decorating.

That's why I make pillows from antique fabric, instead of buying new, trendy pillows from popular stores. Nothing against those trendy pillows!!! I actually think they're quite cute, and I can find myself admiring them when I'm shopping at places like Hobby Lobby... But in the end I know that most of them wouldn't work for my home.

I want my home to have an authentic feel!

Here are a couple more examples of my 'authentic' throw pillows...

Both of these are antique needle points...

Another little thing that is new to me is this adorable set of four blue children's cups.
(I say children's cups because they are much smaller than standard cups.)

I just picked them up the other day very inexpensively at an antique store.

I love opening my kitchen cupboard and seeing them all lined up like this...

They are a bit of a mystery to me, though, because they have these painted windmills on them which makes them look Dutch, but the bottoms say Japan. 


Oh well. I love them!

They match my other blue and white dishes that we eat on frequently...

Another wonderful little thing...

My mother gave me this Scandinavian print with antique frame the last time I visited her.

I've really been enjoying it on my buffet.

The colors are perfect!

~ "Never stop doing little things..." ~
~ Anurag Prakash Ray

The last thing I want to show you is my new copper tea kettle.

Isn't she beautiful?!

This is a dream come true for me because I've been looking for one of these for several years, but it seemed like every time I'd find one it would either be too expensive or in poor condition.

This one was perfect!

I plan to actually use it, which my grandma assured me I could do, since the bottom is perfectly intact! (I like to run all my antique finds by her.) No rust or holes or worn down spots! Yay!

It is replacing my old kettle that looked like this...

Nothing is wrong with it. It works just fine, but it's just a little too modern for me.

It is in the donation box awaiting my next Goodwill run.

I try to replace rather than add when I bring in new household items. It helps to not accumulate too much stuff. I don't want a house full of stuff. I want my house to just have useful and well-loved pieces. 


I almost forgot! 

One last little thing that I am very excited about!!!

We took the kids to lunch at a Swedish restaurant today, and while browsing through their gift shop I came upon this gem...

An Elsa baby book?!!!

I am over the moon!!!

I realize my Elsa is three, and no longer technically a baby, but I have never made a baby book for her! 
And now I have the perfect one!
(Elsa Beskow is a Swedish author and artist. Her work is most inspiring!)

It is such a beautiful baby book, and filled with the most charming illustrations...

Each one is cuter than the last...

And of course, plenty of blank lines to write on...

I am SO excited to get to work on it, and maybe even prop it up on an easel to display in her room.

I get butterflies just thinking about it!

You all know I am a sucker for this type of thing! 

I can't help it! Haha... I NEED beauty in my life!

And the best way I've found, is in 

~ Little Things ~

Take care sweet friends...


~ Courtney ~