Thursday, October 20, 2016

Handmade Christmas Crafts

Hi friends,
Welcome back! Does it seem a little early to be talking about Christmas crafts? Nah. We need some time to make them, right? I love the idea of giving a handmade gift to friends and family each year. This is the time of year I start thinking about what craft I could make that others would like and appreciate. The weather is getting cooler and I'm finding myself inside a little bit more. Perfect craft time.

Past craft ideas:

Two years ago I took my kids to a fall festival at the beach in October during their fall break and one of the craft stations had them making 'God's eye' or 'Cat's Cradle' yarn projects. Do you remember these from camp?

Well, I went crazzzzyyyyy for this craft idea. I made ornaments out of yarn for 3 months to give as gifts and even did a whole tree theme in my family room with this idea and decorated a burlap garland piece over a threshold to our music room.
Here's where you can see pictures (from my old blog) of our family room God's Eye themed tree- I called in 'Winter Wonderland' and all of the ornaments were blue, white, or silver:

Last year, I was super motivated to learn how to make these sweet crochet snowflake ornaments. I must have watched this sweet lady's video tutorial a 100 times at least! You will see my attempts at this craft on my Cottage Blue Blog link above on my Christmas tree.

Needless to say, I only made a few because I was teaching myself how to crochet while trying to make these snowflake ornaments.

Here's the video tutorial-

So......what's this year's craft? Oyster shells. I was first inspired while at a restaurant at the beach that had oyster shell chandeliers. I added some oyster shells to a light fixture in my house. Recently I picked up tons more oyster shells while at the beach at the local oyster shell recycling center- let me tell you this was messy, disgusting, gross business! Those shells are getting a bleach bath before I touch them again. But I have a bunch of ideas of craft projects to use with the oyster shells that I will use to decorate my home during Christmas and to give as gifts over the holidays.

Stay tuned.....

Do you like to give handmade gifts too? What have you given? Or received that you really appreciated?

Happy decorating & living,

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Hi friends,
October has been filled with work trips and pleasure trips (one interrupted by Hurricane Matthew) for me hence things have been quiet on the blog. I wanted to pop in today and catch you up.

Despite my hardly being home in October I did sneak in two furniture make-overs last weekend.

This beauty was for a sweet returning client that bought a small dresser from me a while ago for her young daughter and was wanting a larger dresser for her master bedroom. She requested blue and since the wood was so beautiful on this gorgeous dresser I decided to only partially paint it:

I used the same Napoleonic Blue chalk paint by Annie Sloan (from the dresser) to make over this trim work desk which I additionally white waxed. My intention was to sell it by while working on it I had the brainstorm that if I kept it, I could free up all of the kitchen counter space by making this new piece of our technology charging zone. Brilliant! Since we are making over our kitchen currently (new backsplash and newly chalk painted cabinets)- I'm super excited about clutter free countertops!

Back to Hurricane Matthew. As many of you know, my kids (5th grader and 3rd grader) attend a neighborhood school that is on the year round schedule, meaning their summer break is very short and they have breaks throughout the school year. We were on an intended week long break at the beach in South Caroline when Hurricane Matthew decided to appear so the mandatory evacuation sent us home. My daughter and I came back to the same beach this week as it's her last week of fall break to survey the damage and resume our fun in the sun time.

Most of the beach home walk ways were destroyed, luckily not where we are:

Lots of flooding in the area and tons of trees and branches down. We weren't able to go very far on our favorite bike path through the woods:

Back to our mini-vacation which includes lots of bike riding, walking on the beach, eating yummy seafood, card playing, puzzle making, coloring, and riding in the hammock.

Happy October Y'all!
I'll be back to some more furniture make-overs and Thanksgiving decorating in November.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Early Fall

Hi Friends,
Thanks for stopping by The Chalkboard Cottage today.

Happy Fall Y'all!

Early fall here in North Carolina means....the weather is slightly less hot, the mornings are a tad cooler, the daylight hours are a little less, the leaves are just starting to show some signs of yellow on the edges of the leaves, and I have begun hearing Canadian geese flying off to places unknown to me.

Today as I was preparing for a course I'm teaching away from home later this week I found it lovely sitting outside on the screened in porch with some cooler breezes than I felt in the 90 degree day we had two days ago.

Early fall here is still too early to put out the real pumpkins and I haven't bought the bright yellow mums yet but still there are pops of autumn around our home. I've put away a lot of blues, greens, and sea life d├ęcor from summer (though of course being a beach loving girl, there's still some around) and brought out the warm neutrals....browns, more wicker, warm fuzzy pillows and blankets. I have a few woodland creature friends that I look forward to bringing out each year too. I bought a new woodland friend this year, an owl, which my son says 'freaks me out'.

Somehow I'm finding myself wanting to lay around more than this week and read. I made a trip to our local library to pick up several books I had on reserve and am dying to start reading. Have you read any of these yet? I have been loving Grit this week and am going to Devil in the White City next. If you haven't heard of Grit, watch the author, Angela Duckworth's awesome Ted Talk here:

I think you'll become a fan and want to read more!

I wanted to share with you some pops of fall in our favorite family room where we are finding ourselves wrapped up in blankets watching movies, new fall tv shows (thank you networks!), and reading:

New light from a store in South Carolina, great bargain!

Pumpkin artwork by my daughter:

Newest handmade craft- paper leaf wreath:

These two chairs are my latest thrift store purchases. The one on the right was free and I made a custom drop cloth cover for it. The ottoman was super cheap from, you guessed it, a thrift store. I can't stop sitting here and reading or watching tv:

 Dollar store leaves and acorns-

Woodland friends, watch out for the creepy owl-

In October, a few pretty garish Halloween decorations will make their presence known in this space then a few turkeys will follow a few weeks later. Then it will all be cleaned up and swept away to the attic for another year.

Thanksgiving weekend you will find me with two little elves in decorating heaven putting up our four trees this year. Let the decorating begin....

I wish you the happiest and healthiest of falls. Take care friends.
Happy decorating & living,

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Recent Make-Over Projects

Hi friends,
I can't tell you how happy I am to be home after a week of traveling for work AND that fall is officially starting this week. As a girl who works on furniture make-overs in my garage, I'm so over summer hotness and sweatiness and so ready to welcome in cooler temperatures.

I wanted to share a few furniture make-overs with you that I've tackled lately. See you think....

1. Ugly brown floral arm chair. This was a free chair that a thrift store gave me because part of it was ripped when I bought other pieces from them. I figured it was free so I could do something with it. I'm going to keep it as I don't feel comfortable selling it as it was my first attempt.


After- this one I will keep as I don't feel comfortable selling it as it was my first attempt at using drop cloth material to cover an old chair. Practice piece. The make-over cost was $20. I used a nail gun and glue gun to complete this piece.

Here are some other thrift store finds I recently made over and one client project (two white chairs) plus an oyster shell project I did to our eat in kitchen existing light fixture:


Thanks for joining me friends. I hope you have a fantastic week. I'll share some projects I'm working on this week soon. Take care.

Happy decorating and living,