Friday, March 30, 2012

Feathered Nest Friday

Welcome to Feathered Nest Friday!
A crazy week over here with Blogger issues...
resizing and reformatting and changing things for no reason...
but hopefully things are fixed and back on track now.
French Country Cottage
This week~

I shared the wee little birdhouse that I made with Lowes Creative Ideas ;) HERE

as well as some information about focal b&w photos that I have taken HERE


 I also shared the somewhat scary BEFORE photos of our kitchen-
 yep it was bad.
 Find the rest HERE

The AFTER post showing all the changes we made and how we did it ourselves is coming soon-
 so stay tuned!

It's also time to announce the WINNER in the Curly Willow art print GIVEAWAY!!
Congratulations goes to

Kathy- Creative Home Expressions


There is a special Spring Party coming your way next week! 
bunny-blog-hop-1

Four blogs, one party = TONS OF FUN!!! 
Find more info HERE and see you on Monday!
:)

Last week:
I love French bottle drying racks &  Chateau Chic shared her charming treasure decorated for Spring.

 Simply Vintageous shared her chalk painted hutch transformation
and her new word- sprainted (spray painted)

Rusty Hinge shared her ice cream bucket filled with blooms. Gorgeous.

Biljana Shabby shared a delightful desk - love how it looks all painted and pretty

Designer Betsy Speert shared her tropical bedroom- so pretty!


If you were featured~ please feel free to grab a button if you would like! 
French Country Cottage

Onto this weeks edition of Feathered Nest Friday!! 
Welcome to new partygoers, welcome back and thank you to all my party animal friends
for taking the time to come over and share your wonderful
links each week!
PLEASE SHARE
decorating, flea finds, designs, transformations
crafts, table settings, etc.
ANYTHING related to feathering your nest!

**PLEASE BE A GRACIOUS FEATHERED NEST FRIDAY GUEST**
Make sure you post a button or a link back to the party on your post.


I WOULD LOVE FOR YOU TO BECOME A FRIEND/FOLLOWER
if you aren't already.
The Follow button is on my sidebar at the top
Thanks so much!
Sharing with these great parties!
        



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Before Kitchen & Inspirations

*This is a re-post to fix the blogger formatting issues I had this morning.
I removed the original post that was published earlier~ it also removed your comments.
Thank you so much to those of you who commented earlier- I did read them and appreciate them so much!
Blogger is making me crazy lately...
My apologies.*

 Many of you already know that our cottage was an old never lived in full time neglected vacation cottage
covered in dust & yuck for nearly 60 years  when we found it.

It took a lot of work to get it livable at first...
and then a lot more work to get it a little prettier.



The kitchen was not as bad as some of the rooms
but was most definitely in need of some big time love and attention.

When I first walked in the kitchen
I loved the old tall white cupboards and...
well, that was about all I loved.

Do you remember that I mentioned before I seem to have a gift and a curse
 for seeing 'potential' to a fault?
Where it should be torn down... I feel sentimental

Soo....
Since I promised you a tour of the before and after of our kitchen
 here goes with how our kitchen looked  before~

 Be prepared.
:)


The ceiling was unfinished- there was no crown moulding- 
just knotty pine boards that stopped where ever they did
the whole house was like this.
Apparently someone was in process of replacing ceilings with sheet rock
and pulled them off and left them that way.
The ceiling was unfinished sheetrock too.


There was a very nice ceiling fan with a super classy beer bottle pull for lighting.
Wow.
 Nope didn't keep that for sentimental value...
thought about it (jk)... but no.
 The old original hardwood floors had a lovely mottled green and brown
linoleum laid on top of it that had a cove baseboard finish.
Why?
I have no idea.


Not to mention the really interesting appliances that came with the house...
vintage but not in a good way vintage.
There were two windows- they were small and they were not completely installed.
 You could actually push on them and they would move a half an inch out like they were going to fall.


Lets just say it was a big mess.
But in that mess...
 I saw something.

I dreamed of a light filled pretty cottage kitchen 
with a touch of French flair.
Open cupboards and pretty details.
Hardwood floors, a dreamy farmhouse island and lots of character and charm.
I love old houses and working with the original to make it work in a modern world.
so this kitchen was a perfect candidate.

Here are some of my inspirations for elements in the remodeled space:
southern living
 google

 google
 google
 google
 google


Now...
just so you don't think that we are living with our kitchen looking like it started out...
here is a little snapshot of the kitchen as it looked several months ago...


I'll be sharing a tour of the kitchen as it looks now-
 as well as details on what we did, how we did it 
and just how we did it all on a very small budget ourselves.
Yep... it might have something to with being a little bit looney tunes..
:)
Stay tuned!!


See you tomorrow for Feathered Nest Friday!!

sharing at
wow us wednesdays

Spring Blog Party



Get your Spring projects and posts ready!!

bunny-blog-hop-1


 Judy from DIY by Design has organized  a brand new  Spring blog party 
that is coming your way next week!
On April 2nd~ yep that's next week 
 Diy by Design, On Sutton Place, At the Picket Fence and French Country Cottage
 will be hosting the party together on all of our blogs
You can link up to the party on ANY of the four blogs and your link will show up on ALL of them.
Tons of fun!

As well~ 
 On Sutton Place has offered one of her gorgeous Garden Pillow Covers 
as a special giveaway for the party!

Garden Script Pillow Cover 20 x 20 Brown with Flax Linen Back

Mark your calendars!
See you and your Spring posts on April 2nd!




It is the last day to enter to win 
the Art print from Curly Willow Designs!!
Did you enter yet? 
Go HERE to enter! 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Focal B&W Photos

One of the things I love to do is take photographs.
Of my kids,  my rooms, flowers ;), nature, vignettes, etc...
When I am inspired ~ I love to capture that inspiration with pictures.
I am often asked how I get my photos to have the color in just one little spot
 and the rest of it in black and white.
I know a lot of you already know all about this fun tool-it's right there
in the photo editing software but when I discovered it-
 I was trying it on all kinds of photos!

I am by no means a photography expert-I am learning as I go.
  I actually have had a few  conversations recently with two absolutely
AMAZING accomplished  photographers who have given me some huge tips
and even walked me through setting my camera for the best setting.
Thank you so much to you both! I can't thank you enough for your help!


One of them told me that when she first started taking photos-
 she would ask for help from established photographers and they would not share any tips
 or help her at all and she remembered how frustrating it was for her to try and learn everything on her own.
So she made it a point to help people learn when someone asks how to do something.
I love that attitude of giving back and helping others.


I am super appreciative of the help they have given me

So... though I am just learning more about taking great photographs and editing-
  I can share how to use some of the editing tools in picasa
 :)


 I add a watermark and then do any basic tools that I want to apply
 and then I send them over to my computer and use my Iphoto software.
I have found that as simple as Iphoto is- 
some of the tools are much better  than what I have used at Picasa.


So here are a few examples of some of the focal photos I have done recently.
This one was taken in the Petite Cottage Bathroom Makeover. 
The flowers were so vibrant and such a pop of color- they were gorgeous. 
The stood out even more with the rest of colors muted.



This one- the background is actually a more taupey brown color- and the chair is weathered silver.
This one kind of looked like it already had a focal edit- but I did edit to color just the roses.

Just the peonies...
 love them.



Okay- so here's a photo before focal b&w editing 
I actually really like how the lighting and the room looks in full color. 
But for fun- I wanted to make those roses pop even more.


Here it is after the B&W photo editing tool did it's work.
The roses also came out a bit softer- I did not use the glow tool on this one.


Here's another example.
This photo has NO editing.  Yikes... it's bad! Sooo dark!! 
(I have since learned a bit more about those camera settings! ;)
This was an early evening photo~ notice the blue cast coming in the window.
 I ran out to grab just a few more pictures before settling in to edit and create a post. 


 Here it is after adjusting

Ahhh... Soooo much better!!

So to find this tool in Picasa- 
When you are there- click on one of your photos which will bring it up larger.
There will be 3 tabs you can work with:


Basic fixes
Tuning
Effects


In EFFECTS
there is the B&W Focal tool.


Just click on it and the tool will show up on your photo
Move it to hover over the area you would like to show color and adjust the size if you would like
to show more or less of the photo colorized.

That's it!
:)


Hope that helps answer some questions!!
Happy Editing!!
:)


Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Wee Little Birdhouse...

I love beautiful old birdhouses. 
 Chippy. Shabby. Crusty. 
 Falling apart but oh so charming...love them.


 One of my favorite styles is a very simple colonial looking birdhouse.
Just like colonial style houses ~ which I adore-
 they have a facade full of charm,
lots of little 'windows' across the front and delightful shabby paint.


The project for March for Lowes Creative Ideas was to create a special place for your feathered friends.
So when I saw what the March project was - I was kind of excited to get started!
 I sketched out my plans, made my list & headed to Lowes for the supplies I needed.


We started by taking plywood to create the 'house'
We cut the front, back and peaked side pieces, nailed them together and we had the birdhouse frame.
Add the roof and voila-  a wee house.


Then came marking where all  the holes go and cutting them out.
To cut the holes for the birdhouse-  you'll  need a special bit for your drill or better yet- drill press
It's called a Forstner bit.

forstner bit
google image

It takes a bit of time to cut the holes~ it's not the easiest bit to use for sure
you need to use enough pressure to cut the hole - but not too much as it likes to bind up
(don't ask me how I know)
Not to mention the bit like to collect the 'hole' a lot of time which means you have to get the wood out
before you can drill the next one - it is messy, messy, messy.


Next we added the bottom and we made it wide enough to be able to put birdseed in
and then came the perches. 
Bamboo or wood dowels work great for areas for the birds to perch.
 One of the 'perches' broke when I was moving it outside~ this house is a bit heavy and cumbersome to carry.
 I went ahead and took the photos quick before the rain started up again and hadn't fixed it yet-
guess that is my first birdhouse repair project 
 ;)

I shabbied it up with a coat of white paint and a dry brushing on the top with Coco chalk paint
to make it a little more aged and then did a bit of distressing.
I also went through and sanded each of the holes
 to make sure there were no splinters or anything sticking out.

We had some cedar shake shingles left over from shingling the peaks of our house so
I used those for the roof.
I cut a few of them down and started nailing them on in no particular size or order.

I am loving it's random and wonky look.


Every new house needs a little housewarming wreath so
  clipping a couple twigs off of a heather plant 
 I shaped them into a wee wreath for the front to welcome the birds.


Then outside it went.


We will be putting it on a pole at some point and finding the perfect spot to mount it.
but for now  it is sitting on a shabby garden table in a spot where I usually put birdseed in the summer.

 Sitting down in a chair on the patio I waited for those birdies to come...
They were flying around... they were chirping and singing... 
 but they didn't find that big old birdhouse with fresh birdseed.


(Do you think it means you might be a little looney toons if you sit outside ... camera in hand
waiting and waiting eagerly for a bird to come find the new birdhouse you put out for them?
Yeah my sister and oldest son thought it was a little crazy too...lol)

The next day as I was sitting at my desk in my bedroom  getting a post ready
 I looked up and glanced out the window and there was this little guy.



Ohhh I was so excited!!! 
I grabbed my telephoto lens and then quietly took a couple photos from inside the house.


I love that he looks like he is checking out the house~
seeing if the craftsmanship is decent, if it's well insulated, 
maybe wondering if that crazy roof will hold up...


Build it...
and they will come.
:)






I was compensated for this post as a member of the
 Lowes Creative Ideas Network of Creators and Influencers  but the designs and opinions are my own.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Feathered Nest Friday & Curly Willow

It's time for Feathered Nest Friday again!

This week I shared a little bit of a peek into my kitchen in my post about 
blooming sunshine on a wintery day.


 So many of you asked for a post about the kitchen...
 I have a couple pretty big projects on the list but some of the projects in there are on hold for now
The common issue of too many projects and not enough time
but...
get ready for a little more on the kitchen where we started
what it looks like now
and I'll share the newest details when they get wrapped up.

I have been loving these roses this week and wanted to capture a few more photos before I dry them 
so out to the  the little cottage bathroom they went.




Ohhhh and there is another EXCITING GIVEAWAY for you today!!

Curly Willow Designs 
has a most amazing selection of beautiful paper goods.
I love these cards...
Greeting card, Whimsical, Humorous, Card collection, Birds, Magpies, Turquoise, Blue
 and these digital scrapbook papers~ 
There are a ton of things you can do with these!!
Digital Patterns, Digital Paper, Scrapbooking Paper, Printables, Paper Patterns, Crafts, Diamond

This is one of my favorites!!
Art, Print, Keep Calm, Poster, 8x10, Keep Calm and Carry On, Red, Black

 I LOVE these art prints!!
Vicki offered for me to choose my favorite to giveaway to you~
but I am having a hard time choosing which one I like best
Soooo...
 She  graciously is offering your choice of one of these beautiful KEEP CALM art prints!!

Art, Print, Keep Calm and Carry On, Collection, Red, Turquoise, Black, Green, Aqua, Pink, Coral

To enter to win here's what you need to do:
1. Go over to Curly Willow on ETSY  
and look around
 and then come back here and leave me a comment telling me your favorite item in her shop.

For additional entries:
2.Follow Vicki at her BLOG
3. Follow Curly Willow on FACEBOOK
4. Follow Curly Willow/Vicki  on TWITTER

and then make sure to come back and leave me SEPARATE COMMENTS for each entry.
That's 5 chances to win!! Winner announced next week!!
Good Luck!

Here's the review from last week~ and then onto the party!
Have a Daily Cup from Mrs. Olson shared her copycat mantel~ totally loving that mirror!
IMG_5762
Julie Blanner shared her closet turned into a mud room- love it.

Start at Home shared her dining area makeover- love her table.
Bliss Ranch shared her copycat challenge cabinet- such a charmer!

The Vintage Nest shared her darling chair makeover- love love love it.

If you were featured~ please feel free to grab a button if you would like! 
French Country Cottage

Onto this weeks edition of Feathered Nest Friday!! 
Welcome to new partygoers, welcome back and thank you to all my party animal friends
for taking the time to come over and share your wonderful
links each week!
PLEASE SHARE
decorating, flea finds, designs, transformations
crafts, table settings, etc.
ANYTHING related to feathering your nest!

**PLEASE BE A GRACIOUS FEATHERED NEST FRIDAY GUEST**
Make sure you post a button or a link back to the party on your post.


I WOULD LOVE FOR YOU TO BECOME A FRIEND/FOLLOWER
if you aren't already.
The Follow button is on my sidebar at the top
Thanks so much!
DON'T FORGET TO ENTER THE CURLY WILLOW GIVEAWAY 
AFTER LINKING UP!!!