Thursday, August 16, 2018

My Sewing Thread Jar

One of my friends gave me this glass jar with the rope handle last summer and I could never find the perfect use for it until I decided to use it for my huge collection of sewing thread. I put the jar next to my sewing machine for scale in this photo that I enhanced using the Snapseed App. The wall behind my sewing table really isn't grungy at all. Most of these spools are wooden and many contain silk thread. Somewhere along the way, I must have purchased someone's thread collection because I will never have a use for many of these colors. I had them all in a jumble in a large hat box and in a desk drawer when I was looking for a spool of white thread and it hit me that I should display them in my jar. It sits on the ledge below my three windows with the new blue and white checked curtains I made this month. I put this photo on Instagram yesterday and people are loving it. Do you have a lot of thread too? Why not display it in one of those large lidded cookie jars like Ina and Martha use for flour on their cooking shows? I pulled out the spools of white and black thread and the heavy thread you use for sewing on buttons and put them in a drawer. I know I'll have to dump the jar if I need a specific color that might be buried in the center of my stash but I don't mind. It makes me happy to look at it when I'm up in my attic sewing room. See you later, xo.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Seaside Vacation: Jill Barklem

I don't know this book but I love this seaside vacation scene. The children can play while the parents gather seagrass and make baskets. 
Sea Story: Primrose and Wilfred Sail to Sandy Bay (Brambly Hedge) The tale of Primrose and Wilfred's meeting with their seashore cousins.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Content in a Cottage on Instagram

The photo above is a screen shot from my phone showing my most popular posts from the hashtag called #contentinacottageblog. It changes from day to day depending on the number of clicks on various posts. The first photo is a dark cloud I spotted when I walked past one of the French doors in my living room on the way to my kitchen. I grabbed my phone and snapped the picture of the pointing finger cloud and uploaded a graphic from my blog. The center photo is of a snow swag on my picket fence several winters ago. The snow melted slightly and then the temperature dropped and froze the swag in place. You can follow me on the first link and follow my hashtag on the second link. Thanks in advance. xo

Monday, August 13, 2018

Outdoor Dining Room

It's mid-August and summer has been quite a challenge recently for planning outside entertaining. via
I love this teak outdoor dining set. It gets filtered sun now but I spy the newly planted wisteria that will provide shade quickly, once it gets established.
I woke up to rain this Monday morning and I wish I could send it where it is so desperately needed in California. Sending prayers instead. xo

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Cooking Corn on the Cob in Microwave

Step One: Shuck and desilk your corn.

Step Two: Tear off a length of wax paper longer than your ear of corn so you can roll up the ear and twist the ends. I guess I will eat this ear for lunch after I microwave it for 4 minutes or so. 
Last night I ate 2 ears and cooked them for 6 minutes. I have a small, countertop microwave. For me this is the only way to cook corn. Boiling pots of water in the summer is something I avoid at all cost.

I had a corn stand for three years at my previous house, High Meadow Farm in New Vernon NJ. I had a farm assessment and the first year I planted corn in my big front field, it was fabulous. The second year, the deer discovered it and it was only so-so. The third year was my last year. Even though I planted a lot of Indian Corn around the perimeter to try and fool the deer, it just wasn't worth the work.

I sold herb vinegar too. I had printed notes for customers to cook their corn in the microwave and always got little notes back, along with the money in my honor-system cigar box, saying they were thrilled with the results.

Let me know if you do this and how it worked for you. You might have to experiment with the cooking times.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Support Farmers

Buy local, eat local, and support your local farmers by way of their farm stands, their store near the farm, or local farmers markets. via 
I had fresh tricolor corn tonight and it was delicious. I cook mine in the microwave. I wrapped two ears (that had been shucked and silks removed) in waxed paper and microwaved for 6 minutes. It was perfect. I have a small countertop microwave, not a huge one. I started out with 4 minutes and that didn't seem enough. After 2 more minutes, it smelled right and it was. The ears were pretty big. Try it, you'll like it!!!


This new conservatory isn't trying to look old. via 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Tiny Cottage Love

It might be a studio. Whatever this little outbuilding is used for, it is perfectly delightful from the outside.


This townhouse is impossibly lovely with its floral decoration by Mother Nature. Wisteria is pretty wild when left to its own devices so this vine must have had some help from a landscape design expert who trained it well. via

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Backsplash and Oven Hood

The tile work behind the Wolf cooktop is simple and beautiful and I love the woodwork around the range hood. It looks like a fireplace wall with mantel and elaborate ceiling moldings. The open cupboards on either side are perfect. via

Cat: Enjoying the View

Cats have a way of getting into the most unusual positions that appear uncomfortable but they end up staying in them for long periods. via

Tuesday, August 7, 2018


Every detail, including the size of the bushes, shows planning. Even the dog is perfectly placed!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Seaside Cottage Bedroom

Isn't this sleeping nook delightful? I love the shiplap walls and ceiling, the crewel embroidery on the headboard and curtain, the built-in bookshelves, and the bed linens. YES! 
‘Seaside Cottage’ Gary Brewer Robert A.M. Stern Architects, NYC. Peter Aaron photo.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Simple Narrow Entrance Hall

The view from the front porch looks gorgeous. I love this sisal/jute rug in a chevron pattern bound with a gray border. I have always loved old house with transom windows over the doors. They must be so nice at night when the door is closed and the transom is open to let in fresh air. via
It has been too hot here for me to open my windows at night. It is 90° at 6:30pm and my house is nice and cool as I have been running my central air. I don't use it that often but when it's really hot, I am glad I have it, especially if I am working in the attic. See you tomorrow. xo

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Mending Day at My Cottage

Yesterday, I decided to do some mending. One of my favorite percale sheets had a three-cornered tear and had been in my mending basket for way too long.

Here it is before mending. I like percale sheets because they are so nice and cool in the summer.

This is the reverse side after mending. I used a plain zig-zag stitch first and then topped it with another decorative stitch for stability. Then I trimmed away the excess backing material.

This is the side that faces the mattress when the bed is made. I ironed the sheet and changed my bed linens and it was good to have my old sheet back again.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Jane Austen Quote + A Green Zinnia

I couldn't agree more.
"They are much to be pitied who have not been given a taste for nature early in life. Jane Austen. via

Here is another Envy Zinnia. It looks more like a Dahlia and is quite different from my last Envy post. I am so pleased my seed packet contained more than one variety. They don't seem to mind the numerous fierce rainstorms or the intense heat. The are still standing straight and tall. They don't need to be babied and I like that! xo

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Handmade Pitcher for Watering Plants

I went to an antiques show last week to benefit a local firehouse.

The firemen's wives had their own booth full of donated goods with inexpensive prices. The lady that sold this to me said she knew the lady that made it and the big funky spout was for watering plants. The leaf design is on the reverse too. I have plants in every window up in the attic and the blue and white was perfect with my curtains, so I bought it for $5.00 and love it. It's ever so much nicer than the plastic squeeze bottle I had been using. Smile.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Gorgeous Courtyard / Patio

How very lovely. I love the light blue doors, the white stucco, the patterned brick floor with stone mosaic center, the large potted plants and the furniture. Did I miss anything? This is outside living at its best. via  Happy First Day of August!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Chintz Fabric is Back

I adore this entire room!


Gorgeous. All of it.
images House & Garden UK
Click on the link above for more photos using Chintz fabrics. I picked my three favorites to show you. Chintz never went out of style in England and it's coming back here, just like wallpaper. Now that all the people with wallpaper have removed theirs, at great expense, because the realtors told them to, it's making a big comeback! Go figure.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Attic Bedroom Under the Eaves

I have never seen a doorway like this, have you? It is much more interesting than a dormer would have been. Eaves, toleware, and toile. Nice! I like it. image: Cozy Cottage Bedrooms Better Homes and Gardens

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Vintage Pull Toy Rescue Today

I rescued this darling vintage pull toy in the original paint from a chance garage sale today. It has an original paper label on the bottom too and it was made in Bayshore, New York by A MERRY MAKER. It could be a baby duck but I'm calling it a baby chick because of the pointed bill. A small child would probably have more fun pulling it and making Quack Quack sounds though. I put it on Instagram too -- See all 6 photos here. I am looking forward to the final episode of ENDEAVOUR tonight on PBS. See you tomorrow. xo

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Two Portrait Paintings

I collect miniature portraits and posted this one on Instagram recently.

There is a lock of hair on the reverse side of the locket.

Portrait of a young boy by Lillian Cotton 1913
I adore smocked children's clothing.
I acquired this painting years ago on a "left bid" at a local auction house that isn't around any more and I really miss it. You have to to to New York City to see and touch auction items in person these days. Selling or buying on-line is another option. I went to an antique show sponsored by a country fire house this week and it was a fun day. I saw some lovely things there too.
Enjoy the weekend. It finally stopped raining last night and the entire weekend looks grand for the last weekend in July. xo

Friday, July 27, 2018

Symmetry in My Living Room

This is the living room wall that is between my French doors that lead out to my balcony overlooking the rear of my property. I almost got the perfect symmetry I was aiming for with my iPhone on a tripod. Enjoy your weekend between the rain showers and thunderstorms if you live in New Jersey. The weather for Sunday is supposed to be nice, fingers crossed.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Pie Crust Sampler

This is a clever way to map out an 8-slice pie so that each person gets a different decoration. via

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

My Green Zinnias

My first chartreuse zinnia called ENVY opened up this morning on an overcast day. Of all the flowers on my hot balcony, which gets direct sun for much of the day, these plants are doing best of all in a big round clay pot that is somewhat shallow. They are heat-loving annuals that grow straight and tall. I posted this photo on Instagram this morning and people are loving it.

Here's a photo of the seed packet. Next year I want to plant them earlier than I did this year and might even start them indoors and transplant them when the weather is warm. The note on the back of the seed packet says "Transplant outdoors after last frost. Zinnias do not benefit from being planted early; wait for warmer weather". I sowed my seeds way too late but better late than never, right?

I edited my photo a little more to get rid of the green reflections on the lower portion. I use the iPhone edits and then go to my Snapseed App (free download for iPhone and Android) for final perfection 😎