retro re-do

From a box lot purchased at auction came the ugliest lamp ever.

The ugliest lamp - before

The ugliest lamp – before

Or so I thought.

I was going to give it to a friend that I thought would appreciate the design as it was.

 But then I started envisioning a little face lift.  One thing led to another.

It has been so blasted hot and humid here.  The mosquitos are horrid from all the rain we have been having.  It was time for some indoor projects.  But it was hot in the house too.  Mr. Cottage and I each set out to work on some DIY projects for our main living room – or great-room.

Back to the face lift for the lamp.


ceramic base with teak wood

ceramic base with teak wood

The teak wood was looking a little tired, but after a couple of applications of Old English, better.


I used spray adhesive to cover the shade in an inexpensive, fun aqua and white polka-dot utility fabric.


After the adhesive dried, I then glued a green beaded fringe tassel trim.  I pinned the trim in place until the glue had dried.  The trim was the most expensive part of the entire project.

Not pictured, but after the trim dried, I then glued a coordinating trim on the inside to cover the raw edges of  the fabric.

While I waited for all that glue to dry, I finished sewing curtains for the great room, a project I started a couple of months ago.


New curtains and a face-lift for a tired old ugly lamp.  Not bad, for a weekend project.

Whilst I was working on these, Mr. Cottage was busy with his project.


Do you know what it is?


Yep, we got AC.  This is called a mini-split.  It will also heat the room in the cold months.  These units are great for homes such as ours that are older and don’t have room for duct-work.

For now, that completes our great-room make over.

See you later, Bye!


vintage sparkle


I’ve been commissioned to create a necklace using all vintage pieces.  Though I have walked away for a while, from my art and creating to sell, I did accept this challenge.   I call it a challenge because, I’ve enjoyed not having the pressure on me to make and sell.

I explained to the woman who hired me, that I was taking time away from my craft and it might be awhile.  She was okay with that.

I was however, motivated to go shopping for the pieces that I would need to make the necklace.  My friend and I made several trips to local junk shops and the Goodwill to find just the right pieces.

 The hunt is most of the fun for me.

Sometimes, it is hard to walk away from all the shiny bling.

 I’ve been caught in the web which vintage rhinestone jewelry can cast.

I’m part raven, or magpie.  I love shiny sparkly things.

Here are a few photos of SOME of the pieces I purchased.

I may have gone overboard.

1-IMG_7823 1-IMG_7828 1-IMG_7829 1-IMG_7831 1-IMG_7834 1-IMG_7845 1-IMG_7847 1-IMG_7850 1-IMG_7851

I’ve played around with several different designs, but nothing has come to me just yet.  I have to allow the process to speak to me.

I look up from the table where I have been photographing the sparkle.


I get lost in another world of shiny sparkly  – wings.


Have a good weekend.

See you later, Bye.


the next day I turned the smoker into a planter

Ok – do you know the difference between a gratin and a casserole?

I had to look it up because I wasn’t sure if it was just some snooty word that meant casserole.  Turns out there is a difference.  Casserole is a recipe that you  bake all in one dish which may or may not contain cheese.  A gratin is a dish that contains cheese.  And just incase you aren’t confused enough lets throw in au-gratin.

Recently around Coral Cottage, a little of this and little of that has been going on.

We smoked a pig.

This old rusted junk heap has done us proud for a lotta years.  I bought it at an auction at least 15 years ago, paid $5.00 for it.  One of the best $5.00 investments.


For the past several years we have used a tree branch as a handle for the top.  Now the side handles are all but gone too.


The gauge has been stuck on Ideal for a number of years too.


I made a dry rub of brown sugar,salt, pepper, hot paprika,garlic, fresh turmeric and I don’t remember what else.  That marinated on the butt, for about 14 hours.


Adding the rest of the pan drippings after about 3-4 hours


close the lid


1-IMG_4556 1-IMG_4560

About 6 hours later. I pulled it off the smoker and wrapped it with foil and let it sit for an hour or two.  Then it was ready for pulling.  I made both a sweet tomato based sauce and a vinegar with fresh herbs and garlic.  I like to mix the two sauces.

Once I pulled the pork, I put on a dish of baked beans.

They were on the smoker for an hour or two.


I have to admit, I’ve never done the beans this way before.  I don’t know what I was thinking, but this bowl used to be white.  The smoke completely covered the outside of the dish I thought it was ruined.  The beans turned out excellent and the next morning when I came down to see the aftermath, Mr. Cottage had worked magic on that bowl and you would never know it had been used in the smoker.


Smoked Pig = Luau  = tiki party

Actually we have had so much rain that we are now growing mosquitos and the tikis are burning full flame what seems all the time.

I don’t know if they help or not.

Really, I’m not complaining.

Okay, yes I am.  We have had TOO much rain.

Our high hopes of a big harvest this year have been dashed in so many ways.  Many of our plants have died from the rain and or have rot/mildew and other undesirable issues.

Breaks our hearts.

This week we will have too much heat and humidity and I’ll be complaining about that.

Bounty from the vegetable garden.

Squash and cukes

Squash and cukes

For every squash, and cucumber I’ve managed to pick I’ve done a little dance.  I will also admit they have been very good.

She sugar snap peas, Yum I stand in the garden and eat them straight off the vine.

As is often the case, I had a lot of squash ready all at one time.  I’ve cooked many squash casseroles over the years – they are usually pretty much the same.

Here is a recipe that I got from Cook’s Country – my new favorite recipe source.  This one is different, and not soggy.

Summer Squash Gratin.

Summer Squash Gratin

Summer Squash Gratin


Mr. Cottage does not like olives, I know, what is wrong with him?  When I made this, I omitted the olives.  The second night, I put aside a smaller serving for myself and added the olives – WOW amazing what it does to this dish.  So if you are debating if you should bother when them or not and you like them, do add them.  AWESOME!

The tiki burns into the wee hours of the night!

The next day, I turned the smoker into a planter.

smoker turned into planter

smoker turned into planter

See you later Bye!


the red headed beauty

Beauty can be so elusive.

Last winter I tried repeatedly, without success, to capture the red bellied woodpecker that graced our bird feeders on a regular schedule.

To quote the Scarecrow from the Wizard of OZ, ” Oh Joy! Oh Rapture!”

1-IMG_2354 1-IMG_2361 1-IMG_2370

I finally caught him/her on the feeder at the front porch.

Not to confuse anyone but this is the Red-bellied woodpecker.  They are pale, medium-sized woodpeckers common in forest areas of the East.  Their strikingly barred backs and gleaming red caps make them an unforgettable sight – just don’t confuse them with the Red-headed woodpeckers, that are mostly black on the back with white wing patches.

Success at last!

Hope y’all have captured a little success this week that gives you happy.

See you later, Bye!


silly in the shade

purple rose of sharon

purple Rose of Sharon

Our Rose of Sharon trees are in full bloom.

Hibiscus syriacus is a species of flowering plant in the family Malvaceae, native to much of Asia.  Common names include Rose of Sharon, in North America, rose mallow in the UK and St. Joseph’s rod in Italy.


The bees and the humming birds are attracted to them.

 They aren’t alone.

From a distance, I spy That Cat laying in the shade from the Rose of Sharon.  Spent flowers all around him look like purple cigars.



He turns and spies me.


1-IMG_5361 1-IMG_5363

And then plops down at my feet.


Cause my feet are the perfect place for a cat to lean on and take care of business.


To make sure I don’t go anywhere he rolls on both feet.

Pure silliness.


What a big smile!


Hope y’all have found some time for silly in the shade.

See you later, Bye


Dragonfly fever

Hi Y’all mermaid Kim here posting from Coral Cottage South.

The strangest things happen at parties.  Ok maybe I should say the strangest things happen to me at parties.  Several years ago, Mr. Cottage and I went to a pool party hosted by the owner of a store that sold my art-work.  When we arrived most of the guests were already in the pool.   Immediately we saw them in the pool standing or floating or sitting on the edge of the pool with one of their index fingers raised straight in the air.  We did not know any of the people there, and barely knew the hosts.  I have to say my immediate thought was, what the heck had we gotten ourselves into?  What were these people doing?

Talk about people doing strange things.

Recently I was spotted doing the funky chicken dance down at my home in Southwest Florida.  Why you ask?

1-red dragonfly single 3

I saw for the first time, these red dragonflies.  I was enchanted immediately, as I have never seen a red one back home in Virginia.

1-red dragonfly pair

No easy task trying to catch a photo, I looked rather kooky running around dipping high and low trying to catch them in flight or sitting still.  Wow a pair of them zip across the surface of the water, snap!

Like so many, I too have been struck by dragonfly fever.  The shimmer of their iridescent wings, those cool rotating eyes and excessive speed in which they zip by.  Did you know, that they can fly between 20 and 30 mph.  Cool – huh.

Pond, lake, sea or pool – dragonflies skim the surface dancing and performing acrobatic feats.  I find it enchanting and inspirational.

 People ask me all the time where I get the inspiration for my art.  Most of the time it is from nature, dragonflies are no exception.  My fellow artists at Boardwalk Artisans must feel the same magic as I do, they have created some beautiful work, don’t you think?

Giclee Print by Mary Ellen Golden

Giclee art print Red Dragonfly from original watercolor by Mary Ellen Golden

Framed mini art tiles by The Coastal Soul

Tiles by The Coastal Soul

I’d say my fellow artisans have captured dragonfly fever quite nicely.

Note card by beach combers cove

Note card by Beach comber cove

Window panel by 3 Wishes Studio

Window panel by 3 Wishes Studio

Back to those people at the pool party – there were hundreds of dragonflies zipping around the pool and they were all sticking their finger up in the air with hopes that a dragonfly would land on them.  Once they explained what they were doing, I thought it pretty cool.

I’m off to catch a wave  and maybe a dragonfly too!


freedom flyers


This is the third  summer we have hosted the same Phoebe family.  They have built a lovely condo for themselves up in the corner of our front porch roof.

I took these photos through the glass of my front storm door.  The smudges on the glass are from me pressing my face against it trying to get a better look at the babies.  There are three in this group, the fourth fell to his death during a storm last week.  That was horribly sad and broke my heart.

1-IMG_2500 1-IMG_2503 1-IMG_2505 1-IMG_2511 1-IMG_2561 1-IMG_2563 1-IMG_2591

They poop all over the porch and make a mess with their nest droppings and bug guts.  Each summer we say perhaps we will pull it down after they fly away, hoping they will re-locate.  We don’t though.

For a few weeks twice a summer it feels like a great honor to have them.  I am always amazed when I come down stairs and open the front door and discover that the parents have moved them out of the nest in the dark of the night.  It seems so brilliantly smart, especially when you know that my cats lay on the porch under the nest each day patiently hoping that one will slip out and into their waiting paws.  Rest assured it hasn’t happened yet.


Both parents take turns catching insects and feeding the young.  I am not sure which one is placing the moth in the little waiting mouth.  Too  sweet.  Sigh, I am going to miss their sweet peeping.

I feel fairly certain they will fly away either tonight or tomorrow – just a gut feeling, and so I’ve named them the freedom flyers in honor of the holiday.

For my fellow Americans celebrating Independence Day tomorrow – I hope you have a safe day.


 I’ve made an attempt at cutting some red,white and blue flowers from my garden to place on the kitchen table.

See you later, Bye!


P.S.   6:15 am July 4th – The Freedom Flyers safely left the nest in the night.  My porch seems very quiet and still this morning. If they keep the same traditions as the past few years Mr. and Mrs. Phoebe  will return in a few weeks for a second brood.

P.S.S. 8:00 am – I just discovered one of the babies, has been left behind in the nest.  It is crying to be fed.  I will keep you posted.