craft table

My craft table view

a very messy craft station

a very messy craft station

Wonder how this scary mess could turn into something productive?

We had snow again, during the night.  Today is a good day to stay in and work on a few projects, including cleaning up this mess.

Window view


Cheerful – a bright red cardinal against the snow.

See you later,



coupon date

I received a coupon in the mail for $10.00 off my meal at a not so local, local restaurant.

The restaurant is in another county over.

Mr. Cottage said lets spend Sunday doing the rounds.

We haven’t done the rounds in a long time.

Don’t let your mind wander too far into the gutter.

The rounds include driving the back country roads and taking in the beautiful scenery.

Hitting the antique shops, lunch at the $10.00 off restaurant and finally a few thrift stores.

A few of our finds from the day.

Chinese Currency from the 1940's

Chinese Currency from the 1940’s

Mr. Cottage spotted this pile of Chinese money from the 1940’s.


Vintage needle kit


I love the graphics on this old Clark’s thread box.


A basket full of old lace and tatting.


Vintage fabric – oooh aaahhh


It has a bird on it, so it must go home with  me.

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Poor Cock Robin printed in the 1800’s.   The graphics are stunningly colorful and beautiful.   A child’s tale, a wee bit on the sad side.


More birds – these are from the Ogden cigarette company which was a branch of the Imperial Tobacco Co. of Great Britain and Ireland.


Ogden Cigarette cards from the 1920’s.



Will’s Cigarettes – Butterfly cards also from the 1920’s.  I enjoy the back with the typeset almost as much as the images on the front.

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These are the stuff of my mixed media dreams.  My creative thoughts are swirling with the possibilities.

What a grand day Mr. Cottage and I had on our coupon date.

I’m off to play with my new stash.

See you later,



fairly lackluster

We braced for cold temperatures and much more snow than we received.

All said and done, it was a fairly lackluster snow event.

Still, I went out with the camera earlier this morning and took a few shots.

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My Rosemary is not happy with these cold temps.  From a distance, the snow looks like cotton bushes.

I must admit, I was pretty cold while I was snapping away.  Especially my feet.  I wasn’t wearing the right shoes for snow walking.


I figure about now someone is going to say something about all the alcohol bottles on my property.

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Or all the rusty crusty junk I have every where that I call garden art.


Every couple of photos I throw in a nature scene, or an architectural element,  just to throw you off a bit.

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I amuse myself with the snow-covered palm trees.

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I think to myself, a quiet snow-covered day is perfect for a blast from the Lukenheimer.

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Mr. Bonez is being a real sissy about this snow.

He does not want it to touch his feet.  So he sits in front of his cat door and sulks.

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The snowy Christmas scene I put together in the glass terrarium, seems fitting against the snowy background.  Even if it gives away the fact that I still haven’t put away all my holiday decorations.  I’ll get around to that eventually.

See you later,



daddy’s necktie – a creative process

Over a year ago, some friends and I went on a shopping venture, where they helped me nab a big stash of old neckties.  I planned to repurpose them into something.

I’ve pulled them out from time to time and thought about making stuff with them, but as of yet nothing has come to me.

 Or I just couldn’t bring myself to cut them up.

 Or I had some kind of block, or I don’t know –  I just wasn’t feeling it.

Recently my dad gave me a stash of his old neckties.

 I got to work that afternoon cutting them up and repurposing them into their new life.

 I think it was because I could feel a personal bond; I could remember him wearing most of them.

The creative gods said now is the time.

When I create, my heart is the leading force.  I need the process, and the end result to be something that comes from my heart, and speaks to the heart.

Fabric cuff bracelets.

Yep, the old man’s necktie –  one tie,  three ways to smile.

This one I call sun-burst and stars.



I use lots of straight  free-flowing stitching to achieve a simple style outlining on all the fabric patches.  This is where my stash of fabric scraps come into play.


  I added a few basic hand embroidery stars.  Vintage buttons from the collection.

Old lace and dreams.


On this one, the necktie is layered several times with,  lace, ribbon, free form stitching and dare to dream printed from the computer on muslin fabric.


A golden wing and a smoky glass bead for accent.



Believe features a sweet little key charm and a clear bead.


While I work on these pieces, I not only remember my dad wearing these ties, but I also think of the women in my life that influenced my sewing.  My mom,  she tried to be very disciplined in her sewing.  She was a perfectionist that would spend many hours, tearing out her stitches and redoing them until she achieved perfection.  I found her process to be un-fulfilling and swore I would never sew.  My grandmother, sewed out of  necessity.  She repurposed and reused what she had on hand.  I think her sewing sensibilities are what I feel the most when I sit down in front of my Singer.

What is your creative process?  Do you have a special way of achieving your vision?

See you later,




Visit Night Bird Creations to see more

Moonbeam catching * star wishing * soulful handmade *art for your heart.

Farm Market Color

 I received a couple packets of seeds for Christmas and ever since; I’ve been dreaming of  my garden plans for this year.  Lush vegetables and colorful flowers and bees buzzing.


This happens every year about this time, the garden dreams start.  Last year was a garden nightmare, no two ways about it.  Hopefully this year will be more successful.

In the meantime, I came across photos I took last February at the local Farm Market that we go to in South West Florida when we are at our home there.  The colors, and scents fill me with such simple happy joy.

On this dreary winter day, here is a little color to lift the soul.  Come, take a stroll with me.

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Yes, there is a dog in the meat booth.  Something a little off about that.


The food at Taste of Transylvania smells heavenly, next time, I’m giving it a try.

Lots of fresh seafood

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Plants and more plants.  I got nuts wanting one of every plant.

I purchased this Pitcher plant, brought it back to Virginia, where it thrived all summer, until I brought it in for the winter.  Dead now.

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Orchids and bromeliads, a favorite of mine. Palm trees for sale in every size and shape and variety.

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How about that spelling?


This is hands down the best mozzarella I’ve ever had.  This is always my first stop.


Love pesto, so I thought I would give this a try.  Not so much.


This hydro-ponics booth was very cool.


The market is held on Tuesdays and Saturdays, we go both days.

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Lots of Bees and Honey.

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Food Trucks are a big in this area.  Apparently flowers too.

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Mr. Cottage always makes the pink truck one of his first stops.  He loves the authentic German strudel.


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Fresh Ginger grown locally.  I can purchase 3-4 large roots for the price of one shriveled one back home.  Mr. Cottage picks out large quantities.  I freeze it and bring it home to VA.


Eggplant everywhere.

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Lots of beautiful fresh cut flowers.

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Lots of artist and craft – out of respect I don’t take photos.

Except for this lady with the hand crafted soap.  She actually chased me through the parking lot.  She thought I was a writer for the local paper taking photos to write about the farm market.   She begged me to take photos and write about her soap.  Boy was she disappointed when she found out I didn’t work for the paper.


This woman looks like she is daring me to take her photo.


A farm market near the sea, this seems appropriate.


I know what this is.  Do you?


See you later,



I’ve been out squirreled and puzzled

I was minding my own business when the rain came blowing in.

 Torrential, cold mucky windy rain.  Thunder and lightening too.

Thank goodness it wasn’t snow.

 You would think we live in prehistoric times, because every time it rains we lose our phone and internet services.

 Ok, I realize we didn’t have these advanced technologies when the dinosaurs were roaming the earth.

Seriously though it is  2014, why does a little rain cause such an outage and more importantly, why does it take the phone company so long to fix it?  I’ll give them credit, though it was only two and half days this time until we miraculous had connection again.

Also along with the rain and wind came a howling head cold.  Where’d that come from?

I’ve had lots of tea and honey, and once just a splash of whiskey – for medicinal purposes.

Today the sun is shinning so brightly.

Mr. Cottage cleaned and filled all the bird feeders that got gunked up, the last few days, because the squirrels have figured out how to pull the tops off of them; sit inside and eat the seed, leaving it exposed and wet  from the rain, thus a gummy gunked up mess.

I thought I had out-squirreled them, because I had taken petroleum jelly and rubbed down all the poles the feeders are on.  That worked for awhile, and I got great amusement out of the fact that they slid all the way down to the ground, unable to hold onto the greasy pole.

Through my dirty kitchen window:

I catch the little fuzzy rat in action.

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Don’t send me hate mail – I have two designated squirrel feeding stations, so that they get fed, and so they will leave the feeders alone.  Greedy little B——-.

Today, with the filled and clean feeders the birds are happily eating and singing and there isn’t a squirrel around.  That is kind of strange.

 They must be off plotting some kind of take-over.

Rainy days are good for puzzle time.


That Cat helps me.

Then the white nemesis makes an appearance.

An ugly confrontation occurs, and then the stare down.


So I end up having to put the puzzle away, so I don’t have pieces spread from one end of the room to the other.

And so goes Life at Coral Cottage.

Hope you are safe from the weather and having a good weekend.

See you later,



my future according to a little girl

When I was a little girl, I had a much clearer vision of my future.

I knew what I wanted, and how it was all going to work out.

This is my maternal Grandmother, the only photo I have of her.  I just recently received it.

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 Though she passed many years before I was born, I knew her name.

 It rolled off my tongue like magic.

 Edith Ivy.

I decided that I was going to have a daughter and she would be named Edith Ivy.

I never had human children, only fur babies, none of them were ever named Edith Ivy.

Long before the TV series came out, my parents gave me for Christmas the series of

Little House On The Prairie Books.

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A few of the books were missing at the time they were given, they were out of stock when my parents purchased them as a gift.

The day my parents took me to the book store to purchase the missing books, was like the sky opening up and I was in heaven.

I had a learning disability – it took an unusually long time for me to learn how to read.

I still can’t add 2+2 and get 4.

Receiving those books was an acknowledgment of my accomplishment.

I loved those books and read them over and over.

I fell in love with the name Charles Ingalls, and decided that I was going to marry a man named Charles.


Charles Ingalls

In the mean time, the first sewing project I ever had  was to sew up a cat which I named Charles.

 He was a reddish pink color, you know printed on fabric and you cut out the design, stuffed it with poly fill and sewed it shut.

 I slept with Charles every night, until the real Charles came into my life and I married him.

At least that went according to plan.

 Although my Charles doesn’t look anything like Charles Ingalls, except even though this isn’t a color photo, you can tell he had beautiful eyes.

 My Charles has the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen on a man.

My paternal Grandparents lived in a big rock farm-house with a tin roof.

The shutters were painted red and white, the roof red and the front door too.

I took this photo, probably in the ’70’s.

Not visible in this photo is a wing in the back that housed the summer kitchen and the smoke house and a few other smaller rooms.

To the left, behind the big tree, is the big front porch, and a wing that housed the kitchen, and the only bathroom in the house.  Upstairs on that wing was my grandparents bedroom, and an attic.

A partial view of my grandparents home.

A partial view of my grandparents home.

I loved that house and going to visit there was the best place in the world.

Someday I was going to live in a big farm-house with a tin roof, paint it bright red and my front door was going to be red too.

We bought my dream farm-house.   It isn’t a big house, but it does have a tin roof.

Which we painted bright red and the front and back doors red and white.

Until the artist in me said I wanted something more colorful.

That is when the roof got painted a bright blue, the siding coral, the window trim and columns on the front porch purple and yellow.

The front and back doors remain red.

They really need a coat of paint on them that matches the rest of the house.

It is kind of hard to give up that dream though.  Recently I’ve been thinking about going back with a white house and red roof.

There were so many times when I was younger that I knew exactly how my life was going to happen.  I knew exactly what I wanted – and for the most part it happened.

I have had a great life with so many wonderful memories that fill my heart with joy.  Each and everyday I try to remember to be grateful for the people and the good that has filled my life.

Here lately, I’ve felt like I didn’t know what my path should be or how to go about attaining it.

 Still life is very good.

I really need to find that little girl and have a talk with her, maybe she has some advice for me.

When you were a child did you have dreams that you wanted to achieve?

Have you?

See you later,



The old country dog

A no good for nothing beagle hunting dog lost from her pack.

Betsy Beagle

Betsy Beagle

She adopted us one hunting season.  That was at least 15 years ago, when she decided she had enough of all that running, shooting, and mistreatment by the humans.

 She was a few years old at that time.  We guess her age now to be around 18 years.

It was not love at first sight, or for many years on our part.

We didn’t need, or want to take on any more animals.  We had our hands full with at least 20 cats and about 10 dogs at that time.

She was trouble from day one.

She has caused more problems with the other pack of rescue dogs we had.

 All the others got along fine, no squabbles or arguments.

She fought the others for control over the food, and bedding, and human attention.

I couldn’t forgive her for chasing the cats, and then a horrible incident occurred and she killed one of  them.

She repeatedly sent our other dogs for vet care after vicious attacks.

She made us so angry and there were many times when my patience had run the course and I said that is it – she is out of here.

But then she remained.

Visitors to the house would always question us.

 She seems so sweet, how can you say she is a bad dog?

Betsy and Henry

Betsy and Henry

The years have mellowed her aggressive behavior, she has come to learn that the cats rule the roost around here.  Now she watches over them.

Betsy and Mr. Bonez

Betsy and Mr. Bonez

She is what we call a recreational barker.

 The minute I get in bed, she sits on the porch under my bedroom window and barks

non-stop all night.

She never chases or barks at the deer when they eat the garden.

She never barked at the bear that tore up the bird feeders, the coyote that wandered around the property, or the raccoon that figured out how to get in the house this summer.

She doesn’t chase or bark at anything, except chickens.

This spring when the renters moved away from the farm across from us, they left their chickens.

Don’t even get me started on how mad that made me.

I’ve been wanting chickens for a long time.  I decided I would make lemonade out of the situation and I would adopt those left chickens, and have several free chickens and a rooster.  It took weeks of plying them with goodies to cross the fields and the road and come over to our property.

Nothing doing, that dang Betsy!

Every time I’d get them on our property this would happen:

Eventually they were dispatched by coyote or bear.  I try not to think about it.

We used to swear up and down she would out live all our other “good” dogs.

She did.

Now her age has crept up on her.  She can’t see that well, and her hearing isn’t so good either.

She has been asking for permission to become an indoor dog.

We don’t want an indoor dog.

Betsy praying to be let inside

Betsy praying to be let inside

The temperatures are low here these next few days and are going to dip to beyond brutal.

We have been worrying about her being out in the cold.

This morning, before dawn I awoke and came down stairs.

 A quick check on the temperature – 15 degrees.

Her dog house has cedar shavings, pillows and blankets and I have covered the opening with plastic to knock down the wind.

It was suggested we purchase a heated blanket for her.

We didn’t.

I was worried about her.

I grabbed an old comforter and placed it on the floor in front of the TV.

I opened the front door went over to her dog house and told her to come on.

Up and out of the dog house and straight to the front door.

She knew she was being invited inside.

How’d she know that?

TAA DAA Betsy made it inside.

TAA DAA Betsy made it inside.

We purchased a new dog bed for her today.

 It has been placed upstairs next to the humans bed, where she will sleep at night.

Life is going to be different around here.

The old country dog has moved in.

Until next time,



P.S.  4:00 am – old country dogs have weak bladders.