Hi There, Still Here

Hello there.  Its been nearly 5 months since my  last post. I’m not proud of that fact but I’m still here.  I started & stopped writing on several occassions over the last few months.  Honestly, I struggled knowing if/what/when to post.  On one hand I would remind myself that I started this blog as an outlet to write whatever, whenever I wanted.  On the other,  I felt like I was in a creative rut and my normal content felt trivial amidst everything going on.  Yes, there is still a lot going on, but over the last few weeks I have been feeling the creative pull again.  I look forward to sharing more soon.

I hope you’re doing well and stay well my friends, thanks for sticking around.

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Cottagesick

On Sunday it was beautifully Sunny and unseasonably warm.  We took the dogs for a nice long walk and chatted about our plans for Spring including our first scheduled trip  to the cottage this year over Easter weekend.  However, as I write this today we’re in the midst of a 24 hour winter storm/advisory/whatever.  The weather this time of year can be quite a tease here in the Midwest.

As we walked we talked about how much we miss our little home away from home.  We miss being close to family & friends in Michigan. I miss “my” spot on the couch and Mark “his” recliner.  During the Spring/Summer months and through the Holidays we are able to visit more often.  There is always a lull this time of year and it is when we are the most cottagesick…its like homesick but I just made it up.  I find myself going back through my posts and photos fom the renovation and daydreaming about family dinners with a lake view, pontoon rides & bonfires.  It can’t get here soon enough.

On the bright side it is almost March and the first day of Spring is just about 3 weeks away.  As much as I truly love winter, I am starting to develop a serious case of Spring fever.  I know I’m not the only one.  What are you looking forward to most this Spring?

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Open For Business

I’ve been a little quiet on here since my last post , but for good reason…

I finally did it.  I hoped an Etsy Shop.   I’ve been toying with the idea for about a year and decided there is no time like the present.

If you’ve been following along with me here, on social media or know us in real life you know that Mark and I love going to antique auctions, markets and vintage shops.  We have accumulated quite a colection from our treasure hunting over the last several years.  Often we buy pieces because we intend to decorate with them in our own home but there are plenty that we’ve snatched up solely because they were unique, in great condition or needed to be rescued (that may be a bit dramatic).  Now its time to release some of these pieces back into the world.

I spent a good amount of time over the last month researching about selling on Etsy. I have learned a great deal so far through various articles & blogs but I know there is room to learn much more.  You have to start somewhere right? So that is what I’m doing.  As of yesterday I clicked on the “open shop” button and By The Poole  is officially open for business.  Below is a preview of my first listings, I’ll be continuing to add more.

etsy.com/shop/ByThePoole

Even if you have no intention of buying anything, but could spare a minute to check it out, I would greatly appreciate any constructive feedback!

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Un-Decorating

I feel like my first post of 2020 should either be some sort of introspective review of 2019 or an enthusiastic “what’s in store” for the year to come.  However, I’m not quite ready for that yet. I need to un-decorate first.

Taking down Christmas decorations is  bittersweet to me.  Our house feels the coziest during the Holidays and I don’t want to give all of that up just yet.  Especially living in the Midwest, we have PLENTY of winter left.  That being said, I am ready for a certain amount of de-cluttering to give myself a fresh perspective.

It can be easy to get wrapped up in rushing from one season to the next, especially on social platforms.  I have been guilty of this.  There is no one-size-fits-all timeframe when it comes to decorating or un-decorating for any Holiday or season.  This year I’m taking my time to make this process as painless as possible without adding extra pressure.

Here are a few things I am making an effort to remind myself and maybe they will be helpful for you too…

It doesn’t have to be done all at once, but it can be, whatever works for you. I’ve been working one area at a time which has helped keep the chaos and mess to a minimum

Not everything has to come down, I leave certain accents like pinecones, greenery and faux fur out all winter long to keep the cozy vibes

Take time to purge & organize, you will be grateful you did when its time to pull those decorations out next year.  It is also a good time to sort out items to donate or recycle

Shop your house, once all those decorations are down, consider moving things around from one area to another for a fresh look withoug having to go buy something new

My personal goal is to be done by the end of this weekend.  Then I’ll be ready to start sharing my ideas, plans and projects for 2020.  I’d love to hear yours as well.

CHEERS TO A NEW YEAR!

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Seeing Green

I broke my own “rule” this year and started decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving…with the exception of our tree.  This year I was also feeling the itch to switch up my Christmas decor a bit but didn’t want to spend a lot of money to do so. Over the last few years I picked up a few random thing here or there but for the most part everything I’ve had for the better part of a decade is comprised of reds, golds and neutrals.  I want to continue to make use of what I have I decided to add in some green this year.  I already had a head start since the tree automatically  provides a large amount of green along with a couple of boxwood wreaths I use year-round.

I set a budget for myself at $100.  As much as I enjoy finding antique, vintage and thrifted treasures whenever possible, the downside is you never know what you’ll find.  In this case I didn’t have a lot of time to hunt.  Everything I purchased this year came from Amazon and Target.  I found a few items I wanted and watched for sales or price drops and was able to come in just under budget!

Here is what I ended up with:

  • 2 throw blankets
  • 1 lumbar pillow
  • 2 small star pillows
  • 3 faux pine trees
  • 2 vintage inspired prints

 

 

The key to doing this was to scatter the new green accents around in different areas, mixing with what I already had.  It is a subtle change but feels very fresh to me.  Also, these pieces are versatile & classic enought that I can use for years to come.  Mission accomplished!  You don’t have to completely change colors or themes from one season to the next to enjoy an updated look.

Below are individual photos along with  links for the items I purchased this year. I can’t guarantee the current prices or availability but I hope it is helpful anyway!

*as an Amazon and Target affiliate I may earn a commission from qualifying purchases*

Christmas tree chart / Christmas holly print

embroidered velvet lumber pillow / oversized throw blanket / star pillows 

 

Hearth & Hand™ medium faux pine / Hearth & Hand™ small faux pine 

Another discovery this year was these remote flameless taper candles.  No they aren’t green and these weren’t included in the $100 budget above but I love them and figured they were worth mentioning too.

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Happy Holiday decorating,

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Grateful

“feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful” ~ dictionary.com

If you are reading this, THANK YOU. If you have read any/all of my posts in the past, THANK YOU.  This feels like the perfect opportunity to express my gratitude for every time you have taken the time to stop by my page.

The internet can be a scary place to put yourself out there but I have been fortunate enough to experience only kindness and support from those who follow along with this little blog of mine.  This isn’t something I take lightly.  I appreciate each and every one of you.

Happy Thanksgiving

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Fall, Finally.

Here we are more than two weeks into fall and 10 days into October. My favorite time of year is upon us.  I’ll be honest, I’ve had a bit of a tough time getting into the spirit this year.   I blame the heat wave we had at the end of September/ first of October.  Over the last week or so the weather has been slowly shifting but I have yet to wear a sweatshirt, much to my dismay.

Despite the lack of cooperation by Mother Nature, I still put out my fall decorations.  The last few years I have been leaning more towards subtle seasonal decor and that was especially apparent this year.  I prefer decorations that I can put out after Labor Day and leave until after Thanksgiving.  I typically skip the Halloween specific decorations.  I will always have pumpkins of some sort but I have been drawn toward those made of different materials like wood, glass & wicker.  For my Birthday Mark surprised me with a glass pumpkin (pictured below) that I had been eyeing for a few weeks.  I’ll take decor over diamonds any day.

Here is a little “tour” of my fall decor this year

If this kind of subtle, seasonal decor appeals to you, these are some elements I would recommend focusing on:

  • feathers, pine cones, acorns
  • dried greenery/grasses
  • metallic accents
  • neutral & muted colors

I know most of you have probably already started (and finished) decorating for fall.  In case you haven’t and are still in need of some simple, versatile & affordable decorations here are a few I found in the Target dollar spot (Bullseye’s playground) that are still available online.

this post contains affiliate links

 

Felt Pumpkins-3 pk

Brown Glass Vases-4 pk

Wood Baskets-3 pk

Faux Wheat Picks-3 pk

Burlap Sacks-2 pk

It looks like cooler temps are headed our way this weekend and I am READY.   I plan on celebrating by making chili and pumpkin bread.  Maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll even get to wear a sweatshirt 🙂

Happy Fall Ya’ll

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Summer So Far

I have completely slacked on my blogging as of late.  It’s been over 2 months since my last post.  My excuse? Summer.  In my attempt to play catch up, here’s what we’ve been up to…

We spent a week at our cottage

We had already made a couple weekend trips but over July 4th we were able to stay for a full week.  This is the 2nd summer vacation we’ve spent at our cottage after 2 the two previous summers spent renovating it.  Every drop of sweat and penny spent is well worth the time with family, pontoon rides, bonfires, quiet morning walks in the woods and everything else that comes with it.

We visited Manistee,  MI

A few years ago we started a tradition during our summer vacations in Michigan of picking a new destination for a day/overnight trip, this year we picked Manistee.  This was a first for Mark and what felt like a first for me.  From what my parents’ told me there is a good chance we visited there when I was too young to remember.  We spent the day exploring, eating, sipping and shopping our way through this little lake shore  town.  We were also lucky enough to be there to watch the Manitowac cargo ship come all the way down through the canal.

We adopted another dog

His name is Woody and he was an unclaimed stray that we discovered through the same rescue group we adopted Ruby from.  Our first attempt at fostering was a “fail” in the best possible way.  He’s been recovering from surgery and he has a lot to learn and experience but he is sweet as can be and is already part of our family.  I have quickly learned how difficult it is to get a good photo of 2 dogs at once…I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it.

We completed zero projects around our house

Unless buying new cushions for our patio furniture counts? (not pictured) Other than that we did nothing by way of DIY/home improvement projects.  Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of projects I have in mind.  However, evenings on the patio, long walks with the dogs, nights out with friends and various other summer activities have been the priority.  I’ll have plenty to keep me busy this fall.

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I hope you’ve wonderful summer so far and enjoy what is left of it.  I promise it won’t be another two months until my next post.

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DIY Kids’ Art Display

I have to give full credit to my mom for this post.  She texted me a few weeks ago to let me know she had an idea and sent me a few photos.  I loved the idea and decided to work on it while we were in town for Memorial Day weekend.

I know plenty of parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles, etc. are interested in ways to display kids’ artwork in a way that is a step above the tried & true refrigerator/magnet method.  My great niece made the 4 seasonal paintings ( pictured above and below) and Mom liked them so much she decided to pull together some supplies to create a display that would not only showcase her art but still blend in nicely with their decor.

This is the perfect time of year for a project like this since kids are bringing home plenty of artwork as the school year closes.  Also, this would be a perfect summer project to do on a rainy day.

Mom already had everything on hand for this project…artwork, scrap cardboard, scrap wood, paint and/or stain, brush, glue gun & pop tabs.

All it took was a few simple steps…

  • Cut scrap wood & cardboard to size
    • In this case we glued directly to the cardboard that the artwork was already painted on, you would just need to glue the artwork to the cardboard 
  • Stain/paint wood as desired & let dry
  • Line up wood on cardboard and glue in place
  • Glue pop tab to back if desired for hanging

Quick, easy, and basically free depending what supplies you already have.

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Much better than a magnet on a refrigerator if you ask me 🙂

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Mother’s Day Gifts

Today is the first day of May (crazy right?!) which means Mother’s Day is right around the corner.  If you are looking for gift ideas for a special woman in your life I have some great options to share with you.  Even though these ideas are geared towards Mother’s Day, they are also great for other occasions like graduations, birthdays and hostess gifts.  Or maybe even something for yourself?

disclosure: this post contains affiliate links

First is a small sampling of gifts available from Hello World Paper Co.  They not only have beautiful pre-made designs in a variety of items, but they offer several custom options as well.  I think my favorite item (if I HAD to pick just one) would be the laser engraved wood bookmarks…I have ordered several for myself and gifts.

Want in on a little secret? All of their cutting boards are on sale for 20% off using the code: 20OFFMAYMother’s Day orders need to be in by Sunday, May 5th.  Also, you can always use my coupon code: BYTHEPOOLE for 10% off your order.

 

I was introduced to Nature Supply Co  through a friend on Instagram.  She was wearing a monarchs matter tee…which immediately made me think of my mom who is both a wonderful & conscientious gardener.  I first learned about the threats to the monarch population from her.  Aside from having the cutest merchandise to pick from, “your purchase helps us plant one acre of wildflowers each month through the Bee and the Butterfly Habitat Fund”.  I’m not sure if my mom was more pleased by the tote bag  (pictured below) I gifted her or the positive impact my purchase had…probably a little of both 🙂

I have my dear friend Lindsey to blame for my Plunder  earring addiction.  Not only do they have unique statement pieces, they also have a variety of jewelry that can go with anything like the options below.  Those “Taelynn” earrings are my new favorite.  They also have a whole collection of items that can be personalized with photos, quotes, etc.  You can browse the entire catalog through her website or you can also join her VIP Facebook group  to stay up to date on the latest specials.

 

Once again, I have Instagram to thank for introducing me to Krystal, the incredibly  talented Coast To Coast Artist.  I already have a few of her floral paintings and stalk her Etsy shop regularly to see her latest and greatest.  She has the most beautiful assortment of wildlife, botanical, and even structural paintings.  Not only that, she also does commissioned paintings of pets, livestock,etc.  I can’t think of a better gift than a one of a kind piece of art.

If you are a procrastinator (no judgement here) and need a last minute gift you can always count on Amazon in a pinch.  This neutral buffalo plaid throw  or Burt’s Bees tips and toes kit and these hand painted wine glasses  are all Prime eligible and under $25.

I know I’m a week and a half early but I’ll say it anyway…HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

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