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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Grain Sack Pillows

A couple of months ago I was surfing Etsy and found a seller who lives in Austria who had what looked like the most wonderful grain sacks for sale, and to make it even better, they were priced very reasonably. I decided to take a chance and buy one, when I found she had a couple that had grey stripes instead of the usual red or blue. ( I know this pic makes them look blue, but they are a dark grey.) When this beauty arrived, I was thrilled. The fabric was freshly washed and had a lovely nubby texture while still remaining soft and pleasant to touch. I was debating between 2 pillows or  an ottoman cover and decided to go with the pillows. The grain sack was the perfect size to make 2 beautiful pillows from.

I didn't have to do anything but sew a closed end on one of the pillows and sew the finished edge opening on the other, as they were already sewn on the sides from being a grain sack.
I decided to make button closers for them. 

Here they are on the sofa.

 These are a couple from the other sofa. The one in the front was made with a grey ticking, pleated linen and furniture strapping. I love the way it turned out to. The one in the back came from a darling little store called Alchemy while I was in California last week.

If you are craving to have some grain sack pillows, go check out the Antique Linen Store on Etsy. She has all kinds of wonderful linens!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Building Beautiful Blogs to the Rescue!

Well my friends, it's happened. The  dreaded (or not) new Blogger interface is here to stay! I must admit, I fought it tooth and nail. Let's face it, change can be hard. We get comfortable in our ways and don't like to have to learn new things. Thankfully, I realized that even though it has a few things that I don't like, the new Blogger interface also has some new really wonderful additions to it. 
So fear not. Help is here. I re-wrote the entire Building Beautiful Blogs book to teach everyone all about the new interface and how to customize Bloggers new templates so they give you the pretty, clean look like the old minima template had.  Are you having problems finding the right template to make that free background you added look great? (It's not the one you think) Do you dislike all the boxes and shadows around your posts and gadgets, but think you are stuck with them because you want to use the free backgrounds. No you don't!! Are your pics and sidebar gadgets all overflowing into the next column? They don't have to!

This book will teach you how to achieve a beautiful blog and you don't even have to edit any html code if you don't want to!

Even seasoned bloggers will find some useful information in here.

I have gotten some really wonderful feedback on this book. I've seen it used first hand to create some really lovely blogs. I so strongly believe in this book, that I am offering anyone who wants to, the opportunity to make a little money with me. I have set up an affiliate program. What that means is, if you help me sell my book, either by putting the button on your blog, or even better, by doing a post about it...you will make $3.00 for every book that sells to a person coming from your site. To do this, you must sign up.

1.Follow THIS LINK, and you will be taken to the site where you can sign up.
2. Create your account
3.Look at option #1. (Jump link) and copy the code you are given there.
4. Send it to me in an email. I will use this code to make your button and send it back to you.
5. Place the button on your sidebar.
6. If you do a post about the book, use the code you were given (the one you send me) as the link to the book.
7. Start earning money!!

Okay, so some things just don't run smoothly. If for some reason, the link does not take you directly to your affiliate page where my book shows up, just click on "Search affiliates products" and then type in Building Beautiful Blogs in the keywords search box. The book will then show up, and if you click "details" you will be taken to the page where you can get the code under Option # 1 Jump Page. (it is the first code in blue) Then send me that code.

WooHoo!! We all win! You make some money, I make some money, and Bloggers all across the world get to learn some wonderful new things. All because of you! Yeah!

(If you already have the BBB ad button on your blog, thank you so much. Now, just follow the instructions above and I'll send you a new button so you can make some money too!)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My attitude of gratitude

Gratitude. What is it? It is an attitude that I try to live my life with. Today, after spending the most amazing weekend in California at the "Launch Your Creativity" event put on by my dear friend Sharon Hughes from Pansy Cottage and Garden, I would like to share some of the things that I am truly grateful for.

When Sharon first asked me to speak at LYC, I immediately said yes. Afterwards I asked myself “Why did I do that??” Public speaking is something I haven’t done since 10th grade. (I don’t really count my panel discussion at TCC since I was on stage with several other speakers and really didn’t say all that much.)  I was really stepping outside my comfort zone on this, but a voice inside me told me I should do it.  I’m so glad I did!  If you can imagine a room full of beautiful (yes, we are ALL beautiful )and talented (yes, we are ALL talented) women all getting together to offer support and encouragement to each other, sharing stories of success, and offering ideas on how we can all achieve it... THAT is what LYC was like. It was a reminder that we can all do anything we set our hearts and minds too. I am not only grateful for the other fabulous speakers who shared their knowledge and taught us all some very valuable information, I am also grateful to all the women who attended the event. Many of you gave me a very valuable gift. Your own words of encouragement, affirmation and gratitude, and I am forever grateful to you for that.

So, let me  talk a little about my gratitude for my friends. It knows no bounds. For many years before joining the blogging community, my friends were very few few and far between. In High School,  most of friends were boys and even as an adult, it was difficult for me to make lasting friendships with most of the women that I knew. (Don’t ask me why, I have no idea) Then I started my blog and found a whole world full of women who I could relate too. Building on-line relationships became important to me, and when some of those on-line friendships turned into real honest to goodness, “call me if you ever need anything, I’m here for you, you matter to me” friendships... well, let’s just say I was a very happy girl. (You know who you are girls, both here at home and across state lines  and I give thanks for you every single day.) Well this weekend I added one of the most generous, warm and nurturing women I have ever known to my list of true friends. I don’t know if you have ever experienced an instant connection with someone where you immediately felt like you had known them your whole life, but that is how I felt when I met Sharon. From the first time we spoke on the phone, it felt comfortable, easy. Hanging out with her, was like hanging out with the sister I never had.  I know we are are going to continue to become great friends and am so grateful that she is now a part of my life.

And speaking of friends... I am grateful to all of you...those of you who comment and leave words of encouragement that make me smile, and those of you who silently visit,  leaving your mark because I know you are here hanging out and enjoying what I have to share with you.  I give thanks for all of you everyday, because if it weren't for you , the labor of love that is “My Desert Cottage” would not be nearly as much fun.

Now that brings me to another thing that I am sooo very grateful for...When thinking about what I wanted to say in my speech for this weekend, I was reminded at how very blessed I am to have a career that I love. I remember 2 years ago when I lost my job and felt so lost. You were all there to pick me up and tell me it was going to be okay. And you right. It was okay. Because of all you wonderful gals, I was able to start my dream business and make a success of it. To all of you who have hired me to help decorate your blogs so they are a true reflection of you, I cannot thank you enough. I am so grateful that you believed in me and allowed me to follow my dream. And to all the gals out there who may become Valentine Design clients in the future... I am REALLY grateful to you too, because you are helping me stay in business!! LOL!!

I am grateful for my wonderful, kind, supportive husband who believes I can do anything. (even when I may not)

I am grateful for my sweet, talented, adventurous son who is now back in Arizona after a year in Colorado.

I am grateful for my 2 beautiful fur-babies who give me unconditional love and make me laugh every single day.

I am grateful for a wonderful home and a beautiful garden despite living in the desert. :)

I am grateful for my health and health of my family.

I am grateful that I live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. (Even if it does have it’s faults, there is no where else on earth I would rather live.)

And I am grateful to everyone who stuck around, letting me share my rant of what an amazing, crazy, busy, happy, exciting, warm, comforting, peaceful, joyful life I have now. It's just not worth it to worry about the little things that really don't matter much in the grand scheme of things.

Thank you God, for blessing my life with all that I have. My cup  truly runneth over. :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Busy day for me!!!

 In just a couple of hours I will be on a plane heading to California to speak at "Launch Your Creativity". This will be an amazing event with talented women and some great speakers that I am really looking forward to hearing. (Cross your fingers and say a little prayer for me please. :)

Even thought I am leaving today, I could not resist grabbing my gal pal Sandie and heading over to this month's Sweet Salvage sale. I missed it last month, and I did not want to miss it again!
This month was fabulous as always!!!
They are even starting to bring in some wonderful large pieces like this chaise lounge.
Industrial was definitely a recurring theme this month! This cabinet was much more fabulous in person.
Like always, they had a very nice supply of vintage suitcases.

I almost brought home this turquoise bucket. I think it would be awesome in a laundry room to hold dry detergent or cleaning supplies.

This dining table and chairs was TDF!!! Ahhh... If only I had a second home!

They have lots of great finds outside too.

This beauty came home with me! I have never seen one this shape. I LOVE it!!!

They even have some lovely jewelry for those us who like a little rustic mixed in with our bling!

I really like this ottoman. 

Great finds are everywhere.

Who could resist picking through all these great little treasures???

Cindy.... this photo is for you my friend!!!

Here we are glowing with the pleasure of another fun morning shopping at Sweet Salvage!!!

In case you don't make it out there this weekend, I have a little secret to share with you.... Because the shop has been so successful, they are having to get a bigger building to hold everyone!! AND... this new building has air conditioning!!! Yeah!!! (If you live here, you know how important THAT is!!)
The building is just a block away and there is more parking in the new location too.
Make sure you visit the Sweet Salvage blog before next month to get the address for their new home.

Well, I'm off to the airport now! Have an awesome weekend my friends!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

My Creations from Paper Cowgirls

Hello my friends and Happy Easter!!  I have finally grabbed some time to share with you the projects I made a couple weeks ago at the Paper Cowgirl event. I know I am very far behind,  but with clients and re -writing my book for the changes coming to Blogger soon, I have been crazy busy! Oh and speaking of crazy busy... I find that I have been re-miss in thanking you all for all your lovely comments recently.  I haven't had the time to visit everyone who always leaves me such sweet notes, and I just wanted you all to know how much I love reading them. I wish I had more hours in the day so I could come and respond to each and every one, but alas, I don't . But please know they are all appreciated. It's wonderful to know you are all out there enjoying what I do. :)
The first class I took was a class taught by Donna Goss.  I had never met her before and she was so sweet and a great teacher to boot. We all had great fun making her wool felt crown. I didn't waver from her design very much because I liked it so much, I wanted to do the same thing!
The next class I took was Lisa McIlvains "Whispers of the Past" book. Lisa's blog is Tarnished and Tattered, and if you haven't visited it, you are missing out. The girl has mad skills! 
The book was made from an old photo album cover and lot's of scraps of fabric and lace. I got a green book cover that, although was pretty, didn't fit in with the look I was going for. I rubbed white paint into it and then rubbed it off, then I used faded jeans distress ink by Tim Holtz to color the leather blue. It worked perfectly and now matched the strip of blue ticking that used on the front and back of the book. There was just not enough time to finish the whole book in class, so I did work on most of it at home. (I'm still working on it) but I learned some fabulous techniques in Lisa's class that I know I will use again and again.
The last project I have to show you was the "Peat Pot Nest Baby" that I made in Dawn's class from The Feathered Nest. We all had a great time putting this little sweetie together. Creating with friends is such a joy and I feel blessed to have been able to not only take Dawn's class, but also meet her as she was such a sweet and gracious lady.
I am truly so happy to have been able to meet all the wonderful gals who were teachers ans students alike. I can't wait for next year!!

On another note, I am very happy to say that after a year of waiting I finally have been able to acquire mydesertcottage.com. Yeah!
It was owned by a retirement home in California, and the owner graciously agreed to trade domains with me.  Unfortunately, it appears that after doing so, my entire blog list disappeared from existence!  So please bear with me while I slowly build it up again.
My brain just doesn't have enough space in it to remember everyone who was in there!!!

May you all have a wonderful Easter Sunday filled with laughter and all the blessings that this day brings.

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