It has been almost a year now, that I have been working on building the ministry of Ruby for Women. During that time, I have not had the time or the energy to invest in my home the way I would like to, and I definitely have not had the mental capacity to keep up with my blogging! Well, we now have an Assistant Editor here at Ruby for Women, as well as a Graphic Designer on staff. Amanda Johnson will be helping me with all editorial and submission tasks, as well as assisting with all of the details on the Ruby for Women blog and community website. Katherine Corrigan will be providing assistance with making our blog and website beautiful! She is also available to help you with your blog or website makeover! You can find both of these ladies in the Ruby for Women community.
So, now that I have some help with all of the responsibilities of Ruby for Women, I have been able to catch my breath a bit, and do some domestic engineering. Although we live in a small cottage by a lake, with a lovely wooded area behind our little house, I feel that it is important to make our world as comfy, cozy, and pretty as I possibly can. We lived in a large, renovated Victorian home with four bedrooms for almost 20 years in Michigan. Then, when we moved to Colorado for my husband's job, we found another beautiful old home which had been renovated, with four bedrooms, a fireplace, and a spacious family room in a Victorian mining village up in the Rocky Mountains. After three years there, we realized that I was probably never going to adjust completely to the altitude (7,500 feet elevation) and that we needed to move back to the midwest. Here in Indiana, with a really difficult economy, we decided to "down-size" in many ways, including our choice in homes.
Around here, I've heard that this kind of house is called a "Hoosier Hut," because it is a manufactured home and only "poor" people live in these little hovels ;o) Well, we do have a HUGE garage, a lovely little studio where we can entertain Grandma and Grandpa for summer fishing trips, a lovely large yard, and a beautiful wooded lot behind us. Out my kitchen window we have the cozy woods and out our front window we have a nice view of the lake. Although we are not on the lake front, we do have access to the lake where we have a little fishing boat in the summer and the girls can go swimming. It is peaceful and quiet here, and the neighbors are friendly and like family in many ways. So, even though our little "Hoosier Hut" is small, it is cozy and charming in its own way.
On the outside I am hoping to fix up the yard this summer. Our house in Michigan had beautiful perennial gardens that we had worked on for many years. They were filled with a wide variety of flowers and plants that did well in the shade. We have some shade here, in the back yard, but lots of sun in the front yard, so that will be a brand-new experience for us! This winter we decided that it was time to fix up the inside, so we started with the dining room. Now, those of you who read my blog occasionally know that I LOVE thrift shopping and vintage everything. And, because we have had some pretty significant financial struggles this past year or two with unemployment, I don't have very much money to spend on these kinds of projects. I love these kinds of challenges! I like to see what I can find to spiff up my home in our local thrift shop, and then work my "creative magic" and turn someone's piece of cast-off "junk" and turn it into our family's "treasure."
First, we painted the walls a soft creamy ivory gold. It is not really yellow, but it definitely has more personality than ordinary "off white" or "ivory." I thought about doing a texture design but decided I like it just the way it is, with the simple country-style border. Got all of that at Walmart (we love Walmart, and I guess that proves that we are "poor country folk." No matter, it works for us! Then, I took a strip of the border and put it on the front of the drawer in the top of an old cabinet that I've had for at least 20 years, put new knobs on it and it is perfect for storage. We are going to use the storage areas in the dining room for our craft supplies, because I have more than enough cupboard space in the kitchen for all of the dishes.
Then, I found a beat up old wooden shelf at the thrift shop, so I paid $3.00 for it and brought it home to paint. I painted it black and then used a dry brush technique to add a sheer layer of gold paint. It now matches the discarded wall hangings and vintage saucers that I also purchased at the thrift store. The wallhanging frames were already black but the inside had rather worn and tired looking pictures of chocolate truffles ;o) So . . . . . I painted the whole thing black, then did the sheer gold layer of paint on the frames, and glued the vintage saucers right in the middle. The saucers are ivory with gold designs, so it all kind of works well together. At least, I think so! The original wallhangings were $1.00 each and the saucers were .50 each.
Then, I had a couple of other wallhangings that I had picked up from thrift shops over the course of the past year, so I grouped them all together, including a vintage mirror, lamps, and other odds and ends, and now I think my dining room is just perfect. Well, for us country folks in our little "Hoosier Hut"! The embellished button frame on top of the cabinet was created using the same technique of brushing a sheer layer of gold paint over a black frame, and then I glued on various vintage buttons. Inside the frame is a piece of fabric over quilt batting, and I stitched on a piece of black ribbon and vintage lace from a tattered old slip, along with more vintage buttons. Just perfect! A few old books, a couple of candles, some old boxes, and a couple of beautiful "Mama" statues that I picked up at Walmart for $5.00 each after Christmas last year, and I think our dining room is just about ready for a festive family gathering over the holidays.
Of course, not too many of us will all fit in our little house, but we have managed to tuck several babies and grandbabies in around the edges and we all have a wonderful time in our cozy little "Hoosier Hut" here beside our lake in Indiana. Perhaps if you are finding your budget a bit tight this year you will be encouraged to use your limited resources in creative ways to make YOUR home a bright and beautiful corner in the midst of the cold winter months. Blessing on you and your family this holiday season . . . Merry Christmas!