1. A mat-forming, evergreen shrub (Vaccinium macrocarpum) of eastern North America, having pink flowers and tart, red, edible berries.
2. The berries of this plant, used in sauces, jellies, relishes, and beverages.
1. A small, single-storied house, especially in the country.
2. A small vacation house.
cran·ber·ry cot·tage
1. A tiny house in the woods in the north of Holland.
2. Peace, quiet, paradise.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A little winter.....

This piece of stitching adorns our living room each year in January. This year, it turned out to be prophetic. We spent last weekend at Cranberry Cottage and on Saturday morning awoke to this.....

I was thrilled to see some snow. It was thick wet snow that stuck too. What a pretty sight!

Then on Sunday morning, we had a visit by this little creature. This red squirrel was trying to get the peanut holder from the arbour but Jos has made sure he no long can make it fall off. But we felt for him as he was hungry and put out some peanuts for him. He was adorable with his bushy tail and pointy ears.

Back in the city, the little snow that fell here was all melted by the time we drove home on Sunday afternoon which made it harder to leave the snow still at the cottage. But I can think back to our perfect weekend while I look at my winter tree. All the ornaments are handmade by me.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Going from room to room.....

In our bid to streamline our lives and get rid of things we are not using, I am going from room to room now looking at what we have. I thought it would be fun to revisit the rooms on the blog. But first, I wanted to try out this for some time...making your own vanilla extract. Have you ever tried it? I had everything to do it but just did not get around to doing it. Saying to myself that this year would be different, I grabbed all the ingredients this afternoon and it is now sitting on my pantry shelf. I simply put three vanilla pods (cut open lengthwise) into a small air tight bottle with vodka. I shook it and set it on the shelf. Now to remember to shake it twice a week and then in a few months I can start baking with it.

I am going to try and spread out my cleaning more this year. It is also a great chance in the first few months of the year to see what I want to keep and what can be decluttered. Our powder room (click here to see the first post about this room after we moved) is very tiny so there is not much there and it is easy to keep clean.

 I did edit the items on my cupboard shelves I have hanging over the toilet. No more ivy to simply collect dust. I see from the photos that I need to edit the glassware now too. I have started using some of my doll quilts collection here too. They are stacked on a shelf and I now hang one at the bottom of the shelf. Hopefully, I will get a few more doll quilts made this year to add to the shelf. There are two of them sitting in my studio as UFOs (unfinished objects) waiting to be finish. It is fun to use my handmade quilts in our home even in the smallest room of the house.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New goals.....

The holiday season is long behind us and a new year is settling in. Did you have a nice Christmas and New Year? 

Jos and I have set a goal for the new year. We are going to declutter in a big way. We set a goal for 2015 to declutter 15 items each month from our home. When I say declutter, I do not mean reorganizing but de-owning. We started with the holiday season since we had time on our hands to list many things for sale on a Dutch version of eBay. Last weekend, we totted up what we sold and 12 items have gone so far bringing a total of 135 euros back into our wallets. Funny, we had a hard time remembering everything for the list I just made so that means we really did not need the things if we already are forgetting them. Jos also did a clear out and took 16 things to recycle and donate to the thrift shop. It is not stopping there since we have people coming to pick up more items this and next week. So far our count is up to 28 items de-owned and 4 more should be gone by the end of the month. 

I am also trying to rethink how I can keep my seasonal decorating which I love doing but keeping it more simple and organizing items this year as I use them. I decorated the large bread board Jos made me (see first two photos of this post) with a winter feel using lace, ice skates, taupe pot and pinecones. I could not help but add a pot of pink hyacinths though! It is a dreary winter here with spring temperatures and autumn gale force winds so a little bright feeling with bulbs cheer us up was just the thing. We still do hope for a snowflake or two to show up in the coming month...who knows...

A love of cloches has evolved into a good number of them in our home. So this year, I want to change them each month to reflect the season. For winter, three are standing on my sideboard with snow, pine trees, snowmen, an ornament and even some mice playing in the snow. Take a closer look by enlarging all the photos. 

Have you set any goals for the new year or decided to make some changes?


Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas tour.....

Our home has been touched by Christmas cheer...

A large cutting board made up with a winter scene for the holidays stands on our coffee table.

There are sparkling lights and touches of red and silver throughout the room.

A handmade patchwork Christmas wreath is held by a large wooden Santa my older brother and I made together years ago.

Even my desk in the living room has been given some touches for the season as all the tables in our home. This is where I blog...


Thursday, December 18, 2014

I believe....... Santa! Do you??? He is trudging his way through the snow covered woods to be here in time for December 25th. 


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving...dinner for two and autumn displays...

How nice to have Thanksgiving dinner for two at Cranberry Cottage. Unfortunately, for the second time in a month, we had to leave earlier than planned as I have been having major problems with my allergies (at least we think that is the problem) while in the woods. My doctor arranged for me to see my specialist at the hospital again in two weeks though so he can check some things. 

Our dinner was a turkey filet steak with onion gravy, sautéed Brussels sprouts with smoked bacon and roasted butternut squash. This turkey steak was so moist and tender so I think I will do it this way from now on. It means no leftovers but that is not such a bad thing when the meat is so succulent. Dessert is not pumpkin pie but pumpkin mousse. I started making this each year for the holiday a couple of years ago from fresh pumpkin. It is delicious and simple to make. You can find my recipe here on a previous blog post.

Back at home in the city and we are busy getting some big projects done in the garden while preparing to allow the garden to have its winter sleep. I also started taking down my autumn decorations to make way for Christmas. 

I have been trying to use my quilts in different ways that I traditionally do. I feel a need to pare down what I have and start making this more simple to do around the house. Just a few pieces like my bobbinlace toadstool picture, gourds places on wooden candlesticks and a leaf shaped dish with acorn pincushions adorned my sideboard along with a quilt and pots. 

The vintage olive pot is a favorite item and I combined it with an old mustard pot and handmade pottery vase to sit on my quilt. 

We moved my sea chest to the quilt wall now and I can keep changing the flowers in my large crackle effect pot. Did you notice the wreath with Sinterklaas? Hard to believe that it is almost December 5th already! Time flies and it will be Christmas far too soon.....

Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving if you are from the US and otherwise are enjoying the last days of autumn wherever you are in the world!


Wednesday, October 22, 2014


pas·tor·al  (pstr-l, p-stôr-, -str-)
a. Of or relating to shepherds or herders.
b. Of, relating to, or used for animal husbandry.
a. Of or relating to the country or country life; rural.
b. Charmingly simple and serene; idyllic. See Synonyms at rural.
3. Of, relating to, or being a literary or other artistic work that portrays or evokes rural life, usually in an idealized way.
4. Of or relating to a pastor or the duties of a pastor: pastoral duties; a pastoral letter.
1. A literary or other artistic work that portrays or evokes rural life, usually in an idealized way.
2. Music A pastorale.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin pstrlis, from pstorshepherd; see pastor.]

pastor·al·ly adv.

It seems I have been seeing many scenes which evoke the images reminding you of toile de jouy fabric. While on vacation this year in France, Belgium and Holland, I enjoyed these scenes of simple country pleasure. Whether a windmill on a hilltop with cows grazing (photo 1) in Holland or a small orchard beside L'Abbaye du Val Dieu (photos 2 and 3) in Belguim, they make you pause and sigh. A peace falls over you. 

In spring, we visited the Chateau de Rambures and I spotted the cows grazing way off the side of the castle grounds. They are in the farmer's field near the castle but just visible as you come near the walkway. Again...a pause to sigh...a reminder to slow really see what is around you...