Saturday Spotlight: Life Behind the Blogger Series

 Saturday Spotlight: Life Behind the Blogger is a feature done each Saturday that introduces you to a blogger you may already know or a new blogger for you to get to know. This feature gives you a peak into the personal life of the blogger.  Getting to know the special person behind the beautiful blog.

There is so much talent and inspiration in blogland so enjoy getting to know these talented bloggers each Saturday.

Nancy from A Joyful Cottage
February 28th

Happy Saturday and Happy End of the cold month of February.  So Happy March is almost here!!!!

This Saturday I have a very "joyful" blogger I would like to introduce you too.  Nancy has her blog called A Joyful Cottage.  Please sit back and read and get to know this most delightful blogger with a warm heart and a inviting and cheerful soul.  I guarantee you are going to love getting to know Nancy.  Enjoy!

Hi, I'm Nancy from A Joyful Cottage, and Kris is shining her spotlight on me today.

Can you believe it?  I feel like Miss America or something.

Here she is. . .Miss America. . .

But I digress.

Kris, thank you for inviting me today. It's an honor to be here at the charming and inspiring Junk Chic Cottage for Saturday Spotlight. And remember, you're the one who told me to "have fun" with this post, so if things get a little rowdy you have no one to blame but yourself.

Me hamming it up for my snowshoeing buddies in Colorado.

It's not too hard for me to have fun. I'm the youngest of three kids who believed her soul purpose in life growing up was to entertain family and friends.  And I still like to make people smile.

With my Ohio friends at Chipotle's Free Burrito Night.
(You're coveting my chic tin foil bow. Admit it.)

I also have a serious side, and through the years I've come to understand how important it is to be a person that puts people at ease and is willing to take the time to really listen to and encourage others. 

Life has thrown me a few curveballs.

My late husband Jim and me
with our first grandchild, Emma, 2001. 

At the tender age of 19 I married a wonderful guy in Illinois, where we were both born and raised.  A year later we moved to Southern California, and eight years after that our only child -- a son -- was born. We lived in California for 18 years, except for 10 months spent in Phoenix, Arizona.  Then we returned to Illinois to care for aging parents. Jim was diagnosed with a terminal heart disease in 1995 and left this world in 2007. He's with the good Lord now. (We were living in Ohio at the time of his death.) I lost my best friend, lover and cheerleader all wrapped up in one amazing man, and I never expected to meet another like him. Nor did I ever intend to remarry.

God had other plans. 

Dennis and me the night he proposed - Christmas Eve 2009.

In October 2009 I met Dennis Reinke, a Colorado artist, through an online Christian dating service. (I know. . .I can't believe I dated online either! I'm as surprised as you are, believe me.)

All of our wonderful kids and grandkids joined us
for our wedding.  They came from four different states.

We were married Valentine's Day 2010 at the lovely Fawnbrook Inn in Allenspark, Colorado.  

The Fawnbrook Inn February 14, 2010

(Yup, we just celebrated our 5th anniversary.)  

The theme of our wedding and marriage is JOY.

After selling my house in Ohio we moved to Estes Park, Colorado, rented the apartment where Dennis had previously lived and began to look at real estate for purchase.

I loved the apartment's french doors that opened to green space and the frequent wildlife that visited.

During that time I discovered photography.  Oh, my!  I hadn't realized how much I would love capturing the world around me through the camera's lens.  We lived ten minutes from the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park and spent a lot of time there. Dennis painted. . .

while I explored the park with my camera.

In 2011 we bought and renovated a 1926 cab-age (Dennis called it a cabin, I called it a cottage) just outside of town, and converted the property's 1880 log barn into an artist's studio for Dennis.

This gave me a whole new area of Estes to photograph.

Except for the bear, all these animals
were photographed on or adjacent to our property

Although we loved our home and the environment, retiring in Estes Park was not an option. The cost of living was just too high for us. We both love the west and felt drawn to Oregon, where Dennis had lived for awhile. So, we sold our property in July 2013 and began the hunt for a home in Oregon. We traveled all over the state for four weeks -- from the eastern border to the coast and back.

We decided to settle in the mountainous area of Northeast Oregon.

A local ranch in the foothills.

Natural Lake Nearby

We bought a lot in a very, very small town.

The lot came with an existing workshop.
Can you tell Dennis is excited?

Now our 667 square foot cottage is being built, and I'm excited about sharing the whole process on my blog.

Artist rendering of our new cottage, by Dennis Reinke

I've been writing since I was old enough to hold a pencil.  Back in the early days of the internet, before blogs were even thought of, I was part of an AOL online writing forum.  I started my first blog Coffee On The Deck in 2007, a few weeks before my late husband passed. I stopped blogging when he died and did all my writing in journals and letters to God, which really helped me through my grief. When I remarried and moved to Colorado, I wanted to journal my new life in the Rockies and hone my writing skills, so I started a new blog Joyful Altitude.  For awhile I had a second blog Mountain Manna Devotionals where I combined my photographs with inspirational writing.

It's taken me a fair amount of time to find my blogging voice, and I think it's finally happened with A Joyful Cottage.  It's my only blog now.  I take pleasure in combining my life long cottage love affair with my passion for writing. I have a weekly series called "Living Large In Small Spaces" where I feature cottages and small homes. Together we explore small home living through guest posts and home tours, and learn tips for small space and simple living. I often get the chance to feature the homes and lifestyles of other bloggers, which is something I really enjoy.

One of my dreams came true when I was contracted to write Christian devotionals for Wesleyan Publishings' devotional booklet Light From the Word, and another single devotional was published in Gary Chapman's Love Is A Verb - 365 Daily Inspirations to Bring Love Alive.

When I'm not writing/blogging and photographing, I like to quilt, craft, work on DIY projects, garden, cook. . .anything creative. A lot of times I share my projects on my blog.

A few things I shared at A Joyful Cottage in 2014.

On occasion I share the living-with-an-artist side of my life, too.

Right now we live in an apartment that is mostly
the resident artist's studio.

Okay, forgive me.  I just have to put a plug in here for my husband's art.  He is very talented, and beautifully expresses his God-given gift.

He's good, huh?  He has a website,
if you'd like to see more of his work:

As I often like to say, Dennis and I may be retired from jobs but we're not retired from life. We're both adventurous and love to try new things. Most importantly, we never take for granted the blessings God has given us.

"This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad
 in it!"

I hope you'll come by and visit me  at A Joyful Cottage.
I LOVE seeing my old friends and making new ones, too!

Thank you, Kris, for shining your Saturday Spotlight on moi.


Thank you Nancy for sharing your sweet life with all of us.  Please head over to Nancy's blog and say hello.
Have a great week end.

Feeling a little ignored! Not Getting Your Questions Answered!

Are you feeling a little ignored or maybe feel like after you make a comment on someone's blog they do not respond back to you when you ask a question :(.  Well it could be because you are a no reply comment blogger.

For Example: Your comment email address might look like this:

This is how you fix this problem:
It is easy peasy!
 Go to your edit profile page and click the checkbox that says “show my email address:
To change the email address that the comment replies go to, use the box in that same “Edit Profile” screen that you’re in.
If you don’t have a blog, you can simply go to your profile and see if the “show my email address” box is checked. If it’s not, make sure your correct email address is entered and check it.
That’s it!  See easy peasy and no one broke a sweat!!!!
I will also mention that you might want to double check your settings, because if you synced your Blogger profile to Google+, it may have changed your settings back to no reply status.

Tutorial from :

I hope this helps.  Some of you have asked me questions with your comments left and I have no way to get back to you if you are a no reply comment blogger.  So if you change this it will allow the bloggers you leave comments for to respond to you.

Have a great week end.  Come back Saturday for Spotlight.  You will love getting to know the wonderful blogger I will be featuring this week.

Stay Warm!

New "Old" Cabinet Transformation And New Faux Brick Wall

Happy New Week!

I have the Cabinet and Faux Brick Wall to reveal with new decor.

Before:  Long wall in kitchen.

After:  Long kitchen wall with new "old" transformed china cabinet.


This is my China Cabinet that I got back from my daughter.  In the new home they are buying she was not going to have a space for it.  This is a solid oak cabinet and one of the  first nice pieces of furniture Terry and I could afford to buy after we were married.  When we moved to our downsized home 7 years ago knowing I did not have a place for this set I gave it to my daughter.  She painted the oak black to match her decor.  So when she said she could not use it in her new home I told her I would take it back.  That started a whole thing on where and what was I going to do with this piece.
 Beginning Transformation:

For Valentine's day I got Terry a new tool.  It was a inside paint sprayer.  So we gave it a whirl and I have to say loved this new sprayer.  The paint went on quickly and smoothly and cut the paint time down considerably.
I taped off the windows of the doors and mirrors inside to be able to use the paint sprayer.  Little did I know I would find replacements for these cabinet doors just a few short hours later!

Remember the two side chippy windows on my mantel and that chippy arched window behind my mannequin.  Well got the ole' tape measure out and was excited to see they would fit to make new doors for the cabinet.  I love when I can repurpose stuff I already have.
Not to worry I have something new for the spaces where these three windows came down.  Stay tuned for another post on what happened to these spaces.

Yep!!!! Loving that these three windows would work for new doors for this cabinet transformation.

They fit so perfectly.  So after Terry fit the doors we slightly distressed the rest of the white painted cabinet to look like the chippy new doors.

Here it is without shelves put in and lights on.  I left off the doors to the bottom cabinet to add my baskets.  Got the new hardware handles from Tattered Tiques  for $2 each.
They added to the chippy look.

The inside of the cabinet has lights which are nice at night.

We painted the mirrors white.  Much easier than trying to remove them and replace them.  Also had this old chippy shelf and had Terry add that to the inside of cabinet.

I kept the original glass shelves on the sides but liked the wood chippy shelf and this old chippy stool for the middle of the cabinet.

Playing around with the top of the cabinet to see if I like a french basket of flowers or my basket with the old wooden rolling pins.  It is fun to play around to get different looks until one just says Yep keep me!

Cabinet with side doors open.

Middle door open.  Hard to get good angle pictures with no light filtering in behind me.  Trust me this cabinet on this wall looks so bright and pretty.  Just my back lighting was horrible to take these shots.

Love the exposed brick look to this wall with all my french farmhouse decor.

Still tweaking and moving things around to find the look I want for decor on this wall.  As you can see I need to find some more things to fill my baskets.  The hunt is on!

So there you have it.  A new transformed China Cabinet.  New faux brick wall and some decor change ups on this kitchen wall.  I love that I had everything you see here already.  Just tweaking and using stuff I already had and I got a whole new look and a place to take back my china cabinet.  It was fun to get a whole new look to this china cabinet with just using old windows for new doors.

Thanks for hanging in there with this long post and also these pics are not the greatest.  The only time good pictures came out of my kitchen is when I had them professionally photographed.  They have fancier camera's and good lighting kits.  Even with photo shopping I still get shadows etc.  At least you get the look and trust me it is very pretty in real life even if I could not get the best pictures.

Thanks for coming by.  Have a wonderful rest of the week.
See you Saturday for Spotlight.  I have a wonderful sweet blogger to feature.

Wow us Wednesday
Inspire Me Tuesday
What's It Wednesday
Share Your Style
Treasure Hunt Thursday
Share your Cup Thursday
Shabbilicious Friday Link Party
The Scoop 160
Show and Tell Friday

French Farmhouse Faux Brick Wall

I am doing the happy dance and cannot wait to show you part one of my french farmhouse kitchen wall and china cabinet re love.

I showed you this wall:

This was the long wall in my kitchen.  I got my china cabinet back from my daughter and thought I would somehow make it work on this wall.

Well that started a whole thing.  We took everything down off the wall.  I was just going to paint the wall and then bring in the china cabinet and paint that and work some decor in around it.
Then I started to think about this wall and thought hmmm...  It needs some character of an old french farmhouse kitchen so.........

After seeing sweet Pamela's faux brick wall from My Front Porch To Yours and a few other tutorials on Pinterest,  I decided to go for it.

Here is the step by step tutorial on how I did my Faux Brick Wall.

Terry and I bought these faux brick panels from Menards.  You can get them at Lowe's too.  They were $22 a panel and come in 4X8 panels.  Our wall took two panels.

After Terry cut and fitted the panels to the wall with a nail gun.  I began to paint all the grout lines from black to white.  Just used white latex paint I had.  If you get a little on the bricks it is ok since there are more layers of paint to come.  It looks tedious but it really wasn't that bad.  Maybe 30 minutes to do this whole wall.

This is step one finished.  I know it still looks like grandma's basement but just wait it gets better!

Step two was to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint on the bricks.
I used Paris Grey watered down just a little bit.  About 3 parts paint to 1 part water.  I used a regular paint brush to put the paint onto the bricks.  Terry and I worked on this together.  We both started at each end and worked to the middle.  It goes so much faster when you have a paint partner!!!!

We did the pyramid method.  Not sure that is the "technical" term but that is what I called it.  If you paint in uneven rows like this your seams are easier to hide.

Ok after putting on the Paris Grey Chalk Paint it looked like this.  So now step 2 was done.

Step 3:  White washing the brick.  I used regular white paint for this step.  You could use chalk paint too but I just used what I had and it was white latex paint.  

I brushed a section about the size you see above in white paint (did not water down the white latex paint)  and then took a damp cloth and blotted over the bricks.  This way some of the grey came through to give that old weathered brick look and a variation to the color of each brick.  This is fun because you can control the amount of white that shows and how much grey you want to come through.  

Then let it dry.  
I used Paris Grey chalk paint for the base coat and Behr white latex satin for white washing.  I wanted this color combo to go with my white and grey french decor in the kitchen.  You can use any color combo's you like.  I know Pamela used a few different colors throughout her bricks to get a varied color look.  I wanted a more weathered soft gray and white brick.

Step 4:  We taped off the corners where the wall meets the brick and  taped paint plastic drop clothes to the bottom of the wall onto the floor.  This is really important to do because the next step I am going to show you is very messy.  So this makes for easy clean up and protects the bottom wall and floor.

Step 5:
Grouting the brick to give more texture and a realistic look to the brick.  I got this pre mixed grout at Home Depot in the bright white.  It comes in different colors.
It says it is bright white but it really is more of an ivory.
This large container of grout will run you around $24 dollars.  It comes in smaller pints too for around $10 but we used almost all of the gallon for my half wall.

Terry bought this rubber float for $5.  Totally worth the $5 to smooth the grout onto the bricks.  Worked much better than a putty knife.

You can put on the grout with the putty knife but we found it to go on smoother and easier with the $5 float.

We started from the middle of the wall and worked out.  I do not think there is any specific way you have to do this.  This was just the way Terry decided to start.

This is why you really need the plastic throw away drop cloth.  It gets messy.  The drop clothes are 4 in a package for $3.

Yep very messy.  Easy Peasy clean up with plastic throw away drop clothes.

Grout completed.  Let dry for 20 to 30 minutes.

Up close of grouted bricks.  The grout really gives the brick grout lines 3 D texture.

Step 6:  Removing the Grout off Bricks

Ok this is where we messed up some. Most of the tutorials say to use a putty knife and scrap off the grout.   I did not want to do that for fear of losing my paint on the bricks.  Plus to be honest we left the grout on too long.  If you start to remove the grout while it is still wet I think it will come off easier.  We left this on overnight so........

So we took Terry's mouse sander and put a wet old cloth over the sander and ran that wet over the bricks.  That helped to remove a lot of the access grout on the bricks.

Next we took these Drywall Screen sheets that we attached to a pole sander.

After Terry attached the dry wall screen to the pole sander I took a old wash cloth and got it soaking wet and then went over a small section of the bricks with the wet cloth.  While the area is still wet Terry took the pole sander with the screen on it and sanded over the bricks.  This worked perfectly to give the brick a authentic look and variation in colors.  The bricks looked old and weathered.

You will go through several sheets of the dry wall screens.  They came 2 screens per package for around $3.  We used 4 screens or 2 packages for the whole wall.

The dry wall screen on the pole sander makes the grout smooth out and makes the bricks look and feel weathered like real exposed brick would.

So that is all the steps I did to get this  smooth weather exposed brick wall.  I love that the grays and whites come through in different areas to give a realistic look.  The texture to the bricks feel real too.  So this is my tutorial on my faux brick wall.
I know you can get more involved with using plaster etc. to get an even more 3 D effect.  For my kitchen wall I just wanted a weathered soft flat brick wall.  I did not want a lot of uneven grout to stick out.
Stay tuned to see what happens with this black china cabinet.  Total transformation of this piece and some new "old" vintage cabinet doors are going to be re loved onto this piece.  The mirrors will be gone.  New vintage hardware will be added.  She is going to get a total make over.  Hope to have a post on the cabinet make over and the faux brick wall behind decorated soon.

Have a wonderful Sunday.  We are getting bitter cold again here in Chicago land this week.  Ughhh!  Hope March brings in some warmer temps.

Make it Pretty Monday