Friday, March 29, 2013

Something For My Favorite Peeps!

Hop on over for a fun, quick Easter treat!  I thought it was time to "practice what I pin"--on Pinterest, that is.  I'm short on time but I wanted to have something fun for the kiddos this weekend so I went searching through my Easter Pinterest board for something E-A-S-Y.

 This was perfect:  Peeps Pops!

To make them you need:
Bunny Peeps, lollipop sticks, chocolate and/or vanilla coating,  candy sprinkles

 I wanted to display them in an Easter basket so I am using one I already had and I bought a piece of styrofoam and some Easter grass.  I also bought some plastic bags to wrap each one individually (bottom right) but I decided to save them for another project.

Here's what I did:

Cut the styrofoam to fit snugly in the bottom of the basket.  I cut the corners of the rectangle and pressed it down to the bottom of the basket--it should be tight.  Then I covered the inside of the basket with grass and set it aside for later.


Separate the marshmellow bunny Peeps and then spear each one with a lollipop stick from the bottom to the top.  I pushed the stick in as far as it could go without coming through at the top.

Melt the candy coating following the directions on the packaging.  I used the microwave option.

 Dip each bunny peep into the melted candy coating and swirl it to completely cover.  I then tapped the stick gently on the edge of the bowl so the excess coating would drip off.  

 Then quickly sprinkle your choice of candy sprinkles on the wet coating and 
place it on wax paper to dry. 

Once the bunnies were dry I arranged them in the Easter basket by sticking them in the styrofoam.  Nice and easy!  All I am saying is give Peeps a chance (tee hee)!  See you next week with more of the beach cottage for a buck renovation project!

Happy Easter everyone!  He is risen!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I'm in the mood to write about something beautiful.  I've been showing lots of "before" pictures and I'm getting ready to show lots of demolition pictures as the renovation of our cottage begins--so today let's take a look at something lovely.

Last week I went to Savannah to attend a bridal luncheon for my beautiful niece Brittney who married her sweetheart Tim on Saturday evening.   It is our family tradition that just before the wedding all of the aunts give a luncheon to honor each of the brides and their attendants.  Brittney chose The Pirates' House, a popular restaurant with locals and tourists alike.

Dorothy (Henry's sister who was mother of the bride), Beth, Brittney (bride), Eleanor, Anita and Vicky
Don't you love those special multi-generational parties where everyone from 
the eldest family members to the youngest gather to share food and celebrate together?!

Hilda Patton, Henry's mom, with Jeff (Henry's brother our only male presence at the party)--Look at her blissful expression--so beautiful!
Charlotte's first taste of sugar thanks to some key lime pie served by Aunt Anita and Aunt Beth

I also had a nice surprise at the luncheon--Beth, who is a very talented seamstress and crafter, cross-stitched two pillows as an advance house-warming gift for our cottage.  Take a look at these gorgeous things...

Beth hates to pose for pictures but I made her--a beautiful gift from a beautiful lady!
 Since this post is all about beautiful things, here is one last picture of a beautiful bride and her handsome groomFamily is meant to be a beautiful thing and this one is just getting started.  Congratulations you two--and heartfelt wishes for
all the best in the years ahead!

Tim and Brittney

Monday, March 25, 2013

Hey Wait Up!

If you've ever built or remodeled a house then you know that a part of the process involves waiting...and waiting.  I'm not good at waiting.

Our little cottage was moved onto its lot in early October...

It was raised on temporary railroad tie-like wood in mid-October...

 and then, once he could see the structure from underneath, our architect began to fine-tune the remodeling plans showing where the piers would be placed, how we would anchor the house to the piers, wiring, plumbing etc--everything you would need if you were building a new house--not the exciting, fun part but certainly one of the most important parts of the process.

 Once the plans were drawn up in mid-November we met with our contractor, Anthony Sapone, owner of Catskill Builders, to discuss everything and make any changes we wanted to make to the floor plan, etc.  

Anthony and Henry
 It was important to make these changes before the final plans were drawn up and submitted to Tybee to avoid unnecessary expense and delay.  And, of course, we had to have the plans approved by the City of Tybee and get a permit before any of the work could be started.

And so we waited, and waited...but in the end it was okay because we had a busy Thanksgiving and Christmas...and then finally right after the first of the year...

Our plans were approved and we were given our permit to renovate and to tie into the city utilities!  Whew!  and Yaaaay!

Friday, March 22, 2013

You Raise Me Up!

It was exciting to see our cottage moved down the street to its new home next to the park!

The next day the house was lifted on steel beams and pieces of wood that looked like railroad ties were stacked below.  We raised the house above the flood elevation so we wouldn't have to deal with the dreaded FEMA 50% Rule.

Careful measurements were taken to make sure the house was set down within the boundaries dictated by the zoning laws.  


 The two houses were leveled and lined up juuust sooo.   And then, and only then, the house was set down with the steel beams resting on the wood supports.

 Then it was time for the architect to come in and complete the plans for fastening this old lady to a more permanent foundation.  And we had to do one of the hardest things ever...we waited.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Moving On!

The One Dollar Beach House Saga Continues...

This house was ours for a dollar, the drainage plan was approved, the lot was prepared, the permit to move the house was obtained, and the house was disconnected from its utilities and loaded onto the truck.  Finally it was moving day!!!

Here are a couple photos--moving day was the inspiration for the first two posts I ever wrote for this blog.  You can read them for more details by clicking here and here.
First the little house was moved and then the main house.
Backing the house onto the lot.
It was quite a spectacle!  Lots of neighbors came out to cheer the house along.  Finally it was home on its new location!!!

Home Sweet Home
Stay tuned for more...I'm trying to catch you up so I can blog about this house in real time!

Monday, March 18, 2013

It Takes a Lot To Move a House!

In a recent post I told you about the beach cottage we bought for a dollar.  The catch was that it had to be moved to another lot.

So we enlisted Henry's niece, Theresa Purvis, a realtor with Solomon Properties, to help us find property situated close enough to make it possible to move the house with minimal expense.  She helped us buy this pretty one just down the street next to the city park and close to the beach...
Nice and shady with lots of trees--next to the park!
We began the process of hiring people to work on the project--an architect, engineer to handle the drainage plan, construction manager, house much for the house costing a dollar!  In order for the house to fit on the lot we had to move some palm trees.  Most of them stayed on our lot--three were shared with The Coral Cottage.

Once the lot was prepared and the drainage plan approved we obtained a permit to move the house.  I'll show you how that worked next time! 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Special Day--Are You Curious?

Hi there and Happy St. Patrick's Day!   If you were checking by to see the beach cottage we bought for a dollar, here's the link for later, but why don't you stay for a moment and meet my family?

In my never-to-be humble opinion, I have the best grandchildren ever.  Seriously.  Recently we celebrated Ella's 3rd birthday--Curious George, her favorite.  Everyone went crazy over the cupcakes my daughter Kristen made for her pre-school party.  They were fairly quick and simple to make (my favorite kind) so I thought I'd share a picture or two with you just in case you know any Curious George fans.

Just make a cupcake with chocolate icing and use vanilla wafers to make the ears and face parts.  Red icing for the mouth and black icing for the nostrils and eyes.  Done! 

 (Kristen's planned trip to the grocery store the night before the party was derailed when she learned her husband had to work late at the hospital.  So she used a cake mix and made chocolate ganache icing from things she already had in the pantry--resourceful girl!)

Just before writing this post I came across another Curious George party on Amy Atlas' party blog.  It was very elaborate and fancy.

Now I love a fancy party but they can be expensive and time-consuming and small children will have no more fun at them than at a simple party.  It's more for the adults to enjoy.  

This has been an incredibly busy year for Kristen with moving, having a baby, her husband starting his residency, and her beginning to telecommute to work at her job.  There will be other years when it is fun to be fancy but I think she made the wise decision to keep it simple this time 'cause...
Fancy isn't Fun when Mama is all Fretful and Fussed!

This is a totally thrilled 3 year old blowing out her own candles!
Daddy surprised her by getting permission from his residency director to come to the party for a while--it was a highlight for Ella who is quite a Daddy's girl!

The birthday girl felt celebrated, special, and loved!  Now that's how birthdays should be! 

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Beach Cottage We Bought For A Dollar!

The Coral Cottage is finished except for a few small future improvements I have planned for her and next week her first guests will arrive!  

Recently a friend asked me--What's next?
I'd like to bring you up to speed on another cottage that I am excited to be working on.  It's the cottage we bought for a dollar!

This little cottage was planned for demolition by a family that wanted to build a new home on their lot.  Jane Coslick, our design consultant on The Coral Cottage, was asked by the historical society (with permission from the owners) to help find someone interested in saving this treasure by moving it to another location.
Enter Vicky and Henry :)  

We took a tour...

Front Porch
Living room looking into the dining room

Kitchen with a connecting bathroom
Bedroom connected to the dining room--somebody really liked bamboo wallpaper.
Bedroom connected to living room
Bedroom with bathroom in the "little house" connected to the main house
 We thought the house had promise and after some prayer and discussion, we decided to look for a lot!  Do you think we're smart or a little crazy? Both?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cottage Style Meets Coral Cottage!

It's late Tuesday night as I write this post and I've had an amazing day! I can't disguise how excited I was to attend the photo shoot of The Coral Cottage today for Cottage Style magazine.  It was really fun!

Last week I shared with you in this post how the whole thing came about and today it actually happened!  Yeah, I know I've used a lot of exclamation points but exclamation points are what I need to express myself accurately!

This is what happened:  I opened up The Coral Cottage at 9 o'clock this morning and soon the photographer,  Richard Leo Johnson, drove up.  His beautiful work has graced many a magazine and we were so happy to have him on our project.  Turns out Richard is very personable as well as capable and when he learned I was interested in improving my photography skills, he was kind enough to share his knowledge and explain what he was doing so I could understand.

Richard began setting up his camera on a tripod and he connected it to a computer so that we could look at the images as the stylist composed each scene...

...which bring us to our stylist, Sandra Mohlmann, who arrived next with a car full of props from her own collection as well as from various design stores, the grocery store, the florist, etc.  She said she often goes to as many as thirty places to shop when preparing for a project.  

 Sandra lives in Charleston, SC and I learned that her career as an interior designer led her into her current position of Field Editor and Stylist for Meredith Publications when she assisted in styling her own home for a magazine feature years ago.  Her talent caught the eye of editors and now she styles for many magazines all over the country!  I made it my job to watch and learn as much as possible from her while trying not to get in the way.  Thankfully she was very gracious, showed me what she was doing and allowed me to help a little (not that she needed any help at all.)

Sandra did a lot of this--moving the furniture and accessories for the most pleasing arrangement.
One thing that I found fascinating was that Sandra had what looked like a script that contained a list of photos the magazine wanted taken.  The script described the angles they wanted the shot taken from and the orientation--landscape or portrait--they needed.  Often, this required furniture to be moved around.

See the end table to the left of the sofa in the photo above?  Looks funny from this vantage point where it is so far away from the sofa, doesn't it?

Now look at it from this direction...

It looks good here, doesn't it?  Sandra and Richard wanted to show the shape of the end table and it would not have been seen if photographed close to the arm of the sofa.  Lots more tweaking took place before the final picture was captured--pillows changed around, accessories added, rooms in the distance styled, etc.  It took much time and thought to make it all perfect.  An eye for detail is essential in styling!

One other really cool thing I learned from Richard was that in the Photoshop editing tool you can "stitch" two photos together.  Richard uses this feature frequently to give a fuller picture of the room.  It is often impossible to get everything into one picture with a digital camera.  By putting the camera on a tripod and taking the same photo twice but with a slight shift left or right/up or down, Photoshop can merge the two photos into one and you cannot detect where the "stitching" took place.  Seriously cool.  Maybe even cool enough to make me want to learn how.  Hmmmm.

Richard and Sandra worked hard all day and, after over seven hours, they were satisfied with the pictures of The Coral Cottage.  They should be--they are gorgeous!  Can't wait to see them featured one day in Cottage Style magazine!

Thanks Richard and Sandra!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Be Our Guest, Be Our Guest, Put Our Service to the Test!

I'm humming a little ditty from Disney's Beauty and the Beast--yeah, I know I'm a little corny. This summer we went to The Magic Kingdom with our kids and grands and saw Belle from Beauty and the Beast during our dinner at Cinderella's Castle.  Meeting the princesses was awe-inspiring--at least for all the littlest girlies in the family:)

 All this to say...

The Coral Cottage will be hosting its first guests very soon and I am trying to make sure it is ready.  My rental guru, Jim Heflin, has been coaching me along.  One thing he recommended we get is a guest book.

I've been thinking about this and decided to try to make my own--or at least design my own.  I turned to Shutterfly, my go-to photo book store, to try my hand.  This is what happened:

I collected all my digital images of the Coral Cottage from my Facebook page.  Then I selected my theme and the size of the book.  I picked photo layouts and plugged in the pictures.

This is how it turned out--hope you like it!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Cottage Style Magazine--Here We Come!

I've got some exciting news!  I've known for a while but I've kept my secret "in the vault" just in case it should prove too good to be true.  But now I think it is safe to share.
The Coral Cottage is going to be featured in Cottage Style magazine!

If you've been reading my blog for a little while, then you may remember meeting Nancy Milligan
 from this post.  Nancy is a freelance writer who is a frequent contributor to Cottage Style magazine.  When I was setting up housekeeping at The Coral Cottage before Christmas, she came by to see the house and ended up helping out!

You'd better be careful offering to help--I may just accept and put you to work:)
Nancy lives in Colorado and this fall she was attending a writer's conference at Tybee Island.  While she was in town, she was looking for some cottages that might be candidates for future writing projects--so glad she found The Coral Cottage!  
Nancy loved the cottage--even in its unfinished condition--and gave pictures to her editor who gave the go ahead to write the feature.

On Tuesday Cottage Style will send a professional photographer and a stylist to do a photo shoot at the Coral Cottage!  Can't wait.  So excited.  I'll tell you all about it next week!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Yaaay! Wooohooo! Applause!

It has taken a while to show you through the process of bringing the yard at The Coral Cottage back to life.  It was quite a job and unlike my lengthy blog posts, the installation of this project was accomplished fairly quickly--in about a week!

With thanks to Bill Griffin of Griffin Landscape Design and Contracting for many of the photos of the finished yard,  here's The Coral Cottage yard Before and After!  Ta Daaa!


BEFORE--the yard was all sand and sand nettles with one small palm tree and a broken up sidewalk.
One more AFTER picture from another angle.

BEFORE--looking from backyard to the street
AFTER--you can see the outdoor shower on the left against the house!
AFTER (before we set up furniture on the patio)

So that's it!  And here are the men that deserve all the credit!

L to R:  Bryan, Bill, Luis, and Tyrone from Griffin Landscape Design and Contracting
Yaaaaay!  Wooohoooo! Applause!  Take a bow guys--you deserve it!