Thursday, September 6, 2018

Storybook Cottage - Laying The Groundwork

This week's mini time was a continuation of getting the landscape board ready for the cottage and it's garden. Before I got much further, I needed to get the plywood base bottom covered in felt to protect the table it will sit on. I bought a few yards of this brown felt at Joanne's a few years ago when it was on clearance, and I'm still using it up. I cut a piece to cover the bottom with extra allowance around the edges, then gave the plywood a good layer of Grandmother Stover's glue. I laid on the felt, then used my burnishing tool to get good adhesion everywhere. Once dry, I used my Xacto knife to cut a nice close edge. When I missed some, or the cut wasn't as pretty as could be, I used my embroidery scissors to clean it up.





I marked again on the board where the house would sit, then made a planter box to attach to two of the fence sections. They got stucco (and later aged) to match. There will be a stone path along the third fence section, so it didn't need a planter.





Using foam core boards for walls and cereal box cardboard for bottoms, I made a planter for the corner and for under the bay window by the front door. I covered them in "stone", then added foam planting bed to help hold in the future plantings.









With the very limited garden space, I decided not to try to force in a lawn, but instead make a stone path surrounding the cottage. In addition to the planters and window boxes, I can have an extensive container garden with all sorts of creative pots and things. So first, I painted in the path, then edged it in 1/4" wide liner "stones". I checked the fit of the fencing and planters as I went.






Then I filled in the pathway with "stone pavers" made from the same Yankee Candle cardboard packaging as the rest of the "stone" in the project.




I didn't want to grout the stone, because I wanted a more informal path kind of feeling. I had this Bachmann gravel in my landscaping drawer for a long while now, but had never had the chance to use it. I experimented a little, then found that running a light bead of Elmer's glue in the grout lines, then sprinkling the gravel on worked well. I lightly patted the gravel, then once dry, I rubbed my finger across it to remove the excess and loose gravel. I didn't try to save the excess - didn't want to risk gouging my wood floors if I happened to miss cleaning it up, so I just dumped the board out on my gravel walkway in the back yard. With a little future aging using chalk pastels, then planting some rogue weeds and moss in here an there, I think it will look nice.






So here is the table that the cottage is going to live on. I am still mulling over ideas about weather I'm going to paint it, and if so, how? The great thing is that there is room on the bottom shelf for another small future project!


And here is where the cottage stands now, ready for flowers and plants and all manner of living things to adorn her. You may notice that the moss is a little less prominent, having been rubbed to lose some of it's fuzziness. But the mossy rock is kind of growing on me.









But before I can begin to undertake all of that flowery awesomeness, I have some real life homework.

Dresser Handles

Dresser Painting in Progress

Lots of Decor Stuff To Make

Russ has finished the flooring in two bedrooms and the hall, with only the landing and stairway to go. So now I can begin creating a nice, comfortable room for our guests to stay in.




So now that the groundwork has been laid, next time, I hope to have more exciting and colorful things to share both with the cottage, and our real life home!

xo xo,
Jodi

43 comments:

  1. BRAVO!!!!
    Your hardscaping of the Cottage is looking Superb Jodi! I Adore your new paver path and your raised flower beds. As I recall the garden of the 3 Little Pigs was Beautifully done and so I KNOW that the Cottage Garden will be as well!
    Your RL floors look Grand and the rooms nice and bright. You and Russ make One TerrificTeam together; getting it done!
    I can hardly wait until your next instalment!

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth! From the impromptu moment I started this Storybook Cottage until now, I haven't really had a plan other than to just go with the ideas as they come and try to use up what I've got. I'm glad you like where it's leading me, because it gives me the courage to just keep going however it turns out. So thank you for the encouragement on both the cottage and the real life improvements!

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  2. Hi Jodi! I think it looks Awesome!!! Your decision to forego lawn was the right one... the spaces are much more versatile with hardscape and movable pots! The stonework looks wonderful with the gravel instead of grout.... Brilliant again! As you point out it allows for an occasional volunteer plant or weed in the cracks! I Love it! I am liking your mossy walls more and more as they are put in "perspective" by the landscape in the foreground... they need to make their statement and they add that lovely texture to the walls! The plantings in your raised beds will draw the eye to them and the walls will become the "background" as they should! I am SO looking forward to seeing what plants you will be making!!! (And I can teasingly say I don't think you left room for a lilac!) :)
    As for your RL homework... that is looking fantastic too! The floors are GORGEOUS!!! I am sure your guests will feel "Welcomed" when you are done! I can't wait to see more! :):)

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    1. Thank you Betsy! I can't pretend I know what I am doing or that I even have plans 5 minutes before I do most things, so I don't deserve the undue credit, but thank you for the encouraging words! As far as what I'll plant, I don't have plans for any lilacs, and would never be able to make them as real and beautiful as your blossoms are! But definitely some camellias, and in general, things that make good tea blends or that bees like will be the focus. However, my flower making practice is very limited, so please do not set the bar too high for me! I may have many failed attempts and then have to resort to something easier!
      The real life stuff is being done on an extreme budget, so there I will also try to do as much and as nice as I can do with what I have. This is why only one guest room will be furnished, and still more upstairs rooms will have to wait their turn. :O)

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  3. Oh how exciting! Almost time to plant the gardens! You managed to get a lot of the stone work done so quickly, and that gravel was really smart. There is just so much character to this house. I think adding weeds and moss will be the perfect finishing touch. And how exciting to see your real life reno coming along, that new space is going to look fabulous with the dresser and accessories! Looking forward to seeing a final photo : )

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    1. Thank you Kristine! The stone does seem like an endless job, but being able to string a few hour long sessions together, eventually, it gets done! I hope the garden turns out to be a lovely place, I hope the stones and gravel will end up being a good decision, I hope the guest room will come out looking nice and inviting, I hope, I hope, I hope!

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  4. Jodi, I for one love the mossy stone.. it reminds me of English country houses that have well trimmed vines up the pointing but exposing the brick or stone. I'm loving the roof treatment too.. I'm imagining a large tree somewhere just outside the fence overhanging the roof and creating all that mossy magic. :) The house is really looking spectacular especially when viewed as a whole on it's table. I love that the roof seems to have a slight sag in the middle, adding just a touch of whimsy and fairytale that cottages like this have in spades. Your path is amazing and you did it so quickly! I must admit when I saw the picture with just the liner stones I thought.. how on earth is she going to fill that in without having some larger grout gaps. With crazy stone that's how! Brilliant and the gravel was a fantastic idea. I can just see a weed or two or some wildflowers peeking out from the cracks. Now as for your real life house, wow, you guys have been busy! I'm glad to see you are applying your creativity to some RL sized accessories. :) It's looking great.. My house could really use a paint job, seeing your nice fresh paint is making me have paint envy... lol. Can't wait to see you get your decorate on once Russ moves that saw horse out. :D

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    1. Thanks Sam! Maybe when all of the elements come together in the end, I'll look like some crazy genius who planned all of the quirks, oddities and character instead of like the struggling builder that I am! :O) I don't want to be afraid to try, so I do try, and keep trying. There are so many parts of this passion that I enjoy so much, and a big piece of that is sharing it all with folks like you who take the time to encourage and support my dream. My family hardly ever looks or asks about my projects, and none of them read my blog, so thank you, dear Sam for your kind and encouraging words!

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  5. isn't it nice when things just come together and the result is a much more advanced look? the flowery bit will be fiddly and take time... but will be rewarding as you see these empty spaces getting full.
    as to real life: wish I was already that far! my builders will now prepare the one room (except the floor) for me to stay in during the building phase. but first, I am taking my mom to the provence for two weeks... but I am dying to start clearing out here for the move of the household into storage ;-) well, patience...

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    1. Hi Marion! It is nice to see the necessary parts getting completed so that you can get to the really pretty parts. The flower making is so time consuming, and I have mixed feelings and a little anxiety about making them, but I so want to see the cottage in bloom!
      It's so exciting that things for your reno are starting! There will be so much to do, but seeing the progress will keep your energy going! Have fun with mom in Provence, and keep your eyes out for unique and fabulous decor pieces for the new space!

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  6. The whole look of the house is fantastic, wonderful work! the real life work is great too, your guests will sleep like roses in such a nice room :-).

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    1. Thanks MAF! I hope when both are completed that I will remember the process fondly, and enjoy them both for a long time!

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  7. Hello Jodi,
    It just keeps on getting better. The landscape works so well with the house. The planter boxes are beautiful! I love the stone finish. The stone path is also terrific and everything works so well together. I am glad real life renos are coming along...lucky! I hope you have fun decorating that guest room.
    Big hug
    Giac

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    1. Thanks Giac! I am happy that the stone path and planters seem cohesive to the cottage to you! I just never know if an idea is going to be a good one!
      I am really going to enjoy making some of the pieces for the guest room! It's been a long while since my crafts were not mini related, and it's fun to dive back in!

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  8. Your house is beautiful. I love the stone work and planter boxes.I am looking forward to seeing more. Your guest room looks very cozy and bright lucky guests :)
    Hugs Maria

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    1. Thank you Maria! I am glad you like the stone work! The guest bedroom is nice and bright with the cream puff paint, and since it is only a 11 x 14 room, I have to find a way to make it feel cozy and not crowded! It's a challenge!

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  9. You make it all look so easy! I hope you display the Story Brook Cottage in a place of honor for all to see. It is just so precious and all of the work that you have put in it.

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    1. Thank you, Ann! I know that you know how much work and patience goes into these projects! You have done so many nice houses over the last few years!
      I am not sure yet where it will be displayed. With our son moving out, and the renos going on, rooms are shifting their use and purpose, and furnishings are getting reassigned. So, it's to be decided, but I like to see my projects every day.

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  10. I love the landscape, it goes perfectly well with the cottage. The stonework with the gravel looks stunning and so do the beautiful planting boxes.
    It's impossible to believe the change from the original kit to the way the cottage looks now.
    A great progress in you R/L renovation. The floor looks lovely and the guestroom is very inviting.
    I look forward to your next post. Everything to do with flowers and plants is interesting, fun to create and fun to watch.
    Hugs, Drora

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    1. Thank you, Drora! I am happy that you like the paths and planters! They really do need some color, though! Please send good thoughts my way when I begin the flowers! I am in for a long haul, and I have very little experience with making them! You should teach classes online! :O)
      I hope the guest room looks as nice as it does in my mind when all is said and done. I'm so nervous!

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  11. The landscape is beautiful and perfect for your amazing cottage.

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    1. Thank you Fabiola! I hope my flowers will be a compliment to the cottage, though I am very nervous about the process of making them! Please wish me luck!

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  12. Okay first I love your Real Life floors. Gorgeous!

    Second, the gravel between the pavers is inspired! It's perfect and with the planter boxes you won't feel as if the outdoors is too cold. Plus rogue weeds and any vertical gardening you feel like doing will add more greenery.

    Do you cut your 'stone' ahead of time or as you're laying it out?

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    1. Thanks Sheila! They look really great for very inexpensive laminate! I just hope they last 10 years like the carpet did!
      I'm glad you like the gravel - trying to incorporate the grass between the pavers was going to be soooo difficult, and with so little space, seemed a waste of the idea. I am hoping to make some of Drora's egg carton clay pots to hang on the rock wall around the bee hive. I hope the idea works!
      With the Yankee Candle packaging being halves of round tube shapes, I would cut a section about 4" x 4" and flatten it with my fingers. Then I would lay the piece in place, and using the natural cracks and bumps in the fiber paper, draw out the stones. Then cut, trim where necessary and glue down. It really went pretty fast.

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    2. Much better than my method of cutting out tons of 'stone' and keeping it in plastic bags then adding it like I'm trying to do a puzzle without the picture. I'm so going to remember your method next time!

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  13. My word talk about cracking on with a job - large and small - you can certainly make a huge difference in a short time. The landscaping is just fabulous and an utterly perfect setting for the beautiful cottage. They look as though they have been together for centuries. Whereas the real life house looks spanking new and just poised for all the wonderful touches you are going to bring to it. Keep on keeping on.... it is all wonderful M.

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    1. Thanks Marilyn! It seems the pace of our lives has been on blast since around May. I am so looking forward to having the home reno stuff done, but with visitors in October, Thanksgiving with my folks in AZ in November, then Christmas, it looks like no quiet time is coming soon! I hope 2019 is completely boring!

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  14. Has hecho un bonito trabajo de paisajismo. Me encanta como ha quedado la piedra. ¡Ahora a planatar!

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    1. Gracias Isabel! Estoy muy emocionado de poder plantar las flores, pero primero, ¡tengo tantas que hacer! ¡Puede ser la primavera antes de que este jardín esté terminado!

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  15. Oh, wow! An amazing amount of work. That stone work is superb, particularly the planter boxes. It can't be easy to get the cardboard around those bends so neatly. And that random stone on the walkways just looks so natural. I didn't know that mini gravel existed, but I love it. Very, very well done. Glad we got a peek at the real-life redo, too. Those floors are gorgeous! Have you cloned yourself? :-) How on earth do you have time to do that incredibly detailed work on your mini house, as well as all the decor work on your 1:1 house?

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    1. Thanks Deb! If you let the tacky glue sit for a minute on the fiber, it becomes really pliable and easily conforms to the base. It's definitely a messy job, though! But fun if you like playing with glue! :O)
      I wish I could clone myself, but instead, I have turned my insomnia into productive time. Rather than mindlessly watching tv, I set a goal for myself every evening. It gains me back about 10 hours a week, and when I do sleep, I sleep better.

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  16. Hi, Jodi - I was looking forward eagerly to this post, and I am definitely not disappointed! The landscape board is even better than I expected it to be - and I expected it to be wonderful. I love all the exquisite stonework on the paths - and I like your choice of fine gravel instead of grout. The planter boxes are wonderfully precise, and I'm so excited to see them filled. Your cottage grows more perfect with each post; I really love this little jewel. The new floors in your Real Life house are lovely. Your new guest room is another exciting and promising project. I think you're having lots of fun!
    Marjorie

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    1. Thanks Marjorie! It feels really good to have the majority of the foundational stuff finished, though I spose I should get the gutters installed before I call it complete. I am really excited and nervous about the next phase: flowers and plants, because they will really challenge my limited skills. I'm so glad you love the cottage, and I hope it continues to delight you!
      It has been fun to plan for and decorate the guest bedroom, though in real life as in miniatures, I am challenging myself to reuse, re-purpose, recycle and regenerate a lot of what we already have. So design-wise, I have not been free to dream, but make do and make the best of it. I'm still hopeful that it will turn out really nice and comfortable!

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  17. It's amazing how much you're achieving despite of your RL renovations - btw it looks fantastic, very cozy and inviting. I foresee problems with friends and relatives who will stay too long because they don't want to leave this lovely sunny room… ;O) It was fascinating to follow your progress on the ground base and let me say I really am in awe with your foresight to start all of this was protecting the base with felt. Letting go any thoughts about lawn was the right decision with the limited space you have - but it won't be missed. I already imagine all these planters in bloom and full green, it will look terrific. The small planters at the bottom of the fences are a fantastic idea - but the big stone planters are awesome. It was amazing to see the difference from one photo to the next from "just" a bit of trimmed paper etc. to real looking stone planters. The path with the outside lining turned out gorgeous - and using the gravel gives it a special appearance. It will look stunning with a bit of weed aka natural greenery here and there. And speaking of green - seeing your house together with the base now I must agree that your mossed walls are just perfect for this house. ;O)

    Greetings
    Birgit

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    1. Thank you, Birgit! We don't get out of town visitors very often, but it will be nice to have a place for them when we do! We are usually the travelers who go to visit them!
      I'm glad you like the landscape foundation, and I hope I can make the most of the planters and path space as soon as I am able to begin making flowers and plants. I have soooo much ahead of me to get done in real life, and getting it completed so I can get back to the cottage will keep me motivated!

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  18. Wow! This was inspirational! I hope you don't mind me pinning this blog post. By the time I am ready to start landscaping for my house, looking at what you did will be so helpful!
    Thank you!

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    1. Thank you Veronique! You are welcome to pin anything, and I am so glad that the landscaping sparked some ideas for yours!

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  19. It's impossible to believe the change from the original kit to the way the cottage looks now.I love everything in the cottage. The planter boxes are beautiful! I love the stone finish. The stone path is also terrific and everything works so well together.
    You really inspire us. Thanks for sharing the pictures:)

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    1. Thank you, Sirkka! Your beautiful photos and incredible craft skills always inspire me, as well! Now if only I can capture the charm of your mini garden for my own, I'll be thrilled!

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  20. The more I see, the more I love it! I love the layout and those beautiful and well made flower boxes. I can just imagine how gorgeous they will be when you fill them with your plants, flowers and love. And as somebody said it before, I´m sure they will be gorgeous as the wonderful work you did on the 3 little pigs garden. Please, let me tell you that you are amazing, how you manage your RL work with the mini one is amazing, bravo!

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    1. Thank you, Alex! It has been eight days now since I could work on minis because of the "homework" on the guest bed and bath rooms, and I am feeling mighty low! Miniatures are my therapy, and I am determined to start on some flower kits today! The first hurtle is making them pretty, the second will be how on Earth do I arrange them cohesively. With your faith in me, I will endeavor to do a great job! Thank you!

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  21. The planters are going to be amazing! I love the gravel "grouted" stonework...very fitting for the cottage. Well done! :D

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    1. Thanks Brae! I hope with some flowers and plants it'll soften up and be a lovely (though small) garden to enjoy!

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