Monday, March 28, 2011

A Visit To Bitty Brambles

We built Bitty Brambles about twelve years ago.Our daughters were two and six, and it was the perfect time.They spent many a day lost in their imaginations within the little house.They had a tiny sofa, chairs, and table. They cooked in a little pine kitchen my grandfather built for me when I was three.It wasn't unusual for us to find them sleeping on the diminutive furniture late in the afternoon.Unfortunately, those idyllic days of childhood have passed. Last summer I realized Bitty Brambles had been untouched for a few years. It had  become an impromptu storage shed for garden implements and household items. Around this time I was in need of peace and solitude; it was summer and two teenage girls can frazzle a mother's nerves. I spent a day sorting through the rubble. I gave away the miniature sofa, chairs, piano, and tiny pine kitchen (so difficult). I scrubbed the floors and washed the walls and windows.I moved in two chairs, a rug, bench, teapots, pictures and other tidbits I had accumulated over the years. My plan was to create a comfortable garden sanctuary that  paid homage to the little girls who believed in fairies, had tea parties for their dogs and dolls, and invited their parents over for blackberry and mud pies with dandelion tea.

Bitty Brambles sits atop a stone foundation. To the left is a tiny terraced vegetable garden.

The two chairs were originally for my dining room table, but proved to be too tall. They are from Lane's Country Living collection.
 I upholstered the bench with a remnant of plaid fabric. The little green table was given to my daughters by a kindly woman who owned a small gift shop in our village.Yes, we live in a village.

                 It was a perfect place to put a plethora of straw hats I collected in the 90s.

                    The windows are just Plexiglas.I made the curtains from an old set of cotton sheers.

 The tall wall was the perfect place to hang old pictures and to display teapots that were taking up too much room in Brambly.

 An extra Windsor chair from our kitchen patiently awaits the next gathering. I still need to find a table to place under the window. Presently, it's an old foosball table covered with a bedspread from my great-aunts ranch.
The plates on the right and left were my grandmother's.

                        Silhouettes depicting my daughters hang beside the door.

 We have the lamp on a timer.At night the 25 watt bulb casts a warm glow through the windows and out to the garden.

                                            A little cuckoo clock in the corner.

My husband had this Dutch door specially made by his friend with a door shop. We added the cross pattern that matches the trim on Brambly. 

We ordered the door knocker from Anthropologie.

Just some things I've picked up over the years.

The Alice in Wonderland prints used to hang in my daughters' room. I couldn't bear to part with them.

 Throw pillows from their old room.

Bitty Brambles is a gentle reminder of the past without being a shrine. It will remain a little house in flux as our needs change through the years. I'm sure my husband would prefer to store lawn equipment in it, and one day it's likely become a playhouse again. But, for now, it is a cozy, quiet place to sit and think.

Linking to:"Show and Tell Friday" at My Romantic Home
"Feathered Nest Friday" at French Country Cottage
"Inspiration Friday" At the Picket Fence
"Time Travel Thursday" at Brambleberry Cottage
"Wow Us Wednesdays" at Savvy Southern Style

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Thank You Giveaway!

I cannot believe it's already time for my first giveaway! I'm ecstatic to have reached this point. I would like to thank all of you who have taken an interest in Brambly and decided to follow along-I am so grateful. My  giveaway contains two items that have inspired me to make the most of my surroundings. Perfect English by Ros Byam Shaw, is a beautiful book that exemplifies English eclecticism and successfully avoids being too cliche or grandiose. P. Allen Smith's Garden Home Deck contains 50 inspiring cards that offer up beautiful ideas and recipes for putting together gorgeous container gardens all year long. P.Allen Smith is a man with tremendous style and talent, his garden designs have inspired us to try many new things at Brambly.



How to Enter:
 (4 Entries Possible)

1.Become a Follower. All Brambly followers will automatically be entered.
2.Leave a comment to this post.
3.Mention my giveaway on your blog and link back (leave a comment so I know) .
4.Tweet about my giveaway and let me know you did.

                      The winner will be chosen randomly.This giveaway ends Thursday, March 31. The winner will be announced on Monday, April 4.


*Thank you Lisa from My Life of Domestic Bliss for awarding Brambly, along The Rich Life on a Budget, The Polohouse,and My Little Beach House, for the Liebster Blog Award. This award is for blogs with fewer than 300 followers. I will be passing on the award to others sometime next week. Thanks again, Lisa


 Image(1&2) via    

Linking to:"Newbie Party" at Debbiedoos
                 "Show Off Your Cottage Monday" at The house in the roses

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tale Of A Bay Window

When we decided to turn tiny Brambly into medium Brambly, it was a challenge to incorporate the storybook look we loved with the existing structure. Bay windows have always captured my imagination and I longed to recline on a window seat and lazily watch the world go by.

After I sketched my idea of an addition(this isn't it), we took it to a local draftsperson to make the measurements work.

This is what we ended up with.

The original house is on the left, new on the right.

My husband came up with the idea of the striped valance. The corbels are replicas of some we saw at a train station in England.

On the inside, the bay window houses a game table and window seat.

I still need to make an appropriate skirt, or have doors made to hide the board games under the window seat.

The petite wingbacks are lightweight.

I'm still working on my collection of berry bowls.I brought home the small antlers after I found them hiding under a table at an antique store. The little, round pictures came from the same shop.

The center of the game table flips;one side is chess/checkers, the other is backgammon.

I keep a tulip vase on the table.

My husband found the antique light on ebay and rewired it.

He added the beeswax covers.They're great, but they actually melt and so do the shades.

We ordered a pair of inexpensive swing arm lamps and shades.

We had bookcases installed on both sides of the window seat.

I haven't had a moment of regret about the bay window. The only drawback to the window seat is my pets' adoration of it. My recently deceased poodle sat in the window from morning until night and barked at the smallest movement. Many a pillow met its demise while Pippin sat as sentinel. The brunt of her anger was always taken out on cotton corners and tasseled trims. Now, my two docile dogs spend their days with noses pressed against the window in anticipation of a cat, or a tourist. I'm still waiting to sit in the window seat and gaze out the window dreamily. Alas, motherhood is not conducive to laziness.

*Thank you to Tammy at Beatrice Banks for featuring Brambly on the "B List".

Linking to:"Feathered Nest Friday" at French Country Cottage
"Inspiration FridayAt The Picket Fence 

Time Travel Thursday" at Brambleberry Cottage
"Catch a Glimpse Thursday" at A Glimpse Inside
"Open House Party" at No Minimalist Here

Friday, March 18, 2011

Quirky Little Bedroom:Part II

I thought I'd share more photos from my strange little bedroom. The room has some obvious quirks, yet I adore its coziness. However, there's still much to be done to increase its warmth. Of all the rooms at Brambly, this is the one I want to completely overdo. I want the walls packed full of pictures and oddities and I've been on a long scouting mission for plaid rugs.I'm looking to increase the use of fabric substantially and trying to convince my husband that a fireplace is an absolute necessity (not working so far). My plans include the ceiling, I regret not wallpapering it and I long for beams. At the very least, I plan on trimming the corners, where the wallpaper and ceiling meet, with an affordable gimp. Maybe I don't need a bedroom at all, just a cocoon.

Once the walls are filled, I'll be closer to the look of "organized abundance" that I adore.

The basket under the plaid chair holds our laundry.

I fell in love with this piece from Redford House at the San Francisco Furniture Show.

                   The French Doors limit furniture placement options.

You may recall the "Under the Eaves" photos from last week. It's a very awkward space.

I had to end with a photo of Birdie. I don't purposely place her in so many photos, apparently she's looking to get noticed.

Thanks for visiting! Be sure to check back because my first giveaway is coming up very soon.

Have a beautiful day,

 * I would like to thank Heather and Vanessa from At The Picket Fence for featuring Brambly at their Inspiration Friday Party!

Linking to Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage