It was a beautiful weekend here at the cottage and we took full advantage of it.

We haven’t done a lot of projects outside since we moved in last July (besides yanking a couple of bushes out) because we’ve been busy with our long list of projects to do inside. All of that’s about to change though because, like the inside, there’s a ton of things that need to be done and we can’t put it off anymore. This has been our first winter here so it’s the first time we’ve really gotten to see the whole front flowerbeds and back yard without all of the leaves, weeds, trees and bushes in bloom. Wow, it was a rude awakening. We knew the yards were a mess but we didn’t realize how bad it was until this weekend. 

The list is long, and overwhelming, but we’ll do what we did when we lived in Illinois and confronted that messy yard…take it one project at a time. 

This is the house before we moved in. Not much going on in the front flowerbeds and the pine tree at the corner of the house would drop needles at the slightest touch (plus I just didn’t like it).

Spending a weekend to clean up the front flowerbeds to prepare them for new plants.

I won’t bore you with the whole list just yet but I’ll fill you in on what we accomplished this weekend. I don’t have any of my indoor projects done, and I’m still working on painting the kitchen windows black, so today is all about outside progress. 

Starting in the front of the house, I took the scraggly bushes out from one of the front flowerbeds and left the boxwoods, liriope and hydrangea (that I planted last fall). The little opine tree that was losing it’s needles also came down.

Weekend outside DIY projects

There are azaleas planted everywhere on our property, even in the middle of the back yard. We had six around our oak tree but they were in poor condition so I dug them all up.

Weekend outside projects www.chatfieldcourt.comThe next bed to get the treatment was the one in front of the porch. There were a couple of junipers that I removed last fall (too many memories from our Illinois house ūüėČ ) and a few dying bushes. I dug the rest of the dying bushes out this weekend and all we’re left with are a few nandinas.

Weekend outside DIY projects

The last flowerbed that I cleaned up was the one on the side of the front porch. Tons of weeds and 3 scraggly azaleas lived here but now it’s a clean slate, ready for something new. 

Weekend outside DIY projects www.chatfieldcourt.comThese beds will be raked out next weekend and then they’ll all get fresh pine straw. I’m going to take my time to decide before I plant anything new.

This is my growing pile of misfit bushes, an unused satellite dish that was still on the roof and some rocks and cinder blocks.. 

Weekend outside DIY projects www.chatfieldcourt.comOne bright spot was the pretty daffodils that are popping up. I don’t know what’s been planted so it’s fun to see things pop up. 

Spending a weekend to clean up the flowerbeds to prepare them for new plants. www.chatfieldcourt.comI also have a beautiful red camelia bush on the side of the house with tons of blooms. 

Spending a weekend to clean up the flowerbeds to prepare them for new plants. Adding curb appeal. www.chatfieldcourt.comAnother surprise was this bird bath that I unearthed in the back yard. After a good cleaning, it was ready for visitors.

I didn’t take any photos of the back yard this time. All we, and when I say we I mean the hubbs, did was rake the leaves and pick up some of the bricks and rocks scattered around the property. So many bricks and rocks…

It will take us years to pick them all up. 

It was a full and busy weekend that left us tired and sore. If it’s nice next weekend though, we’ll be right back out there.

I’ll keep you posted on our front flowerbeds. 

Have you been able to get out and work in the yard yet? 

Check out some of the outside projects we did at our last house.

Adding cafe lights to an outdoor patio. A DIY tutorial with step by step instructions. www.chatfieldcourt.comHanging Outdoor Cafe Lights

A front flowerbed makeover. www.chatfieldcourt.comFront Flowerbed Makeover


It’s here…Christmas week! ¬†Ready or not it’s coming, and it’s coming fast. I’m still trying to get the girls’ rooms ready for their arrival on Wednesday but all of my other holiday prep work is done. Well, the gifts still aren’t wrapped but that’s the hubs’ job…I buy the gifts and he wraps. It’s really¬†the perfect arrangement. ūüôā ¬†So, I’ve already showed you our Christmas living room and guest bedroom but I have one more space to share, the front porch (chippy railing and all).

Christmas on our small front porch, which is decorated with greens and a live mini Christmas tree |

It’s a pretty small porch (that’s in desperate need of a power wash) so there’s only so much I can do with it, but I was able to change it up a bit from last year. Instead of the normal greens and twigs in the flower pot, I used a live mini¬†Christmas tree. I’m allergic to real trees so having it outside is the perfect solution.

Christmas on our small front porch, which is decorated with greens, birch logs and a live mini Christmas tree | chatfieldcourt.comYears ago we bought a real tree and put it up in the living room of our little cape cod. We all had fun decorating it the night we got it but, when I woke¬†up the next morning I couldn’t breathe. It was scary, and sad, but the tree had to go. I think about trying it again every single year but Mr. Sensible won’t let me. ūüėČ

Christmas on our small front porch, which is decorated with a live mini Christmas tree | chatfieldcourt.comIt’s been pretty mild here¬†lately (if you want to call 40¬†degree temps mild) so¬†I was able to work on the front porch without running inside every 5 minutes to warm up my hands. As a matter of fact, it’s been so nice that all of my neighbors have been busy decorating their front porches and yards too. Our neighborhood looks awesome at night with all of the lights twinkling¬†and we’ve even been able to take a few walks¬†to check everything out, which is not something I usually enjoy doing¬†in December.

Christmas on our small front porch, which is decorated with a live mini Christmas tree and birch logs |

I don’t need snow on Christmas. I can handle mild all winter long.

Christmas on our small front porch, which is decorated with a live mini Christmas tree, birch logs and greens | chatfieldcourt.comI didn’t get to show you the birch log candle holders that I made. I love their rustic texture and they’re made¬†to hold tea lights and tapers. I can’t wait to use them¬†on our¬†table when we have¬†Christmas dinner on Friday.

Christmas on our small front porch, which is decorated with birch log candle holders and greens | chatfieldcourt.comFinn’s all ready too, he’s even wearing his plaid bow tie. Actually, he’s just excited to be outside with me.

Christmas on our small front porch, which is decorated with a live mini Christmas tree and a cute dog in a plaid bowtie | chatfieldcourt.comSo, now you’ve seen it all. I’m so disappointed that I didn’t get to share the kitchen all dolled up for Christmas, but I can guarantee that it will be on next year’s tour.

I’ll be posting a list of my Top 10 Posts for 2015 at the end of the month but otherwise, I’ll be away from the computer, spending time with my family. I’ll still be sharing on Instagram¬†(username: chatfieldcourt)¬†if you want to see what we’re doing.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas filled with love and joy, and a very Happy New Year! I’m so grateful that you are here to read my posts every week, for your kind and thoughtful comments and emails and all of the support you’ve shown me over the past year. You are what makes this all worth it. Thank you and Happy Holidays!


A few other Christmas posts I’ve shared lately…

How to make a ribbon wreath for your front door for Christmas, or anytime. | chatfieldcourt.comHow to Make a Ribbon Wreath

A Christmas banner made with old lightbulbs and Rustoleum mirror spray paint. A fun and easy DIY. | chatfieldcourt.comChristmas Banner with Lightbulbs

You can find me at …Between Naps on the Porch | A Stroll Thru Life | Savvy Southern Style | Cozy Little House | French Country Cottage | Northern Nesting


I know I promised to share the tie dye tutorial from my no sew tie dye pillow post, but I’m trying to make a short how-to video (my very first one) and I haven’t finished it yet, so I’m hoping to post it on Monday. I know you must be really disappointed ūüėČ but I have another fun and easy idea to share (plus it was really cheap, woohoooo!).

A few weeks ago I went to the Kane County flea market, which is the mother of all flea markets around here. You can find just about anything there, from a vintage mail holder found in an old barn to plants to rusty giant letters. You name it, it’s there.

Tomato Cage Plant Stand |

Anyway, I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, just enjoying walking up and down the aisles checking everything out, when I saw some vintage olive buckets. I’ve been wanting one but I’ve never seen them at the flea, so when I saw that this giant, rusty beauty was $55, I knew it was coming home with me.

Tomato Cage Plant Stand | chatfieldcourt.comI’ve been looking at smaller olive buckets on and off for quite a while and I always thought I would use it in the house somewhere, but once I got this one home and saw how big it really was, I knew it would have to go on my deck with a beautiful Kimberly Queen fern inside. The only problem with it was that it needed a little height. I was trying to figure how to get it up in the air when I saw the tomato cages that the hubs had just put in the garden to hold up the tomatoes.

Tomato Cage Plant Stand |

I didn’t measure anything but as soon as I turned it upside down, I knew it would work (of course my ever supportive husband had doubts).

Tomato Cage Plant Stand |

To get it to the size I wanted I just used a hacksaw to cut the 4 posts and the bottom ring off of the cage, which was a 5 minute easy job.

Tomato Cage Plant Stand | chatfieldcourt.comThen I put my bucket in to check the fit and it was perfect, and surprisingly sturdy.

Tomato Cage Plant Stand | chatfieldcourt.comI liked the fit but I wanted to add just a bit of color to the cage so I decided to try some Rust-Oleum spray paint in Hammered Bronze.

Tomato Cage Plant Stand | chatfieldcourt.comI think it was just the touch it needed.

Tomato Cage Plant Stand | chatfieldcourt.comA little bit of drying time and I had a “new” plant stand for my vintage olive bucket. All I had to do was to add a fern and it was ready for a photo shoot.

Tomato Cage Plant Stand |

Tomato Cage Plant Stand | chatfieldcourt.comI never knew I wanted one but now I can say that I love my tomato cage plant stand. ūüėČ

What projects are you working on right now? We’re in the kitchen again this weekend painting some cabinets. I’m hoping to share an update soon.

Tomato Cage Plant Stand |





I showed you my new, “old” window box that I found at the flea market way back in April, and I promised to share what it was and how it looked planted with pretty blooms. It’s been a while but the flowers have finally grown enough to show it.

Rustic Window Box -

We haven’t had much of a summer yet here in Illinois. There’s been a day or two of hot weather but, for the most part, it’s been cool and rainy, which means the vegetable garden and flowers are growing at a snail’s pace (and I’m so ready for some fresh tomatoes).

Rustic Window Box -

When I posted this earlier, there were a lot of good guesses but one of you smarties knew exactly what it was. So, have you guessed what it is? It’s part of an old corn crib conveyor system that carried grain in the cups and was chain driven. I saw it at the flea market and knew it would be perfect for the garage window.

I didn’t want it to lose its rustic-ness so I kept it pretty much as is. It did get a good cleaning and a couple of holes in the bottom for drainage. To hang it up, I put two screws under the window sill and hung the curved edge right on the screws.

Rustic Window Box -

Once it was up I put two small pieces of scrap wood behind it to keep it level. The front was hanging low and, when watering, the water would run out and onto the ground. The wood keeps the front up so the flowers could get a proper drink.

Rustic Window Box -

Rustic Window Box -

It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I love that it’s rustic and different. How many people can say they’re using rusty farm equipment as a window box? ūüėČ 

Rustic Window Box -

Rustic Window Box -

Have you reused or repurposed anything lately? I’d love to hear about it.

See you next week and I hope your weekend is great!

Rustic and Repurposed Window Box -