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 was 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. The front flowerbeds were sparse and in need of care. 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 pine tree that was losing it’s needles also came down.

Weekend outside DIY projects

One of the previous owners planted azaleas everywhere on our property, even in the middle of the back yard. We had six around our oak tree, all in poor condition, so I dug them all up.

Weekend outside projects

The 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 😉 ) and a few dying bushes. The rest of the dying bushes were dug 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 used to live here. Now it’s a clean slate and ready for something new.

Weekend outside DIY projects

I’ll rake the beds 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 ever growing pile of junk, misfit bushes, an unused satellite dish that was still on the roof and some rocks and cinder blocks.

Weekend outside DIY projects

One bright spot was the pretty daffodils that are popping up.

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

I 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.

Another 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. The only thing we did was rake the leaves and pick up some of the bricks 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.

Hanging Outdoor Cafe Lights

Front 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. 🙂  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. 😉

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


A tomato cage plant stand made from a tomato cage that you use in the garden? Yup!

I know, sounds strange. Stick with me though and let me explain.

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 |

I’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. The hubs though, had some doubts.

Tomato Cage Plant Stand |

To get the size I wanted I used a hacksaw to cut the 4 posts and the bottom ring off. 5 minutes and I had an official tomato cage plant stand.

Tomato Cage Plant Stand |

Then I put my bucket in to check the fit and it was perfect, and surprisingly sturdy.

Tomato Cage Plant Stand |

I liked the fit but I wanted to add just a bit of color to the cage. Rust-Oleum spray paint in Hammered Bronze was the perfect choice.

Tomato Cage Plant Stand |

It was just the touch it needed.

Tomato Cage Plant Stand |

A 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 |

I never knew I wanted one but now I can say that I love my tomato cage plant stand. 😉 And it goes perfect with my easy DIY garden markers.

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

Tomato Cage Plant Stand |



 A rustic flower window box with vintage charm.

rusty flower window box hanging on garage with petunias

I showed you my new, rustic window box that I found at the flea market, and I promised to share what it was and how it looked planted with pretty blooms. It’s taken awhile for the weather to warm up but the flowers have finally grown enough that I can show you.

rusty window box hanging on garage window

rusty window box hanging on garage window

So, what is this thing?

When I posted this earlier, asking what you thought it was, there were a lot of good guesses. One of you smarties knew exactly what it was.

It’s part of an old corn crib conveyor system that carried grain in the cups and was chain driven. I found it at the flea market and knew it would be perfect for a window box for the garage window.

I didn’t want 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, but that’s it.

drilling holes in rusty window box

To hang it up, I put two screws under the window sill and hung the curved edge right on the screws.

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

rusty window box hanging on garage window planted with petunias

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 flower window box? 😉

rustic window box hanging on garage window with petunias and trailing vines

rustic window box hanging on garage window with petunias and trailing vines

Talking about repurposing…I took an old, metal tomato cage and turned it into a plant stand. Check it out here.

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

Thanks so much for stopping by.

rustic window box hanging on garage window with petunias and trailing vines



This month marks 2 years since we moved into our house and started making it into the place we call home. We had a lot of projects we wanted done on the list, still do, but we’ve been able to cross off quite a few in those two years. The outside of the house, the yard and flowerbeds, was in the roughest shape when we moved in and it’s been slow going getting them looking decent but I think we are finally ready to reveal the front flowerbed. This is what it looked like the day we moved in.

Front Flowerbed Finally Finished |

As you can see, it’s not really a flowerbed. Just a bunch of 60-year-old junipers and some trash that always accumulated underneath. Mr. C spent 2 summers removing those bushes. It was back-breaking work but we’re so glad that they’re gone.

Front Flowerbed Finally Finished |

Front Flowerbed Finally Finished |

The first summer here was spent on the front flowerbed and last summer we worked on the side. Once the front was cleared of bushes and debris, I slowly started adding plants.

Front Flowerbed Finally Finished |

During the summer this bed doesn’t get much sun, the front faces North, and we have a huge tree that shades the area, so trying to find plants that do well in shade and need little maintenance (Mr. C’s requirement) was a challenge.

Front Flowerbed Finally Finished |

This is a huge bed so I planted it in sections when time allowed and funds were available. The plants I went with here were boxwood, daylillies, hosta, hydrangea and some reedgrass. There were a lot of hosta and daylilies bunched together in the side yard so I brought them out front and replanted them. Last Fall I planted some Allium bulbs here and (to my surprise) they actually came up. I love their purple heads when they bloom and, come next Fall, I’ll be planting some more.

Front Flowerbed Finally Finished |

Front Flowerbed Finally Finished |

A few weeks ago I finally planted the final section and we added mulch, 4 truck loads of it, for the front and side flowerbed. I also, slowly but surely, edged both flowerbeds. It took me a couple of weeks but just doing that made a huge difference.

Before…Front Flowerbed Finally Finished |

After…Front Flowerbed Finally Finished |

I’m still trying to decide what to do with the evergreen that needs a major cut. I like that it provides some privacy and height to the street side of the house but the back is in rough shape and the Mr. does not trim bushes…so he tells me. The rest though is done and the plants I put in last year are already filling out.

Once the side flowerbed is done I’ll share the results.

Have you done any gardening projects lately?

Happy weekend!

Before and After Flowerbed Makeover |



Hey and happy Monday to you. I hope you had a great weekend. We were busy here trying to play catch up after taking last weekend off, and we were able to get several projects done. One of the projects that I’ve been working on the last few weeks is an outdoor mason jar candle barn door. Wow that’s a mouth full, but I’m really excited about how great this turned out.

Several weeks ago I went to the Kane County Flea Market and left with an old, chippy paint barn door for an outdoor project I had in mind.

Outdoor Mason Jar Candle Barn Door |

We have a small(ish) deck that has limited decorating space. I’ve wanted to hang things on the house to decorate a bit since we moved in but the walls are brick and the hubs won’t let me drill into them, so this old door will be the perfect hanging spot.

Outdoor Mason Jar Candle Barn Door | chatfieldcourt.comI would have liked to have found an inexpensive tall door but that didn’t happen so I added some height with copper rods the hubs got from work.

Outdoor Mason Jar Candle Barn Door | chatfieldcourt.comI just drilled 2 holes in each pole and screwed them to the door.

Outdoor Mason Jar Candle Barn Door | chatfieldcourt.comNow it was time to figure out what to put on my tall beauty. My first thought was to hang candles using some kind of jar. I’ve seen all of the hanging candle jars in the stores but I wanted to try to do something different and make my own so I picked up two different sizes of mason jars, gold metallic spray paint and frosted glass spray paint.

Outdoor Mason Jar Candle Barn Door | chatfieldcourt.comOutdoor Mason Jar Candle Barn Door | chatfieldcourt.comI just taped off the jar so only a portion of the bottom was exposed, then I sprayed them with the gold metallic paint. The lesson I learned here was that I needed to carefully remove the tape right away so the gold paint wasn’t pulled off the glass and I had a crisp line. Once the gold was dry, I sprayed the whole jar with the frosted glass paint.

Outdoor Mason Jar Candle Barn Door | chatfieldcourt.comI originally bought wire to make my own hangers but I saw ready-made ones in gold in the store so it was easier just to use them. A little jute twine was added and my jars were done.

The hooks to hang the jars was a bit harder to find. I didn’t want a regular small hook so I searched Home Depot for something to make myself. I hit the jackpot with some 2″ rigid straps for $1.04 each.

Outdoor Mason Jar Candle Barn Door | chatfieldcourt.comI just hammered the end with the hole so I could hang it flat on the door…instant hooks.

Outdoor Mason Jar Candle Barn Door | chatfieldcourt.comTo give them a rusty, rustic look I used a multicolored textured spray paint (after I primed them of course).

Outdoor Mason Jar Candle Barn Door | chatfieldcourt.comOutdoor Mason Jar Candle Barn Door | chatfieldcourt.comWith everything painted, dried and put together, I screwed the homemade hooks on and put together my outdoor mason jar candle barn door.

Outdoor Mason Jar Candle Barn Door | chatfieldcourt.comSo while I was putting this all together I had an idea to hang a little something different on the door, to be specific I wanted to use a cactus in a glass ball. I thought it was a good idea and I figured that I wouldn’t have any trouble finding what I needed. The problem is that once I get an idea it’s hard to let go, so I ended up driving to 4 different stores looking for a glass ball until I finally found one, hiding on a shelf behind some fake plants.

outdoor candle holder 13I’m not sure how well the cactus will do in there and I’ll have to change the twine to something sturdier but I think it’s cute. And what about the hooks, don’t they look rusty and rustic?

Ok enough with the how-to, let’s look at it all put together.

Outdoor Mason Jar Candle Barn Door | chatfieldcourt.comOutdoor Mason Jar Candle Barn Door | chatfieldcourt.comInstead of using real tealight candles, I chose battery operated outdoor candles. They flicker so with the frosted glass they look like real candles.

Outdoor Mason Jar Candle Barn Door | chatfieldcourt.comOutdoor Mason Jar Candle Barn Door |

It seems like mason jars are everywhere these days. Do you like to use them?

Outdoor Mason Jar Candle Barn Door |