My Top Posts of 2016

Happy New Year!

Hope you had a wonderful holiday season.

For some reason the Christmas spirit came to me a little late this year.  I didn’t even feel like decorating until mid-December.  But now I want the warm glow of my holiday lights to last just a little longer.

Holiday lights reflected in mirror

If you’re like me, right about now you’re wondering where 2016 went and trying to remember what you did all year.  It’s fun to take a look back before moving forward.

So it’s become my tradition each New Year to review my blog posts from the previous year and share my top posts with you.  If you’ve missed anything, it’s a great way to catch up.

My Top 10 Posts of 2016

This time I’m going in chronological order.  It’s just more fun.  My most-viewed posts of 2016 were:

1.  A DIY Chandelier Upgrade

Sometimes it’s not the size of the project that matters.  For this little project, I took a piece a fabric I got for under $1 and turned it into an elegant chandelier sleeve. No more plain chain!

Chandelier sleeve

This chandelier sleeve made our master bathroom complete.  To read posts about our master bathroom, the room we carved essentially out of thin air, check out this page.

2.  Three Easter Decor Ideas

I had a lot of fun creating these little shatter-resistant eggshell planters. And I shared a couple of Easter gift ideas in the same post.

Easter egg planters

3.  Improvements in the Garden

This was my most popular post of the year.  What started as a small repair to a walkway evolved into a major landscape improvement project.  Our backyard is more beautiful – and practical – since this bluestone path installation.

truck with bluestone

But to me, the project still didn’t seem complete.  So I installed some simple DIY garden edging.

4.  A Lapse in Judgment Becomes Garden Art

Is there a support group for people who can’t resist curbside finds? Almost immediately after I picked up this chair, I regretted doing so. Too icky to bring into the house, I turned it into garden art.

garden art chair

5.  A Makeover for a Vintage Airstream

Our 17-foot Airstream Caravel, the June Bug, turned 50 last year. So to celebrate, we treated her to an exterior makeover.  Also in this post, I share tips for camping in a tiny trailer.

1966 Airstream Caravel

In my subsequent post, The June Bug Heads to Yosemite, I share a couple of minor interior upgrades – plus some beautiful photos from Yosemite.

Look for the return of the June Bug in 2017.   After all, she is our tiny vacation cabin on wheels.

6.  My Three-Season Greenhouse

Here I share the many uses I have for my greenhouse over the changing seasons.

Sunglo greenhouse

More posts about our greenhouse can be found on our greenhouse page.

And speaking of the greenhouse . . .

7.  Fun with Brick and Mortar

The final piece (at least for now) of our garden improvement puzzle was to add a brick foundation to the greenhouse.  The brick makes the greenhouse look more permanent, more old-world, and more cohesive with the new hardscaping.

brick and mortar

This project only took us a couple of days, but what a difference it made.

8.  A Plumbing Leak Becomes an Opportunity

A plumbing issue in our main floor bathroom led to a much-needed aesthetic upgrade.

1927 bathroom

9.  Saving Four Innocent Chairs from the Dumpster

Not having learned my lesson with my previous curbside rescue (see number 4 above), I found four weathered rattan chairs that needed me.

rattan chairs

10.  A DIY Doll Bed for My Favorite Little Girl

My final post of 2016 was all about the little Christmas gift that I made for my niece.  It was fun to transform this vintage magazine rack into something so sweet.

Magazine rack repurpose

My Personal Favorites of 2016

Two of my favorite posts that almost made the Top 10 were:

Making an Entrance

My Mom took her mid century rambler from bland to beautiful by adding a portico and larger windows.  It’s exactly what her house needed.

Be sure to check out the “before” photos in this post.

New portico

An Old Stereo Cabinet is Transformed

Here my husband shows us that paint isn’t always the answer when rehabbing a vintage furniture piece.  His repurpose of this tired mid century stereo cabinet is elegant and practical.

stereo cabinet repurpose

How to Browse My Posts

For clickable photos of every post on my blog, in chronological order, check out my photo gallery.  (But keep in mind that, in the beginning, I was struggling to take halfway decent photos with a lesser camera.)

My very first post, Saying Goodbye to a Special Lady, was about my mother-in-law’s celebration of life party.  Writing it was therapy for me since I got to share with my readers Betty’s wonderful sense of style.

What’s Going on in 2017?

Our 1927 cottage turns 90 this year.  We have been slowly and respectfully improving this house for years, but of course there is always more to do.

Like most old houses, it has its “sore spots” – rooms or areas that don’t flow right, don’t look their best, and could be put to better use. This year I want to focus on getting those spaces upgraded and organized so that they really work with our lifestyle.

I want these areas to look fresh but retain the character and charm of an old house.  Which might mean a few trips to the salvage shops.  In fact, it already has.

So no more excuses for me.  It’s time to get cracking!

Linking up with:

My Top Posts of 2015 and a Look at the Year Ahead

Happy New Year!

I hope you enjoyed a wonderful holiday season.

New Year’s Eve had me playing with my little greenhouse again.  It was a major focus for me in 2015, and this time of year it’s often warmer in there than in the house.  Right around sunset is a pretty time to be in the greenhouse.


A Look Back at 2015

It’s always nice to reflect a bit before moving forward.

I published about 50 posts in 2015 and thought I would share the top 15 with you.

The top 15 posts were chosen based on reader feedback and on which posts were featured on other lifestyle blogs that I link to.

There were a few surprises in the mix – and especially surprising was which post turned out to be my number one post of the year.

We begin the countdown at number 15.

15.  A DIY Vintage-Inspired Laundry Hamper

I used an old lampshade frame to make this vintage-inspired laundry hamper.

laundry hamper - 2015 recap

14.  A Beautiful Update for Mom’s Garden

We headed over to Erika’s house to see her pretty garden update and take a little tour.

Deer in the creeping jenny - 2015 recap

13.  A Late-Summer Porch Refresh

I spruced up my front porch with estate sale finds, spending around $25 on the whole project.

front porch revamp - 2015 recap

12. Haunted Hatchlings

A windstorm landed this strange raptors’ nest on my porch just in time for Halloween.

haunted hatchlings

11.  Treasure Under the Sea – The Marine Building 

While at a conference in Vancouver B.C., I found this stunning art deco treasure and just had to share it.

The Marine Building Exterior

 10 .  The Inspired Room Tour – Our Master Bath Remodel

I shared why I was inspired by our master bath remodel.

Master Bath Remodel

9.  A Look Inside Cousin Lolli’s Studio

I finally got a firsthand look at how Lolli silkscreens her soft, whimsical dish towels.

Lollis inventory

8.  Rustic Greenhouse Lights from a Mad Scientist

My brother, Dan, made these wonderful rustic hanging lights for my greenhouse.  I just love this patina.

Dan's rustic lights

 7.  A New Life for an Old Trailer Sink

My husband, Chris, brought home an old, unwanted trailer sink and we put it to work in our greenhouse.  And it has really come in handy.

Trailer sink used in the greenhouse

6.  A DIY Barn Light for a Vintage Garage

Dan is back, this time at number 6 with his DIY barn light.

DIY Barn light

His projects are so well received here, and I hope he will share more with us in 2016.

5.  Collecting Vintage Christmas Lights

Chris shared a few vintage Christmas lights from his collection.

Vintage Christmas lights

4.  A (Mostly) Bug-Free Patio Party

We had some friends over for dinner on the patio, and I tested a few ways of keeping bugs from crashing the party.

Patio table

3.  A Hoppy Harvest Wreath

I made a pretty wreath using the hops that were trying to devour our house.

Buckets filled with hops

2.  A Princess Dresser Gets a Grown Up Makeover

A neighbor kicked this little dresser to the curb so I gave it a new home and an elegant makeover.

Dresser after makeover

And now for number one . . .

 1.  Flower Frogs 101

Who knew that the humble flower frog would end up at number one. Go flower frogs!

spike frogs

Two more posts from 2015 that were featured on other lifestyle blogs were Darlings of the Shade Garden and Pretty Burlap Greenhouse Shades.

But where do my old posts go?  They can be found by clicking on the category buttons in the left-hand column or by conducting a search with the green button in the upper right-hand corner.

What to Expect in 2016

I’m Still Stubborn

When developing my home and garden ideas, I often look to magazines, blogs, or social media for inspiration – but never as the final authority.  I love it when I discover a trend that truly inspires me.  But often I will ignore a popular trend and head off in the opposite direction if that works better for me.

I invite you to join me in being true to your own sense of style.  This leads to you doing what you do best – for your lifestyle and for your home.  It might involve a little trial and error, but in the end this is how fresh ideas are hatched and how classics are brought back out in new ways.

An Escape from the Noise

My goal is to keep my website pretty to look at and fun to visit, without any slow-loading ads or annoying pop ups.

There is a lot of great information out here in cyberspace, but also a crazy amount of debris and noise.  So I am approaching this new year with a renewed focus on quality over quantity.  That could mean fewer posts, but hopefully posts that are entertaining and worthwhile.

My cat Charlie is shy, but he says hello, come in and sit a while. Can you spot Charlie’s cute little butt?

After all, My Sweet Cottage is my virtual home, and you are my guest.

If you would like to bring me a hostess gift, consider making your next Amazon purchase using my Amazon affiliate link or your next Etsy purchase using my Etsy affiliate link.  I will earn a small commission, but you will not incur any additional cost on any product you purchase.  My full affiliate disclosure can be found here.

I also love comments and I can’t wait to read each one.

Hope you drop by again soon – and often.  I have lots of fun projects planned for 2016.


Linking up with: