Jun 8, 2015

Summer Sabbatical

Hello, everyone! I hope your week is off to a wonderful start! 

I have two items to share with you today. 

First, I finally got my dining room boxes unpacked after our new floors were installed. (I know, I can't believe it took me so long!) I put my big metal tray on the dining room table with a few farm house-y yard sale finds I unpacked. The tray fits the new table perfectly, and that makes me a happy camper.

The second item I have to share is that I'm taking a summer sabbatical from blogging here at The North End Loft. I'll be spending the summer refreshing my creative blogging spirit, resting, studying, and hopefully acquiring some new skills along the way. 

Some of the other things I'll be doing this summer are helping my daughters decorate their new homes and gardens, taking long walks in the hills with Tucker, building a new shed for our garden, cooking lots of good summer food for family dinners on the deck, and spending many lazy hours on the front porch with my dear husband. We're also planning a big 4th of July party to celebrate my husband's 60th birthday and my brother's 65th birthday. I can't wait for that!

Blogging these past three years has enriched my life in so many wonderful ways. I never expected the outpouring of welcoming encouragement I received from the blogging community when I began, nor that I would develop so many friendships with amazing women from all over the world, friendships that I will always cherish. I never expected that so many lovely people would be interested in what I have to share, and that has touched me deeply. My favorite part of blogging is when a reader tells me they've been inspired. 

That's what it's all about for me.

I'll miss all of my friends and followers over the summer! I hope you have a great time while I'm gone. We'll have lots of fun when I return next fall, and I'll have tons of new ideas and projects to share.

Happy Summer!


Jun 1, 2015

Retirment Plans and My Antique Farm House Wishlist

If you happen to read my blog regularly, you know we've done a lot of remodeling around our cottage over the past few years. 

We remodeled our kitchen first.

Followed by our master suite.

 Then we had new hardwood floors installed. 

We also bought some new furniture - a leather sectional for the family room and a sofa for the living room along with a couple of chairs, rugs, and a new bed. 

We also had a sprinkler system installed and redid most of our landscaping.

We saved up and spent a lot of money on our old home in the past three years. At least to us it was a lot of money. We are very frugal folks, my husband and I. We waited until our daughters had graduated from college and we were empty nesters before being able to update our home. And, oh boy, did it need updating because our house was beginning to look like a museum of 1990's decor and the old sofa was really starting to sag! Everything has been done following a strict budget, and we always saved the funds before we spent them. We didn't borrow any money or use credit.

The only things left to do now are new carpet in the loft and painting the outside. We just need to choose our colors. Once those two things are finished my husband and I should not have to spend anymore effort, time, or money on large home improvement jobs for the rest of the years we live in this house. And that was our goal; to have our cottage in great shape to effortlessly enjoy as we enter our retirement years and to sell at any time if we decide to downsize. 

Not only is it incredibly wonderful to live in a newly remodeled home for the first time in our lives, it's also wonderful to have the peace of mind that our largest retirement investment, our home, is in tip top shape as we think about retirement. And now that we have more time, I've been reading lots of books about retirement and finding out there are so many more options open to us than we thought. It's a very exciting time! In fact, we're now discovering retirement might be closer for us than we thought. It entails some serious belt-tightening again for a couple of years, back to living that frugal life we lived while raising our kids. 

We're kind-of excited by the challenge!

This has all been a very long introduction to today's post. You see, when I opened my regular email from the Antique Farm House website today and saw all the cool things for sale, I decided to buy one or two of them. Then all of a sudden I remembered we're not doing that anymore! We're living frugally again and saving up for an earlier retirement. 

Oh darn!

For the next couple of years my new decor will once again be coming exclusively from thrift stores, yard sales, and our own hands. But I realized that doesn't mean I can't enjoy browsing through websites like Antique Farm House anymore because it's a great way to get ideas for what to watch for at yard sales and thrift stores and even for diy projects. 

(Antique Farm House didn't have anything to do with this post, by the way. I just like them.) 

So I thought I'd share with you the great things from Antique Farm House I'd have purchased today if we hadn't embraced a new frugality and if money was no object. 

Enjoy some farm house love with me!

Double Sided Garden Shop Supply Sign
Distressed Green Metal Rolling Cart

 Green Metal Garden Basket

Rustic Garden Gate Decor

Estate Stone Milk Cow Statue

Weathered Wood Potting Table With Galvanized Metal Top

If you love farm house decor as I do, you're probably swooning by now. It was a particularly good day at Antique Farm House to me, and I loved (I mean loved) all of these things. It's almost like the shopping gods were testing my brand new commitment to not pressing that "add to cart" button! 

It helped enormously to share this gorgeous farm house decor with you, even if it didn't make it into my cart today. It was almost just as good! ;) 

I hope it inspires you, too!