Cola's Cottage

Please visit me at . We specialize in romantic art of roses and children, and handmade vintage style decor. We also offer vintage finds and apparel.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A new beginning

My new gypsy carriage

Hello blogger friends : )  It has been far too long since I have last posted.  I believe I have been on a journey of finding where I belong and who I am as an artist.  I put my business aside for a while and concentrated on my family and home.  I needed to step back and evaluate my life.  As an artist it is very hard to balance time for creating and family life.  Being the goal oriented person I am I find myself doing one or the other.  When I am preparing for a show my home falls apart.  The family feels neglected and I feel guilty.  When I give my family all of my time I feel guilty for not working in the studio.  These feelings were weighing on me and was stealing the joy from life.

Having this time has helped me to think of what it is I want to be as an artist.  Being an artist must be fulfilling or it just becomes a chore.  Being and artist is a passion.  I feel driven and it becomes a roller coaster ride of highs and lows.  Finding balance seemed to always elude me.

Throughout this time I have been making baby steps in my art and my business.  I created a new web page with the help of my friend Jill Serrao.  She is beautiful talented lady who owns  When I first began my site she was one of the first friends I made.  She paints beautiful roses and creates gorgeous web designs.  I have also been designing new card and pendant designs.  I will show them to you in a future post.  I have stepped back from painting roses to incorporating my art in mixed media designs.  I find joy and freedom in this art form.  I love using vintage and handmade materials in my art.  As much as I love painting roses I feel I am expressing my true self in my new art form.

Months ago I promised myself that I would begin posting again after my "cottage on wheels" was complete and last weekend I had my very first sale out of it.  I had always dreamed of having a traveling studio where I could bring my creations to shows.  My talented husband built me my dream and now it is reality.  As always I used as much salvaged material as I could including the steel siding from the dump : )

The picture above is my carriage in construction.  The bead board doors I had been saving for years for the right project.  We used them as the interior walls.

The picture below is a side view.  I have some painting to do on it yet to add more personality and charm.  I plan on painting awnings on canvas and attaching them to the wood.  The floral streamers on on the corners to  prevent someone from bumping their head : )  Below on the window frame I have vintage hardware attached to use as hangers for my creations.

Above is a lampshade that I stripped and added vintage lace to showcase my ribbon rose pins and wrist cuffs.

Both sides of my trailer open up so that the shopper can shop from the outside and I don't have to have them come inside the small space.  They get the experience of a "shop" without going inside.  Above are my paper creations with my own art and mixed media.

Can you tell I am a girly girl and love pretty things lol : )  I love tags with beautiful imagery and meaningful quotes.  I embellish them with buttons, jewels and vintage ephemera.  The beautiful frame was from a mirror that my parents had that had broke and I saved it to reuse one day.  I put screen behind it and painted it and it makes a wonderful display piece.

This picture is a view of the ceiling of my carriage.  I sewed pieces of upholstery together like a patchwork quilt and attached it to the ceiling.  I needed to keep the building materials light for travel and it was a nice fit.  It makes it look like a bohemian gypsy trailer.  I am half bohemian and I like that I am able to honor my heritage : )

As I am writing this post I realize that my baby steps have amounted to something wonderful that I am proud of.  In my journey to find balance in my life and my art I have created this.  It brings me immense joy to share it with people and see it anew through their eyes.  I hope that you liked it too and as always I love to hear from you also.

Take care and God Bless : )


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

I enjoy this Holiday and giving thanks for all the goodness in my life.  I love sharing these times with my family and loved ones.  As we get older and are children are into more things our lives become hectic and busy.  Unfortunately we don't get together as much anymore.  It is when the holidays come around that we can slow down to relax and visit.  Ok, maybe relaxing isn't quite the truth LOL!  We are usually running around like chickens with our heads cut off, getting everything ready for the big feast.  But when the table is set and we gather to pray, we relax and we enjoy the good food and company, and count our blessings.

My daughter Alison is six years old.  She is a "mini me".  She is a girly girl and loves to draw and decorate.  Today I was shopping for some last minute turkey day stuff when I saw the cutest little pink Christmas tree.  Of course it was on sale and I knew I had to buy it for my little girl.  I had only $16 on my debit card and I had a dilema.  I needed to pick up some neccesities and so I had to be a frugal shopper.  I found everything I needed for my meal and had just enough money left to buy the tree.  I felt so elated I couldn't wait to see her reaction when she saw it.

When I did show it to her she jumped and clapped and squealed.  Then she said she needed to go out and scream outside because she was so excited (I don't let my kids scream in the house lol!).  As we were decorating it my daughter said " Oh thank you Lord!", in the most sincere way.  I say that daily as I always give thanks to God for every good thing in my life.  Hearing her say that filled me with so much joy, to know that she has God in her heart and that she expresses her gratefulness so genuinely.  Later today she said this was the best day ever... what more can you ask for?  I have a lot to be thankful for, and I am happy.

I have been painting up a storm this week to get some new things listed for holiday shopping this weekend!  Here are some of the new items that have just been added.... : )

It has been nice to paint again.  Working on sales in my studio is fun, but having time to paint again feels good.  I hope to keep doing so and building my inventory.  I will be busy creating some pieces for Christmas gifts and custome orders, so I hope to keep in touch with all of you during the holidays. 

I wish you all a very blessed and happy Thanksgiving.  I am thankful to have all of you to share with and I am thankful to you all for sharing with me too ; )

Many blessing and hugs to you all!  Love ~ Nichole

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fourth Annual Enchanted Christmas Sale Event

Hello my dear friends!  For many weeks now I have been preparing for tonight and tomorrow and I cannot believe it is finally here!  I am having my Fourth Annual Christmas Sale this weekend and it is by far my most favorite of sales.  I love the magic and enchantment of twinkling lights and glittery ornaments.  I wish all of you could come in person to visit my cottage, but as you cannot I am happy to share photos of my sale.  This is what you see when you walk inside the door....

To your left you see this.  I have golds, greens and some shabby pinks, and beside that is my beloved primitive hutch.

Ornaments adorn this hutch by hanging on the greenery and from the lighted shelves.  I like this display for the ornaments because it is easier for people to see each individual ornament.

When I began getting ready for my sale and dreaming of how I wanted it to look, I began in this corner.  I had this primitive cornice up before creating a room within a room but I had it moved back so that I could open the room up more.  I wanted to have a grand table in the center of the room and the cornice made a beautiful back drop for it.  It is also my blue and silver area.  I think it is my favorite of the whole studio.

On this side of the studio I have the traditional red, blue and gold Christmas ornaments and wreaths.  Beside this it moves into the softer colors, with a lot of vintage shabby decor.

I painted this old tressel table pink.  I can't help it I love pink!  Now not everyone will like a pink table but I think it is perfect in my studio.  It will be hard to sell it, so I secretly hope it doesn't.  It is the perfect table for me to have workshops in my studio.  On top I have candle holders made from banister posts.  I have had the white ones forever, but the chippy blue green ones I got at the flea market I sold at this summer.  They are very hard to part with also, but I saved a few for myself to have.  The tops of the candle holders are mixed pieces of metals and tin cups and parts of old light fixtures.  Before my sale tonight I will be adding more pretty adorned pointsettia with bows to soften the display.

Below is the backside of the studio.  It is where all of the creating happens.  Right now all of the creative mess is cleaned up and put away for the sale.  This room holds all of my little boutique goodies.  I have purses, crocheted hats and scarves, prints, signs, cards, journals, jewelry, pendants, ornaments, embellished jars and gift tags.

The hats and scarves are made by my mom, Susann.  She is very talented and everyone who owns one of her hats is thrilled.  My daughter has many and she gets compliments daily on her cute hats. 

Below are ornaments that I soldered.  Soldering pendants and charms is my new endeavor.  It is fun and challenging and I have a lot of practice ahead of me to get good at it.  They are not perfect by all means, but I kind of like the imperfection of it.  Hopefully others will agree for the sale!

These are the pendants I made from vintage paper. 

Thank you for visiting my little shop.  I hope it is a success and that everyone enjoys it.  When the sale is done I will be listing items on my site so visit soon! 

Take Care, Blessing to you all ~ Nichole

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Fun

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and it is so true!  I find that when I have little means that is when I come up with something really neat.  This year our Halloween budget was non-existent.  After buying groceries at Wally World, there was no money left to buy the kids costumes.  Instead I bought $2 worth of face paint and decided I would paint their faces.  With Alison it was easy because she wanted to be a princess and she had a lot of dresses to choose from.  The boys however were a challenge.  Jacob wanted to be a zombie and Isaac wanted to be a vampire.  That was easy enough for me to paint their faces but I had to come up with costumes.  For Isaac I recreated last years costume to make a cape.  I cut the fabric and used spray adhesive to put a piece of card board in between the fabric to make a collar.  He was so excited to be in costume!  Once the fake blood was on he was stoked!  For Jacob I took an old curtain and ripped it into strips.  I then dipped it in coffee with some grounds in it to give the fabric an aged look.  After throwing it in the dryer I preceeded to hot glue it on my son!!  I was giggling the whole time.  I kept thinking, I am actually hot gluing on my child LOL!  Here they are sitting in the back of our old jacked up Jimmy.....

This picture below the kids are about to trick or treat at the first house.

I love taking photos like the one below.  Alison is so excited that she skipped the whole time from house to house.  As you can see we had just gotten snow.  Most of it had melted and it was nice enough for the kids to go out without coats.

In the end the kiddies got a lot of candy and had fun trick or treating our family and friends.  It is moments like these that the kids will remember, and it was even more special because their costumes were handmade!

I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween too!

Hugs ~ Nichole

Thursday, October 29, 2009

And the winner is.....

Hello my dear friends!  Thank you to all who visited and left such heart warming compliments.  This has truly been a wonderful gift to me and I am grateful to Natasha for hosting this party.  So without further ado I will announce the winner!  And the winner is.... Julie Marie of Idyllhours!  Congratulations and I hope you enjoy your little package of holiday goodies!!

I am excited to give you a little peak into my world in my studio.  It is usually really messy with projects going all over the place but I tidied it up a bit to snap some pictures.  I am in the process of setting up for my annual Enchanted Christmas sale event!!  It is by far the best and most favorite sale I have for the year.  I wish you could all visit me personally and share my it with you.  I live in a very rural community on the edge of a town with the population of 2200.  My mailing list spreads over many miles and people come from all over.  Our little town bursts with tourists who come to see all of the holiday boutiques in our local area.  We have wonderful, talented artisans and it is a treat for some happy shoppers.

So here is a sneak peak....

The picture above is my work space of my studio.  My sweet loving hubby built it for me out of new and salvaged materials.  I regreted not having more windows in this back space so I bought this mirror mantel at a yard sale for $3 and it opens up the space and reflects light wonderfully.  It just needed some paint and I think it turned out beautiful!  One day I dream of having more windows and some skylights.  All of the furniture in here is vintage, even the metal stools.

Below is the backside of the front of my studio where I showcase my creations.  Every sale that I have has a new theme.  I paint walls and move things around.  This beautiful old cornice was in here before and made a room within the studio with it.  I have a table now where it used to be so Justin (my hubby) moved it back for me.  I love how it looks with the chandelier in front and the beautiful leaded glass window behind it.  It feels so magical and warm to me.  Chippy and well loved is what I have a passion for in my decorating.

Above in this corner I am going with a silver and blue theme.  In front of this (not pictured) is an old tressel table that I painted PINK!!  I don't think I will be able to sell it.  Not only because it is pretty but because it is very functional.  I can use it for when I have workshops.

Thank you once again for stopping in.  I look forward to sharing more as I get closer to the date.  The sale will be on November 14th with a preview sale for friends and family the night before.  I hope to make it magical with lots of twinkling Christmas lights!

Hugs and blessings ~ Nichole

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's All About Me! Party and Give away!

A couple weeks ago I was invited to join Natasha's blog/swap party.  This is not your average, ordinary swap party however...instead of creating for someone else you were asked to make something for yourself!  Right away I knew what I wanted to do.  Although I had planned to do more with it, I ran out of time.  I am also having a give away ~ please scroll down to see what the prizes are! it is!  Portraits of my children!  They are older now but I always wanted to do one of them at these ages.  The first one is my oldest Jacob, then it is Isaac, and my baby Alison.

The portraits are done in graphite pencil and after taking pictures of them I edited them on my photoshop program.  I added a frame to the portrait and made it a sepia color for softness.  It gives them a vintage feel which I love.  Initially I wanted to take these images and make a soldered pendant with them but I ran out of time.  I have yet to use my soldering iron of the many things on my list I haven't done yet....but now I can cross off drawing portraits of my children from my list of things to do : )  In the past I have painted my children, but I have never done a pencil portrait.  It was quite an experience doing this, as I think I know my children's faces better than anything else I have drawn before.  I experienced myself what many may feel and think when they see a drawn portrait for themselves done by me.  My children are a little older now and they have changed in a lot of ways.  I am so glad to have done this and I love how their characters shine through.  Jacob is my smart and witty boy, with an awesome sense of humor and loving heart.  Isaac is my little character full of grand imagination and wonder.  Alison is my little princess and my shadow.  She is a loving little girl and one day will work along side me in my studio.  It is so much fun to share my creativity with all of them and they are my best creations by God's loving grace!  They all love to create and it truly is a blessing to share.

Thank you Natasha for putting this party together!  Please visit her here to see all of the participants of this party and see all of the lovely creations everyone has made.  Natasha's project is a painting and it is breath taking, you must see it! 

And now my dear friends, I am happy to have my first ever give away!!  Below are pictures of the items I made to give to one special person : )  The gift package includes hand made embellished ornaments, a vintage style tree topper, an angel magnet, a gold grapevine angel,a vintage style gift tag and note cards designed by me.  I hope whoever wins it will enjoy it all!  To win this prize all you have to do is leave a comment.

I look forward to hearing from you!   It has been a lot of fun doing this and I hope you enjoyed visiting and letting me share my art with you.  Have a wonderful and blessed day!

Hugs ~ Nichole

Friday, October 16, 2009

Looking ahead

Hi friends!  I have enjoyed so much reading all your blogs and sharing your fall pictures and stories.  This time of year however, my mind is on the upcoming Holiday sale in my studio.  So much time and preparation goes into each sale.  It is a lot of hard work, but so rewarding.  For every sale I redecorate everything.  I paint walls, floors, even build and move walls (with my hubby's help).  It is all worth it to share my creations and imagination to those who come and shop.

So, as I am now in the planning stages and setting up the foundations for my new themes for this sale I look back at the photos from years past.   The photo below is from the very first year I had a sale.  My husband and brother started building my studio less than two months before I had it!  I think back and wonder how I did it all?  I am not sure how well you can see the framed print or not, but this was my first print.  It was from a pastel painting I did of my sister before my children were born.

I love making garden chandeliers for christmas time.  I love the look of rusty wire and the glitter of silk pointsettias and ribbon.

The following photos are from my last years sale.  As you can see the look had changed dramatically!

The picture below was of my daughters play house that we decorated for the sale. 

This picture below was from some pictures I took for an upcoming Christmas ad.

It is neat to look back and see what I have done and look ahead now to another Holiday sale event.  I am not sure what "theme" I am going for this year.  I am excited however for the fun projects that I am making for it.  I hope you enjoyed looking at the pictures and letting me share them with you!

Many hugs and blessings to you!  ~ Nichole