White Pine Vista Cottage gets a new look!

June 4, 2012 by · 2 Comments 


In order to keep our Vacation Rental homes in renting condition we know that we occasionally need to replace & update key items.  These are often mechanical things that you wouldn’t necessarily notice but are essential to ensure you have a solid cottage in good working order to host your family vacation.

I always wanted that ‘picture perfect’ beautifully decorated lake house or waterfront cabin…. it was never in the budget to gut our White Pine Vista cottage and make it the cover of House & Home Magazine…. but that’s what I wanted to do…. so we compromised!  I spent several years collecting nautical themed items, going through cottage magazines & websites for ideas and then I made almost everything myself  – kept the cost low & here’s how I did it! 


….. as you can see we aren’t going to win any design awards….at least not this decade! LOL


… granted, we still aren’t going to win any decorating awards but it looks much better!  For cheap & cheerful wall art, I picked up some large planks of wood at Home Depot.  I painted canoe paddles on them in bright colours and then distressed them to give it them that reclaimed piece of wood charm.  Total cost of the paddles wall art was less than $15 for all three! 

NEW VALANCES ~ I picked up this nautical themed fabric in the clearance bin at Fabricland a few years ago, the grommets were also from a clearance bin at Len Mills and the rods were old ones we took out of our own home when I made custom box pleated valances… I love the large wooden rods and I am glad they are re-purposed here at our cottage.  TOTAL cost of each valance was less than $7.00


Master Bedroom… it wasn’t horrible before


… but I now LOVE it.  I just painted the walls a warm colour, added some cottage artwork and an orr… you ALWAYS see orrs used in cottage magazines as decorations.  Usually, vintage orrs are REALLY expensive but I hunted around and got this little guy for $5 and since I already had the cottage art this room was super cheap!


second master bedroom…boooooorrring!


… we couldn’t afford to spent hundreds of dollars on new headboards so I used a little creativity and made these headboards out of beadboard and old trim I had laying around in the garage…for years my husband has been asking me to clean out the garage and get rid of odds & ends… i just couldn’t part with perfectly good lumber so I am thrilled to have made it into something….and clean out my garage at the same time! 

I made the wall art using old pieces of wood in our garage & I painted just the sides of this book shelf to give it a hint of nautical without being too over powering…. just kidding, I painted only the sides because that’s all the ‘left over’ paint I had in the garage…hahahhaa.  TOTAL price of this room was about $15 for the beadboard and $6 for the sisal used for the wooden buoys on the books shelf = about $21


…. this room was always so basic and boring


… I used the other half of the beadboard for this headboard and remnant fabric for curtains & fish pillow…about $20 for this room.

This project had it’s challenges~ it’s always a gamble buying fabric for projects that haven’t been dreamt up yet and never easy to pick out paint colours when your not in the room or worse a 7 hour drive away!  I had to use plumbing and electrical supplies as curtain rod holders and borrow a neighbours sewing machine when I arrived and mine machine that I dragged all the way up there, didn’t work….but it all worked out and I look forward to my NEXT decorating project!

Stop, slow down & check out the monkeys once in a while…

March 28, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Our condo has many of the convieneces of home….BUT, things aren’t the same as at home…I’m reffering to the fast paced urban jungle where you expect 30 minute or free pizza, the same place that when the bus sign says 3:38 you can expect it to arrive at 3:38 give or take a minute.  You may also expect if they say they will send someone up soon to mean in 10 minutes….you could wait a whole lot longer than that though…

Life is slower down here, drivers might be late, the waiter might forget about you for a few minutes….I suggest you stop, slow down & check out the monkeys…..*grin*

This baby Howler Monkey was up in a Mango tree at our condo (Sunrise Condo, Tamarindo).  He was playing with another baby moneky and they were learning how to Howel… tiny little grunts, it was SO cute!

My point is, I was disappointed with our property manager when we told him our coffee maker had a broken caraf a week ago and when we arrived yesturday it was still broken… he explained that they are looking for one but they do not sell coffee makers in town so they had to wait until someone was going to the larger town near by…. Lesson learned, so I went out and looked for the monkies in the mango tree again…

Pura Vida!

Once in a Life-Time Gift? Fighter Pilot Adventure

December 24, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

L-39 Albatros Jet Fighter

Fly a fighter jet in Florida

For those looking for that once in a life time adventure to mark a major milestone, such as, a 50th birthday, consider flying a fighter jet.  Our Kissimmee vacation rental condo is located just over 1 hour away from Tampa where you can enjoy your adventure.

Do you say autumn colour, fall colors, fall foilage, or something else and when is the best time to go?

September 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

With our British heritage but the influence of our neighbours to the south you will see both autumn/fall, colour and color being used fairly interchangably.

As for the best time to go it depends if you are looking for a specific tree/bush species or the overall effect.  Being nature it is next to impossible to pick out exact dates well in advance.  It depends on temperature, rainfalls, water levels, wind and other factors.  Generally between mid-September to mid-October you are likely to see some colour, often mainly yellow.  If you wish to play the odds then the last week of September to first week of October is likely your best bet but we truly don’t know and certainly don’t make any guarantees.

Some 3rd party advice on fall colors in the Canmore/Banff area

Difference between a Larch and a Tamarack – same genus, different species.


Misery Bay Nature Reserve & beach

May 22, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Do NOT let the name fool you… Misery Bay is a wonderful 1005 hectare provincial park and is located about an hour drive from our cottage and is a great way to spend a with the friends and family.   There are hiking trails, beaches, a board walk and more. 

This is the Misery Bay Visitor & Interpretive Centre, it’s only open from May 24 weekend to September long weekend.  Washrooms are located inside.   Trail maps (below)are located in boxes all year long.

The first time we visited this park we hiked the Forest Trail which takes you to the most amazing large rare rock called alvar.  

 A few years later my mom, aunt & me spent a girls weekend up at our cottage.  I remembered the amazing rock “beach” so I tried to take them there (……but I am not good at reading maps! and I am directionally challenged!), so we took the Lakeshore Trail to the wolf den trail…and to my surprise we ended up at this WONDERFUL beach! 

While we were hanging out at this beach we watched a pair of bald eagles soaring above the beach.

And on our way out of the trail we spotted a couple of Snowshoe Hares… this is a rather blurry photo of the smaller of the two we spotted.  There are a few of these rabbits on our property and in the winter they turn white!  Often spotted by the fire wood shed.

 Misery Bay is a wonderful place to take a picnic and hang out for the day – REMEBER TO PACK IN & PACK OUT your trash because there is no garbage collection on the beach.

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