Pretty Little Topiary + County Fair

If you know me, you know I can’t go too long without painting a Shabby/Cottage Chic painting. While on Pinterest, I was searching for something else and came across a picture of a topiary in a vase which inspired me to paint this:

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Many of my friends and family encouraged me to enter it in the county fair this week. It’s a good think I listened – it received a 2nd place award! It’s still on display at the fair but I’ll have it back after Sunday and it will be available for purchase.

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Each time I paint a Shabby Chic inspired piece, I fall in love with it all over again. I’d say it’s a safe bet to think that you’ll see similar pieces very soon. 🙂

xoxo

Rhonda

Giveaway Information & Official Rules

Hello!

It’s been a while since I’ve hosted a giveaway and since I’ve decided I’d like to try it on Instagram, I’ll be conducting the contest there. Between now and the end of the year, there will be a giveaway each month, so be sure to follow me at: www.instagram.com/thecozyloftofficial so you’ll see the contests.

This is what will be given away:

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Three fan art creations – Mickey, Minnie and Mickey & Minnie together. You can keep them all for yourself or gift them. Each of them can be personalized on the back, too!

Here are the official rules:

No purchase is necessary and a purchase does not enhance your chance of winning. This giveaway is being hosted by Rhonda James, Artist of The Cozy Loft. Winning artwork does not transfer rights. Contest void where prohibited. 

Contest begins September 8, 2018 at 8:00 pm CST and ends on September 15, 2018 at 8:00 pm CST. After all entries are compiled on a spreadsheet and assigned a number, the random number generator will be used to determine a winner. Winner will be announced on September 15, 2018 at 8:10 pm CST. 

To be eligible, you must be a follower of http://www.instagram.com/thecozyloftofficial, liked and/or shared the prize photo and have commented on any post during the contest times and dates as mentioned above. One entry per person per day. This contest is open worldwide to all ages 3 and up. It is your responsibility to determine if glass ornaments from Tennessee, USA are permitted in your location. If the winner is disqualified, another winner will be selected. 

September’s prize to be given away: 3 glass fan art ornaments, hand painted. One of Mickey & Minnie together and one each of Mickey and Minnie for a total of 3 ornaments. 

By your entry in this contest, you are giving your consent to The Cozy Loft to use your name/user name in the same manner of which you entered the contest as well as the general country and/or state in which you reside. Otherwise, all information is kept in confidence.

Odds of winning depend upon number of entries. One winner will be chosen for the September giveaway. Once the winner is determined, it will be announced on http://www.instagram.com/thecozyloftofficial and you have 24 hours to contact The Cozy Loft with your name and complete address (including country). 

Good luck and thank you for entering! Please be sure to check back often. There will be more giveaways to come between now and the end of the year. 

Warm wishes from The Cozy Loft! 

Run Away to a Cozy Reading Nook

 

Stress. I don’t know a single person who doesn’t have stress on some level at some point. To find a stolen, quiet moment here and there seems like such a faraway dream. While most of us can’t just drop out of life and run away to a relaxing vacation as often as we like, we actually can do a few things in our homes to plan an escape of our own.

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Reading is highly recommended for our mental health. According to a 2009 study at the University of Sussex, it can reduce stress by 68%! Fascinating, isn’t it? Consider it brain cardio and brain strengthening. It’s important. So, if we create a cozy little place in the corner of a relaxing room, we can escape there with a good book…completely guilt free. After all, we have to take care of ourselves first and that’s an excellent way to start.

 

Reading nooks can be elaborate or simple, depending upon your space and your vision. Any office or living room immediately comes to mind as generally those are areas with chairs and lighting present. There are many options, though. If you have a porch or 4 seasons room, perhaps it’s there. Perhaps you have other family members who might crowd your space, a nice corner in the bedroom might be the ticket. And, yes, a rock outdoors can totally work, too.

 

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For the most comfortable space, we’ll need to start with good seating such as a chaise, chair or even a good spot on the floor. A nice large basket nearby is an excellent decorating choice. It can hold a blanket for keeping a chill off, a couple of pillows for comfort, some reading glasses if needed and, of course, books. It will keep everything inviting, as well as organized and stylish.

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Recently, I set up an escape in my living room that consists of a chair and a large basket holding a fluffy throw and fuzzy pillow. I can tuck the books and my reading glasses down into the basket or I can leave them on top of the chair – either way is a beautiful display and also a conversation piece when guests are visiting. Books and reading are fascinating to discuss…especially really realllllly good books.

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Of course, it’s enjoyable to read in different places and even to read outside our homes in coffee shops, libraries, even in our cars. There’s nothing like being comfy cozy in our own homes…in a place created just for us.

xoxo
Rhonda

Country Farmhouse Decor

How much are you loving the Farmhouse Decor style that’s so popular right now? Everywhere I turn, I am inspired by this decorating trend. It’s clean, yet stylish and personable. There’s no doubt that we owe this to Chip & Joanna Gaines and Fixer Upper/Magnolia Market. The design style is perfection…at least to many of us.

Being inspired by something – I mean genuinely inspired by something – is such a blessing! I’m talking about the truly inspired, down deep in your soul, moving kind of thing. Recently, a friend suggested I join a DIY farmhouse inspired group and since then, all sorts of new ideas and plans have filled my head and my notebooks!

If asked, I would sum up the idea of the Farmhouse Style with the warmth of wooden signs that speak of family, practical pieces that have function and a cozy aspect that makes a house into a home. Did I miss something?

Here’s a brand new item coming from The Cozy Loft I’ll have available very soon:

 

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This is a standard size mason jar with a silver lid and I’ve hand painted a goat on there along with some black dots for contrast around the piece. This would be beautiful for kitchen storage and decor or would also be perfect on a desk, vanity or really anywhere your imagination can place it.

I love that I can offer so many things to make others happy. It’s what drives me and what pushes my creativity. Just wait til you see the other new goods I’m working on.

xoxo,
Rhonda

Resolutions – New Year 2018

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Hello Lovelies! Happy New Year! I hope this year is off to a wonderful beginning for you and that you are doing well on your resolutions if you decided to make any.

As for me, I made several and I’ll share a few with you.  My main one is to get closer to God. I plan to study my Bible more and listen to more sermons as I’m going about my daily work. This past year, I continued writing daily in a prayer journal and added a short daily devotional to that. So, this year, I’m adding in listening to a sermon per day of some sort. If you have recommendations for any audio books that would be a blessing, please feel free to share. I would love that!

Another resolution I made is to try new things. This one can mean anything so it can’t be planned as the other one can. I don’t want there to be structure because I want it to be spontaneous and exciting. Just like writing this post…I just suddenly decided to do it. No structure, no plan, no real topic in mind. Then, I decided since I’m still within the first week of the year, perhaps I can add a goal of at least one post per week. That should be fun, too!

I’m still in the planning stages and in prayer for exactly what this website will become. Other than knowing I needed to grab it when it finally came available (I’ve waited patiently for it for years!) and other than getting the graphics design for it, I’m waiting for direction.

In the meantime, just know that I wish you all my best for this year. I’m excited to be on this journey with you.

Lots of love!
Rhonda

Schwarzkopf Hair Color Review

I know I don’t typically do reviews here but I thought this might be something to share because I know plenty of men and women who color their hair. A couple of weeks ago, I joined Ibotta and had seen a $2.00 rebate on Schwarzkopf Hair Color.

Since I’d seen this at Walmart the last time I purchased hair color there, I had been interested in trying it. While I’m not unhappy with other brands I’ve tried, I am always willing to try new ones. The Schwarzkopf brand at $9.97 was something I wanted a coupon on to try it out, so when I saw the Ibotta rebate, I jumped on it. Specifically, I purchased the “Color Ultime” 3.1 in Espresso Black. Having naturally black hair since birth, I always want a natural black color with no blue tones.

Truly, I apologize for this photo. I’d not originally intended to do a review but after it was all said and done, I felt it was necessary. This box was in my trash and I’d thrown the plastic gloves on top of them after I’d rinsed them off so that’s why the box is wet:

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All instructions were followed except for the allergy test. The directions always seem to be contradictory on hair coloring. I mean do I do the allergy test like they say or do I apply it immediately after mixing as it also says? Alas, I never do the allergy test and that’s just being honest about it as anyone who knows me knows I’m not going to say I do when I don’t.

The smell is not off-putting at all while coloring. It’s light and not chemical smelling as many hair colors are. Since my hair is black with significant grays (I started getting gray hair at age 18), all hair colors I typically use say to leave it on the max time so I did this one no less. I left it 25 minutes on the roots and then 10 minutes all over. I did use all the mixture. For the temple/ear/forehead areas, I put extra on my gloved finger and targeted those areas with extra color mixture to be sure it was covered as I always do.

A little about my hair: it’s thick, naturally wavy and about 4 inches below my shoulders. I use a blow dryer approximately three times per year. I use a flat iron or curling iron approximately two times per year. I don’t use styling products of any sort more than twice a year. I wash it approximately twice per week and condition it each time. Typically, I switch up shampoo and conditioner brands each month. Any beautician who has ever cut or colored it has commented on how healthy my hair is. My normal routine is wash it, pat it dry with a towel as much as possible, use a non-damaging hair tie to pile it up on my head and let it dry on its own. Because it’s thick, I usually remove the hair tie a couple hours before bedtime to make sure any dampness is gone.

After the total 35 minutes coloring time, I ran the warm water and created the emulsion and washed it as if it was shampoo. The more the color was coming out, the dryer my hair felt. It truly felt brittle

 

Red White & Black

Have you noticed how drab the house looks when all the Christmas decorations come down? It’s sad to me to see all the pretty red and green things long gone. While my decor has some color to it and isn’t drab, I think it’s those pops of color that really keep the winter season from becoming drab.

For this very reason, I’ve expanded my Valentine’s Day decor to add some beautiful red and white…and even a little black…to my home. I created a Valentine’s Day initial flag a few years ago and am always so excited to pull it out. They are available in my etsy shop here  if this is something you might like to add to your holiday decorations.

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Then, I made a wreath for the carport door using white mesh, different ribbons, pipe cleaners and a heart wire wreath form.

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These things make me so happy and I think the touch of black is unexpected yet it adds some unexpected boldness to the pieces. What do you think? Let me know if you try it out! 🙂