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One of my very favorite things is peeking in other people’s houses. I love seeing how other people live, and there is nothing like seeing what is hanging on their walls and sitting on shelves to help you get to know a person. Now before you get all worried that I’m some kind of creepy Peeping Tom, hiding in bushes and lurking around under windows, I usually wait until I’m invited in, either in real life or virtually. I love it when bloggers post pictures of their homes.

We moved into the new Little House in March, and have been working steadily (er…more or less.) ever since to make it a cute and fun place to live. Tons of paint, a little bit of beadboard, and fun vintage accessories have helped to make it a comfy home that reflects our (or at least, my) tastes.

Our sunny kitchen

The kitchen is one of my favorite rooms in the house. This wasn’t the case when we first moved in. Before we put up the beadboard backsplash, there was dark green flowered wallpaper, which really made the whole room seem dark. The kitchen cabinets were white with black handles, but they were dingy and dull. And the adorable spice shelf? That was an old window, that had been filled in with plywood. Of course, I’m never completely satisfied. Now I’m looking at my cabinets and thinking they would be even better if they were a bright glossy red. Oh well, maybe someday. (Someday I’ll give you a peek of the inside of the cabinets. They are a bright, fun turquoise inside.)

Vintage aprons and dancing chickens

 One of my favorite things in the house: My vintage aprons, and my dancing chicken art. I won the dancing chickens in a blog giveaway from this amazing blogger. (I also won an adorable handmade wallet and zippered bag, both of which I use every day, as well as two cute little soft matryoshka dolls.)  

Alice sitting on the couch in our living room.

Our living room. It’s not nearly as put together and decorated as I would like. The repurposed china cabinet is my favorite thing in the room. It holds all of my favorite books in the top, the kids’ art supplies in the drawer, and the kids’ books in the bottom cabinet. (Psst…you can see my matryoshka dolls on the middle shelf, right smack in the center.)

Wesley and Alice's room

Art in the kids' room

I lied. Actually, the kids’ room is my favorite room in the house. I adore the color on the walls, and the green quilt on Wesley’s bed. (I’m still on the lookout for a girly quilt for Alice’s bed. I started a quilt in December that I hoped to have done by now, but I’m lazy.) I adore the art on their walls and the homemade kitchen. (Seen in the first picture. Ryan made it for the kids for Christmas.)

The pictures on either end came from this fantastic Etsy seller. I spent ages searching through the art on Etsy before I found  Trafalgar Square’s shop and just fell in love. I made the sillouettes of the kids, and the yellow framed print is a picture from a 1933 math book. Can you see the little girls, in the kitchen cooking and taking care of dolls, and the little boys outside, building something? Ah…I love it.

Thanks for stopping by the tour of my Little House. I’m sure if you were here in real life, we’d sit in these chairs and watch the kids zoom around the deck on their bicycles.

 I never intended to take such a long break from my blog, but I’m ready to come back now. I wasn’t in a writing mood for a long time, after some financial setbacks, but even though we aren’t completely out of the woods, we have at least found the path, and I’m ready to pick back up where I left off!

Well, not exactly where I left off. First off all, we’ve moved to a new house! Our new house truly is on the prairie. This is the view from my front yard:

The view from my front door.

Not only are we in a new house out in the country, but we’ve left the Little Town on the Prairie behind. We’re near a much MUCH smaller town now. The new little town boasts a library, post office, lumber yard, and gas station/convenience store. And that’s it.

Not only are we near a much smaller town, but we’re in a much smaller house! Our old house was roughly 1200 square feet. If I had to guess, I’d say this is about 600 square feet. And I love it. We’ve put a lot of work into it, and it’s getting cuter and cuter every day. Some day soon I plan to give you all a tour of it.

And of course, the Little Kids on the Prairie are getting bigger and smarter every day. Wesley just had his fifth birthday and is playing t-ball this year, and Alice is almost three and obsessed with pretty dresses.

Although I’m still passionate about green issues, that’s not going to be my main focus of the blog. (Not that it has been for a while now!) I’m going to keep talking about green issues, but I’ll probably focus more on frugal living and life in the country. I’ll probably blab on and on about our huge garden, because I’m so very proud of it. We ate green beans out of it last night! It was our first garden produce of the year, so it was really exciting.

So I’m very glad to be back, and I’d love to hear from any of you!

Although I am decorating my house and trying to make myself “love the one I got,” I still dream of one day owning my very own little house. I’ve been drooling over various pictures of cob houses that I’ve spotted all over the Internet and thought I’d share them with you here.

Cob is a mixture of clay, sand, water, earth, and straw, mashed up together to make a little loaf for building, which are then put together and used sort of like bricks. It’s also generally covered with plaster. It was a very common building material in England in the 1800s, and is somewhat similar to adobe.

And of course…talk about eco friendly! Seriously, what could be better than building with plain ol’ dirt?  

Note: If you spot your own picture here and would like credit for it, please leave a comment for me and I’ll be sure to give you credit. I’ve been swiping these from the ‘net for almost a year now and have lost track!

Cottage with traditional thatched roof.

Cottage with traditional thatched roof.

 

Look at these fabulous shelves and nooks, built in to the cob.

Look at these fabulous shelves and nooks, built in to the cob.

 

Can't you just imagine sleeping in this beautiful room? I love the barn-style door.

Can't you just imagine sleeping in this beautiful room? I love the barn-style door.

 

These stairs are sooo cool! And check out all the nooks and built in shelves everywhere.

These stairs are sooo cool! And check out all the nooks and built in shelves everywhere.

 

Could this door BE any cooler?

Could this door BE any cooler?

 

Yup. Still awesome.

Yup. Still awesome.

“Oh, Pa, let’s go on west!”
“I know, little Half-Pint,” said Pa, and his voice was very kind. “You and I want to fly like the birds. “

I think one of the main reasons I’ve always felt so connected to Laura Ingalls Wilder is because we both have itchy feet. She was always longing to keep going west, never to settle down in one place for too long. I feel the same way. I can’t leave my family, so instead of going west, I move to different houses.

After about two years, I get this claustrophobic feeling and I get the urge to move. I’m one of those strange people who actually LIKE moving. I like the whole process, from going to all the local grocery stores to scavenge for free cardboard boxes to packing away all the knick-knacks to settling in the new home. I adore house hunting, and even when I’m happy in a house I spend a great deal of time searching the real estate ads in the paper and on-line.

But this time, I’m going to have to stifle my desire to move, because it just isn’t gonna happen. My small house dreams are just going to have to keep waiting.

So instead of getting a new house, I’ve decided to change the way my current house looks. I think changing things up a bit might give me an extra year or so before I smother under this feeling.

I have big plans for painting all the rooms in the house. To keep it green, I need to find low VOC paints. I’m happy with this, because I hate the smell of paint fumes. And especially since I have kids in the house, I don’t want to have to worry about what chemicals they are breathing in.

I’ve decided to do a ’50s retro inspired theme, that will be super fun and cheerful. Maybe a little too cheerful…

                                     

Yesterday I spray painted these two things this crazy aqua color. This is going to be one of the colors in my new overly cheerful house. One of the other colors will be green – like a Granny Smith apple green.

And this is the fabric I ordered for some kitchen curtains:

                                     Sky Blue Cherry Confections - Robert Kaufman Fabric - 1 Yard

Yes, it will be bright. It will be cheerful. So if you come to visit, wear your shades.

My blog gets several hits each day from people searching for information on small houses. In fact, this has surpassed ‘making butter’ as the top search term that leads people to my page.

It looks like I’m just jumping on another trend here, the trend of downsizing. I’m certainly in good company. It seems that with the current economy, with people losing their homes left and right, and paying out the ear for gas and milk, that people just can’t afford that McMansion in the suburb, and even if they can afford it, they are done with it. They are done with the old American Dream of a hefty mortgage payment to pay for that four bedroom home with the postage-sized yard and wall-length television set.

No, the new American Dream is owning your own home-actually OWNING your own home- rather than paying the bank to let you live there.

Ryan and I have been talking every single day since we came up with the idea about our small house. We talk about exactly what we want: a small private bedroom for us, big enough for a king-sized bed; a small kitchen with a large pantry; enough room for a washer and dryer. But mostly what we talk about is the land we want to build it on. We want about five acres, preferably with water already nearby. We want trees, and maybe even a little creek. We’d like it to be near town, but secluded enough to feel private.

Obviously, this isn’t going to happen over night. It could be years off down the road, but I truly hope not.

Some people have expressed concern about how we’ll manage living in a such a small house. What will we do? My answer is, “Whatever we want.” With a smaller mortgage payment, we’ll be able to afford to go places, so we won’t have to stay at our house all the time. We’ll play outside more. Of course, I don’t think it will be difficult to manage. Our current house may be 1200 square feet, but the four of us can generally all be found in our 10 x 12 third bedroom, which we use as a family room.

Our first step towards this move is a garage sale. As soon as the weather cooperates, we’re having a massive garage sale to get rid of a ton of stuff. We currently have a garage so full that we can barely pull our car into it, and a master bedroom that has so many outgrown baby items stacked around it that there is just a path from the door to the bed.

After that…well, I suppose we’ll see what comes next!