a fresh start

i have read and re-read every comment left on my last
 post and to say i'm blown away would be an understatement.  i honestly had no idea that anyone cared that much about this mediocre blog.  and while i'm at it i'd like to define what i mean when i use the term mediocre.  to me mediocre means ordinary everyday objects.  this perfectly describes my life, my style, my blog.  i'm just an ordinary person.  i'm not well-travelled or well anything for that matter. 
i like making things like bread from scratch.  building gardens and creating homes with very little.  i love saving money.  i don't like clutter.
i consider myself a vegan even though i do have a handful of animal products in my home.
i will always try to buy leather second hand over newly made in china vinyl products.
i make mistakes all the time and i'm learning new things about myself everyday.
i do strive to be consistent - but i'm far from perfect.

thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the kind words and mostly thank you for reminding me just what it is i love.  the internet if full of outstanding, beautifully written and photographed blogs by very talented people and it's hard not to become envious or feel less than while reading them. your comments and emails remind me to stay true to myself.

this past weekend i was walking past a yardsale and saw this old camping stool.  i fell in love with its simplicity, color and its fifty cent price tag.  i carried it home and it's living here with me now.  my tall black boots are always filthy this time of year so they are on the porch.  oh and you will notice that the white curtains are back in the living room.  change is hard for me.

i hope (key word is hope) to post my project 333 summer list tomorrow.

you are all so lovely - thank you again.


  1. And let us add to the list of lovely things about you, knowing the difference between its and it's. So nice to hear your voice again. xoxox.

  2. You are the best ordinary there is!
    However I think you way underestimate how wonderul you are and how much you have impacted our lives...especially mine. You're definately not an ordinary friend. xo


  3. Great news!
    You live well and bring beauty into every single day.
    I would love to be more like you, so I'll be sitting watching, reading and learning.

  4. Janet,
    You are certainly not ordinary. You are extraordinary!

    xo S.

  5. Gee Janet, I kind of think of you as my blog guru. Perfect is boring. I love the read runners.

  6. Sorry that should read "red" runners.

  7. So here is the lovely thing: your ordinary and mediocre is extraordinary to other people! X

  8. Janet I am looking forward to your list tomorrow...and every post after that!!!! xoxo

  9. You are anything but mediocre. Reading your posts is like opening a small present!

    Welcome back.

  10. Janet,

    You are extraordinary
    and I aspire to be more like you.

    I am over the moon to hear that you have come back!
    Your blog feeds my soul.

  11. Hello Janet:
    We shall, like others, anticipate your future posts with pleasure.

  12. Yippee! A new post. You summed up exactly why you are so exceptional to me. I love the new camp stool and I smiled to know the curtains are back to their original location. Have a beautiful day!

  13. Aren't the best things in life, the most extraordinary things in life, the things most worth celebrating, the very ordinary things before us? That's the key to joy that far exceeds external, momentary happiness the world so often seeks!

  14. Oh so happy that you will continue your blog! You may consider yourself mediocre, but I echo what the others have said--you are extraordinary. Your posts, whether they may be about fashion, food, or home, are like a breath of fresh air. It seems you live your life with simplicity and grace--and it doesn't get any better than that in my book.
    Looking forward to your next post!

  15. In English there is no word for one big smile, a grin is too transient, a laugh has gone too far, one big smile it will have to be.

  16. Ordinary is where all the good things in life are :)

  17. It's so great to have an "ordinary" person put such a clever spin on life. Everything about the way you enjoy all the simplicity is inspiring. It makes regular old me feel as if there are plenty of inspiring things I can find in my small world. Thanks, Janet. Wish you lived next door to me! from your friend in Fullerton

  18. anon said above "it seems you live your life with simplicity and grace" - that's what draws me back over and over - your simple is beautiful and your ordinary is refreshing and inspiring


  19. Janet. I think Steve ( An Urban Cottage) has put it best.. Ellen

  20. I am very much looking forward to the list, and to know that I can keep coming back to your blog. You inspire me to no end.
    I also love your red sneakers, they are so You.

  21. Dear Janet,

    So glad you decided to continue blogging! I am sitting behind the computer with a smile on my face :-)

    Wish you a happy day!

    Madelief x

  22. Janet,

    Ordinary you aren't, but I do get what you are saying. I sometimes feel the same way.

    I am thrilled you are going to stick around, and admittedly a little relieved too. I always get excited when I see on my blog roll that you've posted something new.

    The little camping stool is darling...50 cents?? I need to go garage sale-ing more often.

    xo, A

  23. You are neither boring nor average. Or if you are, than that's what I like.

  24. Hi Janet,

    Only you could make an old camping stool look chic!

    Ditto to all that everyone said above! I was a little :( that you might leave us, but now I am :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)


  25. what you refer to as mediocre I call the little things in life... it's really all the good stuff that real life is made of. that's why your blog resonates with so many- you remind us to remember those things. in essence you give each and every one of us who visit you, a gift. own "your" gift!

    i'm secretly glad you put the white curtains back! love the new stool- we had that same fabric on some old sling back yard chairs when I was growing up. I love how the sight of something like that can bring back the carefree memory of childhood summers. thank you for reminding me of "that" today!


  26. Hi Janet...I just now read your last post. Sorry for being tardy.

    A few thoughts:

    Love your camp stool

    Don't go grey...not yet

    Don't quit blogging...not yet

    Your thoughts about life and the things that keep you on center resonate with so many people.

    I swear the words you wrote on this post so could have been my words too.

    There is beauty in the ordinary!

    That I know is true my friend....xo kelley

  27. As a mother of young boys, I barely have time to read blogs and almost never comment, but I couldn't let this slip by without a comment. I love your blog and look forward to any new post from you. When there isn't one, often I go back and read previous posts again. In light of my first sentence, that should tell you something about how charming your blog is.

    Often, we don't see our own lives as others see them. Why is that, I wonder? What seems mundane to us is quite charming to others.

    So, thanks for adding a little charm to the world.

    Melinda ( and, again, though I didn't comment, I've been sending up prayers for your good friend with the same name)

  28. Janet, I was so thrilled this morning to read that you have decided (for now at least) to keep this blog. If this is "ordinary" count me in! I LOVE it! xox

  29. Stay strong baby. It can't be easy being so swell as you. :)

    Big love, Terri xo

  30. Oh, and seeing your lovely console table and mirror, the words "simply elegant" came to mind. That is you! xo

  31. Well, if you're extra-ordinary, then you're extraordinary, as well. Yours is the voice of the person I wish lived in my neighborhood. I'm glad the white curtains are back, and I would have purchased the camp stool, too. Oh yes.

  32. Janet, You are so lovely and thank you for all you have given us! Love the camp stool, ooxxoo, Joyce

  33. Yeah! So happy you are reconsidering your thoughts on ending your blog. If reading those "beautifully written and photographed" blogs makes you feel "less than", ....then please don't read them because we love your blog. I have read those blogs from time to time but your blog, and FF's, are the ones that resonate with me and touch my heart and soul. I check your blog everyday and I cannot express the happiness and serenity it brings to me.
    Today, I drove by a white and black cottage with black striped awnings and thought of you.

    All the best,

  34. Have that same stool, found moons ago. And have used it too.

    Looks better where you have it.

    I'm bottle feeding 2 kittens at present. NOT what I was expecting.

    Wish you could see them.

    Garden & Be Well XO T

  35. a very gracious return .... glad to see you return! : )

  36. Isn't that stool precious and perfect in that spot? I missed the last post where you said you were going to quit....what? I love seeing your cottage over and over. We have not seen enough of your kitchen. And you always cook the very best things. Actual things that I would want to make myself. I think grey might be fun for your hair....my Mom colored her hair for years and years and when she finally went grey...she looked better with grey hair! She found she could wear colors she'd never worn before. She really is enjoying it and will never go back. I don't think it made her look older at all. It made her look more lively. I'd say try it but the growing out part...is horrid. You'd have to cut your hair super short I think to make it a smoother transition. Now that said...you look great with your hair the color it is. But it seems sort of your style to say to hell with hair color and try ala natural.

    Please do not stop posting. Your blog is one of my absolute favorites!

  37. I love your blog where would me a nd Ralph Lauren be without your fashions!? lol Pep up See ya next post right?!:) (said from the best place my heart)

  38. "the internet if full of outstanding, beautifully written and photographed blogs by very talented people and it's hard not to become envious or feel less than while reading them...." That pretty well sums it up.

    I concur with you! "Stay true to my(your)self."

  39. Hello, I am 36 year old reader of your blog. I have enjoyed it so much. I have learned a lot from you and hope that you'll continue blogging. I aspire to be half the woman you are. Thank you.

  40. I a 50 something reader and find the simplicity of your lifestyle refreshing. At this point in my life I feel the need to de-clutter. We all gather a lot of "baggage" along the way. It feels good to lighten the load. I hope you'll continue to blog. However, if you've lost your blogging inspiration, then you must listen to your heart. If you choose to go gray, do it, if you choose to go back do that. You'll not be judged by me. That's a part of what makes your blog interesting to me, that you're not afraid to put out there what makes you comfortable in your skin. The changes you make may be inspiration to others. Never under estimate yourself! xx

  41. I look forward to each and every one of your posts. I love simple and clutter free. Bonnie

  42. Thank you for your time and effort your have invested in your blog. This is the very first time I have ever commented on a blog and I am sure there are others like me who have yet to let you know just how much your blog has affected them. I’ve been so touch by what you have shared with us. Even though I have yet to define what my 33 items would be for each season, my husband and I have discussed this concept in great detail. It has encouraged us both to take a hard look at our closets. I’d have to say everything you share resonates with me, from whether to go gray, Ralph Lauren, straw hats, age appropriate dressing, skin care, vegan diet, recipes, clutter, painting your cottage (I love the awning idea), gardens to roses. I can smell the roses every time you feature them. It’s like you are one of my girl friends discussing what is on her mind today. And never mind I am actually envious of your little cottage and garden full of roses, especially since my roses are just now starting to bloom.
    So here is a heartfelt thank you, for sharing, and a hope that you will continue. You never know what people are really going through, and how a simple blog about life could provide a ray of sunshine, like a phone call from a friend.

  43. Ok, I'll give you a 1.00 for the stool and pay for shipping.

    You share your own unique perspective on life and that is anything but ordinary.

    You're funny, truthful, always striving to make your world a better place to live in.

    I admire you and love you to virtual pieces.

    Glad you're staying the course.

    xo Jane

  44. Hooray! I'm so happy to read that you'll continue on. Your approach to life is refreshing. Thank you for sharing with us.

  45. I missed your last post and have only recently found The Gardener's Cottage, so please do carry on blogging!

  46. let me tell ya something sweetie...you are anything other than ordinary. you make me want to be a better person. declutter, eat better and think about what I wear for a change. you are a very good author, your blog "voice" is never snotty but always down to earth and people can easily relate to you.

    I know change is hard. But you will never know unless you try right? At least swapping curtains is a whole lot easier than painting a wall and hating the color.

    keep on janet and just remember to breathe......so many people are going through hard things. and don't feel like every post has to be fully polished or have your beautiful pictures. blogging should be a nice creative outlet for you and fun!

    take care,

  47. Janet,
    I have been holding my breath, waiting to see what you would decide. The world is full of phonies, those of us who love you and your blog, we love you because you are real and we can relate. Most of us do not live in multi million dollar homes and travel the world. Most of us just hope for a little beauty each day and the hope of something obtainable (like your 50 cent stool). You represent the dignity and grace we want in our lives. Every single morning I check my four favorite blogs, in this order:
    The Gardener's Cottage
    LLoyd Kahn's blog from Shelter Pub.
    Privilege (Lisa, forgive my spelling and grammar:)
    Janet, I am so happy you are still with us! For you really and truely make my day :)
    SF Bay Area

  48. The way you describe yourself here is exactly what keeps me coming back to this blog. It's unpretentious and REAL - refreshing in blogland. :)

  49. That's a great camp stool. I can't wait to see your summer list. I'm glad your still blogging here. You're an inspiration.


  50. I am a recent follower to your blog, having discovered it through Tabitha's Bourbon & Pearls blog. Your blog is truly wonderful - you have an extraordinary eye for style and beauty. I am glad to hear you are continuing with the blog and I'm looking forward to reading more!

  51. I'm so glad you're going to continue blogging, at least for now. Can't quite put my finger on what it is that I love about your blog... the minimalism, the gardening, the fashion, the decorating, maybe all of the above.

    Just glad you're around!


  52. Janet,

    Your blog was my initiation into the blogging world and when I decided to start one of my own, you were my first follower! This is indeed a happy, happy day!

    Thank you for sharing your life with me.


  53. I don't comment nearly as much as I should! :( SORRY! But I do love your blog - and these images of your living room! GORGEOUS!!!!

    I took pics of my pergola all dressed up this afternoon (with the 2 hour lull in the rain), and I hope you'll stop by and take a peak! :)

  54. I don't remember exactly when or from whom I learned this, but I have known this for many years--Talented people often never realize their genius--and the more dedicated they become with their calling, the more they can sometimes feel inadequate. Mediocre, you say? Far from it. The Gardener's Cottage is a top of the line blog! And while I do not have a blog, I would think that a great deal of vulnerability is attached to the act of blogging because it's sharing one's life, heart, and thoughts to a world of people both familiar and strange. I would also think that finding one's balance in this situation is a crucial and a constant pursuit. That, however, reflects life in general, doesn't it?
    As social creatures, we are comparative at times, but in the end, we must remember our individuality as well; it's our gift to nurture and respect.
    I will try not to use the word "inspiration" as much, but there aren't many synonyms out there for that word that I know of! I will say, instead, that your little blog is influential, charming, intelligent, compassionate, and delightful. :-)
    And your little camper chair is adorable.
    -Suzanne in Illinois

  55. Janet- I hope you do not give up blogging you do add so much to the community and your home really blows me away- so much more than any other flashy designer home that might be splashed across the internet. If you do start a new blog I will follow that one too... have a wonderful weekend xx

  56. I never have thought of your blog as "ordinary." Rather, I find it to be honest, sincere, and generously welcoming. That's why I always stop by. Yours is a personal invitation into your home and garden and thoughts. It's genuine. There, that's it. Genuine. Genuine is real. It's all that anything can be and, so, most refreshing.
    Continuing gratitude.
    Linda in Burke, Virginia
    (my google account is not cooperating, forcing me to sign in as anonymous.)

  57. OOOOHHHH, so glad we still get to enjoy all your thoughts and pictures. I have laughed out loud so many times reading your good humor including the first time I saw your use of the word "mediocre." It reminded me of Meet the Parents and the way they talked of the other family's delight in being mediocre. They were plenty successful in their own way and so happy. That's how I take you when I read your blog, successful, happy, content. Happines is contagious, and I think that's what so many of us feel through your writing.

    Thank you again!

    Shelley Rose

  58. Is this not the most heartwarming list of comments? We all have lives of differing experiences but share so much in common. We truly care about one another and I just love that!

  59. I only found your blog a few months ago but the simplicity, style and grace won me over immediately. I have 5 blogs that I check every day and yours is one of them.

    The most important thing is to be true to yourself but I am so glad you have chosen to continue to share the ordinary things with your own perspective.

    Thank you.

  60. Thank you beautiful!!! Love the stool and red Keds!!

  61. I wonder if you would ever or have ever considered writing a book. I think you have a way with words and also with editing what is really important. Even at your lowest point, I feel you hope flickering.
    Looking forward to your summer list.

  62. I have not been a good blogger friend lately and have just now read this post and your last one. Actually, I'm glad I missed the last one until now. It looks like you are staying around...if I thought you were calling it quits with TGC I would not be happy...I look at a lot of blogs...but there are only a hand few that I always read...including you! I've said it before, I don't know why I've become so taken by this blog...we are so opposite...man/women, east/west, sometimes bitchy/ always nice...and on and on...

    I understand the need for change or regrouping...I'm suffering post idea block right now and have nothing of interest to say...Also, I'm thinking of retooling my blog over the summer, so I under how you were thinking...But again...glad you are staying around for us!

  63. You must have clicked the heels of those ruby sneakers, 'cause now you're home!!!!

  64. Hey - we are all just ordinary people! Our lives are different enough to be interesting to others, and similar enough to give us that warm, fuzzy feeling. I love your blogs and look forward to each and every one. It's so nice to share our day-to-day doings. It's all the little moments that make up a lifetime. Lana www.lifeatwildberrycottage.com

  65. i'm late checking in... as always! ditto every single thing that's been said so eloquently by your many admirers!!! i'm one of them. i like the white curtains in the living room better too, but didn't know it til i saw the toile. altho, when i saw the toile in there i liked them too! hahahahaha.
    PLUS... we're waiting to see the little white cottage with the (cheery red welcome door?)!!!
    love and hugs,
    tammy j

  66. Oh I am so happy you are going to stick to THIS blog. I am so drawn to your way of life - your house - your simple ways of doing things. So this is a true gift for me!

    Thank you so much! Can't wait for more (according to you) "boring" posts. Ha ha. To me the posts are to savor!

    xoxoxo Jennifer

  67. Janet, I don't have anything to add to all the wonderful (and true!) things that have been said, but I did want to post just to thank you for the inspiration you give me. We have similar tastes, I think, but I haven't (yet) been able to pare down as much as I want... your elegant and lovely home and garden and wardrobe inspire me daily to rethink, refine, recycle! Yours is the one and only blog that I visit every single day ~ I don't want to miss a thing!
    Love & light,

  68. I'm so happy you've realized just how special you and your blog are because everytime I've visited you I've been inspired...your 33 project is brilliant, your home is loveley, and your 'voice' is one to be listened to.
    A favorite quote of mine and one I repeat to myself often is "Comparison is the death of true self contentment." It's so easy to forget how much *you* have to offer sometimes...but you do, and it matters greatly! Please don't be 'daunted'...it's all good!
    xo Jessica

  69. Hi J

    am really glad you are sticking around cyber wise.

    You live with such elegance and simplicity. And you're funny and like gardening so what's not to love?


  70. Janet, What I love about your blog is that you somehow find the extraordinary in everyday life. I just love when you write about your garden and what is in bloom that very day. We should all find something to be excited about everyday! Your blog is just plain lovely! Life is a blessing and you are too. I hope you keep blogging along...I'll be right behind you.

  71. Janet, I'm currently reading Onward (about the shift in Starbucks), and Howard Schultz made a good point about coffee. His desire was to make an every day, simple thing into something special.

    You are that wonderful cup of coffee (or tea) for your readers.

  72. i am so glad you are not shutting down The Garderner's Cottage.

    i don't check your blog everyday, b/c i know you're not an everyday kind of writer.

    i'll check in with you a couple of times a week, and it's such a delight to see a new post up.

    i read a lot of blogs...there are the flashies, the styleanistas, the decore experts, the lifestyle lovelies, the famous, the not famous--so many blogs.

    you & your blog are a serene place to just be..and enjoy...your blog really does make me take a deep breath and try to slow down. and enjoy.

    thank you!

    nanne in indiana by way of alabama


kindness is never out of style.

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