One of the conversations I have often had with people goes something like this…
“Well I’d like a magical place like Dragonfly Cottage too but I live in a tiny apartment (Or _______ fill in the blank.)” and so the story begins again.
The original Dragonfly Cottage was a very tiny garage apartment that I moved into when my husband and I separated. It was so little you could just about stand in the middle and reach out and touch the whole place. It was above a garage behind a big house, there was a heavy duty very steep metal staircase on the outside of the building I had to climb to get to my little apartment, and I had left a 3500 square foot house, the home I had raised my children in, with all of the amenities and my very large garden with over 60 roses, every kind of annual, perennial, flowering bushes and a grape arbor, and more. This was not what I was used to but I immediately fell in love with it.
There was a little white picket fence around the postage stamp size “yard” if you could even call it that, and I made a garden in pots there, LOTS of pots of all different shapes and sizes. I loved it. I bought old vintage metal gliders that were rusting but they worked and I got them for a song because no one really wanted them in the place that was more a junk yard than anything else.
The apartment was overhung with trees that were so close to the windows I reached out and hung birdfeeders in them. I looked out into the trees from my second story windows and felt like I lived in a treehouse. I was handraising Maya, a blue and gold macaw at the time, she was an adorable baby, and she loved to play up on the back of the futon couch to watch the birds outside the windows and she would get so excited she would flap her little wings. The couch was full of baby toys I bought at a thrift shop and washed and she played all day while I wrote and made handmade dolls.
I didn’t have anything when I moved into this place and bought picnic utensils to eat with, and everything else came from thrift shops or yard sales. This is where Dragonfly Cottage was born.
For me Dragonfly Cottage is a state of mind. I lived 7 different places from the time I left the marriage until I landed here, in my real Dragonfly Cottage, finally having achieved the goal I had been working toward for over a decade and still a work in process, but every step along the way, every single place that I lived, I called Dragonfly Cottage and worked hard to come as close as I could to realize the dream right where I was. In the picture above, Christmas 1999, when I was raising Maya in that tiny apartment I had twinkly lights everywhere as I do today. You can see them behind Maya and I on the left, beautiful blue ones. Today I have twinkly lights in nearly every room in the cottage but I had them there too. I found a little dragonfly lamp that was patterned on a Tiffany lamp, an inexpensive imitation, you see that in the background too. I had vintage quilts all over the apartment that weren’t in particularly good shape — I got them on eBay pretty cheap — but they were colorful and cozy and I stitched up the holes as best I could and they just really added to the charm of the place.
I brought a pot of basil in from the garden and kept it on the tiny kitchen table and it grew into a TREE. I was shocked. Four feet tall and I ate basil in everything all through the winter. I bought little African violets at the grocery store especially the ones that were cheap that they marked down to 50 cents because they looked like they were about dead but I nursed them back to life and they bloomed out beautifully. I had African violets everywhere. And I always had a beautiful beta fish in a large clear glass vase that I got at the dollar store. I thought he was enchanting. That was my “aquarium!”
Today I realized a dream I have had since I moved in here. Last year my large deck outside my studios windows was painted flamingo pink. Oh Lordy how that thrilled me! Today — Eeeeee, I’m so excited I’m practically squealing like a little girl — the “wall” I had imagined on the other side of the deck, to provide a screen, and hooks to hang windchimes and hanging baskets of flowers, and YES, covered with twinkly lights, was built. It was built from scrap lumber, some posts from Lowes, and the lights were left over from the lights that hung on the front of my house from the roof line two Christmases ago but most of them didn’t work anymore. And heavenly days, isn’t it pure magic!
The first picture, at the top, is looking out at the new Magic Wall through my studio door. I like that picture because you can see the pink lights inside my studio reflecting in the glass. The one just above I took outside on the deck, and the one you will see at the bottom I took in the yard when I was outside with the dogs just before we got to the stairs to go back up onto the deck.
I continue to create and grow my vision of Dragonfly Cottage and I do it as cheaply as possible in bits and pieces along the way. I can tell you honestly that if I won the lottery tomorrow (Well that won’t happen because I don’t even buy tickets!) I would stay right here. There are lots of things I would love to do here but I love it just as it is, right now, today, and I felt the same way when I moved in and there were no gardens, and two days ago before my Magic Wall was put up, and I will feel that way forever, every step along the way.
This is the magic of mindfulness. Right now, where you are, in this moment, love where you are. Your dreams can be as big as the moon but you can take pieces of it and implement it right where you are. For me twinkly lights, brightly painted walls, plants, and whatever little kind of garden I could make has been a constant theme. Colorful baskets of yarn, inexpensive plants, vintage finds (And yes, I have even been a dumpster diver. It’s AMAZING what people throw away!), herbs handing to dry from a bamboo poll hanging sideways made the little place I lived in before here just so sweet. My daughter made the Dragonfly Cottage sign for me that hangs about the drying herbs in this picture, and today that sign is on the gate going into the garden here. It has been everywhere I have been.
Truly, there is no reason in the world you can’t find a way to start right where you are. Take that dream you have for “some day” and really examine all of the elements of what you envision for yourself and bring as many of them as you can to you right where you are. Want to live in the tropics? Paint a mural on the wall. Get those little umbrellas you put in drinks at the Dollar Store and put them in your drinks here. Throw beach towels over the back of your furniture, ANYTHING. Find joy where you are, right now, in THIS moment. This is the way you build a dream, this is the way you live your way into it. It is what I have done and what I continue to do. It is doable. Right.Now.Right.Where.You.Are. I promise you.
I would love for you to write in the comments what your dreams are and how you can start implementing them where you are. I am doing an eCourse starting in January to start off the New Year, the year you can realize all your dreams, starting right where you are. It is going to be so much fun and I am going to be living mine with all of you at the same time, building and dreaming and planning and sharing resources and more.
But right now I am going to sit here and look out of the studio windows at my twinkly lights on my Magic Wall with my pink studio lights reflecting in the glass. I am just so happy I am bubbling over. You can be too. Start now, don’t wait. We live in this moment. Let’s make magic now. Paradise is right here.
What will you start with? Tell me in the comments below and let’s have a ball dreaming together.
I am sending you so much love and a big warm hug…