Cozy Cottages & Happy Homes

Cottage Charm, Coastal Calm

Month: May 2011

Cottage Cheese: MY SHIP

“Mama, some time could we please stay more than just the one day at the beach?  I want to sleep there so I can hear the waves and then wake up and play all day in the water,” I remember being so hopeful as I pleaded.  “Well, son.  One day our ship will come in and we’ll stay at the beach as long as we want,” my mother replied with so much assurance that I still believe it to this day.


Santa Claus.  The Easter Bunny.  The Tooth Fairy.  They all bit the dust in due time. For me, all my Mom had to say was, “One day our ship will come in…”.  I was hooked.  Still am.  I wanted things.  I dreamed and I fantasized.  I believed.  She often told me, “You take away a person’s dreams and you take away his will to live.”  I estimate I’ll be around another 200 years or so.  My list is long.

My mother loved the beach.  She talked about it.  She collected sea shells my whole life.  For a time she created her own seashell mosaic on the outside of our house under her kitchen window.  I guess that’s where I got my love for the sea, but for my entire childhood I never remember a time that we stayed more than the one day at a time at the beach.  We’d get up early, pile in the car and make the 2 hour drive down to the coast.  Late afternoon, my father would announce, “Y’all get in the car.  It’s time to go home.”  More than once he had to wade into the surf and pull me out kicking and screaming.  I’d rather risk a whipping than to leave the beach and many times I got one for not coming in when he called.  I’d sit facing the rear window of the car, straining to see the water for as long as I could.  Each time we left to go home I’d start dreaming about when I might see the sea again.

As an adult I’ve made many trips to the beach and spending the night near the sea is always just as magical as I imagined it would be.  In her last years, I even took my Mom to the beach a few times and we felt like our ship really had come in.  We’d talk on the phone, we’d conspire, we’d make plans and off we’d go.  I could see it in her eyes.  She thought the sea was magical, too.  That, and the fact that we thought we were pulling a fast one by slipping out of town without getting caught.

I guess that’s why I now find so much comfort at the beach.  Sometimes, I just stand there on the shore watching the waves roll, tasting the sweet salt of the sea on my tongue and scanning the horizon.  I still believe that one day my ship will come in.  Except, now I long to see that ship come in to view with something more meaningful to me than anything money could buy.  I want to see my loved ones waiving from the rail as it comes closer to shore.  There’d be Mom and beside her my grandmother and grandfather.  Mom was Scarlett O’Hara, Lucille Ball and Mother Teresa all in one. My Mimi was a great character.  She was spoiled first by her brothers and then by my grandfather, hence the nickname, “Sweetie Pie”.  My grandfather passed on before I was born, but people have always told me he was a great man, so I just want to know him.  And, I also have great news to share with them.

I want them to know that even though we were sad to see them go we have carried on as best we can and we think of them often.  As time has passed I still miss them, but now it’s getting easier to remember the best of times we had.  I want them to know that all the love and care they lavished on us was not wasted.  The grandchildren are now grown and most have started families of their own.  Mom got to meet most of her great grandchildren, but some new ones are on the way!  Remarkably, I see a little bit of them in each of the children.  Somehow it all works out.  I guess that’s how it’s supposed to be.

Watch This Video:My Ship

Mom, I’ll be back on Tybee soon.  I’m staying in a beautiful house right on the beach.  I’ll be looking, so y’all get up a load and sail by if you can.  I’ll be looking for the ship to come in.

And, if you happen to see me standing there on the shore, looking out on the horizon you can come join me.  You don’t even have to bring small talk.  Just help me look out upon the ocean.  One day my ship will come in.  It’ll be carrying what I most want in the world.

It’s about dreaming so that I might go on living the life my mother wanted me to have.


Happy Mother’s Day, Mother Dear.  Happy Mother’s Day, Mimi.  Happy Mother’s Day, Y’all!


Mermaids in Our Midst: Laurel Johns and Grey Dog Studio

Around here, one thing we love more than just about anything is amazing artwork! We love filling our cottages with the work of local and regional artists, and we are always on the lookout for fabulous creations. One of our favorite Georgia artists is Laurel Johns and her Grey Dog Studio!

Laurel makes hand crafted sea glass and stained glass artwork, as well as wonderfully unique functional pieces, like night lights, home decor, and utensils! She is super talented, making the fact that she was named the 2010 Artist of the Year at the 15th Annual Arts in the Park in Belfast, Maine no surprise! She, her work, and her home have also been featured in Water’s Edge magazine (check out the article here)!

Laurel has spent most of her life on the Georgia coast and attended the University of Georgia in Athens. She initially intended to study biology, but instead, followed her “heart and grades” and switched her studies to the arts, where she formally trained in painting, sculpture, and jewelry making.

Laurel first began her work in stained glass in Athens, and though she still paints, she feels glass allows her to more freely express her love of color and light. She had no idea when she started working with glass that it would one day become her business. “I just started making things that I enjoyed looking at.” Then, she says, it occurred to her that others might enjoy as well. And of course…we do! Each piece Laurel crafts is hand-constructed and no two are alike. We adore her coastal inspired style and unique work!

Laurel is also a fellow dog lover (check out our Beach Bum Biscuits post about her pups here) and works under the watchful eyes of her beloved Weimaraners, Tucker and Oliver. Laurel, her husband, Tucker and Oliver make their home on Hird Island here on the Georgia coast, and also spend their summers in Tenants Harbor, Maine. For more information about Laurel and her art, make sure to visit the Grey Dog Studio website! Brower her Collections tab and fall in love! You can also follow Grey Dog Studio on Facebook, and even purchase Laurel’s work online at her Grey Dog Studio Esty shop! We have fallen in love with Laurel’s art, and we are just sure you will, too!


Live Like a Local: 2nd Annual Tybee Seafood Festival!

We are SO excited! The 2nd Annual “37th” Tybee Seafood Festival starts today! Founded in April of 2010 and named in honor of the fictitious carnival in the movie, The Last Song, it is Tybee’s annual seafood festival, complete with a carnival! The Seafood Review -the Main Event- will be held at the Pier Saturday, May 7th, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and admission is free, so make plans to be there! The festival fun is sponsored by Chatham County and the City of Tybee Island and features delicious local favorites prepared by the island’s finest restaurants and caterers. There will also be wonderful live performances by local musicians, so don’t miss a minute!

This family friendly event runs May 4th through May 8th with a Mega Midway Carnival, sponsored by the wonderful Tybee Arts Association. It is only $1 admission per person per day, so its affordable! You can also purchase $20 wristbands each day for unlimited rides! While you’re downtown, don’t forget to enjoy the nearby Tybee Island Marine Science Center, take time to relax on the beach, and browse Tybee’s unique island shops and galleries. Make a weekend out of it all!

For more information about the festival, restaurants involved in the Seafood Review, or the carnival, please check out the Tybee Seafood Fest website and join the fun on the official Facebook page, too. It is going to be a fun filled weekend…we hope you join us!

Mothers Day:Puppy Love

What do you get a Mom who has everything!  A hug will always be at the top of the list and we have an even better idea!  Hug a puppy for Mothers Day!

* Sponsor a harness and leash for a puppy in training to be a Guide Dog or a Service Dog.

* Sponsor a dog in training.

* Sponsor medical care for a litter of puppies.

* Name and sponsor a puppy.

* Sponsor a student’s room and board while they’re in training to receive a Guide Dog or Service Dog.

* Sponsor a guide dog team for life.

It’s the perfect gift for Moms everywhere!

Guide Dog Foundation

Mermaid Sighting: Mermaid Art of Karen Howard

Have you seen the art of Karen Howard? Well, if you haven’t, you are in for a treat! Karen lives in Northern California. In her worlds,”way out on the edge of this continent.” Her work is wonderfully worn and seaside inspired, and we think its just fabulous! Her hand carved mixed media pieces run the gamot from birds all the way to angels…but our absolute favorites are the mermaids!


These hand carved beauties are available over at Karen's shop, make sure to browse all of her amazing work!

Just look at that! I love how each of them has their very own unique, quirky personality. Karen’s whimsical art had us at hello! Make sure you check out all of her work overat her shop, Folk Art by Karen Howard. We guarauntee you will fall in love! She also has gallery pieces you will loveat the ART my ROCK shop as well!

Have you seen a mermaid? Well, keep your camera handy, because they are everywhere! We’d love to hear about your sightings. Please, email your pictures and stories to and your mermaid could be the next featured mermaid sighting! We can’t wait to hear your you!