The Best Gifts are Homemade; Here are 5 Baskets You’ll Love

Homemade Gifts are the Best Gifts

Or at least that’s what they say. Years ago, I was part of a group who got together starting in August every year to begin making our homemade Christmas presents. We made photo albums, wreaths, decorated candles, and smocked baby dresses to name a few of our projects. (I know I am dating myself!)

Judging by the response of those who received the gifts, I think it is true that homemade gifts are the best. And what a joy it was to give them! Question. Do the gifts have to be made completely from scratch? I would say no. There’s nothing new under the sun. Adding our own special touch to something purchased or designing a coffee mug for that special co-worker are just a few of the ways we can offer something homemade as a gift. CoziNest is here to help with that.

Gift Baskets Designed by You, Assembled by Us

Carol and I have searched the landscape, both vintage and new, and are now gathering the most unique gifts you can buy! We offer our local clients personal delivery and for those not so local, we are happy to ship. Here are five gift examples you can send to a friend or family member.

gift basket


Mix It Up Gift Basket

The above gift includes a mixing bowl, no-bake plain ol’ cheesecake mix, a relaxing tea blend for brewing and a wooden spoon. It sells for only $23. We can add mugs, tea cup and saucer or most any other suggestion. We have a complete line of easy food mixes. These make a perfect gift, a great addition to your weekly menu or an easy take along to a party. Here are a few of our new mixes:

  • No Bake Plain ol’ Cheesecake
  • No Bake Key Lime Cheesecake
  • No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake
  • Fruit Cobbler
  • No Bake Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake
  • Mini Pecan Pie Muffin Mix
  • Dill-illicious Spinach Dip
  • Zesty Crab Dip
  • Warm Artichoke-Spinach Dip
  • Guacamole Dip Spices
  • Louisiana Gumbo
  • Red Beans & Rice
  • Cajun Jambalaya
  • Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Soup
  • Chili Seasoning
  • Cranberry Pasta Salad
  • Mediterranean Pasta Salad


An angel for a gift

I believe in angels

Start your gift basket with a piece of original art by Carol Zeien. Send this to someone extra special. This beautiful angel is painted on what we like to call “Sallywood”. Wood scrapped and left behind by Hurricane Sally. Good things can come out of destruction! Just like those incredible first responders who work tirelessly on our behalf; what better way to say thank you?

your cup of tea

Could this little set be your cup of tea?

Good morning to you! What a sweet way to have your breakfast tea! This Grosvenor 3-pc Tea Set includes our popular Relax tea leaves, perfect for a friend who loves pretty and dainty things. A little vintage mixed with a soothing tea blend you’re sure to love. This little bargain is only $28. All of our teas are blended here in the south, straight from the Appalachian Mountains.

homemade pumpkin painting

Pumpkins Anyone?

Start a bride’s gift with pretty Fall pillows and an afghan. Add a painting by Carol and a pair of tea mugs for that first cozy evening after the honeymoon. We can put it all together for you and deliver it locally! Shipping is available.

mug of tea

Need a little solace?

Sip our Solace Tea and feel your body relax. It might not completely take all your troubles away, but this homemade blend will help you breathe. The Coventry Mug and .50 oz blend of Solace Tea Leaves sells for only $12.

So, what do you think? Are homemade gifts the best gifts?

Be sure to enter our contest!

Head over to Instagram and upload a picture of someone opening a gift. Caption it with your idea for a unique gift basket with hashtag #ohmygiftbasket. Basket valued at $100. Winner announced on September 23. Rules are listed here.

Hey! What She Said! And 1 Fun Instagram Contest

How many times have you been in a situation where you think of the perfect response to something someone said to you? Only it’s a week later! Me? Almost every time I’m in a group setting! It’s like “The Comeback” episode on Seinfeld, I always think of what I should have said later! Or like the title of this post, someone else has the perfect comeback and I just clumsily say, “Hey, yea! What she said!”

Well, I have the perfect solution to that problem now. Send the person a gift with the perfect comeback written on the card! Who doesn’t love a gift? They may have completely forgotten what you’re talking about, but with a well-thought out purchase, you can remind them! In a nice way, of course! And you don’t have to purchase it from the “Jerk Store”!

Hey, What she said!

CoziNest is launching a brand new gift basket business. And, as you all know, word of mouth is the very best advertising. So, I’m asking you to pass on the good news. You can start it out with, “Hey, What She Said!” And then, when you have everyone’s attention, you share the good news of the “Comeback Basket!” You just send us the story of what happened and we’ll help you put together the perfect gift! And, we’ll throw in the “comeback sauce” with a zingy little phrase.

This is just a small sampling of what we will have to offer. We will also have “Hostess with the Mostest” baskets, “Secret Santa”, “Call Your Mother” and perhaps something for the “Recovering Pessimist”. Who knows what all we will come up with. Or perhaps what you will come up with.

Contest on Instagram

she said, oh my gift basket

Hop over to Instagram to join a contest to win a gift basket of your own, valued at over $100. But, before you go, be sure to subscribe by email so we have another way to contact you if you win! You can always unsubscribe later if needed.

Here are the rules:

Contest Terms and Conditions or What She Said!

  • Contact Kim Burdette @ kim@ with any contest questions
  • Contest begins on September 12 at 12:01 am and runs through September 19 at 11.59 pm, 2021
  • You must be at least 18 years of age to enter
  • Enter the contest by sharing a new or old photo of someone opening a present with the hashtag #ohmygiftbasket Caption the photo with your idea for a unique gift basket theme. Example: the comeback basket, (read above example from Seinfeld) with any explanation you deem necessary.
  • Entries are judged by a combination of creativity, comments and likes, so be sure to spread the word about your submission.
  • On September 23, 2021 at 9 am, the winner will be contacted on Instagram, by reposting their picture using their Instagram account name.
  • The winner will have 3 days to respond in order to claim their free gift basket. If after 9 am on September 26, 2021 winner hasn’t claimed their gift, a new winner will be chosen.
  • The gift basket will include new and vintage products along with food mixes and items chosen to coordinate with the winners’ theme. The retail value is approximately $100.
  • The gift basket will be delivered within a 50 mile radius of shop in Fairhope. If outside that radius, it will be shipped and tracking number shared via email with winner.
  • This contest is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by or associated with Instagram or any other social media used throughout the contest.

Have fun! See you soon with a zingy little comeback basket! Our gift to you for helping us promote our new gift basket service.

What Cottagecore Will Teach You About Simple Living

Cottagecore, where have I been all your life?

What if the next time you walked into a room, you remembered why you’re in there? Cottagecore is the new buzzword in home lifestyle, decor and simple living. It reminds us what our grandparents taught us about being good stewards of what God has given us and forces us to declutter. As we declutter our homes and our minds, life becomes simple, conscientious, and even resolute. And yes, in a more peaceful environment, we just might actually remember what we walked into this room for in the first place.

cottagecore pin

When I began CoziNest 8 years ago, my tagline was Simple. Cozy. Beautiful. Home.

If only someone had introduced me to Cottagecore back when I started CoziNest, my business would have been on a wholistic, inspirational, environmentally friendly path from which I would never have strayed! According to The Good Trade, “society turns to the past to soothe the stresses of the present,” and Cottagecore is at the heart of this search.

Farmhouse in a long flowing skirt

My mission with CoziNest was to put vintage and antique treasures into the hands of this generation in order to keep our landfills free of heirlooms. If I’d been a bit quicker in my cluttered brain, I might have conveyed this mission in a much more fun and inviting way. In a nutshell, I could have shared how Cottagecore is Farmhouse in a long flowing skirt. 

day nine poster

This poster by Jamie Beck sells for $50 and embodies the whole idea of Cottagecore in this one image. I am not an affiliate and make no commission if you purchase. I just love the picture.

What is Cottagecore?

I can’t find it now, but one of my first posts written to explain the goals and purpose of CoziNest was about my favorite antique in my home. It’s a small, Queen Anne secretary that I found in an antique store in Mobile, AL. in 1997. I loved it the minute I laid eyes on it!

I remember imagining that an English lady may have once written her morning letters at that desk. I imagined her staring out of a window of a country estate into a delightful garden with quill in hand. Her skirts were flowing beneath the desk, tea steaming in a cup beside her with a Cocker Spaniel at her heels, as she planned her day. This picture in my mind from 1997 now describes what Cottagecore is at heart.

  1. Cottagecore looks to the past for solutions to today’s problems.
  2. Simple living is the mission statement.
  3. There is a definitive connection to the earth, with a determination to be good stewards of what God has given us.
  4. It is peace seeking.
  5. Creation in the home is what makes the house beautiful.
  6. Cozy is a buzzword.
  7. Cottagecore embraces inspiration, meditation, prayer.

How can you bring Cottagecore into your home?

tea time

There are several ways to add Cottagecore to your lifestyle. Here are just a few:

  • Spend more time outdoors
  • Add quilts and blankets, particularly to sit on outdoors
  • Florals and greenery, both real and faux
  • Lots of baskets


baskets on bicycles


  • Storybooks on the coffee table and to read
  • Tea tins in the kitchen
  • Teacups and pots in the cupboard
  • Share a cup of tea with friends and family. Sit. Be still. Enjoy.
  • Use antiques and vintage items instead of plastics in the kitchen


cottagecore vintage accessories

  • bake fresh breads
  • take up sewing
  • add landscapes with fields and streams, mountains and beach scenes to your walls
  • grow your own herbs, vegetables, orchards of fruit trees and flowers
  • Picture Orchard House from Little Women and you’ve got a good idea of what Cottagecore is

what is cottagecore

Looking over this list of Cottagecore basics, I’m once again reminded of what I wanted for CoziNest from the very beginning. It’s also a bit funny that my favorite literary story of all time is Little Women and life at Orchard House is a great description of this lifestyle.

Questions to Ask about Cottagecore

What decor embodies the cottagecore lifestyle?

All things vintage and antique give a romantic feel to the home. Using wood, glass, china and all natural products enhance the home. It’s most things traditional, bohemian, primitive and farmhouse.

Do homemade products fit into the cottagecore lifestyle?

Absolutely! Making your own laundry, bath and dish soap and putting them in pretty glass containers is a perfect example of making life more simple, caring for our families and the planet.

Why is Cottagecore described as peaceful?

Living off the land, looking to the past for current life solutions and seeking inspiration from creation leads to a more peaceful lifestyle. It is a conscious choice to unplug, breathe in nature, and make eye contact with our friends and family. When you think of Little Women, do you think that was a simpler time? Not necessarily easier, but simpler. No dishwasher, but valuable time spent talking to our family as we washed, dried and put away our supper dishes. Entertainment was a picnic, piano or acting out a favorite literary piece.

How can we promote/embrace this simpler way of life?

Invite friends over for a piece of fresh baked pie or a cup of tea. Plan a picnic with fresh, homemade cookies or lemonade, pack a picnic basket with sandwiches and throw in a vintage quilt to sit on the ground. Use earth-friendly products. Burn nature scented candles in the home. Sit with a child and read a storybook with gorgeous illustrations. Go for a bike ride and bring home wildflowers for a vase you found in an antique mall. Use glass, wood, wicker and ceramic for storage. Limit plastics in your home.

What should a vintage/antique dealer be on the lookout for to be prepared for this new – old lifestyle?
  • romantic florals, chintz fabrics, quilts and beautiful linens and textiles
  • baskets, baskets, baskets
  • tea tins
  • tea cups and teapots
  • storybooks – the kind with illustrations
  • vintage kitchen utensils and accessories
  • storage solutions
  • all wood furniture, painted in a variety of colors
  • gardening tools, accents and books

Do you remember why you started reading this post? Why you walked into this “proverbial room”? Were you looking for something Cottagecore? If so, start shopping my booth at Southern Antiques & Accents in Fairhope, AL. Follow me on Instagram to see what new items or ideas I have in the booth each week.If you see something you like, pm me asap and I’ll get your cottagecore decor on the way to you as soon as I can. Leave a comment. What do you think of Cottagecore?

cottage decor


5 Swoon-Worthy Patriotic Room Ideas: Wishlist for Summer Holidays

Patriotic Room Ideas: Red White and Blue or Neutrals for July 4th?

Independence Day on July 4th is fast upon us! What are you doing for your summer decor? Do you decorate for this patriotic holiday? If so, do you use the traditional red, white and blue or something more neutral?

It’s a hard thing for traditionalists like me to accept that primary colors, except for maybe navy blue, are not the “in thing” right now. With neutrals, white, beige and gray still dominating the decor landscape, it makes it difficult to decorate for holidays that have traditionally included red. I had a hard time getting rid of red when it started to fade in popularity. That’s why I think it’s perfect for holidays!

American Flag

Red is such a powerful color and therefore, creates swoon-worthy vignettes. I love the saying, “Free, because of the brave!” Old Glory’s stars and stripes are a great starting point for all patriotic decor throughout the year. From Martin Luther King Day to Veterans Day, red, white and blue shout freedom better than any other color combination. Don’t you agree?

If like me, you love a more traditional style of decor, then there’s no holiday – other than maybe Christmas – that opens up so many opportunities for a fun and festive vignette! Here are a few patriotic room ideas to inspire you to bring out the red, white and blue.

For a Vintage Mantel

French Laundry is a blogger with lovely French, vintage style. Her mantel shows her love of country, home and of course, antiques. A lovely combination of red, white and blue with vintage mirrors, ironstone and kerosene lanterns conjure of images of Betsy Ross sewing Old Glory by candlelight. The eagle placed center-stage makes my heart soar with love for the USA!

July 4 Mantel

“Land that I Love” – the Dining Room

Desiree G on Hometalk shows how to pull together a vintage chic centerpiece for our dining room table. She used simple vases with greenery and flags atop a blue and white striped tablecloth to showcase the stars and stripes.

patriotic dining room

A Simple Addition in the Bathroom

Kirsten with Home by KMB adds these lovely hand towels to her powder room for a touch of patriotism that’s not over the top. It’s perfect!

patriotic room ideas

Outdoor Patriotic Room Ideas

Her porch is adorable, too! Outdoor spaces are a perfect spot to show your patriotism.

patriotic porch

Decorate Your Mailbox for the 4th, too!

Chloe with Celebrate and Decorate shares how to make a shining example of patriotism by adding mailbox decor.

patriotic mailbox

I absolutely love patriotic decor. My most poignant memories include the days after 9/11 when flags were flying all over our country. Even during such an unsettled, sad time in our country’s history, it felt good to wave a flag. Our flag symbolized unity, courage and support of all military and first responders.

One of my favorite images is the one the firemen raised at Ground Zero while still searching for survivors. Other images include the flag raised over Iwo Jima during WWII and the Cambridge Cemetery of US soldiers in England. We are indeed free because of the brave and the fact that God shed His grace on us.

Cambridge Cemetery


Thank you to all who have given so much for our freedom!

Bring on the red, white and blue! 

For a great choice of patriotic, vintage decor, be sure to visit my booth at Southern Antiques & Accents. 254 S Greeno Road, Booth #115; Fairhope, AL 36532. There are lots of vendors who also have patriotic decor.

Call the store at 251-517-7047 for all your red, white and blue needs!

Happy 4th of July to all!

Mary and Her Perfect Son

Mary, the Mother of Jesus

It is believed that Mary lived 11 years after the death of her son, Jesus. We don’t have much more information about Mary. We know this:

  • she was likely about 12-15 years old when she was betrothed to Joseph
  • she was a virgin when Jesus was conceived
  • she was from the lineage of Judah
  • some believe she was conceived miraculously like Samuel and grew up in the temple
  • John the Baptist moved in his mother’s womb when he heard Mary’s voice
  • she gave birth to Jesus in Bethlehem
  • she had to run for His life
  • She searched for her son when she thought He was lost
  • she instructed those at the wedding to do whatever He told them to
  • she was at the crucifixion
  • she lived with John after the death and resurrection of Jesus
  • she was in the upper room on the day of Pentecost

From the Perspective of Mary

The Bible tells us not to add to or take away one letter of our Holy Scriptures, so please be aware that what I’m sharing here is not meant to teach any doctrine or lead anyone to any conclusions about Mary. A friend of mine asked me to write something from the perspective of Mary, as a mother who’s lost her son specifically between the time of His death and resurrection. Tough assignment. But the things I’ll learn along the way could be incredible. I accept the challenge.

As I begin this assignment, it’s the day before Mother’s Day. I will likely get a phone call from my son who lives across the country. I will be having lunch with my daughter.  I think they are perfect. I love all that they have accomplished so far in their lives.

Life is so unfair

I’m imagining what it would be like to lose my perfect son who is the promised ONE of Israel. I’ve been visited by angels, gotten pregnant miraculously, given birth in a cave and watched my son grow into a perfect human/god man. I’ve found Him after He was lost. I’ve heard Him explain that He was on a mission from God since He was about 11 years old. I’ve seen Him perform miracles. I’ve listened to Him teach multitudes. People follow Him. I’ve watched as He was falsely accused, sentenced and crucified for crimes He didn’t commit. Life is so unfair. Or is it?

As a Jewish woman, I was expecting King Jesus to victoriously take the throne and rule the universe from Jerusalem. That’s not what happened. Instead He healed the sick, preached do unto others, called the ruling religious leaders vipers and introduced us to the Father. He cried. He raised people from the dead. He taught us to be fishers of men. He was tempted. He prayed. He ripped the Veil. He finished His mission. Dead. Did she know that wasn’t the end?

Mother of the Ages

Mary, the Mother of Jesus

Would you sign up for this mother of the year award? Is it fair to have a perfect son murdered right before your eyes? Did she understand it was a voluntary death and not murder at the time? Could you lie at the foot of a cross and watch as your son bled and suffocated to death? As memories of the lame walking and the blind having their eyes opened flood your mind, could you sit and listen as soldiers wager over your son’s clothing? Clothing that only 33 short years ago was a swaddling blanket?

No life is not always fair. I lost my father a year ago due to human error. There are people to blame for his death. But, he is with Mary’s SON now and I wouldn’t bring him back here for anything. He was a son and as perfect as we all thought he was, he had faults. I have wished at times that those people could be held responsible for his death. But, this morning I’m thinking about Mary.

Mary was a different kind of mother

Mary was a mother just like me. She loved her son and if there was ever a woman justified in being proud of her son’s accomplishments, it was Mary. But, she was different. I believe that the clue we get of her dedication to her Lord is where we find her after His death. She wasn’t protesting HIS death in the streets. She didn’t request meetings with government officials. She didn’t hide away and grieve herself to death. Jesus gave John the responsibility of caring for His mother and on the Day of Pentecost that is where we find her. (Acts1:14). In the Upper Room, with the 11 disciples and others totaling about 120 people, Mary is following the instruction of Jesus. Wait here and the Holy Spirit will come and baptize you in fire. (Acts1:4) Why was she there? To see her son again? Yes, that is likely, but I believe more than that, she believed His gospel and wanted to be part of it. Her feet were ready to “shod the gospel”. I don’t know what Mary did during those 11 years after His resurrection, but as they say, it’s all about location, location, location. She was by His side then and surely she is now.

Each of us at one time or another take up a cause because of injustice or an untimely death. Mary was found doing just that … only she took up a cross. Just as we are called to do. Take up your cross and follow me. (Matthew 16:24). I ask all mothers on this Mother’s Day to consider Mary. Call to Him. Be ready. Wait for His instruction and then spend the rest of your life whether it’s 11 or 111 years, serving the Perfect Son.

Thrifting with my Bestie in Baldwin County, AL

I love thrifting with my bestie! She lives about 40 minutes away from me. Yes, in ways, that’s sad, but in others, it makes for great Beth Days as I so lovingly call them. After such a year, these days have become even more priceless. Just getting out of the house cheers the soul, but spending the day in the presence of pure sunshine is like a shot of vitamin C. That is what a day of thrifting with my bestie is like for me.

The day begins with a mission of keeping treasures out of a landfill. This can be accomplished by venturing out into neighboring counties, as well. I love going to Mobile, Pensacola and even Birmingham on some shopping trips. At some point, a quick stop at my favorite consignment shops, or any special clearance sales going on nearby, make for a great day of shopping.

Add to that the value of supporting local charities like Waterfront Mission and a delicious lunch at the end of it all, and you have the makings of a wonderful, Covid-conquering day. If you, like me need a day out, let me encourage you to call your bestie and go thrifting!

thrifting with my bestie

Items Found While Thrifting with my Bestie


Here are the 3 thrifted items that she helped me pick out this month, and a few others that I’ve had in my stash for a while. I love shopping with Beth because she has a really good eye, has no trouble helping me spend my thrifting dollars 😉 and it always turns into a day of laughter including a couple of really deep belly laughs.

1) The first find of the day was this pair of wooden shelves.

I can’t wait to paint these. I’m trying to decide at this point whether they will end up in my house or the booth. What do you think? Paint them white? Gray? Leave them as is?

wooden shelves


2) Small round table.

My goal for the day was to find a small piece of furniture to paint white – because everything I paint white flies out of the booth in a matter of days. I forgot to snap a picture before I started painting, but here it is in painting stages.

thrifting with my bestie

Here’s the table in progress.

small round table one coat paint

Why hasn’t this chair sold???

There’s only one exception to my white-painted items and I still can’t quite figure it out. If you have any suggestions please share. This is a cane-backed folding chair that just hasn’t sold as quickly as I thought it would. My thought when I purchased was that since it is cane-backed and it folds away for easy storage, that it would fly right out of the booth, like everything else. But it hasn’t. I did reupholster the seat in a neutral ticking pattern. Should I change that to something more colorful? It’s only $25!

white folding chair

small round painted side table

Here is the table

3) Collection of small pitchers and cups.

Some of these will go to the booth as is to use as a vase for flowers. The others will be home to my new candle line. Post to follow about this new venture.

small pitchers collection

4) Carved Wooden Vessel

wooden carved vessel

painting a carved wooden vessel

work station

White Painted Vessel

This little treasure ended up in my keeping room. I’m using it to store coasters for that morning cup of coffee or evening glass of sweet tea!

thrifted update

Thrifting can also be a great way to put together a great wedding gift by beginning with a fun picnic basket.This is one of my favorite diy gifts I’ve ever put together. And it was a big hit with my cousin. Wedding night snacks with a bottle of champagne, glasses, chocolates, nuts, chips, bottled water and some really pretty wedding napkins. Then, of course, the basket can be reused for anniversaries or just a fun summer day. Click on “picnic basket” above to see the transformation with a little paint.

Wedding Night Picnic

Yes, this was a great day thrifting with my bestie! How do you spend your days out of the house these days? Let me encourage you to go thrifting! Better yet, bring your bestie to see all the new finds in my booth!

Thanks Beth, for a great day out! Hugs!