A Birthday Present for Mr. Bruce

Here it's his birthday, and he is slaving away at the cabin (for reals – he's desperately trying to get the new foundation in place before it snows). It's an exceptionally beautiful day and I am very much enjoying his birthday present while he is away. I don't feel a bit guilty because every year, for any occasion I would merit getting a gift, I always ask for something that benefits all of us. Usually something for the house, and usually it entails labor. More than a couple of times I've heard “why can't you just ask for jewelry, like most normal women?” Well, this year, his “present” is not just for him. It's something we will all love and share, hopefully for many, many years to come.

Her name is Declan, she is 8 weeks and 2 days old. She weighs just over 4 pounds and is about 5 inches tall at the shoulder. Her name is Irish/Gaelic and means “Full of Goodness”! Oh, are we ever in love, and I mean all of us including Glee. She arrived at the shelter in Bozeman, from a shelter in northeastern Montana that rescues animals from the Indian Reservation. Apparently on the reservations, they don't believe in spaying and neutering, because I checked 3 separate shelters in Montana, and they all had received an abundance of puppies and dogs that had been taken in during a sweep rescue from the reservation. Many were feral, and they keep those dogs longer to try and restore their health and socialize them so they will be adoptable.

We lost our little Rootin' Tootin' Twister in July. He was 16 years and 5 months old. That is amazingly elderly for a Border Collie/Australian Shepherd. He started failing badly. A lady that ran the Animal Welfare League in Laurel many years ago told me something that has stuck with me all these years. She said “We must remember to choose quality over quantity in the time our pets have here on earth; that is our duty to them.” So we decided it was time, and did our duty because we loved him. He was a fine and awesome little fellow, and it was truly a gift that he spent his life with us.

I had been very tentatively checking out adoptable dogs in shelters across the state, not sure if it was the right time to add another member to our family, but looking none-the-less (what is wrong with me? I just can't seem to help myself). Every so often, I would peruse the shelter sites, and Friday morning I had a break at work and decided to take a look. This little baby just sprang off the screen and basically said “Here I am! What the heck are you waiting for?” It said she was a Pembroke Corgi (like Glee), Chihuahua cross. So, a bit smaller than Glee, which is good because we need smaller for more portable now that we have the cabin. That way we can bundle them up and sling/secure them to the front of us, and we can all ride (putt-putt) in to the cabin on the snow machines this winter. I've seen folks perch their dogs in front of them on snowmobiles, but I think, for safety sake, I will try to fashion something out of a sheet to keep them secure against us when we ride in.

I decided to call the shelter and see if they had more info about her, because there was some conflicting info in her file they sent home. It turns out they have no idea what breed she is, as they just scooped up as many dogs and puppies as they could when they did the sweep. Apparently, they did not see parents of any of the puppies they collected, or if they did, they didn't know which babies went with who. So the shelter staff just guessed at her heritage. I think she looks very much Jack Russell terrier, but does have the Corgi coloring. Who knows? I just hope and pray she doesn't get St. Bernard sized. That would be more than a little inconvenient, but we would still love her πŸ™‚ !!

The way things fell into place, it seems it was just meant to be! I saw her on the shelter site Friday morning and contacted them immediately. There was another family that had sent in an application to adopt her, so I figured we were out. The shelter called Friday afternoon and said the other family had cancelled, that if we wanted to meet and possibly adopt her, we needed to get there that afternoon. They will not hold puppies because they want puppies placed and bonding with their new family ASAP, and they knew she would go fast. By a lucky twist of fate, Bruce was home, gathering equipment etc., to take to the cabin to start his foundation job. Bless his heart, he dropped everything and flew over to Bozeman to pick her up.

She has been such a good little baby. She cries for only a few minutes when I put her in her crate when we go to bed. She has slept all night long the 3 nights she has been here….knock on wood! I am so lucky that with the job I have now, she can go to work with me! I took her to work Saturday and she did so well. Glee has been so very patient with her, but it will be nice for her to have a break while Declan is at work with me. Puppies do tend to pester a bit!

There are so many animals out there that need families that love them, I am glad that we were able to shorten the list even by one! We will love and cherish her cuz we are of the clan of folks that are dedicated (probably beyond reason πŸ™‚ ) to their furry kids!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

Share

HAPPY FALL!

So, I was being very lazy, and thought how I might just skip the Halloween decor this year. Then I remembered I had skipped it last year because we were tearing out carpet in the living room and replacing it with oak floors, and having the existing oak floors in the dining room and hallway refinished. Then I painted: the living room (3 different colors), hallway, dining room ceiling, all the trim in the whole front of the house, the front door inside and out, the screen door, and all the porch railings. I wallpapered the entryway, finally squared off and finished the opening where the gothic window was supposed to go once upon a time, and we added the birch bark backer to the Tulikivi hearth. Truth be told, I was too dang tired to put any Halloween decorations up!

This year, I had none of that for an excuse. I finally decided to get off my dead rear and get in gear. What good is it to have all this stuff if you don't put it out, right?

I started on the front porch and worked my way in.

 

 

I think this is a bicycle basket. I found it at a rummage sale. My thought was to strap it to the gate after filling it with fake flowers (because they won't be hurt if snow sit on them). It works pretty well!

 

These 2 little green pumpkins were the extent of my pumpkin crop from my raised bed veg gardens this year – WooHoo.

 

You flip a switch on this guy, open the top of his skull, and his eyes (sockets) light up, and it looks like flames come out of his skull. Too cool! (I'm easily entertained)

This little gaggle of witches were some of the first Halloween decorations I bought when I got my own place many moons ago.

My bat picture was an illustration in a super old (early 1900's), tattered kids book I found at a rummage sale. It didn't even have a binding on it anymore, just loose pages held between the covers. So I took some of the cuter animal pictures out, brought them to the copy shop, and had them enlarge and print them on heavy card stock for me. I framed the other animals, but decopaged the bats onto an old metal tray from the thrift I cleaned up and spray painted black, and use it for Halloween. I like bats.

.

 

 

 

 

My Mom made the cute jack-o-lantern pillow for me.

I made the crow plate from an image download from Country Living magazine's web site. I printed it onto old dictionary pages, then decopaged them onto a wooden blank plate that I had painted black. It was a pretty inexpensive project and I like it a lot.

This book came from the free bin at the thrift! I haven't read it yet, but knew it would be perfect to set out for Halloween along with the magic wand my big little son made for me in shop class a few years ago. (I was thrilled when he gave it to me, but now that I think about it, do you 'spose he was trying to tell me something? πŸ™‚ )

 

 

I got these little paper mΓ’chΓ© bats about the same time I got the little group of witches. They are pretty fragile and I've not seen anything like them since I got them so long ago.

Haunted barn.

 

 

Here are our counter egos, Bruce, my little son, and me, Halloween style.

 

 

 

 

This witch cracks me up. If you clap your hands, shut the door too hard, or drop something, etc., she goes into a cackling frenzy and rocks back and forth. There's been a few times Mr. Bruce has stumbled out of bed at 6 in the a.m., shut the door into the kitchen, and off she goes. Probably not exactly what you want to hear before your eyes are barely peeled open. She's been the source of just a bit of under your breath muttering in this house…. πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

Even if it's a pain in the neck dragging all this stuff out, it's worth it once it's done. It helps me quit whining about summer being gone so fast, and gets me into a cozy fall mood! One (AKA me) really needs to remember to appreciate each and every day of each and every season!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

Share

Family Room

I feel a blabbing spree coming on, so here goes! πŸ™‚

If I had known at high school graduation what I know now, I would have gone to college for, of course, interior design. What adult woman who blogs under the home interiors category doesn't have that secret ambition, but have most likely repressed the dream πŸ™‚ Some are brave and take action on that dream, and I say good for them! Several of the blogs I follow, the women have gained a bevy of followers, and are now offering their design advice (for money) to their followers that want it. I wouldn't dream of hanging myself out there at this stage in the game (even if I had a mega popular blog), and instead just subject my poor house (and now little cabin) to all the furies of my overactive decorating ambitions.

Rustic style decorating turns my crank! [I'm too hard headed to be a swooner πŸ˜‰ ]

Pinterest

With bits of softer, 1800's type antique cottage style thrown in for good measure – sort of rugged (or tending to lean to the more masculine-ish side), but with just a dab of softness here and there to keep it from looking too “pioneer bachelor style”.

Pinterest

Throw in a smidge of Craftsman/Mission style, and I am a happy camper! And, very importantly, always on a squeaking tight budget, so if I regret a purchase, I'm just out the few bucks I've forked over at the thrift or rummage sale. That is my aspiration. Everything is certainly a learning process, and always a work in progress. I sure know what I like when I see it, and feel comfortable in my home, but may have developed a bad case of “My Own House Blindness”.

Pinterest

After searching high and low for blogs with a rustic type of distinction, I've come up empty handed. (I have found some awesome primitive style blogs, tho, and really like them, but I'm searching for less Colonial, more Cowboy and Indian.) If you know of any out there, let me in on the secret, would ya pretty please? I've seen lots of awesome rustic-ness on Pinterest and Houzz, but none that I've seen seem to be attached to blogs.

I am infatuated with Ralph Kylloe's beautifully photographed books of cabins and log homes that span the United States, and study them like bibles. Judging by many of the higher end homes in this area of the state (real estate site cruising), rustic decorating seems to very popular. Much of the content of Mr. Kylloe's books are homes from the western half of Montana. It seems odd to me that I'm not seeing much of this style of decorating in the blogging world at all. I'm glad to see the “ethereal whiteness” starting to fade in the blogging world. I love light and bright and timeless, but some of the house tours I've seen where white is the be all end all, it looks like there should be clouds in the room, and maybe an angel or 2 playing harps. It's good to see some color creeping back in. But even that comes with it's extremes, it seems. I subscribe to several of the magazines out there now, and feel more disappointed with each issue I receive. I can't understand the hodge-podgedness of so many of the homes they feature. I realize there is the “to each his own” factor in everyone's home, but I want to open a magazine, be drawn into the rooms, and think “I would give my right arm to live in that place”.

Anyway, what the heck do I know besides the fact that my house is good enough for who it's for! I took a few more pictures in my family room today and thought I'd stick them right on here for your perusal. If you tend to sway toward rustic style, maybe you'll like 'em, but it's sure OK with me if you don't!

This is my TV table. It came to live here from Craig's List! It is solid pine and had a natural finish, and wooden knobs. I remodeled it πŸ™‚

When I decided to use it for the TV, I knew the open back would be a problem, because all the cables and wires would show. Mr. Bruce had brought back a few good sized bundles of extremely old, used wainscoting that had been salvaged from his great grandparents original old homestead house. He couldn't stand the thought of something that had survived for probably more than a hundred years, and that someone had been thoughtful enough to salvage from the old house, to just have it discarded at the dump, or thrown into a burn pile, so he toted it clear back to Montana. It is awesome. I wish there had been a truck load of it. I showed him my plan to attach the wainscoting to plywood so it could be screwed to the table for now, but the whole back can be taken off later if need be (it could be made into an awesome headboard). Once installed, it sure took care of the cables showing.

I had already painted the small armoire a few years prior to this, and wanted the table to match.

So I painted and distressed, hunted up some more red twig dogwood down by the river, sketched out a design for the twig placement, and Bruce attached them with his brad nailer. Then I added the rusty knobs that I had found at a rummage sale. All of the pictures, pottery, and books on the TV table came from rummage sales and the thrift store.

I found a few more Indian things in the Cowboy/Indian bedroom, and put them with the street sign. The block to the left is a copper and steel antique printing press block of an Indian in full headdress. It's so cool close up!

Moved my bear pic out here, took down the branding irons, and hung the rug on the wall.

The little Indian is a bank I found in New Hampshire while on vacation.

 

 

Next on the list to tackle is the freshly vacated bedroom! I was a brut and made my big little son take darn near everything he owns to his new apartment. I wanted it good and empty because that little beat up room is going to get a cottage make-over!

OK, done blabbing now.

TTFN,

Teresa

 

Share

I Will Not Say The “F” Word (Fall will not be uttered)

Well, just look at what we woke up to yesterday morning….

It was a balmy 37 degrees when I got up this morning. What the heck…? Plenty of the Old Timers around here are already comparing all the folklore signs that are sure fire indicators that it's going to be a particularly nasty winter – NOOOO!!! Not ready for it!

We need some more of this –

And this –

Not this

Or this

Miss Asia must know that there won't be much more of this warm weather left, too.

She's just been soaking it up these last few weeks when it was in the high eighties. She's been lounging in this spot on the lawn so much that it's made a little nest tucked right in the grasswhere she lays.

She and her little daughter were snuggled up on the rocking chair on the porch when it was so cold this morning, but came in the house a little later in the morning, I'm sure to get thawed out. We have a fire going in the wood stove…….We actually had to start a fire in the stove Saturday night, AUGUST 23rd, and have had it going since :-/

But, there's always a silver lining – with all this rain/snow/cool, it really brings the fire risk down significantly in the forests up here, and that is surely a good thing.

Hot chocolate anyone? πŸ™‚

TTFN,

Teresa

 

Share

Randomness

My itty bitty brain is just whirling – just a few weeks ago it was snowing pretty mightily around here; now it feels like full blown summer. I mean windows open, birds tweeting, grass growing inches per day summer! A few weeks ago, I was a domestic diva πŸ™‚ tending my house, chopping wood, keeping my laundry up; now I'm back to alarm clock waking, trying to figure out what would be fastest to prepare for dinner after work, and making lists so I can try to keep up with everything that needs to be done in my very condensed at-home-time. Yup, no mo fairytale, it's back to the real world.

So, in order to try and achieve a little zen, I will share some pictures of random this and thats I have captured in the spare minutes I've grabbed over the last several days.

 

 

 

I have lots of pretty little flowers popping out. I was sad to see that I did lose many plants and ornamental bushes to this vicious winter we just escaped from – what a cold mean bugger he was!

We have had a few pretty substantial downpours over the last few weeks, and the bright side to that, along with the glorious greenness that presents itself, are these wonderful gifts from nature –

Morels! Oh, they are so yummy! Just soak them in water with a few teaspoons of salt and about a teaspoon of vinegar to dislodge any buggies trying to make a morel it's home, drain 'em, make sure they are nice and clean, cut them in half lengthwise, and drop them into a frying pan with a little butter, olive oil, sea salt, smoked paprika, and a smidge of pepper. For real, they are a gourmet gift to your taste buds! My big little son went down to the river and scouted out a few, which we ate for dinner that night. The next day he went out to my folk's farm and found about a quart of them. They are shiny clean and residing in the freezer, to be carefully doled out on special occasions.

 

There were at least a dozen Western Tanangers in my yard today, flitting about, eating from the suet feeder, and having a merry time. I just love watching all the birds that come to my yard. I think this giant window we put in during the kitchen remodel was the smartest thing we've done with this house. Actually, that would probably be second to the Tulikivi.

I changed a few things around in the family room. I found a beautiful print by one of our local artists, downtown at an antique/junk store. I needed another picture like I need a hole in the head, but it was so reasonably priced I couldn't resist.

I had the frame which I'd purchased several summers ago at a yard sale, so just had to have a mat cut and was good to go. It is a Russell Chatham print. I looked thru his archives online, and I believe this one is named “March Afternoon”. I truly love his work. He has lived here for decades, and the biggest majority of his art is done of this area, primarily Paradise Valley. His lithos and oil paintings go for many thousands of dollars, so I was happy to just be able to have stumbled across a print I could afford. Any kind of affordable work of his is about as scarce as hen's teeth to find. (Sorry about the reflections on the picture – I don't know how to get around that in photography yet.)

I found the “Indian Lane” street sign at a rummage sale the week before I started work. (Don't even get me started on having missed the last 4 weeks of rummage saling – I could just cry about it!) The metal Indian head is also a rummage sale find from a summer past.

Work has begun on the cabin.

 

Yikes.

It's still chilly enough in the evenings to have to start the wood stove up.

Coming home we saw this Mama and baby. Within a half mile stretch we saw the moose, at least a dozen deer, 10 antelope (which was strange because we were still in the mountains and they usually prefer being out on the flats), and these 2 courting cranes below.

So, that's a lot of randomness for sure, and is probably just the tip of the iceberg for what the summer holds. We have a lot of irons in the fire! Guess I better stock up on Wheaties! Or spinach!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

Share

BRING ON THE RUMMAGE SALES!

There is some serious rummage sale withdrawal going on in this county. For whatever reason we don't have flea markets or vintage sales much at all in this whole state as far as I can tell. When I read other blogs (based in other states) it seems like a lot of the folks have been going to big, wonderful fleas and sales for several weeks now.

Maybe, around here, this has something to do with it…

 

 

 

Boy, we've gotten our fair share of the white stuff this winter (and spring). It's funny, tho, that when someone has a sale because they are moving, or for whatever reason, bad weather or time of year doesn't seem to deter folks from attending in the least. It's each man for himself, and if you have the forethought to wear protective sport padding under your coat, smart. You are much more likely to get thru the throngs of people unscathed, that show up at these early-in-the-year selling events πŸ™‚ It's all elbows and attitude once they fling the doors open.

We attended an estate sale about a month ago and were lucky enough to score a nearly new microwave for $5! for the cabin, and a few other odds and ends. But, Oh, the people!! It started on a Friday, and I think many must have taken a vacation day from work just to attend! Last weekend 2 sales were advertised in our local paper. I was so excited! Then I started to fret about the people factor. Gosh, I just hate the “Black Friday” type madness that occurs when there is only 1 or 2 sales. But they both sounded really good, so I decided to put on my big girl pants and just get after it. Sure glad I did! I ended up grabbing about 10 things, and left with nary a black eye.

Here is more show & tell of a few things I've picked up for the cabin over the last month or so. Some are thrift store finds along with the rummage sale stuff I just got.

 

Somebody worked hard carving this Indian Brave from balsa wood. He is so light, I nearly threw him to the ceiling when I found him are the thrift.

 

 

I love old Yellowstone Park collectibles, and hunt for them all the time.

 

I was in heaven!! But I could have laid on the floor and kicked my feet when I got to the check out line and saw what other people were leaving with…..so much neat stuff!! They said 'no earlies' in the ad, and sure enough they let people in early :-/ grumble,grumble But no matter, cuz it seems I've developed this disorder, where (in my mind) the cabin seems to grow considerably between my visits there. Unfortunately, my bubble is burst when I walk thru the door after having been away for a few weeks, and there it is in all it's itty bitty cuteness. Nowhere close to the expanse I have imagined in the interim; where truckloads of furniture, galleries of pictures, and scads of antiques were supposed to have room to live! I'm a pretty good squisher-inner tho, so I'll stack, and arrange, dangle, wedge, and squeeze at that little cabin; and what doesn't fit there can come back and live at CottageLodge πŸ™‚

Here's another cute thing for the cabin that came from the downtown thrift.

Nobody else in the whole, wide world will have another lamp like this one! It is a one-of-a-kind, authentic, beaver chewed log base, with a cow hide shade I added (which also came from the thrift earlier this year).

And a neat old frame (out of the free bin). I've had the cute little beaver for ages and thought that would be a good clue to sit by the lamp.

Over the last few years I've gotten a pretty good bear collection started, and if space allows, some of them can go up, too.

 

 

So, even tho I've got ants in my pants to get to work on the cabin, there is still plenty to keep me busy right where I'm at. There's a vegetable garden to plan, lot's of yard work to be done, and the perpetual honey-do list on the house. All good!! All fun!! So blessed!!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

Share

PYROGRAPHY

While I impatiently wait for the weather to clear, I thought I'd throw a little something at you that you probably don't read up on every day. Pyrography! A most vital subject that everyone should know a little about πŸ™‚ Apparently it was a really popular craft, way back in the day, for young ladies to learn. Kind of like embroidery samplers, sewing, crocheting, tatting, knitting, etc. It involves using a wood burning instrument and burning designs onto wooden furniture pieces, boxes, and the like.

Several times on this blog I have mentioned furniture I have inherited that was originally owned by my Great Grandmother. I'm going to jump on the genealogy bandwagon again and tell you yet another story about some pieces that came from (and, in this case, were made by) her. Her parents had 8 children, and like most pioneers the family lived hard lives. They lived in and around Virginia City, MT, and other small towns in the near vicinity. Both did a multitude of jobs to try and make ends meet and keep their children fed. At one time, the family kept 40 (FORTY!) boarders at their place. This was when gold mining was booming in the area. When the children were smaller, my Great Great Grandfather employed a Chinese man to help my Great Great Grandmother cook for all these folks they boarded, and also an American Indian woman everyone called Indian Mattie to help with the massive amounts of laundry that had to be kept up (this was pre-wash machine days; tub and wash board, heat the water on a fire times). As the children got older, they were put to work helping either their mother or father with many different tasks. By the time my Great Grandmother was 13 years old, she did a large share of the cooking for their many boarders. Learning at that young age turned her into a phenomenal cook for the rest of her life. Most girls of that day (around the turn of the century) only attended school until about the 8th grade. I don't know how my GtGtGrandparents achieved it, and my 96 1/3 year old Grandmother can't remember all the details of the story, but somehow they were able to send my GtGrndmthr to a boarding school for girls. Actually, she attended 2 schools, St. Peter's Catholic School in Anaconda, and St. Vincent's Academy in Helena. Pyrography was one of the skills she learned.

They probably started with smaller projects like this box she did. But look at the detail!

Even on the sides, every bit was covered in detail. That would have taken a lot of concentration for a seventh or eighth grade child to achieve.

As their skill level progressed, so did the size of their projects.

 

 

I think this level of detail is amazing, especially when you think she was only twelve-ish.

This table was also one of her projects; I'm not sure what caused the blackened area damage, but it is old, and I'm sure has been thru a lot over the years.

 

 

Apparently, not only girls learned the skill. This small table was done by my Great Uncle when he was a boy.

He was an Uncle by marriage (married to my Grandmother's sister), so we're not too sure about his childhood history, where he would have learned this craft.

 

And this small piece of art I found at an antique/junk store in Big Timber. I can't control myself when it comes to anything to do with antique sheep art of any kind. I have a lot of prints and paintings of sheep, lots of Putz, ceramic, and china sheep. Which reminds me, it's about time to put the sheep collection into the decorating rotation! I like to see lambies at Easter time……sure says springtime to me.

 

 

I would like to know the story behind this little plaque. I wonder if some astute little student worked long and hard on this project at her (or his) boarding school far away from her parents, if she was a native Montanan like my GtGrandmother, just what the long story must be before it got to my home. That's why I cherish antiques; whether they are from my family and I know their story, or it's a piece I've found and it's story is a mystery, I think they deserve a safe haven and place of honor because they've made it thru all the bumps and dings time dishes out.

TTFN

Teresa

 

Share

Wool Blankets

Time to share another weakness of mine….. wool blankets!

I can't even remember how my attachment to them started, but I am always on the lookout for them. Lucky for me, most of my entire household has been purchased over the years at rummage sales and the occasional bargain purchases from thrift stores and auctions. That was before rummaging was too terribly trendy, and you could still get things without breaking the bank.

 

I have had them scattered all over the house at various times, but now the majority of them are corralled in this old linen press cupboard that came from Bruce's Grandma's home.

A few are still scattered about the house –

 

Some I rolled up and put in an old egg crate, and parked them in the family room. The tag on the crate still has Bruce's grandparents name on it from when they brought eggs to town to sell. They sit atop little foldable camp seats; a papa one, a mama one, and a baby one πŸ™‚ All of them bought at a rummage sale for a song.

 

These are hanging on a ladder in the cowboy bedroom at my house. I camp here when Bruce (or me) is sick so one or the other of us have some semi-germ free space to ourselves. There has been a lot of colds and flu in our neck of the woods this winter! I sure don't have to worry about getting cold when I do sleep in here because wool blankets are extremely warm.

For Christmas, Bruce got me a Pendleton Yellowstone National Park commemorative blanket. It is beautiful, and the only new wool blanket I have. It's packed away for now, but it, along with a bunch of the blankets I have around here, will be moving up to Moose Springs when the roads clear off this spring! Cabins and wool blankets go hand in hand in my book.

 

It is still darn chilly in these parts, so I'm thinking wool blankets are not a bad commodity to have! Although, to be honest, I probably like looking at them more than wrapping up in them, cuz they are a little scratchy!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

Share

Warm Stone and Birch Bark

This very minute as I write this post, it is -19.1 degrees outside. In my book, that's chilly. But here I sit, snug as a bug in a rug, cuz I have a secret weapon… and it's a good one.

 

It's our Tulikivi soapstone stove. They are awesome. They are expensive. They are totally worth it. Especially when you live in a climate that consists of about 7/12 of the time immersed in very coolish to downright frigid temperatures.

 

When we had our addition added to the house, the plan was to have a gas fireplace installed. Not particularly what I wanted, but, as with all our projects, there was that ever present, nagging budget hanging over our heads. I wanted this new space to be a bit more formal than the other living spaces in our home, and Bruce wanted carpet, so with all that being said, I knew a wood stove was not a good option; carpet and wood stoves are a bad combo. So I ordered and paid for carpet during a big sale in October, with the understanding that they not install it til the following April, to which they agreed. My folks were doing some work on their place at the same time and replaced their wood burning stove with a gas stove. They got to be the guinea pigs. Unfortunately for them, the gas stove salesman told them what turned out to be fib after fib. All of the promises of extremely low fuel use to warm their home, little to no maintenance ever to be needed on the stove, and generally overall extreme efficiency – all those promises turned out, in my Mom and Dad's case, to be false. They encountered problem after problem right from the start. Well, phooey on that! A gas fireplace or stove was out of the picture for our addition after seeing all the headaches my folks were going thru.

 

Several years prior to any of this, I had read an article about soapstone stoves in Country Living magazine. After that, owning one had been a dream of mine, but I figured the odds of getting one were about as good as me capturing a unicorn. A very funny twist to this story is that about a year before we started the addition, it just so happened that the Tulikivi headquarters for something like the Montana, Wyoming, parts of Idaho and Colorado region (not exactly sure how much area their particular region covers) opened right here in our little town. All I had to do was mosey downtown to talk to the distributor, rather than call someone up to 500 or so miles away and try to figure out, long distance, if getting a Tulikivi would even be an option for us. 'Twas meant to be! And it is truly an asset to our home. I would recommend ownership to anyone. It was a pinch (more like a punch) to come up with the funds for it, but we had penciled it out as closely as possible and figured the stove would pretty much pay for itself at about the 8 year mark. And it has. It works like this; soapstone is a soft stone that easily absorbs heat. The whole stove is constructed of stone (from Finland!) and has an intricate flue system. You stoke your stove, open the air vent wide, and get a massively hot fire burning in the box. The fire passes thru the flue system and all the while the soapstone is heating up. The stove only needs to be loaded up 2 or 3 times, depending on how cold the weather is. After the last burn, the stone is toasty warm and provides radiant heat for around 24 hours (which keeps your house furnace from kicking on because the room temp is ^). Shut the vent down and you are good to go!

 

There have been a few hitches – the carpet was bought and paid for, so there was no turning back on that (ugh – carpet and wood stoves), and, had we known before I designed the addition, the placement of the stove is not what I would have chosen. But the room was already built when the plan changed from gas fireplace to Tulikivi, so we did the best we could with what we had. It makes it a little difficult to arrange furniture because that stove comes out into the room 5 feet including the hearth. But that's a small price to pay in exchange for all the goodness we get from the beast! And, of course, I whined for at least 6 of the 12 years we had carpet, about getting wood floors. Bruce finally caved, and we had oak floors (oak flooring that I found on Craigslist for 1/2 the price of retail) installed last fall, and they turned out beautifully. In the pictures above, you can see the area rug I found. On Craigslist. All wool. Vintage. Perfect condition. Amazingly, the exact colors I needed for the room which was crazy happenstance as the walls were already freshly painted when I found it on CL. 12 feet by 9 feet. $250 smackers. BONUS! We saved enough on the rug that I broached the subject of adding some kind of stove backer to the wall just for aesthetics. I always felt it looked nekked and plain with just a painted wall behind the stove. I got the hairbrained idea that I wanted to nail a row of quaking aspen saplings to a piece of plywood and mount it to the wall. We couldn't find a source for wood that small, so I started researching birch or aspen bark. Found a supplier, and voila! Bruce and I installed the whole works, and Ima likin it a lot! I wallpapered the entryway in birch tree paper that I had been coveting for 3 years and the whole thing is perfectly tied together in my opinion. I'll throw in the next picture so you can see a snippet of the wallpaper.

Here's a close up of the real birch bark behind the stove, complete with moss!

 

We used birch tree branches to trim out the sides to cover the plywood edges. I advertised in the wanted section of Craigslist for anyone that had trimmed birch or quakie branches, and a kind person responded and we picked up all their yard litter cut offs πŸ™‚ .

So now you have the lowdown on how great Tulikivi stoves are, how birch bark panels look as a hearth backer, and a reminder of how wonderful Craigslist is! Oh, and also, how totally much better it is to have pretty oak floors rather than carpet when your house is heated with wood!

TTFN

Teresa

 

Share