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 🙂 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

 

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Of Roses and Poodles

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The date is wrong on the photo, but a few years ago we took a wonderful vacation to Portland, Oregon. I have been getting a lot of garden catalogs in the mail the last month, and it makes me think about how much I enjoyed visiting the Rose Test Garden at Washington Park in Portland.

 

I didn't have much of an opportunity to grow flowers before I moved to the CottageLodge, because the yard at my little house was so tiny and shady. Once settled here, I began gardening in earnest and really enjoy it. I am not terribly knowledgable still, but run on the premise that if I think a plant is pretty, I stick it in the flower bed, and if it lives, oh happy day, it's welcome to hang out, drink water, and snack on as much horse manure as it likes 🙂 .

 

I had always been terribly prejudiced against roses and poodles….I thought they were fussy, needy, and way too froufrou for my tastes. Then by a strange twist of fate, I ended up having both! A lady in my town wanted to adopt a little dog. My Mom was friends with the lady that ran the Animal Welfare League in Montana. We ended up being the shuttle for a little white female poodle from the AWL to the lady in town that wanted her. Long story short, the lady had her for about 4 days, then decided she had forgotten just how much trouble it was to have a dog, and wanted to give her back – UGGHH – people! The poor little dog was blind in one eye, and had a big tumor on her hip, and I was certain that if we took her back to the AWL she would be put to sleep. So, guess where she came to live…..ya, at the anti-poodle girl's house. And I luv, luv, luvved her. She was the sweetest, smartest, most loyal little dog a body could ever hope to have for a friend. About 4 weeks after I got her, she got really sick in the middle of the night, and I was sure she was dying. I was just ready to call the vet, and out popped a puppy! That poor little gal had 4 babies that night; 2 were stillborn, 2 were OK. Who knows the extent of neglect she had suffered, and then to be pregnant to boot. Well, she was done with that part of her life forever, because she had a new mom that just so happened to be a born again poodle lover! I also ended up keeping her little boy baby, and one of my Grandma's best friends took the little girl baby (8 weeks later). At that time I had a Schnauzer, an Australian Shepherd (and they both came with wacky stories about how I ended up with them!), a Momma Poodle, and a baby Poodle, and was so breaking the law! The legal limit was 2 dogs per household in my town. Thank goodness I had awesome neighbors who didn't tattle on me. So, anyway, now I'm a confirmed poodle lover/promoter. Back to the roses 🙂

My house was on the garden tour several summers ago. I had (still have) what one lady described as an English style garden. My definition is “Hardiness prevails smorgasbord garden”. I had about one of everything that works for zone 4 tossed into my flower bed, sans roses. Then one year little son proudly presented me with a rose bush for Mother's Day. I thanked him profusely, all the while thinking ppfffttt, it'll be dead in 2 weeks time cuz roses are sissies. Being the ignoramus that I was, I planted it in far too shady a spot, and left it for a goner. No special treatment, no bug deterrents, no rose food. Imagine my surprise when about a month later I went out to water and found my forgotten rose with the most beautiful, perfect, pearlescent white rose gently waving in the breeze. Hokey Dokey….Lesson learned, and I was more than a little ashamed of myself for being such a horrendous rose snob. That little rose bush bloomed it's heart out all summer long. It later got transplanted to a nice sunny spot, and now has about 8 other rose bushes for company, along with the menagerie of other whatnots that live in the garden. Roses are wonderful, give it all they've got plants. In my experience, they are very hardy and really do not require babying in the least. And what a pay off! So beautiful, and nothing smells as wonderful as roses in your yard on a warm summer evening. When the trip to Portland was in the planning stages, the test garden was at the top of the list to visit. What a treat it was! You really should make it a point to visit this garden if you ever find yourself in Portland some summer. It is phenomenal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source Google

(Not pics of my pudoodles, but cute ones!)

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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Big Sky Small Fry Ranch

Where lots of little critters have been raised over the last 20 years!

K, so here's the tour I promised of the inside of my folk's house. And, once again, I'll apologize for the quality of the photos, but these will at least let you get a feel for how cute and cozy this wonderful old farmhouse truly is – the realtor working for my folks has a much better camera than I have, so if you want to see her photos, or are curious about the listing particulars for the farm, just go here.

 

This is from Christmastime cuz I forgot to get a picture outside today. They really do have all their decorations down now 🙂

 

Here is looking back at where we just came in thru the front door.

 

Living room.

I love these prints above her couch. My Mom and I both have a thing for sheep pictures. You will easily be able to tell where I inherited my collecting abilities (aka dysfunction) after taking this tour :). We both like stuff!

 

Another piece of furniture that was my Great Grandmothers, a very pretty quarter sawn oak buffet that lives in the dining area.

A beautiful light fixture above the dining table. It was another great find from Craigslist. This pic is from Christmas, too. The one I took today was a little blurry, so I substituted.

Take a left just thru the front door and you head upstairs.

There are three bedrooms and a half bath upstairs. The next 2 pics are the middle bedroom.

The front bedroom is surprising when you step into it because my folks opened it into the attic. It is a really sunny room, has a loft, and an outdoor balcony. Not exactly what you'd expect to see in a 100+ year old farm house.

 

 

I found the fireplace mantle at a garage sale, it was fairly beat up. The metal insert I found later. It is the front off an antique gas burning furnace and was in an alley to be thrown away. I asked the guy who lived there if I could have it rather than have it go to the dump, and he gladly gave it to me. My Mom said she could use them in this bedroom, so out to the farm they went. My folks combined their artistic magic on both of these cast offs, and now it is a beautiful focal point in the room.

 

Up to the loft.

I didn't climb clear into the loft to take the pic, so this is the best I could get. There are 2 chairs and a small bookshelf, a nice cozy little nook to relax in – I don't know if I would try to tote a cup of tea up that ladder tho!

The door to the balcony is just to the left of the bed. Another sweet place to relax, take in the view, and get some fresh air. It would be easy to take a cup of tea out on this little balcony!

The third bedroom is super cute! Kind of a shocker if you're not ready for it tho –

There's a lotsa babies in this room!

 

 

 

 

This little cutie was also my Great Grandmother's. She is German, and over 100 years old (the doll, not my Great Grandmother ^..^ ). Guess at that age, that would make her the matriarch of the baby doll room.

Now back down stairs. This is the master bedroom.

The ceiling is awesome in here. It took my Mom days and days to get it done with several types of paint, faux painting, and wallpaper border.

 

It's really cozy and old fashioned.

She has some spectacular art pieces throughout her home, but these two are very special to her because her Great Uncle carved them both. The swan piece is carved from one chunk of stone, nothing carved separately and glued on. (Except when I was a kid I threw a pair of my Mom's shoes in her room and the hit the carving, knocking one of the swan's head off. It did get repaired and glued back on, and I am very lucky to be sitting here typing this story right now :-O )

The other one is this horse which he carved out of a single block of wood.

The TV/Family room is next. You have to go thru a short little hallway to get to it. She has a pinecone theme that runs thru the house, and in this hallway she did a cool stenciling treatment with joint compound, and then painted it in a sort of ombré paint style. I think it is beautiful.

 

Many cute do-dads and China pieces reside in the lovely antique cabinet in the hallway.

And into the TV room we go.

The stove backer is a piece of art in itself. She purchased a thick sheet of metal, drew on a pattern of pine branches and pine cones, and took it to a welding shop where they used a plasma cutter to cut out the design she had drawn. Then she treated the metal with some kind of stuff that makes it susceptible to rust, and threw it out in the snow for a couple of weeks. When it was ready to come in the house, she sealed it, backed the pine branch design with green (for the pine needles) and Amber (for the pine cones) Christmas lights and then attached it to the wall behind the stove. The metal offers the fire and heat protection needed behind the stove. Then there is the added bonus of plugging in the “hearth” and seeing the branches come to life 🙂

The office is a small room off the hallway. Bruce was in there working on my Mom's computer, so I could only catch a picture of this corner.

She has a beautiful collection of pottery pieces.

On to the kitchen –

 

 

 

 

Very cute and farmy! It is a bright, happy room to be in.

Well, that about covers the inside. Nothing was staged or anything, so if there is an odd whatnot sticking out in any of the pics, it's my fault, cuz I didn't give my Mom any warning that I was coming out to take pictures. Oh, and here is a pic of Sophie the deer herder. She wasn't too thrilled about sitting still for her portrait!

And another pic of Lilly the houndy dog.

TTFN

Teresa 🙂

 

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Weekend Fun

It's finally warmed up a smidge here…..That calls for a celebration! We're going to hop on over the hill tomorrow and go to the Little Bear Antique Show and Sale. I hope it will be as wonderful as it usually is – I have some Christmas monies burning a hole in my pocket 🙂 and there needs to be some serious cabin shopping done!

I made the little card thingy above with 2 apps I have. The first one is called Waterlogue. It is so much fun. I used a photo I had taken of the cabin, chose the look I wanted from several options Waterlogue offers, then turned the photo into a water color painting! I added the “painting” to my personal photos, so I could pick it later for posting or to copy etc. The second one is Martha Stewart craft studio, found here, where you can turn any picture into a cute card, or make one without using a photo at all if you choose.

So, we went from this,

To this,

And finally, this

Gosh, I feel like I'm in summer camp craft class!

TTFN,

Teresa 🙂

 

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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 🙂 .

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

 

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