Just a few pics of random corners throughout my house. Guess I better make myself useful and start dusting some of them…. 😉
Just a few pics of random corners throughout my house. Guess I better make myself useful and start dusting some of them…. 😉
This has been the craziest winter. The weather has been so cold and stormy, it seems like one day just blends into the next. Where usually that makes things feel like they are dragging, this year it is zipping by. I kind of feel like I'm sleep walking thru this season!
Anyway, one of the oldest projects on the honey-do list at my house has finally been completed, so thought I'd share! We remodeled the family room and kitchen about a year after we moved in here. That was a long time ago! For all the years since we finished, there has been no hearth mantle around the wood stove in our family room. I've begged, whined, and belly-ached for so long! I even shopped around trying to find something ready-made that I could slap up there on my own, but had no luck finding anything that would fit in the space. I do know how to use power tools, and I did take wood shop in high school, but I'm not brave enough to tackle a project that is a really prominent, and permanent fixture in the house. Something like that needs to not be done by an amateur, but by someone who is a craftsman. Bruce is more than capable of building a mantle, but it's that darn time thing again, and there just aren't enough hours in the day to get everything he needs to do done. So, I told Mr. Bruce I was going to start searching for a carpenter to get the dang thing built and installed! As it turns out, we were lucky enough to have the perfect fellow agree to do the project. Mr. Z was a shop teacher when I was in high school. When school was out during the summers, he and a few other teachers would do carpentry projects, even house building. When Bruce moved here from Nebraska, he was fortunately hired by Mr. Z to be on their summer crew! They became great friends. Bruce worked for him off and on over many years, until finishing college and finally giving up carpentering for full time engineering.
Mr. Z is an extremely talented wood worker, but has all but given up the craft because he struggles with severe rheumatoid arthritis now. But Bruce pleaded, and thankfully Mr. Z consented! I would have settled for a simple 3 board, faux beam looking mantle just to have the project done, and not have that ugly, unfinished space showing anymore! But he came over to measure, and see what all it would entail, and he asked me what I would truly like to see up there. I showed him a quick sketch of the super simple 3 board method. He said “Now, if I'm going to take the time to do this, I want you to have what you really want!” Well, with a green light like that, I proceeded to pour my heart out! I told him how much I like arts&crafts/mission style, showed him a few pictures in some of my American Bungalow magazines, then drug out my stash ……
Several years ago I took an Adult Education pottery class our local high school was offering; 5 weeks, one evening per week. My Mom, my “other mother” Roxy, and myself, all signed up and were excited to go. Unfortunately, we had a “teacher” that was not interested in teaching. She said she was turning us loose to do whatever we felt was creative, and she would mentor us if we felt it was needed. :-/ Maybe some of the others in the class were familiar with pottery, but the 3 of us had never worked with clay before! So, we did the best we could with what we had – It wasn't too difficult for my Mom or Roxy because they are both extremely artistic, but I'm another story! Back to my good old American Bungalow for reference, and I managed to churn out 10 tiles, and several long faux branch tiles for a border. Our “teacher” did not take good care when she fired our clay works, and we ended up with all manner of round bottom rather than flat tiles, and other deformities on Mom and Roxy's projects. But it cost $100 to take that class, and I hoped I would someday be able to use my finished products, given that terrific cost.
So I pulled out my box of tiles, and worked with Mr. Z on incorporating them into the design. I chose 6 tiles to use, not wanting to overwhelm the woodworking, and he left with a plan.
A few weeks later, he came back with a beautiful, artfully done mantle; solid oak, stained a rich golden brown, and in the mission style that I love so much. He and Bruce carefully installed it. I could have jumped with joy! It was my job to place the tiles in the spaces he had designed to hold them. I knew it was going to be a bit of a challenge since they were round bottomed and out of square from the firing mishap, and I was terrified of messing up that phenomenal mantle. I got some epoxy glue, and a tube of grout and went to town! I'm very happy with the finished product because of the wonderful woodworking, and it is such a relief to finally have it done! It's also nice to have a little offering from me built into the house, because this house sure owns a big chunk of my heart!
Now I just need to re-black the stove pipe, add a fresh coat of satin sealer to both the rocks and slate hearth, and it will all be fresh and finished! Makes me so happy when something can be checked off the mighty to-do list!
Merry Christmas, all! It feels like Christmases from years back around here, because we have had blizzard conditions in the last few weeks, just like when I was a kid.
The street crews were working round the clock for a few days because the wind was blowing so fiercely they couldn't keep any streets or roads clear.
We won the “lowest temp with windchill” game! It was wretched! I had never in my life had a “snow day” before last Monday, but they closed where I work, and kids weren't required to attend school if it was too difficult for them to get in.
This was at the beginning of the rough weather late last week. I took this photo as the deer came in to forage from the green waste pile at work, where it is easy pickins. A local brewery dumped their many bins of spent grain, and there were at least a dozen and a half deer having a smorgasbord there for several days. They just love it.
We all stayed snugly warm in the little scale house. Piper enjoyed watching the deer out the window, and Declan stayed all tucked in her blankies.
I didn't end up putting a lot of Christmas decorations out after all. The small storage room where I keep my holiday decorations is currently where all the more fragile, and non-mouse proof cabin goods are being kept. And there are bins upon bins stacked in there. I have beautiful Christmas stuff, and hate skipping a year of seeing it all, but it would have been plain old self abuse to try and man-handle all of that cabin gear to get to the decorations, to then man-handle all those tubs, boxes, and bins that hold the decorations. Then, in just a few short weeks, it would be time to go thru the whole process again to put it away. So, hopefully, next year the cabin will be finished enough to have all those tubs back where they belong at the little mountain house.
Here is what I did manage to scrounge up to add a little holiday cheer.
I kind of have a little “farmy” theme going here this year, because these do-dads were easily accessible. Santa and his jingle bell sheep, with a few pine trees, and an old plaid camp blanket.
Santa and his reindeer, just landed in the barnyard.
An old toy truck (from Bruce's boyhood), filled with bottle brush trees, and towing the cute little bird house trailer my Mom and Dad made me for Christmas a few years ago. (I will never put that sweet thing in the yard for the birds – selfish me……. Don't tell Santa shhhhhh.)
And the pretty antique deer family (that really belongs to my big little son, but I won't relinquish guardianship of them until he OWNS his own home, and I'm sure he couldn't give a hoot one way or another how long I keep them 🙂 ) nestled in a bed of pine boughs, with a deer shed antler candleholder. I have a few other things scattered here and there, but not much to speak of compared to what I usually put out. I will be grateful for such a small amount when the time comes to “un-decorate” because it will take about 1/8 the time it normally takes me.
We will all be going to the farm for Christmas dinner. My poor Mom keeps getting stuck hosting all the Holiday dinners, even tho I argue and try to get them to come to my house. I'm sure she thinks that each holiday we are upon may be the last one spent at the farm, because they are still in the process of trying to sell it. It is a heart wrenching experience, and they are finding that potential buyers can be very mean and demanding people. They love their farm with all their hearts; it's not just a piece of property to them. That makes the whole process even more difficult. So, we will make more good Christmas memories at the farm; eat, drink, and be merry!
Merry Christmas and Glad Tidings to you all!
I put my Christmas stuff away just a few days after the holiday. With the exception of this little farm.
This little farm family and their critters are hand carved (not the barn tho). The tallest piece is the yellow coated man on the right, and is about an inch and a half tall. I purchased these and probably about 20 more pieces, all loose in a check book box, for $5 at a rummage sale. I cannot imagine how many hours it took to carve each of these little figures. There are cats, dogs, pigs, horses, cows, sheep, adults, children, even little birds, and a few elephants and giraffes that I left in the box.
It makes me happy when I happen across unusual things like these. It also makes me wonder who would put so much time and effort into such a project. Maybe a sweet Grandpa, whittling away for his little grandkids. I have way too much stuff, but there is always room in my house and heart for things with a story.
I don't decorate for Christmas in my bedroom, but I did decide having a few of my favorite deer out would make a nice Winter mantle.
I kept the wreath my Mom made, the wooden box, and the little cabinet, but switched all the birds for deer.
I told Mr. Bruce he was off the hook for a stocking stuffer for me, and got this pretty little roe deer faux mount for myself.
We're just 11 short days away from Christmas, and I'm ready to start baking and candy making for the remainder of my gift giving. All the “bought” presents are waiting to be wrapped. I made it easy on myself this year and just put a minimal amount of decorations out. This is the very first time since I've lived in my own house that I haven't gone hog wild and decorated the house from top to bottom. Even with just a pretty tree, and a couple of cute, cheery things set out, it looks cozy and festive and is good enough for who it's for!
Best wishes for a safe, memorable, and joy filled Christmas to you and yours!
I wish to issue a formal apology to the wee visitors I posted about several weeks ago.
The story was that my dog's food was disappearing mysteriously every night. The enamel ware pan they use holds 4 to 5 cups of food. I could go to bed after filling the pan, and get up bright and early the next morning to a shiny, empty pan. After having 4 extremely cute orphaned baby skunks playing in our yard all summer, I was certain one or more had figured out how to use the doggy door, and was helping itself to dinner.
Umm, apparently not………
Imagine my surprise when I pulled open the drawer on my dining room sideboard and finding this. OMG.
This isn't a cabinet I use often. Mostly it holds tablecloths and runners, and a few tabletop decorative items I use to switch off.
This picture with the fish and fisherman was an art project my brother did when he was 8 years old. The teacher he had way back then brought it to me at work a few months ago. He said he has had it hanging above his fly tying bench all these many years, but thought maybe I'd like to give it to my brother. I thought that was so sweet, and planned to give it to Tony at Christmas time. Now the whole top of it is covered with dog food grease………@&$~£*#!!!!
Also a ton of greasy dog food on my antique linen tablecloths- great.
So now I know this had to be the work of a MOUSE. MICE. Perhaps many, many MEECE. And here I was, unjustly accusing those little, baby skunks.
I would guess we pulled out between 12 and 17 pounds of $50 per bag limited ingredient dog food, and a bit of cat food. Mixed in was just a little fuzz and string it/they gathered for future nest building, and thankfully I found only 3 or 4 pieces of poop. Every bit of the food scooped up I took to the alley figuring the birds would be happy to eat it, so it wouldn't be a total waste. That was around 10 o'clock last night. I went out at lunch time today to get some firewood, checked to see how much food was left in the alley, and EVERY BIT OF IT WAS GONE!! I don't think the birds could have eaten it that quickly. I'm afraid there must be a a horrendous influx of rodents this fall.
Here's what the mighty vole hunters have been up to while all this has transpired –
This has been a terribly problematic year for so many folks who have been having to deal with an over abundance of rodents.
I'll be dropping a wad at the hardware store tomorrow, investing in the latest, greatest mouse X-ers.
A friend I haven't seen for about a dozen years called the other day on her way thru town, and wanted to come over for a visit the next day. Just those few kindly words struck terror to the very core of my heart!! With my palms sweating, I calmly suggested she come over the next day after I got off work. We exchanged pleasantries, set a time for the following day, and rang off. After few deep breaths to try to clear the panic attack polka dots that were swimming before my eyes, I headed directly for the closet containing the cleaning supplies. Sometimes a surprise like that is just the kick in the pants I need to get in gear, and get after all the things I've let slide for far too long.
I can never wrap my head around the reasoning those young couples use when looking for their first house on HGTV; how they decide a house is wonderful, or totally unacceptable, based on how well they can “entertain” in it. REALLY??!! I nearly faint every time someone says they want to come over to my house. On a good day, I need a bare minimum 4 hours lead time before I feel even remotely comfortable opening my door to welcome someone in. Never mind that opening the door to a good stiff breeze might send a dust bunny the size of a real bunny loping across the floor at my house. I also have a complete phobia about “smells”. I am so afraid when someone comes over they will be overwhelmed with doggy dander smells, or eau de litter box, or a lovely mildewey waft coming from the laundry drop, etc., etc., so I tend to over compensate out of pure, phobic fear. I own roughly 922 candles; approximately 78 cans of room spray (they vary from fancy pants home decor store purchases, to good old grocery store Glade); at least a dozen bottles of family sized Febreeze in various scents; even a few sticks of incense tucked away in a couple of rooms. I buy scented drawer liners, oil plug-ins, wash the inside of my washing machine with vinegar, and buy the strongest smelling/atomic grade mopping compounds known to mankind.
At any rate, my good Mr. Bruce threw in with me when he got home from work (he saw the true desperation in my eye, and took pity on me). He gave up the ghost at 1 a.m., and I shut the last light off at 2 a.m. and also hit the hay.
I fretted all day at work, made one last frenzied round thru the house before calling my friend to come over, then waited…….
It was just wonderful! – and I'm not being a bit sarcastic in saying that. She and her friend were so sweet, and complimented my house at every turn. If they saw anything that made them want to gag, they certainly did not let on! It was comfortable, and fun, and the 3 hours (!!!) they were here absolutely flew by!
But as grand as it was, it still didn't turn me – I will never be an entertaining kind of gal!!
I thought as long as stuff was semi-tidy, I would show you the kitchen and a couple of before pictures I found.
This is taken standing in front of the family room wood stove (which is still in same location today), looking into the kitchen. Now, the back door, to the right, is raised up to kitchen floor level. That wall where Bruce is standing was knocked out, and a full wall was built perpendicular, extending to where the pony wall shows in pic, successfully dividing the kitchen and family room. (Bye-bye open concept! I like each room to be their own room. I also like plenty of walls to hang pictures on.) Pony wall is torn out, and that is where the stairs come down into family room now.
Above pic taken, just to the right of where Bruce was standing in kitchen, looking down into family room.
The kitchen was “L” shaped before. More like backward 7 shaped. This main part of the kitchen is behind and to the right of Bruce in previous pic. This is the picture we put on Craigslist to sell the cabinets, just before we started gutting the room. I have a lot more before pics, but Bruce doesn't have time to scan and upload to iPad for me, so this is it. Now I'll show you what it looks like today.
Here is looking at the back door I told you we raised up.
Here is looking at the wood stove and family room, to the right, where pony wall was before.
It's a good little barnyard kitchen, where my wild little shorty pies can run in and out thru the doggy door, dragging in sticks, and mud, and whatever else they fancy. So, I'll just keep the cleaning supplies well stocked, in case we have to have another emergency cleaning session, but in the meanwhile, everybody can just run and hop and be happy, and we won't worry one little bit about entertaining!!
I got a fresh, new Country Living magazine in the mail the other day, and for the first time in a long time there were several things that I really enjoyed. That makes me happy, because I miss all the wonderful publications that bit the dirt when the economy took a dive several years ago. Then when things started to pick up a bit, and there were a few new home decor magazines that started showing up again, I was really kind of puzzled and, maybe grossed out is too strong a sentiment, but really not connecting with or appreciating the turn decorating was taking.
Anyway, one of the articles they had in this month's issue was a collector sharing her top 10 best finds in all her years of collecting. I thought that would make a great blog post, and started sorting in my mind what I thought my 10 best finds would be.
And I thought, and I thought.
I've come to the conclusion that there is no possible way I can narrow my vast array of things down to gleen just 10 favorites. So, I decided maybe I could do categories of things, and list 10 +/- of my favorites in that category! And I have many, many categories of things in my house! So that should give me blog fodder for years to come 🙂 .
I decided to jump into it with my favorite lamps. Yup, they are yet another of my fixations.
This is probably my favorite lamp because not only is it pretty, and very old, it has a lot of sentimental value because it belonged to my Great Grandparents. My Grandma told me she can remember when she was a very little girl seeing her Mama doing her mending next to this lamp.
This teepee lamp is one of my all time best finds. For several years I had been coveting these same types of lamps at a very highfalutin furniture and interior design store over the hill, but they wanted nearly $200 a piece for them! Given, they did have Indian hyroglyphic thingies painted around the bottom edge which made them a smidgen fancier than mine, but I paid $192 less for my unembelished teepee lamp! The gal I bought it from at a flea market (they had at our civic center) had lived in Yellowstone Park for years with her Ranger husband. She had collected a lot of YNP memorabilia and said at one time, many years ago, Park officials had decorated the common area of (if I remember correctly) the Old Faithful Lodge with many of these lamps. Since they are fairly small and a bit fragile-ish, not many made it thru intact, given all the bazillion tourists handling them over the years. It is made of rawhide with metal poles, and holds a small watt light bulb inside. I feel super lucky that not only did I get mine for a steal of a deal, it is an actual YNP relic!
I got this lamp at a rummage sale a few summers ago. It has a leaded glass shade, and a bronze colored metal base. It has probably been featured in a few magazines because the folks I bought it from have a business called Head, Heart, and Hand, and they make phenomenally beautiful craftsman and mission style furniture (they have a web site, headheartandhand.com, you should look at how beautiful their stuff is – I'm not advertising for them, they don't know me from Adam, but their stuff is gawk-worthy!) and have been featured in several magazines, I'm sure using my lovely lamp as a prop! They had a small shop downtown for a short while, and this lamp sat on some of their gorgeous tables in their display window. So, yes, I do own a semi-famous lamp!
Made of metal with a rusty finish, I bought this lamp for $20 at a rummage sale. I think it is so pretty! (Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder!)
Then, a few years later, I found this rusty metal fish lamp at a rummage sale, as the fellow was just bringing it outside. I told him he didn't even need to set it down, I would take it right then and there (very brave on my part since I didn't even know how much he wanted for it). He told me he couldn't sell it yet because his wife wasn't back with their change and stuff, and she was the boss of the sale. I asked him how much he was going to want for the lamp, and he said oh, about $2. I said, how about I give you $5 bucks and we don't have to wait for your wife? He said AOK, we were both happy, and I was on my merry way to find more bargains! (That cool little canoe, and all the fishes also came from various rummage sales later on!)
This photo doesn't show it too well, but this little lamp is a bear. I collect bears, too, so he was a must have. The shade is pretty nifty because when the light is on it shows trees and more bears!
I showed you all this cool lamp a few posts ago. It lives in my Cowboy/Indian bedroom.
And the beaver chewed log lamp that I got at the fancy pants thrift store. I love that no one else in the whole wide world will have a lamp like this one.
Last, but not least, this itty-bitty lamp I keep on the mantle in my bedroom for a night-light. Little lamps are the best to make even the dark corners of a room have a cozy glow.
I have lots more lamps in my house, but these are at the top of my list for favorites.
Ten days til Easter! Out come the bunnies – the real, fuzzy ones are hopping all around our neighborhood, the cute do-dad ones are scattered here and there in my house.
My Mom cut back her rosemary plant and brought a big chunk to me. My nose is in heaven! I just plopped the bunch in this old bowl, and it fills the whole room with that wonderful aroma.
These are really old light covers that were in a box with equally old Christmas ornaments that my Grandad found at the green boxes. One man's trash is another man's treasure! He knows I'm goofy about antique stuff so he gave the whole box to me!
Same story with this guy. He was badly broken and going in the garbage at the flower shop my Mom worked at, and she rescued him, brought him home, and repaired him (you can barely tell, if at all, where he was broken after she fixed it). Garbage is apparently my cup of tea!
Not all my do-dads are garbage or from thrift stores (but most of them are 🙂 ).
A bunny “snow baby” box (that came in it's original box) I got for 50 cents at the thrift. I think it's so cute.
These are probably my very favorite bunnies. They are very old German candy containers.
These are also German candy containers I found at an antique store in Minnesota.
Here is a very woodsy little hippity-hop!
There's not a chance I will be able to get a picture of a real bunny in my yard. Miss Declan has discovered the fuzzy little critters while peering out the windows. Now she is obsessed! Thankfully they are staying out of harms way by sticking close to the woodpile.
My poor flower beds are in a dreadful state. They look terribly bedraggled, but Mother Nature is nursing them along, and there are bright spots starting to pop up here and there.
Sunny little daffodils.
Tough crocuses, who will show their pretty purple petals even with snow all around them.
I don't know what these tiny little flowers are called. They are spread all over the gardens, even jumping into the lawn in spots. I love their color.
The bleeding hearts are just bursting thru!
Hope you all have a very Hoppy Easter! And do remember the reason for the season!
I have some fun stuff in my cowboy and indian bedroom.
These are pretty unique, I think. They are kind of like paper dolls, but for boys. Or for girls that like cowboy and indian stuff, like me!
I found them all piled in a plastic zip lock bag at a rummage sale, and had never seen anything like them before, or since.
I'm forever keeping my eyes peeled for all things with a western-y or lodge-y twist. This kind of stuff seems to be getting harder to find (folks are hanging onto it now since it's no longer considered “junk” I guess) and when you are lucky enough to run across such things, it is pretty likely to cost more shekels than I am willing to part with. But once in a blue moon I get lucky and hit the jackpot.
My Mom gave me the awesome Skookum doll this last Christmas. I about fainted when I opened the package, and there it was! I have seen some amazing ones at antique sales, but you practically have to take out another mortgage on your house in order to buy one! My Mom has a great eye, got a screamin' deal on this little Skookum, and altogether that makes it even more special! I treasure it.
The Indian on the horse is a wind-up toy. The horse rears up, then drops down, while moving in a circle, it's tail spinning all the while.
The cowboy in the photo is my great grandfather. I have mentioned my great grandmother, who was his wife, in many posts on this blog because I have been entrusted to care for some of their heirlooms, which are most revered in my house.
It makes me happy when I find a pair of little cowboy boots at a rummage sale or one of the thrift stores. I have plans to decorate with them at the cabin when we get everything squared away up there. For now, they look cute in the cowboy bedroom here at home. I could just kick myself when I think of all the cute little boots I got rid of as my son grew out of them when he was little. That was all he would ever wear, and it was not unusual to see him toddling about in just a diaper and usually bright red cowboy boots!
He was sporting some nice black boots for this photo 🙂
This is a really neat lamp. I believe someone spent a great deal of time building it. It has a slab wooden base edged with bark strips. The stand (or body) is wrapped with individual sticks of red twig dog wood and cinched at top and bottom with braided raffia. The shade I think is handmade paper, done in a layering technique. When the lamp is on, the shade looks like a nighttime sky, with moon and stars and light colored shadowy pine trees.
When the lamp is off, the shade is white, and has a row of forrest green pine trees around the bottom – not a hint of a moon or stars showing. I went to a rummage sale and this couple picked it up just as I was running headlong for it. There was no price on it. When they got to the pay table (I happened to be right behind them in line) they asked how much and were told $8. They hemmed and hawed and decided it was too much. I slapped the $8 on the table and said “sold”, and gosh those folks looked surprised. I think they thought the price would come down, but I beat 'em to the finish line. The lady having the sale just smiled and handed the lamp to me!
All the pillows and blankets on the bed came from rummage sales, or antique sales. Gramma and Grandad's neighbor made lodge pole furniture, so I had him make this bed for my son when he was about 5 years old. That was a big splurge for me, but it's a great piece of furniture and I've never regretted it.
Those are bookends on the window sill, but they are cool to look at, so flat against the window, and facing out suits my fancy so I can see them better.
This little bronc is made of the same material as the bookends, and sits in the other window.
The horse in the photo belonged to my great grandfather (who's pic I showed you earlier). This was his favorite race horse, and his name was Dewey. They had a ranch in Lauren, MT, and raised many horses, as well as cattle, but Dewey was his very favorite. When all us kids were little, Gramma told us exciting stories about Dewey. I really liked those stories, so I feel blessed to have this picture of him as a reminder.
Lots of horses I've found here and there over the years. Some were mine when I was a kid.
Old post cards are another favorite and I just stick them wherever I fancy.
Anyway, there is plenty to keep your eye roving in this little bedroom. I love sleeping in here. It feels like a mini vacation at a Dude Ranch if you use your imagination. I believe I've told you before that I'm easily entertained!