Journaling the Cabin Progress

This is going to be a dry post. I'm putting up a ton of pre-renovation cabin pics just for documentation. Mr. Bruce has been up there the last 6 weekends working like a fiend. He also struck a deal with a too busy contractor. It is so wild in this area presently, with people buying property as quickly as it hits the market, then fixing it to flip, or live in themselves, that it is next to impossible to find a decent contractor worth his salt. All the good contractors/carpenters are lined up with work for months to come. I'm sure there are plenty of shysters out there, because when it's popping like this, those shady types are drawn in like rats to grain. But Bruce has known this fellow for years, and the man is a local that has lived here all his life. He has a good reputation, and is therefore busier than the dickens. But, after a bit of skillful finagling and bartering on my Mister's part πŸ™‚ , the contractor said if Bruce will have everything lined out, and every bit of the lumber, cement, screws, nails, basically every and all supplies needed (including all the new Windows, and all the new flooring) sitting at the cabin ready to go, he and his crews will pop up there between their other big jobs as time allows. Anytime there is slack on the big jobs they're working on, or if there is inclement weather that they can sneak away from their outdoor projects and come up to work on indoor things for us, they'll shoot up to the cabin and try to bang out one project at a time. That's about as good as it gets right now for folks like us that have comparatively smaller projects. When it's chaotic like it is presently, in demand contractors don't want small jobs. Especially when they have to trek clear up into the mountains to do them.

Oh, good gosh, I hope this works out!! We've been burned by carpenters before, but we've also been lucky enough to have some excellent ones do big jobs for us at our house. I just want to get the big basics done on the cabin, then Bruce and I can tackle the smaller, more manageable ones. Bruce doesn't have the time, or number of men available that are needed to get windows and doors installed, the wood flooring laid, or the walls put in. He will still be doing the majority of plumbing and electrical himself, as well as all the trim and finish work; and together we can install the wood “tongue and groove” panels on the walls, sheet rock where needed (if we decide to use sheet rock in the bedroom and bathroom), building and rocking the new hearth for the wood stove, and installing whatever we decide to use for kitchen cabinetry. I can paint, wallpaper, tile, stain, make curtains, and decorate to beat sixty without any help. But for the big, heavy duty stuff, we need a crew of men to come in and hit it hard to get it done in short order.

Once the new windows are in place, we can contact the company that will sandblast the logs on the exterior (the company we looked into uses ground walnut shells to blast, then the shell dust and log dust can be left on the ground to naturally decompose). The blasting will basically sand away the discoloration and weathering, and leave a nice even tone on the logs to then stain and seal, making the exterior look brand new, hopefully.

The odd shaped windows on the top right will be eliminated. Then, all along the top, left to right under the pitch, will be framed in and probably covered with shakes, so it will be symmetrical.

 

This bay window is being replaced with a picture window. Same width and height, but flat in the wall.

 

The circular vent to the left of the window will come out as the furnace is moving to the hallway, resulting in dreaded log patching.

 

A larger window will replace the bathroom window, shown center, which will require log cutting and patching.

 

The kitchen window, left of door, has to be raised 1 1/2 logs higher, and the porch window, far left, will be eliminated. More log cutting, and filling. Not fun.

 

 

Porch floor must be laid, and an end wall built, since there will only be stairs to the front now.

 

 

This is the enclosed portion of the front porch. The 2 windows shown will be eliminated, and a big walk-in storage closet will be built, floor to ceiling across this whole end of the porch. There isn't much room for storage in the living area of the cabin, so we want to be smart with this space and squeeze every square inch to make it useful for hanging, boxing, shelving, leaning, and stacking. The window on the floor to the left came out of our kitchen at home when we remodeled and put in the giant picture window. This will be installed to the right of the front door entering the porch. We bought a nice, solid wood door with glass upper from Craigslist, saving probably $300 vs buying a brand new one. We got bids from 3 different companies on the window package we need. Only 6 windows have to be purchased, and I was shocked at the $5,500 price tag from the first company. The second company came in at $4,200. These bids were for aluminum clad wooden windows. We got a bid for vinyl windows next, which was much more reasonable (less than a third of the first bid), albeit not quite the quality we were hoping for – but we have to remind ourselves that this is just a cabin, not a full time residence. And we need to be careful not to dump in more money than we would ever be able to recoup on the little place. Having to build the new foundation, and crane the cabin to it, put a major dent in the budget right off the bat. We have to be very careful with our spending, being mindful to get the most bang for our buck. There is a very long list of things yet to do, and after the shock of the windows bids, we will have to be extra diligent in searching out the best buys. That shouldn't be hard with the decorating/furnishings (since I'm the queen of rummage saling ;-0) but building materials are a different kettle of fish.

As for the inside…..

We do have a plan roughed out. Bruce is wrangling in the plumbing right now. We're having a heck of a time trying to find the best options for hot water. We don't particularly want to go the heater tank route because, unless you plan to keep the propane furnace at 48 degrees all winter (which would be very costly) to prevent water in the tank and pipes from freezing, you must drain and winterize the tank each autumn. That means no hot water if you hope to snowmobile in for weekends in the winter. There are many tankless, hot water on demand options available, but high altitude, extreme temps, and not being there daily, really complicate the decision. I know there must be a good option because I've seen tv shows about hunting camps in Alaska where guides bring folks to a shut down cabin, walk in, flip a few switches, and they're fully functional for a week or so. They leave after minimal winterizing, basically in suspension til next trip in, which they do often, all winter long. We've researched on the internet; I even got a year subscription to Cabin Living magazine to look into that and other things, hoping to make the most informed and correct choices. We surely don't want to dump a bunch of $$ into things, just to have them be dysfunctional and have to be replaced for even more $$. Bruce has checked with other folks in our cabin community, and it seems bottom line up there is water heater tank – bite the bullet and leave the heat running; or rough it – winterize and do without hot water in the winter months. I'm sure there has to be a better, more practical option. We'll keep after it…if nothing else, Mr. Bruce is the prize winner in persistence.

 

The blue tape lines are wall placement markers for bedroom and bathroom. Bigger bed and bath than what was there before, but still mighty tight!

 

Such a dreadful mess - makes me want to pull my hair! Doesn't bother Bruce in the least.

All I know is summer is fleeting, and boy, do we have a lot on our plate! Between work schedules, my folks moving, trying to get as much as possible done at the cabin in the short season we have to do it, and regular old house chores and maintenance, we could all stand a few more hours in the day to be sure!

Anyhoo, not whining….even if it does sound like it! All these things are very good “problems” to have! And not problems at all! We just need to stay organized, and step it up as best we can.

Meanwhile, Pinterest is my friend – it gives me so much to aspire to!

TTFN,

Teresa πŸ™‚

 

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A Bright Spot in a Dreary Winter

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!

TTFN,

Teresa. πŸ™‚

 

 

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A Quick Trip Up The Mountain

We made a quick trip up to the cabin to make sure all was well. This has been a really busy winter for Mr. Bruce at work. That, coupled with the wacky weather, made it difficult to spend any time at the cabin. And who would really want to at this point anyway; it is a disaster up there (insert stressed out shudder here).

The last trip I made was in November when we emptied out the storage unit and brought everything, all boxed up, back to the cabin so we wouldn't have to pay the $40 per month storage fee. Bruce went up for the big New Years Eve party that many in the cabin neighborhood attend. He has no problem camping in the hovel. Me, not so much. He had a blast at the party, where they snow machined progressively to 4 separate cabins (in the dark no less), and ate, drank, gabbed, made merry, and rang in the new year. They had about 50 folks attend this year.

The cabin neighborhood webmaster made this nice photo collage of the party for website we all can access for updates. Note the lovely cabins - that is our inspiration!

But, with 2 months having passed, we thought it would be a good idea to make a trip up to check the pump, and make sure everything else was doing OK.

So we hooked up the trailer with the snow machines, loaded up the poochies, lots of warm hats, gloves, and other snow clothes, and we were off and running.

Once we got off the paved road, the rest (which is normally a dirt road) was mixed stretches of snow pack, then muddy slushy, but it was pretty manageable for this time of year. We were able to drive up to about a mile or so away from the cabin before having to park. The snow got too deep for driving, and it was time to unload the snow machines.

We've had the dogs on the 4 wheeler before, but not the snow machines. They most definitely knew where we were going, and didn't fuss one little bit when each of them got tucked into our bibs/coats, and we putt – putted down the road to the cabin. Snow machines are so loud, I thought it might scare them, but they loved every minute!

This is the new back door and porch deck that Bruce put in before it got too wintery. There was only one door in the cabin before, and that didn't feel safe to me. So we worked a back door and small deck into the new layout. The door replaces the window where the bedroom was before.

You can see where we taped off the potential new floor plan. It looked pretty good on paper – it looks pretty small when you actually see it on the floor. I don't know how those tiny house planners do it! We don't need GOBBS of room. It is just a cabin after all. But I don't want the new layout to be so horribly tight like the way it was set up before. The bathroom before was just ridiculous. But at least there is a bathroom there! I am more than happy about that! We just want to be able to maneuver in the space.

 

 

 

It is a heck of a mess right now, and will most likely get worse before it gets better. I'm having a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. If we could work on it full time, or hire it done, it wouldn't seem so gargantuan. But this is something we have to do in our spare time, and there doesn't seem to be an over abundance of that lately. I guess it's always like that with remodeling, tho. We've been going thru it with our house for years and years! I hate the process, but LOVE the results! I'm sure we'll get there…….just don't want to have to add handicap accessibility so we can get in with wheel chairs and canes because it's taken so long to get to the finish line!

TTFN,

Teresa πŸ™‚

 

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We Made It!!

So the big day finally arrived! The massive equipment had no trouble navigating the twisty mountain road, thank goodness.

 

 

This is Leroy, the crane operator's dog. He really gave wild Miss Piper a run for her money! He was twice her size and they ran laps! Then stuff started moving along fairly quickly, so everyone was rounded up and we (Declan, Piper, and I) stayed in the truck and out of everyone's way.

It was down to serious business now.

All braced, sturdied, and strapped up. It was a very interesting, but stress inducing process. After seeing the miserable lack of craftsmanship while demo-ing, we (but especially Bruce) were so afraid that the cabin might not hold together when lifted.

And here we go – about 4 feet up at this point.

Amazingly, so gentle, and smooth. No swaying, or jerking. No cracking, popping, creaking, or groaning. It was so graceful….and quiet!

 

 

 

 

 

And down. A total of 6 minutes aloft. Believe me, it felt like 60 minutes while it was dangling in mid-air!

 

Safe and sound, Thank you Lord!

 

 

 

 

What a relief!

I climbed up the ladder to take a look inside.

 

What a difference. Because it is tucked more in the trees now, the light inside feels completely different. It is up so much higher it feels very tree-house-ish!

Then we took a look at the mess that was left behind.

 

 

 

It is plain to see how badly the north side is sunk down. And even with no building to hold it in, the smell was still horrific while standing on the abandoned floor. This whole mess will be broken up with a backhoe, and hauled in a dump truck to the dump.

Since it was a weekday, there were only about 4 neighborhood folks there to watch the move. They all gave a good round of applause when “the eagle had landed” πŸ™‚ . Bruce came over to talk to everyone, and I jokingly told him “Now the work really begins!” and boy, those folks didn't miss a beat and said “Give the poor guy a break!”. I really was just kidding! I am so proud of all he has done to get this huge project accomplished, and almost completely singlehandedly. It was no small feat, and clearly shows how dedicated he is to this little mountain house.

There are several more projects in the works over the next few weeks……running new electrical to the cabin; having closed cell insulation blown onto the underside of the floor; securing the cabin to the new flooring system; cleaning up all the mess left behind; cutting in and installing a new back door so the wood stove can be moved back in (just so we will be able to use the cabin this winter – it would be near impossible without the stove), and too many smaller things to list. Now we are in a race with the weather. You never know what to expect in Montana, and I thank the Lord the weather held to move the cabin. Big equipment can't make it up the road if it's wet or snowy. So, cross fingers it will be a lovely, long, mild Indian Summer, and we will be able to get everything buttoned up before winter.

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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PROGRESS

Here are a few shots of the progress on the new foundation for the cabin.

These are the drilled holes, but pre-pour of the cement piers. There was a good deal of surveying, angle calculation, time, and effort just to get these dozen holes put in the ground. And the majority of this Bruce did all by himself. God bless his heart.

 

 

 

He had to frame everything up, and set the sonotubes and rebar cages (which he wired together himself). Nine of the twelve holes drilled that will hold the pier posts ended up taking on water from the underground springs on the property. That did not make Mr. Bruce happy at all. He had to rent a pump and make other modifications to make sure everything was ready for the concrete pour. It took him the better part of the week to have everything ready. He had the concrete delivery scheduled for 9 a.m. on Saturday. Then, here came the cement truck, approximately 2 and 1/2 hours late. Just enough time for the ground in the yard to thaw out and be good and soft. I had to work the day they poured, and I am glad I wasn't there to watch, because it was a very stressful, torturous day. The cement truck got stuck on the property because of the boggy ground and excess weight of the loaded truck. And it was stuck a goodly distance from where the cement needed to be poured. A very good hearted man, who just happened to be stopped and chatting with Bruce in passing, gave up his Saturday on the spur of the moment when he saw the terrible picture unfold with the truck, and knew what a horrible pinch Bruce was in. He helped him get that concrete from the truck to the foundation holes, which was no small feat. Another cabin neighbor had a bobcat (a small tractor like piece of equipment) he let them use, and they would fill the bucket then drive from the truck over to the holes and dump in the concrete a scoop at a time. Not good. Once the cement was unloaded from the truck, which was a long while later, they were able to get it unstuck, and the truck driver got out of the yard and back to the road. This is a very condensed version of what transpired. There were lots of other exciting things that happened in the process, but this would turn into a book if I elaborated.

I haven't been up since the pour. Bruce said the road in the yard to the cabin is a torn up mess, and the piers are not pretty by a long shot, but thank The Lord they are done. And he beat the snow to boot. Needless to say, he decided to skip going up there this weekend. He needed a break away from that turmoil for a bit. Now, we wait til next Spring, then starts the process of getting everything ready to lift the cabin from the present foundation and move it over about 35 feet to the new foundation. Oy Vey, I don't even want to think about that…too scary.

So, on a happier note, here are some pictures I took on the way up to give Bruce moral support during the earlier part of this ordeal. I was a worthless helper, but that stuff was way beyond my capabilities.

This was one of my travel partners. The princess Declan, in her little pink blankey.

Glee rode in the back seat so she could hang her nose out the window. This little gal just snoozed the whole way up.

There was an impressive storm rolling in as I drove up.

It rained a little, slushed a little, and patches of blue sky shone thru all the while. Made for a very pretty spectacle.

It was pretty nice for the few hours I was up at the cabin. Bruce said I left just in the knick of time as it rained cats and dogs shortly after I headed back to town.

The trees in the cabin yard were putting on a pretty show of colors. Most of the leaves in town have blown off already. The wind just doesn't stop in this little town.

Anyway, steady by jerks. We just need to keep the faith that all will go well with this little mountain house, and it will be so wonderful when everything is completed and sturdy and snug when we finish.

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 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

 

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Show and Tell

Wow, just like kindergarten when you got to bring your bestest, shiniest, purdiest rock to show all the kids at school, I'm going to do just that, and show you a bunch of the steal of a deal bargains I've been finding for the cabin! (Aren't you ever so excited πŸ™‚ !)

 

So, I've started a ledger to keep track of everything. First, I've shopped my house for things that will be useful at the cabin and that I can get by without here, and recorded what I had paid for each item (I have a pretty good rememberer when it comes to what I pay for something, cuz I am cheap). Then I jotted down all the new things I've gotten and their cost. That way I have a good inventory list for insurance purposes, and also can see how much money I have invested in furnishing the cabin. If it looks like I'm getting too wild I can keep myself in check. So far, so good! I have come across some reeaally good deals!

We have a great little thrift store here in town. They have done so well that they opened another store downtown where they take the higher end donations and sell them for more than they would at the other store. Both have great prices for the most part. The community is very supportive of both shops with lots of donations and high turnover of their inventory, because it is set up so that a certain amount of the profits are poured right back into our town for lots of different projects, or people in crisis, etc. Win Win!

Craigslist is my BFF. I have found some truly awesome stuff there over the last few years. It certainly doesn't hurt living in such close proximity to Big Sky, where the wealthy are WEALTHY, and it doesn't seem those folks have any trouble at all letting go of nearly new, gorgeous furniture, and other things, when they get the notion to redecorate.

And the good old stand by, rummage sales! My style is best described as “Early Rummage”, and nearly my whole house is decorated with rummage sale finds – for real, I'm not pulling your leg.

K, so now come the pictures; I guess you'd call it a story board of sorts? Or maybe just a sneak preview of some of the ingredients, just not the finished spread πŸ™‚

 

This moose horn sconce came from the fancy pants (downtown) thrift. I thought $14 bucks was not too shabby. It would cost significantly more if I tried to make it myself – just think how much the emergency room charge would be after wrestling the moose for his horn πŸ˜‰

 

Here it is with all the other room lights off.

 

I walked in the thrift the other day and left with my car boot full. The lodge pole table was $7. The cedar piece sitting on the table was $3, and it will either be turned into a lamp, or I'll flip it the other way and make it into a shelf of sorts. See the picture of the elk to the left? It is a clock that Bruce's Dad won in a raffle and he gave it to Bruce.

 

Genuine Norwegian skis, complete with instructions only Ole could decipher. These were part of the window display at the downtown thrift. These, along with a pair of modern, just like new snowshoes, were in the window for about a week. Bruce needs snowshoes to keep strapped on the back of the snow machine for safety sake in case it would break down when he's far out on a trail. I needed the skis for decoration cuz they're cute. I went in and asked the gal if they would entertain an offer on both items since they'd been there awhile. She happily took an additional 25% off the already terrific price. Just a week earlier I had seen a pair of skis very similar to these at an antique store over the hill for $185; and the snow shoes sell new at the sporting goods store for $130…. So for 77% less, I walked out of that store with my arms full and a big smile. See the red, green, and tan flannel quilt behind the skis? It's just a quilt top, but it came out of the free bin at the thrift. I will, for sure, be firing up my sewing machine in the near future.

 

The cowpoke and bucking horse material will be curtains for the bedroom. I purchased the material at a rummage sale a long time ago for $4, and there has got to be a couple yards of the stuff. The vintage Yellowstone Nat'l Park scarf will be made into a pillow. The 2 rugs to the left my mom gave me; she's had them stored away for like 30 years. I am obsessed with Indian print rugs. Do you have any idea how much those buggers cost right now? Take a look at ebay sometime, search Navajo rugs, and you'll wish you had a few dozen of them stashed away. Which brings me to my next extreme deal –

 

I must have somehow sent some pretty good vibes out to the cosmos, because if you remember a couple of posts ago when I told you about the cabin, I said I wished Ralph Lauren was my uncle so I could shop at his store gratis, or at least get a family discount – well guess what……it came to me! I found this vintage Ralph Lauren dhurrie at the cowboy antique store here in town for a scream of a deal! And you're not going to believe this…….

 

A few days later I went over the hill to get stuff to stock up the pantry, and something just kept telling me to go to one of my favorite antique stores over there. It is pretty far out of the way, and I really had had no intentions of antiquing, but it was such a pretty day and the roads were nice and clear for January, so I thought what the heck. I got to the store, moseyed around and saw lots of great stuff I wanted and didn't need, when what to my wondering eye should appear, but an Indian design on something, stuffed on a bottom shelf, with baskets of belts and do-dads stacked on it. I cleared it off, pulled it out, and saw that it was a rug – Oh be still my beating heart – I unfolded and stretched it out, good Lord it was huge!! And in near perfect condition. 100% wool! Nearly 12' x 9', the most beautiful colors and design you've ever seen. I found the price tag and OMG, it was a price a normal human being could afford! I went to fetch the shopkeeper lady, and bravely asked her if the booth owners would be willing to come down on their prices. She said 10% was pretty common. I said how about 30%? She said she'd call the booth owner with my offer. So there I was, sweating bullets, anxious to see if they'd come down, all the while fighting the fight or flight instinct (flight in my case) because even tho I had offered a nearly insulting amount, it was still a mega chunk of change for me, cuz I'm cheap. Around the corner she came, and said YES! Even she looked surprised! So I hurried quick and paid up before anybody changed their minds, and with my mighty surge of adrenaline still pumping, I packed that big old rug clear down the street to my car. It folds up nicely, but it's heavy! So in the picture above, the Ralph Lauren is on the top, the giant rug is underneath. Could the colors go any more perfectly together? The other piece of material in the upper right of the picture, and the 2 braided leather belts, are a $4 purchase from the thrift. The material is a straight skirt which I will fashion into a drop valance for the loft window. I will use the belts to cinch it up so sunshine can come in during the day, and unbuckle them at night so the window will be covered.

Next comes the pay off for dogging Craigslist every single day

 

 

A main fixture and 2 pendants. These will be perfect for the kitchen, and will replace the lights in the picture below.

For about 1/3 the cost of the big box stores.

Then came this one.

It is 43 inches tall (not including the chain) and came complete with shades. Bruce jimmy-rigged it so we could see it lit up (3 of the bulbs are burned out). I wish you could see it for real, it is just stunning in my opinion. I have seen chandeliers similar to this in some super duper high end, smells like leather when you walk in the door stores, and they cost probably 8 or 10 times what we paid for this fixture. Needless to say, I am thrilled with our good luck at finding and catching this deal from Craigslist.

The day I filled my car boot at the thrift? This was part of the loot –

 

$5, and the glass shades and color of the metal match nearly perfectly with the 1st Craigslist fixture and pendants. Can't beat that deal with a stick!

 

This armoire was the very 1st Craigslist deal I found. We were able to haul it up to the cabin before the road closed. It is made of hickory and pine, is heavy as a truck, and was dirt cheap. I LUUUVVV it!

 

See the pinecones and branches painted (all by hand, not factory or decal) on this table? It came from an antique store near Big Sky, and was a crazy good deal. The black leather couch behind the table was also a Craigslist find a few years ago, and we just brought it up from the family room at home.

Moose Springs is going to get pretty fluffed up before too long!! And rummage sale season is just around the corner; more good deals to come I hope! Can't wait!

TTFN

Teresa πŸ™‚

 

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A hickory cabinet fit for a CottageLodge

There is a big hickory cupboard in my kitchen. It is wonderful. Tons of storage, roll out shelves for big mixing bowls and other cooking utensils, and a couple of false front drawers to fill with whatever tickles your fancy – we like to keep peppermints in them presently. It also has a bunch of open shelves. I suppose most people would keep dishes, maybe jars of dried goods, that sort of thing, but I like do-dads on 'em. Lots of Lodgey eye candy. It's hard to get a good picture of the shelf contents. No matter what, there are shadows. It is one of those things best seen in person, but since most of you can't come visit me 'cept for here, I'm going to show you the pics I took even tho they are pretty ratty and shadowy looking.

 

I found out from reading the blog “An Urban Cottage”, that my kitchen is what is called a partially unfitted kitchen. When a kitchen has cupboards that can be moved around or taken with you when you move, my understanding is it's considered to be an unfitted kitchen. If you ever watch HGTV's house hunters international, it seems like lots of homes and apartments in Europe have that sort of kitchen.

We did our kitchen on a shoestring budget. We ordered good quality maple base cabinets and got them when they were having a sale, but only got the bare minimum that would be needed. I had a couple antiques cabinets that I wanted to use in the remodel, which was a bonus because new kitchen cabinetry is expensive! I knew that probably we would still not have enough storage, so when we learned about an auction a fella was having to liquidate his cabinetry building business, we were there Johnny-on-the-spot! So I bid on and won this big old hickory cabinet, paying 80% less than what he had been charging folks to place the same cabinet in their homes when his business had been in full swing. Sweet deal for my pocket book!! I like to rotate what I put on the shelves, befitting the season or Holiday.

 

Here is the whole conglomerate, in all it's lodgey-ness.

 

An old souvenir plate from Yellowstone Park, a forever calendar with fox on it, a few old miniature totem poles, an Indian basket, and fox.

 

A few duck decoys, and an old, pretty mountain pic.

 

My folks gave me this cabin for Christmas a few years ago. Dad built it, Mom furnished the inside, complete with curtains, a rug in front of the fireplace, and little furniture. It even has a light in the fireplace, so the light glows out of the little curtained windows!

 

A couple squirrels, and my favorite books on cabin style decorating.

Pretty soon it will be time to switch off and deck everything out with Holiday cheer. I'm glad I'm not a minimalist; it's so fun playing house with all these treasures I've collected over the years. Most of my things have come from rummage sales and auctions and such (which I started frequenting at about age 11 or 12), so there isn't a ton of money invested here, and I really get a lot of joy out of it. All this kind of stuff may not be for everybody, but in my case, it's good enough for who it's for πŸ˜‰

TTFN

Teresa πŸ™‚

 

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The Fish can’t live in the cupboard

When we remodeled the kitchen I wanted a huge window. My house is pretty dark inside because I have a bajillion trees in my yard. I try to cater to the winged things around here, so everything I plant is to try to benefit the birds, butterflies, and bees. Especially the bees because they are having such a rough time right now, and we need 'em!! (Who else is going to do all the pollinating?) I figured a great big window would give me one room where I could have the luxury of a little sunshine, even with all the trees. The only problem with that is it didn't leave much space for upper cabinets. None of my lower cabinet drawers were big enough to hold plates and glasses, so I found a couple cute, smaller, old cabinets that I could squeeze in, and went to work on them.

Even the paint brush I used came from a rummage sale!

 

This beauty was a $2 garage sale find.

 

Look how many different colors it had been in all it's years.

Bruce and I built a chalkboard to place to the right of the vent hood. I have a big problem with needing things to be symmetrical (which Bruce never lets me live down), and I felt this balanced things a bit better. I looked everywhere for another cabinet the same size as the one to the left of the hood, but no luck, so a chalkboard the same width and height as the cabinet had to do. The little cabinet came from an antique store outside of Portland. It was white, had clear glass in the door, a mirrored back, and was meant to sit on the floor. When I got it home I painted it black, had Bruce replace the mirror back with wainscoting, then painted the inside cream. In this picture the tile backsplash isn't up yet, but I already had the tile, some of which are slate with a pinecone design sandblasted on them. I made a photocopy of the pinecone tile onto sticky backed paper, stuck the paper onto the door glass, and cut out the pinecone design with a scripto knife. You can buy acid for glass etching and that is what I used. Then we screwed the cabinet to the wall, and filled 'er up! I also painted and acid etched the glass on a little old medicine cabinet I found, and put it on the adjacent wall at the end of the window. The bigger cabinet to the right was easier because it already was a kitchen cupboard and just had to be painted, no glass and such to fiddle with.

Getting ready to start the whole process of pineconing and acid etching the glass.

 

The light has to hit the glass just right in order to fully see the pinecones.

The larger cabinet on the right I use for plates, bowls, and glasses. It isn't deep enough to lay plates flat, so I bought an Ikea pot lid holder to put in the cabinet, and put the plates upright in the holder. The cabinet on the left is for spices and other cooking things.

I'll do another post on the kitchen later and show you the backsplash and everything else finished. These pictures were about 3/4 of the way thru the remodel.

Anyway, after all this cabinet information and stuff, the whole point of this post was to show you where I ended up having to put my neato fish anniversary dishes. It turns out they are too tall to fit into the cabinet. I couldn't bear to not be able to look at them and use them, so I copy catted something I saw awhile back.

 

 

This great old tool caddy fits the bill. I found it at an estate sale this fall for a whopping $5. Cleaned it up, polyurethaned it, and those fishes fit in there swimmingly (sorry πŸ™‚ ). It even has zinc tacked on the ends, so it custom coordinates with my countertop!

TTFN πŸ™‚

Teresa

 

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The long, long journey

Probably the biggest majority of this blog’s content will pertain to all the ups, downs, sideways, lefts, and rights it’s taken to get our home to where it is today. It’s been a long haul, and we still have lots of unfinished projects, but at this point in time we’ve gone from this

to this, and have earned each and every one of the gray hairs we’ve sprouted in achieving this transformation.

This house was 37 years old when we bought it, and only a very few families had given a hoot about it in all that time. My good neighbors, who built their house a year prior to this one, said they can’t even begin to recall all the people that have lived in this house as it was sold over and over again, and many times was even used as a rental. This resulted in basically a revolving door of people coming and going from here. So, the poor little house with no name went from bad to worse, in a steady decline from neglect and abuse.

During all the trials and tribulations this house was going thru, I was happily living on the other side of town, in my first home, an “itty bitty” 97 year old, but well built, well cared for little cottage.

Well, Mr. Bruce decided it was high time to get hitched (he had been waiting a very long time) and I finally acquiesced. So began the hunt for a new abode, sad as it made me to leave my little house. If by chance you end up following this blog, you will see that I have a penchant for collecting junk, stuff, do-dads, valuable antiques and family heirlooms. There was no way I could squeeze Mr. Bruce and all his belongings in to my already full quarters. He also needed a garage (as he has a tool hoarding disorder all his own), and the lot the little house sat on was only about 4200 square feet. I gots to have my posies, trees, and veggies, so there was surely no room to build a garage!

Well, this long, long journey is a long, long story, so in order to not take up all your valuable blog cruising time, I will call this Part I, and we will continue on with the saga next time!

TTFN (Ta Ta for now),

Teresa πŸ™‚

 

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