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 Cottage Bedroom

My time management skills are sorely lacking. But I did manage to get my big little son's former bedroom put back together again. Because of that, my turkey collection has to suffer another full year of being boxed up before they can come out and play again. I have so many beautiful and unique turkeys it's a shame to not get them all out, but I put 5 full totes of Halloween stuff out this year, and by the time all of that got put away, then also had the bedroom re-do that had to get done before Thanksgiving, well something had to give!

Anyway, thought I'd share how the bedroom turned out. I am really happy with it. It feels very calm and feminine and old fashioned to me. Let's see what you think about it –

These are the before pics. This room is only 9 feet by 10 and really difficult to photograph.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just went from the doorway into the room, then clockwise around the room. It was pretty beat up from my teenage fella living there. When he was little, he used to bedroom hop. With no siblings, he had 3 bedrooms to choose from, but spent his teenage years in this room.

This is the first time I can remember that I didn't make it harder on myself and complicate things by using multiple colors, wallpapering, trying strange paint techniques, etc. I just got two partially full cans of light colored paint out from under the stairs where we store lots of extra paint, and I mixed them together. The result was a nice off white, with casts of buttery creme, beige, and even a bit of a pinkish tint at times. Depending on the light throughout the day, it can take on any of the above tones. I did walls, ceiling, doors, and trim the same color. That made it pretty snappy to finish. We did prime the brown wall with 2 coats of Kilz before paint went on.

This room didn't cost me a dime to re-do. I just shopped my house and didn't have to go out to buy anything. I don't know if that's good or bad, to think you have enough stuff to completely re-do a room and not have to buy a thing, from paint to bedding! The crazy thing is, even if I did add up the initial cost, it would still be little to nothing. I buy paint inexpensively from WalMart and keep what's leftover to use later. Nearly everything in the room is rummage sale or hand-me-down. Let me show you…

The old metal bed, mattress, quilt, little juniper filled chickadee pillow, and old quilt bunny; all from rummage sales. Shelf came from a craft sale, unfinished, and I painted it. The old, old baby dresses hanging from the shelf pegs my Grandma found in a box in the garbage a few houses down from hers. A family moved their elderly relative out of her house and threw nearly everything in the poor lady's house away. So at least these sweet little dresses were rescued. Lamp and chair were my Great Grandmother's. My Mom and I re-upholstered the chair (with clearance fabric) about 10 years ago. Night stand found on Craig's List. Had the lace panels for years. The valance looking thing at the top of the lace is a linen table topper, hand embroidered by my Grandma's tiny little French/Norwegian aunt (she was about 4 feet 10 inches tall in shoes!), many, many years ago. In the frame above the bed is Bruce's Great Grandparent's marriage certificate. It is unusually large, and so beautiful!

I love the detail; the deer by the lake, the different flowers.

Just a few of my favorite poochies from my antique dogs collection. The majority of these were found at rummage sales or were gifts from folks.

 

 

All the antique lady pictures were also my Great Grandmother's.

I moved the gothic window from the living room and added some rope lights. I placed it on an oak 2 drawer chest I got for a song at an antique sale.The wooden shoe lamp was sent from Holland when my Mom's cousin lived overseas. She sent it to my Great Grandmother, and I remember it in her home from the time I was little.

A happy little couple. My little glass corgis were just the right size to be their companions πŸ™‚ .

I put some dollhouse furniture my Mom had when she was little on my little mini hutch.

 

 

 

I'm glad to have it all put together and off the to-do list!

So, in parting, I want to wish everyone the happiest Thanksgiving. I'm going to throw in a couple pics of turkeys from last year, just cuz I'm missing them so much!

 

 

 

TTFN,

Teresa πŸ™‚

 

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Doors At My House; The Variety Pack

I have a horrendous weakness for, well, many things! But a beautiful old door can make me go weak in the knees. If I had my way, every door in this house would be antique. Unfortunately, Mr. Bruce and I don't see eye to eye on this subject. I had a nice small stash of old doors in the garage that I had found here and there that I had big plans for……but due to my lack of carpentry skills they sadly sat in the corner of said garage gathering dust. During one of our more ambitious spells, we got semi-organized and had a rummage sale. Guess what busy Mr. Bruce sold unbeknownst to me when I was looking the other way – yup, my doors. And to rub salt in the wound, he sold them for less than I had paid for the darn things! Well, I've gotten a few replacements since then, but the aren't yet installed. A couple of them will be used up at the cabin. That should entail less whip cracking because he is more, what's the word, enthused about doing things at the cabin than he is at home. That cabin is his baby, kinda like the house is mine.

Anyway, I have been able to twist his arm a couple of times to install some “not your run of the mill” doors at the CottageLodge, and I am ever so appreciative.

This was right after the addition was finished. We bought a decorative exterior door, but it never looked right to me. It was just begging for a pretty, old fashioned screen door. So I shopped and shopped, and finally found an affordable one, and Bruce built out extensions and installed it.

 

I think it very much adds a nice cottage-y touch.

This is my bedroom door. It is an old exterior door, with beautiful beveled oval glass. A gal was remodeling her old house and had, literally, thrown this door out on her lawn. This is a small town, and I knew who she was, so the day after I saw it I called her up and told her I'd give her $15 for it, and she happily agreed! It was painted a ghastly shade of cement gray, so I stripped it down to the old varnish and had Bruce install it just that way. I painted the bedroom side of it a soft cream color and that's how she's gonna stay!

It had a big hole where the other gal had pulled out the bolt lock. Course Bruce was gonna fix that hole someday πŸ˜‰ , and about 5 years later I decided to just look thru my stuff and see if I had something to “temporarily” cover that hole. I remembered getting these harness ornaments at a rummage sale, but could not think of a way to use them…….voila!!

 

 

They just worked slicker than a whistle! Check one off Mr. Bruce's honey-do list.

This is the door to Bruce's bathroom downstairs. It came from my little house and is really, really old. There was an attached garage on the back of the little house, and after scraping and saving for several years I had enough saved up to turn it into a family room. The carpenters wanted to throw this door out. Good Lord, I came unglued. They, I'm sure, thought I had lost my marbles…..why would you want to keep this old piece of junk they asked. Some people will never understand πŸ™‚ . Just look at this beauty –

 

 

I love it, plus it allowed me to bring a small piece of my little house with me when I had to leave it to move here.

This is the door down to the basement. It came from my Mom and Dad's farm. Before they remodeled, it went out to this weird solar greenhouse thing that was attached to the house. They tore the whole mess off and I inherited the door! It is really nice for bringing a lot of light into the stairwell and downstairs.

This door was my anniversary gift from Bruce one year.

Their was an awesome authentically old screen door at my little house, complete with General Store squeak and bang. It was super cute. I adopted this poor dog from the animal shelter and she had severe separation anxiety (understandably – her story is a whole post in itself). Right after I got her, I left her in the yard for just a bit while I ran an errand, and she completely demolished that old screen door. I was sad and kept the remains, hoping that someday it could be salvaged. It got hauled up here when I moved, and lo and behold, Bruce scraped together as many of the pieces of that door as could be rescued, and built from scratch this beautiful door. It is between the dining room and kitchen and serves to keep the critters out of the front part of the house, but still lets the heat from both of the wood stoves circulate back and forth.

He used the spindles, and as much of the wood from the original door as he could.

It could use a quick coat of paint. Miss Glee scratches it when she wants back and forth.

Someday when the laundry room is completely finished, I will give you a photo tour. There are 4 doors like this in that room, all made by Mr. Bruce. I showed him what I wanted, and he just slapped them together in nothing flat. Three are swing doors, one is a big sliding barn door. (I have got to figure out what kind of vitamins he takes when these projects get whipped out; I'm gonna order them by the case when I do!)

This is the door into my Christmas storage room. I wanted it to be incognito and blend right into the wall. Guess Bruce is part Genie, cuz my wish is his command (sort of πŸ™‚ ). I'm just lucky as heck he is so talented, and doubly lucky that he is willing to listen to what I think will work and do his darnedest to make it happen!

Well, that covers the more unique doors in my house. There are a few other just plain old average ones that I hope to replace someday, but they do their job for now. I didn't take a picture of one of the most important doors in my house, that being the doggy door! It's tad grody looking, but is worth it's weight in gold!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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HAPPY FALL!

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Haunted barn.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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A New Hat For My House

Guess what just got finished at our house!

Yup, we have a brand spanking new roof!

This was another thing that just snuck up on us. I knew the porch shingles needed replaced because the front of our house faces east and spends the biggest part of the day in shade, so when it is snowy here (which is a big part of the time) the sun doesn't shine on the porch long enough to get the snow melted off the roof. So, consequently, it just sits on those shingles week after week, which really wrecks the heck out of them. Several times over the last few winters, Bruce had to get a ladder, climb up on the porch roof, and shovel the great drifts of snow off. Not fun, not safe. And as bad as we knew the porch roof was, we weren't prepared when we saw that the rest of the house shingles were all of a sudden looking pretty darn shabby as well. Great.

Boy, this was sure the year for it, tho. By the looks of how many roofing companies were hard at it this summer, a goodly portion of folks in our town were doing just as we were and digging deep in their wallets to remedy the “rotten shingle epidemic” our County was struck with.

This cupola and weather vane were a big splurge for me when we finished up the addition to the front of our house several years ago. I just love it, and am very happy we spent the money on it, which is a rare thing for me to say! When we scheduled with the roofing company, we made sure they did metal roofing as well as shingles. I picked a metal the same color as the cladding on our windows (which is called weathered bronze) and had them put metal on the porch instead of asphalt shingles. Now, hopefully, the snow will just slide off that metal, rather than sit there for weeks on end. They re-attached the cupola and weather vane and it looks so nice on the metal roofing. With all the trees in our yard, plus the height of the house, you can't even see the new shingles on the rest of the house. That's not necessarily a bad thing, because the garage and garden shed weren't re-roofed, and their shingles are now a different color than the house. Only those in an airplane will know that little secret!

Even tho it practically made my hand bleed to write that check to the roofing company, I am very glad we won't have to worry about leaks and/or shingles blowing off in the blizzards to come in the winter that is just around the corner. It's a good thing to take care of your home, because then it reciprocates and keeps you warm and sheltered and snug.

I know I said I wouldn't say the “f” word, but there is no sense in denying the fact that fall is now most assuredly here.

My hops are a little freeze dried, but will make nice additions to fall decorating indoors if I can get my rear in gear.

 

 

 

There is a lot of beautiful color popping up in my yard, and all over town for that matter. The birds will be able to feast on berries in my yard for the next few weeks.

I have carrots and a few onions to harvest from my veg garden boxes, and a few yummy little crab apples to pick. The worms unfortunately also love these little apples, so the lion's share goes to them. Actually I will gather all those I am unable to use, and take them to the cabin for the deer to snack on (they won't mind a worm or two in their apples πŸ˜‰ ).

I need to hustle while the weather is decent and get the flower beds cleaned up and tucked in to keep them snugged up for the winter. I lost a lot of plants last winter, so I need to pay better attention this fall and mulch the dickens out of everything to blanket them.

MORE COFFEE, MORE COFFEE!!!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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A Tour of the Extremely Bargain Furnished Living Room

Felt like it was time to re-arrange. Sounds much easier than it is – my living room is difficult. Too many doorways and the big ol' Tulikivi stickin' way out into the room. Just have to use a little imagination to get everything juggled around.

It's a blustery, thunder and lightening day. Here it is, the middle of the afternoon, and I had to turn the lamps on just to see what I was doing.

I love these rocking chairs. The smaller one came from Bruce's Grandparents farm, the larger one I found at a rummage sale for $15. We reupholstered both of them and polished up the oak, and I think they turned out really nice. I took the gothic window off the sideboard in the dining room and was at a loss where to put it. I didn't want to squash it back in the closet because it's pretty and needs to be seen πŸ™‚ so I propped it up in the corner and kinda like it there for now.

Moved the leather chair over to the other corner and it makes a good reading spot. I got this chair at a rummage sale for $35, bought the leather at a saddle supply shop in Billings, and managed to find an upholsterer in Bozeman that was a total bum. He had the chair for almost 5 months until I threatened to turn him in to the Better Business Bureau, Consumer Advocates, and any other consumer help agency I could think of. He then finally finished it, and did do a decent job, but the whole experience made me really wish that I knew how to upholster my own larger pieces. Simple smaller pieces I can do; big pieces, I'm a fraidy cat to try.

The metal coffee bin to the left of the chair I got at the thrift store for $25. The roll top desk behind the chair I rescued from my sister-in-law, who had it all ready to go to the dump. The cabinet that sits atop the desk is the upper portion of a Hoosier type cabinet which came from (you guessed it) a rummage sale; a super score in my opinion for $20! I “married them” and they are terrific storage.

That opening to the entryway, above the chair, is where the gothic window was supposed to be built in. A good dozen years later, I got sick of waiting. So when we got the oak floors in the living room last fall, I told Bruce to square off the opening, trim it out, and call it good. I'd had 2 carpenters look at it, and neither of them new how to trim out a Gothic arch. Oh for the craftsmanship of yesteryear! It is so hard to find help to hire in this area, and then you're lucky if you even get the basics completed. Thank heavens I have a very talented husband. Unfortunately, his day job keeps him far away from the “honey-do” list a goodly portion of the time. But when it gets down to brass tacks, he comes thru for me and some things get finished up. And very nicely I might add πŸ™‚

The pictures above the lamp are originals. Some of the very few originals I own. I mostly have antique prints.

I got this tiny drawing of sheep from an art gallery here in town (during crazy daze) for a wonderful price. Bruce cut the mat on our cutter, and the frame was (of course) a rummage sale find. Total cost, approximately $12! Not bad for original art πŸ™‚ I cut the little picture in the lower right hand corner out of a Victoria magazine and stuck it against the glass just for good measure cuz I thought it was cute.

I bought this farm scene at an antique mall in Bozeman because it reminded me a lot of Vermont with it's church steeple sticking up in the background. Turns out that, I believe, it's Russian. The detail on the steeple and the artist's name are what make me think that. This photograph doesn't do it justice. It is beautiful and very detailed when you see it up close. I'm so glad I got it, as the antique mall where I purchased it burned to the ground just a few months later.

Some of my flock of sheepies. This little plaque is cement, and was a gift from my Mom.

More sheep, and the print is one of my very favorite – it has a stone bridge with arches just like the very one we have in our town at Sacajawea Park. I got it at a rummage sale πŸ™‚ and framed it myself.

Here is my custom made in North Carolina couch that I purchased at a rummage sale for $40 and had reupholstered (not by the bum, but by an awesome upholsterer that has since moved away πŸ™ ) The lady I bought it from said she had it custom made, pre-children, back when she and her husband both had high paying jobs and more money than they knew what to do with. It is a phenomenal sturdy, hardwood, camel back sofa, and I don't know why she didn't just have it reupholstered herself. My gain!

A portion of my collection of antique, chalk painted Indian pottery.

I put my cast iron barn and farm animals on the sideboard where I previously had the gothic window.

 

There is a small light in the barn which makes the whole barn turn into a night light in the evenings. The china cows came from Bruce's grandparents; I found all the rest of the critters here and there over the years. The barn came from a thrift store in Big Timber.

I put all the rest of my sheep collection out, too. I only put them out about once a year because I have so many different collections and like to rotate them all. So it's fun to start unwrapping them and it never fails I'm surprised by some that I had forgotten about. I'm easily entertained πŸ™‚

Anyway, just thought I'd share some of my treasures. Now, maybe you can understand why I'm so whiney about not being able to rummage due to my new job! I hate shopping retail because I can't stand paying retail prices for anything! For real, 90% of my house is furnished with rummage sale, hand-me-downs, thrift store, auctions, etc., which I'm sure has saved me bazillions of dollars over the years πŸ˜‰

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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Wool Blankets

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

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

 

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

A few are still scattered about the house –

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

TTFN,

Teresa

 

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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 πŸ™‚

 

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 ombrΓ© 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

 

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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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