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!
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.
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!
The Spirit moved me to dust today, and I decided it was an opportune time to put out a few doggies from my collection.
Looking at these wire haired terriers, I would bet Miss Piper Doodle has many relatives of this breed of dog in her lineage.
This cute plate was a bargain find at the thrift store.
I like looking for dogs for my collection that I've had in real life, as sort of reminders. Even tho we had many dogs as I was growing up, in high school I got the first dog that was officially “mine”. She was a pure bred greyhound puppy. My Aunt knew some ranch folks that had a pair that had a litter. My puppy was the last one of the litter and was about 4 months old. Since they hadn't had an interested buyer for her, they told my Aunt I could have her since they were assured she'd have a good home. I named her Chatelaine, Laine for short, and we all loved her for a good many years. She was a beauty, and one of the sweetest, smartest, calmest, most well mannered dogs we've ever had.
A whole herd of little blue and white antique terriers.
An antique bird dog TV lamp, and a few St. Bernard's thrown in the mix. I've never had either of these breeds as pets, but they're cute.
A shepherd dog keepin' warm buy the wood stove.
A pair of bird dogs for the table centerpiece.
I can't put the little corgi or border collies from my collection out just yet, because losing Glee and Rooti is too fresh. But they'll take their place among the rest of the good reminders, a few years down the line.
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.
Many of the things I have collected for the cabin I have posted about already. I'm afraid to get too far ahead of myself because our little cabin is fairly small (about 580 square feet + about 126 usable square feet in the loft; and the porch is about 192 sf, 1/2 enclosed, 1/2 open). The size of that little log house tends to grow quite a bit in my head when I'm away from it for awhile, and I seem to think a lot more can fit in the space than really can. So, I'm sharing some photos of things I've picked up over the last several months, and am hoping mightily that all this loot can fit!
These are antique metal “baker's cabinets”. I have never seen one as large as the bottom one before. They both have several shelves inside and hopefully will make good hanging upper cabinets in the limited space available with the cabin kitchen being somewhat re-formatted. Luckily, both of these were priced well below what I have seen even the smaller of the 2 of these antiques go for in my travels. The metal is fairly decorative, sort of like the old pressed tin ceiling tiles. Cleaned up, I think they will make unique cabinetry for the kitchen.
I've had some changes at work, and I feel like the luckiest person on the planet right now….they've decided to close on Saturdays, and boy, am I ever making hay while the sun shines! I don't know how long it will last (for good and ever, I hope) but while I have weekends free I have been hitting every rummage sale, flea market, estate sale, and antique show I can drive to within a semi-reasonable distance. I've been lucky enough to happen upon some excellent finds which has saved us a bundle off retail price.
This light fixture will be perfect for the bathroom at the cabin. It came from a rummage sale a builder was having, to get rid of excess surplus so he wouldn't have to store it. He got this fixture from a custom lighting company that was going out of business, and said he still paid way too much for it, but didn't want it to get broken in storage. So he said he'd take it in the shorts and give it to us for $20 bucks! That made me one happy girl!
It is awesome! That is real leather strapping wrapped around the metal “twigs”.
Then, of course, I couldn't resist a few do-dads!
This is not something I ever remember having seen before, even tho I have been thru bazillions of antique stores! It's like a powder box of sorts. Take the lid off and there is a well inside. It stands on 3 little metal legs. Love the picture of the Indian, and that's why I bought it. It came from my favorite antique/junk store in Big Timber.
I found 2 babies for the Skookum doll my Mom got me a while back. I am obsessed with Skookums right now, and look high and low for them, but they are super expensive. I feel extremely lucky to have found these babies in my itty-bitty budget bracket.
I'm not sure if they call these small figures Skookum or not, but she is blanket wrapped and cute as the dickens, and had to come home with me. Like a custom fit, she tucks right into the birch bark canoe I already had from a rummage sale.
This picture is my anniversary present from Bruce this year. I am enthralled with tee-pee anything.
And this beautiful Indian maiden picture was my Christmas present from my thoughtful husband. If I end up having enough wall space, I think they will both look terrific at the cabin.
I'm not sure if my bear collection will end up at the cabin, even if there does happen to be enough room. But, I may play “swap” on occasion, and they can spend part of the time up on the mountain. This big bear I found at the same time I got the Indian head powder box thingy.
Then I found this one at the “Little Bear Antique Sale”. They have a phenomenal sale every fall, over the hill. It never disappoints.
He is a Black Forest style mantle clock, and is about 14 inches tall. A lady was getting rid of the tail end of her personal bear collection, and added them to the rest of her inventory. Sure wish I could have gotten in on the rest of her collection! Her stuff was very reasonably priced.
I don't know if I've come right out before and said where I work, but it's at the Transfer Station for our town. There is no landfill here any longer, so all refuse is trucked out by a company to a huge landfill in northern Montana. I'm the lucky girl who gets to run the Scale House! I really love my job, BUT do have a few problems with it – I am a horrendous penny pincher. It is one of the priorities in my life not to be wasteful. I've come to the conclusion that I am in a tremendous minority. Oh my gosh people are wasteful! I put a lot of effort toward trying to redirect folks to our local charities if they have useful items, rather than having it go to a landfill. A few times I have been presented with golden opportunities to rescue things from loads destined to be dumped – let me show you a few of the things! These aren't good pics because most of this stuff is shoved in storage, or squished in the back of the garage, but you'll get the idea.
These awesome lodgepole pine benches were my first rescue. They came from a dude ranch nearby that has a long, long history. They decided to clean up and modernize a bit I guess, and came in with a big truck and huge trailer FULL of stuff. I could see these benches on the top and nearly fainted! I told the guy I wanted them and he said I was welcome to them! One has a seat so old it is stuffed with metal springs and horse hair for padding. I cringe when I think of the things I couldn't see on that load that went into the refuse trailers. There is also a solid wood, 6 foot tall cabinet, and a lodge pole pine lamp/table combo that didn't make it into the picture that I scavenged. A few weeks ago, I pulled an antique, quarter sawn oak rocking chair off a load. It has arms, and a padded seat and back. It was so full of mouse poop that Bruce pulled all the material off and shook it out, and it will stay in storage til I get the time to re-upholster it. I have some great, high end upholstery material I got at a rummage sale, that came from an interior design store. Or maybe I'll use one of my Hudson Bay blankets for the upholstery.
K – so I almost fainted again when I saw this. I said incredulously “You're not dumping that are you?” And the guy looked at me like I'd lost my marbles and said “Well, yeah…, it's just an old door.” I told him immediately that I wanted it. He didn't think it would fit in my car trunk so even volunteered to drop it at my house! I think at this point he was a little scared of me, and offered to drop it off so he could get gone from there 🙂 I was so darn excited! I'm not sure just where it will go yet, but someplace it will look awesome will pop up I'm sure.
OK, and for the grand finale I saved the best for last! This was the best Christmas present! And FREE to boot!
A genuine, cast iron, claw foot tub!! Oh Joy! I had been scouring loads for months looking for one. Most contractors just bust them up with a sledge hammer and pack them out in pieces because they are so heavy to drag out of a house and load whole, just to trash them anyway.
This most wonderful young man came in with a truck and topper and told me he just had a load for the metal recycling bin. I couldn't see what he had since it was in the topper, so just gave him the OK to go ahead. Fortunately for me he said “You don't know anybody that could use an old claw foot tub, do you?” I nearly jumped for joy and said “ME!!” This kind fella helped me load the whole works into my truck, faucets and all! And the cherry on the top was when he said “How about sinks – need any of those?”
Good Lord, it felt like I'd won the lottery! A high backed, cast iron kitchen sink…..with faucets!! And…
This awesome little cast iron bathroom sink!
He had painstakingly packed all of these out of the UPSTAIRS of an old house, hoping that someone could use and appreciate them. Well, needless to say, he found the right person!
So, stay tuned! I hope I'll be having a bit of the luck o' the Irish, and will be able to make all of this stack of goods work. Otherwise, I may end up having the rummage sale of the century!
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 need some big vitamins.
Last year I put every drop of Halloween stuff I own out. About 5 or 6 big storage tubs full. I do it solely for my own entertainment, because
#1 Mr. Bruce could not give a hoot. I'm sure he is not enthralled with skeletons, dangling bats, and blinking orange lights to weave thru to get to his recliner. 😉
#2 I had a grand total of 1Trick-or-Treater last year.
#3 No one but Bruce and myself passed thru the front door of my house the full month of October last year.
This year I am pleading exhaustion (aka laziness). I put one little ghosty sign, a pretend crow, and a light-up plastic ghost on my front porch, and that is the extent of it. Not that I really need to make excuses to myself for myself, but I guess it is the polite thing to do!
But, needing a little change/pick-me-up, I did switch out the shelf content on my hickory cabinet in the kitchen. Here is how the shelves had looked for quite awhile –
So I packed up most of this stuff, and drug out my bears.
I spent awhile arranging, then re-arranging them. Kind of like playing Barbies, but with bears – guess that's Montana style. (Or deranged CottageLodge gal style.)
I really like this big one. I think he is a very old Glacier Park souvenir bear.
The way he is painted and sculpted is similar to this smaller guy, and I know he is an early 50's Glacier souvenir. Some kind soul placed a piece of cloth tape on the underneath of the bear, stating where they got him and the year. I was glad no one had peeled it off at the antique store where I bought him.
I really like old National Park stuff, and try to snap it up when I come across it, if it's affordable.
This pic came across my feed on face book; I would love to have a bigger, framed version of it. It brought back memories of our family trips thru the park when I was little. We used to open the windows a crack and push cookies out to feed the bears. There would usually be lots of other folks doing the same thing, and most times would have a crowd of around 5 or 7 bears, all schnarfing whatever folks would hand out to them. Sometimes they would jump on the hood of the car and lick the windshield, begging for more snacks. Thankfully, this feeding practice has been strictly outlawed now, both for the good of the bears, and the safety of the tourists. I really don't know why it was ever tolerated. But it sure happened, clear into the 70's.
I can hardly believe October is 2/3s over. I love the fall, and we are having a beautiful one here this year, but I am totally unprepared for the holidays to be just around the corner.
Yep, I need big vitamins.
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!!