Friday, July 13, 2018

Introducing Colorado Rustic Style

Hello My Friends!
Thank you all for your wonderful comments and interesting stories about altitude sickness.
I really appreciated hearing from you all but have not had time to answer each comment.

You may have noticed my blog hasn't been about French Country decorating lately. 
That's because my creative energy has been directed toward the mountain cabin 
I purchased about a month ago.


I wanted to let you know I'll probably be writing about the cabin this summer, 
returning to French Country decorating in my home in the fall. 
I hope you're enjoying hearing about the progress at the cabin as much as 
I'm loving every minute of this exciting new adventure.



So instead of French Country, I'm calling this summer's style Colorado Rustic. 
Although it is a rustic style, I think the area rugs, floor-to-ceiling drapes and 
Native American weavings add a softness to this more masculine look.
Wait til you see what I do with these green chairs! 


This beautiful weaving is an authentic Navajo shoulder robe or shawl
purchased in Taos, New Mexico many years ago. 
It may have been used as a young dancer's shawl.


So, on to the latest news . . . we had quite a scare this past week.
The day after we returned from the cabin due to altitude sickness,
a lightning strike caused a forest fire close to our cabin. 
This is just one of many fires scorching the western U.S. 
and my heart breaks for those who have lost their homes. 

WE LOVE OUR FIREFIGHTERS!!
The road to our cabin has been blocked by the state police unless you had proof of residency. 
So scary, watching the progress our amazing firefighters have made on the evening news and Facebook updates. As I write this, the Weston Pass fire is 63% contained. 
We felt somewhat safe because our cabin is in a marshy area 
surrounded by steep rocky mountains. Still, such a worry. 

Ironically, we met with an insurance underwriter at the cabin this week 
to see if our wood-burning cook stove is approved for a policy. 
Fingers crossed. I'll feel better if we have fire coverage. 


Oh, and speaking of marshy areas, guess who else likes our marsh. 
We were thrilled to see this 7-foot bull moose quite near the cabin --
probably a football field's length away!
Ron also saw a cow with a calf but they were too far away for a picture.


We are making good progress on cleaning up the problem areas
and I'm excited to cross things off our to-do list. 
This week, we are loading up our car with hopefully the last of the trash
to be removed and are working on a few small projects.

Most importantly, we are learning to relax and slow down
so we don't get altitude sickness again! 

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Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. OlsonFollow the Yellow Brick HomeFrench Country Cottage

Friday, June 29, 2018

Is it Curtains for the Cabin?

No, I'm not giving up on my new mountain cabin already.
I really am talking about actual curtains.

Here's an overview of the main room in the 336 square-foot cabin. 
I'm loving the skylight and all the windows and how cozy it's feeling. 
Note the deer head? I've had it in storage for years and knew someday 
I would find the perfect place for my Dad's first deer. 


But first, I have to tell you about our unfortunate adventure with altitude sickness.
 Have you ever experienced it? Yuk, it's no fun, believe me.

The first day we were at the cabin we felt fine as did our little dog, Roxy.
This was her first visit to 11,000 feet. 

We celebrated my birthday with several glasses of wine, music on the CD player and watching the full moon rise eerily over the huge rocky mountain in front of our cabin. A lovely time.

The second day I decided to tackle an unsightly pile of logs, old roof shingles and weathered wood planks right in front of the cabin. It really made the place look untidy. 

I noticed I was breathing quickly but figured it was because I was working strenuously. 
Then, I started feeling nauseated and dizzy. But I kept going until the pile was cleaned up.
Type A I know. 

After I finished that project, I sat down for a drink of water and a brief rest. 
I thought I'd get right back at moving some white rocks with which the previous owner had outlined several paths. I wanted the area to look natural and neat paths just didn't work for me.

However, my symptoms got worse with a pounding headache and trips to the outhouse. Ugh. 
I gulped down some more water, took two aspirin and laid down for a rest. 
And spent most of the afternoon curled up on the bed as the room swirled around me.
How do mountain climbers do it? Guess their supplemental oxygen does the trick. 
At least I had the new comforter I'd bought for the cabin.


Ron was a little short of breath but felt better than me and Roxy. 
She was very lethargic, threw up a few times and took to her bed. 
We thought we'd feel better in the morning but no such luck. 

We decided we'd better pack up, leave right away and move down to a lower elevation. 
As we drove downhill, we began to feel better almost immediately. 
The next day back in Denver at 5,250 feet, we felt so much better 
and Roxy slowly regained her energy. 

I've since learned that we were supposed to take it easy and get acclimated to the altitude slowly,
not jumping right in to work on cabin projects as well as taking Roxy for a walk. 
I also learned alcohol at altitude is a no-no.
However, we did do the right thing by getting back down to a reasonable 9,000 feet.

So, lesson learned. Probably the first of many. 
This is a different world up here and we'll have to figure it all out. 
Slowly, this time. 

Meanwhile, back to curtains for the cabin.
At home, I sewed some curtains out of two T-towels to cover the open space 
under the kitchen sink that worked perfectly and looked cute.


I also made two cafe curtains out of some old flour bags 
to cover the back door window and the kitchen window.
You can see these in the first photo.

I used a fabric shower curtain, hanging it in the doorway into the bedroom. 
I clipped it onto a tension rod so it would slide easily and provide privacy.


Lastly I brought four tabbed panels from home 
to cover the three windows on the front of the cabin. 
They look so much prettier than the 1980's wooden blind that had been there (Before below) . . .


. . . softening up the room and providing good security coverage when we're not there. 


So, that's my latest tale. I think it had a happy ending. 


More to come as we navigate this new environment so stay tuned. 

***

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Vintage Wood Cook Stove for Dummies

As you may know, I bought an old mining cabin 
in the Colorado Rocky Mountains a couple of weeks ago.
(You can read about it HERE.)

We've been busy cleaning it out and doing a few repairs like putting good locks on the doors, removing a toilet tank from the kitchen wall (what were they thinking?) 
and trimming some of the uneven boards on the decks.  
We're making slow progress but it's been fun to see the shape of things to come. 


One of the things that drew me to this cabin was the old wood cook stove. 
The black and silver finishes are so beautiful. I can't wait to use it.
If only I knew how.


It's an oldie but goodie -- an Acorn made by Rathbone, Sard and Co. in Albany, New York. 
The company made wood stoves from 1833 to 1925.


OK. So my first draft of this post was to ask all you smart readers out there how to use this stove.
BUT, my sister and nephew have been visiting me and we spent a couple of days at the cabin.
Turns out, they knew all about these wood-burners and were a huge help.
Here are my sister and I in our "front yard."


After a couple of trial runs, I think I now know how to start the fire.
I even took detailed notes to remind me after they leave.


My main concern was how to regulate the heat. 
It's not like you can just turn a dial to lower the flame.
I have to admit I was a little afraid I might burn the cabin down!

So, I learned all about dampers and vents and the firebox and "ash tray."
Apparently, it's all about oxygen (providing it for more heat
and closing it off when it gets too hot).


We had so much fun lighting this stove, pulling our chairs up close for warmth,
and even heating water in my tea kettle and making chamomile tea.
The stove stayed warm for hours and
I can already imagine using it when the weather turns cold.
(We spent the night and the temp dropped to 34 degrees!)

Even though I'm not a complete wood-stove newbie anymore,
I'd still love to hear from you with any tips you might have.
Thanks so much!

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Thank you!!!

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Shabby Art BoutiqueLittle FarmsteadRustic & RefinedOur Southern Home,
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A Stroll Thru LifeSavvy Southern StyleDesignthusiasmHave a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson,
Follow the Yellow Brick HomeFrench Country Cottage

Friday, June 8, 2018

Sneak Peek of Mountain Cabin

Are you ready to see the inside of my new mountain cabin?
OK, here's a little sneak peek.

Closing went off without a hitch and the cabin is now all mine. 
The previous owner left everything behind in the cabin but the generator
so we've had a lot to sort through and either donate, recycle, throw away or keep. 
It's been quite a job but fun and exciting. 


We met the owner and her friend who were real mountain women.
They seemed very happy that someone bought their cabin 
who genuinely loved it and would take good care of it. 


The first thing that happened when we arrived was a scary hoot.
I had the keys to the cabin in hand when I stepped on the deck 
which has over an inch of space between the old boards. 
That's when I dropped the keys and they fell right though the deck onto the ground underneath. 
Not having anything to retrieve them, I got down on hands and knees 
and slithered under the deck to grab the keys Won't do that again!

So here is the living space inside the 366 square-foot cabin. 
It was jammed full of stuff including a table and chairs, cardboard boxes overflowing with newspapers and cereal boxes, and, of course, the ginormous generator. 
Here's a  before picture.


And here's the same space cleaned out.
Seems so much bigger. 


Did you notice the lovely toilet water tank on the wall above the sink?


That was the first thing to come down. So much better. 
The little kitchen area was jampacked with everything 
from dishware to cleaning products to lots of old canned goods. 


Gone!
Notice the toilet tank is gone. 


There must have been a zillion old pots and pans on the beautiful old wood stove
and boxes of food, newspapers and firewood on the floor. 
Check out that formica table backsplash!


It's getting there. I removed the backsplash but didn't take a picture of it. 
Trust me. So much prettier now.


By the way, several of our friendly neighbors stopped by to introduce themselves. 
There are only a few on our road.

And speaking of road, here was another neighbor that stopped by 
on the way to the cabin on our very bumpy road. 
Besides the antelope, chipmunks also showed up to welcome us.


It's been such fun planning what we'll do with the little cabin.
I have a million ideas!


We're looking forward to making it our own but first we have to get rid of a lot of stuff. 
I hope you'll follow along as we tackle a long to-do list and start decorating western style.

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Monday, June 4, 2018

Snapshot Garden Tour

Hello my Friends!

Just a little snapshot tour of my early summer garden. 
This rosebush has never had this many blooms . . . must be all the rain we had in the spring. 


 This is a quickie tour because I'm so focused on our new old mountain cabin. 
If you missed last week's post, you can read about my dream coming true HERE.


The garden is really greening up.
It won't be long til the hollyhocks are blooming around this old wheelbarrow.


Our closing is scheduled for Tuesday, June 2 so wish me luck. 
I have a thousand ideas of what I want to do with the little cabin, 
besides just enjoying the peace, quiet and beauty of the Rocky Mountains. 


I hope you enjoyed this quickie look at the garden.


I would love for you to come back next week to hear more about the cabin. 

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Exciting Mountain Cabin News

Hi Friends!
I'm so excited to share my good news with you about my search for a mountain cabin.
After several disappointments and a few possibilities that fell through,
I finally found my rustic log cabin. 
Isn't it great? Exactly what I wanted. 


I've been dreaming of a mountain cabin getaway for years 
and honestly wasn't sure it would ever actually happen. 
I always feel better in the mountains -- relaxed, peaceful, grounded and happy. 
Like it's someplace I'm supposed to be. 
So, I'm thrilled my dream is really coming true. 


I made an offer the first time I saw it.
Realtor Phil called me the next day to say:
"Well, I have good news and . . . pause  (you're killin' me here Phil) some more good news! 
They accepted your offer."

Yippee!
I was so nervous thinking someone else might beat me out of this little beauty.


It pretty much met all of my wish list items. 

 ✓ I wanted a rustic cabin under 500 square feet (this one is 336 square feet). Check.

✓ I wanted some land so the neighbors wouldn't be too close
(there are only a few houses in this remote area). Check.
The cabin sits on about 4.5 acres at an elevation of --  ready for this? -- 10,000 feet!

✓ I was hoping it would be under two hours from home. Check.
(but it is on a rather bumpy road).

✓ I wanted to stay within my budget
(my offer was under asking price and they accepted it). Check.

✓ And I wanted lots of pine trees. 
(There are mountains all around the cabin and the property backs onto 
National Forest land so no one will be building there.) Check. 


So you're wondering what it looks like inside, aren't you?
I took some photos inside but am waiting until the closing to share them.
For now, I'm showing you just the outside.

It's truly a historic gem.
It's an old miner's cabin that was originally in the next town.
Somewhere along the way, somebody decided to move it to this piece of land.
I'm so glad they did. It's unbelievably beautiful.
This is one of the breathtaking 14,000 foot mountains right in our front yard!


Now, we wait for inspections and then the closing, scheduled for June 5.
I don't know if I can wait that long.

Meanwhile, we are making lists of things to take on our first visit 
when we will just be cleaning and disposing of unwanted things left behind. 
The cabin is in great shape; there will be some minor projects but nothing too daunting. 
I also want to take measurements of the two rooms and the windows 
so I can start planning what to take there. (Ever the decorator!)

My dream of a mountain cabin getaway is coming true, my friends. 
And I couldn't be more thrilled and can't wait to share some more pictures with you. 
I hope you'll join me on this adventure.

***

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Royal Wedding, Fond Memories

It seems everyone is obsessed with the upcoming royal wedding of 
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday, May 19 at Windsor Castle. 


While we celebrate the royal marriage this week, 
we also remember William and Harry's mother, Princess Diana. 
People are recalling special memories of Princess Diana, 
whether it's of her many charities or something more personal.


I have my own special memory of her.

Although I have traveled to England a few times, the visit I most remember was in the late 1990’s. We had enjoyed a double-decker bus tour of London, marveled at Harrods Department Store, 
minded the gap in the Tube, and swooned over the lush gardens and amazing architecture.
(I found some old snapshots from this trip which were taken before digital cameras).


Then, one day we boarded a bus to Eton to see Windsor Castle,
the oldest castle in the world, built in the late 11th century. 


As we strolled along the cobbled streets and admired the royal swans 
floating along the River Thames (apparently the Queen owns the swans!), 


we heard that Princess Diana was visiting her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry,
at Eton College to celebrate Prince William’s birthday
and that she had taken them to McDonalds for lunch. 

Although we didn’t get to see her, we were thrilled that Princess Diana was nearby,
doing what she did best -- giving her boys a “normal” experience,
one they probably still remember as do we.

Best wishes and happiness to Harry and Meghan on their wedding May 19 
which happens to be my own parents' wedding anniversary.


They would have been married 77 years.
Many happy years Harry and Meghan. 

***

Friday, May 11, 2018

It All Started with a French Tablecloth

I've wanted a colorful French tablecloth for years 
so when I spotted this one at a recent street market, 
I had to have it.


The blue and yellow colors gave the patio that warm ambiance of Provence 
and it was the perfect size for my bistro table in "Cafe Bleu."


With olives on the print, the fabric is coated with something that resists stains and dirt. 
Love that!


The tablecloth inspired me to spruce up this corner of the garden. 


Although it's a bit early to plant annuals, many of my perennials are at their spring peak.
(The blue flower pot picks up the blue of the tablecloth and, yes, it was an alley find!)


This private space in the garden is alive with white candytuft, lavender phlox, 
and pale blue forget-me-nots with blue and pink larkspur and red bee balm ready to bloom. 


The fragrant lilac bush that hugs this small patio is also peaking. 


In back of the bistro table I placed a small bench with watering cans 
and a concrete urn holding a transplanted ostrich fern. 


So please come on in and join me. 


Cafe Bleu is always open.


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