Sunday, January 24, 2010

Get S'More Love

My thoughts for the doing something sweet for the family for Valentine's Day went something like this.
If Valentine's Day = Love + Chocolate
and The Cabin = Love + Campfires
and Campfires = S'mores
and S'mores = Chocolate + Graham Crackers + Marshmallows
THEN ...Valentine's Day= S'Mores

I sincerely apologize to all my former math teachers for my horrific equations.
Math was never my best subject.

Nonetheless, they got me to the wonderful idea to create some type of s'more creation for Valentine's Day, when everyone wants s'more love.

It is still many months before we will be making actual s'mores before a campfire, so I love these twists on the traditional. Now it is just a matter of deciding which one to make.

S'more Sundae

S'more Cookies
S'more Bownies

S'more Pie

Or...the really easy- no bake S'more treat!

I even found some cute crafts to make with the kids.

Oriental Trading

I hope you find a way to show your family s'more love on Valentine's Day too.
Excuse me now, I really need to go find a piece of chocolate. Fast.



Blessed with Grace

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Inspiration: Ferns

Today I read a wonderful  post by Melissa over at The Inspired Room Inspiration from Farmhouse Style: 10 Things I Love.  It showcased some of the same things I had been admiring too in the Pottery Barn catalog that came a few days ago. It got me thinking how similiar farmhouse and camp/cabin styles are. The lanterns, the time worn furniture, the cozy blankets and pillows- bringing the outdoors in. My wheels were starting to turn thinking of writing about it.  Then, lo and behold, in my mailbox today was another Pottery Barn- their smaller Bed and Bath catalog and on the cover was one of my favorite things. Ferns.
Ferns are all over the mountainside of our cabin. When we arrive, usually late at night, one of the first things I do is take a deep breath and inhale all of that wonderful fern goodness. That smell means relax- you are where you really want to be.
In the spring, we watch for the little fiddleheads popping through the leaf cover on the forest floor. In the summer,  I sit on the porch and watch the lacy fronds sway in the breeze. I have even tried to transplant a few into our cottage shade garden. Ferns are simple, elegant. A symbol of the forest to me.
Tucked in here and there among the trees, like we are tucked in, in the middle of our mountain.
 I am not sure that I would use all of these new fern "lovelies" from Pottery Barn. They are not exactly the vintage rustic style I am want to create for the space. But perhaps I can use them in our little cottage in the middle of suburbia-  a constant reminder of the cabin and the forest of ferns waiting for us there.

Country Living

Linkin' Love: Inspired Room

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wooden Wonders & Ode to Our Tree

I love wood.
That might be obvious because we did build a small log cabin. But I think wood is a thing of such beauty. A single piece of wood with its patterns of grain, knots and texture can be an exquisite masterpiece.Whether your style is cottage or cabin, coastal or contemporary- wood pieces in a home are beautiful. Traditionally we think of wood floors and furniture, but look at all of the wooden treasures below. What a wonderful way to add warmth and charm. A simple birch candle, a twig mirror, wooden wind chimes- a way to bring the outdoors in...even in the middle of the winter.

And because I am in the middle of my tribute to wood, I would also like to indulge a little and share the loss of one of my favorite pieces of wood, a majestic tree in our backyard.

This tree was a gigantic oak. Its roots rumpled all around the surface of the ground, and in those nooks and crannies I planted flowers and succulents. The path around the tree was one of my favorite parts of our garden.

Then last spring we discovered a hole at the base of the tree. We couldn't tell how big the hole really was but we knew it went down deep into the center of the tree. We were no longer sure how stable the tree was.  I started having nightmares during wind storms that the tree would fall and crush the house and us. Finally, we made the painful decision to have it cut down. Many of the people we called for estimates wouldn't even attempt the job because of the sheer size of the tree. Eventually, we did find a company willing to take the job. The day the tree came down I cried. I felt so terribly guilty for the loss of this noble giant.

In this photograph, you can get an idea of the size of the tree. The fence post next to it is seven feet tall.

Once the tree was cut we were able to investigate the hole. In the photo, Hubs is holding a standard size shovel. He was able to put it  into the hole and drop it about another five feet down. Knowing the depth of the hole, helped to ease the guilt I felt. For the safety of our family and our home, I  think we made the right decision. But I still look in the backyard where this beautiful tree once stood tall and proud and I mourn our loss.
Linking to:

Winter's Dream, Spring's Scheme: Backyard Reno Part 1

The  hydrangeas are hibernating.

The pitcher that is  usually filled with their beautiful blooms has evergreens for winter now.

Everything is as it should be in my little corner of the universe in the middle of winter.

I've pulled out the gardening books and I am pouring through the seed catalogs. I am dreaming and scheming for spring. I can't help it...I do this every winter and the fire in my imagination and the glow of possibility always help keep me warm. I think I would be an awful gardener if I didn't have the winter to plot, plan and then start all over again.

This year while I'm dreaming and scheming, I thought I'd share a little stroll down memory lane too. Here is some of our backyard renovation six years in the making.

The back of our cottage, six years ago.
Not much of an explanation needed, it was falling was HAD TO GO.

Enter the men with the tools. Big...bad...POWER TOOLS.

Now you know men and their tools, right?
 So it won't be a shock when you see that the tools got just a little bit bigger as time went on.

As you can probably tell this is a Saga
(Also the Part I in the title gave it away too, huh?)
 So I'll just skip a little bit ahead for now.

In the future, I will write all about the new paver patio...

...and the new deck.
Of course this isn't the "Final Reveal" photo...this is only Part 1.

I hope whatever it is you are dreaming or scheming for this spring and summer, your wishes will help to keep you warm all winter long.

Linking to these wonderful parties:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cork Cottage Kitchen

The kitchen in the cottage, luckily, did not need a major renovation- just a little charm. But what started out as, "Honey, can we just change the drawer pulls?" turned into... changing the faucet, the countertop and the floors. You know how it goes, no need to bore you with the messy negotiation details. So straight to the pics.

First, the before: green laminate countertop and backsplash, silver hardware on the cabinets and silver faucet.

The Update:

New countertop is cherry butcher block- a little high-maintance, but... soooo worth it. For the backsplash, we installed white bead-board. It is classic cottage, I couldn't resist.

I needed extra storage space for the cookbook collection; this cabinet I was lucky enough to grab when my grandmother moved.

Finally, my love- my new cork floor. When we were researching all of our options for flooring, cork kept coming up as one of the new "eco-friendly" options. So my interest was a little peeked. But once I saw the graining in one of the samples, I feel in love. I didn't even realize at the time that one of the best things about it is how it feels. If you stand in kitchen for any length of time cooking or baking, your feet will adore this floor just as much I as mine do. Compared to the old ceramic floor, you can feel such a difference. My happy, little feet thank me every day. And for anyone wondering, it is also very easy to clean. They put this stuff on the walls in the new HGTV Dream House!

Close-ups of my two cork crushes...

..hehe,  the Wino in me couldn't resist!

Here are my Linky Parties for the week!



The Shabby Chic Cottage

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lofty Dreams

The loft is probably the last place at the cabin I will be able to get my little decorating hands on. Afterall, we still need kitchen cabinets, living room furniture and the list goes on and on. However, it is the space I am most excited about. This is where our guests stay so I want to make it as comfortable and inviting as possible. So first the progress and then the dreaming...

In the buliding least now it has a roof!

Still without the railings and the ladder, but at least we won't get wet!

Now...on to the dreaming...sigh...
 In this first inspirational photo the colors are all wrong, (there will be no white- washed walls, Hubs would freak!) but I like the placement of the two beds by the window and the slope of the roof is about the same. Plus, I already found a trunk! I found it on one of my antiquing adventures two summers ago. I wish I had taken a picture to share, but it is on my list of photographs to take the next time we go.

Coastal Living

This is the bed I am swooning over. Distressed red metal - how perfect would that be?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Barn Beds

Although the cabin itself is nestled in the middle of the the middle of the mountain, on the way there we drive past miles and miles of pristine pastures and farmland. We love looking for the cows, horses and sheep by the side of the road. Even the occasional chicken crossing the road.  Yes, seriously; they really do.
We say hi to our farm friends as we drive up the mountain and we have to make sure we say goodbye as we drive back down. The farms and animals are so much a part of our experience going to the cabin I knew I needed to incorporate that into the design of the kids' room.
I came up with the idea of barn beds and found a few pictures online for inspiration (not an easy task; apparently searching barn and bed  together will find you a whole lot of Pottery Barn bed pictures!)  I gave the photos to Hubs and let him run with it. Here's the result:

They did turn out pretty darn cute! He even incorporated little hinged window doors that actually open and close- they love playing with those, especially in the middle of the night when they are too excited about being at the cabin to sleep.

I dressed the window with ruffly red gingham tie-back curtains and a tab top denim valance that actually has overall-type clasps on it. Here is a close-up since you can't see it real well in the photograph.

I found it at Walmart for only $7.44! One of my best cabin bargains to date.
I also made canvases for the walls out of an old farm picture book from my childhood- but I didn't take any photographs of them yet (oops!) soon as I do, I will share those too.

And even though Hubs did all of the work, I want to show it off so I am linking up here:

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