Tuesday, October 15, 2019

It is with a heavy heart I must announce the passing of my beautiful wife, Melissa Anne Wiges.

She was a loving wife, a caring sister, and a proud mother. She gave all she could to those around her. She was an introspective sort but, as one of her favorite authors Jane Austen said,

“It isn't what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.”

She loved, lived, and experienced life to its fullest. She had many creative passions such as art, writing, photography, collecting, decorating, and baking, to name a few. This creativity had an impact on everything she did, and she created wholeheartedly.

She was the type of person we need more of in this world.

As I try to find meaning in this tragedy, I will take solace in all the good that she left behind, the many family members she touched and who loved her, and do the best I can with the plans we had together.

She will be deeply and sorely missed.
A memorial in Melissa’s honor has been established for:

“Animal Friends of the Valleys”

Contributions in her honor may be sent to:

24503 Corte Descanso
Murrieta, CA. 92562

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Simple Christmas at the Cabin

I left our house in California a few days before Thanksgiving never intending to decorate the cabin for Christmas.  

I left all of the bags with the cabin Christmas decorations in the closet under the stairs.

And then we stopped to eat lunch at Cracker Barrel, and I wandered through their gift shop, at first intending to find a few Thanksgiving and fall-themed things for the cabin-- but forget about that-- their shop was crammed with Christmas goodies and very little else.  

Apparently, if one wants to shop for, and celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving, you need to do it in August.

At that point I succumbed to the Christmas craziness and realized that, yes, I do want to decorate the cabin for Christmas after all, even though we would  be celebrating Thanksgiving there.  

I bought some extra wide red-checked, wired ribbon and a cute little Christmas plaque-- sit about--whatever you call these things-- and I told myself 'keep it simple, use lots of greens (there's no shortage of that) and it will be quick and easy'.  

And it was simple and fairly quick, at least for me.  I ended up buying a few more rustic-looking ornaments from the local grocery store and Family Dollar because just one roll of ribbon and one Christmas plaque was a bit too simple for me.    

So we had a sort of hybrid Thanksgiving-Christmas celebration.  I baked chocolate chip cookies and made a bourbon pumpkin pecan-streusel tart, a Turkey Day tradition, made the stuffing, roasted the turkey, and listened to Christmas music.

Luckily most everything at the cabin works just fine for Christmas, with a few tweaks...   

I had very carefully planned for a quick change to Christmas when I conceived the grand pillow scheme for the bed. 

All I need to do is turn a few pillows around to hide colors that are too 'fall', change a few pillow slip covers, hide a few more pillows in the closet, and voila-- a Christmas-themed bed.

Chocolate Moose-- our Christmas cabin mascot (in addition to the dogs).   I can never resist a cute stuffed animal.  

I got this guy a few decades before we even thought about building a cabin. I must have known even then, that there would someday be a cabin in our lives...

The Fauxplace.  My husband makes fun of it because it isn't a real stove, but I don't care.  It's clean and easy to operate, it warms the cabin quickly, and it was on sale.  

It even has 'flames' that look pretty realistic when it's in operation-- especially when I look at it first thing in the morning without my glasses.  

I'm fine with an electric 'wood burning' stove.  We'll have a real, wood-burning stone fireplace in the main house which I'm sure will be a glorious monument to my husband's fireplace construction skills-- our renovated fireplace in California certainly is (click here and here). 

It sure makes our time at the cabin cozy when it is cold and snowy outside. 

More Christmas details throughout the cabin...

And the kitchen...

Wishing everyone a wonderful, and not too hectic Christmas season...

Here's to keeping it simple-- if you can ;-)

Thank you for visiting!


Most likely linking to the following this week....

Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch
DIY Salvaged Junk Projects at Funky Junk Interiors

I've been featured at...


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Rustic Cabin Thanksgiving

With the onset of the cabin project I have come to love rustic decor more than I ever dreamt I would.  Before the cabin, it wasn't really my thing.  Now I can't wait to get started on the planning and design of the rest of the house (that will attach to the cabin some day), retire, move there, and be mountain rustic every day.

Until then, I will have to be satisfied with spending vacations and holidays there, and if regular rustic decorating has turned out to be loads of fun, rustic holiday decorating has turned out to be truckloads of fun.  

So far we spent last Thanksgiving at the cabin (can't wait to spend Christmas there and launch into Rustic Christmas) ...below are some highlights of what our first cabin Thanksgiving looked like...

Lots of texture and simple details...

My mom's dishes are now the cabin dishes and using them brings back many memories of every day meals and Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations. Another reason to love being at the cabin.

The stag flatware was a Bass Pro purchase, not a place I would normally consider for decor, but I was trying to use up a gift card, and at the time these were perfect for our 5th wheel trailer.  Now they are perfect in the cabin.

Lot's of natural elements (real and fake) on the table and the cabin in general.  

This guy was also my mom's.  He sat on her fireplace mantle for years and was usually featured in her holiday decorating.

Sadly the pine cones from our pinon trees are small, squashed-looking little things and just don't work well for pine cone decorations.  I'm sure I got the pine cones on the table from a craft store...kind of silly for someone who owns 15 acres of pinon-juniper woodland, but the conifers with the nice looking pine cones are at higher elevations here. 

Being at the cabin makes us both so thankful that we took this enormous leap of faith (or off a cliff, as it seemed sometimes) and bought this special piece of property.  

I can't imagine now not having this place in our lives... something to be thankful for every day...


I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving!


Most likely linking to the following this week....

That DIY Party at DIY Showoff
Amaze Me Monday at Dwellings
Inspire Me Monday at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Bouquet of Talent at Life on Lakeshore Drive
Happiness is Homemade at Ducks 'N a Row
DIY Salvaged Junk Projects at Funky Junk Interiors
Sundays at Home at Celebrating Everyday Life

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Finishing the Deck

We've been back to the cabin several times over the past few months to work on a few lingering projects and to actually have a relaxing, do-nothing vacation in our recently completed cabin.

Although the first trip in July had less do-nothing and more project work than I would have liked.

One of the last major tasks we needed to complete (or I should say my husband needed to complete) was the deck.  I talked about the deck design here in this post.

The original design included a wrap around section that extended to the kitchen door on the south end of the cabin.   

We decided to eliminate that when we got into the actual deck construction since ultimately the rest of the larger house will connect to our little cabin at the south end-- so it seemed that, when we finally got to it, building a section of deck at that end of the cabin would be a waste of money and time. 

Here is a photo of the mostly finished deck-- for some reason, I didn't get any photos of the construction process.  

The original illustrative rendering of the deck sported rather boring spindles for the deck railing (the design software didn't offer a lot of options for spindles)-- and no railing on the west end.


I had originally proposed to my husband that we use tree branches from our property to form the spindles for the deck railing (see what this looks like here).  He was most unenthusiastic about this idea because of the large amount of custom fitting and installation required by using random, free-form tree branches.

We arrived at a happy compromise when we found these nice aspen poles at a local hardware store.  The branches were uniform enough to make installation quite easy, but rustic enough to give the deck character.  

We are both very happy with the results and I can't wait to complete the finishing touches, which include--  

buying a shorter propane tank to replace the too-tall one that pops up above the deck surface, 

finish the step into the cabin, 

buy some nice outdoor furniture to replace the ugly plastic folding chairs, 

create a nicer, more finished outdoor grill area to replace the Weber, 

add a 'skirt' to hide the supporting piers and gaping space under the deck, 

do some landscaping...

I may have gotten carried away with using all the fun plant symbols in my design program when creating the various renderings of the deck.  I love the lushness of densely placed plants but am a little worried about the fire hazard of all those plants right next to the deck.  So, perhaps more sparsely placed native plants around the deck, when we get around to it.

Adding a deck resulted in an amazing transformation--  We now have an outdoor living space that is almost as big as the interior of the cabin.  We've already had a little impromptu family get-together out there and I now have a new cabin-habit of going out onto the deck with my coffee first thing in the morning and again just before bed at night (in my pajamas) to look at the view...

The other task that has been hanging over my head for the past few years was painting the outside window and door casings, as well as the trim on the cabin siding.    

This was my job, and it was much scarier to climb way up there to get to the eaves than I ever dreamt it would be.  In order to reach the window casings and trim pieces at the peak of the roof at each end of the cabin, we had to place that red ladder you see in the photo below onto our trailer (west end, with the triple windows) or Dodge tailgate (east end, with the door). Not fun.  Not when a roaring wind is shaking the ladder like mad and nearby clouds are raining down thunder and lightening.

We also hung the Swedish blinds that I made.  I'll talk more about what Swedish blinds are and how to make them in a future post, but for now I'll say that I am very pleased that they actually roll up quite smoothly when we pull on the cords...I was a little skeptical about the screw-eye arrangement shown in all the tutorials. 

We introduced a vintage-style pig sign to the kitchen...

While we worked and sweated in the July heat, the dogs hung out in the bathroom where it was nice and cool.  The pebble floor in the shower is a favorite spot for both dogs and usually Dolly crowds in with Rosie, who always manages to get in there first.  

Little do either of them know that this is where Baths are going to happen. 

There was some relaxation and fun.  We finally got to see the Fourth of July parade in Torrey-- every other visit to the cabin in July was strictly a working vacation.  No time for fun stuff like parades. 

We did some sightseeing in Capitol Reef National Park.  This is the Fruita Schoolhouse, which was built in 1896 and served not only as a school for the children of the settlers in the area, but also, when needed, a community center and a church meeting house.

According to the interpretive sign, the last class was taught in 1941.  As you can see in the photos in the sign below (and the photo above), the room was quite small. Imagine trying to concentrate on your lessons while all that rugged wilderness beckoned from the windows...

I picked some apricots with my sister in the historic orchards at Fruita in Capitol Reef National Park.

I also started a cabin-travel journal.  I started an online watercolor course last year (still need to finish), and sketching in a journal is a great way to loosen up and practice...

That's it for now.  I will be sharing more cabin-related posts in the coming months....I know its been a while since I posted anything.


Thanks for visiting!


Most likely linking to the following this week....

Inspire Me Monday at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch
Bouquet of Talent at Life on Lakeshore Drive
Share Your Cup Thursday at Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson
Happiness is Homemade at Ducks 'N a Row