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Fruits of Our Labor

April 14, 2014


Quick post for a small project. The windows in our house are framed with 2 x 4s. Except for the one in our kitchen, the framing is covered by plaster. Because we wanted to use one of the logs from the old house in between our windows though, this one window still had exposed framing. Mr. B brought home this angle iron (I think that is what this is) 2 years ago (omg). Thanks to the to do list, he put it up a week ago. I kid you not: this took half an hour. Looks so nice now.

Since the title to this post sounded like it was going somewhere else, here is a recent picture of another fruit of my labor: 9 month old Sully, looking weirdly giant headed.


Do You Pantry?

April 11, 2014


Photo by StearnsPhoto

This week: Do you have a pantry? What do you keep in it?

Until this house and the bookshelves, Mr. B and I never had much room for extra food. Sure, we had bags/jars of bulk food, and some basement shelves for home canned food (mostly jam). I never really felt like it was useful though; I wasn’t going to pull a meal out of that stuff unless you wanted pasta and cheese. Or maybe pasta and jam. You heard it here first though: functional pantries are in. Nearly every cook book I bought in the last five years has a section on food you should have on hand. Look at all the things you can make with just eggs and bread crumbs! Anyway, I’m inspired and want to make a move towards a more functional pantry.

In a move of way overthinking things, I spent some time looking around the inter webs for pantry item ideas. It runs the gamut from super bare bones to bomb-shelter stocked. I think I’ve come up with a pantry philosophy that works for us: our pantry should have anything that we want to use on Monday but didn’t buy on Sunday. That came to me one night while I was trying to fall asleep. It made a little more sense then, but I’m sticking with it. Since we live about fifteen minutes away from the store, and both Mr. B and I hate stopping after work, I want our pantry to not only have all of the stuff we use every week (spices, butter, oil), but also those things we buy a lot of yet always seem to be out of when it is 6 pm and dinner needs to get made (ginger, canned artichoke hearts, kalamata olives). Ideally we would also be able to whip up an actual meal out of the pantry too, but I’d be happy with Mr. B not needing to stop at the grocery store three nights a week.

Readers: do you pantry? What is your “pantry philosophy”?


April 9, 2014



Remember the to-do list? One of the jobs I was happiest to see get checked off our early spring list was kitchen shelves. These were another long-planned for project in the house. When we baled the walls, we added 2 x 4 reinforcement where we wanted to put them. So glad I saved those pictures.

That was a long time ago!

That was a long time ago!

These shelves are all Mr. B. He found the metal, cut it down, welded things, dug the wood out of our wood pile, and put it all together. They are probably more heavy-duty than our cups and bowls really need, but why do anything half way?





The wood is from the old house rafters. We used the same for our faux-rafters, and I just love the sew marks and nail holes. Mr. B steam cleaned them and sanded the cut edges, and I added a coat of tung oil. We went back and forth on sanding them down more – they are pretty rough and will be impossible to wipe down with a sponge, but sanding would have made them look like new. This will be one of those “we’ll see” situations. If they get too gross, we’ll need to sand them down all the way. In the mean time though, they are beautiful and the cups are finally on the same side of the room as the sink and coffee.

Gallery Wall

April 7, 2014

Gallery wall_01


Ah, babies. This is a project we finished in August 2013 in a fit of post-baby insanity. We probably got a miraculous four hours of sleep the night before or something.

I love the gallery walls I see on design blogs and nice house blogs but always felt intimidated by the dictates to match all the frames, or only use line drawings. Whatever. I was also concerned about my ability to arrange the pictures in a pleasing, but erratic, way. When I saw a picture on Design*Sponge (that I can’t find) though, it all fell into place: make the first row of pictures straight! Revelation  to my type A brain. In the end, I used the art I already had after years of begging from my family, and spaced everything equidistant.




I think it really ties the room together.


Do You To-Do?

April 4, 2014

To do


In an effort to get back into a regular posting schedule, I’m starting a (grammatically incorrect) Friday posting: Do you…? These will just be a quick way to talk about some of the stuff going on around here, and to hopefully hear from anyone reading the blog.

OK: Do you to-do?

I am an avid daily to-do list maker. I will even make lists after I do stuff just to feel productive. I use the reminders app on my phone as well as written lists. Since we finished the house though, Mr. B and I have been less than productive at moving forward with bigger stuff. When you build a house, you always know what next, but in daily life it can be hard to prioritize the things you don’t have to do.

Last month I made a “seasonal” to do list of stuff I wanted to get done before the weather got nice. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many of the jobs are already done – these are tasks that we haven’t done in the last 1.5 years, despite them being relatively easy and/or having everything we need to do them. I’m working on a new list now, but it can be tricky. There are the really big things (building a shop, the garden), but I want these to be smaller and easily achieved, while also being tasks that we might not automatically think of doing with free time.

Your turn, readers: do you to-do?

We Welcome our Swedish Overlords

April 3, 2014
tags: ,

Great wall of storage

One of the biggest projects we tackled this winter was finally finishing our “great wall of storage.” The plan was always to cover the long wall of our great room with book shelves and a pantry, but we’d originally wanted to self build them (of course). We planned, we re-planned, we tried to figure out how to do it for cheap but still make it look good. In the end, I just got sick of using the wire shelving rack and single box for most of our food and dishes. Enter: Ikea and the Billy bookcase.





I want you all to know that this house is not staged for photography. Yes, this is actually what it looks like every day. Ahem. The Billy book case is everywhere and has been around for years, but a few details. You can get the bookcases in 11″ or 15″ depths, and they have optional full or half doors. We got the 11″ for the ones we are using as bookcases and the 15″ for the kitchen. They feel nice and sturdy.

There isn’t an Ikea in Missoula, so we got them shipped here. It takes about a month for the shipping, and it costs kind of a lot, but they were super heavy. They had to get delivered to Mr. B’s work since they couldn’t get a semi truck down to our house. One of the glass doors got broken at some point, but it was too much work to ship it back. Luckily, Mr. B is super handy and I really wanted a magnetic surface you can see in the kitchen. Our fridge is wonderful, but you can’t put magnets on the front (who knew?), and I’d been missing having a place to put post cards and pictures. Mr. B got a thin piece of metal and installed it in the door – voila!



I’m sure he’s laugh ruefully if he saw that “voila.” The glass is fully sandwiched into the door, and you have to completely cut out the part of the door holding it in. If the glass hadn’t been smashed, I doubt that my dream of a place to put to-do lists and future kid art would have happened.

Spring Greens

March 20, 2014




First day of spring and the weatherman said it would be “dreary.” Indeed. This stretch from February to April is my least favorite season in Montana. Cold, windy, alternating between dry and rainy, dusty or muddy. No matter how nice the day is (and we’ve had a few), there still isn’t anything growing out there. No leaves, no flowers. There are a few tiny blades of grass starting to poke up though, so spring can’t be too far away. We’re going to clean out the greenhouse this weekend and start some seeds (yeah!).



To keep my spirits up until the real spring greens arrive, I’ve been knitting a few “spring” woolies. I made Sully a new hat (Purl Bee’s Garter Ear Flap Hat in Ultra Alpaca “Fennel”), and me a cardigan with my favorite cable (Acorn Trail in Ultra Alpaca Lovage). Mr. B and I have also been knocking projects off our indoor honey-do list before the weather gets nice (more on those later).



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