Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mid-May Montana Mountain Mayhem

Hoo boy!  So much fun and games in so few days!  We were joined by 4 of Eric's longtime crew who came from Portland and Kansas City, KS to celebrate Mid-May Montana Mountain Mayhem (MV) i.e. Eric's 40th birthday.  There was eating & drinking, games of cornhole, badminton, & Yahtzee, rafting & hiking, hot tubbing & even a little bit of sleeping.  Did I mention eating and drinking?

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Mountain Men with Mountain Man Beards.

Brace yourselves for the MV slideshow: safety not guaranteed.

Good times.

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Lady beard and man beards: In Montana we enjoy freedom

Special thanks to JP, Brent, Greg & Juan for passing along some of their choicest pics.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Big Bunch of Birds Told Me

When we moved in, the former owners left us a big, new bag of black sunflower seeds and three bird feeders, because the birds were expecting (and counting on) being fed.  Eric has taken on the majority of the wild bird care and developed a bit of an interest in watching and identifying those at our feeders.

Just in the last six or so weeks the list Eric keeps on the chalkboard on the side of our mudroom fridge has about doubled

We also hear what we think is a Northern Pygmy-Owl.  An Audubon Handbook:Western Birds describes their call as a, "soft, hollow abbreviated hoo, repeated every few seconds, also gives a short, rapid trill."  I kind of wish it was the Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl (listed on the facing page), because their call is described as a, "long series of took or poop notes, usually two notes per second or faster."  POOP NOTES!  Fast ones.  Also, "Ferruginous" is way more fun to say than "Northern."

UPDATE: The "we" regarding the Northern Pygmy-Owl is me and our moms, not necessarily Eric.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Live and Let Dine

Work on the living/dining room continues.  We're learning some of the challenges of living in a smaller market which in this case means fewer fabric and trim retailers and varieties available.  I looked and looked for something to add a bit of color or texture to the Ikea curtain panels, but haven't yet found anything.  I just know there are sources here I don't yet know about.  I hung them anyway.

Despite the weirdo distortion of this panorama, it is starting to look like real grown ups live here.  Look HERE for photos from "before."

I also repainted all the curtain rods with Rustoleum Metallic Universal in their oil-rubbed bronze color.  It coordinates nicely with the wood tones as well as the new door hardware and the ceiling fan we brought with us from the old house (and my house before that... I love that thing).  I hung them at the ceiling and when I put the curtains up, the room instantly looked and felt taller.  YEY!

We still have the yucky ceiling texture, but have mostly stopped noticing it.

We hung the TV (finally) and put some art on that wall.  I made cozies for the cords, but we agree the extension cord cover looks like an megalodon umbilicus.  I'm not sure that an megalodon umbilicus is any worse than an orange extension cord... at least it's funny.  When we build shelves for that wall we'll include a place for the DVD, speaker, Roku, etc., but for now they sit on and around a little step stool.  Still an improvement over the TV and everything else on the floor.

Yeah, yeah a megalodon probably doesn't have an umbilicus. 

And most dramatically, we hung some art on the big, empty wall adjacent the stairs.  We decided to do a "gallery" of all our black/white/grey/off-white pieces to accomplish two things:

1) Clumping several of our small framed things together will give the impression of a bigger piece which makes more sense on that big wall.

2) We can add to it over time if we wish.  There's already an empty frame hanging, because I can't find the antique book page that is going to go in there.

 In order to minimize wall damage I laid them out on a canvas drop cloth on the floor in front of the wall they'd hang on.

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Betty tries to tell me that she would also make a lovely pet profile while staring at her dearly departed brother, Dave.

At first I laid them out above and below a horizontal base line.  While I liked it, I thought the predominately horizontal look didn't do anything to give some height to the room which doesn't have particularly tall ceilings (about 7' 10.5").  I also thought the three-dimensional dog profile at the bottom was distracting.

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A nice feature of this collection is that most of the pieces were gifts to one of us and several were handmade in some form or another.

Next, I tried to arrange them a bit more vertically.  I took photos of each of the arrangements I found satisfying so I could compare them side by side and so I could remember how I'd had them.  This one wasn't quite wide enough considering that wall is, uh, lots of feet wide.

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Another feature that makes it pleasing to me is that none of the pet silhouettes are "looking" out of the grouping except Dave who is looking at Pearl (lower left).  I blame my years on the Glencoe High School yearbook staff for that predilection.

I finally decided on this configuration.  A little taller than the first and a little wider than the second.  Even though I measured its overall height, the spaces between the frames, the wall above the chairs, etc., I think that it's hung just a little too high.  I'd be thrilled if the whole thing were five or so inches lower.  But... I'm not going to go through it.  I mean, there are 19 nails holding up those frames.  Ugh.  We already have a frame to add (just nothing in it) that will lower the center and we can add more as they come along.

Monday, May 13, 2013

You Know It's Spring In The Bitterroot When...

... you hang your polar fleece footie pajamas on the line to dry because it's going to get to nearly 80 degrees today.  AND they dry way before that.

Too bad the photo doesn't show that the grass is actually all green and soft and lush-ish.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bigfoot Slept Here

My fantastic friend, Pam, made me this just-right cross-stitch for my birthday!  The plan was to frame it, so I was going to start combing the thrift stores for just the right one.  Then I got the bright idea to make it into a pillow and last Sunday I treated myself to a few hours of sewing something quick and fun.

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The colors and vibe are just right for the guest bed which is also a place the Beastie Grrrlz are rarely allowed.  Ahem.

When I was mulling over backing fabric options I remembered I had this fun faux bois print from the remnant bin!  So I "framed" it and made it into a pillow!  Mitered corners and everything.

Look at her perfect stitches!  Sooooo many tiny, little, perfect Xs.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Ramon is doing is best hipster imitation, but his cheery demeanor and infectious smile give him away.  Or maybe he's a Florence, Montana Hipster; there's a kid who works at our local grocery who looks like a hipster, but acts like a really nice young man with manners and everything.

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Meanwhile, Mavis is trying to infiltrate the hunter crowd.  She's WAY too glamorous to pull if off for long.

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Craft Long & Prosper

Hey you guys!  I'm in a craft book!  You can buy it at Powell's & Amazon and probably other places, too!.


While we were packing up for our move, I was contacted by the author, Angie Pedersen, about contributing my Star Trek Dog Vest to her book.  The deadline was right during our move, so I had to decline even though I really wanted to participate.

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From now on, you can call me Admiral Tara.

Angie got back to me saying that her editor really wanted to include the dog vest, so I was given some extra time.  My first fabric shopping trip in Missoula was to buy the supplies to make all the examples and the sample to be mailed off to be photographed!

Those are not my thumbs and that is not one of the Beastie Grrlz, but those are my in-progress examples and finished product sample!

As you may or may not know, we spent our first week in Montana living at a long-stay hotel in Missoula.  I worked on the in-progress examples and finished product sample and the directions while there and our first week or so here in house in Florence. 

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And here is First Officer Betty wearing the sample vest before I packed it up and shipped it off.

The finished product sample will be part of a giveaway at the big Comic-Con in San Diego!  YEY!  The in-progress samples will be returned to me and will likely become the Beastie Grrrlz' Halloween Costumes.

After our big May of House Guests, I will be adding these to the GreatBigBeautifulDog etsy shop, too!  Yahoo!

Putting the "Comfort" in "Comforter"

We are loving our new bedroom and bed linens.  One of the reasons is that I made it so the comforter doesn't slip n' slide all around and require constant fussing.  I know what you're thinking.  "How did she do it?"  Well, I'll tell you how she, uh I, did it.

First off, instead of making it so that the opening was just along the seam, I made it "envelope" style like a pillow sham.  And I did it at the top where dogs and kicking feet spend less time.

I just went ahead and used the wide seam of the flat sheet for the finished edge on the envelope style closure.

Then I used a tip I saw on Pinterest: I sewed ties into the corner seams of the new duvet!

Sewn right into the seam.

And I sewed a loop onto the corners of the down comforter.  I used the seam that I cut off the flat sheet that became the back the duvet for all the ties and loops.

I used the zigzag stitch to attach them to the existing hem.

The comforter hasn't crept down or peeked out since!  POW!

All tied up!