Thursday, March 20

Update -- NC rustic mountain-top home For SALE

I wanted to give the link to the listing on my home in case you or someone you know is interested.  Spring has arrived and the mountains are full of natural dogwood and there are wildflowers everywhere.  It is located in Fletcher, NC just 13 miles from downtown Asheville and 10 miles from the Biltmore Estate.

Monday, March 17

Miniature chairs

I mentioned a while ago, in an earlier post, that my dad had taken up chair caning when he retired.  He also decided to try and make miniature chairs so that he could experiment with different types of seats such as rush and woven.  My mom had a teddy bear collection so she used these for her bears.  I now have them sitting throughout my home and use them for holiday decorations as well as alone so that the craftsmanship can be seen and appreciated.

He used a lathe to make the backs, legs, arms and stringers and them chose different styles of weaving and reed materials for the seats.  Some were actually measured to fit the size of the bears!

I feel very fortunate to have had such a talented father and am delighted to have these small chairs as a reminder of his creativity.  These were all made about 30 years ago and look as good now as they when he made them!  Thanks, daddy.  I think of you every day when I see these.

Thursday, March 13


Anyone who has known me for more than 10 minutes knows that I am in love with all things chocolate.  I even made a needlepoint pillow about it!  My very favorite is Fannie May dark chocolate butter creams.  YUM!  But it doesn't have to be "good" chocolate -- I am perfectly happy with a Hershey bar, even chocolate chips used for baking eaten right out of the bag.  Godiva is sort of wasted on me because the texture really isn't as creamy as I like.  And I'm sort of a purist -- I am happier if there isn't anything in it especially nuts.  I don't like nuts in fudge or chocolate chip cookies -- why ruin something that is perfect all by it's self?  Easter is a true test for my will-power (or in my case, won't power) -- "I won't have another chocolate covered marshmallow egg" or "I won't have that solid chocolate bunny").  By the way, do you eat the ears first and work down or the tail first and work up?  Just askin'.  One year when our kids were small and about a month or more before Easter, I went to the Fannie May shop and bought all the cute specialty items -- the chocolate nest of green coconut with little jelly beans in the center, the white and milk chocolate solid rabbits, the small chocolate eggs that were cream filled and decorated with flowers -- everything they had so that the Easter baskets would look really pretty.  Several weeks later I realized that the "stash" was completely gone!  My husband didn't care for chocolate, the kids didn't know where I had hidden it and there were no ghosts in the house so it must have been me!  I ate all of their treats!  What kind of mom does that?  Oh right, I'm the kind of mom that does that.  So, I went back and bought more even though the selection wasn't as good.  The real problem reared it's ugly head when I was putting their baskets together the night before "Bunny" day and discovered that there wasn't enough to fill even 1 basket much less 2!  So off I went to Walgreen's and bought whatever they had left on the shelf!  I desperately need to exercise some restraint.  Guess some real exercise wouldn't hurt either!

Tweak It Tuesday

Thursday, March 6

March Santa

Better late than never.  I have been posting the Santa of the Month by the first of each month but this time I am a little late making the post.  Sorry.  But enjoy him anyway -- he is busy fighting the winds of spring.  And spring is coming -- isn't it?

Sunday, March 2

FOR SALE -- our mountain-top rustic home

My husband and I decided to leave SW Florida and move nearer to our children. We chose the Asheville, NC area where they call people like us "half-backs" -- those who want to be near their original homes but who don't want to go back to the frigid weather of winter.  We found a 10 acre piece of land on top of Burney Mountain, just 10 miles from the Biltmore Estate.  We wanted the privacy and beauty of the natural woods but with all the modern touches and the convenience of good shopping, medical care and an airport nearby.  Seemed like a tall order but we found it!

Starting with untouched wooded land, we designed our home to meet our needs and then found a builder willing to take on such an unusual project.  He was very receptive to our wants and desires and considered it a challenge since most new home owners want only the high-end finishes such as granite, stainless steel, very formal lighting fixtures, etc. -- all the things that we did not want!  We had been collecting primitive antiques for our entire married life and this was a great opportunity to showcase them.  My husband bought the re-claimed log cabin for my birthday -- was built circa 1820 in central NC of American Chestnut and we had it relocated to our lot and that was the beginning of our project.  Since I have done so much genealogy on my family and found many cabins of my own ancestors, this was a natural for us.
It took a long time to accomplish our goal but with a lot of research, patience and determination, we had exactly what we wanted.  We were fortunate to connect with a man who owned a sawmill and grew up hunting on our mountain.  He was able to find all the unique products we needed as well as reassemble the cabin and do the chinking.  The floors and beams in the cabin are from a home in eastern Tennessee that was over 125 years old.  The flooring continues into the dog-trot and makes a great transition into the main part of the house.  The stacked stone fireplace was made of stone local to the area and you can see the hooks above the stone where the ever-present rifle would have hung.  When we lived there, my husband had an antique Revolutionary War rifle that was placed there.  We wanted the house to look as if it had started with the original cabin and as the family matured and prospered, the home was extended to meet the needs of a growing family.  The garage was designed to look like the barn.
The floors in the main portion of the house are all reclaimed heart pine from a local bleachery that opened in 1882.  To maintain the integrity of the wood, we decided not to sand out or try to remove any stains or the small holes from machinery that had been screwed into the floors.  We felt it added to the character of our home and was a small tribute to all the people who had worked there for so many years to support their families.  The beams are from a corn crib built in 1844 less than 3 miles from us.  One beam that extends the length of the great room was over 48 feet long and cut to 44 feet to fit into the beams.  That's one tall tree!  The beams are all hand sawn with an adz which was the tool used at that time.   We had the walls textured to look as if they were made with horsehair in the plaster as was done long ago.  All the paint colors are original buttermilk paint colors but I took them to a paint store and had them matched to the paint of today that is washable and more durable.
The keeping kitchen is one of my favorite parts of the home -- I love the informality of it as well as the look of a vintage kitchen.  To hide the appliances, we designed a cook center that hid the stove and microwave and allowed room for all the spices and pots and pans;  the refrigerator has a cabinet built around it;  the dishwasher has a door that is hidden by the cabinetry.  We didn't use any traditional cabinets but rather antique pieces of furniture -- a pot-belly table that used to hold flour and meal but we used it for the aluminum foil, storage bags, waxed paper, etc.  There is a Hoosier-style cabinet and a tall cabinet made with an old screen door that both provided lots of storage.  The tall pie-safe type cabinet hid all of our food staples and there is a large pantry next to the kitchen so plenty of room for portable appliances, food, canned goods, paper supplies, etc.  A center island contains the sink, dishwasher and garbage cans.  There is also an area for 4 barstools so you can visit with family and friends while making dinner.  We chose Vermont soapstone for the counter-top on the island and also for the cook-center. It is a natural product suitable for the time period that we were trying to duplicate. Over the island hangs a old ladder made by either my husband's father or grandfather and was used to pick apples at the farm in Illinois when my husband was a child.  I filled it with gourds that I grew, old baskets and kitchen items from the past.  The ceiling and beams are very old wormy chestnut selected by my husband.
The main level has the cabin, dog-trot, great room, master bedroom and bath, keeping kitchen, pantry, laundry room and powder room with a wrap around porch that is 16-20 feet off the ground.
In addition to the stairway, there is an elevator to the lower walk-out level that contains a family room, a 2nd master bedroom and bath, 2 additional bedrooms, a bath, cedar closet and a large storage closet with shelving.  There is a patio that also wraps around the lower level of the house with a car-port like area that has a power outlet for a golf cart, ATV or 4-wheeler.  The home is wheel-chair accessible with wider doorways, no steps on the main level, 3 doors to the upper porch and a door directly outside on the lower level.  My husband was using an electric scooter while we lived there and he could navigate the entire house.  There are 2 HVAC units each with air filters and humidifiers, a large generator that will work for 5-6 days if the power goes off, a lighting arrester system on the roof, Hardy Plank siding (made with cement) and a tin roof for protection in the woods. All the exterior walls are 6 inches thick instead of the traditional 4 inches for extra insulation making this a very energy efficient home. And it's all about the view!
When my husband passed away, I stayed here for 2 years alone and decided that I needed to come back to the Chicago area to be near children, grandchildren and old friends -- my support system was here and I really needed that.  After having renters, I have decided that now is the time to sell our home and hope that someone else will enjoy it as much as we did and can appreciate all the energy and love that we put into it.  Winter is mild -- spring is long and beautiful -- summer is not humid and very few bugs -- fall is long and colorful.  The woods are full of rhododendron, wild dogwood, bittersweet and many wildflowers.  The birds are plentiful and we watched over 3 dozen different species on a daily basis.  there are deer and wild turkey that walk around as if they owned the place!  This is a great home and is only 13 miles from downtown Asheville, 12 miles from the airport and Mission Hospital and shopping in all directions.  It is located in Fletcher, NC and listed with Century21.  As soon as the link is available, I will post it so that you can see the entire listing.

Here is the listing for this home:  be sure to scroll to the bottom for the photos

Wow Us Wednesday #159   Show and Tell Friday