Friday, December 4, 2009

the just-right fabric for living room pillows

I agonized over the just-right fabric for the living room pillows. I even bought some dishtowels at Anthropologie that I was all set to butcher into pillows... But it wasn't until now that I found the perfect print. I wanted lovely pinks,tans and greens, pastel but muted and not too bright.

I was so pleased when my package arrived from purlsoho with my new Alexander Henry fabrics.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

a little something (someone) under the tree

I decided I wanted a new Christmas tree this year. I really thought about getting a pink tree... but with a million pink ornaments, I thought it might be too much. So I got mini pink trees for our bedroom, and a tall skinny tree (called "The Twiggy") for the living room. Steven is busy setting up the tree so we can decorate it Friday.

Steven also gave me an early Christmas present over our Thanksgiving holiday... I don't think it would have been wise to leave it wrapped up in a box for a month...

Meet Tess the Boston Terrier! She is 3 1/2 months old and a total sweetie. She is already almost pottytrained!! Smart puppy!

I know, I didn't *need* a puppy... but I really wanted another little dog we could keep inside and really.. the pretty pink sweaters don't come in 100 pound dog size!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I'm thankful for a visit from my family!

I am happy to report that my family is going me in Denver for Thanksgiving. Steven is packing up the babies tomorrow and bringing them to Denver for a little mini-vacation. I can't wait!! We will be hitting museums and an Avalanche game.
It's a nice break for him... cuz when he's back home, he needs to whip that dining room. (A house full of guests at Christmas!!!)

It is amazing how quickly the weather changes in Kansas. It is already getting cold and we have had a dusting of snow. Just a couple weeks ago, I snapped these pictures:

Happy Thanksgiving!!! I can't wait to take turns going around the table and saying what we are thankful for.
Do you have any special traditions in your family?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

pretty prints

I just ordered this pretty print for my living room:
And, shhh! This is a Christmas gift for my son who loves hot air balloons:

Both are very affordable! See more at

Monday, November 2, 2009

my new orange floral chair, with casters!!!

It's mine! The Angelo: Home Harlow chair in Mango!

Slowly but surely, my living room is coming together. I had some delays as the chair I wanted was on backorder for so long. But, I kept in constant contact with the designer via Twitter, and was finally able to snag one today! Yippee! At under $300, it is much more affordable than the Anthropologie Astrid chair that I fell in love with.
You might remember this mock-up I posted earlier:

On the right, there is my Harlow chair. The large natural fiber rug shown came from Lowe's. It is a 9x12 Roth + Allen chenille-jute rug in natural. It's huge and way cheaper than Pottery Barn prices. The striped rug on top is a 4x6 kilim snagged on the cheap from Overstock.

Yet to come, our queen anne sofa to be slipcovered in drop cloth material - a big job. The artwork shown has been ordered (more on that later). Oh, and pillows are in progress. I also have 2 side chairs currently covered in Amy Butler that I will be redoing in the drop cloth material.

How I love the yellow curtains. They really brightened up the room. And tie in great with the new kilim!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween with KISS!

I thought I would post up some pictures of my boys Halloween night. We did a pretty great job decorating the house, if I do say so myself. Many of the littler kids were afraid to come up onto the porch!

This year, our boys went at KISS. Putting on that makeup was harder than I thought it would be!

L-R: Gene Simmons (Emery), Peter Criss (Dane) and Ace Frehley (Satchel)

Paul Stanley (Bowie) was too crabby to try makeup tonight.

A close-up of Gene. (Satchel actually does the big tongue thing better than Emery)

The boys won Best Group Costume at the Baldwin City Halloween contest! They let them sing a song into the mic. Emery was too shy, but Satch and Dane sang "I Was Made for Loving You" and "Calling Dr Love."

We had a dress rehearsal last week when we took the boys to the Damage Control grand opening. Here you can actually see Dane, I mean, Peter Criss's makeup. I ended up buying a better makeup for Ace's silver was way better Halloween night.

Hope everyone had a Happy & Safe Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Cincinnati Iron Fence Co / Stewart Iron Works

I was on a quest to find out further information about Cincinnati Iron Fence Company. The cemetery iron historical sites gave mention to the company but listed them as having no corporate history available. I was afraid I had hit a dead end until I found a book in Google Books called “A History of Kentucky and Kentuckians Volume 2”bBy E. Polk Johnson, Lewis Publishing Company. In it, I found this tidbit:

“CLARENCE LeBus was born December 29 1862 near Oddville Harrison county Kentucky the second child in a family of seven children. His father Lewis Lebus born in Columbiana County Ohio came in 1855 at the age of twenty one years to Harrison County Kentucky where he demonstrated extraordinary business ability in amassing a large fortune partly in Kentucky and partly in California. His mother was Martha Cole Garnett Lebus eldest daughter of Edward and Elizabeth Garnett .


While specializing in farming and tobacco trading Mr LeBus has other large business interests. For many years he was president of the Electric Light Company in Cynthiana. He has given considerable attention to banking being the chief promoter and organizer of the Harrison Deposit Bank Cynthiana the Stock Yards Bank & Trust Company Cincinnati and the Union Bank & Trust Company Lexington. In each of these banks, Mr LeBus is a director. He is president of the Cincinnati Iron Fence Company, a phenomenally successful enterprise and a stockholder in numerous other enterprises. However Mr. LeBus is best known by his career in the tobacco world. Notwithstanding the risks and hazards that have always beset the tobacco business he has been uniformly successful. A prominent Cincinnati tobacconist and warehouseman once said of him “Le Bus never loses his head nor any of his money.””

A guy in Kentucky is the president of a Cincinnati fence company? This made more sense when I found an article about safeguarding cemetery iron. It mentioned that Stewart Iron Works, a company still in business, was the biggest fence company and supplied products to many companies, including Cincinnati Iron Fence Company and Sears & Roebuck, who simply attached their plaque to the fences.

Jackpot! I immediately navigated to their site and was beyond thrilled to see OUR fence listed in their catalog! No way!

Their website includes this history:

More than 120 years ago brothers Richard C. and Wallace A Stewart formed the Stewart Iron Works Company. From their roots as Stewart family blacksmiths they began a company that would soon produce wrought iron fence and furniture for the entire country.
This company would become known as the "World's Largest Fencemaker" and in 1904 at the St. Louis World's Fair, it was awarded the Grand Prize and Gold Medal Merit for iron fencing and lawn furniture.

Mystery solved… and we will get a quote from them about replacement picket tops and maybe a few more posts. It will be way cheaper than having new ones cast from sand molds.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

our gorgeous new (really old) fence

Coming soon to the Cottage of Stone: ornamental wrought iron fencing!

We spotted this gorgeous fence on Craigslist. It seemed expensive, yet at $25 a foot - it was actually a great bargain. We picked up nearly 100 feet of this gorgeous fence. The plaque reveals it was made by Cincinnati Iron Fence Company. I can't find any historical information on the company, other than some catalogues that indicate they produced fences from the late nineteenth through early twentieth centuries.

Steven ranks this right below the barn wood salvaging as the second worst excursion I have sent him on. It was nearly a three hour drive each way to the property the fence was at. Then fence was set in concrete. Not just the posts - but a strip of concrete the entire fence line. The post anchors were not salvageable. But Steven and the property owner spent 4 1/2 hours with crow bars and sledge hammers removing the fence.

We have to get our fence permit.. and this is a Spring project anyway... I just couldn't wait to share. Next up, I would like to find some iron cresting for the dormers to tie in with the new fence.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

little updates... send us happy thoughts!

My 4-yr old Dane at Maple Leaf Festival... He is having surgery tomorrow - read more below...

Steven got a bit side-tracked on the dining room project... Winter is rolling in here, and the doggies outside say BRRRRR! We looked at premade doghouses, but they were all so cheap and small. We have 3 big dogs at this house. No wimpy house will do! So Steven decided to design and make a doghouse on his own. Of course, the house had to be *just right* and up to his standards.

I have to say, the dogs will be warm and are extremely spoiled. He has put insulation in the whole thing! And it looks like a smaller version of our place shape wise. No stones on the dog house. They get siding.

Soon you will see pictures of the lovely Cottage for Puppies. Until then, the dining room is on hold.

I do have progress made on the living room. The lovely CB2 black and white rug, that the cat promptly "marked" upon roll out will be moved into the dining room. I ordered a chenille-jute woven rug from Lowe's - exactly like the one at Pottery Barn but with a smaller price tag! A stripey kilim overlay from Overstock will add a punch of color, and tie in the yellow curtains to the pink and green. The most wanted item right now is a chair I have been waiting on for MONTHS to come back in stock. More on that when I score that bad boy.

Finally, those who follow my blog have heard about my 4 boys quite a bit. Dane, who is 4, is scheduled for minor surgery tomorrow. He has a big bump, which looks like a huge Adam's Apple but is really just a cyst, that is being removed. After an ultrasound and an MRI, they determined it is not connected to his thyroid. So pelase send happy thoughts our way tomorrow morning!

Dane gives a baby goat a hug at Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead

Friday, October 23, 2009

fall colors at the cottage of stone

Last weekend was the Maple Leaf Festival in our sleepy little town. Thousand of visitors come here to tromp through leaf-covered brick streets, buy handmade crafts, eat yummy treats and take a spin in the street carnival.

Our boys mowed down some funnel cakes and turkey legs before hitting the whirling rides. Even the baby took a few spins!

I think our yard is even prettier this week as the trees are more colorful. I snapped a few pictures after taking my boys out to a (rare) mommy / son lunch.

Pumpkins line the slate sidewalk... They look pretty against the lavendar. You can almost make out the scary silhouettes in the front windows! Witches, bats and skeletons, oh my!

A bit wider shot. After Thanksgiving, the blue spruce on the far left will be decorated with white fairy lights.

This pretty girl isn't mine... But she is parked right out front. I thought she was even more pretty framed in bright yellow maple leaves. Some day, a Porsche will be mine. Oh yes, she will be mine! (But in black, not silver. Hey, I'm picky!)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

buttery-yellow curtains in the living room

I a real happy with how nice the living room is coming along. I think the buttery yellow curtains have brightened the room. And when the sunlight streams through the sheers, it is just gorgeous.

Here is a peak:

The yellow IKEA curtains and sheers against the khaki-sage wall color:

I still can't believe people thought we should paint the trim! The hardware is from Bed Bath & Beyond:

Our entire ceiling has these great beams. I will be painting the ceiling a pale creamy taupe when the fireplace is finished:
Speaking of fireplace... Steven was at Pottery Barn buying me a present (a McKenna jewelry box in pale blue), when he found these candleholders on sale. The candles he found at Kmart and they match the curtains perfectly. (He is learning quickly!!) He has the fireplace all decorated with candles and bones when I came home.

Monday, October 12, 2009

curtains in the living room to make a statement!

Steven spent (most of the afternoon) Sunday hanging the living room curtains for me. While most people might not think hanging curtains should be a 3 hour event, I must tell you, when Steven does something, he does it right. He put up the hardware for three windows in the living room... which, I kid you not, required tape measures, levels, etc. Because if it was a 1/16th of an inch off, he would notice. It is nice having a perfectionist that makes sure things get done right.

Anyway... Ms Bagel Power, glorious blog reader, was kind enough to shop at Ikea for me and got all the curtains and sheers I needed for the living room and dining room. (Thanks again!) The living room curtains are up and they are lovely.
On my way out to Colorado, with me a safe distance from the house, Steven did admit he initially had concerns about the yellow curtains I picked out. He wasn't sure how the yellow would go with the sagey green walls. (Notice he said this AFTER I left Kansas?) But he quickly assured me that the curtains brighten up the room and he thinks they look great.
I did spend a lot of time pondering the living room curtains. I didn't want to do drop cloth curtains in there. I have a lot of neutral going on in the room, and really, I crave color! In my mind, the sagey walls were really just a neutral backdrop for the color I wanted to bring in. I didn't think they really register as a "color," so I wasn't too afraid about clashing.

My neutral living room walls are actually "Hazel Woods" by Ralph Lauren.

I will be making a drop cloth slipcover for the Queen Anne sofa. I think the casual slip will not only extend the life of the sofa (4 boys!), but also make it more laid back. Nothing screams comfort like Victorian, right? I will also be reupholstering the side chairs in drop cloth, and adding some pink accents... but more about that later...

I want to bring in some splashes of pink, and maybe just a bit of yellow, to go with the neutral sage and taupe. I decided to put together a quick photoshop of what it might look like... keep in mind, this photoshop was a quick and dirty, and is more than mildly dorky, so bear with me.

In case Steven ever loses his mind, I made the right half of the wall pale pink. I know this will never happen since the bedroom and dining room are already pink. The sage is here to stay a long time. There is the drop cloth Queen Anne (not so stuffy, right?) and some pink throw pillows. We picked up a chippy crackly plant stand from Good JuJu that will house my yellow-potted ferns. A new chenille-jute rug is definite. I am still on the lookout for a brighter rug to overlay. This kilim is super cheap on Overstock, but I'm not sold on it yet. I think the yellow Ikea curtains perk up the room. I will be collecting artwork here and there as well.

This B&W rug from CB2 will be moving into the dining room. It will work better with the pink and black.

The big hold up with the living room is the other half of the room. This is the side that we tore out a fake facade wall from. So we are left with a nasty looking leaning fireplace. I have plans to build floor to ceiling bookcases to the right of it. The chimney will be all boxed in, with a rustic mantle. I want to tile around the fireplace. Possibly mounting the flat panel TV above it. But we are still negotiating on that. ;)

Here is the fireplace wall right as we started demo. I find nothing attractive about the lighthouse wall paper. Which, by the way, was at ceiling AND chair rail heights. Double score!
Here is the fireplace after the wall came out. (Old framing, for the record, has 8 million nails in them.) We have been told that chimneys were sometimes built slanted like that to draw better. I just can't wait to cover it up!
I hope to put up a bunch of new pictures this weekend. It's just that with me in Denver, I have such limited time on weekends to blog!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

dining room painting has commenced!

While I am here in Denver, pulling my hair out over work and homework... Steven is painting the trim in the dining room. (Go, baby, go!) I started getting out the painting stuff on Saturday, but Steven stopped me on my one day home and said he promised he'd get it done this week. Isn't that sweet?

Anyway... I have been scouting out items for the dining room. We went to Good JuJu on Friday and *only* snagged a little metal basket for the dining room table. Don't cry for us too hard. We did buy an awesome antique farmtable for the kitchen.

I stopped by the Anthropologie in Park Meadows (Englewood, CO) and spotted these gorgeous little antiqued mercury vases for $18 a pop. They were so pretty, but I know they'd get broken if I tried throwing them in my checked luggage. So I am hoping the KC Anthro has them. They are not listed on the website, else I'd link a picture for you all. But I did find one going off on eBay, so here is their picture:

I also snagged a couple RCA dog ("Nipper") S&P shakers and such on eBay. You might remember, I have a pit bull for a service animal. Nipper has been rumored to be, at least part pit bull. He is also said to have served as a service animal. Nipper has a fabled past, but I love his story just the same. I think the B&W Nipper collectibles will look cute displayed in my pink and black dining room!

I received my curtains in the mail (thank you dear reader, bagelpower!!). So the room is coming together. Hopefully I will have more pictures for you this weekend!

How are your projects going?

And do you have any tips for cool stuff for my dining room?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

ultimate old school... ice box conversions

I got a few questions on the coverted ice box I want, so I thought, why not post pics, right? My blog is dying while I am in Denver anyway!

We picked up a 1936 (or was it 32?) Detroit Jewel gas stove. It has the look of a 50s stove, but with little bitty feet on the bottom instead of it being flat to the ground. It is really beautiful. I decided I wanted a 'fridge to match. I researched a bit on Ice Box Conversions. Basically, they take an antique ice box, add a condenser, compressor and fan motor. The outside is cleaned up, if neccessary, and the inside gets stainless stain, an evaporator, temp controls, lights and R-12. We thought about DIYing it, but we'll get back to you on that. (We have too many projects anyway!)

Here are a few pictures I found to give you an idea:
1930 Kelvinator ice box, photo:

Converted ice box (the extras are hidden in the "base" they built below the doors), photo:

Soo perfect to go with the stove. I will ask Steven to take a picture of the stove and post it up this week. :)

Monday, September 28, 2009

going to the zoo zoozoo, you can come too too too

Even with my super busy schedule, we want to be sure that our boys don't feel too abandoned. This means presents (bribes) and little mini-vacations. We took a trip to Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead, a free petting zoo in Olathe, KS and the boys had a blast. Prying Bowie off the tractors was a challenge!

Bowie gets a hand from Daddy to bottlefeed some goats.

Dane gives a goat a big hug!

Emery taking the time to smell the flowers. The gardens are amazing there!

All 4 of my boys! L-R, Satchel, Emery, Dane and Bowie.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

our kitchen: a work in progress

We have been busy working on the kitchen since we moved in. The kitchen before was pretty much awful to look at. I'm not one for white walls, green sponge paint splats, and red and green country-style wallpaper borders.

We are making great progress in the arena... but even so, the layout of the kitchen is really bad for cooking. There is no "work triangle." You must go across the entire kitchen if you want to take a hot pot from the cook top island thing to the sink. (I usually yell "head up, hot hot hot" and shoo people at of the way while I run through the kitchen!)

The island is at an angle and makes it so if you walk by it, you risk someone coming in the back door and smacking you with the door.

Furthermore, I want to ditch the cooktop island, the double wall ovens and modern fridge for vintage appliances. We picked up a 1930s Detroit Jewel gas stove. We are on the hunt for a 1930s ice box that we can covert to modern. Still searching for the perfect farmhouse sink.

We have the light fixtures bought... after we paint the dining room, we will begin tearing out the sheetrock on the ceiling to bring the ceiling up to the original height, about 18" higher.

I have been busy sketching out (not to scale) my plans for Steven to work from. I think it helps him visualize what is in my head when I tell him I want to move the stove, move cabinets around, etc. Here is what I have cooked up so far:

The Lighting Scheme
We will be adding a schoolhouse pendant above the sink, two "natural iron" finish ceiling fans with schoolhouse globes and two industrial pendants.

Layout - Before
We are lucky to have a huge kitchen, even by today's standards. It actually was two rooms that were combined, probably in the early 80s. The layout is a real problem.

Layout After
By moving some cabinets out, we gain room to add a gas stove on the far right, near the ice box and the sink. Removing the island and cooktop area makes room for a new table and chairs. We plan to build a rolling island for additional seating and workspace. The wall ovens will become a built-in china cabinet.

Oven Wall -Before
Here is what we started with on this wall. Really cheap cabinets, laminate counters, vinyl peel and stick floor, aging wall ovens, etc.

Oven Wall - After
Here is my plan for sprucing everything up. Remove wall ovens and create a built-in china cabinet with glass fronts. Replace cheapo cabinet doors for homemade Shaker-style doors. Replace hardware with black icebox latches and bin pulls. Replace laminate countertops with sugar pine butcher block. Build up cabinets with 1x6s and crown moulding. (Cabinets used to go all the way to the ceiling.) Beadboard backsplashes. Wide plank hardwood flooring.

It is all ambitious, but I decided to ditch the idea of having an "interim" kitchen until we had a dream kitchen. Our dream kitchen is within reach. Once we snagged the antique gas oven, I decided it was attainable. I took a closer look at the cabinets and decided with re-arranging and new doors, they were fine. No need to scrap them for new cabinets.
I think sometimes we flip through magazines or watch HGTV and see these super-fancy kitchens and it feels rather unrealistic. People drop $75,000 on a kitchen remodel and act like it is just an every day thing. I don't know about you all, but that just isn't realistic for me. Somehow, I realized that you can do a lot with what you already have if you can just be creative.

Monday, September 21, 2009

dining room is humming along

Steven has been working in the dining room, sanding off the old texture paint that only covered a strip of the wall, leaving the rest of the wall smooth... I had already repaired most of the plaster so he just has a couple ceiling cracks to do. He's primed. We bought the base paint and already have the wall color. Hopefully Steven is snapping in-progress pictures so we can share this week!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

your positive thoughts worked!!

Guess who decided to grace us with his presence?

I suggested to Steven that we should leave the back gate open and set out a bowl of food. We are happy to report that Baby Nash was in the backyard this morning, acting as though nothing happened.
I wonder where he went on his big adventure.... I am thinking the Sabre Dance music was playing in his head and he was running amuck just having a good ol' time while we were worried sick!
Welcome home, Baby Nash!