Archive for the ‘Log Rhythms’ Category


Log Rhythms: Door Staining…

While we were acquiring flooring, cabinets, counter tops, appliances, and plumbing fixtures, we were still existing with few interior doors. There are no hallways in the cabin to utilize every inch of floor space, so not having bedroom and bathroom doors all this time was often a problem.

If the hubby and I were the only ones there, it really wasn’t a problem, unless neighbors or contractors came without warning. But if our awesome family came to help, it really made things awkward for all of us.

Even for our little cabin, there were a lot of doors. Eleven interior doors had to be stained and sanded 3 different times. Since both sides of a door have to be treated this way, that makes for 6 different rounds of sanding and staining per door, or 66 rounds total.

Trying to sand and stain one side while another side is drying is very difficult for even the best do-it-yourselfer. Based on all of these factors, we decided to have our interior wall staining crew price this job. It turned out to be a very reasonable price and within a weekend, we had doors installed!


Log Rhythms: Cabinets at the Cabin…

As you may have noticed, I have a “particular vision” for this cabin and I don’t compromise that, easily. Part of the “vision” was to have very, very simple farmhouse cabinets. And while I’m sure the hubby could have made cabinets for our kitchen, laundry room and bathroom, it was just too time-consuming for a guy who is regularly on the road.

Thus, we elected to use a local cabinet maker. The hubby selected the cabinet maker he felt would do the best job. Unfortunately, I am a very “visual” person–I have to “see” what something is going to look like before I can tell you if that is what I envision. Our cabinet maker chose to very roughly sketch how the cabinets would look and the drawings were not to scale. The hubby convinced him this was necessary to get a final okay from us.

Then, he wanted to put crown molding on everything.


Log Rhythms: Floors, Part 2

Last Wednesday I discussed how we wound up with Wild Horse Sandstone for our counters and tiled areas of the cabin. We even considered putting the floor plank tiles everywhere in the cabin. Indeed, that would have made for easy clean-up everywhere.

When I think of log cabins, I do think of wood flooring. With its rising popularity these days, it seemed important to put in some wood flooring for a few parts of the cabin, particularly since we hope to rent the cabin in the future–potential renters would expect to see wood floors in a log cabin.

Thus, I began researching the possibilities for such flooring. If you are a fan of this blog’s Friday posts, then you know, all too well, that we have a golden lab by the name of Maizie. Maizie is a sweetheart, very smart, and we adore her presence most of the time–she’s often both our entertainment and our dearest companion now that we have an empty nest.


Log Rhythms: Floors, Part I…

After all that sanding and staining, it was time to work on the fireplaces. To do that we needed rock (or a reasonable fac simile) and after visiting several stone and brick places in our area, we decided that East Tyler Brick in Tyler, TX was the best place to get a quality product for the least amount of money.

East Tyler Brick has far more than just brick and stone. They have pot belly stove replicas, “throw-back” appliances, and outdoor living furniture and equipment. While the hubby was finalizing the stone order, I noticed a patio table off to one side. It had a wooden top on it, but also had a metal base. The wood grain was amazing and very polished. It puzzled me, quite frankly.

I went over to the table and when I examined it further, I realized it was actually STONE! I fell in love with it, instantly. My mind raced and I checked myself quickly with this thought: “We’ll never be able to afford it.” But the next thought was: “Maybe we could do the bathroom counters in this?”


Log Rhythms: Sanding and Staining…

Perhaps the most daunting task of finishing out the interior of our cabin by ourselves was sanding and staining the interior walls, doors and trim inside our home. “Phase I” of this process involved sanding all the interior walls and ceilings.

Just doing the vaulted ceilings was a massive two-week undertaking. While the hubby had tremendous help from our youngest and the DSL that first weekend, the hubby was forced to take some vacation time and do most of it himself.

After looking at several log cabin magazines, I had one fear and I have a sneaky suspicion many log cabin families fear the same thing: making the cabin too dark. Our neighbor says and I agree that one does have to install more lighting in a log cabin than in conventional housing because the logs are already going to naturally darken the room and absorb light.

Thus, I elected to go with the lightest stain we could find to minimize this effect.


Log Rhythms: Spring Fling

Weellllll….I didn’t quite follow through on my intention of keeping you up to date with all that is going on with our Katahdin cabin at the Reserve at Montalba. Let’s just say my spiritual direction practicum is to blame.

However, the practicum should be finished by the latter part of April and I will be back to my blogging shenanigans. In the meantime I want to give you a brief update and…an invitation!

We are now “at the landscaping stage” of our little gray cabin in the woods. And a new pond is going in, as well as our driveway! I finally got to drive down the driveway this past weekend and we can now park a car in the carport! Hallelujah–I never thought I’d see this day!

We have already had two sets of guests at the cabin, too, and celebrated our first Christmas there. I used to think I did well decorating my own home for Christmas, but there is just something special about decorating a log cabin for Christmas. And it was our first grandson’s first Christmas and New Year’s, so it was even more special.

But, back to that invitation I mentioned. Each year the Reserve holds an “Open House” of sorts–Spring Fling! It’s held in conjunction with nearby Palestine, TX’s Dogwood Festival.


Log Rhythms: Semi-Camping…

Howdy, Log Rhythms and log cabin fans! It’s time to update you on all that has happened since last August regarding the Solitude cabin!

I would like to say our family is finished with the cabin, but we are not. This is largely due to one busy family and yet again, weather delays.

Even so, we are nearly done. But, I’m going to go back to the 2016 Labor Day weekend. That’s when our entire family took over the interior “finish-out” of the cabin. Our building crew had packed up their RVs and tents and taken off for Montana.

We were all traveling in various vehicles to get to the Reserve from our main homes as dusk hit on the Friday before Labor Day and then, we were at a dead-stop because of one bad crash on a narrow bridge on the U.S. highway closest to Solitude. You know it’s a bad sign when the CareFlite helicopter nearly lands on top of you!


Log Rhythms: Favorite Online Vendors…


While the hubby and the rest of the family have worked on the more skilled and engineered part of the cabin, I have been spending a lot of time finding various fixtures and features for the cabin. Because of my varied work history, I am a rather savvy Internet shopper.

I can take one look at a site and tell if I’m about to be scammed. I have little patience for slow loading sites with few filters and no way to compare items. If a site doesn’t post the item prices, I’m irritated by such Internet snobbiness!

Today I’m noting some of my favorites and why I love them. Here are my “idea sites”:

  • For just giving me ideas on everything “cabin,” I love It’s the architectural version of Pinterest, but also allows you to shop for things seen in various photos. Some of the lighting for the cabin is, indeed, coming from The app is also easy to use!
  • is great for figuring out what is typical of a particular style. I am in love with the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired arts and craftsman style. So, when I want to know what would have typical in the arts and craftsman era, I go to this site for learning what was typical of the style. You can do that with just about any “retro” theme there. The prices are high, but if you want the replicated real deal, this is the site.
  • is also expensive. But similar to, I often find the one and only thing I can’t live without there.


Often I don’t know the proper search term for the item I want. By using the sites above, I often learn the term. This happened just yesterday when I learned that I was hunting for a barn light without a goose neck. Yes, I’m serious. I would never have known that otherwise!

For the cheapest price, I highly recommend these sites:

  • has: lighting, plumbing, HVAC, cabinetry, hardware, decor, flooring and appliances. I just recently joined’s loyalty program and I am already at the Silver level. This gives me a 1.5% discount on lighting, a 5% discount on non-lighting items, $ 25 towards two-day shipping (even though standard shipping is free after spending $49), and $ 25 off my next purchase. I’m 40% of the way to their next level and it was pretty effortless. Build’s sister sites, and are also worth visiting.
  • – Everyone is familiar with Lowe’s, but their programs and web site are also worth the time. If you already know what you want, you can easily research and compare features and get things shipped to your building site, home or nearest store reasonably. Also, if the closest store doesn’t have the entire number you need, you can easily find how many are in other nearby stores. While this number isn’t always accurate, it keeps you from putting fruitless mileage on your car.


Lowe’s 5% off credit card program has been worth the hassle of another card. It often makes Lowe’s the cheapest. If you join the MyLowes program, Lowe’s will keep a record of everything you purchase there.  Thus, it’s easy to find the brand name and color of what you purchased 5 years ago. It’s your “home improvement brain.”

  • has more than faucets–they feature all kinds of lighting and anything needed for a kitchen or bath. With free shipping on anything over $ 99, it’s easy to save a bundle. Like many online sites, your builder may be able to secure bigger discounts at and they often suggest calling them for the best price.


For specific items, I like:

  • is just for floor register covers. Who knew? While not a glamorous site, one can easily find odd sizes and decorative register covers at reasonable prices.
  • allows me to find unusual colors and patterns I never knew existed. However, when serious about buying, I recommend visiting the marble/granite place of your choice and inspecting the slabs personally.
  • will step you through building semi-custom cabinets in a user-friendly way. If nothing else, it’s smart to check their prices and to find styles and colors you like.


These two sites are my mega-search engine faves and they are no surprise to most:

  •! After installing the Amazon button in my browser bar, Amazon automatically searches for the very same item on its site as I’m investigating that item elsewhere and pops up its price on my current screen with no effort! They have “won” quite a few of my purchases since I’m a fan of their Prime program with 2 day free shipping and beat the price of their online competitors. If the price is the same, I just “X” out of their small bar. But honestly? It’s so small that it’s not usually in my way.


Why Because a portion of your purchases go to your favorite charity just by shopping on their site! May I suggest that you select Compassion Counseling Center as your charity? But you have to go to the site in order for this to happen, so make sure you do!

  • On I type in “cheapest price on xxx” (as detailed as I can be) and Google pops up (on the right side of my screen) the cheapest prices on the net. Plus, the search results allow me to discover even more sites to consider.


The hubby (quite the bargain shopper himself) signed up for a Discover card so we could get their rebates on everything we buy and through September 30th, that goes up to 5% back! So wherever I can use a Discover card, I’m also getting 5% back on top of the discounts above! Let’s just say we’re making a lot of purchases via Discover right now.

In my mother’s day, I would have worn out multiple pairs of sneakers and used a lot of gas looking for this stuff; now, it’s a keystroke away. Is it time-consuming? Oh, heck yes. (I don’t just search these sites–I have others!) The savings are significant–One site sold an item for $ 419. With loyalty discounts, it was $ 370. Amazon popped up with its’ price at $ 286! I used Discover and saved a total of $ 147.30 with free two-day shipping in just a few short minutes!

Now I’m using my sneakers on my treadmill from being an Internet couch potato. 😉


Log Rhythms: Delivery Delays…

Interior of Great Room as of 8/9/16

We are on the verge of something long-awaited: The outside is almost complete! When this occurs, the rest of the Solitude cabin interior construction is up to our family to complete.

I’m thankful that I belong to a family with two important qualities: a great amateur skill set and a hard work ethic. Thus, the skillful will be guiding those of us (myself included) with fewer construction skills in the months ahead. What we may lack in skill, we make up for with determination and a willingness to learn and work hard.

What does all of that translate to? A lot of financial savings! So yes, I’m very grateful for the sacrifices our family makes to assist us in completing this cabin.

There’s only one “wrinkle” to this plan.

Delivery of materials.

Despite how hard the hubby has been trying to get materials to Solitude, he has been thwarted at just about every turn by the folks and companies entrusted with delivering them.


Log Rhythms: Joanna and Mom…

Last Wednesday I talked about going to First Monday Trade Days in Canton, Texas. Thanks to numerous web sites telling me what might be available there for the cabin, I felt it was a must.

The hubby and I went last Sunday to find a unique laundry sink for the cabin. If nothing else, I wanted see if Canton might have one at a better price than what I was finding online.

It hit me about a month ago that there was very little about our cabin laundry room that would make it “stand out” from the other rooms in the cabin. I think I can safely say that I have ideas up in my head or already in place in the cabin to make several areas “fun for the eye.”

I already have some stories I want to recount for folks who visit the cabin as our guests. We do plan to rent the cabin when not in family use and I plan to put these stories in a photo album filled with the pics we have taken as we have built and furnished the cabin.