Archive for the ‘Log Rhythms’ Category


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.


Log Rhythms: Canton-bury Tales…

Canton First Monday overhead view

All of what you see is one big flea market! Yes, all of it.

Ever since I moved to Texas in the early ’90s, I’ve heard of a small town in east Texas that is spoken of in awed and hushed tones by my gal pals: Canton.

What’s is so speacial about Canton? First Monday Trade Days.

What is First Monday Trade Days? (Yes, it’s singular. It’s Texas. Texans are proud of things that don’t make sense anywhere else in the country.)

It’s a flea market to end all flea markets. It’s open just once a month for the four days preceding the first Monday of each month. There are over 100 acres of stuff. Yes, 100 acres of stuff. You name it–it’s probably in Canton each month.

There are a staggering number of massive buildings and outdoor shelters where vendors have permanent booths, but there are also an equally massive number of open spaces where people can simply pick a booth space and offer their wares whenever they wish.

I’m about to reveal a deep, dark secret. It’s shameful. I’ve lived in Texas for over 24 years and I’ve never been to Canton. (I just lost some gal pal friendships. Not. Kidding.)


Log Rhythms: Logging Miles…

1st coat of stain

Notice a few things different in the picture above? I sure hope so.

Number 1 Change: There are now double posts at the edge of the back deck on the lakeside of Solitude. They add a little more pizzazz to this simple cabin design, if you ask me and add on well to the Timber look trusses.

Number 2 Change: The porch railings are up! Our porch railings are square with a flat board on top. Most log cabins have rounded rails and tops and I just wasn’t wild about it. It was too “chunky”. I love resting my arms on the flat top boards! We lowered the railing as much as we could so that one can see as much lake as possible. We also put the rails as far apart as possible, while still protecting little ones! I would have lowered the rail even more, but again, safety dictates a minimum height for the little ones.


Log Rhythms: Stains that Don’t Need to Be Laundered

Shed porches going on!

Shed porches going on!

Howdy, Cabin lovers! As I type this the hubby is out at the Reserve and is ensuring that the builder has all he needs to continue finishing the exterior of the cabin. This week’s projects include putting on “shed porches” over the exterior porches on the cabin, installing electrical wiring, putting bracing on the load-bearing trusses and cleaning the exterior logs.

I didn’t think that there would be a lot of “aesthetic” decisions to be made at this stage in the game, but I’m wrong! For the shed porches I needed to tell the builder which way I wanted the under side of the roofing to be laid. There are even several ways to do the corners and I’ll be honest, I may regret what I decided! But, it’s probably not an “end of the world” decision.

In a few places we are having “upside down T” trusses made by a local welder since we selected more detailed trusses in the front and back of the cabin. Even the size of the brace holes is a decision as well as how many holes per brace and the placement of these holes. One also has to decide the finish color and the type of bolts or screws used to brace these trusses.


Log Rhythms: Lights, Cameras, Action…


Lakeside of Solitude

Howdy, Log Cabin Fans! We made a trip to the Reserve yesterday to check on the progress of the Solitude cabin and were delighted to find that it’s really beginning to look like a cabin now. The two ends of the cabins even have the beginnings of a roof!

Why is the center section roofing not also done? Because the hubby and I need to make some lighting decisions! Yes, lighting decisions.

The center cabin section contains two 8″ square beamed trusses, vaulted ceilings, and purlins. Thus, any ceiling-mounted lighting here is now an urgent decision. In some cases we need to make final decisions about exactly what lighting fixture(s) will occupy certain areas.


Log Rhythms: Deck Them Halls…

Back Deck

Back deck with side porches for two bedrooms…

The rain has stopped in East Texas, but the humidity is here with ridiculous intensity. When traveling back and forth between Central Texas and the Reserve, there has to be at least a 30% difference in humidity and not in a good way!

Our building crew is from Kentucky and Ohio and this heat/humidity combo are making it quite difficult for them to work without “wilting.” They have smartly decided to begin work at 6 am; stop about 11 am to noon and return to work when the temps begin to drop.

Interior wall studs and vaulted areas being built…

But even with an odd work schedule, they are making incredible progress. The decks for all of the porches are complete and the vaulted wall areas are nearly complete. Interior walls are being framed. A few rafters are installed. Thus, we are getting excited about all we are seeing.

We have made a decision about the stone for our fireplaces and for the exterior of the crawl space foundation.


Log Rhythms: The Log-Raising!

Log Walls Up

Lakeside view of Solitude this morning…

As a blogger I do not spend inordinate amounts of time promoting my blog on social media. There are several reasons for this: A) I do have a life! If I actively worked all the major “avenues” of social media, I would never make any progress in the other “arenas” of my life. B) Some sites require a master’s in computer science in order to post links. C) Some claim they have major followings and then really don’t. D) Some are photo-based and as you have probably noticed, I’m not a great photographer. (I do have future plans for working around this, though!)

However, there would be no MaryAnn In Progress if it were not for Facebook. I began writing “Notes” on Facebook nearly 10 years ago “just for grins” and the response was surprising to me. Several faithful “followers” suggested that I needed to write a book and the DSL finally suggested that I “own” my writing. Hence, a blog was born!