Easy Faux Planters

5As I promised earlier in the week, I’m sharing how I made some cute little faux plants.  It started with a variety of small containers I had previously had succulents in along with a few new items.  The succulents had met an untimely fate during one of Brinley’s “puppy moments” and had been empty for a while so I wanted to refill them but with Alaska still well in the grips of winter there weren’t many options to choose from.  While browsing Michaels the other day I spotted these little faux succulent stems (ignore my supervisor’s photo bomb – LOL!).

0I knew they’d be perfect to fill several of the small containers so I picked up a few.  As you can tell from the empty spots on the holder above, I’d tested out the stems on a small piece before I decided to write a post about the process.  But since it went well here we go.  We’ll start with this cute glass cup I picked up at IKEA the last time we were in Portland.

1I fill it 2/3 full of moss I already had on hand to create a base for my arrangement.

2I pulled several of the grassy stems from the holder and started bunching them together.  Once I had a grouping I liked I put them down into the center of the moss in the cup.

34I fluffed things around a bit until I liked how everything looked and called it done.  Next up was this cement bowl I found at a local boutique shop.

6Since this one was larger than the glass cup and solid I filled most of it with crumpled up paper from an advertisement that came in the mail.  I was enjoying the pretty spring colors on the paper, which was a nice little inspiration.

7I added moss on top of the paper, leaving a small area in the center open to put the stems.

8After I added the grassy stems I randomly placed some of the small succulent stems around the perimeter.  It was ok, but looked a bit crowded and not really what I was envisioning.  So I kept fussing with it, trying a variety of arrangements.

9Eventually I pared it down to just the grassy stems and some white flowers left over from a project long ago.  Its the perfect look for early spring.

10Here’s a quick shot of the other planters I whipped up using the same method.  This little galvanized container came from a boutique in Portland and looks sweet next to the lamp in the guest room.

11You might have spotted the succulent grouping in the small crock on the sewing table I shared recently.  It was a little too much brown in here until we refinish the table so it’s moved to the laundry room, which I’ll share soon.

aAnd of course the succulent planter you saw earlier this week with my fun little scroll art.

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I love how real they all look, yet they require zero maintenance, which is perfect for my schedule these days! 🙂  I’ve got a few more of the succulent stems so there might be a few more arrangements in the coming months, but for now I’m enjoying having a bit of green around the house even though it’s deep white outside.Save

DIY Serving Tray

finishThis was a quick project I did as inventory for my holiday bazaar show back in November.  I had wanted to share it back then but life with the crunch of show prep I didn’t get a chance to take step by step photos to share.  Luckily, it’s such a simple project that I can explain it pretty easily and since it didn’t sell I still have it around to photograph!

I started with a plain wooden cutting board I picked up at the thrift store for around $4.  It was looking pretty worn so I gave it a good cleaning and then a light coat of stain to bring it back to life.  Next we added the leather handles.  Can you guess what they were in a former life?

1If you guessed a belt you’re right!  The Hubs had several belts that no longer fit or were worn out in spots.  This one was literally hanging on by a thread at one spot but the rest was still in good shape so I guesstimated how long I wanted the handles and cut two pieces to the same length.  The Hubs attached the edges of the belt pieces to the board with this fancy screws we got at the hardware store after pre-drilling holes for them so they wouldn’t split the wood.

32And that’s it.  See I told you it was simple!  I’m actually pretty glad it didn’t sell as we’ve been using it quite often for snacking on the couch or when I want to work on something but still be comfy.

I’d love to leave it out on the ottoman like this with some cute seasonal decor staged all the time but the Hubs assures me that the dogs would chew the handles and I know they would certainly knock off anything I had sitting on it so it typically lives on top of the media cabinet so it’s nearby whenever I need it.  It’s a good thing I love those heathens. 😉

Linking up at: Knik of Time’s Talk of the Town and Savvy Southern Style’s Wow Us Wednesday.

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Talkeetna in the Winter

7My photography MeetUp group recently got together to explore Talkeetna, AK.  Although I’d been past the turn off for this little town many times on our trips to Denali, I hadn’t yet stopped in to check it out so this was the perfect opportunity to do just that.  We met up at the Roadhouse for breakfast and socializing first.  It was in the negative temps outside so the warm interior with yummy handmade specialties was a great way to start the visit.  There was a small bakery selection in the display cases and a variety of specialty syrups and sauces above.

abfThe staff pulled out several of the trays so I could get a better look at the massive options from specialty cinnamon rolls, to meat pies and unique Alaskan items such as “Rudy in a Parka” – which was an oversized version of a pig in a blanket but with reindeer sausage.  That’s what I chose to try and was very satisfied with it.

cdeAs we sat and ate one of the group members who comes to Talkeetna a lot told us about the history of the area and how the Roadhouse becomes a gateway for visitors from around the globe who have come to summit Denali.  During the summer months she said it’s not uncommon to have a variety of nationalities in this small room swapping tales, creating music and interacting.  Around the room there are flags for teams who have successfully summited the mountain and photos of some as well.

1234In one corner monies from around the world have been posted, sandwiched between terrain maps, team flags and more photos of successful climbers.
5And on the far wall was this interesting cuckoo clock.  I wasn’t able to get the history on the piece but imagine it arrived as a gift from a foreign visitor many years ago.
6With a full belly for warmth I bundled up and headed out in to the frigid temps to capture a few more of Talkeetna’s quirks.  I loved the textures of the old building and signs next to the smooth icicles hanging from the roof line.

89Across the street was a pizza place with eclectic artwork.  I can easily envision this place in the summer with dread headed servers taking patrons orders on the patio. A few more steps down the street was the beer garden of Denali Brewing which I’m sure is also another hot spot during the summer tourist season.

1011In the center of town – which was literally right next door to the brewing building on the main street – was the Fairview Inn.  It seems to be the major hotel in town.  I didn’t venture inside but the rules sign out front did make me smile because it’s definitely not something you’d see many other places.

1213Across from the Fairview Inn was Nagley’s Store, which looked like it had been pulled right out of a scene from Northern Exposure.  This is the towns general store for all your basic goods.  While the sign on the front of the building seemed relatively new, the two on the side of the building quickly reminded you that this place has been around for a long, long time.

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Next door to the general store was this little stand.  I’m assuming it’s a vendor booth during the tourist season but during the winter it’s a collection of local wildlife bones and antlers.14There were several signs around town describing early pioneer life and how Talkeetna was settled as a trading post.

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There were also some interesting art displays including this one that was above a house with several salmon inspired designs.  I got the sense that there’s a strong artist community here, which makes sense because the surrounding scenery is quite inspiring.  21

There were also a handful of historic cabins and homes that were preserved with signage describing how they were significant to the history of the town.1920Due to the extreme cold I didn’t stick around to read all the signs or investigate any of the sights in depth.  Instead I wandered the side street just off the main road taking in the sights and identifying spots I’d like to come back to check out in the warmer months.  But the snow and ice did have a special beauty to it as it clung to the buildings.

1718At the end of the main road I spotted this establishment, which I assumed was another brewery type vendor.  I just loved the Alaskan signage and door handle.  Next door was another historic cabin in need of a bit of restoration.

2224I stopped back into the Roadhouse to warm up since I could no longer feel my fingers and learned that the group planned to head over to the park at the end of the main road to see where the rivers met and the landscape opened up to views of the mountains.  This was obviously the main snow machine trail in town and access to nearby hunting areas.

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As we reached the riverbed I heard the train whistle nearby so I hurried down the trail and caught the train just as it made it’s way across one of the trestle bridges.25As I returned to the group who had set up to photograph the mountains I saw that one of the members had ventured out into the snow drifts where her shoe had gotten stuck and frozen in place!  Like most photographers, her primary concern was handing over her camera for safekeeping, then the group leader helped dig her out.
2627Once she was safely in the vehicle warming back up I got a few shots of the mountains, including Denali, which graced us with a fairly clear vantage.  The clear day made the panoramic view amazing.

2829panoI had to get back to town for an appointment that afternoon so I bid farewell to the group and headed back toward the highway.  Along the way I remembered to stop at a viewpoint I’d spotted on my way into town which gave another great view of the range and The Great One.

3132I’m pretty sure the Hubs and I will be back this spring or summer to explore a bit more when everything is open and I’d like to try the zipline through the trees at the edge of town.  I’ll be sure to share that adventure here when I do! 🙂Save

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A Quick & Easy Makeover

afterHere’s one of the quick little projects I’ve done recently.  I spotted this little scroll decor piece on one of the local buy/sell pages for $1 and just couldn’t pass it up.  Here’s how it looked when I bought it.

beforeAlthough it was cute in it’s original state I thought it would look better with a metal finish rather than the faux stone one it had.  A couple quick coats of ORB spray paint and it’s got a whole new look.

finishI’m not sure where I’ll use it just yet, but for now it looks pretty next to another of my quick projects, this mini faux succulent planter.  I’ll share how I made that later this week!

Linking up at: Knik of Time’s Talk of the Town and Savvy Southern Style’s Wow Us Wednesday.

Snow Day!

stoliToday is Tequila’s birthday, which coincidentally coincides with National Love Your Pet Day (AKA – everyday in the DBDT household)!  Although we didn’t do anything special to celebrate, I did take a break from photography work to play in the snow with the herd.

tequilaHere in Alaska we don’t get many “snow days” off from work or school because life continues on no matter how much snow there is in this region.  Luckily, President’s Day provided a perfect opportunity to pretend that it was a snow day and stay home – only venturing out as far as the yard for some fun.

Each of the fur babies has a favorite toy to play with outside.  Tequila loves her frisbee, Stoli has a stuffed soccer ball with handles and Brinley is ALL ABOUT HER TENNIS BALL!  It’s a good thing we have a long driveway where I can use the ball chucker to throw it down the drive way for her.

run3Today Stoli decided it was more fun to try to steal her ball than play with his own.  But try as he might, he just couldn’t seem to beat her to the ball, or get her to drop it by bouncing around her.  Eventually he gave up and was content to just run back and forth.

run6run2runrun7Sometimes I’m not sure he knew where he was running to, but he was having plenty of fun regardless.  And all that running keeps him warm despite that short haired coat of his.

stolirunEach time I’d angle the chucker back for a throw this is the face I’d see.  Complete and total concentration.

readyUnfortunately that didn’t always translate into finding where the ball went when my aim was a bit off and it landed in a snow bank.  bsnowShe did attempt several methods to find those errant balls.  It was quite hysterical to watch her dig and plow her way through the snow in her quest, especially since the snow was as deep as she is tall in most spots!

snorkelrearsnorkel2snorkelsnorkelupThen she’d look up in frustration to see if I had guidance to give.  I’d point her in one director or another until she realized this was a lost cause.

bA few times big sister attempted to help, snorkeling through the snow and retracing the paths that Brinley had made, carving them a bit wider as she went.

snorkelhelptstrailtequilatrailShe didn’t have any luck finding the missing balls either and decided to go back to her frisbee.

tplay2tplaytplay3And while all this was going on Miss Luna decided to come out to the porch and supervise.

lunaThat’s as far as she made it since she doesn’t like to get her paws in that cold white stuff and it’s definitely deeper than she’s interested in.

Apparently all that fun wore everyone out because a few minutes after we came inside everyone was out cold.

sleepsleep2Including Luna!  It’s hard work supervising all that chaos. 🙂

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A New Project

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Hi everyone,  I know it’s been quiet here on the blog but there’s a lot going on behind the scenes.  The day job has been super busy, I decided to revamp my photography website and have been working on several small projects that have been waiting in the wings for months.  I’ll be photographing a lot of those projects this weekend so I can share them with you next week, but in the meantime I had to share my new project.

I picked up this adorable antique sewing table on one o the local buy/sell pages with a modern sewing machine for just $85!  Although the sewing machine is what drew me to the post since that was the main photo when I read that the table came with it for that price I immediately contacted the seller to see if it was still available.  Lucky for me it was because I’ve been on the hunt for a piece for this spot and a sewing machine for other projects.  We had to reschedule the pick-up a couple of times, but it finally came home this week and it’s literally a perfect fit or the space.

The seller told me the piece had been in her family for many years and she always hoped someone would refinish it, which is exactly what I plan to do.  It’s in need of some simple repairs to a few spots and tightening up of all the screws, but those should be easy.  I’m going to live with it as is for a while to refine my ideas, but the Hubs and I agree on an overall plan to leave the cast iron legs alone, paint the drawers on the base of the table and refinish the top in a cherry to match the sewing table we refinished on the other side of the bed.  Lastly we’ll find similar knobs to match the other table for all 6 drawers.

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I had originally wanted a small dresser for this space, but we typically don’t have guests stay that long and with the closet system in this room there’s plenty of space for them to unpack if they should.  I may turn the open space where the sewing machine use to sit into a vanity so guests could get ready in their room if the bathroom next door is in use.  There’s already a chair in this room so they could just pull it over when needed.  I’m not sure if I’ll replace the top completely and put a large mirror against the wall or use the flip cover to hide a mirror underneath that can be opened when needed.

For now it’s a perfect spot to hold the lamp and fill in the empty space.  I’d love to hear your ideas on how you’d use the piece, so share them in a comment below!

Junkin’ in Portland

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Our last trip to Portland was planned around attending a large junk show similar to the one we’d gone to the previous year farther north.  This one was called Junk Bonanza.  Several of the same vendors were at this show so they were on the top of my list to check out first.  We paid a little extra for the early bird tickets so we got in before the general crowd, which means we also had first dibs on items.

The Hubs had told me that if I found something large that I wanted we could store it at my mother-in-law’s house until he could make a trip down the Alcan to pick it up in the spring.  Knowing that I had that option in the near future, I made a bee-line for B’Aase Repurposed‘s booth.  I had missed out on their super cute upcycled planters last time and was hopeful they’d have some more.  Although they didn’t have planters this time they did have this awesome bell made from a gas canister cylinder.  I knew right away it was meant to be in my yard.  We also found some cool metal fishing floats at their booth that will be used on rain chains to the rain barrels this year.

1bell

I took a peek at several other booths as I made my way to the next group on my priority list.  I really liked the large burlap webbing ottoman I spotted at this booth and may attempt to make one or two for the new deck we plan to build this summer.

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Grange Industrial was my next priority stop.  I had researched them online from the vendor list and really liked their style.  They had several large pieces I pondered over, including some adorable repurposed wheelbarrow planters, but I knew I had a budget to work within and not having a spot I knew I’d use each item in I decided to pass on them.

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Although it wasn’t on my priority list because they didn’t have an online site I could research them at beforehand, I just couldn’t pass the JBRO booth without browsing before the crowds arrived.  It was a wise choice because I found a garden trellis, a rake head and velvet pumpkins – just in time for fall decorating.

5booth

By now the general admission had started and things got a little more crowded.  I started browsing the vendors row by row and fell in love with UberChicHome‘s large display.  I was originally drawn to their grain sack pillows but the Hubs pointed out a vintage wooden cart on the corner of their booth.  The vendor said the item was on hold for another 5 minutes for someone who said they would be back for it.  We decided it was worth the wait to hang out and see if we could get it if the other person didn’t show up.  5 minute later, there was no returning customer and it was ours.  And about 2 minutes later someone else was asking to buy it as the vendor swiped my card!  The one we got is very similar to the one in the lower right corner of the photo below but nicer.  You’ll see it in a bit when I share my haul.

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While we were waiting for the no-show customer I poked around the booth right across the aisle.  Rusty Glamour definitely had my vibe – rustic with a touch of industrial and farm house.  She had several cool pieces like those pendant lights made from old theater spot lights you see right out at the front and a vintage wheel chair.

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What I loved most at her booth were these awesome sea bag pillows.  They were large and I knew they’d be durable based on the material.  When I pointed them out to the hubs he reminded me that we still had his sea bag and his dad’s.  So we decided to make our own using those.  I’m hoping to get to that project in the next few months and will share it here when we do.

7pillow

Once we had the cart paid for I ventured on to other nearby booths, including All My Favorite Things, where I found an awesome rustic bench.  I actually pondered on the bench for a few minutes because it was a great price (based on my Alaska comparisons), but I wasn’t sure if I’d use it on the deck or front porch.  Another lady heard me talking about it with the vendor and told me that if I didn’t buy it she would.  Knowing I had two possible spots to use it off the top of my head I couldn’t pass up the deal.  I also contemplated those rustic stools you see in their booth below but I didn’t have a specific spot in mind for them so I decided to let them find another home.  I found a large stoneware crock at this booth for a great price as well.

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Now that I had several bigger pieces paid and on hold around the show I wandered booth to booth to see what struck my interest.  One of my favorite set-ups was this farmhouse style booth, although didn’t find any treasures that had to come home with me from there.

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To give you an idea of just how big the show was, here’s a panoramic shot I took from one corner of the exhibit hall!  Good thing I wore comfortable sneakers!

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I’ll show my haul from the show in just a moment, but I also wanted to share some of my favorite booths and items I spotted when we visited the Monticello Antique Marketplace in Portland during the same trip.  This was our first visit to the store and it didn’t disappoint.

booth

There was something about this particular booth that drew me in.  It had a perfect blend of rustic, farm house and western.  Another booth had these cool metal coil lights.  We have a couple of these in my materials stash so I may give it a try!

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We came in through the side entrance where there was a little cafe, so I really enjoyed finding the main entrance with this awesome garden style display.

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A little alcove near the entrance was decorated for Halloween – can you tell I’ve been meaning to do this post for a while?! LOL.  I loved the large undertakers sign on the back wall and may just make something similar for our mantel come this October. 😉

halloween

Ok – it’s finally time to share my haul from the Junk Bonanza show.  I didn’t get a shot of the smaller items since it was threatening to rain, here are the big items that await our return in the spring!  I can’t wait to bring them home and put them to use around the house and yard!

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I love that the crock has a Portland stamp.  It will be a fun reminder of our many trips here.  And I find it interesting that it’s also a “6” like some of our others, including the one in our master bedroom.

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Here’s a closer shot of the little wooden cart we scored!  This one is much nicer than the one you saw in the picture before.  It’s got removable panels for the tray of the cart and an old school reflector on the back – which is my favorite detail!  I’ve decided it’s going to live on our front porch where it will be protected from the elements but can be filled with plants or seasonal decor.  It will probably also be used for photo shoots, which should be absolutely adorable.

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Since the Hubs is already planning to make a trip back with the truck in the coming months, I’m planning to hit several antique shops in downtown Camas, WA while we’re there as I’ve got a few things on my wish list that I’m sure will be better priced in that area.  I’d love to hear what you think of the treasures we found and ideas on how you would use them!