New Job, New Desk and New DIY Decor

In my post last week I mentioned that 2018 started with a big change for me at work.  I’ve been promoted to a new position within the same department and as part of that transition I got to move to a bigger desk.  I had decorated a bit at my old desk, but the space was awkward and limited so I didn’t do much beyond organizing my office supplies.  The new desk has much more room and is a bit more private so I had a lot more to work with.

Here’s how the space looked just before I moved over.  It was a total blank slate.  And here’s how it looks now!

It’s still a cubicle, but it’s cozy.  And since I spend a big chunk of time here every week I’m glad that it makes me comfortable and reflects my style.  Things started with a plan to organize my office supplies.  I’d picked up some pieces from the Joanna Gaines spring line at Target, but they ended up not working out for what I wanted.  So I went the old DIY route.  I had this little metal caddy for a while.  I picked it up from the Target dollar zone probably 2 summers ago for use out on the deck, but it never left the cabinet since it came home so it needed a new purpose.  It was just the right size and layout to store my note pads, pens and markers.  But I wasn’t crazy about the color in this space when I tested it out with my other supplies.

So I did what any good DIYer does, I broke out the spray paint for another desk caddy revamp.  My first thought was white, and I had a can of chalk paint in the garage.  I taped off the handle to protect it and got to spraying.  It took several coats to cover the teal color and once it did, I wasn’t loving it.

So I dug in the paint cabinet again and found black.  It’s my new go-to farmhouse style color and I figured it would work well with the frames I already had at my previous desk.  There were a few spots that crackled or bubbled since the first coats were a chalk paint but in good farmhouse style it adds to the character.  Here it is finished and all loaded up.

I did keep the fun shaped paper clips from Hearth and Hand because having goat shaped paperclips is just awesome.  I had originally planned to have them in the small dish you saw above, but it was too small and they spilled out easily.  So I decided to DIY another solution.  I pulled an old small canning jar out of the cabinet – oddly the same cabinet the caddy had been stored in – and since I’d used up all the black on the caddy I painted the ring top with ORB so it coordinates.  Now it’s the perfect way to store all my cutie paper clips.

There was a little cubby area in the back corner of the desk which lent it self to being the perfect spot for all my supplies.  Here’s how I originally set it up.

I decided to move the paper clip jar over by my business cards so it was more visually balanced and turn my little Scotch doggie tape dispenser toward the caddy.  This just felt better so I kept it this way.

I had this fun cast iron card holder from my craft show booths and since it doesn’t get use most of the year I decided to bring it in to the office so I can see it every day.  I think it was originally meant to hold bars of soap but it’s the perfect size for business cards.

I snagged a letter board on EBay for $20 with shipping and put that off to the side near the phone as you saw above.  I plan to share inspirational messages each week to help motivate our team.  I flanked the board with an IKEA plant I already had and the seasonal winter bird decor I’d gotten for each of the desks in the office back at Christmas.

I placed the lamp from my old desk in the other corner behind the monitors.  I already had the verse print from our trip to Hawaii when we visited a friend’s shop there, but I found a nice frame for it and placed the books I’m reading for professional development next to it.

If you’re wondering what’s on the other side of that big white area behind the monitors, it’s this pretty mural of a local mountain range.  It’s a nice piece of art to enjoy every time I walk toward my desk.

Above the back corner was a little shelf, where I display my awards and a faux succulent from my previous desk.  I hung my version of van Gogh’s Starry Night (my fave painting) that I did at a paint night event a while back on the back wall for a bit of color.  I also traded out the heavy wood inbox tray for the black wire one I’d brought in for my old desk, since it coordinated better with my other black accents and reduced the visual clutter a bit.

So here’s my home away from home during the week.  It’s cozy and welcoming, but still professional.  My coworkers have enjoyed seeing the space come together and now look forward to the weekly inspiration on my little message board!

I also DIYed some items for the gal filling my old position, which I’ll share soon! 🙂

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First Project of 2018

Hey everyone, the beginning of the year has been quite busy!  I had dental surgery on the 2nd that required a few days of recuperation and I was promoted at work to a new position that requires learning several new systems, but I still have to handle some things from my old position until it’s filled.  I took a little bit of time over the weekend to do a few small projects in between cleaning house and editing client photos.  Today I’m sharing the first of those with you – my new desk organizer caddy!

Here’s how this little cutie started out.  I spotted it at the thrift store well over a year ago and knew the simple design would work for some type of organizing in our house – especially when the price tag was only a couple of dollars!

I gave the whole piece a light sanding so the paint would adhere, and then used spray paint we had on hand.  Once it was dry I distressed the edges and sides to give it a bit of texture.  A quick coat of paint and it’s got tons of farmhouse style.  Even Mrs. Joanna Gaines would probably like this one. 🙂

Here is is in place and all loaded up.  I put note pads in the back slot and divided up my pens and markers into to of the front sections, while the third hold the other miscellaneous items I like to keep on hand.

Every time I look at it now, I think “That was so simple.  Why didn’t I do this sooner?”  Truth be told I had to live with it for a while to make sure it would work in this spot plus decide what color I wanted it to be and then life just got busy with other priorities.  Luckily I had other spray painting to do so it was the perfect time to get this one done.

The best part of it all is that this little upgrade didn’t cost me a cent!  Since I already had the caddy, spray paint and sand paper all on hand the only cost was my time.  That’s a great way to start off DIY in 2018.  Here’s to hoping all my projects this year go this easy and have as great of a result!

Farewell 2017

Happy New Year!  As we welcome 2018 with new goals and ideas it’s easy to think of how much we didn’t accomplish last year.  Yet when I look back at what I’ve shared here on the blog I’m always amazed at just how much we did do each year.  Here’s a quick look back at the highlights of 2017:

  • We started off the year with one of my favorite projects to-date, barn doors for the office!
  • The next big project was finishing the laundry room sink update by installing the granite counter top remnant.
  • We celebrated the Hub’s birthday at the famous Iditarod ceremonial start during Fur Rondy.
  • The Hubs and I had a great visit to Portland over Memorial Day weekend where we did lots of shopping and celebrated our anniversary at the Tim McGraw and Faith Hill concert and got some great finds at a wonderful little antique shop.
  • The first season using the green house was a great learning experience for next summer and the added porch, sitting area and nearby shed bed make it my new favorite spot in the yard.  Plus the DIY compost bins should hold some garden gold come spring!
  • We enjoyed a unique 4th of July celebration in Glacier View while my sister and brother-in-law were visiting from Virginia.
  • There was also the quick trip down to Kenai to visit the Hub’s family during their annual fishing trip from Arizona.
  • We made a quick day trip with friends to Hope & Whittier in search of new photography locations and salmon berries.  While we didn’t come home with much it was a fun day spent with friends.
  • I enjoyed browsing local artists’ creations at the Bubbling Brook Vintage Market where I started my Rae Dunn collection.
  • I saw some amazing gardens on the Willow Garden Tour and can’t wait to go again this year!
  • I got to explore Homer while there to photograph a sweet couple’s wedding.
  • The Hubs resurfaced the deck off the living room with Trex and built a new one off the master bedroom to match.  There’s still some finishing touches to do to the new deck this year, but it’s been a great addition to the yard.
  • I attended two great photography workshops to improve my skills behind the camera and in running my business.
  • We hit the State Fair to see Josh Turner perform and to pet the goats.
  • I picked up some fun new items at this year’s Picker Day that will be fun projects for the yard come spring.
  • The Hubs and I had an amazing time in Iceland and Scotland this fall on our way to my nephew’s wedding!  I’ll be sharing those adventures soon as I’m still working through the thousands of pictures we took on the trip.
  • We kicked off the holiday season with the Colony Christmas celebration and an amazing fireworks show.
  • We enjoyed a little getaway in Girdwood while photographing an elopement at the end of the year and had a nice quiet Christmas at home with the fur babies.

This year is off to a busy start as well.  Tomorrow I have a minor dental procedure to keep myself healthy and when I return to work after recuperating for a few days, I’ll be starting a new position in my current department!  There will be a lot of new things to learn and coaching of the person who will take over my current position, but I’m excited for the change.  I’ve also got some big plans for the house and yard this year which I’ve already started planning out on the calendar.  Looks like next year’s annual recap will be just as interesting!  🙂

 

A Day in Girdwood, Alaska

I recently had a few days off from my full-time job and booked a photography client for an elopement in Girdwood during that time.  Since that’s a 2 hour drive from our home we decided to make it into a little day trip to celebrate holidays.  We stopped in Anchorage on the way down to take care of a few quick errands and then stopped a local eatery in Indian, AK called Froth and Forage for brunch. They specialize in organic, locally-sourced meals so they had a great menu and cozy atmosphere.

The elopement came next and was done in an open field with amazing views near Alyeska Resort.  The temps were nearing single digits, so after the ceremony we all headed to the hotel to warm up for a bit and do a few more photos there.  Once I wrapped up with the bride and groom the Hubs and I hung out at the hotel enjoying the big couches around the cozy fireplace and pretty views of the grounds and tram up the hill out the window.

The moose above the fireplace kept us company along with skiers and snowboarders there to enjoy the mountain’s activities.

The hotel was decorated for Christmas and the snowy trees covered in lights created the perfect mountain retreat winter wonderland feeling.

After relaxing for a while, we headed to the infamous Double Musky Inn for dinner.  It’s the local hot spot for fine dining in this sleepy ski town and while the Hubs has been there several times, this was my first visit.

Like most buildings in Alaska the exterior is simple and deceiving of what you’ll find inside.  The impressive wine cellar is on display behind a window as you enter the building and head toward the restaurant.

As you turn the corner into the dining room there’s a completely different feel.  A collection of random items hang from the rafters and a hodge-podge of signs cover every inch of the walls.

We got a table in the solarium, where I had a great view of the bar area.  It too had an eclectic variety of decorations including several well recognized flags across the ceiling.

I ordered the Redout Volcano cocktail, which had a fun hint of coconut.  I enjoyed sipping it watching the candle light flicker against the massive stained glass window our table sat against.

The Double Musky’s menu is based on cajun specialties, which started with jalapeno bread that came with our salads.

We decided to try the cajun stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer and were stunned at how big they were.  We each only tried one so we could leave room for our meals, knowing the portions are always generous at this venue.

While the Hubs went with the Musky’s classic peppercorn steak, I selected the crab stuffed halibut with baked potato and it didn’t disappoint.  It was flaky and moist, with just the right amount of spice to the sauce.

Both of us only made a dent in our entrees before we were full, but we had to try the creme brulee for dessert so we split it.  It too was delicious and just the right mix of crunch on the top and smooth inside.

Rather than order another cocktail when I finished my meal I opted to go with a hot chocolate, which the waiter added chocolate sauce drizzle to.  It was a great way to warm up before we headed back out to the cold for the drive home.

While it was only a short get-away, I’m glad we were able to squeeze it in and spend a little quality time together.  Although I will admit I slept a good portion of the ride home while the Hubs drove thanks to a content and full belly! 🙂

Christmas Recap

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!  Here’s a recap of how our holiday went at the DB&DT house.  Christmas eve was Stoli’s 5th birthday so we celebrated by giving the dogs their plaid ‘bling’ from Scotland which included bandanas for the girls and a fancy bow tie collar for Stoli.  They looked pretty snazzy as we delivered Christmas gifts to a couple of neighbors during an afternoon walk.

Lucky for the Hubs and I our kiddos aren’t in a big hurry to wake up on Christmas morning, so we slept in a bit and then go to opening presents.  Luna was sure this pile was all for her and when I told her it wasn’t she had to investigate each to confirm.

We always get three of everything so the dogs are equal and put them in matching or coordinated bags.  Since Luna was pouting that not everything was for her, we started with the dogs’ gifts, letting them take turns ‘opening’ one.  Stoli was so polite and kept looking at daddy for the ok to pull out the gift.  Tequila on the other hand was ready to dive in and find the goodies.

Daddy tried to help Stoli by bouncing the toys out of the bags, but that just led to Brinley swooping in and snagging them.

He eventually got the hang of things and started reaching in like his sisters, although sometimes he still wanted Daddy to help.

Tequila was ready for another and dove right in as soon as it was ready.  Then she supervised her brother doing the same during his turn, albeit a bit more gingerly.

While the dogs were entertained with their first round of toys for a bit Luna got to open a few presents.  She wasn’t sure at first, but having seen the dogs open their gifts she decided to investigate.  You know that old adage about curiosity and cats… 🙂

Moments later she was pawing her new toy out of the bag with a bit of help from Daddy.  This one makes noise which attracted the dogs’ attention so we let her play with it for a bit before moving on to the next gift.

Up next was the biggest gift, which means it was the biggest bag too.  Honestly, the bags are kinda her favorite part of presents – at least when opening gifts anyway.

She went right in to check it out while her siblings watched.

Now that the dogs were back to being interested in presents we moved on to the ones I had DIYed for them, with a special yummy surprise at the bottom.  Always the gentleman, Stoli again asked Daddy for permission before diving in.

The smell of the bone at the bottom drew him in and he spent several minutes with his head buried in the bag pushing the fleece braid rope out of the way to sniff the bone while his big sister watched.

Apparently he was taking too long for Brinley because she decided to come help so Daddy switched to her gift.

Next Tequila opened a combined gift from their Aunt & Uncle, then assisted Luna with her gift from the same relative.

Daddy opened the dogs bones so they were busy with that, leaving Luna to finish up her gifts uninterrupted.

The dogs had a pretty good haul at this point, and they still had a few gifts to go!

While the fur babies were all busy with their new favorite toys, we opened our gifts and connected with family on the phone.  While the spending money I received is quite handy I think these two guys are my favorite gifts this year.  The big elf is from my Mother-in-Law and the smaller one is from my sister.  There is still one more gift coming from my sister that will be a close second – two new Rae Dunn mugs that say Bark & Woof!  They will be perfect for our house! 🙂

We spent the rest of the day snuggling on the couch watching movies while I got caught up on some of my favorite blogs.  It was a great way to spend the holiday together, resting and enjoying each other’s company.  Hopefully we can do a little more of that this weekend as we celebrate the new year!

Merry Christmas on the Porch!

As promised in my last post, I’m sharing the festive decorations on our porch today!  I’m really enjoying styling the little vintage cart we picked up at the junk show in Washington for each season.

It’s just the right size for this little awkward corner on our porch and is the perfect start to each season’s look.  Luckily it’s also well protected in this spot so I don’t have to worry about it too much.

For Christmas, I continued our winter theme with frosty trees, white lanterns, a Christmas sign I picked up at the Alaska Chick’s Market, Rusty the reindeer and a larger tree that I DIY’ed to fit in the crock we picked up on the same trip we got the cart.

I added the antique sled I’ve had for a while to the corner of the set-up.  I may still add a bow or wreath to the sled, but if not it looks nice just as it is.  It had that thick paint job when I found it, so I may strip it down to see what lies beneath one day.

If you’re wondering how I made the tree in the crock, here’s a little behind-the-scenes.  It’s a tomato cage wrapped in garlands and a strand of lights.  I didn’t do a step-by-step for this project since I’ve seen them all over the web and it was so simple that I did it while watching a movie with the Hubs! (Hence the crappy cell phone pics! But at least I got it done before Christmas!)  Just tie the three stake feet at the bottom together to form the point of the top of the tree and start wrapping the garland from there toward the bottom – or what used to be the top when it was used as a tomato cage.

I can say having twine or wire handy to tie off the end and beginning of each garland so they stay in place, and to buy more garland than you think  you’ll need.  This one took four 12′ garlands and I still didn’t make it all the way to the bottom of the cage.

I think it turned out quite pretty and the extra part of the cage at the bottom was perfect to anchor it into the crock so that it’s very stable.  I may be making more of these next year to add trees in the bedrooms!  Have you made a tree from a tomato cage?  If so, I’d love to see it for inspiration for next year’s decorating! 🙂

Our Simple Christmas Decor

I’m still tinkering with my Christmas decorations, but since the big day is just around the corner, I thought I’d share what I’ve done so far.  I’ve migrated to a more “winter” look than full-on Christmas so things can stay up well into January without feeling out-dated.  That’s handy since winter in Alaska can last well into the months that most classify as “spring”.   I also find that my style is much more simple than it used to be, perhaps that’s an influence of our recent trip to Iceland where they have a very minimal Scandinavian look, or maybe it’s just a lack of time to create so much detail.

Things start out on the front porch, but I’ll share that in another post later this week.  Today we’ll start in the entry way where Red and Flint are the first of my reindeer herd to welcome guests.

Around the corner Gus hangs out above Brinley’s kennel where my cute storage bench used to be.  It was a victim of her teething stage and so now the kennel lives in it’s place.  Ahh the sacrifices we make for children….

Just past the entry the media cabinet in the family room became a bottle brush Christmas tree farm just like last year.  I’ve added the lighted houses in the pedestal cloches, a few more trees and this cute little red truck, which used to be an ornament.

The mantel has a frosted garland and trees.  All of the trees except the two twig ones light up and create a pretty glow in the evenings – or pretty much most of the day since this is winter in Alaska!

I found the light up bottle brush trees at Joann Fabrics this year and am very pleased with them, especially since I got them for a great price with a sale and a coupon!  I’ll be watching to see if they have any in their after Christmas sales.  The two mercury glass trees came from a local vintage shop called Revive.  I’d been hunting for some all over town and had pretty much given up when I found them tucked away in a display at a great price.  If she’d had more I would have snatched them up too.  They also had hollow centers and access through the trunk section so I crammed a strand of fairy lights into both to give them a soft glow as well.  I may just add a strand of the same lights to the two twig trees so everything lights up!

Next to the mantel Sebastian has a view out the window next to his own tree.  Max moved out to the living room this year from the office where he’s been the past few years.  Now he is one window over from Sebastian.

On the couch I’ve got a couple new festive pillows.  I picked up the Ho Ho Ho and tree one from Target’s after Christmas sale last year, but had to ship them to my Mother-In-Law’s house because they wouldn’t ship to Alaska.  Good thing I was able to visit and pick them up earlier this year. 🙂  The red plaid pillows are from JoAnn Fabrics’ fall line.  Pay no attention to the coating of dog hair – that’s what I try to do…

The side table next to the couch got a touch of color with this little wreath and lantern.  I found the lantern at a garage sale earlier this year for just $2 and the wreath was another JoAnn’s sale find for around $5.  I love how they look together.  This is the only time of year I decorate with red, but I love the pop of color during the long winter months.

The tree is behind the couch, next to the nativity on the curio cabinet.  When we first moved in 4 years ago I had a hard time figuring out where to put the tree, but this spot has worked out perfectly and become the tradition in our house.  We have a new tree this year, after our tree of many years stopped lighting up in several sections last year.  It’s an after Christmas clearance deal, so it’s nothing special but it will work for a few years until I can save up and somehow justify the cost of my dream tree along with the vintage style candles for it.

The tree has a bit of Scottish flair after our trip this year.  We picked up a couple of ornaments while there to continue the tradition of growing our collection.  Unfortunately one of those new ones met an untimely fate when Luna and Brinley ganged up to attack the tree soon after it went up (repeat that phrase about things you do for your kids…).  You’ll notice there’s less ornaments on the lower sections of the tree for that exact reason! But our Harris Tweed highland cow and Scottie dog are still safe… for now anyways.

I had this sign for the nativity made last year after the holidays and really like it above the creche.  It’s the perfect compliment to the simple style of my beloved Willow Tree nativity set.

Over in the dining room, Moe found a new home this season on the scroll wall hanging where we put up the holiday cards we receive.  I really enjoy seeing him more often this year and think this will be his ‘usual’ spot going forward.

Next to Moe, this new addition came to us from WA where my wonderful Mother-In-Law went on a mission to find him at an antique shop I follow online.  Several ‘elves’ have made an appearance around our home this year and I think they are great care-takers for our herd.   I haven’t named him just yet, so if you have suggestions I’m all ears.  He reminds me of the Nordic elves we saw depicted in Iceland and even the Scottish Highlands so maybe I’ll do a theme using either of those cultures.

My dear, Milo ended up in the other windowsill, where he’s safe from the dogs.  I’d be pretty heartbroken if something ever happened to him.  His expression seems to say he knows how dangerous being closer to the floor could be in this house!

On the back wall of the dining room I hung my North Pole sign from last year under the windmill and decorated the top of the buffet with faux winter greens, antlers and gold tone votives.  I’d like to make some twig luminary trees to add to this set-up and since the look is “winter” rather than Christmas I’ve got time to do that even after the holiday.

The two votives in the front are new this year.  They were a fun little find at the Alaska Chicks Vintage Market a few weeks ago.  At just $2 each I thought they were a great price too!

The new mug rack also has a few more additions to it for the holidays after the Alaska Chicks show.

This “Merry” Rea Dunn mug was one of my favorite finds that day thanks to one of my favorite vendors, Rustique Designs.  She’s who I got the other Rea Dunn mugs from and who made the reindeer sign and nativity sign!

This sweet little fella was also part of my Mother-in-Law’s adventure to the antique shop.  Isn’t he just the cutest thing ever?  While he’s not quite “Christmasy” I just couldn’t not put him out right away after she made the effort to find him for me.  Plus the little sprig he’s holding kinda looks like holly and the red rim ties him in to the season – at least in my mind. 😉

There are also little touches of Christmas in the other rooms, including this little church in the laundry room.  It started out as an ornament, but I like it much better as a decor piece here after a few little modifications.

Below the shelf is another little elf with a reindeer buddy just his size to keep him company.  These two also started life as ornaments – I think I’m sensing a trend here.

The office window where Max used to sit is now home to the lovely Daphne who joined the herd last year.  She’s got her own little tree and some pretty votives to light up the dark.

Also in the office is this sweet little fox I found at the grocery store!  He was the last in the display and just begged to come home with me.  He’s looking quite dapper on the daybed, among all the pretty pillows.  He also needs a name so keep those suggestions coming!

In the hall bathroom another couple of ornaments turned decor add a little touch of the season to the existing decor.

In our bedroom are two pretty little reindeer my sister found for me last year.  They too started as ornaments, but now they hold their own on our nightstands so we have some holiday cheer at the end and beginning of each day.

In the guest room, there are some little Santas on the nightstands.  If you follow me on Instagram, these are the find I made at that lovely store I made it out of only spending $10!

The chair in the guest room also got a little update for the season with this simple pillow I found at Hobby Lobby during our recent trip down south.  I’m so glad they already had Christmas stuff out while I was there!

So that’s the tour of our Christmas decor.  I hope you liked it!  Stay tuned to see what I’ve done out on the porch, or get a sneak peek over on Instagram! 🙂