Gettin’ Spicy!

As a hobbiest chef, my husband has LOTS of spices.  We’re talking more than the tiny spinning thing on the counter can hold.  In our old rental, he filled the cabinet above the stove and even had some rows double stacked!

So I knew that our new kitchen needed to have some way to organize this stash of spiciness and of course turned to trusty Pinterest, where I found this DIY pantry door spice rack.  I then promptly had a Gru ‘light bulb’ moment.  I showed it to the hubs, who was definitely game to build something that not only put his spices within easy reach of the stove, but also gave them a dedicated space to stay.

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Please just ignore that tool pile on the counter behind the door.  With all the on-going projects I’ve lined up for the hubs, I have set aside my twitchy OCD ways and agreed to keep tools in the kitchen for quick access – that is UNTIL the major projects are done, which should be fairly soon!

He followed the building plans with a slight modification.  He used freebie paint stir sticks from the orange box store instead of dowels for the front retaining rungs.  Told ya, he was smart! And he’s becoming quite the thrifty DIYer.. of course not counting the tools he’s recently acquired.  😉

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I will probably paint it white at some point, but for the time being it works just fine a’ natural.  Now if only our measuring spoons had cutesy little holes to be hung on the side!  Mental note: be on the lookout for clearance heart measuring spoon sets after Valentines Day.

A Little Indoor Gardening

Remember my little terrarium project?  Well it’s gone so well that a few of the plants have since outgrown their little bubbles and were in need of a bigger home.  I’ve been collecting little crocks and containers to serve as planters and trays to set them all on for a few weeks now from clearance bins and yard sales.  I decided I finally had enough and got some potting soil to get things going.  Here’s what I started with.

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You can sense that I had a plan as I set all these out! I moved the larger plants into new pots where they can continue to grow, and transferred the slower growing plants to the now empty terrariums.

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I ended up with enough planters to fill the laundry room window, the master bathroom window AND one of the windows in the family room.

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At some point in the hopefully near future the terrariums will once again hang in the windows, but I’ve given the hubs marching order that his priority is getting the garage unpacked and organized first – which will also hopefully result in him finding his fishing line to do said hanging!  Once I rearranged everything there was still a bit of room in the laundry room window tray so I found another small container for future repotting, or even a new additional plant.

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I was afraid that the dogs might bother the ones in the family room since it sits at eye level for them, but luckily they haven’t seemed very interested.  Hopefully that statement didn’t just jinx things! LOL

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I love having something green and alive around the house, how about you?  What kinds of plants do you have in your home?

It’s Snuggle Time!

PStoli has officially become comfortable in his new home. So much so that he has now developed a new habit of laying on the back of the couch like a cat.  We believe it started because that’s where we keep the throws and he figured out it was the cushiest spot on the couch.  It was quite comical watching his facial expressions as he climbed up there right in front of us and settled in – like the one in this photo I posted on Facebook!

This weekend he expanded his new territory when he climbed up on the back of the chair while Matt was sitting in it and curled up behind his neck, atop the throw we keep there.  At first he just took in the room and the yard outside from his lofty perch.  Then he watched TV with daddy, both from his shoulder and over top of his head.  I guess it was their father-son bonding time.

How totally stinking cute are they?!

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Apparently the movie wasn’t that captivating for Stoli, because he soon dozed off …

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Until that paparazzi mommy of his woke him from his nap.

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Which is when he moved to Daddy’s other shoulder to escape me, or so he thought…

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And before the movie was over, sister Tequila was in on this snuggle action.

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I do believe that’s a qualified dog pile! 🙂

Dressing the Cabinet Tops

Decorating the tops of cabinets is harder than it sounds.  It takes a perfect mix of size, color, shapes, spacing and design.  I had a basic plan for the top of our kitchen cabinets as we were building, but you never really know how it will turn out until you’re in the space and trying it out.  I decided to tackle the smaller section first, and am quite pleased with how it turned out.

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I like my decor to do double duty and actually function, so displaying my large holiday platter was a perfect choice – and the fact that it’s so large it won’t fit anywhere else played a key role too.  🙂  I added the custom cutting board I got for the hubs for a birthday a while back and a two-tier basket filled with faux veggies & fruit for color.  All of these things were items I had on hand, so total cost was a big fat $0!

I did have to figure out a way to elevate the items so they could be seen over the lovely crown molding.  And the perfect solution came in the form of the little dip cups we’d *cough* “acquired” *cough* from restaurants in our to-go boxes.  I was actually about to take the whole stack of them to Goodwill, but as I stood on the ladder contemplating what I could use I had a “light bulb moment” a’la’ Gru in Despicable Me.

CabinetTopsRigPlace

I’ve since added the glass chile peppers we found on our honeymoon in Sedona to the left edge of the cutting board for some additional color on that side.  I love seeing them displayed and I know they’re “safe” that high up and out of the way. 😉

Next, I had to figure out what to do with the staggered height cabinets on the longer back wall.   I already had my giant ceramic chicken my sister gave me and my pretty cake stand, which make a great combo and fit perfectly on one cabinet.  I also had my handy drink dispenser on a stand that I’d filled with faux lemons for some color while at the rental house.  That too fit perfectly on one cabinet.  I still hadn’t spent a dime and I was almost done!

Chicken

Lemons

With two cabinets to go, I was stuck.  I left the project alone for a few days weeks and moved on to other things.  One of those other projects was getting new bar stools for the kitchen island bar, which meant all of our dining chairs moved into the dining room.  I didn’t like how full the table felt with all eight chairs around the table so I put two on either side of the buffet.  Unfortunately, that meant that the pretty wine rack I’d found during a recent thrifting trip had to find a new home.

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We aren’t big drinkers – even with dogs named after alcohol – so we only had a few bottles of various things (note there is only one real wine bottle in said ‘wine’ rack!)  I had originally planned to include some sort of side table or cart as a bar in the dining room or main area of the house, but once we were in and placing furniture it seemed like it would make the space feel crowded and because we don’t tend to keep a lot on hand, there wasn’t the need for a dedicated ‘bar’.  So my under $5 rack worked out perfectly and left a little room to expand if needed.

Bargain

My now displaced rack seemed like a perfect candidate for above the cabinet decor, so I tried it first over the fridge, but it was too tall.  The hubs suggested I move the chicken over one cabinet to the spot above the stove and try the rack in the corner.  Although the corner cabinet seems to be the same height as the fridge cabinet, they are apparently not, because the rack did fit this time!  And I was quite pleased with how it looked in that spot.

WineRack

Now I’m down to just the space over the fridge.  Since this is a wider space I decided to use two items here.  First is the lovely vintage scale I bought as a newborn photo prop (even my photography props do double duty!)  It hasn’t arrived just yet, but I’m sure it will bring just the right amount of color and difference of shape to that side.  I’m a little worried about the scale of the scale (ha ha), but I think it should be ok, even if it’s a little small because I also found a large popcorn tin on a local buy/sell page that I plan to paint.  I was originally thinking I’d go with a copper color but now that I have my cache pot, I want something different.  Perhaps a milk paint ivory with a greenish lid and a stenciled design similar to this.  But before I start that project I want to decide what the design should be.  I’m considering a simple ‘Bon Appetit’ but I also like the idea of ‘Delish’ with a small flourish pattern or something using some of these words.  Or maybe create something like this but with an Alaskan spin.  What do you think would look best?  I’m also toying with the idea of changing the handles so it looks a little like the uber expensive Pottery Barn urns I always lust for although Pier 1 has a similar option for a little less.

WideShot

So far, not counting the scale – since that’s a business expense 😉 – my total is approximately $11 for the wine rack and tin.  Not bad at all, if I do say so myself.  Granted there might be some cost in painting the tin, but I’m sure it won’t be anything major.  I’m sure I’ll do a post on my re-do of the tin once I get to it, so keep an eye out for that!

The Easiest Pinterest Project To Date

Remember that pretty copper pot I thrifted a little while back?  I finally got around to converting it into my cache pot for the kitchen and it was seriously so easy I barely really don’t have much to explain.  I followed the steps I found on this DIY post and I think it took me all of 10 minutes!  So without further ado, here’s the how-to in just 4 easy steps.

Gather the supplies: container and charcoal filter.
Step 1: Gather the supplies – container and charcoal filter.
Step 2: Cut filter in half and prep with glue dots.
Step 2: Cut filter in half and prep with glue dots.

 

Step 3: Attach filter to underside of container lid.
Step 3: Attach filter to underside of container lid.
Step 4: Put lid on container and sit back to appreciate your handiwork!
Step 4: Put lid on container and sit back to appreciate your handiwork!

And that’s it!  My pretty kitchen scrap pot is ready to collect trimmings for a future compost pile.  Until then it holds the things I’d rather not put into our new septic system.  For now, when it’s full I wander out into the woods on our property and dump the contents in random places so if wildlife do sniff it out, it’s never in the same area and they don’t become accustom to eating scraps.

I could have saved the other half of the filter for when this one wears out in 3 months, but instead I put it on the underside of our regular trash can lid to help with the odors that tend to accumulate there and I’m pleased to report that it seems to be helping!

So there you have it.  Easy Peasy, Cache Teesy! 🙂

Getting My Sale On…

Back before Christmas I swung by the Payless Shoes in Wasilla after stopping at a store nearby.  I had a gift card and figured I’d take a quick look to see if there was anything I might want.  Turns out there was something I needed – on sale.  I snagged two pretty clutches for future work events at just $6 each along with a pair of heels in nude and the same pair in black.  Work wardrobe staples.  After the sale, a coupon the cashier applied because I had to wait for them to fix the register and my gift card I spent less than $10.  Oh yeah, that’s my kind of shopping.

Shoes

I was especially happy with the clutches because I’d been on the hunt for one like this the week prior for my company Christmas party.  When I couldn’t find one I opted to have my hubby hold my basics since I was running around managing the event anyway, but it’s a good item to have at the ready should I need to attend a gala or other upscale event – either for work or fun!

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And the gold one is just too pretty to pass up, especially at that price!  I think it will look FAB-U-LOUS with some of my purple dresses for a fancy smanchy date night one day. wink, wink 🙂

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Shortly after this the hubs got my crown molding shoe rack installed in the master closet.  Another Pinterest find, this rack was meant to hold my heels since my flats are kept in the cubbies he installed in the closet shelving.

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I insisted that he choose a molding that stuck out farther than he originally planned because that’s what the Pinterest image showed, which turned out just fine, but some of my smaller heels have to be delicately perched so they stay put.  Although if we had gone with a smaller molding I think some of my taller heels wouldn’t have fit, so it’s a trade off I guess.

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I used the space below the rack to hang some of my larger costume jewelry that doesn’t hang well in my jewelry cabinet.  Right now they’re just hung on clear thumb tacks, but I might use something a little fancier before it’s all said and done.  Until then, thumb tacks seem to work just fine!

rack

I do plan to paint the molding, but haven’t decided what color just yet.  Options include white (to match the rest of the closet shelving & trim), gold (to coordinate with the gold accents in the master bath) or purple (just because!).  So what do you think of the rack?  Have a color preference?  I want to hear it!

Bargain Hunting

potShortly after we moved in to the new house, something told me I should visit the thrift store around the corner from my office.  I’m sure glad I did because I hit a jackpot of items for areas of the house.  I knew it was going to be one of those trips when I spotted this copper tin right off the bat when I walked in.  I’d been looking for something like this to make a cache pot (kitchen scrap pot) for a while.  It was the perfect size, had a lid and had a great look to it.  And at $4 it was perfection.  A far better price than the ones I was finding online for $60 and $70!

I also found a basket and shell for the guest bathroom, a fantastic wine rack, a large glass jar, decor pieces, pretty trays, an adorable little Princess House jar and a basket to collect eggs in when we get our chicken coop up and running this summer!  And each was a fraction of the price I would have paid new.  Here’s a picture of the whole haul from that trip.

FindsAfter that, I didn’t make it back to another thrift store for a while, but last week I hit three different ones around Anchorage within two days and left each empty handed.  Granted I was shopping for specific items, but they were things you’d expect to find in thrift stores.  I was fairly disappointed and had even considered buying some of the items new if I couldn’t find them soon.  That evening I had 30 minutes to kill before I was due at my next appointment so I decided to check out the Wasilla Value Village since I hadn’t been there yet.

I didn’t even grab a cart as I headed in because I figured I wouldn’t find much, but as soon as I stepped in the door I saw a whole stash of wicker hampers against the wall.  The exact item I’d just posted I was in search of on a local buy/sell page!  No one had responded to my request, because apparently they’d all already been donated! Some were smaller, some had liners, some had lids, some were in good shape – but not all of those characteristics lined up in the same piece.  I chose a larger one with a lid, but no liner for my guest bathroom.  I also found more decor items, a pantry jar, a flower pot for spring and a lovely purple storage box for my office.  Isn’t that little owl candle holder the cutest!?  He was just $4 – a far cry from the $60 Pottery Barn owl lanterns I’d been lusting after back in November!

Finds

Granted this wasn’t as big of a haul as the previous treasure trove, but after the little dry spell I was plenty happy with it.  I finally hit the Alaksa Picker store today and found a couple great bargains there as well.  I’ll share those soon once I get them cleaned up and in place around the house.  I’ve got a post in the works on how the cache pot came together set for later this weekend.  And watch for a post on where that wine rack ended up soon too!

Do you have a favorite thrifted find or a favorite thrift shop?  Tell me about it!

Stoli Style

Because our new fur baby, Stoli doesn’t have the same thick coat his sister Tequila does, he can’t handle the winter weather quite as well.  But like any kiddo, he wants to keep playing so he’d stay outside, shivering just to play. Rather than make them both come in sooner, we decided to get him a coat so he’d stay warm while in the snow.

Finding something that stays on even when he’s bouncing and running, but doesn’t break the bank were my top priorities.  Luckily, we spotted a rack of dog coats on clearance at Target a few days later.  There were a couple of options that would have fit him, but the hubs nixed the “preppy puffer jacket” and the “pumpkin orange” ones right off the bat.  That left a Carhart-esque green jacket that covers his back and secures with Velcro around his neck and under his belly.  It seemed like it would stay put and at $11 it was the perfect price.

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We tested it out the next day with a romp in the front yard, where he lept and ran and bounced and even did a shake from his nose to his nub.  Through it all the new duds didn’t budge, not even a centimeter!   He doesn’t seem to mind wearing it at all, but I don’t think he’s realized that it helps him stay warm just yet.

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I’m not sure it truly classifies as a coat since it only covers his back.  Perhaps it’s more of a cape, but it does help him stay warm, which means he can enjoy more playtime outside.  And more playtime means a very tired puppy at bedtime, which means a full night of sleep for mom and dad. And that is well worth $11!  🙂

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A Little More Storage

BathClosetAfter finishing the Master closet storage system, the hubs installed the shelving in the hall bathroom closet and I quickly organized the contents of the last two boxes for that space.  We decided that the steam cleaner, vacuum and other floor cleaning tools would live in this space so he installed the first shelf high enough to accommodate that.  He continued the same shelving material and design as he did in the pantry.

BathClosetDoneBecause I didn’t need this space to do much beyond holding towels and toiletries I didn’t pre-plan the layout, which was frustrating for the hubs who wanted specific guidance on what I would like.  We talked it through and hashed it out as we went and I think it turned out great.

The top shelf holds those infrequently used items like the humidifier and fan along with the “dog towels” since the tub in this bathroom is where they would be bathed when they are do get a wash at home.  The next shelf hold all those medications that seem to accumulate from nowhere.  Next was spare towels, which I wanted within easy reach for guests and potential future human chitlins.  The bottom shelf holds the first aid kits (both human and animal – because we’re that kind of household LOL) and bandages, along with the plethora of spare toothbrushes my dentist continues to send me home with even though he knows I have a Sonicare toothbrush.  With a little arranging, everything fit really well.  I might add a stair step organizer to the shelf with all the medications on it to make it function a little better, but for now it’s easily accessible and it fits.

BathClosetLightBecause the space doesn’t have a dedicated light fixture, the ambient light from the vanity light is all there is.  To alleviate this, the hubs also added a small LED light bar near the door for a little extra illumination when needed.  I don’t think we’ll need it often, but when we do it will be nice to have at the ready.  But what I like best about it is that it didn’t cost a dime, because we had it from a previous project that no longer needed it.

I recently found a new rug and shower curtain for this bathroom and also got some decor up, so now I just have a few finishing touches to make this room complete – which will be one of the first to be so in the house!  Stay tuned to see the end result very soon! 🙂

New Thrifty Haunts

One of the best things about moving to a new place is finding new, exciting stores – especially discovering which thrift stores have the best inventories!  Although we’ve been pretty busy since the move I have had time to check out a few local shops and have to say I’m pretty darn impressed.

SalvationArmy

BricBracThe Wasilla Salvation Army Thrift Store was the first new thrift shop I investigated due to its rather large size and convenient location right off the main drag of town.  It was pretty well laid out for a thrift store and seemed to have a good variety of inventory.  Unfortunately their hours don’t always work for my commuter schedule, but I was fairly tickled to see they had a decent pricing policy, as some thrift shops I’ve perused seem to be a bit bi-polar in that department – likely dependent on whoever volunteers for that task on a particular day.

I was also impressed by Boardwalk, which is also located just off the highway, but closer to the road that leads to our area.  This shop is a combination of three main vendors – Home Again Decor,  Gladheart Acres and Cranberry Cottage – with a smathering of consignment pieces too.  I got to speak with one of the managers while visiting and learned that they plan to start renting out space to regular vendors this year and they sounded interested in having some of my Thrift D’ Creations items available.  Once I’m settled and back to crafting I’ll certainly be looking into it – maybe even getting some Valentines inventory prepped this week!

Boardwalk

I was already aware of the Alaska Picker shop which also houses a unique antique restorer, Fancy Lou.  I’m a fan of both on Facebook and love seeing their new inventory via social media when I can’t stop by to browse.  Luckily, they are now just a few miles from my home, which means I can always make a quick shopping trip on the weekends.

Thrifter’s Rock, located half-way between Wasilla and Palmer has been a favorite of mine for a while now.  Run by a local church to support their missionaries, they have amazing sales and a pretty good rotating inventory.  Just 10 minutes from our house, they are always a first choice when thrifting.

Chicadee

SledAnother new favorite is Chickadee in nearby Palmer, just 15 minutes from our house.  I’d been wanting to check them out since spotting them earlier this summer, but schedules just hadn’t permitted it until recently.  I knew I’d hit the jackpot when I spotted this antique sled out front as soon as I stepped out of the truck!  And at just $26.50 it was a great deal!

Vintage Poppy in downtown Palmer has been on my radar for a while now too.  I made it a point to visit them when I was visiting from Kodiak and ended up buying the “Moose, It’s what’s for dinner” sign that hangs in our kitchen on one of those trips.  There are also other vendors in the same shop, including Alaska Chicks and Love Nugget Designs, so they always have a variety of apparel, accessories, home decor and antiques.   I haven’t been in since the Alaska Picker moved out of this spot and into their own digs so I think it’s high time I return to check out what’s going on.

There are still a few stores I’ve spied, but haven’t had  a chance to check out just yet, like Happy Dawn’s Thrift Store located between our house and Wasilla, which looks like it might be a perfect resource for home decor project materials.  I also need to check out the Value Village I spied at the far end of town since it seems pretty large.

Of course I have grand plans to hit the multitude of antique shops throughout Wasilla and Palmer this summer, so watch for projects from those adventures!  What’s your favorite thrift shop or boutique?