Another Year Over & a New One Just Begun

The new year is almost here so I’m pausing to reflect and take a look back at the past year here at DB&DT and I’m amazed at just how much we accomplished!

The laundry room started the list with the new cabinet, then continued with some new wall art, simplified décor and a dry rack.

The biggest project by far was the wall-to-wall desk in the office, which I enjoy using every day.   Across from the desk we organized the shelves, updated the knobs and added a paper roll holder to the crafting table.

Updating the mantel and adding a gallery wall around the newly mounted TV in the family room have made the space feel more like home, while the raised dog bowls in the dining room are keeping things cleaner.

The bedrooms also saw some changes.  In the master we built a footboard bench plus a second to replace the first when it was damaged and added something rustic and vintage. The guest room came together with a new closet organizer, swapping out the huge dresser for the newly refinished hope chest (which I just realized I haven’t shared yet!), a new focal point and some found and DIY’d décor.  The ‘spare room’ began its transformation into a ‘foster room’ with the great decrapification, DIY trundle bed and vintage décor.

Outside, we finished the gravel patio, fire pit, egg table and added deck seating.  We also got the garden set up, started a raspberry patch and welcomed the cluck club to their new coop.

2015 also brought some sadness with the passing of my Mema and our baby Bacardi, but I’m grateful for all the blessings we are ending the year with.

Here’s a few projects I’ve got planned for 2016:

  • Art display boards, a desk, nightstand, display shelves and closet system to finish up the foster room.
  • Better coat storage in the laundry room
  • Adding faux shiplap and my salvaged windmill to the dining room
  • Installing sliding barn doors to the office
  • Updating the garden box and front flowerbeds
  • Adding landscaping around the deck
  • DIY collage for the hallway

But tonight I plan to relax at home with my fur babies and the hubs.  I wish you a wonderful end to the year and a very bright 2016!


DIY Bird Feeders


While I had a few days off around Christmas I finally tackled a little project I’d been wanting to do for a while, creating a few more bird feeders for the yard.  I had seen spiral copper feeders online and loved the simple design, so I did a quick search on Pinterest to find a tutorial and gave it a try.  I used small copper tubing, which is typically used for the water line on newer refrigerators.  It’s a soft metal so it bends very easily.  The tutorials I found suggested using a rolling pin to get the circular shape, but we don’t have one so I used a soda can instead.

I wasn’t able to get pictures during the process due to needing both hands and the hubs being busy with another project, but it’s really as simple as placing the beginning of the tubing against the can and pressing gently as you turn the can toward the tubing.  Once I had a spiral tall enough I snipped the tubing with wire cutters to make a clean end and wrapped that around the can as well to complete the final loop.  After I removed the can from the spiral I pulled the top loop up so it was perpendicular to the rest of the spirals so I’d have somewhere to hang the feeder from.  I stretched the spiral out a bit to make spaces between the loops and once I was happy with how that was looking, I curled the bottom loop a bit tighter so it could act as a stopper at the end.  I had enough tubing left over to make a second as well.  Here’s they arebefore I filled them.



I filled them with apples and hung them outside on the hooks where my hanging baskets go during the summer.  I haven’t seen any of the wildlife visit them yet, but it might take them a while to investigate and learn this new food source.  I’m considering making more of these for my Etsy shop, but am not sure if they would be big sellers or I they would ship well so I might post them on a few of the local buy/sell pages and see if they get any traction there first.


I continued my DIY feeder making roll with this simple S hook orange feeder. The hubs drilled a hole in a piece of drift wood from my stash and I positioned it where I thought it would work best as a perch then added a bit of hot glue to keep it in place. We could have just made the hole smaller to begin with so the perch would fit snuggly but I didn’t want to risk breaking it when maneuvering it on the hook.  I cut an orange in half and just stabbed it onto the end of the hook.  The hubs enjoyed cleaning up the other half of the orange so it didn’t go to waste.


This one hasn’t had any visitors either from what I’ve seen, but I’ll leave it up for a while to see if the birds and squirrels find it just like it did for the peanut ring feeder which I filled while I was at it.  This continues to be a huge draw for both squirrels and birds so I might just let it run empty to encourage them to explore the other new feeders.  If I still don’t see any traffic at them in a few weeks I might switch to using homemade suet balls or blocks instead of fruit and see if that’s more appealing to our neighborhood’s critters.


I picked up this store bought feeder several weeks ago and placed it farther down the fence from the peanut feeder so the smaller birds would have somewhere to eat when the squirrel is devouring the peanuts. The perch is on a spring that can be adjusted to different tensions for different sized birds and pulls down over the openings if there is too much weight, such as a squirrel, which was the main selling point for me.  Plus I like the bright red, barn style too!  I’m still playing with the different spring settings to see which works best for our area’s flock since it didn’t come with instructions or info other than the price tag, but I have seen groups of chickadees sitting on the ledge and pecking at seeds so it must be appropriately set for them.  And because it has such a large reservoir, it hasn’t needed filling since I put it up so it’s perfect for the far area of the yard where we don’t often go.


Hopefully all of these options will make the birds stick around come spring, so they can keep the mosquito population in check allowing us to enjoy the deck more.  If you have any tips on how to attract birds to new feeders or suggestions for feeder styles that work best I’d love to hear them!

DIY Moose Mount

7Today I’m sharing a recent DIY project the hubs helped me create as part of the games for my employer’s company holiday party.  The company is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary this year so we had a theme of ‘silver winter.’  We wanted to try having some games that people could do before dinner was served and I came up with the idea of a moose head ring toss.  I found this resin moose head on Amazon, which the company purchased for around $20 after we used some gift certificates from a vendor we work with.


Much to the hubs dismay, I spray painted him white.  Sometimes he just can’t see my vision. 😉  Once we had the moose head ready we purchased the wood, screws and metal strips to make the mounting board.  We laid everything out in the garage for a dry run before putting it together.


The first step was staining the wood, which was precut whiteboard.  I had planned to use pallet wood but ran out of time to disassemble the pallets I had.  Luckily these were the right size and at around $5/board they didn’t break the bank.


Here’s the moose head, sans antlers, on the stained boards.  I love the contrast and rustic feel!


The next step was adding the metal brackets on either side to hold the boards together.  The hubs convinced me it was cheaper to buy a long solid piece of metal, so he cut it to size and drilled the holes for the screws.


The hubs and Stoli look so thrilled to show off the finished project don’t they?!   At the party we set the board on a table on top of a white fur throw with the back propped up against the wall so players could attempt the ring toss.


And now that the party is over and the company has no use for it any longer it’s become a focal point in our guest room!


As I was prepping the images for this post I realized that when we hung the board at the house it’s actually upside down, which makes the moose sit a little higher than it did in the “finished” picture.  I might eventually correct that but since it’s not that noticeable that’s pretty low on the priority level.


I think I’ll dress him up a bit next holiday season with a scarf or fur wrap, like I’ve seen many other bloggers do since I plan to decorate more throughout the house with small touches.  I’d love to hear what you think of our latest project and how it looks in our rustic Alaskan guest bedroom!


Making a Little Faux Tree New Again

Happy Christmas Eve! I have one last Christmas project to share and it’s the revamp of this sad little faux tree.  It used to be my holiday tree in the entry way, but I decided to give up that tradition this year in favor of spending time on more important things like spending time with my hubby and kiddos.

This little skinny tree had definitely seen better days.  It had moved from Virginia to Alaska and then from Kodiak to Anchorage and finally Wasilla, so it was looking pretty tired.  Since it came apart in two pieces I decided to make each portion a smaller mini tree for use around the holidays.


The bottom section was glued very securely in the base – trust me I tried to remove it and I’m pretty sure it would survive an explosion intact.  So rather than fight it I just wrapped the container in burlap, tucked the ends over the top of the urn and tied it with some pretty twine from the boots I’d bought at a consignment sale.  One down, one to go.


Now I needed a base for the top portion of the tree, which had a metal stump that had once attached into the base of the tree.  I remembered I had this wooden box in my stash and thought it would work perfectly.  This had been the container for a gift basket my office had received last year and originally came as unfinished wood with the sender’s logo carved on one side and this pretty snowflake on the other.


Although the snowflake was cute I didn’t want to see the company’s logo so I needed a way to cover it up.  I considered adding metal pieces with decorative tacks, paint stick shiplap and other methods, but then had a light bulb moment when I realized that the burlap webbing I had a small section of was just tall enough to cover both the logo and snowflake!


I filled the box with some Styrofoam from some packaging I was about to discard, shoved the metal stump into that and wrapped the webbing around the box, securing it with a bit of hot glue where the two ends met.  It was looking pretty good, but I wanted to cover up the white sytrofoam so I pulled some crinkle paper stuffing out of my filler stash and tucked it around the base.  I literally had just enough!


And here it is all done!  I think they turned out pretty darn cute for being a totally $0 project!  I paired each with a reindeer and placed them in the guest room and foster room for the season.  I didn’t even decorate them so they can stay put through the winter. 🙂


And because I just can’t not share one more, here’s a cute little lamp post I revamped.  I bought it at a thrift store for $4 back in the summer and set it aside to redo for my holiday bazaar booth.  I forgot to take before pictures, but envision it as unfinished wood, with some 1980’s Christmas appliques at the top and a beat up garland around the post.  I removed the garland, sanded down the appliques and painted the whole thing in ORB.  Then I distressed the edges of the lantern and added a simple bow with greenery to the lantern base with a screw.  And here’s the finished result.


Although it didn’t sell at this year’s bazaar I’ll store it away as inventory for next year since it never hurts to get a head start and I plan to market pieces earlier next year on my Etsy shop and crafting Facebook page.

I’ll be taking it easy tomorrow, Skyping with family back home while enjoying the day with my fur babies and the hubs, so I wish you a very Merry Christmas and will share more projects next week!

Christmas Decor Tour

With everything going on this year I didn’t get to decorate for Christmas until last week, so I kept things simple and classic with items that can transition into January without feeling too Christmasy. If you’ve been around the blog for a while you know I decorate with reindeer and name my favorites.  Max and Milo ended up in the same spots they had last year while big man Woody is still out in the yard guarding the rain garden. Holly and Rudy travel with me in my truck and little Fink is on my desk at work again this year.  Here’s where the others are hanging out this season.

In the entryway I used a new lighted garland with Red & Flint.  Woodland Santa watches over them as they play in the lights and Rusty my metal reindeer welcomes from the corner.


I’m loving the new garland, especially at night when it looks lovely.


Across from the entry dresser is Moe, one of my favorite reindeers with his knotted needs and big ‘ol feet.


Around the corner Gus holds down the bench with a noel pillow and fur throw.  He has a great vantage point of the tree from this spot.


In the family room little Noel met her twin (thanks to a thrift store find back in the fall at just $4) and they teamed up to build a little snowman between the new pretty sparkly trees I bought at a favorite local boutique shop called Vintage Joy during their 40% off holiday sale.  They look great next to our new rustic mantel with birch candles.


Handsome Sebastian stays warm next to the candle on the side table with a little frosty garnish to munch on.


Between the family and dining room our Willow Tree Nativity set is displayed atop the curio cabinet with this amazing barnwood star I picked up at a local craft bazaar for just $28 and two little simple trees that were at the same bazaar for just $3 each.  I realized after I edited the photo that the star was a little crooked and fixed it but didn’t want to retake the photo so just ignore that ok?  Next year I’d like to add to the wise men and angel to the set and may finally get around to making a creche like this one for it, but for now I like how the simple piece of wood elevates Mary & Joseph and ties in with the star.


I struggled with the dining room buffet for a few days but finally settled on this lantern and rustic box filled with greenery and twinkling lights.  Simple yet festive and a perfect compliment to the centerpiece on the table, which I already shared.


I had planned to clip Christmas cards on the windmill, but we haven’t gotten it installed yet, so I used the same concept on my metal wall art next to the back door.  I think it worked pretty well.


So that’s my decorating for this year.  Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Our Newly Rustic Mantel

Today I’m sharing the revamp we gave our plain white mantel.  Although we wanted a rustic timber mantel when we were building the contractor wanted an absurd amount of money to install one and we weren’t certain what it would look like so we opted to take his basic style and DIY a work around later.  Two years later it’s finally happened.  I considered several methods including faux painting a wood grain and building a wood sleeve box, but I’m not great at painting and it would be nearly impossible to get a wood box to sit flush with the stone we have on the surround.  I also considered doing a wood veneer but had a hard time finding pieces large enough and worried that it wouldn’t fit together right.

While hunting Amazon for wood veneers I found a rustic wood print self-adhesive vinyl for around $10 a roll and figured at that price it was worth giving it a shot.  When it arrived I was worried that the colors were too similar to the rock, but eventually I felt that even if it was it would still be better than the big white block we currently had.  Here’s how the mantel looked until yesterday.


And here’s how it looks now!


The material was fairly easy to work with, you just use the grid pattern on the back to cut it to size, then peel and stick it down to the surface you’re covering.  Because we wanted the pattern to go up under the rock and wrap around for a continuous pattern it was more difficult than other applications.


We had a neighbor visit while we were measuring, who helped herself to the remains of my hanging baskets.  I don’t mind too much since they’re already goners but hopefully she forgets where she found them come spring.


I think she eventually realized that I was watching and attempted to hide behind the post while continuing to munch…


But back to the project at hand.  Several hours and a few choice words muttered under my breath later the mantel looked like this.  Definitely an improvement from the big white blob!


It’s definitely not perfect.  There are a couple of bubbles here and there, and a few cut marks where I had to work out wrinkles when things didn’t line up just right, but you really only see them close up when the light hits them just right, so I’m ok with that – especially for just $20!



9The birch candles the hubs made and frosted garland compliment the new look perfectly, so it’s a DIY win-win!


DIY Birch Candles


Thanks to Pinterest inspiration, the hubs recently made several of these amazing birch candles for decor at my recent company holiday party.  We used a couple of trees from our property that had died but hadn’t come down yet.  He cut them at various lengths and used a special drill bit to carve the hole at the top for the candles.  He did burn through several drill bits to get the whole lot done but other than that he said they were relatively simple to make.


We grouped them in trios at the party inside of white wicker wreathes as centerpieces on the tables which drew compliments from employees and the venue staff who said they were nicer than anything they ever offer!  Now that the party is over I’m using some of them on our dining room table with a faux evergreen wreath I picked up for a few bucks at the Dollar Zone.


It looked pretty good, but a little plain so I added some pine cones and feathers to give it a finished look.  It works with my classic rustic Christmas decor and will transition into the new year afterwards without lifting a finger, which is exactly what I need these days.


We’re less than a week from Christmas and I’m finally getting the house decorated, but it’s better late than never.  I’ll share more of my holiday decor next week, including how I used more of these beauties on the mantel, so stay tuned! 🙂

Skip the Skirt, Get a Box!


This year we tried something new with out Christmas tree.  Instead of using a tree skirt to hide the base, we have a box.  I saw someone selling these on the local buy/sell page and considered having the hubs make one but since they were selling for $40, which is about what the materials would cost we agreed that it was a better idea to just buy and leave the extra time for more important activities.

7The box came unfinished, with the trim being 2×4 and the planks being cedar, probably fence pickets.  Although that was pretty it felt a little to raw for me, so I gave it a quick rustic coat of white to play off the flocking on our tree. There is also a small hole drilled in the back for the power cord to go through, which works perfectly.

The hubs likes the look and Luna likes having a new hiding spot inside.  I like that I’m no longer constantly fluffing the fur throws we used to use as a skirt!  Although it’s one more thing to store, I’m glad we made the switch and can see us using it for years to come.

Farewell Bacardi


Last week we sent our youngest fur baby, Bacardi over the Rainbow Bridge.  It still hasn’t fully sunk in that she’s gone, even though we picked up her ashes and paw print last night.  She had seemed fine, playing outside with her siblings and the dog we were watching for friends one day but the next she was lethargic, wobbly and wouldn’t eat.  I had been gone most of the day doing holiday photo sessions and when I got home she crawled in my lap and just laid there.  For a dog who had earned the nickname “wiggles” this was an obvious sign that something wasn’t right.  When I started looking her over I noticed her eyes were extremely jaundiced and told the hubs to call the vet so we could take her in right away.

Once there blood work confirmed that the jaundice was caused by her liver not functioning correctly.  They thought she must have ingested some type of toxin, but we couldn’t think of anything she could have gotten into that the other dogs wouldn’t have as well and no one else was sick.  They started her on fluids and antibiotics to try to stabilize her systems and bring the liver back around.  We agreed she would stay for treatment and we would head back home to our other fur babies for the evening.  We had a quick visit with her before leaving to let her know that we would be back.

Back home, her siblings were confused that she hadn’t come back with us and kept looking at the door waiting for her to return.  We tried to keep a normal routine for them, but they sensed that something wasn’t right.  The vet called with an update late that night to say that the fluids were helping but she still could go either way.  They told us no news overnight was good news and we made arrangements to come visit her early the next morning.

Just as I was finishing getting ready to leave the next morning we got a call from the vet, who told us Bacardi had started having seizures.  We headed out together to see her in person and evaluate the options.  When we arrived it was a difficult sight – they had her laid out on a blanket, in the same spot they had treated Sangria just two years prior.  Her muscles were tense and her pupils were dilated but she did seem to respond when she heard us.  The vet described the options for continued treatment but said that they only had a 5-10% chance of success and noted that it was likely that if they were she would still have neurological issues due to the seizures brought on by the buildup of toxins in her brain.

Although we wanted to give her every chance at a recovery, we didn’t want her to suffer if she wouldn’t improve so with the facts presented we made the decision.  Now that repairing the liver wasn’t a concern, they administered a sedative to ease her tense muscles and gave us time to say our goodbyes.  We told her we loved her and to find her sister Sangria when she got to the other side.

We were never able to figure out what caused her liver to stop working, but think that because she had been the runt of her litter perhaps she had always had an issue and we just didn’t know.  Thankfully, the other dogs are healthy and seem to be accepting the change.  Luckily they have each other to play with unlike when Sangria passed, leaving Tequila alone.

While her life with us was fairly short – she would have been two in February – it was a happy one.  She knew she was much loved and had many adventures.  Here are a few of my favorite memories of her time with us, starting with the day we brought her home.





















This was the last picture I took of her, just a few weeks before when we were out scouting a new photo shoot location.  She and her siblings had a grand time exploring the river and chasing each other around on the trails.


And until we see each other again, this is how I will imagine her.  Warm and cozy by the fire, completely content and surrounded by her family. It will be hard to enjoy Christmas without her this year, but we know we will see her again and will ease our grief with the love of our other fur babies.


Taking a Break

Hey everyone.  I know it’s been quiet here on the blog and that’s because real life has been a bit much recently.  My day job has been extremely demanding over the last few weeks, I have numerous photography clients needing their holiday card photos, we’ve been working on several projects and yesterday we had to say goodbye to one of our fur babies after a sudden onset liver issue.  So I’m making the choice to take a break for a bit.  I’m going to focus on spending time with those I love and tackle only what is absolutely necessary for a while as we process how things have changed for our family.  I’ll likely be back sometime next week and will share some of the projects we’ve been doing and some holiday decorating.  Until then take a few minutes each day to appreciate your loved ones, whatever species they might be, because you truly never know when it might be your last opportunity to do so.