Recent Thrifty Finds

1Today I wanted to share my finds from a few recent thrifting expeditions.  I haven’t been out to the thrift stores in a while as I was trying to pare down what was already in our home, but I couldn’t stay away forever.  I love the hunt too much.  My motto when thrifting is always if I don’t have a spot in mind for an item or am absolutely in love with it I don’t bring it home.  This motto is only amplified by my desire to simply this year so this is all that made it home from three different trips!  I’d say that’s pretty good will power.

My three trips were to Goodwill, the Salvation Army shop near my office and a local home decor consignment shop.  The Salvation Army used to be a great source for cheap home decor items, but since the massive Goodwill opened a few miles away the inventory at Salvation Army has suffered.  I think they are also loosing some of their volunteers to the competition or the changing economy because the store seemed very disorganized this visit.  The Goodwill was well organized but I notice their pricing is often higher and not always consistent as it depends on which volunteer handles each item.  But I was still able to find some good bargains, so without further ado – here’s my latest thrifting haul!

2First up is this sweater I found at Salvation Army.  I’ve been wanting to make some sweater pumpkins the last couple of fall seasons but can’t ever find good textured sweaters at the thrift stores that time of year so I decided to start looking for them all year and preparing a stock pile.  I think I can make two medium to large pumpkins and a few smaller ones out of this sweater and it was half off clothing day so I only paid $4!

3There were several pumpkins at Goodwill that day, but this one caught my attention with it’s unique stem and pretty colors.  I may eventually paint it to be a bit more neutral, but we’ll see how I feel about it closer to fall.  I think I paid around $5, which is much less than I’d pay in a department store.

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I found this cloche tucked away on a bottom self at the Goodwill and was immediately smitten with it.  I’ve got a few cloches already but I like using them in different vignettes and knew if I tired of it after I give it an update I could easily sell it so it was a no brainer.  It was a bit pricey but these types of pieces don’t come around often at my thrift stores and the dome was real glass not plastic so I could see the value.  Plus I had a coupon for 20% off which made it a bit more acceptable.

6I also snagged this wooden candlestick as soon as I saw it at Goodwill – although I have to admit I walked past it and didn’t notice it the first time because it was tucked behind an assortment of other decor items.  It’s solid and chunky, which is just what I’ve been wanting.  Nice big candlesticks like this don’t come up often around my stores so at $5 I didn’t hesitate.  I plan to give it a white wash paint and distressing to match two other similar candle sticks I got on the buy/sell page for $20 to create a coordinating trio for my spring mantel.

8This little Princess House glass container caught my attention at the Salvation Army where I found the white sweater.  I’m not sure where I’ll use it exactly but could think of several possible scenarios which fit my requirement for purchase and at $3 it was a reasonable option.

45Lastly was this cool copper pot I spotted at the consignment shop.  It came as part of a fire starter kit, although I really was just interested in the container as decor or a planter.  My mother-in-law has several similar – albeit larger – pieces that I’ve always adored so I couldn’t pass this one up.  It was $15 which was a bit pricey, but I figured that there was a bit of value in the fire starter pieces as well and because this was consignment rather than a thrift store I wasn’t expecting bargain basement prices.

I set the fire starter pieces aside for when the fire pit is back in use this summer and have been thinking up options for my new little pot to decide which I like the best.  Current ideas are as a decor vase, a planter, or a small fire pit for our patio table come summer using a citronella candle or table top tiki torch.  Which idea do you like the best?

Linking up at Thrifty Decor Chick’s Before & After Party!

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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.

Linking up at: Knik of Time’s Talk of the Town, Tater Tots & Jello’s BFF and Savvy Southern Style’s Wow Us WednesdayStone Gable’s The Scoop and Thrifty Decor Chick’s Before & After Party!

TDC Before and After

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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 and Thrifty Decor Chick’s Before & After Party!

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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 and Thrifty Decor Chick’s Before & After Party!

TDC Before and After

 

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!