My Christmas Wish List

Remember back when you were a kid and made your list for Santa?  It was so much fun to sit and dream up a list of all the things you’d like to get and wonder which might arrive on Christmas if you were good.

Now that I’m all grown up I tend to keep a running wish list all year, so that as budget allows I can get items from the list when I find a good deal.  Here’s a few that are still on my list, just in case anyone is wondering what to get me – complete with links where most can be ordered. 😉

At the top of my list right now is a letter board to go above the craft desk.  I’ve been eyeing them on other blogs and friend’s social media for months and love the idea of being able to change up the phrase to fit my mood, or leave little messages for the Hubs from time to time.  The size I need for that spot is a little pricey, so I’ve been watching for it to go on sale like it is now, but it’s not in the budget while I’m buying gifts for others.

 

I’ve been needing to replace the shams in the guest room for a while now, since the ones currently in there are from a bed in a bag set I bought several years before we were married.  The current ones are faded and missing ties, but I’ve made do with them because I wanted something different but wasn’t sure what, until I found these these shams.  They will coordinate with the existing bedspread and tie in the colors of the new throw pillow we got in Scotland on our trip!

Speaking of pillows, I’ve also been eyeing these check pattern throw pillows for the sofa.  I like their classic but neutral style that would work with my other seasonal pillows.  I drive the Hubs crazy with my pillow collection, which grows every year and is in constant rotation around our home, but he and the dogs always seem to enjoy them when they are snoozing on the couch!

 

There are also several small items on my list like these pot holders from the Hearth and Hand line at Target.  The pot holders we current have pre-date our marriage and are looking WELL USED.  In fact they are getting so worn I’m worried that soon they will no longer be functional.  These would be a pretty and safe upgrade!

Source: HGTV.com

Continuing in the kitchen, I’d like to update our soap dispensers.  While I still like the DIY ones I created back when we moved in several years ago, I’m ready for something different and love the look of the ones Joanna Gaines uses in her remodels on Fixer Upper like this one.  Although I’ve looked, I can’t seem to find her source and she doesn’t have any in any of her retail lines.  I found something similar, but the reviews are pretty bad so I’m still on the hunt for a set with metal heads that will be able to take the abuse of daily use at the kitchen sink.

Source: Pinterest

I’m also on the hunt for old rolling pins.  I recently changed up the decor on top of the kitchen cabinets and now have a crock I’d like to fill with a few vintage rolling pins like this.  I’m thinking I can fit 3-4 in the crock I have.  I’m sure I could find some on eBay or Etsy, but expect they’d be pricey for real vintage pieces.  I’d rather find bargains locally on ones that are just “old” since they will be displayed up high and don’t need to look good up-close.  I’ll keep an eye out at local thrift shops and on the buy/sell pages, but may also request help from my Mother-in-Law who helps run an amazing church rummage sale each year!

Another small item on my wish list is remote-or timer controlled, flameless votive candles.  I like using the small votive glass in my decor and it’s a pain to switch each candle on and off each time I want to use them.  If they were on a remote or timer like my Luminara candles it would be much easier to enjoy them.  Some I’ve seen online had horrible reviews but this set seems to hold up and work well.

I’ve also been wanting a vintage truck that I could use in my seasonal indoor decor.  I’d planned to get one for my Christmas decorating but my local Target doesn’t carry them and they are out of stock online.  I’ve heard there are similar options at Hobby Lobby and other similar retailers so maybe someone will spot a good deal on one and snag it for me. 🙂

Although we’re firmly in winter’s grasp, there are a few wishes for when the weather allows gardening again, like a new cement bird figurine to replace the one that froze before I could get everything in the yard pulled for winter.  It cracked and fell apart when I picked it up!  It was a random gift from my Mother-in-Law during one of our trips so I was pretty upset that it broke.  I’ve searched online for another just like it, but haven’t found just the right one.  During the search I did find this cute little hedgehog who might have to find a home in my garden next season!

And of course there’s a few photography items I’d love to get, including several I snagged on black Friday sales.  But one I haven’t gotten yet is a new camera strap for my backup camera.  The current one is a bit too bulky and I’d like to switch to a scarf style like I’ve been using on my primary camera for the past several months.  I’ve found several on Etsy that would be great options ranging from floral to modern and even classic.

I guess that is a pretty long list, but like I said mine runs year round – and I’d like to think I’ve been good this year, so a gal can hope right?!  I’d love to hear what’s on your list!

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Picker Day Finds!

This past weekend I went to the fall Alaska Picker Day and as always had a great time.  The crowd that attends these events is always so courteous and there’s great finds that we can’t usually get here in Alaska at reasonable prices.

This was the first time they’ve held the event at their new location in downtown Palmer.  I love that they sit directly below the historic water tower which just adds to the charm.  I arrived 15 minutes before the sale opened and there was already a good sized crowd on-site, but everyone was respectful of the “gate” which was just an extension cord pulled across the driveway.  I ran into our friends Larry & Anne, who run Anne-Tiques and chatted with them about some projects I’m brainstorming while we waited for the sale to open.

Once the bell rang everyone flooded in to the shop through the large bay door, right to this massive back bar piece they brought back from the midwest.  A local brewing company had samples available for a donation, but since I was driving solo I didn’t partake, but heard them receive good feedback from several patrons.

This was the scene inside behind the makeshift bar.  Oodles of awesome junk.  I wasn’t on the hunt for anything in particular so I decided to step back outside and look at things there now that the crowd had migrated inside.  I spotted these awesome metal headboards and knew they’d make great trellises for the garden but didn’t have an exact spot for them so I hesitated.  I was most interested in the larger more ornate piece, since they were just $30 each.

I decided to ponder them some more and browse for other items so I headed back inside to look around.  I spotted these cool carriage wheels, one set wood and the other metal.  The wooden ones were already spoken (tag pulled) for so I don’t know how much they were priced at.

Near the wheels was this line of milk cans.  Priced at $58 each they were a good buy but I’d had the luck of finding one at a garage sale I stumbled upon that morning for just $20!  It doesn’t have the patina these ones do, but a coat of paint will have it ready for a new home on my deck or porch next year.

I’m always drawn to these wash tub stands because they make great raised planters, but I don’t have a spot for one right now and their $225+ price tag wasn’t really in the budget right now.  I’m sure they will find happy homes quickly.

These fun apothecary jars caught my eye as well.  At $12 each they were a little pricey, but still a good buy.  I didn’t have a specific use for them so I left them for someone else to enjoy.

There were also several displays of vintage cameras.  As a photographer I love seeing them and the history the document, but I’m trying to simplify our spaces and reduce things that just collect dust so I passed on these, even though were well priced from $25-50 each.

This old photo viewer was another interesting photography find.  I didn’t get to ask about the history of the piece but it just looked cool – and the photo in the holder made me giggle thinking it was likely considered very risque when it was taken.

So here’s my final haul from the sale.  I ultimately decided to get one of the headboards, but when I went back out to grab the tag on the biggest one it was already gone, so I opted for the smallest one thinking it will give me more options on spots to put it.  I’ll store it in the green house for the winter and find it a home in the gardens next spring.  I also picked up a couple of wooden berry baskets for just $1.50 each.  I plan to use them in my seasonal decorating, starting with fall.  I’ve got a couple of pumpkins that are going to look adorable in them!  I also found this fun conveyor belt bin for $10 that I think will make a fun wall planter on the back deck next year.  I wanted to find a few more, but my friend Anne and the friends she brought beat me to them.  I told them if they don’t find a use for them I’d be happy to take them off their hands.  And lastly here’s the milk can I found at the garage sale.  Like I said, it needs some TLC, but it’s solid. 🙂

It wasn’t a big haul, but I’m pretty happy with the items and projects they will fuel – all for just under $65!  I’d love to hear what you think about my finds and ways you think I could use them in a comment!

The New Guest Room Headboard

 

Another quick update we did after our trip to Portland was switching out the guest room headboard.  While the old one the Hubs DIY’ed back when we lived in Kodiak was nice (see it here), I was ready for something a little brighter in this space.  I still wanted something upholstered and had a few earmarked online but they were ranging from $200-600, which was a bit more than I wanted to pay for something that’s only going to see use a few times a year.  Luckily I stumbled across this one at Walmart as part of their Better Homes and Gardens line for $90!

It was only available online but I could do site to store shipping.  Unfortunately they didn’t offer that for Alaska stores so I had it shipped to the store near my Mother-in-Law’s house so we could pick it up while we were visiting back in May.

It’s definitely not perfect.  The nail heads don’t line up quite right in a few spots, but it’s hardly noticeable.  And at a third of the cost of similar ones I was considering I’m ok with the little imperfections.  I plan to sell the old one, which will likely pay for this one, so the change will be low – no cost.

We got it set up just in time for my sister’s visit last month along with the new dresser we added in here.  The two pieces work well together and give the space a calm, simple tone.

Because it’s neutral I can change up the bedding or other furnishings without an issue.  I’ve got plans to add faux shiplap to this wall like we did in the dining room but that’s a project for the spring when it’s still to cold to be outside.  Once we do that I think the headboard will really pop against the white and the space will be even brighter.

Now I just need to get the laundry room sign I want made so I can bring the tobacco baskets currently in it’s spot in here to decorate above the headboard.  Then once I refinish the dresser this room will be about done.. for a while anyway. 🙂

DIY Product Packaging

As a small business owner, I’m always looking for ways to give my customers a great end product without added expense to my bottom line.  I know many other small business owners have a similar need so I thought I’d share update I recently made to my packaging.

I’ve always provided my photography customers with digital images rather than prints.  When I first started out the media of choice was CDs, so I found a free template online and altered it to fit my needs so I could print covers for the jewel cases I put the CDs in.  My customers really liked this packaging and it was fairly low cost for me, especially when I shopped sales or used coupons for the CDs and cases since I could print the cover on my home printer.

Soon CD’s gave way to USBs as the preferred media.  I would have loved to order custom USBs with my logo on them, but that would have required me to raise my rates to cover the huge expense.  Since I like to work with DIY clients who need an affordable photography option that didn’t fit my business model.  So instead, I came up with a simple option using materials I already had on hand – a bulk lot of kraft favor bags and Thank You stickers.

Using items I already had meant this new option was free for me (except the cost of the USB), but I knew my stash of materials would eventually run out and I wanted to have my brand represented like I did with the CD covers.  So I picked up some circular labels and designed a “Thank You” message with my logo that I can still print at home.

My customers who have received the new packaging have all really liked it.  The pack of labels only cost me $10 and will provide about 100 labels so with the kraft bags I bought in bulk, it only cost me about $0.25/packaging.

I originally purchased the bulk lot of kraft bags in three patterns a few years ago on one of the daily bargain sites I follow.  I’ve used some for other projects before this so my inventory is limited but should still last a while.  In the meantime, I’m on the hunt for another bulk offer so I can replenish my inventory.

I’m pretty proud of the end result as it shows off my new branding and keeps cost down so I can continue to offer the rates my customers need.  I’d love to hear what you think of my low-cost DIY packaging option, so leave me a comment below!

From Lantern to Vase

The best thing about thrifting is that you often find pieces that can be reworked into something new.  Usually that involves a coat of paint or major altering of the original item, but every once in a while you stumble upon a super simple upcycle that requires barely any effort.  That’s exactly what happened with my new vase.  The mason jar style and the green tint to the glass are what caught my eye at the thrift store.  But it had a different purpose when I first saw it.

It was a lantern for a small votive candle!  I didn’t originally intend for it to be used as a vase but when the Hubs brought home flowers and I needed another large container for a second bouquet this new treasure was on the counter and the idea was sparked.  I simply pulled out the votive holder rack, filled it with water and plopped in the flowers.  That has to be the quickest upcycle ever – literally 30 seconds flat!

I kept the votive holder rack in case I ever want to use it that way again, but I see many more days as a vase with summer bouquets in it’s future! 🙂

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A Simple Change Makes a BIG Impact in the Dining Room

Two weekends ago the Hubs was in town shopping for some project supplies while I was home cleaning.  He texted me a picture of several large area rugs on sale for half off at one of the stores and asked if I liked any.  I certainly did and he said that was the only one like it that they had, so he swooped it up and headed to the cashier.  When he got it home I noted that it was more grey than the beige it had looked in his text but I actually liked that even more.

We had been in sore need of a new rug in the dining room after the jute rug we had in there had taken the brunt of Brinley’s teething phase.  We had moved the rug from behind the island over under the table as a temporary option but it was too small for the space and the pattern didn’t work there.  This option fit perfectly, had a lovely neutral yet traditional pattern and is so soft and cushy I could probably sleep on it quite comfortably.  Even the Hubs has commented how nice it feels underfoot!

The lighter color brings a whole new look to the space, and coordinates with the other grays and neutrals we already have in this space.  It was a great change for spring – making the whole area light and bright.

Although I probably wouldn’t have picked this pattern if I’d been shopping online, in person it’s just enough style without being over powering.  Plus it lets me have the lighter color I like to incorporate to combat our long winters but in a way that masks the dirt which collects in this high traffic spot – at least from what I’ve seen so far.

Now that we know how plush it is I’m on the hunt for a similar one to replace the aging rug that moved back to it’s original spot behind the island.  We call that space the “playroom” because it’s were the dogs romp and usually take their toys to play with in the sunlight from the slider doors.

It’s surprisingly low profile for how soft it is.  It literally feels like there’s a foam mattress hidden inside!  It also seems fairly tightly woven which should help with my allergies, as things won’t be able to build up between the fibers.  And the packaging says it was made in the USA which we can fully support.

I’m so in love with this new look and smile every time I see it.  There are also a couple of other updates in this space you might have noticed in the photos.  I’ll be sharing more detail about those changes soon, so stay tuned!

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No-Cost Large DIY Tray

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Here’s another quick project I did as part of my inventory for the holiday bazaar.  This large tray started life as a cabinet drawer.  When we installed the laundry room cabinet we took out the drawer on one side because we needed clearance for the sink drain.  Knowing I could use it for something, I kept it and eventually took the tracks off.  When I did, I immediately thought to make it into a tray.

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But I was busy and it got set aside for more priority projects.  When it was crunch time to create more inventory for the show I pulled it back out, dug through my stash of supplies and found two handles we had replaced on our desk cabinets.  They were originally gold, but a quick couple coats of ORB gave them more of the farmhouse style I was going for.

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The hubs helped me attach them, since I’m not good at making things line up.  He also had the brilliant idea to use Q-Tips to paint the screw heads once they were in so they matched the handles’ new paint job!  Have I mentioned recently how much I love that man? 🙂

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Although it didn’t sell at the bazaar, it’s found a home in our guest room.  It’s just the right size for the bed at 20″ by 20″ and can easily be moved to the hope chest when it’s bedtime.  I plan to stage it with some simple toiletries guests might appreciate when they visit.   I know I’ve seen similar set-ups on blogs I follow so I’ll be looking back to get an idea of what all I should include, but I’d love your suggestions as well.

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Since I had the handles and spray paint on hand the entire project didn’t cost me a cent.  Functional and free.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

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!

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TDC Before and After