Enchanted Entertaining at Pier One

Over the weekend I invited a couple of my gal pals to check out a fun event with me at Pier One called Easter Enchantment.  The event featured displays of Easter decor, entertaining tips, a scavenger hunt and gift card giveaways. We were long overdue for a girls day and I figured it would be fun to be on the other side of events for a change since I recently changed positions at work and no longer coordinate the company’s corporate functions.

After signing in, putting our names in for the door prize drawings and getting our scavenger hunt cards we headed over to the far side of the store to check out the mimosa bar display.

The hostess at the bar made us up some mock mimosas with orange juice and sparkling white grape juice, which were surprisingly yummy even without the real bubbly.  She detailed the various ways you could set up a similar bar for Easter brunch.

The little chalkboard sign gave simple directions for guests to create their own mimosas.  She suggested having a variety of juices and fruit toppings so guests could create their own signature drink.  While she didn’t have them out these reusable place card holders that could be used to label the various options available and fit a variety of decor styles and events.  I may just have to pick up a set for our summer gatherings!

The faux peonies they had on display were so pretty that I may go back to pick a few up as well so I can enjoy them all season long without the allergy side effects of having flowers in the house.  And the fact that I don’t have to water them at all is a big plus!

Next we checked out a table scape display, which I somehow forgot to get a shot of.  I blame the mimosa in my hand! 🙂  After that we learned three ways to create fun Easter napkin folds with instruction from one of the store employees.

The first design was this fun rosette which fits perfectly inside a cup.  They had some fancier versions as well with a secondary napkin serving as the green leaves of the rose.

Our first attempts were pretty good so I’d say this is definitely something an entertaining newbie could pull off!

The second design was this fun bunny shape, which required an egg to create.  It’s also a simple design – just fold, roll and wrap around the egg then tie just above it.  From there you can arrange the big ears to stand up or flop over based on your preference.  We used ribbon to tie the ears but I’d suggest trying twine or ribbon for something a bit fancier.

Here’s my bunny fold.  Not too shabby if I do say so myself!  And I love that he has one ear up and one down!

The last design was a little pocket basket.  This one was a bit more complex, but still only took a few steps.  And because it holds an egg you could create egg shaped place cards to use in the fold, which would also serve as a favor for guests.

The example display used one of their spring plush animals, but the gals and I experimented with the bunnies we’d created and thought that was a fun look as well.  They would be great around small potted plants as a favor that guests could take home with them.

After the demonstrations, we browsed the rest of the store displays chatting about one of the gal’s plans to decorate with favorite patterns when she finds a new place soon, sniffing the scented candles and checking out the rest of the Easter decor available.  There was also a fair amount of giggling at each other as we swapped stories about things going on in our lives.

It was time well spent because three of the four of us won gift cards in the drawings and scavenger hunt, and the forth received a discount percentage for a purchase.  I was able to combine my rewards discount with the gift cards I won to get two of these adorable little plush lambs named Juniper for the soon-to-be foster room and this handsome fellow who will be the perfect accent to the vintage cart on our porch this season.  I also eyed these acrylic tumblers for when we eat out on the deck this summer, but decided to hold off for now since there’s still over a foot of snow in our back yard.  Sigh.  It might be the first day of spring on the calendar but here in Alaska we know spring planting and outdoor living is still several weeks away.

If you’re hosting Easter dinner, get the instructions for the napkin folds above plus a few others and more entertaining ideas over at Pier 1’s website so you’re ready to impress your guests.  While you’re there sign up for a free account so you get invites to their next in-store event and can join in the fun!

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

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A Quick & Easy Spray Paint Makeover for Desk Accessories

Since I’m transitioning into a new role at work, someone had to take over my old position.  Luckily we had someone within the department who was interested and ready for a change, plus she already knows how we operate and the history of many projects.  She’s had to share a desk at every job she’s ever had so having her own desk in this new position is a big deal for her.  I decided to really make it special with a few fun accessories she can use to set up her own space.  I picked up a cute mouse pad and some note pads at Target for a few dollars and then found this inspirational free printable online to continue the pink theme.  I asked a friend to pick up a simple IKEA frame on her trip down south for the holidays and printed the artwork to fit.

While these couple of pieces were nice, I wished I could buy her a whole new set of accessories to really make her desk snazzy, but that just wasn’t in my monthly budget after the holidays.  Then inspiration struck – I remembered I had a can of gold spray paint at home and because I made my own DIY paper clip jar for my new desk I didn’t need the metal mesh clip cup I’d used at my old desk.  So I decided to give spray painting it a try since it worked so well on my desk caddy organizer at home.

It worked pretty well and coordinated with the mouse pad’s gold dots.  That’s when I knew I was on to something.  I took the business card holder and tape dispenser home over the weekend to give them the same makeover.

The card holder was pretty simple, but the tape dispenser needed a good cleaning along the little groove and a bit of taping off so the tooth part where you tear the tape didn’t get painted.  Now both look like the fancy desk accessories you buy new at the stores, rather than the boring bankers black they used to be.

Finally I painted an IKEA metal bucket I had on hand for a pen cup to complete the set.  I had run out of spray paint at that point and had to buy another can, which wasn’t an exact match to the first but it all still works together.

When I presented her with the spread she was very surprised and loved the whole set.  She officially starts the new position next month and is excited to get her space set up with her new bling.  It was a simple way to give her an extra little bit of motivation for the challenges she will encounter as she learns her new duties and it didn’t ‘break the bank’! 😉

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!

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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