Vintage Insulator Garden Art

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While we were in Portland to pick up Brinley we stayed with my mother-in-law and since Mother’s Day was the weekend we were there we decided to create some unique garden art for her gift using some of the vintage glass insulators we got from her sister’s ranch in Colorado.  You might remember some of them from our kitchen island pendant lights.

The entire project was super simple.  We started with various lengths of 1/2″ copper pipe, which the hubs cut right in the store parking lot so it would fit in the truck.  He used this nifty little tool we found in the plumbing section.

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Back at the house we added some pipe sealant tape to one end so the insulators would have a bit more grip.

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Next I chose where I wanted each pipe to be in the garden and pushed it down into the soil.  Then you just put an insulator on the top.  Repeat a few more times and you’re done!

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While the copper and glass combo is quite interesting, we used varying heights on the poles to create additional interest.

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And here’s the finished project!  Simple and sentimental, that’s my kind of mother’s day gift!  I plan to create a similar display in our garden as well, but have a bit more prep to do before we’re ready for that.

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And the project took was so easy I had time left over to appreciate the garden including some amazing iris growing nearby!  I was able to bring home a few bulbs from both of these plants so hopefully later this season I’ll have blooms like this in my yard!

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Shared on Knick of Time’s Talk of the Town #24.

TDC Before and After

Alaska Chick’s Vintage Market

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Last weekend I visited a fun Vintage Home Market, which I had been eagerly anticipating for months.  I attended the event last year when it was held at a smaller venue which became very crowded, so I was glad they were able to move to this larger space.  I had a wedding booked that afternoon so I went first thing in the morning, despite the late spring snow storm that had rolled into the area.  Tickets went on sale at 8 am and doors opened at 9, so I arrived a little after 8 to pay and get in line.  The picture above is the view as you enter the building.  On the other side of the entry was this beautiful set up.

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I browsed the front booths from the line, including this double space booth done by the market coordinator, Alaska Chicks.  There were so many great items packed into the space that you had to look several times to see them all.

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They also had this fun photo booth at the front of the line where you could take selfies with the vintage car and model.  It was a great idea to utilize the wait time, which several folks did.

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The line grew as the opening time got closer and eventually filled the whole staging area, with several groups flowing out the door.  I took this shot just 10 minutes before they opened the market with a vintage air raid siren from Alaska Picker, who we bought our windmill art from!

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I was so busy shopping that I didn’t take any pictures once the market opened, but you can see lots of the vendor’s booths and wares on the event page here.  My favorite set up was this rustic truss with moss.

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And of course I found a few treasures to bring home.  The first thing I got was a custom order for a grain sack sham for our bed from this amazing vendor.  I made a beeline for her booth as soon as they opened because that was my one MUST get item for the show.  Across from her space was a vendor with repurposed wine barrel furniture and décor where I found these cool barrel band hearts!  I’d seen some on craigslist back in February and messaged the seller but never got a response so I was giddy to find them here.  Plus they were the same price, just $10 each!  They will be going up on the side of the house when we expand the chicken run later this spring.

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I also found several “little” treasures, including a handmade whale and fun Alaska art print for the foster room, a large ampersand that will be added to the gallery wall soon and vintage letter blocks that I plan to make into magnets for the project I’ll be sharing next!

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This show has me so motivated to start making things for the Junktion Market in July where I’ll be sharing a booth with the gal who does our furniture refinishing, where I plan to do a little browsing as well.  I’ll also be shopping the Alaska Picker Day in June, then hit the Junk Bonanza outside of Portland when we visit in October!  I’m sure I’ll find more rusty, vintage goodness to bring home at each and will certainly share my finds with you all right here on the blog. 🙂

Crafting Organization with Baskets

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I recently added some new organization to my crafting area that I’m pretty excited about.  Although I have tons of storage for tools and small materials in my craft cabinet, I often found that I had larger items saved for projects stashed away in other parts of the house and being out of sight, I often forgot about them.  So when I spotted a simple ladder shelf on the buy/sell page for $25 I jumped on it.

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I knew right away that the wire baskets from the Better Homes & Gardens line I’d been lusting after would work perfectly on the shelves. Unfortunately my local stores didn’t carry the baskets so I had to order them online and wait for them to arrive.

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Once they did, I placed two on each shelf and organized my various project materials in them, leaving the narrower top shelf for my paints and stains.  I also had room to slide a large item behind the lower shelves and rest several flat pieces on the bottom of the shelf frame.

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The baskets are the perfect size to hold all those oddly shaped pieces and the canvas liners keep little parts contained.  They even have chalkboard panels on the front, so I can add labels to them and easily change them as inventory changes.

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This space is still a work in progress, but it feels more inspiring now that it’s well organized with everything ready and available.  And soon that box of barn door hardware tucked next to the cabinet will be installed for a project I’ve been dreaming of since we started construction!  I’ll share the details once it’s complete so watch for that. 🙂

DIY Bird Feeders

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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. 🙂

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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.

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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!

DIY Birch Candles

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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! 🙂

Craft Paper Roll Holder

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Although it’s been quiet here on the blog it’s been crazy busy around our house recently.  I’ve got multiple events going on at work, we’re preparing for the holidays, everyone wants family photos for their holiday cards and I’ve been crafting up inventory for a holiday bazaar this weekend.  I’ll be sharing some of those projects once I have time to take photos and do some writing, but in the meantime I wanted to share a little project the hubs did for me recently.  I keep a roll of craft paper around for projects and wrapping, so I wanted an efficient way to store it yet have it at the ready when needed.

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The solution was a simple metal bar mounted just above the craft cart which can hold the roll. It consists of a flange, a short piece of pipe, a 90 degree elbow, a length of pipe and a finishing cap. The hubs put it all together and located a stud to secure it to so it’s super sturdy.  Although I’d envisioned it positioned in the center of the cart, having it off to one side actually works because it provides a spot for my task light.

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Since the end is open it’s easy to slide the roll on and off if I need to use it elsewhere or refill it.  The industrial pipe ties in with the open shelving above the desk on the other side of the room and wasn’t too expensive to put together, which makes me like it even more.  And it will come in very handy when I start wrapping Christmas presents soon! 🙂

Fairy Tale Ending for a Pumpkin

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This little DIY pumpkin was a happy accident, which is why I don’t have a true before shot. I bought this white craft pumpkin at Michaels last year and used it without doing anything to it, but it wasn’t quiet fitting in with my other décor this year.  I was about to add it to my sell pile but decided to give it a chance and added it to the batch being chalk painted instead. Although that did tone down the bright white it still wasn’t jiving for me.

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As I added gold touches to the several of my vignettes, I remembered I had some gold craft paint leftover from a past project and decided to give it a try. I opted to use the rose gold rather than the true gold because it felt a bit warmer.

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I just started brushing it on, applying a thin coat and then adding a bit in some areas, primarily the grooves, as the mood struck me.  Once that dried I painted the stem with some more left over craft paint I had on hand and suddenly that simple white pumpkin looked pretty darn glam!

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And it was the perfect contrast to my rustic wooden DIY pumpkins from last year in the entryway!  It’s a pumpkin Cinderella story – from unnoticed to belle of the ball!

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Did you have any happy accidents while decorating or crafting recently? I’d love to hear about them, so leave a comment below!

DIY Rustic Fall Centerpiece

As promised, today I’m sharing how I created the DIY chalk paint fall tray centerpiece on our dining room table. I picked up this wooden tray on a local buy/sell page for $15 from the Rusty B (love her stuff!). It had a metal handle that had come a bit loose so I popped that off and gave it a quick coat of cream chalk spray paint left over from painting the pumpkins I used around the house this year. I’m really loving this stuff and it comes in lots of colors! Anywho, I forgot to take a picture before taking the handle off but here’s the before – like literally seconds before the spray paint started flying thanks to my hubby who snapped the picture with my phone as I shook the can in between sprays! (In fact, you can see a little peek of the pumpkins I’d started painting in the top corner.)
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After two coats it was looking pretty good.  Much brighter and prettier than before.  The chalk paint gave it just a bit of texture, but it looked a little flat.   So I decided to distress it a bit to get some of the black to show through.

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A quick hand sanding later it had dimension again with a worn, lived with look. Then I reattached the metal handle and it was ready for some fall filler.

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I filled the bottom with white beans, then topped it with a variety of pumpkins and gourds in similar colors. A few pieces of leftover berry spray from the entryway and a couple filler pieces I found on a recent trip to Michaels and it was done.
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And that’s the story of my DIY fall centerpiece. I’ll be back tomorrow with the quick makeover I did on a little faux pumpkin!

Shared on Knick of Time’s Vintage Inspiration Party #209!

A Simple Change

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Ever since we finished our farmhouse desk and industrial shelves in the office I noticed that my craft cart wasn’t quite coordinating with the new look so I decided to switch out the knobs for something more vintage or industrial.  I searched online for a while and found some really cool options like these railroad spike heads and these numbered numbered pulls, but the $8-9 a knob price tags were a bit more than I wanted to spend on this project.  So I did what any bargainista would do – I used spray paint!

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A few quick coats of my trusty ORB spray paint and I had some industrialesque knobs for FREE!  It made quite a difference when I reinstalled them.

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They add a bit of dimension to the piece now, where before it felt kind of flat.  It makes me fall in love with this great piece of furniture all over again.

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I’m considering tweaking a few other things in this corner to work a bit better and add a bit more industrial style but I’m enjoying how well it coordinates with the rest of the room now – and didn’t cost a dime!

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Linked to The Scoop @ Cedar Hill Farmhouse, The Everyday Home, Confessions of a Plate Addict, and White Lace Cottage.