First Project of 2018

Hey everyone, the beginning of the year has been quite busy!  I had dental surgery on the 2nd that required a few days of recuperation and I was promoted at work to a new position that requires learning several new systems, but I still have to handle some things from my old position until it’s filled.  I took a little bit of time over the weekend to do a few small projects in between cleaning house and editing client photos.  Today I’m sharing the first of those with you – my new desk organizer caddy!

Here’s how this little cutie started out.  I spotted it at the thrift store well over a year ago and knew the simple design would work for some type of organizing in our house – especially when the price tag was only a couple of dollars!

I gave the whole piece a light sanding so the paint would adhere, and then used spray paint we had on hand.  Once it was dry I distressed the edges and sides to give it a bit of texture.  A quick coat of paint and it’s got tons of farmhouse style.  Even Mrs. Joanna Gaines would probably like this one. 🙂

Here is is in place and all loaded up.  I put note pads in the back slot and divided up my pens and markers into to of the front sections, while the third hold the other miscellaneous items I like to keep on hand.

Every time I look at it now, I think “That was so simple.  Why didn’t I do this sooner?”  Truth be told I had to live with it for a while to make sure it would work in this spot plus decide what color I wanted it to be and then life just got busy with other priorities.  Luckily I had other spray painting to do so it was the perfect time to get this one done.

The best part of it all is that this little upgrade didn’t cost me a cent!  Since I already had the caddy, spray paint and sand paper all on hand the only cost was my time.  That’s a great way to start off DIY in 2018.  Here’s to hoping all my projects this year go this easy and have as great of a result!

Advertisements

Our Simple Christmas Decor

I’m still tinkering with my Christmas decorations, but since the big day is just around the corner, I thought I’d share what I’ve done so far.  I’ve migrated to a more “winter” look than full-on Christmas so things can stay up well into January without feeling out-dated.  That’s handy since winter in Alaska can last well into the months that most classify as “spring”.   I also find that my style is much more simple than it used to be, perhaps that’s an influence of our recent trip to Iceland where they have a very minimal Scandinavian look, or maybe it’s just a lack of time to create so much detail.

Things start out on the front porch, but I’ll share that in another post later this week.  Today we’ll start in the entry way where Red and Flint are the first of my reindeer herd to welcome guests.

Around the corner Gus hangs out above Brinley’s kennel where my cute storage bench used to be.  It was a victim of her teething stage and so now the kennel lives in it’s place.  Ahh the sacrifices we make for children….

Just past the entry the media cabinet in the family room became a bottle brush Christmas tree farm just like last year.  I’ve added the lighted houses in the pedestal cloches, a few more trees and this cute little red truck, which used to be an ornament.

The mantel has a frosted garland and trees.  All of the trees except the two twig ones light up and create a pretty glow in the evenings – or pretty much most of the day since this is winter in Alaska!

I found the light up bottle brush trees at Joann Fabrics this year and am very pleased with them, especially since I got them for a great price with a sale and a coupon!  I’ll be watching to see if they have any in their after Christmas sales.  The two mercury glass trees came from a local vintage shop called Revive.  I’d been hunting for some all over town and had pretty much given up when I found them tucked away in a display at a great price.  If she’d had more I would have snatched them up too.  They also had hollow centers and access through the trunk section so I crammed a strand of fairy lights into both to give them a soft glow as well.  I may just add a strand of the same lights to the two twig trees so everything lights up!

Next to the mantel Sebastian has a view out the window next to his own tree.  Max moved out to the living room this year from the office where he’s been the past few years.  Now he is one window over from Sebastian.

On the couch I’ve got a couple new festive pillows.  I picked up the Ho Ho Ho and tree one from Target’s after Christmas sale last year, but had to ship them to my Mother-In-Law’s house because they wouldn’t ship to Alaska.  Good thing I was able to visit and pick them up earlier this year. 🙂  The red plaid pillows are from JoAnn Fabrics’ fall line.  Pay no attention to the coating of dog hair – that’s what I try to do…

The side table next to the couch got a touch of color with this little wreath and lantern.  I found the lantern at a garage sale earlier this year for just $2 and the wreath was another JoAnn’s sale find for around $5.  I love how they look together.  This is the only time of year I decorate with red, but I love the pop of color during the long winter months.

The tree is behind the couch, next to the nativity on the curio cabinet.  When we first moved in 4 years ago I had a hard time figuring out where to put the tree, but this spot has worked out perfectly and become the tradition in our house.  We have a new tree this year, after our tree of many years stopped lighting up in several sections last year.  It’s an after Christmas clearance deal, so it’s nothing special but it will work for a few years until I can save up and somehow justify the cost of my dream tree along with the vintage style candles for it.

The tree has a bit of Scottish flair after our trip this year.  We picked up a couple of ornaments while there to continue the tradition of growing our collection.  Unfortunately one of those new ones met an untimely fate when Luna and Brinley ganged up to attack the tree soon after it went up (repeat that phrase about things you do for your kids…).  You’ll notice there’s less ornaments on the lower sections of the tree for that exact reason! But our Harris Tweed highland cow and Scottie dog are still safe… for now anyways.

I had this sign for the nativity made last year after the holidays and really like it above the creche.  It’s the perfect compliment to the simple style of my beloved Willow Tree nativity set.

Over in the dining room, Moe found a new home this season on the scroll wall hanging where we put up the holiday cards we receive.  I really enjoy seeing him more often this year and think this will be his ‘usual’ spot going forward.

Next to Moe, this new addition came to us from WA where my wonderful Mother-In-Law went on a mission to find him at an antique shop I follow online.  Several ‘elves’ have made an appearance around our home this year and I think they are great care-takers for our herd.   I haven’t named him just yet, so if you have suggestions I’m all ears.  He reminds me of the Nordic elves we saw depicted in Iceland and even the Scottish Highlands so maybe I’ll do a theme using either of those cultures.

My dear, Milo ended up in the other windowsill, where he’s safe from the dogs.  I’d be pretty heartbroken if something ever happened to him.  His expression seems to say he knows how dangerous being closer to the floor could be in this house!

On the back wall of the dining room I hung my North Pole sign from last year under the windmill and decorated the top of the buffet with faux winter greens, antlers and gold tone votives.  I’d like to make some twig luminary trees to add to this set-up and since the look is “winter” rather than Christmas I’ve got time to do that even after the holiday.

The two votives in the front are new this year.  They were a fun little find at the Alaska Chicks Vintage Market a few weeks ago.  At just $2 each I thought they were a great price too!

The new mug rack also has a few more additions to it for the holidays after the Alaska Chicks show.

This “Merry” Rea Dunn mug was one of my favorite finds that day thanks to one of my favorite vendors, Rustique Designs.  She’s who I got the other Rea Dunn mugs from and who made the reindeer sign and nativity sign!

This sweet little fella was also part of my Mother-in-Law’s adventure to the antique shop.  Isn’t he just the cutest thing ever?  While he’s not quite “Christmasy” I just couldn’t not put him out right away after she made the effort to find him for me.  Plus the little sprig he’s holding kinda looks like holly and the red rim ties him in to the season – at least in my mind. 😉

There are also little touches of Christmas in the other rooms, including this little church in the laundry room.  It started out as an ornament, but I like it much better as a decor piece here after a few little modifications.

Below the shelf is another little elf with a reindeer buddy just his size to keep him company.  These two also started life as ornaments – I think I’m sensing a trend here.

The office window where Max used to sit is now home to the lovely Daphne who joined the herd last year.  She’s got her own little tree and some pretty votives to light up the dark.

Also in the office is this sweet little fox I found at the grocery store!  He was the last in the display and just begged to come home with me.  He’s looking quite dapper on the daybed, among all the pretty pillows.  He also needs a name so keep those suggestions coming!

In the hall bathroom another couple of ornaments turned decor add a little touch of the season to the existing decor.

In our bedroom are two pretty little reindeer my sister found for me last year.  They too started as ornaments, but now they hold their own on our nightstands so we have some holiday cheer at the end and beginning of each day.

In the guest room, there are some little Santas on the nightstands.  If you follow me on Instagram, these are the find I made at that lovely store I made it out of only spending $10!

The chair in the guest room also got a little update for the season with this simple pillow I found at Hobby Lobby during our recent trip down south.  I’m so glad they already had Christmas stuff out while I was there!

So that’s the tour of our Christmas decor.  I hope you liked it!  Stay tuned to see what I’ve done out on the porch, or get a sneak peek over on Instagram! 🙂

My New Rack!

Hey there everyone!  I know it’s been quiet around here since our trip.  Life has been super busy and I’ve barely had time to work on projects let alone share any.  But today I’ve got a little change in the dining room to share.  We replaced the indoor herb wall that wasn’t growing to well with this simple farmhouse style rack.

It’s a perfect fit for the short wall just off the laundry room and has become the spot to display my budding collection of Rea Dunn mugs!  This was one of several larger items we hauled back to Alaska on our recent trip.  I’d ordered it some time ago and had to ship it to my sister’s house in VA so I could pick it up when we were there for my nephew’s wedding.  Here’s a wide shot to give you an idea of where it’s located, along with a sneak peek of the minimal fall decorating I did.

I love the contrast of the black distressed metal and white mugs against the tan wall.  I wish the mugs could face out to the left so they were readable from the main area, but overall it’s just what I envisioned.  I plan to add a little bunting or garland during holidays to add a bit of flair, which might be my next DIY project.

My collection is still pretty small with only four options. The MRS. one is my fave at the moment and the Relax is a close second.  The Hubs has enjoyed using the MR. a couple times already so I guess he thinks this is a good update, even if it did require patching the holes from the herb rack and repainting a section of the wall.  Good thing he loves me right?!

I’ve added a few more mugs to my collection recently that feature holiday designs so don’t be surprised if those show up on my social media feeds! 😉  I’ll be back in a day or two with another little project I did this fall, so stay tuned.

Last Minute No-Sew Halloween Pillow

Happy Halloween everyone!  I finished this project just in time to enjoy it today and am so pleased with how it turned out I just had to share.  It started with these fun spider place mats I found in the dollar section at Target.  I think the pair were just $3.

I loved the cute fringe on the edges and that the simple pattern didn’t scream Halloween since I’ve moved to more neutral decor, even for holidays.  The place mats already had hems around each edge and had a felt backing.  I’d seen several tutorials on opening up one side of double sided place mats to make pillows but since these weren’t double-sided and I don’t sew, I took the easy route with fabric glue.

While getting a little TV time in, I put a bead of glue around three edges on the back of one place mat and carefully aligned the other one to match.

The glue instructions say to wait 30 minutes to allow a good bond.  I compressed the two place mats together under a cutting board with several heavy items on top of it for about 24 hours to make sure there was a really good bond since this would be a pillow – plus it was already late at night and I had work the next day!  I was left with this cute pocket ready for filling.

I stuffed fiber fill I’d kept from one of many pillows the dogs had worn out until it started to look like a pillow.  I ran another bead of glue along the open edge and pushed the two edges closed.  Now that the pillow was filled the cutting board compression method wasn’t feasible so I dug out a bag of clips I’ve kept and used those along the edge to keep everything together.  I let that sit overnight as well because I had to be away from the house the whole next day.  One of the clips did stick a bit due to some glue that oozed out the side, but I gently pulled the spot back and was able to remove the clip without any issue.

And here’s the finished pillow!  Isn’t it adorable?!  I was at a workshop all weekend so I took advantage of a photo shoot setup to get a couple of good daytime shots for you.

The pom pom fringe was what initially drew me to the place mats and it’s the perfect finishing touch to keep this little pillow fun rather than spooky.

And it looks awesome paired with my velvet boo pillow I got at JoAnn Fabrics this season!  They look so romantic with this set-up and yet still neutral and festive.

Once it was done the Hubs pointed out that I put the place mats together in opposite directions so when you flip it over the other side is upside down, but that’s not a big deal thanks to the semi random pattern.  Since the care instructions are spot clean I plan to keep both of these pieces up high and away from the fur babies, so they last and I can enjoy them for several years.

This was such a quick and easy project that I’m sure I’ll do more like it. In fact I have a couple of place mats from our trip to IKEA last year that I plan to do something just like this with, so stay tuned for those!  Until then go grab your costume and find some treats rather than tricks! I’ll leave you with a few more shots from my fun Halloween themed photo shoot I mentioned in my previous post to get you ready.

DIY Witch’s Broom

With Halloween just around the corner I wanted to share a quick DIY witch’s broom project that was a happy accident.  It started with the purchase of these flower stems at Joann Fabrics.  I was working on creating a headpiece for a Halloween themed photo shoot and loved the look and texture of these flowers.

Upon closer inspection I realized that the flowers stems were just wrapped around branches and could be easily removed.  So I untwisted them, one-by-one while enjoying a little TV time.

I was left with two piles of pretty flowers destined for photo shoots and these two bare branch things.  I considered putting them upright in a vase or bucket with lights for a spooky arrangement, but when I saw the two together I suddenly saw a broom.

I grabbed some scrap black ribbon and wrapped the two stems together.  Normally I would have secured the ribbon with hot glue but I’m not sure I’ll use these the same way next year and I was at my office rather than at home so a few pieces of clear tape did the trick.

It looks pretty good in our office with the other Halloween decorations – follow me on Instagram and Facebook for peeks – but I wanted to get a nice shot of it so I took it back home and propped it up on the wood pile.

Not bad for a free project made from leftovers from another project!  I still think it needs something to finish it off.  Maybe a bow at the base of the stem or a hanging loop, but I can figure that out next year if I use it again.  If you have ideas in the meantime I’d love to hear them! And in case you’re wondering how the flower headpiece turned out here’s a peek from the session!

Isn’t she gorgeous?!  She’s a hair and makeup artist and did the makeup herself based on a couple of inspiration shots I sent her.  I’ll be sharing more of these awesome shots soon and give a quick recap of the location we used, which is a local historical park.  And I’ll be working with this lovely lady again in the future for some other fun ideas. 🙂

Adding Function to the Laundry Room

Today I’m sharing a quick addition I made to the laundry room.  Now that we’ve got the counter top finished and the sink operational I found that we needed a spot for a hand towel to dry your hands.  I’d been eyeing this vintage industrial style shelf and towel bar for a while so when I spotted it for a good price I ordered it quickly, figuring it would either work in here or the guest bathroom.  Due to shipping costs I had to have it sent to my Mother-in-Law’s house and wait to pick it up until our trip earlier this summer.

This spot has had several variations since we moved in.  First I had some DIY decor here, then there was a rustic laundry sign, but I decided to sell that and have a different one made for the wall above the board and batten on the other side of the room where the tobacco baskets are currently.  Those will move to the guest room above the new headboard.  I plan on making that change this winter, when there’s not so much going on in the yard.

The metal look ties in perfectly with the DIY drying rack the Hubs built me above the window.  I styled it with one of my faux succulent planters and a blue mason jar that I’ll be filling with vintage clothespins.  I may add a few other little things, but will let those “find” me in the coming months.  You can’t tell from this angle but the bottom of the shelf is an open style wire so whatever I use on it will have to be big enough that it does’t fall through.

As you can see from the winkles in the towel, it’s been getting plenty of use and it’s just the right size for the wall without blocking my DIY soap pump in the corner.  One more project done, and you know functional decor is my favorite kind! 🙂

Going Farmhouse in the Kitchen

I’ve been switching up the decor in our kitchen for a more simple, farmhouse style and had this idea for a sign over the pantry.  Everywhere I looked I saw “EAT” and “KITCHEN” but I wanted one that said Dry Goods, because that’s what’s in the pantry!  I considered making one myself but life has just been too busy for that project and things won’t slow down anytime soon.  So when I spotted the style of sign I wanted for a great price at one of my fave local shops, Brown Chicken Brown Cow, who you may remember from the recent vintage market, I asked the owner if she could do a custom version.  She said yes and because she’s awesome she even kept it at the same price as the other signs she already sells!

It turned out awesome.  She made it to the dimensions for my specific spot and gave me a choice of colors so it was just what I wanted.  It’s the perfect addition to the cabinet top decor changes I’ve made so far.

On the right side the large white platter stayed where it was, as did our personalized cutting board, but the fruit basket was swapped out for this large breadboard and a vintage wicker wrapped jar.  I picked both of those up at an antique shop outside of Portland on our recent trip for a great price.  I’ll be sharing more of that shopping trip soon.

The other side kept several of the same pieces as before, just rearranged.  The wine rack I had in the corner was sold and I picked up this cute copper bucket that I’d been eyeing at Target for months for just $2 on the local buy/sell page.  That’s a 90% savings from the original price!

It sat empty for a while, but when I won an Amazon gift card at work I ordered my favorite purple pens and several bunches of faux lavender.  As soon as they arrived I knew they belonged in the copper tin.  I love the contrast of the colors and textures and am even happier that it’s something that can stay up year round.

I still may rearrange a few things as I find other items just right for this space, but for now I’m pretty happy with how it’s looking.  I’d love to hear your suggestions on moving things around or items to add, so leave me a comment if you have ideas!