The Palmer Garden & Art Faire

This past weekend I got to enjoy the Palmer Museum Garden & Art Faire.  This is the third year I’ve gone to the faire (check out the first visit here) and always enjoy it.  The forecast didn’t look great, but the day turned out beautiful and just perfect for this type of event.  There were vendors, live music and instructional classes throughout the day.

I had planned to attend a couple of the classes offered but my schedule didn’t work out.  While browsing the vendors I noticed that Lakeside Forge was instructing a couple of workers.  I’m not sure if they had signed up or if this was part of his display, but they sure looked like they were learning a lot!

The Hubs met me at the Faire on his way to run some errands and we got some lunch from the food vendors.  Because there was another event going on in town there wasn’t as much selection as years past, but we enjoyed the BBQ pork & noodles we got from Momma Rav’s.  While we waited in line, I was eyeing the cool truck next door which was built on an old International truck!  We also sampled a couple of the Rhubarb Rumble entries at the vendor booths while we browsed.  Although we didn’t make it out to all the locations around town with recipes for sampling, our favorite was the rhubarb strawberry salsa with cinnamon chips.

After the Hubs went off to run his errands I checked out a few more of the activities at the fair.  There was a group of painters capturing this lovely scene full of peonies.  Some took the abstract route, while others created a portrait.  As a photographer, it was fun to see the differences these creatives had in their visions of the same set up.

Next, I took in some of the history of downtown Palmer.  The city was started as a farming colony as part of Roosevelt’s New Deal program during the 30’s.  Inside the museum they were playing a documentary that showcased what life was like as the colony was built through interviews of those who were there.  I’m so grateful for those brave families who left everything they knew behind to start over in Alaska.  They were the foot hold for the wonderful community we love today.

The museum also had displays of life in Alaska during those times.  One display featured the history of the Matanuska Maid, a local icon and mascot of sorts for the local dairy & creamery.  They also had displays of the native cultures in the region and the mining history of the surrounding ranges.

They also had displays about the daily life of the pioneers including the giant cabbages they could grow due to the long hours of sunlight and the typical household items they used, including dresses made from flour sacks.  Nothing went to waste due to the limited resources and minimal funds available.

There were also displays about the difficulties the pioneers faced in creating the farms out of the Alaskan wilderness.  Not all of Roosevelt’s plans worked in Alaska and many had to be altered to fit the unique circumstances encountered here.

I spotted these pretty glass emblems in the window of the gift shop area and immediately fell in love with them.  I had something similar with the Norfolk Mermaid on it from when I lived on the East Coast.  There were several designs to pick from, but I think I like the iconic water tower the best.  I decided to think on it some and come back to get one in a few weeks.

This enamelware pot was right near the entrance and drew my eye instantly.  I loved the simple charm of the rusty bucket and the faux lavender was the perfect touch to finish it off.  If it had been for sale it would be in my home right now!

I also toured the exhibition garden next to the museum.  I’ve been to this garden many times and always love seeing how things grow here so I can compare how they will do in our yard which is just a few miles away.

The new truck statue between the museum and the garden looked great with the new plantings starting to fill in.  I’m excited to see how they decorate it for Colony Christmas this winter!

There were also several antique tractors on display outside the museum.  I’ve seen a few of these before in local parades, but it was fun to get up close and see some of their details.  The vintage lawn mower was tucked in between a couple of the big tractors and caught my eye with it’s unique design.

I also learned about a new project some local veterans are spearheading.  They are fundraising to purchase the fuselage of an old cargo plane and turn it into a traveling Alaska and military art gallery, performance venue, and museum.  Learn more about this unique project at their website: www.rollingboxcar.com.

While I didn’t find any garden art that called my name this time around, I did come home with this lovely peony bouquet to brighten our dining room. We also bought two of the mason jar strawberry lemonades I had the first year to enjoy at home.

It was the perfect mid-summer event to celebrate the community, local growers and the season.  I look forward to seeing what they plan for next year’s event!

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Catching Up

My lady slipper orchids are blooming in the rain garden!

It’s been a while since my last post because we’ve been pretty darn busy around here the past several weeks.  So here’s a quick run-down of what’s been going on.

The yard is in bloom finally, after a long wet spring.

At the beginning of the year I moved into a new position at work, which requires learning several new software platforms and skills.  It took a while for my old position to be filled so for a while I was basically doing both jobs.  The gal who filled my previous position has been with the company for a few years and worked in our department, but she too had a lot of learning to do in her new role.  When she needed to be out for a bit due to emergency surgery over the spring, I had to help out by stepping back into that role while also continuing to do my new job.  It was a bit chaotic and didn’t leave much time or energy for other things.  Luckily it was only for a few weeks and now she’s recovered and back without restriction so we can both settle into our usual duties.

The new pillows we picked up on our trip look great around the fire pit!

We took a quick trip to visit my Mother-In-Law in Portland, where we did some shopping for the house, attended a beekeeping class (something we’re planning to try next year) and I organized a styled photo shoot.  The Hubs and I also took care of a couple small projects around Mom’s house while we were there.  Since we still had snow on the ground when we left and returned to a snow storm – it was a nice break to enjoy some spring weather and blooms!

The new chicks have traded fluff for feathers and recently moved out to the big yard with the older chickens.  It seems like everyone is adjusting well.

When we returned from our trip we added to our chicken flock with two batches of baby chicks!  These little fluff balls have been living in the garage in a large brooder we made from a stock tank planter I had.  In addition to multiple feedings a day we worked hard to make sure they were handled often as well so they will be friendly when they are adults.  To make room for them outside, the Hubs made a massive addition to the coop, doubling their indoor space and tripling the number of nest boxes.  We’re still putting the finishing touches on that project but I’ll share it soon.

Still buried in snow, this is how the green house looked when we got back from our trip.

I spent many hours getting the green house cleared out and prepped for the season after our trip.  I attended the annual VIP plant sale at my favorite nursery toward the end of April, but the blooms had to hide out in the green house for a few more weeks before it was safe for them to be outside.  While I waited on the weather, the edible crops were all started in the green house and the Hubs revamped the hydroponic system for the tomatoes with bigger tubing so it’s more efficient.  Now everything is growing and we’re already enjoying some of the bounty from our lettuce, spinach and dill plants!

And here’s how it looked after the plant sale – at least until I could plant everything in the yard.
The yard is coming together – here’s a sneak peek at the updates the Hubs made to the egg table and another project I’ll share soon.

We did several projects around the yard as we prepared for the summer season.  I revamped a serving cart for the deck, upcycled an old milk can into a planter and created planters out of old conveyor belt scoops for the new chicken coop expansion.  The Hubs extended his egg table with a spot to store his new smoker and built me potato crates which will double our crop this year.  We sold the old patio furniture to make way for a new dining table and a set of loungers for the deck we installed last summer.  We also started installing a gazebo style covering over the hot tub on that deck.  We hope to have that completed soon – but need to arrange some extra helpers to get the roof on.  Out front, I styled the vintage cart on the front porch for spring and then for summer with patriotic colors.

The new table is a perfect fit for our deck and it expands if we have a big group over.
The firepit is cleaned out and ready for use.
The new lounge chairs (with a hiding kitty) and partially installed gazebo on the big deck.  I’ll be landscaping around this deck later this summer and plan to mirror the rock bed around the other deck.
I updated the wood storage for the fire pit with some cinder blocks that we took out when the Hubs expanded the chicken coop. It was an easy, and free upgrade that also hides the electrical conduit for the hot tub.
I white washed terra-cotta pots to decorate the whiskey barrel tables and filled them with marigolds to ward off the bugs. I also placed small tiki torches on each table as a backup.
I’ve had this thermometer since last summer and we finally found a spot for it right next to the door.

Inside, I changed up a few things, including curtains in all the bedrooms, the rugs in our master bath, swapping Brinley’s kennel for a new entry bench.  Last weekend we took advantage of the neighborhood traffic for a neighbor’s estate sale and had a yard sale to clear out some extra clutter that accumulated around the house over the winter.  We were mildly successful in that goal, but there’s still lots to purge, which is why I only picked up a few small décor items when I attended the spring Alaska Chicks Vintage Market.

I picked up these vintage bells at the market and think they pair well with my wreath on the front door.

Whew – seeing it all written out makes me realize just how much we crammed into a few weeks!  As my Mother-in-Law says “No grass grows under our feet!”  And now that summer is in full swing we’ve got a whole new round of projects and activities planned.  Stay tuned over the next few weeks to see the projects I mentioned plus others that are still in the works!  Hopefully I’ll be able to keep you updated more regularly now.  In the meantime I’ll leave you with more pictures of those silly chicks, who just moved out to the big yard.  🙂

Snack time at the feeder with the fluffy butt club.
We have several Novogens in this batch that will be great egg layers.
And there are a couple Dominiques for some variety.
My favorites are the Easter eggers who will lay greenish blue eggs and have fun little feather beards!
The dogs act as constant security for the cluckers.
They are quite used to us and often come running to meet us at the gate, or investigate our feet to see if they are edible. 🙂
Our flock is now up to 20 chickens so it’s a good thing the Hubs got that expansion completed!

Introducing Stella

Over the weekend our little family grew by four paws and a set of whiskers!  The Hubs and I had been talking about getting a kitten for a while and had looked at several online but nothing had lined up just right.  Then he spotted an ad online for someone rehoming kittens from an “opps” litter and one was an adorable grey tiger female.

We called and confirmed she was still available and made arrangements to see her later that day.  She purred while I held her, cuddled, was talkative and seemed interested in both me and the Hubs.  Just like our other fur babies it just felt right and she came home with us that evening.

Her previous home had several large dogs and other cats so we figured she would adapt well to our pack quickly.  For the dogs it was love at first sight.  Tequila follows her around just hoping she will play with her.  Brinley enjoys her sprints up and down the hallway and even a playful swat on the nose when she gets too close. Stoli has been a bit more reserved usual, letting Stella come to him as she pleases.  She’s got them all wrapped around her little paw.  In fact, she can walk right up to any of them and rub her face against them anytime she likes.

Luna on the other hand is not impressed with her new sibling, voicing her thoughts with several hisses and grows.   Stella has respected the message by keeping her distance.  She’s got plenty of interaction with the dogs and a whole new house of things to investigate instead, while Mom follows her around with a camera.  Luckily she quickly got used to that too.

Her previous home called her “Miss Thing” just as a way to distinguish her from her almost identical brother but we decided to rename her Stella.  It’s the perfect bridge between our alcoholic doggie names and the Latin roots of Luna’s name which means Moon.  Stella is Latin for Star, so the cats have celestial names, but it also can be short for the Belgin beer, Stella Artois which continues our alcohol theme on that side.

Since she’s arrived it’s been cuteness overload.  From the perfect kitty pose & stare to that adorable little tongue.

All that play and investigating makes for a tired kitty.  So little cat naps are frequent and just as adorable.

She likes to cuddle and has snuggled with both of us quite a bit, purring all the while.  While the Hubs was watching the Olypmics, she discovered the corner of the couch is the perfect spot size for her to curl up and still be close to Daddy while also providing a great view of the tv.

That is until she falls asleep. 🙂  I’m sure you’ll be seeing lots more of her in the coming weeks as she continues to establish her place in the pack.  We plan to keep her inside for a while and will introduce her to the yard when she’s a bit bigger and spring begins to arrive.  Then she’ll have a whole new territory to investigate – including meeting the chickens and learning to mouse so she can earn her keep with more than sweet snuggles and purrs.

New Job, New Desk and New DIY Decor

In my post last week I mentioned that 2018 started with a big change for me at work.  I’ve been promoted to a new position within the same department and as part of that transition I got to move to a bigger desk.  I had decorated a bit at my old desk, but the space was awkward and limited so I didn’t do much beyond organizing my office supplies.  The new desk has much more room and is a bit more private so I had a lot more to work with.

Here’s how the space looked just before I moved over.  It was a total blank slate.  And here’s how it looks now!

It’s still a cubicle, but it’s cozy.  And since I spend a big chunk of time here every week I’m glad that it makes me comfortable and reflects my style.  Things started with a plan to organize my office supplies.  I’d picked up some pieces from the Joanna Gaines spring line at Target, but they ended up not working out for what I wanted.  So I went the old DIY route.  I had this little metal caddy for a while.  I picked it up from the Target dollar zone probably 2 summers ago for use out on the deck, but it never left the cabinet since it came home so it needed a new purpose.  It was just the right size and layout to store my note pads, pens and markers.  But I wasn’t crazy about the color in this space when I tested it out with my other supplies.

So I did what any good DIYer does, I broke out the spray paint for another desk caddy revamp.  My first thought was white, and I had a can of chalk paint in the garage.  I taped off the handle to protect it and got to spraying.  It took several coats to cover the teal color and once it did, I wasn’t loving it.

So I dug in the paint cabinet again and found black.  It’s my new go-to farmhouse style color and I figured it would work well with the frames I already had at my previous desk.  There were a few spots that crackled or bubbled since the first coats were a chalk paint but in good farmhouse style it adds to the character.  Here it is finished and all loaded up.

I did keep the fun shaped paper clips from Hearth and Hand because having goat shaped paperclips is just awesome.  I had originally planned to have them in the small dish you saw above, but it was too small and they spilled out easily.  So I decided to DIY another solution.  I pulled an old small canning jar out of the cabinet – oddly the same cabinet the caddy had been stored in – and since I’d used up all the black on the caddy I painted the ring top with ORB so it coordinates.  Now it’s the perfect way to store all my cutie paper clips.

There was a little cubby area in the back corner of the desk which lent it self to being the perfect spot for all my supplies.  Here’s how I originally set it up.

I decided to move the paper clip jar over by my business cards so it was more visually balanced and turn my little Scotch doggie tape dispenser toward the caddy.  This just felt better so I kept it this way.

I had this fun cast iron card holder from my craft show booths and since it doesn’t get use most of the year I decided to bring it in to the office so I can see it every day.  I think it was originally meant to hold bars of soap but it’s the perfect size for business cards.

I snagged a letter board on EBay for $20 with shipping and put that off to the side near the phone as you saw above.  I plan to share inspirational messages each week to help motivate our team.  I flanked the board with an IKEA plant I already had and the seasonal winter bird decor I’d gotten for each of the desks in the office back at Christmas.

I placed the lamp from my old desk in the other corner behind the monitors.  I already had the verse print from our trip to Hawaii when we visited a friend’s shop there, but I found a nice frame for it and placed the books I’m reading for professional development next to it.

If you’re wondering what’s on the other side of that big white area behind the monitors, it’s this pretty mural of a local mountain range.  It’s a nice piece of art to enjoy every time I walk toward my desk.

Above the back corner was a little shelf, where I display my awards and a faux succulent from my previous desk.  I hung my version of van Gogh’s Starry Night (my fave painting) that I did at a paint night event a while back on the back wall for a bit of color.  I also traded out the heavy wood inbox tray for the black wire one I’d brought in for my old desk, since it coordinated better with my other black accents and reduced the visual clutter a bit.

So here’s my home away from home during the week.  It’s cozy and welcoming, but still professional.  My coworkers have enjoyed seeing the space come together and now look forward to the weekly inspiration on my little message board!

I also DIYed some items for the gal filling my old position, which I’ll share soon! 🙂

Farewell 2017

Happy New Year!  As we welcome 2018 with new goals and ideas it’s easy to think of how much we didn’t accomplish last year.  Yet when I look back at what I’ve shared here on the blog I’m always amazed at just how much we did do each year.  Here’s a quick look back at the highlights of 2017:

  • We started off the year with one of my favorite projects to-date, barn doors for the office!
  • The next big project was finishing the laundry room sink update by installing the granite counter top remnant.
  • We celebrated the Hub’s birthday at the famous Iditarod ceremonial start during Fur Rondy.
  • The Hubs and I had a great visit to Portland over Memorial Day weekend where we did lots of shopping and celebrated our anniversary at the Tim McGraw and Faith Hill concert and got some great finds at a wonderful little antique shop.
  • The first season using the green house was a great learning experience for next summer and the added porch, sitting area and nearby shed bed make it my new favorite spot in the yard.  Plus the DIY compost bins should hold some garden gold come spring!
  • We enjoyed a unique 4th of July celebration in Glacier View while my sister and brother-in-law were visiting from Virginia.
  • There was also the quick trip down to Kenai to visit the Hub’s family during their annual fishing trip from Arizona.
  • We made a quick day trip with friends to Hope & Whittier in search of new photography locations and salmon berries.  While we didn’t come home with much it was a fun day spent with friends.
  • I enjoyed browsing local artists’ creations at the Bubbling Brook Vintage Market where I started my Rae Dunn collection.
  • I saw some amazing gardens on the Willow Garden Tour and can’t wait to go again this year!
  • I got to explore Homer while there to photograph a sweet couple’s wedding.
  • The Hubs resurfaced the deck off the living room with Trex and built a new one off the master bedroom to match.  There’s still some finishing touches to do to the new deck this year, but it’s been a great addition to the yard.
  • I attended two great photography workshops to improve my skills behind the camera and in running my business.
  • We hit the State Fair to see Josh Turner perform and to pet the goats.
  • I picked up some fun new items at this year’s Picker Day that will be fun projects for the yard come spring.
  • The Hubs and I had an amazing time in Iceland and Scotland this fall on our way to my nephew’s wedding!  I’ll be sharing those adventures soon as I’m still working through the thousands of pictures we took on the trip.
  • We kicked off the holiday season with the Colony Christmas celebration and an amazing fireworks show.
  • We enjoyed a little getaway in Girdwood while photographing an elopement at the end of the year and had a nice quiet Christmas at home with the fur babies.

This year is off to a busy start as well.  Tomorrow I have a minor dental procedure to keep myself healthy and when I return to work after recuperating for a few days, I’ll be starting a new position in my current department!  There will be a lot of new things to learn and coaching of the person who will take over my current position, but I’m excited for the change.  I’ve also got some big plans for the house and yard this year which I’ve already started planning out on the calendar.  Looks like next year’s annual recap will be just as interesting!  🙂

 

A Day in Girdwood, Alaska

I recently had a few days off from my full-time job and booked a photography client for an elopement in Girdwood during that time.  Since that’s a 2 hour drive from our home we decided to make it into a little day trip to celebrate holidays.  We stopped in Anchorage on the way down to take care of a few quick errands and then stopped a local eatery in Indian, AK called Froth and Forage for brunch. They specialize in organic, locally-sourced meals so they had a great menu and cozy atmosphere.

The elopement came next and was done in an open field with amazing views near Alyeska Resort.  The temps were nearing single digits, so after the ceremony we all headed to the hotel to warm up for a bit and do a few more photos there.  Once I wrapped up with the bride and groom the Hubs and I hung out at the hotel enjoying the big couches around the cozy fireplace and pretty views of the grounds and tram up the hill out the window.

The moose above the fireplace kept us company along with skiers and snowboarders there to enjoy the mountain’s activities.

The hotel was decorated for Christmas and the snowy trees covered in lights created the perfect mountain retreat winter wonderland feeling.

After relaxing for a while, we headed to the infamous Double Musky Inn for dinner.  It’s the local hot spot for fine dining in this sleepy ski town and while the Hubs has been there several times, this was my first visit.

Like most buildings in Alaska the exterior is simple and deceiving of what you’ll find inside.  The impressive wine cellar is on display behind a window as you enter the building and head toward the restaurant.

As you turn the corner into the dining room there’s a completely different feel.  A collection of random items hang from the rafters and a hodge-podge of signs cover every inch of the walls.

We got a table in the solarium, where I had a great view of the bar area.  It too had an eclectic variety of decorations including several well recognized flags across the ceiling.

I ordered the Redout Volcano cocktail, which had a fun hint of coconut.  I enjoyed sipping it watching the candle light flicker against the massive stained glass window our table sat against.

The Double Musky’s menu is based on cajun specialties, which started with jalapeno bread that came with our salads.

We decided to try the cajun stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer and were stunned at how big they were.  We each only tried one so we could leave room for our meals, knowing the portions are always generous at this venue.

While the Hubs went with the Musky’s classic peppercorn steak, I selected the crab stuffed halibut with baked potato and it didn’t disappoint.  It was flaky and moist, with just the right amount of spice to the sauce.

Both of us only made a dent in our entrees before we were full, but we had to try the creme brulee for dessert so we split it.  It too was delicious and just the right mix of crunch on the top and smooth inside.

Rather than order another cocktail when I finished my meal I opted to go with a hot chocolate, which the waiter added chocolate sauce drizzle to.  It was a great way to warm up before we headed back out to the cold for the drive home.

While it was only a short get-away, I’m glad we were able to squeeze it in and spend a little quality time together.  Although I will admit I slept a good portion of the ride home while the Hubs drove thanks to a content and full belly! 🙂

Christmas Recap

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!  Here’s a recap of how our holiday went at the DB&DT house.  Christmas eve was Stoli’s 5th birthday so we celebrated by giving the dogs their plaid ‘bling’ from Scotland which included bandanas for the girls and a fancy bow tie collar for Stoli.  They looked pretty snazzy as we delivered Christmas gifts to a couple of neighbors during an afternoon walk.

Lucky for the Hubs and I our kiddos aren’t in a big hurry to wake up on Christmas morning, so we slept in a bit and then go to opening presents.  Luna was sure this pile was all for her and when I told her it wasn’t she had to investigate each to confirm.

We always get three of everything so the dogs are equal and put them in matching or coordinated bags.  Since Luna was pouting that not everything was for her, we started with the dogs’ gifts, letting them take turns ‘opening’ one.  Stoli was so polite and kept looking at daddy for the ok to pull out the gift.  Tequila on the other hand was ready to dive in and find the goodies.

Daddy tried to help Stoli by bouncing the toys out of the bags, but that just led to Brinley swooping in and snagging them.

He eventually got the hang of things and started reaching in like his sisters, although sometimes he still wanted Daddy to help.

Tequila was ready for another and dove right in as soon as it was ready.  Then she supervised her brother doing the same during his turn, albeit a bit more gingerly.

While the dogs were entertained with their first round of toys for a bit Luna got to open a few presents.  She wasn’t sure at first, but having seen the dogs open their gifts she decided to investigate.  You know that old adage about curiosity and cats… 🙂

Moments later she was pawing her new toy out of the bag with a bit of help from Daddy.  This one makes noise which attracted the dogs’ attention so we let her play with it for a bit before moving on to the next gift.

Up next was the biggest gift, which means it was the biggest bag too.  Honestly, the bags are kinda her favorite part of presents – at least when opening gifts anyway.

She went right in to check it out while her siblings watched.

Now that the dogs were back to being interested in presents we moved on to the ones I had DIYed for them, with a special yummy surprise at the bottom.  Always the gentleman, Stoli again asked Daddy for permission before diving in.

The smell of the bone at the bottom drew him in and he spent several minutes with his head buried in the bag pushing the fleece braid rope out of the way to sniff the bone while his big sister watched.

Apparently he was taking too long for Brinley because she decided to come help so Daddy switched to her gift.

Next Tequila opened a combined gift from their Aunt & Uncle, then assisted Luna with her gift from the same relative.

Daddy opened the dogs bones so they were busy with that, leaving Luna to finish up her gifts uninterrupted.

The dogs had a pretty good haul at this point, and they still had a few gifts to go!

While the fur babies were all busy with their new favorite toys, we opened our gifts and connected with family on the phone.  While the spending money I received is quite handy I think these two guys are my favorite gifts this year.  The big elf is from my Mother-in-Law and the smaller one is from my sister.  There is still one more gift coming from my sister that will be a close second – two new Rae Dunn mugs that say Bark & Woof!  They will be perfect for our house! 🙂

We spent the rest of the day snuggling on the couch watching movies while I got caught up on some of my favorite blogs.  It was a great way to spend the holiday together, resting and enjoying each other’s company.  Hopefully we can do a little more of that this weekend as we celebrate the new year!