The Shed Bed

It’s been a while since I’ve had time to write for the blog, but I found a few minutes today to share one of the last projects of the season before the snow started to fly.  I added a whole new flower bed along the side of the shed!  This space used to be a dumping ground for pallets and scrap wood we were saving for future projects, but its one of the first things you see as you pull up to the house and now that the green house was over her I wanted the area to have a more structured look.  So the Hubs helped clear out all the wood at the beginning of the season and I started planning out the layout once I confirmed the exposure this space gets is mostly shade.

Here’s how it was looking as fall started to arrive.  I’d used left over edging stones to create a border and placed a few pieces of garden art to start establishing the structure of the layout.  I stopped at an end of season plant sale near my office and got several options that should do well in the shade.  I planned to fill in with other plants from another bed that will be eliminated next summer.  Since this whole area is rocky back fill I put down a layer of top soil to create the base of the bed.

Once the top soil was in and the plants were in the ground I covered the areas around each plant with newspaper to prevent weed growth next season. It was an interesting process since the wind decided to kick up about the same time so I had to quickly put mulch down over the paper to hold it in place.

While I alternated between piecing newspaper sections around plants and chasing them across the yard as they blew in the wind, my assistant was quite busy catching up on her dirt baths…

I used wood chip mulch because it was inexpensive and I had several large areas to cover between this bed and some other projects.  The Hubs got me a full truck load of wood chips for around $20 the same day he got me the load of top soil and gravel to go around the green house.

Since I’m using perennials, I left plenty of room for things to spread over the coming years.  I used lambs ear around the rusty metal tank to create a batch of low visual interest along the front of the center of the bed.

These two hostas were transplants from the shade bed at the corner of the fenced yard which will be eliminated next season when we build a new outbuilding.  I call it “The Barn” but the Hubs thinks it’s a garage.  We’ll see who wins that debate. 🙂

Another transplant is this little astible.   This is the third placement it’s had since coming to our house.  He started in the gifted garden but was getting too much sun so I moved him to the shade bed where he did much better.  Hopefully the third time is a charm holds true for him and he continues to grow even fuller in this spot.

I also used a few new catmint plants since Luna loves the ones we have in other beds already and it’s an easy keeper that fills in areas nicely.  These will give her a couple to choose from so she alternates which she rolls in each day so they all get a break to recuperate!

I also transplanted a Seal of Solomon that surprised me in the gifted garden.  I’d brought him back from my Mother-In-Law’s garden in Washington and hadn’t seen him in the spring so I thought he hadn’t survived the winter.  This spot should be a much better exposure for him and he looks quite cozy behind the little quail family who are now safer from my active four-legged children!

Here’s how things looked once everything was in.  I’m excited to see how it all comes back next spring and watch it fill in the space.

There’s still some finishing touches needed, but this is a much better first impression as you come up the driveway.  It will look even better when I get that gravel the Hubs got me spread in front of it! Fingers crossed the weather will cooperate to let me do that next week when I have some time available so we don’t have piles of material at the corner of the driveway all winter!  And while I’m doing that the Hubs can get the last of the shed’s gutter completed so we have a ready supply of water when spring returns. 🙂

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Adding Chippy Charm to the Deck

Is anyone else still coming to terms with the fact that it’s already mid-August?  While blog land and Pinterest fill with everything fall, I’m clinging to the last bits of summer.  It’s been a rainy one here and while that’s great for my plants I’d prefer more sunshine during summertime.  Luckily, I’ve had plenty of projects to distract me, including this spot on our deck where I created an extra seating and planting area with an old bench that I picked up at the Junk Bonaza show last fall.

It was a steal at just $30 and I knew it would look great on the deck – plus it can double as a photo prop for large families!  It’s the perfect amount of chippy paint and classic lines for my style.  I placed it under the dining room windows and flanked it with our whiskey barrel fountain and a wooden barrel we picked up on our last trip to Portland.  Then I added in plants and a bird house to finish off the look.

This arrangement brings so much color and life to this side of the deck.  Most of the plants I used are in pots with minimal or no drainage so being under the eave of the house is a smart choice, plus they all have a rustic vibe to them so they pair well with the worn bench.

I’ll be enjoying this pretty set up as much as possible for the rest of the summer, even if that’s only until the end of the month.  I can’t wait to figure out similar areas on the new deck off our Master bedroom next summer.  That deck is almost done, so I should be sharing it with you soon!

 

A Little Downtime

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Although the hubs and I got A LOT done in the yard over the long holiday weekend, a nasty allergy-induced head cold has been kicking my butt the last few days.  Luckily, I haven’t had any photography clients this week so I was able to take some downtime to rest – as in hitting the hay as soon as I’ve gotten home the past two evenings!  Thanks to that downtime I’m finally feeling a bit better.  I’m hoping to get some of the pictures from our projects prepped for the blog tonight and have a few new posts for you starting tomorrow.  Then I’ll be working on a few more this weekend, so stay tuned. 🙂

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A DIY Command Center

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Containing paper clutter is a constant battle in our home, just as I’m sure many can relate.  Because we enter the house from the garage through the laundry room most of the stuff that comes home ends up dumped on the dining room table or kitchen counters so I figured that was a good place to start.  I decided to create a command center in this little corner where we could write notes, stash important papers and organize the hub’s stuff.

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I started with a small wooden organizer where the hubs can stash his wallet, receipts and notes.  I also found him a small jar with a lid for loose change.  That worked fairly well, but he often had full size papers that he needed handy so I decided to add a wire rack we picked up during one of our trips to Portland.  It had been in the laundry room for a while but never got used there and came down when I did my DIY Ballard Knockoff Décor for that space, so I’m glad it’s found a useful home here.  I used two clear hooks with removable adhesive tape to hang it just under the countertop.  It fits the small nook of space perfectly.

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Originally I wanted to paint the side of the top cabinet to create a chalkboard but the hubs nixed that idea noting that if I changed my mind later removing the paint would damage the cabinet.  What?!  I never change my mind! Well ok.  He might have a point there. 🙂  So I came up with a better idea.  I’d paint a piece of sheet metal and install that on the side of the cabinet so it was both chalkboard and a magnet board!  Of course they didn’t sell a piece that was just the right size so the hubs cut one down for me.

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A couple thin coats of chalkboard paint and it was looking pretty good.  The hardest part was waiting for it to dry in between coats.

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Next I seasoned the chalkboard by rubbing a piece of chalk over the entire surface and then wiping it down.  This helps prevent things from “staying” on the surface after you wipe them down.

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Since the hubs wanted the piece to be removable I attached it with the same removable adhesive strips I’d used on the hooks for the wire rack.  IF I every change my mind I can start at the bottom and work my way up pulling the tabs to release the adhesive.

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I stuck it up on the side of the cabinet against the trim on the front and top of the cabinet so the edges weren’t exposed.  And as you can see, it works great as a magnetic board too holding our early bird tickets for Junk Bonanza outside Portland in October!

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Things were looking pretty good at this point but I wanted to address the uneven edge of the metal along the wall.  The hubs did a great job cutting the sheet metal, but the tool he used had to take a 1/4″ off at a time so he wasn’t able to match the size exactly.  He was pretty frustrated that it wasn’t perfect, so I wanted to find a way to make it work.

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I tried a few pieces of trim we had on hand but most were too big or bulky.  I picked up a square dowel at Lowes but that was too narrow and too thick, so I returned that.  A few days later I was at Michaels and figured I’d look at what they had.  I’m glad I did because I found a piece of balsa wood that was the right thickness and width for what we needed. At less than $2 plus a coupon it was the perfect solution. I gave it a couple coats of stain to match the cabinet color.  It fit so well that it actually stayed up without any adhesive but I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t get bumped off so I added a little hot glue on the backside before putting it up.  The glue should be easy to peel off if I ever need to.

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Now I needed somewhere to store my chalk.  I originally planned to use colored chalk pens like the yellow you saw above, but they have to be primed and I didn’t want to deal with delays when I needed to work up a grocery list, so I opted for old-school white chalk instead.  I used more hot glue to attach this pull handle upside down to create a cup where the chalk sits.  I did have to reposition the cup due to installing it unevenly, which caused the chalk paint to peel up a bit which caused the bare spot under the holder, but I touched that up with a thin coat of chalkboard paint and it looks fine now.  I still need to touch up the wall paint, but I’ll get to that at some point.

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Since the papers in the rack still looked messy I found these simple poly vinyl folders to clean it up a bit.  I wanted something a little cuter, but apparently mid-March is not prime season for two pocket folders.  Who knew right?!  I’ll keep an eye out when the back to school supplies come out in the fall, but for now these seem like they will hold up pretty well and could be easy enough to add simple decoration to with paint or vinyl designs.  That might just be a future post if I do!

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Total cost for the all the materials came in around $50. Because the extra metal and chalkboard paint can be used for other projects that lessens the total a bit too.  I love it and I’m sure it will be super handy once we start fostering and have kiddo’s school papers to manage.   I’m going to keep an eye out for another wire rack that matches this one when we are in Portland this fall in case we need to expand since there’s still room on the bottom cabinet to accommodate another.

I’d love to hear what you think of our new DIY command center or how you created one of your own, so leave me a comment below.

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TDC Before and After

DIY Moose Mount

7Today I’m sharing a recent DIY project the hubs helped me create as part of the games for my employer’s company holiday party.  The company is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary this year so we had a theme of ‘silver winter.’  We wanted to try having some games that people could do before dinner was served and I came up with the idea of a moose head ring toss.  I found this resin moose head on Amazon, which the company purchased for around $20 after we used some gift certificates from a vendor we work with.

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Much to the hubs dismay, I spray painted him white.  Sometimes he just can’t see my vision. 😉  Once we had the moose head ready we purchased the wood, screws and metal strips to make the mounting board.  We laid everything out in the garage for a dry run before putting it together.

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The first step was staining the wood, which was precut whiteboard.  I had planned to use pallet wood but ran out of time to disassemble the pallets I had.  Luckily these were the right size and at around $5/board they didn’t break the bank.

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Here’s the moose head, sans antlers, on the stained boards.  I love the contrast and rustic feel!

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The next step was adding the metal brackets on either side to hold the boards together.  The hubs convinced me it was cheaper to buy a long solid piece of metal, so he cut it to size and drilled the holes for the screws.

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The hubs and Stoli look so thrilled to show off the finished project don’t they?!   At the party we set the board on a table on top of a white fur throw with the back propped up against the wall so players could attempt the ring toss.

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And now that the party is over and the company has no use for it any longer it’s become a focal point in our guest room!

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As I was prepping the images for this post I realized that when we hung the board at the house it’s actually upside down, which makes the moose sit a little higher than it did in the “finished” picture.  I might eventually correct that but since it’s not that noticeable that’s pretty low on the priority level.

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I think I’ll dress him up a bit next holiday season with a scarf or fur wrap, like I’ve seen many other bloggers do since I plan to decorate more throughout the house with small touches.  I’d love to hear what you think of our latest project and how it looks in our rustic Alaskan guest bedroom!

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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. 🙂

BoxFinished

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!

Simple & Elegant Fall Centerpieces

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Today I thought I’d share a simple centerpiece I created for a recent work event.  I wanted something fall themed for this particular event, but hoped the elements I chose would pull double duty for our upcoming holiday party so it needed to be able to transition into winter.

The venue provided the silver lanterns, so I added a birch round, pinecone, pheasant feather and mini pumpkin to compliment.  Some of the birch pieces were thicker than others so I set the lantern next to the birch for those so they didn’t impede the view of the presentation being given.

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We also had some small signs on the tables with factoids about the subject matter, which we put in small silver place card holders.  Although I can’t share the factoids, here’s a blank card to give you an idea of how they fit in with the centerpieces.

I was able to do all 7 tables for around $100 which was pretty minimal. They were just enough for this business luncheon event once the rest of the table was set, and next month I’ll reuse the pine cones, birch pieces and feathers for our “silver winter” themed holiday party!  Low cost and multipurpose, that’s my kind of décor! 🙂