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!
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New DIY Shelves for Crafting Storage

This project had been bouncing around in my head for quite some time, so when the Hubs was in the mood for a project I decided it was the perfect opportunity to direct his motivation to this update.  I’d previously had a ladder shelf in this spot holding all my crafting projects, but it wasn’t super sturdy and it didn’t really fit my style so I wanted to replace it with an industrial style rolling bookcase.  I showed the Hubs this and this style to give him an idea of what I wanted and we talked through the pros and cons of the two.  He took a few measurements and within two days I had this beauty.

I forgot to get a picture of it as bare wood, but I’m sure you can imagine it.  This is what it looked like with two coats of the same grey stain I used on the barn wood frames he made me. He spray painted the metal corner brackets he’d picked up for the project and added those to complete the look.  And here it is all filled and in use!

With the new shelves done I was finally ready to hang the “create” art I got forever ago.  It looks great with the shelves and coordinates with the dark bed frame and baskets.  Now that it’s up I’ll have to share the story behind it soon.

My often used paints and stains found a home on the top shelf for easy access.  I reused the baskets I already had and filled in the extra spot with a gym basket I already had as well.

I’m still debating painting the screw  heads on the corner brackets, so I’ll live with it for a while and if it bothers me in a few weeks I’ll make them match.  The Hubs also got wooden dowels to make faux steel rods along the back of the shelves like the inspiration pieces had, but we haven’t added them yet.  I really liked that detail, but because I’m using baskets rather than styling it with decor they wouldn’t be super noticeable, so it may not be worth doing.  I’ll decide on that eventually. 🙂

This whole area has seen several updates since we moved in 4 years ago including revamping the shelvespainting the cart knobs, adding the craft paper rollmoving the day bed out to this space and adding the DIY frame.  I’m loving how it’s all looking together.  And how it compliments the wall-to-wall desk on the other side of the room, which has also seen several updates since this post.  I’ll have to share that soon!

If you’re looking for more tutorials for these style of shelves, check here, here, here, here and here.  It’s a popular style so there are many variations available out there.  I hope yours turns out great!

DIY Faux Barnwood Frames

I recently picked up two great prints from one of my fave Alaskan artists thanks to a promotional sale she was running.  But I wanted rustic frames for them.  I tried a few from the local stores, but they either didn’t fit the prints the way I wanted or weren’t rustic enough.  So I turned to Etsy, where I found several options but again wasn’t sure on the sizing.  The Hubs overheard my frustration trying to confirm size and shipping costs, looked at the styles I was considering and then proclaimed, “I can make that.”  I quickly said OK! and searched Pinterest for a tutorial.  I found this one and made adjustments for the size of our prints.

I somehow forgot to get a picture of the frames before I stained them but I’m sure you can imagine it.  Here’s how they looked after the first coat of stain.

I used stain I had on hand from a previous project.  While it was pretty it wasn’t quite barnwood enough for me so I decided to add some grey I also had on hand.

And here’s the result!  We both love how it turned out.  I had a few spots still to touch up, but this was pretty darn close to what I’d been looking at on Etsy.  It wasn’t true barn wood, but at an investment of around $13/frame it gave me the look I wanted without extra shipping costs.  Plus it was the perfect custom size for what I needed.

And here it is with the print attached.  I just taped it to the back using the backing board that came with the print so I didn’t damage the print itself.

It’s the perfect piece to complete this area which I’ve been slowly revamping for quite a while now.  And there’s a sneak peek at the other project the Hubs did for me recently!  I’ll be sharing that very soon.

The second print is much more colorful and really pops with the rustic tones of the wood.  I hung this one in my cubicle at work and have gotten so many compliments on it.  It makes me smile every day, both because I love the art and knowing the love that went into the frame surrounding it. 🙂

So if you’re looking for a rustic frame I highly recommend this one.  It was simple and easy to do – just 1×2’s, L brackets and some stain.  I’d love to see what you come up with if you give it a try!

A Little Change in the Guest Room

Today I wanted to share a little change I did in the guest room.  The shams we had on the back pillows in this room were on their last legs and desperately needed to be replaced. I wasn’t loving the bedding after we upgraded the headboard and wanted something more modern.

Luckily a friend was making an IKEA run on a trip down south and agreed to pick up a couple items for me, including a duvet set.  Although I didn’t want the duvet itself, the shams were exactly what I’d been looking for to coordinate with the throw pillow we got on our trip to Scotland.

The subtle grey ticking stripes pick up the blues in the new throw pillow and bring just enough pattern to the bedding without being overwhelming.  I also like the combination of the stripes on the throw pillow and the shams.

While I was changing out the shams I decided to swap the throw blanket for a fur one I already had.  It makes the space cozy while we’re still in the grasp of winter.  I also moved the vintage crock from the corner by the closet to the other side to balance out the space a bit more, which allowed me to center the bed on the wall.  I added one of the cute little faux trees I picked up after Christmas to fill the corner and add a bit of greenery.

I still need to refinish the dresser, faux shiplap the wall and find art for above the bed.   I tested out the tobacco baskets I planned to relocate here and wasn’t loving them so I’m now thinking about getting one of the big vintage window shapes from Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia line.  But that’s not in the budget right now.  After our recent overnight earthquake I know it has to be something light weight in case it did get shaken off in future quakes so our guests stay safe!  I’d love to hear ideas you might have.

A Quick & Easy Spray Paint Makeover for Desk Accessories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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! 🙂

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!