Yard Sale/ Craigslist Finds

This weekend of all weekends my thrifting is cut super short. With a million things to do and pack before we leave on Wednesday and having to work 2 weekend shifts, which I don't normally work, there's not really time for much else. However, my 2 year old will be becoming a 3 year old while we are on vacation and we won't have any room for extra presents in our luggage so we have to buy and give her presents early and paying used prices is always awesome! One year for her birthday we bought a huge outdoor trash bag full of toys for $10. We tossed or donated anything we didn't want and probably ended up giving her $100 worth of toys! LOVE that! So here's what I got for her today:

$10 and in great condition! She LOVES being outdoors so this will be a blast for her. Plus she is super small, she and her 1 year old sister share clothes and diapers, so it will last for a long time and then the other sister can have it:) 

There are actually 2 of these highchairs!!! It was $15 for BOTH! I made reccord time picking these babies up off Craigslist!

At $1 a piece theses storage boxes were not my best find but they match the ones I already have and they sell in stores here for almost $4 each!  I got 10 of them. It's so much nicer when all of your boxes match don't you think? How about you? Find any treasures this weekend?


Trip On The Cheap

If you've been here a day you know we live in Alaska.  As much as I complain about the rain or the never ending winters or 24 hour sunlight the biggest downside of living in Alaska is that we are so far away from friends and family and that it is so expensive to go visit. For us trips like this are funded by tax refunds and PFD money which also needs to cover other things so we spread it thin. So here it is, how we travel on the cheap:


Google Maps pic of our road trip

The internet and Google are your friend. You can compare, route maps, and plan endlessly through the web. You can even to it all at once! Utilize this precious FREE tool to make the most of your trip, find discounts, and make reservations. As you can see above, we are going on quite a road trip. 



We buy all of our snacks in bulk and then separate them out into snack baggies. It's cheaper to buy in bulk at a store where we know that we will get the best deal instead of just winging it.

Bring Stuff To Do

I've heard of people raiding the $1 isle to find new stuff on the cheap to keep their kids entertained on the ride. Quite frankly, I don't have money to spend on novelty toys, I have to spend that money on food and gas. Instead I search the house. My kids are still young enough that a cardboard box is more entertaining half of the time any way.  

Somethings I have found are:
  • Magnets
  • Books
  • Puzzles
  • Aquadoodle (paper and crayons would work)
  • Photobooks
  • Balloons
  • Playdough

The one thing that we consider invaluable entertainment is the kid's portable dvd player. Although it was by no means free or cheap it is such a versatile thing that I justified buying it a few years ago when I was flying pregnant, with an almost 2 year old and 5+ layovers. It lasts, it will grow with my kids, it can be used anywhere and I can use it too!  

Seeing It Is Just As Important As Having It

And being able to use it too. I bought a few yards of fabric my mom helped me make over the seat pockets and lap desks like the one above with some foam she happened to have. Even though we were able to make ours I would consider these a worth while purchase. Once you are done with them on the road trip they could be used everyday, they will last a long time, and if you can't see/find what you brought how are you or your kids going to use it?  Since we made ours with just foam we can roll it up to fit in our  bags on the flights. We also made our over the seat pockets so that, with a little modification, they can go on the handles of the stroller too. 

Plan Small


Plan being the key word there. Smaller cars cost less to rent, because of that I can't bring my Graco double stroller with all the bells and whistles. Instead we will be bringing cheap Costco umbrella strollers that fold down super compact. 
More/bigger luggage costs more to fly. We plan on each bringing one large backpack, the kind that you find in the hiking section, as our over head luggage, a smaller duffle that will go under the seat and because of the baby we get to have a diaper bag too.  This means we don't have any $25 checked baggage. 
We thought about the things that go in them too. The snacks are broken down for more fluid and versatile packing. They can be separated so everyone has some of everything. 
The toys are small and compact. 
The clothes are minimal, since we are staying with family we can wash as we go. For the girls everything is one piece, sundresses, jumpers, etc. For us it's all light fabrics and shorts/skirts. No jeans and flannel people!

Get A Kid To Watch Your Stuff

Teenagers are much more affordable than a dog kennel or a house sitter. Make sure you find one that is responsible and has experience. 

Hmm.... I am sure there is more but I've got packing/ cleaning to do!!! Hopefully there will be time for one more post before we leave! 

I would LOVE for you to (Read: please, please, please) share your time/money saving tips for road trips and keeping kids occupied! 


$6 Restoration Hardware Knock Off Light.

At the very beginning of the year  when I had first started my blog I wrote about remaking my entry way from this:

To this: 

Looking back I realized that there is not one picture of my light fixture. It because I hated this ugly thing:


Warning: Tangent 

Some of my favorite blogs are House TweakingFunky Junk InteriorsKnock Off Decor and All Things Thrifty, here's why. I got married when I was 19. To some of you this might be pretty young  but believe me, compared to my grandma who got married at 13 and was a widow with 4 kids well before she was 20, I waited. :) My whole family has gotten married pretty young. One thing about going form living at home straight to having your own home is that you don't really get to develop your own sense of style when it comes to your home. 

We didn't have a lot of money when I grew up so we never went to stores like Pier One or Pottery Barn simply because my mom knew we couldn't afford the things that were there. Plus my mom kind of had a thing for forest green, teddy bears, gingham, and apples. I might not have known much about what I wanted but I knew I didn't want that. I would look through magazines and just about die when I saw the expensive price tags. Even the fiber board junk at Walmart seemed out of my price range. I had no idea what shabby chic was or how glorious it could be to find something old and make it new again. I simply didn't have the vision for it. So I bought the junk (not the makeover-able kind of junk) stuff I could afford and let my hubby help pick out paint colors.

Now, at a whole whopping 23 years old, I owe almost all of my inspiration to sites like those above. They introduced my to the idea of being myself in decorating, using things for what they work as not for what they are, and knocking off the big brands to get the look I wanted. In fact House Tweaking's Mini Mudroom was the inspiration for the entry way. Thank you ladies for being such an inspiration! 

 Because of these ladies I started subscribing to catalogs from high end companies (whom I had never heard of) and Restoration Hardware is one of my absolute favorites!!!! Oh to have some of the gardens and interiors that show up in my magazines!!! But the lighting is my favorite! Swoon!

Especially, especially, especially this one that was featured on the front cover:

There are only 2 things wrong with it. One is that I don't have the $600 to buy and ship it and the other is that it doesn't give off enough light for me.   Not to mention there was no way that it was going to fit in my entry way:) 

So this is my $6  Restoration Hardware Knock Off Light.

Here she is before:

I got this gal at Habitat for Humanity. I know she didn't look like much at first but with a quick coat of Oil Rubbed Bronze and we were stylin'. 

I was going to try taking out he glass to make it look even more like the RH one (plus bugs wouldn't have anything to get stuck in!) but those suckers were welded in there!

Here she is hanging up. 

And there is no denying that it looks a million times better than in the previous occupant. 

Zoom out.... (ignore the mess)

And look at all that light she gives off!!! Sigh. I could just stare at it all day!

It's going to be a while before I undo all of my self inflicted design damage but I'm learning.

Thanks to everyone who inspires me!

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What's Bloomin' ?

What's Bloomin'? Feast on this!

Poppies. These grow almost wild here and are some of the first plants to come up every year, a welcome relief from the grey of break up.

Not even sure what these are but they remind me of Hibiscus. Let me assure you they are NOT. 

Fuchsia!!!! I am so proud of myself for weathering these plants over the winter in my garage.

More poppies!!! I have to enjoy them while I can before they go to seed. 
If you've never seen these before you may not believe me but this is Arctic Kiwi. It actually grows kiwi fruit!!! Small ones, but they taste like the real thing. This is what I plan on putting on my pallet arbor.
Strawberries!!!! I hope to plant these in my tire garden at the end of the season and see if they will grow back next year. Cross your fingers for me!
The gooseberries are going strong!!!! I want to actually make something out of them this year. Any suggestions?
I make a mean rhubarb when these plants get big enough.
Another one of my favorites is this Bleeding Heart. What sweet little flowers! The hubs bought me a white one for our anniversary last year but it didn't survive the winter. 
Apple Blossoms!

Lots of them. 
This is how the patio area is SLOWLY coming along. 

I am so excited to harvest all our fruits and veggies this year! How's your garden growing?


Pallet Arbor

When you do a Google Map search for our neighborhood you see all of these houses with big, beautiful, mature trees and then you see our house. Our house had a pretty good size back yard but, other than the few baby trees we have planted, has no trees. Since we have 5 neighbors along our fence line we have plenty of leaves to rake but only a hand full of them come from our tiny trees so we pretty much have no shade in our back yard and it gets pretty toasty. I've searched and searched for an affordable arbor with no luck. :(  So I looked to my pallet stash and my hubby for help. Here she is:

The seats are made from a pallet cut in half and the rest of the frame is made from wood my hubs picked up from his work that was used for shipping.

 And the wire mesh stuff was something like $3 from Habitat for Humanity.

I need to decide exactly where I want to put her because I want to grow arctic kiwi on her which will be very permanent. 

And there you have it. Total cost $3.


Classic Air Plane Room

Here's some more eye candy for you. This was a little boys room I did in a classic airplane theme that I thought I'd share with you for the CSI linky.

I remember the little boy being so excited and trying to sneak to take a peek whenever he could. I loved that yellow air plane that was hanging from the ceiling. It added a lot of dimension to what I painted.

Cinderella Girls Room

I saw that the link up at CSI to day was for painted walls and I thought'd share some eye candy with you all of some of the stuff I've done before. Project #1 is a Cinderella themed room.

I had a blast making this for the little girl and her family. One thing about working in homes is that you really get to know the people and they remember you always. 



Everyone always has these beautiful mantles that they dress up and make over all the time and I love drooling over looking at them. What a great way to have a little statement area that can be changed up quick and cheap. Even though I live in Alaska and we only have the 2 seasons (A Winter Season and a Road Construction Season) I do not have a fire place and thus, no mantle. *sniffle, sniffle* I also do not have a wall to make a faux mantle so instead I use my dresser. As a reminder this is what it looked like before:

Tutorial on how I made the family tree out of toilet paper rolls  here.
I know on a few sites that shared this some of the comments were about the statement that the Parents magazine on one side and the wine on the other made. Sorry to disappoint but I don't drink. 
At all.  
The bottles in the wine rack are sparling cider and some MonaVie :) 

Now that that's all cleared up...
Here it is now:

I'm loving the clean look of it.

I distressed the dresser a little and I really like how it is bringing out those pretty lines but, I'll give you more on that when I finish.

I left the TP art up for now since i haven't found anything I like better to replace it.  

I bought a $4.99 bunch of fresh flowers and put it in one of those as-seen-on-tv pasta cookers someone gave me. If you're looking for a review I'd say that it makes a great vase....

These beauties came from a friend in exchange for  my talents to help make her a sign. I'll share that with you as soon as we get started :S Can you believe she made these little guys? Awesome! And as it that wasn't enough, she had already spray painted them oil rubbed bronze. PERFECTION!!!! 

I gave into myself and used one of my Scentsy warmers that I was going to sell. Isn't it so sweet?

A few weeks back I had myself an Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Painting Party and my wine rack was one of the things that got sprayed. 

And there you have it. Total cost was $4.99 for the flowers! Sometimes you just have to splurge a little. 


This is what I came up with to put in the cloches. I found the shells around the house.
What do you think?
It doesn't scream "THIS ALASKAN WANTS A NICE WARM BEACH!!!!!" too much? 

And a nice over all shot.

Opinions please.

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