Birch + Bird Vintage Home Interiors

Alt Summit 2014: A Brief Recap

January 29, 2014

Hey there! I’m back from my first Alt Summit in Salt Lake City and returned home completely filled to the brim with information, plans and goals for the year ahead. It was a whirlwind experience and I feel like I’m still absorbing what I learned in the seminars, discussed at the round-tables and chatted about with countless other bloggers and attendees. Not to mention the fashion, thank goodness for my sis-in-law Amy’s help in that department! The word overwhelming puts it mildly for a conference like this one. For those of you wondering what in the world Alt is all about, you can find more info here but (in a nutshell) its basically a meeting of the minds for approx 700 bloggers, designers and creative thinkers from all over North America. Here’s just a teensy glimpse at what my time in Salt Lake looked like:

Alt Summit 2014. Photo by Lily Ellis / Birch + BirdInstagram photo by me. Alt 2014 Mini Parties: I Wish I May, I Wish I Might hosted by Danyelle MathewsDanni Hong, and  Kelly Smith.

Alt Summit 2014. Photo by Brooke Dennis.The Grand America Hotel. Alt Summit 2014. Photo by Brooke Dennis.

Can I just mention how incredibly stunning the Grand America Hotel is? Sooo beautiful (with chandeliers like the one above absolutely everywhere!) and I found it extremely sad to leave my suite (especially turndown service!) after 4 luxurious nights on my own, sniff sniff! The entire convention took place in the hotel and staying there, while a splurge, definitely made the experience all the easier and I had many a conversation in the elevator and lobby going to and from seminars and quite possibly several more over cocktails in the lounge 😉

Alt Summit 2014. Photo by Gabrielle Blair / Design Mom.The Grand America Hotel. Alt Summit 2014. Photo by Gabrielle Blair / Design Mom.

The sponsors really pulled out all of the stops with lounges, DIY stations and swag for everyone and there was always something delicious to sip or nibble on in between sessions. To be honest, looking through the rest of the pictures I feel like I didn’t see nearly half of the displays or interactive DIY’s happening, there was simply too much to take in!

Alt Summit 2014. Photo by Brooke Dennis.Wayfair Lounge at Alt Summit 2014. Photo by Brooke Dennis.

Although I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was really impressed by all of the speakers, starting with keynote Garance Dore and capped off at the end with Ben Silbermann, founder of Pinterest. You can see a list of the rest of the star power here too:

Alt Summit 2014. Photo by Justin Hackworth Photography.Garance Dore at Alt Summit 2014. Photo by Justin Hackworth Photography.

Alt 2014 swag: Hanky by Melissa Esplin w/House that Lars Built + Spoonflower.Melissa Esplin w/House that Lars Built + Spoonflower.

I’ll share more about my Alt experience very soon, including a few tips I learned and a several things I’d do differently next time. But overall, I had an amazing time and am so thrilled that I had the opportunity to go this year. My brain is already full to capacity and I haven’t even started sorting through the gazillion gorgeous business cards that I collected along the way! I’m looking forward to checking out many new blogs and websites and will definitely share a recap of my favourite card designs too. Talk to you soon!


Bon Voyage: I’m Off to Alt Summit!

January 22, 2014

Today is the day! I’m off to Salt Lake City to attend my first Alt Summit and couldn’t be more excited! The schedule is insane (in a good way) with so many great sessions to choose from and I know my brain will be bursting by the time I fly home on Sunday. Brad took some holiday time and will be hanging at home with the kiddos (so much easier than juggling them around!) and I know they’ll have tonnes of fun. While I’ll miss my sweet family, I’m sure my own (quiet) hotel room for the next few nights will more than make up for it 😉 As promised, here’s a peek at the new business cards I had made up for the Alt networking extravaganza. My partner Jessica helped me out with the design and I had them printed double-sided on two different types of wood by local printers, Jukebox. They were pricey but I’m hoping they’ll stand out in the crowd and I really love how the wood ties my 2 business names together.

My Alt Summit Business Cards

As I’ve mentioned before, going to a conference of this size by myself is a big leap out of my comfort zone but I’m feeling pretty confident and know I’ll learn so much and meet so many new people that it’ll be well worth any wavering moments of self-doubt. I’m sure nerves will kick in pretty quick once my plane touches down but I’ll be sure to squeeze in at least a few zen moments each day to take the edge off, inspired by these pics:

The Every GirlThe Every Girl

SF Girl by BaySF Girl by Bay

Janis NicolayJanis Nicolay

The Glitter GuideThe Glitter Guide

I’ll take a little break from the blog until next week but you can follow my trip to Alt over on Instagram in the meantime. Wish me luck and have a wonderful week 🙂


Hunkering Down: Winter Warm Up

January 20, 2014

Hey, it’s Monday! And after a weekend spent sitting fireside with friends, lazy mornings, and cozy evenings, I’m feeling refreshed and ready (sort of) for the busy week ahead. The countdown is on for Alt Summit and I’m so excited to hop on the plane first thing Wednesday morning. I’ve got my outfits ready to pack (my stylish sister-in-law Amy helped me out big time on that end, phew!) and am off to pick up my pretty new business cards this morning (I’ll share them with you asap). It’s been a long time since I’ve travelled alone and I must admit that I’m feeling pretty nervous-cited (my girls’ favourite word) to leap out of my comfort zone. Definitely more excited than nervous but going to a conference of this size on my lonesome is a huge leap for me, as it is for many I’m sure! So I thought I’d calm my butterflies with these cozy finds:

Winter Cabin CollectionWinter Cabin Collection

Country LivingCountry Living

Forestbound BagsForestbound Bags

CartolinaCartolina via Poppytalk

Winter Cabin CollectionWinter Cabin Collection

Love & LemonsLove & Lemons

Do you travel a lot for work? How do you get over any initial jitters before the networking begins? Any tips are welcome 🙂 Well, off I go to work before getting my house in order for my time away but I’ll be back to chat as usual on Wednesday. Enjoy your day!


Friday Finds: Bright Links to Love

January 17, 2014

Happy Friday to you! The past few days feel all mixed up so it’s hard to believe the weekend is here already. My Spruce girls and I spent the weekend and most of the week tackling our office reno at the shop (you can see progress pics on my Instagram feed) and freshening up the store and I must say it’s looking so good! In the midst of it (but in the privacy of her hospital room!), our partner Kevi gave birth to a baby boy, so exciting!  On another note, one of my unspoken goals this month was to connect more with the people I love and I’ve somehow managed to fit in 2 lunch dates and 3 evenings with friends into the mix. It just kind of happened that way (I think we’re all eager to come out of Winter hibernation) and although I’m super tired and my house is far from clean, overall it’s been a really fulfilling week.  More excitement is on the horizon too, I leave for Alt Summit on Wednesday, eek! I feel far from prepared but thought I’d at least share some colourful finds to encourage a bright weekend for all of us:

The Design FilesThe Design Files

"This Girl is on Fire" Print by Live Love StudioLive Love Studio

Homestyle MagHomestyle Mag via Fancy

Justina BlakeneyJustina Blakeney

Studio BoombaStudio Boomba

Cheerful, right? I figured these pics all speak for themselves so I’ll leave it at that for today. Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll be back to chat on Monday!

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Etica Studio: A Recycled Australian Home

January 13, 2014

Hey there! How did the weekend treat you? Mine started out pretty mellow but switched into high gear yesterday as we started our renovations at the shop. They are coming along great and it feels pretty awesome watching our storage and organization dreams coming together! But we’ve still got a solid couple of days of hard work ahead of us before opening our doors to the public once again so no chance of any R&R until then! I came across some pics of this beautiful Australian home last week and couldn’t wait to share them with you. If you can believe it, despite looking as though it could be a heritage shop conversion, it’s actually a newly built home! Home owner Carla Karsakis (of building design studio Etica Studio) has a passion for sustainable architecture and, together with her husband Ben, built and designed the home using recycled and salvaged materials, including some from existing structures on the property. Here are a few of my favourites and you can see plenty more (as well as detailed descriptions) over at House Nerd:

Etica Studio via House Nerd. Photo by Meghan Plowman.Etica Studio via House Nerd. Photo by Meghan Plowman.

Etica Studio via House Nerd. Photo by Meghan Plowman.

Etica Studio via House Nerd. Photo by Meghan Plowman.Etica Studio via House Nerd. Photo by Meghan Plowman.

Etica Studio via House Nerd. Photo by Meghan Plowman.


Etica Studio via House Nerd. Photo by Meghan Plowman.Etica Studio via House Nerd. Photo by Meghan Plowman.

Etica Studio via House Nerd. Photo by Meghan Plowman.Etica Studio via House Nerd. Photo by Meghan Plowman.

” I wanted everything to be recycled or secondhand, ” says Carla. ” We salvaged as many elements as possible from the garage and shed. This included jarrah beams, an old barn-style door which was made in England and a jarrah workbench which was constructed by the previous owner. “

Pretty cool, isn’t it? I’m totally in love with those Spanish tiles on the bathroom floor, what a statement! Enjoy your Monday!


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