Category Archives: Dogs

Time Spent at Value Village = Good Weekend

Hi everyone.  Have a good weekend?  

Ours started out with a bang.  One of the dogs (Sophie most likely) defiled the music room rug.  Thanks to it being Flor carpet tiles, I was able to pull up the stinky ones and hose them off in the backyard (it was unseasonably warm this weekend.  It felt like spring.  I started spring cleaning and actually hit the linen closet and some drawers pretty hard.)

I’ll let you guys know if the stink removal treatment is effective.  As it is, we started keeping the music room door closed when we’re not around to “supervise”.  I’m starting to wonder/doubt/question my idea of using Flor in the living room (and bedroom).  Those dogs look so angelic but they can be sneaky.  Well, Sophie mostly.  Shenanigan doesn’t care what anyone thinks, he just does what he wants.  It’s a dog’s life.

I digress.  I have actually been on the hunt for some picture frames for the Christmas gift artwork that I keep hinting about.  So I did what any girl would do and dragged my husband to our local Value Village (Goodwill-esque thrift store).  I never come home empty-handed from Value Village, it’s statistically/mathematically impossible.  Case in point.

Less than $10 later and only one item resembling a picture frame. 

I was most excited about the chalkboard so I got to work on it Sunday night while JT cooked up a fabulous Rick Bayless recipe for dinner.  First I sanded all the tape gook and things off the wood frame.  Next I removed the hanging hardware off the back and applied my own “hardware” – 3M command picture hanging strips. 

Yep, $1.81.

Then, I mounted it in the kitchen where we can use it to jot down grocery list items or the menu for the evening (if we’re feeling fancy).  Still no chalk though, so the picture looks a little bare.

Pardon the pictures, I was taking them late Sunday night without any natural light.  No amount of Photoshop can overcome that obstacle.  I realized I haven’t shown a lot of views of our kitchen.  I’ve been hiding it.  Now you’ll see why.  In the next few months I hope to replace the dingy, dying peel and stick floor tile from the 60s with a warm grey (recycled content) ceramic 12×12 tile.    In the next few months I hope to replace the stove entirely (it’s beyond gross).  In the next few months, I am going to do a total overhaul of the furniture, add window treatments, paint the upper and lower cabinets, add cabinet hardware, build shelving . . . the list goes on and on.

But I digress.  Here’s another before and after highlighting the Value Village rag rug.  I’m not 100% sold on it because right now it’s not holding a true rectangle shape.  It might end up out on the back porch.  For $2.99, thankfully, I’m not too concerned.

(See Sophie and Shenanigan’s new water bowl present peeking out from under the island cart?  I still love it.  Shenanigan was scared of it at first and started out only licking around the edges instead of actually drinking water but he eventually figured it out.) 

Since I’m going all out with these kitchen glimpses, I might as well show the other two (scary) views of the kitchen as well.  Keep in mind : WORK IN PROGRESS.

Yep, needs a lot of work.  We’re going to fix you all up kitchen, don’t worry. 

So, that’s it.  One tiny South City black and white tile kitchen.  It’ll be looking a lot better in a few months.  I already like it a little better thanks to our Value Village chalkboard.

The weekend finished out with Mexican Hot Chocolate (recipe by Rick Bayless, made by JT) and No-Bake Fig bars (recipe idea from Oh She Glows, switched over from dates).  Our center island cart came from the Gypsy Caravan (a big flea market held to raise money for the St. Louis Symphony ever year — I think I paid $20 to get in.  Antiques and classical music?  I’m in.)  It used to be in a medical and/or dental type office in probably the 1920s to 1940s.  It is a heavy-duty metal with a baked on enamel coat.  I like it a lot.  The grungy floor tile and oven you can see beyond it, not so much.

And here we are, back at Monday.  Have a great one.

First (and second) thing checked off my list

One of my big goals for 2012 was to restyle the living room.  (I’m going with restyle because I HATE the word tweak.  HATE.)  To make my big goals more accomplishable (that’s a word right? update – spell checker said no.), I made a list of small steps that will get me to my big goal.  Items #1 and #2 were paint living room accent wall and clean out fireplace.  Check and Check.  Although after I cleaned the fireplace we had a celebratory fire so that one will have to be redone.  Oh well.

Here’s a quick before of a corner of the accent wall (color=Ecru from Sherwin Williams).  While it’s an awesome color in the can, on the wall it was a little too blah and dirty looking for my liking.  Plus, my previous color palette had more of a green/brown/tan thing going on and now I’m switching over to more blue/black/white/gray/natural kind of thing.

Then I tore the house apart, taped the bejesus out of the living room and banished all my decorative items to the music room.

The color now is Sherwin Williams Shoji White which is a few shades lighter than the Amazing Gray that is the rest of the walls.  I love Amazing Gray.  It is a color chameleon and adapts to whatever color you put in with it. 

I’m loving my new camera and its wide-angle lens.

I kept the fireplace mantel simple when I loaded things back into the room.  I also pulled my big log holder/old lobster pot out of the mud room to have our firewood close at hand for the upcoming months.  Another thing on my list has to do with getting rid of the standard issue black plastic pot on the ZZ plant.  It definitely kills this picture for me a little.  But it’s a work in progress (like everything in our house.)

We really needed some light in the corner next to our new Eames rocker for reading and general illumination.  I had browsed around Home Goods on the prowl for something thanks to a gift card from my father-in-law and his wife but to no avail.  So I borrowed a trick from my sister-in-law and used a $7 utility light that hooks onto the easel we already had.  Instant lamp.

Some more items on my list involve fixing that god-awful stain around the fireplace from removing the brass-n-glass surround that was there when we moved in and also fixing some boo-boos we did to the wood floor thanks to Christmas tree stands and dog water bowls.  Water+metal+wood floor = not good.  But I’m loving how much lighter/brighter/happier the living room feels as we head into the bone-chilling months ahead.  Cheers!

PS – My bestest helper, Shenanigan, snoozed on the sofa the whole time I was taking 200 pictures.  Thanks buddy.

Christmas Recap

Some of you may have seen the movie Four Christmases.  Here at the T residence, we have Three Christmases. 

Christmas #1 was Christmas Eve at JT’s brother’s house.   Sophie and Shenanigan’s cousins “the corgis” live there. (aka Danny and Starck)

 Brother-in-law and sister-in-law just acquired a vintage Malm fireplace.  I’ve been coveting one for  awhile (old post on former blog here) and this one looks just perfect in its new home.  The “problem” (I say sarcastically) with our house is that we already have a fireplace so bringing in a second fireplace just doesn’t make sense.  Maybe our future house will have one of these bad boys ’cause they sure are gorgeous.

Brother-in-law and sister-in-law are also big fans of mid-century modern.  Here’s JT sitting in his present before he realized it was his present . . .

It was a nice, low-key Christmas Eve.

Christmas #2 began bright and early Christmas morning at my mom’s condo.

This picture (above) was taken after the devastation.   She has a nice two-story living space and hung some cool star fixtures from the loft above, scored on our one-day-Ikea-adventure a few months ago.

You can see my sister modeling her crochet chain link necklace along with her Cardinals World Series champion um, apron?  The stars are hanging up behind her.

My mom is always changing out her tablescape so this holiday she had styled a festive silver tabletop for our omelet brunch.

Sophie and Shenanigan traveled with us on Christmas morning, so I entertained them with a reading of How the Grinch Stole Christmas to keep them on their best behavior.  They were NOT attentive listeners, but did stay still long enough for one photo.

Christmas #3 was at JT’s dad’s house.  They live at the top of a bluff overlooking the Meramec River and have some amazing views.  I really liked their outdoor decorations on some antique fences they picked up at a barn sale.

I loved the “Happy Holidays” garland.

My father-in-law also has a great high-ceilinged living space and the tree filled the space nicely.  The lights on the fireplace and outdoors on the fences twinkled which added to the ambiance. 

Once I get better with this camera thing, I need to go around and take some good photos of the family’s living spaces.  Each house has its own distinct style which I love.  So that’s the Christmas recap.  Did anyone else have three Christmases or even four?  Who’s making New Year’s Resolutions?  I am!

Christmas Update

It looks like Santa has been here . . . .

(Or JT and I finally got busy and wrapped some gifts . . . )
And the cards have started to come in so I double-stick taped the photo ones up on the mirror.

The one present I am most excited about is not wrapped . . . . and it’s for the dogs (of course.)

See it peeking out there, hanging out with the Grinch?

It’s the Y Bowl from a great designer in Chicago — Doca Pet.  The dogs will now be drinking their water in style.  (Because you know they are very concerned about being in style . . . or maybe just their owner is).

Sophie and Shenanigan actually received their very own Christmas card yesterday and thanks to a little peanut butter, Shenanigan opened it himself while Sophie looked on and hyperventilated.  I guess this is the point where most people tell us we should just go ahead and have kids.  Yikes.

Is this a dog blog or a decorating blog?

Y’all I know things have been a little heavy on the dog pictures lately but as I learn to use my new camera, it’s so hard to resist photographing their little faces.  My new camera (early Xmas gift) has a cool feature called “Burst” where it takes multiple quick shots with only one push of the button.  It’s great for photographing a moving subject — like, you guessed it —  a dog or two!

Sophie and Shenanigan posed for their photo shoot after a nice brisk walk last weekend.  Since I go to work when it’s dark out and then come home in the dark, weekends are pretty much the only time I have to do any photos.

I’m getting further along on my secret crochet gifts.  I now have 5 complete and one has already been mailed.  Unfortunately I still have 6 more to go.  I’m surprised my fingers still work for typing actually . . .

(Sophie and Shenanigan also want to say thank you to their auntie for coming over and taking care of them so frequently.  Sometimes Shenanigan’s way of saying thank you may be kicking you in the ankles, but thank you is still what he means.)

Santa Came Early!

I guess I was good this year — Santa came early!  A brand new (used) camera arrived from Montana the other day via Amazon.  I love it already and I don’t even  know it that well.  It’s technical name is “Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5S 9MP Digital Camera with a 10x Wide Angle MEGA Optical Image Stabilized Zoom”.   I might call it Lover for short.

I tested it out on the tripod the other day.  First I put up the old camera (a CoolPix?  I’m not even sure.  It’s in the drawer forever now.  It’s dead to me.)  Then, keeping the tripod in the same spot, I put up Lover.  See how much more the Wide Angle lens will get ya?

Christmas is here at the Ts.  We put up the tree the other day and have been slowly decorating the room.  Can anyone count the number of Elvises we have in our living room? (What is the plural of Elvis — Elvi?)  It’s like Where’s Waldo but, you know, with Elvis.

So far all our (2) Christmas cards have matched the color scheme.  Those lucky guys get displayed on the mantel.  (Little Jack man, so cute!)  The others will be banished to the refrigerator (fair warning, folks).

We definitely went the faux tree route — it has a narrow profile so it takes up a lot less room in our tiny floorplan but sill looks like, well, a Christmas tree.  Someone told me the other day they were surprised we put up a tree at all, you know since we don’t have kids.  That took me back a little bit — are childless couples not allowed to decorate for Christmas?  Guess we’re breaking the rules.

We do have these two helpful mutts, who posed on the new fleece blanket all day.

JT joined some kind of Maker’s Mark club, so a little sweater arrived for his whiskey bottle the other day.  How nice.  The wreath on the console table is made of white plastic grocery bags.  I had found a little metal stand at Goodwill a while back for $1 and it turned out to be just the right height to be a nice wreath hanger for my free wreath.  Pretty sweet.

Looking at everything through my new camera lens, I already see a few things for my list in 2012.  #1, the accent wall behind the fireplace is history — in 2012 it will be white!  #2, something needs to be done with the fireplace — it had a horrible brass and glass surround on it that we promptly took down but the concrete is stained where that used to be and #3 I will be painting the heating vent over the white floating shelves to match the wall color because it sticks out like a sore thumb now. 

Back to my new camera manual I go.  Have a great week everyone!

Has everyone done their Christmas Good Deed?

With all the celebrating that goes on this time of year, I realize again and again how lucky I am.  When the holidays roll around, I always wish I had more time to volunteer — maybe that will be one of my resolutions for 2012.  However, I still like to find other ways to give and do my Christmas Good Deed.

This year’s Christmas Good Deed is sending a twelve-year-old girl in Foster Care to the City Museum.  If you’ve never been to the City Museum, it’s amazing — a visual wonderland of junk crafted together into a playground for kids of all ages.

So when I saw that the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition was granting children’s “Little Wishes” (their big wish is to be adopted), and that one little girl was interested in the City Museum, I was all in.  They still have a lot more wishes to fill  — it’s fun, being someone’s fairy godmother in a way.

Another great charity to consider supporting is the one where we got our very own Sophie dog (once named Butterfinger, you can read her rescue story here), Stray Rescue.  Not many animal shelters actively feed and rescue street dogs, have a hospice program to give dogs a quality end of life and help nurse so many animals back from death’s door. 

This is Daddy Lab (before and after), a rescue from a few years ago.  It’s amazing the number of animals Stray Rescue brings in that are so emaciated and ill like this — and they all turn out to be happy, healthy dogs who make great pets.  Stray Rescue has received a $100,000 matching donation from an anonymous “fairy godmother” for the Stracks Fund.

The Stracks Fund goes to cover medical expenses for dogs like Daddy Lab.  Stray Rescue spends up to $150,000 PER MONTH on medical care for their animals — they get the best care possible.  So as our second Christmas Good Deed, we are also donating to the Stracks Fund. 

What’s your Christmas Good Deed?  Mine is definitely small fries in the grand scheme of things but it feels like my cosmic thank you to the universe for all my blessings.  (Cheesy but true). 

On a Christmas Crafting update, I am stalled.  But, I may have invented a new crochet “thing” to be revealed at a later date that will make me a fortune.  Probably not.  But if it does make me a fortune, I will be able to do so many more Christmas Good Deeds!!  More updates soon — the Christmas tree went up!  Going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark has not made for any good picture-taking time at home.

It’s a Wonderful (Dog’s) Life

While I’ve been hard at work on gifts and such over here, some members of the family have been less than useful.


No his butt isn’t that big, but it should be for how lazy he is.   Here he is dripping off the sofa . . .

Sophie knows how to get her lazy on too . . .

It’s a dog’s life.  Happy Friday everyone!  I wish you the peaceful relaxation and complete mindlessness you deserve after a long hectic week, unlike these lazy dogs who do not have to hold down jobs.  I’m headed to Hobby Lobby this weekend so I may have a new project (hopefully a completed one!) to share with you on Monday.

One of these things is not like the other . . .

I’ve mentioned before my complete and inexplicable love of sheepskins.  I am a vegetarian (sort of – fish, dairy and eggs all make their way onto my plate) but somehow I can’t seem to reconcile this with my love of animal skins.  Maybe vintage animal skins make it okay?  Like if the animal died over 30 years ago and I’m just “recycling” it to keep it out of the landfill?

Thankfully on our marathon one day IKEA trip, I found a faux answer.

The nice thing about the faux sheepskins is that they are listed as washable.  Which is good because Sophie really goes to town on those bones and the after result is not pretty.  So I had already washed that one a few times but left it out to air dry based on the tag’s directions.

Then one morning we discovered one of the dogs had PEED on their nice sheepskin and scrunched it into a ball while trying to hide the evidence.  No one has fessed up yet as to who the culprit is. (They don’t seem too concerned with it actually.  Maybe because they’re dogs.)

So it got washed again, in hot water this time AND put through the dryer.

So now I have all three kinds of sheeps living in one room — the real one I put on the Lucite computer stool, the faux (non-washed) un-doggified ones I have on the dining room bench seating as well as on the white vinyl side chair and the curly sheep (faux that’s been washed) stayed on the floor for the dogs to destroy a little more.  What spoiled dogs.

Happy Halloween!

I got bit by the “craft” bug this weekend and jumped past Halloween straight to Christmas and beyond . . . .

I saw this tutorial on How About Orange for paper lantern/ball thingys.  I’m picturing about twenty more strung together to make a funky garland.  I might even use the white Christmas lights and make them into glowing lanterns.

It was pretty easy, just some quick paper cutting, a few hole punches and a brad — voila paper lantern.  I picked out a few more pretty papers at Hobby Lobby and think I might use up the rest of my paint swatches as well. 

Next I tried out some crochet fun . . . .

Eight loops of a “chain link” type necklace thingy done while watching the Cardinals victory parade. (See the tutorial here.)  Yes the Cardinals are World Champions!!  (or at least Champions of the USA and Canada, but we’ll take it.  I’m using this as my excuse for why I didn’t get a lot of other things done this weekend . . . .any one else buying it?  If so, you are probably a Cards fan too.)

Shenanigan was also in a non-productive mood . . .

Considering this dog is about one foot tall, he sure is long. While Shenanigan snoozed, Sophie tried on her princess tiara Halloween costume.

Happy Halloween everyone!  That means it is closer to Christmas and I can put up my new decorations!