Category Archives: Dogs

Feels like Monday . . .

JT and I took a little “staycation” day yesterday.  Being neither government employees or educators, it was not a work holiday but rather our personal holiday from work.

Really, I kind of needed a couple of days of recovery and rest following a Saturday “Ikea-or-bust” road runner trip. 

There’s more info on what I picked up at Bolingbrook to come (see the new home for Little Walter on top?) . . . some of it is making it’s way into the kitchen, which is slowly making it’s way to blue . . .

It kind of looks like a Smurf was murdered in there right now.

One little project I did tackle was some “T” hooks gifted to us (once again — did I mention they give good gifts?) from JT’s brother and sister-in-law.  I had them hanging around for a while in their original orange . . . .

And then got all “crafty” on them and went for two shades of blue . . .

It didn’t really do it for me, I wanted something simpler and cleaner so I undid my blue handiwork and painted them with the Sherwin Williams Shoji White instead.

Much better and now Sophie and Shenanigan’s leashes are always on the ready.  Pretty much just like Sophie and Shenanigan themselves whenever we put on our running shoes and grab a plastic bag . . . “The shoes and the bags!  They mean business!”  (My very poor  memory of a Patton Oswalt stand-up about the dog figuring out it’s going for a walk)

Snow Day Sewing

Last year we had a big snow day and inspired by Anna at Door Sixteen, I started on dog sweaters for Sophie and Shenanigan.  Because, you know, it’s natural for dogs to want to wear sweaters when it snows . . . .

I had picked out two 100% wool sweaters at Goodwill a long, long time ago.  I remember the pickins’ were suprisingly slim — I was kind of hoping for a Cosby-esque sweater for Shenanigan but those were all blends.  The reason for the 100% wool is Step #2 — I felted them.  It was simple, I just washed the two sweaters in as hot water as my washer would supply and dryed them at high heat as well.  Twice.  The result was little doll (and dog) sized sweaters.  Since they are felted, you can now cut them up without any unraveling at the edges. 

Step 3 involved butchering the sweaters and terrifying the dogs while chasing them around and trying to fit these pieces together.  I jazzed Shenenigan’s sweater up by adding a hoodie component made out of a Snuggie he had destroyed. Sophie’s has a fold-down collar/neck.    And then it was spring and there was no need for dog sweaters.

Fast forward to more than a year later and St. Louis received another brief but pretty snowfall last night.  The dogs hadn’t yet been able to wear their snow day sweaters because I had never finished them – they didn’t have belly bands or any fastening system.  (The story of all my craft projects – half baked.)  I garnered some inpiration from Young House Love’s “Dude Get On That Already” challenge and last night I whipped out the sewing machine, attached the belly band and sewed on some velcro.  Project complete.  They’re kind of a mess but I don’t really care – they’re done!  Neither does Sophie, she loves hers and Shenanigan just kind of tolerates it.  It makes him look like a hobbit, poor guy.  But he bravely wore it out into the snow.

PS – I promise this blog hasn’t gone to the dogs.  I have a few little house projects to share and JT has some guitar news as well so we’ll get around to posting those up too.  Those little furry faces are just so hard to resist . . . .

Weekends are for Thrifting, right?

JT and I hit up the Green Shag Market this weekend.  After seeing it on Mister Modtomic’s blog and realizing it was a mere 2.3 miles from my house, there was no resisting.  With an open span of time on Saturday I could have spent on all of my 50 ongoing projects, I couldn’t ignore the siren call of a new and unexplored antique mall so gosh-darn close by. 

And it was worth it . . . .

There have been many-a-time that I have browsed through aisle after aisle of an antique mall (junk mall in my mind) and come away with nothing that just needed to come home with me.  This weekend I found two things — an amazingly non-smelly Pendleton wool blanket and a vinyl ottoman I’m pretty sure my grandparents owned at some point in the 70s.

What with it being a bone chilling 10 degrees out, a wool blanket seemed like a no-brainer.  I loved the colors and pattern and then I saw the little blue tag.

See, you don’t have to go to Target for designer names.  And it was $30 less than a nearly identical one I found on eBay. 

Shenanigan quickly proved himself the world’s best circus dog by trying out the ottoman.  I think because of his short little stubby legs, he likes to have a higher vantage point and gets up on everything.  We even find him laying across the top of the sofa sometimes like a 55 pound tabby cat.

I had been eyeing all the knitted poufs that seem to be all the rage now (see this one at cb2) and considering trying to maybe D.I.Y. one of those so I’m glad we stumbled upon this ottoman instead.  I don’t really have time to finish all the current D.I.Y. projects I have going on, let alone start a new one.  For now both thrifty picks have found their way into the music room but at this house, things move around . . . a lot!

We had some friends over for brunch on Sunday (yay New Year’s resolution in action!) and one of our friends said “Where do you FIND all this stuff?”  It was interesting to step back and look at our house through the eyes of others.  While JT and I are thoroughly enmeshed in a world of thrift and vintage, not everyone shops that way.  I like to think of it as being environmentally conscious and trying not to buy something new when a used version exists that might find its way into the landfill. 

Underneath it all, I think I nurture a strange pride at being able to pull together inexpensive items and make our home feel warm and inviting and not cheap.  There’s also the thrill of the hunt.  It’s fun (for me) to “pick”.    (I must clarify though, I’m a mid-level scavenger.  I’m willing to pay a little more to people who have already done some of the digging and leg work for me.)  And so while it may seem strange to some people, I still find it a compliment when people marvel at all the miscellaneous items in our home.  We’ll call it eclectic and everybody wins.

Update: After I published this, I realized it was our 100th post.  Since gratuitous pet pictures are our thing, I thought I would add one of Shenanigan the circus dog giving me a low five as a small congratulations on #100.


Sophie and Shenanigan, famous on the inter-webs

Guys, I have achieved a life long dream. 

Sophie and Shenanigan (and JT a little bit too) were included in Desire to Inspire’s weekly “Pets on Furniture”.  See the post here.

Kim and Jo of Desire to Inspire cull the interwebs and pull together great inspirational images but my favorite part is definitely every Monday when they do “Pets on Furniture”.  As an animal lover AND a furniture lover, it doesn’t get much better.

Speaking of furniture, we have news . . . .

Working for the Weekend

Most of you guys know, but both JT and I are full-time workers.  Really most people are full-time workers but there are a lot of bloggers out there who are not 8-to-5 office types so I thought I would say it.  We’re 8-to-5 office types.  And lately for both of us the office stuff has been a little hectic.  So after an 8-to-5 or 7-to-5 or 7-to-7, neither of us really want to come home and do a lot of little stuff around the house.  So we don’t 

But when the weekend rolls around, there’s so many free hours to work on all those little (and big) projects that go unnoticed during the week.  And small steps keep getting made.  I’m sorry if these little things are a little boring or tedious, but for us, it’s all we got right now.  At some point, I’d like to have some amazing *ta-da* before and after pictures.  But right now we’re kind of in the middle of everything and just taking baby steps to get on through.

So here’s this last weekend’s progress.

Wait, that doesn’t look like progress, that looks like laziness.  We actually took the dogs to Francis Park (a gem in South City) and ran them around so they were pretty bushed.  It wore us down too but when there’s nice weather and some sunshine, you gotta get out. (And projects gotta wait.  Them’s the breaks).  But for those of you with very discerning eyes, you may notice that I did paint the vent cover on the back wall that was driving me bananas.  Small thing, but it helps it blend away more now that it matches the wall color.  (It would be even more hidden but I took down the peperonia plant to water it and left it on the windowsill to get a little sun for the day.)

The other little thing I did was some spray paint fun.  We have had this nice large ice bucket for some time. (I think I got it as a college graduation present from my aunt and uncle?  Like I said, long time.)  In our first apartment, the baby blue made sense.  Now I wanted to make in our more sapphire/teal blue to give the kitchen a little color (and a little more storage.)

That before picture of the kitchen make me shudder and that was only a few weeks ago.  It feels so much different in there now!  I started out with the same spray paint I used on my “T” collection a little bit ago here.  But it ran out and a spray paint hunt ensued.  I visited Home Depot AND Lowe’s and neither had an exact match.  So I ended up having to start over with a Valspar can I got at Lowe’s.  The color had more blue and a little less green than the previous can, so I had to re-coat and re-coat.  And my little Rustoleum attachment spray handle didn’t work on the Valspar can either.  Boo.  I ended up Smurfing myself a little by getting some blue back-spray on my hand.  But it was worth it (although this next picture is a little underwhelming – the color is so much nicer in real life . . . .)

Now we have a nice out-of-the-way place for all our oils and vinegars that we buy in bulk.  JT and I cook a lot and from scratch too so our kitchen gets pretty heavy use.  I’m thinking on the upcoming IKEA trip (how many times can I mention this trip before it happens?  I think I’m up to 6.) I will get a little plant stand on wheels to put under the bucket and make it a little more useful so it can just roll out from under the buffet.    I also did my “I hate cords” trick and taped the microwave cord and it’s extension cord to the back of the buffet.  Cords be-gone!

We also had a visitor who bought one of our Craigslist items.  One down, one to go.  Now we’re left with this . . .

Just a little microwave cart waiting for a new home.  I moved Little Walter (the tree) over to this spot — he’s sick!!!  I had purchased and photographed him a few weeks before I got around to posting about him and now he’s not doing so good!  I’m hoping by moving him away from the exterior wall, he will stay a little warmer and spruce back up. I also watered him a little more but I have anxiety about over-watering and thus drowning my plants.  I set him up on the milk crate for now because a) I kind of like the height and am using it as a placeholder and b) I’m kind of nervous Shenanigan will lift his little stubby leg on Little Walter so I wanted to get him used to having a big plant near his level. 

 Any other ideas on what to do for poor Little Walter?  I was holding off on re-potting him until after the IKEA trip (#7!!) but I may have to bite the bullet and do it now. 

Have a great week everyone — it’s 8:08 now and I have some office craziness to attend to!

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.