Thursday, March 28, 2013

Our last night as a 4-pack

Tonight I am going to be taking Artie to his new parents. I am very excited for him. Though, as ready as I am to have my life back to normal, I was kind of sad last night as we were hanging out and playing to think he's going to be gone.

He's so large it will definitely be a noticeable change.

Since this week was all about us being a DIY Family (Thanks to Rita for that phrase- it rocks) I wanted to share some of what I was seeing last night. Then, next week we will be back to our usual DIY shenanigans.

This was most of the night. Artie likes to watch TV, so I popped in more Alias and everyone got to snuggling.

I still love the size difference between T&A

There was also position changes, and various assaults on pillows and blankets.

Artie and Seamus pretended to love each other (Seamus is ready for Artie to leave...)

Artie started to snore and it freaked Teagan out so she decided to make herself comfortable elsewhere...

I think tonight will be bittersweet. I'll make sure to post tomorrow about how the exchange goes! After tonight, the next time I'll see Artie is in June when I go to Chicago for a babyshower.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What's going on?

What's going on here in Big Blue?

Lots of dogs.

I think the only way to narrate what's going on over here is through pictures. I've been taking hundreds of pictures a day because Artie's owners want to see him- so we'll start with weather.

Michigan seems to think it can still pretend it's winter (notice that giant ass icicle hanging off my gutters) I have started to rebel though and I did purchase a spring wreath for the door and I scored this cute owl planter at JoAnns. Here's a better picture.

I filled him with some silk lilies so I don't have to worry about watering him- but isn't he adorbs?! I might have to plant some basil in him and put him by my sink.

There has also been a lot of snuggling.

So much snuggling that poor Nate had four dogs and a wife touching him one night.

It even sometimes looks like a dog warzone- scattered paws EVERYWHERE.

I was visited by the elusive good hair day fairy, we had a date night where we watched Les Mis, the Hobbit and The Hunger Games and ate loads of goodies sent from my mom. We even have gone to Ann Arbor to meet my best friend and stopped in a few of my favorite stores. (From the day that we could not handle any. more. barking.)

When everyone isn't barking, we've managed to get some super cute pictures (including one of Teagan that I can't stop laughing about...)

I guess the long and the short of it is that Artie takes up a lot of time, but we're happy to have him.

Thursday afternoon I will be going to drop him off to his new parents and then I'm sure I'll have to break something with a sledgehammer. I'm getting DIY fever. I took last week "off" unintentionally but now I'm just getting cranky! Do you guys ever get like that?

The one good thing about us being stuck on the couch (Artie likes everyone on the couch...) is that we have been getting some serious planning, drawing and budgeting done. Silver linings! Yay!

Please my friends, tell me, what is going on in all of your lives?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Finding Apartments

This weekend we found out some exciting news: my best friend has the opportunity to move into our area! (YAY!) We don't know when/if it will happen yet, but you all know me, I get excited and have to start planning options.

The good thing is that if she does get a job and move up here she can stay with us until she finds a place that she loves. She has the benefit of not having to settle for something because she is in a hurry.

I've started thinking about what does a young, single woman in an urban area want or need in an apartment.

I lived alone before I met Nate (for about 5 months...) but I moved up here without knowing the area and just picked a place within a few days of living here. It was nice enough- I never had any problems, and I had a nice landlord, but it honestly wasn't in the best part of town and I didn't know any better when I signed the lease. So here are some things that I know if I was doing apartment hunting again these would be things that matter to me.

 1.) Does your landlord live in the area or is there maintenance on premise?

One of our apartments we lived in didn't have a landlord in the area and we were kind of floating alone in this little apartment. A tornado ripped through and it was Nate out on the deck trying to fix windows that had blown in even after calling our landlord 15,000 times. It was not a good situation and many problems went unfixed because of it.

2.) Is there laundry in-unit, or do you know somewhere nice that you can do your laundry?

We also lived in one place where there was laundry on site, but it was in the most inconvenient place on the whole site. There also wasn't anything to do in the laundry room so we'd just sit there and do nothing causing us to almost never do laundry. If you're willing to do this, good for you, but if I was going back to apartment living I would have to have in unit laundry.

3.) Do you want an apartment, a townhome, or a single family home.

There are perks of living in a single family home, like you're usually allowed to have pets, and you don't have to live with people surrounding you everywhere. There is also the downside of not having maitenance on site, having to keep up the lawn/snow removal and being alone. Access your priorities before you decide where you want to live.

4.) Location.

How close are you to work/school/friends, etc. The great thing about renting is it isn't a permanent residence. If you evaluate your budget and gas is going to be a problem, live really close to your work, etc. If you work in bad part of town, you don't have to live there!

5.) How flexible is the landlord?

They say people are more likely to stay somewhere that they can "make their own" so many landlords are starting to get better about allowing people to paint, making small changes, or improving their rental value. My sister rents right now and she hated the wallpaper in the house. She simply asked her landlord if she could take it down expecting it to be out of pocket and was surprised when the landlord paid for her to do it and let her pick the color to paint the walls after. It never hurts to ask!

6.) Is it pet friendly/is there a pet space? 

Seamus loved our balcony at our old apartment and he loved the woods on the property even more. We were able to go for walks in the woods and he would get time to stretch his legs without us worrying about him. If I was going to be living alone I would definitely have to live somewhere I could have a dog- if for nothing else other than a faux alarm system.

7.) Are there any amenities on site?

When you're living alone it is all about saving money. Does your apartment complex have a gym? Are you actually going to use it? If you aren't you better bet that you're paying for it anyway. And if you are, that's one less thing you need to pay for every month!

8.) Storage

My first apartment where I lived alone didn't have any storage. I kept my canned goods, linens, and camping stuff all in one closet. It was a two bedroom because I was planning on getting a room mate, but once I figured out I could afford it myself I ended up using the whole second bedroom as a closet. Where else are you going to put your Christmas tree?

9.) Parking

Especially in Michigan, having covered parking is a big deal. If you go with a single family home, talk to the landlord before you close to make sure you get access to the garage. Just because it's there doesn't mean it's yours.

10.) Does the apartment meet your must haves or your must wants?

Call me crazy, but Air Conditioning isn't negotiable during allergy season. While other people might consider this a "want" for me it is a "need". Would I rather have air conditioning or a washing machine? Air Conditioning, obviously. Make a list of everything you're looking for and prioritize it. It will help you down the line when you're picking a place.

Do you guys have any apartment hunting tips? How many have you lived in? We did 5 apartments in 3 years soooo we're pretty used to moving around! :)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

For a Friend

One of my high school friends is having a baby girl in July! So exciting. She is definitely not a pink girl though, so we put together this mood board of what she is going for. Of course, this doesn't include furniture or anything like that, but we were just going for a vibe.




Butterfly Mirror

Stuffed Dragonfly



Flower Pillow

Chevron Pillow

Circle Pillow

Flower Mobile

It's a good jumping off point, but hopefully we'll add to it as we go! I'd of course go with white or wood furniture and probably teal and green walls. Then use the purple as the main accent and just a few pops of pink.

Hope this helps, Pauletta!!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Foster Dog

As I mentioned earlier this week, things are going to be relatively quiet while we have Artie, the foster dog (only until next Thursday, don't worry!)

Normally, my dogs do not really reflect how productive I am.

See, the thing is that Artie is BIG. Don't really know what I mean by "big"?

Here he is laying next to Teagan on the couch.

Very big.

But, what surprises me about this giant Bear is the fact that he is so blessed sweet. Like...not a bad bone in his body (though his bark would certainly lead other people to think so). This has lead to some complications because all Artie wants is a family- but we can't let him get too comfortable or when he goes to his real home next week he'll be devastated again.

And nobody wants a sad bear.

We have been trying to crate train him, but the only time he is ever not nervous and is quiet is if we're all together. And I mean all of us. He wants all the dogs and all the people (although he seems to forget if Nate is gone faster than he forgets that I'm gone)

Here are a few things we've always told people who ask us about dogs and how to co-mingle them. Now, fostering a dog has totally different rules than keeping the dog. These are our suggestions for fostering a dog**.

1. Make them comfortable and safe- but don't change your daily life to suit them, you're in charge, not them.
2. Do not let them get overly attached to your dog(s) as that will make the separation when they leave that much harder.
3. Do not let an alpha fight happen. Especially if you have more than one dog of your own. If one happens it will change the pecking order which will have to be reestablished as soon as foster dog leaves. Now, with three dogs I would hate to go through that process again...
4. Do not let them sleep on the bed with you and your other dogs as this can make your permanent dogs very unsure of their place.
5. Feed the separately as most fights will happen during food time (someone tries to steal a nibble and next thing you know someone's got gashes on their face)
6. Warn your neighbors. You will have a barking dog in your house- there's no avoiding that and it's going to be out of the norm. As long as you are kind enough to warn them, they are usually cool about it.
7. Give your permanent dogs as much as normal or more than normal levels of attention as they're probably going to be wondering why there is someone new in your house.
8. Make sure to take some time with just your foster dog. You need to instill in him that everything is going to be fine and he's not alone. Take him for a walk alone, snuggle him on the couch, tell him about your day. He may have lost everything he's ever known, wouldn't you want someone to talk to?
9. If it's negatively affecting your dogs  you need to make other arrangements. This is their home- not the foster dogs. You may be trying to do the right thing but do you want to then hold your dogs paw while they recover?

However, Artie like....doesn't fit in with these "rules" so we've been having to play it as we go. The main thing that is kind of throwing us off is how much he wants to fit in and how hard he tries to please the other dogs.

Due to his sheer size, we've had to make accommodations to our daily schedule to him. I'm so not going to whip out a gallon of paint around this oaf- he'd honestly probably think it's water. Love him dearly, but he's a very curious guy.

We're trying to not let everyone get attached (though Seamus doesn't seem to have any interest in getting attached...Artie makes him nervous) but as we stated, Artie is only quiet when he's with all the dogs. We have tried several sleeping arrangements and guess what? The only time he will sleep is if we're all together in the master bedroom. If he's alone in a crate he will howl the entire night. If he's in one room with one of us, and the other is in the guest room with the other dogs he will cry all night and scratch at the doors. If it's me, him, and Teagan he is better but still sad, it wasn't until last night when we caved that we all piled in the bed (equating to about 700lbs+) that he fell fast asleep.

I know this breaks a lot of rules, but the most important thing you can do for any dog is to let them be well rested. You do not want a dog you don't know very well to get exhausted to the point they won't sleep and he lashes out. Think of them like toddlers. You know how if a 2 year old doesn't get to bed within a certain time frame they won't sleep and they just get mean? Try that philosophy with a 100lb dog with teeth.

The only reason we let him on the bed with us was for everyone in the family to get some sleep and our dogs seemed chill with it. Well, other than Seamus but he's a dick and once he realized it was bed time he just shut up and fell asleep.

Having a foster dog is like walking a tight rope between safety and comfort, and living with you.

I honestly think my biggest piece of advice for people with foster dogs is to keep the new owners (if the dog has one) very involved. How could you take care of a dog that is going through something so hard and love on them and then not want to keep them? Our saving grace has been keeping Artie's new parents very up to date. Pictures, texts, all that kind of stuff. That way they know what he's doing so they stay excited and it reminds us that he is not our dog. We're just giving him safe passage.

I am very interested to see how this weekend goes with all of us being home. I need to do something....Artie likes laying on my lap watching TV so I may or may not have already watched two seasons of Alias this week. (Rockin' 2001 ABC what whattttt)

I know a lot of my regular readers have fostered, would you guys do it again? Do you wish you'd never started? What tips do you have to share for people who are thinking about it?

**Note: we are not dog experts we just have acquired a lot of experience in the last few years...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Some Plans

One thing having 200+ pounds of dogs in our house has done has made us keep the place super tidy and we can actually appreciate all the hard work we've been doing.

It's also making the things that we wouldn't notice as much really obvious. And now they're really bothering me.

Here is our old list.

Finish the dining room table & purchase chairs 
Install new bathroom counter top
Stain existing bathroom cabinet
Frame mirror in bathroom
Get a new pretty white energy star toilet for the downstairs Add dual flusher to toilet upstairs Paint the downstairs bath. Paint the living room Get the fireplace checked Get curtains for the dining room Get curtains for living room Sew new throw pillows for the family room
Get a runner for the hallway
Create a boot drip for the front hallway
Get the garage door fixed
Finish Teagan's Dog Bed so we can put her Crate away.  
Get the TV Mounted BAM.
Get the dining room/TV room, painted and fluffed.
Get the hallway re-wallpapered, and get new light fixture
Get the front porch cushions re-covered.
Refinish Dining Room Table
Paint upstairs hallway
Stain Bathroom Cabinet

Artwork for Master Bedroom
Strip Wallpaper and paint upstairs bathroom.  

So, I didn't get to cross a lot off this time, but I certainly have a lot that I want to add. Here are some new additions to the list; 

  • Strip and Stain guest room door (Artie might have had a panic attack and gauged the back of the door)
  • Repaint white trim in the kitchen
  • Repaint basement door
  • Spackle and paint the bookshelf (yeah we totally remodeled it in like October, but true to us...we totally skipped the last step)
  • DVD Storage
  • Cabinet doors or something to hide uglies in the built ins
  • Create a Linen Solution
  • Redrywall the future nursery- we started ripping down the wallpaper just while we were on a wallpaper removing roll but discovered it's cardboard instead of drywall behind it so we need to rip it down and redo it. Better to do this now than when I'm pregnant (because I'm not.)
  •  Roof (I'm putting this on here because it is being installed next week and it's always more fun when you can cross something off)
  • Add some height to the formal living room. The brown sectional is kind of weighing it down for me
  • Add color to dining room curtains
  • Spring Clean the shit out of Shit.
  • Fix sashes in the windows so when we can open them they'll actually open
  • Measure windows so we can start hitting up scrap yards for storms and screens.

 Of course this is a running list- but this should keep us busy forever...or at least until summer where our lists BLOWS UP. So far our summer list is 2 pages long, but we'll share those when there's not snow on the ground.

What are you guys trying to get done before the good weather gets here?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What, No DIY Today?

Nope. There is no DIYing. And I'm not sure how much will get done this week.

As you can obviously tell from my *cough* collection...I have a soft spot for animals who are on their last chance.

Yesterday I heard the cry of a man named Anthony. The poor man had tried his hardest to better himself but he, like so many of us just were dealt a bad hand lately. When he tried to get himself into a better situation he was slapped in the face for it and had to find homes for all of his dogs. He found homes and rescue organizations that would take his other dogs, but poor Tank with his age, size and breed was out of options. If no one picked him up by 8a.m. he was going to be put to the vet and be put down with the mindset of it's better to know he's safe than being abused or homeless on the street (like his owner very well might be).

I saw one picture and my crazy dog lady gene started ticking. This poor thing had been loved his entire life by an owner that was devoted to him. When I called Anthony to see if someone had helped he said no, and immediately started crying (without even knowing if I was going to take him or not).

Let's get something perfectly clear. My house is full and my pack rocks. They work together well, they love each other, and they depend on each other. I really have no intention on doing anything to jeopardize that. When I saw Tank my first thought was, "do I know anyone?"

Almost immediately I got a text from one of my friends in Illinois saying, "I need him but I'm on vacation and can't get him until next Thursday, please please please go save him"

I knew I was on a mission, but I wasn't sure if Nate would agree. And bless my amazing husband because he got home, I told him about it, and within twenty minutes we were on the road.

After driving two hours, we found the neighborhood was awful. Poor Anthony and Tank were living in the scariest part of town and were living in a place where you immediately thought, "how could someone make someone pay to live here?" I mean, the front door was made of plywood and there was cardboard for windows. It was scary enough that Nate told me to stay in the car until he was sure we were in the right place.

Sure enough, the minute the plywood door creaked open, this MOOSE came thundering out straight for me.

And while some would call me crazy, I immediately got out of the car, knelt down, and was tackled in a big bear hug by Tank.

This was the hardest rescue we've done. With our other dogs, they were happy to see the dog gone, and they just kind of shoved the dog at us and walked away. Anthony was different, he wanted to sit with us and Tank and tell us his story, he wanted us to know that he wasn't a bad person and that Tank was his best friend- he wanted us to see the tears.

I was crying within 5 minutes of meeting Anthony. When a grown man can admit that they need to do the right thing, even when it's the hardest, it can break your heart to watch. This dog had been his everything for four years and when we finally said goodbye, he gave Tank a whole jar of peanut butter and said, "Daddy loves you....he's losing all his kids" and he closed the door, shook Nate's hand and went inside.

We weren't 3 miles from the house before I got a text from him saying, "please, please take care of him"

We drove home, and his big lumbering self was fantastic until bed time- but that is to be expected. The first thing this guy got though was a BATH! We got all of Tank's paperwork and his owners contact information promising that we would stay in touch with him.

This morning, I also had the privilege of welcoming Tank to his new now life. We played in the snow in the big back yard, we snuggled on the couch, we ate a bone (very separated from the others might I add...) and we took some pictures to send to his new mom and dad.

World, meet Artie. Artie, meet the world.

We've never fostered before, and I know it's going to be hard. We're working through the sadness of Artie losing Anthony together. Lots of hugs will be involved. We're also trying to get him ready for the joy to go to Sarah and Alex.

I think they're going to be a fantastic family, don't you?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Happy Birthday SeaButters!

The 17th marked our first scruffybutt's second birthday. And as I was sufficiently non operational all weekend, I thought we'd show you our babybear's two year old pictures.

Before we get to that cuteness, Saturday was our 2rd annual St. Patrick's Day/Seamus' Birthday Party.  What better excuse to party out than the birth of this scruffy dude?

To sum it all up- there was a lot of food, a lot of alcohol, and then a lot of sleeping. The dogs were obviously hung over from staying up late to make sure no one caused trouble that yesterday they only wanted to sleep! I thought we'd give give you the basics with some of our instagram feed from the past few days.

As for the scruffybutt, for reference, here is Seamus the day we brought him home (he was about 4 months old).

And here he is at one year...

And here's his two year old pictures!

He is my sunshine, our first puppy and such a goofy little goober. Happy Birthday Seamus!

How was everyone's St. P's day?

Friday, March 15, 2013

3 Seams, 6 Pillows, 1 Hour

My mother has been riding my ass about my couch pillows for about 3 months. I bought/made some when we first got our Karlstad in July, but the room really changed directions since then and they were starting to look skeezy.

I would get text massages like, "you changed your pillows yet?" "do you need me to come up and sew you some pillows?" "your pillows are bothering me and I'm not even in your house."

And people wonder where I get it...

And since finishing up the ombre art, I really wanted to get the room pulled together.

The great thing about pillow covers is that they don't have to be as expensive as people think. You only need 1/2 a yard for each pillow, so if you were to get your fabric on clearance or at Wal-Mart, you could redo your pillows for $0.50 each! So, I set off on a couch pillow mission.

To show everyone the picture again that made my mother cringe- and me...I knew they were bad...

What makes this picture especially bad was that the white balance was off, the yellow pillow was supposed to be in the family room, and there's no context for the green.

However, I did post it on the internet, so I suck.

I think that this looks much better. And I put green food dye in my wine glasses to feel festive for St. Patrick's Day.

And here's some pillow lovin' for ya.

I made these using a modified version of my halloween envelope pillow.

Basically, you lay your fabric on the table, right side up, then place your pillow form in the middle. Fold over each side and pin, remove pillow form, then run a seam down both sides. (The third seam comes from finishing the edge on the fold). Turn right side out, stuff with pillow form, fluff.

Boom. Insta-pillow.

It seriously takes about 5 minutes a pillow. I didn't even get to watch all of Rent before I was done.

After the pillows were done, I continued on my quest for pictures that will do the living room justice.

Maybe it would help if the dogs didn't put their toys back out right after I put them away...

Finally, a pillow for snuggly time on the recliner.

Oh, and because I can...I will throw this in here just in case you find pillow talk boring.

I hope everyone has a safe weekend! We'll be getting our green beer on, what are you guys doing this weekend?

Linked at:
Liz Marie

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Girl, Look at that Ombre.

So, I hope you all know that you are so not helpful.

I still love you, but you guys were split EXACTLY down the middle about what color to paint the damn vine.

First, I'd like to apologize to the 3 people who liked neither option, but I couldn't really leave it plywood, now could I?

And because you all left me with no direction...I ombred that shit.

I suppose you want to know how to DIY that, huh?

I am just pleased as punch with this project as I've done it ALL myself (with the exception of making Nate hold it against the wall for me) so I can give you all the nitty gritty here.

So yesterday we talked about how we cut our shape out of some plywood. While Nate was at school last night, I brought the pieces and our sawhorses inside so I could watch musicals while I painted. Here's how it rocked and rolled.

Step 1: Paint the bottom 1/3 of your piece your darkest color feathering out(I did this right out of the paint sample as to not waste another paper plate- and we used "Pencil" by Martha Stewart)

Step 2: Paint your top 1/3 of your piece your lightest color (Again, right out of the paint sample, ours was the base white feathering out.

Step 3: On your first paper plate, pour a heap of your darkest color and a smidge of white. Mix using a new brush. Paint a section coming up off of your darkest color. When your brush is mostly empty, feather into the darker color. (Shade 2)

Step 4: Blend as needed.

Step 5: Take half of the paint that you blended for Shade 2 and put it on a new plate.

Step 6: Add more white to Shade 2. This is now Shade 3.

Step 7: Because we had a cut in the middle of our piece, we used Shade 3 on both pieces (the top of one and the bottom of the other) Repeat the blending and feathering process.

Step 8: Continue mixing shades until you reach your lightest color making sure to feather as you go.

Let your project dry and you will have a fantastic ombre!

It sat leaning against the wall patiently waiting for Nate to get home (me not so patiently)

A few nails later and some touch up paint and it was up!

As it was super late when I took this picture, I will post whole room pictures when the sun is up :)

May the power of the ombre be with you.

Linked At:
Liz Marie