My Best Deal Yet

17 Jan

I’ve had Puppy Fever for a few months now. Our 11-year-old Cockapoo, Phoebe, is still healthy and rules the house, but she can be crotchety (a terrible but befitting word).

This was several years ago but one of my favorite photos.

I love dogs and figured my three-year-old son could use a puppy to grow with. Plus I’d heard good things about adding a second dog–enlivens the original dog, the older one shows the younger one the ropes, they become pals.

I’ve been checking our Humane Society website every day–twice a day typically, because the dogs get adopted so quickly. When I started this process in August, there was a really mangy looking Wheaten Terrier mix on there, and I went to the Humane Society to check him out. They didn’t have much information on him but knew he was about 10 months old.

This isn't him but close.

Source

That was the type of dog I was looking for (I thought) but he was a little big already and wild and it was a Friday. I decided to wait, knowing that he would probably get adopted over the weekend (the non-shedding/non-Lab/non-Pit Bulls usually do). But it was the very beginning of my search and I figured if he were still there on Monday, I’d go back and get him.

He wasn’t, so I kept looking and researching other dogs that might fit what I was looking for. I explored the Wheaten Rescue in our area but they wouldn’t adopt to a family with children younger than six. Red Flag. The more I researched that breed the more I learned that maybe the Wheaten wasn’t for us. They can be territorial with young children, and that was definitely not what I wanted.

A man at my husband’s work suggested the Tibetan Terrier.

You can keep their hair short, which I would.

Source

It’s not really a terrier at all but a medium-sized dog that was originally bred as mountain dogs by monks in Tibet. I did some more research on them and agreed they sounded like a good dog for us. Between 18 – 30 lbs and non-shedding plus good with kids and quirky. We found this guy at a breeder in Missouri.

Hard to resist, isn't he?

But he was $600 and at a home with A LOT of other puppies so I was concerned that it was a puppy mill situation. Most of the breeders I researched were charging between $1200 and $1800 for their puppies, so again the red flag.

Another possibility was a Portuguese Water Dog.

They're cute, huh?

Source

This breed was made really popular in the last few years once the Obamas added their boy, Bo, to the White House. My research showed that this was a good choice though, although the price was still steep at around $15oo for most breeders. The size was right–typically between 35 and 60 lbs and non-shedding. I wanted a “bigger” dog this time for a few reasons–a walking partner for me, someone to romp around the backyard with the kids, and a dog big enough that I would be encouraged to keep him off of the furniture. Phoebe is ruining my I-paid-too-much-but-thought-Ethan-Allen-was-closing-for-good-sofa and you know, old dogs/new tricks and all.

Anyway, a few days before Christmas and about 20 hours after I had said to my husband “Eventually, I think I’ll find the right dog at the Humane Society,” this guy showed up online. He was listed as a Portuguese Water Dog Mix.

What a face, right?

It was about 10:30 in the morning when I saw him on the website. I walked out of work and drove straight to the Humane Society. When they went to get him I heard one of the workers saying, “I don’t think that’s a Portuguese Water Dog.” So I yelled out to them, “Well, what do you think it is then?” (I didn’t want this to be the ol’ bait and switch.) But they didn’t know. They just didn’t think there were many in our area, much less one who would be wandering around in the country, like this guy was.

Carol, the Humane Society volunteer who brought him to me, speculated with me on the real breed. She didn’t know either but thought the markings looked like a PWD (although after a little research, I find that most PWDs are black with a little white. He’s white with a little black.) And she assured me she thought his coat felt more hairlike than fur-like (meaning a non-shedder), although she said, “Don’t hold me to it.” And we both agreed that his paws didn’t look too big, so he didn’t appear to be “a big dog.”

So I paid my $350 adoption fee, named him Furble (a name my daughter had invented when we started our puppy search,) brought him home, and he was an early Christmas surprise from Santa. The note said something about him not staying still in the sled.

My husband and I were more excited about him than the kids, but I’d been searching for six months so it felt meant to be.

Not sure what kind of look the boy has on his face here but concentrate on the puppy.

The neighbors came over the next night for a little Holiday Cheer, and they all predicted on paper what they thought Furble would weigh a year from now. Thoughts ranged from 35 lbs and a non-shedder to 110 lbs and shedding!

Three weeks, six painful days of diarrhea, one respiratory infection, three prescription drugs, two bags of prescription dog food, a day’s worth of IV fluids, and, oh yeah, the rush of Christmas, New Year’s and 17 days of no school, and Furble seems right at home. I truly think his illness was stress. God knows I was stressed! I still think he was a bargain.

It snowed the other afternoon and he and Phoebe romped around the yard a ton. The kids are really enjoying him. He’s doing pretty well at the kennel thing, and I’m eager for his little bladder to get a little bigger, but he does seem to “get it.”

As for his size . . . he’s doubled probably (I’ll post updated photos soon). Breed speculations range from my husband who says he’s a Tibetan Terrier/Portuguese Water Dog mix (forever the optimist). I say he’s got some BIG ol’ dog in him. His head seems abnormally large at this point, and I often think he looks like a Newfoundland. I’ve heard Bernese Mountain Dog, Great Pyrenees, St. Bernard, Poodle, you name it. Whatever he is, we’re enjoying him. As for his fur and size, only time will tell.

I don’t see him returning to the North Pole anytime soon.

Home Goals 2012

10 Jan

The Nester, one of my absolute favorites, is hosting a Home Goals Linky Party this week and so it’s the perfect time for me to lay out some of my plans for this year. I created a similar list last year . . . projects I wanted to get done. I put it on the fridge so I could cross things out as I went but mainly so I could stay on task. I tend to get a little ADD when it comes to DIY. I’ll start some project and then see something else that I think is a great idea so then start something else. Writing things down helps to keep me accountable.

So here it is. By the end of May (some perfect cold-weather tasks), I would like to have my Dressing Room complete. I love this room. I spend a lot of time in it, but if I want to be featured on that last page of Better Homes and Gardens,  you know the “I did it!” page (a little goal of mine), it needs some serious work, starting with this ottoman.

At 4′ x 4′, the size is awesome and it’s totally functional (meaning strewn with several items of clothing on most days) but the fabric is dreary and it only reinforces how dreary that rug is (a remnant from the basement). They both need to be changed. So, I’ll be on the lookout for a bright and feminine rug or maybe an animal print and fabric for this ottoman–lately I’ve been thinking a pretty yellow velveteen or something. I was going to do the animal print on the ottoman. In fact, it’s why I bought the giraffe print that became this, but again, that ADD set in and I went another route. Plus I thought it might look like a big ol’ cow or something in the middle of the room. Anyway, I’m also determining if I’m going to try to take on the reupholstering (a major feat) or budget for someone else to do it. Stay tuned!

Next item, those closet doors! (please read “Those closet doors!” with the same emphasis as the stepsisters in Cinderella do when they talk about “These beads! That sash! Why I wouldn’t be caught dead in them!”) Wait, I’m checking YouTube . . . a quick search and I can’t find it (I can find where they rip the sash and beads off of Cinderella but not the one where they discard them in the first place–the bitches). Anyway, these closet doors are deplorable. What is this wood?

It’s hideous and it needs to be covered. I’ve got a couple thoughts on that. I loved, loved what Kevin and Layla did on The Lettered Cottage. Amazing! But mine are sliders and I kinda want to work with what I have, although I desperately need a full-length mirror in there. I have no good full-length mirror in my house (perhaps that’s why I still have this extreme self-confidence thing going). Anyway, I was thinking about wallpapering them, and my friend told me about something with fabric and starch that she saw on The Nate Berkus Show (which I don’t watch but clearly need to start). I need to find out more about that.

And obviously the whole room and TRIM need to be painted. Also deplorable.

But here is the last project I have in mind. I’m excited about this one because I think these are awesome and should make for a pretty easy DIY. I saw this in the Ballard Design Catalog and thought it would be perfect for my Dressing Room. I love the taller spaces for boots.

The shorter one is $360 and the taller one is $600. I found this little wood bookshelf on Craigslist. The listing was “Orange painted book shelf – $10.” Sold!

It’s ugly but it’s solid.

So that’s it. I’m not going any further than May right now. I definitely have more projects in mind, most of which involve contractors, so I’m sticking with what’s attainable at the moment. Small chunks, right?

How about you? Any home projects on your horizon?

Design is Design is Design

8 Jan

I started working at my current company about three and a half years ago. They hadn’t had a Marketing Director in several years and you could tell. Their corporate colors were beige and burgundy—a callback for certain to their beginnings in 1983. To bring them on into the current century, we (my print, web designers and I) re-branded them with a perfect orange (PMS 1665) and charcoal gray (PMS Black 7 Gray).

Our CFO likes to tease me about the functions of being a marketing director–thinking about colors and layouts and Facebook and image and how things look. He likes to tell me those things don’t matter. But once, in a moment of weakness, he admitted I’d done a great job making the company look current and updated again.

So the other day he was rolling his eyes about our PMS color and saying there is a “reason they are called PMS colors,” and that night I came across this post from A Pop of Pretty about how Tangerine Tango is the 2012 Color of the Year. She included a ton of eye candy photos from rooms that incorporated this color, all of which, btw, I could have moved right into.

I, of course, forwarded the post to my CFO to elicit even more eye-rolling and he actually commented that I was ahead of the curve for picking a color that would soon be the Color of the Year. For the record, Tango Tangerine is PMS 17-1463 but it’s also an awesome orange.

It all got me to thinking about something that always strikes me. It’s that design is design is design. The elements–forms, shapes and colors–that are hot in graphic design are usually trending the same way in fashion and in home decor design. They all bubble up at the same time, but where does it start?

It reminds me of in “The Devil Wears Prada” when the Meryl Streep character tells the Anne Hathaway character that the reason her bargain bin Casual Corner sweater was a particular shade of blue because . . . well, here, I can only find the scene in Italian on YouTube but here are the lines:

This… ‘stuff’? Oh… ok. I see, you think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don’t know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually cerulean. You’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar De La Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn’t it, who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of 8 different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic casual corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of stuff.

Is that where it starts? From fashion? High-end designers? Or is it more Bohemian, like the independent artists on Etsy.

Some of my favorite blogs are the ones that touch on both home and fashion design like Elements of Style and La Dolce Vita. It’s cool that they are watching and talking about the trends as they happen in two different realms. Do these bloggers help to determine the trends? I think they do. Do you think they are the ones that decided owls were going to be the “it” thing for 2011?

Whatever it is . . . I’ll keep watching and trying to keep up. I’m eager to see what bubbles up for 2012. Any predictions?

Resolution 2012

3 Jan

Typeverything.com 2012: For ever and ever

I’ve always been one to make resolutions. I love the idea of setting goals and fresh starts and seeing where it gets me. In fact, since high school I also always participate in giving up something for Lent. This is something my particular church doesn’t practice but I do. My first year it was potatoes–chips and French fries–that was hard on a teenage girl but . . .  I digress. The point is goals are important and having a set beginning and ending time (in this case, a calendar year) makes them seem more attainable.

Over the years my resolutions have included the typical–exercise more, eat better, blah blah blah. I’m not including any of that this year. I feel like I exercise as regularly as I ever will so why put undue pressure on myself. One year it was to drink only one Coke (pop) per day. That one stuck. I rarely drink pop anymore and never more than one a day.

My favorite recent resolution was when I committed to selling or donating something every week. Selling (making a little money) or donating something (lightening the load) on a consistent basis really helped me evaluate the stuff I save. I’ll admit it didn’t happen every week but it probably did every month, and I continue to consistently rid myself of stuff.

My resolutions for 2012 are simple.

1. Read one book per month.

I miss reading. Having young children and not being a night person (one who can lie in bed and read before going to sleep) has made my reading really wane in the past few years. I feel like there are so many good books that I’m missing. Reading is good for a writer and good for the soul. I can’t wait to get started.

2. Write a blog post every week.

As a part-time marketing director, full-time mom to young children I don’t have the time right now to commit to more than that. I think it’s a good start though, and when 2012 is over, we’ll see where we are.

And anyway, it sounds a lot easier than 40 days without potatoes.

Festive Centerpieces

13 Dec

My friend Stacey turned me on to these lanterns at ShopKo.

They had some great red ones in their holiday decor and then these in the everyday decor section. ShopKo is not typically known for its design aesthetic but these were solid and had nice shapes and great prices at $14.99 each.

I had recently acquired an enamalware bowl at Goodwill for $4 and wanted to incorporate it into my Christmas decor. I combined it with one of the red lanterns, a Christmas napkin and leftover fake greenery and was proud of the results.

Several months back I had sent my kids and the neighbor kids on a pine cone hunt because I hate to think of purchasing pine cones when they’re in ready supply around the neighborhood. The kids had a riot and I got a bagful that made for festive filler in this centerpiece.

Putting this together inspired gift ideas for my hard-t0-buy-for-step-sister and my mom. I found some more baskets at Goodwill that would make for good bases.

I tried to get rectangular- or oval-shaped baskets to serve as the bases because the lanterns were bigger and I wanted to incorporate some live Poinsettias. These baskets are pretty easy to find at thrift stores and run about $4 each. Stacey also told me about ShopKo’s faux candles at half-price so I picked up some of those.

I had to build up the base because I wanted the piece to have some varying heights. I used whatever I had around–some floral foam in one and a box, styrofoam and newspaper in the other.

The Poinsettias were the four-inch pots from Home Depot at $3.99 each. I did two in each centerpiece and filled in the rest with pine cones.

Phoebe, the Cockapoo, approved.

Definitely liked the more natural glow on the pine cone candle below but it wouldn’t fit into this more slender lantern.

We celebrated our Christmas with this part of the family this past weekend and my stepsister and mom were thrilled with my creations. They both had future entertaining in their holiday schedule and were excited to have these inviting pieces as part of their tables.

Dish Towels – A Practical Gift

11 Dec

I’ve been called practical. I hope that’s not code for cheap . . . thrifty maybe. Smart, I’d like to think. Whatever it is, with practicality in mind, I like to give gifts that serve a little purpose. I like to think that when people use their gift from me, they think, “Gosh that Stacy, she’s so clever.”

So, I love a good dish towel. I really like dish towels from Williams-Sonoma. They come in good colors, and they last forever. (PS – Now that my husband and I have hit the 10-year mark in our marriage, I often think about those wedding gifts that have lasted long and my W-S stuff really has. For example that rattan stuff lasts FOREVER! I’ve been using my fruit basket as a fruit basket every day for 10 1/2 years and it still looks like new. It’s had its share of moldy fruit, onion skin and gunk but I can rinse it and it still looks great. Sorry . . . I digress.)

Around Thanksgiving, Williams-Sonoma puts their tableware, including dish towels, at 15 percent off. It’s not an amazing discount but it’s something.

I buy a pack to use for my teacher gifts. And I bake the only thing that I ever bake–Banana Bread.

I love to give Thanksgiving gifts for two reasons. One – It’s one less thing I have to do between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and Two – I think it makes sense to give Thanksgiving gifts to people to whom you’re really thankful–like your kids’ teachers.

This year I got some really cute string to help with my holiday packaging.

I wrap the bread in plastic wrap and then wrap it in the towel.

For another idea, I wrapped the bottom of a Poinsettia in a towel for a recent house-warming gift.

I don’t know if anyone was making the Clever Stacy comments that I was imagining but I was pretty pleased with the results.

October Decor

8 Nov

I almost hate to post such awful photography (especially when I read blogs like Miss Mustard Seed and The Lettered Cottage) but I personally want an archive of my decor from October. I was pleased with how the house turned out and want a record for next year.

I love breaking out the fall colors. I found that little black chair in the corner for $6 at Goodwill recently. It’s a solid Nichols and Stone Co. and makes for convenient extra seating that doesn’t fall apart (much unlike the spindle Windsor reproductions that go around the table that my husband told me not to buy because we have young children and young children like to hang on spindles but I bought anyway because they LOOK awesome but I get embarrassed whenever we have people over and try to strategically make sure that only family members sit in the chairs that are falling apart. Whew!)

There’s that 1950s-style fireplace that I loathe! I did like the way my mini pumpkins turned out. Notice the white one (pretty clever, eh?–“one of these things is not like the other . . . “).

A closer look.

One of my recent purchases (the dress form–$68 at an antiques shop) again looks dark but gets a shot of color with a favorite orange scarf. And she (her name is Asabelle, btw) helps to break up the long, long living room wall that continues to be a challenge for me.

A long shot of the long living room.

My favorite part of this year’s decor was my piano top. Again I wish it was lit better for a better photo but I was proud of the candle chandelier ($2 at an estate sale) that I  hung from hemp twine from the ceiling, the use of my chalkboard, a candy bowl full of eyeballs, a plateful of fingers and no color orange in this spooky vignette.

A tighter shot . . . do you like the duck feet (a candle holder) on the skull? OK, and the fingers are actually tubes of bubbles. Next year I will look for something more authentic, but the kids sure liked these.

Some of this stuff will translate well right into Thanksgiving decor, which is nice.

Funky Sling Chair

27 Oct

Well, my 31 days of progress didn’t totally turn out like I’d expected. Life, as usual, got in the way. But I did complete this project that has been on my list for actually a couple years. And it’s only the 23rd of the month, so I’m pleased.

Here’s the chair before. I picked this up at an antiques market in Iowa for $8.

I already own one of these old hammock chairs and it’s on my front porch most of the time. I love them. They are comfortable and easy to store and have a fun architectural element to them.

The frame and fabric of this one were worn out.

So my hubby and the neighbor helped remove screws and sand it down.

And I found inspiration in my favorite flip flops.

And I finally found the perfect green in a spray paint can at Joann’s Fabrics.

And I’m no seamstress so the sewing, even just the simplest of seams, can pose a challenge.

For some reason the bobbin has to be wound a certain direction. This was clearly the wrong direction.

Kinda looks like a messy caterpillar but I kept repeating to myself The Nester’s Mantra that “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” So after 23 days, tiny bits of time and effort squeezed in here and there, I think it’s beautiful. And guess what? It’s comfortable too!


It’s a nice fall touch to my porch. I even like it with the chippy blue of my favorite glider swing.

So this morning I crossed this off my long list of home projects with a great sense of accomplishment. And now I move on to the next item. Until then, here’s to small but productive bits of progress.

Read more about this chair here and here.

One step forward . . . and then another trip to Joanns

6 Oct

Not sure if it’s fair to get two posts out of my painting but it has taken me two days. I truly thought that two cans of the Ivy Leaf would cover the chair but it didn’t.

So I had to go back to Joann’s, this time with no coupon (Boo!) and get one more can. And it makes me sad that they lock the spray paint in a glass cabinet and you have to get someone with a key to get it out. And two different Joann’s gals asked me if I was 18, which they definitely knew I was btw because of the Crow’s Feet, but it was their policy. And is it snide and uncaring that I don’t understand how a teenager could sniff spray paint and it not be written (literally) all over his face? It’s funny to envision (in a sick sort of way) and God-forbid if my kids ever sniff anything!

But anyway, that’s how life rolls with a job and two littles . . . you get one free hour to paint and MAYBE one free 30 minutes to run to the store. Thank God I work part-time. I’m discovering my Tuesday and Thursday afternoons are precious for productivity.

Hubby got inspired

5 Oct

I don’t know what got into him, but MM started sanding the other day. Well, first he and the neighbor helped me tackle the rusted old screws that were holding onto the dowels that were holding onto the fabric.

It was literally a two-man job and still they couldn’t remove one of the screws.

But then he started sanding (without being asked) . . .

So I just stepped away, grabbed my phone to take another good quality iPhone pic, and shut my mouth. He’s the best husband but he’s not so much for the hands-on work or the honey-do list or the taking over these little projects that I take on. That all said, when he does get involved, things are always better. He’s got a surprisingly (especially for a straight guy) eye for color when I need an opinion. And he’s a good painter. When he did the armoire/pantry, it looked professionally done. And so I really appreciated the sanding.

So this bit of progress is brought to you by Mike . . .