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First Chewy.com Order

You know, I’ve been hearing about Chewy.com for a while now. I never really paid much attention to it because I buy my dog food at Costco and Cian gets his heartworm shot at Banfield (though PetSmart).

If Cian needs something (I want to buy him something), I go to the PetSmart across the street or Petsmart.com. I buy everything for JT, my hamster, on Amazon. So chewy.com didn’t spark anything for me.

But I needed to buy Cian some flea and tick medication. I looked on Amazon but everything was in the $30-$60 range, and I really didn’t want to pay that much if I didn’t have to.

After thinking it about it for a while, I remembered Chewy and figured I’d give them a try.

The first thing I looked for was the flea and tick stuff. I was able to find a 3-month supply of PetAmour Plus. I did research it and it has the same active ingredients and basically the same rating as Frontline for a whole lot less. We don’t have much of a flea and tick problem in southern Arizona, so I’ll be interested to see how it works.

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So, with chewy.com you get free shipping on any order over $49.99. I decided that was just a little too much to order since I hadn’t ordered from them before. But I did want to order a few things to see what their products were like. So, I ended up purchasing 5 different types of treats.

First was a beef trachea. I contemplated whether or not to buy something that sounded so disgusting but went for it.

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I decided this would be the first thing I gave him. I unwrapped it. It felt very odd: greasy, slimy, papery. Basically it was DISGUSTING!!

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Cian smelled it the minute I unwrapped it and started bugging me for it. I gave it to and he took off with it. I wanted to get a picture of him with it but he was having none of that! He really did not want to get close to me and give me the opportunity to take it back.

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I was finally able to get a picture of him when he laid down on his blanket to really start eating it up. He always eats all his really “special” treats on his blanket. But I had to stand across the room from him and zoom in, which did not provide for the best resolution. But as you can see, he was really into it!

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He enjoyed his treat so much that after he finished, he had to take a nice long nap at my feet.

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I also bought him Crunch Kale Treats from Wet Noses. This was the second treat I tried. I was worried about whether or not he would like them because, even though I know kale is a super food, I think it tastes like dirt. He gobbled right up. Then I remembered…he eats dirt all the time. So kale would probably just taste like things he eats every day. Besides being made with kale, I also liked that they were grain free, organic, and non-GMO.

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Then I ordered two different flavors baked dog treats from American Journey: turkey and lamb. These were also grain free, the protein was the first ingredient, had no by-products or artificial preservatives, and with a lot of fruits and vegetables. He’s only tried the turkey so far but he really likes them.

 

The last thing I ordered was a beef marrow bone. So far I’ve held this back. He’ll get this on a special occasion. Grandma is coming in a few weeks, that might be the special occasion that calls for a nice bone full of marrow.

Overall, I liked my experience ordering from Chewy.com and I’ll definitely order from them again.

Knit Along Shawl, Part 2

I’ve finished the first two sections of the shawl (Knit Along Shawl, Part 1), and it is time to move on to section 3. I took a very short break after finishing the first two sections, just one day. I started section 3 of the next evening.

This section was a combination of stockinette and the lace stitches. I thought this section would go much quicker since I was in the groove for the pattern. However, it was not. Since there are four stitches added every front side row, it is getting rather wide. But still it went together in not too long a time.

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After taking a few pictures, I started on the last piece, section 4. This section is mostly just the lacy stitch.

I got a few rows in and I noticed I was a stitch off one side. So, I fixed that. A row or two later I noticed I was a stitch off on the other side. So I fixed that one. Then I was another stitch off. It was driving me absolutely mad! I got so mad, I just ripped out the entire thing! I just rolled the yarn up in a big ball so it would be ready when I decided to start it up again. I couldn’t start again right away because I was just too ticked off to be careful enough.

I still wanted to finish the shawl on time, so I started again the next day. The first night I was able to reknit sections 1 and 2. I did section 3 the next night, which left section 4 for the third night. I have to say, I just love, love, LOVE this shawl. I love the pattern. I love the yarn, which is very soft and easy to knit with.

I finished the 4th and final section. It was difficult to tell exactly how wide the shawl was at the top due to it being on needles. I didn’t want to take it off the needles because I knew I wanted it to be nice a fairly large. It just didn’t seem big enough.

The picture below shows the shawl completed as far as the pattern was written. After some thought, I decided to knit part of section 3 and all of section 4 again (as shown).

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This was getting really, really wide but I think it was the perfect decision. When I finally finished it, I think it is just exquisite. Even my daughter likes it, and I think she has only ever liked one thing I’ve knit her and that is a huge round afghan. 

This picture shows the shawl stretched out on my queen size bed. It went all the way from the top of the mattress to the bottom. 🙂

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And here is my daughter modeling it for me so I can get a picture.

GORGEOUS! GORGEOUS! GORGEOUS!

Knit Along Shawl, Part 1

I really like to knit. And if I have to say so myself, I’m pretty good at it.

I started knitting a long time ago. My Nanny taught me when I was pretty young. She loved to knit and was really good at it and used to supplement her retirement income by selling her handmade knitted items. When my sister and I were growing up, our Barbie and Ken dolls did not have any store bought clothes. What my mom didn’t sew, Nanny knit. I still remember the blue knit bathrobe Barbie had and the pink one Skipper had. Great memories! Of course, my mom made my sister and I let me younger cousins ‘borrow’ all of our Barbie stuff once we outgrew it. To say the least, we one got one or two pieces back, they destroyed the rest. I don’t know that we’ll ever really forgive her for that!

I stopped knitting when I got into high school because there were just better things to do. I didn’t start knitting again when I got pregnant, again there were still too many other things to do. Then one day, a new co-worker decided that she would teach all of us to knit or crochet. I picked up those needles, learned the basics again, and have never looked back. My daughter has a tendency to make fun of the things I knit, she really just doesn’t appreciate handmade items. That first Christmas, she made a snarky comment that she bet we were all going to get knit scarves for Christmas. Well, I hadn’t planned on it but decided that she definitely would. So, I knit a scarf to add into every box or bag. She was so frustrated by the last present but I just had a really good laugh at her.

I’ve never done a knit along before. But I was looking at this one, and I do like the pattern so I decided to sign up. We’re doing the Textured Triangle Shawl from Red Heart yarn. The premise of a Knit Along (KAL) is that the pattern is broken down into sections and everyone in the group knits the same section of the pattern during the same period of time. This pattern is already broken down into four sections, so we’ll be knitting it over the next four weeks. Each participant posts a picture of their project at the end of each week.

I needed to buy the yarn and, since most of my knitting needles are still back in a storage locker in Columbus, the required circular needle. (I REALLY do need to get my stuff shipped out here.)

I figured I would just purchase the yarn listed in the pattern since I plan on just wearing it around the house. I should have thought that through. The only color left was black, everything else was out of stock. So, I ended up on my favorite retailer, Amazon. They had lots of the yarn, in just about every color imaginable. I really liked the teal and tangerine. However, they were almost $10 a skein and I needed at least three skeins. I ended up getting off-white. While I think the color is kind of boring, it will do with anything and everything I have in my wardrobe. If I like the shawl, I’ll probably make another one out of organic cotton, in a really cool color.

My yarn arrived today!

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Yarn and needles arrived from Amazon.

I am so excited. I immediately put together my project bag, which includes the yarn, needles, crotch hook for emergencies, and all that other stuff you need in your project bag, including the pattern.

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As I said, I’m pretty excited. I pulled out the pattern, my needles, and the first skein of yarn. I got the needles out of the package and realized they were coiled pretty tight. The pattern begins with just two stitches. The needles are coiled way too tight to allow me to knit those first couple of stitches.

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One way to loosen the coil of your circular needles is to warm them up. So, I turned on the hot water, filled the sink, and let them soak for a while.

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This loosens up the plastic do it is more malleable.

Now it is time to get going on the shawl.

I tried to start the shawl right after I got my yarn but the very first thing in the pattern confused me. I was supposed to make a Garter Tab. I’ve never made one before and the directions in the pattern just totally confused me. They didn’t make any since. I went on the Marly Bird website because she said she was going to post youtube videos and row-by-row instructions. Unfortunately, they weren’t there yet. She actually waited until the start date of the KAL. Sigh

Once the KAL started, I went on the site and found the link to the youtube videos. Once I watched Marly knit the Garter Tab, it turned out to be much less confusing than I thought. After that, the first section of the shawl was pretty easy and I took off. But you know what they say about feeling too confident. It wasn’t long before I realized I had made a mistake somewhere along the way and I had to unravel the whole thing a start over. The silver lining to that is I got to do another Garter Tab so I’ll be really good at that next time I need to make one.

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Luckily, it didn’t take me very long to reknit it. I almost forgot to post a picture of section 1 of my project but I started seeing the notifications from other people’s posts and hurriedly took the picture and posted it to Marly’s Facebook page for the KAL.

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The same night I finished section 1, I started section 2. I really had to pay attention to the row count because this was a lacy section. I got a few rows in and discovered I made a mistake a few rows back. So, I had to take several rows out. Let me tell you, it is a lot more time consuming to take out the stitches when you can’t just rip out the whole thing. It took me two evenings to finish the 2nd section. I’m not posting the picture to Marly’s Facebook page until later this week because the 2nd week started the day after I finished the section.

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After I finished the section I did notice another little boo-boo. I knit a couple of stitches that I should have purled. Oh well, there is no way I’m ripping out all those stitches. It will just have to be that little imperfection that makes a hand knit unique. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

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Since this is a knit-along, we’re doing this in sections. Knit Along Shawl – Part 2 to see how it looks at the end.

 

MCM Coat Rack

One of the things I really wanted was an Eames Hang-It-All. I think the Hang-It-All is so just a wonderful piece, plus it will provide a place to hang my hoodie and purse out of the way. But have you seen the price of those things? It is so not something I can afford. And I love just about everything he has ever designed. So, I started looking on Pinterest for ways to make my own Eames Hang-It-All. I found a few posts that gave me the basics of what I needed to do. All of them used some form of existing coat rack and painted wooden balls. I decided that, since I live in an apartment, I’d use one of the over-the-door coat racks.

I started pricing things out to see where I could get the materials the cheapest. I was down to a combination of Amazon, Michael’s, and the Dollar Store. I was just getting ready to purchase my Amazon supplies when I found a coat rack on Amazon that looks almost exactly like Eames’ and it was less than $30. The total for all the supplies I would need to make my DIY version was way over $30 (much closer to $60-75) and, after spending the time to put it together, it wouldn’t look like an Eames Hang-It-All. So, I bought the knock-off and I don’t feel bad about it. There are times when, even though I love making thinks myself, it is just better and easier to buy what you want. I placed my order and, thanks to my Prime membership, it arrived two days later. I was worried it would look cheap and be made of inferior parts (I was ready to send it back if need be) but it looks wonderful. What do you think?

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It would still be nice if I was able to hang this over the door. Hmmm. I may have to think about that a little bit longer before I drill holes in the wall. I’ll let you know what I finally decide.

The first thing I tried was a hanger made for an ironing board. Unfortunately, it left the coat rack too high to be of much use. Next I purchased two 12-inch wreath hangers. These put the coat rack at the right height (for me) but left it handing too far from the door due to the wide of the hook at the bottom. After all, it was meant to hang a wreath. So, I slowly bent the hooks so they would only be wide enough for the crossbar of the coat rack. I was worried that I would have to heat up the metal but it was soft enough that I  just do with with pliers and my fingers.

I also decided to hang it on the folding doors in the hallway instead of on the outside of the door to my office (spare bedroom). That way, when the door was open during work hours, the coat hanger wouldn’t be in my office. The folding doors hide the washer/dryer and, therefore, are only open when I have to do laundry.

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So now I needed to think of a way to keep the hangers attached to the door. The first thing I tried were some Velcro dots I had. They would hold for a few minutes but then they would pull away from the wall. It was driving me crazy! And I couldn’t use it, which was making me even crazier. I kept looking for something that would hold the coat rack to the wall and carry the weight of my jackets and purse. I finally found these large Command Picture & Frame Hanging Strips on Amazon. These are really heavy duty so each one can support 16 pounds.

I put three strips on each of the hangers. That basically covered the entire length of the hanger.

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I then determined where the hangers needed to be on the door to best support the coat rack, and marked the outside edges.

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I carefully placed each hanger on the door using as much pressure as possible to get a good seal. I then hung the coat rack from the hangers.

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And once I close the doors it looks really nice. I think this is the perfect solution for hanging my coat rack in my apartment.

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Unfortunately, as soon as I hung something on it, the hangers pulled away from the door. I was so disappointed because I only put a scarf and a hat on the rack, not anything heavy. I think this happened because the part over the door was wider than the door. I was thinking that I could add something thick (like layers of cardboard) between the door and the hanger but there really isn’t any easy way for me to get behind the doors since my washer and dryer are in there. I could sit on the washer and close the door but then how would I see, it would be pitch black.

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So, I went back to Amazon to see if I could find anything I could use. I really just did not want to put holes in the walls of the apartment. And I found some more 3M Command Jumbo Utility hooks. They are supposed to be able to hold up step ladders so they should be able to hold up a scarf and hat, shouldn’t they?

I purchased four of the hooks thinking I’d use two on the top crossbar and two on the bottom crossbar. They weren’t as inexpensive as the other 3M hooks I’ve purchased but if they work, they’ll be worth every penny. The pricing was really weird. I could by individual ones for less than $4 but a package of two was almost $10. To say the lease, I bought four individuals ones.

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I had to do a little of measuring to make sure I put them on the door at the same level since I didn’t have to worry about that the when I used the wreath hangers. So, I measured where the bottom of the previous 3M hanger was, used my tape measure to make sure that both marks were at the same level…and you can see how well that worked out.

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That so ticked my off because I had followed the directions on the back of the package exactly to make sure that they stuck to the door really well. So I took the one side off, being ever so thankful for the ease of removing Command hooks. I remeasured and rehung the one hook. After I’d followed the directions exactly again, I waited for almost two hours after that to give the adhesive time to really settle into place before I put the coat rack on.

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You almost can’t see the hooks from the front due to the smaller hooks. The hooks are a little more prominent from the side but still don’t look bad.

I then put the same hat and scarf on the coat rack to see if it would hold. I think this solution is going to work!!

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Four hours later and everything is still looking great! Woo Hoo!!!!

 

Stone Trivets

I was bored. I hate it when I’m bored because I usually do stupid things like eat too much. And since I’m trying to lose some weight, I like to make sure I’m not bored.

So, I started looking for something interesting to do that wouldn’t cost me too much, as it was in between paydays. I had no idea what I wanted to do or what I had the materials to do. I don’t have a lot of supplies here in Arizona yet but I look through those that I had. It was sparse.

So then I started looking around on Pinterest. I kept seeing these trivets made with small rocks or stones. The posts I saw had the small rocks hot glued to felt. I liked the idea of the stone trivets but really thought the felt would just be too floppy.

I had purchased a set of four cork tiles a while back. I had thoughts of making my own corkboard but just never got around to it. And now I’ve found one I really liked on Amazon, and purchased it. I decided the cork would be a good base for the trivets. I also knew that a great place to get the stones I needed was at the Dollar Store.

I made a quick trip to the Dollar Store on Saturday and picked up a couple of bags (along with a few other things I couldn’t seem to live without). Does anyone else have that problem? You go in to the store for something specific and come out with a couple of bags of stuff. And half the time, I forget the item I actually went in for.

So today, I gathered up my supplies and started to work. I thought about using one of my luncheon plates or soup bowls as the pattern for the trivets. However, the soup bowls were too small and the luncheon plates weren’t round. Exactly how did I not remember my plates are square? But I did find the top to the canister I keep my tea in and figured it was just the perfect size. This is actually supposed to be the flour canister but I drink a LOT of tea. My flour I keep in plastic bags so I can store more in a smaller space, while not having to worry about bugs getting in it.

I traced around the outside of the lid to form the circle.

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After cutting it out, I placed the rocks around trying to get the most coverage and an fairly even top.

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After cutting it out, I placed the rocks around trying to get the most coverage and a fairly even top.

Then I started gluing them down. And let me tell you, it is not as easy as you would think it should  be to try to glue them down in the same place where I’d placed them while the designing it. The rocks kept scooting around and slipping. In the end, I just did the best I could at putting them back where I thought they went.

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And here is what it looked like at the end. Now, I’m really glad I used cork for the base, because even though you can see it, it looks like it goes with the rocks.

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For a first try, this isn’t bad. But there seems to be too much space between the stones. I wish I had some very, very small rocks to put in-between the bigger ones, or sand, or just something.

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I had enough cork left over for another round trivet, so I went ahead and cut it out. However, I really wanted to use one of my plates as the pattern since I liked the shape – obviously since they are my plates. But once I cut it out, it really didn’t end up looking all that different from the round ones.

I ended up giving one of the round trivets to my neighbor. She loved it. I gave the other round one to my daughter. She wasn’t all that impressed. In fact, her comment to me was “Getting crafty there, Mom?” She is really not into home made things unless it is her organic face wash, body wash, and other beauty products. Her partner and his son both loved them. Marcus wanted it for himself. Bronwyn said he carried it around all night.

Personalizing My Picture Frames

The walls in my apartment are really bare. I mean I have a clock with a couple of elephant heads and a mirror. All on institutional off-white walls. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I’ve bought a few things to put on the walls but just haven’t gotten around to them up. I think I got caught in trying to make sure everything was going to be perfect before moving forward. And ended up never moving at all. Plus, I’m a procrastinator. I mean, I could win a gold medal in procrastination. One of my favorite movie lines is from Gone with the Wind, Scarlett O’Hara saying, “I’ll think about it tomorrow.” I can definitely get onboard with that. I’ve tried to find a way to stop procrastinating but I keep putting that off. I see a trend here….sigh

Well, something happened that, at least with this project, has made me decide to get my tush moving and get things up on the walls. My mom came for a visit around Thanksgiving and brought two very cool things for me. The first is my original birth certificate. I mean this is the one signed by the hospital when I was born too many moons ago. The other is a picture of me from the front page of the Columbus Dispatch, also many moons ago. Being on the front page of our largest newspaper (we actually had two at that time) was my 15-minutes of fame.

The first thing I started looking for was some picture frames I really liked. That is so much harder than you would think it would be. I mean, there always seems to be so many options. Who knew it would be so hard to find picture frames but nothing was what I liked or was willing to settle for. First, since I’m going mid-century modern, I needed something with clean lines. When I could find something with clean lines, it didn’t come in a color I liked. I mean, I dislike black a lot, which is the predominant color. I don’t like silver or platinum either. I am much more of an earth tone type of girl. I love browns, ivory, gold, bronze, orange, all those earthy tones. I needed something with more color and substance. I kept looking and looking and looking. I couldn’t find anything I really liked. I was really afraid my procrastination habit would kick in and I’d remember to start looking for pictures frames again sometime next year. I kept my motivation going to find the perfect picture frames. I considered this a major accomplishment.

I kept returning to this one set of seven frames I found on Amazon. They had the clean lines I was looking for, a variety of sizes for different uses, and, most importantly, a price tag I could afford. The only problem was they only came in silver. Why couldn’t they come in wood, matte gold, bronze? Anything but silver!! What is the solution? Rust-oleum, of course. I purchased a can of Hammered Copper Rust-oleum so I could make my picture frames a color I liked instead of settling for a color I don’t like. And they will go with the raised copper pipe plant stand, copper legged plant stand, and the copper pipe and leather wine rack that are on my To Do list.

With living in an apartment, spray painting the frames has to be done one at a time. I kept the box I used when I updated my cart. I had stored it in my outdoor storage closet because I just knew it would come in handy later. This can make the project drag out but it keeps management from yelling at me for tie-dying the porch.

I got notification from Amazon that my frames had been delivered but the paint wasn’t coming until the next day. I live at the back of my apartment complex, while the office and the mailboxes are at the front. It is part of my routine to take my dog for a walk up to the office to pick up the mail. This way we both get out in the fresh air and get some exercise. When I know I have packages, I carry a reusable bag I got from JoAnn Fabrics. After getting the mail from the mailbox, I went to the office to get my package. I walked in and immediately saw my box…and immediately knew there was no way that box was going to fit in the bag. The office manager suggested I open the box there and hopefully whatever was inside was small enough to fit in my bag. Sure enough, the Amazon box was much bigger than the box inside.

After unpacking the frames, I decided that the 17” frame would be the first one I would paint. That would be the one for my birth certificate. I ripped off the plastic, turned it over, and saw all the pieces I needed to remove to get the glass out. The corner pieces weren’t difficult to remove but the other ones…now those were a pain. A couple of them came out fairly easily, but the rest were a chore.

I eventually got them all out and removed the cardboard, the really bad picture, and the matting. However, I found that the glass was glued in using rubber cement. I couldn’t get it out. That put an end to the idea to take it out before spray painting it. So, now I needed to come up with a backup plan. Simple, cover the glass with paper.

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I then got out my box and risers from my previous spray painting projects. I only had 4 risers left so I could only spray paint one frame at a time. I am concerned about this because, with the delays, it is very possible my procrastination gene could kick in and I’ll finish painting these next year (if ever). It took a couple of coats but it ended up looking exactly like what I was looking for.

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I love the way my birth certificate looks in the frame. However, as I was admiring my handy work, I noticed a little bit of paint on the glass. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get if off. Then I thought about the disposable razors I had. I got one and hit it with a hammer. The razor was very tiny but I could hold it without cutting myself, and it was bendable too. And it worked. I was able to scrap all the paint off. However, when I was putting everything back together, I noticed there seemed to be a fine film of paint on the inside of the glass. Well crap! I couldn’t take off that with my little razor blade. I went and got my nail polish remover. I ran a cotton ball of remover all over the inside of the glass and the film was gone. Then I spent even more time cleaning the glass to remove any trace of the acetone.

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And there it is!

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The next frame I painted was the one I planned on putting the newspaper picture in. Luckily the smaller frames didn’t have as many things on the back as the big one did. They only had braces on the corners. So much easier to get them out. And the glass came out of frame. But for some reason, it didn’t dawn on me that I could leave the glass out when I painted them. I just covered the glass with paper and painters tape, put it back in, and then put the ‘fake’ picture back in to protect the back of the glass. I really think I just made my life harder than it needed to be.

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Going in, I knew I wouldn’t be able to use the matting so I needed to find something to go behind the picture to frame it out. I remember I had a bunch of scrapbooking paper and really hoped I could find something that looked mid-century modern in the packet. I came up with a few alternatives. The first options had orange in them and seemed to have that mid-century vibe. The second option were my teal options. I laid the picture on each of the options to help make my decision.

I ended up with the second of the orange options.

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I’m still working on the other frames. I’m not sure where I’ll put them all but I have found a location for my birth certificate and my newspaper clippings.

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Treats for Cian

Since my daughter is all grownup, my dog has become my baby. Cian is a 2-year old Pembroke Welsh Corgi. I love him to death and spoil him rotten.

I’ve been looking around for easy recipes so I could make him treats. I wanted him to have something that didn’t have a lot of crap in it and was good for him. Cian probably eats better than I do. I mean, the boy eats chicken & pea grain-free organic dog food from Costco. Costco is one of my favorite places to shop. I always find what I want there and, sometimes, things I didn’t even know I just had to have!

They are all over the place on Pinterest to find something all natural and good for him. And to be honest, it wasn’t difficult at all. The difficulty was narrowing it down to one or two. I finally settled on this 3 Ingredient Chicken Dog Biscuit. I wanted something that wasn’t going to have a lot of ingredients and wouldn’t take much time.

I pulled to everything I needed. The recipe calls for 1 ¼ cup of flour that is anything but wheat. Wheat is one of the top five allergy provoking ingredients for dogs according to the American Kennel Club. So, I decided on a combination of brown rice and garbanzo bean flours.

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For the liquid, the recipe called for 3 tablespoons of oil (I used a canola, olive, grape oil blend) and a 1/3 cup of chicken broth.

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After I mixed it up and was ready to start rolling it and realized it was too dry. While dog biscuits are supposed to be a little drier, the dough was just too dry. I ended adding another tablespoon or so of water and the dough was ready. I just purchased this really cool rolling pin that has these rings at the end that make it easier to get it to the thickness/thinness you want. And of course, I purchased it on Amazon, another one of my favorite places to shop.

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The next important decision was which of my doggy treat cookie cutters I should use. These are the cutest little things (again, an Amazon purchase). I wanted a biscuit that wasn’t too big so I decided go with the paw print.

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After rolling it out, I got all the little paws cut out and into the oven they went.

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Twenty minutes in the oven and they are ready for Cian. In fact, he has already had his first one. He likes them and I like knowing exactly what is in them.

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Now off to get the bread machine going and to start baking (not in the bread machine) the five (5) acorn squash my neighbor gave me.

Mid-Century Modern Redesign

Mid-century modern (MCM) is my favorite style of décor. That era is known for the clean lines of the furniture, the colors, the atomic bursts. I love the

I am slowly replacing all my furniture and décor with mid-century modern MCM or MCM inspired pieces. The very first thing I purchased was a dresser and mirror to use as my TV stand. I love the look of the dresser and I works great as my TV stand. Well, it worked better before I bought my new 43” TV. Now there isn’t much space left over on the sides to hold he DVR and internet router. I’m already working on the plans for my new entertainment center, which I’m going to build myself.

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And I hung the mirror on the wall. It looks pretty good too. My wall doesn’t look quite so bare now. See the updates in Personalizing My Picture Frames.

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The next thing I bought was a multi-colored ball clock. This isn’t the clock I want for the long haul but it is cute and runs well. I really want one of the wooden atomic clocks but this one will work for the time being. I bought it off Amazon and put it together myself. I think it’s cute.

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I have also purchase a number of little knickknacks off ebay to place around the apartment. One of the first purchases was a pretty little orange ashtray. When my daughter saw it, her comment was “Why do you have an ashtray?” My answer? Buying an MCM ashtray is cheaper than purchasing an MCM bowl and I just needed something small to put change and my keys in. I also have my Aladdin teapot from the Hall China Company, my Drip-o-lator coffee pot also from the Hall China Company, and a cool looking vase. I really love stuff from the Hall China Company and have a lot more in storage back in Columbus. The vase I purchased because I have a matching tea set back in Columbus also. I really need to get my stuff out here to Tucson. I’ve also made a number of purchases as I went Thrifting .

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A major purchase I’m really enjoying is my new couch and chair. I finally had to break down and replace the old stuff I’d been using for the last few years. I wanted grown-up furniture. I measured the long wall in the apartment so I would know exactly how long a couch would fit comfortably, while leaving room by the front door. Over to Sam Levitz I went with my daughter. Bronwyn doesn’t not like MCM at all but I knew she would keep me from spending too much. I found this really nice set on sale that would fit in my apartment without making the room look super small and cramped. I wish it had come in a color other than grey but I can live with the color because I really like the MCM shape, while being new construction. It came with two of the grey and white pillows. I’ve since purchased additional MCM inspired pillows.

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I also found a really cool MCM coat rack that is a knock-off of the Eames Hang-It-All. You can read about why I decided on the coat rack I purchased and how I decided to hang it in MCM Coat Rack.

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Cart Update, Part 2

My honorary grandkids came over today since school was closed for a long weekend. (Don’t get me going on how they don’t fund the schools here so kids are out all the freaking time so they can reduce costs.) Any way, the boys and I had a good time. We talked about what they wanted for Christmas (which is a ways out still), watered the plants, and they played Minecraft for hours and hours because I was working.

After I had finished working for the day, Junior asked if we could paint the cart. We decided to go for it. While he continued to play Minecraft, I started prepping the cart for paint. First, I gathered everything I thought I would need: sandpaper blocks, Goo Gone, paper towels, cleaners, and a screwdriver. I started just cleaning the whole thing since it has been sitting around for a while. It was a little dusty and had some dog hair on it. I keep telling Cian that he needs to keep his hair to himself, he is causing Mommy a lot of work but he just doesn’t seem to understand that concept.

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After cleaning, I went to work on a couple of places that had stickers or tape. The first place was just one of those stickers you get on your banana or pepper. I tried using the sandpaper on it but that didn’t work very well. Then I tried using the Goo Gone but that did absolutely nothing. So I finally decided to just use the good ole’ screwdriver and scrap it off. That worked really well on the paper portion of the sticker. And the Goo Gone worked really well on the glue. One sticky place down, one to go.

The second part was on the handle where they decided to use a bazillion yards of tape to keep the price tag on. I mean, they just wrapped and wrapped that tape around the handle. So first I had to figure out where the tape started and ended to see if I could start there to unwrap it. That didn’t work…they’d wrapped it back on itself. I finally found a little pucker on one end of the tape. I got out my trusty screwdriver and went to work. It took a little while but I finally got the tape and price tag off. Used a little more Goo Gone and, Woo Hoo, I was ready for the next step in getting the cart ready to redo.

That is also where I ran into a major stumbling block. With my screwdriver in hand, I started to unscrew the handles from the trays. HUH! Nope, that wasn’t happening. Those screws were NOT going to budge. They didn’t care that I was ready to work. They didn’t care that I wasn’t going to throw them away but put the whole thing back together again once I finished painting everything. They just plain didn’t care. Markus decided that he would try, because being a 7-year old, he believes he is strong enough to take on anything. Huh, again nope. Junior took a break from playing Minecraft to give it a try, because being 9 is so much better. We finally just stared at the thing, ready to kick it, when Markus says, “My dad can do it. He is really strong.” That worked for me! Well, when Alfonso got here to pick up the boys, he couldn’t get them undone either. What he did notice is that we needed a wrench or ratchet set to undo the nuts on the back side of the screws. That was what was holding them in so tight. Alfonso said he would come back this weekend with the right tools to help me.

Friday was a vacation day for me so my friend, Sawnya, came over with her son to hang out. Later in the day, her husband showed up and we were talking about the cart. He took a look at it. He agreed that the nuts on the inside needed to be loosened and said he had a ratchet set in his car. He set to work, and in no time at all, my cart was laying on the floor in pieces. Thank you, Nick!

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Looks like I have more cleaning to do because the bottom of those shelves look to be in pretty bad shape!

I waited until the next day but I now have all the shelves and the handles sanded and cleaned up. I’m ready to go. Then I start thinking, “Where am I going to do this?” I mean, I live in an apartment. So, there is no basement to use. I could take it outside but I don’t think the management would appreciate it much it I got paint all over my patio, or their grass or rocks (they use a lot of rocks out here in southern Arizona), regardless that I think Satin Lagoon is really pretty. Maybe I could take it over to my daughter’s place. I know she has a drop cloth I could use in her garage. But that means I won’t be able to start until I can make those arrangements.

Then I see it – that huge box sitting in my living room. I just got a shipment from Amazon of pillow inserts and they came in a great big box. I guess this is one time that be slow to take something out to the dumpster (read as just being lazy about it) is going to pay off for me. I open up that box and use it on my patio. Cian is finding the whole thing fascinating.

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The one thing I bought when I first decided to do this project were these things called Painter’s Pyramid. I was worried about the edges of the shelves looking good.

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And these are doing exactly what I wanted them to do! They keep the shelves up off their edges so I don’t have to worry about the paint making the shelve stick to the box. And they have turned out to be very handy when I turn the shelves over. I don’t have to worry about putting the new paint down on the cardboard. It just sits on those little points.

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Everything seemed to be moving right along. I started painting while participating in my favorite Saturday habit, watching college football. And that worked out great b because I needed to wait at least an hour before putting on a second coat. So, I’d put on the first coat during the pre-game yakking, then a halftime I would put on the second coat. And when the game was over, I could turn the shelf over and spray the bottom. I decided to only use one coat on the bottom, because it was the bottom. It didn’t need to be perfect like the top. I still made sure everything was covered nicely but one coat was enough.

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Since I could only do one shelf at a time, it took most of the day to do two of them. Which is when I noticed another little problem. I really thought that one can of spray paint would be enough. As I was shaking it after doing the bottom of the second shelf, I noticed there didn’t seem to be too much paint left in the can. Definitely not enough for the last shelf. Well, just fudge!!!

In order not to waste time, I decided to do the handles. I stood the box up against the patio wall and balanced the handle inside there. This turned out to be the perfect solution. I could only do one handle at a time and just had time to do one handle before it got too late. It did take two coats on both sides of the handle to make it look really nice. And now the inside of the box reminds me of the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz.

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For the night, I didn’t want to stack them up because they hadn’t had the time for the paint to really set. I was really afraid that leaning them up against each other would cause them to stick together. I ended up balancing the two shelves on the corners of the patio wall and left the handle in the box so they had a nice curing time.

I’m still waiting to get a new can of Satin Lagoon so I can finish painting the shelves. But in the meantime, I was thinking about how good it was going to look when I got it all back together again. And it hit me. What in the world did the screws look like? I mean, the shelves and handles both had rust and scrapes on them, chances are the screws were too. The screws and nuts were in a baggie on the counter so I took a look. Sure enough, they looked very sad… I needed to find a box or other piece of cardboard I could put the screws in so they would stay stand up. Don’t they look gorgeous now?

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I got another can of the Satin Lagoon and finished painting the trays. Now the cart is ready to be put back together!

It took a while but I finally got my friend, Nick, to come back with his tools and put my cart back together. I just absolutely LOVE it. It is everything I envisioned it would be.

Peanut Butter – Take 2

As I’ve said before, I really love peanut butter. However, I decided to stop buying process peanut butter (goodbye Skippy) that contained way too much sugar and salt. Well, actually my daughter made that decision for me.

My first attempt at making peanut butter turned out pretty good. The flavor was excellent but the texture wasn’t what I was looking for. When I add the last ¼ cup of peanuts to make it chunky, it added chunks as well as peanut dust. So, it was grainy. Now, I don’t know if you’ve very had grainy peanut butter but it leaves a whole lot to be desired. I mean, I ate it but it was a little like eating really good tasting mud pie or sand from the sandbox.

I decided that it was time to try again and see if I could make some really great tasting, super-duper, chunky peanut butter. I also decided I would do a much better job timing how long it took to get the smooth consistency I wanted and taking pictures as I went along.

Again, I was totally surprised by how loud it was. It is really, really loud! Cian made his objections heard over the food processor. Lord have mercy!! I am really going to have to get ear plugs or something.

As you can see, it goes through a number of stages. I missed the photo of when it turned into a little dough ball. I didn’t remember it doing that the first time and just thought, “Crap! I’ve screwed it up. What did I do wrong?” But I figured I had nothing to lose by letting it run a little longer and, wa-lah, it loosened up again and started to look like peanut butter again, instead of a hot mess.

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pb09 2 1/2 minutes

pb12 Approximately 4 minutes

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Then to get super chunky peanut but without the grainy texture, I decided to remove the smooth peanut butter from the food processor before making the chunks. I thought I would have to put the peanut chunks through a sieve to get rid of the dust. But I didn’t have to.

As you can see, all of the dust stuck to the residue left in the bowl. This left me with some nice chunks to add to my smooth mixture. To be on the safe side, I still poured them into the sieve. I really DID NOT want to have grainy peanut butter again.

pb16 The super-duper chunks.

pb18 Adding the chunks.

I thought I was all done. I took a little taste and it became very clear I had forgotten something. I quickly stirred in a scant ¼ teaspoon of my super fine pink Himalayan salt and a scant ¼ teaspoon of stevia.

I now have great tasting super chunky peanut butter with the perfect texture! I’ve added the updated recipe below.

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I was already to make myself a PB&J (organic red raspberry preserves) and discovered I was out of bread. No peanut butter sandwich for me. I am greatly disappointed. I am going to have to postpone my pleasure until later.

Super Duper Homemade Chunky Peanut Butter

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cup unsalted, roasted peanuts, separated
  • ¼ tsp finely ground salt, or to taste (I used pink Himalayan salt)
  • ¼ tsp stevia, or to taste

Directions

  1. Place 1 cup of peanuts in bowl of food processor.
  2. Grind peanuts until smooth. This could take approximately 5 minutes, so be patient.
  3. Add salt & stevia and pulse to combine.
  4. Remove peanut butter from food processor bowl.
  5. Add remaining ¼ cup of peanuts to food processor.
  6. Pulse until you receive the desired chunk size.
  7. Place peanut chunks in fine mesh sieve to separate peanut dust from chunks.
  8. Add chunks to smooth peanut butter and stir to combine.