Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Elegant Dog Dishes- DIY

It seems like a contradiction in terms, doesn't it? Dog dishes, elegant? No...
Well, while shopping for a nice looking raised bowl for our new large dog, I found a few very attractive options on www.ohmydogsupplies.com. (Gotta love the name, huh?)
I thought these bowls were simply stunning, and perfect for the look I'm going for in my kitchen makeover!

But the prices ($49.95 for the 5", $87.95 for the 9.5", and $129.95 for 13.25") were pretty stunning, too! Even I couldn't justify that much. (I know, because tried...)

I also quite liked this somewhat more reasonably priced option:

But for $44.95-$73.95, it was still a bit more than I wanted to spend. $59.95 for the 9.25 inch red one was awfully tempting, though!

Me being me, however, I of course though to myself, "I bet I could make something like that for way less..." So, a-shopping I went!

First I found this stainless steal bowl at Walmart for I think $4.44. (it was $4.something)

With that tapered bottom and generous lip, it was like it was designed to hang inside of something! So I bought that and headed over to Home Goods to see if they had a pretty pot it might sit inside of.

Lo and behold, I found this 12" tall beauty:

For $16.99! And that Walmart bowl sits inside it like they were made for each other!

It's the perfect height for Tembo:

And even Toby gets up on his tiptoes and drinks from it!

So maybe my version isn't quite as ornate as the OhMyDog version,

But for a savings of $108.52, I like mine just fine!!

Total fancy dog bowl cost: $21.43. YAHOO!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Free DIY Bud Vase

For probably two years now, I've been shopping for a couple of nice bud vases. With my burgeoning garden, I have more opportunities to bring in just one or two little flowers than I do to make a whole bouquet, but for some reason I've been SUPER picky. The last three trips to Brimfield I've been really looking for cute bed vases in crystal, or silver color, or even a pink, green or blue glass. I certainly saw lots, but they were either not the right shape to actually hold a flower (anyone else notice that tulip-shaped vases seemed designed to kill flowers?), or too much money, or I don't know what. So there I was, entering into another cut-flower season, still with no bud vase. Any my new hybrid tea roses were just crying out to be brought in since they were wilting within hours of the sun rising!

And then just the other day, I was cleaning out the cupboards in the kitchen when I hit upon some old herbs in jars. Dried herbs in 4 inch tall, thin glass jars... And as I was thinking what a waste to chuck those in the recycling bin, when I thought "ah HA!"
I peeled off those labels, ran out, clipped a few flowers, and stuck them in there!

Sure, if you get up close you can tell what they are. And they certainly aren't what I'd pick out if I were shopping for them...

But for free, I think they're pretty darn cute!

And they really are just right for just one or two blooms on a short stem, which is what I usually have! So now I have a couple of perfectly proportioned vases to hold me over until I find some real ones- maybe at Brimfield in July?

Random other garden news:

I have a zucchini!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Blackstone Heritage State Park

Today Hubby and I decided to make the most of the sunshine and headed out for a little nature walk with Tembo. (Tembo, formerly known as Marley, was named after a baby elephant in the John Wayne movie Hatari!, which is a GREAT movie!) We headed down south to the Blackstone Heritage State Park, which I hadn't been to before. Hubby thinks he's been there before, but I told him if even after going he's not sure, then it doesn't count!

Unfortunately, just a few minutes before we arrived thunder clouds began forming, and were looking rather ominous by the time we got out of the car! One of the park rangers was driving around on a golf cart warning people that there were thunder storms with strong winds and heavy rains expected to come through in 10-15 minutes!

Well, I was hardly dressed for rain since it was 90 degrees and humid, but the sun was still peeking through in spots, so we decided to see a bit of the trail before the rain started really coming down!
There was a nice carriage trail running along the river, with loads of flowers and flowering shrubs growing along it. The path was warm, but the trees shaded it in places so we had a chance to cool off!
(Photo from website.) There is a canoe put-in right by the visitor center, and since there was very little motion to the water (see all that pollen floating on it in the previous picture? It wasn't moving,) I imagine it would be a nice, easy paddle!

If you head over the bridge to the left it's a short walk to the end of the path where there is access to a part of the river that is much cleaner. I decided to let Tembo dip his feet and get a drink to cool off, but was careful not to let him get in too deep so we wouldn't be driving home with a wet dog.

Unfortunately, Tembo had other ideas!

I let him in ankle-deep, and he promptly laid down! Oh well, at least we'd brought the dog towel with us!

Seeing as he was already thoroughly wet, I decided to let him have a little fun! Shortly thereafter another ranger came by to warn us that the torrential rains were imminent, so we high-tailed it back to the car and headed home!

I forgot to take pictures of it all, but there were fields to play in, a series of trails to hike, and tens of picnic tables scattered across the lawn and in the woods. We only got to spend about half an hour there today, but we'll definitely be heading back another day!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Commencing Kitchen Makeover: Phase 1

Err... actually, I guess this is sort of phase 2 already, since I have painted in there once. But this is the REAL makeover, not just a stop-gap!

Here's where my kitchen is now (more or less, I've done a few things since this shot was taken!)

Dark red oak cabinets, dark reddish counters, dark reddish linoleum floors... all in all way too dark! Despite the patio doors and double window I need the lights on in there pretty much all the time!
I know I want to paint the cabinets white, and brighten up the walls. Ideally (at some point!) I would love to replace the counters with butcher block (sort of impractical, but I LOVE them!), and run the same wood floor we installed in our dining room through the kitchen as well.

In a great flurry of "must get started!" last weekend I ran out and got a couple color samples to see what my idea might look like. That one white cabinet looks so funny! (Don't worry, that door is coming down, so I can test on it without worrying about messing it up!)

I also know I want to turn some of the cabinets into open shelving and paint the interiors an accent color.

But what color exactly? Well, not the one I just put up there! Something a little more green, I think. I've got all the chips stuck up around my giant iron trivet, since that's one thing I'm pretty sure I want to stay in the room!
Here are a few of the inspiration pics I'm working from:

This one from Better Homes and Gardens has the sort of glam-cottage feel I want. I love the colors, though I don't know if I'll do that green on the walls, or just inside the cabinets.

Not sure where I got this shot from, but I LOOOOOOVE those counters! And the white combined with the wood and the tarnished silver... ooh yeah...

How can you not love Brooke's kitchen from Velvet and Linen? Both in this incarnation, and the update! So light and airy! She's also made great use of different textures. Lots to be inspired by here!

And then I kind of like these two 50's looking ones from coastal living.

I'm seriously contemplating spraying my fridge a minty-blue color!

This is something like I'm hoping my doorless cabinets might look with a little trim added on. (I think this shot was also from Coastal Living.)

And finally, I would love to put some kind of sparkly mother-of-pearl backsplash up like this one. I think a full backsplash is well out of my current budget, but I'm thinking I could do something above the stove and sink at least! (again, lost the source on this photo, let me know if you know who should get credit!)
That doesn't exhaust my inspiration file, in the least, but I think these shots give the best taste what I'm going for.
Stay tuned to see what I end up doing next!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pretties from the Garden

Some garden pictures from the last two weeks:

Really cool, structural Iris- what kind is this one, Mom? (it was a transfer from her garden!)

Stella D'Oro Lily, smells wonderful!

A couple varieties of Peonies- the white fragrant ones bloomed last week, and these pink ones are EXPLODING this week! (Do you see the dog peeking out the door?)

I've been cutting them and bringing them in and they're holding up wonderfully!

Fun in this centerpiece I picked up at Brimfield this spring.

And here with another bouquet from the garden with the Siberian Iris, Ladies' Mantle, Liatrus, Lemon Bee Balm, and foliage from the yet-to-bloom Giant Phlox (World Peace, I think.) From here:

And here:

There are a few plants in that picture that I can't remember what they are... specifically that short one at the center top. Anyone know? (picture should get pretty big if you click on it!)

The Blaze Rose isn't looking terribly happy after a mid-spring transplant, but it did give me its first flower! Yay! (Except that all the attention to that area seems to be really encouraging those weeds- I pulled them less than two days ago!)

And the new Hybrid Tea Rose looks pretty happy!

Toby likes all the new mulch...

Happy window boxes on the deck:

We have strawberries!

And, umm, I think we're going to have zucchini...

That thing grows fast! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it stays that way!