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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Howie and the Skunk

Howie herding chickens...

Howie relaxing at the beach

I have been accused of loving my dogs more than my kids on numerous occasions. This is not true, but I admit to loving me some Boston Terriers. My boys, Howie and Harvey are angels from Heaven. Harvey is a pound dog. He is straight  from the streets. We got Howie as a puppy and have had him for six years. He is a good boy, but lacks the personality of Harvard (his "real" name).
If you don't know Bostons are generally black and white like skunks. I think Howie believes skunks are Boston Terriers. For this reason he seems to hunt them out. He has been skunked five times. Yep, five times. It is always late at night right before I am going to bed.
The first time he was sprayed I used the tomato juice method. It didn't work. After this I researched and found a few other ways to deskunk a dog AND a house. The worst skunk attack ever was unexpected (they all are, but this was in the dead of winter). Typically, we have skunk issues in the summer. I am prepared for skunks in the summer. This attack happened President's Day weekend in February. Howie went out and I left the sliding glass door open for him to come back in while I went to the bathroom. The next thing I knew I smelled skunk and watched as he ran under our bed and rolled around. Major problem.
Our first priority was the carpet. I sprinkled coated the area with baking soda (after taking our entire bed apart in lightening speed) and then doused it a mixture of water, hydrogen peroxide and dish soap. We used a rubber broom (some crazy thing my husband bought at the state fair) to rub the concoction into the carpet. We vacated the room for the night and left the window open. I repeated this the next day and then the following day (and the day after that) I shampooed the area. Needless to say we were out of our room for nearly a week. This may not seem like our solution was successful, but after a week the smell was gone. My friend who did not use this method eventually had to have her carpet replaced and claims she can still smell the skunk. Skunk spray is that bad.
Back to Howie. The entire time we cleaned our room Howie was shakin like bacon in the garage. I took him into the laundry room and began to spray him down with warm water. He was shampooed up with baking soda, dish soap, and hydrogen peroxide as well. I let it sit on him for a few minutes and then rinsed. After two washings I dried him and sprayed him with Fresh Ayre. This is a pet deodorizer that is safe to spray on pets. He spent the night in the garage, but was no worse for wear.
If you got right up next to his face you could still smell a little of the skunk, but not much.
Now, I keep baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and dish soap in my laundry room which is conveniently located by the door the dogs use most of the time. Sure enough, last night Howie hooked up with another skunk. This time he went into the spa and was deskunked in no time. In fact, he didn't even have to spend the night in the garage.
As for skunk removal I have a fine neighbor who takes care of that. He is retired and loves to come up with ways to keep busy. Skunk catching is one of his hobbies. Last summer he trapped and relocated sixteen. I am headed over later today to talk to him about what his stats look like this year. These pictures were taken with his trail cam last summer. All I can say is the only thing skunks have going for them is they are black and white.

"Dream" Vacation Realized on the Cheap

My kids are weird. Maybe it is because they have weird parents. A year ago we asked them if they could go anywhere for vacation where would they want to go? No Disneyland here. Nope. Hawaii was sung in unison by two kids who never agree on anything.
In October Delia had the genius idea of making a Hawaidy fund. She got out the old plastic water jug and tried as best she could to write Hawaii on it. She calls it Hawaidy so that is what we wrote on it. Delia put all of her extra money in the jug. She had a few cupcake sales, did chores for the neighbors and swiped a few dollars from unsuspecting relatives. Drexler didn't put nearly as much in, but he did help collect cans and get them ready for recycling refunds. After after seven months they had nearly $400. First, we checked out our local travel agent. While I love to shop local, this was option was WAY too expensive. Next we looked at other online options (think Expedia, Travelocity, etc.). Still pretty pricey. One night when my husband was leaving Costco he grabbed a flyer and decided to check their travel packages out. BINGO.
Our package included flights, ground transportation, a lei greeting, and our hotel for six nights. We booked it and began to plan and save. We decided we wouldn't tell the kids and surprise them. They kept saving and we kept saying, "Next summer we will go to Hawaii." We made payments on the trip and had it paid off in April.
My husband and I are both teachers and any big items we purchase have to be planned out and saved for. I picked up some extra "gigs" to help pay for the trip and began to sell furniture and other items to help fund the trip. We do make an annual trek to the Oregon coast for a week each summer (and it ain't cheap), but this was about twice as much as that trip. In the end we were able to make it work.

We came up with an elaborate plan to surprise the kids. They are pretty perceptive and usually know when things are coming down the pike. This time they were clueless. We told them we were taking my sister to the airport and afterwards we were going to breakfast with my friend from high school and her kids (I knew Drex would try to stay home and not go to the airport). The day before I packed everything while the kids were out and about and put the bags in Nana's car. The morning of the trip everything else was subtly stowed in the back of my sister's trunk. We were off.
We got to the airport and my husband turned on the recorder. "Delia, Drexler get out of the car." They thought they were in trouble. They hopped out and dad told them we were going to Hawaii. Pure shock. Utter joy.

As I write this we are in Hawaii (by the time I post it we will be back) and down to our final day and a half. We are a bit sunburned and exhausted from a day of snorkeling and body surfing. We have had a terrific time. We haven't blown too much money and spent wisely. It has been worth every penny we saved. Here are a few of the money saving tips I will share:

  • Costco Travel- I would check all sources out, but we found them to be the easiest and most trusted to work with the most safe guards. A caveat, my co-worker is also here on a a Costco vacation and had an issue with construction outside their room. They were upgraded and Costco ensured every little thing would be all right (I have been on an island for five days after all).
  • Groupon- I signed up for Oahu Groupon right after we bought the tickets. I purchased a double decker bus pass (good for 24 hours), pizza, hamster ball "rides" (don't ask), a catamaran ride, and a moped rental. All of these Groupons worked and the plus side is that if they didn't Groupon has a great refund policy. Be sure to check out the location of your lodgings and make sure you will be able to access them on your trip.
  • Pack Snacks- I packed several zip lock baggies of snacks and we have gone through them. This has saved me from having to buy them at expensive stores.The other benefit of this is when we return we will have extra room in our bag for trinkets.
  • Grocery Store- When you arrive try to get yourself to a grocery store. Wal-Mart, Target, Safeway, or whatever. Buy snacks, breakfast items, etc. Breakfast adds up and if you can get by without buying it at a restaurant you can save. Our hotel didn't offer full kitchens (in Oahu most don't because they want you to eat out so you spend money), but we had a fridge and were able to heat up water for Cup O' Noodles and and a few other things.
  • Research- Talk to people before you go and do your research. There are tons of people here trying to sell packages and day trips. Most of them are WAY out of our budget. For example a trip to snorkel cost $60 per person. This would have cost our family $240. We were able to rent a car for the entire day and make several stops PLUS snorkel for $160.
  • Eating Out- I admit to "checking in" with Foursquare. I don't publish my whereabouts on Facebook or anything, but have found looking at tips via Foursquare is a good source of info. Be aware when you eat out. My son loves him some McDonald's. I would rather skip a meal than eat there most of the time. Last night we looked in McDonald's and did the math. It would have cost us $27 to have dinner. We ended up at a local place and had fantastic food for $37. It was worth the $10 to have WAY BETTER food provided by locals.
I am sure I could come up with some more tips, but it is time for us to hit the streets and check out the night life here on Waikiki. More memories to be made. Muhalo.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Tale of Two Tables

In the last few weeks I have been a painting fool. I was gearing up for my trunk show and I could not paint fast enough.  Last Friday my local Salvation Army was having a half-off sale. Being a glutton for punishment I went with my truck and left with four tables, an old baby crib, and a few smaller items. More tables. Seriously right now I have seven hanging out in my garage. Here are two of them:

This one is SOLID oak and is heavy. I am not a fan of oak right now. Maybe because I have oak floors, oak doors and oak cabinets and I just get tired of it. The brass on the glass also made this piece a bit dated. I think my boyfriend in high school had this table in his parent's living room. Mmmm...

I painted it with Sherwin Williams Beyond  Blue and Westinghouse White. I added my secret ingredients to the paint of course. I top coated it with poly. Doesn't it scream beach house to you? Wish I had one to put it in.

This little lady was a lot of fun. I originally thought about doing a ruler table with her, but after time began to tick away I scaled back. I painted it with Sherwin Williams Mink and put chalkboard paint on top. I can imagine someone writing messages on top. If it were mine I would write, "Drexler brush your teeth" or "Delia did you brush your hair today?".

It has Annie Sloan Dark Wax on top. I really like the curves of this one.

My other five tables are still waiting in the garage for some attention. I am taking a little break from painting this weekend. My hand was starting to hurt!

I Heart Buffets

I really do have a thing for buffets. Credenza? Sideboard? Call them what you like, but I like them all. They are great for storage and for displaying vignettes. I have had several buffets in my lifetime and currently am sporting a gorgeous cherry wood one with Venetian glass. I probably won't part with it anytime soon because it has sentimental value.
This buffet was a bear. I picked it up by myself all the way on the other side of the world. It was a hot day and it was not fun. This sucker is HEAVY. When I unloaded it I realized it was a lot more banged up then I thought. I had to fill in some places and do a little more work than I like. After I finally came up with a color scheme and began painting I started to actually like it. THEN, I went to add the hardware.
 I thought I was being smart by punching the hardware holes into a piece of paper so when I went to Home Depot (and eventually Lowes) I could simply take the drawer pull to ensure it lined up. I did this. I really did. When I got home I put two handles on and then stated on the next drawer. Not good. They didn't fit. Two of the drawers had different size pulls. After several trips to the hardware store I finally found some that matched and fit.
The colors on this are Sherwin Williams Westinghouse White and Mink. I top coated it with Annie Sloan Dark Wax. Even with the damage it looks great. In fact, it would look lovely in my kitchen. Never mind I don't want to drag it up the stairs it is that heavy so alas it is for sale.

Ralph Lauren Isn't Just For Polos

It started back when I was in 7th grade. I discovered Ralph Lauren and fell in love. I was a prep. I wanted only Ralph Lauren polo shirts, but my parents absolutely could not afford to deck me out in such high style. When I got to college, and had my year of credit card indiscretion, I purchased my share of RL. I still remember my tartan plaid RL shoes...wish I hadn't of ruined them at a crazy party!
Anyway, nearly seven years ago when we bought our house I fell in love with Ralph Lauren paint. I painted our living room wall with a beautiful metallic blue paint over the textured wall paper. I still love that wall.
I picked this buffet up for a song at a salvage store. They don't typically have furniture, but on this day they did. I fell in love with the Bake Lite tortoise shell handles. It sat in my garage for awhile waiting for me to find some inspiration. I decided to go big and pulled out my RL metallic paint. I believe the color is Regency.
I mixed up my secret chalk paint recipe and went at it. I was a little concerned it may not work since this was a metallic paint and is similar to a glaze, but it went on like butter. I only needed one coat and when the paint dried I liked it, but didn't love it. Ugh.The only retailer of Annie Sloan in the Portland area is about 20 miles from my house. I debated on using something else, but in the end I made the trek to The Purple Pear to pick up a tub of dark wax. I am glad I did.

I ended up leaving a strip of wood because I thought it played off the handles well. I really wanted to keep this piece, but alas I let it go. In fact, it was one of my first sales at the trunk show. The buyer also purchased an end table done in the same color. The good news is I have plenty of paint left so I think I see a lot of Ralph Lauren in my future. Too bad he is making clothes in China these days...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Two Shades of Grey

I hear there is a trilogy out about the color grey that women across the country are swooning over. The only grey I am getting excited about is Sherwin Williams Jubilee and Stunning Shade.

I picked this dresser up for a song. It had great shape and details and is very sturdy. The drawers even work and I am pretty sure if I had a skeleton key I could even lock them. This is a solid wood piece, but the wood was pretty rough. I thought about removing the varnish and restaining it for a second, but then I looked at the clock and figured it would be too time consuming.

After looking at the sides I decided to try a two tone look because it had a natural pattern I could follow. I started with Stunning Shade (the darker grey) and loved it. After looking at it play off the top of the dresser I decided to keep stain it and keep it natural. I then picked Jubilee as my lighter color. The result:

The previous owner had some of the orginal hardware, but had added some different handles at the bottom. I was a bit peeved because they had drilled new holes to do so. The handles were a standard size so there was no need to do this. I patched the holes and made a trip to Hippo Hardware (www.hippohardware.com) to find matching hardware, but found out it would cost me half the price to simply buy new knobs at Home Depot. By the way for those of you in the Portland area you really should check out Hippo...quirky and very Portland.

The key hardware was a antique brassy color and it looked like it would be a bear to remove. It was also very thin and I was afraid removing it would bend it up. Enter my  handy dandy silver paint pen. I simply used the pen to silverize the hardware and now the new handles and old hardware matched.

I love the way this guy turned out. I am calling him a guy because the grey and wood seem to be well...manly. This stud will be for sale at my Trunk Show. Come and check him out.

This brings me back to Shades of Grey. No, I have not read the books. No, I do not plan to read them anytime soon ever. I am a reader, but typically if everyone is reading a book it will be everybody but me. I have never read Harry Potter (and I teach middle school Language Arts). I have never read Twilight. I have read The Hunger Games, but the only reason that happened was because my ten-year-old asked me to read them with him. As a mom I couldn't say no.