Not So Divine (Or I Become a Plumber)

You know how I promised these posts would be “Dedicated to All Things Canine and Divine”? Well, here’s what’s NOT divine.

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My sink situation.

My maintenance guy is out of town for a family emergency and this bog of eternal stench has been brewing since Thursday. This morning I decided to take matters into my own hands because I just CAN’T with the smell for another minute.

I watched a bunch of YouTube videos about sink clogs, which obviously makes me a plumber, and then I set off for Home Depot with my assistant for supplies.

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He was mesmerized by the place.

Who can blame him, though? The Home Depot is made of amazing.

It was a successful outing until…

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Someone stepped in a broken bag of cement.

(In his defense, I did too.)

Once I solve the sink problem I may need to investigate how to clean the leather without accidentally making concrete on my seats.

Anyway back to the sink…

I drained the stagnant bog water by removing part of the pipe, but the blockage that caused the problem in the first place is somewhere in the P trap, and I can’t get the slip nuts off to remove it. I probably need a wrench or someone with bigger hands to get it off.

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Slip nuts and I are NOT friends.

Phil’s* supposed to call me later to walk me through solutions for the sink because I may have reached a bit of an impasse, so for now I’m taking a break and drinking a beer because it seems like a good thing to do now that I’m a plumber. #sortakinda

*He’s back in Minnesota, but that’s why God made FaceTime and stuff.

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Office SOS (Or I’m Redecorating)

I ran out of rooms to redecorate in my apartment long ago. Luckily, I have an office in desperate need of a makeover. Up until this point I have mostly been tossing things on walls and shelves haphazardly just to get them out of the back of my walk-in at home, but the madness needs to stop.

I need a plan.

I spend most of my waking hours at work, so it’s time to take charge of the situation.

This is what it looks like now… overexposed photo and all.

Office on Dogs Dishes and Decor

This window is in DIRE need of drapes.

I’m thinking maybe some crisp black and white stripes.

Something like this perhaps?

Or does that make it feel too prison-y?

I can’t decide….

Here’s another angle of the work in progress.

Office on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Obviously, I need to put a cushion on that awkward ledge. The Legos? Are not cutting it.

The ledge probably needs some of these pillows too.

Pillows on Dogs Dishes and Decor

These pillows are everything. The neutrals are Anthropologie and the delicious pops of gold are Caitlin Wilson.

I’m also tempted to hide the hideous carpet that looks like a filthy slice of red velvet cake with this Caitlin Wilson rug.

British Bouquet Rug from Caitlin Wilson on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Caitlin knows what she’s doing with color. Just saying.

I mean the carpet is so bad it drove my dog to violence.

See?

Albus of Dogs Dishes and Decor

He killed his birthday Storm Trooper.

I also want to DIY something like this for wall.

String Art on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Find more madness with string inspiration here.

What do you think?

Anika of Dogs Dishes and Decor

Am I crazy?

Actually?

Please don’t answer that. I think the answer lies somewhere in the Office Pinterest Board I created this morning.

And just because I love YOU almost as much as I love Pinterest, I’ll leave you with this Kill Them With Colour Remix.

I’m off to work.

XOXO

)

It’s Time to Talk About Elephants Part 1 (Or How to Make Elephant Favors for a Baby Shower)

Last March I threw a baby shower for my friend Katy. She and I grew up five miles away from each other in East Lansing, we both went to the University of Michigan… and we were both born August 3.

Kinda crazy, right?

Anyway, I didn’t write about the shower at the time because I was in a super huge funk.

But now?

I’m better. So it’s time to talk about the baby shower. Plus? These days her son is this darling little man who wore his Michigan onesie on August 3 just to wish me a happy birthday.

See?

Baby on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Finn knows what’s up in this Michigan business.

So anyway, the shower. Katy’s sister and I put the whole thing together.

And honestly? It really was one of the highlights of my spring. The whole idea for elephants started with this invitation and just exploded from there.

I’m going to start the Elephant Shower Series with the favors today. And then I’ll get into the menu and decorations next week.

Sound good?

Here it goes.

The favors were inspired by this DIY soy candle from Ruffled blog.

Since Katy’s not all that into scented stuff, I decided to make lemon curd instead of soy candles. I found this recipe from Ina Garten and got to work peeling lemons for days. (Just a heads up: if you do make the lemon curd, use a fine lemon zester instead of a carrot peeler and put the zest in the food processor. TRUST ME.)

I found this fabulous elephant thingy from Martha Stewart while I was wandering the aisles of Michael’s and decided to use it for the tags to make them super elephant-y.

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I used watercolor paints to replicate the look of the tags on the soy candles.  I punched the elephant shapes out with the craft punch thingy. Then I glued them on pieces of cardboard.

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When the favors were all assembled they looked like this.

Lemon Curd Favors for a Baby Shower on Dogs Dishes and Decor #elephant #babyshower #babyboy

Just in case you’re wondering about the fabric, it’s Amy Butler that I had leftover from Connor’s baby shower.

That was the owl shower that didn’t happen because he arrived five weeks early…. on August 3.

It all comes full circle.

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Connor turned one… on August 3.

My Mac is Back and It’s Time to Talk About Owls (Or How to Make Owl Sachets)

And my MacBook is back in business. Like Dumbledore’s phoenix, Fawkes, rising from the ashes, my Mac (and its mouse) are all miraculously healed.

Sweet relief. I have a full computer screen — and a mouse that works.

So, anyway, I figured it’s time to talk about owl sachets. I should preface this tutorial with the admission that the last time I sewed anything I was about nine. And it kind of looked like a Pound Puppy. If you squinted. Hard. (I also made a panda that week which was equally heinous. I then decided I was done sewing forever and I went back to playing basketball like a proper tomboy.)

See, I own a sewing machine but prior to suggesting we give owl sachets as baby shower gifts, I had not actually removed said machine from the box. I found threading the machine more challenging than the actual act of sewing, but after watching a YouTube tutorial in Portuguese about 15 times, I finally mastered it. (I found the manual utterly useless because it skipped steps assuming one had some rudimentary understanding of sewing. I did not.)

The inspiration for this madness was this fabulous pin I found on Pinterest.

These darling owl pillows are made from Amy Butler fabric and are available on Etsy. Photo courtesy of April Foss on Etsy.

Perhaps a sensible person would not have volunteered herself for a sewing project when she did not actually know how to sew, but I like learning new things. And I am not sensible. Plus, I work best under pressure. If you’re not a lunatic like me, or if you’re pressed for time, you can buy adorable owl pillows from April Foss on Etsy. She has an amazing array of designs. Hers are not sachets, but they are still super cute.

If you want to go the DIY route ‘cuz you’re crazy like me (or actually gifted like April and Martha, which I am not), then here’s the how-to:

I cut an owl shape out of fabric and used it as a pattern. I then pinned it to the fabric I was cutting out.

Woodley decided to help me sew. And by “help” I mean she rubbed her face on the fabric before falling asleep on it.

I sewed around the ears and the sides leaving the bottom open. To achieve a firm three dimensional shape, I filled the sachets with some stuffing I picked up at Jo-Ann’s and I mixed in the dry lavender. Then I hand sewed the bottom of the sachets.

Next I cut out eyes from white and black felt and glued them on with a hot glue gun. I opted to skip the beaks because I thought they were superfluous. I’m sure real owls don’t feel this way about their beaks, but whatever….

Here are my owls getting ready for their glue gun eye jobs.

The adorable gray and yellow fabric is Amy Butler and I found it online. The pink fabric was donated by the other shower host from her stash, so I don’t know who the designer is.

I’ll finish gluing the eyes on the sachets when we reschedule the shower. (See, the guest of honor, baby Connor, decided to arrive 5 weeks early, the day before his own shower. He and his mom are happy and healthy, and now he gets to meet everyone who bought him strollers and stuff.)

Whooooo’s Impatient? (Or How to Make Owl Cupcakes)

I’m impatient — like I freak out in front of the microwave — impatient. And so is my birthday buddy, Connor. He was born five weeks early — the day before his own baby shower. He’s healthy, and so is his mom, and that’s what really matters.

Since we have pushed his Owl-themed shower until he’s ready to meet all of the ladies at once, I had a lot of owl cupcake supplies sitting in my pantry. I didn’t want to wait to use them. (See reference to impatience above.)

I recently made Amy Sedaris’ cupcakes and figured it was the perfect opportunity to see if I could actually deliver the owl design I had promised.

I think I did.

Whoooo wants a cupcake?

Because I had initially planned on using banana cupcakes as the base for the owl cupcakes, I deviated a bit from the Hello, Cupcake! suggestion to use chocolate Oreos and Junior Mints for the eyes. I went with Golden Oreos and Reese’s pieces instead. I chose Double Stuff Oreos instead of the regular Oreos because they’re easier to separate. (I just happen to know this because I kind of like dismembering my food before consuming it.)

If you go with the regular Oreo variety, Hello, Cupcake! recommends microwaving the Oreos briefly before twisting off the top layer. I didn’t find this step necessary.

Here’s the supply situation.

To make the owl ears(?!?) you cut the top of the Oreo in half and affix it to the cupcake with frosting.

Here’s the pointy bit of the owl.

I ended up slicing a little off of the bottom of the cookie so that less stuck out, but it’s up to you. (I was worried the weight of the frosting would make the cookie ears fall off.)

Here’s the owl before final frosting embellishment.

Instead of making banana Runt beaks, I used a banana candy I found at a store in the mall. I looooove Runts, but I couldn’t find them ANYWHERE. (I did finally find them at the mall where I also found the banana candies, but it was easier to buy banana candy than it was to pick out banana Runts from a large colorful bin.) If you don’t feel like schlepping to the mall, Amazon has banana candies here.

To achieve the blue and yellow two tone frosting, I stuck a Wilton pastry bag of blue frosting into the yellow bag of frosting like this.

You don’t necessarily need to have two colors for the owl feathers. I just felt like making things more difficult for myself.

So, those are the owls. You should totally make them. If you do, decorate the owls the same day you serve them; the Oreos get a little gummy if you refrigerate them.

By now you’ve probably figured out there are few things I love more than a party. Those things? Are football — and theme parties. In the coming months, look out for some party planning posts involving a Winnie the Pooh party for a very special one year old boy, and some serious football theme parties.

This owl army? Is ready to get in my belly.

 

Peter Pan Party Aftermath Post 2 (Or How to Age Paper)

I used to draw. Then I started high school and thought it would be appropriate to fill my schedule with heinous things like extra AP Chemistry and AP Calculus classes — all while swimming, skiing, serving on student council, working on the Homecoming float committee, blah blah blah, etc. College was a similar story. Come to think of it, so was grad school. And don’t get me started on my life in the entertainment industry….

So, you get it. I’m a masochist. And a maniac.

I didn’t draw for YEARS and when I tried to take it up again recently, I was frustrated that I wasn’t very good at it. (Big shock.) I have decided it doesn’t matter if I suck. I need to be patient with myself because I’m never going to get better at drawing if I don’t actually draw. I’m sure this mentality could be applied to other areas of my life, but I’m not that evolved yet.

So, anyway, since I’m trying not to be all dead inside anymore, I thought it would be a good idea to make the decorations for my Peter Pan Birthday Party. I should point out, however, that it’s hard for me to go halfway, so I went totally overboard on the decorations and the baking, but you can’t give up overachieving overnight. (Or maybe ever, actually.)

Albus is concerned about my to-do list — mostly because he doesn’t see “Spoil Big Dog with Hikes and Kisses” anywhere on it.

I came up with the idea of making a map of Neverland and aging the paper.

Here’s How I Did It:

You can use black tea or coffee to age the paper. Since I’m not much of a tea drinker, I didn’t have any in the house. I opted to go the espresso route for aging instead. (I do so love my espresso – and my DeLonghi espresso machine. It’s magic.)

I preheated the oven to 200 while I watched Twin Peaks and made a freehand sketch of a Neverland map. You’re supposed to print or draw on the paper before aging it and then pour the tea or coffee over the finished product. Since I had done my sketch in pen, I was afraid the pouring method would smudge the drawing too much.

If your’e wondering why this drawing is on my floor it’s because there were white chocolate-dipped marshmallows covering every surface of my home. I had to sit on my floor while drawing this.

I decided to use a pastry brush to carefully apply the espresso around the ink instead. I also had instant espresso powder leftover from this Bittersweet Whiskey Cake a while ago. I sprinkled a little instant espresso powder in a couple of spots to give the paper areas of darker aging. I brushed those areas with espresso as well.

My paper-aging tools. Riveting, right?

While the paper was still wet, I distressed the edges with my thumb and forefinger to give it more of an aged, vintage-y feel.

Then I set the paper in the oven to dry.  Since it was too big to fit in the oven with the door closed, I left the door open and dried the map one half at a time. It really didn’t take long to dry the paper, and this was probably because it was 200 degrees in my oven and about 110 degrees in LA that afternoon.

Here’s the map drying and stuff. (And, yes, I know my oven door is filthy.)

Despite the drawing itself not being Dali-quality (my fave), it came out mostly OK. Here it is in action.

Map and table runner situation.

Oh, and the table runner is actually wedding wrapping paper from Target. Since the table was too long for one sheet, I taped two pieces together in the middle and used the map to (mostly) cover up the seam.

My plan was to use a v-cut on the ends of the paper so the runner would look like this:

I adore v-cuts — and basically everything about this tablescape. (Photo Courtesy of 100 Layer Cake)

but somehow after four trips to my friend’s house to drop off desserts, napkins, and salsas, I had forgotten the yardstick I needed to make the cuts and she didn’t have one. I decided not to bring it back on my fifth trip and to accept that everything was not going to be executed according to my vision. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses. I think I’m learning that.

So there you have it. I aged paper. And I made a drawring. More on the dessert table and the floral arrangements later….

[And if you want to check out the blog post I consulted for paper aging instructions, it’s here.]

My Dog May be Clean, but My Balcony is a Mess (Or I Update You on the State of My Composting Disaster)

Some days composting is not for the faint of heart. This was one of those days. After dropping Woodley off at the groomer and taking Albus on a hike, I went outside to examine the progress from last week’s watermelon disaster. Things had only marginally improved. The bin was no longer leaking loathsome ooze but it was still far too wet, and a nasty brown bilge had collected between the liner and the bin. Also, it still smelled. Vile.

I decided to remove the muck and transfer it to aerated buckets hoping to dry it out a bit in the sun. Of course I ran out of buckets midway through the task, so I had to leave a bit of the soil in the liner, but it wasn’t the end of the world. I was able to transfer enough soil that I was able to lift the liner out of the bin. Of course the dog groomer called when I was elbow deep in bilge to inform me that her majesty’s haircut and blow out had been completed. Poor Woodley would have to wait until the project was over, however, because there was no way I was going to get in the car covered with rotting veggies and smelling like I had just rolled around in a pile of monkey poo at the zoo.

Undaunted (well, sort of undaunted), I hauled the bin to my bathtub and scrubbed. As I watched the nastiness swirl around the tub it occurred to me I’d have wash that as well. (Shit.)

All of this because I feel guilty throwing away a few kitchen scraps….

I decided to add a few extra holes to the bin for aeration and then I set it out in the sun to dry.

I’m going to wait until the muck dries a bit in the sun before putting it back in the bin, so my balcony is presently littered with buckets filled to the brim with filth. I should mention, the breeze is blowing the smell into my bedroom, compelling me to light every gardenia-scented candle I own in a vain attempt to mask the smell.

This is just a disgusting mess. I’m really sorry you had to see it.

At least Woodley no longer looks or smells mangey —and Albus is thrilled to have her home. (He was a bit distressed when we dropped her off this morning. I had to stop him from bashing open the gate to follow her into the grooming area.) I think she was actually happy to see him when we arrived because she let him hit her a few times. It was unprecedented.

Woodley with tennis ball

Woodley’s first homecoming gesture involved stealing her brother’s ball. Don’t let her tiny frame fool you. This bitch means business.

They’re finally sleeping and I can get back to my papier mache tree centerpiece for my party next week. More on that later….

This is the start of the tree centerpiece for my Peter Pan Party next weekend.