Big Dogs Best Travel Gear

No DIY this weekend! No house projects or crafts! Just good ol’ relaxing and quality time spent with pups. We realized the summer is speeding past us and we can count only two weekends away with the dogs.

Speaking of which, if you aren’t yet following us on Pinterest, we have an inspiration board devoted to dog friendly travel. However traveling with two large dogs in tow is not always the easiest…At least without the right gear. Therefore we rounded up our favorite dog gear for easy camping, and travel with the pups.

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1. Natures Miracle Port-A-Crate

These crates have been crucial for stress free, dog friendly travel. The crates are durable, light weight and easily fold flat to fit into car trunks. Here is our crate after 5 years of wear and tear, and it still looks fabulous.NATURES-MIRACLE-Port-A-Crate-Dog-Crate-.jpg

When the dogs see the crates getting packed in the car they know it’s vacation time!

2. Armarkat Pet Bed w Waterproof Lining, Non Skid Base

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We think we finally found the perfect dog beds to fit inside the crates. Supposedly waterproof, washable, and durable orthopedic dog beds. We’ve used egg crate mattress toppers and pillows to make due over the last few years but as the dogs are now “middle aged” we figured we’d invest in some age appropriate beds for them.

3.Easy walk dog harnesses

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These front lead dog harnesses are perfect for long hikes. The dogs pull less than the traditional back lead harnesses and less strain on their backs/necks for tireless hiking.

4. OllyDog Mt Tam Hands-Free Dog Leash and Running Belt System

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Believe it or not these were on our wedding gift registry at REI. Perfect for runs on the beach with fido, we added carabiners to the leash ends for easier clipping in and out of the harness. The pack has just enough room for an iphone, hotel key and plastic baggies for poop duty.

5. Precision Pet Eight Panel Silver Wire Pen

 

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This is another new product for us. The verdict is still out for whether these wire pens can stand-up to our two huge dogs . However when camping these seem to beat long tethers that they can get tangled in. (We’re going to try staking them to the ground for added support)

6. Musher’s Secret

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This wax is amazing! Cracked paws begone! It saves our pups paws on the trail and general protection from long distance walks. Since our dogs won’t wear booties, this is the most economical and best option for paw protection.

7. OllyDog Dog Pack – Large – 2014 Overstock

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These were another favorite from our wedding registry, that allow for easy hiking. The pups can carry they’re water and kibble in comfort. Maybe even a beer can or two. (hey the dogs need to earn their keep once in a while)

8. Remedy+Recovery Liquid Bandage For Dogs

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This stuff is essential for travel first aid. I can’t tell you how many times our dogs cut a leg or paw on rocks, tree branches, etc. The liquid bandage is a quick remedy and dries fast. (We never leave on trips without it)

9 . Ruffwear The Beacon Pet Light

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Finally the last of our favorite travel gear is the beacon light. Why? Ever try to see your black dog at night? Well our dobes have the perfect night camouflage so these are essential for safety and night time walks.

Hope our little list has helped all you dog parents out there. We are always on the search for great gear and ways to travel stress free with your dogs. Happy Sunday everyone!

Be Careful of What You Promise Husbands…

Hubbs (Eric) had but one request when we first moved into our home…He asked that the living room “doesn’t look girly.” It’s taken a year to understand what that means to me (no floral prints, salmon colored anything, white furniture, etc) Luckily this is a style request we both agree on and find marital bliss with “masculine”. To this point our “style” has been more like “hand-me-down-chic”. We’re only now realizing we’re in our thirties and the house needs to look less like a college dorm and attempt to decorate.

My biggest decorating quandary had been the living room…(specifically the walls)

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(I snapped this pic on a morning running out the door to work, no staging, no cleaning.) As you can see a guy lives here. However this is still the first room upon entering the house so something needed to be done.

Except I ignored the room for two more years, until one fateful day this spring and found something ridiculously amazing…

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Four original blue prints of our 1948 home rolled up and hidden in a cabinet!

I’ve been in love with blue prints as art for years!

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OK how ridiculously cute dogs even look as blue prints! (Imagine a high pitched squeal of delight)framed-blue-print-of-dog.jpg

 

It must have been kismet to find these blue prints and finally a solution for “masculine” looking art work. Michaels coupons in hand I was able to score four beautiful frames and matting for $60.  Then up on the wall they went!

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Now another Before…

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And After…

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I think we can all agree the room looks a bit more “mature”, less hand me down chic, and definitely that a guy lives here. Someday there will be a perfectly staged photo that belongs in Sunset magazine or House beautiful, but for now I’m just happy I have decorated walls and it’s clean! Happy Sunday everyone!

 

Happy Fathers Day!

Better late than never…We only sort of fell off the face of the earth this weekend…Or at least we could’ve stepped off it…

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This was one of the many beautiful views from our Father’s Day weekend. My dad is a hang glider pilot…41 years he’s been jumping off mountains with nothing but essentially a kite…And for 31 years I’ve been his kid; camping, trekking and driving to some of the most gorgeous views (and a few not so gorgeous campsites) all over Northern California.

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This was Eric’s first time (and the pups) to experience the hang gliding “culture” first hand. A group of awesome guys and gals (with just enough adrenaline addiction) to soar motor less 14, 15, 16,000 feet in the air.
Do I hang glide? Absolutely not! Scared out of my pants of heights! Only one in the family to not have jumped out of a plane or soared in the sky. But I do have an incredible appreciation of the nature, company and camping experiences that come with the flying community.

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Thanks pops for raising a daughter who loves Northern California, would choose a pair of hiking boots over high heels and a deep respect for Mother Nature. Happy Father’s Day! And happy Sunday everyone!

PS…We’ve received a lot of “travelling with big dogs” questions this past year. In the coming weeks we’ll be showcasing our favorite travel and camping gear for pups just in time for summer trips.

Birthday, Blogiversary, and Baby!

As we mentioned last Sunday, this week we’re taking a small break to celebrate a few milestones, like…

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We never dreamed our little diy and dog crazy corner of the internet would’ve lasted a month let alone a year?! Or even our friends and awesome readers would appreciate and Pinterest our design style .We call it “necessity meets hand me down chic” for now.

Thank you again for reading! Hopefully a few of our crazy ikea hacks and diy dog- friendly designs have helped a few people out there in the inter-world.

This past year has been such a learning experience, if you can’t tell from changing fonts, to grainy photos, and grammatical errors. This next year is to find balance between the world of social media and our busy home life. We have met some amazing diy couples and new blogging friends over the past year. Hopefully we can learn and adopt some of their strategies for balance.

Now on to Birthday and Baby!!! No it’s not what you’re thinking…I’m just reflecting on how awesome this birthday week has been, we were able to meet our sweet baby nephew for the first time…

Which is why all diy and kitchen is on hold people! Smelling and cuddling a squishy baby takes priority!

We were so blessed to share this week with my sister and bro in law, two dedicated people who have sacrificed so much of their careers and personal lives to the military and who deserve to be honored this weekend! They are such amazing new parents! (In fact I probably will steal their parenting techniques and use them with the dogs)

Now I’m getting all mushy, and rambling so ending this with a Happy Memorial Day weekend and Happy Sunday everyone!

Happy Easter…And A Sneak Peek…

Good morning everyone! We hope you are enjoying this beautiful Sunday. In fact don’t swing by today, go have fun, celebrate with family, and hug someone really hard. Easter is very personal to Eric and I and our families, for many reasons. Easter always reminds us how precious life is and how grateful we truly are for it.

Now go! Have an amazing day! But to leave you with something for your inbox on Monday here’s a sneak peek of some fabulous projects and posts we have to share in the coming weeks. Happy Easter and Happy Sunday everyone!

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Mini Make-over: Kitchen Light Box

Our kitchen is in the process of some big changes…But right now it’s still in a very awkward phase. Like “prom was a month too early before the braces came off” kind of phase.

20140329-205103.jpg The 80s light box fixture does not help. In the future, we intend to have the kitchen/dining room ceilings professionally textured like the rest of the house. (We may even consider a skylight.) However because of our previous ceiling experience we know this may come at a high price tag. Which means the light box is here to stay…At least for now…

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Therefore it needed a mini (very low cost) make over. Like the kind that cost only $12 plus tax. First we decided to add some detail around the top edge of the fixture in order to pseudo-match the trim of the cabinets.

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20140329-212716.jpg A few finishing nails, foam trim and some caulk and we had faux crown moulding.
Next step was to soften the lighting to match the original 1948 fixtures. Instead of buying all new plastic inserts for $9 per sheet, (for a project we plan to rip out at some point) we opted for using glass etching spray.

20140329-213137.jpg We sprayed about three coats on the smooth side of each piece to reduce the harsh “ice” texture.

Lastly we painted the wood with white primer to give the light a better surface to reflect off of.

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Overall quite a lighting difference for a few dollars and very little diy. We of course plan to paint the box the same color as the ceiling once the final colors are decided, but for now the kitchen is less cave-like. Thanks everyone for hanging in there, through all our awkward stages of diy renovation. Us and the dogs promise our little 1948 ugly duckling will be a beautiful swan someday soon. Happy Sunday everyone!

It’s the most awful time of the year…(Putting Christmas Away)

Free Storage Solutions for Christmas DecorationsOh yes, the Christmas decorations are down, and everyone is in “Resolutions” mode…No play, all work, and everyone saying words like “goals”, “organization”, etc. For a nerdy, goal oriented, semi-organized, person 11 months out of the year, saying good bye to Christmas (that one month where I let my hair down) is one of the saddest times of the year. (If given the chance my Christmas decorations would be up till Super Bowl, but then of course the neighbors would hate us). In the meantime I thought we would share some of our money saving/organization tips for storing away the clutter with free stuff you may already have at home. Because seriously, who wants to spend $40 on ornament storage…(as seen below from Amazon) Yuck! (Doesn’t this defeat the purpose of that resolution to save money?!)

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Especially when you can spend $6 for organic apples at Costco AND doubles as ornament storage…inexpensive ornament storage

(This idea is brought to you by my dad, he’s a pretty clever guy, no Pinterest necessary) Also if you’re a knitter/crocheter then this same idea is great for storing your yarn/twine…

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Another awesome and free idea to store away those pesky Christmas lights is by using an empty tissue box…inexpensive christmas light storage

If you don’t care what it looks like then skip the next couple steps (but in case you need to get rid of some left over Christmas wrapping paper…) Wrap the box in wrapping paper, and make sure to cut away the paper at the tissue box opening, then  tape on the inside of the box.

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Then loop your Christmas lights, place in box and Voila! Instant Christmas light caddy…inexpensive christmas light storage 4

Again if you already put away the Christmas lights, then this idea can double as a plastic grocery bag caddy…(And with two supersized dobermans, plastic bags are a hot commodity for dog walking, if you know what I mean…)

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Third idea is for all those pretty ribbons and garland you wanted to save…You just need a clean, leftover plastic container (i.e. cottage cheese, etc).

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Cut a cross in the lid, then place an end of your looped ribbon through the hole.

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Place the lid back on and you have an instant ribbon storage and caddy for next year’s decorating.

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Remember this same idea can be used as a yarn, or any type of ribbon/string caddy. Finally, our last storage tip is for storing those mini ornaments…Again with two large dogs who L-O-V-E tennis balls, we tend to accumulate many empty tennis ball canisters…inexpensive christmas christmas ornament caddy  We put these to good use by storing all the mini ornaments… And if not ornaments, these canisters make great paint brush caddys!

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All in all we hope these little storage ideas will help you check off two resolutions…organize and save some cash! Goodbye Christmas, (you do fit nicely away in one storage container) and Happy Sunday everyone!

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P.S. Check more amazing storage and organizational ideas at Remodelaholic’s Link Party! Oh and if you’re wondering where this post is at the Link up party…Its #58 under “Tandra” instead of the actual name “Free Storage Solutions for Christmas Decor”…Sad right?! (No this wasn’t me needing attention) Instead the computer copy/pasted the wrong info and then said computer/wifi froze up during my link up…Hopefully the 49ers have better luck than me today =) Again Happy Sunday everyone!

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Last Homemade Holiday Present Arrived!…Montana Thread Art

Need a thoughtful, homemade gift or art piece? We miss my little sister, brother-in-law and new nephew terribly, who now live in Texas. But to be honest,  they probably are homesick for their home state of Montana. They met in Missoula Montana for college and law school and we wanted to craft a little art piece that will make them smile. We would’ve liked to send them a Montana version of our California Marquee, but it would be way too hard to ship. Instead here is an easy, diy, Montana State Thread Art piece…diy easy montana wood nail thread art

Notice the heart is where Missoula is located? It looks difficult and time consuming but it surprisingly wasn’t. Instead it only took a little patience and a few evenings of college football games (It was a two-fer…I threaded Montana and at the same time earned some major “wife points” watching those games with the hubby) I consider this craft my version of embroidery or knitting (since I can’t do either one)…And it looks industrial, made of wood, nails, and made from stuff around the house, which our readers know this is more my style! Here is the how to for another state inspired art piece…

Materials/Tools

Hammer (Possibly needle nose pliers as well)

A printed stencil of the state you want to create on paper (we found ours on the internet for free and just printed it out)

A piece of thin wood (we had some scrap pieces that were perfectly sized to a shadow box frame)

A shadow box frame (The one we found was from Michaels, and even better with a 50% off holiday coupon)

Picture matting/border (This may not be necessary, but since I was using scrap wood in an odd size we needed it.  I used some blue matting from another picture we had at the house.)

Small picture framing nails

Thread (We used navy blue thread for military uniforms, we had some lying around the house but that’s another story)

First place your state stencil on the piece of wood and hammer the nails along the lines.

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To get the nails closely spaced I used a pair of needle nose pliers to stabilize the nails. (And prevent hammering your fingers) Don’t forget to add a little nail heart inside the state in order to string the thread to a central location (Although you don’t have to use a heart) Then once all the nails are in place, gently tear the paper stencil away from the wood. The result looks a little uneven and unfinished at first but once you start to add the thread it comes together.

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Threading is very simple, just make a little loop in the thread, and start in the middle working outward. Pull it taught, loop it twice around one outside nail, then back to the middle again. In order to not go crazy I would sometimes give myself a break and tie the thread off in the middle before moving onto the next nail in the heart. Here is a video link and detailed How to for string art: http://www.wikihow.com/Do-String-Art

Finally when done, (And glad you did not throw the project out the window) place it in the shadow box with matting. Now its ready for your wall at home or mail it off to three awesome people in your life (who may be far in distance but never far from your heart). That’s the holiday present round up everyone! Happy Sunday!

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Homemade Holiday Present…For the “Beer Lover” in your Life

Do you have a beer loving, brother, cousin, or friend? And does this person have a bachelor pad or even a significant other who doesn’t mind beer bottle cap decor in their house? (I think my little sister and bro in law might fall under this category…sorry guys, but I promise you’ll LOVE the other gift I made you)

Then you’re in luck! Here is another inexpensive, homemade holiday gift sure to wow that beer lover in your life…

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Unfortunately this present never made it to the lil bro in time for Christmas (due to glue drying issues…more on that) however he was pretty stoked about the last minute replacement gift of a porcelain red solo cup. (Classy right?) My younger brother lives in a total bachelor pad, is a beer lover and our family mountain man. I’m sure you have one of these kinds of guys in your life and here is an easy and inexpensive gift to make for them:

Materials/Tools:

Beer bottle caps (these were “painstakingly” provided by my husband and friends, thanks for taking one for the team boys!)

Glue (We found gorilla glue worked the best in the end, don’t base it on our pictures and go with Tacky glue)

Peel and stick magnets

Cork mat remnants (I found mine at Target two years ago, for another craft and used the leftovers, but I’m pretty sure Target still sells them)

Scissors

First round up your bottle caps, then trace them onto the cork mat. diy gift beer bottle cap magnets 002

Next cut out the cork circles with scissors, add glue generously to the inside of the bottle cap and press the cork circle onto the glue. (Don’t worry about the cork not fitting just right, the cork crumbles and rips away easily enough so we were able to fit it to the cap)

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The following step, while the glue dried, we traced the bottle cap circles onto to peel and stick magnets, then cut them with scissors. diy gift beer bottle cap magnets 003

Finally we unpeeled the magnets paper backing, added additional glue to the cork, and placed the magnet on cork. (Sorry again, a note on the glue, don’t use Tacky glue, go with something stronger.)

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Another inexpensive, easy, holiday gift idea for the beer lover in your life, and to follow after our DIY seashell gifts from this year… One more for next week…Happy Sunday everyone!

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What Christmas is Over?!

Are you feeling the same way…Christmas snuck up on you and then you really never got a chance to enjoy it properly? Are you having Christmas music withdrawal? Well then you’ve come to the right blog…(Don’t worry you can keep your Christmas decor up till Super Bowl, we don’t judge) We’re going to showcase a few of the homemade presents we gave this year over the next few Sundays because now it’s finally safe to spoil the surprise! (Nearly all the presents have arrived to their final destination, minus two. Thanks UPS, grrrr!) The featured gift today was for my mother in law and sister in law to remember our family holiday vacation this year.

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All in all these were really easy and simple to make…
Materials:
Some twine
A couple small abalone shells(please buy in store, don’t go pick off these little ones in nature it’s illegal in California) ours were from an antique store in Monterey
A little sprig of wired pine garland from the dollar store (preferably with little berries or mini pine cones for an added touch)
Small piece of cork board or crafters wood
Hot glue gun and a glue stick for it

First cut and loop some twine through one of abalone holes.

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Next write your message on the cork or wood that is cut to the appropriate dimensions for your shell. Then bend the piece of wire pine garland, do a quick dry run to see if the garland and cork/wood will fit the shell. Finally glue to the bottom edge of the shell the garland, then the cork/wood above it.

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Super easy, quick and sea inspired Christmas ornament! See you next Sunday!

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