Ikea Hack: Hallo Cushions To Foldable Dog Bed

“Hey mom! The blog is Little Houses BIG DOGS…Where’s the dog projects!


We took a break from home projects this weekend to reconnect, spring clean, and play with the pups. Luckily we did have a doggy inspired project up our sleeves.

During spring cleaning we found four Ikea Hallo outdoor seat cushions. (Originally they were meant for an outdoor dining set we never bought a year ago, and now just stored as miscellaneous cushions) Hubby was ready to take them to the Goodwill as a donation when I realized they could serve a “puppy” purpose.

The dogs aren’t allowed on our couch, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be comfortable when we all hang out in the living room. However we have two big dogs and lack space so a standard dog bed was not going to work. Hence out came the sewing “Tupperware” (I do not sew). Then over a (much needed) glass of wine attempted to hand stitch cushions together.




I basically squished the cushions together and thread the needle thorough one then back through the other (sorry I’m sure there is some technical sewing lingo, but I don’t know it) Once I had two separate sets of two cushions I stitched the two sets together lengthwise.


The stitch lengthwise actually acts like a hinge and allows the cushions to be folded in half.

But the best part is that when the cushions lay flat, the dog bed slides right under the couch when not in use.


Overall the dogs seem to love their new bed and not bad for a project that just cost me a few hours and $0. We hope this inspires you to create for your small space. Happy Sunday everyone!

20140405-222635.jpg (The dogs are already looking sleepy on their new bed)

Mustard Yellow Walls…And the Best Dog Toy EVER!

Oh yes, I said mustard yellow walls! Combine those with red brick, lime green/orange accents, popcorn ceilings, tye dyed yellow brown countertops…Nice visual right? Luckily we saw through the ugliness and bought this little gem of a house. Now we’re going through the slow and tedious process of bringing it back to a neutral color scheme.

Back to mustard yellow walls…Here…

Up above here…

Oh and also in the laundry/mud room…But since it’s laundry weekend no pics today (I think hubby draws the line at the world seeing his boxer briefs) 😉
Now we’re in the process of priming and ousting the yellow…(I like mustard on my veggie burger, not on my walls!) Also check out this wall texture…

It took us three coats of primer just to cover up our “French’s” yellow and spray on texture, but entirely worth it in the end…

We haven’t chosen the final paint colors yet, because we still need to make over our box light. Learning from our fireplace experience, lighting is crucial in selecting the right paint color for your space. Yet for now we’re just happy so see the yellow gone. (Sooo happy!)
In the meantime the dogs have been amazingly well behaved despite our marathon painting weekends. The reason? We have these toys to thank for it…

Nature’s Champions training treats and treat ball combo pack. (We found this at our local Costco) This is not a sponsored post, we just L-O-V-E these toys! Why? Because they’re:
1. Budget friendly (meaning you can replace the training treats with regular dog kibble)
2. Keeps the pups occupado, (especially when you have many walls to paint)
3. Mentally challenges our dogs (which is important if you have super smart dobermans) .
4. Lastly these balls are pretty tough (And with these two bruisers we need tough toys)

Basically you fill the balls up with the training treats or kibble, and the dogs have to roll them around to release the treats. Us and our pups are smitten…Sierra even sleeps with her “busy ball” and Sutter carries it around in his mouth like a pacifier.

For $13 each these are the best, budget friendly dog toy for us year to date. We hope this little review helps a few desperate pup parents out there. Happy Sunday everyone!

“Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, but a personalized experience. Dogs and their owners are different, therefore all results and experiences using the Natures Champions Omega training ball will vary. Always follow the manufacturers instructions, cautions and disclaimers.”

A Fireplace of a Thousand Shades of Gray

This is a tale of everything you shouldn’t do, and everything you should do when painting/staining a fireplace gray. Especially a mid-century, burgandy stained, brick fireplace that takes up half your kitchen/dining space…Oh yeah baby bring on the ugly pics…

Take it all in…Yes, that is mustard yellow walls. Yes, those are pecan/orange built-ins with gold hardware. And yes, that is my half-attempt of making it all work together with a hand me down piece of art.

Now here is the instigator…The Valentines gift from hubby that threw us into action, and made us get off our duff after a year of living with ugly…

Back in October when the basement flooded, we found this relic from the hubby’s bachelor days. During the clean out I had made an off-hand comment, “how great would it be to have a TV in the kitchen so I can watch the news or Food Network while cooking…” And guess what…MY HUSBAND REMEMBERED!!!!!!!

I swear our spouses surprise us sometimes! You wonder how they can forget to buy the milk at the store one day. Then suddenly they remember an inconsequential comment from four months ago. (Who knew?! I totally love this man!)

However hubs had one caveat, a TV would have to wait till our savings caught up to it, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be installed? And a fireplace could be painted?

Now that is love! He hates, painting, I mean H-A-T-E-S… In fact as a rabid UCLA fan he’d rather watch USC kill his bruins in football than paint…


I FEEL SO LOVED! First he prepped and cleaned the fireplace. We had researched a couple of diy brick staining projects and decided to give it a go. We settled on Waterstone semi transparent masonry stain by Behr. It was the lightest gray available, since charcoal would’ve been too dark for our room.

As for the dogs, they had to hang with us because of the weather…They were great supervisors.

At first we were pretty satisfied, yet as the day wore on and lighting changed we noticed the gray turn bluer and bluer…You’d never guess based on the pic below that this was a robin egg blue to the naked eye.

20140222-195554.jpg So we started to get a little desperate and try a new technique…Like paint it with leftover cement gray by Glidden (the same perfect shade of gray we used for the garage) Nope! Still blue!

Poor hubs, he dealt with me as I went through all the stages of grief that Sunday. The Moms were called, and became our color counselors, (the pics and texts were flying furiously that day!)
Finally in a moment of exasperation I just had to leave the room. Then for the first time noticed our olive wood accent wall in the living room, in the afternoon light was gray! I mean the perfect shade of mossy light gray! Immediately I splashed some paint on the fireplace…Voila! Gray!

It wasn’t the stain or paint at all, our backslider lighting was the culprit! See our house is a cute blue exterior and the light from the backslider reflects off the garage and patio creating blue light in our little house! So here it is…

Yay! Color crisis adverted, a light mossy gray that seriously brightens the room..Some before and after pics shall we?


Of course hubs still has some more work to do, (including setting up the TV wall unit) but we are finally tackling this room. We have several big updates in the coming weeks and so excited to share! Happy Sunday everyone!

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…


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.

diy montana wood nail thread art 001diy montana wood nail thread art 002

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.

diy montana wood nail thread art 003diy montana wood nail thread art 004

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!

diy easy montana wood nail thread art