Friday, December 30, 2016

Repurposing Kitchen Cabinets

My kitchen looked like this when I bought my house:
Yes, I bought the house anyway. ;)
I gave it a makeover, and it now looks like this:

As you can see, I removed all the upper cabinets. I like to repurpose or upcycle when possible, and four of the cabinets are now performing new duties.

I turned one into a trash bin (shown in the photo above) and one into a dog bed.
Two more went in my little workroom. They happened to fit perfectly under the window, on either side of the vent, between the table and wall. I added a board across the top to make a work surface.

Of course, it wouldn't be a GIY project if I didn't paint everything black.  XD

I added black adhesive shelf paper to the board so it's a more durable work surface. I put a power strip on each end, one for the lamps and one for my power tool battery chargers. The cabinets hold my paint and painting supplies.

There are two cabinets left. They're currently storing things in the basement, but maybe I'll find them a more glamorous job in the future. :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Simple DIY Necklace Hanger

Needing a place to hang necklaces that were too long for my velvet jewelry display, I made a simple DIY necklace hanger... bat-shaped, of course. ;)

I used a wood bat shape, same as the ones I used for my door pediments. I hammered in a few short nails, ensuring that the nails didn't poke out through the back.

I spray painted bat and nails black.

The bat already had a pre-drilled hole, so I simply put a screw through that to attach the hanger to the wall. Then I tapped two of the nails into the wall a little so the bat won't shift under uneven weight of the necklaces. And it was done!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Secondhand Dogs

A few days ago was my dogs' one year "adoptiversary." They have both undergone quite a transformation in the year since I adopted them from the animal shelter.

Indigo, a Miniature Pinscher, was painfully skinny. You could see every rib.

She weighed only 5.5 pounds. She was listless and lethargic.

One year later, she has fattened up to a healthy 7.2 pounds. She is perky and insistently cuddly.

EDIT: Adding a little about Indigo.
Indigo had been placed in the shelter's night drop (where people can drop off animals anonymously). She was horribly skinny and clearly needed help, and I didn't think very highly of someone who would just leave her in the night drop.

Her behavior showed that she must have had a reasonably good home. She's affectionate, she is well behaved, she walks nicely on leash, she does well riding in the car... clearly someone took time with her. How could her owner, who appeared to be a decent person, just get rid of her?

But I realized I may have been judging that person too harshly. Indigo had obviously gotten sick somehow, and maybe her owner did not have money for vet bills, so he/she dropped Indigo at the shelter knowing that someone would take care of her. Maybe he/she was too embarrassed to drop her off in person, so used the night drop. Certainly dropping her at the shelter was better than letting her suffer.

Whatever the circumstance, the end result is that I got Indigo... which makes me happy. :D

Nook, a Chihuahua mix, was extremely fearful. She was afraid of anything new or different, even an object brought in from another room. I had to be very careful not to make loud noises, which would send her running to hide in her kennel.

She has made great progress. Though she will probably always be a timid dog, she is quite comfortable at home. The other day, I accidentally dropped a spoon on the floor, and she didn't even flinch. :)

Adopting these two little ladies was the best decision I have ever made. They make me laugh and they enrich my life immensely.

As you may know, I am a big proponent of buying secondhand. In no case is this more true than with pets. There are animal shelters and rescue organizations full of dogs and cats of all types and ages. Many of them list their adoptable animals online, so you can easily search for your ideal pet. That's how I found Indigo and Nook.

If you must buy a new "firsthand" pet, please buy from a reputable, pet-loving breeder... one who truly cares about the animals and keeps them in a comfortable living situation. I implore you to never, ever buy a puppy from a pet store because you are almost certainly supporting puppy mills, which are appalling places. I'm not going to say more on that topic because it makes me violently sad.

This post is about celebrating secondhand pets and the happiness they bring. I think adopting a pet is actually a two-way, mutual rescue; it certainly was in my case. I rarely make bold statements advocating one choice over another because circumstances vary and life is not one size fits all. However, I unequivocally advocate for secondhand pets.

As I finish up this post, my secondhand dogs are enjoying their secondhand bed, which is a repurposed kitchen cabinet fitted with cushion, blanket, and heating pad. Usually it is Nook's nook, but Indigo is welcomed any time she wants to visit. :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Wardrobe Nemesis

When building our dream wardrobe or just shopping for everyday clothes, many of us encounter obstacles. Clothes are out of our price range, they are not within a dress code, they don't fit properly... or they're not black. ;)

Issues with fit have plagued me all my life. My particular banes (not to pun my own name) are my wide shoulders and extra-long arms.

To accommodate my wide shoulders, I wear stretchy knit tops. In shirts with no stretch across the back, I feel like my shoulders are locked in place. Blazers and coats feel like straitjackets.

To accommodate my extra-long arms, I buy tall sizes. Alas, ladies' talls are not readily available like petites or plus sizes. They're available only online from a few stores, such as Old Navy and JCPenney, and only in limited styles.

I must pause here to showcase one style which, as a tall woman who has spent her entire life trying to find sleeves that actually touch her wrists, I find hilarious: the tall size 3/4 sleeve top.
from JCPenney
So unnecessary. If I want a 3/4 sleeve top, I'll just buy a regular size long sleeve top. XD

Anyway... combine the need for stretchy knit tops with limited styles in tall size, and I wear a lot of t-shirts and cardigans. In fact, I have been wearing t-shirts and short sleeve cardigans almost exclusively for ages. I'm stuck in a style rut.

I want to get out of this rut, but I encounter an insurmountable obstacle... my absolute nemesis:


I get too hot too easily. I don't know why, but my temperature tolerance is very different from most people. Except maybe Elsa; like her, "the cold never bothered me anyway." ;)

In summer, I'm too hot outside (of course), but also too hot inside because there's not enough air conditioning. In winter, buildings are heated to what normal people consider comfortable temperatures, and they feel like an oven to me. People are comfy (or even chilly!) wearing sweaters and layers... and I'm roasting in a t-shirt.

Layers and sleeves aren't the only factors that determine whether I'm going to suffer or not - fabric type makes an enormous difference. Almost all of my clothes are cotton, with a few in polyester/cotton blends. Nylon makes me too hot, and I absolutely cannot wear acrylic without roasting.

So... I am left with few options other than cotton knit t-shirts and cardigans. One possibility is woven button-up shirts. I picked up a few from the thrift store...

And removed the sleeves.

This past weekend, the temperature outside was about 5F / -15C, and I was removing sleeves from shirts. What a bizarre scenario. :P

Not all the shirts are 100% cotton, so I'm not sure if they'll work for me. I will just have to give them a try. I really want to wear something different!

Do you have a wardrobe nemesis?

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Little Black Dog

Today I walked into my bedroom and said hello to my black shirt, thinking it was my black dog Nook on the bed. XD
(I should have known she was actually in her nook, the cabinet under the chest of drawers on the right. You can just barely see the pointy white tips of her ears there.)

Nook constantly makes me laugh. She's playful and energetic and absolutely hilarious. Whatever she does... she does with great enthusiasm.

Here she is enthusiastically settling down for bed. :D