When we pulled Jack straight from the city pound 6 years ago, he was a pile of bones. His eyes were sad, and he sat at the back of his crate as we passed him by – several times, actually – to play with and consider the happier, wiggly smaller pups nearby. When we pulled these smooshy, tinier dogs from their cages, however, they wanted nothing to do with us. We brought them outside, and that blissful moment of freedom took over those smooshy, tiny bodies, and they would run, quite literally, like the wind. They writhed away from us, and after several failed attempts to make a connection, we were thisclose to leaving the slammer empty-handed that day. As we were walking out, we passed by Jack yet again (with a paper tag on his crate that read Jimbo), but this time we doubled back and said, well, maybe we should play with this one. Just to see. I mean, look at how sad!
As a staff member brought Jack – er, Jimbo? – to the small playpen where we waited, he practically sprang from her arms and right into Scott’s lap. We barely had a chance to coo before he was licking our faces and crawling from Scott’s legs to mine. He couldn’t knead his body – his paws, his belly, his big head! – into our hands hard enough, and we were signing the papers to bring him home five minutes later.
It couldn’t be more true when we say that Jack changed our lives. We didn’t know why passersby would cross the street on our morning walks, and we quickly found ourselves spiraling down the internet rabbit hole researching things like ‘Pit Bull’ and ‘bully breed’ and all of the misunderstandings that are associated with them. On the flip side, we also found blogs and Facebook groups and television shows that love their big, beefy dogs as much as we do! Soon, we had fallen into a community where dogs ruled the roost in the best possible way. We were joining doggie group walks and making friends with puppy foster parents, and although we’d always been pro-rescue, we found ourselves diving head first into that world. It didn’t take long before we began giving back to this community we love so much.
And, well, then came Chunk. A girl who speaks for herself, and a noodle we love so much, it just can’t be considered normal. Add that to our senior rescue kitties (both hailing from our college days; I still remember bargaining with my landlord that I would clean the common hallway if he would just consider allowing me to have a cat), and that brings our pet total to four. Our lives are so full of warm, fluffy, fuzzy contentment!
I digress. All that to say, this winding path of pet love is a big part of many of our friendships today, and it’s the reason why we’ve found ourselves in a position to help with an incredible new project. Let’s talk about it!
One Tail at a Time is a local rescue doing amazing things, and they’re on a mission to make Chicago a no kill city. From the beginning, OTAT has been a foster based rescue, but by the end of this summer, they’ll be swinging open the very real doors to their own adoption center! A place for more rescuing, more fostering, more word spreading and, as a result, a whole lot less euthanizing in city shelters. We were asked by their director Heather if we would be willing to donate our time to makeover the space, and before she could complete her thought, we were all, okay, people, no time to waste! Someone hand us a paint brush!
We have a One Tail notebook where we’ve been keeping track of the needs/wants since we first sat down with Heather in April. At the top of this notebook is the word QUIRKY. This will be a space where joyous, difference-making will happen, and we all agree that this adoption center should make you feel good and silly and happy down to the core. We’re going to have so much fun with this.
So! Remember that sofa we pulled from a trash pile? It has lovingly been dubbed the Garbage Sofa, and this sofa will be the back drop of every photo of every dog that is getting their second chance with a rescue family. All those smooth talking pups that have undeniably wriggled their way into the hearts of their new moms, dads, sister and brothers will sit on this sofa as a forever family before starting a life with endless kibble, tennis balls and warm beds. Say cheese! (Are these two the poster children for their own Hey Girl meme or what?)
Of course, Garbage Sofa will be getting a makover of its own, because, you know, we’re already drowning in fabric swatches as it is. We’ll be documenting and sharing the process for the One Tail Adoption Center over the course of the summer, and we’ve already got a great team of collaborators and sponsors that are helping us to realize their vision. You can learn more about One Tail at a Time, The Adoption Center and their goal to raise $70,000 in 70 days right here.Yeah!
When our friend (and neighbor) Liz started asking us for recommendations on where to get textiles framed, I was curious to see what she was framing. We agreed to a lunch date so I could check out the subject, and before I knew it, I was committing to making her one using our usual go-to method, if only because framing something of this size would cost little more than a good down payment on a new car. Friends don’t let friends do that!
She got this pretty jungle blanket from BFGF as a super sweet Mother’s Day gift, but she was hoping to display it on the wall. After a brainstorm session over a bowl of pasta – Should we just, like, tack it up? Can we sandwich it between glass? Maybe we could wrap it around a canvas and call it a day? – I realized that a few small tweaks to our DIY frames would work just fine and really make it more of a showstopper! We’ve used this method on our dinos, the tool print and even our entryway mirror, but in this case, we’d need to make it semi-permanent (in the off chance they’d like to use it in the more traditional sense down the road) and, most importantly, lightweight. Because of its large size (coming in at 4′ x 6′), anything too heavy would not only be a burden to hang, but it would be too stressful on the longer lengths of wood.
Liz loves the look of our salvaged wood shelves, so we opted for a similar theme by using mid-century lumber from our favorite building supply warehouse, Rebuilding Exchange. We picked up old 2x6s and used our table saw to square the edges and rip down the four sides with a 2.5″ front face. From there, our router sort of helped to notch out a recessed lip for the blanket to sit in, although we did run into an issue with this dense wood. In the end, Scott ultimately rigged up a system with a steady hand and our circular saw – my hero!
Everything got a really good sanding (starting with 80 grit and working our way down to 150 grit), and I got to work staining. I used one coat of Special Walnut, but to tone down the redness, I applied two additional coats of Weathered Oak. Once that was dry, I brushed on a thin coat of water-based Polycrylic on the front and back. The poly will act as a barrier on any part of the frame that will touch the blanket, preventing future discoloration or bleed through.
We used the miter saw to cut down the proper lengths, which were measured from the inside cut, about 4″ smaller overall than the size of the blanket. Using wood glue first, we secured the mitered edges with our nail gun and 3″ corner braces:
We had to work on the floor – the only space big enough to accommodate this large frame! – and once the actual frame was complete, we laid it down face first and put the blanket over that, upside-down. In keeping with the lightweight theme, we used a sheet of 1/2″ acid free foam core cut to the exact opening size and slowly pushed it into place.
At this point, we were honestly sort of winging it, but our plan was (surprisingly?) working!
The blanket was snug, but not so snug that we couldn’t move it around. Working opposite each other, Scott and I very (very, very) gently tugged on the blanket from the back, firming it up against the front face of the foam core while keeping things as even as possible. Once it was no longer loose, Scott held it up while I looked from the front, and we worked together to stretch it over the board without stressing the fabric.
For added security and to keep the blanket from sagging over time, we used male velcro only on the back of the foam core. The part of the blanket that wrapped to the back easily caught onto the velcro, but it wasn’t so much that it caused the fibers to snag. We then sandwiched another sheet of foam core onto that, and I used my staple gun to keep everything in place. If Liz ever wants to take the blanket out of the frame, the blanket will still be in tact and – after a good dry cleaning, most likely – good to go! Note: Glass was nixed to allow the texture of the blanket to shine through, but it also drastically decreases the overall weight.
Finally, we added a large D-ring to each side of the frame, purposely installing them vertically so each one could get its own 50 lb. anchor. Because of the large size of the artwork, we decided to ditch hanging wire altogether.
That said, we succeeded at keeping it incredibly lightweight! If it wasn’t for the awkward size, it can easily be held upright by one person, but I would go one step further and say that it’s much lighter than any of our other DIY frames, mostly attributed to the lack of glass.
Even in photos, it’s really tough to tell the scale of the frame, but it looks so striking hanging just to the right of their front door. This photo shows an itty bitty Liz beneath the frame, which is probably the best representation of how massive this thing is!
Going the DIY frame route was a bit more labor intensive overall, sure, but it was absolutely worth it! (And for other ways to display textiles, I did find this link to be helpful, too.)
PS… Debating navy shades on the Bali Blinds blog today – and convincing Scott it’ll be worth it! You can never have too much navy, really.
Right after we planted Round Two of our baby garden, it started to rain – and rain and rain and rain. Our garden is going nuts (yeah!), but with the rain came cold weather, and so we find ourselves wishing and hoping that one day – someday soon! – we can enjoy our front porch for the season. Oh, Chicago, didn’t you know that it’s May?
Despite this turn of events, we moved forward with a mini makeover for the front porch – more of a sprucing up, really – in the off chance we might have one warm evening (we’re still waiting). Last summer we laid the groundwork, focusing on bright! and cheery!, but this year, we wanted to give it a more relaxed feel on a minimal budget:
The more subtle color palette was completely inspired by our friends at Ace Hardware and the recent release of their new OPI paint colors by Clark+Kensington. Last year, we were turned onto our favorite black, Nein! Nein! Nein! OK Fine, having painted our porch swing in the popular nail hue (and our endtables and kitchen island), and this year, the deep greens and muted shades of pink from The Creative Genius collection had my heart. Below, top to bottom: Barefoot in Barcelona (OPI), Jade is the New Black (OPI), Bubble Bath (OPI) and Swiss Coffee, all by Clark+Kensington.
We picked up a handful of Ikea pots, and I just free-handed the colors using a small foam brush along the bottom third of each. Each planter got three thin coats of paint using samples of Clark+Kensington paint in a satin enamel finish before I filled them up with succulents!
We bought a 7″ plank of aspen, cut it to a 2′ length and after a quick stain job, Scott attached handles we already had on hand (from this dresser, which is still waiting on its makeover!). While our little centerpiece is cute to look at, we know we’ll need to move it to the side when the drinks are flowing (the whole point of a front porch, right?), so this will make it easy to shift it to one side or the other.
In keeping with The Creative Genius color palette, I swapped out last year’s pillow cases for new, re-using all the pillow forms but choosing softer shades of pink, purple and green for the covers, all for around $5 at H&M. The banana leaf pillow was the only splurge (worth it), with the polka dot pillow being the lucky one that made the cut. That said, and with the exception of a new swing cushion and fern by our front door, all the larger items on our porch has remained the same!
To help with your front porch sprucing (or any-of-the-things sprucing!), together with our friends at Ace, we’ll be giving away a $100 Ace Hardware gift card to one lucky reader! Using the Rafflecopter widget below, enter as many ways as you’d like. Giveaway runs through Monday, May 18th until 5pm CST, and the winner will be announced within this post. Good luck and happy entering!
We’re excited to be collaborating with Ace Hardware as a part of their Ace Blogger Panel! Ace has provided us with compensation and the materials necessary to complete this project (hey, thanks, Ace!), and all opinions are our own. See all the blogger projects on the Ace Pinterest page.