You want to hear something crazy? We still don’t have our kitchen door. It’s as if this door doesn’t exist at all! Since that frustrating discovery that the first back ordered door wasn’t correct (I can’t even), we’ve been waiting for the second back ordered door for 13 weeks (and counting). We’re between a rock and a hard place – do we say “never mind!” and move on, or do we keep waiting because we’ve been waiting for so long?
Scott and I call this Waiting for the Bus.
You know that feeling when you’re at the bus stop, and you pull out your phone to kill time on Instagram for a few minutes? But 30 minutes later, the bus hasn’t yet arrived? At first, you didn’t mind because you had time to spare, but now, you’re officially going to be late for work. You start to map out alternate routes in your head and you ask yourself, should I just start walking? But then you think, except what if the bus comes right when I leave? And then I’m in-between stops and I miss it? More time passes, and you actually get angry because you realize you could have walked to work faster than any stupid bus could drive you, but how were you to know that this would be the day the bus never comes? Not to mention, you’ve already put in so much time playing the Waiting game! Then you curse the city transport system and just as you turn to leave, three buses rolls up. (All totally packed, by the way.)
Right now, we’re Waiting for the Bus. Do we stay? Do we leave? While we grumble and weigh our options, we’ve – at the very least! – decided to room hop. During this absurd wait, we’ve finished the workshop, laid out plans for the One Tail house and now, we’re pushing on to the next – the garage!
If we thought our workshop was bad to start, the garage takes the cake. (Well, if you don’t consider our bedroom or bathroom. Come to think of it, let’s not start comparing at all!) The garage is where all of the heavy lifting takes place. It’s where the table saw gets the most use, and it’s where we piled (and piled!) old studs and decent scrap wood. It’s also where overflow moving boxes were stored and never unpacked, and it’s where we stashed the things we weren’t ready to part with or simply had no good place for – aquarium supplies, kitty carriers and car parts.
The fact that our house has a garage at all was a major selling point for us, but for the past almost-two-years, we haven’t been very kind to it. There was one system in place, and that’s the cabinets you see in the first photo above. Those cabinets came out of the second floor unit of our home, before we turned it into our master bedroom. We salvaged the few that weren’t terrible, and at the very least, we figured they’d make a great makeshift work area.
Over the weekend, we put a few more systems in place, starting with lumber storage! We used this tutorial as our guide, but to be honest, we sort of winged it. Using 18″ lengths of 1x4s and wedges of 2x4s (from the scrap pile itself), we pulled together a horizontal racking system for our salvageable wood pile:
For our larger scraps – think: plywood and MDF sheets – we built a 3′ tall bin using a 2×8 for the bottom, 2x12s for the sides and scrap 2x2s for the front straps. The exposed studs on our garage walls made everything super simple, allowing us to use nothing but 2.5″ wood screws for both storage racks:
While we were on a roll, we dug through EV-ER-Y-THING else in the entire garage! We opened boxes, reorganized bins and pulled every last can of bug spray and weed killer out of those cabinets. Everything was sorted into piles – keep, donate, yard sale (!) – and we were absolutely ruthless. I’d like to thank my new favorite book for that mindset, but luckily, Scott was game. (We’d say, does this spark joy? No? It’s gone!) After two days of oddly fun and satisfying work (beer helps), we found the garage floor! Call me crazy, but I’d say we could even park a car in here.
We have stupidly huge plans for this garage (the majority of our to-dos are meatier than the words themselves), and while we are feeling wildly optimistic, we’ll admit that this list is long:
• Fix the leaky roof •Lumber storage • Bike Storage • Open metal shelving for bins + occasional use items • Wall treatment for cabinet wall (close up exposed studs) • Paint everything – no more bare plywood! • Reconfigure and paint cabinets • Install a countertop (that’s not a piece of flimsy wood) • Epoxy/paint the un-level/cracked garage floor • Wall of hooks/hanging storage • New side door • Paint exterior trim • Re-caulk exterior siding • New garage door!
When I would feel overwhelmed at my old desk job, my ex-boss (hi, Keith!) used to say: How do you eat a whale? One bite at a time. Let’s dig in.
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.