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ONE. It’s October (surprise!), and maybe it’s our late nights of cleaning and gutting our garden unit – or maybe it’s our growing frustration at the lack of tied-up-ends in our home (yes, definitely this!) – but time is flying. November is around the corner, and for the last few weeks, we’ve watched our Pet Shop orders grow and grow (!). With that said, there are only a couple short months before the last batch of your pets’ portraits are dropped in the mail – all in the name of making it under your sparkly, shining trees.

We’ve been making our lists (and checking them twice), and we’re in the final countdown: We are only accepting 10 more custom portrait orders this year – starting now, right here in The Pet Shop. Once we’ve filled the last slots, the custom portraiture listings will be rendered inactive and closed for the year (and re-opened in early January). As if we don’t say this enough already, your support has us feeling all sorts of fuzzy; you are nothing short of amazing.

But wait!

TWO. If you’re reading this and the custom listings have since been deactivated, we have two alternate options to check off your Christmakuh/birthday/wedding lists. Printed on recycled art paper and sealed with a petal envelope, our gift certificates are not only cute and quirky (flex those gift-giving muscles, you thoughtful friend, you!), but they’ll allow the recipient to be a part of the creation process:

THREE. Or cut the line for the new year, and get on the 2014 pre-order list!* Maybe you’ve wish-listed a custom pet portrait for yourself, but we’ve since sold out for the year. Your mom/boyfriend/husband/wife/best friend ‘fessed up and admitted that they ignored your repeated requests for a painting of Fido, but they just know you’ll love the new sweater that matches your eyes. (Bah, humbug!)

*Pre-order link will become active once we’ve reached our 10 portrait limit for the year.

By purchasing a 2014 re-order now (*above), we will contact you the first week of January with the next steps. (We’ll even snail mail you a sweet and friendly receipt to tack on that refrigerator!) Pre-order portraits will be among the first to ship in the new year, cutting your turnaround time in half. In the meantime, allow yourself to get caught up in the holiday rush.

PS… This week started our newest quarterly partnership with Project Rescue Chicago. Learn all about them and their pet saving mission right here.

Above: Johnny O, Edison and Tesla were all painted on a 4×4 wood panel.

  • Rachel - October 7, 2013 - 12:58 PM

    Just got the email that my portrait is in the mail… which is AWESOME because it’s a surprise birthday gift for my boyfriend and he’s traveling for work this week, so no chance of him checking the mail and having the surprise ruined! I’m so excited to see it!!! :)ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 7, 2013 - 1:00 PM

    Rachel, awesome! I’m so excited with the choices we made – I hope you love it.ReplyCancel


130 year-old attics are scary. If you have to spend any amount of time in the area above your normal living space, you could pretty easily fall through the ceiling or find yourself face-to-facemask with a sparkly spaceman. And in our case, (in addition to the latter), our attic is especially haunting (maybe literally?) with it’s crumbling wallpapered ceilings, tumbleweeds and miscellaneous items from the decades before us.

And that’s after a good cleaning. Round 1.

Other than acting as a(n inter)stellar spaceman hangout, our particular attic was pretty unusable until a few short days ago. With the demise of our disgustingly dangerous floor-standing space heater thingies, we were in serious need of a second floor heating solution – enter Adrian and his team from Adi’s Heating and Cooling to find a use for our peaked third story space. (After collecting a handful of quotes, we were happy with not only their price, but their crew is fast and friendly, too. We’re now 4 digits lighter in the wallet, but we took this into account when we signed that stack of papers on closing day. Side note: Their Yelp page has an incorrectly listed phone number, so if you’re interested in their services, let us know!)

Adrian took our spooky, (mostly) empty attic and turned it into the model of modern HVAC efficiency. Rather than give up floor space somewhere on the second floor with a big bulky furnace, he installed a horizontally-oriented furnace above our kitchen-turned-bedroom. He then carefully cut about a dozen or so holes in our ceiling and ran insulated ductwork to every room on the second floor to keep things toasty through our brisk Chicago winters.

Goodbye sad, old space heaters. Hello modern ceiling ducts! Yup, this is how we spend our money these days. We’re so grown up.

We took this one step further and opted to pay a nominal fee to have his team return; yesterday, Adrian combined two of our three (!) current gas meters, which will get the first and second floor onto the same billing statement.* The minimal cost of this last step will not only pay for itself in less than a year, but it also brings us one step closer to restoring this place to its former single-family glory.

Not to mention, how cool does that shiny new machine look?

*We later found out – after confirming with the gas company that they, under no circumstances, could do this themselves – that they could, indeed, do this themselves. For next to nothing. (No third party needed.) The helpful rep from the gas company said that if you’re ever unsure about the extent of their services, ask for a supervisor. After feeling slightly ragey about this revelation, we thought, you live, you learn.

  • Heather {A Fire Pole in the Dining Room} - October 3, 2013 - 8:56 AM

    Three cheers for central heating and air! … and maybe only two for combining the gas meters? Bummer that you paid for it, but at least it’s done and it sounds like it was pretty small compared to the other work.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 3, 2013 - 10:15 AM

      Heather, yes, 2 cheers should do it! It was a small charge, but it’s always a bummer to try and cost save in so many areas, then find out that you didn’t need to pay for something in the first place. Negative 3 cheers for misinformation directly from the gas company!

      Lauren, that’s a totally valid question. I’m not sure what your soon-to-be space heaters look like, but ours were severely outdated and likely not up to the safety standards that standalone space heaters are today. Because they’re out in the open, there’s always the chance that they could tip over, since they’re not nearly as sturdy as they might look (I was able to move it around by myself, and on our unlevel floors, they were a real concern). Perhaps you can Google your model number and research reviews or issues. If you have safety points that need to be made, it wouldn’t be out of line to bring your concerns to your new landlord!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - October 3, 2013 - 10:00 AM

    I tried to comment from my phone earlier, so apologies if this ends up being a double post… I have two of those big space heaters in my current apartment, and I’m curious about them. Our landlord said they are really efficient and our heating bills will be low… at the same time, we rent a pretty old place in Ukrainian Village, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was just saying that and trying to cover up the fact that they are dangerous. What did you find out about them that points to them being dangerous? We just moved in at the beginning of September, so we haven’t used them yet, but now I’m a little nervous.ReplyCancel

  • Laura at Rather Square - October 3, 2013 - 10:23 AM

    Goodbye scary attic! (although it would have served a nice purpose for Halloween….)ReplyCancel

  • Julia @ Cuckoo4Design - October 3, 2013 - 4:03 PM

    Wow, I learned something new today too. I can’t believe that they could do this themselves for next to nothing after all.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 6, 2013 - 11:06 AM

    Julia, I know, right? So frustrating, but we’re happy to spread the word now that we know!ReplyCancel


Big strides were made over the weekend, starting with our home’s garden unit! You might remember that we’re turning our former two-flat into a single family home, but we also have a finished basement that we’ve been avoiding since our July move-in… until recently. We’re working with the city on some zoning restructuring (and once we can share more details on that learning process, we definitely will!), and in the meantime, we logged many, many man hours – these two! – on Saturday. We’ve been cleaning, spackling, de-bugging and replacing closet doors. We vacuumed bread crumbs from the cabinets and somehow filled an entire trash bin. We stared at the former owner’s shortcuts and cursed, loudly and often.

It was trying at times, and there may have been tears shed (me) followed by we can do this! speeches (him).

As a reward for our hard work, we hit the sack by 10PM like the two, old aching back DIY-ers we are, because at 5AM on Sunday morning our alarm would go off – but for good reason! Sunday morning, we packed our camera, fueled up on pancakes (in our usually bustling neighborhood diner) and hit the road for Wisconsin. We were going to the Elhorn Flea Market!

It was the last one of their summer season, and we’d been meaning to go all year – but then we bought a house, and well, the crumbling walls and ceilings took priority. Because we’re in the limbo stage of construction – and because we craved a much needed change of scenery – we took to Elkhorn like kids on Christmas. Held at the Walworth County Fairgrounds, this flea is unlike any we’ve ever been to. It was huge. The sun was in full force, booths of stuff abound, happy people bustled, and the smell of coffee, bratwursts, and fried foods came from every direction.

You guys, I wore a fanny pack with nothing in it but cash and lip gloss. (It promise it was not your mother’s fanny pack, although I realize that’s up for debate.) We meant business; I had to keep these arms free for browsing.

It’s frightening how much can happen before noon when you wake up early enough; by 11:30, we’d been at the flea for over 3 hours. While we had been on the lookout for light fixtures, a rug and some living room chairs (none of which we found), we did load the car with other loot (we’ve been doing that a lot lately!) – all of which was found in the first 30 minutes of our time at the fairgrounds.

By noon, we stopped for cheap fuel, a couple cases of our favorite beer, and a pumpkin patch! When we passed it – Wisconsin is magical, we tell you – Scott half-jokingly asked if I wanted to pick a pumpkin or two. Um, yes, please!

By early afternoon (and a cat nap later for this girl), we had finally made it home. And if you’re wondering, well, what did you get, what did you get? Here’s a better look at what was on that cart:

Those dining chairs! It’s so hard to think that far ahead, but after publicly announcing to our friends that we’d host the annual Friendsgiving dinner, we knew we’d need somewhere to seat them. (Now, where to find the table?) They’ll need a quick wood refresh, but other than that, they’re golden. To say we’re obsessed with them is an understatement. Even after we spent the rest of our day in the garden unit (again), we’d randomly say to each other, remember when we bought those chairs? Ah, good times.

Scott had been on the hunt for the just-right vintage fan (they’re a dime a dozen at most flea markets), but this one fit the bill perfectly. And when the same vendor had an antique “lap desk,” Scott insisted this was just the thing for painting my mini portraits; I had been resisting an easel for years, because I prefer a more reclined surface. This guy, though? It’s changing my life already. It slides up and down in almost any direction, or it can lay completely flat and boost up, if all I needed was a little lift. (You know?)

We also scooped a Paul Simon record that had been on Scott’s wishlist for a while (man, we are seriously missing our turntable), a Thin Lizzy album (because why not?), and a vintage Coach purse (that I can’t stop staring at).

I’m thinking half-day trips should be on the agenda more often. Scott?

  • K - October 1, 2013 - 7:13 AM

    flea market AND reno in one day!? I’ll say that’s productive! And man, stuff never looks that cute and appealing when I go to flea markets/ thrift shops/ yard sales. You guys have an eye for it!ReplyCancel

  • Hannah K. - October 1, 2013 - 7:24 AM

    I want to see a photo of the fanny pack!!!

    Seriously awesome finds. You’re right…those chairs = amazing.

    I thought that was Scott in the bear’s shirt (holding the letters) and COULD NOT figure out why he had a baby strapped to him…ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 1, 2013 - 8:13 AM

      K, thanks!

      Hannah, the fanny pack was undocumented! It might have exploded the blog. Also, no, no, no, baby.ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - October 1, 2013 - 8:19 AM

    WOW I love your treasures! Those chairs are gorgeous and the fan is just perfect! I can’t wait to see how your garden is coming along also (and is it bad that I’m in bed before 10pm each day even without diy’ing all day haha).ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 1, 2013 - 8:21 AM

    Rachel, nope, we love sleep as much as you do! Zzzz.ReplyCancel

  • Kimberly @ Turning It Home - October 1, 2013 - 9:17 AM

    It looks so dreamy there! That fan is in great condition. I bought a Zero fan for $5 at an estate sale, but those blades look pretty rust-free… great find!ReplyCancel

  • Angela - October 1, 2013 - 9:28 AM

    You just made me so homesick for Wisconsin. It is magical, especially the Spotted Cow. We drive up from Atlanta every Christmas just so we can return with several cases.ReplyCancel

  • Heather {A Fire Pole in the Dining Room} - October 1, 2013 - 9:44 AM

    Oooh watch out. Vintage fans have a way of multiplying. We started with one and I think we’re up to 4 (all in working order and being used). You’ve been warned ;)

    LOVE the chairs!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 1, 2013 - 9:47 AM

    Kimberly, that’s a steal!

    Angela, we picked up 2 cases, but I’m thinking we should have gone for 4…

    Heather, I don’t doubt it! Although admittedly, I’ve always been a little fearful of them after I almost chopped off my finger on one.ReplyCancel

  • Laura at Rather Square - October 1, 2013 - 11:27 AM

    I love your finds! The lap desk thingy looks like such a nice setup to work on paintings. Seems like you had a really fun little trip – and it was a good break from all the house reno stuff. I’ll have to check out that flea market next year – we’ve been talking about going to one once our house is a little more set up.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 1, 2013 - 11:37 AM

    Laura, definitely worth the trip from Chicago!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - October 1, 2013 - 12:27 PM

    Ah.mazing. We need to find a flea like this near us! And Coach purse pic? I definitely need to see that!ReplyCancel

  • Nicole T. - October 1, 2013 - 1:15 PM

    How much do you want for these chairs??!?! I am in love! You and Scott did a great job!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica@CapeofDreams - October 1, 2013 - 3:19 PM

    I vote we bring back the fanny pack! I am always in danger of losing my purse and becoming a victim of identity theft because I set my purse down all over the place and forget about it. If fanny packs were haute couture, I would not have this problem.ReplyCancel

  • Caitlyn - October 1, 2013 - 3:25 PM

    Fantastic finds! I love virtual thrifting… although I love your finds so much I kinda wish this had been IRL instead and it was me doing the shopping :)ReplyCancel

  • Julia @ Cuckoo4Design - October 1, 2013 - 7:17 PM

    I always enjoy looking at your photos so much! They are once again gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Jillian - October 1, 2013 - 7:19 PM

    SAWEEET daddy dog!!!!! you owe me a pic of that purse, lady! i will remind you a 3rd time if i’ve gotta!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 1, 2013 - 8:43 PM

    Thanks, guys!

    Nicole, one million dollars.

    Jessica and Jillian – I suppose I should have taken a photo of it, too! Bad blogger.ReplyCancel

  • jenn aka the picky girl - October 1, 2013 - 11:14 PM

    Don’t know that I’ve ever been as jealous of anything as I am of those chairs…ReplyCancel

  • Kati from so happy home - October 2, 2013 - 11:56 AM

    I’m insanely jealous of your drafting table. And your pumpkin picking. I’m glad you guys got away from the reno, even if only for a few hours. It can make all the difference.ReplyCancel

  • Kate - October 5, 2013 - 4:03 PM

    This flea market is THE BEST. My mom used to live right down the road from it, and my aunt would drive over from Michigan a few times a year and we’d trek all over the grounds for hours at a time. I hope you also ate a chocolate eclair from the ladies under the awning in back – if not, next time for sure!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 6, 2013 - 11:03 AM

      Kate, ooh, we didn’t have a chocolate eclair, but DEFINITELY next time!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - October 7, 2013 - 1:59 PM

    I found the same fan just last year. Love the colors!ReplyCancel

  • Margaret - November 1, 2013 - 3:02 PM

    I am drooling over all your finds! Love them!! Those chairs I want in. my. house. now!! :)ReplyCancel