Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pimp Pup Pillow DIY

Since Harry enjoys his bed so much, I decided that he might appreciate something fluffy under his rear when he stays in his crate while his Mom & Dad are at work.  The crate can be a hard place, and Harry simply loves snuggling.  So I set myself on making a flat crate cushion for Harry to lounge on all day.

I bought a yard of fleece on Etsy for $4 (made me holla) in this pimpin tiger print and I used my leftover polyfill from making Harry's bed to stuff it.  In hindsight, I could have bought interfacing and just sewn the whole thing together, but I figured I'd just use the items I had on hand.

My first step was measuring the width and length of the crate.  I didn't want it to take up the entire space, so I cut the fabric in a square.  I added an inch on each side for seam allowance, and an inch on each side to allow for "puff room" - you'll notice when you stuff your pillow will become shorter in width/length.  Going back I'd definitely add another inch to my sides since his pillow puffed up a decent amount.

After cutting my fabric, I put the right sides in and sewed straight along 3 1/2 sides, leaving me some room to stuff.  Then I turned it right side out and stuffed.  

Once stuffed, I sewed my stuff hole shut and then measured 3 inches in from all corners, pinning in each corner.  I wanted to create a tufted effect for pimp style, which would have been much easier by using interfacing.  Since I stuffed with poly-fil, I jammed my pillow under my sewing machine and forced it through, sewing from pin to pin whilst pulling them out as I passed.  It's not perfect, but it did the trick.

Harry's pimp pillow looks so good in his crate, especially in his room where my fancy vintage chair is sitting (that chair makes everything look good).  

The pillow lasted all of a day and half...when Harry spent about two hours in his crate completely shredding one of the corners.  Right now I'm trying to figure out how to fix it, or if it's worth it.  Thankfully the materials were cheap!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hunting with Harry

One of my favorite things to do is creep around the flea markets of Philadelphia, hunting for treasure.  A couple of weeks ago they came to Fairmount and set themselves up around Eastern State Penitentiary.  Since it was an outdoor event, I figured it would be a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.  I shop, Harry walks.  I think I got more of a workout than he did.

I attempted to bring Harry to the flea market once before, when it was on Spring Garden in a warehouse right before 5th street.  Unfortunately, a surprise snowstorm hit and prevented a lot of the peddlers from driving into Philly.  Even though this is an indoor event, it's dog friendly.  Just make sure your dog is behaved.  
Harry drools with excitement at the flea market
Harry really enjoyed himself.  Not only was he surrounded by people paying attention to him, he was consumed by the smells of all the old things from strange homes.  It was a struggle to keep him under wraps, especially around glassware and strollers.  I was surprised by how appreciated he was by the sellers...I assumed they'd be annoyed by having a mutt sniffing their wares.  Sellers came out and greeted him and they even had water bowls set up for the occasion.  

Most exciting to me are my finds.  Usually when I attend flea market events I go with something in mind so that I can browse with purpose.  My intent in going to the Fairmount flea was to find vintage planters, or things I could use as pots for the roof deck garden.  I ended up with other things obviously...

For example, this martini shaker.  I definitely won't be planting something in it, but I may possibly be making an Old Spanish for my TV boyfriend Don Draper.  It's clean, it works, and it was $4.  Plus I have the recipes for all the groovy drinks from back in the day right at my fingertips.  I plan to pair these with a bunch of Mad Men-esque tumblers if I ever find cheap ones and then spend my evenings vomiting as I can barely handle beer.
Next up is this cast iron wall hook that looks exactly like Harry.  Notice his "zoinks!?" expression above.  The lady who sold it to me was pretty batty, and I paid $5 which in comparison to the swanky cocktail shaker may not be a deal.  But I'm a sucker for things that remind me of Harry.  I'm hoping to use this in our wall that acts as a foyer to hold Harry's leash.  We haven't named him yet, but I'm edging towards Larry, since they're almost twins.

It was at the Spring Garden Flea Market that I found a guy selling tons of vintage post cards.  Some were written on, some were blank.  He had them categorized so you could browse by city, country, or subject.  I picked up a few of places the boo and I have traveled, some of Philadelphia, and I checked out the dog category obviously.

The one above is from 1902, and although I have no clue what the post card says, I like the script and the sprinting dog reminds me of Harry's wild man running in the dog park.  I mounted it with double stick tape on some poster board and framed it.

This one really spoke to me.  The dog looks nothing like Harry, but the handwritten message completely spooked me.  It was only the day prior that Harry had eaten our IKEA chair cushion.  Of course I giddily had to tell everyone around me the entire story and the man selling post cards told me about a guard dog in a museum in Graceland that ate all of Elvis's teddy bears.  I thought he was crazy, but apparently it's true. Those post cards ran me about 50 cents each.  Deals yo!

Our most recent acquisition was done online via Craigslist.  I had been searching for a wingback chair to possibly reupholster (if I could figure it out) and stumbled upon one for sale only a couple of miles away.  I immediately pounced on it, and we brought it home on Monday.  It now sits in Harry's room so now he can have some company when he's in his crate.  Best part is, I'm obsessed with the color and it's not too worn out.  No reupholstering for me!

The treasure hunting is going to have to take a break for the time being.  We only have so much square footage.  But I think what we've found so far is pretty great.  I think Harry feels that the new chair adds sophistication to his boudoir...let's just cross our fingers that he doesn't give it the same homecoming as he did our IKEA chair.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Harry's Green Thumb

Remember when I said I'd be better at blogging this year?  Ugh, sorry.  The weeks and weekends have taken their toll and the projects I've wanted to complete have taken much longer than expected due to car failure, late nights at work, race weekends, and a dirty dog.  I thought I'd share a project I've been working on for over a month now, which is getting my roof deck spruced up for summer.

This year I'm hoping to borrow my sister's green thumb in my quest for an urban roof deck vegetable garden.  The major project in this endeavor was finding cheap planter boxes that were big enough for veggies but not so big that they'd leave me without deck real estate.  No such thing exists.  So I opted to build my own by modifying a tutorial I saw on one of my favorite "girl power" blogs, Shanty2Chic.

My first step was to buy and cut a lot of wood.  Luckily, I made a friend in the wood department of Lowes and he cut all my wood for free.  Did you know they're starting to charge per cut?  Where am I supposed to keep power tools in our bitty place?  My purchase consisted of six or so 1x3 furring strips and a 2x2.

I modified the Shanty2Chic tutorial so that my length and width were bigger to accommodate the deck.  I also added another furring strip to the top, which increased the length of my inside pieces.  Essentially I cut 10 pieces at 36" for the sides and 10 pieces at 20" for the ends.  I needed more room for roots, and adding the extra strip got me right to 12" depth.  My 2x2 was cut to be 12" each instead of the 9.5" recommended in the tutorial.

My process began by making the shorter ends, stacking the furring strips and screwing them into my inner strips.  I used some wood glue but I lack the patience and the clamps to let it dry in place, and screwed on top of the glue.  Once I had two ends, I attached the longer sides in the same manner.  Harry was not a fan of the drill, and watched cautiously from afar, either on the couch or in the middle of the staircase.

The plywood base wasn't bought until after I had the rectangles put together.  I wasn't sure of what my measurements would be so I measured the length and width of my boxes after they were built and visited my woodcutter friend at Lowes with my measurements.   I used wood glue around the entire perimeter of the base and then screwed it into the four corners into the 2x2s.  Then I kept it out to dry overnight.

Here we are with our finished boxes ready to be stained, Harry rocking a hoodie to cope with the windy weather that comes with a roofdeck in March (like I said this was a long project).  My goal was to stain the boxes and paint some garden/flower related song lyrics over the stain.  I needed it to be water proof so that the boxes wouldn't rot after one planting season.  My solution was an all in one exterior wood stain & sealant.

The boxes only required one coat of stain, so I had plenty of stain for two boxes and then some.  I stained both the inside and the outside, so that my inner box would be water resistant to sustain daily watering.  I thought about using some wood filler in-between the slats, but decided that the landscape fabric was enough to keep the boxes tidy.

Then for a while, I spent a good amount of time painting the outside of the boxes with my lyrical quotations.  I whipped out the acrylics from college and some leftover paint from the second bedroom paint job.  My lyrical choices were from Everclear's "I Will Buy You a New Life" and Alice in Wonderland's "Golden Afternoon"....I thought they were appropriate for gardening.
After everything was dry I drilled some drainage holes in the bottom of each box (you can see above).  I also drilled holes on the sides about 6-7 inches apart to create rope handles for transporting the boxes just in case we need to move them around for deck gatherings.  Had I the patience and skill I would have put casters on the bottoms so I could roll them around the deck.  Maybe next year.
The bottom of the boxes I filled with gravel, to allow for another level of drainage.  I covered this with landscaping fabric before I filled my box with potting soil.  It took me another week or so to even purchase my plants, and even after that I was nervous to plant them for fear that I would do it wrong or kill them immediately.

Once I got it together, I planted two tomato plants, two crookneck squash, 2 red peppers, 2 green peppers, and 2 eggplants.  The rest of my gardening endeavors are via container/pot and I started my own version of a vertical garden using an IKEA shelf I got for $20 and spray painted with rust preventative clear spray paint.  Time will tell if I have green thumb skills, but hopefully all this effort reaps plentiful rewards.  Regardless, Harry thoroughly enjoyed his time on the deck as you can see by his huge cheesing smile.