Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pet Playrooms

We're big pet lovers, with our pets being as much a part of our family as any other member.

As far back as I can remember, my family always had pets. I had three West Highland White Terriers when my husband and I married - and shortly thereafter, we adopted our cat, Randy.

Having three dogs and a cat can make keeping a house tidy a little difficult.  So we decided they it would be fun if they had designated playrooms of their own.

So we set out to create a dog room for our Westies - converting an unused portion of our basement.  I handpainted their door just to make it cuter!

And then we got busy painting the ugly cinder block and installing the drywall and flooring to finish the room...

Once the walls were done, it was time to paint!  I choose a fun apple green color...and did paw print and bone Wallies across the walls!  Then I hung my favorite photos of the dogs:

I took an ordinary, inexpensive plaid tab valance and made some Westie and a black cat embellishments to attach on it to finish off their window.

And we mounted a bin on their wall to hold their toys that I painted with another Westie.

 I bought a fire hydrant that my husband mounted to the wall for decoration...

And we installed a little cat door at the bottom of their door so Randy could get in and out...
I handpainted the "Cats use back door" above it.

 And we made a bone-shaped paper towel holder to clean up accidents!


And then we designed and decorated a cat playroom for Randy!

We found a cute cat border for the walls. My husband built the carpeted, cat house (with multi-levels!) and then I decorated it with black cat rugs, decor, and lots and lots of kitty toys!

(can you see Randy on his rug??)

If you have the space, pet playrooms are the purrfect solution to keep pet toys and clutter in a confined space while giving your beloved furry friends a place all their own to explore and play!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Mittens or Gloves?

Mittens or Gloves? 
Do you have a preference?  

I realize both serve their purpose - but isn't there something so sweet
so cute & comfy cozy 
about a pair of  

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

BeaverTails & Winterlude

My husband and I spent a good portion of the weekend lounging around the house, talking about winter in Canada (In case you didn't know, my husband is Canadian).

My poor husband. I feel as though I'm constantly peppering him with questions about growing up there ("Where did you go tobogganing? Is that different than sledding?", "Does a hat have to have a pompom on the top to be considered a toque? How do you spell toque?", "What kind of cheese do they use to make poutine?", etc...)

He's patient (or pretends to be), and he tries to answer all of my thousands of stupid questions, but I can tell it gets annoying to him after a while. I can't help myself...I find his Canadianness adorable - it's very endearing

Of course I can't mention winter in Canada without talking about Winterlude in his hometown of Ottawa (we're going again this year - we can't wait!) 

I love Ottawa and especially during winter.  Winterlude runs for three weeks in February in Ottawa and features:

Ice sculpture contests...

Snow sculpture contests...

Ice slides...

 a playground made of snow, and of course ice skating on the world's longest outdoor skating rink, the Rideau Canal!  So much fun! 

And I can't talk about Winterlude and ice skating on the Canal without mentioning BeaverTails!

BeaverTails are Canadian pastries, basically flattened donuts (shaped like a beaver's tail) and dusted with cinnamon sugar, chocolate, or fruit toppings (great with hot chocolate!)

There's no question that my husband misses so many things Canada...and one of the things he misses most is the food!

I found the following recipe for BeaverTails online a few years ago that's really good. It's very close to the real deal!

"Beaver Tails" Recipe
Canadian Recipes

" If you ever visited Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, in the winter months on the Rideau Canal, which is the longest skating rink in the world, they serve a sweet pastry, that is essentially a flat doughnut with sugar on top."

  • 1/2 cup warm water

  • 5 teaspoons dry yeast

  • pinch of sugar

  • 1 cup warm milk

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/3 cup oil

  • 4 1/4 - 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • oil for frying

  • granulated sugar for dusting

  • cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the yeast, warm water and pinch of sugar. Allow to stand a couple of minutes to allow yeast to swell or dissolve. 

Stir in remaining sugar, milk, vanilla, eggs, oil, salt and most of flour to make soft dough. Knead 5-8 minutes (by hand or with a dough hook), adding flour as needed to form a firm, smooth, elastic dough. Place in a greased bowl.

Place bowl in a plastic bag and seal. (If not using right away, you can refrigerate the dough at this point). Let rise in a covered, lightly greased bowl, about 30-40 minutes. Gently deflate dough, (if dough is coming out of the fridge, allow to warm up about 40 minutes before proceeding). 

Pinch off a golf ball sized piece of dough. Roll out into an oval and let rest, covered with a tea towel, while you are preparing the remaining dough. 

Heat about 4 inches of oil in fryer (a wok works best but you can use a Dutch oven or whatever you usually use for frying). Temperature of the oil should be about 385 F. Test by tossing in a tiny bit of dough and see if it sizzles and swells immediately. If it does, the oil temperature is where it should be. 

Stretch the ovals into a tail - thinning them out and enlarging them as you do. Add the beaver tails to the hot oil, about 1-2 at a time. 

Turn once to fry until the undersides are deep brown. Lift beaver tails out with tongs and drain on paper towels. 

Fill a large bowl with a few cups of white sugar . Toss beaver tails in sugar (with a little cinnamon if you wish) and shake off excess. 

You can also top off Beaver Tails with whatever preserves, pie fillings or even just powdered sugar.

Above: My husband and son waiting patiently in line.

A perfect tummy-warming treat on a cold day with a hot mug of hot chocolate!   

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Old School Lunch Boxes

Seeing an old metal lunch box takes me back.  Remember all of the different ones you'd see at school?  Dukes of Hazard, G.I. Joe, Incredible Hulk, Strawberry Shortcake?

I remember one of my personal favs - Holly Hobby!

I can remember clutching the handle tightly in my hand on the school bus each day.

So it was extremely sweet when my husband bought me the same style of Holly Hobby lunch box that I had as a little girl :) (gotta love eBay!)

It sits lovingly on my craft table filled with little sentimental odds and ends {my personal treasures}.

It was such a shame when they replaced the metal with plastic in the 1980's (although I can understand why - the old metal ones got rusty over time)...but still, something was lost.

So I still have a fondness for the metal ones.  I was elated to find little ones at Walmart & Target in the seasonal aisle for my son (they came filled with candies and things).  One of his favorites is a school-bus shaped one filled with Sesame Street characters:

 We use it to hold all of his mis-matched, well worn, and broken crayons. 

And I have another darling, little metal box (although not a lunch box) that I got from a seed company many many years ago on my craft table:

It's perfect to hold little notepads and punches.  

I love a cute way to keep things organized - and little metal boxes and nostalgic lunch boxes make great conversation pieces! 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Another great winter-doldrum-buster is thinking ahead to  
I'm a list fanatic!  
Being a full-time working mommy to a rambunctious toddler - I have to be! 
So I'm always organizing my plans/thoughts/dreams/goals into lists...
and because I like to have things written down...
why not write it down in something CUTE!!

So I made my own SPRING journal
(I'll have to post the DIY instructions one of these days):
it's really simple!

I ADORE springtime!
The longer days...
the beautiful flowers...
the return of migrating birds (yay, robins!)...
riding my adorable vintage bike!!

In it, I sketch my garden plans...
Keep track of seed packets/planting instructions...
Write "to do" lists for spring holidays (Easter, Mother's Day, my anniversary)...
plan projects (last year it was the playhouse!)...
Scrapbook seasonal photos for future reference...

but most importantly, I try to capture my thoughts, wishes, feelings
and special memories of the glorious spring season!

So if you're cooped up indoors
and need a little
try writing keeping your own seasonal spring journal!
It's a great (and pretty!) way to stay organized,
and get the most out of the upcoming season!!
(not to mention beating away the winter blahs!)

Or how about a pretty garden journal!

This post is proudly part of:

Check out the other participants and all of their ultra creative ideas!