Love your dog, or have a pet-crazy friend? Here’s a list of 10 ideas from 50 Simple Ways to Pamper Your Dog. Test-run by me:
1.Keep a toy chest for all your dog’s playthings. This is a good one, since my dogs have so many toys that people think I must have children in the house. I leave out three toys at a time, maximum, and rotate the toys as the dogs get bored. Each time a new toy comes out of rotation, they think it’s brand-new.
2. Give your dog a nickname. You know he’s already got one anyway. It may as well be official. Frodo responds equally well to Frody, Little Dude, Freakface and Goober.
3. Once a week, put your dog’s bowls in the dishwasher. Excellent advice. I don’t want want bacteria building up in those bowls any more than in mine.
4. Make a doggy scrapbook. Well, I have not gone so far as to make a plaster cast of Frodo’s little puppy paws, or include hair from his first grooming, but he does have a framed print placed prominently in the livingroom. And, of course, a picture in my wallet.
5. Brush his teeth. My dogs love their toothbrushing sessions. I use a toothpaste for dogs (tastes like chicken), with their own special dog toothbrushes (made for their softer enamel). Once I am done brushing, I let them gnaw on their brushes a bit. Hey, I’ve also got tartar-control dog biscuits and flossy-thread rope toys. No one should have to deal with bad dog breath.
6. Don’t forget the Christmas stocking. The dog stockings are shaped like bones and full of yummy dog treats and squeaky toys.
7. Buy doggy booties. I have some all-terrain dog Muttluks for seriously rocky hiking trips. My dogs walk funny in them at first, then shrug and get used to it. When I remove the boots, I look at the leather bottoms. All those scratches would have been on my dog’s tender pads. Booties are also nice for keeping pads off hot asphalt, and fleecies are great against winter’s ice and salt.
8. Take him swimming. A nice activity that I’m going to have the canines do when they start aging. Dogs are very prone to arthritis, and swimming is a no-stress sport. I have little dog life vests, so they can exercise their limbs even in their golden years.
9. Pray with your dog. One of the book’s nicest suggestions is saying grace with your dog at mealtimes, offering thanks for his loving presence during a cuddle, or allowing some quiet space to be reflective together each day. I once heard a psychic say dogs are very spiritual. It’s probably true.
10. Buckle up. PetsMart and other pet companies design seat-belt attachments that clip right onto your dog’s harness. In an accident, you don’t want your favorite ball of fur to come flying at your head or against the windscreen. It also keeps dogs from climbing into the driver’s lap or all over your passengers. (The book mentions that some new vehicle models from Saab, Audi and Subaru even come with their own dog-restraint systems. How’s THAT for cool?)
There are 40 other unique ideas, and the author also published an edition made for cat-lovers. Anyway, it’s a cute book, and at under ten dollars, would make a decent gift this Christmas.
Here’s a link to the book itself, if you want to order it:Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
The title of this book is actually Simply Handmade - 365 Easy Gifts and Decorations You Can Make. The pages are just FULL of great pictures and ideas. The book is user-friendly with tabs at the top for either the “make it in minutes” or “step-by-step” plans.
I love the gorgeous Christmas decoration ideas: there are cool plans for making stocking stuffers, centerpieces, tree ornaments, door trims, luminaries, peppermint wreaths, and much more. There are also lots of decorating and gift ideas for Autumn, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Winter, Spring and Summer. For example, there is one set of instructions for making Pumpkin Globes out of clear Christmas ornaments and etching paste. Why NOT make a Halloween Tree? We now have Easter Trees becoming popular, after all.
Lots of reuse ideas abound for the thrifty and recycling inclined. The Vintage Button Wreath idea is a pretty cool re-use idea. You can use extra copper wire with old beads to make lovely napkin rings, or reuse clear glass containers as centerpieces, holding small pretty collections of metal things like spoons, cookie cutters or silver bells. Vintage scarves make nice lamp shades (line them with beaded string), scraps of ribbon with beads can become nice bookmarks, and old children’s book covers can be framed as classy decorator gifts.
The Gifts For the Birds ornaments pages are really neat. There is a picture of an outdoor pine tree with seed-covered apple and bagel bird treats, dangling corncob ornaments and garlands of cereal. This is a great way reuse stale bread (make into bird ornaments with cookie cutters, peanut butter and seeds) and to use yarn scraps (use it to hang ornaments and the birds can use it in their nests later on).Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
While this book isn’t really for those seeking quick-fix ideas, anyone thinking of making built-ins, or of redesigning their living spaces, should love this book. This book has a lot of grand ideas - all beautifully presented - sure to get anyone excited about storage.
They refer to the search for compatible storage as a spiritual quest for modern man, and I would tend to agree. In a time when we take classes to reduce our clutter, clear our ’sacred spaces’, and find the best Feng Shui for our possessions, figuring out how to handle our accummulated stuffhas become a crucial de-stress point. As the book states, “Good storage will ease the pressure and calm the mayhem: life is too short for chaos.” Amen.
Smart Storage divides solutions by room: bathroom, bedroom, home office, living room, kitchen, media center - even the laundry room gets a makeover.
It’s a fun read and makes a decent coffee-table book for as long as it takes you to determine where the heck to store all the things in your life.
Some tips from the book:
- If you are lucky enough to be designing your home from scratch, plan first for your storage needs. Thinking about your possessions will be a great help in planning out your real needs in terms of light, space and furniture.
- Gorgeous storage items like wooden and carved trunks can double as furniture, and always look good. Try keeping your excess linens in those. Vintage suitcases, stacked, are another cool decorative idea, and can easily store video tapes, CDs, or household receipts.
- Don’t be afraid to set things aside for thrift shops, garage sales or even the trash. Sometimes we have psychological attachments to having stuff- try to make sure everything you keep is either beautful or useful. Lose the rest.
- Make use of your vertical space for storage. Think about setting shelves above doorways, or in place of crown molding. Use the entire closet too, even up by the ceiling, with installed hooks of shelving.
- Collections of things can become display items themselves, with a little thought about how to show off the collection in question. Plates can be hung on walls, old albums can be stacked inside wooden crates, pretty shoes can be displayed in a bedroom hutch. Don’t be afraid to take your favorite things and make them part of your decor.
- Try carving into your walls to create book shelves and art nooks. Built-ins generally look good.
- Food storage is another home element that can be incorporated into decor. Try finding interesting containers for spices, pasta, nuts and wines. Stainless steel utensils, or copper pots and pans look great hanging, too.
- Consider adding a loft space for a home office or spare bedroom.
A source directory in the book’s appendix offers a good start for finding companies willing to redesign your cabinets or sell you storage-type decor.
Smart Storage: Stylish Solutions for every room in your home, by Joanna Copestick and Meryl Lloyd, 2002, Ryland, Peters and Small.Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
This bright and snazzy decorating book offers tons of original paint ideas for walls, room dividers, furniture and even curtains.
All kinds of paint techniques are discussed with plenty of pictures to help visualize differences between frottage, combing, dragging, ragging, gilding, flogging, washing, masking and splattering. Plus, if you enjoy frottage design (just for example), there are instructions for using abstract, pictoral and rolled styles.
[Don't know what frottage is? Basically, it's layering thickly with paint, then placing plain paper over the design, pressing down and peeling off. This really makes a unique look on whatever surface you choose to decorate. To me, the resultant design has a very contemporary textured look.]
Frankly, I think stenciling, decoupaging and antiquing/crackling are old hat, but this book does offer novel ways to use these often overplayed techniques.
What I like best about this book are the ideas I’ve never seen anywhere before. There is an entire section devoted to using metallic paints - like painting an aspen leaf in gold and using those as classy transfer stamps. They show a carmine red wall over a bar area, with silver aspen leaf transfers stamped in a casual pattern. The effect says “glamour” in an Art Deco-style. Using gilded gold or silver for splatters is another expensive-looking idea - a nice living room accent wall option I fantasize about trying.
The gilded glass technique looks very, very rich - in a good way. It has a artsy penthouse appearance. This is just one of the impressive-looking techniques that is actually easy to do, once you have the proper tools and directions.
One two-way drag pattern looks just like blue jeans! Think of how cool that would look as an accent wall in a rec room or boy’s room. They have it placed in a kitchen backsplash and it looks quite modern.
The last section of the book is all about using these designs in actual roooms. Most of the designs - even the historically countrified ones - look very modern. I noticed Retro Space Age (the are calling it Urban Chic), Botanical Bohemian, Natural Living and Eclectic Country.
Finally, two pages of cut-out stamp and stencil designs are offered.
Feeling creative? Grab a brush!Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
The autobiography of champion boxer Rusty Rosenberger is a must-read for fans of the sport, but even more important, this candid tale offers our cynical world a real hero. Rosenberger may have been knocked down, but not out.
In Unclaimed Destiny: Heart of a Champion, Rosenberger declares his destiny was to win. By all accounts, the 1979 New Jersey Middleweight Boxing Champion should have won the World Title. Having blown away the competition in a fabulous career rise, he suddenly fell from fame. His story describes a shocking betrayal by the boxing manager he trusted. Two mysterious pills were all it took to change the outcome of history and one man’s world.
Rosenberger never managed to really to get his game back after Lou Duva drugged him. A series of physical and emotional hardships plagued him for years, until he turned his skills to teaching boxing for fitness, coining the Boxercise fitness craze that swept the nation in the eighties. Then he decided to tell his story.
While it doesn’t seem unusual that a fighter’s game can be rigged, it’s surprising that an amoral manager would trip his own racehorse, felling a young man’s promising career in it’s prime. From the standpoint of the “pen being mightier than the sword,” one hopes that Rosenberger has managed to eviscerate Lou Duva in return.
Rosenberger’s message comes through - don’t let the turkeys get you down. His tale unashamedly bares his warrior’s soul, proving himself a real contender, a modern-day hero we can believe in.
Rosenberger’s unpretentious writing style makes for a quick, refreshing read in 156 pages.
Jill Florio, August 2003 Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
I’m planning on eloping next week with my fiance. Neither of us are on good terms with our families so we’ve just decided to keep things simple…a
ceremony just for us without the drama and criticizing. What advice can you give me about buying wedding arrangments without spending a fortune. Any planning ideas?
Anne [name has been changed]
It’s important first to know what your minimum requirements are.
If you are eloping, are you going to a justice of the peace? Or something like Las Vegas? Or having a simple church thing without alot of hoorah? Are you planning to have any friends attend?
You absolutely need to first get a marriage license, and then decide who your witnesses will be. You will need two. They can be strangers off the street or old friends. Your pick. Go to your local courthouse to determine your state’s requirements for a license (this is the part that makes your marriage legal).
Since this won’t be a gala event, I’d recommend you buy a lovely dress that you will wear again, not a bridal gown that will put you in hock. Anything white says “bride”. Or just something that makes you look stunning, in any color.
Also, get a simple bouquet of whatever flowers you love. Calla Lilies are quite “in” and hold-up very well. They won’t get droopy like most flowers by the end of the day, so you won’t need a florist’s fees for a bridal bouquet that comes with specially-rigged tiny water vases braided into the stems.
Or you could carry a candle. Or silk flowers, like I did, which I still have on display in my bedroom. It’s good to carry something, to keep your hands occupied as you gracefully float down the aisle.
Instead of buying tons of pew flowers, I’d concentrate on an altar that is attractive. It can be flowers, candles, a statue, or anything meaningful to you and your husband-to-be.
You can also use your engagement rings as wedding rings. There is no law saying you need wedding bands too. My husband and I used our engagement rings just fine - no one cared or even noticed.
Also, I would spend extra time planning a set of meaningful vows. Have a good long chat about what marriage means to the two of you, and feel free to incorporate verses from books, poetry or sacred texts. Even without family there, you can infuse your big day with love, honor and respect for one another.
Are you having a reception? Maybe you and whatever wedding party you have should just head out to your favorite place and let a restaurant pamper you. Let them know ahead of time you that are coming straight from your wedding - they will probably be so pleased they’ll throw in the champagne for free. Everyone loves a bride.Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
I admit I love candles. Lit candles, singly or in groups, offer an ambience that electrical lighting simply cannot simulate. Candles are a boon for both budget-conscious home-makers and luxury-level interior designers alike.
Country Living’s “Decorating with Candles: Accents Throughout the Home” is a pleasure to page through. Written by Maria Ricapito and lavishly photographed by Keith Scott Morton, hundreds of candle decorating ideas are presented.
Some of the book’s candle decorating ideas that I especially enjoyed:
- Pouring wax, with a wick, into large seashells, and lighting in the bathroom, for a seaside theme.
- Lighting treasured artwork and unique pieces on the mantle with tiny tea lights.
- Lighting small candles inside milkglass vases and placing them high on shelves for ambient lighting.
- Placing lighted candles in hurricane lanterns on each step of foyer staircases, to provide architectural height and interest. Alternatively, small votives can light the path from an entry hall into the rest of the house.
- Found objects can make great candle holders - mis-matched china cups and saucers, terra-cotta flower pots from the shed, old candy and tart tins - whatever you have squirreled away, or whatever you dig up at garage sales.
- Filling the fireplace with lit candles of all sizes and shapes to enhance your hearth.
- Mixing floating candles with tiny, lovely wildflowers in clear glass vases. They even suggest floating a few lemons in vases, with the candles and yellow flowers, for a kitchen citrus theme that delights the nose as well as the eyes.
- Filling Mason jars with sand and inserting tapers, and placing around outdoor porches for a nighttime glow.
I enjoyed the text in this book as well. The author reminds us that not too long ago, candles were the main source of household illumination. She carries the reader through each room in the house, providing interesting candle uses, and suggesting the best kinds of candles to use for each purpose. There are also sidebars full of “secrets” - How to Make Ice Lanterns and Snowball Lanterns, Citronella Secrets, Giving Candles as Gifts, Removing Wax, Uses for Aromatherapy Scents in Candles and much more.
The last part of the book showcases fabulous holiday candle decorating, starting with Halloween and ending with New Years. This section is well worth a look for those collecting new and unusual decorating ideas for the extended winter and Christmas holiday season.Uncategorized | Comment (0)
In the wintertime, things are generally chilly to downright cold, keeping you indoors, with the windows and doors shut! This is a good time of year to focus on creating a healthy indoor environment.
Start by opening those windows and doors, at least once a week, for about 20 minutes to an hour (wait for sunny days and turn off the heat). Allow that toxic indoor air to cycle outside, and let the fresh air stream on in. Our new houses are so energy efficient these days, that often our air exchange isn’t sufficient. Indoor air can be several times more polluted than the atmosphere outside, what with carpet and upholstery outgassing, indoor dust, house cleaning fluids, fireplace or woodstove gasses, and candle/incense/air freshener particulates.
Getting a new vaccuum cleaner with a HEPA filter (like the Bissell 35755 Cleanview Bagless Upright Vacuum with HEPA will also help. You want to actually suck up the dirt, not just spew it back into the air.
Some books will help you clean up your home’s air: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living, Protecting Yourself and Your Family from Everyday Toxics and Harmful Household Products in the Home and The Healthy Living Space: 70 Practical Ways to Detoxify the Body and Home. For woodburning questions, consult: The New Woodburner’s Handbook: A Guide to Safe, Healthy, and Efficient Woodburning.
This is a good time of year to invest in some solid houseplants. Certain plants, like pothos, philodendron, peace lily, banana plant and spider plant, are adept at absorbing airborne pollutants, converting them to fresh, clean O2! Purchase a few bigger plants rather than several small ones - they are easier to keep alive (being more established), look better as decor, and allow more surface area for gas exchange. A few big plants will go a long way to cleaning your indoor air pollution! Home Depot usually has nice big economical houseplants, and your local nursery will have super-healthy ones plus a great staff.
Speaking of air quality, chances are your indoor humidity levels are too low. Indoor heating almost assures your air will be dry. Again, plants will help you here. Mist them every few days, and they will reward you with a nicer, moister environment.
Fish tanks also help keep your indoor environment humid, as water levels evaporate and are re-filled. Don’t have fish? Pretty bowls of water will do! Place some interesting rocks on the bottom, and call it a Zen Water Feature.
You can always use a humidifier, if all else fails. And drink more water - one or two liters a day. Your skin will be healthier, and your resistance to disease will improve.Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
Ready to have a perfectly clean house? You want your home to STAY spotless? Ha! Try these easy resolutions and give yourself a break this year.
Buy Ring in the New at Art.com
Ring in a relaxing New Year
1. Pull out your fridge and vaccuum those coils! You’ll get big energy savings and your appliance will run longer.
2. Run a hot vinegar rinse through your empty dishwasher, just to clean out the interior. Add lemon juice for a fresh scent.
3. Stop apologizing when people stop by and the house is a ‘mess’.
4. Bring in your dog for a professional grooming. PetsMart does a good, reliable job, and their groomers can teach you how to brush, bathe, clip nails and care for doggie teeth on your own.
5. Get rid of your seriously clunky old vaccuum cleaner. Buy one of those fabulous new wet/dry bagless vaccuums that work like a charm. Or an Robotic Vacuum that does it all for you while you sleep.
6. Have a professional clean your place at least once every season, for peace of mind and that extra-special attention to detail.
7. Go get your car detailed while you’re at it. And wouldn’t that make a nice Valentine’s gift for someone special?
8. Tackle massive cleaning projects one stage at a time, even if that means over a series of weeks - don’t get overwhelmed by ANYTHING. Life is too short to worry about the details.
9. Here’s a quickie: purge leftovers from your fridge. And old condiments, or weird food items you just don’t know what to do with. It’s easier to cook, and keep your fridge interior clean, when you can see what you have.
10. Next sunny day, turn off the heat, throw open the windows and doors, and let the clean air carry out your musty indoor atmosphere. Fluff your bed pillows outside in the sun, and turn them over to air after an hour or so. Drag everything outside: couch cushions, blankets, dog beds, upholstered chairs, your sock drawer. The ultra-violet sunshine will kill off any clinging microbes, while the fresh air will linger inside your home for weeks.Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
I need an idea of how to get rid of odors in the large trash can - the one that the garbage company empties. I realize that it is a trash can and will not smell wonderful, but at least it would be nice if didn’t smell sooo bad. I have tried baking soda, Simply Green and etc. - with no luck.
Thanks for your help.
Hi Lois. Sorry to be so long getting back to you! I hope I can offer some ideas to help with your garbage can odor.
Here is what I would do:
You need a sunny day. First, take a hose and spray out the can. Then, pour in a gallon of water with 3 cups of regular bleach added. Carefully slosh it around and let it sit for a hour, agitating every ten minutes. Use a toilet bowl brush to really scrub down the insides. Then, pour out the liquid (down the tub will help keep your pipes clean, too). Don’t forget to scrub the lid well too, with some more water-bleach mix.
Then this part is key - let the can and lid dry out in the sunshine! Ultraviolet light kills most smell-causing microorganisms.
Don’t add any new garbage until the can is completely dry.
If this doesn’t work, you might just need a new trash bin. Hit up the City for a new one by saying that yours leaks. This is a last-ditch effort for really bad bins.
Now you need to keep those odors from seeping back into the can. Make sure you use baking soda in your kitchen trash - everytime you throw away food products or anything wet - and tie up bags securely before carrying outside to the main trash.
And on days that your city trash can is emptied, let the bin air out overnight (that means with an open lid), before adding new trash.Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (1)