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This weekend was full of things to be celebrated…

1. I (mostly) ran my first race. It was the 4.02 mile Trolley Run, which starts in Waldo (my neighborhood) and follows the old Trolley line to the Plaza. It was raining the whole time. I set a personal record…which is probably a normal pace for a speed walker, but it was still awesome.

2. I actually made something I pinned on PinterestCreamy Tomato, Basil, Garlic, and Cheese Tortellini soup. It was delish!

3. I took my last final and turned in my last paper of grad school! I still have to give a final to my students this week, but as of Friday, I am D.O.N.E! I cannot WAIT to cross “get a masters degree” off my goals list!

What things did you accomplish this weekend that should be celebrated? Turk wants to celebrate the fact that he has broken our resolve and forevermore claimed the couch cushions as his own.

I’ll probably be light on posting this week as I am prepping the house for my graduation party this weekend and catching up on grading stuff for my students…but I’ll be back next week with a vengeance!


Emily let you know yesterday that I’d be sharing my latest project, which interestingly enough, was finished on Earth Day. Long ago I had an idea… I thought, “why not try to make something cool out of a pallet?”  I’ve always wanted an Adirondack chair and it seemed like the pieces of wood it takes to make one could be easily made from pallet pieces.

There are a ton of pallet uses you can find online, but most of the stuff I’ve seen maintains their basic pallet structure. My goal was to make a chair that no one expects to be made from a pallet, yet doesn’t lose the unique qualities, that custom feel that you get from reclaimed wood.

I found some pallets that were being given away on Craigslist and picked them up. Pallets in hand, I started tried to figure out the easiest way to break them apart. The nails they use in pallets are extremely hard to remove without destroying the wood. I found a video online of a guy who dropped a heavy object on one part while propping the other side on a brick. Very cartoonish, but it seemed to work pretty well, so I gave it a shot. After a couple dozen throws with a cinder block (and Emily imagining me to be Peeta from the Hunger Games), I realized that I needed a sledge hammer. I found one at an estate sale for $6 and the pallets were broken down in no time.

After sorting the wood into piles, I started to plan out my chair. At first I thought I might just wing it and make it up as I went, but I figured there would be a lot more trial, and LOT more error if I did that, so I went online once again to find chair plans. Lowes had a decent set of plans, including a cut list, supply list and some tutorial videos that I used when I got stumped.

Finally, I got to work. I started by finding boards that were the closest match to what the plans called for. I had most of what I needed but was missing a few things. At that point I had two options: buy one board for the project or alter the plans and continue to make a 100% pallet chair. I decided “why stop now?” and went for the modification to keep it 100% pallet. I never been one to follow directions too closely anyway.

Nights after work, I’d try to squeeze in a hour or two of sanding on all the pieces. It was amazing how a little sanding brought out these great pieces of wood! I don’t know what kinds for sure, but I know I have some oak and maybe some birch boards in the mix. You typically wouldn’t do a project out of more than one type of wood, but I think that is what makes this chair cool. I also didn’t want to sand away all the markings of the woods’ old life, so I left some nail holes,  saw marks, staple tears, and dark stains. I feel, again, like these are the details that make this chair unique and cool.

Once I had all the pieces and sanded them down, I made a quick list and bought the few supplies I needed – just screws, bolts, and a finish. As I began to lay out the pieces, I decided to try and alternate the different types of wood to try and really emphasize what makes this chair different.

Really, the sanding is what took at least 60% of the time on this project. Once I had that done, it came together very fast. In fact, it worked out perfectly that I was ready to wrap the project up on Earth Day! My pallet chair seemed like a great example of up-cycling.

The last thing I needed to do was put a nice finish on it. I went back and forth forever between painting it to cover all it’s scars or staining it to let them show through.  My friend Nate finally talked me into going with a simple oil treatment that would actually show off all those things that make the chair different. I put two quick coats of Teak Oil on the chair and just like that, it was done! I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out – maybe once my back is not so sore, I’ll dive into making it a sister so Emily and I can both lounge on them during the hot summer days, sipping on some ice tea (me) and lemonade (Emily).

What do you think? Have you made anything out of something else? How did you celebrate Earth Day? We’d love to hear from you.

The last 24 hours have been filled with some good stuff and some not-so-good stuff.

For example, we found and purchased a nearly new Ashley Furniture sofa from Habitat Restore for less than $100. Pretty good, right?

The color brings out the gold flecks in Turk’s chocolate-y eyes…which is also good.

And the couch pillows form a nice crook for Turk to nestle into…again, very good (for him).

The not-so-good? We can’t sell our old couch and loveseat…we’ll probably just have to list it in the free section on Craigslist unless we want it taking up the rest of our living room for all eternity.

Another not-so-good thing? I defended my thesis and it was accepted, but with reservations. The “with reservations” part means I need to do some more work on it before it will be officially approved and sent on to the graduate school to fulfill that portion of my degree requirements. Keep in mind, I am less than three weeks from graduation, so the thought of doing MORE work is not super high on my list of “stuff I am psyched to do.”

The good part of it? Well, that would be the sweet bouquet of flowers and yummy chocolate treat that Daniel surprised me with as a “Congrats on Defending Your Thesis” present. He really is the best…

Another not-so-good thing is that a job opening I was really excited about was filled before I even had a chance to interview. I was pretty bummed about it, but I have decided to look at it as a good thing because it means that it wasn’t the right job for me. The not-so-good thing is that I am now officially on the job hunt, which is my least favorite kind of hunting (and I absolutely hate all forms of hunting). But again, I am going to choose to look at the bright side of this, which is that I can officially open up the ENTIRE UNITED STATES for my job search because there is nothing really tying us down to Kansas City anymore. And the job market within the entire U.S. (and U.S. territories…and other countries if they will let me bring my dogs) has got to be bigger than just the Kansas City metro area, right? So yes, job hunting is not fun, but I will look on the bright side of it.

Oh, and one more GOOD thing to end on…Daniel and I were finally able to visit the National World War 1 Museum and the Liberty Memorial over Easter weekend. They were both on our “Kansas City Bucket List” and we were excited to cross them off. If you are ever in Kansas City, I highly suggest visited the WWI Museum, it was phenomenal!

What about you? Have you had to turn any not-so-good news into good news by changing your perspective, or am I just ridiculously upbeat?

With Lucy Lou officially adopted, we’re going to take a break from fostering for a bit. I graduate in a month and need to be focusing on the job hunt, so it seems like a good time to take a little step back from the fostering gig. Daniel figured out that we have been fostering for nine months straight – which is crazy considering I promised Daniel that Ginger Rogers was a “one time thing.” Oops.

The dog that got me hooked on fostering.

I am sure you are wondering what in the world I will be blogging about if I don’t have a foster to dote on… luckily, I have lots of subjects in mind. For example, our KC Pittie Pack & Friends walks are still occurring on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, but I haven’t had time to blog about them before, so I’ll talk about that.

Joanna working with Ginger Rogers on a past Pittie Pack walk.

Also, some of you may have been readers of this blog way, way back when it was more of a home and DIY blog than a dog blog. Well, even though I’ve been focusing on the dog stuff, Daniel has been working away at refinishing furniture and we both have been spending some time working on the garden. I’d like to share that stuff with you too – especially the work that Daniel does with the furniture – it’s pretty amazing!

One of Daniel's recent projects - a tall chest of drawers

I also would like to share more about our “goals” list that we have been plugging away at for two years. We are not nearly as far along on it as we’d like to be, so now that I am graduating, I want to put more emphasis on completing them. I added some more goals recently after I was inspired by other blogger’s goals lists, including “sing a song at a karaoke bar” (which, although I was in choir throughout school, I am terrified to sing in front of others – even Daniel), “be a contestant on a game show” (I love trivia shows), and “go sailing” (which I am hoping to complete on an upcoming trip to California since my friend Andrew offered to take Daniel and I sailing on the San Francisco Bay in his new boat).

Daniel & I on the Oregon coast - completing our goal of "roadtripping through the Pacific Northwest."

I’d love to hear what your goals are! Are they health/fitness-oriented (Run a marathon! Quit Smoking!) or adventurous (Go skydiving! Swim with Sharks!) or something entirely different (Meet Ryan Gosling and confess my undying love for him)? Is there something I need to add to our list that I forgot? Tell me about it! I’d love to hear your thoughts! Oh, and if there is something specific you’d like me to blog about (i.e. Anita wants to hear more about Rufus…hee hee…), share that too!

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