Stop Arguing with Your Teenager to Pick Up the Dog Poop; Build a Puppy Park at Home.

Now, it needs to be said that this will take dedication. Lots of it. No, not the arguing with the teenager – that’s easy. The training of the dogs!
Please take time to review the many resources available online and at you local library that discuss the systematic approach to achieving this magnificent dog euphoria.

I have elected to crate train my puppies and maintain control of water, food, play time and most importantly, potty time . . . at least until the desired behavior is achieved. Along with our selected style of positive training we decided to train the new puppies to do their business in the same 4 foot by 4 foot location each time.

This is tedious! However, the payoff of cleaning and maintaining a tiny area as opposed to the entire yard seems well worth the effort.


I recycled 240 red bricks I had laying around into a double-wide square brick wall. Then, lined the space with weed resistant fabric, pebble filled to about 1.5 inches deep for drainage, piled on and tamped down twelve bags of top soil. Lastly, topped with two rolls of 2×4 feet sod.


I used the dog pen as my loose template for the layout. I built my wall around it and used no mortar or glue. This is free standing and only four (4) bricks high. I improvised some steps at the last moment. This is really a mid-length solution, as you can see from the photos – I’m merely a dirt farmer. This should last two Summers until the backyard renovation.


The metal pen will gradually be phased out as the dogs behavior is shaped and they take ownership of the space.

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Technology and My Lifestyle

It just recently occurred to me that this is in fact a Lifestyle site, not just a DIY site.

So, I decided to see how well this (phone) could handle all the things I need to accomplish for a full blog post. You know, see how well I could accomplish this post while not attached to my laptop, chained to a desk at home.

• my most recent post was completed using my Motorolla Razor smartphone.
• Downloaded and used the WordPress app to organize and format.
• I dictated the entire post and only used the keyboard for corrections and fine tuning.
• Camera phone photos.
• Color corrected, cropped,  doodled with basic camera software options.
• connected via my data plan and/or wifi.
• Checked formating via browser app.
• I even approved feedback.

I must admit, this was much easier than I anticipated. There goes another excuse for not maintaining a fresh lifestyle site.

Viva Wanderlust!

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A DIY Project Repurposed; a Project Cork Board Instantly Transformed into a Memory Board. Lickety-Split!


A spare of the moment re-purposing that supplied some breathing room and much needed relief.

My Mom and I are feeling empty nest again with my kid back to Hawaii for school.

Looking for a distraction she mentioned the pile of family and friends’ photos that were piling up and looking a bit messy. It was also making her sad that she could not see all the faces she is so proud of. Transfer of emotion and all that, I guess.

So, I popped into action; I grabbed the project board I made for my son a few years ago, while in High School (You know, the one to keep all his school and extracurricular activities organized!).

We spent the next half hour reminiscing and pinning up all of those little but important photos. It was a great moment.

It is a temporary solution but, now she can clearly see what she is so proud of and can pull them off the board as she finds proper places and frames for them.

I realized with this small impromptu project, that that organization advice rang true – you have something around the house that will work better and harder, you just need to take another look around.

It’s such a positive change in her personal culture with very little effort. It refreshed her bedroom and made her happy, which makes me happy.

I say, “Look around. Is there something simple you can do to increase your happiness quotient?”

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Thrifted to Gifted. What to do with All those Beautiful Frames You Find at Yard Sales and at Second Hand Shops: a DIY Jewelry Display.

Mom has been heaping her earrings in a cardboard egg carton since we downsized from her standing jewelry box. It was a great temporary solution but, it has long ago outlived its usefulness. Time for an upgrade.


A DIY upgrade, naturally!

I wanted to display her collection out in the open yet be functional for her Hollywood glamour inspired room.

I think it works.


Supplies Needed:
* Window screen mesh, enough to cover the frame that you’re going to use.
* Picture frame. Wood works best. No glass or backing required.
* Staple gun.
* Box cutter.
* Pair of old scissors, as they will dull if cutting screen mesh.
* Padded work surface (blanket and floor).
* About an hour of your time.

The assembly is fairly straightforward.


Trim window screen with 1 inch allowance on all sides.


Begin by tacking the screen down with one staple at the center of each inside gutter of the frame. This is the one chance that you have to center and align the screen. Remove staples with flat head screwdriver to readjust.


Now, you can begin to secure with more staples, evenly. Remember to keep tension on the screen as you add staples. However, not so much tension as to make the screen buckle or bubble. It helps if you alternate opposite sides while adding staples to maintain proper tension. The larger the frame the more staples will be required. Do not add too many staples as you will be adding more later.

Once you have secured the screen smoothly, use scissors to remove each corner , as shown in the picture. This will insure that you will not have a bulky corner when finished.


Note: you may find that you need to trim the screen edge a little more. The allowance should now be no greater than twice the size of the width the frame gutter.

Using your hands, being careful, begin folding the rough edge the screen over onto itself. Add more staples to secure. This should create a smooth outside folded edge. Repeat on all sides.





Project complete.


This is a fun gallery inspired way to display a jewelry collection.

I also made a small 5×7 stand up frame for her studded earrings as they need to be handled from both front and back, often.


Now I know what to do with all those great frames I find at the thrift stores or yard sales.

These would make great gifts.

Additional Ideas

• Larger hole size chicken wire would be a great alternative, for scarfs storage.

. . . or perhaps for cloth napkins in the kitchen or dinning room.

• Paint the screen for a more modern treatment.

• Embroider the mesh for a more folk art feel.

• Half mirror, half screen.

• Also cutting shapes from screen, crimping edges and tethering to larger frame with ribbon may work for stud earnings.

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Happy Halloween!

Apartment Therapy reminded me of how fun making your own costume can be.

Thanks John Gleeson Connoly!

Homemade costumes are the best.

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How to Make an Old Vintage Wood Crate into a Home Decor Rolling Workhorse in 10 Minutes

I have had this interesting vintage crate around the house for years. It has served many faithful functions. Until recently, I did not allow it in the house because I have freshly refinished oak floors and could not bare the idea of letting this crate scratch it up. So, banished to a corner in the kitchen it went and remained. Now, it has an upgrade and is a very welcomed re-addition to my home.

And, with the addition of the rubber wheeled casters, it can literally go any where in my home . . . happily.

Vintage wood crate.


Supply List: I paid less than $10 total from my local hardware store. I already owned the screwdriver.

  • 4 – 1 1/4 inch swivel casters (rubber wheels)
  • 16 – small screws
  • 1 screwdriver

Casters attached.

Simply invert the wood crate and space out the casters evenly in the corners, not too close to ensure you do not split the wood. I would say about half an inch from the edges would be adequate. Also, the depth of the screw is important, make sure it does not go all the way through. Being careful, insert and tighten the screws all the way down.

No more wood floor scratches.

I attached the caster to make a basic top loading style. However, you could easily place the casters on the short or long side making a rolling storage shelf.

A grouping of these would make for interesting side tables, shoe racks, plant stands, additional bathroom storage. So many possibilities!

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DIY Light Box for Less than $60 Dollars

As a self-proclaimed “Aspiring Minimalist,” I’m always amused at the “things” one must take-on in order to facilitate the purging of certain items. And lets be clear about those certain items, I mean a once-cherished-all-consuming toy collection. And for this collection of things to leave my house, I have rules. And, that is what this project is about; identifying, acknowledging and letting go. Another distinction, when I say, “Letting go” I mean physically. I still retain the story which is important to me. And, with my rules in place, I will gather my beautiful toy pictures into a photo book and in the process take time to say good-bye.

The actual “Collection” story will come later. For now, let’s build something to facilitate the purging of something else.

There is a Light Box @ the End of this Story

The whole purpose of a light box is to capture an image in a controlled manner that is exempt from all shadows and lit from all around. Light is diffused through the material which aids in shooting objects with minimal glare. It is essentially, a mini photo studio that results in pro-like catalogue shots seen on any online shopping site.

I found several online How To‘s about building a light box. Most were desktop size, too small. I definitely need something taller. The one that I liked most was a complete cube frame. My pre-photo thoughts were that the bottom crossbar would present itself as an obstacle.  I used the cube as my model and tweaked the design to remove that bottom crossbar – creating a more garage type structure. It would now have more flexibility of angles.

Additional requirements were that it be low cost DIY and that I utilize what I already have on hand, Duh! I decided at least 32″ tall would be an ideal size for my use. I would not use any type of glue in the construction and that it be durable enough so that I may dismantle it often, for future use.

Supply run, I originally designed with 1/2″ PVC pipe in mind. Why? Because all the other online examples used it. I knew from the research that the three-way (Slip-Slip-Slip) corner piece would prove to be the most difficult to find. It was not available at the first local hardware store I went to. I had a conversation with the handyman and he confirmed that they would be difficult to find. I spotted what I thought I needed on the shelf but, it was 3/4″ (Larger). He explained that my supply list was all available in that size (3/4″). A second to think, “hmmm only a few pennies more and I’m not married to the idea of 1/2″ and 3/4″ seems even more durable.” Viola! Command decision to size up. All PVC in one stop. I then swung by the fabric store for what I estimated to be 4 yards of material to drape the light box.

Supply List

  • 11 – 3/4″ PVC Pipe in 32″ lengths
  •  6 – 3/4″ PVC Pipe Corners (Slip-Slip-Slip)
  •  2 – 3/4″ PVC Pipe Elbows
  •  2 – 8 1/2″ Clamp Work Lights
  •  2 – 60 to 120 Daylight Bulbs
  •  1 – hacksaw
  •  4 – Utility clips (*optional for holding fabric to frame)
  •  4 yards white fabric
  •  Butcher paper or a large piece of craft board (and tape or something to secure it)

Supply Notes: perhaps your local hardware store will make the pvc cuts for you. If not, have some way to cut at home or purchase a hacksaw. PVC corner pieces are “Slip-Slip-Slip” not the more common “Slip-Slip-Thread.” You want all of you pieces to slide/slip together with ease. The utility clips are optional. I chose to sew a semi fitted cover myself.

Assemble: cut PVC polls to size (32″) and snap together according to drawing. Secure paper backdrop. Drape the frame and clip fabric to frame. Bulbs into clamp lights, plug it in and light it up

In the end, it came in at $58 and change. Just under my $60 dollar budget.

Lastly, I leave you with a few toy shots, with a little help from Photoshop. These were all shot with a simple point-and-click Nokia camera I bought a couple of years ago for under a hundred dollars mounted on a $12 Radio Shack tripod – and a light box.

Happy Snapping Kiddies!

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