A site about our home, doing it yourself, science in schools, and the ramblings of a girl who appreciates a joy in her life.

Friday, June 22

Garden Arbor Rockstar!

So we have been working on our back garden a little at a time. We have been severely hampered by my need to work on my thesis and, well, hanging out. It always seems like there is something “more” fun to do that day. I mean go on a hike outside? Check! Learn to make homemade potato salad? Check! Watch the new season of HGTV Design Star? Check! I mean the list goes on and on. We seemed to have kind of lost our mo-jo for working on it. However, this weekend, we have a nice little breakthrough. We finished hanging the arbor over the garden entrance. We had the wood for it, and were finally working on cleaning out the garage, so we got around to actually hanging it up. And you know what? I am really glad that we did because it really makes the area look great!





So when we last looked at the garden, the fence was all done and the gate was finished. We’ve added another garden bed to our little vegetable area. The plan calls for a total of 4 square beds and 2 rectangle beds. We have finished one of the rectangle beds, and three of the square beds. We plan to spread out doing those as they cost about $40 each for the wood, and require about $20 of dirt. By spreading it over the summer we can manage costs a little better and they will be ready this fall when we transplant all the strawberry bushes and grow some winter veggies. Right now, the three beds that we have are full of produce, probably more than we can eat. It’s been exciting to eat strawberries and lettuce from the yard. We even have had some green beans and some broccoli. Soon we will have a million pounds of cherries!


 To make the actual arbor, Erik had originally sunk 10 feet posts into the ground two feet. We anchored them with concrete to make sure that they would stay stable. To make the top piece, we bought one 12 ft length 2” by 4” cedar and cut it in half. Erik cut the corners to have nice clean angles. He then screwed them into the posts using deck screws. To get them level, he first put in an “anchor screw” that the wood would sit on, leveled it, and then screwed them in. Afterwards he removed the anchor screw. We added small cedar strips to the top of the arbor to help the Wisteria grow over the top and have a place to grow onto.

All in all, the whole garden area is shaping up nicely! We love all of the different fruits and veggies we are getting. The back corner looks nice and classy, plus it keeps our lovely inquisitive puppy out!

Tuesday, June 12

Terrible Tesla's many dog beds


We got our first puppy, Tesla in September of 2011. Boy was she a cutie! Her little face could charm anyone. We were so excited to get her from this great shelter out in Portland Oregon called Family Dogs New Life. I think that they run a great program and take good care of the dogs. If you want more information go here. Anyways, back to Tesla. She was bright, active, and very playful.  She also treated us to many a destroyed pillow.

When we first got her she was small enough to fit on a standard pillow and pillowcase. So rather than buy an expensive bed for her to shred, we would just give her our old pillows and he guest room pillows. This was how we upgraded all the pillows in our house.













After a while though, she started to get too big for the pillows, so we switched to making her dog beds. The first dog bed that we made, we used fleece. The fleece was nice and soft but got dirty really fast. To make the bed, we cut out two matching circles, then cut "tabs" along the edge to tie them together. This is really similar to those no sew blankets. I overstuffed the bed so that it would stay nice and thick.


The problem with this bed, was that Tesla would stick her nose between the ties and pull out the fluff. Turns out that she really likes the eat the fluff. This would then of course lead to many an awkward potty time. We scrapped this bed pretty quickly. Besides, the fleece started to get dirty immediately. This bed cost us $8 for the fleece, and $10 for the fluff. We had leftover fleece that I made dog toys from too so that would take the cost down a little.


For her next bed, I don't have any great pictures, but we took upholstery fabric and  cut out two matching rectangles, and made a long strip of fabric about 5 inches wide. We sewed the strip of fabric to each rectangle to act as a side then sewed the ends closed. I stuffed it with the stuffing from the previous bed, and some more fluff I bought at Joann's. This bed cost $15 for the fabric, and about half a box of fluff for $10. This bed actually stayed cleaner looking longer. It also held up to Tesla's onslaught for several months, until one day I cam home to this nice little hole ripped in the bottom. I tried a quick repair with some iron-on tape, but she just nibbled it off in her spare time.


Cute Face, Big Trouble!
So onto bed number 500 it feels like. To make this bed we went and picked up some outdoor canvas to make the outside of her bed. This time, rather than make a fancy wall to the bed, or some kind of a cute look, we went for quick and dirty. I purchased 2 yard of fabric and folded it in half with the nice side on the inside. I sewed straight lines down the sides leaving a hole on one side to put stuffing in.














To give her as few opportunities to chew on her bed as possible, I rounded the corners of her bed. I just did it freehand. I would then cut off the corners so they would not bunch when it was flipped in side out. I flipped the fabric inside-out like you would a pillow and then stuffed it with all of the stuffing from the previous bed. So far its been holding up great. We spent about $10 on the fabric and just reused the fluff. The canvas also holds it colours a little better too.


Sad face because she is in her pen when it's not pen time. 


Totally waiting for a treat!
All in all it seems to work better to just make her beds rather than buy her new ones. The new ones can be so expensive, and as we are going through her puppy phase, she may still keep on ripping up her beds. So far though, this bed has lasted for 4 months, so we may be done. I am just glad to not have her eating the fluff!