Category Archives: Projects
It was a long night, but the house smells great.
Late in the afternoon yesterday, I came into possession of about 20 pounds of spent grains from a local homebrewer.
I had been hoping to get into this situation ever since I heard that you can make dog treats from the leftover mash from beer making.
The catch is, you have to use the soaked grain mash pretty quick or else it gets moldy.
While I haven’t yet used up all 20 pounds, I did whip up quite a few biscuits, bars and cookies for my pups (and pups of my friends and family) last night.
These biscuits, which utilize an edible product that would have otherwise been thrown out or composted, are great treats for dogs who don’t have grain allergies.
I tried the basic formula for peanut butter spent grain biscuits that is all over the internet. I also experimented a little for pumpkin and bacon beer biscuits.
My results varied in shape, texture and dryness.
The key to beer biscuits is getting them super dry (and consequently super hard) so that they have a shelf life longer than a couple days. However, to get the biscuits that dry and mold-resistant, they need to be in the oven at least three hours.
I got one batch just about perfect by spreading the batter out thin on a cookie sheet and cutting it into squares before baking. It’s so crunchy I’ve dubbed it puppy brittle. The dogs loved it, and I even tried a little with my own breakfast. It tasted peanut buttery yet wholesome.
Apparently, granola bars for people can be made almost the same way. I’m going to try this recipe from Flying on Jess Fuel.
Have you ever made people or pup treats from spent beer grains?
There’s a room in my house that the dogs are obsessed with.
Actually, I have long tried to keep them out of the room with a closed door that also helped me avoid thinking about the disorganized mess within.
Officially, the room is my office, but it has always been more of a repository for stuff I didn’t want to deal with. Like paperwork and mail I couldn’t decide if I should hold onto or toss and clothes I couldn’t cram into in my primary closet.
But last weekend, my friend Shelley came over with the sole purpose of helping me turn this cluttered room into a functional space that would bring me peace and inspiration – without spending any significant money.
Truth be told, I was a little scared and embarrassed that the room had gotten so out of control.
But Shelley has a way of bringing out the fun in life.
Our project isn’t finished yet, but thanks to our progress so far, I’m now as eager as the dogs are to spend time in that room.
Every morning this week, I have even invited them to join me there as I get ready for work.
It is the very best way to start my day.
Do your pets supervise your morning routine?
Tell me if this has ever happened at your house.
Someone arrives with a pack of beer. Maybe it’s super special handcrafted brews, from the Lagunitas (which has a pit bull on the cap), Boulevard (Kansas City-based, yo) or Deschutes breweries. Maybe it’s Corona.
Either way, you can’t crack the seal on those bottles without an opener. And dang if you can’t remember what happened to your bottle opener.
Turn your dog into a hooch pooch.
It’s easy. All you have to do is find a small bottle opener with no sharp edges and a keyring attachment. Then, you attach it to his collar.
Ideally, your dog won’t even notice that he’s wearing an extra piece of bling.
And you will always know where your bottle opener is. In fact, it will now come to you.
Always eager to please, Luke enjoys how being a hooch pooch makes him an even more popular guy at the party.
Have you ever attached something functional to your dog’s collar?
There’s still time to enter the Love Note Valentine giveaway.
For more gifts Luke and your dog would love, be sure to check out the Wayward Dogs Valentine’s Gift Guide!
I know we’re already three days into the New Year, and I should be thinking ahead.
But, darn it, I’m still feeling nostalgic over 2012!
I love dogs so much that I blog about them nearly every day. But in between networking for adoptable dogs and taking infinite photos of the canines in my house, the fellow residents of Wayward House (both dog and human) and I also enjoy tasty foods and beverages and the thrill of making things ourselves.
I try to post about these experiences in the hopes of inspiring my lovely readers.
Memorable food and DIY posts from 2012:
1. Homemade Barking Dog Stopper – Charlie Machete’s new worst enemy went viral on Pinterest and generated the most single-day hits ever for this blog.
2. Sew Your Own Dog Beds – Zach’s solution for sturdy, cost-effective and comfortable (as far as we can tell) dog beds involved the use of a nifty tool I have still never used – the Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl.
3. Sweet Potato Peanut Buttery Frozen Goodness – This no-bake dog cookie recipe is super healthy and helped me use up some sweet potatoes leftover from the 2011 harvest.
4. Don’t Shop, Swap! – I like looking good as much as the next girl, but I hate to spend on fashion. Whenever possible, I trade clothes with my friends.
5. DIY Citrus-Scented Household Cleaner – I followed another blogger’s lead on this and managed to give up Windex forever.
6. DIY Laundry Detergent – We pass up the harsh chemicals of the commercial stuff and save money by mixing up our own sudsy soap for our clothes (and stinky dog beds).
7. DIY Dye Project for Collars and Leashes – Zach turned a pink gentle leader into a macho camo green for Charlie Machete.
8. Basil Mint Tea – This refreshing recipe helped me deal with extra herbs from the garden and put an old pickle jar to good use.
9. Remedy for a Good Time in Kansas City – I was stoked when a new restaurant that values homemade and homegrown food opened up in my neighborhood.
10. Lemon Vodka Gingerade – After my friend Lisa the DIY Gourmet gave us her homemade ginger syrup, we put our first two homegrown lemons to tasty use.
Have you tried a DIY project recently? Tell me about it in the comments!
Come back tomorrow for one more post full of 2012 reflections. After that, I promise to get on with 2013!
How’s the weather where you are?
It’s blustery and cold in Kansas City with a stormy forecast.
It’s a good day for Luke to wear his new Thunder Jacket for Dogs! (Look for a full review of this product next week.)
I’m crossing my fingers that the cold and stormy front doesn’t interfere too much with all of our pit bull-supporting weekend plans!
If you are in Kansas City, please consider joining me at Saturday’s Coast to Coast Bully Walk with KC Pittie Pack and Sunday’s Fashion-a-Bull Fall shopping party and Midwest Adopt-a-Bull fundraiser at Madewell.
Be sure to buy a raffle ticket from me if you can! We are just over 1/10 of the way to the $500 goal!
You can also still enter the Retro Vixen giveaway no matter where in the U.S. you live!
Come back tomorrow to learn more about Midwest Adopt-a-Bull!
“Wanna buy a raffle ticket?”
That’s the question you’ll be greeted with if you interact with me in person this week.
And I have no shame. In my quest to collect lots of dollars for rescue dogs, I will be pushy. I will guilt-trip you if you hesitate.
“Come on, it’s just $5.”
Every cent collected will go directly to Midwest Adopt-a-Bull, the rescue organization that enrolled Charlie Machete. In tomorrow’s post, you’ll get to learn more about some of the other dogs in the group. For now, suffice it to say that every dollar matters. Midwest Adopt-a-Bull dogs come from shelters, the streets and abandoned houses. Two animals linked to our group have recently undergone amputations.
My goal is to raise at least $500.
Winners need not be present, but the raffle drawing will occur on Sunday, October 28, at the end of the shopping party Katty Delux and I are co-hosting at the Madewell boutique in Leawood, Kansas.
Everyone who attends that event will also be entered in a free drawing for a Madewell gift card and enjoy complimentary refreshments and an available shopping discount. The first 20 attendees will receive a free goodie bag.
You can check out some of the raffle prizes in the Fashion-a-Bull Fall at Madewell photo album on the Wayward Dogs Facebook fan page.
Here’s a list of some of the things we’re giving away:
-Custom doggy sweater from Tiennot Knit Sweaters
-Leash and collar sets from Waggiwear Dog Collars and Leashes
-Gift Certificate to The Barking Lot Grooming Salon
-Gift Certificate to Simply Grooming by Gia
-Gift certificate to Pete ‘n’ Mac pet resort
–K9closet handmade collars from Simply Grooming by Gia
-Handmade Doggie Bows by Styled by a Milk Tooth
-Handmade Retro Accessories from Lucky Lucille
-Handmade Sunnglasses from Tumbleweeds Odd Shop
-Handmade pit bull magnets from Kathleen Henn
-Gift Certificate for a tree three-night stay at Kennel Creek Pet Resort
All above items will be grouped into two monster prize packages.
So, are you going to buy a raffle ticket?
Unfortunately, gambling laws made me too nervous to accept online payments for raffle tickets. So, if you are in the Kansas City area and want to buy one, let me know in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll figure out how to get your tickets to you!
I will have raffle tickets on hand during the Coast to Coast Bully Walk and at the shopping party on Sunday.
If you don’t live in Kansas City, but still want to contribute to the cause, feel free to make a donation directly to Midwest Adopt-a-Bull. Let me know in the comments if you do.
And don’t forget to enter the Retro Vixen giveaway. No purchase is necessary for that – just give a Like to some worthy Facebook fan pages. (That giveaway is open to all U.S. residents.)
What prize from the list most excites you?
We love jars.
Pickle jars, mason jars, jelly jars, olive jars, old Kombucha bottles. If it’s glass and it has a screw-top lid, the Wayward House is loathe to let it go – even to the recycle bin.
The bigger jars are really fun. I like to use the biggest mason and pickle jars for making slow brew, cold brew or sun tea. It’s still hot enough in Kansas City for the latter, and because volunteer basil is among the things thriving in my shabby garden, I have been getting creative with my jar-brewed tea.
For this batch, I used all three of the basils we have growing this year: Genovese basil, lemon basil and, the one we have the most of, Thai basil. I also used some of the wild peppermint growing in our backyard (being careful to pick the freshest sprigs that seemed untouched by dogs).
I picked an amount of herbs I thought would fill up the jar, about equally split between the basil mix and peppermint.
After rinsing the sprigs under water, I broke them up a bit and stuffed them in the jar along with two bags of green tea and poured filter water over the top. Then, I set the concoction on our porch for about eight hours.
When I brought the jar inside and removed the lid, a lemon-y, minty, basil-y fragrance emerged.
The next step involved separating the tea and the herbs. For this, I placed a funnel into the mouth of a juice pitcher and covered the top of the funnel with one layer of cheesecloth.
Lucky for me, I picked the right juice pitcher. It held almost exactly the same quantity of liquid as the pickle jar.
After taking this picture, I chucked the used herbs into the yard to decompose.
The tea stays good refrigerated in the pitcher for about three days – if you don’t drink it all in one day!
I like to separate my batch into single servings that I take with me to work. Of course, I reuse screw-top glass bottles for that!
This recipe is adapted from one I received from a Sierra Club mailing list. View the original here.
Do you ever make your own tea? Share your suggestions and ideas in the comments!
This might look like a dwarfish, dying yucca plant, but it’s actually my own living piece of paradise.
Pinterest recently led me to an amazing idea. You can plant a pineapple top in a pot and get a whole ‘nother pineapple in 24 months (aka two years)!
I realize that’s a really slow rate of growth on this project and not a very big harvest. But, as I already covered in the Tiki Dog food review, I am a sucker for anything that reminds me of Hawaii.
So, add the pineapple to the list of exotic plants growing in containers at Wayward House:
Want to pot your own pineapple? The steps are easy.
1. Cut off the stem, leaving about half an inch of flesh.
2. Place this pineapple crown in a shallow dish of water, covering only about half of the flesh, and let it sit in a sunny window for a few days.
3. Plant the crown in a mixture of regular potting soil and cactus potting soil.
About two weeks in, this potted pineapple project seems easier than the other exotics. The pineapple I started with was already pretty brown, so I wasn’t sure it would take off. I left the crown in water for about a week. After a couple of days the stem core started turning green again, and the total area that’s green seems to be increasing since planting.
For more details on the process from a more experienced pineapple starter, check out Tickled Red’s advice on potted pineapples.
What plant that’s not native to your area do you wish you could grow?