Category Archives: Projects
If Duke’s Cafe and Wine Bar had been open back when I lived in Beatrice, Nebraska, I might never have moved away.
OK, maybe that’s an overstatement, but Duke’s is a very cool place.
The staff is pleasant, the decor is great, the food is good. And if you go at the right time, you just might get to take a seat on a comfy couch next to the canine the place is named for.
Duke is a good dog.
And last Thursday he wasn’t the only dog in the house.
During the Duke Days of Summer Beer and Wine Tasting, a couple of adoptable shelter dogs and one rescued Chihuahua made their way to the restaurant’s back room.
That’s where restaurant patrons could also purchase Beer Paws merchandise, raffle tickets and enjoy complimentary appetizers provided Traci Froscheiser, a financial planner with the local Edward Jones office.
Several months ago, I began the process of coordinating this special event in my hometown. I wanted to help support the efforts of the small town humane society and also to introduce my family and friends back home to my new Beer Paws business.
Although at the time, I had only ever had time to get one cup of to-go coffee from Duke’s, I knew it was the right place to hold this event.
Not only is Duke’s Cafe and Wine Bar named for a dog, but he happens to be a rescue dog. His face is the restaurant’s logo, which appears on everything from the chef aprons to the beer glasses and coffee mugs.
To my delight, James Orme, who runs Duke’s with his father (under the supervision of Duke), was thrilled with my idea for an event. He went above and beyond to source a variety of beers and wines with dogs on the label for the tasting. And he agreed to donate 10% of his proceeds from the whole day to the Beatrice Humane Society.
With a lot of help from my friends and family and a press release that ran in the local newspaper, word about the event got around.
By the time I arrived at Duke’s on Thursday afternoon, James was feeling a little nervous – in a good way.
Based on the number of phone calls he’d received by 3 p.m. he predicted an extremely busy night at the cafe. Boy, was he right!
From 5 p.m. until the kitchen closed around 9, the Duke’s staff got stretched to the limit, raffle tickets sold like crazy and Beer Paws merchandise was rather popular.
Beer Paws always gives at least 10% of sales back to animal welfare organizations.
That night, we also designated 50% of sales from some special edition waggiwear collars and wristlets, plus 100% of raffle ticket sales for the Beatrice Humane Society.
Consequently, I was able to personally deliver just under $500 to the shelter the very next day. The restaurant’s donation from food and beverage sales is supposed to be close to the same.
I am so happy that this event was a success and proud of the people in my hometown who turned out to support a great cause. It was awesome for me to see old faces, meet new ones and get a better understanding of the animal advocacy situation around Beatrice.
Huge thanks to Duke’s, Traci and all of my wonderful friends and family who helped make the big night happen. I can’t wait to do it all again next year!
To see more pictures from the Duke Days of Summer Beer and Wine Tasting, check out the album on Facebook.
Come back tomorrow to see some of the animals I met when I toured the Beatrice Humane Society.
Friday was an awesome mail day.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may already know that earlier this year a secret admirer gave me a gift certificate for a mini portrait of Scooby from The Pet Shop at Yellow Brick Home.
Although I have a few ideas, I still don’t know the identity of my secret admirer. But I can say I have been crazy excited about this gift ever since I found out about it. Now that it’s here, I am even more impressed and humbled by the gift.
Plus, I feel like I’m part of a special club of other bloggers who have similar paintings of their pets!
So, do you want to see what the elderpin looks like in a mini modern pet portrait?
Sorry! You’ll have to wait until tomorrow – unless you happen to follow me on Instagram.
I promise to share Scooby’s portrait, along with the primary photograph I provided to the artists for inspiration. In the meantime, I must figure out where to hang the picture!
Do you need something to put on the walls of your home? Don’t miss your chance to enter to win an 8×10 photo canvas from Wayward Dogs and Printcopia!
For a long time, the Wayward House suffered from a serious case of BWS.
BWS, as described by the Russel Ray Photos blog, is “bare wall syndrome.” It’s a sad condition that prevents a dwelling from feeling very homey or permanent.
Although I can’t really explain why I waited so long, over the past year or so, I finally started attacking this problem – with hammers, nails and art.
Zach helped me hang a vintage mirror in the bathroom.
My mom helped me turn the dining room into an ocean scene.
I hung Frida Kahlo and her precious xolo dog by the front door.
One of my grandfather’s super sad yet beautiful dogtique pictures is displayed in our living room.
In the kitchen hangs an awesome, limited edition print for The Local Pig, a very cool butcher shop here in Kansas City.
By the kitchen door there is also an inexpensive but lovely piece of dog silhouette graphic art.
And there’s more to come.
My cousin Megan and her partner gave me a beautiful watercolor painting of a humpback whale that will soon be framed.
A custom portrait of Scooby by Yellow Brick Home (courtesy of an anonymous friend) is currently on its way.
Through a collaboration between Beer Paws and Kansas City artist Phil “Sike Style” Shafer, awesome wall-ready cutouts of my home state of Nebraska are in production.
And undoubtedly my recent photo session with Fido Fetch Photography will lead to some new wall displays.
In the meantime, I can perch on the living room couch and stare at the most recent piece of photographic art that came by mail.
It’s a special one that I promise to show you tomorrow – when you will also have the chance to enter to win something similar for yourself!
Have you put anything new on your walls lately?
It’s time for some good news. So, let’s make some.
And let’s also make some dog treats.
Ever since I put out the call to the local homebrewing community that I would take their leftover mash, I’ve been making a lot of dog treats.
The beer grains come to me one huge bucket at a time.
Turning those grains into tasty dog treats fills up my countertops, fridge and freezer.
Consequently, my dogs have eaten a lot of beer biscuits lately. So have my friends’ and coworkers’ dogs. (Click to see a video)
And in the past month, I’ve donated at least 15 pounds of homemade biscuits to animal shelters in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.
I want to bring happy hour – or at least a happy moment – to more shelter dogs.
But I need help. So, I’m starting this:
Project: Happy Hour for Shelter Dogs
Baking biscuits takes time, energy and ingredients. Oftentimes, I run short on all three.
How you can help:
- If you live in or near Kansas City and have an oven, you can bake biscuits – I’ll even provide pre-mixed dough!
- If you don’t want to bake, you can donate or gather ingredients like eggs, peanut butter, pumpkin and flour.
- You can spread the word, by sharing this post or putting me in contact with other folks who may be interested in supporting this cause.
Reasons to get involved:
- You can help brighten a shelter dog’s day with a tasty treat.
- Your own dog is likely to get some samples.
- By joining this effort, you will be helping me to decide which beer biscuit recipe(s) I will eventually add to the Beer Paws brand and begin selling – to ultimately help generate financial support for animal rescues and shelters.
If Project: Happy Hour for Shelter Dogs sounds like something in which you’d like to get involved, contact me. Even if you live far away, there are ways you can engage in this effort.
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.