Category Archives: Projects

Brew Paws: Boomer the Black and Tan

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Today the Brew Paws series returns with Brittany and Boomer, a homebrewing, roadtripping duo who chart their adventures over at the Paws for Beer blog

Why did you start homebrewing?

I love going on brewery tours and visiting tap rooms but what actually inspired me to start home-brewing was President Obama.   I know that may sound kind of odd – but he was what got me to buy my first home-brewing kit.  I was watching the news and there was a story about how the White House was home-brewing beer.  Home-brewing was gaining in popularity a few years ago and Obama wanted to know more about it, so they bought a kit and started brewing beer at the White House.  I thought it was really cool that someone who is that busy took the time to learn how to brew beer.  I also felt that someone, like me, who was a heck of a lot less busy could find some time to brew up a few batches of beer!  I ordered a starter kit and I’ve been brewing for about a year now.  I just brewed up the White House Honey Amber recipe, which you can now buy online, and it is quite delicious!  They also have a White House Honey Porter that I am wanting to try.

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Does Boomer help you in the homebrewing process?

Boomer would probably love to help me brew but I usually let him play outside while I’m brewing.  He’s got a lot of hair and the potential for contamination is higher if he is in the room with me.  He is also a pretty big dog and for him to get under foot while I’m lugging around a 5 gallon brew kettle of hot water probably would not end well for either of us!

What is your favorite type of beer?

I rotate around a bit on what I like but right now I am really into India Pale Ales.  Black IPA’s specifically.  I live in the Pacific Northwest – an area that is well known for growing flavorful hops.  I like the nice crisp bite of a hoppy citrus beer – which that sort of flavoring lends itself to an IPA. IPA’s give you your most bang for your buck with bold flavors and a slightly higher alcohol content so you can drink less beer … not that I do!  If I am not drinking my own home-brew I can usually be found with some sort of Oregon or Washington brewery’s beer in my hand!

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If Boomer was a beer, what kind would he be?

Because of Boomer’s coat coloring I always joke that he would be a black and tan.  So a Guinness with a little Harp beer!

What kind of beers do you brew?

I brew mainly Amber and Pale Ales.  They are pretty easy and do not require refrigeration during the fermentation process like a Lager does.  I throw a lot of beer tasting parties for my friends at my house and find that ambers and pales are the easiest to share.  Although  I like ambers and pales I am going to slowly work my way towards brewing more beers I prefer, like the IPA’s and some darker beers such as porters and see what my friends think of those.  There’s such a wide array of beers out there to try you should never limit yourself to just one kind!

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What makes Boomer a super awesome dog?

Boomer does have a lot of awesomeness but what I like best about him is that I can take him anywhere, to a friend’s house or on a 10 day road trip and he is always excited to be where ever we are going.  We also have a really great bond between us which I have never had that with any other dog before.  He’s a great friend to have and an excellent co-pilot!

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If you like dogs and beer, head over to BeerPaws.com to learn more about my company and how to make your dog a better drinking buddy.

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What Happened at the Restaurant Named for a Dog

If Duke’s Cafe and Wine Bar  had been open back when I lived in Beatrice, Nebraska, I might never have moved away.

duke's cafe and wine bar beatrice nebraska

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.

adoptable black lab mix beatrice nebraska

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.

beers with dogs on the label

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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.

duke's dining room

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.

duke's cafe and wine bar

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!

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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.

 

Special Delivery from Yellow Brick Home

Friday was an awesome mail day.

Along with an invitation to the wedding for our former foster dog’s new mama, the Wayward House received a special delivery from Yellow Brick Home.

yellow brick home custom pet portrait

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!

A Printcopia Review and Giveaway

The worst part about putting pictures on the wall is dealing with a frame.

local pig print

Whether you start with the picture or the frame, getting everything to match up can be a challenge. And if your framed object is big and heavy, you might need to get out a level and yardstick and pound two equidistant nails in the wall.

For people like me, that’s just too much work.

I think that’s why photos-on-canvas are all the rage right now.

Photo canvases come all in one lightweight, ready-to-hang piece. One nail is all you need.

And that kind of simplicity makes the battle against bare wall syndrome so much easier – and fun!

Of course, when Printcopia invited me to try their photo canvas service for free I jumped at the chance.

The hardest part of the process was deciding which photo to canvas-ize.

Like a lot of my fellow dog-loving friends, we have a somewhat doggy-centric decorating theme in our home. However, the bare living room wall I was targeting for my free 16×20 canvas called for something more general.

With Printcopia, you can pull images directly from your Instagram account. Because that’s how I get my most beautiful photos, that seemed great for me. I chose an Instagram pic of a bee and an echinacea flower from last summer.

bee and echinacea flower

Buzz buzz!

Unfortunately, a real human being from Printcopia followed up with me less than 24 hours later with bad news.

My Instagram pic was too low res and would create a highly pixellated photo canvas.

And so, I scoured my limited selection of higher resolution photos taken with my real camera. It took a while, but I finally settled on a rustic scene from the farm where my father tends elk and bison.

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A very rustic cabin.

A Printcopia associate followed up with me one more time to ensure that I was comfortable with the slight cropping necessary for the project to work.

I appreciated the attention to detail and was thrilled with my canvas when it arrived in the mail a few days later.

As expected, hanging my new photo canvas took about two seconds. I will definitely be ordering more photo canvases in the very near future!

rustic cabin photo canvas

Giveaway

What photo would you put on canvas?

Printcopia is giving one lucky Wayward Dogs reader a chance to win an 8×10 canvas. Just follow the link below for your chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I accepted products from Printcopia in exchange for my honest review of their service.

The Battle Against BWS

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.

Frida Kahlo with xolo dog

One of my grandfather’s super sad yet beautiful dogtique pictures is displayed in our living room.

The Lost Playmate

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.

We protect who we love.

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.

humpback whale watercolor

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.

Nebraskas by Sike Style and Beer Paws

And undoubtedly my recent photo session with Fido Fetch Photography will lead to some new wall displays.

miniature pinscher and golden retriever portrait by Fido Fetch Photography

Courtesy Fido Fetch Photography

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?

Project: Happy Hour for Shelter Dogs

It’s time for some good news. So, let’s make some.

And let’s also make some dog treats.

beer biscuits for dogs

Om nom nom.

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.

pit bull with bucket of grains

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:

  1. If you live in or near Kansas City and have an oven, you can bake biscuits – I’ll even provide pre-mixed dough!
  2. If you don’t want to bake, you can donate or gather ingredients like eggs, peanut butter, pumpkin and flour.
  3. 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:

  1. You can help brighten a shelter dog’s day with a tasty treat.
  2. Your own dog is likely to get some samples.
  3. 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.

Puppy Brittle and Pumpkin Beer Biscuits

It was a long night, but the house smells great.

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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.

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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.

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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?

Don’t have access to spent grains? Try these recipes: easy baked peanut butter dog cookies and no-bake meat and veggie treatballs.

Reading Material as Home Decor

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Have you ever wondered what to do with a wine rack if you’re not storing wine in it?

Research related to my ongoing office transformation project revealed a clever solution that also helps me mitigate paper clutter.

Turn the empty wine rack into a magazine rack!

I have a hard time parting with magazines, especially ones that contain an article I’ve written, so I have amassed a rather large collection. Fortunately, they roll up nice and look pretty good tucked into the places where wine bottles could go.

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In case you’re wondering where my wine bottles do go, the answer is in our kitchen and dining room.

If you’ve been following this blog for long, you might recognize my wine rack as the base of last year’s seedling nursery.

While I opted not to start any seeds this year, I do have a few houseplant cuttings incorporated into the scene.

And because I love books, I’ve also turned them into part of the decor.

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Have you ever used a wine rack for something besides storing wine?

Come back tomorrow to learn why the main shelf of my wine rack looks a bit like a shrine to Charlie Machete.

The Beginning of a Spring Transformation

There’s a room in my house that the dogs are obsessed with.

creepy door

A ghost or a Charlie Machete wanted in.

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.

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“Trust me,” she said. “We can fix this.”

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.

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I think they just love carpet.

Do your pets supervise your morning routine?

DIY Collar Accessory for Party Dogs

Tell me if this has ever happened at your house.

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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.

Solution:

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.

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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.

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Always eager to please, Luke enjoys how being a hooch pooch makes him an even more popular guy at the party.

However, since canines can’t consume alcohol, this golden party dog is hoping someday someone will show up with a bottle of Dawg Grog just for him.

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!

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