3 Untold DIY Projects from 2015

2015 was a quiet year on the blog, but it wasn’t due to there being a lack of projects for us to get our hands on. I’m disappointed in myself that I didn’t write about them at the time (though some ended up on instagram so, partial credit?) but as they say… better late than never. Behold three never before seen Doodle House DIYs from 2015:

Chicken Proof Gardens

We love giving the chippies yard time outside of the coop because a happy chicken means better eggs and more of ’em. But as most gardeners know, they can wreck havoc on a garden if left unattended.


Chickens love a good dust bath—but why does it have to be in our veggie garden?

In our old place, we built small fence around our gardens to keep the critters out, but that effort was short lived since the chickens eventually mastered the art of fence jumping.


Crude chicken wire we set up to protect our garden

Ultimately we decided that each individual garden would need its own sturdy enclosure that protected the perimeter and the top from not only the chickens, but other garden vermin as well. This design was dreamed up by Heath, and was modeled after a few similar projects we hunted down on pinterest.

DIY Garden Box

Chicken Garden Box

Each box required nine 2″x 2″ x 8″ furring strip boards we picked up at Home Depot for about $2 each — bringing the total project cost to about $75. Not too bad for the peace of mind it also bought us knowing we could now have happy chicks AND a happy garden.


(Partly) New Coffee Table

Heath and I have never bought a coffee table. We’ve always been able to get our hands on one for free — though this method is friendly on the wallet, it sometimes leaves us with the less-than-ideal version for our space. The first was an old hand-me-down cedar chest I acquired in college that was great for storage, but a little small for the room. And truth be told, she was a little rough around the edges from so much wear and tear over the years, and maybe a few too many drinking games.

Our first coffee table was an old cedar chest that was a little too small for the room.

Then we inherited a long and low tile top coffee table built by my grandfather. I loved the style, but it was really a little too long and didn’t give us many options for furniture layout. As I am constantly redesigning and reorganizing, this was a problem. Just call me Goldilocks.

modern ecelectic living room

So we opted to re-purpose the iron legs from the handmade coffee table and assembled a new, slightly shorter top out of cedar. Total cost of the redux? About $36. LOVE how it turned out. Can’t figure out why we didn’t try this sooner.coffeetableafterEclecticCoffeTable

Getting in touch with my artistic side

This year, spring in Austin was very rainy and very wet. Which meant the time I had planned to spend outdoors gardening, needed to be rethought. But rather than let a little water get me down, I let a little water color and acrylic paint lift me up and help keep my creative juices flowing. I’ve not taken any classes (painfully obvious) but I’ve been experimenting a lot — sometimes creating things from images I’ve seen, sometimes imagining things from nothing. I’m still very much a novice but it’s been really exciting to revisit an activity I loved as a child but until this year had not really been brave enough to explore as an adult.

A mix of some of my water colors, photography, graphic design and a few works by local artists.

A mix of some of my water colors, photography, graphic design and a few works by local artists.




Inspired by the view from the Wiener Riesenrad -- a ferris wheel in Vienna

Inspired by the view from the Wiener Riesenrad — a ferris wheel in Vienna


At least Wyatt seems into it?

At least Wyatt seems into it?

This hardly captures all of the untold adventures and lessons that 2015 had in store, but it’s a start, and a good reminder that a heart-felt DIY project, no matter how small, can still result in an abundance of joy.

Rainbow Fueled Photography

For everyone I love and everyone they love. The spectrum of colors and experiences that make this world so lovely to live in.

_DSC8267fridastudio2bloomfallcolors_DSC8164_DSC7940cruise23  cruise12 _DSC8065

Mountains in the morning.

_DSC8240 dentonmuralgardens7 _DSC8259


Shifting landscapes

Traipsing across the parking lot of the Home Depot this afternoon, I was confronted with a harsh, and deeply unpleasant reality. As the vicious sun attacked my helpless pupils and a band of sweat hugged the back of my neck, there was no more denying the truth. Summer is coming.

Austin has been blessed this year with an uncharacteristically long spring season. A mild winter was followed by an outpour of restorative rains that resulted in a long and fruitful growing season, cool spring afternoons and many a porch beer.

The encroaching heat serves as a disappointing reminder that soon we will replace counting fire flies over IPAs with swatting mosquitoes over profanities. The end is nigh, but I am careful NOT to take for granted the swath of magical spring nights we were fortunate enough to enjoy before the season turned against us. Not just this year, but every year. The garden has seen some amazing transformation since we first made it ours some 4 years back.









Raindrops on Roses (and other things)

Couldn’t help it this morning, I had to take a few snaps of the rain on our abundant supply of garden blooms.

ladybanks01 rose02 rose01 iris04 iris03 iris02 iris01 rose03

Stay tuned for some more garden updates in the very near future!

Berlin: Teil zwei

If there is one thing Berlin has plenty of, it’s patios. I like this. I don’t think there is any scenario in which I take umbrage with there being unlimited options for outside dining and wine drinking. It’s how I would spend all day every day if I had my druthers. And Graffiti. They like their chaotic street art in Berlin. Patios and graffiti. Oh, and their bicycles. Patios, graffiti and bicycles. And depressing, grandiose memorials.  I should start over….

Truthfully, I was taken aback by Berlin’s laissez-faire attitude. Particularly as it is located in a country who’s people are stereotyped as being strict and rigid and preoccupied with maintaining order. As evidence of its go-with-the-flow personality,  I submit to you their aforementioned lax policy on building defacement, as well as the fact that in Berlin, it’s perfectly acceptable to stroll down the street with a beer in hand–in glass bottles no less! Definitely a no-no stateside. Further, during an afternoon outing to one of the city’s community pools, we witnessed no fewer than 3924761432342 children sliding down a water slide at once. And running on wet cement–an activity the American lifeguard community views as being on par with smoking a cigarette indoors—is not only not reprimanded, it seemed downright encouraged. Then, there’s the part where before Heath jumped off the diving board, he politely asked the pool’s only lifeguard whether doing flips was permissible. He was met with a befuddled response: Of course this is fine. Why would it not be?  Perhaps I’m applying the community pool’s gentle policies a little to liberally to the entire city, but still, Berlin as a whole seems content to let its people be.  It’s likely the result of a long and tragic history marked by a series of oppressive and totalitarian regimes. But Berlin seems to have learned a thing or two from its past, and today enjoys a vibrant and resilient atmosphere.





Berlin Wall East Gallery





_DSC8530 _DSC8537

But I say all this before arriving at the crux of my argument. Berlin–like every place–is made more special by the people you experience it with. Our German vacation was made what it was by the company we kept. As I’m inclined to list off all the things that make Berlin unique, I’m also inclined to include Nick and Melissa on that list—two people who were pivotal to the good times had.

Berlin Breakfast

Berlin Breakfast






Street beers are definitely allowed in Germany. What a magnificent culture.

Street beers are definitely allowed in Germany. What a magnificent culture.


Austria in pictures

_DSC8218 _DSC8225



_DSC8235 _DSC8239 _DSC8240 _DSC8246 _DSC8259 _DSC8267 _DSC8273 _DSC8276 _DSC8292 _DSC8298
_DSC8308 _DSC8313

I was very excited when I found these mini bottles at a market in Vienna for a euro a piece!

I was very excited when I found these mini bottles at a market in Vienna for a euro a piece!


The Natural History Museum


Vienna by day


Vienna by dusk

_DSC8318 _DSC8333 _DSC8334
_DSC8356 _DSC8359

_DSC8374 _DSC8375 hallstat_DSC8377 _DSC8380 _DSC8401 wineinhallstatt_DSC8403 _DSC8406 _DSC8408 _DSC8413 _DSC8419 _DSC8420 _DSC8430 hallstatt_DSC8434 austria_DSC8456

Three days in Prague (Or “our hoo-haa in Praha” if you’re Heath)

Prague is a fairy tale of a city, if not an idiosyncratic one.

First, I’d categorize Prague as perhaps the most claustrophobia-inducing city in all of Europe, at least in my experience. Prague’s old town is chock-full of bone monsters. (That’s Clickhole’s sardonic terminology for “people.”)  Really though, the tourist headcount here is unrivaled—even by the crowds at New York’s Times Square or at Orlando’s bouquet of theme parks. Perhaps the human population seems so dense because of the close proximity of all the town’s biggest tourist attractions to one another. Maybe too, it’s the narrowness of the streets. It could also very well be attributed to the fact that we chose to visit at the peak of tourist season, but nevertheless, expect to battle your way through a current of slow walkers, pan handlers, and backpack toters when you visit Prague.

I don’t bring this up to in anyway hint that Prague is a city to be passed over on any European vacays that might be in your future. On the contrary, it’s a delightful destination where they deeply value Pilsner beers, bacon stuffed dumplings, breathtaking city views and a perplexingly popular astronomical clock.

Let’s start with the clock, as it’s where Heath and I pretty much began our foray into Prague’s Old Town. If you have never heard of Prague’s 15th century astronomical clock, allow me to enlighten you. It starts with a very novel concept: it chimes every hour on the hour. I know, it sounds…absurd, unfathomable, outrageous? But stay with me. There are also little figurines that, when the clock chimes, follow a mechanical track in a circle until the chiming stops. It’s the stuff of black magic, I say. This enchanting ritual lures people from all over the world who marvel at the clock’s mysterious wonder.



How the clock came to be Prague’s unofficial mascot I’m sure I don’t know, but people go apeshit for this thing. What’s even more frustrating is how crowds gather in unbelievable masses beneath the clock before the top of the hour to witness the “miracle” in person, only to obstruct their view by holding their cell phone cameras in front of their face. Though, with so many distracted tourists gathered in such close proximity with arms raised overhead, it does make for a petty thief’s dream. If I were the editor of Pick-Pocket Monthly, I would most definitely feature Prague’s Astronomical Clock in the “10 Places to Pick Pockets Before You Die” issue. One thing I will say for the clock, however, is the tower offers up some of the best views of the city. That experience is one not to be missed.

_DSC8188 _DSC8189 _DSC8197 _DSC8199

The food in Prague is another topic on which I’d like to share a few thoughts. Now of course, it stands to reason that any urban center is going to have diverse offerings that hail from all regions of the globe, but where I want to focus my efforts is on what I  understand to be traditional (yet modern) Czech cuisine. Suffice it to say, vegetarians ought to take heed in the Czech Republic Capital.  In my limited experience, I encountered virtually the same menu at every Czech-oriented eating establishment: dumplings, bread, meat, cabbage and, if you’re lucky, goulash. Now, was there variety among the dumplings and breads and meats and cabbages? Oh sure. Sometimes the dumplings were potato, sometimes bacon. Meats, well, the sky is really the limit. Pork knuckle? Pork shoulder? Pork head? It it’s pork, they have most definitely got it. Cabbage comes both in red and white, though it is most definitely always stewed and sweetened. This might sound like I was not enthused with this steady stream of meat and potatoes, but that would not be the case. It’s rare I get to dive headfirst into a never-ending pool of dense carbohydrates, rich proteins, and syrupy vegetables. So I quite enjoyed this deviation from the typical shrimp taco or chicken sandwich that I’m known to plop onto my plate. Though, you’d be correct in assuming I didn’t experience many hungry evenings in Prague.

Czech food 10444428_10102747964733680_2476854184407102614_n

Bonemonsters, superfluous meat plates and clockster-f@#ks aside, Prague is right up my alley. It’s one of the only major European centers not destroyed in WWII or culturally annihilated by the subsequent oppressive communist regime. What I’m trying to say is, Prague has a lot of experience just being Prague. And it seems comfortable in its own, cobblestone-covered skin.

Granted, most of our experience there was limited to 3 days in a tourist-heavy area, but I’d still say it’s a delicious city that celebrates the old without bathing in nostalgia, and welcomes the new without moving too rapidly toward a complete industrial overhaul. Blackening castles tower over street musicians who serenade tourists with Bob Dylan covers. And Pilsner beers can be ingested by mug or by bathtub (we tried both). The red roofs and spires of the skyline can be viewed from modern TV towers or park-laden bluffs. And absurd black light theaters are positioned next to classical churches, while lights from modern, high end fashion retail shops illuminate centuries old Jewish cemeteries down the road. But the juxtaposition doesn’t feel dichotomous. On the contrary, it’s harmonious.


Fun Fact: the blackening of the exterior is a natural process the stone goes through overtime and there have been extensive renovation efforts where a natural chemical is applied to the stone to keep it the sandy yellow color. It’s a controversial practice in Prague where some argue the castle should age naturally

_DSC8113 _DSC8114 _DSC8125 _DSC8130 _DSC8132 _DSC8133 _DSC8141_DSC8157 _DSC8158 _DSC8163

_DSC8164 _DSC8166 _DSC8167 _DSC8170 _DSC8172




Watching the sunset from a Prague biergarten.

Watching the sunset from a Prague biergarten.


These are mostly observations taken while in Prague’s downtown, but as is true in any well-loved community, off the tourist-beaten path, there is a lot to appreciate about Prague and its people.

During our stay in Prague, we took up residency with Tomas and his equally blonde female counterpart in their first floor airbnb apartment in a idyllic Hradčanská neighborhood. Upon arriving, Tomas made a point to show us where we were, where the main tourist sights were, and recommended places we should see that aren’t also recommended to 234228394753986436 other people by way of Lonely Planet, TripAdvisor, what have you. As a result, we wound up spending a few of our mornings and evenings wrapped in the warm cloak of the easy-going and cordial keepers of the Cafe Calma, Indian by Nature, and Restaurace U veverky.


prague fountain

View of a fountain from a morning coffee at Cafe Calma. Note: If you Where’s Waldo the fountain scene, you’ll notice both homeless men taking their daily bath and a toddler on the waters edge taking her daily toddle.


We were on the first floor of this slightly pink, slightly art deco building.

_DSC8149 _DSC8182

Well, for lack of a more eloquent synopsis, here ends my Prague Blague.