Project Iowa: Witty Kitties

This is a little bit different than my usual posts, as this is not a local business you can purchase cute things from. BUT, it is an organization that is improving the lives of many cute things, and I feel that any Eastern Iowan who has the means to support Witty Kitties should know about them.

Snickers, at Witty Kitties since October 2013

Snickers, at Witty Kitties since October 2013

First, a little background on FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) and FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus):

Both are debilitating viruses that affect the immune systems of cats. Similar to HIV in humans, it can lead to chronic health problems and in some cases, result in premature death. Many people are unable or unwilling to adopt cats diagnosed with these viruses for that reason alone. But, beyond that, both can be infectious, and many cat lovers who would be willing to adopt FIV or FeLV positive cats are unable to because they do not want to put their healthy cats at risk.

For this reason, many animal shelters do not give these cats a chance to find a forever home, and a diagnosis of either is a death sentence.

Toast, with Witty Kitties since June 2013

Toast, with Witty Kitties since June 2013

That’s where Witty Kitties comes in. Now rounding out their 14th year of helping cats from all over Iowa and even Missouri, Witty Kitties is responsible for providing the medical care and facilities for special needs cats to live in comfort while they wait for their chance to find a forever home.

For information on how to donate or volunteer, check out the Witty Kitties site here.

For more adoptable kitties click here!

The Fat Vegan: Homemade Pico De Gallo



Today is the two week mark of me being vegan. I’ve lived off of peanut butter, tortillas, and rice for far too long, and today I decided to make something fresh and delicious. It was super easy, only a little time consuming, and the first thing I can truly say was craving worthy. For those interested, it’s very simple and easy to make yourself. Here is the ratios I use:

  • 1/2 Onion
  • 1 and 1/2 Roma Tomato
  • 1 Jalapeno Pepper
  • Cilantro to Taste (or in my case, a literal shit ton works fine too)
  • 1 Juiced Lime

If this is your first time using jalapenos, it’s important to note that unless you want your pico hot, you should remove the seeds and whitish ribbing and use only the green shell.

Project Iowa: Living Locally

Like most people, I’ve always considered myself relatively connected with my community. I occasionally am forced to go to Walmart, I attend classes with other locals, I go to local restaurants…

I have friends who are locals… but I guess I never really considered supporting local businesses and artists. So, I’ve decided to start a new section of the site devoted to local artisans, bakers, crafters, photographers, and the like. I think the real problem that local entrepreneurs face is building up support from their communities. It seems like while we are all on social media, we aren’t really connecting with our communities.

So, I decided to begin blogging the local artists and crafters that I believe warrant more attention.

You can find my growing list of artists I choose to spotlight here, or you can just click on the image link that reads “Project Iowa” on the sidebar! Thanks for being cool!


Milk Crate Bookshelf

I recently completed a pretty easy project using some old milk crates I bought at a garage sale for four dollars each.


I didn’t take a proper before picture because I was too gung ho about getting started, but here they are after my initial spray of it. The blue splotches were my doing. The rest is the same as when I purchased them. I sprayed them down messily with two tones of blue spray paint left over from older projects, and two cans of white spray paint. Here is the result:


They didn’t seem very sturdy at first, so I twist-tied the shelves together and will likely screw them up against the wall once I find a permanent place for them.

Side note: I found this immensely stupid looking thing at a garage sale last week and had to buy it. Because what would a bookshelf be without a ceramic poodle wearing glasses from the 1950s?


Here’s a close up of the paint job on the back. You can see the original plastic color cracking through in the right corner. I painted over peeling paint from the last owner’s refinishing job to give it a bit more of a worn look when the paint inevitably came off.


Anyway, it was super easy project and pretty impossible to mess up. If you have extra spray cans lying around from old projects, this is definitely a project worth your while!

Metal Cart Fixins.

Well, I’ve been waiting a good long while for the opportunity to post this project I’ve been working on. My mom bought the cart in the early 80s when she got her first apartment. Since then it has ended up sitting in our garage collecting rust and other unsavory friends (spiders). Here’s what it looked like before:DSC_2858

Aaand some close ups of the damage.DSC_2859



The bottom was the most concerning part. When the cart was wheeled around the screeching was so loud that it echoed across our entire block. The bottom of the chrome legs were in especially awful shape.

DSC_2867My first step was to pull out the palm sander. I purchased my palm sander of choice from Harbor Freight a couple years ago and it is has been a godsend for smaller projects like this where I don’t want to pull out the full-sized sander. Here’s the one I use, but there are tons of different ones to choose from.

There were a lot more tough rough spots than I anticipated so a lot of rounds of wiping, sanding, rinsing, and drying ensued.



In progress. You can see all of the hidden rust I had to work with. After sanding the top shelf, I dismantled the cart and sanded the bottom and middle shelves.


Then I focused on the legs and wheels, which needed some serious TLC. I decided to try something new out on the rust. It cost 8.99 at Harbor Freight. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I needed something to submerge the wheels in because the rust was hard to reach.


Here’s what they looked like before:


Here’s my lovely bucket and velcro ties rig…

DSC_287624 hours later I took them out, turned them over, and the rust really DID start coming off. It ended up taking a bit longer than the instructions said, but it definitely ate off the rust and (surprisingly) didn’t mess up the plastic wheels.

I couldn’t get a good after picture that really showed how well it worked on the legs, but I was satisfied. The rust had eaten through the chrome finish in some of the rougher places, but the rust remover ate through to the original metal. So, there are some areas where it is no longer chrome, but it is much, much better than the original rust. I sprayed these exposed areas with Rust-Oleum’s Clear Enamel to prevent rust. DEFINITELY worth the four bucks and absolutely crucial to anyone doing similar metal projects.

Then I moved back to the shelves.


I picked Krylon’s Ocean Breeze as my color. I also used a gloss enamel over it in order to protect it and give it a cleaner finish.

Finally, I put the cart back together. Despite the fact that the wheels were rust free. the plastic wheels were still yellowed and contrasted with the rest of the clean looking colors. I sprayed them with Rustoleum’s Metallic Spray. (Also,in this picture you can see the drastic difference that the rust remover made on the legs. Pretty cool, eh?)DSC_2881


Finally, I bought chrome magnetized hooks to put on the side of the cart, which, despite how cheap and easy they were to put on have to be my favorite outcome from this project. They just gave the cart that little extra bit of personality it needed.

And finally here it is, loaded and ready for my kitchen.



Thank you guys for checking out my blog. Feel free to comment with suggestions, questions, or anything else!