Tagged: DIY

Crochet Pet Home (aka Crazy Cat Lady Crafts)

Pet house

I admit, I’m teetering on the edge of crazy cat lady.  There are probably only two things that keep me from finally falling into the abyss of fanatical feline fandom, and those are: 1.  I do not live alone/am not single  2.  Equally important, I have been told that only two cats are not enough to cross the line.

Now that I have my defense in place… let me tell you what I made!  A crochet house for my cats!

It involves very few tools:

  • Crochet hook
  • Yarn
  • Wire hangers
  • 2 needle nose pliers
  • Slightly loose screws in head

Create a large flat crochet circle, big enough for your cat to lay on.  To keep its shape, take apart a wire hanger and carefully bend it into a circle.  This is where those two needle nose pliers come in handy.  Use them to help twist to two ends of the circle together to complete the circle.  Attach the wire circle to the outside of the crochet circle by enveloping it in a row of stitches.  This is the bottom of the house.  To create the dome portion, crochet the same number of stitches as the outermost row of your circle.  I did about three rows to give it a slight lip at the bottom of the opening to the house.  Your next row won’t go all the way around, stop it at how wide you want your opening.  Continue on, slowly decreasing the number of stitches in each row to slowly start curving the dome in.  Eventually you want to start making the opening taper in as well by adding stitches onto the ends of your rows.  You should end up with a fairly floppy house.

Now it’s time to go tent style!  Grab another wire hanger and create two separate semi circles.  Slip them into the house crossing at the uppermost point of the “ceiling.”  I attached the ends to the base by twisting/hooking them around the wire circle.  Use some of the same yarn the house is made from to secure them to the ceiling, and about halfway down the walls to keep them from slipping out of place.  I ended up needing to use one more wire support for the back of the house that stopped at the ceiling and hooked into the ‘X’ of the other wire supports also secured at the middle and top with yarn.

It’s a pretty sturdy little thing.  The rabbit actually spends more time in it than the cats, but they like it too.  Here’s an awesome low quality video of Mustafa playing in it.  Lex likes to pounce on top of it and crush it, but it’s super easy to bend back into shape.

Am I a crazy cat lady, or is it just that I wanted to crochet but didn’t know what to make?  Perhaps a little bit of both my friend.

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Paper Flowers 2.0

Paper Flowers 2.0

About time, right?

Materials

  • Scissors
  • Craft scissors
  • Floral wire
  • Hot glue gun
  • Book to cut up

Creating the Pieces

Paper Flowers 2

  1. Trim up your book page.  I like to cut all the margins off, that way there aren’t any weird blank spaces.
  2. Cut out a circle, this will become your flower center.  The easiest way to do it is just to cut a square and then cut out the corners.
  3. Cut a straight line into the center of the circle and create a smaller circle on the inside.
  4. Finish up your center.  Use the craft scissors along the outside edges and create a more pedal like shape out of the line going to the center.
  5. For the pedals, I like to use three sizes.  The skinniest pedals should be slightly longer than the distance between the inner circle to the outer circle of the flower center.  The next size up should be wider, and a little longer and so on.
  6. Grab your floral wire and cut about 6 inches off to use.  Bend one end into a tear shape, to help the flower grasp it.

Assembly

Paper Flowers 21

  1. Tightly roll the flower center.
  2. Release it and make sure it holds its shape fairly well.  If not roll it again for good measure.
  3. Put a good sized dot of glue on the bottom inside corner of the flower center (the inside of the roll).  You’ll have to fight the paper a bit since it’s become fond of its new shape, but you show it who’s boss!  Place the tear shaped side of the floral wire on the glue spot and roll.  Keep rolling the center again, placing glue spots every so often until your center is sturdy.
  4. To add the pedals, put a spot of glue on the bottom and press pedal to the bottom of the flower.
  5. Shape your pedal.  Roll the top and corners in.  Repeat.  I usually do 6 of each size pedal.

Hanging snowflakes

Hanging Snowflakes decor

I have been having way too much fun decorating this holiday season.  I’m sure a lot of it has to do with the fact that we’ve moved to a new place that I am just absolutely in love with.  This snowflake display was a fun and easy little project that really makes the room feel happy!  I think I’ll probably end up leaving the twine up for decorating all year round.  You could use it for so many things.  I already plan on putting up Christmas cards once they start arriving.

To make this cute little snowflake hang, you will need:

  • Magazine (or regular paper)
  • Twine
  • Clothes pins
  • Tape
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors
  • (nail and hammer to hang twine)

Stringing the twine is crazy easy, just put two nails in the wall for the twine to hang from.  I gave mine a little slack so it would dip down just a bit.

Then comes my favorite part, making snowflakes!  I like the look of using magazine pages.  It’s fun and whimsical and gives some nice pops of color to white walls.  If you can snag a holiday magazine, even better since you’ll find lots of holiday focused spreads!

Snowflake collage

Here’s a little refresher on snowflake making.  Find the page you want to use and tear it out.  Fold in half one way, then fold in half again so you have a square.  Next, fold diagonally, then fold diagonally again.  Cut off the excess on the top.  If you want to, you can take a sharpie and block out all that you plan on cutting out.  I usually wing it because it’s fun to surprise yourself!  Cut a bunch.  Now for the best part, carefully unfold.  It goes from little tiny piece of paper with funky shapes to an awesome snowflake.  It’s pretty much magic.

Make yourself a bunch of these.  You can never have too many, you’ll find other place to hang them too.  Windows, mirrors, cabinets, etc.

I used some blue ribbon taped to the back of my snowflakes and secured them to the twine with clothes pins.  If you want to get really crazy you could paint your clothes pins or cover them in glitter.  I may still end up doing that…

I don’t know how, but Mustafa got crazy photogenic and happened to be in exactly the right spots at the right times I was taking pictures.

We also have stockings for the first time this year!  Tawnya and I sat down and decorated ours together.  It was pretty disgustingly adorable.

I put some snowflakes on our curtains too.  They look really cool with the light filtering through.  Lex was in the right spot at the right time too.  Weird.

Eraser turned stamp

I’m really dedicated to making as many things as possible for my wedding myself to give it a totally personal feel.  I actually have just over a year before the big day, but I figure if I start now I won’t have any Bridezilla worthy freak outs later down the road.

I drew inspiration from Indian henna designs for this stamp.  I just love how they seem to marry organic and geometric so you end up with something that is both beautiful and strong looking.

I stayed up way past my bedtime last night working on this sucker.  As Tawnya calls it “my zone,” when she knows once I start there is no distracting me and I’ll ignore everything else I need to do.  Who knew it took so long to carve such a tiny surface?  I’m sure it didn’t help that I carved the other side first, and then realized I had forgotten to do mirror image so that the letters would be in the correct direction once it was stamped (trial and error!)

I like the imperfections in it and I was super happy that I was able to put in that amount of detail.  I’m not sure I’ll end up using it though, because I was going for a more abstract flower and this ended up being more in-your-face flower, which isn’t really Tawnya’s and my style.  Awesome practice though, and I got a set of 3 erasers at the dollar store, so I don’t feel bad having to go through a couple of attempts.  And, you can use both sides of them so really, it’s like 6 potential stamps!

I used an x-acto knife to carve, and I’m thinking it might go faster with an actual carving tool which is kind of what I was expecting anyway, but I wanted to see if it were feasible to not have to buy one.  I think what I’ll end up doing is just buying a carving tip without the handle which should save me some dinero.

 

Dananananananana nananananananana BATMAN

I totally stole the name of this post from my friend’s Facebook post.  She just recently got a Batman themed tattoo right before her birthday this year and I decided to keep up the theme by making her Batman pillows!

Sweet, right?

Materials:

  • Fabric (I got away with a yard of each of the Batman fabrics and they’re an awesome super soft fleece)
  • 2 Pillows
  • Seam Ripper
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Sewing Pins
  • Sewing Needle
  • Iron

I found it was actually cheaper to buy couch pillows from Ross than it was to buy uncovered pillows.  It doesn’t matter if they’re super ugly, because you’re going to take off the outside anyway.

Step 1:  Strip that ugly pillow!  Find where it’s sewn shut and use your seam ripper to gently take out the seam.

I feel like this whole stripping and nekkifying thing is becoming a theme…

Once the opening is big enough, yank out the innards.  Lex was trying to be especially helpful on this project, which I thought was funny because my friend is not a huge cat fan.  I think he knows it and was doing it on purpose.

I know you’re going to want to toss that ugly fabric right away, but resist!  We need it for the next step.

Step 2:  Lay your fabric under the ugly pillow cover so you can use it as your pattern.  (Yay!  No measuring!)  Now you can just trim any of the Batman fabric that’s sticking out.

Step 3:  I know you’re getting anxious to use the sewing machine, but slow down cowgirl!  First we need to make sure all of our fabric is ready.  I wanted to make my pillows two sided, so I used one Batman fabric for one side, and the other for the back.  This way my friend can mix and match them.  Stack your two fabrics on top of each other right side facing in.

Now you get to pin all around the edges.  And don’t forget to put a mark where you need to stop so you can turn it inside out and fit the pillow through!  I would say that I left about a ten inch opening.  I hate pinning and try to put in as few pins as possible.  Remember in Family and Consumer Science class you learned to always pin the middle before pinning the outsides?  Totally didn’t do that.  Things didn’t match up quite as well when I sewed and I ended up with some unwanted pleats.  Listen to your teachers from middle school, seriously.

Step 4:  Time for sewing, finally!

To make a really clean corner what you’ll want to do is, while the needle is in through the fabric, lift up your presser foot and turn the fabric 90 degrees.  Then you can continue sewing without having to break the line.

Before proceeding any further, make sure your pillow fits inside your new casing.  Make any adjustments as needed.

Step 5:  Now that we know everything fits it’s time to take care of that opening.  You can take the pillow out of the casing again for this part (I’m not sure why I didn’t, it really would have made it easier…

At the opening, fold the excess fabric inside of the pillow case and pin it.  You’re not pinning the opening closed yet, just pinning it back in on itself.  Do both sides.  Once it’s pinned, go ahead and iron the whole thing, making sure to crease the folds at the opening.

 Sooooooo… I tried a couple different things to close the opening that we left…  Let’s say the first attempt didn’t work out too well.

I thought I’d be clever and save some time and just use my sewing machine to sew over the opening.  The ugly pillow did it and it looked okay!

Yeah… it’s pretty frackin’ terrible looking.

Pull out your trusty seam ripper and take 20 minutes to undo what you did to try to save time.  Face it, you need to hand sew the opening.  This is why they have marathons of 16 & Pregnant on MTV for you to sit in front of today.  Use a hidden stitch so that the seam won’t be visible.

Much prettier.

Voila!  You’re done and have an awesome home-made birthday present to give to your friend!

She loved them! ❤

Bookshelf!

Bookshelf makeover

Considering all the work I put into this, it’s not really that dramatic of a change.  But I’m still happy with the results, and even just respacing the shelves and all the crap on them gave me some space to move some stuff that previously didn’t have a home onto the shelf.  Better organization is awesome!

This project actually ended up having a couple of small projects in it that I tacked on, so it ended up taking a lot longer than I thought it would.  If you look carefully at the before and after photo you’ll notice that I added a mirror and painted the book end, so I’ll include photos of that as well.

Tools used:

  • Paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Masking tape (because I ran out of painter’s tape)
  • Pliers (you may not need these depending on your bookshelf)

Step 1:  Nekkify!!!  (your bookshelf, not yourself!)  Take off all of your crap, remove your shelves, and those little metal peg thingers.  In case you’re wondering, my bookshelf is the Billy bookshelf from Ikea.  I may or may not refer to it as Billy in daily life.  If you don’t talk to your furniture, you may disregard that comment.  Wipe down the back to get rid of any dust (and cat hair since your cat has been exploring this new monstrosity on the floor) to make sure the paint will go on nicely.

You can tell I have a hard time finishing projects.  Notice the two unfinished paintings in the background.  The big one has been there at least 2 years in that same exact state.  (I’ll finish them someday!)

This is where your pliers might come in handy to remove the shelving pegs.

Step 2:  Tape up that suckah!  Make sure it’s right against the bottom without any bubbles.

Step 3:  I can’t tell you how excited I was for this part.  PAINT!  I couldn’t wait to open my can of paint (which I got free from Ace Hardware!) to see how the color turned out.

Lex was excited to see the color too!

Pretty!  But it needed to be stirred, something that I hadn’t thought of ahead of time.  I opened the paint to see it all oily on top and almost smacked myself in the forehead.  Whenever people use cans of paint they always have stir sticks!  It’s okay, don’t panic.  You’re creative.  How about a chop stick?  Perfect!

Neither you or your cat are going to be pleased if he jumps in the wet paint… so keep an eye on him.  (You’re welcome for the pro tip).

So guilty!  Caught blue bellied.  Luckily I was able to grab him before he started running around all over the floor with his blue paws.  He was so NOT happy with me when I scrubbed his paws.

Step 4:  Wait for the paint to dry.  It might take a while, so keep your paintbrush damp by wrapping a wet paper towel around it and placing it in a plastic bag.

Go do that laundry that you’ve been trying to avoid doing while you wait.  Or not…

Once the paint is dry, throw on a second coat.  My first coat of paint took about 3 hours to dry.  I waited overnight after the second coat, just to be on the safe side.  Second coats always take longer.

Step 5:  Denekkify.  Throw everything back on the shelf!  But do it with more consideration this time.  Now that you know exactly what you’re going to have on your bookshelf, you can base where you put your shelves on the height of the books and crap that you’ve got.

It’s a little more interesting now.  But still not quite special enough.

Step 6:  Add points of interest.  I’ve been wanting to hang things on the shelves to hang over in front of it, I’ve always thought it’s looked pretty neat when I’ve seen other people do it.  I immediately thought back on a mirror that I saw at the dollar store that I didn’t have a reason to buy at the time.  Luckily, they still had it when I dropped back in.

It was this awesome tacky plastic mirror with a gold finish.  It was perfect!  It had these awesome inlays just like you always see people age and distress on those home decorating shows you watch all of the time.  I couldn’t just leave it as is though, that’s not very DIY.  I really wanted it to stand out so I decided to paint it red.  First, tape up the mirror around the inside and maybe a piece of paper depending on how crazy of a painter you are.  Paint a dark base coat.  I just added a bunch of black to my red paint to use.  With the base coat, paint everything and make sure you get into all of the crevices.  Once that drys, put on the your lighter color, in this case, red.  Paint the top coat on lightly just on the highest parts, you want the mirror to have a nice sense of depth, so leave all the crevices that darker shade.

I applied mounting pads to the back of the mirror to stick it to the bookshelf with (also picked up from the dollar store).  I managed to unintentionally match the mirror to the basket I use to store my yarn into, which was a neat surprise.

The last touch I made on the bookshelf is I wanted to make sure the bookend that I had really popped out.  I’ve had it forever, my mom gave it to me when I was younger.  As it was the wood was a little bit too dark and it just ended up blending in.  I decided to paint it a lighter color.

For now, it’s all done.  I would like to eventually tack on some more things in the front though…

Lamp redo complete! … for now

So much for the natural lighting I was hoping for.  It’s rather overcast (big surprise for Portland!) but I took some pictures anyway.  Here’s the before and after pictures:

Much prettier, no?

If I ever do something like this again, there are a few things I think I would change.  I love the flower that I used as the stencil, but I think I would make them bigger and place them closer together so there’s more showing from one side.  Right now they’re pretty spaced apart so you can only see three at a time at most.  Secondly (and I might still end up doing it) I would try to tie the colors in together a little bit better.  I might paint a layer of that navy blue onto the base.  I’m not totally sure though, because I do like how light the base is right now.  Any thoughts?  Maybe just the round knobby parts where it used to be gold?

Here’s an action shot, to get a better feel for the room with the new lamp to brighten it up!

And BONUS!  Lex jumped in the picture.  Eventually, when I have more money I’m going to attempt to reupholster my couch and chair (probably a long ways off) because they’re pretty fugly.  I think my next project is going to be that bookshelf though!  I’m planning on painting the back and reorganizing it, so stay tuned.