December 12, 2010

Dollar Store Décor…

I decided this year I didn’t want to put up the same tree decorations.
I have a different color on the walls from last year.  I also have two kittens that will go wild climbing the tree and enjoy breaking my glass decorations.  I think a new plan is more than necessary.

So since I don’t have money, time, effort, and all I’d need for a fancy new tree…  I headed to the dollar store.

They had a bunch of snowflakes, many ugly, some cute, so I figured that’s it, I’m gunna do snowflakes! I already had some green glitter leaves and I figured white and green would be cool!
I bought these foamy flakes:

These plastic flakes… in packs of 6!
These “flowers” reminiscent of snow:
Some white ribbon:
A garland to fill in some hole-y middle:
A pack of 15 bobbles which I strung up with thread in the garage and spray painted with white gloss.
These are the glittery leaves I already had:
Next was the tree… I decided that I had to have a small tree up on a table so the kittens don’t drive me crazy climbing it constantly.  Husband suggested we put the top and middle sections into the base, skipping the bottom section… and guess what? It worked! So this tree is 2/3 of my normal tree.
I guess I have to mention the empty frames… I have every intention of putting pictures into these frames, 8 empty frames are calling out for beauty, I will get there… I will. And I will share what I end up deciding on… (My photography of course, but how I narrow it down to 8… that’s what’s stopping me.)

And then I went through my old decorations and pulled out random snowflakes I had... and white bobbles... I didn’t have very many, but I got them out.

I used Command hooks (for Christmas lights) all over the wall behind the tree to hang the foam snow flakes from…
And I got this:
It took so little time… and so little money.   I don’t think Christmas has ever been this easy. LOL
White sheet I dug out of a fabric bin to cover the stand… I’m spoiled this year!
I almost forgot.... Thanks husband for doing the lights..... again.....
Kittens can only stare up at the beauty.
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December 10, 2010

Recycle cans a different way. -short & quick

 The garage is not my husbands, it’s mine. His interests aren't in the vein of creating, so the typical creating spaces in the home, are all mine.  Tools?  All mine.  Mess?  All mine.

This is a short project that doesn’t even need a how to… so I will just share what I saw and what I did.
I enjoy the Better Homes & Gardens magazines “Do It Yourself” and “100 decorating ideas under $100”
I got this one out of the latter. (Spring 2010)….

I don’t have a place where I need cute painted cans, but I do have a place where I can use this idea… so off to my garage I went… since my garage is not lovely, I skipped the step of making the cans pretty, and I screwed them to the wall as is.

There weren’t studs in the wall where I wanted them, but I have no intention of putting heavy things in these cans; they will just help me keep my work surface cleaner in the garage, so I didn’t worry about wall anchors. Just screws. If you are going to put anything of weight into yours I would definitely recommend you use anchors into drywall.

First I drilled two holes into each can. 

Then I just screwed them up!
Something worth mentioning… You can’t use cans smaller than your hands or deeper than your screwdriver… Putting screws in is hard if you can’t get into the can to turn the screw.

You COULD use some liquid nails on the back of the can if you wanted them to hold heavier stuff and knew you wouldn’t be taking them down any time soon.

So now I have a way to keep my work surface free from all the messy things I don’t want to throw away, like my sandpaper scraps, plastic bags, pens, rags, gloves, and junk that takes up space.
I just put them up randomly like the picture infers. Plus you can add to it anytime as you get cans and need more space :) 

Thanks BH&G, Next time I’ll give YOU an idea.
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November 23, 2010

A fitting project to share

Let me take a quick minute to say thank you for being so great!
Most of you that read my blog know me, and your kind words over loosing my little buddy Jelly have been so sweet and heartfelt. I appreciate you.
If you read my post about loosing Jelly you will remember that Jennelle’s cat had a litter of kittens the Monday before Jelly died. Well, I got two of those kittens. (yep I said two.)

That sounds so silly, like two kittens will fill the hole left by her… no they won’t, but I decided something as I was trying to choose which kitty to have.  My old cat Phish is nearly 11. Jelly ran him ragged, and it occurred to me that if I got two kittens they could run each other ragged instead of Phish, and Maybe just Maybe he will enjoy their company half as much as he enjoyed Jelly’s. If it weren’t for his sad expressions since we lost Jelly I might not even have decided another kitten is a good idea yet. I feel so deflated from the whole ordeal, & two new kittens crapping where they want and hanging out under foot is not a fun thought yet.

Nonetheless… I have them & they are Super Cute.
So, here is a project I made for Jelly in the spring. She used it, and now these two little monkey’s…. er, I mean kittens are climbing all over it also.

It’s a crazy simple project, so my how-to is not very detailed.

Basically I screwed a bunch of 2x4’s together. Sandwiching some as "arms" outward between boards, and making something that could live in the corner of the room nice and out of the way.

 Then I did some measuring and I cut a piece of scrap carpet into a type of a sleeve for the stem/middle. I attached it with a staple gun.
 Then I covered each arm with another piece of carpet.
 I cut a wedge shaped piece of wood for the top so it could be more of a look-out perch. The whole thing only stands about 3 feet tall.

Here it sits finished in the corner. 
 Here is a short video if it being appreciated by little monkeys… disguised as kittens.  LOL
I will just throw this in...
I have so many fun projects I want to execute, I can't believe how much inspiration is in the air!!!
Oh Time.... Where are you Time.... I know you're hiding..... Tiiiiiiiiiiimmmmmmmme?
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October 20, 2010

Short but Sweet ;)

I am kicking myself about this project now that I have it finished.
I didn't know how it would turn out, so I did no process photos..... seriously... I know that sounds impossible, but it's completely true.

I did it a couple months ago, and looking through my photos, there's nothing... not one, and I don't remember taking any... so the AFTER is all I have to share. BUT I will tell you about it.
I bought a funky wicker looking pedestal from a yard sale, I paid $1 for it. It was the dingy-est cream color you ever saw. I tried cleaning it before I painted it, and nothing... it made no difference, so I just went ahead and painted it with a cheerful blue spray paint. The gal I bought it from thought it was a laundry basket... :D
So, then I made a circular form/mold using a table "skirt" I had for a small table. (Purchased from a furniture factory in a bundle of stuff I bought a while back for $30.)
I mixed up some cement from one of those cheap bags you buy at Home Depot for like $3.50, and before I poured it anywhere I lay a garbage bag down on the ground, spray painted the bag, set my mold onto it, then poured in the cement. I tried to do this quickly so that my spray paint wouldn't have a chance to dry.
(Side note here: Spray paint doesn't really spray well onto a garbage bag. I had to keep spraying it thickly because it seemed to just disappear... Then I worried I was taking too long, so I went ahead and decided an uneven color would be better than no color at all.  So I went ahead and poured the cement onto uneven paint.)
I pushed the cement down with something flat... (A round piece of wood that I hammered on. This part was not thought out previous to this step.  You can see why I wasn't thinking I would end up sharing this one.)

I left it two days to dry before I removed the mold. I had screwed the two sides of the mold together so that I would be able to easily remove it when it was complete.

The paint turned out good I think. I do wish that I had mixed up even more cement... A thicker piece wold look even better. Again... didn't think that through.
It's a bit heavy, so it just sits atop the pedestal base, not attached, and since this isn't in a location to get bumped, I'm cool with that.

The little decoration on top was a wire basket I got from a yard sale. I stuck a piece of fabric I had into it, and then stuffed it with flowers from the dollar store and ones I already had.  Fake but cute.
Worth sharing?  Not sure, but I like it.
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October 12, 2010

This time it’s personal.

For those of you who come to my blog and enjoy my projects, you know that I do not blog about myself. Ya, the projects are mine, but I don’t spend time talking about me and mine.

Today I have a personal post, not because I want to, but because I think it will help me.
Last Friday I took my 7 mo old kitten to the vets for a spay. I was so worried now that she is able to jump fences that she will wander, maybe go into heat, wander further, and end up trying to cross the road in front of my house. I let my fears of loosing her decide that it was time to get her fixed.  On Saturday morning I wasn’t picking up a spayed cat from the vet. I picked up a dead cat.

The vet said that this just happens about 1 in every 10,000.  I just left there. I went back today to get a copy of the paper I signed when I took her in. I wanted to know if I could get my money back, or if in fact I had to live with the fact I paid money to kill my cat.  I did not read the paper when I signed it. But I read it today. It also said “I authorize the Animal Hospital to administer any additional vaccinations, medications, anesthetics, surgical procedures, and or treatments that the doctor deems necessary for the health and safety of the above animal while it’s under their care and supervision.”  I needed to know this. I needed to know that if they thought something was wrong, they would have gone ahead and given her something more, despite my not having already given them money to do so.

I’m so devastated that I don’t really know how to get over it.  Yes the wound is still fresh, so I shouldn’t be over it, but at the same time, writing can sometimes heal, so that is what I’m doing. I’m writing.

If you only come to my blog for projects, please feel free to ignore this post. I totally understand.  This is like the crazy cat lady post nobody wants to read.  No, I’m not quite the crazy cat lady, I do not refer to myself as Mama to my cats, but yes, they are family.

I had three cats, I shared pictures of them once or twice. Jelly, Phish, & Chip.
Chip is a 4 year old giant cat with nothing much to say or do. He eats, sleeps, and cries to go outside.  My friends and family almost never see him because he hides when anyone comes over.
Phish is my buddy. He’s traveled thousands of miles with me. He’s 11 years old this next spring, and adores the socks off me. He will lay in my arm with his paw on my chest, staring up at me like he’s in love. He’s such a shedder I don’t hold him as much as he’d like me to.
Jelly Baby was just that, the little one in the family.  You wouldn’t think a cat so young could already have hold of my heart so tightly, but if you knew her, you would understand. I chose Jelly from a litter of 5. She stood out like a sore thumb. The first time I saw her she didn’t even have her eyes open yet. The second time I saw her I knew I wanted her. My husband’s co-worker Jennelle was so happy we would be taking one of her kittens.

Because Chip is so scared of people, I knew I was not going to let Jelly be the same.  When Chip was a kitten he was so in love with Phish I let Phish be the one he got his affection from. Phish wasn’t very happy about this decision, but I let Chip follow Phish around and I left him alone. With Jelly, I decided I was going to do things differently. I tried to put lots of time and effort into talking to her, teaching her the sounds that mean stop it, come here… etc. I held her more than I ever held the other two cats, and did so because I was determined to make sure she loved people, and wasn’t a frightened cat like Chip.

It worked. At 7 months, she knew what to do when I asked, she was interested in strangers who came over, she hung out with me while I watched TV or sat at the computer, and ran around the house like it was hers.

She had a relationship with each of us. With Chip she was playful but respectful. With Phish she would tease, follow and cuddle. Much to my surprise he was perfectly happy with all of her attention. With my Husband she wanted to be held every chance he sat down, and with me, she acted like I was the float in her boat.
I am currently having a hard time wanting to sit in my recliner and watch TV. Most of the time when I was sitting there, I would have Jelly in my lap or on my chest. That little girl would lay on my chest with her paws tucked up under herself staring at my face, from a distance so close I wondered if she just wanted to feel my breath on her face. I marveled how long she would sit and stare at me this close, and I had come to the conclusion she was trying to convince me she loved me… She succeeded.

We had all kinds of names for Jelly because she was so funny. She loved to chase her tail, which I thought she would grow out of, but never did. This made me call her Jelly Dancer. She was hyper crazy about string, toys, some furry mice I made, and in her kitten ways I called her Jelly Baby.  I have 3 openings on my stairs (post here) that she would run up to, throw her paws around, and slide down… so we would also called her Fireman Jelly. Needless to say more, she was so full of character and loved life.

I feel like this giant crime has been committed. Like taking away the life of an innocent happy cat is so wrong that I don’t know how to put this right in my head.  I like things to make sense. This doesn’t for me in any way and I just wish I had been more in love of the idea of her ending up with kittens than the fear I had of her wandering and getting hit.

I know I shouldn’t blame myself, I know blame isn’t even the way, but truth is I am the only one that decided this for her. It’s all me. My Husband wasn’t on board, but I was so scared about “possibilities” I did not consider the possibility that became reality.  Surgery is dangerous for everyone and anything.  They think that she developed a blood clot and it went to her brain.

Saturday morning when we went to pick her up, (having been told the day before when surgery was complete that she could be collected between 9 & 10) we knew nothing of the state she was in.  I was crazy horrified to see her laying there like she was still under anesthetic. I stroked her, talked to her, and it seemed my presence made her want to move even more. Her eyes were fixed open and drying. She twitched like she couldn’t see when I stroked her nose, and her front paws kept scratching like she needed to pull herself up, but couldn’t get the rest of her to follow.  I cried in confusion asking if they could put an IV into her or something, blood thinners, anything…  They said they were waiting to hear from the vet.  My mind was screaming that she wasn’t hooked up to machines like a human on HOUSE, but just laying like they were expecting her to die any minute.
I asked to be left alone with her, and shortly there after my husband came in with me and saw her for the first time. I told him she needed fluid, that I had put saliva on her nose, but that her eyes were dry.
Within a few minutes a man came in and said “We are going to try and put an IV in.” I replied: “Does that mean I’m leaving?” He smiled and escorted us out. I parted saying “She’s an awesome cat, she’s worth saving!”

We got in the car and cried all the way home. When I got home I got undressed and was about to climb in the shower as I said to myself: “They are going to call me and say ‘The IV is in and she is doing better’.” Within seconds of saying that out loud the phone rang. It was the Animal Hospital. “Natalie, this is Dr. P. How are you doing?”  “Not Good. I’m having a hard time with this.” I said. “I’m calling to tell you that Jelly passed away while we were trying to put the IV in.”
I think I burst out with “ok” amongst a flood of tears and then I tried to say “Can I come and get her Right NOW?” But he was silent, and I realized he probably couldn’t understand what I was saying, so I handed the phone to my husband and I began blubbering all over the place as I tried to get dressed & go right back and get my Jelly.

I thought… If I get her quickly, maybe Phish will be able to bring her back to life.  Silly I know, but I wasn’t going to accept this one easily.

I will skip the sob story of collecting and burying her, I don’t think I can type it, but I did bring her right in and set her on the couch, getting Phish to come up and sniff or nudge… hoping something would happen.  (I know how stupid this sounds –I do.) Phish had a few sniffs, acted like he had no idea what this was on the couch, and he got down. Sitting with his back to it.  So there went my miracle.

I also got Chip, feeling that as long as they both sniffed her, that was some sort of good bye for them. He too acted like he had no idea this was Jelly, and walked way.  Which proved to me, the little body minus the bright pink nose I was so fond of was no longer my little girl.  Just the shell I recognized as her. And only the fur I recognized, because the face was no longer hers in any way. “How am I going to find this kitty reincarnated as another kitty?” I asked myself before I put her in the ground.

About 20-30 minutes after she was buried, I sat at the table crying my eyes out, when my husband mentioned the new kittens at Jennelle’s, and said that maybe in 6 weeks we will be ready for another kitten. “WHAT? What are you talking about? Since when does Jennelle have kittens??????” Nobody thought to mention kittens to this cat lover? And… at the home in which Jelly came from? Strange.

Not that I want another cat so soon, but don’t you think it’s just kinda creepy that there should be more kitten’s from the same place just as I loose mine? And I only learn about them after mine is gone?  And here’s another strange factor… The kittens aren’t from the same cat, but Jennelle did keep Jelly’s brother, and he is the #1 candidate for being father of these 3 new kittens.

I find myself crying more when I’m left alone and don’t need to play “brave”. But I’m hoping that writing this down, allowing myself to cry and write, that I will heal a little.  I know all this is over a cat… I keep telling myself that, but it doesn’t change the overwhelming void I feel as I walk through my home. Phish & Chip seem to be zombie like too… I don’t recognize the face Phish keeps making.  We miss her.

Please God, explain to Jelly what happened.
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September 26, 2010

A Couple of Paintings: No cost.

With a fairly new color on the walls you’d think I’d be quicker at hanging some decoration up. Well I’ve been super slow, but here are two things: coordinating canvases, and a mirror.

I bought two already painted canvases from a yard sale for next to nothing, I painted over the paintings already on them; one black and one white. Then found a pattern I would like to replicate.This is a poor example of the circle pattern, but this is what I had.

I put my paint colors onto paper plates, and got out plastic cups.
I used dry cups without paint first so that I could see where my circles would start and end on the edges of the canvas, and then I set to coming up with a pattern of color.
 I used the bottom of a 1 cup measure for my imperfect white circles. These were applied after the first layer of circles, but before the second layer of circles. Only onto the black canvas.
 Here is the white one. This has a slightly different order of color. In this one no color intersects itself. You can see my paint on cup edges are imperfect, but this is the look I was after since I started with imperfect colors on the canvas to begin with. If you look closely at the black canvas, I made sure small areas of white still peeked through.
 I also painted a red frame white that my friend (thestampinmom) gave me.
 Then I used pink watered down paint as a wash. Wiping off the paint on the raised edges before it dried. Same as I would for antiquing something with walnut stain.

 I like how they turned out!

I've been posting too many paint projects... I need to try and post more of my projects that don't involve paint.
Projects w/o paint aren't hard, getting me to sit down and post... that's hard.  :D
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September 7, 2010

Taffeta Shelf Brackets

I would love to say this idea was entirely mine, but I'm afraid it's not. Here it sits on my inspiration board, cut out from a (shhhhh) Martha Stewart Living magazine.  Don't know why nicking an idea from an MS mag should embarrass me, but it kinda does.  I just thought it was super clever, and I'm all about clever projects.
Here is a shot slightly closer up...
The text says they used 1" grosgrain ribbon, and the shelves are only 6" deep. Good thing I never noticed that until just now. They also say to staple the ribbon to the shelf on the bottom. (I didn't do that either.)
Taffeta is an awesome fabric for ripping, which is IN PART why I chose it. The other parts being it's BROWN (eyelids batting), and I ALREADY had it in my fabric bin. I LOVE not having to go to the store to do a project. On this particular day I was cleaning, working through a nice size 'to do' list when I suddenly had a big ol' brain wave of how I could recreate this MS idea, and I had to do it.

Back to my Taffeta and ripping... I wanted four strips the same width. I used the length from selvage to selvage. I did not measure them, but they are approx 4.5" wide.
Then I ironed them flat, and then into fourths.. It was easiest to first iron them in half, and then fold in each side and iron it. On the left is the finished folded strip with raw edges in the middle of the folded taffeta.
All 4...
Then I stitched on both sides of each strip. I didn't realize I had green thread in my bobbin, I thought it was white... never-mind, white and green are great!
Then I decided the length I would want for my strips of taffeta, cut them, and I brought both ends together punching holes with a Crop-A-Dile. No you don't have to have this tool, but it makes punching fabric easy.
Here you see two holes through both ends.
Then I placed an eyelet into the lower hole.
Folded the fabric over, pushing the other hole onto the eyelet. (This is in fact a scrapbooking eyelet. It is barely long enough for all these layers of taffeta. <--- worth knowing.) 
Also, important point: I had to mark the holes with this folded edge in mind. The piece of fabric on the outside needs a greater distance between the holes than the one being covered. If this sounds confusing, just be sure to do a practice run before you punch all your holes.
Set the eyelet. (This tool does that too)
Then I found all of my studs and marked them with painters tape.
My stud finder beeps a bit early, no stud is 3" wide in my house, so I mark where the stud finder beeps, tape it, find the other edge, and then use the center between the two pieces of tape.
I then screwed my taffeta strip into the stud through the eyelet.  I used screws 1.5-2" long so that it was a good distance into the stud.
Then I hung more. (since I already had a paint line in this room that was level, I took advantage of it and hung them all along it.)
Not having any long boards handy... I used a couple shutters I had in the garage, left over from a project last year.  I thought the re purposed cuteness of the shutter meant that I didn't have to worry about the holes from the hinges that were once attached to it.
I just slid them into the straps and set them level.
Is it just me, or is this adorable?
My shutters do have one side with a bar, for the shutters to be functional, I figured that I would look at the shutter in my strap both ways to see which looked better... and since I wasn't going to place books or anything  that needed to sit straight, I went with the bar on top of the shelf.
Then I put my bear and bunny collection up onto them! It's not a big collection, but old enough I have to have a home for them somewhere! I think they look great on this wall in the spare room.
Oh, just in case you would like to know, the shutters are 14.5" wide, and the length of my straps are 51" (before the eyelet).

Hope you enjoyed this half as much as me. Quick & Cute projects always make me happy.
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August 19, 2010

Love Me a MakeOver.

I have a bunch of small projects that don't need a post of their own. These are all paint or stain make overs.
Sanded this little night stand, then used a yellow wall color I already had.

This is a $5 lamp shade that didn't allow lots of light through the sides, so I figured I could get away with spray painting it. I taped up the insides and the metal, and went to town.
Used this color.
Look at them both now...  I figure when you have a tiny night stand, you should pair it with a floor lamp.
(If you are wondering what that thing is on the night stand... it's a vase of bunnies.)
My friend tried to sell this for $10 at her yardsale, but because flat screen TV's are so common, nobody even looked twice at it. When we finished, she said, "Don't you want this?" And I was like... "OK, I have an old TV that could live on it."  So this is sanded down and ready for primer.
This is primed.
This is painted white in a semi gloss.  I have just started to stain it with my favorite... ya, walnut stain.
This is the finished puppy. I keep the old TV in a closet so I can hide it when I need to.

Same friend with the yard sale was also selling this. It's a cut out matte with construction paper behind it. Look how the green construction paper changed over time.
I ditched the paper, painted both the matte and the frame an oiled bronze color of spray paint, and now I'm gunna put family members photos in the openings :)
This beauty my cousin gave me. She no longer wanted it, and I said yes please.
It had a few scratches... so I had to give it a good sanding.
This is the whole thing sanded after removing the metal drawer pulls. Now ready for Walnut stain.
Since I wanted the drawer pulls silver, I decided to paint the screw heads too... This is my solution for not getting paint onto the threads.
Used Aluminum color spray paint.
And this is my finished dresser.  I like it so much I'm not putting it in a bedroom, it's in my main living space.
(The strange lump between the two lamps is my kitty Jelly. Just like Phish, she's gotta get into anything box like.)  
I don't know if I've mentioned the lamps before... $7 each new. They came with these shades, but the bases were cream... So I gave them a coat of white spray paint, and now they are complete.  They also used to live in a bedroom, but since I'm pulling this bright green into my living room, I brought them in.

Hope I make ya feel like buying a can of spray paint!
Thanks for stopping by  ;)
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