Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bookcase Cat Climber

Did I tell you we got kittens this summer. O-M-G they're so adorable and sweet. A friend was fostering their litter when I first fell in love. Having lost our 19 year old cat back in the spring, I was really missing having a fur baby (or two) around the house. We were able to adopt our babies through Meow Cat Rescue and I got to pick out the babies I liked best from the litter while they were still staying with my friend. I picked good ones too.

I knew before they came home that they'd need a cat climber. I wanted something they could climb quickly to get away from the kiddos but also something with some scratching space on it. I wanted it to be in a location where they could watch us moving about the house.

Well, the location was easy but it would mean displacing a bookcase. This bookcase:

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I'm going to be honest here, I don't miss that AT ALL!!! The thing was though, that bookcase matches one across the room and I like it. Our house is small so matching furniture does wonders for keeping it from looking too crowded. I also didn't want some carpeted monstrosity right there so I hit Pinterest looking for attractive cat climbers I could build.

I found nothing I loved. Nothing I wanted as a focal point in our living space. This is easily viewable from the dining room, kitchen, living room and hallway.

Then it hit me! Get rid of the clutter and make THIS the climber.

I cleared off the clutter and cut a hole in each shelf.

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I used the hole guide on my Dremel Trio tool.

Then I stepped back to assess what I'd done.

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I loaded it back up with just a few books and games as well as a scrap of carpet I got from a friend.

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Oh, I was very happy with where this was going. I found a photo of book spines, printed them out on photo paper, mounted them to cardboard then taped on an "L" bracket and put them (as well as a real book) on the top shelf to give the kitties a pass-through to the top of the shelf. I also put a cool basket up top. Don't worry, it's on some no slip padding so it doesn't slide off.

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Teddy investigated and approved it. (Nom nom nom)

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Eating Books

Amelia tested it out too.

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I also added a carpet-covered strip of wood to one side so they can sharpen their claws on it.

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I see one or the other (or both) up there every single day. The carpeted layer is just high enough that they can escape the 2.5 year old's reach and they can scale the climber really fast when they need to. They also like to play on it.




And now, a few final pictures:

Snuggles 2

Feet


Thank you for reading,
Julie


I'm linking this post up at the following link parties:



Sunday, September 14, 2014

Build, Sew, Reap on Hometalk

I found this fantastic site that's geared towards people like you and me ... only better. It's sort of like blogging and Pinterest rolled into one. It's called Hometalk. Here's what I love about it - it's where DIYers can come together to share ideas, get input, etc. Also, if you're not a blogger and you just want to share the projects you do, they have a very easy platform that walks you through uploading photos and adding text.

I got into blogging to connect with other like-minded crafty types. I found that I was following a whole bunch of blogs but had nothing to offer them when they did link-up parties or just asked their readers to share similar projects. I knew I needed to bring something to the table so I started blogging. I'm not going to lie though, blogging takes time and commitment (which I don't always manage to find) but Hometalk really does make it easy so there's no excuse not to share.

I've started adding some of my favorite past projects to posts on Hometalk but also created a board of awesome kid beds. If you've followed me for awhile (or dug back through old posts), you know that I LOVE creative kid beds. Come check out my board, join Hometalk, and be a part of the discussions going on over there.

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Seriously, can you tell me you don't want at least 1 of those beds?!? Now go surf through Hometalk. You're going to love it!

Thank you for reading,
Julie



Thursday, September 11, 2014

Filling Refillable Pouches

I hate the waste of those little applesauce pouches but the convenience makes them so appealing. I make my own applesauce though I set out to find an easy way to fill the pouches I bought. With this simple solution, you don't have to purchase special pouches either, you can just reuse the ones you have.

Are you ready? You're going to kick yourself for not thinking of this first:

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It's so simple. First fill the bottle with yogurt, smoothie, applesauce, etc. Screw on the top and use the pointy spout to fill that little pouch up. No need for the fancy pants zipper seal on the side of the pouch (like mine has, now we just leave them shut). I keep our condiment bottle full in the fridge so I can easily just fill a pouch or two before school.

Thank you for reading,
Julie



Thursday, September 4, 2014

Star Wars Lego 6th Birthday Party

Well, it's that time of year again. My big kid just had his birthday and although I tried *really* hard to tone it down a bit, I think I failed. We did manage to keep the guest list to a reasonably sized group of kids his own age and family but we still went a little nuts with decorations. I'll take you through it from start to finish and hope that it inspires you to take on some fun Star Wars Lego projects of your own.

The invitation:
If you've looked at ideas around Pinterest at all, you've probably seen this type of invitation. It wasn't an original idea but I gave it a few of my own touches.

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(identifying information is blacked out for the blog)

Since I don't have fancy-pants photo editing software, I found it was easiest to type the text in MS Word then use word art to stretch and skew it to give it the look that it was flying away through space.

As our guests approached the house, the first thing they saw was that there were giant Legos on the roof.

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I used scrap wood (mostly 2x4s) and a sliced up wood dowel to create the Lego look.

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Each kiddo was handed a pool-noodle lightsaber and they immediately jumped into an epic battle. I think those kids beat one another for at least 30 minutes.

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This little Padawan was a little more hesitant to jump into battle.

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Once they worked out their aggression, we handed out bubble wands.

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I bought bubble wands and spray painted the handles with cheap $.99 spray paint from Home Depot. It worked out great. If I had it to do over again though, I might have shoved a few glow sticks in each one.

Inside the house, there were around 75 giant legos made by wrapping boxes in black, silver, yellow, and red wrapping paper then spray painting using a stencil (and some previously undiscovered graffiti skills) to make them look like big legos. I thought about doing an activity with them but decided against it at the last minute.

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I made a bunting using half sheets of brightly colored copy paper and letters that I printed out on my computer then cut out by hand. I used a Lego font I downloaded for free online (please forgive me, I have no idea where I found it).

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I made candy-coated pretzel rod Lightsabers and graham cracker, vegan marshmallow, and candy melts (to stick the marshmallows to the graham crackers) Tie Fighters. All food also featured labels held up by Lego Duplos.

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At the birthday boy's suggestion, he built a chip bowl out of Duplos as well.

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My mom put together this crafty little silverware holder and my dad drew Lego man faces onto yellow Dollar Tree paper plates which were also supported by a structure my mom built.

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As I do every year, I created an elaborate cake. Yes, it's far more elaborate than needed for a 6 year old's birthday and featured way more cake than was necessary but I don't have a lot of opportunities to create cakes so I just go all out and over the top when the occasion arrises.

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The top layer was a cane-sugar free vegan chocolate cake made from scratch. The middle layer was a gluten free cake made from a mix and the big layer on the bottom was a vegan yellow cake that, quite frankly, didn't turn out so great. The kids didn't mind though.

I was lucky enough to capture a picture of the birthday boy's face when he saw the cake for the first time:

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And here are the guest singing the Happy Birthday song to my kiddo:

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He loved his party more than I could have hoped for. My husband designed and lead the kiddos on a Jedi training obstacle course in the back yard, we had a piƱata full of legos, there was an area for free-building with a HUGE tub of Legos to pull from and lots of happy kids running all around.

In closing, I just have one thing to say:

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May the Force be with you!


Thank you for reading,
Julie



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