Ikea Hack – Litter box

Our litter box used to live in the guest bathroom (the guest shower, actually) but that made it difficult for guests to actually use the shower – so we did what anyone looking to create space does and we went to Ikea.  A quick google search shows me that I’m not the first to use the Stuva this way, but here’s my take on it anyway.

Tools/materials:

STUVA Storage bench IKEA Low storage makes it easier for children to reach and organize their things.

Stuva Bench from Ikea

Cat door from Home Depot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • 1″ thick plywood
  • Jigsaw
  • Optional – plastic lining in case your cats sometimes miss the litter box -_-

It’s basically as easy as installing the cat door on the box and putting a litter box inside.

We were happy to discover that the materials of the Stuva are pretty sturdy – we cut the first hole out of the drawer front and while it wasn’t solid wood, it was pretty durable and cut well with the jigsaw.

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There were a couple of modifications we made so that the door could be installed – it’s meant to be installed on something as thick as a normal household door, and the front of the drawer is fairly thin.  To fix this, we cut a rectangle out of plywood and added that to the back of the drawer front.

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The last extra step that we took was to double line the whole thing with plastic sheeting. We have one cat that isn’t great at aiming, and we didn’t want to have to disassemble the whole box to clean it. Before installing the cat door, we lined the whole box with plastic sheeting, cut a hole in it just big enough for the door, and then put the door in. This way the sheeting is held in place by the outer rim of the door, and it makes a pretty good seal. Then for good measure we put another layer in and just taped it down.  It’s not the prettiest, but it’s also a toilet box, so.

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We got the cat door thinking that it would help contain litter and maybe some odor, but so far we’ve just left it propped open for the cats – they were very hesitant to use the flap, and we didn’t want to discourage them from going inside the new box, so for now it’s just a nicely trimmed entrance.

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The bench lives in our front hallway with a taller version of the Stuva where we keep all the stuff that doesn’t fit in our kitchen cabinets.

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Lapis Lazuli (inspired) Dress

For the upcoming JoCo cruise, I wanted to make a dress that was formal but also a tribute to one of my favorite shows, Steven Universe.  This is what I came up with:

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For reference, here’s what Lapis wears:

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The pattern I used was McCall’s M7157, which was the closest I could find to a halter with a strap across the back.

Once I had the basic shape from a pattern, I added some of the color detail that Lapis has. I wanted to keep on the non-cosplay side of things, so that I wouldn’t feel too weird using the dress for normal situations, so I didn’t use triangles for the dark blue details. Instead I just went with wide stripes, which I think turned out pretty well.

When I want to make it a little more obvious where my inspiration came from, I can wear this necklace shaped like Lapis’s cracked gem, which I got from MagicalMcGuffins on Etsy. For more formal occasions, I have a similar teardrop necklace that is actually a lapis lazuli stone.

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One last detail that I didn’t get a picture of before I packed my dress – the inside of the skirt is lined in a slightly lighter blue, to give the same sort of effect as the light shining on Lapis in the shot at the top of the post. It probably won’t really show when I’m wearing it, but I thought it was a fun addition (and it made hemming a lot easier).

 

Last Minute Christmas!

Are you over 21? Can you sew in a straight line? Then good news! Liquor stores are open relatively late on Christmas Eve (9 pm around here), and you’ve still got time to buy presents! And while decorating the paper bag that your purchase comes in is one option, it is also very easy to make a little fabric bag to class things up.

You’ll need a strip of fabric about an inch or two wider than the bottle you’re making it for, and a few inches taller.

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These are mini bottles (perfect for stockings!) but it will work about the same for full size bottles too.

So take your strip of fabric, and turn down both of the ends. Sew those together, leaving the short ends open for your ribbon.

Then sew the sides of the fabric along the long edges up to the ribbon opening.

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Flip it right-side-out, put a ribbon through the tube, fill it with some booze, and no one will know that you bought your presents right before stores closed on Christmas Eve 🙂

Cubes for Desert Bus

It’s Desert Bus time again, and I was thrilled to send in two cat cubes this year.  For those of you that don’t know, Desert Bus is a live-streamed, week long fundraiser for Child’s Play charity, and it is pretty much my favorite thing on the internet.  It’s in it’s 9th year, and for the past few years they’ve sent out a call for crafters to donate crafts to auction and raffle to help raise money, and this year my contribution was these cubes!

There are better pictures on the website, but here are some in-progress pictures from this year’s batch.

The Question Mark Block cube will be up for giveaway sometime today between 1 pm and 9 pm EST , so obviously that means I’ll just have to watch DB all day.  This one came together really well, and I got to learn how to make little plushies!

Edit: The giveaway has finished, and we raised $1739.10! Thank you  to everyone who bid, and congrats to Kuroji Zero who won!

 

The Cat-panion Cube will be in the Cats, Cats, Cats! silent auction lot that runs from 5 am to 1 pm EST on Thursday. I’ve made some improvements to the cube from last year, and I’m hoping the early morning crowd will hype the cat lot and raise at least as much as last year.

Edit: This silent auction has also finished, and we raised $1100!

 

Final edit:

If you have an idea for a custom cube, hit me up on Etsy and we can come up with something awesome. And stay tuned for Desert Bus  next year, I’ve got a few ideas and hope to be able to contribute again. 🙂

Efficient Bunting!

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A few months ago I had a chance to make bunting for a friend’s wedding shower, and it went so well I made some for her wedding too! There are a lot of tutorials on how to make bunting out there, but my goal was to find the quickest and easiest way, because I can always count on myself to wait until the last minute before putting stuff like this together. And besides, who doesn’t want to be known for being able to crank out some emergency bunting? Anyway, here’s my method. It took me about 1.5 hours from start to finish, not including the shopping part.

Tools:

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Fabric, triangle patterns, binding, scissors, marking pencil. Sewing machine optional but strongly recommended if you’re trying to do this quickly.

  • The fabric is 9 inches tall and 60 inches wide, and I was able to get 4 triangles from each strip of fabric. One note of caution – if the fabric has a distinct top and bottom, like with writing or cartoons or anything, you’ll need twice as much fabric.
  • The binding is extra wide double fold bias tape, which comes in 3 yard packets. I put 12 triangles on each piece of binding, but you could probably fit 14,
  • The triangle patterns are simple – 7.5 inches on the short end, 8.5 inches on both of the long sides.

To start, I folded my fabric longways, right sides together, and traced tessellated triangles so that the middle triangles shared an edge. If the fabric has a distinct top, this means that every other triangle will be upside down, so you can either be okay with that or just use right-side up triangles and a little more fabric. Pictures are really better for explaining:

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From there, I used the traced line not for sewing, but for seam allowance. The traced line will end up as the cutting line once everything is sewn together. I left the short edge open so the triangles can be flipped right side out.

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It’s fine for the thread to cross over itself at the tips of the triangle, my assumption is that bunting will not get a lot of heavy use that might cause it to unravel. If you’re really worried about it, just keep the end of the seams inside the triangle.

Once everything but the short edges were sewn, I used the pattern lines as cutting lines, and it only took 5 cuts to get 4 triangles.

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Repeat as necessary – I had 6 different fabrics. At the end I trimmed everything down, including snipping the tip of the triangle flat, and flipped everything right side out. It helped to have a tool to push out the tip of the triangle – I used a closed seam ripper, which was just about the right size.

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After everything was right side out, I realized that I would need to trim the open edge because there were little ears sticking out from the seam allowance. You can see them in the bottom row of triangles in the picture below. Cutting those off makes the next steps so much easier, so it’s worth it to do all at once before moving on. If you’re not in a hurry, it’s also nice to iron everything flat before pinning it all together.

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When my triangles were all triangular, I lined them up in order and marked the middle of my binding with a safety pin. From there, I pinned everything in place from the middle out, making sure the triangles were all the way up inside the binding and right next to each other.  There’s definitely room to move things around a little once it’s in the sewing machine, but getting the basic spacing makes the sewing part easier.

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Sew it up, and that’s pretty much it! For sewing, I had a tail on each end of the binding but I went ahead and started sewing right at the end in order to make it look a little more finished – having the binding loose after the last triangle looked a little weird.

I had a lot of fun making this, and once I got into the process it was pretty relaxing because there isn’t anything tricky, just a lot of repetition. It is also a pretty inexpensive project – you get to use a bunch of different fabrics, but when you only need to buy 1/4 yard of each the cost doesn’t get too high. Any fabric would probably work, but I stuck with the normal quilting cotton because it holds its shape well and comes in a lot of colors.

Cthulhu Dice Bag

This is a craft that I made for a gift exchange last Christmas – dice bags are relatively quick and easy to personalize, so it seemed like a good fit. I also sent a Call of Cthulhu dice set, which made everything nice and match-y!

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The most fun part of this was getting to use my embroidery machine – cutting out all of those tiny tentacles was too much for me to consider doing this as an applique.

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The most convenient part of making a dice bag is that I had all the materials I needed on hand – the fabric is left over from the purses/shoe bag I made as a gift for my bridespeople, and I’ve always got a ton of ribbon lying around.

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As a bonus, here’s a super short video of the embroidery. It’s always a little nerve-wracking to embroider something, because if the machine messes up there’s pretty much no saving the fabric.  I’ve had this machine for 10 years, and it still makes me nervous.  Usually it turns out fine though 🙂

Baby Blanket!

20141108_095604The craft I’ve probably made the most of is fleece blankets – there are infinite ways to personalize them, and everyone can use a blanket.  I’ve made a bunch with fraternity letters, one for my husband with his name on it, and several smaller ones for new babies, because it’s fun to put their name on things.  The latest one I made (a few months ago) was for baby Everett.  His parents decorated his nursery in brown and green with a forest animal theme, so it was easy to pick out colors and a design.

One thing I learned while searching for a pattern for the owl applique is that coloring book pages can be perfect for finding simple outlines of almost anything.  The owl came from this link: http://azcoloring.com/coloring-page/861692, and it was pretty straightforward to resize it and cut out all of the individual pieces.
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The font is Gotham Rounded Bold, which I really like because it’s easy to cut out and doesn’t look too childish or too serious.

I didn’t think to take pictures of the completed blanket before I gave it to Everett, but here is a re-creation of the reverse side with the scraps I have left over.  It’s a little hard to tell from the picture, but the binding is a satin light green that  mostly matches the front.

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