Friday, April 6, 2018

DIY Dog Water & Food Dish Stand


Since my last post was for the cat people, I decided it was time to share one for the dogs.

Something we have discovered with four dogs (!) is that we need large dog dishes for water and food. Otherwise we find ourselves refilling them every couple of hours. Nobody got time for that! We also found out early on that they like to dump their water dish all over the floor. Which is especially problematic with a little one that thinks it's really cool to spread wet foot prints throughout the house. (Okay...they are really cute wet foot prints) A stand/holder for the dishes is a must.

However, they don't make stands for large dishes. About 10 years ago, my husband made a stand for our large dishes, but that was starting to look pretty darn rough. It was time for an update. I decided I wanted something that was open on the bottom so we could clean up any water drips. I also wanted something that looked nice. It was a pretty easy process to make this stand, so read on, grab a couple of supplies and get it done!

Piece of plywood (Long and wide enough for both dishes to fit. Most home improvement stores have pre-cut wood so you don't have to buy a large piece of wood if transportation or cutting is an issue)

Table saw/circular saw (to cut the wood to length as needed)

Jig Saw (A jig saw with the ability to do some scroll sawing is helpful because you can adjust your angle as you go along)

Drill & Drill Bit (The big should be big enough that the jig saw blade can fit through the hole)


Table Legs

Stain or Paint

Sealing Layer (Polyurethane)

Dog Food/Water Dishes


1. Cut Wood to Length

The first thing was getting the piece of wood a correct length. You will want a couple of inches around the dishes so you don't compromise the wood as you cut the circles.

2. Trace and Cut Circles

Once you have the wood cut to the correct length, you will need to flip the dishes over to trace around the lip of the dishes. Once you have traced around the dishes, you will need to account for the lip. Make a second circle within the larger circle to make a smaller hole so the dish will be held up. Erase the larger circle to avoid confusion.

To cut the circles, first drill a hole on the smaller circle towards the inside. This hole needs to be big enough that a jig saw blade can fit within the hole. Cut on the line in a circle. You may need to take it slow in order to make the curves. Repeat with the second hole.

3. Sand

Use some sandpaper to sand off the rough edges around the circle you cut out. Also sand down the rest of the board so it's smooth and ready for finishing. You can also use the sandpaper to round any sharp edges.

4. Stain or Paint and Seal

You can stain or paint the board/legs (which ever is your preference). Once you are done, you will need to seal the board and legs several times over. This surface is going to get some major moisture either from drool or water. Follow the directions on the label which usually includes a light sanding between layers.

5. Attach Legs

Using the appropriate hardware (the package will indicate what hardware to purchase) to attach the legs you purchased to the board. You're done!

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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

DIY Cat Camper House


As a self-proclaimed dog person, I do get the occasional inkling to make something for the cats of the house. I mean, at least one of them is nice. (The other one lurks around corners waiting for the best opportunity to commit homicide.)

I started to look at some small gift to give the cats for Christmas, because, yes, we are one of those families. I found an adorable vintage camper house for cats. If the cats are going to have something, why wouldn't it be a cute vintage camper? But the Amazon one was around $30.00. Um. I love my cats...well strongly care for...but that seemed a wee-bit over priced for a bunch of cardboard.

Speaking of know who gets lots of cardboard? This Amazon Prime addict. Also, I've got all this free time from not running into town for TP, so I could use those skills to make one bomb diggity cat camper, no doubt.


X-Acto Knife (New blades really work best)
Cardboard (Keep an old box, or grab a new one or foam board from the store)
Paint & Brush (I used acrylic and house paint..whatever I had around the house)
Packing Tape
Ruler (if you want to make sure your lines are straight and measured accurately)


1. Draw Outline of Front of Camper

You can make your camper whatever shape you want. Of course I had a wonderful example with Myrtle in our front drive.  (Check out Myrtle's Journey here).

2. Cut & Draw Outline of Back of Camper

Using your X-acto knife, follow the line you have drawn. Hint: When using an X-acto knife, it's much easier to pull the knife towards you, not push it away.

Once you have your outline cut out, you will need to make an opposite side. Use the cut out side as a pattern to transfer an outline to another piece of cardboard. Cut out this piece with your X-acto knife.

3. Draw Details

I decided my camper needed windows (the lever ones and jalousie, obviously). I also needed a door  as well. Using a system of scoring (not cutting all the way through the cardboard, but rather just the first layer so the cardboard bends freely), I created a door and windows.

 4. Paint

Before you can tape anything together, you'll need to paint the camper. This is the one step where I thought I might have picked the wrong material. A white foam board would have already been colored. Cardboard also sucks up paint like no other, so you'll have to do multiple coats. I didn't find the paint made the cardboard soggy by any means, just time consuming between coats. I used a Painter's pen for the dots.

5. Create Base

Using the side as a guide, I marked on another piece of cardboard how long the front was. I made the camper about 10 inches wide. Big enough for a cat, but not too big. You will want to add about 2 to 3 inches to the width and length in order to have a side to tape the front and back to. (See the pictures for a better idea of what I'm describing).

Score at the line of the extra "over hang." You are basically creating a box bottom. Tape up the corners to create the box shape.

You may need to trim the bottom box where the door is going to hit if you don't want the base showing. (Doubt the cats mind much)

6. Using the packing tape, tape the front and back to your bottom base. Tape from the inside so it's hidden from view.

7. Add Structure to the top

Cut strips of cardboard as wide as your camper (around 10 inches in my case) and tape them to the top and sides of your camper. This will add some stability and make it easier to attach the top/side piece.

8.  Create Roof and Sides

Using one long piece of cardboard as wide as your camper, you will want to create your roof. This is the longest of all the steps. Each time there is a curve (for example, when you are going from the roof to the side), you will need to score the cardboard to make it curve.

9. Paint the Roof & Attach

This is is pretty self explanatory. You'll need it to be painted before you tape it on. (Paint won't stick to tape well, if at all) Finally, using the packing tape, attach the roof. You probably will need this tape to be on the outside of the camper, so it will show a bit.

10. Enjoy!

Here's the nice kitty enjoying his fancy new camper. The other cat is probably googling "How to Get Away with Murder."

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Saturday, February 24, 2018

DIY Couch Cushion Fix

Long time, no talk huh? Life has been crazy especially with cold and flu season upon us. I feel like I’m one more sick kid away from making my children leave the house in hazmat suits with a Purell shower waiting at home. 

Anyways, all those sick kids made it woefully apparently our couch wasn’t equipped for long days watching Netflix. Some background on our furniture. We bought a couch and two accent chairs from a local furniture shop about three years ago. The couch and one chair are the “Best Furniture” brand and the other chair is a “Pallister” This post has nothing to do with the Pallister chair. That thing looks amazing apart from cat induced thread pulling. (Cats are dicks) 

However, the other chair and couch did not fair as well in our home. After about a month of owning them, the cushions looked all sorts of lopsided. I contacted the local furniture shop and apparently the long time owner had decided to retire, and they were in the middle of some ownership changes. Translation: no one had any advice or offered any solutions to the lopsided cushions. I supposed that’s one downside of locally owned (although I feel like it’s really the exception not the rule).

Flash forward one year later, and the couch has pretty much fallen apart. The springs in the main part of the couch fell out completely. At that new development, I call the the local furniture shop, and they offered to come look at it. They had completed the ownership change and seemed to have their act (kinda) together at this point. So, they came over, flipped the couch over to look at the bottom, and the frame literally fell apart in their hands. They picked up the pieces and took the entire thing with them. 

They ended up completely rebuilding the frame and brought me back a like new couch....except for the cushions. Those pesky cushions were now out of warranty. I decided before we bought a completely new couch, it was worth trying some DIY on the cushions especially with a completely new frame and fairly nice upholstery. 

The fabric covers were in pretty good shape. The spring cores were surrounded by a foam cover which also seemed to be in pretty good shape. Once I opened up the foam cover, it was pretty clear why they were so uncomfortable. (And every single cushion was like this!)

So each spring has a "pocket" holding it in place which are attached with one another to create a grid of sorts. However, the material that was used to make these "pockets" is the same fabric as those $1.00 reusable shopping bags. In what world would that fabric decision make any sense? Some brilliant guy was like, "Hey, let's save some money and make this with fabric that is $0.01 per yard. I'm sure that cheap fabric will do great under high tension from springs." (Imagine that I am rolling my eyes high enough to make myself dizzy)

At this point I had a couple of different options I considered. I could completely scrap the cheap fabric and attempt to make my own pockets from a much higher quality fabric (I was thinking some sort of home dec fabric I had sitting around). I didn't love this option because it would mean extra sewing and I wasn't real confident in my ability to make them look uniform. I could just try to mend the current crap fabric, but I knew that would only last so long. After playing around with everything, I decided to do a hybrid approach. 

The first thing I did was get all those tangled springs back into a pocket. I used some upholstery thread (translation...higher strength) to hand sew each pocket in order to keep the spring in place. I stabbed myself with a needle about 200 times, but I got it done. 

After each spring was in the correct place, I took a heavy duty corduroy fabric I had sitting around to wrap the springs. Good thing about them being inside the cushion is the color and design of the fabric doesn't matter. My thought was this fabric will keep the springs in place by not allowing them to pop out the top nor out the side. So, I saved myself from making a completely new fabric structure, but still had the entire spring form wrapped in much higher quality fabric. 

After I had the spring forms fixed, I had to put them back into the cushion foam structure. I quickly found that the fabric and foam had been stretched far enough out of shape that the spring form wasn't enough to fill the space. I grabbed a bunch of batting and shredded foam to refill around the spring form. I put the batting around the spring form so you wouldn't feel the springs and then used the shredded foam around the sides of the spring form to fill out the cushions. 

Over-all the project wasn't too bad. I only had to buy the batting and foam which was around $50.00. I had the thread and fabric already. It took me about one night of three or so hours of work to get one cushion done. I had four cushions total to fix, so in about a week I had the couch in tip top shape. 

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