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We interrupt this sabbatical to bring you something too amazing not to post

Hey Kraftsy Kitties!

We apologize for the recent lack of posts. We’ve had a lot of things to be busy kitties with, and unfortunately they wren’t all kraftsy related. But we’ve all made a triple-pact to come back with cool things, soon!

Also, I wanted to share this awesome cat tree that I would LOVE to make one day for my two cats. Have you ever disassembled a cat tree? In reality, all it is is sisal rope, carpet, and carboard tubes. Well, very, very thick cardboard tubes. Still, no reason for a kraftsy person not to make a custom one!

funny-Star-Trek-cat-tree

Source: TheMetaPicture.com

http://themetapicture.com/star-trek-cat-tree/

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2013 in Informational

 

Sofa Caddy

So you’re sitting at your couch and your cat takes up residence in your lap and starts making kitty bread on you and you realize his claws are SHARP! You need a nail clipper stat but there is a fuzzy anchor in your lap and no nail clipper within reach…

Does this only happen to me?

While a sofa caddy doesn’t solve this problem 100% of the time, I figured it might help some of the time. I also needed to make some other things accessible while sitting at the couch so this was a good one day project for me.

You’ll need 2 fabrics: the pretty fabric that shows and the backing fabric. Try to pick something that won’t slide on your couch for the backing. For example, satin is very slippery and a bad choice. Flannel is a good choice for a microfiber couch which is what I went with.

Materials:

  • 1/2 yard of fabric
  • 1/2 yard of backing fabric
  • 1/2 yard of lightweight fusible interfacing
  • one package of bias tape

Cut one of each of these rectangles from the fabric, backing fabric and interfacing:

  • 11″ x 30″ – sofa caddy base piece
  • 11″ x 10″ – large pocket
  • 7″ x 13″ – small pockets

Fuse the all the interfacing pieces to the back of the corresponding fabric piece.

Lay the sofa caddy base fabric on top of the backing fabric, wrong sides together.

Baste the 2 pieces together using a 1/4″ seam.

Do the same for the 2 pockets: lay the fabric on top of the backing fabric and baste. Using the bias tape, bind the top edge of both pockets.

On the small pockets piece, mark a vertical line 6 1/2″ from the edge

On the large pocket piece, mark a vertical line 5 1/2″ from the edge.

Lay the small pockets piece on top of the big pocket piece, lining up the vertical lines so that they are on top of each other.  Pin the fabrics in place.

Stitch down the marked line, make sure to sew a bit past the bias tape.

Stitch a 2nd line 1/4″ away from the vertical line you just stitched.

Now take the small pocket piece and line up the edges so they match the larger pocket underneath. You’ll have to put a fold in the bottom of each small pocket . Pin everything in place.

Place the pockets on the base piece, lining them up with the bottom of the base and baste the pockets in place.

The last step is to bias tape around the edges.

Find a handy sofa arm to put the caddy on and tuck the end without pockets between the seat cushion and the arm and you’re good to go!

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2013 in DIY, Tutorials

 

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Kitties need fresh water too

Hello Kitty Krafters!

Do you provide your kitty with a fresh supply of water? Then you probably know that sometimes cleaning a kitty’s water bowl can be kind of nasty! Due to my laziness I invested in a “kitty water fountain” for my cats, so that I only had to change and wash their water source once every three weeks. It’s a really great deal! I especially like the Drinkwell series, which is only about $30ish on Amazon.com. You can get the original Drinkwell, or the Drinkwell Platinum if you have multiple cats and have a little extra space.

Unless you are amazingly diligent, any water bowl will gradually get dirty/grimy from dust, bits of cat food, etc. The city I live in has especially hard water, so the calcium in the water gradually combines with the daily grime, resulting in rings of tough, stubborn stains! I used to scrub and scrub the plastic Drinkwell, with only minimal success – and it made me worry that I was damaging the plastic, too.

But then I found a great solution: Vinegar and baking powder! Here’s how I do it:

01-dirty

Here’s how the fountain looked after 3 weeks of neglect. You can see the lines along the filter switch, the waterfall base, and the ring around the water level.

02-ingreds

Here are my magical ingredients – plain old distilled white vinegar and baking powder. The vinegar does the majority of the work. for a bit of extra “scrubbing,” wet the dirty spots with vinegar and sprinkle the baking powder on top.

03-soak

Stubborn stains can be taken off by soaking a paper towel in vinegar, and applying it directly to the stain. Leave it on overnight.

04-powder

Vinegar + baking powder = instant bubbles! Great for an extra “scrubbing.”

05-brush

A soft bristled brush (i.e. a toothbrush) can also be used for those hard-to-reach-crevices.

06-rinse

When you’re done, give everything a nice warm water rinse.

07-happycat

Ta-da!! Clean fountain! Looks like Elton-kitty approves!

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2013 in DIY, Informational, Tips & Tricks

 

Cat Towel Holder

This week’s project for AJ: Towel hangers for my kitchen.

Our towels were forever falling off the oven handle so I decided to make some towel holders and of course, I had to do a cat themed one!

I got the idea for the applique from this adorable cat quilt I found on Pinterest.

This towel holder has a rod inside so that the towel can be swapped out. I didn’t want to make a towel holder that was permanently attached to the towel because I really did not want to have to make a towel holder for every single one of my kitchen towels. This seemed like a more efficient solution to my towel woes.

Supplies:

  • 4 colors of felt – orange or brown for main color of cat, pink for ears, white for eyes, grey for the wall
  • 7″ plastic or wooden rod – I cut up a hanger to get my rods
  • 1 piece of 10″ x 7″ fabric for the front
  • 1 piece of fusible fleece about 11″ x 8″ (found in the interfacing section at Jo-Anns or you can use regular interfacing)
  • 1 piece of backing fabric about 11″ x 8″
  • 1 piece of 10″ x 2.5″ fabric to make loops for the rod – this won’t show so any fabric will do
  • 1 package of extra wide double fold bias tape
  • 2 large snaps
  • Black acrylic paint or black puffy paint
  • Fabric glue
  • Hotglue

You’ll need a 7″ rod to hang the towel on. I took a hacksaw to a plastic hanger to get my rods.

Now make a fabric sandwich with the backing fabric, the fusible fleece, and front fabric. Pin the layers together.

Quilt the fabric – that means stitch all the layers together. I chose to do a criss cross pattern for my towel holder.

I like the look of quilting but you can skip the quilting step and use interfacing instead. You just need to put something in the middle to give the towel holder a bit of stiffness.

Trim all the layers to match the top layer. You should end up with a 7″ x 10″ rectangle.

Cut out the cat applique shapes using the PDF pattern. You want to use the cat colored felt for all the pieces except for the inner ear pieces which are pink.

Cut a 1.5″ x 7″ strip of grey felt for the wall. Glue the wall down onto your quilted piece.

Glue the cat pieces down next.

You don’t have to do this step but I wanted to make sure the cat applique didn’t come off so I zigzagged around all the edges.

Now use the acrylic paint (or puffy paint pen) and draw a pair of eyes on the white felt.

Cut out eyes and glue them to the cat. Draw on the nose, mouth, and whiskers.

Finish the edges using the bias tape. I like to make my own bias tape but that’s usually because I’m too lazy to run to the store to buy bias tape that matches my project.

Now we need to make the loops to hold the towel rod. Take the 2.5″ x 10″ strip and fold it in half and iron.

Open the piece up and take each side and fold it to middle and iron.

Fold the entire piece back up along the center fold and iron one last time.

Stitch down both sides of the strip close to the edge.

Cut two 4″ pieces from the long strip you just created.

Sew the ends together to make a loop using a 1/4″ seam.

Flip loop inside out.

Stitch again with a 1/4″ seam allowance, going over the seam you just stitched. This traps the raw edges inside so they don’t fray.

Flip the towel holder over and on the side opposite of where the cat applique is, mark 2″ from the bottom edge.

Pin the loops at the mark and stitch them down.

Hotglue the rod to the loops.

You’re almost done! The last step is to sew on snaps. One side of the snaps should go above the towel rod loops, and the other side should be mirrored on the other side of the towel holder when you fold it in half.

Please ignore my mis-matching snaps. I was down to my last two and again with the “too lazy to go to the store”. I figured no one would see them anyways… well, no one except for anyone reading this tutorial…

And you’re done! You just need to put a towel on the rod…

And wrap towel holder around the oven handle and snap it in place.

You can use this technique to create towel holders from any fabric you have laying around. I also made a mouse one because my husband likes mice.  (Oh the irony…)

And now you have cute towel holders for your kitchen!

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2012 in DIY, Tutorials

 

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The key to keeping everything clean = keeping the litterbox clean

Hey Kitty Krafters!

Recently, I was searching around on Amazon for new kitty bathroom accessories. I was very unhappy with our current litterbox and our Fresh Step brand clay-based litter, which gradually had left a fine gray dust over EVERYTHING in our bathroom. The clumping and the odor fighting powers of Fresh Step are phenomenal, but I couldn’t help but feel like we were inhaling the dust each time we scooped, as well.

After some shopping, we ended up changing almost everything about our kitty litter setup, and I love it all!

BoodaDome

First off, I exchanged our old litterbox for the Booda Dome, which helps control some of the litter tracking. One little trick that helps lessen the tracking even more is to turn the entrance of the Booda Dome to the wall! Leave only a little space, about six inches or so. Kitty will have to make a few low-speed turns to get out of the bathroom, giving the tracked litter plenty of time to fall off their paws, either in the Booda Dome’s steps or right outside, where we keep our litter-tracking mat.

showOverlay('21645340168265P')Which brings me to our second change: a new litter mat! We just use a very basic foam mat. It’s soft and comfy on a kitty’s paws, and has little grooves that trap litter when they walk across. There are fancier ones out there that you can try too – I just find that the key to an effective litter mat is simply cleaning/vacuuming it very often. If it gets too full of litter, they will just track it farther and farther out of the bathroom!

pPETS-11566816t300x300

Finally: Are you aware of something amazing called the Litter Genie? I certainly wasn’t until Amazon recommended it to me. It’s basically a diaper genie, but for cats! Before we had one, we had to sacrifice one plastic bag every time we scooped the litter box. Sure, it was usually an old Safeway or Target bag, but we felt really bad just the same!

The Litter Genie has this genius ring containing a plastic lining that is fourteen feet long. When the litter genie fills up, you simply open it, cut off the existing bag of kitty waste, tie it up and throw it away. You then knot the bottom of the plastic and you’re ready to go!

The only problem: refills are expensive. But that’s when AJ sent over a bunch of pictures of her husband demonstrating how they quickly got around the refill problem, using ordinary 13 gallon garbage bags with drawstrings. Genius!

litter01

This is what the Litter Genie (or Litter Locker II – they basically are the same product) refill ring looks like.

litter02

Pull the garbage bag through the center of the refill ring.

litter03

Wrap the outsides of the garbage bag over and around the ring, much like when you line a garbage can with a new bag. Try to tuck it in under the ring so that when you put the ring back in the Litter Locker, the ring is placed on top its own bag refill, keeping it in place.

litter04

If your garbage bag has drawstrings this is very easy, as you can gently tighten the drawstrings and close the top a little bit, so that the bag is securely wrapped around the litter ring.

litter05

This part can be a bit tricky but will come with practice – with one hand, open the litter locker divider (the one that seals away all the litter smells) and let the bag drop through the hole, just like the normal refill would.

litter06

If you did it right, the ring should be snugly tucked back into its position, with a new bag ready to go!

litter07

Recognize AJ’s tupperware litterbox and hand-cut litter mat? 🙂

And the final piece of my kitty bathroom renovation – the litter itself! Unfortunately this is where most people have to go through a bit of trial and error. Everyone has different preferences and are willing to make different kinds of sacrifices. As far as I know, there is no perfect litter. But I particularly like Blue Buffalo (also known as Blue Naturally Fresh). A bit of research online tells me that this brand might’ve gone through some rebranding in the past, but it looks like this in my local pet store:

306107702_lg

I use the multi-cat clumping formula – frankly, I don’t think I could deal with non-clumping litter because I live in a tiny condo and don’t have an outdoor backyard (or hose) where I could clean a litterbox or dispose of broken-down litter! Blue Naturally fresh is walnut based, has a very nice, natural smell, does a impressive job at odor control, a passable job at clumping, and is super easy to cleanup and does not track very much at all! Best of all, it’s almost dust-free!

I hope one (or two, or all) parts of this kitty bathroom renovation helps you generate some ideas on how to make one of the ickier parts of of having a cat a lot more manageable!  (Which really isn’t very bad at all, is it? Scooping litter with a shovel as opposed to picking up dog poop with a plastic bag, which would you choose?)

😀

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in Informational

 

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Easy Kitty Ear Hat Tutorial

Easy Kitty Ear Hat Tutorial

Brrrr!  Tis getting to the season of holiday cheer and nippy temperatures.  Perhaps this gift giving season a warm adorable hat would be appreciated by your loved ones (or, if you make one to keep for yourself…we won’t tell 😉 )

Yesterday I attended a hat making party.  The organizer, a lovely young lady named Miriam, holds these parties to sew geeky and cute fleece hats for kids going through chemotherapy – they’re going through a hard enough time without having to deal with ugly hats!  She very kindly showed me how to make a kitty ear hat.  Here’s the instructions for the pattern –  please also check out her super great tutorial for a basic fleece hat.

Picture heavy territory ahead!

Step One.  Pattern Pieces.  Fleece is very forgiving so you can sort of freehand it.  For a size Medium (most adults) you will need:

One triangle 6″ across the bottom, 5.5″ from the tip to the base.  All sides are rounded gently outwards.

One triangle for the ears, about 5.5″ across the bottom and 4.5″ from tip to base.

The hat band is 24″ x 6″.

Step Two: Cut 4 of the large triangles for your crown.  Fleece has a slight one directional stretch.  Be sure that the stretch is running across the bottom of the triangle; I give it a slight tug before I cut or sew to check.  (It’s much more comfortable for your head to have the stretch going the correct direction!)

Step 3: Cut 2 ear pieces out of your main fabric, then 2 pieces out of a contrasting piece of fabric for the inside of the ears.  Here’s the head and the ear pattern pieces on top of each other so you can see their relative sizes.

Step 4: Using one piece of your main color fabric and 1 of your contrast fabric, stack the ear triangle pieces with the right sides facing in.  Remember to leave the stretch along the bottom edge, and stitch the two sides, leaving the bottom open for now.

Repeat for the other ear.

Step 5: Flip those ears so the right sides are on the outside.  Looking good!

Step 6: This part is pretty key on making your ears look right by helping them to stand up.  Make a fold on each layer of your ear, like so.

Step Seven: Stitch the fold along the bottom to hold them in.  Technically you don’t really have to do this if you can just pin them in place for now, but I think it is easier to do this to hold everything together.

Step Eight: With your 4 remaining triangles, sew the two halves of your hat crown.  Remember, the stretch goes along the long side!

Step Nine: Now you’re going to place the ears on one half of your hat.  You can tack them in place or pin them.

Step Ten: Put the other half of your ear sandwich on.  (I just left one corner folded so you can see the ears inside.  Remember, your hat crown pieces will be with the right sides facing in.  Sew that top edge all together, and flip…

Step Eleven: Almost there.  Take a sec to appreciate how cute this will be.

Step Twelve.  Fold your hat band so the short edges match.  Stitch along the short side (right sides facing in).

Step Thirteen: Flip the band right sides out, and fold it once length wise, so you have a short tube.

Step Fourteen: Put the crown of your hat through your little tube, so that all the loose edges meet up.  Everything is right sides out.

Stitch all along your tube, then flip it over!

And you’re done!

I hope this hat will keep you or your loved ones warm this season!

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2012 in DIY, Informational, Tutorials

 

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Needle Books

If you have pets, you need to be very careful with your sewing needles. Many years ago, Bobo rolled over onto a sewing needle that was in our carpet and it went into his leg. He had to be operated on to have it removed. I was a complete wreck for days with guilt and worry… The house we lived in had costumers in it all the time working on projects, so I don’t even know how or when the needle got dropped, but I’m super careful now to make sure I always keep track of all my sewing needles.

I’ve found a good way to store and transport needles is in a needle book! I love making these because they require very little fabric so are great projects for those pretty scraps you have sitting around.

Supplies:

  • A.  5 14” x 3 12” of cover fabric
  • B.  5 14” x 3 12” of inside fabric
  • C.  5 14” x 4 12” of inside fabric for pocket
  • D.  1 12” x 20″ of bias tape fabric
  • E.  4 34” x 2 34” of felt for needle pages
  • F.  2 12” x 3 12” of peltex, cut 2 (can be found in the interfacing section of JoAnns)
  • G.  2 12” piece of elastic
  • button (not pictured)

To start, fold the pocket piece (C) in half and iron flat.

Place the cover fabric (A) face down.

Lay the inside fabric (B) on top.

Lay the pocket piece (C) on top. Line up all the bottom edges and pin the pieces together.

Lay the felt piece (E) on top, centering it and pin in place.

Now you need to mark the 2 stitching lines that will make up the spine of the book. From one edge of the book, measure 2 12” and draw a line.

Do the same from the other edge of the book.

Stitch along the 2 lines. Remember that the bobbin thread will show on the cover of your needle book so you might want to pick a color that matches.

If you have pinking shears or scalloped scissors, you can trim the edges of the felt pages with a decorative edging. If you don’t (or have no idea what pinking shears are), no worries, you can just ignore this step!

Now take one of the Peltex pieces (F) and slide it in between the cover (A) and inner fabric (B).

Pin the Peltex in place.

Repeat with the other piece of Peltex on the other side of the thread book.

Baste around the outside of book with as small of a seam allowance as possible.

Make a loop with the elastic (G) and sew it on to the back of the book. (I forgot to take a photo of this step when I was making the first needle book, so I took a photo on the second needle book, which is why the fabrics are different here.)

I didn’t think any of the standard bias tape sizes you can purchase worked for the needle book so I opted to make my own. You don’t need a lot of bias tape so it goes very quickly!

Take your bias tape fabric (D) and fold it in half lengthwise and iron. 

Open up the fabric and then fold each side in to the center fold and iron.

Fold the bias tape fabric back up, iron it one more time, and you’ve created bias tape!

Take your bias tape and bind the edges of the book. I’m not going into the details of how to apply bias tape here as there are a lot of tutorials online on how to do it.

Random tip: if you have some stitch witchery handy, use that to hold your bias tape in place until you sew it all down. I find that helps me keep the bias binding on my craft projects very neat.

Another thing that I found helpful is pinning the needle book pages together and out of the way so they don’t get caught as you are stitching down the bias tape.

After you’re done binding the edges, sew a button onto the front. You can use a regular button or a decorative button. In one of the samples at the top of this post, I used a decorative cat button which I thought was appropriate for this blog!

And you’re done!

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2012 in DIY, Tools & Accessories, Tutorials

 

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