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Author Archives: AJ

About AJ

Website: confused-kitty.com

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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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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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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D.I.Y. Magnetic Thread Rack

I’ve been pretty ADD with my projects lately. I’ve got like 4-5 projects going on at once, each with their own thread spool and as I no longer have room for a  thread rack on the wall, the spools sit on my sewing table, getting lost in the piles of fabric or waiting for some errant cat to come along and knock them off.

I decided I needed to make a small thread rack that could be put away when not being used, so I made a magnetic thread rack.

Supplies:

  • magnetic tray like a toaster oven pan or small baking pan. (I found mine at a dollar store.)
  • magnets
  • long screws with flat screw head
  • super glue
  • fabric to cover the tray

I used really small earth magnets because that’s what I had on hand. If I had to do it over, I’d use bigger earth magnets because these magnets aren’t strong enough to support really large spools of thread.

Create your thread rack pegs by super glue-ing the magnets to screw heads.

Cover the tray with fabric. I used hotglue to glue the fabric on.

Now you just put the screws with magnets on the tray so they can be used for thread spools.

I wanted to have the thread rack propped up, or hanging on the wall, so I swung by the framing section of JoAnn Fabrics and picked up a plate holder rack and a plate hanger.

A plate holder rack is like a small easel and is perfect for when I want the thread rack on the table within reach.

The plate hanger attaches to the back of the tray and is good for when I want the thread rack hanging on the wall.

Or in my case, when I want to hang the rack on the mirror behind my sewing table. I used a suction cup hook to hang up my magnetic tray.

My last sewing project was making a bunch of sewing organizers that I assembly line produced, and I had to constantly swap threads spools and bobbins on 2 different sewing machines. The magnetic thread rack was super useful in helping me keep track of all my thread.

As an added bonus, it kept Bobo from chasing my thread spools right off the table which is one of his favorite activities.

I’m pretty happy with how my makeshift magnetic thread rack turned out! It’s been really handy and when I don’t need it anymore, I can take the pegs and throw them in a baggy and put away the tray.

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2012 in DIY, Tools & Accessories, Tutorials

 

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Photo magnets

We needed some more fridge magnets and I thought it’d be fun to make some glass tile photo magnets of my fuzzy kids.

You can find a lot of tutorials for making glass tile magnets on Pinterest, and they’re all variations on the same theme. Here’s how I make photo magnets…

Supplies:

First step is to print out photos that you want to use for your magnets and make sure they will fit in the tiles you have.

I’ve discovered that printing on regular paper or cardstock works better than printing on photo paper. Photo paper smears very easily and gets blurry when Diamond Glaze is applied to it.

Trace the tile onto your photo.

Cut out the traced shape. I’ve seen people use an x-acto knife for this step which might work better for you. I’m a little terrified of knives because I’m extremely accident prone so I try to stay away from them.

Put a dab of Diamond Glaze on the glass piece and spread it across the entire tile with a toothpick.

Place the photo facedown onto the glaze. Press down to make sure all the air bubbles are out.

You can also flip it over and press down to make sure all the air bubbles are out. Wipe away any excess that leaks out.

Diamond Glaze is water soluble so you can clean up any messes with a damp towel.

Repeat for all your photos. Wait 10-15 minutes for the glaze to dry.

Flip the tile over and put another layer of Diamond Glaze on top of the photo. Spread the glaze out with a toothpick, sealing the photo in.

Wait another 10-15 minutes for the glaze to dry.

Put a dab of superglue onto the back and drop the magnet on.

And that’s it!

Once your glue is dry, you can put your photo magnets on the fridge.

You can use the same technique with other printed materials like stationary or a design you print out yourself. If you don’t want to purchase resin tiles, you can also use flat backed marbles that are found in most crafts stores.

Here are some other magnets I’ve made over the years… (Do we have any other WoW players reading this blog? =D)

Everyone should go make photo magnets with photos of their cats now!

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2012 in Tutorials

 

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Magnetic Pin Cushion for a Dressform

I like to make historical costumes and a lot of that involves me draping things on my dressform until I like the way it looks.

I’ve discovered that one of my biggest pain points is trying to have my pins handy while I’m pinning on 12 yards of trim. I try to have my magnetic pin cushion near me while I’m working, usually resting on the edge of the couch, but then Bobo will come along and knock it off. (Yes, gravity still works Bobo… thanks for checking!)

I was joking to D that I needed to hang my magnetic pin cushion on my dressform somehow to make my life easier and her response was something along the lines of, “Well why don’t you?”

… Right!

So today’s post is possibly useful to no one but me, but now I’m excited to try out my new dressform magnetic pin cushion on my next outfit!

I purchased some super strong magnets from Home Depot. (I love Home Depot in case it’s not obvious…)

I measured my dressform neck circumference and added 3″ for how long to make my pin cushion strap. My dressform neck is 13″, so I cut a strip 16″ long and 3.5″ wide out of some leftover quilting fabric.

I folded the strip in half lengthwise and made a tube by sewing along the length of the strip using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Then I flipped the tube inside out and ironed it flat.

I folded the strip in half to find the center and marked a line 2 3/4″ from the center.

I stitched along the line, dropped the magnet into the tube, and then marked a vertical line on the other side of the magnet. I sewed along the new line, sealing the magnet in.

I closed the ends by folding the raw edges inside and stitching the tube closed on both sides.

I took my magnet necklace to my dressform and pinned it on and marked where the ends overlapped. I used a pin to mark where the overlap is, but you can also use chalk or a fabric pen.

Then I took the magnetic necklace off the dummy to sew a closure on. I prefer hooks and snaps over velcro because velcro can tear up fragile materials that I might be draping, but whatever you have on hand will work. I went with a huge snap because I have a ton of these.

And here is the finished magnet pin cushion necklace! I can’t wait to see how it works out on my next project!

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2012 in DIY, Tutorials

 

D.I.Y Free Standing Bird Feeder

My kitties like to sit at the patio door and sun themselves, and watch the birds and squirrels that come by. The birds don’t come very often though so I thought I’d put a bird feeder out back in the hopes that Yoyo and Bobo can bird watch all the time. I should probably mention that they’re indoor-only cats so there’s no danger of them bringing me dead animals as presents. (Honestly, I’m not sure they’re smart enough to catch a bird even if they could get out…)

I then ran into the problem of trying to find a bird feeder that would work in our backyard. I didn’t want to nail anything to our fence or to the outside of our house in case it was against the HOA rules. We don’t have much dirt either so I couldn’t use one of those bird feeders that sits on a stake. What I really needed was a standalone bird feeder that could go on cement. I decided it wouldn’t be that hard to make one, so after a quick Target and Home Depot run, and a couple hours of work, I’d made my own standalone bird feeder.

Supplies:

a. 8″ diameter terra cotta pot – any size that looks stable enough to support 3 bowls will work

b. 36″ long 3/8″ diameter threaded zinc rod – make sure to get the zinc rode and not the stainless steel one as that one is 3x as expensive

c. 3 plastic bowls

d. 8  3/8″ wingnuts – these come 3 wingnuts in a bag at Home Depot so I got 3 bags

e. 6  3/8″ washers – these need to fit onto the threaded rod

f. 2  3/8″ x 1-1/2″ Fender Washers – these need to fit onto the threaded rod and be big enough to cover the hole in the terra cotta pot

g. clear caulking – if you want to turn one of the bowls into a bath

Not pictured: a drill and a 3/8″ drill bit

My total spent on supplies came out to about $26, including getting a 3/8″ drill bit because I didn’t have one of that size already.

Assembly Instructions:

The first step is to drill holes in the 3 bowls. For 2 of the bowls, you want the holes to be in one of the corners and on the 3rd bowl, the hole should be in the middle. You want to make sure there is room for the smaller washer to sit flat so I placed a washer and wingnut in the bowl to figure out positioning and then marked where to drill with a pencil.

Mark 2 of your bowls in the corner.

Mark 1 bowl in the center.

Drill a 3/8″ hole in each bowl where you marked. I find what works best for me is to start with my smallest drill bit and drill a small pilot hole. I then work my way up to the size hole I need, using progressively bigger drill bits. Any method works, as long as you get a 3/8″ hole into each bowl.

Now it’s assembly time!

Start with the base which is the terra cotta pot turned upside down. Wind a wingnut and one of the large washers onto the rod. You want the wingnut to be placed at about the same height as your pot.

Put the rod through the hole in the pot.

Place your pot with the open end down and make sure that it sits flat. Adjust the wingnut if your pot is not sitting flush with the ground.

Now place the other large washer on top of the pot and wind a wingnut down the rod to clamp the rod to the pot. This takes a while because the rod is pretty long, so watch some tv while doing this part. =)

Tighten the wingnuts and make sure the rod is secured to the pot.

Now you need to do the same process to add the bowls. Take a wingnut and wind it down the pole until it is about 10″ above the pot. Make sure your wingnut’s ‘wings’ are facing down. Place a washer on top.

Place one of the bowls with a hole in the corner on top, lay down another washer, and screw on a wingnut to secure the bowl.

And your first bird feeder bowl is now attached.

Repeat the process with the other bowl with a hole in the corner, placing it about 10″ above the first bowl.

At this point, your cat will probably decide he needs to investigate what is going on…

The last bowl, the one with the hole in the center, goes on the very end of the rod. I had to put the bird feeder on the ground at this point because I couldn’t reach the top of the rod.

And here comes the other cat to check out what’s going on…

If you want one of your bowls to be a bird bath, you’ll need to seal the bolts to prevent water from leaking out. Open your caulking tube and cover the bolt above and below with caulking. I used a toothpick to smooth it out a little.

I like to use clear drying caulking because I can tell when it’s completely dry. I would suggest spreading yours a little thinner than I did because mine took forever to dry.

Once the caulk dries, your bird feeder is ready to go!

Place it outside, and fill the bottom 2 bowls with birdseed and the top one with water. Now we just wait and see if any of the local wildlife come by to check it out!

I’m not sure how we’re doing with attracting more birds as I’m not usually home during the day, but something is knocking the seed onto the ground, so I’ll have to see if I can catch a photo of whatever it is.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2012 in DIY, Tutorials

 

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