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Tips & Tricks

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

 

Random kitty tips, featuring Monty as your host

Hello.

Did that just make your Monday better? Poor Monty is such a good sport about these things 🙂 I recently became aware of breadedcats.com, and since Monty is already a repeat star on stuffonmycat.com, I figured he might be interested in expanding his repertoire!

We had such a scare with him recently! We had to take him to the pet hospital due to what’s just referred to generally as a urinary tract blockage. Causes are still uncertain, but there seem to be many links to environmental stress and kitties getting U/T blockages.

Monty was part of that majority in which had no idea why he suddenly was unable to “go” – but after a few days at the hospital on a special diet (and a catheter, poor boy), he was able to come home. Elton missed him soooo much!

Monty and his new haircut last April

There’s actually a lot of things you can do to keep your cat healthy that fall in line with things to keep YOU healthy as well (and sane). For example, every summer we give Monty his summer hair cut. That involves going to his local groomer and paying for a “lion” cut – they shave off everything except his feet, his face, and the tip of his tail.

It takes about 6-8 months for the fur to grow back, but during that time, EVERYONE is happier:

We are happier because he’s not shedding long hairs everywhere, or trailing litter and dust everywhere in his wake. Some long hair cats give up on grooming themselves because it’s just too hard to do – this means unfortunately that their fur coat gets pretty icky, and subsequently anything they touch with their icky fur coat gets icky as well. It was especially gross when he came bounding out of the litter box after doing his business.

Monty is also happier when he’s a shorthair cat because he can groom himself, and he’s less hot during the summer! When the temperatures rose, Monty would become a puddle on the floor, unwilling to play or do anything because of the heat. With his kitty haircut, he’s actively playing with Elton throughout the day.

So I definitely recommend a summer haircut for all long hair kitties who need a little assistance keeping themselves clean! A clean kitty is a healthy kitty (and happy kitty parents).

To end this generally random post, Monty would like me to recommend a fantastic tool for web designers and developers that I found via a coworker this past week: Placekitten.com!

If you ever find yourself designing your own website or blog, and want to use something as placeholder images while you’re coding, try a placekitten!

Elton says “Please use Placekittens.com for your web design needs, so Lorelai stops trying to put our faces in bread slices…”

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Informational, Tips & Tricks

 

Fabric Organizers, Part II

The three of us are totally enablers for each other. We will often link things to each other during the day and end up putting in an order x3 by that night 🙂 One thing we’re all eagerly waiting for are these completely adorable iPhone headphone jack dust protectors: THEY’RE KITTIES!? HOW CAN YOU SAY NO TO THESE?? 🙂

A-hem…getting back on track…

Today’s post is just a quick continuation of AJ’s post last time about fabric organizers. She had originally discovered them and linked them to D and I – of course, we thought they were the most genius thing ever, and each of us picked up no less than 20 each. And by that, I mean more than 20. Perhaps a lot more.

AJ’s the master of large rubbermaid bins. Me? I’m kind of an IKEA girl! As if the Billy bookcase mod didn’t give that away…

IKEA’s Expedit System is my favorite thing in the world. Their 2×4 shelf is the most versatile, in my opinion – it’s not the easiest thing to assemble, but I will mention that I have been able to do it by myself 🙂

As open shelves are, of course, a magnet for cat hair (and general dust, I won’t blame it all on the cats here!), I also supplement my shelving system with the lidded Kassett Boxes. Think of them as those boxes that reams of paper come in from Staples, except prettier. They are incredibly easy to assemble, and they are basically just made of cardboard – you unfold them and screw a few tabs into place, and you’re done! They’re cleverly reinforced at the points of most potential damage, so they end up being both light AND sturdy.

Obviously, an organizational re-haul has yet to be performed on the LOWER half of the shelf 🙂 But that’s an entirely different blog…

The top row are the Kassett boxes; the bottom row are clear plastic drawers that are sized to fit the Expedit exactly, but I don’t remember their name at the moment. Sorry! They are usually sold right next to the Expedit shelves at IKEA. 🙂

Before, my boxes looked like this:

Total free-for-all and a shot in the dark to find anything 😛 And, of course, I would always end up taking forever because I would tear through the box, throw everything around, and then spend time neatly folding everything back – just to tear it apart the next time.

After the Fabric Organizers were put to good use, my boxes looked like this!

Bolts of cloth! I approximate sizes by their fatness 🙂

Patterns Stash!

Each of the four boxes has a purpose – two hold my larger/longer bolts of fabric; one holds the smaller bolts; one holds patterns. I still keep my scraps (i.e. anything 1 sq. ft or smaller, used for arts and crafts) in small rubbermaid bins in the closet, it’s just not worth the effort of organizing those to this level.

This current system isn’t really scalable at all, I know; but that actually works for me – it makes me extremely honest about using up the fabric I have, before I buy any more. So I force myself to only own as much material as fits into my shelf. The method works! 😀

For now….

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2012 in Tips & Tricks, Tools & Accessories

 

Fabric Organizers

Many years ago, I moved from storing fabric on shelves to storing them in bins. The move was somewhat necessitated by my fabric stash getting too big for my shelves, but it also helps that storing fabric in bins means that significantly less cat hair gets on the fabrics.

Well… usually there is less cat hair on my binned fabrics…

One problem I had with storing fabrics in bins though was that there never seemed to be an efficient way to find anything. Trying to find a specific fabric usually involved completely emptying at least 2 bins because I couldn’t remember where I had stored it. Or maybe I had to empty 3-4 bins just to see if I had a fabric that would work for whatever project I had in mind.

The real solution would have been to buy less fabric but that never really worked out for me…

Instead I found an organizational solution to my dilemma:  Fabric Organizers!

Fabric Organizers are rectangle boards for winding fabric on to. It’s so simple a concept yet it never occurred to me to organize my fabric this way! You can achieve the same effect by cutting pieces of foamcore or cardboard, but I was in a time crunch to get my fabric organized and moved into the garage, so being able to purchase the Fabric Organizers ended up being a total life-saver.

I measured each piece of fabric before I wound it onto a board and added a note. It helps to be able to see right away if a piece is big enough for whatever project I am working on.

So now my fabric bins are stored in the garage and the fabric organizers make it really easy for me to find what I need.

I would note that this system is definitely not the most efficient use of space in a bin, but the ease of use more than makes up for it.

Even if you don’t end up using Fabric Organizers, I would recommend some sort of “fabric on cards” organizational system if you have a huge stash of fabric. It makes finding and moving around fabric so much easier!

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2012 in Tips & Tricks

 

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Fun with scraps: a frog costume for kitty!

Out of the three of us, I probably have the cat that’s most tolerant of us humans. Monty’s already made a couple rounds on the Cheezburger network and Stuffonmycat.com because of his amazing patience with me:

 

 

 

 

 

When it comes to crafting, one of the things I love doing most is making things from free fabric, such as scrap/remnants, samples, or even just stuff left over from other projects. As they say, the best things in life are FREE!

The unfortunate thing is that most scraps and sample remnants aren’t big enough to be used as anything person-sized.  But if you have a very tolerant cat, you can make adorable kitty costumes!

So for today’s project, I gathered up some green-colored short-pile plush fabric from some of my old stuffed animals, plus leftover olive green/slate colored fabric from one of my cocktail dress projects. I also had some leftover black felt and white felt scraps that I used to make a DIY dishwasher “dirty/clean” flippable sign a long time ago.

 

 

 

 

Hmmmm…black, white, and green..time to make a froggie hat for Monty!!!

First I made a mock-up from some pink taffeta, left over from my victorian dress project. I’ve never made a hood before, much less a hood for a cat, so it took a few tries. The best fabric to try mocking something out is probably cotton (i.e. muslin) or at least something a little softer, but again, I love using leftovers!

 

Once I got the pattern ironed out, I cut the shapes out of the plush fabric. There are two darts in the hood for a snug fit around cat faces, and two open V-shapes you sew together to create the 3D hood. I cut out the same set of shapes out of the olive/slate fabric for the lining.

 

To make the eye holes, I cut out 4 circles with tabs on the bottom. The tabs are so I can sew them to the hood. I used a hot glue gun to glue two circles back to back and give it some reinforcement. I cut smaller circles out of black felt for the eyeballs and glued those in too.

Sew all darts and lines together, then pin together (wrong sides facing each other) and sew. Be sure to leave enough space near the back of the hood so that you can turn the whole thing inside out!

Voila! KITTY HAT FOR MONTY!!!

Somehow I even convinced Elton to wear it for a little bit.  Ok ok, it did involve a little bit of bribery with treats.

I feel like I must put a disclaimer here – when your cat has had enough of your shenanigans, he’s had enough. Please don’t force your cat to wear a costume if he’s truly against it, especially if it frightens him!

For those who want to attempt this pattern, I’ve included it as a PDF download 🙂 Happy sewing!


Froggie Hat for Kitty (1.2MB PDF)

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in DIY, Tips & Tricks, Tutorials

 

Pattern Storage

So while we’re on the topic of patterns, let’s talk about storing patterns.

Once upon a time, I tried to store my used patterns back in the tiny envelope they came in. Talk about an exercise in futility. It was never a pretty scene trying to cram all that tissue paper back in. Then a friend showed me how she stores her patterns in manila envelopes. It was a life-changing moment and I never had pattern storage issues again.

So I come home today with some new patterns from the 99 cents sale at Joanns. And of course Bobo had to check out the new purchases…

I pull out the pattern pieces and instructions from the pattern envelope, and then I cut up the envelope.

I have a stack of 9″ x 12″ manila envelopes just for patterns. I tape the cut up pattern envelope to the outside of the manila envelope, and then I stick all the pattern pieces and instructions inside. And now, even after I’ve opened up the nicely folded tissue paper pattern and made a big mess of folding it back up, I will still have a nice roomy envelope to put everything back into.

The best part is that the manila envelopes can be stored in filing boxes. I got these boxes from Target and my house is really small, so I have to put them in the garage.

I might have a few too many patterns…

I use filing folders to categorize my patterns so it’s easy to find what I need.

I’ve also seen people store patterns in large ziplock bags, so that’s another option if you don’t want to use manila envelopes.

Anyone else have any good pattern storage suggestions? I’d love to see/hear about them!

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Tips & Tricks

 

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Welcome! And Tip #1

What are Kraftsy Kitties?

We’re three friends who happen to love being creative and also cat mommies at the same time.  Maybe this isn’t too surprising because we’re pretty sure there is a pretty high correlation between people who are into sewing, crafting, and DIY,  and those who happen to love having fuzzy monsters in their lives.  Kitties in particular!  Maybe there’s something to that ideas that you and your pet become more alike over time; stuff like wanting to play with yarn and thread!

Anyhow, so any other pet parents/crafters notice that there’s some things you just have to do differently when living with a fuzzy monster? (be it a cat, dog…or small child.  Face it, there’s a lot of similar personality traits between all those things.)   Things like investing in tools that don’t get knocked over easily, storage bins you can’t open without working opposable  thumbs, ways of protecting materials from the insidious creep of pet hair.

We hope that our collective experiences will be helpful to anyone else out there with kitties and crafts in mind!  And, that you’ll share your experiences and tips with us! 😀

So tip #1 – (and one I’m sure all cat lovers know!)
Try not to leave any loose fabric around on any horizontal surfaces.  Loose fabric becomes a cat magnet. Also a cat hair magnet after this happens:

this is murder on fabrics that don’t match the kitty.

Makes you think about only investing in things the same color as the kitty, right?

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2012 in Tips & Tricks