Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Felix's Yellow Bag of Tricks - Cat Tree

Remember the cutie patootie I adopted last month? He's being doing so great in his new home but I feel like he's missing something...

Whenever he gets in a fix, he reaches into his bag of tricks!

I can't call myself a proper nerd if my cat doesn't have his signature magic bag! But how to start?

The dude found this old cat tree one day; building a boxed-perch and the re-carpeting of the scratching post (and carpeting the box) was pretty easy.

Now the actual carpet bag was a little harder to make...
Click here for pattern. Just be sure to paint your design on it before sewing it together!
We lined the yellow flannel fabric with carpet so that Felix would be both nice and comfy, and not tear up the bag. Instead of a cardboard base like it says in the picture, we made a bigger carpeted box/perch for the inside of the bag, adding durability and support. 
Since the dude built this, and once again (!) he forgot to take step by step photos I'll try my best to list out what was done. For the perch bottom of the bag, he cut out a hole big enough for Felix to climb through and wrapped the carpeting around the opening so he wouldn't scratch himself running in and out.
The top was left open, propped up by drilling two Ikea cabinet dividers onto the long sides of the inside box/perch after it was all assembled. The handles came from an actual carpet bagger style bag that he found at a thrift store  

How far have you gone to spoil your fur baby? Show me in the comments below!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Twin Storage (Captain's) Bed

Besides my retro kitsch d├ęcor throughout my house, I'm also into minimalism which is why the idea of a captain's bed in the boys' rooms appealed to me. The rooms are already mall enough so why take up valuable play space with a baby dresser that they're going to out grow?

Unfortunately being made out of particle board and plywood (doesn't help that they like to have jumping contests on it either) the captain's beds that I bought my oldest has started falling apart. At least the bed gate on the youngest's  captain's bed has kept them from Evel Knievel-ing off the bed so it'll last longer, right..? The original inspiration (and free plans!) came from Ana-White, but because Johnny's bed rests long side against the wall, we made some modifications to include storage where the headboard would go, but still kept the storage on both sides in case we ever rearrange his room. Basically all four sides are storage, because having more options is always good. With a few differences in measurements which I'll include below, the steps are basically the same as the ones on Ana-White.com. Because we didn't want a repeat of the "falling apart because these damn kids won't stop trying to jump to the moon" we went with actual lumber instead of plywood or MDF which brought the materials price up, but that's a personal choice. Also, we ended up not using the wood glue, and we used the metal slat holders from his old bed (and a couple of the slats cut down to the new size to fit), but I will still include those measurements in case you need them.


- Measuring tape
- Square
- Pencil
- Safety glasses
- Drill
- Circular Saw
- Brad Nailer
Cut list for END BASES:
4 – 1×12 @ 39″ (Tops and Bottoms of the End Boxes)
2 – 1/4″ Plywood or MDF @ 15″ x 40 1/2″ (Back of End Boxes)
4 – 1×2 @ 40 1/2″ (Top and Bottom Trim)
4 – 1×2 @ 12″ (End Trim on End Boxes)
4 – 1×12 @ 15″ (Sides of the End Boxes)
2 – 1×12 @ 12 3/4″ (Center Divider of End Boxes)
Cut list for SIDE BASES:
4 – 1×12 @ 49 1/2″ (Tops and Bottoms of the Side Boxes)
2 – 1/4″ Plywood or MDF @ 15″ x 51″ (Back of Side Boxes)
4 – 1×2 @ 51″ (Top and Bottom Trim)
11 – 1×3 @ 15 1/2″ (Slats)

4 – 1×12 @ 15″ (Sides of the Side Boxes)
2 – 1×12 @ 12 3/4″ (Center Divider of Side Boxes)
Following the directions linked from Ana-White above, put together your side and end bases using the above measurements.
Oh yeah, and don't forget to paint it... We used a Minwax stain with polyurethane in it to help protect it from Tonka Trucks and Hot Wheels crashes.
Now when it came to the slats, we recycled the metal slat holder (just about the only usable part left) of my monster's old bed, if you do that then you'll have to double and triple check your slat measurements for what works best for you, otherwise follow the instructions from Ana-White.
You could always add hinges and doors to the boxes, but we decided to go with baskets we found at At Home (formerly known as Garden Ridge).
Literally 2 days later...
Post pictures of your creations in the comments below! Or let me know if I could've written directions better!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Kids Poker Chip Reward System

I have two little boys and they are.... rambunctious? Yeah, that's the PC term, we'll go with rambunctious... The timeout chair works great on the 2yr old, but not the 5yr old so I have to get extra creative with him.

We got the poker chips from the thrift store and labeled them 1, 2, 5, and 10 on the front and one, two, five, and ten on the back (might as well work on those reading skills too!) If he has a good day at daycare, he earns a 1, and another 1 if he has a good rest of the day at home. For extra good days he can earn higher denominations or if he has enough he can trade them in (learning math skills too, whhaaaat??). Once he's collected enough in his pickle jar he can use his chips to buy little prizes, with the prices set by the dude and I. We always have a few little surprises on hand (thrift stores and Target's $1 and $3 aisle are awesome for stocking up), or he can use the higher chips to buy an outing to the movies or bounce house or wherever he wants to go. This also works great for kids that want instant gratification (ex: being good today and going to the pool today, but have a harder time being good all week and then going to the pool on the weekend) because then they can see that they are actually working towards a goal. Wait, did we just secretly teach him patience?? Another win!