Sometimes, my cats are jerks.

Here’s the thing, I love my cats. All 3 of them. I promise. But MAN can they be destructive…. I’ve already sacrificed a life filled with beautifully woven rugs for them, and I am not about to sacrifice cute cushioned chairs too.

About a year ago I bought 2 slipper chairs, one originally lived in the sunroom but was later moved to the bedroom, and the other lives in Matt’s office. The one in our bedroom has been perfectly untouched, but for some reason the other has been ravaged to bits:

WTF cats. You have 3 scratching posts in 3 different rooms, including this one.

WTF cats. You have 3 scratching posts in 3 different rooms, including this one.

I love the pattern of this chair so I wasn’t about to completely reupholster it with something new, and a very very long time ago Pepper Design Blog was debating curtains for her dining room and this pattern was one of the options she was considering. I snuck through her archives to find the curtain post  but because it was so long ago the site she linked to no longer had the product- it did have the product name though, so I popped it into Amazon and ordered a yard of it (Thomas Paul Dahlia Aegean fabric). I also ordered a pack of cat scratch guards, which seriously I should have had all along.

Once it all arrived, here’s how it went down:

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When I say “measure the fabric,” what I really mean is “hold the fabric up against the chair and eyeball a piece a little bigger then you think.” I talked about how to use no-sew hem tape here, and that’s exactly what I did the tops and sides of this fabric (the bottom would be stapled underneath so it didn’t matter).

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I hand stitched the fabric up through the binding so you can’t see it at all, then I spent a heck of a lot of time very tightly wrapping the fabric underneath the chair and stapling it down- the legs do not come off so I didn’t have the option of removing them. I will say that this is the 5th piece of furniture I’ve done some sort of reupholstery to and the first piece where I did the corners halfway decent. It’s a skill learned through much swearing and screaming.

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And voila! No more damage!  So my friends, if your animals destroy a piece of furniture, all hope is not lost!

What have you sacrificed for your furry kiddos?

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How to liven up a thrift store lamp

Today’s post is short and sweet: I bought a lamp for $3 at my local Habitat Store, it came with a shade but it was so hideous I “donated it back.” I’m super generous like that:

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The brass was not working for me so I wiped it down, taped off the top and the wire, sprayed it with 2 coats of primer, then 2 coats of Rustoleum white in a satin finish. I also hit it with a coat of ModPodge clear acrylic spray to seal it just in case:

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Follow me on Instagram for all sorts of project sneak peeks.

I got a shade at Target.com for $18 (5% off, plus free shipping with your card!). It is fabulous, however the metal-lamp-shade-attacher-part was not working with it. To remove it I very professionally bent it back and forth until it broke off then just placed the drum shade right on.

And now, a picture parade:

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For the regulars- no, that’s not Dutch. It’s his girlfriend, she came to stay for the weekend. 🙂

The best part of the lamp is the curves on it, which of course are impossible to capture on my camera.

The best part of the lamp is the curves on it, which of course are impossible to capture on my camera.

IMG_2543The shade is a little off white and the gray has just a hint of purple in it, but I may be just noticing that because I’m nitpicking. I picked the shade because it goes well with the stencilled wall right across from it, and so far I’m loving how this room is coming together. There’s definitely a few changes kicking around in the back of my head though, like adding a matching floor lamp to the other side of the couch… so stay tuned. 🙂

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Linking up with: Inspire Me Please (via Liz Marie), and A Blossoming Life

High 5 for Friday: Garden Edition

I may have gotten a little overly excited about gardening this year… normally my hoard just includes glass jars and bags but it has now grown to include plants of all kind. So with that in mind, here’s my high 5 garden edition:

1. BASIL! I got regular basil from my local greenhouse and lemon basil from a coworker both potted in perhaps the cutest pots I’ve ever seen (thanks Marshall’s!) I’ve already pruned about 4 inches off the top of each, so I expect them to get pretty big and bushy once I move them outside.

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tip: When using pots this large you do not need to fill them completely with soil, the roots just aren’t going to get that long. I put a layer of rocks at the bottom, then filled each pot about halfway with dried crushed leaves. If you don’t have leaves, shredded newspaper or junk mail will work too.

another tip: I bring a bottle of water with me to work everyday and I’ve started adding 1/3 sliced cucumber, 3 basil leaves, and a squirt of lemon to it. mmmmmm. It sounds weird, but it is goooood.

2. CHIVES! These came from my coworker as well and man do they taste just like eating an onion. I was going to add them to my herb garden but honestly we’re not going to eat them that much and they get really pretty flowers if you let them grow so now I need to find a  sunny spot to use them as a decorative plant.

Where should I put you?

Where should I put you?

3. MORNING GLORIES! Also from my coworker, I’m really hoping I don’t accidentally kill these guys. They’re crawlers and stretchers so I’d like to put them at the base of my cement wall so they can grow to hang over it.

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4. SUCCULENTS! It’s hard for me to have plants inside because one particular cat (ahem luigi ahem) likes to eat them. So I’ve got them placed on my swing shelves just out of reach. Each one has a layer of rock at the bottom, then cactus soil to help with drainage. They’ve all been doing fine for several months now.

why yes, I do know how terrible this collage is.

why yes, I do know how terrible this collage is.

5. CACTI! One you see pictured above, and this other one lives in the living room to add just the tiniest bit more color in there… try and chew this Luigi! muah ha ha!

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Oh yeah, and note that this is just a “high 5” post. I’ve also got daisy seedlings, parsley, peppermint, and chocolate mint all hoarded in the basement waiting until this week’s thunder storms are over.

What are you growing this year?

Guest Post: 5 Eco Friendly Tips for Garden Lovers

Today’s guest post is from DIY enthusiast Dan Whiteside. Dan blogs about DIY and gardening topics at DIY Newbie, where he discusses a variety of issues including plumber repairs and building projects. He is currently getting stuck into his latest renovation project and loving every minute of it.

Take it away Dan….

PicMonkey CollageThe weather is notoriously temperamental in the UK, but as temperatures improve (albeit slowly), now could be the perfect time for a bit of gardening. If you’re thinking about sprucing up your borders, carrying out essential drain repairs, or generally pottering about, however, it’s important to protect the environment as you beaver away.

With this mind, here are five eco-friendly tips for garden lovers:

1. Reduce your water consumption

With the amount it rains in the UK, you’d think a drought would be unlikely – but that’s not the case. In fact, a water crisis was declared at the start of 2012 (one of the wettest years in history), so it’s essential not to take the elements for granted. Instead, use cans and buckets for watering instead of hosepipes as this will keep your water consumption down and make sure sprinklers only come on at set times of the day – and aren’t causing unnecessary floods. What’s more, you could even collect precipitation in storage units and throw this over your plants if things get a bit dry.

2. Avoid chemical-ridden weed killers

If there’s one thing that can destroy the look of gardens, pathways and laws – it’s weeds! They’re most gardeners’ nemesis, but it’s possible to get rid of them in an eco-friendly way. Firstly, if you’re using a shovel, try to remove each unwanted plant by the root as this will give them less chance of growing back (although some are fairly stubborn). Secondly, if you want to use some kind of spray, make sure it’s not ridden with horrible chemicals, as these are bad for the environment. Everything from boiling water to rock salt can do the trick, so leave those dangerous products on the shelves and go for a more natural alternative.

3. Use natural insect repellents

As with weed killers, insect repellent tends to contain a host of harmful ingredients. These can disrupt the natural life cycle of many creatures (aside from the ones you want to get rid of), so it’s well worth using something a little more natural. The bitter tree leaf neem is thought to deter an array of beasties from entering your garden, whereas salt spray is great for treating plants infested with spider mites. Many spices are also believed to be eco-friendly pesticides and deterrents, so you could always try growing rosemary, thyme, clove or mint to see if they do the trick.

4. Make your own compost

Why spend a fortune on bags of shop-bought compost when you can make your own? Lugging soil back from the shops takes time, energy and, of course, fuel in most cases, so keep hold of your old kitchen scraps and plant clippings and whip up some cost-effective fertilizer. While anything that was once living will compost, it’s worth mixing a range of things together to make the soil as rich as possible. A combination of green ingredients like nettles and grass cuttings combined with brown ingredients like cardboard and sawdust should work wonders, so give it a go!

5. Use old containers as plant pots

As you probably know, many young plants or seedlings need to be kept indoors (or in a greenhouse) until they can survive outside. To do this, you’ll need a variety of small containers or pots, so it’s worth recycling food tins, paper eggs cartons or anything else that will host a growing plant. Simply make sure anything you use is sparkling clean, before filling it with soil and poking some holes in the bottom so the water can drain. It really is that easy and you’ll save a fortune on plant pots from home stores or garden centers. Feeling creative? Then you could even decorate the pots or create your own labels to help you remember what you’re cultivating.

Eco-friendly gardening is both fun and satisfying, so do all you can to protect your patch of land – as well as the world around you.

Thanks Dan! Please be sure to hop on over to his blog and say hello!

Walkway Update

When I last showed you the cement path I constructed by my driveway, it looked like this:

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Welp, the grass did not grow. See that downspout by the fence? It rained for 3 days straight and that downspout created a grass seed water slide. I literally watched my hard work slip away. Womp. Womp. On the bright side, I had constructed that path all wrong so this at least made me go back and fix it.

Matt did a little research and found gutter extenders, dug a moat to hide it in, and now the path is looking like this:

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It’s not very pretty right now, but it’s far more functional. The extenders cost about $30 total for the piece that attaches to the gutter and then 3 more pieces to stretch it out to the driveway. They can be buried, but you don’t want to put anything crazy heavy on top of it so I’m thinking I may restructure the garden bed to reach the path… Maybe some hens and chicks on top of the extenders, then wildflowers (as planned) in the rest of the bed. You’ll notice the bleeding heart bush and the filler greens are gone now, they’ve been relocated and seeds will go in this weekend if the weather is nice enough.

It’s supposed to rain all week here so we’re going to check out how it works before we try grass seed again.

And just in case you’re interested, here’s an up close look at how it connects to the gutter:

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Nothing fancy, just pops right over the top and then each extender just locks into the one before it. Have any of you tried this before? How’d it work out?

 

The 1%

I was supposed to have a really fun reveal of our newly painted and updated movie room today. But I don’t… because of what we are now calling “the 1%”.

For the past year and a half Matt’s been mulling over how he wants his movie room (the finished basement room) to look: what color he wants the room, how he wants his speakers set up, what he wants to do about sound proofing. Finally he decided exactly what he wanted it to look like and we got to work.

Last Friday morning he painted the ceiling, last Friday night I put coat number 1 on the walls, Saturday morning we both put coat number two on the walls, Sunday he started on speaker wire concealing and put up sound absorption pads. Then Monday we came home from work and found a pipe gushing extremely hot water everywhere.

I vacuumed TWENTY GALLONS of water out of the room. The water had been pouring out of the hot water heater so not only was everything soaked, it was so hot that the cement paint on our floor had literally bubbled. We swore. We cried. We ate a lot of carbs. And that’s when we decided that 99% of the time owning a house is the most awesome thing in the world, but the 1% of the time things go wrong they go so wrong that you basically want to die.

Instead of the beautiful after I was going to share with you, here’s the current state of the room:

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At least we love the new paint color?

Every single problem we have/have had with our house has been water related:

  • The upstairs toilet runs for a solid 5 minutes every single time it’s flushed. We have no idea why or how to stop it
  • The downstairs toilet worked perfectly fine during the home inspection but was broken by the time we moved in
  • The kitchen sink was sitting on top of the pipes and not actually attached to it
  • The shower faucet was so old and coroded it literally came off in my hand when I turned it (after a FULL DAY of painting mind you, I needed to shower)
  • One of the pipes got backed up and water had nowhere to go so it overflowed out of the toilet (basement flood #1)
  • I tried to wash our old comforter in our washing machine and it didn’t fit so the water overflowed out of the washer (basement flood #2)
  • And now, apparently basement flood #3 was because we had 130 pounds of water pressure coming into our home with no valve to regulate it down to the 60 it should have been

Ugh. Hopefully we’ll have things up and running in time to show you next week!

So friends, commiserate with me please. What’s your 1%?

Succluents in Upcycled Jars

If you’re a regular around here, you know I’m a jar hoarder. I can’t help myself. But I’m happy to part with them if it’s for a good cause, like an awesome mother’s day present. Behold:

mother's day DIY gift

Super cute, no? I was hoping to get my nephew’s hand print on these bad boys, but getting an 8 month old to NOT put a paint covered hand in his mouth was impossible. Footprints were easier… not easy, but easier. However, you can make this craft whether or not you’ve got a cute baby to hang with.

You will need:

  • Glass jars (I used a salsa jar, a peanut butter jar, and a pasta sauce jar)
  • Spray primer and paint (I love Kilz spray primer and Rustoleum spray paint)
  • Cactus, Palm, & Citrus soil (like this)
  • Small rocks (either from outside or the craft section of a dollar store)
  • Succulents

succulents in upcycle jars - mason jar succulent planter

How to:

  1. To get the labels off the jars I just soaked them in soapy hot water, then once they were dry I sprayed one coat of primer and 2 coats of paint on them (I used Aqua by Rustoleum, leftover from my DIY sunburst mirror).
  2. I bought 7 or 8 different succulent plants at Walmart then took them apart very gently to separate each branch
  3. Cover the bottom of your jar with rocks, then add some cactus soil
  4. Arrange your succulents in the jar then fill in your empty spaces with more soil
  5. Lightly water
Enjoy!

Enjoy!

The cute baby foot is optional.

And actually, the spray paint is too. I made one for myself and took the label off the jar but left it clear glass- I really like the look of the rocks and soil.

The best part? Succulents are very easy to keep alive- they love sunlight and only need to be watered 2-3 times a month in the summer and every other month in the winter.