Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Save Those Pumpkin Stems!

Hey there, do you still have your jack o lanterns sitting around from Halloween? If you do, save those pumpkin stems! If you save them, you can use them in other projects and displays, like I show above. I took a ball of twine and stuck a dried pumpkin stem in it for a clever, autumnal display. It's easy to save stems, and they dry out really well. I have a couple that I have had for years. Just cut off all of the fleshy pumpkin stuff from around the stems, lay them out on a towel and just let them dry naturally on your kitchen counter for a few days. If you get any mold on the bottom or have a bit of pumpkin skin left on your stem you will be able to just peel it off after a couple of days.

You can even make fabric pumpkins like these,


and use your real pumpkin stems on them. Check out Craft Buds for a great tutorial on making fabric pumpkins like the ones above.

Monday, September 14, 2015

What To Do With An Old Suitcase

I was cleaning out under my bed and I found an old 60s suitcase that was empty (I have numerous other ones that are full of books. clothes and craft supplies---they make great storage bins). I went to unzip the suitcase and it immediately broke. I'm not the kind of person who likes repairing zippers so I figured the case was a lost cause.

But wait:

I remembered seeing suitcases turned into cat beds on Etsy--so that is exactly what I did! I removed the flap and the broken zipper entirely, put a towel in the bottom of it topped with some paper (irresistible to the average feline) and lo and behold, it was almost instantly colonized by Tiger Baby.

The suitcase pet beds I have seen on Etsy are usually made with the addition of furniture legs to lift it off the floor. I briefly thought about doing that---but Tiger Baby is elderly now and I feel like she might have a hard time getting into it. So on the floor it stays. She looks so cosy :)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Of Cat Piss and Leather Boots...

"It wasn't me!"

Cats. I love them. I have three of them. However, when I was rooting through my shoe closet recently (admittedly a horrible, disorganized mess), I reached for my favorite pair of knee high leather boots and noticed that they were...wet. WTF? I thought, confusedly.

Then the smell hit. Greeaaaat. Someone, and I am 99 percent sure it wasn't my hubs, had peed on my favorite leather boots. I took several deep breaths, my eyes closed, struggling for calm. Could the feline culprit have peed on one of my pairs of Converse, easily laundered? Sure, they could  have, but they didn't. They peed on one of the few pairs of leather footwear that I bought at full price and have treasured over the years. Cats.

After I regained my senses, I combed the internet for remedies and emailed a friend. And this is what I ended up doing:  I mixed together about a cup of hydrogen peroxide with a few tablespoons of  baking soda and sponged the mix onto the boots. I left it for about an hour, then, with a little water, sponged the mixture off again. After drying the boots I buried them in a big bag of cat litter and left them for three days. I used Feline Pine.

Did it work? Well, the boots will never be the same---they got a little stiff from the hydrogen peroxide/water treatments, but I rubbed them with neatsfoot oil and they regained most of their suppleness. As for the smell, I am pretty sure that it is mostly gone. I've been sniffing them periodically and that terrible cat piss smell is gone. There is a hint of something but that could be from wet leather. So, while not a complete cure-all, the remedy got the boots back to wearability.
I. of course, have to insert a disclaimer here: if you try this, I cannot guarantee that it will work for you or that your shoes won't be ruined somehow. Results may vary, as they say. But, if your cat peed on your leather shoes, well, you are at the end of your rope anyways, no? It's worth a try.

What did I learn from this? That cats are jerks. No, no, they are wonderful animals, I love my cats very much :)   However, boots are now stored up on a high shelf in the closet.  And, this incident helped me to completely clean out my closet and organize everything in there. So there is your silver, furry lining!

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