Monday, June 27, 2011

Cat Scratcher

Nate made this cat scratching box for Harris and Flynn the other day. It is just a wooden frame that one of those corrugated cardboard cat scratchers slides into. It is mounted on the wall so that they can stand on their hind legs and scratch a vertical surface, which they love to do. We are supposed to be getting a new couch delivered from West Elm (though it is taking forever), so hopefully this will save the new couch some abuse. Then when the scratcher is thoroughly shredded, we can just slide it out and pop in another one.

Neither cat wanted to cooperate for the photo shoot this morning.

Here is Harris scratching on it before I painted over the mounting screw heads and before I trimmed the box so that it fit perfectly.

And here is Flynn. He was a little more interested in licking the cardboard that scratching it since it had catnip sprinkled on it.

Monday, June 20, 2011


We got a new puppy yesterday. She is a labradoodle (or maybe labradoodle mixed with something else) puppy and about 8 weeks old. Her name is Keita after Baye Moussa Keita who is the freshman center for Syracuse. All of our animals have to be named after Syracuse basketball players. Our cats are Harris and Flynn after Paul Harris and Johnny Flynn, both former Syracuse players.

The cats seem to be adjusting ok. Flynn is always a little wary of new things and has been keeping his distance, but Harris seems to be doing good.

She is very sweet and loving and calm most of the time. But when she is in a playfull mood she can be extra silly.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Paint It, Black

Despite my assertion in my earlier post, the barn was not complete. There was one nagging problem. The floor. The floor was previously covered in fugly peel and stick vinyl tiles. They wouldn't have been so bad if they were the black and white checkerboard ones but these were just really unattractive and they were starting to unstick completely.

Underneath the tiles was a plywood subfloor. On line I saw some examples and a few tutorials of painted subfloors. So we decided to just pull up the tiles and paint the plywood black.

We borrowed a friend's belt sander and sanded down the floors. There was quite a bit of stickyness from the old vinyl tiles which did not really all come off with the sanding. We decided that since this is the barn it doesn't have to be perfect. If we were doing this inside our house we would have been much more thorough and probably patched some screw holes and the gaps between the plywood sheets better.

Then, after taping, we primed the floor with grey tinted primer and then two coats of Valspar latex gloss porch and floor paint in dark kettle black.

It covered really well and it looks pretty great. The only problem is that it shows every speck of dirt and dust. Black was probably not the best choice for the floor of a building that you have to walk through grass to get to.

It has made me think that probably one of the reasons that natural wood floors are so common all over the world is because brown is close to the color of most dirt and dust.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Patio Area is Looking Better

The super cheep outdoor fabric I bought from SAS Fabric in Hawthorne wasn't quite enough to cover three giant pillows and two deck chairs. So I had to go back and try to find more. Luckily there was still tons of fabric on the bolt. I also managed to find some navy blue canvas in the stacks of folded fabric that was only $3.00 a yard. I'm not positive it is officially outdoor fabric so we will see how long it lasts without fading.

I bought this butterfly chair at the thrift store a while back for $5.00. I think the cover used to be red, but had faded to a lovely pink color. I had actually tried to dye it blue with RIT dye but somehow the dye didn't take at all. Maybe the fabric is actually some kind of polyester that doesn't take dye, but it really feels like cotton. So I'm really not sure what happened.

I used the old cover as a template to make this new cover out of the navy canvas. My sewing machine really didn't like the fabric. I think I broke 3 needles trying to sew it.

Other new additions to the patio are the fire pit and a new umbrella which you can't quite see the top of in this picture. It is green in case you were wondering.

And we bought a new bottom cushion for the faux outdoor couch.

Friday, June 10, 2011

My Office

I already posted picture of "The Barn" which is Nate's office. My office is finally in fairly presentable shape. I took some pictures today because it probably will not stay this clean for very long.

At our old house my only work surface was the small faux wood veneer ikea desk in the corner. Since I work from home, my office is literally my office and also my craft and sewing room and I needed a set up for both my work computer and my personal computer. I wanted more work surface at the new house, so we found a old hollow core door at the habitat for humanity re-store thrift shop and set it on my two file cabinets. It was a little low, so Nate built some boxes out of 2x4s to sit on top of the file cabinets to raise up the desk level a little.

I found the old black anglepose lamp at a estate sale for two dollars.

I bought this Charlie Harper Alpine Northwest poster from the government printing office a really long time ago. Amazingly it only cost $12. The only problem was it is huge and a weird size so it was impossible to find a pre-made frame for it. Even with a 60% off coupon it was still ridiculously expensive to get it framed at Michael's, but I think it looks really great.

My office is kind of a modge podge of different pieces of furniture from our old place that don't really fit perfectly here and don't go that well together, especially in this corner.

It is working pretty well for now, and having so much more work surface has been great. I'm going to try to not stack piles of stuff all over every surface, at least for a while.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Deck Chairs Before & After

I found a random fabric store kind of near my house that was selling outdoor fabric for only $3.99 a yard. Most of the fabric they sell is shiny sequiny fabric for making quinceanera dresses. But I was pretty psyched about the cheep outdoor fabric. I recovered the pillows for the outdoor couch and one of these deck chairs that we got from Cost Plus many years ago. I'd don't quite have enough to do the second chair. I'll have to go back and get some more. Some day maybe we will refinish the chairs. The wood has definately seen better days.