Cat Wall – DIY project

I started working on the cat wall last year, approximately 9 months ago. Thanks to self isolation and social distancing, I found myself with more time than I know what to do with. Last week, I also had two days of holiday with my destination as the shed(topia), so no excuse not to finish this lingering project.

5

 

I originally had much bigger plans than what it turned out to be, however, the two other walls I was going to use aren’t suitable to have anything of any substance put into them, so it was scaled back to a one wall feature.

So heres what I bought to make this wall possible

  • 2 Bubble Domes for the bubble seats from Amazon
  • 2 Wall mounted cat beds from Zooplus
  • 8 Wall brackets from Ikea – I used Ekby Valter but is no longer available
  • 4 Shelves from Ikea
  • Wood  and screws – I had some left over from the pond enclosure I made last year
  • Primer, paint, paint brushes and clear acrylic spray paint
  • Wallpaper and glue – I used spray glue but if I had to do it again Id use Mod Podge
  • Wall plugs – extra heavy because I have Maine Coons
  • The small scratching post as a step up to the cat wall for the cats

I actually made 4 shelves but I only needed to use 3

Now the step by step tutorial on making a super awesome cat wall, which to date my cats are still not very impressed with.

 

1

Wall mounted cat beds:

  1. These automatically come with velcro stapled onto it for the cat bed to attach to it, get your pliers out and remove ALL of the staples, this is tedious and I was hoping my circle would be big enough that they would be cut out but sadly no.
  2. Using the Bubble Dome fence attachment bit (technical term and refer to above picture, top left) mark out the size of the circle, inside circumference of the circle and then saw it out. It was a tight squeeze with the saw at the bits where it mounts to the wall. I did drill a few holes first around the circle to fit the saw blade into.
  3. Sand down your rough edges and they will be rough.
  4. Make sure the bubble fits (top middle pic), I did need to make a few adjustments.
  5. Drill the holes as per the fence attachment, which is how you will attach the doom at a later stage. I made the mistake of doing this after I painted it and had further chipping from the wood, which meant more painting.
  6. I then primed the wood and then painted them the different colours. I knew the cat wall shelves were going against a very white wall and wanted them to visually pop, hence my choice in colours. I also fell in love with the wall paper and then found the paint to match it. I did 2 coats of primer and then 3 coats of the colours.

2Brackets:

  1. Prime them, I did 2 coats
  2. Paint them, I did 3 coats.

 

3Shelves

  1. Because my cats are big, they like to be enclosed, ie not fall out when they roll over.  I realised that I needed to create an enclosed shelf, to stop any injuries. I had wood left over from making a pond enclosure from scratch last year and measured it all out, cut it all down to size – 1 front rail and then 2 side pieces per shelf, sanding down all the wood edges.
  2. I then covered the side shelf rails in wall paper. I used spray glue for ease and convenience.
  3. I screwed the front rail into the shelves, so that you wont see the screw when its covered in wall paper and on the wall.
  4. I then covered the shelves with wall paper. I decided to cover the bottom of the shelf, wrapping the paper over the front and having it finish on the inside of the front shelf. People cant see into the shelves, so no need to cover them and I thought the cats might damage the paper with their claws, so just leave it as is.
  5. I glued the bottom of the self first, attached the paper and then glued the front, edge and back of rail, wrapping the paper over the rail, in 2 steps.
  6. I then screwed the side rails to the main shelf.
  7. I then spray painted them with a clear acrylic for extra shine but also to cover any stickiness left over from the glue. I really dont want the cats to stick to the shelves!

4

Creating the cat wall

  1. I measured out my wall to understand what my mid way point was and then measured out the space I wanted between the shelves or vaguely where I wanted the shelves to be – I used a foot between the shelves but given the size of my cats, I could easily gone for 18 inches instead.  To be fair I also did this on paper to see if a visual would help and it did in terms of measurements and knowing the midway point and where I would put all the shelves.
  2. I had a few ideas but I wasn’t really sure how I wanted it on the wall, so rather than making LOTS of holes in the wall, I put it all the floor and measured it out to what it would look like on the wall. I tried a few ideas and sent a few messages to friends for their opinions.
  3. At this point because I was about to drill next to an electrical socket, I did turn off the electric to ensure no accidents!
  4. I then marked on the walls with the shelves where the wall plugs should go (with a level!!) and drilled the holes and inserted the wall plugs. Four hands at this stage would have been incredibly helpful and saved me time but being a single cat lady means I could only use the two that I have and proves that one person can do this project.
  5. Get your level ready and start putting up the shelves. For the domes you will need to remove the dome to get the screws in.

SUCCESS!!! You’ve completed your cat wall, be very very proud of yourself.

6

I really enjoyed this project, I wont lie. It absolutely built my confidence around my DIY skills and ultimately whilst my cats aren’t very impressed with the wall, I most certainly am!

New home, new problems

is what Ive put on my whiteboard in my kitchen and it is incredibly apt. I generally adore my home but equally there are sometimes where I wonder if its purposely testing what tiny amount of patience I have.  I can laugh at a lot of experiences Ive had with the house.

In the Netherlands, houses really dont come with lights, you buy a house and you literally bring your own lightbulbs and light fittings. I have to say Ive done really well picking up electrics as part of the move! So far zero for being electrocuted and I’ve changed practically every light fitting and electrical outlet in the house but I am still stuck on a proper 3 way light. For 2 months, it was summer and I was able to not need a ceiling light in my living room. Winter is coming and with it, much shorter days. I bought a light fitting and attempted to fit it. It did not go well, at all. All patience was utterly lost and a completely new light bought. This was all around 8pm on a Saturday, I was absolutely determined to fit and have light in my living room. I get home with my new light and it was getting dark. Im very safe when it comes to these things and always turn off the main power, however, that meant I was then in the dark. I used the flashlight on my mobile to light the ceiling, so that I could fit the light (I would also like to add this is the first time Ive ever used this feature! I kind of thing that having a mobile is taking cat pics and sending memes and thats basically it). What this really meant is that I needed my hands free and ended up sticking my phone in my mouth so that I could fit the light, whilst up a ladder, swearing quite a lot, 1 hand holding the light fixture whilst the other hand had the screw driver. This was naturally not straight forward either, so add quite a lot of drool coming down the side of my mouth as I had the phone in my mouth for no less than 45 minutes (Id like to add that my phone is still not quite over this drooling incident).  Eventually the light was fitted and I’m delighted to be able to turn on a light. It was kind of weird getting back into the habit of being able to turn on a light.  I even giggle with excitement at being to turn on the light…yes this is how truly exciting my life has become!

 

I have two parts of the house that are covered in movie posters, it came this way and was one of the features that I adore about the house. The stairway that goes to my bedroom has some ok posters (and Chuck Norris) but the downstairs cupboard has Jaws, Alfred Hitchcock etc and a friend came by and had a quick look at the cupboard and was like ‘what I like most about your house, this cupboard’. Even now it makes me laugh for quite literally the 100s of hours of work put into the house for people to find a 1.5 metre cupboard the best feature of my house.

Ive been trying to toilet train the cats (think Mr Jinx from Meet the Parents). According to the shiney all singing kit I got, its a quick and easy 30 day process. I really wanted them toilet trained before the move but unfortunately due to multiple issues, it didn’t happen and kind of started before the move. I shouldn’t have started it before the move. I should have just waited for one solid smooth process. My female Maine Coon is most certainly me, in the cat form. Shes stubborn, ornery and hates any form of change. What really did not go in my favour when getting to step 3, me being absolutely delighted and her not realising they had been upgraded to step 3 and then promptly falling in the toilet when she went to use the tray.

potty training

30 day process it is not and if I get them fully trained in under 3 months, I will accept it as a win. Potty training has had to restart all the way back at back at step 1 (as a direct result of her unfortunate nose drive into the loo), we’re now on step 2 (above) and she still has ‘accidents’ roughly every other day, so not great and my downstairs toilet has been completely sacrificed but if I can pull it off (quite literally God willing at this point), I would like to think it will be worth it. Ill never forget the Ikea delivery man who tried to use the toilet and them came and got me and was like ‘I dont understand THIS.’, whilst pointing at the toilet. Oddly enough my male is great with it and has no issues and uses whatever is there. If only his sister were are open and accommodating to change.

I cant believe its November already! This year has truly been nuts balls crazy, has gone so quickly and its also a year I’m ready to see the back of.  Im taking two weeks off at Christmas to literally sit my pyjamas and do nothing and I dont think Ive ever quite looked forward to doing nothing as much as I am this.

DIY Lantern Light

I have a slight obsession with lights and lamps but not your traditional kind. I’m quirky in every sense of the word and every aspect of my life. In the last 8 months I’ve taken to making my own lamps, where possible. It helps that Im quite creative and can envision what I want to make. In reality, it’s rarely as straightforward or easy (Pinterest fail) as I thought it would be but this adds to the ‘fun’ of making each item (and to my vocabulary of swear words).

I love fairy lights (or as the American in me says ‘Christmas lights’ because Christmas is awesome any time of year!), so combining the two makes me very happy.  What I don’t like is sad looking lamps/lanterns with about 10 fairy lights, that have no functionality or give off any actual light. Google image search ‘fairy light lanterns’ and you get matches to what I’m referring to. I’ve envision this light for about a year, which means that my expectations were wildly more exciting and fantastic than the lantern could ever turn out to be but it was also awesome to think through the aspects and to see items and how I could use them.

What you’ll need for your light house lamps

  • Wooden lantern with extended centre roof
  • Fairy lights
  • Pipe – the height of the lamp
  • 6 screws
  • Power Drill
  • Drill bit

I found my lamps at Lidls (however, they are widely available at lots of stores), they had 2 versions available and I went for the white version, as my living room is white and the windowsill the lamp is going in is white. Naturally I bought two, because why have one of anything when you can have two and they are going in a massive window. The extended roof is also really important when making this project, as the pipe will sit within it, giving it stability to ensure that it doesn’t fall over.IMG-20171003-WA0000

The first step is taking your pipe and putting your screws in. Use your power drill and drill bit to put holes into the pipe, I made 6 holes on 3 levels, alternating each side. This makes it easier when you are wrapping your fairy lights around the pipe. Measure out the top of the roof and then put the screw below this (naturally I didn’t do this bit and then wondered why my pipe wouldn’t fit in). I think I bought plumbing pipe. I’m a total girl when it comes to DIY shops, I walk around and think of ways of using things without any knowledge or idea of what it’s actually for or how it should properly be used. 20171006_173746

This was take two, after I realised that I hadn’t measured for the metal roof and had to redo the highest screws. It does show the importance of having the raised roof in the middle and how it acts to stabilise the pipe to stop it from falling over. 20171006_174035

Next step is to wrap your fairy lights around the pipe. I believe I used 125 lights on each pipe. The screws at the top help to hold the lights at the top of the pipe and make it easier to fit on the overall length of the pipe. 20171006_174412

Once the pipe is entirely wrapped, place it within your lantern and you’re almost done! Shut the door, plug it in and see the end result. 20171006_174511

This is what it looks like finished, admittedly the left picture was in the day light literally after I had finished it and doesn’t look very exciting at all. Right hand picture was in the evening in the dark and what a difference!

This is both of my lamps in the evening in the window that they were always destined for. I also put light switches on them to make them easier to turn on and off but not necessary to have. I’m pleased that they came out as an actual lantern giving off actual light, it’s the small things in life.20171017_205403

I think overall the project took me less than an hour and that was even with a few mistakes along the way with the overall cost being around €40ish, €20 for the lanterns, €15 for the LED fairy lights and around €5 for the pipe and light switches.

Citrus Shower Steamers

I’m in love with shower steamers, a few weeks ago I posted about Shower Steamers for congestion. They work really well and I even use one in the shower if I’m not congested. I’ve gotten a lot of postive feedback on them and they seem to perfect for winter (and a great party favour!).

I decided to make a alternative that isn’t specific for congestion. Ive decided to go for a blend of citrus, a burst of freshness in the shower. Shower steamers really work based on aromatherapy and citrus is awesome with lots of benefits. Several benefits to citrus essential oils are, they can help to alleviate headaches and fever, are a quick mood enhancer, can relieve fatigue and relieve seasonal allergies. Thus making citrus oils a awesome win! I think these shower steamers are great for people who take showers in the morning, they will give you a boost to start the day off right.

1519760580156

Citrus Shower Steamers

Makes: Approximately 60 small cubes  Prep time: 10 mins  Making time: 10 mins Setting time: 5-8 hours (best over night)  Total time: 5 hours 20 mins minimum

  • 1 cup Baking soda
  • 1/2 cup Citric Acid
  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1 teaspoon menthol crystals that have been dissolved in 2-3 teaspoons of rubbing alcohol (not to be left out, these are the MAGIC ingredient that makes these so good)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet orange essential oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon essential Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime essential Oil
  • Mica- colour of your choice, I went for light orange (optional)
  • Mini ice cube tray – I bought mine on Wish
  • A seperate small cup disposable cup for your menthol crystals (seriously the crystals will continue to grow and its best to have something you can throw away or purposely dedicate just to THIS project)

For safety purposes you should also have: dust mask and gloves

1. Take your teaspoon of menthol crystals and dissolve them in 2-3 teaspoons of rubbing alcohol. They wont just dissolve on their own, you will need to stir them, it will take a few minutes. I tend to give them a bit of a crush before I mix them in the alcohol, I assume I’m making my life easier by doing this. I use a toothpick or straw to stir. As the menthol WILL form crystals on the cup and whatever you are using to stir it with, make sure that you have no commitment to said item and its disposable (as per the right picture, its the same cup I use for this recipe, forming crystals). Menthol crystals are NOT water soluble, so simply crushing them up and adding them to this mixture will not work or give you the desired results.

2. Put on your mask and gloves. In a bowl, combine your citric acid, baking soda and mica (if using), breaking any lumps. I put mine through a sieve to help with lumps. Give it a good mix with your hand, this helps to evenly disperse the colour (wont lie, forgot this step and it did make a difference at the end when mixing).

3. Add in your essential oils and crystal menthol mixture and mix throughly. At this point your mixture is either ready to use or isn’t. If you are able to get it to form in your hand when you squeeze it, you’re on to a winner (far right picture). If it doesn’t hold it form when you squeeze it, then add in the rest of your rubbing alcohol, mix again and it should now hold its form when you squeeze it.

4. Now to put the shower steam mixture in your moulds. Try for the middle of the mould and work your way out. Ensure to press your mixture into each individual mould, you want it to be packed in and solid, I use my thumb to press in the mixture in EACH individual mould.

5. Leave them to dry, honestly I think over night is best. If you’re in a rush or made them in the morning, give them at least 5-6 hours to set. As it is alcohol which was used to combine them, it will evaporate on its own over time.

6. Once dry, turn out and ideally place them in a air tight box/container. Ive got mine in jars in my bathroom. You want to keep them dry from humidity. You can also make gifts with them and put them in clear bags (10 per bag) and jars (25ish per jar), with the following instructions:

TO USE: Place 1-3 steamers on the floor of your shower, where it will get wet but not directly under the water. Let the aromas clear your sinuses/congestion as you breathe in deeply. Store in an airtight container. Humidity will cause them to break down. Use within 1 month for best scent and results. WARNINGS: Not to be used in the bath as a bath bomb or to have direct contact with skin. Keep out of reach of children.

20180226_150452

These are my shower steamers, the white ones are for congestion and the orange are the citrus. Ideally Ill have matching jars but this is what happens when you go to the store for matching jars, get to the till to pay and realise you’ve forgotten your wallet on the sofa.

Notes: These are not bath bombs and should not be treated as such, whilst the ingredients are similar, I wouldn’t recommend or tell anyone to use them in the bath, if you want a bath bomb, make/buy a bath bomb, if you want a shower steamer, then THIS is the recipe for you!

Other shower steamers/melts/fizzy/bomb use water in it, why doesn’t this recipe? This is a conscious choice that I have made NOT to use water. Water, no matter how much, reacts with the citric acid causing it to fizz and puff instantly, adding too much water can RUIN any steamers/melts/fizzy/bomb recipe, which is something that I have done MORE than once.

Remember to save some for yourself and share with friends! 🙂

 

DIY natural lip plumping cinnamon lip balm

On the same night I made my yummy fruity strawberry lip balm, I also decided to make another sweet lip treat. I think one of my life mottos should be ‘life is better with cinnamon!’. So this is a cinnamon lip balm which works as a natural lip plumper, you will feel it gently tingling away on your lips.

Lip plumpers work by irritating your lips, your lips reaction to the irritation is to swell up and just like MAGIC you have fuller more plump lips. What you really want is a small to mild reaction, you dont want anything to feel as though it is ‘on fire’ or ‘inflamed’.  Inflaming your skins is generally not something we seek to do but as you are applying a soothing lip balm, it acts to also moisturise your lips at the same time.  Please also refer to my WARNING and CAUTION at the bottom of this post.

You can use white beeswax for a more white filling and you can even add in literally just a dash (no more) of ground cinnamon if you fancy spots throughout your lip balm.

DIY natural lip plumping cinnamon lip balm

Makes: 7 lip balms Making time: 30 mins  Dry time: 24 hours minimum Overall time: 25 hours

  • 1 tablespoon (14g) grated beeswax or beeswax pellets – I used yellow beeswax because its what I had
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) shea butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet almond oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon castor oil
  • 5g Mango butter (I used a small piece from the pot)
  • 5 drops Cinnamon essential oil

Now to make these nourishing balms

1.  Over  a ban marie or double boiler (or cheat like I do and use a milk jug in a pan with water) add the beeswax, shea butter, almond oil, castor oil and mango butter in a small heat proof bowl. Bring the water to the boil and then allow to simmer, until the mixture is just melted. You can stir the mixture but you dont need to stir it constantly.

2. Whilst your oils and butter are melting together, get your lip balm containers ready. I find it easy to put five (5) together and wrap a rubber band (loom bands work perfectly) around them, this stops them falling over when filling them. I also like to put them in a small plastic container, so that if there is any spillage, its contained. I find it easier to use my Pyrex jug making lip balm, as the spout on the jug allows for easy pouring.

3.  Once fully melted, turn off heat and take container out of the pan. Allow your lip balm mixture to cool.  If you add in the essential oil now, it can damage it. You dont want it to solidify but just to be cooler. Once it has cooled down, add in your cinnamon essential oil and stir well.

4. Pour the mixture into the lip balm tubes and allow to cool completely. Between Do NOT pour all of the mixture into the tubes (leave 1-2 teaspoons spare). As your mixture cools, A (small) depression will form in the center, use the spare balm that you didn’t use to fill this in, leaving a even finish. Simply reheat the leftover balm and top up the tubes. Allow your lip balms to set over night.

20180204_141401

I always keep 1 of each batch for myself (I highlight the edges so that its always clear which one is mine), then I have first hand experience of it the balms are too soft, too hard, overly/underly flavoured. There is always one in each run that is never quite perfect, so I call it mine.

 

CAUTION and WARNING using Cinnamon Essential Oil: Cinnamon essential oil must be use with caution and not with a heavy hand. Do not increase the number of drops in your lip balm, as it can irritate your lips. Cinnamon essential oil is a known irritant and strong skin sensitizer. Do not substitute or use the bark essential oil, it is really NOT skin friendly. Also should you ever have a cinnamon soap (which I love), NEVER wash your genitals or sensitive areas with it. 

This is just a word of caution (and to avoid people going crazy), I never had any problems with this lip balm but know that every person reacts differently to different products, even all natural ones.

Remember to share with friends! 🙂