Tag Archives: recycled

Kitty Cottage

I have a dog and four cats.  The dog is the newest addition.  She joined our pack as a 4 month old puppy and considers herself another one of the cats.  The cats disagree.  The dog even sits in the windows like a cat.  I used to correct this behavior because I didn’t think the window shelf in our old residence would support her.  I gave up because she doesn’t understand why all the other cats get to sit in the window!As you can see, she also thinks cat beds are fair game.  This would be fine except the cats reject the beds after she takes them over.

This brings me to my mission: Create a dog-proof cat haven.  I saw this cat house in a Martha Stewart magazine a long time ago and kept it in the back of my mind.

This cardboard box found it’s way into our home a few days ago and Mango immediately took a liking to it.  I thought it was the perfect opportunity to make that haven!

Materials needed:

  • One intact cardboard box large enough to fit kitty comfortably
  • A bunch of other cardboard scraps
  • Hot glue gun
  • Paint, brushes, etc.
  • Pencil (or something else to write with)
  • Scissors and/or utility knife
  • Cat bed (I used an old polar fleece blanket)


  1. Remove any tape or other ickiness from the box.  Carefully pull apart the side and bottom seams and glue the box back together inside out leaving the top open.  This will save you from having to paint several layers over all that writing.
  2. This part is probably going to come across as confusing, but I will do my best to explain it.  (Note:  Feel free to scrap my roof idea and create your own.  I will not be insulted.) This is where we work on the top flaps to make the base structure for the roof.  Fold the sides of the shorter flaps at an angle towards the inside of the box(I drew a line in pencil first).  Glue these folds to the inside of the longer flaps so the top edge of the shorter flap is the same height as the top edge of the longer flap.  Make sure you leave enough space in between all of the flaps to have access to the inside of the finished house.  Pictures will probably help.
  3. Time for the roof.  Cut a large piece of cardboard as long as the box.  When folded as a tent, this cardboard needs to reach from the bottom of one longer flap to the bottom of the other longer flap.  Basically, this cardboard tent needs to sit easily on top of the box so you won’t be able to see the longer flaps anymore (they are just for support).  Feel free to piece together multiple pieces of cardboard.  My cardboard came from a long skinny box, so I chose to keep the skinny side of the box for the top edge of my roof.
  4. Cut a rectangular piece of cardboard large enough to fill the gap in between the shorter flaps and the roof.  Fold the edges at an angle like the flaps in step 2.  Glue the pieces in place on the inside of the roof.  Do not glue the roof to the box.  This will be your access point to the inside of the finished house!
  5. Draw a door on the front of the house large enough for the cat.  Mango is pretty tubby, so her door is on the larger side (but, not big enough for the dog).  You can draw windows too!
  6. Use a utility knife to cut out the door and windows.  Be careful with this step…these knives are really sharp!
  7. Let kitty check on your progress.
  8. Paint the outside of the house as desired.  You may want to skip this step if your kitty happens to eat cardboard.  Mine doesn’t.  I chose light blue with dark blue streaks for the sides and a mixture of silver, gold, and bronze for the roof.  I’m not a big fan of one flat color…can you tell?  Give me a little texture any day!
  9. Decorate the house however you want.  I made a rooster weather vane for mine!  Look below for directions on how to make it!
  10. Add a cat bed or blanket to the inside and you’re all set!

The Weather Vane

I’m not going to go into great detail for this part, but I will give a brief description.

I used thinner corugated cardboard, 4 toothpicks, tiny ball of yarn, hot glue, and bronze paint.

Draw out a rooster standing on an arrow onto the cardboard.  Also draw an E, W, N, and S.  Use a utility knife to cut these out.  Stick two toothpicks through the ball so they are perpendicular and the ball sits in the middle of the four ends.  Stick the end of one toothpick in the bottom of this ball and the end of the last toothpick in the top of the ball.  Thoroughly coat the ball with hot glue and allow to dry before continuing.  Apply a small amount of glue to the ends of each toothpick except for the bottom one and put the cardboard pieces in the correct places (rooster on top and letters in compass order around the four shorter points).  Paint the entire weather vane with bronze paint.  Stick the bottom toothpick into the roof of the house.  Use glue to secure.  I needed to use a nail to start the hole in the roof and I added a few cardboard pieces to the inside of the roof for additional support for the toothpick.

Linking up here:

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Filed under Cardboard, Paint, Pets

Bead Necklace

Fabric covered beaded necklaces have been around for a long time.  I remember making one in Girl Scouts when I was a kid.  For this reason, I wasn’t really big on the idea of actually wearing one as an adult.  Then I saw this adorable bracelet from Hannah Handmade!  I considered making a bracelet, but I really like statement necklaces.  I also found this tutorial for a fabric covered beaded bracelet by Goody-Goody Handmade in my awesome sewing calendar.  I decided to combine my favorite parts of both bracelets to come up with my own design!  The best part about this project was that I had everything I needed on hand and it was easy enough that I could wear the necklace the next day!

Materials needed:

  • Beaded costume jewelry (the beads are easier to work with if they are already attached in a string – mine are about 3/4″ in diameter)
  • Fabric
  • Embroidery Floss
  • 30″ of ribbon
  • Two 3″ segments of ribbon to cover the fabric/ribbon connection
  • Sewing Machine
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun (or another type of fabric glue, if you prefer)
  • Fray check (optional)


  1. Measure your fabric against your beads.  The fabric should be wide enough to surround your beads plus 1/2″-3/4″ for wiggle room and the seam.  The fabric should be long enough to cover your length of beads plus several inches.  My bead string is about 12″ long and my fabric was about 20″ long.  I had some fabric leftover, but I wanted to make sure I had enough.
  2. Once you have cut out your fabric strip, fold it in half lengthwise with right sides facing in.  Sew a 1/4″ seam down the long side of the fabric.  Turn this tube inside out.
  3. Feed the bead string through one end of the fabric tube.
  4. Use the embroidery floss to tie a knot in between one set of beads.  Wrap the floss around the knot several times and then tie a second knot to secure it.  I started in the middle of the bead string and the middle of the fabric to make sure I had equal amounts of fabric at either end.
  5. Once you have finished tie all the beads in place, trim the excess fabric at each end down to about 1″.
  6. Cut the ribbon so that you have one piece that is about 20″ long and another that is about 10″ long.  Use glue to attach one end of each piece of ribbon to one end of the fabric.
  7. Glue the ends of the 3″ pieces of ribbon down to prevent fraying.  If you are using hot glue, use as little as possible for this step as the glue does not allow for much flexibility.  I was in a hurry to finish this project for the next day, so I did not want to wait for another type of glue to dry.
  8. Wrap the ribbon segments around the messy ends of fabric and ribbon and use glue to secure.
  9. Tie a bow with the two lengths of ribbon close to one end of the necklace.  Trim any excess ribbon.  Be sure to cut the ends of the ribbon at an angle to prevent fraying.  Fray check can be applied at this point, but I didn’t have any on hand.
  10. The finished necklace should be big enough to slip over your head.  Therefore, if you want to secure the bow with glue or thread, feel free!
  11. Wear the necklace and admire your handiwork!

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Filed under Babies/Kids, Beads, Clothing, Fabric

Message Board

A lot of people make message boards and I have ALWAYS wanted to make/buy/own one!  Unfortunately, I just don’t have the extra funds for something like this.  I also haven’t had an extra canvas lying around.  What I do have is cardboard!  For some reason I always seem to have plenty of it!  The nice thing about using cardboard for the backbone of this project is that it is highly customizable.  You can make it any size or shape you want!  I chose a decent sized, long, vertical board.  The original plan was going to have a contrasting frame in that fun polka dot fabric, but I just couldn’t figure out how to make it work.  I still wanted to use the fabric though, so I opted for pockets!

Materials needed:

  • Two or three pieces of cardboard cut to the same size (I used two)
  • Two or three layers of batting depending on how plush you want your board (I used two layers of thin batting)
  • Two contrasting pieces of fabric (one must be large enough to cover the cardboard)
  • Ribbon (mine is about 1/4″ wide)
  • Buttons
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun
  • Sewing needle
  • Thread


  1. Use hot glue to attach your pieces of cardboard to each other.  Doubling or tripling the boards will give them more strength.
  2. Cut the batting to the same size as the board.  I used glue to attach the corners of the batting to the board, but this is up to you.
  3. Cut the main fabric to be about 2″ wider than the board on all sides.
  4. Cut any pockets as wide as the main fabric, but as tall as you want the pocket.  Make sure you leave enough fabric to have 2″ extra at the bottom of the board and about 1″ extra to fold over the top edge of the pocket (like a hem).
  5. Lay the board face down on the back side of the main fabric (the batting should be sandwiched in the middle).  Pull the edges up and glue them to the back of the board.  Make sure the fabric is taut.  Fold the corners under at an angle to make sure no loose edges will show from the front of the frame.
  6. For the pockets, fold the top edge in to prevent any loose edges from showing.  Glue them to the board just like the main fabric.  I have two pockets (one in the same pattern as the main fabric), but you can have as many as you want!
  7. Time for the ribbons!  Cross the ribbons over the front of the fabric and glue the ends to the back of the board.  These ribbons need to be tight or they won’t be able to hold anything.  The number of crosses you can fit depends on the size of your board.
  8. Sew a button onto each cross.  Make sure you go through all layers of the board with the needle to fasten it securely.  Don’t worry, it is surprisingly easy to sew through cardboard!
  9. Attach a ribbon to hang it and that board is finished!The two close up pictures above are of my husband and my older sister (Carter’s mom)…the pictures are goofy, but they’re some of my absolute favorites!

Linking up here:

monogram Keeping It Simple

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Filed under Cardboard, Containers, Decorations, Fabric

License Plate Key Hanger

Here is the last of our license plate stash!  I showed you how to use license plates to create a wine rack, but a motorcycle plate is a little too small for something like that.  Since moving in, we have been throwing our keys in a basket by the door.  This works, but when you’re in a hurry, it is kind of a pain to have to dig through the basket to find the right keys.  That’s how I came up with this idea for a key hanger by the door!  Husband achieved a lifelong dream last spring when he purchased his first Harley, so he is thrilled to have this motorcycle plate displayed in our home.

I apologize for the less-than-stellar photos of the license plate.  It is hard to get a picture of something that reflective!

Materials needed:

  • License plate (any size will work)
  • Thin piece of wood the size of the plate (Must be thick enough to handle the screws, but not too thick that it sticks out from the wall too far)
  • 2 screws
  • Screw in hooks (as many as you want)
  • Power drill
  • Permanent marker
  • Ruler
  • Hanging kit
  • Metal snips (optional)


  1. Just like with the wine rack, you need to clean that filthy license plate!
  2. Use the screws to mount the plate to the wood using the two holes that already exist in the top of the plate. 
  3. Use the ruler and marker to draw small dots along the bottom edge of the plate equal distance from each other.
  4. Drill a hole an appropriate size for your hooks through each of the dots.  This is mostly just to get through the metal.  Be careful not to drill too far into the wood because the thread pattern on the hooks probably doesn’t match the thread pattern of the drill and you want your hooks to get a good grip in there!
  5. Screw the hooks into the holes.
  6. We chose to clip the ends off of the hooks to fit our key rings better, but this is entirely up to you.
  7. Attach the hanging kit as per the manufacturers instructions and hang it up!

Just for fun, here is a picture of our pooch enjoying the new (1975) bike!

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Filed under Containers, Metal, Other, Wood

Tea Canister

My sister recently found a really cool tea and spice shop in our local downtown called PA Dutch Tea & Spice Company.  I was so excited about all the impending loose tea I was going to buy, that I had to find some place to store it all!  I had just finished the tea in this box, so it was the perfect solution!  Yes, it was a tea box to begin with, but a very specific tea box and I was looking for something a little more general.  On a side note…my mom made my tea basket (in the picture) before I was even born.  Isn’t it fantabulous???

We finally visited the tea shop today (I painted the box about a week ago in anticipation!) and I loved it!  One whole wall of any spice you can possibly imagine and another whole wall of loose teas!  Flavors I’ve never heard of like Rootbeer Chai and Chocolate Rooibos.  I opted for Rose Rooibos and Mango Green Tea….heavenly!  They smelled so yummy, I’m surprised we didn’t buy them all!

Materials needed:

  • Canister (mine is metal, but plastic could be used)
  • Paint (I used dark blue, light blue, and white)
  • Paint brushes
  • Corks
  • Knife to make stamps
  • Mod Podge
  • Stencil for lettering (optional)


  1. Make sure you start with a clean canister.  This is what mine used to look like!  Not bad, but like I said, not the tea I planned on storing in there!
  2. Coat the entire outside with a few layers of your base paint.  I think it took three coats for mine to cover completely.
  3. You can make the stamps while you wait for the can to dry!  Use a knife to carefully carve shapes into the top of a cork.  I chose a straight line and a petal sort of shape.  I like the cork because it adds some texture to the print, but you can certainly use a rubber stamp!
  4. Once the canister is dry, use your stamps to create a pattern.
  5. Next is the lettering.  I free handed, but you can use a stencil or stamp or whatever else you prefer.
  6. Touch-ups may be necessary at this point.  You should do these before sealing your project in the next step.
  7. Time to coat with Mod Podge!  Make sure your canister is completely dry and then get to coating!  I chose two layers for durability.
  8. Add the tea!  Voila!

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Filed under Containers, Metal, Paint

Jewelry Hanger

I saw this awesome jewelry hanger on Just Thought I’d Share about a week ago.  This made me think about my poor jewelry hanging out in one giant ball in the top drawer of my dresser.  Most of the time I am too lazy or crunched for time to bother pulling them apart to actually wear something!  I’ve been thinking for a long time that I needed some sort of jewelry box, but I just hadn’t bought/found/made one.

Then I saw this fantastic idea!  A frame that displays all of your jewelry on hooks!  Like art!  Something to sort my jewelry and decorate my walls at the same time?  Fabulous!  I had to make one right away!

I immediately headed for my icky-looking frame collection and found a large metal frame that used to hold my sorority composites while I was in college.  The edge was starting to rust, so it needed some sort of refinishing. This is where I ran into trouble.  I really didn’t want to purchase anything specifically for this project so that ruled out spray paint or some sort of primer.  My first attempts at just painting over the frame with a silver acrylic were a definite fail.  Then I attempted some sort of refinish like my fabric covered frame from a few weeks ago.  Another fail.  Nothing wanted to stick to this ugly frame!  Eventually I settled on a layer of tacky glue and then fabric clamped down (with about 100 paper clips) overnight until it dried into position.  It still didn’t want to stick, but when the backing was added to the frame, it stayed in place nicely!

After my experiences, I would highly recommend a different frame (this was a pretty ugly frame to begin with) or a purchase of primer as the original instructions described!

I settled on old jeans to cover the frame and a scrap of a suiting fabric my cousin gave me a while ago.  This was a relatively easy project except for my whole frame fiasco!  I am very pleased with the results and wear my jewelry a lot more frequently!  I highly recommend it!

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Filed under Containers, Decorations, Fabric, Other, Other

Coffee Can for Coasters

My mom made me these fantastic map coasters out of a Martha Stewart magazine.  I absolutely love them!  Quickly, I found I needed a place to contain them to keep them from getting lost.  I have cats and these are the exact sort of things they like to hide places.  I found this old coffee can in my grandparents’ basement (the same basement I rescued Tiki Man from!) and thought it would be perfect!  It was relatively easy to make as long as you have the right tools.  It has become one of my nephew’s favorite toys as well!  It can be a drum…holds things…makes a pretty cool noise when dropped on the ground…all the things that are important to an 11 month old!  Basically, I have found it to be quite resilient!  I made this project a while ago, so I apologize for not having all the pictures.

Materials needed:

  • Clean metal coffee can large enough to fit your coasters (I’m sure you can use a plastic one, but I think the metal ones look cooler)
  • Permanent marker (optional)
  • Saw able to cut metal (and all the safety precautions that are used with metal working)
  • Metal file (optional)
  • Electric tape in fun complimentary colors


  1. Decide how tall you want the final container to be.  My container is about 2-1/2″ tall.  There just happened to be a ridge at this height, so that’s where we cut it.  You may choose to draw a line around the container to make sure you cut a straight line.
  2. Clamp the container down and start sawing!  My husband actually used a band saw for this part.  Electric toys are not my friends.  I have cut through a few too many extension cords.
  3. You may want to use a file to get rid of any particularly rough edges.  I skipped this step and went straight for the electric tape as it covers up the rough edges nicely!
  4. Wrap the top edge of the can with electric tape.  I chose black and green to compliment the rest of the can.  Thin strips of duct tape would probably work for this step as well, but I used what I had on hand.
  5. Your coaster container is complete!

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Filed under Containers, Metal