Archive | August, 2012

Find the Kitty: She’s Sew Sneaky!

August 31, 2012

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FTKFabric01

She absolutely loved it under the fabric. Not sure why, maybe she wanted to “be” where we were. It was very difficult to get anything done with her inside the reams of cloth! When I plopped some extra fabric on the floor, she ignored it. Go figure.

FTKFabric2

Have a happy weekend, friends!

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Just Sew Busy

August 30, 2012

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Blogging has really taken a back seat this summer, hasn’t it? Well, it usually does for me. Summers are when I have to cram in all the house projects on top of all the other stuff I do.

We’ve been very busy working on redecorating the living room. I am happy to say that I think i may finally get my curtain drapes done tonight. The boys are very much relieved, as they are the ones who hang the sheets in the windows every night. :S

As always, Livvy likes to join in on the projects. She’s so cute, it’s difficult to boot her out.

FTKFabric1

My built-in bookcase projects has slowed considerably. It’s a large project and I’m not the type to do a little here, a little there when I can squeeze things in. I need a big chunk of time to get it all done. I haven’t had any chunks of time lately. Hopefully, next week I’ll dedicate my efforts to it. We are all so tired of seeing the piles of books and boxes around the house!

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Cat Pheromone Spray – Does It Really Work?

August 23, 2012

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We love our pets, right? So why do we turn red-eyed and start foaming at the mouth when the blasted critters destroy the house? Furniture and carpets are MIGHTY expensive. The reason I threw my two previous housecats out of the house was because they scratched, clawed and destroyed everything. That $500 wallpaper in the hallway? It’s in ribbons. The $300 reclining wing chair and $200 love seat? In tatters. Every my fake-suede desk chair is pocked with claw and teeth marks. Why is it so darn difficult for the cats to restrain themselves to the scratching posts?!

Livvy our Tabby-Point Siamese is not nearly as destructive as the tabby cats were, but she is still a champion scratcher. comfort1She’s the one who has marked up my desk chair and she’s starting to eye the new love seat, too. I won’t get the cats declawed, just because I read that cats walk on their tiptoes (their claws) and it’s mean to take that away. So I endure. Barely.

I’ve heard about this cat pheromone stuff, but honestly, I treated the news like it was just another one of those “infomercial” type of products. It sounded too good to be true.

I THINK — I just possibly think!!! — that I have found something that works! It’s called Comfort Zone® with Feliway. A month ago, ComfortZone sent me several samples of their Feliway diffuser and sprayer products. They also included a few cute stuffed animals for Livvy– sweet! I’ve been trying them out for about 3, 4 weeks now. I actually have started to notice a difference in Livvy.

First, we tried the diffuser. It plugs into the electrical outlet and is good for one month. There is no discernible odor.

comfort2

comfort3

It takes a while for the stuff to have an effect. Livvy is by nature a sweet-tempered kitty, but she’d been going through a rough time and had been pretty grumpy all spring and summer. I don’t know if it coincidence or not, but about 2 weeks after I plugged in the diffuser, she’s been so much better!

But the real test came with the spray. I did not want her to shred the love seat. So I saturated the couch with the spray! The directions say that to prevent or stop scratching, spray the Comfort Zone® Feliway once a day over the area. I did it last week.

SHE HAS STOPPED SCRATCHING THE LOVE SEAT!

I’m incredulous. She actually used her scratching post!

relaxeddlivv

Does she look like her stress levels are down, or what?

Here’s the scoop about the Comfort Zone® with Feliway:

  • Comfort Zone® products not only help reduce scratching, they helps reduce urine marking, spraying and other destructive behavior. The product contains pheromones, the same hormones that your cat makes and rubs all over things when she nuzzles things with her face.
  • Comfort Zone® says that most pet owners see a 96% reduction in urine marking within 4 weeks and 95% reduction in scratching in 7 days.
  • Because the product contains the stress-reducing hormones that cats produce, Comfort Zone® Feliway helps reduce all kinds of stress-related behavior. Besides reducing the scratching-everything-in-site behavior, Comfort Zone® also helps reduce cat spraying, urine marking, frightful hissing, and other stress-related behavioral problems.
  • The spray bottle is small– perfect for traveling. To help calm the pet before a visit to the vet or other car trip, spray the Comfort Zone® Feliway in the carrier about 20 minutes before the cat goes in. It makes the trip much better!
  • Comfort Zone® products are clinically-proven and veterinarian-recommended for helping reduce stress in pets!

Now if you have a dog, don’t despair. Comfort Zone® makes a product for canines, too: Comfort Zone® with D.A.P. for Dogs. Instead of stuffing the dog in one of those Thundershirts, try the D.A.P. stuff first. The spray is great for helping puppies transition to a new home, and helps reduce whining, chewing and other stress-related problems.

You can check out both products at the Comfort Zone® website. Just so you know, I did get some free samples in exchange for this review. I think I got the better end of the deal because the product has saved my love seat.

By the way, about those housecats I threw out of the house… They’re OK so don’t start crying. They became “outdoor” cats and sleep in heated cushy cat cubes in the basement and the garage. They eat canned tuna and get Temptations treats, vet visits, and are regularly furminated. Some days, I envy their posh lifestyle, haha.

Thanks for reading!

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Find the Kitty Friday: Cabinet Kitty

August 17, 2012

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The walls and window trim is all painted, ans we’re preparing to build the bookcases. Livvy wants in on the fun:

CabinetKitty

Unfortunately, she gets her kitty hair everywhere! OUT!

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RetroTread Stairs — I Like This!

August 13, 2012

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In the near future, I have to replace my staircase. Several of the treads and risers are cracked, and previous owners have painted the stairs to oblivion. I’m sure the things are loaded with lead paint. :-p Eventually, I’ll have to rebuild the staircase *shudder*. I happened upon this video while doing a little preliminary research. I like these!

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Removing the Hard-Wired Telephone

August 11, 2012

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Remember those old phones from the 1970s, before modular jacks were installed? We didn’t own them but the phone companies rented them to us? Hard-wire phones refer the type of phone connected directly to the wiring system and secured to the wall. While very stable and durable for its day, especially in the busy office environment, modern telephones provide much more flexibility and yield better quality than these old phones. With a little exertion and a few snips with the wire cutters, the device will easily disconnect from the wall.

You’ll Need:
Utility knife
Paper clip
Wire cutters
Screwdriver
Electrical tape

1.
Score lightly around the body of the telephone with the utility knife where the phone meets the wall. This will break the paint seal if the wall was painted or the ring of hardened dust in very old phones.

2.
Place the heel of your hand at the bottom of the phone while holding the phone speakerset with your other hand, to stabilize it. Push up on the phone to release the phone from the wall mount. Some phone models have a small metal tab that you must release before loosening the phone from the mount. If so, press the tab with a flat head screwdriver while pushing the phone up with the other hand. Other phone models have small screws concealed behind the phone number card. If so, turn the rotary finger wheel clockwise until it stops and locate a small hole on the frame behind the wheel. Insert the end of a paper clip into the hold and press firmly until the finger wheel pops off. Unscrew the exposed screws to remove the phone from the wall.

3.
Snip each of the four telephone wires, one at a time, that are attached to the back of the phone. If you intend on reusing the wiring for a new telephone, snip the wires as close to the phone as possible. This will give you a little additional wire length for your rewiring project. When all the wires are cut, set the phone aside.

4.
Unscrew the wall mount screws with the screwdriver, if necessary.

5.
Wrap the loose telephone wires together with electrical tape and secure the tape to the wall. This will prevent the wires from slipping back into the wall cavity.

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Lots of Houses For Sale Lately

August 11, 2012

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With the better weather, we’ve been traveling around town and out of town more frequently. As I travel, I usually take in the local flavor of the places we go, paying attention to house architecture (gives me a good idea of when the town was founded, or when it went through a period of prosperity), businesses, cleanliness of the town, and — most of all — whether there are many homes for sale. Here in Upstate New York, small communities tend to suffer economically more than the national average, as we have extremely high taxes and living costs from the get-go. When the nation’s economy suffers, it usually compounds the community problems around here. Taxes are exorbitantly high, and lots and lots of people are poking For Sale signs in their lawns and hiring Dallas movers to take them away. But even in far-away places like the Midwest and West, property values are starting to decline and taxes are increasing. Some of my pals out west are looking into those “we buy houses Dallas” companies to sell their homes fast and get out of a declining neighborhood.

I personally cannot fathom how you guys out west and down south do it…. It’s just so hot down there, even with the lower taxes and better property values. Here in New York State, the climate is wonderful most of the time (except July). What you all pay for first class heat and air probably equals that to what we pay in taxes here, right?

Anyway, I’m seeing lots of For Sale signs up now. Part of it has to do with the season (people rarely put their homes up for sale in the winter around here), but part of it has to do with the massive migration out of the state for greener (and less expensive) pastures. It’s sad that people must leave their homes because they can no longer afford the cost of their government and public schools….

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This Is It: Living Room Re-Do

August 5, 2012

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In 2007, I gutted the living room. It was the first “big” project here and I never intended it to be such a large project. But as is the way with old homes, as soon as I opened a wall and saw what was there, I could not close the wall back up without resolving the problems within. So I ripped out everything and rebuilt it all: new electric, shoring up of the wall studs, insulating the walls, adding additional lighting, new flooring….

While I am very happy with the new wiring and Lord knows I’m thrilled to have an insulated room in the house, my final decorative touches were very rushed. I slapped up new paint and quickly installed a snap-together, laminate floating floor system. I originally wanted carpeting or hardwood but it is just too expensive right now. And after all was said and done, I hauled in our junky, second-hand furniture and settled for that.

Fast-forward several years. Since a section of the room is my little office, that area of the living room is a disaster. Papers and books and computer equipment and other things are scattered everywhere. I’ve expanded and have had no where to put my reams and reams of books that I use for my writing, nor do I have any storage options for all my computer equipment and things I review. The room is always a mess, always disorganized, never a pleasant place to sit.

So I decided to redecorate it. Well– to decorate it!

Living Room before 2

Painting is easy. Some of the other projects are new. I’m going to try my hand at furniture by making an enormous built-in bookcase along a wall. I’m going to use unfinished stock cabinets (they sell very cheaply), stain them myself, and use them as the base for a plywood system of shelves. Everything will be secured to the wall. I hope to give the room that “English library” look. I also hope that a 12 foot wall, 9 feet high will be able to house my very extensive collection of old and new books. I have boxes and boxes of them that have been in storage for decades because I’ve had no place to keep them.

I also have to create a faux chimney box. It’s not for a chimney, it’s for a gas fireplace insert that we are saving up for. I’m trying to plan for the future by making it now, so I won’t have to cover everything in sheets again! I’ll create my own wooden mantelpiece from stock wood, too.

And finally, I’m sewing some new curtains. I’m using this project to teach my daughter how to use the sewing machine, so next time I need curtains, she can sew them. 😉

So I’ll be pretty busy for the next two weeks. The kids are going to do a lot of the grunt work (staining, patching holes in the walls, etc). They already primed the living room trim so we can start painting tomorrow. Thank God the heat has abated, we were going in slow motion for a while, like fish in a murky pond.

Living Room before 1

It will be very good to have this room finally and completely done. I’m going to work hard and create an organized work station for all my stuff, too. I can’t wait until it’s done!

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Find the Kitty Friday: Towel Talk

August 3, 2012

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Oh, she’s such a sly little thing. Where oh where can she be?!

LivvyTowel1

AHA!

LivvyTowel2

The towel was slightly damp and it’s been hotter than blazes around here, so no wonder she didn’t want to come out.

Sorry I haven’t been doing much here lately. We’ve been traveling and I’ve been working a lot. But we’ve got some very exciting renovations and remodeling planned next week. I’m going to re-do my living room decor and finally build the 17-foot long, built-in bookcase set. It’s my first bookcase, so it’ll be interesting. We’re also sewing curtains and going to paint the room with a more shocking color scheme. Cant wait til its done!

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