Crazy Cat Lady

You may not know this, but I am a crazy cat lady.  Or at least I hope to be one day.  I currently have 3 living here (and I am trying to justify getting more).  They do not get along well so one has separate living space.  The one that is alone is definitely a loner when it comes to other cats, but we didn’t know that when she first came to live with us.  (Yes, us.  Crazy cat lady status not withstanding, I am not an 87 year old blue haired lady who has 20+ cats and no guy.)  My Guy loves cats, too.  In fact, all of our cats where once just his.  Which is why he didn’t look at me like I was nuts when I told him I wanted to get the little one some furniture, I think.  The other cats have all sorts of things to jump up on, but our little one didn’t have a whole lot of places she could perch.

I had spend a good bit of time on a great site for Ikea Addicts.  I stumbled onto it via Pinterest.  I had seen some cool ideas to use some of the pieces from Ikea to make pet related items, and one was one of my favorite bookcases.  That was it.  I was going to Ikea and coming back with cat furniture, or the beginnings of it at least.

A simple to build bookcase, a piece of carpet and a pet bed is really all you will need.

A simple to build bookcase, a piece of carpet and a pet bed is really all you will need.

So I buzzed over to the store and picked up a 2×2 Expedit bookcase, an indoor/outdoor rug, some heavy duty Velcro, and got to work.  These cases are really easy to put together.  I did it by myself and I think it took 20 minutes or so.

20 minutes later…

I cut a piece of the rug to fit the top, about 15″ by 34″ as I wanted some over hang.  I attached this with Velcro so I can change it out once it gets torn up.  The original project that inspired this had rope wrapped around the side pieces so the cats could scratch, but knowing our cat, I knew the rug is what she would go after so I didn’t bother with the rope.  In one of the cubbies I put a pillow (with a removable and washable cover) I left 2 unaltered in case she wanted to cool her belly on the wood, and the 4th cubbie I lined with her fuzzy blanket.  She loves to look at herself so I have a mirror set on the top so she can admire her cute furry self.

She loves to sit on the top of the petting station and look at herself in the mirror. It is covered in little nose prints.

She loves this thing!  We have taken to calling it her petting station.  She hangs out on top of it more often than not, and everyone who passes her must pay the toll (which is a few pats on the head or a butt scratch)   Since I originally made the petting station a few months back, I have whipped up a cute little pet bed that sits on the top.

This is the pet bed that sits on top of the petting station.  It is possible that she is a little spoiled

This is the pet bed that sits on top of the petting station. It is possible that she is a little spoiled

She is almost always up there now, but I put a few treats in the lower cubbies every now and then so she checks those out occasionally.  Over all this was a great idea for kitties, and if she ever decides she doesn’t like it, it is still an awesome bookcase.

Here she is waiting for treats

Here she is waiting for treats

Gonna call this one: Nailed It! since the little one is so happy with it.

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Things have been just crazy! But I have a ton of projects to share =)

So I have not disappeared, but sometimes I wish  I could!  Things have been crazy busy and I haven’t had time to document any of my projects.  I feel so bad!  I have done a ton of projects since my last post, and I plan to continue.

One of the things I have done, was learned to crochet.  It is a ton of fun!  I have been knitting for years, my aunt taught me how and I have made so many scarves that I hate to think of counting them all.  I make washcloths too which are fun, but I never really progressed much after that.  I feel there is so much more I am able to do with crochet though.  I love, love, love that I can stop at any point during a row and not have to wait until I get to the end to pause my work.  It makes working up items in a long line, waiting room, or where ever  so much easier.

If you do not know how to crochet I highly recommend the site I found (via Pinterest of course) that taught me how.  The woman who teaches the lessons is fantastic.  If you have ever wanted to learn, check her out.  She has a whole lot of other fun projects on her site as well.

Anyway – since I followed her lessons I have ventured out on my own and started many new crochet projects.  I have even finished a number of them!
Over the next few days I will detail them here, add a few pictures and any hints/tips I find useful.

I think I will start with what is my favorite project so far, well…this week at least.  It is a poncho.  I had never really been into ponchos, (I alway think back to one of the first season episodes of One Tree Hill where Nathan picks on Haley’s Poncho) but my mom had bought me one last year and I just loved it.  They are easy, comfy, and at least the ones I have had are light.  I hate to be too warm!  I am happiest at around 60 degrees, even though sometimes I freeze my guy out in the winter.  Anyway, when I saw a poncho that was even lighter than the one I had at home, I knew it was going to be on my “need to make that” list.  and oh my!  It was easy.  I think it took me about 2 hours to whip up, and mind you I am not a fast crocheter, as I had only learned the basics about 2 weeks prior.  I also had this small stash of yarn that I was in love and had no clue what to make with it.  It was just so pretty, it looked like peacock feathers, and was soo soft.  (And it was on CLEARANCE!)

I found the pattern over at The Sunroom, and got to work.  It was beyond simple to make.  I did tweak it a bit, but nothing over the top.  It uses the chain stitch, double crochet, and slip stitch.  That’s it.  Easy peasy.  She has the full instructions listed for the ones they have posted, but I will show you what I did.  I imagine for a smaller person the original would do just fine, but for me, being a bit….larger in the chest area, I made mine a bit longer.  Also I wanted it to come down to my elbows and the pattern they had only came to about 3/4 of the way down my upper arm.

Well, moving on.  You do a simple chain, but do it where you aren’t going to get interrupted as you will need to make about 100 chains.

IMG_20130318_195754

They used an 8 mm hook, but as I am limited in what I have on hand, I used a smaller K sized hook (which I think is 6.5 mm) For me the 100 chains is large enough to slip over the tops of both of my shoulders, so if you want something a bit closer in, do less chains in 5 chain increments.  I think 80 90 would look really nice. (I originally thought 80 would be great but I think it is a little too small)  So you join the chain at the end with a slip stitch.  For the first row after the chain, you chain 9 and do a double crochet into the 5th chain on the first row, and continue to chain 6 and double crochet into the 5th chain along the initial chain, and at the end of the first row do a slip stitch to join that round.

single round

The next row you start by doing a double crochet into the bottom of the first one, chain 7 (each row you add one more chain to every section) and double crochet into the bottom of the one in the previous round, slip stitch at the end.  The original pattern called for 10 rows, and if you stop there, at least for me as I am a bit loosey goosey would have been one skein of yarn (85 grams, 102 yards medium weight Yarn Bee brand Andes Alpaca yarn) but I had two skeins and wanted a bit longer poncho, so I forged ahead.  I went another 3 rows, increasing the chains 1 extra for each round, ending with 18 chains in each section.  It turned out so lovely, I have found myself digging through my yarn stash looking for another great yarn to make one of these for me, my mom, my aunt & a few gal pals.  I am just in love.  Now this is not a poncho that is going to keep you warm on a blistering cold day near the ocean.  But even as open and airy as it is, I find it does keep the chill off.

my new project

If you are looking for a cute and quick gift this is an awesome little project that doesn’t take much yarn, time, or skill for that matter.  But it looks so nice.  I think it would be so great if done in a hairy scary eyelash yarn or something light and feathery like a mohair.  It could really dress up a simple dress if done in a yarn with some sparkle to it, I love the dewdrop yarn that has some sequins every now and then worked into it.  Also, you could make this a bit warmer if you did a closer knit pattern.  I am thinking if you did your starting chain with 90, 93, 96 or 99 and doing your double crochet at every 3rd chain rather than every 5th, and for the first round the in between chains would start with 4 rather than 6 chains it would be much warmer and less open.  Great for those evenings dinning outdoors on a patio in early spring or fall.

Just so you can see what doing a smaller starting chain can do – here is a picture of 80 chains with 3 rounds of stitches.  For me, it is a bit too small, I think that 90 would be much nicer, but for a tween, maybe this would work?

80 with 3 rounds

Just a little hint that I think will help.  When I made this, after the first 10 rounds I tried it on and didn’t like how short it was, but not sure how many more rounds I needed to go to get it just right, I left it on and crocheted around and around until I liked the length.  It really helped me so I didn’t have to do a round, secure the yarn, try it on, tug at it to get it just so and see how I like it.  I just kept going until it looked right, tied it off, tucked in the ends and called it done. ponchoForgive the excessive eraser marks.  While I have been busy doing lots of projects, cleaning was not one of them and if my mom ever saw the background…well I just didn’t want her to disown me.  You understand, I am sure.

I am going to have to say: Nailed It!  Since I have worn it 4-5 times since I made it and am loving it =)