Handmade Cat Scratch Ramp

Our cat, Coco, loves to keep her claws razor sharp.

She was feral for the first year of her life and she’s still a wild child at heart. She plays with a lot of energy. She throws her toys in the air, catches them, and then throws them again while running around the room… over and over again. She plays with her toys like she’s trying to kill them.

When she sharpens her claws, she does it with the same intensity. Lucky for us (and for her) she is a very well behaved cat and only sharpens her claws on her scratching ramp (and once on the tree when she was able to escape outside).

When we adopted her, I bought her a scratching ramp made of corrugated cardboard. It was relatively inexpensive. It was kind of like this one, but it was in the shape of a wave.

In true Coco fashion, she liked to climb up on it and get her whole body into the action. As you can imagine, this ramp didn’t last long and she broke it into about 4 or 5 pieces that looked like this:

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Of course, being the awesome cat that she is, she kept using it (well, them, since there were several pieces) as her one and only scratching implement. I appreciated that, but not the little pieces of shredded cardboard everywhere! I mentioned to my sweet and handy hubby that I was planning to buy her a new one and he told me that he would make something for her.

He had a 4×8 sheet of cardboard that was leftover from a recent lumber delivery (It doesn’t get any better than free!). He cut it up into 3” wide strips, rolled glue on both sides and then clamped it all together. He then made a pattern on a piece of scrap wood and, using the band saw, cut the cardboard to match the pattern. He cut some arts and crafts style legs and since she’s a “climb-aboard” scratcher, he reinforced the span between the ramp and the legs with some more corrugated cardboard and scrap wood.

Sorry, since he didn’t know I was going to do a post about this, I don’t have any photos of the building process.

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This ramp is so nice! It’s cute, heavy-duty and the cat LOVES it.

She’s been using it for over a month now and it’s holding up really well to her abuse, much better than the old one!

What kind of scratching post does your cat prefer?

Vi snakkes! (“See you later” in Norwegian)

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Making a new crate look vintage by staining with tea

I picked up a new, inexpensive crate on sale at Michael’s for only $3.99. I wanted it to look old, so I surfed around on the internet for a good, non-toxic way to stain it. I’ve heard of staining wood with tea (black tea contains tannins, which can darken wood), but I’ve never tried it before. I thought I’d give it a whirl. It turned out wonderful and it was so great to do it all without gross, toxic chemicals!

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First, you take a little steel wool and soak it in some white vinegar (enough to cover the steel wool) for a few days. I let mine sit in a mason jar (with the cap just sitting on top) for 3 days. The steel wool will partially disintegrate, but not completely.

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Second, you need some used tea bags. I make a 3 quart pitcher of iced tea every day, so I saved the used tea bags in a bowl for about 5-6 days. That means I had about15-18 family size tea bags all together.

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When the steel wool/vinegar mixture is ready to use, place your tea bags in a separate container or bowl. Boil some water, pour the hot water over the tea bags and leave to steep for a few hours.

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Discard the tea bags. Brush the tea mixture onto your entire prepped wood project. The tea contains tannic acid that is transferred to the wood.The tea mixture does not need to stay hot for this to work. The color will not really change, it will just look wet. Let the wood dry.

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After the entire piece is dry, brush the steel wool/vinegar mixture onto your piece, the color will immediately start to change and will continue to darken as it dries. Let it dry completely. You can sand it afterward (to lighten the color) or leave it as is.

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While I was at it, I also stained a little star sign that I picked up at Michael’s for.. you guessed it… $3.99. The star was pre-aged, but the little sign was plain, unstained wood.

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Tips:

Wear gloves.

Cover your work surface (if you care about it)

I’m planning to sand the crate just a little and then add some character to it (not sure what yet). I’ll post an update when I do.

Vi snakkes! (“See you later” in Norwegian)

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Look what arrived in the mail!

 

Last month, I entered a giveaway for a Kreg Jig Jr on The Quaint Cottage and I won! The other day, the Kreg came in the mail and I can’t wait to use it!

What should I make first? I’m thinking of making a little bed for the cat to sleep in on the laundry room window sill. She likes to sleep in any laundry basket that I walk away from for half a second… especially clean, warm clothes.

Or, maybe I should make the wooden planter I’ve been admiring on PinterestMaybe I’ll make both! Anyway, thank you Karen for the giveaway!

Also, you may have read my post about my rosemary seeds growing into a cilantro plant. Well, Burpee sent me a replacement pack. Wasn’t that nice of them?

I love getting good stuff in the mail! Don’t you?

Vi snakkes! (“See you later” in Norwegian)

 

We have… cilantro??

 

I love the smell of rosemary. At one of our prior homes, the previous occupant had planted rosemary and mint, and both of the plants were huge. I loved it.

So, when I happened to come across rosemary seeds at my local home improvement store, I bought them. I was planning to plant only heirloom seeds, but I caved in and bought these seeds anyway. My reasoning was that, since we rarely cook with rosemary, this plant would be purely ornamental. Lame excuse, I know.

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I planted the rosemary seeds… or what I thought were rosemary seeds over a month ago. As the plant started sprouting, I thought to myself “That doesn’t look like rosemary”. It continued to grow and it is indeed NOT rosemary, it’s cilantro! I pulled off a leaf and it is very tasty cilantro, but not at all rosemary. I’ve never had this happen before. Have you?

 

 

The goods news is that we do a LOT of cooking with Cilantro! I now have rosemary growing as well.

 

 

Happy Planting,