“Pokémon Go Get a Life” and other bullshit – a rant

Pokemon Go Have Fun

Funny isn’t it? We’re always told to carve our own paths; stay true to ourselves; do whatever it is that makes us happy. Yet when something like Pokémon Go comes along, suddenly everyone’s changed their tune.

The most common thing I’ve heard over the past couple of weeks has been “some people need to get a life”, and always said with such venom so that you know it’s not just a passing comment; it’s actually a strong feeling they have about something, despite the fact that it doesn’t affect them at all. “Get a life” they say, totally un-accepting that playing something like Pokémon Go could ever be anything other than a total waste of time.

I’ve heard some wonderful stories about Pokémon Go – vets with PTSD who couldn’t bring themselves to leave the house previously, kids with Autism finally being able to go out and socialise with other gamers. And for me, I’ve walked over 50,000 more steps more than normal each week since downloading the app, which is pretty awesome for my health. And I’ve been having fun doing it.

But it’s as if “carving your own path” is only okay as long as you choose one of the socially accepted ways of doing it, in which case it’s not really your own path at all, is it?

I know I’ve judged people for their choices before – I’m not at all innocent in all this. People who watch reality TV shows. People who spend hundreds of dollars supporting whatever sports team they are into. I’ve looked at them all thinking that perhaps there is a better use of their time and energy. But I think I’ve also kept in the back of my mind that if it makes them happy, then it’s OK (although I still don’t understand how sports can be a 30 minute News item!).

“Get a life” and “a waste of time” are such cruel things to say. It goes beyond just not “getting it”. It’s a total, unequivocal dismissal of worth, and it’s upsetting.

I know we should “ignore the haters”, but let’s be honest: that’s not always particularly easy. I think a much better phrase to insert into common use would be “don’t be a hater”.

#DontBeAHater

Cat hide-away for IKEA EXPEDIT/KALLAX

Whilst spending far too much time on Pinterest I saw a pin of a felted cat box designed to be used in IKEA’s hugely popular Expedit bookshelves (now replaced with Kallax). I thought it was a fantastic idea – I have an Expedit bookshelf myself – but the seller wanted over $100 including shipping. Goodness!

But it’s just a box with a hole in it. So I figured I’d try to make something similar using IKEA’s own boxes designed for Expedit, the DRÖNA. It worked swell!

EXPEDIT Cat Box IKEA Hack

It turned out to be SO simple to do. The only thing I did extra was to add a cushion for comfort, and put a little rubber foot at each corner of the base to stop the thing sliding as kitty gets in and out.

And since the DRÖNA boxes are just $5… what a saving!

 

Rental-friendly Kitty Window Perch

About six months ago I joined the ranks of crazy cat lady, and adopted a 2-year old kitty from a local vets. She’s the best – so cute! But I digress…

I’ve also fully bought in to the Catification movement. Catify to satisfy. Modifing/adding to your home to make sure that the environment is enriching your indoor cat’s life.

There’s a problem though. Many common catifications involve – naturally – fixing things to your walls or ceiling. Unfortunately I do not own my own home. I am a renter; I am at the mercy of a contract that states I shall not fix anything to the walls of my home without written permission from the owner. Not an easy thing, some of you will already know.

So I’ve been looking for ways to catify in rental-friendly ways. I’ve had all sorts of crack-pot plans in my mind. Here is one of them.

window-perch-2

There are a lot of these window perches around, but they are always screwed to the wall. I’ve worked out a way to get the same result without needing to make a mark on the property. Here’s what I used:

blueprintfullb

Here’s how I did it:

  1. After painting the tray white to match my brackets, I first worked out the final position of my shelf, and measured the depth of the window ledge. This told me how far back the L-brackets needed to be fixed. While not being screwed to the wall, the brackets are still necessary to give support.
  2. Then I fixed the L-brackets to the bottom of the tray with the screws. I had to do one up and one down, due to the shape of my brackets.
  3. I cut two strips from the non-slip mat, and fixed to the front face of the brackets with double-sided tape.
  4. Then I stuck the Command strips to the tray where it sits on the window-sill.
  5. Then I removed the sticky packing from the other side of the Command strips, and very carefully put into place at the window, making sure all three strips were pressed firmly against the window-sill.
  6. Finally I whipped up a fleecy cushion to sit in the tray.

So the idea here is that the brackets take the downwards force of kitty’s weight, translating it sideways into the wall, and the Command strips stop the whole thing sliding backwards and slipping off the ledge.

Admittedly it’s not as strong as it would be if fixed to the wall – I can’t sit on it myself. But it’s secure enough to take kitty’s weight, so that’s fine.

In the end I actually positioned my perch in the corner of a bay window, giving it an extra side of ledge support. But if you don’t have that arrangement, but have a wide enough ledge, the method above should suffice.

I have so many nutty ideas still to come. I might be back here again soon!

UPDATE:

After several weeks she finally sat on the damn thing! I can now confirm that it works🙂

yay

 

Space Shoes! Unloved Vans Makeover

Back in 2014 I inherited some unwanted Vans – unwanted because they were originally white, but one of them had become stained a watery brown colour. I’ve kept them for months with the intention of decorating them and making them beautiful.

Now, I know I’m about a year late to this craft party, so I won’t bother with a How-to – there are already several great ones if you do a quick google. So I hope you won’t mind me just posting a couple of pictures in order to show off. I’m so chuffed with the outcome!

DIY Galaxy Shoes - decorated Vans sneakers

I used FabricArt Dimensional fabric paints by Derivan in black, blue, pink, and white. This stuff is cold curing, so I just need to leave them out for 72 hours and they will be rub and wash-fast. To be sure though I think I’ll give them a waterproofing spray before I wear them out and about.

Forgot to do a before shot, so here’s a just-after-starting shot:

Ruined Vans: before

Aaaand another after:

Ruined Vans: after

So pleased🙂

Church Rose Graphic Prints

 

I was inspired a little while ago, whilst trying to work out what to do with an awkward bare wall in my new apartment, by seeing a bunch of window rose designs on a random Google image search.

Church windows are absolutely stunning things. I used to sing in our local church choir, and was lucky enough to sing at Peterborough Cathedral in the UK as a teenager (achieving my DeansChorister Award, no less), and must admit to having spent most of the time just staring around at the beauty inside the cathedral.

Notre Dame

A rather famous rose on Notre Dame in Paris

While the colours and refraction of light surely give the biggest wow factor, there are also some pretty complex shapes involved, and window roses are, I think, the best example of this. How on Earth, before 3D printers and computer aided design, did people ever manage to create such perfect symmetry, by hand? That’s some skillz, yo.

So anyway, I decided to recreate some window rose shapes in the artwork for my wall, and I’m really pleased with how they turned out. I chose a muted navy blue to match my couch, and copied the mossy green colour from a feature wall in the same area. Then spent AGES trying to find square frames.

finished

If you like what I’ve done please feel free to download the shapes for personal use by clicking here. You can change the colour layer to anything you like using this .psd file.

Click to download .psd

DIY Painted stick necklace holder

Jewelry boxes are great and everything, but like earphone cables, my long necklaces conspire in the dark, tangling themselves into an almost inseparable mess. So I devised a solution which is actually so simple I’m kind of annoyed I didn’t think of it sooner.

You can spend ages collecting beautiful necklaces, why hide them away in a box while they aren’t in use?

How to:

  1. Find a stick
  2. Clean the stick
  3. Add some colour to the stick (I went for a slightly aboriginal style using some paint I had leftover from another project)
  4. Hammer nails into the stick at intervals. Top tip: If you’re fussy like me it pays to put a little effort in here. I used a gridded mat to make sure that my vertically hanging necklaces ended up at equal distances apart. With a bendy stick, if you just measure along its length, your items may not be evenly spaced.
  5. Attach string at both ends. Mine just looks tied, but it’s also PVAed into place so nice and secure.
  6. Hang from wall.
  7. To prevent the stick from swinging every time you touch it, attach a couple of blobs of white-tak where it makes contact with the wall. This will also protect your paintwork from scratches.
  8. Hang jewelry!

 

DIY Upholstered Headboard Hack

Before and after - IKEA Malm

I’ve been slightly obsessed with Channel 7’s House Rules over the last few weeks. Probably in part due to the fact that Vince and I recently moved into a new place and I’ve got a serious case of the nestings. I usually cannot abide reality TV in any of its forms, but something about House Rules really took me.

In two of the renovations teams chose these wonderful, huge, padded headboards for the bedrooms. It never occurred to me that this was done outside of hotel rooms and the 1970s, and I was instantly taken with how awesome and inviting it made the beds look.

Our own bedroom suffers from too much bright white wall space, and looked a little on the clinical side. As renters, we can’t just add a splash of colour to the walls, or hang shelves, nice big mirrors, or artwork (as good as 3M hooks are, I just can’t trust them with something heavy above where I sleep!), so I’ve been looking for clever ways to soften the wall space. A big, soft headboard might be part of the solution, but as a part-time student with fees to pay, I could forget spending $1500 for a good one.

Then I stumbled across a DIY version. This was an IKEA hack, using the exact bed we had. Bingo!

The building phase

Building a bigger headboard

Step one would be to build the headboard up nice and tall. We didn’t have the shelf unit that the people in the IKEA hack had, so we ventured to the As-Is section of IKEA and were lucky enough to find some battered shelves in exactly the right thickness of wood. We bought two – which just happened to be one in black and one in white – and raced back home to hack them up.

Chopping to size

With Vince’s help and a circular saw loan from a friend we attached the two boards together, trimmed them to size, and braced them to the existing headboard.

Retro Headboard - WIP

The stapling phase

Despite this looking pretty funky as it was, I now needed to find some fabric. I had my heart set on a light grey velvet, so I scoured the Internet looking for Australian sellers of my dream material.

Pfffft! Australia and eCommerce are apparently only mild acquaintances, so reluctantly I ventured out to actually go to a shop.

To cover the headboard I also purchased a 5 metre big roll of value wadding. I doubled up on this for extra softness and with Vince’s help I wrapped the headboard, stapling the wadding into place. The same process saw the fabric stapled into place, and after some fiddling with the awkward corners, we were now the proud owners of a plain padded headboard.

Upholstering the thing

But I wanted tufting.

I planned out my arrangement of tufting and settled on a fairly wide diamond pattern. To ensure the correct spacing Vince and I added string as a guide, and we measured from the middle out, stapling in a tuft every 28 cm.

I want to point out at this stage that staple guns are fun. I wished I had opted for more and smaller diamonds.

To hide the staples I made some buttons with the left over fabric, a button making kit, and my trusty glue gun. These were then carefully hot-glued to the headboard. Hot tip for hot-gluing: just leave the strands be. Once they are set they are much easier and cleaner to snick off.

Tufting and buttoning

And presto! We’ve gone from a boring black stumpy headboard to what is actually a pretty dramatic feature. Sure, it’s not in the same league as the $1500 professional headboards, but for a measly $100 in materials I’m pretty darn pleased.

Before and after - IKEA Malm