04 September 2018

Dogability Ramp v2.0

Back in January I built a little handicap ramp for my elderly doggo, Shelly, who has bad back knees.  She's in great health in general, it's just that she's the dog equivalent of 96 years old.  She couldn't step down from the threshhold onto the patio at the old house, and would often just fall out the door to the outside.  The ramp made all the difference in the world, and it worked great...right up until we moved house. So, over the weekend, I built her a new one.

The plan - in which about half of the measurements are off, but I fixed them as I worked. 

Here's the old ramp.  It was covered with an Ikea bathmat for traction (which constantly slipped off and had to be adjusted daily). The structure, if you want to call it that, was just a leftover piece of plywood screwed to a 2x4 stack of 2" sticks.  It wasn't stable anymore, and without a flat landing, and because of the very steep slope,  the front of the dog was headed downhill before the back of the dog even got out of the door - which caused her to fall and smack her face on the ground. :( 

The new ramp:

  • is an inch taller
  • has a complete frame with internal support to prevent the ramp sagging
  • has a 14" landing to step out onto before going down (for dogs' and humans' safety), and 
  • has a non-skid coating all the way around for traction for the dogs and to prevent the ramp sliding on the patio surface
LR-:  parts cut out;  frame assembled; frame clad with plywood

After hemming and hawing over how best to make this new ramp grippy so Shelly won't slide down it (stair tread safety tape, another math mat, adhesive non-skid shower floor stickers, etc.), I opted to coat the entire thing in Rustoleum's Truck Bed Liner spray.  It's solid stuff, and two coats of it were enough to pretty effectively rubberize the entire surface, making it slip-proof.  It was also much cheaper than any other options, at $7 per can.

Turns out, even grippy truck bed liner spray was too slippery for Ol' Sheller...or maybe it's just that she just doesn't like new things.  Either way, neither she nor Daisy would walk on the ramp AT ALL. Shelly felt trapped outdoors, and Daisy just jumped over the whole thing, which was pretty impressive, I have to say.

So, I picked up a gigantic, $20 shop rug from Blowe's, and cut a piece from it to the shape of the ramp.  Now both dogs use it as if it'd always been there. Whew!

Sure, the thing is huge, dark, and kind of an eyesore. But it helps my dog. And it's awfully comfortable to walk up and down for me, too.  I'm no spring chicken myself, you know? The landing at the top makes a HUGE difference in walkability and comfort.  I wish I'd thought to make it wider, as wide as the door, but I was working with the size plywood I had.   ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  

Incidentally, this is both (a) what I looked like while I was building and spraying the ramp; and (b) how I looked when my new duplex-neighbors rolled up to their new place for the first time.  HR! R'M LRRA!!  *gloved handshake* 

That's all, folks! 

♥♥ Dog of my heart ♥♥

15 August 2018

A Chair I Keep Changing

In 2011 I bought an Ikea NOMINELL task chair - normally $140, but I got it from the as-is section (a floor model) for $10. The first thing I did when I got it home was to destroy the back cover and make a copy of it. I did it again in 2015:

2011 Original chair                               2011 back cover                                    2015 back & seat

Over this past weekend, I changed my task chair again: 

This is the same peacock fabric on the back that is in the living room throw pillows, the seat of the KAUSTBY side chair, and the hanging on the fireplace.

I left the seat the original black, but gave it a thorough cleaning.  I'd read somewhere online that you can clean and restore microfiber fabrics with rubbing alcohol and a soft nail brush.  I'd never tried it, so over the weekend I tried it on this cloth seat and a microfiber office chair that belongs to my roommate - and let me tell you, it works GREAT!  This seat, and Sylvan's chair, look practically brand new.

You can't see it, but there's a 17" zipper in one side of the chair back, to make the cover fit tightly.  The bottom of the back cover has a drawstring that's tucked inside the cover once it's tight.

Now the only thing to do to this chair is take a knife to the wheels and dig out nearly 8 years of thread and pet hair that's clogged the wheels so much that they no longer roll!  Grosssss.

More stuff soon!

14 August 2018


This is the bank of Ikea MOPPEs that I finished at the beginning of August.  Sort of a card-catalog-y look, to store my art supplies in.

MOPPE is Ikea's answer to all the crafty people who are and will forever be upset that they discontinued the FIRA.  Looking back, I wish I'd bought a bazillion FIRAs to play with; but at least I have one.

It started life as this jewelry box, stained, painted, and lined with fabric.

I don't know when this was, maybe 2009? 2011?

It got a makeover in 2012, in which I painted it white, papered the insides of the drawers, and attached little knobs to the drawers and painted wooden candlesticks to use as feet.

In 2014 it became a coffee station organizer.  Painted brown and decorated with label holders from some cardboard Ikea photo boxes similar to the FJALLA they have now. In this pic there's a little tray on top that I painted to match.

Four years later it's looking a little crappy. The label holders keep coming off, and the labels don't stay in place anymore. The finish is chipped and scratched, and let's face it, brown paint is NOT stain.

It was time for an upgrade.

FIRA getting stripped;                     holes in the fronts from the label holders;            tearing paper off the insides. 

I stripped the whole thing down and re-stained it.   I re-papered the drawers, but first I repainted the insides using the same Rustoleum "Chalky" spray paint that I used to makeover the Ikea RASKOG cart in the living room.  I also put little corner feet on the box, and used white paper covered with Washi tape for the labels.

♥ ♥ ♥

My coffee and tea rest secure once again. The FIRA now sort of matches the MOPPEs, and makes a much more attractive coffee-stuff organizer.  I love the feet! They mean that we can store fewer little odds-n-ends on top of the FIRA (less clutter is good!), but I've always loved how raised furniture makes a space feel bigger and more open than it is - even if it's only a 12x16" piece of mini-furniture on a counter.

Random papers in the drawers, and you can sort of see the taupe ("mink") Chalky paint inside

The entire coffee center, next to the kitchen sink. 

Because I know there's at least one of you who's noticed this:  yes, the feet prevent the two side drawers on the bottom row from opening.  You can get to them by removing the center drawer and sliding the corner drawers to the center to pull out.  I have things in those side drawers that we won't need very often, like filters for the Keurig, and tea accessories we almost never use, because neither of us is a huge tea drinker.  I love these little feet, and I'm okay with the sacrifice they required, hehe.

Also, yes, I will be writing on those labels, just as soon as I get a new Sharpie with a good, chiseled point. All the sharpies at home are dulled from writing on cardboard in the move.


13 August 2018

The End of the Great Living Room Extravaganza

The last piece of the living room arrived last week - this gorgeous rug from Target.  It looks like someone took a bland but attractive damask-print rug and dumped brightly-colored paint all over it just to see what would happen. It's GORGEOUS, and I adore it.  The colors are all my favorite greens and blues and teals, which coordinate with the new peacock fabric and the painted table top, and liven up the plain grey and brown furniture.

A short pano of the whole room, with fireplace and bad lighting.  Every photo makes this rug look tiny; but it's a little over 5x7 (it comes in strange sizes, for whatever reason). In such a small space - the entire duplex is 900-some square feet - I hesitated covering up any floor space; but the rug grounds the furniture and actually makes the living room area feel bigger, because it kind of accentuates the open space around the seating area, which I wasn't expecting.  

Mr. Rory Williams approves. 

10 August 2018

The Bedroom

I haven't done anything in here, project-wise;  I just finally got it all together and cleaned up for photographs - and I'm showing off, because I loooooove my bedroom.

Clockwise from the door:

My dresser, the Ikea SONGESAND, which took me nearly two months to find, because it was always out of stock.  Popular one, this thing!

This thing is a big block, but it seems less bulky in a tiny (9x10') room crammed with furniture than I thought it would be.  I love it, though - it's pretty, the finish feels nice, the color is gorgeously dark,  the drawers roll smoothly and quietly, and I have drawer organizers in some of the drawers to help corral my things, which works great.

My vanity, composed of:

  •  an old hall console table that I painted
  • A $10 Goodwill bathroom medicine cabinet, also painted, which houses things like jewelry, perfumes, beauty products, and hair things. 

The Tilden metal bed from Target, with Ikea bedding, a wooden jali screen from World Market, and an antique side table given to me years ago by a friend.  

As you can see in this pic, I have about a 3.5' walkway around the bed to move in, and that's all. It's a tiny room. But since I'm a person who doesn't really do anything but sleep and get dressed in here (I don't hang out in my room), that's really all I need. 

At the end of the bed is a wee nightstand table that I refinished years ago, the giant mirror from the fireplace at my old house, and my acoustic guitar, Ember (an Ibanez AEW40). The curtains on both windows are Ikea's MATILDA

This bedroom, the design of which I've been working on for three years now, makes me feel like a Jane Austen heroine.  I never thought I'd want white walls again, after I moved out of my last apartment in 2004; but I love the feel of this room, and I'm finally happy with it, and finally feel like it's complete. I didn't even have to paint this one myself. 

About that vanity cabinet...

Because I adore my cabinet, and I'm super proud of it, here's some more of it's awesomeness: 

It's made from a bathroom medicine cabinet I got at Goodwill for $10.  I cleaned it thoroughly (and cleaned gum off the inside. Gum! Who does that?), primed it and then painted it black.

The necklaces up top are hung on bronze-colored shower curtain rings on a tension rod that I keep meaning to spray paint to match.

There used to be a second shelf, but I got tired of having to pile my necklaces on it to get the doors to close, so I took it out.

The insides of the doors are painted in black chalkboard paint.  I draw little pictures and write inspirational quotes on them to perk myself up in the mornings.  How Pinterest of me, I know.  Currently, they say:

  • "goooob morning", a tribute to Thoughts of Dog
  • "I am enough", which is what it says on a ring that a friend gave me, because she said I needed it.  
  • "Always use your full ass!"  Never half-ass anything. 
  • "Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'" ~ Shawshank Redemption (this is what I tell myself when I'm having a hard time getting off my butt to do things) 

Oops.   Loch Ness Handster.

07 August 2018

Time Out For A Shitload of Jewelry

In and amongst the various house projects, I've also been making a whole bunch of jewelry.  I don't know what's got into me lately - I haven't made jewelry in years, but now I can't stop doing it. I guess I caught the bug again while repairing some pieces. Here are some of the pieces I've made lately:

A "let's see if I can still do this" starter piece with metal leaves, and a wrap on a clay scarab. 

Necklace and earrings in Fluorite, amethyst, iolite, and emerald chips. 

The fluorite set (left) was inspired by this lampwork glass set
(right), which I made several years ago. 

Miscellaneous bracelets. From top right:  a silver-colored metal bangle with
stones glued on (don't know what kind of stones);  a "silver" and black faceted
bracelet and earrings, plastic;  and a bracelet with blue faceted glass
and plastic  "metal" beads. 
Faceted carnelian, graduated, with that scarab from the first picture. 

Faux-lapis (dyed howlite, I believe) which broke. I didn't have the right spacer
beads, so I improvised...

...I improvised in a way that left me with enough beads and spacers
to make a matching bracelet. Yay! 

I have two more necklace-and-bracelet/earrings sets going right now, and nothing planned after that.  Whew!  So many projects. 

I also painted this: 

"Atchafalaya", painted from photos I took the last time I was passing
through the Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana.   

That's all for now!  I have a new rug I'll show you tomorrow. 

06 August 2018

Peacocks, For Some Reason

The living room is finally *nearly* complete!  I didn't really set out to re-do the entire thing, but that's almost what ended up happening.  So far I've:

  • repaired two broken chairs
  • new couch from Ikea
  • new "coffee table" trunk from an old trunk  I had in storage
  • made over an Ikea cart as a rolling side table/art cart
  • Recovered a side chair seat
  • Added shelves to the tv console for DVD storage
  • Stripped, cleaned, and spray painted Sylvan's Tablemate work table (not blogged) 

Over the weekend I use some peacock calico fabric to make 2 new throw pillows and recover a dining chair that I use as a backpack/purse landing pad in the hallway, and a coordinating wall hanging fabric to make a ...wall hanging.  

1                                2                                        3                                        4
  1. Wall hanging over the fireplace
  2. Hall chair, an Ikea KAUSTBY
  3. Throw pillow and Cat of Approval
  4. Peacock fabric and teal cotton backing, on a green towel that serves as an ironing board until I get a new one. 

The fabric isn't exactly upholstery quality - it's just a medium weight cotton calico.  So,  I reinforced it with heavy fusible interfacing and backed it with another medium-weight cotton, so it should be fine.  Not bad for like $40 at Fabric.com (including pillow forms and zippers!).  I started out looking for a botanical on a black ground, but I couldn't find one anywhere that I really loved;  meanwhile, this peacock fabric has all the colors I love and want in the room, and gives about the same look as the black botanical I'd had in mind would have. Score!  

I love the way the wall hanging works on the fireplace, and how the peacock pillows kind of bring everything together. The artwork on the fireplace is all pieces painted by me, by Sylvan, and one by her grandmother. 

While I was removing staples from the chair seat, my hand slipped and
I carved a pretty good chunk out of my knuckle on a broken staple. 
Done. For. The. Night. 

What's Next:


02 August 2018

We Interrupt This Living Room...

..which is still in progress, and of which I'll show you pictures as soon as I'm done with everything.

However, I do need to show you two things:

1. I Got A New Loveseat

This is the Ikea SONGESAND loveseat, in "Nolhagen dark gray."  It was delivered on Sunday, and lemme tellya, I'd never put a couch together before. There were only 3 pieces, and I did it wrong twice, LOL.

It's so cute and small and comfy!  I love it!

2. Fabric & Rug Inbound

I also have some fabric for a pillow cover and wall hanging on the way to my house, as well as a new rug from Target.  I'm so excited, and impatient, that I made an Olioboard

Basically what it will look like when finished.  

01 August 2018

Art Storage: An Ikea Hack*

In March of 2017, I started refinishing what would become my art table.  I got 2.5 legs stripped, and then had to stop because I broke my foot...and then I never got started again.  This will be one of my next projects, but for the time being, it still works great as an art table. Over the weekend, I picked up a couple of Ikea MOPPEs to create some storage for the top:

The MOPPE comes already assembled, so I didn't have much work to do here.

I stained the entire thing(s) with Minwax's "Dark Walnut", and added knobs and labels.

At the moment, I have butcher paper covering the table surface;  my plan is to make a custom plexiglass top for it once it's done, to protect the wood and so that I can just wipe up paint spatters without damaging the wood - as old as this table is (possibly early 20thC; more likely a 70s or 80s piece made to look like an antique).

Eventually, the table will be stained the same color, and my hope is that the table and MOPPEs will look like a single piece of furniture.

The knobs here are 1/2" button plugs from the hardware store, just glued to the drawer fronts (actually the drawer backs). 

The labels are cardstock from an old sketchbook, affixed with tiny black tacks - an idea I saw on Pinterest.

The end result is enough like a card catalog or apothecary cabinet that I'm kind of in love with them!

For now, though, I am LOVING the MOPPEs!!

Next Up: 

More living room?! 

* I refrained from titling this post “MOPPE It Up”. You’re welcome.

31 July 2018

A Pair of Chairs

Meet my side chairs, which were given to me by a friend a few years ago, and which lost all their feet. They each had two feet in the back, and two extremely crappy little plastic ball casters in the front, which cracked and broke off their stems.  For a while, my cool chairs were on the floor:

This is not a terrible-looking chair;  in fact, I think they're really pretty. They're super comfy, and while there are some cat scratches in a couple of places, the microfiber fabric is in really good shape.

But sitting on the floor? No way. Too hard to get out of, when your butt's below your knees. Plus, it made them look like I got them out of a dumpster.

Here's the underside.  Scrim removed, and wooden support blocks for the feet removed.

Here are the support blocks that I removed.
It wasn't difficult.

I also removed the rear blocks (you can see them in the previous pic), and copied all four blocks onto a scrap of 2x4 I picked up for a dollar at Home Dope's scrap bin.

Here are the new front and rear blocks; along with four flat plates I made to affix to the bottom of the chair.

They're screwed and glued into the frame, the support blocks, and the frame strut in the rear of the chair that each rear block is affixed to.  In other words, these chairs are now freaking SOLID.

Here's the first finished chair. The wooden support plates barely even show; I finished the edges to match the feet (and the TV console, it's the same stain) so where they do show, it looks like it belongs there.

Here's the other chair, with the coffee table chest I put together over the weekend. They're about 3" higher than they were originally, before they ended up on the floor, so they're quite tall.  As a woman of some height, myself (5'10"), I think they're perfect.


Rory approves of this chair. 

Next Up: 

Art supplies storage!