Monday, February 27, 2012

The Book Nook Look

What little girl wouldn't love a cozy reading nook to unwind in with her favorite books?

I absolutely adore the house we live in, but unfortunately it is a rental. Decorating Diva that I am, I am sharply limited as to how much I can alter this house. Of course this just means I have to get even more creative to achieve the look I want.

The house is a Cape Cod style house. So cute! The minute I saw it, I knew I wanted to put window seats in the dormer windows!

I suppose even if we owned the house, putting in perfect, built-in window seats would likely be beyond our budget or carpentry expertise at this time. I've always wanted something like this:  (Photo is Link to Source)

 Well, since that's not gonna happen...

What did I do? First I took measurements. Then I got some ideas about how I would create the dormer window seats. I though about using 3 wooden milk crates as a base for each seat (each of my 2 daughters has a dormer window in her bed room), and then put a piece of plywood across the top as the bench. Make cushions and voila - right?

Then I did some research and was unable to find wooden milk crates for less than about $14 a piece... a little out of my budget of "less-than-that."

A trip to the local hardware store brought more ideas, and then I found it! An industrial, plastic shelving unit made for storage rooms and garages.   (Photo is Link to Source)

Very pretty and feminine, no?
... OK, well, not yet, anyway. But it will be!

It just so happened that the measurements from the baseboard trim on one side of the dormer window to the other was 36" across. The shelves? Yup - 36" wide. The whole shelf unit was $39.00 at the store, and would be enough to create 2 window seats plus I would have left-over parts. So here is a visual depiction of what I did:

It took me about 15 minutes to make a 37" X 19" "curtain" out of left-over fabric from a project I did a few years ago. I sewed sections of an old shoe-lace in 3 places along the top hem to attach to the "seat."

What about a cushion? An old cushion from an outdoor chair works great! Don't have an old one? You can find them new at Walmart for around $15.00! (And they already have ties on them!)

Don't worry if the cushion is too long - once pushed into the dormer window area, it looks like it was custom made!

I then accessorized the seat with pillows and throws from around the house.

And here's the second window seat in my other daughter's bedroom. I'll add more cushions later.

And look! Hideaway storage!

Another issue I had was putting up curtains. The home owners don't want holes drilled into the old plaster walls because plaster tends to crack. So I used those pressure-seated shower rods for the dormer windows and removable clothing hooks to hold up light-weight wooden rods for the other windows.

Old Mardi Gras beads work well to hold the drapes aside to let in the light. And when we move out? All of this is removable and won't damage the walls or paint!

And what did I do with the left-over pieces of the shelving unit? Heck - I made myself a gardening and potting table! Once the weather is warmer, I'll move it out of my cluttered kitchen and onto the back deck.

Total cost of my dormer window seats? $40 for the shelves, $30 for 2 outdoor seat cushions and the rest of the stuff was fabric, pillows, etc. that we already had... so $70 for two cozy & adorable window seats and a gardening table!


Thursday, February 2, 2012

DIY Dog Potty for Indoors or Porch

Do-It-Yourself Dog Potty / Doggie Litter Box / Pooch Porch Potty / Dog Toilet:

For many different reasons it can be useful to have a place for your dog(s) to relieve themselves either inside your house, garage, on a patio or just steps from your door. While there are dog potties available on the market, many are not adequate for larger breeds, nor are they of tough, rugged strength.

Building a dog potty is not difficult. The disadvantages to the following model are it's larger size and weight, and the fact that it can not be easily moved (unless you choose to add locking castors to the bottom - which is possible).

The advantages are ease of cleaning, durability and low odor (if kept up properly). For many, the size and weight could also prove an advantage over models that could become "toys" to a larger dogs.

For this project you will need a Shower Pan that will accommodate the size of your dog. For toy breeds, you can even find smaller utility-style sinks - but make sure the sides are low enough for your dog to get in comfortably.

The following picture is a basic model of Shower Pan - go with the cheapest one you can find. If you click on the picture it will link you to a cheap style I was able to find on Google.

You will also need some sturdy 4" X 4" wood to build a base..

...a rolling under-the-bed plastic (water-proof) storage unit (you won't need the top while it's in use)...
...and some gravel to fill your dog potty with - I suggest smooth river rock. Be sure to rinse it well before putting it in your dog toilet.

So: First - clean out the shower pan and make sure the metal screen is firmly in place on the drain.

Next, stack two 4"x4" boards, one on top of the other and secure with 3 - 5 brackets at regular intervals on both sides. You need two sets of these stacked 4"X4"s as they will become the "Legs" for the pooch porch potty.

Screw the shower pan securely to the stacked 4"X4"s and use calk around each screw to prevent leakage and rust. I suggest having the 4"x4"s on each of the long sides on a rectangular pan. Obviously it won't matter for a square pan.

Slide the under-bed-storage unit underneath the dog potty. This "catch-pan" will catch all the liquid. It is easy to roll into place, and easy to clean.

Fill your finished dog litter box with gravel - I suggest river rocks as they are smooth on your puppy's feet and easier to rinse off - but any mid-size gravel will do in a pinch.

If your dog is short in stature or elderly, you can put together 2 more 4"X4"s, lay it on its side and use it as a step to help Fido get into the potty more comfortably. The wood components of this dog potty should be either painted with exterior gloss paint or coated with a water sealant paint or stain to prevent rotting or the absorption of spilled urine.

Care and Cleaning of the Dog Potty:

Pick any solid waste off the rocks with a plastic bag or pooper-scooper and flush it down your toilet (or put it in the garbage - what ever works best for you).

On a daily basis, fill a bucket about 1/2 way with hot water mixed with a little bleach and pour it over the surface of the rocks.

Let it drain for a few minutes, then simply pull out the plastic "catch-pan" and empty the contents into a toilet. You may need to tip the pan and dump it into a bucket to prevent spills on your way through the house, or if you have kept the top the catch pan came with, put it on and roll it to the spot where you will empty it.

If you don't care to use bleach, there are other cleaning agents that are safer for the environment. As long as they kill the odor, they should be fine to use.

Now - to get your dog to use his or her new toilet:

Arm yourself with rubber gloves a paper towel, a plastic baggie and take your dog to where he/she normally urinates. When your dog relieves him/herself, absorb as much of the urine as possible with the paper towel and put it in the plastic baggie.

Back at your new doggie litter box, wring as much of the urine as you can over the rocks. Dogs are more likely to eliminate in a place where the smell of urine is present. In a pinch, human urine may work too (as gross as that may seem).

Take your dog to the potty every hour or so - and bring treats! If your dog "goes" in his/her new potty, reward him/her right away and offer lots of praise! Once a dog has actually used the potty, he or she is very likely to continue using it in the future.

Don't rinse out the urine from the dog potty until your dog has become comfortable using the potty. You can still empty the catch-pan during the training time, but leave the scent on the rocks for a day or two. Once your dog uses it regularly, you can thoroughly clean the dog potty without worrying about your dog needing the urine scent.

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DIY Ballet Barre from PVC for Less Than $15

Do you have a little (or big) girl who loves ballet? Help her practice at home by making this simple PVC ballet barre.

We chose to make ours with some "growing room" for our then 7-year-old, so we put the placement of the lower bar just below her shoulder level so that she could use the higher bar when she grew taller. You will want to use your own measurements to customize your ballet barre to the size of your dancer. Decide how high and how long you want your barre to figure just how much PVC pipe you'll need.

Quick tip: While you don't need to align the base in the same manner we did, DO make sure it is wide enough that the barre will not tip over when leaned on!

If you don't feel comfortable cutting the pipe yourself, many hardware suppliers will cut the pipe for you - remember to bring your measurements!

What You Need:
PVC Cement
Hack Saw or PVC Cutting Tool
Measuring Tape
Paint (optional)
1.5" PVC Pipe (supports - both horizontal and vertical)
1" PVC Pipe (Cross Bars)
(4) 1.5" T Connecters
(6) 1.5" 90-Degree "Elbow" Connecters
(4) 1.5"-to-1" Reducers (Connects the 1" pipe to the 1.5" pipe)

Working with PVC is quite simple. As long as you have a clear idea of what part goes where, it doesn't really matter what order you put the barre together in.

Happy Dancing!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Creative Writing - 8-Year-Old Style!

While my other blog is having technical issues, I  have decided to utilize this one temporarily.

Today (actually yesterday... but the other blog erased the post) I finally got the chance to go through some of Iraq's school work from this past school year. Between the move, the unpacking and those pesky little health issues, I've been remiss in some of my motherly duties. I thought I'd share 2 pieces I found in her creative writing folder:

Story 1: 

Today in (our town) on the road there was a dead deer and my mom told me what happened   she told me that the family groups kick out one of the deer out and the deer come to the town when we were going to my doctor and this night my mom told me that the deer was crossing the street and one car wasn't looking and then they got closer and closer and then they saw the deer and they did not have time to srp and you have to go slow on that street and then they ran into it and that really happened last night and there was some road cleaners and cleaned the deer up and it is gone   all gone     gone    gone     goooone     goooooooooone   goooooooooooooooooone

Story 2: 

How To make A Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
First get bread. Put the bread on a plate. Then get peanut butter and jelly. Then get cheese and tomatoes and meat. next get a plate. And that is how you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Enjoy.

(Gee... my mouth is watering just thinking about it... )

Hopefully my Adasperdownblog will be back up soon. Have a great Sunday!