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1  Woven Fabric Cat Baskets--Cat Approved! in Pet-Related Crafts: Completed Projects by fjordtjie on: February 09, 2010 03:13:54 PM
A few weeks ago, Moderncat wrote about this Japanese Cat Bed
http://www.moderncat.net/2010/01/04/neko-chigura-traditional-japanese-cat-bed/
  I was immediately in love, but they didn't ship to the US and I am a broke student, so I decided to make one myself.  I knew I could recreate it, with my own twist.

To make it, I purchased 45 yards of 1/2 inch piping and 4 yards of calico fabric, totaling (with coupons) around $20.  I cut the fabric into 1 inch strips. (I forgot to take a before picture, so here's a pic of the leftovers after the final remake--it was a much bigger pile before!)


I used a coil basket weaving method I learned in art class a lonnnnng time ago.  I must have adjusted the diameter of the base 10 times so it would be the right size!  When I got to the entrance, instead of continuing the coil, I just flipped it back on itself and coiled the other direction, repeating until it was high enough, then just continuing the coil to finish the top.  I ended up with this:


They seemed to like the hole on the top, so I left it unfinished to test it.  It was great, except that I have 2 cats and they both liked to enter from the top (or sometimes they just wanted to pounce on the other one).  The basket couldn't handle it and would cave in, then they'd just sleep on the mushed top, but that could only hold one.  So I filled in the hole on top (sorry, I didn't take any pictures of it!), hoping it would stop the crushing, but they just did it more, as a way to annoy and expel the other cat.  So, I tried reinforcing the sides by weaving in fabric to stabilize the entrance so it wouldn't collapse, but that didn't work either. 

I finally gave up, dismantled it, and made it into 2 individual cat baskets.

This has worked out well, obviously!

The last thing I did was to trim the loose strings with my thread-snipping scissors.  I just finished weaving the second one last night, so I haven't trimmed the threads yet, but on the first, here is a before and after close up.

Before:


After:


I think the trimming really makes it look better, plus I don't have to worry about the cats eating the strings off of it.

If anyone is interested in making one, my cats are both ideal-weight 12 pound males (meaning they are large, but skinny), and their baskets are 14 inches in diameter.  When they sleep curled up on their sides, there is just a little bit of basket bottom visible.  The baskets are 5 inches high, which holds them in when they lay down, but is also just the right height for them to rest their heads on.  If your cat is smaller or larger, or has some girth, you can adjust the proportions accordingly.  I figured out the size for mine by holding the bottom disk to one of my cats who was curled up sleeping.

Let me know what you think!  And if anyone makes one too, I'd love to see it!
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2  Mirror Mosaic Coffee Table in Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by fjordtjie on: July 19, 2009 11:10:11 AM
     This starts back almost 2 years ago.  Living with my boyfriend, he had to put up with my in-progress craft projects all over the coffee table in the living room.  I moved in with my mom for a year because we couldn't find a place we could afford that would allow a cat, but now he bought a house so we can have cats, and I moved in.  To prevent the same issue, a coffee table with drawers was in order!  I'm still a student, so it would have to be CHEAP!  Around my birthday last fall, someone got me some picture frames I LOVE, which are black with cracked mirror and black grout, and one day in the 'free section' of craigslist i stumbled upon a mirror with a crack, and I decided it would be great for said table and picked it up!  After a few more months of careful scouring, there was a listing for just the coffee table I was looking for.....for $40.  It looked terrible in their pictures, so I offered them $10, and they accepted!

     Unfortunately, I started documenting the process too late to get a real feel for how awful it really looked, but suffice it to say, it probably would have ended up in the free bin if I hadn't put in my offer!  The piece of wood that held the drawer fronts was cracked all the way across, and there were deep scratches all over it!  There had been a shelf underneath at some point, but for me there were holes and gouges on the legs showing where it had been.  It's not really a negative, but it was a very 'country' table in color and had single thick wooden knobs on each drawer--not my taste at all.  The pluses were that the drawers worked well, it was sturdy, and it's also really spacious, with a giant top.

     So, I dismantled the entire thing, sanded it, glued, clamped, and screwed the cracked frame, wood puttied all the dents, sanded more, sanded again, then primed it twice.  I didn't resand or prime the top, and instead used 100grit (so the glue and grout would have the best chance of sticking).  I broke the mirror (which was huge) under pieces of blanket, sorted the pieces by size, and then I used an all-purpose construction adhesive to meticulously apply all the pieces to get a semi-uniform gap around the pieces.  It sounds so easy, but consisted of finding the next piece that would fit, applying adhesive to that individual piece, and sticking it down--around 30 hours just to get the mirror on the table!

On to the photos!

Here's a close-up of the finished mosaic...I have no idea why there is a big white rectangle attached to it, but my mspaint skillz are sub par, so it stays!


About halfway finished.


All the pieces glued down without grout.  It goes from big to small intentionally.  Some people love it, some people think it was a mistake--but it was entirely premeditated!  In retrospect, I wish I had done it random, but I think it looks great anyway!


I carried it out on the front lawn (amazingly light) for the grouting.  And after it solidified, it started to rain so I brought it back in to clean off the haze.


Toph loves!  The color inside the coffee table was the color the entire thing had been.


Finally finished.  I painted it a dark brown that is very similar to my Expedit black/brown bookcase (in the top left corner) but you can't see the true color because of the flash  Undecided.  I hated the knobs it had, so I found new, more modern ones.  I put on another coat of poly after this, because I bumped it bringing it back inside, and haven't taken updated pictures since!  It's on plastic bags while the poly finishes hardening, to avoid it sticking to my mom's fancy rug!


Now that the boy and I are living together again, I have to say, the table is still covered with craft stuff!  My drawer theory was an epic fail, but it looks pretty good once I clean it off!  I was worried about sharp edges, but the grout comes up just enough that you can rub the table without getting cut.  In the future (when I've got money!)  I'll end up applying epoxy over top, but not any time soon!  If anyone is inspired by this, it is a NO KIDS project, and the epoxy is going to have to be required.  And the mosaic mirror works on all applications--I'd post the picture frames, which are not nearly as gaudy as a huge table, but I'm sure it would be some sort of legal infringement...

Also, if you've got a Wii, you have to cover the table up or move it while you play!  Something about the mirror interferes with it!

I hope you all like it!  Tell me what you think!  
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3  tie-dye wristlet w/pleats in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General by fjordtjie on: July 14, 2009 11:11:29 PM
this is my first wristlet, and my first project with pleats.  i got the fabric a few years ago with the intent to make a memory board (which is still only 75% complete), but i love it and wanted something i could take out of the house with me.

it was pretty easy, but very time consuming, making all the parallel folds.  i used a zipper that was too short, so i ended up hand sewing the entire border on by hand, which i think adds some character (but really it was because i was too lazy/poor to drive all the way to the store to get a longer one).  i sewed the pleats down on the bottom, so they wouldn't unfold with use.  i went a little overboard to make it durable--both the exterior and the lining have french seams.

i've been using it for about 2 weeks, and i really love the freedom from carrying around a big purse.

without further ado....
the bag, outside:


from the side:


and the inside, with my favorite lip moisturizer as a size comparison (same size as a chap stick):


let me know what you think!
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4  octopus messenger bag--my first craft in a LONG time--UPDATED in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by fjordtjie on: March 10, 2008 09:18:18 PM
i finally found the inspiration to do something again!  it took a few hours of precious study time, but was well worth the procrastination.  got the idea of the octopus from BambiKhantastic's infamous, glorious octopus hoodie, but never did I believe i could pull it off.  i'm going to joann this weekend to blow my coupon on some nice ribbon before it expires to jazz up the plain edges.  

the bag is less dreary than in the photo, but the octopus is pretty much true.  what do you think?



it's still blank on the back, so if anyone has a marine zoological suggestion to fill a big rectangle, i'd love to hear it!
ps  also my very first craftster post ever!   kind of lame it wasn't really original, but i was glad for just wanting to do anything at all--end of winter sucks!

update!

so, it's been years and i half-finished a cuttlefish.  it had a light blue blob body, an eye, and the yellow undulating membrane, but i didn't finish it.

last night i finally garnered up the courage to try out the cuttlefish and BAM!  this is what happened. 





i used this: http://edboyden.org/pictures/mon/photos/DCP_0890%20cuttlefish.JPG as inspiration for the stripes, so the colors, like with the octopus, don't actually occur in nature.  i was worried the octopus would look better than the cuttlefish, but i think it ended up being the other way around, which isn't so bad in my book : )  it certainly gives me more confidence in my painting, so i'll definitely be doing more of these in the near future!
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