Crafty · diy · home · pointies · Uncategorized

SUPRISE! Litter box.

So a couple of months ago I was thinking about the cats litter box (as you do) and trying to figure out where it’s forever home could be…at least until the cats pack their bags… Originally it was in the corner of the pantry, but it was moved when the freezer was added. Then it was located in the den (gross) but that was only a temporary solution while the den was being worked on. I know a lot of people have their litter boxes in bathrooms, but neither of the ones here have any extra floor space that would allow a litter box and not include the prospect of poop-litter-feet upon exit from shower.

So what to do. I had a plan in mind of making or building some sort of litter box enclosure that would look like a piece of furniture. Something like this without the crazy price tag..


Kind of nice right? A hidden litter box in plain view of guests. Now just to figure out how to make my plans a reality. I already had an idea of what I was looking for, and I knew where I wanted to have it in the house.

One day I may even be able to take decent photos….but don’t hold your breath 😉

So ideally I was looking for something that would fit under the window and be slightly longer than the window itself, so that it looked like a window seat AND doubled as a second stickybeak area for these pesky four legged meow boxes. To the internet! I started at one of my favourite websites – Ikea Hackers and started hunting through their Pet Furniture Section when I stumbled across this post. Exactly what I was looking for…

Unfortunately this exact model is no longer being made, but the Besta system is still around. So for supplies – I picked up this bad boy on a trip to Ikea and I was “lucky” enough to already own one large litter box. I picked up a second litter box (fits perfectly, and is sized for the larger cat *cough*Sterling*cough*) and hit up Home Depot for some garage mats that were easily cut to size.

So there it is…simple, easy and out of the way. I’d include an action shot, but that’s just gross….even for me.

diy · home · Uncategorized

Covering up (gross) Wall paneling – Den Fin!

One day I will get Strewth caught up….in fact, now that I have more time on my hands I would like to get back to writing here more. Maybe i’ll even work up the courage to write about 2016…let me just tell you, its a fucking doozy 😉

Soo….right about this time frame, Nana Margie showed up for a visit ❤

Not only is she always the bearer of tim tams and other surprises from home, she is also the bringer of fabulous ideas and plans. On and off over the last couple of years we have talked about this weird “den” area and what we could do to open it up and make it more part of the house as opposed to a closed off, strange, last minute thought of a room.

First, we needed to make the room seem larger by finding someone to remove the weird “closet” afterthought and to see if there was a way to repair the wall that was half-ass built. I may or may not have started singing There’s a Hole in My Bucket at this point…


Luckily, I have the amazing fortune of living next door to a wonderful family that includes a handyman who never minds helping out with projects like this. Hector and his family have always taken care of us when needed and in this instance he told my mum that he wanted to do the job just right because thats how Jack would have wanted it.

Trust me, there were tears.


It took some finagling with different sheets of drywall and boards to get the ‘front’ wall of the den to be the same thickness all the way along, without eating up too much of the space we had in the den. According to Hector this area used to be a walk through from the front door into this smaller space. The previous owners closed it off (to be able to market the house as four bedrooms) and added an inset, floor to ceiling shelf on the other side to mask it.



Hector did an incredible job and even managed to win over Georgia who proclaimed him her new best friend. In the end Hector took out the closet, repaired the front wall so that it was actually an honest to goodness real life wall, spray painted the ceiling bright white (all the beams had been ack! painted antique white) and…..REMOVED THE SLIDING GLASS DOOR!!!


And here is where we came in again.

Instead of painting the walls in the den the same bright white as the ceiling and trim, I chose a slight grey tone that softened the walls, played off the red accent wall and worked with the carpet tiles that were soon to be moving in. If I was more of a home blogger I would even have paint colour names for you, alas I’m not….but at least I’m not a tracer.


Next step – carpet tiles!

In order to make the room appear bigger than it is (again) I decided to lay these down with a 1/4 turn pattern. Installing the tile was actually incredibly easy. If I had done it from start to finish in one go, I would say it would easily take less than a day. The part that takes the longest, is of course measuring and cutting the perimeter.

These have literally been a godsend. We decided against gluing down and instead made sure that they were tight up against the trim so that each tile held the others in place with peer pressure…or something like that. To date I have had no issues with them popping up, even with constant (someone shave these cats pls) vacuuming.

With this many animals and a penchant for early morning coffee, the tiles have also been incredibly easy to keep clean. I managed to walk away from this project with half a box of ‘spare’ tiles, but in the past few years I have not had to break out a single one. The normal routine is to pull up the sad tile, give it a quick rinse in the tub, allow it to dry and pop it back into place. YMMV, but I am constantly trying to brainstorm how else I can use carpet tiles 🙂


Lastly – No idea how on EARTH i managed to complete this project without my assistants…

beardies · diy · family · home · Uncategorized

Updates – Strewth!

It’s been a while…what’s been going on here you ask? A lot. In the last year we have gone though a lot of changes – personally, professionally and home front. And one of my resolutions this year is to get back to Strewth and resume my posting responsibilities. Not only is this a great way for me to keep in touch with my family and keep them up to date on what is happening in our crazy house, but it is also a constant reminder to me that there is more to be done on that never ending list 🙂

At home, we are still plodding along with our remodeling projects. The list is slowly getting smaller, and we now have an even better reason to work harder to get everything done. My mum has done some soul searching over the last few months and has decide to pack up her home in Perth and move half her stuff to America. Her plan is to spend some of each year with us and the rest of the year with my brother and his family. To say that I am excited would be an understatement!

We still have a lot of things to get done, but 2016 is the year for Brian and I to get refocused on our home and finish the projects we have started and those that are still on the drawing board. We managed to get some things done this year, but it wasn’t a lot as we were both very focused on work instead of our home projects. I still have some finished projects to share and a whole bunch of new ideas for when some of our upcoming projects are done. The goal is to have this house complete and ready to sell so that the three of us (plus the zoo) can buy a larger house together when the time comes.

The four-legged animals are doing well too….probably more so now that I have access to a full pet store, a paycheck and all sorts of new products! We even have a new addition to our family – Falcor the Bearded Dragon. There’s still never a dull moment in the Strewth Household..


diy · home · Uncategorized

Time for New Nightstands

We’re still a few months off from being able to rip up the nasty-ass carpet in the bedrooms for two reasons…one, I have a savings goal that I am working towards and two…I get the week and a bit off between Christmas and New Years and that is the perfect time to rip and lay.

In the meantime, there are still small things I would like to get done to pull the rooms together. The first on a long list is our nightstands…


They were originally couch side tables I believe – I even found a magazine compartment at the back of mine containing an old electronic pitch fork. Weird.

Anyhoo…I brought this bad boy outside, removed the drawer, door & all hardware and sanded the top until I got to bare wood. My original plan was to stain the top of the piece ebony and spray the sides in Lagoon. I roughed up the sides slightly and then taped off the top with a nice big garbage bag and went to town with the spray can.


Several light coats are always better than thick drippy coats. I think all in all, I did three light coats – just used up one entire can of spray and it looked fabulous.


This was after one coat of stain. See how pretty it looks? It went downhill after that. Sadly, I sprayed the entire piece with Rustoleum’s Crystal Clear Matte Finish. Going on, it looked fabulous. After it dried, there were big blisters on the Minwax stained top only. Ugh. I tried stripping it back so that I could re-stain but I was getting nowhere fast.

So..onto backup plan #1 (Courtesy of Robot Brian who would prefer that I don’t rip out all my hair) – paint the top with black paint that I had left over from our Dining Table project. Three light coats of paint on the top and we were done! In actual fact, I loved the painted top more than the stained top, so it was one of those fortuitous mistakes that happen oh-so-often in DIY.


Count Sterling is already convinced that this piece is for him. Dork…but he could be right.


Not the best picture, and for that I apologize, but it was late and my hands were about to detach from my arms and go and live elsewhere. I still need to find new hardware for the drawer…and I have one more complete table to do for Robot Brian. Perhaps this weekend?

diy · home · Uncategorized

Battle station!

Okay so…time for a little bit of a gross admission. My beauty battle station was, at one point, located on the tank of the toilet.
It was (somewhat) convenient, but nasty. Actually it wasn’t even convenient…it was the only option I had. I washed my brushes religiously but never got rid of the fear that everything was just covered in bad. Our bathroom is pretty small and as I am not at the point where I am ready to rip out the tile and overhaul the ensuite, I needed to come up with a long-term temporary fix that would work well and look halfway decent.

The only real useable space I have in the bathroom is the corner wall that backs up to the shower so my options were either a straight shelf or a corner shelf. After heading to the Big Orange for a hunt around, I came across two corner shelves that were cute, simple and completely not obnoxious (as shelves are sometimes want to be). At only $10 each, they were a steal and the perfect temporary solution to my battle station bind.
And look! Plenty of room for makeup explosion I mean expansion!

Crafty · diy · home · Uncategorized

Mopping up pennies, or Swiffer magic

Much like most of you DIY-ers, I like being able to save money where I can. I also like a clean house. Contrary to what my mother may tell you.

Anyway, I was perusing Pinterest the other day and I came across this bad boy:

Now see, not only do I like saving money, and having a clean house…but I also like my Swiffer wet jet A LOT. And in other (slightly) related news, I enjoy knitting. The pattern looked pretty simple and I figured I could whip up a test cover while watching some odd movie (Absentia – i do not recommend it).

The cotton yarn I had in mind is pretty cheap at $1.77 per ball (which could technically yield 2 covers) and when you compare that to brand-name pad refills (12 for $6.69), which you cannot throw in the washing machine to clean, I think that’s a pretty good deal.


Getting the pattern started was a test of patience. I’m not sure if it was because I was impatient to get the cover finished, or if it just took a while to get the hang of the pattern…all i know is that there are some not-so-happy stitches in the first pattern repeat that are just lucky they got hidden in the seam. Once the first pattern repeat was done, I was able to look back and see how it all worked – that certainly made the second half of the project a lot quicker to come together.


I would say, all told, this pattern would take 1-2 hours to knit. It is really simple to follow, but you have to pay attention to your knitting because of all the yarn overs that go in different directions. It tends to slow you down a little bit. But, it was very easy to watch a movie and knit this at the same time.

When I was seaming the edges of the cover together I kind of guessed at how far in to pull the ends. While I would recommend not being as lazy as me, I knew that the cotton would have a little bit of give to it and should stretch over the swiffer head.


Ta-da! It fits! I won’t show you how it looks after I gave it a run around the kitchen. Let’s just say it works really, REALLY well. All the ridges and dips in the pattern grab up and hold a lot of dirt. In my mind (trust me, it’s fun in there) this kind of cover works better than the pads you can buy – there’s more scrubbing friction created between the swiffer and the floor, which helps to grab up (what little) dirt is available.


I also had a go at doing this and it really works.

You can thank me later 😉

diy · home · Uncategorized

Covering up (gross) Wall paneling

We have been living in our little home for almost three years now. When we first moved in, I was kind of concerned about the quantity of white carpet throughout, but figured we might be able to keep it clean.


Yeah. Three dogs, copious amounts of foster cats, and one surly teenager means we don’t really have white carpets any more. They are more of a beigey-gross tone. Nasty. We already ripped up the carpet in the Living Room and replaced that with laminate flooring and now the next room on my list is the Den. While I would like to run the laminate flooring throughout the rest of the bedrooms, Brian and I thought that the Den needed something a little softer and rather than add an area rug, we decided to go with carpet tiles.

they are actually a little darker in real life

So here’s where our Den project begins…before we can rip up the carpet and put in the new tiles, we have to paint the walls. Before we can paint the walls we need to cover up the (gross) wall paneling. Luckily the previous owners decided to not only add wall paneling to the rear wall of the den, they also decided to add it to the ceiling. AWESOME!

not the greatest photo – den actually looks worse in real life 😉

Instead of pulling down all the paneling and perhaps facing a larger problem that we may not be able to handle by ourselves, we have opted to paint over the panelling. First I get to go through the arduous task of patching all the paneling with a great product called Patch-N-Paint. The plan is to patch, sand, patch again, and then prime the walls before painting. Ultimately, this could turn out to be a massive disaster….but what would be the fun in that, unless I shared pictures along the way?