Sunday, October 12, 2008

DIY: Wood Pet Enclosure

Meeps has an appointment this Tuesday to be fixed (or spayed or neutered, whichever is the correct term), and was recommended by the veterinarian to confine her in a pet cage for 10 days. Reasons being to prevent her ripping off her sutures after the surgery. Now, both our cats are indoor cats. That already eliminates Meeps from getting an infection or tear her wound after the surgery. And after the surgery when the anesthesia wears out, she'll most probably be sore from the big cut in her abdomen, hopefully to keep her from being too hyperactive.

But then again, Meeps is a very hyperactive cat. I mean zooming up our row of sofas, then down to hubby's home office, up my old office chair to claw to the top, down the cubby holes of the coat hangers, then off to the sofas and repeat until hubby comes and stop her. This goes on for the entire day (claimed by hubby)until 3-5pm where she will take a cat nap. So, just in case this happens, we'll have a cage already in hand.

Bedframe crossbars in the background

I got these discarded crossbars from a bedframe to make the cat cage. In fact, two of these bedframe thingies of different wood quality and some unfortunately had grown mold on them. Minus the moldy planks, I have just enough materials to work with.

After taking the plank pieces apart, sawing them in half (from 3 feet long to 1.5 feet), I lay down the pieces on the floor like railway tracks. Partly I'm making this up as I go along, partly I want to see if the cage would be big enough to hold a cat litter box and room for her to roam in. Some of the planks are hard wood, and sawing with a handsaw is not that fun. A circular saw would have cut down the time I took by 80%. I'm expecting to have a sore shoulders+arms+legs for the next few days.

I sawed a lot of wood that day... -_-;

Next I cut up the thin wooden bar by half, that gives me the crossbars to hold the vertical planks as shown. Nailing seems to be a pain on the hard wood. Looked almost like a dwarf's picket fence if you ask me.

Each step as it progressed

The cage is not great, but good enough for its possible function to serve for 10 days. I could have marked, measured, drilling to precision, but I didn't. My initial plan was to have a swing door with two latches (top and bottom) to lock her in. In the end, since the cage is bottemless, we figure we'll just lift the cage up, while the other grab the cat litter box to clean out should be sufficient. Thus, we nailed the last side of the crate.

Of course, after fabrication, need to test them out. The cage itself weight almost 8Kg. Sufficient to keep her from tipping it over. Next, test subject: Meeps herself. Little Meeps is always curious every time I work on the balcony. So, we let her out and kept her in crate and it seems to hold. There are 1 spot where the gap is slightly too wide. Will need to fix that.

"Lemme out..."

Otherwise, it's good enough to keep her in, with enough space to lie down and rest. It is afterall, an enclosure to recovery, not a playpen.

Panya checking things out as well

Now we need to wait till Wednesday to pick her up after the surgery and keep her there. Fingers crossed and hope everything will go well. End of another weekend.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Mini DIYs

Egg in the Hole

It has been an alright weekend this time. Saturday, always a lot more fun because you got Sunday to follow-up with. But Sunday, always the pre-Monday Blues day, less fun. Anyway, Saturday morning, I got inspired to cook Rose's (mother-in-law) Egg in the Hole for breakfast after reading this post last Friday. Baked banana cake with Rose's sugar frosting in the afternoon with hubby always look forward to lick the leftover frostings. Also, had home-made burger and tatoes chips (microwaved chips!) for dinner. =) I love Saturdays!

With the feel good rant done, on with my DIY post. Now that my completed my major painting project (still breathing in "lovely" paint fumes -_-), and short of materials to continue my long list of home projects to do, as suggested on the title, this will be a short post about quick projects I've done.

First up, change jar. I have tonnes of jars at home. Jars as in glass jars. Plastic we reuse them to keep our kaya after opening from their cans. I gotten the idea to rid these jars of their ugly labels so could reuse them for other things. Being glass, they are prettier than plastic jars.

To rid of the labels, I soaked them in a big pot of hot water for about 30 minutes. Later, scrapped the wet labels off with hand. Leaving the stubborn glue that now can be scrubbed off with dishsoap and scrubber.

This blog has given me an idea to make my own change jar on my desk. I used to have change metal tins and piggy bank that looked stupid and I always ended up using all the change fed up it never gets full. Now, with a clear glass jar, hopefully I'll save some money every month.
Change jar

I admit, it's shoddy work, cuz I was too lazy to go back and get the proper tools to work on.
My raggety teeth chew on your coins

Another small DIY I did was made my own cladded hand sander that was used to sand my table before repainting white. Instead of just using a block of scrap wood, I just cut 2 pieces of 6" x 2" x 0.5" scrap wood, drilled holes on them to get the sides of the sand paper to be cladded together. That way the sand paper doesn't slide when too engrossed sanding.


Next time I'll spray paint the change jar top silver, and maybe improvise the sander to be able to hold a different graded sand paper on the otherside of the block.

That's a project for another day.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Trick O' Peeps! ^_^


Ok, a non-DIY related post here. This was a totally an impulsive buy at the Cold Storage check out counter. My eyes were drifting along the aisles of mints trap and saw Peeps. Pumpkin and ghost Peeps for the upcoming Halloween. It's obviously catering for the American expat living in KL, not that they'll let their kids roam house to house calling "Trick or Treat" and start throwing toilet paper rolls at houses. Anyway, I double checked that it cost RM 3.99 each box.

Ghost Peeps

For those who are unfamiliar, PEEPS are basically coloured marshmallows lightly coated in fine sugar, specialty mass produced candy for special holiday seasons in America like Easter (that's when it got really famous with its bird marshmallows), Christmas, Halloween and even Valentine's Day.

The original Easter Peeps

I remembered my mother-in-law was so cool she FedEx'd (9000 miles across the Pacific Ocean!) these lovely yellow Peeps and Cadbury Creme Eggs. They were so good. Unfortunately, Cadbury Creme Eggs are so elusive we only found them in Singapore's Cold Storage.

Look almost like 3 quarter cooked egg

Can't understand why those have a hard time getting here. Not that they couldn't have a whole section labeled "Non Halal" if any of the ingredients are of any concerns.

Double Pumpkins Peeps

The Pumpkin Peeps has 130 cal, and Ghost Peeps has 110 cal. Cool treat for a Friday homemade pizza night.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Repainting Table-White

Finished product and all set-up

I was going to name the title in "How NOT to repaint your furniture" by giving a bunch of NOT TO DO tips. But I think the title would end up too long. I'll list my instructions, and maybe someone could point out what I did wrong (besides hundreds of mistakes I've learned already)

  1. Prepping the furniture before painting it is a must. Sand all the surface until you cannot see the previous shining paint. I didn't sand the chair and that took longer to I ended up painting more coats cuz the paint won't stick/spread as evenly
  2. Obviously, wipe the furniture off with a damp cloth a few times. Don't have to be too obsessive with it cuz you'll do 2 or 3 coatings of paint
  3. Crack open that new can of 1 litre paint (I bought "Goldlux" white glossy oil-based paint cuz I can't find latex paint), have your 2 liter of thinner ready and pour about a dash of thinner into the paint for the first coat. I should probably prime it with a primer
  4. Dip the paint brush half way, brush slightly at the can opening to make sure it doesn't drip.
  5. Angle the brush almost at a 45 degree, apply pressure slightly before drag and apply more pressure, following the grains of the furniture. By this time, the paint would have thin and I would "steal" paint from the begining where I first apply the 1st stroke and run the paint a few times until it's evenly distrubuted. Many people say this is the wrong way of doing this, but I just can't help it that my skill sucks so much and the paint application is so uneven
  6. Repeat correct painting strokes until you finish 2 or 3 coats
  7. I turned the table upside down to paint the insides first or else you'll get a really sore shoulders if you want to paint looking up
Before After

I actually repainted a table, a dinky IKEA wooden chair, and a flimsy shelves (from my college years, surprised it's still standing honestly) to match with my office corner here. Now I need to get a pair of nice small white speakers, DIY myself a shallow white hutch on the desk and we're set. Oh and a 3' x 1' footstool for ergonomics set for my vertically challenged self.

I made a lot of mistakes, mainly due to my lack of any painting skills (Mr. Miyagi's advice didn't help), partly I should have started with practicing painting smaller objects, as well as not skimp on higher quality paint. Buy branded paint, preferably odourless, all of us agree that in an apartment with no ventilation (except when mommy's home), it's for best.

This "Goldlux" paint is very glossy and even when I left the table out on the balcony for almost 24 hours, the paint hasn't really dried. I gave up at 6pm today cuz I'm going back to work tomorrow (yay it's Friday, w00t!).

In future, I'm toying with the idea of getting non glossy paint (not to mention my apartment smells like kerosene) at all. Maybe get a semi gloss/sateen paint meant for interior homes, at least they're water based and you can wash them off with water.

Anyway, it was the drying that took so long, that I had to wait and wait and wait for each layer to dry. I did 3 layers on the table top, 2 layers of the shelves, and 3 layers on the chair too, I don't remember. Finished using the whole can of 1 liter white paint at least. Gotta find a bigger cardboard box for laying out the whole balcony.

Paint still waiting to dry with the feeble morning sun, and yes, I forgot to paint a strip on the bookrack

Do not use newspaper cuz they will stick to your freshly dripping painted furniture and stick to it. Start hording clean large pieces of cardboards. Plus, I was probably too rushed to get the whole thing painted quick after each layer before they're done. Should have taken Friday off so the painting can spread out but will make the whole project a drag. I still got those annoying kamikaze bugs that like to stick to mildly dried paint. I'm just glad to have my table back and have my things put back to their places again

Running out of space

Oh, and an electrical sander would probably helped if you don't have a long weekend to prep and paint and wait for the paint to dry and paint, and wait and paint. I hand-sanded the table and it was alright, probably should get finer sandpaper next time (200-300).

I just found a website that would have been useful thing before I bought the paint. A commenter mentioned it usually takes 24-48 hours for ONE coat of oil-based paint to dry. So, if you need the furniture like post-haste, be sure to use latex (if we have that over here) or I'll experiment with interior wall paints. -_-

Before After