Sunday, October 21, 2018

Our Magical Twinkle Light Ceiling, And How We Did It!

For our next project, John and I did something ridiculous and utterly magical to our living room ceiling:

I wasn't prepared for the reaction I got once I posted this on Instagram, though; turns out you guys like twinkle lights almost as much as I do! You also demanded a tutorial, so I'll do my best here with the few photos I took along the way.

First things first: you need a ceiling you can staple into (so hard plasters are out) and LOTS of lights. We used this set from Amazon: for $38 you get 1,000 lights on over 300 feet of a lovely clear/white wire:

 It doesn't actually arrive in a giant tangled ball, don't worry.

Other than the lights, all you need is a ladder, a staple gun and at least 800 staples. (We also spray-painted the tops of our staples white before using them, but that's optional.)

To begin, move any large pieces of furniture out of the way, so you have room to move your ladder.

Next you may want to unspool all 300 feet of lights onto the room's floor, just to make sure you have enough to cover the space:

This wasn't very helpful for us, though, because we ended up running out faster than we expected anyway.

In fact, our magical swoopy flourish was a happy accident: we originally thought we would randomly place lights over the entire ceiling. When we realized we didn't have enough for how tightly we were installing them, though, we changed the design to what you see here.

Now let's talk install. 

If you're planning a shape like we did, and if your ceiling allows it, outline the shape first with blue painter's tape:

Thursday, October 18, 2018

A Harry Potter Cat Tree, Because Our Kittys Are KEEPERS


 Behold its glory. 

Yep, our sisal fabric arrived yesterday, so John and I were finally able to finish our newest build: the Kitty Quidditch Tower. All that's left is adding a pillow inside, and fashioning some hanging snitch toys for them to bat at. (I'm thinking I'll sew felt wings to a craft pom-pom.)


Features include two interior cubbies in the tower, padded vinyl beds in each hoop (held in place with Velcro), and sisal-wrapped posts for climbing. The roof peak is open on both sides for easy jumping up to the hoops.

As for the cats, our two girls were inseparable from this thing the second we dragged it inside to start painting. They love sleeping on the hoops and fighting over the top spot. And now that we've added sisal for them to climb? Oh yeah, HUGE hit.

If you follow my Instagram Stories then you've been watching this build take shape for about two weeks now. I got the idea when I spotted a round tube on a cat tree somewhere online, and immediately thought of a Quidditch goal post. I sketched out a design for John, who loved it so much he instantly sat down and drew out a to-scale version:

(Our original plan was to have the hoops be enclosed tubes with holes for jumping. We changed it on the fly during building.)

Lots of you have been asking for templates, but drawing up plans are a massive amount of work for John, and he's already moving on to bigger party projects over here. (You're welcome to keep asking him on FOE, though; I know my hubby, and he can't say no to you guys for long. :D)

So while I don't have a template to share, I'll do the next best thing I can: build photos and a general walk through. If you're an experienced wood worker, then this shouldn't be too hard to recreate.

We started literally from the ground up with a one-inch thick MDF base and posts made from two 2X4s screwed together: