Why aren’t more people doing this?

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With all the extra cat hair in the world, why aren’t we using it to make soft, colorful mohair-like sweaters and accessories, instead of letting it clog our landfills?

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Seriously, why not?  We make wigs out of extra human hair, so why not make useful items out of extra cat hair?   It’s not like there’s a shortage of it or anything.

Actually, there are a few folks doing this.  There’s even a book about crafting with cat hair.  But most people still think it’s weird and gross.  Why?  It’s not like the cats are killed for their fur.   It’s dropping off of them constantly, so why not put it to use?

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Little cats made out of cat hair.

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Looks like mohair or cashmere to me.

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This is a really attractive bag. Don’t tell anyone what it’s made of and no one will ever know.

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Art therapy: recycling an old seat cushion.

This morning I had two small first-world problems.

1. I needed a new piece of art for my hallway wall, which was bare.
2.  My favorite outdoor needlepoint seat cushion had turned black and moldy from three weeks’ of rain, and the stuffing was coming out of it anyway.

I’m glad I didn’t throw away the seat cushion, which was my first temptation. I didn’t think it could be salvaged.   But I decided to take it apart and see if I had some kind of  brainstorm that would save it because the design is so pretty.

I tore out the stuffing, and the needlepoint part of the cushion, which was on the top only, tore away easily as the fabric was nearly rotted. Carefully, I washed the needlepoint panel in the tub with mild detergent and just a little bleach to make the colors bright again, then dried it indoors.

Now I had a nice little piece of needlepoint tapestry, with a very antique look about it (even though it’s actually only about ten years old), but what could I do with it?

Finally I decided it would make a wonderful art piece for my blank wall, solving my first problem.  I measured the piece–it was 17.5 x 15 inches, wider than it is tall. I had to find some kind of frame that would fit.  I went to the dollar store and purchased a large piece of royal blue poster board for mounting.

I looked at their frames. All were way too small, intended for family photos, not artworks. But next to the photo frames were some cheap decorative photos and pictures already in frames. I finally found a framed photo of a shoreline whose dimensions fit almost exactly. The frame was plain black plastic, which was fine.  The hook on the back was in the right place too, so it would hang with the longer side horizontal and the shorter side vertical.

I took my equipment home, removed the backing and the cardboard photo inside (actually the photo is rather nice, so I might put that somewhere else like my bathroom or kitchen), and then carefully cut the poster board to the same dimensions as the cardboard photo. Then I glued the tapestry onto the poster board and set it back inside the frame, and used some masking tape to secure it there.

Here is a picture of the finished result.  I think you’d probably pay a lot if you were to buy something like this.

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A closer look at the detail:

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I find these sort of creative activities relaxing and fun–and very therapeutic.  My house is filed with such things I made myself out of odds and ends, or things that I was able to recycle into something exciting and new.    And I always finish these projects with my mood improved too.

The conclusion of the saga of the towel rack!

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Last week as a Mindfulness activity, I made a towel rack using an old glass doorknob I had sitting around and half a cigar box, which I spray painted green and stuck pretty objects on.   It looked so cute when it was all put together, but the doorknob was too heavy for the caulking silicone I had used to attach it to the backing mirror (silicone caulk has worked for other projects like my suncatchers), but the minute I turned it upright, the stupid knob fell right off!

So I consulted Google and asked it what the strongest glue known is.   The answer was Epoxy.  So I went to the craft store and picked up some and tried it.   And it worked!  My towel rack now hangs proudly in my bathroom.   I’m a little afraid to hang actual towels from it because they can get mighty heavy, but it works just fine for lighter fabrics, like this cotton shirt.

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A Christmas gift to my therapist.

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Dragonfly suncatcher.

I’ve had only four sessions so far with my therapist, but I already feel there is trust building between us. I don’t normally feel comfortable talking about my problems with people I don’t know well but his gentle and quiet (but humorous) manner puts me completely at ease and he also appears to have a high level of empathy. I’ve made a few amazing discoveries about myself in this short time and wanted to give him a special Christmas present to show how much it means, so I made this dragonfly suncatcher today. Dragonflies symbolize change and freedom, and this pendant from Michael’s was just gorgeous.

Also, just from observing the way he has his office decorated (he’s into artsy-craftsy stuff), this looks like the sort of thing that would fit in with his decor.

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Two closeup views.
The colors are much more brilliant than the photographs show. Those are little mirrors strung between the bits of glass, and that seemed appropriate too.

Making a prayer box.

I thought it was time to share this again. It’s a great way to spend a rainy day.

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Way back in the spring, after I disconnected from my ex, I was trying to find new activities to relax and get me in a more positive mindset. Even though at the time I was still agnostic, I saw this video on making “prayer boxes” and it interested me because I love arts and crafts and it seemed such a positive, creative, fun thing to do.

Here’s a good video that teaches you how to make a prayer box. This is part 1; make sure to watch part 2 also. There are other videos about making prayer boxes but I think this one is good for beginners.

There are no rules for making these boxes and they are so easy. If you aren’t religious, you can call yours a “wish box” or an “inspiration box” or whatever suits you. Just use pictures or objects that mean a lot to you…

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It’s arts and crafts Saturday!

When I’m not blogging (which takes up most of my spare time these days) or reading, I make suncatchers from stones, pieces of colored glass and agate, buttons, small mirrors, jewel tone tiles, and other small objects.

Last spring a neighbor was throwing away a glass window hanging that had been painted to resemble stained glass but the design had worn off. I rescued it and used some of the same materials I use on my suncatchers to make a unique window hanging. I’d forgotten about it, but was cleaning my house today and found it stashed behind some boxes. I’d wanted to get some photos of it with the sun behind it, but the standing lamp in my bedroom served just fine.

Here are a few pictures I took. I’ll be selling some of my suncatchers this spring and summer at a nearby resort (I have to meet with the owner in a few weeks; she buys early–they open in April). But I won’t sell this.

I do take commissions for custom designed suncatchers. Here’s one I made for my upstairs neighbor to give to a dolphin-loving relative as a Christmas gift. They generally range from $15-$30, depending on materials used and how much detail is used. Email me if you’re interested in having one made.

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Closer detail and a different light source.

Making a prayer box.

Way back in the spring, after I disconnected from my ex, I was trying to find new activities to relax and get me in a more positive mindset. Even though at the time I was still agnostic, I saw this video on making “prayer boxes” and it interested me because I love arts and crafts and it seemed such a positive, creative, fun thing to do.

Here’s a good video that teaches you how to make a prayer box. This is part 1; make sure to watch part 2 also. There are other videos about making prayer boxes but I think this one is good for beginners.

There are no rules for making these boxes and they are so easy. If you aren’t religious, you can call yours a “wish box” or an “inspiration box” or whatever suits you. Just use pictures or objects that mean a lot to you or make you feel happy.

Here’s how I made mine:
I went to Michael’s (a large arts and crafts chain–I think they’re nationwide) and picked up a cheap wooden box with a curved lid. I found a detail of the two baby angels from a magazine photo of Michaelangelo’s famous painting, carefully glued it to the top of the box (I made another copy and glued that one to the front). I then covered both with a thin layer of clear shellac which gave it a slightly antique look.

The other sides of the box and the rim of the lid I painted with matte-finish antique-gold paint. Then I embellished the box with cheap plastic “gemstones” that came in a packet at Michael’s (about $1.99!), and added a black and white “HAPPY” tile to the top of the box (also purchased at Michael’s in a packet with other tiles with words on them).

As my final touch, I added a small clear glass orb to the top of the lid, to be used as a handle. I used epoxy glue which works great for everything; clear silicone tub caulking (which can be found at Home Depot or any hardware store) is also good and lasts forever.

Here is what my finished box looks like (front and top):
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Under the lid of the box, I glued inspirational quotes I liked.

If you are more religious, you can use Bible quotes.

Inside the box, put small objects that mean a lot to you, and then every day, if you wish, you can add a prayer to the box. Putting the prayer in written form and placing it in a box helps make it more concrete and seem less like a “thought” that might not be heard.

Even if you don’t believe in God, you can still put your wishes or thoughts into the box, and let the universe or your higher power take care of it.

This activity helped me a lot. I have to admit, since I’ve been blogging, I haven’t really been using my prayer box, but I wanted to share this because it was very helpful to me when I first disconnected and felt so lost and alone in the world. It’s also a lot of fun if you enjoy crafty things like I do.

Dolphin suncatcher I’m making for a friend

As a hobby and for a little extra income, I make suncatchers made from small mirrors, pieces of beveled glass, stones, and other small shiny objects. Each one features a pendant of some kind that will catch or reflect light in some way, from larger mirrors or stained glass to semiprecious gemstones to bejeweled butterflies, dragonflies, crosses, old fashioned cameos, whatever.

I haven’t put these up on Etsy but probably I should. Right now I mostly give them away as gifts, decorate my windows with them (or hang them on the porch in the summer), but sometimes I get a special order, like this dolphin suncatcher my upstairs neighbor requested for his sister, who lives in Florida and collects dolphins (not real ones!)

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The entire suncatcher (the light available doesn’t do it justice–sorry).

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Closer detail.

This is the first suncatcher I’ve made in over 6 months. It’s not QUITE finished yet–the fishing line has not yet been trimmed, so it still looks a bit sloppy. But when it’s hanging in a sunny window or alongside a porch where it can catch the sun’s rays, it will look lovely and send prisms of color and light everywhere. Sometime I’ll post photos of some of the others I have made. No two are alike.

If anyone would like to purchase a suncatcher as a gift or for yourself, you can send me an email (under Contact Me) with your special request and then we can talk about what you want.