DIY Mat Remake

I like having a specific spot where the cats go to eat. In my old apartment, I used a somewhat torn-up straw mat that had spent many days at the beach.

This mat worked great in my old apartment, but the new house has tile, which makes the mat completely ineffective as a mat. I decided I’d use one of those rug gripper things to make it more sturdy. I didn’t just want to place the mat on top of the rug gripper, though, so I glued them together. Then I got a little bit more creative.

I placed a cardboard box underneath the mat to make sure glue didn’t get on the floor.

Then I placed my rug gripper on top of the mat. Luckily the rug gripper was about the same length as the mat. I’d already planned to cut the width of the mat down, so that size was perfect, too.

Other Required Tools:

Mod Podge & a foam brush

A level to help keep the side of the mat straight.

You don’t really need this, but as I was gluing, the mat was slipping up and down on the cardboard, so I used the level on one side of the mat and just brushed glue on toward the level so that the mat wouldn’t move up and down.

Oh, and a glass of wine. Again, not required, but helpful.

I glued the entire rug gripper to the mat, and let it dry for about 30 minutes.

Then I trimmed my mat around the rug gripper.

Give yourself some space on the sides because you will have extra little reed strips trying to slip off. If you think about it, give a few extra coats of glue on those reed strips that will be the edges of your completed mat – This will prevent them from coming out after cutting. 

My cuts weren’t exactly perfect, so I rolled up the mat and sanded the edges a bit.

This was my intended end-of-project, but I had a sudden epiphany that I could stain the reed mat with stain that I will be using for some other pieces of furniture in the near future.

So I rolled out my mat on the cardboard outside and gave it several coats of stain. it’s not perfect, but I’m okay with that.

Then I stuck the mat in the garage overnight. The next morning, I sprayed on a few coats of clear coat protector, and let it dry a few more hours.

While that was drying, I stuck the extra long reed pieces in a white vase! It looks surprisingly nice! I’m not yet sure what I’m doing with the small section of reed mat that’s leftover.

And here’s the final project under the buffet! A perfect place for kitties to dine.

Yuki inspecting her new food space. Next project: find where on earth I’ve packed the kitty bowls. Ha!

When your cat reacts unexpectedly to sedatives

I think that, somewhere internally, I knew that the process involved in moving cross-country would inevitably involve some trial and error and result in me learning many things about myself and others that I did not know.

I did not, however, plan to stay up for hours with a cat who was completely tripping out, unsuccessfully trying to shush him, while a house full of people tried to sleep.

Tau, my orange kitten who is exactly the opposite of Lion (what his name means), gets extremely anxious in the car. When he’s in the car, his meow begins to sound like a Beagle’s howl… a non-stopping, shrill Beagle howl. If in his crate, he thrashes around and continually smashes his head up against the sides. If out of his crate (and I only tried this once…), he proceeds to crawl to the top of my head, lodge his nails into my skull, and his Beagle howl turns into more of a fire siren, so that the whole world understands the awful situation he is in.

Knowing this, and knowing that I have to drive from Orlando to Austin, I called the vet a few weeks back. I explained the situation and my desire for Tau and myself to both safely arrive to Austin, all fur and heads in tact. The vet said she’d prescribe a sedative for him, and that we’d be all good. Fantastic.

When I stopped by to pick up his sedative, the receptionist mentioned I may want to test out the sedative on Tau a few days before the move. “Just to make sure he reacts okay,” she said. “Some people find out their cat needs this plus anti-anxiety medications to really calm down. You’d rather not find that out on our drive to Austin.” God bless the receptionist…

Last night I decided would be a perfect time to try out the sedative. I was doing a final pack of things in the apartment, and as my bed was already in the moving truck, the cats and I were going to stay at a friend’s house. Car ride, new house, new smells – a perfect time to try out this sedative.

So around 9:30 at night, I gave Tau his pill. He took it well, then had some water and a piece of cheese as a treat. About 30 minutes later, it had kicked in slightly, and his coordination began to be impaired as he chased around his catnip mouse. It was mostly hilarious- he seemed to be enjoying himself, and it was rather funny to watch.

At about 10:30, Tau was in his crate, ready to go into the car, and wasn’t fussing. “This is great!” I thought. “He’s usually squalling by now – this is perfect!” I thought.

The car ride, too, was uneventful. He hissed once, but I had also flashed a bright light in his eyes accidentally while trying to check on him, so I didn’t worry about it. The Beagle-like howl was nowhere to be heard.

I got to my friend’s house, unloaded the car, and took in the cats. This is where Tau went from calm, slightly inebriated kitty, to completely freaked out, tripped out, hissing, spitting, crazed kitty. He hissed at everything. Me, Yuki, my friend Jon, the door, the bed, the sheet on the bed, his crate, the bowl of food, his feather toy, Jon’s computer, Jon’s closet, Jon’s shoes… In between all this hissing was a constant, low growl that occasionally would get high pitched and loud. We decided Tau and Yuki needed space to explore the room and get comfortable, so Jon and I left the room.

Upon returning we found Tau in an even more elevated state. He wanted to run around, but his coordination was completely off, and every time he fell over, it freaked him out and he would hiss. He had hissed and growled at Yuki so much that she was now hiding under a cabinet and was hissing at anything that moved. I picked him up and he hissed and spit and growled until I put him down, which did nothing to improve his mood.

Eventually we decided that maybe if we turned off the lights and went to bed, that he would calm down and lay down, too. After about 2 hours of constant meowing/hissing/growling, I finally gave up on sleep and sat on the floor with Tau. I held him, I pet him, I tried to get him to play with the feather. I fed him treats, I gave him water, I put him under the blanket (which he normally likes). Nothing even remotely worked.

To make the situation even more problematic, the house I was staying in inhabits 4 other people – all of whom had also gone to bed. So I spent the entire night sitting on the floor with my cat, trying to prevent him from waking up the house, and trying to console him enough to calm down on his own. At 7:30 this morning, I gave up any hope of sleeping, and brought him back to the apartment with me so I could conclude packing. He hissed and spat and meowed all the way until about 10am. Even after the meds wore off, he was in an ornery mood, hissing anytime something moved. Finally, at noon, he calmed down, laid on the carpet, and fell asleep.

So I laid on the floor next to him and slept until I heard him meowing again. 

The vet is prescribing something different for Tau, which I will get and test on him tomorrow. I can only hope that tonight I’ll get sleep, and that tomorrow the new meds will actually work as expected.

Why I love TotalFinder

If you have a Mac, you should download TotalFinder. It’s free to try, $15 to buy, and you’ll wonder why these simple Finder functions aren’t standard. Here’s why I love TotalFinder…

Reason 1: Tabs!

Why is it that only web browsers have tabs? Finder should have tabs, too! This prevents me from having a million Finder windows open at once, floating around on my screen. Whenever I need a new tab, I just click the + button and go to a new place! All my Finder folders are in the same window, easily managed.

Reason 2: Dual Mode

With a simple click of ⌘U, dual mode starts, opening 2 folders side-by-side, allowing you to easily compare and transfer files from one folder to another. Brilliant!

Reason 3: Folders on Top

This is the only thing I’ve missed about using a Windows OS. I like having all folders on the top-most part of my window so that it’s easy to navigate to sub-folders versus when I’m just looking for a file. TotalFinder lets you do that. :)

Reason 4: Cut and Paste

For some reason, Apple doesn’t like cut. They’re perfectly happy with you copy-and-pasting files from one folder to another, but Apple-X just does not work. Until TotalFinder. Now you can cut-and-paste to your heart’s content!

Reason 5: Always Maximize

What exactly is up with the “maximize” button in Finder? You click that little plus button, and you expect your window to maximize to the entire window… except that rarely happens.

Before TotalFinder, regular window:

Before TotalFinder, “maximized” window:

TotalFinder “Always Maximize” option:

Reason 6 and beyond!

There are lots of other options, including a Finder visor, redirecting .ds_store files, and copy the path of any file.

If you have a Mac, definitely try TotalFinder. You can watch a video about TotalFinder, outlining some of its options, too!

And, no, I’m not being sponsored by this company by any means. It’s just kickass software that I think fellow Mac lovers will enjoy.

Making Art

A few months ago, I bought a frame from Ikea. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to put in the frame, so I ended up using the cardboard that the frame was packaged in and a cool Photoshop brush that I downloaded and printed on cardstock.

What you’ll need:

  • A cool frame
  • Cardboard – usually it comes in the frame!
  • An interesting picture to print and cut out
  • Cardstock
  • Scissors and maybe an exacto knife
  • Mod Podge
  • Acrylic paint
  • Painter’s tape – or any kind of masking tape will do
  • Foam paintbrush
  • A hair dryer (to help the acrylic paint dry faster!)

Step 1: Trace the opening of the frame on the cardboard (that had packaged the frame) and paint the cardboard a neutral color. I used just white acrylic paint.

Step 2: Choose an image you like, print it over several pieces of paper, and cut it out. I downloaded this cityscape brush for Photoshop from deviant art, and spread it across 4 pieces of card stock. Then I placed the cut-out image on my cardboard to visualize where it would lay so I could add more to the background.

Step 3: I dried my white acrylic paint with the hair dryer and cut out my oval. At this point, I decided that grey was a better neutral, so I re-painted with grey. Then I taped off some diagonal lines and added a contrast color.

Step 4: Once my paint was dry (super-fast, thanks to my handy hair dryer!), I glued down my printed and cut images with Mod Podge. If you look really closely, you can see the lines across the image where it’s 2 different pieces of paper.

Step 5: Place your new art in your frame and enjoy!

Share your ideas! Does this give you any inspiration?

Fabric storage out of beer boxes!

See, I have this cabinet…

That usually looks like this.

Most of that is yarn. So yesterday I went to Ikea looking for fabric boxes, and failed.Then I came home and found these glorious beer boxes, and had an epiphany.

I cut off the tops and sanded down the glossy texture a bit.

I happened to have fabric hiding in a box that fit just right.

I used the fabric and some magical Modge Podge…

Then I split the fabric at the corners.

At this point, I happened to look over and found my cats were involved in projects of their own.

Tau had cocooned himself in the middle of my giant comforter.

While Yuki was grooming in her suitcase bed.

Back to the boxes! I got tired of glue, so I taped down the edges inside the box.

Then I filled the boxes with yarn!

Wa-la! Not perfect, but a start! What do you think?

“sticky keys”

My Macbook started doing this annoying little trick the other day…

Whenever I clicked any of the modifier keys (fn, control, option, or command), they’d display on my monitor and make a little sound effect. And if you held them down too long, they’d “lock” and then you had to hold it down again to “unlock” again.

Annoying. So I looked for a solution on Google. However, any search option I tried was giving me millions of answers to questions I hadn’t asked.

Finally, I found a solution. Sticky Keys. It’s in your system settings. Click on the apple at the top left, then System Properties, then Universal Access, then the Keyboard tab, and turn that damn Sticky Keys option off.


Just some thoughts

Don’t make your employees feel bad for vouching for other employees.
Don’t act as if your time is more important than everyone else’s. This IS obvious, regardless of how “good” you are at covering it up.
Don’t be fake nice. It’s better to be genuine.
When you hear people whispering about you in the hallways, instead of jumping to conclusions of how they are horrible people, ask yourself instead, “Who am I being that is make people react in this way?”


My parents let us tinker. I helped my dad with power tools. I carried and moved around bricks with bare hands and bare feet, and made my own little pathway in the yard. I dug with sticks in dirt, climbed trees, sat on the roof, picked up bugs, caught lizards, ran around, played with fire, baited my own hook, and caught my own fish. Sure, sometimes we hurt ourselves, and yep, I have a few scars from my childhood, but I learned and explored and discovered my independence more than the people my age who have no scars.
Tinkering = creativity and learning. Let your kids be dangerous.