Tag Archives: leia

Cat Tree Wall Ikea Hack – A Tutorial

I love making grand plans for big, fun projects for when my parents come to visit. This is a perfect example of one I planned where almost every single thing went a little differently than planned. Ha! I did get the help from my mom putting this project all together, though – she has the know-how with things like saws and wall anchors to teach me something new every time I would with her. We weren’t using this corner space for anything other than putting backpacks, coats and purses on a pile in the floor, so I decided it was time to make this space useful and give our cat more vertical space to run around.

This project hardly went according to plan, but I still love the results… almost as much as Leia does.

Cat Tree Wall Ikea Hack Tutorial by Britta Swiderski - 10-09-14

Supplies:

  • shelves – used Ekby Östen 31″ length (4 shelves total) but Ekby Tryggve or Ekby Hemnes  have the same dimentions – it depends on your budget and color preferences + what’s available in-store
  • brackets  – Ekby Bjärnum 7.5″ brackets (5 sets) + connecting bracket for double-long shelf
  • wall anchorsTriple Grip 171K ( for holding up to 51 lb)
  • extra screws – for the bottoms of the brackets (four 51 lb anchors for a little shelf might be a little overkill)
  • carpet – we used carpet samples from Home Depot (which are free – I picked up a few every time I was in the area and needed to buy something), but you could use any spare carpet you have from an old project
  • glue for adhering the carpet – Hot Glue or E6000 – I couldn’t find my hot glue gun, so I went with E6000 and some books to hold the squares down. I did go back in with a glue gun to attach any corners or edges that sprang up in the drying process.
  • hefty scissors for cutting carpet – 9.5″ Tim Holtz Scissors were AMAZING for this
  • drill & bits – I have a Ryobi D42K + these drill bits + these screwdriving bits
  • circular saw – my parents swear by Black & Decker for power tools
  • sharpie and pencil for marking shelves and wall
  • T-Square for marking shelves to be cut – this is my all-purpose one
  • Level – we used an iPhone because I can never remember to just buy a real level

Cat Tree Wall Ikea Hack Tutorial by Britta Swiderski - 10-09-14

Five Steps to Cat Paradise:

1. Measure and Mark – measure and mark your shelves to the desired length. Use a sharpie and t-square to draw a line that will act as your guide with the circular saw. Measure and mark the walls where you want the shelves to go – this will help you decide where exactly to attach the shelves and adjust the heigh between shelves to make sure your kitty can jump between them (ours are about 24″ apart vertically and Leia doesn’t have any trouble, but I would recommend 18″ or less of a jump for larger or older cats).

2. Cut Boards to Size – use a circular saw to cut down the shelves to size. Be sure to read the saw’s instructions and safety warnings! You could also use a hand saw, but you’ll get the most precise results with power tools.

3. Attach Brackets – use a pencil to mark the boards where you’ll put the screw to attach the brackets, drill using a 1/8″ drill bit into the wood about 1/4″ deep and then attach the shelves with the provided screws.

4. Affix Carpet – adhere your carpet to the shelves with hot glue or E6000, cutting down the carpet with strong scissors to fit across the back and side edges. Be sure to slip the carpet under the extra space between the shelf and the bracket – this will hide raw edges.

5. Level and Drill – with the aid of a level (ehem… or an iphone) and your handy pencil, mark out where the holes for the brackets need to go. Be sure to use relatively heavy-duty wall anchors on the top of the brackets to give the shelf additional support if you’re drilling into drywall. Drill a hole to the size designated by the anchor (check the package), insert the anchor (use a hammer to help with the last little bit if necessary) and attach the shelf with the matching screw. I went with 50 lb anchors so they would not only support the shelf + my cat and also her jumps up and down. Drill 1/8″ holes and use a screw to secure the bottoms of the brackets.

 The Story

First of all, why a cat tree on the wall? I wanted to build this not only to give Leia a place to play and explore, but also a safe haven away from guests where she feels in charge. She runs away to hide as soon as she hears a person other than me or Jake come to the door. Even close friends that are here about once a week only see flashes of her – it took Leia 6 months of Dan coming over every week to watch TV and Star Wars for her to let him pet her.

After watching many episodes of My Cat from Hell (a.k.a. the cat version of Dog Whisperer), I knew that giving her a place up high where no one is allowed to touch her might really help her shyness around guests and reduce her feelings of anxiety about having other people around. This all came together into this awesome cat tree corner that, in total, cost me about $75 dollars to make a reality.

Here’s where the changes come in. The shelves were originally supposed to be Ekby Tryggve ($3.99 each) in a black-brown color to match the rest of our furniture, but Ikea didn’t have a single one when we went to pick up supplies. The Tryggve actually only comes in natural wood color now, so I bet that had something to do with it. I pulled a last-minute decision to go with the white Ekby Östen shelves ($6.99 each) in the interest of time. The extra $12 and color change was well worth it when we were able to get  the entire project done the next day while my parents were still in town. I was dead-set on the Ekby Bjärnum brackets ($5 per set of two and $5 for connector) because they covered up the ends of the shelf and had a coordinating connector bracket, allowing me to stick with the same shelf for the whole project. I should also note that I went with the 7.5″ deep shelves because Leia is little and so is the area I was working in. If you want to step up to the 11″ deep shelves, that would definitely provide more lounging room for your feline friends.

The second little bobble came from trusting Ikea’s measurements. Thankfully, the shelves didn’t need to be precisely the same length, just well-mounted and pretty close to level. When we measured out to cut the boards in half, we just used the Ikea dimensions and divided them in half… It was a rookie mistake that left us with two shelves of the desired length and two over an inch longer that the first set. Whoops! We just made sure to put both of the “long” shelves on the same side so nothing seemed off.

The third thing were the dang brackets. Since the shelves are thinner than the brackets, this allows for space to cover up the unfinished edges of carpet (awesome!) but makes them really tricky for installation. They hate being straight vertically. We just went with it, and it honestly doesn’t bother me. If you are using these brackets for your project, though, keep that in mind.

When all was said and done, though, the wall turned out amazingly well (if not a completely different color than I pictured it in my plans), and Leia is having a blast up in her new castle. We even moved over our 2 x 4 Expedit to the right side of the closet so she can jump down to the top of it and nap comfortably. I guess now we truly do live in Leia’s Castle.

Cat Tree Wall Ikea Hack by Britta Swiderski

One of Leia’s favorite new hobbies – sitting on the third shelf and leaning past the corner to surprise anyone coming down the hallway. This cat is a special one, for sure. <3

Thanks so much for stopping by today! And if you’re wondering, yes, I am a crazy cat lady and yes, I love it. A huge thanks goes out to my wonderful mom for helping me with this project. It’s a fairly easy but definitely two-person project. And thanks to my dad for sitting on the couch (he was sick the whole weekend – boo) and putting up with me yelling at the Gopher football game on TV.

If you liked this post, you might like my Refinishing 101: Modern Table Makeover that my mom helped me with last year. :) See you again soon with another card video!

Love,
Britta

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Filed under DIY Home, Tutorials

EXPLORE.

I know I still have things to talk about from CHA, but I have all these words that I want to say today, right now. I guess that’s why I have a blog. Ha! It’s time for another life update from me, because things are changing. It’s been a while since I sat down and really told you about everything going on around here.

My One Little Word

02-01-14 Life Update by Britta Swiderski-8

I’ve followed the Ali Edwards OLW idea for the past four years, and my word for this year is explore. It fits me, Right Now Me. I picked this on the second day of the year, 32 days ago, and I can’t even describe how much this word has already meant to me this year. You’ll see throughout this post that each medium to large decision I’ve made so far this year has been driven by this word. Explore is  good for me.

My Hair

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I’ve been making changes in my lifestyle over the past year to a more natural, less-hazardous-chemical-involved way of living. With as unpredictable and turbulent my health can be, I’m trying to take as many variables out of the equation as possible. I looked into using henna as hair dye to touch up my roots to maintain my beloved (by me) auburn hair, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt like it was time to make the change back to my natural hair color. Jake’s sister, Melissa, did a wonderous job on blending all of my many dyed pieces of hair together into a color that blends in with my roots – my real hair color. So I’m currently a blonde with very redhead ends, and that’s the way it’s going to be for a while. I like it.

Leia is Still a Rock Star

02-01-14 Life Update by Britta Swiderski-4

Adopting Leia is still one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. That’s no new news, but I couldn’t resist sharing a picture of her for you Leia Lovers out there.

I’ve Made Some Tough Decisions This Week

02-01-14 Life Update by Britta Swiderski-5

With my seasonal position coming to an end at Sephora, this week really forced me to figure out the next step in my professional life. Since graduating last May, I’ve been struggling trying to find a path to head down that fulfills my ambitions, nourishes me creatively and pays the bills. Along the way I’ve learned to break it down into steps and just worry about the next step. Not three months from now, tomorrow. Not next year, this week. I needed some creative therapy on Monday, so I sat down with my art journal, a black brush PITT artist pen, set of watercolor pencils and a water brush and made the entry above. It helped get my feelings out, and now I’m feeling more confident about the next step.

What is this next step? I’m going to pull together and polish my portfolio focusing on my work with typography, stationery and graphic design. A few steps from now, I’ll be applying for full-time jobs in the Twin Cities (and possibly Portland and Denver). I’ll keep you updated with the process as it goes along. I finally have a better idea of what kind of jobs I want to apply for, the types of people I would like to work with and people to talk to in order to find those places. I have steps, and those are good.

In Case You’re Wondering, I Still Love Makeup

02-01-14 Life Update by Britta Swiderski-7

I couldn’t end my fun experience working with Sephora (for now, at least) without buying some new goodies I’ve been dying to try. My favorite picks of my latest haul: the Chocolate Bar Palette from Too FacedRouge Infusion in Coral by SephoraCheek Stain in Fearless from Tarte and Solid Cleanser by BeautyBlender. Plus, this is another look at me with my freshly blonde hair.

Above all, I’m happy.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Your support means the world to me; I hope you’re ready for another adventure! See you again very soon with more crafty goodness.

Love,
Britta

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Filed under Life and Health, Links and Shopping

I have no words.

So let me share some things. Pictures? I haven’t even taken that many pictures because I’m working holiday retail and 60 hours a week is making me a crazy person. Thank goodness the season will be over in three-ish weeks and then I can go back into a craft-ful hibernation.

1. I’m using this technique to make several Christmas gifts this year. You should check it out, because it’s kind of awesome. Consequently, you can buy most of these materials at Blick where I happen to have an employee discount. I think you can put those two and two together.

2. I work at Sephora now. I don’t remember if I told you that or not. But I work there. Yay! I like it a lot a lot (but I’m not committing to the word love yet because it’s still a pretty new relationship; you know how that goes), and I want to share five discoveries that make my makeup-loving face-life better. On some planet, that last sentence made sense.

12-16-13-Brain-Likes-BrittaSwiderski

  1. Stila Stay All Day liquid liner pen [Single] [I bought it in the Holiday Essentials Kit that is sold out online but is still around in some brick-and-mortar stores] – seriously, I’ve cried excessively (overtired + hungry + dishwasher issues) with this on, and it was still perfect. I don’t even know how that’s possible.
  2. Urban Decay All-Nighter makeup setting spray – spraying my face with this makes my makeup last (with the exception of lips) for at least 12 hours without smudging, budging or fading. If you wear makeup on a regular basis for more than four hours at a time, this is worth its weight in gold. BTW, the sister product, De-Slick, receives rave reviews from my coworkers with more oily skin.
  3. Urban Decay Lip Liner in Ozone – it’s clear lip liner. It seems like it wouldn’t do much of anything, but it works. It stops feathering, it makes your lip color stick, it makes your lip color stay and did I mention it stops lip color from feathering? If you put color on your lips, this is your new best friend.
  4. Sephora Lip Cream Stains, especially this one in 04 Endless Purple – in-house brands don’t have a lot of street cred on the… street, but Sephora has a fantastic in-house brand. These lip creams are the freaking best and much less expensive than other brands at the store because there’s no distributor middleman to pay.
  5. Anastasia Perfect Brow Pencil in dark brown – you probably know that I’m a natural blonde but dye my hair dark (because I like it that way), so I have to add a little color to my brows (and shape them!) to make them look like they match my hair. This pencil is the hardest, purest thing ever, and it’s SO EASY to use. The “lead” being very hard and durable makes it easy to make quick, light strokes and go darker if necessary. I’ve also heard these pencils can last people for up to a year, so don’t let the price tag scare you.

3. IT WAS LEIA’S BIRTHDAY! On the 12th, it was our one-year anniversary of adopting our sweet little Princess Leia “Pants” Batman Swiderski, and now she’s officially two years old. She still loves wet food, and she still hates her Christmas Outfit. For you only, my dear readers:

12-16-13 Leia Christmas Dress by Britta Swiderski-1

I just… I can’t even handle that face right now.

4. I’m working on a bajillion projects! Things are still happening… I think?

12-16-13 Projects Christmas by Britta Swiderski-1

Please note that I have been cooking, not crafting, with the crockpot. I haven’t *quite* reached that level of crafty yet. Give me three years.

5. I’m in love with PITT Artist Pens. I rather like to type Pitt Artist Pens so it doesn’t feel like I’m yelling.

12-16-13 PITT pens love by Britta Swiderski-1

If you would like to buy them in pretty colors, you can buy them at Simon Says, Ellen Hutson or Blick. (Shopping with any of those links helps support my site, and I hope you know that I’d never link to anything or anyone I don’t absolutely loooooove or at least like a lot a lot.)

6. Thanks for being here. You are my favorite. I’m going to go pass out now. Only 52 work hours left this week! (Insert crazy eyes here.)

Love,
Britta

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Filed under DIY Home, Life and Health, Links and Shopping, Miscellaneous