Thursday, May 24, 2012

What to do with old trophies and awards?

Ever since our wedding 14 years ago I was faced with the problem about what to do with my husbands huge collection of sports paraphernalia. (I know a lot of women have this problem!) He had been collecting all kinds of stuff, from his own athletic accomplishments to baseball/football cards and Sports Illustrated magazines. He was under the impression that we would display everything in the man cave. This actually made me laugh at first and then I wanted to cry! There's just no way. If I would display everything that him and I love, our house would look like we could be on the show Hoarders. Everybody has to purge and that way we were able to come to a compromise.

I have found several solutions for all his things and in this post I will show you my latest project to display his athletic accomplishments from early childhood to college.
He had 2 crates full of trophies, medals and plaques stored in his mother's attic. She was sick of keeping his stuff and told him to take them. (Sigh out loud!) He actually thought we'd display them!!!!! He is so attached to his sports past.

Neuweiler crates with old trophies

Well, guess what I got excited about when I saw the trophies? Yup, the crates! They are the best thing about this pile! Aren't they cool? At least he agrees with me on that! I still haven't decided what to do with them.

I have seen some projects out there where people spray painted old trophies a glossy white but that doesn't solve the issue of using up too much space. And the trophies weren't nice shapes either. I had to come up with something that would display medals and trophies in a small space.

What I came up with isn't in anyway a revolutionary new idea, but it solved the problem and he is happy with it.
I didn't want a shadow box but I knew I wanted to hang the stuff on the wall.

I went to the local Salvation Army and found this "not so nice" homemade frame for a $1. It had a wooden back, no glass and a thick fabric cover.

old salvation army frame

I had my husband remove all the plaques from his trophies that he wanted to keep. He cleaned them up a little but I wanted him to keep the patina on the plaques.
Then I removed the old torn red, white and blue neck ribbons from the medals.

After that I made sure that all the stuff would fit inside the frame. I'm so glad it did!

Then I went to work on the frame and background.

I first sanded and then primed the frame with spray paint.
I had a scrap of black and white striped fabric left that I covered the background with. For that I used a staple gun. When I laid this combination together, I noticed that the striped fabric was definitely not the best choice.

old white frame with old trophies and medallions

So I came up with the idea to paint the frame in red, white and blue since my husband liked the removed neck ribbons. I bought a grey piece of scrap fabric. I wanted duck cloth since it is a thick and heavy fabric that I hoped was able to hold the heavy metals and plaques.

I taped the primed frame and added the red white and blue stripes. When I looked at the glossy results I decided to glaze the frame to make it look a little older to match the vintage metal plaques and medals. (My 5 year old daughter wasn't too happy with the black glaze. She wanted to know why I'm ruining the pretty colors and making them look dirty. Haha!)

Valspar antiquing glaze on glossy frame

I removed the striped fabric and recovered it in the grey fabric with the staple gun again.

adding grey fabric to background with staple gun

I put it all together, laid out a collage of the plaques and medals and then I attached the them with hot glue and the medals with needles, so they could be turned around.

attaching plaques and medals with hot glue

This small frame uses a lot less space then the 2 filled crates and we are both happy with the results.

repurposing old medals and plaques in a collage
(I hung the collage in our living room to take this photo because the staircase
leading to the basement is too dark and that's where it will be hanging in the future)

putting vintage metals and plaques on display in an old painted frame

You want to know the funny thing? My husband still has the old trophies sitting in the garage now and can't get himself to put them out for the trash. They aren't even in shape enough to donate! Seriously! It's time to let go now.

I also have to post what I did with his other collections, like the Sports Illustrated magazines and his baseball/football cards. And another post to prove that every woman can build her man a bar. So come back soon.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Cuckoo for my cats!

{Please do not just steal my photos and upload to your website. I have had numerous people trying to steal these photos for their websites. Please contact me first about possibly doing a feature!}

I'm not only cuckoo for design but also for animals.
My 4 kitties mean the world to me and if I could afford more pets, I would.

Meet our furry rescued children (you can read some more about their antics here):

Heidi who hides, our chubby 16 year old Manx {all the cats are obviously older by now ;) }. She was our first cat, rescued by a vet from euthanasia. She is my snuggler.

DIY outdoor cat enclosure

Hiding Heidi
Hairy Harry, our 15 year old Maine Coon. He is our sickly problem child with his heart murmur, seizures, bladder and litter box problems, but I love him dearly! I brought him home after going to Petsmart over the weekend. I didn't know that they had adoption day and couldn't walk past his cage. He was already 8 years old when I adopted him. He was the oldest one for adoption and I know how hard it is for old pets to find a home. I will never go to a store on adoption day again. I feel so bad for them all!

{UPDATE: Harry passed away May 13th, 2013. You can read about his story by clicking HERE. He will be missed forever!}

DIY outdoor cat enclosure
Hairy Harry (this is what he did when he came home from the shelter, doesn't he look so relieved to be home)

Silly Lilly and yes I have a daughter named Lilly too. I've always loved the name but never wanted kids. So when my husband brought our little polydactyl calico kitten home 13 years ago, I named her Lilly. When our daughter was born 7 years later I couldn't resist naming her Lilly too. After all they won't go to school together. Isn't she cute?

DIY outdoor cat enclosure
Silly Lilly

And 12 year old tiny cotton ball Lucy, unfortunately nothing matching rhymes with her name. She is so small but don't let her size fool you. She is a very feisty little thing and doesn't take any bullying from the other furry kids. Everybody loves her the minute they walk into our house. My husband brought her home from the shelter when I sent him to donate some food and blankets. He fell in love with her because she was the loudest cat in the place. She loves to talk.

DIY outdoor cat enclosure
tiny Lucy

Another update: we recently opened our home to a stray that lived in our neighborhood for four years. Meet former porch cat (Molly) Monkey who is blind in one eye. (read more about her HERE, HERE and HERE)

Molly Monkey

I always felt bad about keeping my cats inside but I also know that there are so many dangers awaiting them outside. We happen to live in an area where there are numerous busy streets and also an outdoor shooting range. Unfortunately a lot of people hate cats and do unspeakable things to them. So as they reached the senior citizen stage, I couldn't take it any longer because I felt so bad about them never lying in the sun, breathing the fresh air, watching birds, squirrels and butterflies... so I started to think. After searching the net I saw that there are several professionally made outdoor cat cages and some home made ones. And I started to wonder if I would be able to do the same in our small neighborhood without it sticking out like a sore thumb.
It's not the prettiest design decision to have a chicken wired enclosure in your back yard and I'm sure a lot of my neighbors thought that I had finally lost it. I certainly got enough questions about what the heck I was doing now in our backyard (you can see more of our garden here).
It took me pretty long to come up with the exact plans and materials on how I was going to build the enclosure. I had many trips to Lowes and Home Depot to look around for what type of wire mesh, hardware and wood I was going to use.
I started with drawing out some plans and after finishing the cage and comparing the childish looking plans to the actual cage, I came pretty close to what I dreamed of doing. I wish I could find them so I could post them here to show you.

DIY outdoor cat enclosures

DIY outdoor cat enclosures

DIY outdoor cat enclosures

DIY outdoor cat enclosures

I started with the small enclosure around the living room window. I purchased Ideal Pet Products Sash Chubby Kat Medium Pet Door, 27 to 32-Inch, a cat door that was made for windows. I'm really happy with the small door but I do take it out in the winter time and make the cats stay inside when it gets cold. The draft is just too much.

DIY outdoor cat enclosures

living room with cat door window
On the right you can see the cat window in our living room.

brackets for outdoor cat enclosures
support brackets for the tunnel

I used galvanized hardware for decks to put the structure together. From the window I had a tunnel run along the fence through a bush and the main cage is hidden behind our large lilac bush.

This is the way I supported the tunnel along the fence. I started with 2x2's screwed level along the fence. I made my own brackets with galvanized angles. I once again wish I would have taken pictures along the way but was to eager to get the job done.

building of the cat enclosure

how to build a cat enclosure

how to build a cat enclosure

DIY outdoor cat enclosure

I screwed cedar planks on top of the brackets. Then I attached the galvanized wire with an air compressor staple gun to the fence, folded it over and attached it to the other side of the cedar planks. After that I attached some pressure treated wood planks to the front of the wire, so you couldn't see the staples. Doesn't my Lilly look happy in her outdoor tunnel? My mom calls it the lions den.

DIY outdoor cat enclosure
Oops, still need to finish re-staining the fence!

DIY outdoor cat enclosure
tunnel vision

DIY outdoor cat enclosure

DIY outdoor cat enclosure
Harry was loving life rubbing himself on the catnip.

cat enjoying outdoor cat enclosures

cat enjoying outdoor cat enclosures
Before I extended the left side.

cat enjoying outdoor cat enclosures

cat enjoying outdoor cat enclosures

DIY outdoor cat enclosure to keep your indoor cats safe by cuckoo4design

I know that a wired cage isn't the prettiest garden design but now my furry children are finally able to enjoy spring, summer and fall with us outside. I love seeing them enjoy the outdoors.
I hope I'm not the only one out there that is cuckoo for animals and goes to great measure to make the furry children happy.
Did you ever do anything crazy for your pet?

Well, thanks for stopping by fellow webbers and if you liked this post and my cat craziness, then I would appreciate it sooo much if you'd show a fellow cat lover some support and like my facebook page.

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