Category Archives: Cat
When we first got engaged, we had a wedding brainstorming session with my parents and sister Adie. One idea that sprung up was customizing wine labels for the tables. Adie suggested featuring the cats which we all agreed would be a super cute idea. Then the idea sat dormant for months since we had other decisions to make. Then about three weeks ago, I was ready to cut this project from my to-do list, but Nate admitted how excited he was to have cat labels made so I got to work.
I am so glad we put the effort into these labels. They are such a fun detail. It goes to show once again that collaboration really makes a stronger vision. Nate’s opinion has been very valuable to the overall look and feel of wedding and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Designing the Labels
We chose three wines to serve at the wedding. I knew I wanted to use these two sweet photos of each cat that I took at Christmas time plus an equally cute photo of them together for the third wine. Each wine description was customized to both be a description of the wine and the cat(s) featured. Then it was a matter of just messing with the design in Adobe Illustrator until the labels were right. My goal was to keep the look pretty simple since they were going to be featured on the guest tables.
I’ve seen people create labels many ways so if you don’t have Illustrator try working with MS Word, a photo editing program or even a label making program like Avery’s Designer Software.
Once I got all three labels designed, I created a print sheet so I could easily print out the labels in bulk then cut them to size. After testing out a few paper choices I went with Neenah’s 32 lb. Professional Series paper in Natural. It’s a common resume paper you can find at Target. I liked it because it has a nice texture, but is still lightweight to easily stick to the bottles.
I also tested the labels on the bottles themselves. Each bottle had a slightly different shape so I varied the label size to accommodate each bottle. Then I did a water test. I attached a label and sprayed it down with water to see if the ink bled, the adhesive stuck and how it dried.
I found that the label would shift slightly when wet and only had a slight bleed to it. You can see what I mean in the photo above. I recommend testing out your own setup as well because inks and paper will vary the results.
Removing Labels & Adhesive
Like most of my projects, I researched a bunch before executing this one (sources will be listed at the bottom of this post). When we were ready to remove the old labels from our chosen wedding wine, I kept reading over and over to use Oxi-Clean. I decided to test it out the process for myself with a couple different bottles.
Unfortunately, not all the bottled worked with this process so we ended up using three different techniques to get all the labels off.
The Oxi-Clean method worked really well on our Vinho Verde. In an ice chest, I dissolved the Oxi-Clean in a small amount of warm water then filled the chest about 2/3rd full of cold water. Then I loaded the chest with bottles and left them soaking overnight. By morning, most of the labels had slipped off already. All I had to do was sponge off the rest and then remove any remaining residue.
I highly recommend trying this method because it is so simple. From my research, it seems like this works really well on beer labels as well.
2. Soapy Water
Nate went old school with the Viognier and soaked batches in soapy water then scrubbed the labels off. It was the most labor intensive technique, but with a little patience Nate got the job done.
3. Goo Gone
And finally with our only red wine, the Barbera, we applied Goo Gone then let it sit for a couple of minutes until we could peel off the labels and scrub the sticky residue off. This method was messy. We constantly had to wash our hands to not get the Goo Gone or the adhesive everywhere.
I also had some luck using Goo Gone with the Viognier. It just took longer for it to work than the Barbera so I worked in huge batches.
I just lined up a bunch of bottles on a towel then applied the Goo Gone. Then worked on another project until the labels peeled off.
Putting it all Together
Once we had clean bottles, we simply had to apply the new labels to the bottles with a little glue stick. We just used the standard Scotch Craft Sticks you can find at any store. We made sure to completely cover the entire label back including the corners so the labels stuck well.
Adie and I found the Goo Gone Wipes to be really helpful at removing any remaining residue on any of the bottles. We also used this to clean up any glue stick marks.
We also thought it was helpful to keep one bottle as a reference on the table as we applied the labels so they were all roughly the same height. We also took care to make sure the labels were even. I used the wine bottom as my gauge, but you could also use a piece of tape.
The whole glue stick process only took a couple of hours to complete. Luckily Adie and Dagny were on hand to help me out. Then we boxed them up and they were ready to go over to my parents house for wedding day.
Here’s a photo of the finished bottles at the wedding. We put a bottle of white and red on each table and then the third varietal was available at the bar. I will go through our wine selection in a future post and include our whole beverage selection and talk about budget as well.
Helpful Wine Label Sources
Bear with me on one of my sillier DIY posts. This is how I turned a cheap cat bed into a superior cat hammock.
Cats are so fickle. I buy inexpensive cat stuff just in case they are deemed uncool by our picky pets. Sometimes the strategy backfires when the cheap buy becomes a favorite and then doesn’t hold up.
Here’s the perfect example. This particular cat bed happens to be something Pixel loves. She lays across the top panel using it as a hammock all the time.
She used it so much that the poorly constructed piece began to fall apart. You can see in the above photo how silly she looked sitting in the broken bed in different positions. I decided I needed fix it up for her.
Neither cat ever used the bottom portion as a bed so I got rid of it yo make a proper cat hammock.
The old bed fell apart at the seams, so instead of having a seam right at the frame joint my plan was to make the whole hammock from one continuous piece of fabric.
With a black frame, I bought purple fabric to match our Great Room. I lucked out at Joann’s and found a perfectly sized remnant of purple polyester for a couple bucks.
My Cat Hammock Materials List
- Less than a yard of purple heavy weight polyester or nylon
- Matching thread
- Sewing machine
- Straight pins
- Straight edge
- Pencil and sharpie
- Iron on low setting
With all my materials ready, I removed the old bed from the frame and use it as a rough pattern for the new hammock.
Using a piece of newspaper, I sketched out the shape with pencil. Then I used a straightedge and pen to make exact lines for my pattern and cut it out.
I ironed all the kinks and wrinkles out of the fabric before I pinned it to the pattern.
Then I cut about an inch out from the actual pattern piece for my seam allowance.
The polyester has a tendency to fray so I folded all my seams twice (1/4″ each) to enclose the raw edge. I worked slowly around the entire piece first pressing the edge with my iron then securing it with straight pens.
When it was all pinned, I sewed my seam slowly. (I always make mistakes if I go to fast.) Then I went back and pressed the seam again with the iron.
Since the frame pulls apart really easily, I decided to sew permanent closures, but I could have also used Velcro or snaps to attach the hammock to the frame.
I used the frame as a guide to figure out how much clearance I needed. Then folded over each end and sewed it to create a channel for the frame to fit through.
Installation was a cinch. I just took apart the frame and slid the hammock on then reattached the frame. Here’s the finished piece I presented it to Pixel. She gave it a sniff before walking away and ignored it. Such a fickle cat! I waited on eggshells to see if she would use it.
Days later, I came home from work to find her lounging in the hammock. Her actions showed the project was a success. Pixel has a cool place to spend her afternoons and I feel like a proud cat mama.
Who knows, maybe I’ll try it myself if we need a second cat hammock in the house.
It’s funny the things I get annoyed at purchasing.
Laundry detergent because I only want to buy it on sale.
Cilantro because the last batch went bad before I used it.
Coffee beans because it’s usually when I am all out and cranky.
But more than anything, I hate buying something that should have replaceable parts, but doesn’t.
Enter the mighty cat scratching post. It keeps the cats’ claws away from our furniture (most of the time) and is therefore a necessary evil in out house.
Regardless of its usefulness, it is perhaps one of the ugliest things in our house. I’ve looked for a better looking post, but it doesn’t seem to exist so we have two inexpensive versions from Target. They work out great for the cats, but when the carpet gets all worn out and grungy, I wanted to replace it. But I can’t. They don’t make replacement parts for the posts. It’s very short-sighted on the manufacturer and it just drives me crazy!
So I got thinking and decided to make my own replacement carpet post out of a utility mat, glue and staples. A fraction of the price of a brand new scratch post. And while I was at it, I gave the post a makeover at the same time with some dark green spray paint.
I started by buying a dark gray utility mat for $3.00.
Using the old carpet as a pattern piece, I measured the width of the carpet tile.
Then I cut the mat with a straight edge and a utility knife.
Next using dark green spray paint I had on hand, I darkened the current post stand and topper to match the dark gray utility mat.
Once the paint was dry it was time to assemble the parts.
I stapled one end of the carpet piece of the post and then used some tacky glue to keep the carpet in place before stapling down the other end.
Then, I clamped the carpet post with a bunch of rubber bands until the glue dried.
I let the glue dry overnight before I reassembled the post. Voila! The cat scratch post is ready for action. I spent less than $5.00 on the makeover and I have left over supplies for the next time I need to replace the carpet post. Not a bad deal at all.
I gave our house a deep cleaning on Sunday. The floors were swept and mopped. I spot cleaned with my handy Spot Bot. The couch and chair slip covers were washed.
And that’s how I found this scratch post under our club chair.
Bad cats. I’ve know they have been doing this for awhile, but I didn’t know how extensive it was. I am so glad I have slip covers on this chair. I taped up the rip with a little duct tape and put on the slip cover.
Enter Sticky Paws. The package says “our transparent medical grade adhesive is odor free and is so easy to apply: simply pull off a strip from the brown backing sheet apply where you don’t want kitty to scratch, then peel off the white “crack-n-peel” to expose the surface that the cats can’t stand.”
So far it seems to be working (??). It peaked Pixel’s curiosity so she sniffed and licked it, but I saw no scratching.
The big question for me is how long the tape lasts. A day, a week? I think its going to take a couple weeks (at least) to correct this behavior. If the tape lasts only a day, this could get pricey.
I’ll check again tonight to see if they tried to scratch and how the tape holds up.