Friday, 6 December 2013

A warmer house and lovely new beds for the cats

We use Facebook for one thing or another pretty well every day and of course as you are checking through, inevitably other stuff passes by, some of it complete and utter rubbish, some of it funny, some of it sad and some of it useful.

Recently I spotted a couple of items that I thought looked worth a try. The first was sticking bubble wrap on your glass to help insulate the house in the winter. Now this seemed a good idea, as we have endless windows and as I have mentioned before, although we have central heating a huge amount of draught comes in through the windows even though we have put draught excluders around all of them as well as the doors.

We happened to have some bubble wrap that we found by the bins one day (we are as bad as the Turks!), so David's project was to cut and stick this on the windows in the cold spots in the house. You were supposed to use a spray bottle to squirt water on the windows and then the bubble wrap was supposed to stick to them, to then apparently peel off with ease come the spring. Unfortunately ours didn't, but not to be foiled David stuck them up with double sided tape instead.

You don't even notice it above the door, but what a difference it has made
 We have done the bathrooms, the glass above the front door, the landing and the draughty end of the sitting room. With the exception of the sitting room the windows are not ones we look out of as they are so high, and in the sitting room we have windows on all four sides, so one side overlooking the back garden really doesn't matter. Well what a difference it has made, we can now go to the bathroom whenever we choose instead of hanging on and on because going through the hall to use the bathroom was like a visit to Siberia. You almost needed to put a coat on to go. Now we can wander around the house and it is warm everywhere.

There is also the added bonus that some of the tender plants we needed to bring indoors have a now safe place on the draught free landing window sill, which is about the only place safely out of reach of the dogs and cats. So there we have put a couple of avocados we have grown from seed and a couple of coleus plants that David found at the last car boot sale. So that proved to be a great success

Doing the landing windows has provided a safe corner for these tender plants
The second item I saw of interest was making cat beds out of old jumpers. Now that also seemed a good idea, except that I don't 'do' sewing. Actually as a child I was taught to sew and to knit, but don't really enjoy either task. Incredibly I am quite capable of making any number of things, but the problem is that I find it very difficult to do anything fiddly, I don't have the patience for it, my sight isn't good enough and my boredom threshold is incredibly low. But this seemed a worthy exercise to provide nice comfy beds for our cats, so I watched the video of how to do it and set forth.

Now the problem with having instructions in the form of a video is that you watch it once then that's it. Whereas if it's written instructions you take one step at a time. Anyway over confident in my long unused abilities I set off to make the first one.

I hand stitched a button up opening in the front of the jumper and across the neck, then as I remembered from the video, next I stitched from armpit to armpit. So far so good. Very proudly I bring my half made cat bed down to show David while we have a coffee break, and then realise that I have done something hideously wrong. There is no access to the sleeves to be able to fill them with the stuffing to make the surround of the bed!

So where have the sleeves gone????????.................
........... Ah there they are ....................

............. but this doesn't look quite right .......................
.............. Oh dear I think I have to undo it all and start again!!!!!!
We spend the next quarter of an hour turning it this way and that trying to get it right, ending up with the entire jumper in a knot which we can't undo, and at times laughing so much we were too weak to do anything.

I thought if I undid the neck I would be able to sort it. So out came all my beautiful hand stitches, but to no avail. It is still not right so I had to sit and unpick the entire thing and start from scratch. Apparently I should have begun with the jumper inside out, stitched the neck up and then turned it the right way round before sewing across the front in line with the arm holes.

Anyway I am nothing if not persistent, so I re-stitched the entire thing and eventually made a cat bed. I put it down and the true test of success - a cat was in it within ten minutes so it was worthwhile! The only problem with the first one was that it was a bit too small. Although Thomas was the first one in to try it out for size, it is Cingene that has claimed it and she is only little so it will be fine for her.

Thomas the intrepid one was first in ................
............ but Cingene has claimed it for keeps and it's just her size.
Spurred on by my eventual success, the second one I have made a bit bigger. The second one is for Inca and if you have read her story on our blog you will know that it will probably be spring before she will deign to get in it, but it is there ready for her when she does. I hope she does because that one was a lot harder as I had to put two patches on it first, before I could even start. This was because I had left it on the kitchen table for two minutes and Big Red stole it and it had two sizeable holes in by the time I realised she had got it!

Mark 2 - Had to have patches and is bigger ................
............ Inca investigating but it will probably be too hot to sit in it by the time she accepts it!
 So now I have one left to make for Thomas, but he will have to wait for a day or two as I can't bear the thought of doing another one at the moment.

I wouldn't be making these for re-sale and I certainly wouldn't earn a wage making them on piece work, but if they keep our cats warm and comfortable this winter then that's good enough for me.

Must go now I have to read Facebook and see what the next idea will be!

For those of you who would like to try making your own cat beds here is the link:-


  1. I'm actually chuckling at your first attempt because that is so me! I can't even sew a button on without getting the cotton tangled up, I can do basic plain and purl knitting, and kind of follow a pattern, but had numerous almost finished jumpers over the years that were either too small, too big, or totally out of proportion. So I gave up. My sister in law tried several times to teach me how to crochet, to make squares for a blanket, but for some reason my attempts end up in an ever increasing circle rather than that's the end of crocheting.

    But well done, your end results are pretty good and the cats will love them

    I like the bubble wrap idea...I might give that a go (especially as there's now sewing involved!!)

    1. "no" sewing not "now" see fingers can't even type properly :-)

  2. Oh Linda if you had seen it, we just couldn't stop laughing. It was in a ridiculous state. I so admire these people who make all those beautiful things. It's totally beyond me I'm afraid. I never did get the hang of crocheting either and my knitting is ok in the middle but all baggy at the ends! But the bubble wrap definitely made a profound difference and is a great success.

    1. Can you add the link to the video, I'd love to have a go at the beds.

    2. Good thinking! I have now added the link so you can have a go. Believe me if I managed it anyone can!