Thursday, February 12, 2015

DIY Headboard - Iberian Style

After painting our bedroom, Salva and I thought it would be nice to buy a decorative headboard. We asked in several stores and went "whaaaaaaa?" at the prices. Four hundred euros for a simple headboard? Are you kidding me? At that point, we decided it was time to take matters into our own hands...with a DIY project!

The following is a DIY project Salva and I successfully completed Iberian style. That is, without using the materials we should have used. We simply couldn't find most of them in stores. Did that discourage us? Noooooooo!

For a simple headboard, we needed:

1) Thin plywood cut to desired size (they cut it for us at the store).
2) Foam filling. We couldn't find the typical couch cushion filling we wanted so we went with the ugly grey one you can see below. It's not very floofy.
3) Padding to go over the filling. Again, we couldn't find it so we *ehem* bought a fluffy blanket from Ikea *ehem* and used it as padding. A month after completing this project, we found a store that sold the padding... Typical.
4) Some nice fabric, which will be the final touch. We bought the fabric at Ikea.
5) Staple gun and staples. Finally! Something we do have!
6) Extra strong glue. Make sure it's a type of glue that doesn't eat away at the foam. We went with the marvelous "No Más Clavos", which is ABSOLUTELY AWESOME.

Materials (excuse the cats; they're everywhere and I've given up):


1) Cut the foam to size. Salva, being a thoroughbred Iberian male, cast aside scissors and saws and razors and opted for the largest kitchen knife we have. (Absolutely no kitty was harmed during the process.)

2) Glue the foam onto the board. Let it sit for a little bit before moving on to the next step. We put a stack of dictionaries on top to weigh down the foam.

3) Pull the fluffy fabric over the foam. Begin the stapling process. First, we cut the blanket to size, leaving about four extra fingers on each side, and spread it over the table. Then we laid the headboard on top, wood facing up.

To correctly staple fabric to wood, first you must staple the center of each side while pulling the fabric tight. Pull tight on the front side, staple the center, release. Repeat on the center left, center right, and center bottom. Once the four main staples are in place, you can continue stapling working your way out towards the corners. Always keep your fabric taut to avoid wrinkles.

4) Staple the corners. This is the final stapling step and the most complicated one (though not so complicated you can't pull it off). I don't even have a picture of myself doing this step because Salva and I, plus my mother who was helping out, were all trying to do the same thing at the same time in the same place.

To staple a corner, simply fold in the sides, as if wrapping a present. Pull tight and staple. You can also cut off excess fabric so there isn't a big bump at each corner. Staple as many times as necessary until the fabric is taut and presents the minimum amount of wrinkles possible. There will always be some wrinkles at the corners.

5) Repeat the stapling process with the final cloth. Be extra careful because this will be your headboard's final look! If you choose a striped pattern, make sure your lines are all straight as you staple. You don't want wonky stripes!

Finished! Now to hang this baby up on the wall. This is the bed without the headboard:

It looks like it's missing something, right?

There we go! Much better!

The beauty of this is that whenever we get tired of the design, we can just buy new fabric and stable it over the old one!

And that's how we make a decorative headboard--Iberian style.

Note: "Iberian style" = do what you can with what you have. ;-)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Meet the Feline Family

After blogging (on and off...) for over two years, it's about time you met the feline family. You might have caught glimpses of them in some photos. Here they are, in order of appearance.

Mixa ("mee-shah")

It was hard to find a nice picture of her.
She's extremely UNphotogenic.
Mixa is the oldest cat in the house. She turned 10 in September 2014. Don't let her age fool you, though. She can be just as chirpy and silly as the rest. She's a beautiful traditional Siamese (or Thai) with a very cuddly and at the same time cranky personality (she can purr and growl at you at the same time). Like most Siamese cats, she's extremely talkative and after so many years with her you reach a point in which you actually understand what she's saying.
Mixa disciplining kitten Pebre.

A few years ago when I got her neutered, the vet discovered she had several tumors in her ovaries. That alone wouldn't have been a big problem, since he took them out. The vet, however, also noticed a strange lump on her spleen. He sent a biopsy to the lab and, yup: it was also cancerous. Barely two weeks after her neutering operation, Mixa went back to the OR to have her spleen removed. It was such a traumatic experience that she completely stopped eating and drinking. She had decided to let herself die, but Salva and I wouldn't have any of that. After a couple weeks of intensive care at home, Mixa recovered and was soon back to her chatty bossy self.

Pebre (Catalan for "Pepper")

Pebre was a bit silly-looking as a kitten.
Pebre is a gorgeous three-year-old European black tabby. He might look solid black, but I assure you he's covered in stripes! He's the largest and most photogenic of my four cats, but he's almost always in a bad mood--especially in the summer. Pebre CAN'T STAND the heat. Even though he growls a lot and hisses, he doesn't attack. Come winter, he's in a much better mood and he likes to cuddle up with us on the couch or in bed. He's the most cowardly feline in the house (if you just go "cht!" at him he'll run for his life), which is a real shame because he's huge and could be very strong and powerful if he for once decided to be assertive. When he was a kitten, he fell off our balcony (just a one-storey drop into our neighbor's patio--he didn't get hurt or anything), and I think that fall smacked all the courage out of him.

VERY silly-looking.


Pirate is the first cat we rescued from an extreme situation. As you can see, he lost an eye. He used to belong to some ex-friends of ours (I wonder why we're not friends anymore...), who constantly neglected him and allowed his eye to
Pirate as a kitten.
His eye was already a lost cause.
burst. When this happened, they decided not to tell anyone and let nature run its course. In other words: they didn't have money to pay for the vet so they decided to abandon the animal in the garden and let it die an excruciating death. Luckily for Pirate, Salva saw him and we took over from there. Once Pirate was better things turned ugly and the old owners began stalking us. Of course: the bills had all been paid and now they wanted their neglected cat back... It's a long and complicated story. In the end, the police had to come and give our ex-friends a briefing on the Catalan animal protection law. The cops told us to microchip Pirate fast, so that these people couldn't claim him again.

Pirate is now a little gangster. He's cocky and loves to wrestle with Taques, and he follows me everywhere and watches me as I go to the toilet, as I get dressed, as I cook, as I watch TV... Sometimes I feel bad because we might be on the couch and I can tell he's very comfy and doesn't want to move, but the moment I get up he feels the imperious need to follow me.

He also got fat.

Taques (Catalan for "Spots" or "Stains")

A month later, Taques was practically cured.
Taques is the newest addition to the feline family, and our second extreme rescue kitty. I found Taques on May 28 2014 in the middle of the sidewalk--dying. A thick layer of pus covered both eyes and he could only gasp for breath. He hadn't eaten in a very long time; he had absolutely no muscle, only dry skin covering brittle bones. I picked him up then and there and ran to the vet (who, luckily, was just one street away). The vet wasn't too optimistic, but he knows I cry over anything animal-related so he didn't dare tell me to put the kitten to sleep. Instead, we spent weeks feeding Taques with a syringe every two hours, giving him his medication, cleaning his eyes, trying to clean the buildup in his tiny nose...

Taques has a wonky tail.
One (late) night, he scratched his eye and ripped off part of his third eyelid. It scared us so much that we ran him straight to the twenty-four-hour vet hospital. That day marked the beginning of his new life. The vet on duty spent over an hour with him carefully cleaning his eyes, ears and nose--and it made a huge difference. From that night on, Taques began to react much quicker and actually started to gain weight. It still took him a long time to recover, but he made it in the end and now he's an absolute banshee. He loves Salva and me to death. He's talkative, funny, quirky and hyperactive. He always needs to be the center of attention and he purrs so loudly it sounds like he'll take off at any moment.

And that's the feline family! Too many cats! Toooooo many cats! But that's how life went, and I'm happy we have them. :-)
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