Thursday, January 14, 2010

How to Get Creative

I wish I had an answer for this one. I dont. It is not something that came easily for me but something that came more of a necessity. When I was in my 20's I began working at an Adult Day Healthcare in California. We had about 50 clients who attended the center and our average attendance per was about 30. The Adult Day Health care center is for Senior Citizens who have health problems and are staying with care providers or family. It was designed to provide PT, OT, Speech Therapy, Activities, Nursing and two meals a day and to serve as respite care for the providers.Our clients ranged in ability levels from independent to moderate care. I was the Activities Director.

Now the first thing I need to say is that after 30 years of working in this field, this type of center was one of the nicest I ever worked in. But... as in all facilities I worked in.. the budget was really really minimal. It forced me to become much more creative in how I approached things and it also forced me to experiment with things in the making of them. I used paper mache instead of clay, I painted things instead of using colored paper, I used cardboard instead of wood and the list goes on and on.

Carol Duvall's show helped me many times to find creative answers to make things affordable. And there were several books that I used along the way. When all else failed I covered things with glue and glitter and well for a short while they were pretty.

Today, I find that creativity is started (as it was back then)as a problem. I find a table I absolutely love but it needs painting so it fits better in my living room. Or a lamP I love that need some adaptation.. Or a sofa,stained but otherwise in great shape, a chair that is white..wont last long at my house if it is white. In the next two days I will be finishing two white wing back chairs that I have in my dining room. I love having these chairs there but they are about 3 inches to short and dont move freely. I need to build a base and put wheels on the base so they are raised and easily moveable. Then I need to patch up the sides of the chairs from where my female cat has literally scratched it to death. I have pics of the chairs somewhat before painting, after painting and when I am finished pics of the chairs when all is done. See if you like it. In the meantime... I best get to work. Talk with ya tomorrow.

Please see comments on recommendations to help keep cats from destroying your furniture. I forgot to mention my moms way is to buy electric pads to keep the dogs off the furniture. She then lays them on the floor around the furniture so the cats cant access the furniture. These pads emit a small electric shock (kind of like when you shock yourself with static electricity only not as bad.) The problem with this solution is if you are like me and like to walk around barefoot, everytime I sat on her sofa I would shock my foot. It didnt hurt really but felt a little like sandpaper, still it was really really annoying. However, it is very effective. To date my mom's sofa is still in one piece although her other pieces didn't come away quite as lucky! Don't forget that cats need to scratch. It is a form of exercise for them. So alway provide cat posts for them. If they dont like new ones then by all means go to the thrift store and buy used ones. Cover them with cat nip occaisionally to give an extra boost for the kats. As I said before, good luck.

Text about Whidbey Island.


ms. kitty said...

Please, Rene, tell us how to patch up our cat-scratched sofas and chairs! I'm serious! Either that or tell us what we can find in retail that is cat-proof!

Anonymous said...

Ok I have pics of the damage done on my chairs. They are kind of an easy fix because of the location of the damage but I am going to take jeans that I have and make patches from the material. I will stuff a little quilting material in the hole so it will not show under the patch and then I am using "Stichwichery" or "underall" (whichever I have I dont recall) and iron the patch in place. I have a small hand held iron that has a 1 1/2 " head and it will iron anything. The stichwichery is a heavier iron on glue for fabric than that found on regular patches so it should work really well. That is the best I can do without seeing the damage on your piece and it's location.
As for keeping cats away from your furniture. Scratchposts placed strategically where they have been scratching your furniture so the furniture is blocked. Also use a squirt bottle with a special scent (pet store has it) and everytime the cat even gets near the piece to scratch or not just squirt it. After a while squirt the stuff on your furniture so the smell is on it and that should discourage your cat. It SHOULD... my cat is the only cat I have never been able to train. I had him declawed on the front paws.

My son suggests the claw guards that fit over the cats individual claws. He says it works ok on his crazy cat.
Good luck!

ms. kitty said...

Thanks! Good suggestions. I do need to get another scratching post. And I might try the patches.

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