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Okay, it seems I keep showing you guys the ugliest corners of my apartment (I swear there are cute parts, too), but our place is cheap, in an awesome neighborhood, and we have great neighbors.  So, I try to take what I have and make it work!  Like this hideous cat tree.

Our pantry/music studio/Ella's playroom. Also, where half-finished projects and a basketball go to die.

Well, Ella loves the darn thing.  When she needs to go a little crazy and let off steam, she’ll dart up it, hang off it, kick it’s post, and generally abuse it.  When she needs a little Ella time, she likes to hang out on the top platform, far above any silly human.  It’s also perfectly positioned between two windows, which allows for maximum bird watching.  So, even though it’s about my last choice in design, I couldn’t bear to get rid of it.

Enter Tim Gunn and his Make It Work mantra.  Last weekend, I finally completed a project I’ve had in mind for months.  I recovered it with a mix of carpet and soft fleece, trying to blend it in with the rest of the apartment as much as possible.  Not an easy task when you’re talking about a seven foot carpeted monstrosity.

I picked up some batting and a soft, pretty gray fleece from Hancock Fabric several weeks ago (on sale!), but had some trouble finding a good solution for the carpet.  I tried a few carpet stores, hoping to score remnants for free, but they either didn’t do that or didn’t have anything that would work for this.  I needed the carpet to be cut pile, not looped, so she wouldn’t pull it apart with her claws.  It also couldn’t be too thick to roll around the post and staple, and I wanted a neutral color.  I found one that would work at a local carpet store, but it would be over $50!  Um, no.  This is a cat tree, people.  Be serious.

Finally, two weeks ago, I decided to try Walmart.  Score!  I found a perfect, light beige, cut pile, 3×5 rug for only $12!  (Are you as excited as I was?  I thought so!)

Grand total: $23.96

Okay, down to business.  First, I took the post apart and rolled the carpet around one piece to measure where to cut.  I marked the back with a Sharpie, and started cutting!  No need for a fancy carpet cutter; scissors took care of the job just fine. Four pieces, for the four sections of post.

Don't be jealous of my Casio.

Sidenote: that was the only picture out of three that I don’t look deformed thanks to my double joint-ness.  See?

Don't worry about me. I'll just pop that sucker back into place.

Anyhoo, where was I?  Oh, yes, regaling you with tales of cat-tree madness.  So, after cutting four equal pieces, time to staple!

Contain yourselves, people. It's getting crazy up in here.

Oops.

Something's not right

No worries!

I'm like MacGyver, except less exciting

I also wanted to carpet the base, but after cutting out four pieces for the posts, I was left with a weirdly shaped remnant.  I ended up covering it in two sections, which worked out well because I needed to be sure there would be an adequate opening to attach the first post section.  I cut the corners off and folded it over in three parts, then stapled underneath and around the corners.  I cut a small semi-circle for the screw to fit through where the post attaches, and repeated with the other side.

sh

Then just screw it in (that's what she said)

Now, onto the platforms!  Are you still with me?  Good.

This phase was much, MUCH faster.  I cut the batting so that it would cover the top platform (where she usually sleeps) with 8 layers, and the other two platforms with 6 layers. Then I just stapled away, using the same method I used for the base.

I poked a hole through the batting where the posts attached and cut out a small circle.

Staple, cut, repeat

Honestly, I totally guessed how much cloth I would need when I bought it, but it worked out.  I covered the top platform all around (since you can see underneath it), but only covered the tops and sides of the other platforms.  This time, I wrapped it like a present, rather than cutting out the corners.

Almost done!

I cut holes into the fabric for the posts to attach, and it was time to put it back together!  Whatdoyouthink?

*Pats herself on the back*

Up close.  Check out that softness!

It's pretty much awesome

So, what did Ella do when she first saw it?

Well, she yawned in amazement.

Oh my GOD this is AMAAAAAAZZZZZZING

The she played for a while.

Imma gonna kick the sh*t outta this post

And, finally, she slept.  (awwwwwwww)

Seriously, can you even stand it?

All in all, I think it turned out pretty well, considering I had absolutely no idea what I was doing!

What projects have you done lately?  Anybody take something ugly and make it work?  Anybody surprised I wrote an entire post about a cat tree?  Yeah, me neither. 

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