Monthly Archives: March 2013

Upcycling: Comfy Pet Bed

Do you have a pet in need of a comfy bed?  If you have an indoor cat like I do, no doubt its not short on beds.  But if you want to provide a special place for your pet to snuggle on its own…or just another option…take a look at these fabulous pet beds from Molly Mutt, a US based company.


The Molly Mutt Dog Bed Duvets, which come in a range of sizes and shapes, consist of a removable and washable cover as well as a ‘stuff sack’ which is designed to be filled with old clothes and bedding that are no longer usable.  Think old socks, undies, holey shirts and tracksuit pants!  What a fabulous idea for keeping these items out of landfill…and providing your best fur friend with a luxury bed of its own.

The openable sack and removable cover also allow for regular cleaning, airing and sunning (even the clothes within can be washed), which not only keeps your pet clean, but is also an important part of environmental flea control.

When I first discovered these I had one of those ‘why hadn’t I thought of that?’ moments. Then I had a ‘how can I do this in an even more eco-friendly way?’ moment.  The Molly Mutt beds are fabulous and a perfect option if you don’t have time for DIY (you can buy them in Australia from here and here) but they are transported all the way from the US, and they’re not made of eco-friendly materials.

So I came up with my own version.  Here it is:

Find an old cushion cover that’s no longer fit for display (mine was covered in horrible brown stains that just wouldn’t vanish).  If you have a dog who likes to rearrange its bed, choose a cover with a secure closure such as a zipper or buttons.  Use the cushion cover as the ‘stuff sack’ by filling it with old clothes or bedding.  Since my pet bed was a small size, I found it worked best to use small items of clothing (underwear and socks) or cut up larger items to fit in and form a nicely shaped cushion.

Old stained cushion cover

Make a basic pet bed cover with preloved fabric.  For my cat bed I used an old baby blanket made out of a soft, thick flannelette.  Cut out a square of fabric that’s slightly larger than the old cushion cover that you’re using – you need to include the seam allowance (1-1.5cm for each side) as well as a bit extra so the filled cushion cover fits inside the pet bed cover (about 0.5-1cm).

cushion cover instructions

Then, cut out two rectangular pieces of fabric that have their length the same as the square’s side, but the width about 2/3 the side of the square.  Hem one side of each rectangle along the length (this will become the part that opens)…or use an old blanket or similar that already has a finished edge.

Cushion cover instructions

Place the square of fabric right side up, and fit the two rectangular pieces, right side down, onto the square so that they overlap.

Cushion cover 3

Cushion cover instructionsThen simply sew around the edges of the square (with your 1-1.5cm seam allowance).  For durability, double-stitch the corners and the fabric-overlap on either side of the opening.  Zig-zag or overlock the seam edges if the fabric is prone to fraying (the baby blanket was felt-like so it didn’t fray when cut).  Clip the corners…turn right side out…and you’ve made your cover.  Very quick and easy!

Cushion cover instructions

The same principles can be used for different sized beds, and if you don’t have a suitable old cushion cover for the sack, try an old pillow protector or pillow slip instead (the square European style would be ideal).  Or make one yourself in the same way as the bed cover.

Obi on cat bed

Of course, Obi still makes a bed out of everyone else’s bed, the space underneath everyone else’s bed, the lounge, the cosy chair in the study, the pouffe, the change table, the jute bag that holds my fabric scraps, and even the floor.  But he does seem extra happy when he’s curled up on his special cat bed that I custom-made with my old socks and underwear. Perhaps he knows he’s doing his bit for the environment.

P.S. This is not a paid advertisement (I wish)…I just wanted to share a clever idea!



Filed under Green Craft

Lovely New Zealand

Hi again!  I’ve had a little break.  A lovely holiday in gorgeous New Zealand, with husband, my mum and the kids!  We spent a couple of weeks traversing the North Island and experiencing some delightful parts of this breath-taking place.  The last time I visited New Zealand was on my honeymoon.  With the addition of two young children this was quite a different trip – riding in a slow, bumpy, motorhome…travelling only a couple of hours each day interspersed with nappy changes, breastfeeding, cleaning mess…ensuring everyone was donned with sunscreen, hat, socks, shoes and clean undies before exiting the motorhome (myself included)…general entertaining of kids and keeping the peace.  Yes…quite different.  I think I returned far more exhausted than on my honeymoon, despite the fact that I covered more ground and scaled more heights during the latter.


But we had an amazing trip – well worth the effort.  Just like pushing your body to its limits to reach the mountain summit and be rewarded by an otherwise unobtainable view.  We did literally push our bodies to their full capacity of exertion too.  Not that we tackled any super treks…but each time we did a walk we had to carry the kids most of the way.  Luckily my 12kg baby was in a sling.  Our 16kg preschooler was not!  And she insisted on being carried quite a bit of the time….mostly by Daddy.  But when baby was asleep and having a free ride with Daddy one time guess who carried Miss L for an hour of ups and downs, twists and turns, through a New Zealand forest?!


I’m not complaining though.  This was a perfect opportunity to teach our kids about respecting nature and a beautiful foreign land whilst experiencing it ourselves.  Here are some of the special places that we visited (all in the North Island):

Driving Creek Railway, Coramandel Town

View from the train

View from the railway lookout

Cathedral Cove, The Coramandels

Gemstone Bay, Cathedral Cove Walk

Cathedral Cove

Maungatautari Ecological Island, Waipa

Maungatautari Ecological Island - tree ferns


Hobbiton, Mattamatta (I know …it’s not exactly wilderness…but a must see for LOTR/Hobbit fans and a living gallery of a wonderful way of life…with real and beautiful productive gardens)!


Hobbiton - Bilbo's tree on horizon

Karangahake Gorge



Te Puia, Rotorua

Pohutu Geyser


You might notice in a few of the photos that the countryside is looking quite dry.  That’s because New Zealand’s north island is currently experiencing a severe drought – its worst in decades apparently.  You need to look at the bits of the pic’s that have no trees and mostly grass (and not the irrigated part of the Hobbiton photos)!  Compare the lush green of the Hobbiton garden to the non-Hobbiton dry paddocks in the background.  The weather was also unusually warm, which is typical since I’d packed loads of cold-weather clothes – thermals, beanies, scarves, woollen socks, Goretex jackets – all of which we had no use for!  Coupled with the absence of rain (this is New Zealand we’re talking) it was a little disconcerting.  Coupled with the fact that we’d just left Australia in pouring rain (with flooding occurring all over the place yet again) wearing winter clothes which were promptly removed on arrival in Aukland…it was rather worrying.


Anyway, fortunately New Zealand was still beautiful with shades of brown blanketing the countryside and the lack of rain made sight-seeing with kids much easier.   Although very tired, I came home feeling mentally refreshed.


I get a quiet thrill from immersing myself in nature, especially when it’s as amazing as the kiwi country.  And it reminds me of what we have to lose if we as a species take more than what we were allocated in the first place.  It reminds me that nature is incredibly powerful and will carry on, without humans.  It reminds me that if we want nature to continue to provide for us we need to give it some credit for its role in our world.

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Filed under Holidays in Nature