Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Easy Puppy Bed for Under Five Bucks!

If anyone actually reads what I write, you will know about our little addition to the family, Chunk. For those of you who are here for the first time, Chunk is a 7 week-old Yorkie puppy who is insane. I wanted an alpha personality for our poor, possibly "special," Lab mix named Duke, who needs a little guidance. And when I say that he needs a little guidance, I mean he forgets to poop, drink and eat unless he sees other dogs doing it first. Sadly, this is not an exaggeration, but Duke is so adorable and well-behaved, most people don't notice what he lacks in intelligence.
FYI, that is his Halloween costume:  He is a ferocious lion.

So..., when I picked out Stefan's Christmas present (the puppy of my choice from the litter), I tried to pick out the one that acted most "alpha" of them all. This is how Chunk came along. An all-black puppy (at that time), with just a little white patch on his chest, even though he couldn't even see yet, he was already pushing his siblings out of the way to get to nurse. He was also the largest dog of the litter. In these ways, he is really living up to his name. I named him Chunk for the irony, and he is ruining my joke. I think I can forgive this face, though:

The problem with raising a puppy is the mess that is involved.  Chunk wants to destroy
many things; and by many things, I mean everything.  So when he started taking a liking to Stefan's favorite fleece blanket, I thought I had better give Chunk something of his own, so Daddy's stuff doesn't get peed on or chewed up by sharp little teeth.  I came up with this:

fleece baby blanket (plaid patterns help to cut straight lines, fyi)
scraps to distract puppy from attacking your work-in-progress (optional, but essential to retain sanity)

Dollar Tree sells fleece blankets and stuffing, so you can make this for 2 bucks!

first, lay out your blanket and see that it is probably not exactly square.  Fold the blanket in half one way, then unfold it and fold it in half the other way. Whichever fold gets you the most square result, do that.  I think I mean to say that you should fold the blanket in half width-wise, but I am seriously lacking sleep from a face-attacking puppy right now, so please bear with me. 

Cut the blanket in half on the fold.  Put the pieces back as they were before you cut them (as they were folded).  You should have two pieces, one on top of the other. 
Next, get your scissors and start cutting tabs all around, about one-inch wide and three inches long.  I have honed my skills obtained through many years of high-tech, post-secondary study to provide you with this computer-generated image to simulate your cutting experience:

Now that you have cut all the tabs and removed your corners, go around and tie each top tab to its matching bottom tab, using square knots (left over right, then right over left).  Tie three sides of the blanket and then stuff it.  You don't want it to be too full, but make sure it is pretty puffy as it will flatten out over time.  It is also easy to open this back up and remove or add stuffing as needed, so don't linger on this part for too long if you're not sure about stuffing. 

Finally, tie up the final tabs and watch your puppy come and start chewing on it immediately.  Eventually, you will see this and it will all be worth it:

P.S.  Notice Chunk's copper name tag?  You can buy these for a couple bucks each at Chris Fisher Art.


I'm in a Contest!

Click on my dining room chair tutorial in this contest to help me win--I mean, if you want to...

You'll have to scroll down quite a bit until you see all the thumbnails. Look for my zebra print and click away! Thanks!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

DIY Copycat Cake Topper

Wow, what a busy day!  My awesome fiance' took me to Michael's in Midland, about 30 miles from where I live.  My stepbrother gave me a fifty-dollar gift card for Christmas, and the fact that I didn't drive there on December 26th baffles me to this day.  However, I found out a few days ago that there was a huge sale today, which took 20% off your total purchase, sale items included!  That was incentive enough for me to wait.  In addition to some yarn and other odds and ends, I was able to finally buy the supplies for my cake topper.  Now, I'm pretty sure I'm going to go with an Oreo cake.  No, not a cake with oreos in it, a "cake" shape made out of Oreos.  White trash or not, I'm gonna try to give it a little bit of class with a nice cake stand (which I have yet to buy), and a cake topper, much like what you see here, just--you know--cheaper.  While I would have loved to have 150 bucks or more to buy one of these, I don't.  I'm currently unemployed and am trying my best to be a frugal little hobo.  I mean, if I'm doing an Oreo cake, I'm totally not spending more on the topper than the freaking cake.  Come on.  Anyway, so I know it's not perfect, and I need to take a piece of sandpaper to that spot of paint on the groom's face, and I need to pick off the strings of hot glue, but this is my hobo version:

Approximate Cost:  20 dollars

Materials used:
some type of moss
tiny flowers
tiny flowers on floral wire
satin fabric (from the scrap bin)
black fabric (from the scrap bin)
white fabric (from the scrap bin)
ivory thread
toothpicks (lots of toothpicks!)
wooden doll heads
one caldrea clothespin (groom's legs/body)
acrylic paint
lots of hot glue (will I ever have fingertips again?)
wood glue
basic tools (drill/rubber mallet/dremel optional)
little wooden heart
unfinished wooden plaque
mod podge (to seal it at the end, which I have yet to do)

I don't have a tutorial posted, because I don't want to disrespect the original designer--who is clearly much more talented than me, and who used much better materials and took more time.  I'm an instant gratification kinda chick.

I do have a few progress photos, but it's mainly just the no-brainer sort of stuff. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I Have a Large Cranium.

I just made this hat.  I used this beautifully soft yarn I found at Knitter's Nest in Cadillac, MI (my hometown).  It's some sort of cashmere/angora/wool/super-soft-and-fluffy/blend, and I paid twelve bucks for one skein of it because I liked it that much.  It sat in my stash for almost a full year, and yesterday I started making the Chunky Cabled Beanie that I had already once attempted and pitifully failed (would not even fit on my head!).  That is still sitting around waiting to be frogged* because I love the yarn I had used (Dive Autumno in Moss).   Since it's 2am and I've been up knitting, cleaning puppy urine, browsing job postings and watching trashy television for a few hours now, I'm going to bed. But I wanted to post this because it makes me feel more accomplished so there.  I'm going to try my hand at blocking** this thing tomorrow. I'll let you know how that goes.

Handy References for non-knitters:
*Frogged- When a project turns out like crap and you unravel it, roll the yarn back up into a ball and wait to be inspired to use it on a different project.
**Blocking-  When a wool or other animal-fiber yarn creation is finished, the maker often will stretch and pin it into the final shape, spritz it with a bit of water, and allow it to dry overnight. this makes for a neater finished product.  Also useful for too-small hats.  Blocking is done in lieu of ironing because the heat would affect the quality and texture of the wool in ways I dont' feel like explaining this late, so just think "shrunken sweater."

P.S.  I just looked to my left and saw this:

UPDATE:  Even if I did block this hat, it isn't very flattering.  It's going to be gifted instead.  To someone with a smaller head.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

More to Love Bridal Garter Pattern

I was looking at prices for wedding garters online, and I was mortified:  20 dollars for a little piece of ribbon and some elastic.  Seriously?  Well I'm wayyy too cheap to actually pay for something like that, so I started looking on Ravelry for garter patterns (particularly for chunky legs, like mine).  I found some cute ones, but most of them had picot stitches in them.  For some reason I hate picot stitches.  I can never do them right, and mine always look weird even when they do turn out right.  For this and other reasons, I sat down and designed my own garter, and now I pass that pattern on to you, my lovely chubbettes.  You can purchase it for a mere $2.00 at the link shown.  That is a total bargain, considering the cost of other garters, the little time involved in making this, and the low cost of materials to do so.  enjoy!