Saturday, August 23, 2014

Craft: Pet Bed

Earlier this summer, my friend shared that she had learned a local animal shelter had a great need for pet beds.  My daughters heard the news and immediately wanted to help.  They remembered seeing a DIY rag rug that could be used as a pet bed in the May/June 2014 issue of American Girl MagazineCoincidentally, my husband had sorted through a pile of t-shirts to donate to the Vietnam Veterans earlier that weekend.  The girls went through the pile and chose five t-shirts (men's size large) to use for this project. 
  1.  We purchased a sink mat from Dollar Tree.  
2.  We cut the shirts into 2"x5" strips.

3.  We used five men's size large t-shirts to complete two mats.  We cut about 100 strips from one shirt.  UPDATE:  We ended up using half of a sixth men's size large t-shirt for an additional 44 strips.

 4.  We tied the strips, working horizontally and vertically to make sure all of the white plastic was covered.  The magazine instructed us to tie the strips in double knots.  The result felt hard, and the girls didn't think a puppy would find the mat very comfortable.  We decided to cross the left and right ends of the strip and then pull the left end under the right end to secure it tightly (no knot).  We also found the process moved much faster when we flipped the mat over to the back side.  We threaded both ends of the strips through the mat, working down an entire row.  Then we flipped the mat back over and tied the entire row. 
5.  Well on their way!  This sink mat is only 12.5"x11"--fine for a small dog.  My girls wanted to tie their mats together with extra strips or yarn for a larger dog. 

6.  As you can see, we occasionally skipped a horizontal or vertical row.  The rug still looked full and felt comfortable on the top. 

 The finished product ready for donation!

Girl Scout troops of all ages could make these rag rugs for their own pets to use or to donate to local animal shelters.  Not only could this craft satisfy a service project requirement, but it could be tied in with the Brownie Pet Badge (Step 2:  Keep a Pet Comfy) and the following Daisy Petals:  considerate and caring (spring green petal), friendly and helpful (yellow petal), using my resources wisely (green petal), and make the world a better place (rose petal).  If the girls enjoy projects that involve cutting and tying, maybe they would like to make a blanket for Project Linus Just a thought.  If you are interested in seeing how our troop got involved with Project Linus, check out this link.  Thank you for reading!

Ornaments: Let It Snow!

A friend of mine is preparing to host a Christmas tea party in a couple of months.  Earlier this spring, she asked if I would make some snow-filled ornaments that she could set on the tables for her guests.  After doing some research online, I decided on the supplies I would use for the project.

Bags of snow were not yet available at the craft stores when I began making the ornaments this spring.  I searched online and found that Buffalo Snow Flurries would work best.  I was able to get a five-quart bag of snow for $7 with free shipping.  I am now writing this post in August, and I know craft store shelves are stocked and ready for Christmas.  I called our neighborhood Hobby Lobby, and they do not currently carry large bags of snow.  It should be noted that they do sell smaller bags, but it would have been too expensive to purchase the quantity I needed.

I used a 40% off coupon to purchase the ornaments.  There are 12 glass ornaments in the package, and each ornament measures 2 5/8" in diameter.  I purchased them for $5.11 a box. 

I found it worked best to remove the tops from the ornaments and to set each ornament upright in the packaging.  A funnel made it easy to get the snow into the ornament.  Pour slowly and don't be surprised if the snow gets clogged in the funnel.  I used a pen to gently force the snow into the ornament.

I measured 1/3 cup of the snow to pour into each ornament.  Once I established my technique, it only took me 15 minutes to fill a dozen ornaments.  Be prepared for a bit of a mess--the countertop and my shirt were covered with styrofoam snow, but it cleaned up easily.  I know the math doesn't support this statement, but I was able to fill 72 ornaments with one five-quart bag of snow.

I chose to use a 1/4" sheer red ribbon.  I purchased the ribbon during a 50% off sale, so each spool of ribbon was $1.11.  I cut the ribbon into 11" pieces for bows.  I needed 4 spools of ribbon to make bows for the 72 ornaments.  I tied the bow around the top of the ornament and adhered it with a small dot of hot glue. 
Here is the final ornament.  My friend is going to use a red paint pen to add some embellishments.   The process was a little messy, but it was easy and inexpensive.  It cost less than $0.60 to make each of these beautiful ornaments.  Maybe our Girl Scout troop would like to make these at our Christmas party this year?  They could decorate them with Sharpie markers to make them their own.  These ornaments would be cute gifts--what a great service project idea!  Thank you for reading.

UPDATE:  My friend loved the ornaments and asked me to make two dozen more.  Since the craft stores still weren't carrying large bags of snow, I went back to order the same product online.  It wasn't available, so I ended up ordering a 4-quart bag of Buffalo Snow Eco Flurries from Ace Hardware for $7.  They shipped it to the store for free, and I picked it up without any issues.  I used about half of the bag to fill two dozen ornaments.  I updated this post because I LOVED this product!!!  Even though I couldn't pour the Eco Flurries like the Snow Flurries, it was easy to use a pen to get them through the funnel and into the ornament.  The Eco Flurries weren't messy like the Snow Flurries, and they didn't cling to the sides of the ornament.  The result is so much better.  Here, you can see for yourself.