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{Dog-Gone #1} Braided Fleece Dog Rope Toy

September 12, 2012 in Do it your Dog-Gone Self, Gettin' Crafty, Pups

I’m so excited to kick off a new series at called “Do it your Dog-Gone Self!”

My dogs are a Huuuuuge part of my life. They’re my buddies… They go to work with me every day (no joke!) and have weaseled their way so deep in my heart that I don’t know what I’d do without them. I put up with the barking, the never-ending dog food bills and the hair (gah!)… and you know what… they make me laugh and they’re so worth it.

I love to DIY for my dogs. If you’re new to CraftedNiche, you’ll definitely want to check out Roxy’s “fancy” dog bed and her more “casual” crate dog bed. I also made her a raised dog feeder out of a good ol’ stool from Michaels. So easy and so rewarding! I’m sure you’ve noticed that anything and everything for our pets is soooo overpriced. Why not have some fun and DIY a little sumthin’-sumthin’ for them every now and then!?  We’re starting easy-breezy this week:

Let’s make a simple and inexpensive toy that your dog can play with for years! Trust me… I made one of these two years ago and my aggressive-chewers are STILL playing with it to this day. What’s not to love about a $3 dog toy that lasts for YEARS?! The best part… many of you probably have some scraps laying around and could make this for FREE!

It’s pretty silly how easy this project is, but I have some tips to make it easier and suggestions for those of you with bigger pups like my Emma & Quinn.

 1. Gather your supplies!  I used 1/3 yd each of TWO fleece fabrics, two rubber bands, a rotary cutter and a cutting mat. I bought my fleece on sale at Jo-Ann fabrics for 50% off. If you have a Jo-Ann fabrics near you, make sure you take your coupons!
Note – You could also do this project with scissors… but the rotary cutter & mat makes your life so much easier!

2. Cut your fleece into roughly 4″ wide strips. I kept my fleece folded so I could quickly and easily cut my strips. It took about 2.5 seconds per strip. No joke! I ended up with 3 strips out of each 1/3yard piece of fabric.

4. Cut off the selvage.  This is the edge of the fabric that keeps it from fraying. I’m sure there’s a better explanation… but that’s what I have off the top of my head!  You can skip this step all-together, but I think it’s easier to snip it off now than later.

 4. Layer all pieces and wrap the end with a rubberband. For my strong chewers, I like to beef up the strength/density of my rope toys. Rather than braid 3 pieces, I double-up and use 6 pieces (photo on left below). This creates a bit thicker toy.

5. Knot – Braid – Band – Knot.  Tie a knot over the rubber band. It’ll virtually disappear inside the knotted fleece! Then TIGHTLY braid the fleece. For my 6-strand rope, I just used 2 pieces in each braided section. When you get to the end, grab your second rubber band. Here’s where you’ll thank me later! The rubber band around the braid keeps everything tight and in place while you tie another knot to finish off your rope. Brrrrilliant.

For those of you with light chewers, here’s a sneak peak at what 3 pieces of fleece cut at 4″ wide will give you… it’s roughly an inch wide when braided:

6. Make the ends FUN! Cut the end tails into three strips. Then fan/feather them out to make the ends of your rope bones fun to chew AND look at! Don’t worry – this part doesn’t have to be perfect…

Tuh-dah! Done!

What? You thought I’d post a Dog DIY without pictures of my dogs? Ha! Yea right!

Let’s have Emma & Quinn be the judges on this “Do it your Dog-Gone Self!” project:

I think we can safely call this one a success!

Remember -

  • Rubber bands will make your life easier! Just be sure to hide them inside the knots or snip and remove them once you get the knot settled and tightened.
  • You can cut your strips narrower if you want a skinnier rope for smaller dogs.
  • Use 3 strips for a skinny rope or 6 strips for a denser, wider rope.

There’s no right or wrong here. Next time you see fleece on sale, snatch some up and get to braiding! They’ll make great Christmas gifts this holiday season too!

What are you waiting for?  Do it your Dog-Gone Self!

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Super Simple Dog Feeder

February 20, 2012 in Building and Repurposing, Do it your Dog-Gone Self, Gettin' Crafty, Pups, Uncategorized

If you follow this blog, then you’ve probably seen a couple Roxy-focused projects (Bed 1 and Bed 2)…. I love that sweet ol’ gal. She’s 15 this year. Still going strong, but starting to show her age. (Admitting our pets are getting older is never easy. Frown town.)  She’s always been a little pistol, so it’s tough to see her slowing down. I try to do things to make life easier for her when I can.

(Sidenote – No…. I wouldn’t call getting a Boxer puppy 3 years ago making Roxy’s life easier…. but getting a lab puppy a year ago DID! Quinn became the perfect play partner for Emma and finally Roxy was able to nap in peace.)

Last weekend I was aimlessly wandering Michaels completely overwhelmed by sensory overload. It’s a good thing I don’t buy the supplies for every project I think of while I’m in that store… I swear sometimes I walk around just looking at things, playing a “What could I make with that?” game in my head!  Anywho… I found my way back to the wood/woodworking section and stumbled on a GREAT deal!  Ready-to-paint wooden stools on clearance for $2. Yup…. TWO. DOLLARS. Hmmmmmm I don’t have kids… and I’m already tall…. so what could I use a little wooden stool for?  How about a RAISED DOG FEEDER!  Roxy would love that!  (Yes, I was very excited at this point in Michaels!)  …and just in case you thought that deal was too good to be true, I snapped a picture of the price tag on the shelf:

Do you see that?  They had 2.  Yup…. totally bought both. I couldn’t help it. It’s the craft hoarder in me. It’s a sickness I’m not ready to address. Baby steps, people, baby steps.

So after I squealed ridiculously maturely composed myself, I checked out and scooted on over to Walmart to pick up a dog bowl. I thought these stainless steel bowls had the perfect (forgivingly-wide) rim and at $2.50, I couldn’t go wrong! Dollar store might have had something too, but Walmart was my first thought.

Gettin’ Handy -

  • I found a food container lid that seemed the right size for the hole and traced a circle on the top of the shelf.
  • Using a spade bit, I drilled a “starter hole” in the top of my bench. Don’t quote me on these terms guys… I have no idea what I’m talking about!
  • No photos of this part… my hands were busy! I used a jigsaw to cut a circle in the top of the stool. Go ahead and laugh… I’m not exactly proud of the ummmm exactness of the shape. It was my first time using a jigsaw though… learn as you go!

Like I said…. it wasn’t pretty!  …but that’s where the wide rim on the dog bowl comes in handy. Wiggle room!

I gave it a quick sand with my random orbital sander and then slapped on a coat of grey egg-shell paint. I already had the paint on hand… it’s the same color I used on her dog bed.

I let it dry overnight and by the next morning, Roxy was happily munching out of her bowl.

Fast forward a week…

Plain grey dog feeder with a stainless steel bowl.  Functional? Yes. Fun? Not so much.

On Saturday I made another trip to Michaels in search of inspiration. My first thought was to stencil the top. All of the stencils I liked were $8, and that was WITH a 50% off coupon. I couldn’t justify spending more on the stencil than I did on everything else. Hmmm what else?  Ding ding!  Scrapbook paper! Couldn’t I just mod-podge some scrapbook paper on the top and then add several layers of mod-podge to help seal it?  I don’t use it for a water dish… dry dog food only… so there wouldn’t be any moisture. Oh this just might work.

I picked out a scrapbook paper I liked. It was a splurge. $1.  Yep… I spent an entire dollar on a single piece of paper. Seemed crazy when the stool was only $2, but I’ll let it slide. It was the perfect shade of grey and added some fun pops of color.

  • I flipped the stool upside down and traced the outer edge and inner circle onto the paper.
  • Cutting carefully, I trimmed the excess paper and then plopped it on top to check my fit. Good enough!
  • Following the instructions on the bottle, I mod-podged the heck outta that paper. Layer, upon layer, upon layer.

Forgive the night time pictures please.

By Sunday morning, the feeder was ready for it’s big debut!  This paper doesn’t match anything else in my kitchen, but that’s ok. It’s not for me… it’s for Roxy! I like the bold colors and the fun print. Oh wait… I mean Roxy likes it. :-)

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She likes it! She really likes it!


What is it about simple projects for my pups that make me smile so big? Seeing her eat her breakfast and dinner out of that dish every day will make me a happy girl… and hopefully make her a happy girl too. It’s the little things, right?



Be sure to stop by and visit all of the great Link Parties that I like to frequent.


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…and here’s a Pinterest-friendly pic for anyone that wants to mark this project to make later:


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Cheery Silhouette (re)Prints for the Office

February 5, 2012 in Do it your Dog-Gone Self, Gettin' Crafty, Pups

I’ve been a bad blogger. A bad, bad blogger. I started a new job last Monday and I’m oh-so-excited about it, but it made for a tough week. Trying to get into a new routine, dogs at home all day and officially a commuter once again. BUT – I promise to do better! I just needed last week to get things in order. PLUS – once I get settled in my new position I’ll be able to take the pups with me to the office. Amazing right?!  What are the odds that a girl can find not one, but TWO jobs that let her share her workplace with her favorite little munchkins.

So my office…. It needs a little kick. A little personality. A little Dana. :-)   I don’t want to go walking int here with armloads of DIY, so I thought I’d play it safe and start little. I have a small shelf in the office above a cabinet that would look cute with a couple little things. Hmmm but what things?  Well… you’ve probably figured out by now that I’m OB-SESSED with my dogs. BONUS – everyone at my new office is as dog crazy as me. Being short on time this week, I needed quick and easy so I decided to re-use some of my previous elbow grease. Take a look at this!

Do those faces look familiar?  Hmmmmmmmmm…… How about now?



Man… what a difference daylight makes in pictures!  Check out the difference between the first and second pics above. Night time…. Daytime…. Literally night and day. :-)

So all I did was resize my silhouettes and print them directly on scrapbook paper as 4×6″ prints. Simple as that! I chose green because that’s the main office color. We even have bright green conference room chairs. Fun right?!

Missed the silhouettes tutorial the first time around?  No worries!  Here’s the photo editing portion and here’s the printing/assembly!  Enjoy!

Have a great week everyone. I promise not to stay away so long. …and once I get some things settled in my office space, I’ll snap you a few pics so you can see where I’ll be spending my 9-5.

As always, I’d love for you to stop by some of my favorite link parties…

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