Making dog toys

Have you ever seen those fleece rope dog toys at the pet stores? Well, my dog loves them. In addition, they aren’t as messy as a typical knotted or hemp type rope where little strings can be left behind. I realized right away that I could make fleece ropes with all the left over fleece from other projects (the trendy term for this is upcycle). I’ve now made more ropes than I can count for my dog and all of her friends.

I just completed two new rope gifts for some doggies I’ll be visiting soon.

Instructions: cut 3 strips of fleece. The thicker the strip, the thicker the today. Knot at one end. Braid. Knot at the other end. Play tug with a happy dog!

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Making our house more grown-up

In the last three months or so we’ve made drastic changes to our house. We’ve turned it from the dwelling of two grad students into real adults!

The list:

  • Replaced all carpet with DIY stained concrete floors (that’s a post for another day. It will be LONG).
  • Painted living room, dining room, hallway, bedroom, and trim
  • Had a sliding glass door replaced
  • New (or new to us in some cases) furniture: coffee table, end table, TV stand, LED TV, two storage ottomans, a couch cover, and a soon to be delivered dresser and nightstand set
  • Pet supplies: 2 cat beds and 2 dog bed covers sewn to match the new color scheme, cat scratching post and shelves mounted to a wall
  • Most importantly, a roomba to drive around and vacuum up all the free-floating pet fur that accumulates without carpet to hold it down!

Also, spoiling cats

Along the lines of my post yesterday about spoiling my dog, I thought I’d share how we spoil our cats.

Recently we renovated our living and dining rooms. In the process we’ve replaced some of our furniture. And now this is what the cats have:

How did we get to this point?

We had a stand-alone cat perch that Mojo loved to play one. It was leopard print colored and didn’t really match the new improved decor.

My husband suggested that we make cat shelves up the wall. Being the sucker I am (and recognizing the chance to get rid of the leopard print) I agreed! And then here’s what you do:

  • Buy some sturdy shelves and brackets at Ikea
  • Cut them to size for cats
  • Wrap a long 1” x 4” board with sisal rope (they love scratching sisal rope!)
  • Attach all to wall at reasonable intervals, all the way up to the vaulted ceiling
  • Sew not one but two cat beds and velcro them to the shelves
  • Feel great satisfaction when you find cats sleeping up there. Ok, so really only Mojo goes up unprompted but if you lure Carston up he’ll lay there. Annie doesn’t go up at all. I blame her lack of claws.

Spoiling my dog

My dog has a ton of toys. She takes great care of them and never ruins them. She has enough that I have to swap out batches of toys because they don’t all fit in the toy basket. Eventually I donate them to the shelter. Despite that, I continue to make her this one type of toy that she likes: a braided fleece rope. I once bought a simple fleece rope at PetSmart and found out she really liked it.  After that, I collected fleece scraps when they were on sale and have made many, many fleece ropes for my dog and other dogs I fancy. She doesn’t play tug too much but she does like to carry around the fleece rope and slowly will chew on it (or it gets ruined when another dog comes to visit) so I have to make her new one.

Here’s how I make them:

  1. Cut three long strips of fleece (make them thicker for a thick braid)
  2. Tie one end in a tight knot
  3. Braid to the other end, tie in a knot
  4. Tie a knot in the middle
  5. Optional: tie extra small fleece scraps near the ends of the rope (I used to do this because the toy at PetSmart had them, but don’t do it any more)
  6. Give to your favorite spoiled dog. Seriously, it’s that easy.

A posed picture of Molly with a fleece toy on top of one of her new beds:

(This is her “window” bed that I felt the need to make after we removed the carpet from our house this winter. I didn’t want her to be cold while laying with her head on the windowsill! Also, the cats really enjoy it.)