Friday, April 20, 2012

My Project Went to the Dogs

Henry, Prince Steadfast's and Princess Sassy's puppy, is energetic... A chewer, and just generally "busy."  Having toys around helps, or he makes toys of things we'd rather he not.  The princess made a very successful trip to Petco several weeks ago, picking up quite a few toys for $1 - 3 on the clearance aisle.  But they are pretty much demolished by now, so I stopped in to restock.

This time, the only clearance chew toys started at almost $10, and went rapidly up in price from there.  I looked at some, thinking about items he'd shown a preference for... Things that are longer and skinner and furry.  The dogs aren't really picky about cute details... I'm sure those are for the people buying.  I thought I could make something the dogs would find interesting enough.

Rosie, our lab, also likes toys, but as a retriever, she has a "soft mouth," and carries fabric toys, rather than chewing.  She takes socks, stuffed animals, towels... and they may end up outside in the mud, but she doesn't chew them up.  She became particularly fond of a stuffed monkey one of the kids had and made it her baby.  It occasionally disappears, and usually we find it outside somewhere, very dirty and stinky.  But she loves it, and knows it by name.  ("Monkey"-- Very creative, don'cha think?)  She has been willing to share things with Henry (including, generously, his own toys - haha), but she gives me a very pitiful and sad look when he tries to take Monkey and pulls back a little more earnestly than her usual, "If you want it that badly, here."  One does just not share one's own baby!

Anyway, in the quest to keep them both happy, I pulled down my small supply of fake fur, and started by tearing narrow strips of the smallest piece (about 2 inches by 30 inches).  I thought a braid would be more durable than a single piece, and give them something substantial to sink teeth into.  Fur is nice to use, because, first, it tears in straight lines along the grain, and second, it won't unravel, so there is no need to hem it.  It also rolls under in the edges, so it looks nicer in a braid without working at all to keep the fur outward.

I overlapped 3 strips and secured them by sewing across about 2 inches from the end.  I then braided about 2/3 of the length.  I stopped here, and sewed across the 3 layers again, leaving "legs," sort of like Monkey's, to hang free that would be easy for the dogs to grab in a game of fetch, or in tug-of-war with each other.                                                                                                                                                

Cost:  $0.  If I hadn't had the fabric already, I could probably make 2 toys out of 6 inches of fur fabric... So that might figure out to $1 per toy if the fabric was $12/yard and not on sale.  

Time: 10 minutes, tops.  

My kind of price and very suitable to my patience level... at least for dog toys.

This afternoon I told Rosie to "Find Monkey!" so I could include a photo of him here.  She looked around a little outside, then went in and grabbed the toy I made today... So, if it can do in a pinch for beloved Monkey,  I guess it's a hit!   

I'm headed in to make another, though, as having only 1 is causing a bit of trouble...

For a no-sew project, tear an approximately 2 or 3-inch by 54 - 60 inch piece of fur.  Tie double knots along the length, leaving 2 or 3 inches in between each.  It's good for fetch or tugging, but doesn't seem to be as popular as the braided toy with the flailing tails.

Once again, happy to share at the every-Friday share party on The Better Half!

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