DIY Dog Bed for Senior Dogs

I have a 10-1/2-year-old Collie who is just the sweetest thing in the world, and compared to others of her breed, her health is remarkable for her age.  She still runs around the yard and barks and plays like a puppy at times, so much so that sometimes I forget how old she is.  A couple of years ago, she started having a little bit of joint stiffness during colder weather, but it’s really started to kick in this year.  It’s not even hit the 30s here yet, and she’s really showing how sore she is.

So what’s a girl to do?  I purchased her a bed about six months ago that seemed all perfectly fluffy at the store, and when it had been laid on for about 3 days, it completely de-poufed.  As in, she was sinking so far that she was basically laying on the floor with the stuffing all around her.

She needed a really good supportive bed for her joints, but they can be so expensive – for a dog her size, easily upwards of $150, and it still might not turn out to last all that well.

After spotting some great sales at my local JoAnn’s, I loaded up my coupons and headed out to get the supplies I would need to make my own.  In all, I spent just under $62 (they were having some awesome sales!).  Not bad considering the alternative.

Materials

  • 2 yards 54″-wide outdoor fabric, or other heavy-duty fabric of your choice (I chose outdoor fabric in the hopes that it will repel any accidents that may happen.  My tiny schnauzer has a habit of, ahem, regurgitating on beds that are not her own.  Not cool.)
  • 2 yards 3″ thick foam padding (the green stuff – they will cut this to size at the fabric counter for you)
  • Heavy-duty thread
  • Appropriate sewing machine needle for heavy-duty fabrics
  • 64 ounces polyester fiberfill

Step 1)  Decide the size you would like the bed to be:  I had a cover from a previous bed that I wanted to go over the new one, so I chose to use the measurements of that cover:

  • Width = 33″
  • Length = 42″
  • Height = 3-3/4″

If you are using your own cover for starting measurements, always go with the smallest measurement if there are any variations in length or width (i.e., some parts of the cover measured 33″ wide, some measured 33.5″ wide).

Step 2)  Cut pieces:  Add an inch to each measurement for seam allowances.  If you are following my measurements, fold your fabric in half and cut the following pieces, using the diagram below to show you where to make your cuts on your fabric – make sure your folded edge is in the right spot – do not cut folded edge:

a) 2 pieces for top and bottom – 34″ x 43″ (width x length)
b) 2 side pieces – 43″ x 4-3/4″ (length x height)
c) 2 end pieces – 34″ x 4-3/4″ (width x height)

Step 3)  Start sewing:

  1. Important Note:  Use a 1/2″ seam allowance at all times.
  2. Take one piece “a” and one piece “b“.  Place right sides facing and stitch a hem along one long side.  Repeat with second “b” piece on opposite side of same “a” piece.  Press seams open.  (Note:  You may wish to pin the fabric in place before stitching.  Personally, pins just get in my way, so I skip them a lot of the time.  However, if you are a new or novice sewer, I would recommend using them.)
  3. Using same piece “a” as in previous step, take one piece “c” and place right sides facing on one unsewn edge between hems for pieces “b” from previous step.  It may be a little too long.  That’s okay – just overlap each hem by an equal amount, but start and end stitching at hems – don’t go past.  It should look like this: Repeat with second “c” piece on opposite end.  Press seams.
  4. Add backing:  Place one long side of backing piece to long side of second piece “b“, right sides together; stitch.  Repeat, matching the opposite side of backing piece to second “b” piece.  After this, you should essentially have a giant tube.  It will look kind of like a giant pillow case with openings on both ends.  Repeat again with ONE shorter end, starting and stopping at the seams as on the top piece, leaving the corners of the casing pieces unstitched – we’ll come back to those later.  Here’s a hint:  If you hold the casing piece on top while you stitch, it will be much easier.  (Be careful not to catch any unwanted fabric in your stitches!)  Leave the other end unsewn until the bed has been stuffed.
  5. Stitch corners:  Starting on one corner of the closed end, match up the edges of the unsewn corner and stitch.  You may want to stitch again for reinforcement.  To do this, just put another row of stitches 1/4″ outside your seam (toward the cut edge of the fabric).  This is extra reassurance for you, just in case Poochie puts on a few pounds this winter.  In fact, you can do this to all your seams if you so desire – it’s up to you.  Repeat with the other corner on finished end.  Just a heads up: This is where my bobbin ran out (and I started with a full one), so you may want to check yours.
  6. We’re going to leave the other two corners and the opening unsewn for the time being to prepare the stuffing.

Step 4)  Stuffing:  Measure the width and length of the finished cover:

  • width = 33″
  • length = 42″

Now, subtract an inch from each number (trust me – it will be much easier to stuff if you do this), and, using a serrated knife, cut a piece of the foam the length of the bed – beware fingers and surfaces!:

  • width = 32″
  • length = 41″

Now, measure the width of the cut piece.  I needed my foam to be 32″ wide, but my foam was only 24″ wide.  To use the foam best, I cut two 6″ pieces of foam and cut them to reach a combined length that matched that of the bigger piece.  So, for the project, I used 60″ total of 24″‘-wide, 3″-thick foam.  I had purchased 2.5 yards, so I actually have enough left to make another smaller bed that would measure 31″ x 24″.

Step 6)  Stuff the bed:  Put the foam in first, unstitched hem on the bottom of the bed.  Now, if you only want a foam bed, skip to finishing the cover.  My baby, however, likes a really thick, fluffy bed (she’s not high maintenance AT ALL), so I’m going to put some fiberfill in the top.  Only fill it about 3/4 of the way.

Step 7)  Finishing:  Start hand sewing up your seam, however you prefer.  I don’t have the patience to make my stitches blind, so I just stitch a cute (albeit somewhat childlike) topstitch, making sure the seam is strong.  I have a cover that’s going over this, so honestly, I wasn’t really worried about appearance, but feel free to stitch the end shut however you want.

Voila! You’re done!  You wanna know the best part of the whole project?  Putting your feet up together when it’s done.

.-Shannon

Pinecones and the park

Hubby and I spent a leisurely morning at a park in our area recently.  It’s a great little place – never too crowded, except on those too-gorgeous-to-resist days, when the park is crawling with photographers trying to get that perfect family portrait.  You park, you walk past the playground areas, and suddenly, you come upon a covered bridge, which we don’t have many of around here.

There are picnic areas, and once you’ve crossed the bridge, if you are in a mind to go off the beaten path a bit (which we always do), there’s a little path that goes around and loops back to a gorgeous rocky area of the river.

We finished the loop and came back up the path to the covered bridge.  As per the understood laws of society, the interior is covered in “Jimmy loves Norma” in every imaginable form.

On our way into the park, you know what else I noticed they have there?  Pine cones.  That’s right.  I spent the last 15 minutes or so of our adventure picking up pine cones.  They were just so huge and perfect and fresh!  (No, I do NOT have a pine cone fetish.  At all.)  You see, I came across this wreath project awhile back that I have been just itching to make.  I mean, how beautiful is it?  And it really can stay up for two seasons – fall and winter – which makes it the perfect project for me right now.

This garland and this topiary are just two more projects I would love to make for our home.  I have gobs upon gobs of pine cones now, so I ought to be able to make several.

Hubs got a bit bored towards the end.  I tend to get tunnel vision, and that day was no exception.  He had that “Isn’t this enough pine cones?” look on his face (on other days, you may also enter “yarn” in place of “pine cones”).  But he was such a good sport about it.  That’s just one of the many things I love about him.

-Shannon

Moss Stitch Mug Cozy

As I’ve mentioned before, I do quite a variety of crafts – I sew, I crochet, I knit, I paint…pretty much anything I can try, I will.  The fun part for me is that once I learn the gist of a craft, I can go wild with it and create.

Today, I am posting one of my own original knitting patterns for sale on Etsy for the first time ever! (See it here.)  To celebrate, I’m sharing another of my designs with you all for free.  It’s a charming little mug cozy, perfect for young and old alike, and easy enough that even the most novice of knitters can whip one up in no time.  It’s the perfect way to use up a little leftover yarn from a previous project, and you can crank these out so quickly that you can make one for all your friends and family for Christmas.  I hope you enjoy!

Moss Stitch Mug Cozy

Gauge: approximately 3 stitches per inch in pattern

Materials

  • Bulky weight yarn, or two strands worsted weight held together – I used two strands of Patons Classic Wool held together
  • 1 pair knitting needles, size 10 (6.0mm) (or size to obtain gauge)
  • 1 crochet hook, size J (6.0mm)
  • Tapestry needle
  • Measuring tape
  • 2 buttons
  • Thread, in color of your choice, and needle, for sewing on buttons

Abbreviation guide:

  • k = knit
  • p = purl
  • sl = slip (For example, “sl1 purlwise” means “slip one stitch as if to purl” – the yarn is held in the front.  “Sl1 knitwise” means “slip one stitch as if to knit” – and the yarn is held in the back.)

Measure the circumference of your mug.  Multiply this number by 3 (your gauge) to get the number of stitches for cast on.  (For example, a 10-inch circumference multiplied by 3 stitches per inch = 30 stitches for cast on.)  If the resulting number is even, add one stitch – you must always cast on an odd number of stitches – so, in this case, I cast on 31 stitches.

Using the long-tail cast on method, cast on the desired number of stitches and work the following rows:

Rows 1, 4, 5, 8, and 9:  Sl1 knitwise, *p1, k1; repeat from * to end of row.

Rows 2, 3, 6, and 7:  Sl1 purlwise, *k1, p1; repeat from * to end of row.

You can work as many rows as you like, for as wide a cozy as desired.  With 9 rows, I got a cozy that measures about 2-1/4 inches wide.

Bind off in pattern; weave in ends.  Block the finished piece to get it as close to rectangular as possible.

When blocking is finished, you are ready to sew on the buttons and make the loop that will hold everything in place.  Measure 1/2″ from one end and find the middle height-wise.  Mine measures 2-1/4″ high, so I will start at 1/2″ from the end at 1-1/8″ high.  Insert your crochet hook and pull up a loop, leaving a decent sized tail.  Now, you are ready to make the chain for your loop.  Chain 8.  Insert crochet hook back into your starting point and pull up a loop to connect.  Break yarn; weave in ends.

Flip your piece over so that your chain is actually starting on the back of the piece.  Sew one of your buttons over the starting point on the front side.

Place your second button in the matching spot on the opposite end of the cozy; stitch in place.

Wrap it around your mug, secure with the loop, and you are ready to go!

Til next time – Shannon

Hello world, it’s me

So it occurred to me today that I haven’t ever really introduced myself to the blogosphere-at-large.  I mean, I know I have my little “I’m a 20-something yada, yada, yada…” About Me page, but just who am I really?  Good question.

Well, turns out I am a 20-something yada, yada, yada, but I am also more.  I am Shannon.  I’m in my late mid-20s (he he), and I live in the bright and shiny state of Georgia.  (Well, it’s usually bright and shiny.  Today, not so much.  I’m crossing my fingers for tomorrow, though!)  I quit my day job recently (retail – eeeeyuuuuuck) to give my full attention to my Etsy shop, and now my blog.  Creating and designing have always been my greatest passions, and it was time for me to pursue them fully.  I have to say that I am loving every minute of it.

My workday is not the typical workday for your average American.  And I am very grateful for it.  I hate “the grind”, and I hope to never have to go back to it.  I love the freedom to create, to work by my schedule, to share my true talents with others.  I’m not even making any sort of substantial income at this yet, and yet it feels so much more fulfilling that any job I’ve ever held.  I guess that’s because it’s not a job to me – it’s my passion.

I’ll stop before this gets too long and rambly.  I just want to say “hi” to all of you out there, “thanks” to those of you who have welcomed me and who tune in to what I have to share, and “will you be my neighbor?” to those who I have yet to meet.  🙂

Til tomorrow,
-Shannon

Shop Launch Sale Starts Today!

I have been busy as a little bee around here.  Sew sew sew, paint paint paint, knit knit knit.  Or maybe I’m as busy as a Christmas elf.  Getting ready for all those gift shipments.  I thrive off the busyness.  It’s fun and exciting!

As several of you no doubt know by now, I recently re-launched my Etsy shop.  I sell handmade home decor and wearables – aprons, vintage-inspired signs, pillow covers, coasters, knit hats, you name it.

For the month of October, everything in my shop is 20% off for all buyers with Etsy coupon code LAUNCH.  Simply log on to Etsy and place one (or more!) of my items in your cart.  At checkout, enter the coupon code to receive the discount.

Feel free to share the coupon code – the more, the merrier!  It’s never too early to get a jump on all that holiday shopping, and I’ll be adding new items all month long!

So stop by and say hi.  As always, thanks for reading!

-Shannon