How to Choose the Right Toys for your Dog

Photo by Josh Sorenson on Pexels.com

When it comes to dogs, almost anything can be a toy. An old shoe, a piece of wood, or a spare glove are often a dog’s favorite chew toy. But buying a toy for your dog can be a different story.

There are several kinds of toys available for dogs. Playing fetch with a stick or ball are a classic favorite. But, there are many other toys to choose from. Tug toys, plush toys, chew toys, interactive toys, and rubber toys that squeak are several kinds to consider.

How do you decide? The first thing to keep in mind while shopping for dog toys is your dog’s size and age. Some toys a especially for puppies, while others are for grown dogs of all different sizes. Read the toy’s label or packaging for this information.

Another thing to think about is if your dog tends to chew or tear apart its toys. Tough dog toys are made to withstand your dogs sharp teeth and will not tear apart as easily.

Some toys, such as tug toys and interactive toys, are fun for both you and your dog. Some interactive toys keep your dog busy by dispensing treats, and some are like puzzles for dogs.

If you’re not sure what kind of toys your dog likes, try several different kinds to see which ones grab your dog’s attention. Chew toys, as well as ball toys, are almost always a good choice.


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How to Choose the Right Toys for Your Cat

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Recently, I’ve done a few blog posts about making cat toys. But, when you’re at the store shopping for cat toys, you often have a very large selection to choose from. How do you know which toys to buy for your cat?

You might notice that there are different kinds of cat toys. There are toy mice, balls, catnip toys, teasers, and interactive toys. If you don’t already know what kind of toy your cat prefers, you might want to try several different kinds to see what your cat responds to most. Take note of what what your cat likes to play with and consider buying the same kind of toy again. Also, make sure to keep an eye out for any toys your cat seems to destroy or tear apart. Be sure not to buy this kind of toy for you cat again.

Each kind of toy is a little different from the other. Balls roll and bounce, teasers, like feathers and ribbons, are fun for a cat to bat around, and interactive toys are fun for both you and your cat. Other toys make noise, and are different textures and sizes. Therefore, some toys can be more appealing to your cat than others.

Don’t forget to buy toys according to your cats age and size. Read the toy’s packaging for the correct information. Some toys are suitable for kittens while others are better for adult cats. Another way to tell is if the toy appears to large or bulky for your cat, or if it is very small in comparison to your cat.

While keeping your cat entertained can be as easy as tossing around a catnip ball, some newer toys are a little more high tech. Some use laser pointers that your cat and chase around the room. Others twirl feathers, and some are even remote controlled.

Don’t be overwhelmed by all of the choices of cat toys. As always, your cat’s favorite toy could be as simple as a spare shoe string or a paper bag.


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DIY Catnip Yarn Balls

Photo by Kathleen Quandt

Balls of yarn have always been toys for cats. Add a little catnip with some glue and a styrofoam ball, and you have an enticing new toy for your cat.

I used 3 inch styrofoam balls and 22 yards of yarn to make the toys, although feel free to use smaller styrofoam balls for smaller cats.

You will be handling the styrofoam balls while they are covered in glue, so you might want to keep paper towels near by.


What you need:

  • styrofoam balls
  • yarn
  • catnip
  • glue
  • paintbrush
  • paper plate or other surface for catnip

Instructions:

  1. Place some catnip in a paper plate.
  2. Coat the styrofoam ball in glue using a paint brush.
  3. Roll the styrofoam ball in the catnip until it is mostly covered.

4. To begin wrapping the styrofoam ball in yarn, hold the end of the yarn against the ball and wrap the yarn around so it holds the first piece in place.

5. Continue to wrap the ball in yarn until it is covered.


6. Tuck the end of the yarn into the yarn wrapped around the ball. Use a dab of glue to keep it in place.

7. You’re done!


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DIY Lined Envelopes

Photo by Kathleen Quandt

Send decorative and unique cards and letters by making your own lined envelopes. These are easy to make using an envelope you already have and some decorative paper.

I used 5 1/4″ x 7 1/4″ invitation envelopes that are a good size for greeting cards and photos. I also used cardstock and scrapbook paper for the liner. Feel free to use any kind of envelope or decorative paper that you like.


What you need:

  • an envelope
  • decorative paper
  • scissors
  • glue stick or quick dry glue
  • a pencil
  • ruler or tape measure


Instructions:

  1. Start by tracing the envelope onto the decorative paper.

2. Measure 1/2″ along the inside of the line you’ve already drawn. Use a pencil to lightly mark along the inside edge of the envelope.


3. Cut out the envelope, following the marks drawn 1/2″ inside the traced envelope.


4. Place the decorative paper into the envelope. Make sure the liner is all the way to the bottom of the inside of the envelope, and that there is enough room on the flap for sealing the envelope.


5. Crease the liner along the same crease of the flap of the envelope.

6. Lightly glue the sides and bottom of the liner flap.


7. Press the glued liner flap to the flap on the envelope. You’re done!


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DIY Envelopes

Photo by Kathleen Quandt

These DIY envelopes add a fun and decorative touch to cards and letters. They are quick and easy to make with just a few items you might already have on hand. I used cardstock and scrapbook paper to make my envelopes because it is sturdier and more opaque than most paper. In this blog post, I will show you two ways to make envelopes.

For the first envelope, I used 8″ x 11″ cardstock because the envelope is smaller. For the second envelope, which is larger, I used 12″ x 12″ scrapbook paper.


What you need:

  • cardstock or scrapbook paper
  • envelope (for tracing)
  • scissors
  • glue stick or quick dry glue
  • pencil

DIY Envelope #1

Instructions:

  1. First, choose the kind of envelope you would like to make. For my example, I used an invitation envelope.
  2. Next, carefully peel the envelope apart at the seams so it lays flat.


3. Place the envelope on the cardstock and trace around the edges.


4. Cut the traced envelope out of the cardstock.


5. Fold the cardstock envelope, using the first envelope as a guide.


6. Glue the flaps of the envelope. Make sure not to glue the top flap.


7. Wipe off any excess glue.

You’re done!


DIY Envelope #2


Instructions:

  1. First, choose the cardstock or scrapbook paper you would like to use. For this envelope, I used 12″ x 12″ scrapbook paper.

2. With the decorative side facing down, fold the bottom corner up to meet the opposite side, making a square.

3. Cut off any extra paper at the top.


4. Next, fold a crease in the paper that crosses the first crease, making an “x”. These creases will be used as a guide.


5. Turn the paper so that one corner faces up. Fold in the other three corners to the middle, using the “x” crease as a guide.


6. Fold the bottom half of the paper up, leaving the top corner as a flap.


7. Lightly glue the bottom and sides of the envelope. Wipe away excess glue.


You’re done! When you’re ready to mail your envelope, seal it with tape or a decorative sticker.


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DIY Mini Vinegar Lemon Glass Cleaner

Photo by Kathleen Quandt

Cell phones these days have put everything we need at our fingertips. Not only can you make a call or text anytime you want, but the possibilities of having the internet on your phone are endless. But, after using your cell phone all day, you’ve probably been stuck with a dirty, greasy screen.

That’s why I came up with the idea of a mini glass cleaner that is small enough to fit in your purse or pocket. The glass cleaner is made with only a few household ingredients and lemon essential oil. Just spray a small amount on your screen and wipe with a tissue.

I found these 15 ml glass bottles with sprayers on Amazon. Each bottle holds about 2 Tbsp. of glass cleaner, so keep in mind while making the glass cleaner that you will need to leave a little room at the top for the sprayer.

What you need:

  • distilled water
  • white vinegar
  • lemon essential oil
  • 15 ml glass bottle with sprayer
  • small plastic funnel (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Pour 1 Tbsp. white vinegar into the spray bottle.
  2. Warm a small amount of distilled water in the microwave for about 20 -30 seconds.
  3. Pour 1 Tbsp. warm distilled water into the spray bottle.

4. Add 4 – 6 drops of lemon essential oil to the spray bottle.

5. Replace cap and shake.

6. Label bottle (optional).

You’re done!


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DIY Water Bottle Name Tags

Photo by Kathleen Quandt

Have you ever gotten your water bottle confused with someone else’s water bottle? Well, these DIY water bottle name tags should solve the problem. These are quick and easy to make, using only some elastic cord and plastic beads.

For my water bottle name tag, I used plastic beads in several colors and letter beads for my initials. Feel free to use any kind of plastic beads you like. Another idea is to use other stand-out beads that you like such as different animals, plants or flowers, hobbies or symbols to mark your water bottle.

What you need:

  • water bottle
  • letter or other stand-out beads
  • other decorative beads
  • elastic cord
  • scissors
  • measuring tape (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Start by wrapping the elastic cord around the water bottle to determine how much you will need to cut. Leave about 4 – 5 inches extra on both ends for tying knots. Keep in mind you will want to stretch the cord so that it fits the water bottle a little snug.

2. If the hole in the beads you are using is too big for a knot, tie a stopper bead at the end. Simply tie the cord through and around the bead and secure it with a knot. This will hold the beads on the cord as you string them.


3. Begin by stringing your decorative beads on the cord. String several inches (about halfway) of beads.


4. Next, string you initials, name, or other stand out beads.

5. Continue with stringing the decorative beads until you have enough to wrap around the water bottle.


6. When enough beads are strung, tie the two ends together in a knot. If necessary, wrap the beaded cord around the bottle before tying, to make sure it fits tight enough. You want the name tag to be tight enough so that it doesn’t fall off the bottle.

7. Trim the ends of the cord and cut the stopper bead off, if necessary.


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Nature Photography and Videos

Photo by Kathleen Quandt

In recent posts, I have been focusing on DIY crafts for around the home. In this post, I would like to share another fun hobby, nature photography.

From time to time, I am able to grab my camera or smartphone and catch wildlife in their natural habitat. Whitetail deer, shown here, are common where I live in Michigan. Recently, the weather has been very hot and humid, so I haven’t been able to make it outdoors to capture more photos. I hope to share more nature photography in future posts.

I have also included a short Youtube video of the same Whitetail deer. Please scroll down to the end of this post to watch the video. Feel free to subscribe to my Youtube channel by clicking the link in the menu on the right.

Photos by Kathleen Quandt

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DIY Braided Sock Dog Toy

Photo by Kathleen Quandt

In an earlier blog post (July 12, 2020), I showed three simple ways to make dog toys out of old socks. The braided sock dog toy, shown above, takes only a few more steps to make. This toy is still uses old socks and is very easy to make.

One thing to keep in mind while making the braided sock dog toy is to use longer socks. You will need several extra inches to braid and tie the socks.


You Will Need:

  • 2 old socks
  • sharp scissors


Instructions:

  1. Begin by cutting the socks open so they lay flat.

2. Cut each sock into three strips, about 2 or 3 inches wide. You will need a total of 6 strips.

3. Gather all 6 strips and tie them together in a tight knot.

4. Pair 2 strips together each to make the 3 pieces needed to make a braid.

5. Begin to braid the sock strips. Pull the strips to tighten the braid as you go.


6. Braid several inches if the sock strips, making sure to leave enough length at the end to tie another knot.


7. Trim the strips to make both sides even. You’re done!


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DIY Pom Pom Cat Toys

Photo by Kathleen Quandt

These pom poms made of yarn may have many uses when it comes to making crafts, but they also make great cat toys. They are simple to make using yarn and a few household items. I have included three ways to make pom poms, each makes a different size.

There are just a couple of things to keep in mind while making your pom poms. First, when tying the pom poms with a separate piece of yarn, be sure to tie very tightly. This is what holds the pom pom together. Second, make sure you hold the pom pom securely in your hand or on a flat surface while cutting the pom pom. This is so pieces of yarn don’t fall out before your’re finished. Third, the more yarn you wrap, the bigger and fuller the pom pom.

What you need (for all three pom poms):

  • yarn
  • fork
  • cardboard
  • jar or can (for tracing)
  • quarter (for tracing)
  • scissors
  • two empty toilet paper rolls or one empty paper towel roll


Small Fork Pom Poms

What you need:

  • yarn
  • fork
  • scissors

Instructions:

  1. Start by wrapping yarn around the fork until the yarn is about an inch thick.
  2. Cut a separate piece of yarn about 12 inches long.
  3. Wrap the piece of yarn around the yarn on the fork through the middle tines. Tie the yarn very tight.
  4. Slide the yarn off the fork and tie the separate piece of yarn tightly again.
  5. Slide the scissors through the loops of the yarn and begin to cut them until they are all cut.
  6. Fluff the pom pom and trim any stray pieces.

Cardboard Circle Pom Poms

What you need:

  • yarn
  • cardboard
  • jar or can (for tracing)
  • quarter (for tracing)
  • pen or pencil
  • scissors

Instructions:

  1. First, trace a jar or can on the cardboard twice.
  2. Then, trace a quarter in the middle of each circle. (shown above)
  3. Cut out both circles with a small space in each one to make the letter “C”.
  4. Put both circles together to make one circle.
  5. Wrap the yarn around the circle until you have reached desired thickness (about 1 inch).
  6. Slide the scissors between the two circles to cut the yarn. Make sure to hold the yarn in place while cutting.
  7. Cut a separate piece of yarn, about 12 inches long.
  8. Place the piece of yarn between the two circles, wrapping the pom pom, and tie tightly. Repeat (optional).
  9. Remove the two cardboard circles.
  10. Fluff and trim the pom pom.

Large Cardboard Roll Pom Poms

What you need:

  • yarn
  • two empty toilet paper rolls or one empty paper towel roll (cut in half)
  • scissors


Instructions:

  1. Begin by wrapping the yarn around both cardboard rolls until you have reached desired thickness.
  2. Cut a separate piece of yarn, about 12 inches long.
  3. Slide the piece of yarn between the two cardboard rolls and tie tightly. Repeat (optional).
  4. Slide the yarn off of the cardboard rolls and tie the yarn tightly again.
  5. Cut the loops of yarn until all of the loops are cut.
  6. Fluff and trim the pom pom.

These pom poms are instant fun for you feline friend! Kitty (a.k.a Ginger, shown above) is curious about her new toys!

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