Gifts to make

Thoughtful Gifts for Teachers or Any Dog Lover

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Gifts should be chosen or made with the recipient in mind. Personally, I would rather receive a small item the giver has put a lot of thought into over a more expensive one-size-fits-all generic gift.  I feel the same way about giving gifts. Teachers put a lot of thought into helping students grow and develop, so I like to put a lot of thought into a teacher gift.  I personally know quite a few teachers that are dog lovers as well, so this idea is perfect for them.

personalized dog bowl
Kurby’s new treat jar, bowl, and toy.

I confess, I made these for my own dogs, but they would definitely make great gifts for a teacher or a friend with a four-legged pal.  I started with treat jar I found at Home Goods for $5.99.  I found the stainless steel bowl at my local grocery store, and honestly, it isn’t a very sturdy bowl.  You can find a heavier one at Amazon. I used Cricut vinyl I already had in my stash.  Amazon does have good deals on Cricut vinyl. I did notice Michaels has started carrying individual 12 x 12 sheets of Oracal vinyl, which would be great for this project.  I have not tried the sheets Michaels sells, but I did order some off Amazon once to use for a car window decal. I used Oracal 651 and that decal has been going strong in the bright California sun for two years. I picked up some polar fleece on sale 50% at Joann.  I got a half yard of each for a total of $5.00.  By the way, if you are a teacher, Joann offers a 15% discount when you sign up for their Teacher Rewards program.

Cricut vinyl and other supplies
Supplies needed to complete the project.

I had the bone image in Design Space on a cartridge I had for my first Cricut 10 years ago, and I purchased the paw prints in Design Space.

A word of caution about using fonts already on your computer to cut your vinyl.  Bradley Hand is one of my favorite fonts to use on the computer.  When I cut out Kurby with that font the letters all had jagged edges.

Bradly Hand font used to cut this name.

I wasn’t happy with this and chose to use another font.  The glitch with the font was a minor set back.

A Gift for the Dog

The polar fleece chew toy proved to be much more challenging. When I adopted Kurby from a rescue group, they gave me a little swag bag that included one of these fleece chew toys. Kurby loved that toy.  Our other dog, Jasmine promptly ripped it to shreds.  Poor Kurby carried the remains of that toy around for days.  I decided it was time to make another one for him.

The one we were given was simply braided.  As is the one in the first picture of this post.  After snapping the picture, I gave the toy to Kurby.  He happily ran off with it and returned with its tattered remains five minutes later.  That’s when I turned to Pinterest to find out the secret to making these fleece toys.

I was able to find a couple of tutorials on making a square knot, which is the secret to making these toys durable.  Now I usually do better with just written directions, as I have a hard time following directions that include pictures only.  This was a time when written directions and visuals were necessary! I read a few tutorials before finding one with the perfect blend of directions and pictures.

After several tries, I finally mastered it!  I started with four 60″ x 2″ strips of fleece.  I knotted them together at one end, so it looked like a giant tassel.  I laid them out like a big plus sign with the purple strips going up and down and the green going left to right.  First, fold the top strip down and the bottom strip up.  Next, cross the right strip over and under the up and down strips.  Then cross the left side over and under the up and down strips.  Pull the strips tight into a knot.

The finished product is nice and tight and resistant to chewing.

The toy ended up being about 17″ long.  The perfect size for my little Beagle mix, Kurby.

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