Monday, September 24, 2012

The Two-Hour & $20 Dog Bed

2-Hour & $20 Dog Bed Tutorial

You’re going to think I’m a bad dog parent when I say this, but we adopted Zeke in May and last night was the first night he slept in his own bed…

The thing is, when we first got Pepper, we bought her this amazing luxurious dog bed that cost somewhere just shy of “insanely expensive” and right around “Are you kidding me? The sheets on my bed cost less than that!”  We took it home; she slept in it for maybe 3 nights before shredding it one morning before we got up.

So after that incident, we never bought her another bed and poor Zeke has just been sleeping on the floor since we brought him home.  I don’t think he minds it, but I know his hips bother him in the morning so when I saw this super cute fabric on sale at JoAnn’s I figured it was time to make one.

Dog Bed Fabric

This project was so simple; I was able to take it from start to finish in less than two hours.

First things first, you’re going to need some supplies:

2-Hour $20 Dog Bed Supplies

  • 3 yards of fabric*
  • Matching thread
  • A zipper or some kind of closure (snaps, Velcro, buttons, etc.)
  • Rotary cutter and cutting mat or scissors
  • Padding to go inside the bed.  I was able to reuse some memory foam padding we were no longer using on our bed
  • The usual sewing crap - pins, needles, tape measure n'at
*A note on fabric – Zeke is a big dog and I wanted to give him space to spread out.  If you’ve got a teacup Yorkie, you aren’t going to need three yards of fabric unless you’re making 15 beds, so adjust accordingly.

**A note on 98% of the pictures in this tutorial – they were taken in my basement, under a fluorescent light, mostly late at night, so sorry they are so yellow.

***A note on all the notes – I promise I won’t make this a habit.

The first thing you want to do is measure your padding.

dog bed foam measurement

dog bed foam measurement
My padding is roughly 39”x39” and 2.5” thick.  Add an inch to each measurement and now you’ve got the length, width and height for your fabric.

Cut two 40”x40” pieces of fabric.  These two will be the top and bottom of the bed.

rotary cutter cutting dog bed fabric

Then cut four 3.5” x 40” pieces of fabric.  These four pieces will make up the sides.

Lay out one of the 40”x40” pieces right side up and pin one of the side pieces to the top, right sides together.  

dog bed top and side pinned together

 Sew the up the length (long side) of the fabric with a ½” – ¾” seam allowance.

If you have a serger or if you’re a perfectionist, finish the edges, but to be totally honest, I didn’t.  I don’t have a serger and a zigzag stitch takes way too freaking long.  Zeke told me he didn’t care if his new bed had raw edges on the inside.  I may come to regret listening to him the first time I wash this bad boy though. 

Pin and sew the remaining three sides to the top of the bed.  Again, serge or finish the raw edges with a zigzag stitch but don’t feel like you have to.  

remaining top and 3 sides of dog bed pinned

Now it’s time to sew the four sides together to create corners.  Working one corner at a time, pin each side to the one next to it, making sure to keep right sides together.  It will feel and look a little awkward, but I promise everything will turn out ok.

Close Up of side pinning

pinned sides close up

This is what your bed will look like when you finish sewing one corner - 

Close up of completed dog bed corner

Once you’ve sewn up all three corners, it’s time to attach the bottom of the bed.  Flip the bed inside out again (I know you turned it right side out to admire your corners); and start pinning the bottom of the bed to the raw edges. 

dog bed pinned bottom to sides

If you measured and cut everything perfectly, the bottom square should line up in each corner without any problems.  If you made a couple of wonky cuts, no worries, you’ll just need to do some creative folding while you pin.

creative sides pinning

Sew up three of the four sides just like you did for the top.  At this point, I flipped everything right side out and did a test run with the padding inside to make sure everything still fit and my seam allowances weren’t too big. 

This is what happened the second I put it on the floor.

Zeke and Pepper playing on unfished dog bed
Notice how Pepper is complete chaos and Zeke is an angel
Wrestle your dogs off the unfinished bed, remove the padding and flip it inside out.

Now it’s time to close up this thing so your poor pooch can get some rest!  I used a 22” zipper to close it up, but buttons, snaps or even Velcro could all work here.  No matter what, you’re going to want some way to remove the cover from the padding so you can wash it. 

Alright, grab your calculator and tape measure and measure your zipper end to end. 

Zipper measurement, calculator
Let's call that 23" because I am no good with fractions.

Subtract the length of your zipper from the total length of the bed.  In my case, 39” minus 23” is 16”.  Divide that number by two so you can center your zipper.  In my case, the zipper needed be 8” from either end. 

zipper to ends measurement

Place a pin or two going the opposite direction of all your other pins or make a mark at the spot where you want the zipper to begin and do the same on the other side where you want the zipper to end.

At this point, I laid out my zipper just to double check my measurements.

zipper placement on dog bed
Looks good!  Let's sew!
Sew a basting stitch in the area you have laid out for your zipper.  Do not sew the entire length of the bed or you will regret it when you realize your zipper is closed and you have no way of turning the bed right side out.  This may or may not have happened to me.  Twice.

Once you’ve sewn your basting stitch, iron out the seams so you have somewhere to put your zipper.

ironed seams ready for zipper placement

Place your zipper face down on the seam.  Do your best to center it along the seam.  When your zipper is sewn in, you’re going to rip out the basting stitch and your zipper will be in its place.

Use a glue stick or pins to secure your zipper and all that’s left now is to sew in your zipper.  Don’t be intimidated; and remind yourself that you can always rip out your stitches and start again.  I used this tutorial to guide me when I got stuck.  

Which was a lot.  

Which is why there are no pictures of this part of the process.

When your zipper is in, go ahead and flip the bed right side out and use your seam ripper to rip out the basting stitch.

Now pat yourself on the back because putting in zippers sucks, but you stuck with it and totally kicked that zippers ass.

Flip the bed inside out one last time and sew up the remaining two open edges.  Make sure to leave the zipper open a little so you can easily turn it right side out when you’re done.

Put whatever padding you have inside the bed, zip it shut and you’re done!

2-Hour & $20 Dog Bed

2-Hour & $20 Dog Bed - Zeke on bed, landscaping stones
Let's imagine that garden cart full of "landscaping stones" is some kind of clever art piece instead.
2-Hour & $20 Dog Bed Zeke and bed on grass

I’ll admit, this was a little more time intensive than just hopping in the car and buying one at the pet store, but seeing him lounging on it was totally worth it!

Cost breakdown for this project:
Fabric - $5/yard + 20% off coupon
Zipper - $3
Thread - $2
Padding – FREE, upcycled from our bed
Total Cost:  $20 and change

Dude's niece saw it from the street while Zeke was having his photo shoot and she said it looked like something you could buy in the store.  And that's why she's awesome! 

Background Noise for this Project:  Water for Elephants  Love me some Christoph Waltz!

Monday, September 17, 2012

What Did You Do This Weekend?

I'm taking a crafty break today mostly because I haven't finished a single project since the last time I wrote!  I know, bad blogger!  I've got three kick ass projects in the works right now, 2 dog-related and one clothing so pretty please come back and check at least one of them out on Friday.

Anyways, so what have I been doing while I'm not being crafty?
Taking a road trip to Red Lion with Dude and Zeke (Pepper got to stay at home with Aunt Kerry)
zeke, pillow, car ride

Taking pictures with old-timey high school-era cameras that actually take film
Loading Film into a Camera

Picture of a Picture

Seeing all sorts of cool stuff out the car window like unicyclers

And bicyclists wearing short shorts
Biker with Short Shorts

Hanging out at the Whoopie Pie Festival in Lancaster and buying THIRTY NINE whoopie pies
Whoopie Tent
Whoopie Pie Threesome

39 Whoopie Pies

Giving my Dad the greatest 65th birthday cake of all time
Cake reads - It's Your Birthday Who Gives a Crap
Cake by Crystal's Custom Cakes

Eating a crab cake the size of my face
Big ass Crab Cake

Spending lots of quality time with my family
Me and My Dad
Dude & Alyssa & Zeke
My fam

My niece is going to Homecoming this year WITH A BOY and I am struggling to deal with the fact that a) my first Homecoming was thirteen years ago and b) my sweet baby niece that I swear I was just playing Barbies with is somehow in high school and has a boyfriend!!  I'm old.  So very, very old.  I am only comforted by the fact that Dude is still older than me.  

And on that note, I will leave you with this charming photo
dude, whoopie pie, black teeth

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How to Refill Plug-In Air Fresheners (& Save Like $50 a Year)

How to Refill Plug-In Air Fresheners
Hold onto your hats, ladies!  What I'm about to tell you is going to BLOW. YOUR. MIND. 

You know those plug-in air fresheners that pretty much everyone has at their house?  You know, the ones you can typically get the initial unit and one plug in for free with a coupon, but the refills cost a ridiculous amount of money so you just end up throwing the whole darn thing in the trash?  The things your Dad wouldn't let you have when you still lived at home because they were a fire hazard and sure to burn the entire house down in a Hawaiian Breeze-scented inferno? 

That last one may have just been my Dad. 


I'm going to say it again for emphasis.


This came about after I saw a tutorial on Pinterest on how to refill the Wallflowers you get from Bath & Body Works.  I mostly just ignored them because I don't own any Wallflowers.  I do, however, have a crazy supply of Febreze plug in air fresheners.  The one I have upstairs was empty, so out of pure curiosity, I figured I'd try to refill it. 

Believe me when I tell you that this is literally the easiest project I've ever done.  There are only 5 steps from start to finish, and that includes a step for gathering your supplies and a step for plugging it back into the wall.

Alright let's do it.  Gather your supplies:

How to Refill Plug-In Air Fresheners - supplies
For this project, you'll need:
  • A plug in air freshener and an empty scent jar
  • Essential oils or scented oils.  I don't have a picture, but I know they sell giant bottles of scented oil in the candle section at Wal-Mart/Target.  I think it's meant to go in a reed diffuser.
  • Fingernails or a butter knife
Step 1:  First, remove the scent jar from the air freshener base. 

How to Refill Plug-In Air Fresheners - base and scent jar

Step 2:  Now, you'll need to remove the wick from the container part. 

How to Refill Plug-In Air Fresheners - remove wick location

To do that, I just put my fingernail under the edge, but if you don't have nails or just got a manicure, use a butter knife.
How to Refill Plug-In Air Fresheners - remove wick fingernail

Step 3:  When the jar is open, pour your oil into it.  Use a funnel if you need to or live on the wild side and just pour it straight in.

How to Refill Plug-In Air Fresheners - fill with oil

I only filled mine a little bit in case this whole thing didn't work out and my house really did catch on fire like my Dad said it would.  But after having this thing plugged in all weekend, I can tell you it's perfectly safe.*

Step 4:  Once you've got it refilled to your liking, put the wicks back in - they just snap into place.

How to Refill Plug-In Air Fresheners - wicks back in place

Step 5:  Plug the scent jar back into the base and you're done!  That's it, I told you!  5 steps! 

How to Refill Plug-In Air Fresheners - air freshener plugged in

*I take no responsibility if you do this and your house goes up in flames.  These air fresheners are unpredictable.  You should have listened to my Dad and not bought one in the first place.

Background Noise for This Project:  Cher Lloyd Pandora Station

Friday, September 7, 2012

Skinny Coconut Banana Bread

Skinny Coconut Banana Bread slices with title

Story of my life here:  I went to the grocery store last Sunday with great plans to drink a green smoothie every morning for breakfast.  So I bought a bunch of 5 bananas.  Friday rolls around and I haven't had one smoothie all week (there is something about running the blender at 6:15am that just doesn't sit well with me); and now the eternal question:  Do I save the bananas in the hopes of making banana bread sometime soon or do I bite the bullet and throw them out?

If you're with me in this and pondering what you should do with those dang bananas, save them and make this Skinny Coconut Banana Bread sometime soon!  If they aren't too far gone, you can throw them in the fridge and buy yourself a couple more days before they get super mushy and yucky.  I've also heard you can mash the bananas and then freeze them?  I'm not a fan of freezer bananas, so attempt at your own risk.

Anywho, when you're ready, grab your ingredients and let's get baking!

Skinny Coconut Banana Bread Ingredients

For this bread you'll need:
  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 Large ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons sweetened flaked coconut
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup of brown sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
  • ¼ cup fat free plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup light orange juice
First, things first - preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Once you've started your oven, combine all your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda).

Skinny Coconut Banana Bread Dry Ingredients

Then, grab your bananas and mash those suckers.  Mashing bananas is probably the only time I wish for a potato masher.

Skinny Coconut Banana Bread mashed bananas

Once the bananas are all mashed up, add in the brown sugar and vanilla.

Skinny Coconut Banana Bread sugar and bananas

Add in the egg whites and then mix it up.

Skinny Coconut Banana Bread add eggs

Now it's time to add in the oil.  I imagine you could substitute applesauce for the oil to make this recipe even skinnier; but I didn't try it because I am a fraidy-cat and not following recipes makes me nervous.

Skinny Coconut Banana Bread add oil

I can tell you with absolute certainty that my hands NEVER look like that when I'm baking by myself.  They were posing.  My hands are so vain!

Once the oil is in and mixed up, slowly add in the flour and mix until just combined.  It's ok if it's a little lumpy.

Skinny Coconut Banana Bread add flour

My batter looked like this when I was done mixing in the flour:

Skinny Coconut Banana Bread - batter

Next up is the Greek yogurt and OJ.

Skinny Coconut Banana Bread - OJ and yogurt

The recipe says if you like dense bread to omit the milk.  I added one tablespoon of coconut milk; and if I make this again, I will add the second tablespoon.  This bread comes out VERY dense.  As in, you could probably use it as a blanket dense.

Skinny Coconut Banana Bread coconut milk

Now all that's left is the coconut.  Measure out a half a cup of coconut and then fold it into the batter.  If you like nuts, you could add those in at this point too.

Skinny Coconut Banana Bread - coconut

It's go time!  Pour the batter into a 9x5 loaf pan and top it with coconut.  The recipe says two tablespoons, but no one's counting.

Skinny Coconut Banana Bread - batter in pan with coconut topping

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.   

Skinny Coconut Banana Bread - baked loaf

Do yourself a favor, while this bread is still warm, cut yourself a piece and put a little spray butter on it.  It's fantastic.  And at roughly 100 calories per slice, it's pretty much guilt free.  Dude, it's got bananas in it, that means it can't be bad for you, right?

Skinny Coconut Banana Bread - cut slices on plate

Now, word of warning, do NOT leave this bread unattended on the counter while it's cooling.  If you do happen to run downstairs for 15 seconds to get a roll of paper towels from the laundry room, you may come back upstairs and find this -

Skinny Coconut Banana Bread - missing bites

And when you turn around you will see this guilty (defiant?) face -

Skinny Coconut Banana Bread - the bread thief

Background Noise for This Project:  Parks & Recreation, Season 3:  Episode 12:  Eagleton and 13: The Fight