I LOVE Awards, but this means MORE to me. Thanks for thinking of them!

The Animal Rescue Site

Sunday, January 29, 2017

DIY Five Dollar Savings Shadowbox

The following is my DIY version of another brilliant idea brought to us by members of Pinterest. It's a really easy and fun project.

A used shadowbox was purchased at my local Salvation Army. It was grimy and yucky and had some weird paper mache fish in it. I chose to discard the seafood and recovered the background cardboard insert with fiberglass window screen fabric which I taped to the cardboard.

I also had to cut a slot in the top of the frame so I could put my bills inside. I opted to use a wood chisel and an awl to do this. A little sanding was involved to smooth out the edges, and a quick spray of paint was all that was needed to finish.

You could customize the background with wrapping paper or a picture of an item you are specifically saving for or maybe postcards of a destination you want to travel to. I'm saving my five dollar bills "just because" so this neutral background is perfect for me now.

One of the Pinterest folks who has done this project for several years has some fun rules she implemented  in regards to this savings plan. I'm using her rules too because they ARE fun! Basically, if you get a five dollar bill in your change, that goes in the shadowbox bank, but you cannot ask for this change specifically. Just the luck of the draw.

I haven't decided exactly where I'll put this shadowbox bank in my home. It can either stand on its own or hang on the wall. Every time I add a bill, I change the amount on the front of the glass. I find a black sharpie marker and some glass cleaner does the trick. (The reflection in the lead photo makes the amount hard to see, but it reads $10 right now.) Not a lot yet, but I'm "following the rules". :)

Are you planning to make one or maybe you already have? Here's to a great year of savings for everyone!

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Easy to Crochet Wine Cork Catnip Toys

I made a similar version of these wine cork toys for cats a while back. The original article was published on a website which no longer exists, so I'm republishing the directions for this DIY cat toy along with several new photos.

These make up very quickly. I encourage you to make a bunch for your own kitties or as gifts, but PLEASE don't forget to donate to your local animal rescue group or shelter. Playing with toys can help them relax and may bring out a cat's personality which may in turn help them get adopted quicker. So, please get out your hooks and crochet away. :)

(And if you don't crochet......go to the end of this post for a link to my Etsy shop.) 

Wine Corks
Double Fold Bias Tape
Cotton Twine
Size 2 (3 mm) crochet hook

Terms  (U.S.)
CH = chain
SC = single crochet
DC = double crochet
SL ST = slip stitch
SK = skip

ROW 1:   CH 5.  Join with SL ST into top of beginning chain 5 to make a circle.

ROW 2:   CH 1.  DC 10x into center of ring.  SL ST into top of beginning DC in Row 2.

ROW 3:  CH 1.  DC in first DC, 2DC in next DC. Repeat all the way around. SL ST into top of beginning DC in Row 3.

ROW 4:  CH 1. DC in each stitch around. SL ST into top of beginning DC in Row 4.

ROW 5:  CH 2. DC in same stitch as beginning DC. Then CH 1. SK next DC, DC in next DC, CH 1, SK next DC…Repeat all the way around. SL ST into top of beginning DC in Row 5.

 ROWS 6, 7 and 8. Repeat Row 5.

Slip cork inside the crocheted casing. Piece should align with the top end of cork. Stretch a little if necessary.
ROW 9.  DC into each DC space of previous row. Repeat all the way around. SL ST into top of beginning DC in Row 9.

ROW 10:   SC every other DC space of previous row (in other words SK every other space). This will close the top end of the cork. Final stitch will be a SL ST placed in stitch of choice on top. Pull tightly to cinch together. Fasten off. Weave in loose ends.

To Make Catnip Ties: 

1. Cut a 7” length of double fold bias tape

2. Open tape to expose center and fill center middle.

3. As shown above, lightly fill catnip in center of tape. (I eyeball it and try to pour a line of catnip maybe two inches long.)

4. Enfold catnip in the bias tape. Lay wine cork on center part of tape.

5. Tie bias tape in a double knot to secure. 
Just wanted to add it is so much easier to crochet the casing and then slip the wine cork inside after ROW 8. I'm kind of embarrassed to say when I first started making these, I had a heck of a time crocheting AROUND the cork. haha (I must have completed probably five of these before I figured out how ridiculous that was). ooooops  :)

Lastly, if you like a variety of bias tape, you can make your own like I did. It's easy and affordable with these bias tape maker kits. I love mine!

And for those folks who don't crochet and may like a set of 3, I have some ready made and listed on Etsy too. Here's the link.
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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Busy Board - Here's to Homemade Gifts!

I wanted to share the busy board my husband made for our grandson's first birthday. After showing my husband several versions online, he set out to design a busy board that could be disassembled for transport to the mainland on the plane. (It was the only way we could figure out how to get this large and heavy gift shipped from Hawaii affordably; we took it with us.) 

From the airlines website, we found the maximum dimensions and weight allowed for check in cargo baggage. Then a trip to WalMart produced an "underbed storage" container that my husband thought would work well.

Basing the size of the busy board on the size of the container, my husband began to draw out a plan. He used plain pine wood to construct this busy board. Basically the body is comprised of two separate boards. Eric made simple "feet" to keep it sturdy and the body sits snugly in these. The boards are held together with two vertical slim wood pieces near the sides. Everything was sanded well, the wood edges were routed to keep it soft and he finished the wood with several coats of polycrylic (WATER based).

Eric picked up several different types of locking hardware, some light switches, etc. (The lights he wired up to batteries and siliconed them inside for safety. They can easily be taken apart by an adult for replacing when needed.)  He found several leftover hardware pieces in our junk drawer which also worked nicely.

He built it. And then disassembled it to pack up in the box for the ride on the plane. After we got to our son's house, it was time to put it back together......

Our grandson loved it! Eric was determined to make it safe. Behind both of the "doors" on the busy board he mounted the door stops VERTICALLY instead of protruding outwards as they normally do. These door stops still make the satisfying noises that little ones love.

Here's a closeup:

We were so happy with the way this turned out. Have you made a busy board yet? If DIY isn't your thing, you can always buy one online.

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