Fleece Coat for Skeeter

DIY

Fibernation post #2! As my Facebook friends and Instagram followers already saw, I made a custom-made coat for our dog, Skeeter. Skeeter, being ten years old and having relatively short hair, was in desperate need of a coat, especially considering last year’s winter temperatures trumped those of Alaska.


Although I could have easily bought a coat from Walmart or Petco, I decided to make one myself because:

  1. It was way cheaper.
  2. It’s fun to make stuff yourself.
  3. I could make exactly what we needed to supply for Skeeter’s needs.

In terms of material I bought your average variety of fleece. I decided on fleece for a few reasons:

1.It’s cheap.

2. It’s warm.

3. It’s easy to work with. If you are new to sewing I would definitely recommend fleece for your beginning projects. It runs through machines easily and you don’t have to worry about fraying.

I wish I could provide a pattern for this coat, however I cannot. This is because I was “winging it.”

All I did when making the shape of this coat was determined how long I wanted it to be and tapered the fabric accordingly for both his front and back legs. I did not want his movement to be impeded.


I used adhesive velcro on both the front and the belt to make them close, and while the adhesive seemed to be strong, I sewed over it just to be safe. Both straps with the adjustable fastening help keep the coat in place.

This project only took about an hour and provided me with a fun challenge. So if you are planning on sewing a coat for your canine friend, I hope that you find fun and success! I also hope that your dog loves his or her coat as much as Skeeter does!

 

How to Make a Wreath

DIY, Holiday

Nothing says “Happy Holidays” like a beautiful wreath hanging on your front door! But before you go out and spend what can be serious cash on a wreath or two why don’t you try making one instead? As I mentioned in my last post, I went to a wreath making workshop this past weekend at my local nature center with my mother and grandmother.

As it turns out, making wreaths is both easy and cheap!

Here is what you need if you want to try making one yourself:

  1. Floral wire
  2. Wire cutters
  3. A wire wreath frame (look for these at Walmart or your local dollar store)
  4. Pine branches (we used frasier fir, but any kind will do)
  5. Decorations (such as bells, ribbons, pine cones, etc.)

wreath decorations

Now that you have gathered your supplies, here is what you’re going to do:

  1. Cut your branches into 5” pieces.
  2. Make small bunches out of your branches (4 to 6 pieces per bunch).wreath bunches
  3. Attach your wire to your frame by wrapping it around the cross section. In other words, wrap the wire where a horizontal wire meets a vertical wire.
  4. Lay one of your bunches down and wrap it twice with wire. Pull the wire tight to ensure it is secure.wreath frame
  5. Place your next bunch so that it is slightly overlapping the first, covering the wire attaching the first bunch.
  6. Repeat this process until your bunches go all the way around the frame.
  7. Tie off your wire, wrapping it around the cross section like you did when you first attached it.
  8. Decorate!

wreath

I wrapped a thick ribbon around my wreath to give it a little flare but you can also go for a very natural look, attaching only dried flowers, pine cones and other natural elements.

Wreath-making = incredibly simple.

I was truly amazed and impressed when I saw a room full of beautiful wreaths from people who had never made one before!

I would encourage anyone to try this holiday craft. After all, who wouldn’t want a beautiful wreath hanging on their front door during the holiday season?

How to Find Your Christmas Spirit

Decorating, Festivity, Holiday

It’s officially the Christmas season! This means the stores are decked out in Santa Clauses, the radio is blasting Christmas carols and the food industry is swamped with mint and gingerbread.

But what if, try as you might, you just aren’t feeling the holidays?

Well then, I have a solution! Below are a list of suggestions; tactics on how to become excited for the most wonderful time of the year.

christmas spirit 1

  1. Decorate. Personally, nothing puts me in the holiday mood more than decorating the house. Christmas lights especially send out serious holiday-mood vibes. I am also a huge fan of nutcrackers and enjoy displaying my collection this time of year.nutcrackers
  2. Attend a holiday production. This year Andy and I will be attending a production of A Christmas Story in Syracuse, NY as his younger brother will be playing Flick in the play. Most communities put on holiday-themed productions and religious ceremonies so be sure to check out what’s going on in your city! (Check out the show schedule if you live in the Syracuse area and are interested in seeing A Christmas Story).
  3. Do a Christmas craft. Tomorrow I will  be going to a wreath-making workshop with my mother and grandmother at the local nature center (more on this later). Check your local papers and Facebook accounts to see what holiday-themed events are happening in your neighborhood! Or perhaps do what I did below and spend time assembling a classy center-piece.christmas placesetting
  4. Read. Whether it is a Christmas craft book or a holiday romance, I find that seasonal books can not only give you that warm,fuzzy feeling but also help you embrace the season. Recommendation: Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog
  5. Watch a Christmas movie. Gather your family and friends and indulge in a Christmas movie. Classics, such as A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and The Grinch are always a win but some of the modern titles such as Four Christmases, Elf and Fred Claus are both hilarious and delightful. Make some popcorn and enjoy a night in.

It is only the 4th of December, which means you have plenty of time to get in the spirit and have a fun holiday season. It truly is a magical time of year, so be sure to enjoy it while it lasts! (Just don’t go sneaking for presents like our naughty dog).

auggie and stocking

Feel free to comment below with other suggestions on how to create Christmas spirit!

(Photo credit for the last photo goes to Andrew Janitz)

The Trendiest Way to De-Stress

DIY, Wellness

As you may have noticed, the holidays are coming. This is fantastic because the holidays are full of family, fun, traditions, baked goods,etc. etc. However, they are also extremely stressful, especially today on Black Friday!

coloring fish

But don’t let my ranting work you into anxiety. And if I already have, rest assured that there is a cure! That’s right, a cure for stress and an extremely trendy one at that: COLORING!

I had heard about this coloring trend a few months ago and was eager to return to what I once loved as a child. It was not until recently that I was given a coloring book by Andy’s brother and sister-in-law and was surprised by how much I love it.

 

Here’s a few reasons why  you (whoever you are) should try coloring:

  1. It’s FUN! Enough said.
  2. It’s relaxing. Something about simply focusing on filling a space with color is cathartic and can be especially great for those of us who suffer from stress and anxiety. Filling in color and seeing a complete page can give a sense of accomplishment which is great at the end of the day when you are just lazing around watching TV.
  3. No experience necessary. Coloring is a great hobby because literally anyone can do it. You don’t have to be a great artist to enjoy it and make visually satisfying coloring pages.
  4. It’s cheap. As with anything else, there are a lot of different options and prices when it comes to buying coloring books. And even if you don’t want to invest in a book, you can simply print adult coloring pages off of the internet. Be sure to check out Pinterest for some great pages!
  5. It can be social. If coloring alone is fun, imagine coloring with friends! Invite your friends over for a night of coloring, wine and cheese.

coloring snow city.jpg

As an artist, part of me wants to hate coloring as your creativity is somewhat limited. But it simply is too much fun to hate. On top of that, for those of you who are artists, I find that when I am coloring I am often inspired and find myself thinking about possible new art pieces.

Another possibility I have thought of is using my completed coloring pages for art-materials. In other words, you can take your colored pages and turn them into art pieces or craft projects.

Here’s a few DIY ideas off the top of my head:

  1. Homemade cards
  2. Christmas/Gift tags
  3. Wrapping paper
  4. Book covers
  5. Book Marks

coloring fish

So, long story short, no matter who you are, you should give coloring a go. It’s fun, cheap and can undoubtedly help you get through the stressful holiday season.

Happy coloring!

coloring deer