In the Martin & Sylvia: Saturdays! story “Pet Portraits”, when Sylvia looks at the “family wall” of portraits she realizes that there are two family members missing: Billbill, their old dog, and Pickles, their cat. To fix this omission, Daddy suggests that they make portraits of their pets, a project the children undertake with enthusiasm and creativity.
Sylvia isn't the only person thinking of her pets at this time of year. We love the critters who share our home, and Christmas wouldn't be complete without a little something for each of them under the tree.
Our dog, Maggie, loves a good game of fetch or tug, so this octopus-shaped dog toy will be just perfect for her. I love how inexpensive it is—all you need is tennis ball and an old shirt—and its no-sew, which makes it a great project for kids to do themselves. Make up one (or even a few) for all the well-loved pups on your Christmas list.
Octopus Dog Toy
Old t-shirt Tennis ball Scissors
Lay the t-shirt out on a flat surface in front of you. Starting at the armpits of the shirt, cut 3 tubes of fabric—one about 2 inches wide, and the others about 6 inches wide. Discard the top of the shirt or save it for another use. Cut through each fabric tube at one end to make 3 long, flat strips of fabric.
Lay the 2 wider fabric strips out to make an “X”. Put the tennis ball in the center, and wrap the fabric around the ball.
Now you should have something that looks vaguely like an octopus with four floppy tentacles. Cut one of the tentacles into 3 strips and braid them together.
If you have a helper for this, it can be good to have a second person hold the tennis ball while you braid. If you're crafting solo, tuck the tennis ball up between your chin and chest to give yourself some resistance to pull against for a neat, tight braid.
When you're finished braiding, knot the end and repeat with the remaining tentacles.
Trim up any loose ends, and pop your new toy into your favorite dog's stocking.
If you liked this tutorial, here are others you might enjoy:
- Peanut Butter Yogurt Drops for Dogs
- Pumpkin Maple Bacon Dog Treats
- Martin & Sylvia's: Saturdays! Printable Project Page: Pet Portaits
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred-year-old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two preschoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion — showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun — in her Sparkle Kitchen posts.