It all started with the green polka-dot minky fleece....it was just begging to be a cactus softie toy when I spied it during a fabric sale at our local craft store. I bought it months and months ago. Into the stash it went, patiently waiting for Cinco de Mayo. Softie dog toys follow the same basic principles as you would use if sewing (or buying) for a small child - no loose parts to nibble free and everything securely stitched into a sturdy toy. To make your own:
- Cut two identical cactus shapes (i.e. each the full size for your finished your toy plus seam allowances). If you are trying to max-out a remnant, try folding the fabric in half and making one long cactus along the fold (as shown below) and using the extras for a second toy. Cacti are easy to freehand, but if you aren't comfortable free-handing, draw it first on paper to make your own template or download a free template.
- Position the cacti pieces together print/pattern side in (if you fabric has a front/back like my minky) to prepare for sewing. Pinning is optional.
- Sew together, stopping with a large enough gap to reverse and add fill.
- Reverse through the gap so that the seams are inside and your fabric is right-side-out (if you fabric has a front/back like my minky).
- Stuff and (optional) add squeakers. Amazon sells squeakers if you can't find any in your local shops.
- Sew the toy closed, trim any threads if/as needed, and enjoy!
Remember, toys are for supervised interactive play. Know your dog before giving him or her any new toy. Some dogs would rather eat their toys (whether store bought or handmade), and that's dangerous. Toys are for playing and playtime is safer (and more fun!) with you involved. You can read more about dog toy safety here.
The fringed bandanas are made with a remnant of (currently trendy) tapestry-style material. To make your own:
- With attention to the pattern and weave of your material, cut a triangle (half a square on a diagonal / right isosceles triangle), such that the long edge is big enough to fit loosely around you pet's neck plus extra to tie a small knot. If you aren't comfortable with guesstimating the size, you can use a collar as a gauge or loosely measure your pet's neck.
- Sew the top edge using an overlock-style (shown) or finished seam of your choice.
- Sew a small equal portion along the top edge on each side using an overlock-style (shown) or finished seam of your choice to create a finished section of bandana large enough for knotting.
- Sew an unfinished seam, curving in slightly from the stopping point of your finished edge above to create a seam allowance, then continuing straight along the side, inside the point, and up the other side before curving out to meet your opposite finished edge. This seam allowance will be the fringe of your bandana. With the exception of the meeting points to your finished seam, try to make sure that you leave a nice even allowance around the edge for fringing.
- Incrementally unravel the seam allowance, creating a fringe. It is handy to have a small container for gathering your loose threads at this stage. Be patient - this may take a while.
- Trim to even up any irregular threads along the fringe.
I didn't make any special Cinco de Mayo dog treats this year as our freezer is already brimming with goodies; however, this quick adaptation that can be used with any ball treat: simply dip in a combo of melted carob and peanut butter (roughly 50-50) then sprinkle with toppings for a perfect party pup pop. I used finely chopped nuts for these pops, but coconut with food colouring also works well if you want a quick and colourful alternative. Small treats and quantities are best, as this is an indulgent party treat. See all of our treat recipes and ideas.