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DIY Mother’s Day Card

Today we’re going to show you how we made Mother’s Day count, and how you can too, with an irresistibly adorable homemade pup-themed card!

Incidentally, this guide can be used for making similar homemade cards for any occasion, so even if you read this after Mother’s Day we hope you will take the opportunity to really make a loved one’s day, showing them how much you care by taking the time to craft a unique card such as this.

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What you will need:
  • Scissors (small)
  • Durable paper (we used recycled paper shopping bag material, but feel free to use colored construction paper or anything else you like)
  • Tissue paper (again, we used recycled tissue paper to a neat effect; you can do what we did or just use standard tissue paper/ other soft paper of your choosing)
  • Scotch tape
  • Exacto blade
  • Pencil
  • Cutting surface (matte board recommended; we used a piece of durable ply cardboard from a shipping box in this demo ONLY because a matte board was not handy)
Optional materials:
  • Ironing board
  • Iron
  • “Card bling” (rhinestones, pieces of nature, glittery stuff, etc. – if this is your thing, go nuts!)
  • Glue (for your card bling)

 Step 1: Prepare the Tissue Paper
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Crumpled tissue paper doesn’t need to be thrown away! It’s so pretty! Recycle it!

If you’re using fresh construction paper, go ahead and skip this step, BUT we would highly recommend hanging on to tissue paper in the future so you can do this. It is good for the environment and achieves a nice effect.

Get your ironing board out, plug your iron in, and turn it on to the lowest setting (this is important because of how delicate the tissue paper is).

Then, carefully lay your tissue paper piece out flat on the ironing board, making sure to avoid quick movements that may result in a tear.

Gently iron the tissue paper, making sure not to go too slowly as you want to achieve a uniform “bake” across the sheet of paper.

When you are done, you will have a relatively flat piece of tissue paper, with mild (pretty) wrinkles throughout it. The particular purple tissue paper we used also reacted to the heat by turning more pinkish, which you can see in the photo below. It is possible that the heat will also affect the color pigment of your tissue paper, in which case it is important to make sure the iron is applied uniformly across the whole sheet (to avoid color inconsistencies).

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Can you see the pink imprint of the iron?
Step 2: Cut the Card Body Paper

If you happen to use the type of paper we did, you’ll want to start by undoing the seams of the paper bag and laying it out flat, as below.

*Disclaimer: You will notice we did a lot of our cutting and folding right on the ironing board. A hard flat surface is recommended, so don’t be like us in this case!

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One really happy thing about using a recycled paper grocery bag is that there are already folds along the bag! It turns out that these folds make for pretty good ready-to-go card borders!

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We have the luxury in this case not to measure precisely, since we will not be using an envelope for the card (which would require us to fit the envelope’s dimensions). Deciding that the first three rectangular “sections” look like a pretty good size, we proceed to fold the paper over, achieving double thickness for a sturdy card stock (and in this case also hiding the designs on the reverse side of the original grocery bag!).

Once the paper is folded in half, we cut it so that we’re left with a double-thick piece that is roughly the size we want for our card, folded open. We say “roughly” because you will want to leave about an extra 1/4″ on each side to help smooth the edges.

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Our piece looks like this:

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Note that one side happens to have a crease through it that we would ideally want gone. If this happens in your case, you can try to flatten it out by hand, or use the iron again at a low setting. We also chose to make this side the exterior of the card, because it will be covered with tissue paper in the end and the crease will likely be covered, whereas the inside of the card will leave the paper exposed and we want that part as flat as possible.

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Then, with the “interior” side of the card facing up, cut about 1/4″ off of each of the three exposed edges (the folded edge will not be exposed; no need to cut it), on the top-most layer of paper only. This will leave the layer below it about 1/4″ longer. Then, fold the bottom layer over the top layer (including the folded edge just for a consistent look) so that you have a neat 1/4″ border resembling the below:

Cause giving Mom a paper cut is not cool!
‘Cause giving Mom a paper cut is not cool!

Next, carefully fold this sheet in half to create the card crease, starting at the edge and working your way back toward the crease, and being careful to apply plenty of pressure at the edges to ensure that your 1/4″ folds remain in place.

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Congratulations! Your card body is complete!

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Step 3: Prepare a Stencil

You may have any number of traceable nicknacks or ready-to-go stencils to use. For our card, we created a new dachshund stencil, by simply drawing it on a scrap piece of grocery bag paper, then using an exacto knife to cut the stencil out. If you decide to make your own like we did, make sure to measure your card ahead of time to ensure you make a stencil that is the perfect size to fit within the card how you want it to.

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Step 4: Set the Tissue Paper in Place

Place your card body open-face-up in the middle of an ironed sheet of tissue paper, as below:

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Then, carefully cut around the edges of only the right side of the card (leaving the left to add the stencil to), leaving a good inch or so around each of the top, bottom, and right edges:

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Then, fold the tissue paper over these three edges, and use very small pieces of scotch tape to pin them in place at the corners and near the seam (a little vertical “snip” of the tissue paper at the top and bottom near the seam will help you fold the top and bottom flaps over):

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Next, we’re going to fold the lefthand flap of tissue paper over the card body, pulling it as taut as possible.

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Decide where you want your stenciled image to appear, and lightly mark the center of the spot with a pencil.

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Step 5: Add Your Stenciled Image

Cutting the stencil into the tissue paper is the most delicate part of the card-making process, so take your time and go slowly when drawing on and cutting the soft paper.

First, with the left side of the tissue paper “open” as below, line up your stencil where you want it to go, making sure that it is aligned in the reverse direction of how you want it to appear on the front of the card (since you’ll be flipping it over to the right when you’re done cutting):

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Then, carefully trace your stencil onto the paper, holding the stencil as steady as possible, and taking care to draw very lightly so as not to damage the paper.

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Once you’ve traced your stencil image onto the tissue paper, lay it on top of your cutting board (matte board, thick cardboard, etc.), making sure the paper is as flat as possible. Then, use your exacto knife to slowly cut the image out. Take deep breaths and move slowly (image of cutting not shown here because we were too busy concentrating)!

When we were done, we were left with the below cute cut-out.

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Unfortunately, the dachshund image was a little too far to the right (which could have been avoided with more careful measuring)! We fixed this by folding the tissue paper towards the seam of the card body, to shift the dachshund image about a 1/4″ to the left, and create a neat little crease design element on the front of the card in the process.

Once satisfied with the placement of the cut-out on the face of the card, the next step is to trim the edges of the tissue paper, once again leaving an edge that you will fold over the edges of the card body and secure into place with bits of scotch tape, like we did with the other side before making the stencil.

You will want to ensure that the tissue paper fits relatively tightly onto the cover of the card body, to minimize any flaps and ensure your image is as clear as possible.

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Step 6: Complete Your Card!

Once your card is fastened and together, take some time to press it tightly in place along the seams and creases, adding some extra strength to fasten it and help bind the bits of tape, etc.

To help flatten the card, we found that ironing it lightly was very effective, and gave the added touch of pressing the stencil cutout more firmly on the card body, eliminating any “flap” of the tissue paper and tightening the design. Be very careful if using this method to be gentle when running the iron over the stencil, so as not to damage any of the delicate edges. Our card became a little more pink from this step, so again be mindful of whether the iron affects the color of your tissue paper.

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Now the only thing left to do is to add any additional “bling” you like, and most important of all: write a message on the inside telling Mom that you love her! We won’t tell you how to do these parts because that it all you!

We hope you enjoyed this DIY card-making lesson! If you have any questions about bits of the process we did not cover in detail, please leave a paw-ment below and we’ll be happy to answer!

Happy Mother’s Day! ❤

Now you can Follow, Like and Share the joy of Gilligan with friends on InstagramTwitterFacebook, WordPress, and YouTube. Thanks so much for stopping by today! 🙂

A Special Valentine’s Gift

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Ah, the birds and the bees are in the air again! (Well, technically it’s too cold in Boston for either of them at the moment, but you know what we mean… it’s a figure of speech, geez…)

This photo submitted for the February 15th Black and White Sunday Blog Hop, hosted by  Sugar the Golden Retriever and Dachshund Nola!

Our post continues below to show you a very special Valentine’s Day Card!

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Today we’re going to bring you our official review of the Kiss Me You Fool Valentine’s Day Card that Gilligan and his Papa got for his Mama for this special day of love.

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SONY DSCThis item was purchased from What's Up Dox, a weenderful online Dachshund shoppe that sells high quality doxie gear. 

We'll be continuing to bring you candid reviews throughout 2015 about the products we have received from them. What's Up Dox has provided us with a couple of extra items for free, in addition to some promotions for our site, in exchange for our honest reviews. 

This card is just one of the many that are available for a wide range of occasions in What’s Up Dox’s Note Cards Section.

This being a fairly simple product, our review will likewise be simple, and take you through just a couple of our thoughts.

The Appeal

In looking through the catalog of cards, this one was a must-have because of how much the Dachshund in the photo looks like our cuddly little buddy… I mean, it’s a male chocolate and tan dapple mini Dachshund. That’s a lot of specific things in common with our hero! 😉

Being the creative types around here, Gilligan and his Papa were also really big on (well, Gilligan was still small as usual, but er… right, figure of speech again…) the fact that there’s one short phrase inside the card, with plenty of room for personalization.

Suffice it to say that when your Valentine’s Day card features a Dachshund on the front, there are endless possibilities for things to write that will tickle your Valentine’s funny bone. Gilly and Papa really like the tone that this short phrase sets and how well it goes with the adorable photo.

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The Quality

The thin plastic jacket is a great touch that helped keep the card fresh and crisp for its “big day.”

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AND the back of the envelope features this really cute logo with a HOT DOG on it!

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There really isn’t much more to say except that in terms of quality, this card is everything you want it to be.

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Our Overall Rating:    ❤ ❤ ❤

Because today’s a special day, we’re taking a break from our usual rating system and just giving this card THREE BIG HEARTS!!!

Happy Valnetine’s Day! ❤

Now you can Follow, Like and Share the joy of Gilligan with friends on InstagramTwitterFacebook, WordPress, and YouTube. Thanks so much for stopping by today! 🙂

Plush Puppy: Gilly’s New Harness!

Hey everyone! If you’re anywhere in and around the Northeastern United States, you are probably spending your Mischief Monday causing mischief at the grocery store, crawling over other shoppers as you fight to stockpile goods for the upcoming blizzard.*

That said, without further ado today we’re going to bring you our official review of Gilligan’s new harness, the Plush Vest Air Mesh Harness by Curli.

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SONY DSCThis item was purchased from What's Up Dox, a weenderful online Dachshund shoppe that sells high quality doxie gear. 

We'll be continuing to bring you candid reviews throughout 2015 about the products we have received from them. What's Up Dox has provided us with a couple of extra items for free, in addition to some promotions for our site, in exchange for our honest reviews. 
About Harnesses in General

If you aren’t familiar with the benefits of a harness vs. a collar when walking your dog, we highly recommend that you research and consider this option regardless of which harness you might choose. Gilligan’s anatomy as a miniature dachshund makes it imperative that we go this route because of his elongated body. Using a harness, the tugging pressure from the leash is more evenly distributed throughout his frame, as opposed to being an acute jolt at the point of the neck. This means less risk of harm to his body over time (which will be truer the smaller your dog is), but for Gilligan has the added effect of causing better response when walking; Gilly is more receptive to corrections and guidance with a harness on, and our guess is that this is because a harness provides an even force that is distributed around his own center of gravity, and so is better at influencing him.

About the Curli Plush Air Mesh Harness

To answer a question we got from our furiends from Tenacious Little Terrier, this harness is appropriate for ALL dog breeds, and comes in a range of sizes (you will need to measure the circumference of your dog’s chest to determine the size to order). What’s Up Dox markets this specifically as a dachshund harness because of its audience, but you may order one for a non-dachshund breed. What’s Up Dox offers a good price on this item relative to other online shoppes you might buy it from as well, and their customer service has been great in our experience.
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Specifications and Why They’re Special
  • DogFinder ID and Service: So, this is one feature that we have not actually made any use of yet, but each vest has its own DogFinder ID tag, which is tied to a DogFinder Service that will help you find your buddy if he or she goes missing. This is a worldwide service with a number of options available to you online. Honestly with Gilligan already having a locator chip, this is likely something we won’t need or use, but knowing it is there is pretty nifty, and speaks to the high level of quality of this product.
  • Reflective Elements: There are a couple of reflective strips that line the chest area to help with visibility. This feature is fashionable, but we’ll want to purchase an element with an actual light on it before we feel comfortable going out for night walks; depending on the lighting situation where you are, you may or may not decide that reflective elements are enough of a safeguard for when you choose to walk at night.
  • Comfortable Material: The air mesh design means that the fabric is more breathable, and we’ve found it to be extremely easy to clean when it gets dirty. The material is light, and the fabulous vest-style design means that pressure is distributed across a larger surface area of contact on your dog’s body. In our opinion this is outright superior to other harnesses we have used that feature a “lattice” structure with prominent straps that loop around the dog’s front legs.
  • Adjustable, Step-In Design: Last but certainly not least, the mechanics of how the harness is strapped on are very intuitive, and probably what we like best about it. There are no buckles, no straps, and no real elements that are at much risk of moving around or coming loose once the harness is on, which is something we’ve struggled with using our previous harness. Here are the steps:
1. Step into the paw holes.
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Gilly sometimes has a tendency to try to stand up like a person during this step, which is odd and hilarious when it happens.
2. Fasten the velcro strap above the shoulders.

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Of course, the velcro is nice and strong with this being a new harness, but even if it starts to wear over time, the next step ensures this is not an issue. The adjustability means that you can easily fit the harness over a pet sweater or other clothing, which has been great this winter (see photo of Gilly in his winter sweater and harness towards the end of this post).

3. Buckle the clasp.

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The buckle snaps securely into place and is very sturdy. In order to unbuckle, you simply press the button and the buckle comes off. There is a rubber flap that covers the button during use, AND your leash hooks onto two loops right above this, so there is really no danger of the buckle accidentally being clicked open while you’re out for a walk.

4. Hook your leash.

The leash hooks into two metal loops flanking the buckle. It is important to ensure that you properly hook your leash through both of these loops, or else there may be danger of uneven pressure when walking. The only trouble we have faced with this harness thus far has been one incident where the leash hook was not properly secured to the loops. For this, we would also recommend looking into sturdier hooks on the leash’s end, with less danger of the leash itself unclasping. On the end of the Plush Harness, the two metal loops are each made of one solid, continuous piece of metal that is of superb quality, so there’s no risk of the hook deteriorating or causing damage to the fabric (something we have encountered with other harnesses and is a serious danger).

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“Gosh this thing is comfy… and I look so spiffy in it, too… 🙂 “

…and that’s it! You’re ready for action!

Our Overall Rating:WeenPawWeenPawWeenPawWeenPawWeenPaw

This is a “five paw” item for Gilligan. He looks terrific in his red harness (by the way there are many colors available), he walks extremely well in it and with clear comfort, and even the features that we don’t use speak to the depth of the harness’s quality. We absolutely recommend the Plush Vest Air Mesh Harness by Curli if you’re looking for a fantastic all-around harness for your everyday use. It has become ours.

We’ll leave you with a few “vogue” photos of Gilligan looking pawsitively dachshund dashing in his harness.

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*We all know that news media can have the tendency to overhype storms like this, but it is still noteworthy that weather forecasts are predicting 30 inches of snow, and up to 28 straight hours of snowfall here in the Boston area starting tonight. Oh my! If you’ve seen our recent posts about the observations we have made about how strangely snowless this winter has been thus far, you might conclude that (ruh-roh!)… we kinda jinxed it. :/

SONY DSCNow you can Follow, Like and Share the joy of Gilligan with friends on InstagramTwitterFacebook, WordPress, and YouTube. Thanks so much for stopping by today! 🙂

 

 

Bloghop

This is a Blog Hop, and our first participation in the Monday Mischief Pet Blog Hop, hosted by Alfie and My Brown Newfies!  Click on the above badge to be taken to official site!

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Tasty Touchdowns!

It’s another Tasty Tuesday, and we’re going to be taking the opportunity to tell you about one of Gilligan’s tastiest new toys: his plush football! And we’ll show you his matching dachshund-themed football shirt!

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These are just a couple of items Gilligan has gotten from What's Up Dox, a weenderful online Dachshund shoppe that sells high quality doxie gear. 


We'll be sharing some official reviews of these products throughout 2015, so stay tuned!*

 Plush Squeaky Football Toy

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At this point it’s no secret that Gilligan is finicky when it comes to playing catch. That said, he is a rather big fan of this plush squeaky toy. When Papa winds up for that perfect spiral, he is ready to go wide out (or at least chase after it). It seems that the fresh squeak makes a huge difference for Weens, so we’ll see how long it takes him to wear out the squeak, and whether that impacts his interest level at that point. For now, it is squeaky, durable, and the perfect size for Gilligan to play a little “rug rugby” with!

Go Long Tank Style Dog T-Shirt

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Copyright © What’s Up Dox Dachshund Shoppe, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

This T-Shirt features original, screen-printed artwork by What’s Up Dox. We don’t have to tell you how adorable Gilligan looks in this shirt. As you can see in the above photos, it fits him quite well. The material is durable and high-quality, as is the ink used in the screen print.

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” ‘Hike,’ you say? Sure, I love hikes! Where are we hiking to?”

The shirt mixed with the football squeaky toy is a winning combination somewhere on the level of Tom Brady plus Rob Gronkowski (for those of you New England Patriots fans out there). 😉

*The author was not compensated financially in exchange for the contents of this review. WhatsUpDox.com provided some free products and publication for Gilligan in exchange for our honest review of their products.

As we gear up for the Super Bowl, Gilligan is proud to enter the below modified photo in the Lucy Pet Foundation’s contest to enter the Lucy Bowl, giving him the chance to appear in a commercial that will air during The Kitten Bowl on the Hallmark Channel, sporting his new football fan gear! Check it out below!

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Now you can Follow, Like and Share the joy of Gilligan with friends on InstagramTwitterFacebook, WordPress, and YouTube. Thanks so much for stopping by today! 🙂

This is a Blog Hop! Special thanks as always to Kol’s Notes and Sugar the Golden Retriever for hosting Tasty Tuesday!

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