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Category Archives: DIY

Puppy Brittle and Pumpkin Beer Biscuits

It was a long night, but the house smells great.

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Late in the afternoon yesterday, I came into possession of about 20 pounds of spent grains from a local homebrewer.

I had been hoping to get into this situation ever since I heard that you can make dog treats from the leftover mash from beer making.

The catch is, you have to use the soaked grain mash pretty quick or else it gets moldy.

While I haven’t yet used up all 20 pounds, I did whip up quite a few biscuits, bars and cookies for my pups (and pups of my friends and family) last night.

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These biscuits, which utilize an edible product that would have otherwise been thrown out or composted, are great treats for dogs who don’t have grain allergies.

I tried the basic formula for peanut butter spent grain biscuits that is all over the internet. I also experimented a little for pumpkin and bacon beer biscuits.

My results varied in shape, texture and dryness.

The key to beer biscuits is getting them super dry (and consequently super hard) so that they have a shelf life longer than a couple days. However, to get the biscuits that dry and mold-resistant, they need to be in the oven at least three hours.

I got one batch just about perfect by spreading the batter out thin on a cookie sheet and cutting it into squares before baking. It’s so crunchy I’ve dubbed it puppy brittle. The dogs loved it, and I even tried a little with my own breakfast. It tasted peanut buttery yet wholesome.

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Apparently, granola bars for people can be made almost the same way. I’m going to try this recipe from Flying on Jess Fuel.

Have you ever made people or pup treats from spent beer grains?

Don’t have access to spent grains? Try these recipes: easy baked peanut butter dog cookies and no-bake meat and veggie treatballs.

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What Are Beer Paws?

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I have been obsessed with the idea of bottle openers for dog collars for quite a while now.

I first encountered a dog with bottle opener bling on the set of the Pet Pops video.

The notion amused and impressed me so much that I eventually outfitted Luke with a bottle opener.

golden retriever with bottle opener

At your service!

Then, it occurred to me that creating a line of bottle openers intended to be used by dog lovers would be a great way to spread around this fun idea while also supporting my personal projects and raising funds for animal rescue.

Voila! Beer Paws were born.

Luke Beer Paw

I officially founded the company with the state of Missouri this week.

The first round of button style bottle openers were a hit at the Cinco de Mayo Chihuahua parade, and I’ve already had some out of state orders.

Beer Paws bottle opener

Shiny collar bling for your dog.

At 2.5 inches, this particular style is a little big for small dog’s collars.

But it works great at the end of a leash, or even attached to your own bag or keys.

Reilly and Willow look good with Beer Paws!

Reilly and Willow look good with Beer Paws!

Eventually, I see the Beer Paws brand encompassing a little bit more than just bottle openers. But for now, that’s where I’m starting.

The official Beer Paws website will soon go live. In the meantime, please Like the Beer Paws fan page on Facebook.

Place your orders via the Wayward Dogs shop on Storenvy.

If you’re in Kansas City, you can also buy Beer Paws directly from me or from the following purveyors:

Kennel Creek Pet Resort

GoodDog2Go

I’d love to hear what you all think of this idea. Please share your thoughts in the comments or send me an e-mail!

Reading Material as Home Decor

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Have you ever wondered what to do with a wine rack if you’re not storing wine in it?

Research related to my ongoing office transformation project revealed a clever solution that also helps me mitigate paper clutter.

Turn the empty wine rack into a magazine rack!

I have a hard time parting with magazines, especially ones that contain an article I’ve written, so I have amassed a rather large collection. Fortunately, they roll up nice and look pretty good tucked into the places where wine bottles could go.

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In case you’re wondering where my wine bottles do go, the answer is in our kitchen and dining room.

If you’ve been following this blog for long, you might recognize my wine rack as the base of last year’s seedling nursery.

While I opted not to start any seeds this year, I do have a few houseplant cuttings incorporated into the scene.

And because I love books, I’ve also turned them into part of the decor.

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Have you ever used a wine rack for something besides storing wine?

Come back tomorrow to learn why the main shelf of my wine rack looks a bit like a shrine to Charlie Machete.

The Beginning of a Spring Transformation

There’s a room in my house that the dogs are obsessed with.

creepy door

A ghost or a Charlie Machete wanted in.

Actually, I have long tried to keep them out of the room with a closed door that also helped me avoid thinking about the disorganized mess within.

Officially, the room is my office, but it has always been more of a repository for stuff I didn’t want to deal with. Like paperwork and mail I couldn’t decide if I should hold onto or toss and clothes I couldn’t cram into in my primary closet.

But last weekend, my friend Shelley came over with the sole purpose of helping me turn this cluttered room into a functional space that would bring me peace and inspiration – without spending any significant money.

Truth be told, I was a little scared and embarrassed that the room had gotten so out of control.

But Shelley has a way of bringing out the fun in life.

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“Trust me,” she said. “We can fix this.”

Our project isn’t finished yet, but thanks to our progress so far, I’m now as eager as the dogs are to spend time in that room.

Every morning this week, I have even invited them to join me there as I get ready for work.

It is the very best way to start my day.

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I think they just love carpet.

Do your pets supervise your morning routine?

DIY Duds for Your Dog

Even you can make your own dog clothes.

black lab mix standing

He has seen the DIY light.

Because I’m a sucker for upcycling and DIY, the rag bin at the recent Dogs on the Lawn event at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art caught my eye.

I had read in the event schedule that one of the activities involved making shirts for your dog, but I didn’t know exactly what that meant.

I was thinking blank doggy tees and magic markers.

But the art students leading this activity were far more crafty than that!

They clearly had figured out what we have all known for a long time:

Dog apparel is expensive in the same way as women’s swimwear and lingerie. You pay a premium price for very little fabric because it’s cute.

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$11 on clearance at Fab.com.

For the art students, a way around investing in a bunch of pre-made doggy shirts was to upcycle old fabric. Their rag bin consisted of various shapes, sizes and colors of well-worn and soft T-shirts.

Next to the bin were several patterns for cutting the cloth into no-sew, homemade doggy duds.

Because I didn’t have any of the wayward dogs with me and the event was winding down, I grabbed a yellow shirt sleeve that seemed big enough for an elderpin to squeeze into.

Then, I proceeded to the screen printing area.

Guests could choose one of several patterns and colors. There was a pretty cute outline of a dog with a heart design, but I chose something more representative of this particular day.

I picked a shuttlecock, a locally-understood symbol of the Nelson, which has a giant shuttlecock sculpture on the lawn.

A student helped me screen printed the piece of fabric for me and pinned it to a clothesline with everyone else’s so the ink could dry.

DIY dog clothes from old shirts

I was pleased with the result. But back at home, I realized quickly that even a stretched out T-shirt sleeve is a bit too snug for an elderpin.

Nevertheless, the project did not go to waste. It makes a very nice neck band for one Charlie “Chetty” Machete.

And the color suits him well, since he is undoubtedly a yellow dog.

black lab mix wearing yellow neckband

Have you ever made your own dog clothes or done screen printing at home?

If you want to upcycle the scraps in your rag bin, check out this eHow article about making old dog clothes from things you have around the house.

To try your hand at DIY screen printing, try out this Instructable.

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