Puppy Love
Let's just keep the dog-loving theme going a bit, shall we? I have a DIY project to share that I think can also evolve into an interesting idea for Valentine's Day (more on that later). I made these dog bone ornaments for all the dogs in our family for Christmas this past season, but I think they'd work great as gifts anytime for the dog lovers in your life.

To give credit where credit is due, I was inspired by the technique used for these moose ornaments on the 101 Woonideeën blog. But, I wanted to do something dog-oriented and personalized, and that reminded me of the brand name stamped into Milk Bones. So I arrived at: 

So, here's what you'll need:

• White craft clay. I used the type you need to bake, not the air-dry variety. This is non-toxic and can bake in your oven at 250˚. Brands include Fimo and Sculpey. You can get them at any craft store.
An acrylic roller. This was worth buying. It works perfectly when rolling out this kind of clay. It can be found at most craft stores.
A clay mat. Great to work on and transfer directly onto a baking sheet. I got mine at Michael's.
• Letter stamps. Boy, these were tough to find (in a simple, clean font, that is). Craft stores have some in goofier styles, so I had to order these online by searching for "fondant stamping letters".
• Assorted cookie cutters for the design shape you want, and large enough to fit the words you will use.
• A drinking straw (or anything similar) to punch a decent-sized hole if hanging it with ribbon or string.
• Ribbon or string for hanging. I used red and white baker's twine for mine. For Valentine's Day, these would look great with assorted hot pink and red ribbons.

There are instructions on the 101 Woonideeën blog, if you translate it, but to summarize:
1. Work with the clay as instructed (soften, form into ball, roll out ball like cookie dough, about 1/8", no more than 1/4").
2. Then, cut out your shapes with a cookie cutter and arrange them on the baking mat.
3. Load the letters into the tray backwards (remember it is a mirror image and then turned over and stamped). Using very light pressure (this was hard to get just right), evenly stamp the surface of the clay with the word tray. Leave enough room above the word for the hole that will be used for hanging it.
4. Using the end of a drinking straw, pierce a hole all the way through the shape in the top center so it will hang evenly.
5. Bake in the oven according to the clay package instructions.
6. After they cool, you CAN lightly sand any rough or dinged edges. Thread the hole with ribbon or string. Done!

So, given that we are coming up on Valentine's Day, it got me thinking of converting this idea into gift tags inspired by the ever-iconic conversation heart candies. With so many clay colors available and your stamping letters at the ready, all you'd need to add is a bit of hot pink paint to the indented letters. I might not have time this year, so maybe next! What do you think?

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About Us

Christopher Scott and Jodi Vautrin are the husband and wife team behind Ourhaus, where they chronicle their adventures in home improvement, decorating and travel. After purchasing a unique loft space just a few miles north of Boston, they began photographing and writing about their projects and it blossomed into a creative outlet and platform.

When they’re not home improving, Jodi spends her days as a freelance creative director & designer with a focus on user interface and interactive design, and is an entrepreneur at heart. She serves on the board of AIGA Boston as Vice President of Emerging Ideas & Events.

In his professional life, Christopher is the Technology Director for a multi-service ad agency based in Harvard Square. In his private life, he enjoys tinkering in all its forms, whether it's rebuilding the Ourhaus home network (again), fooling himself into thinking he knows how to fix home appliances, or trying to unravel the mysteries of the guitar. He also flies planes, performs open heart surgery and sings at bar mitzvahs (though not all at the same time).

They share their “haus” with their adorable, highly food-motivated chocolate lab, Lucy.