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DIY Fails and Hacks For Non-DIY Dog Moms

‘Tis the season of good intentions, unfinished craft projects, DIY fails, and lots of social media stress and comparitis. Maybe you are already feeling some DIY holiday mom guilt – like you should be making everything from scratch by candlelight in the wee hours of the night. But here’s the thing: these projects might be pretty, but they won’t make things perfect, and you will also be tired. It is nice if you want to make DIY dog magic, but if you would rather sleep, that’s OK too.

Whether you are a dog mom or a kid mom or a both mom, no one actually notices if you create your holiday village by hand or buy it at the dollar store. Same thing goes for holiday dog sweaters and fancy pants dog treats. You probably can’t buy fancy pants dog treats at the dollar store, but you can buy them online.

True confession: I love the IDEA of DIY, but realistically I don’t have the time, attention span, or follow through to actually finish any of these DIY dog projects – and I’m OK with that.

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DIY Fails and DIY Dog Projects For Non DIY Dog Moms

Confessions of a Non-DIY Dog Mom

1. I have never baked a homemade dog treat in my life.

Ruby eats well. She enjoys her human grade, grain-free, organic, all natural, fortified with fairy dust, responsibly sourced, STORE BOUGHT food. But sometimes I wonder if that’s good enough. Should I be spending my three minutes of free time in my tiny kitchen making pumpkin dog cookies and homemade beef stew? Keep in mind I have a history of burning stuff, forgetting key ingredients, and kitchen disasters.

Nope, it’s OK to buy and not bake.

2. I don’t know how to sew, knit, or gift wrap. 

Ruby is kind of known for her wardrobe with a nice collection of sweaters, fleece jackets, and even a fancy costume or two. Sometimes I get asked if her sweaters are handmade. My answer is either yes, but not by me, or no we shop at Target. There’s also a little thing called ETSY that gives you the DIY experience without the DIY headache. It’s like DIY virtual reality.

To quote the always-wise Grumpy Cat, “I tried sewing once and it was awful.”

DIY Dog treats and DIY Dog Projects

3. I don’t have time for timesavers, space savers, or tricks that make life easier. 

A cleverly designed shelf or adorable basket near the door for Ruby’s mass-produced coat and leash would be nice, but tossing them in a big pile on the chair is fun, too. If I am feeling really ambitious, I hang them in the closet with our coats. Truthfully, all coats (and lots of clean laundry) usually end up in the chair near the door – and this comfy pile makes a pretty great DIY dog bed for Ruby and Teddy. And you know what really saves time and makes life easier? Not stressing about the mess!

4. I don’t know how to artfully photograph a dog treat or storage bin.

I like taking photos of animals and kids, but I’m just not that inspired by things. Of course, I enjoy looking at pretty photos of cookies and storage bins – kind of in the same away I enjoy photos of faraway places I will never visit. Sadly, I don’t have time to make any of these DIY projects much less learn to photograph them.

DIY Fails and easy things to make for your dog

5. I sometimes feel non-DIY dog mom guilt. 

The truth is I don’t bake or sew or make clever crafty things because I hate following directions. I am “a just wing-it” kind of person and that doesn’t really fly with DIY dog culture. For me, the fun part is going to a craft store and buying a bunch of supplies I will never use. I start projects and never finish them. There’s a whole sad closet of unfinished craft projects in our basement – kind of like the Island of Misfit Toys only with glue sticks and rubber stamps.

I’m not very organized, I don’t always write things down, and my drawers and closets are a disaster. In my defense, I can roll with the punches, handle stress like a champ, and almost never crack under pressure. Plus, I have gained the reputation as the funny mom by my daughter and her friends because I do things in my own weird way. Truthfully, I would rather be funny than crafty – because crafty only gets you so far when push comes to shove (and the holidays are sometimes full of emotional pushing and shoving).

So please just relax. Don’t stress, don’t compare yourself to others (and by others I mean the people with the pretty cookie photos on social media), and just enjoy the holidays in your own way! Neither your pets nor your kids really care about all this pretty, impractical DIY stuff anyway – they just want you to be calm, present, and happy.

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DIY Fails, Hacks & Confessions of a Non-DIY Dog Mom


  1. November 30, 2018 / 2:34 am

    I’ll secon every word in your post… you probably saw how my baking stuff ended, so I rather don’t bake anything for the pups. the only sweater I trie sleeps unfinished in a bag since 35 years.. and finally I think about the store owners who want to make some profit too and I will support them with buying my gifts LOL

  2. November 30, 2018 / 5:54 am

    Everyone has their own areas of expertise. My mom is super creative, loves to sew, cook, bake, photograph, and write, but some people are accountants who do great things with numbers, or are leaders of large groups. Those are fails for my mom. Being your own self and doing what you were born to do is what makes the world work, and makes each person special.

  3. November 30, 2018 / 7:27 am

    Mom does sew and knit but lately, she’s turned into a lazy pants, who can’t seem to get the spark back. We agree – don’t stress. Relax! We love Etsy!

  4. November 30, 2018 / 7:39 am

    Hari Om
    You don’t do these things? well, what the heck… rather list all the things you DO do… like advocate for those without a voice in one of the prettiest and most meaningful ways possible!!! YAM xx

  5. November 30, 2018 / 8:42 am

    Haha, too funny! I’m not really into DIY, but I’m not sure I’d be bad at it. I just love shopping so much – and it’s easier! Although I have made homemade cat treats before.

  6. Sandra Hangey
    November 30, 2018 / 10:16 am

    I am with you, I have never done a DIY project in my life, for dogs or any other person. I did when my kids were little buy cheap used furniture and paint it, but that was because I had no money and painting a 10 dollar chest was alli could afford. everything you said here is me and I can top your confession with I have never bought any type of clothing for any of my 20 plus dogs I have had since I was 8… I don’t even bake for PEOPLE which means no pup home cooked food. our dogs get dry dog food supplemented with people food.

  7. November 30, 2018 / 11:44 am

    I can’t do any of those things either. We are on the same page.

    Have a terrific day and weekend. ♥

  8. November 30, 2018 / 12:28 pm

    It’s okay, Momma has never made a dog treat in her life, no matter how many “super easy and quick!’ recipes she gets. I still love her.

  9. November 30, 2018 / 1:29 pm


  10. November 30, 2018 / 2:27 pm

    As a DIYer of far too many fails, it’s the hunt, not the capture for me. Still, I like your advice!

  11. November 30, 2018 / 2:32 pm

    Yes, yes, yes! If i have time, i will make something in the kitchen. If i don’t, i will buy it. Sorry, i think it’s just as good that i thought of you while i was rushing through the store between jobs!

  12. November 30, 2018 / 3:59 pm

    Mom says AMEN to that!!! She likes to be a little crafty with certain things. But when it comes to holiday stuff, she says it always works best to let someone else do the making and she will do the buying:)

    Woos – Lightning, Misty, and Timber

  13. November 30, 2018 / 5:42 pm

    Haha! This post is great! I laughed when you said you have never made a homemade dog treat in your life! I am not much of a DIY type either when it comes to anything holidays, crafting, baking, etc. But I admire those who do it!

  14. November 30, 2018 / 6:04 pm

    Comparisons always sink us. There’s always someone more something. For instance, I admire you to no end … and here you are admiring the DIY dog moms. Be yourself and be proud! We all have our strengths and I have quite a few unfinished projects laying around too. By the way, I can sew, but it’s self-taught and functional. I’m too scared of the sewing machine to even try!

  15. 15andmeowing
    November 30, 2018 / 7:54 pm

    You don’t need to do any of those things to make a pet happy. All you need to do is love them.

  16. November 30, 2018 / 10:47 pm

    OMD, you and my Ma would SO be BFFF’S!!! She doesn’t cook. hates it. not only cause she STINKS at it, butts it stresses her out! (she can bake, butts has never bakes me any cookies eithers!!!!! rude.)
    Ma likes to think, if she practiced enough and had 40 hours in a day, she could be SUPER DUPER crafty! yeah…no. I don’t wears clothes, so she’s off the hook on that one! she does tend to hoard blankets though, don’t knows why….if you needs one, lets her know, and she can send one to you asap!
    Anyhu, you knows those DIY moms are just faking it, rights?? I bets if you went to their house you would find it looked just like yours! don’t sweat it. (unless your going through menopause…) Just be you.
    Ruby ♥
    (the OTHER Ruby! no…never stop sayin’ that….bol)

  17. November 30, 2018 / 11:04 pm

    I am so with you on this! I don’t have a crafty or DIY bone in my body. I once tried making some dog treats in my kitchen… but that was the last time. I have finally accepted myself as I am… and I will gladly pay others to let me avoid the DIY approach! Thank you for a wonderful post!

  18. Marjorie Dawson
    December 1, 2018 / 1:15 am

    I am late catching up with the PetParade, sorry!

    OK Never feel guilty. Make stuff if you can (I do because I can) but if you can’t that is what shops are for. I need to buy more stuff and stop being online!

  19. December 1, 2018 / 8:09 am

    I love to look at all the cool DIY stuff on Pinterest. But that’s about as far as I ever get.

  20. December 1, 2018 / 12:25 pm

    We are a SEDI household here…Somebody Else Do It, so we understand!

  21. December 1, 2018 / 12:54 pm

    Your pictures are worth a hundred home baked dog treats!

  22. December 1, 2018 / 3:20 pm

    Our favorite DIY treats are cut up fruit and veggies and toss them in the freezer… that’s how we roll around here 🙂 Every dog and human has their own unique gifts and being funny is a great one to have!

  23. December 1, 2018 / 3:23 pm

    I’ve never really understood why people feel guilty about not doing the same things as other people. Crafting can be a great outlet for some people and cause other people lots of stress. I enjoy trying new things to a point and my dogs certainly appreciate it when I bake treats, if only because it is cheaper and so therefore they get more.

  24. December 1, 2018 / 5:10 pm

    Thanks for giving Jan permission to relax and not worry because she is too all-thumbs for DIY projects.

  25. meowmeowmans
    December 2, 2018 / 12:30 pm

    Nothing wrong with that. You do plenty of things well, and help so many animals, so we say there’s no reason for you to feel less. 🙂

  26. December 2, 2018 / 1:58 pm

    We love your post ! You’re maybe not a DIY dog mom, but you have so many other skills and qualities, we’re glad you’re aware of this too ! Purrs

  27. December 2, 2018 / 3:45 pm

    II don’t even say the word SEW. I can’t think of anything I hate more. But I like to do some other crafty stuff, like baking and making natural products, but I am only motivated by unemployment and needing to make money! If I was still working outside the home more, none of that would happen.
    And if everyone wanted to do it, how would anyone else make money doing it? So you should be proud that you don’t DIY, because that helps others out! 🙂

  28. December 2, 2018 / 4:52 pm

    I like DIY but I also like winging it with my own twist anyway! There will always be a need for Etsy, their homemade stuff like cat toys is just too adorable not to buy them. ha ha I laughed about your Grumpy Cat meme “I tried sewing once, it was awful” MOL!

  29. karly
    December 3, 2018 / 3:05 am

    Great post! I totally agree. If you’re not the crafty sort, why melt your brain over something you can just as easily buy from the shop. I do like making things for mine, but I get joy out of the process. If you find it stressful, why bother.

  30. December 3, 2018 / 4:00 pm

    Girllllll, you nailed me a lot here. I am one of those spend $100 to make something that could be purchased for $10 – then I end up glueing my hands together hahahaha.

  31. December 4, 2018 / 3:16 am

    Granny loved to DIY, but she had a big trouble to start on something, but once she begun, she almost coudn’t stop…I think that’s kind of stress too 😀 You look fabulous in your knitted outfit, sweetie. Pawkisses for a Happy Day🐾😽💞

  32. December 5, 2018 / 7:51 am

    Yesssssss!!!! Mama always has good intentions at Christmas to bake yummy treats fur us buts there is this great shop in town dat makes the most yummiest gourmet treats so her just pops in there and picks some up. So easy peasy and no stress 😉 Mama can not sew good her tries buts her gets super frustrated so after brudder’s Halloween costume last year she hung up the sewing needle fur the unforeseeable future…there were too many HBO words through out dat whole ordeal to count!!! BOL MOL

    Matt & Matilda

  33. December 5, 2018 / 11:47 am

    Ruby doesn’t care! She has everything she needs, a loving family!

  34. December 6, 2018 / 3:32 pm

    OMG! I just came across this post in the Facebook group (am your Amazon order). I LOVE you!!!!! I was laughing at your words and even had to read them to my son they were so funny. I am right there with you on all 5 of your comments. I try and try to be the DIY dog mom but ugh it is so not me. Thanks for sharing and adding a smile to my day. Merry stress free Christmas!

    • SweetDogChicago
      December 6, 2018 / 3:46 pm

      Thank you! I really appreciate that! I will check out your blog, too!

  35. December 7, 2018 / 11:39 am

    Our mom isn’t a DIY cat mom, so don’t feel guilty. She says that’s what stores are for! MOL

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