Mice and Headless Penguins

It has been few days since any real posting of mine. My schedule filled up with all kinds of animals to look after this weekend and once I got home and showered off all the accumulated disgusting, I wasn’t exactly focused enough to type things for fun. But I’m back, and here is what I did in my slightly dazed state.

Late last week I decided to try a pattern I found online for a sort of standing/sitting mouse toy for the cats. Since they love their other mice and fish so much I figured why not! But instead of a cute little mouse catnip toy I ended up with this:

The Headless Penguin

The Headless Penguin

THE HEADLESS PENGUIN, as he is now endearingly known in this household, is a big hit with the kittens, but a huge failure when it comes to actually being a mouse (of any recognizable shape or even abstract form).

At that point I threw the Headless Penguin into the cat toy basket and became determined to create a template for a mouse that when sewn together is recognizable. So, while decompressing from taking care of a load of cats all over the city (one of which acts like she needs an exorcist every time I enter her house), I toyed with how to fix the penguin problem and finally came up with this little guy,  and an easy pattern with instructions right on it to share with you.

he's a little goofy looking, but who's not?

He’s a little silly in the face, I realize this, and can definitely be toyed around with a bit (bigger ears, 3D arms, etc), but at least he has a full body and head. I apologize that he’s in all black. I’m running seriously low on anything with color in it. The fabric store is a little difficult to get to, and so is money at this point, so black is back for now.

Here’s the pattern to print in case you want one of these littles all your own.

standing mouse templateHere’s What You Need for the project

  • Felt in whatever color strikes your fancy
  • embroidery thread
  • stuffing of your choice
  • scissors, pins, needle
  • your favorite show to keep your brain busy while you piece it all together. Personally, the mouse took me about an episode of Supernatural. I’m going to miss those boys when it’s over.

It’s that easy. Simmy, my cat, wouldn’t wake up long enough to model it for me, so I used him as a cute platform with which to display my end result.

IMAG3155-1

Don’t feel too bad for him, he threw up in my hair about 2 hours later.

“There are still many more days of failure ahead, whole seasons of failure, things will go terribly wrong, you will have huge disappointments, but you have to prepare for that, you have to expect it and be resolute and follow your own path.”
Anton Chekhov

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Goldfish Toys For All!

Ok, really the toy is just for cats. I made mine for my little 9-year-old Grey Davis who has been rolling around with it since I finished the last few stitcIsn't she sweethes.  I also made a bird, but it looks a little odd, so I’ll have to improve upon it before exposing it to the world.

Anyway, I still have an excess of felt laying around that I’m trying to craftify my way through, so I found this template at My Fantastic Toy blog after searching for a while online. The only thing I didn’t appreciate about it was the format. The patterns are overlapping, so you have to print two of them in order to get the full pattern. It doesn’t so much effect the fish, but with the other patterns on the site it does make a difference.

fish template My plethora of felt does not include gold, so my fishie is black and pink, but I’m not into giving staunch boundaries and parameters to creative efforts, so do what makes you happy.

HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • Felt in whatever colors you choose
  • embroidery floss
  • scissors, needle and pins

    Ladder Stitch

    Ladder Stitch

  • stuffing (cotton balls work too)
  • catnip (optional)
  • eyes to be sewn on (not recommended*)

*I don’t really think that adding the eyes is exactly a great idea. Working with animals for so long, I’ve seen some strange things get swallowed by cats and dogs alike (ex. golf balls, crunchy toys, gorilla glue, etc). Depblack and pink fishieending on how the item decides to go through (or get stuck), the vet trip ends up being an expensive one. 

HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  • First you’re going to put one of the sides and the bottom together, and pin a side together right side in then sew a ladder stitch nose to tail. (I didn’t like any of the ladder stitch images I found, so I made my own for you above in case you need a reference)
  • Then pin the other side and the bottom together, right side in still, and stitch from tail to nose.
  • Turn right side out and continue your ladder stitch half way over the top of the two sides leaving enough space to stuff later on.
  • At this point grab one of your fins and attach one to each side securely with the same ladder stitch. This stitch is great because when pulled tight it is barely, if at all, visible from the outside.
  • Next add your stuffing until full. It’s also possible to use the catnip alone as the stuffing making is more smushy like sand than fluffy, which some kitties really like to chew on. I did about half and half since I’m running low.
  • Finally finish stitching up and over the back to the tail and tie a knot with the thread around one of the last seams. You can hide the knot after by pulling it through to the inside, poking the needle through the opposite side and cutting it so your ends are hidden.
  • I used the embroidery floss to make circles for eyes with a chain stitch in place of any sort of button or added eye for safety.

Now you have a fish to give your little friends!

IMAG2942

Japanese goldfish,

With your gossamer tail,

You are the loveliest creature

I have ever seen.”

“Japanese kitten,

Put your tongue back in where it belongs

And go away.

I know exactly what you are thinking.” 
― Paul GallicoHonorable Cat

Hearts of Felt pt2

So when I said tomorrow, I didn’t really mean 1:30am, but here I am. I watched Castle and some da Vinci’s Demons (pretty fantastic, by the way) and finished stitching together these lovely felt heart designs to show you.

I posted the template in the previous post Heart’s of Felt pt1, so if you need it just visit that post and print away. Then you must come back, because we are not done yet. When I left you we were blanket stitching around everything.

FROM THERE:

-grab some stuffing, cotton balls, batting, beans, rice, whatever’s around and fits inside, your dog’s squeaky toy (could be fun?), and fill that heart up.

-Next, continue with your stitches to close up the side that you left open, and TADA! You have a stuffed felt heart.

-At this point you can leave it, throw it at something, doesn’t matter, but I kept playing with the things. I wanted them to be a little more embellished.

(Note: I have no idea what these things are for, not a clue. So if you have any ideas what I should do with them let me know. They are just sitting there looking like nonsense.)

Here’s a shot of them stuffed and stitched so you can see the direction I ended up going:

aren't they sweet!

aren’t they sweet!

If you want to know anything about the lace or mesh overlays, just ask and I would be happy to help you with those. I work with animals,  so it’s actually nice to talk to real people sometimes instead of holding conversations with cats about their weird banana shaped toys (true story), why their tummy’s are so soft, etc.

The black and blue sparkly one I have yet to stuff and close because I decided to try out my really jenky embroidery skills, and it’s still a work in progress. If you want to know what those flowers are supposed to look like, there’s a really great basic embroidery stitch tutorial at the Needlework Tips and Techniques site. It’s helping me on my baby turtle slow learning curve.

Alright friends, it’s time for sleep to happen. I have an interview tomorrow that I should probably actually care about, so I should be awake for it. I’m pretty excited.

Love and fat kittens.

“Our heart always transcends us.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

Hearts of Felt pt1

Well now, it’s a lot later than I thought it would be when I had originally intended to post this, so this will be part one of a felt hearts project tutorial. I’m actually making some right now, and this tutorial will take you as far as I am. Tomorrow will complete it.

It’s really easy, and allows for a lot of wiggle room creatively, but between doing my actual job, running errands and spilling mushy potatoes all over myself (happens a lot) I ran out of not-super-exhausted time.

HERE WE GO:

Supplies:

  • Felt (and any other scrap material you are looking to use really)
  • Embroidery floss in complementing colors
  • Filling (example: cotton balls, stuffing, catnip, rice, lavender, beans) depends on what you want it to be.
  • Scissors, needle, pins
  • and the free template linked bellow
  • any extra baubles you want to accessorize with (ribbon, buttons)
Heart Template

Heart Template. Print Me!

I pretty much started out with a pile of all my scraps and whatnot sitting on the table in front of me and stared at it for a while. Then I found this template online and thought it would be a perfect, worry free craft to attempt on my “slow” day.

My Pile of Crap don't judge, there was a sale on black felt.

My Pile of Crap
don’t judge, there was a sale on black felt.

-First I grabbed a handful of my fabrics that are semi sturdy and started cutting making sure there was at least a back and front heart for each one I wanted to make regardless of size. It took me forever, but I ended up with a pile of them.

Next, I paired the hearts up in their own designs and pinned them in place. I really only do this because I have the worst worst worst memory in all of space and time. It’s a wonder that I’m wearing both shoes when I go outside.

-From there I took the front piece and put it together by blanket stitching around the edges of the shapes.

After that, you stitch EVERYTHING. Just leave a little room open to stuff it (smaller hearts can use just cotton balls if you like)

And that’s where I currently am, the stuffing and purposing phase. See what I’ve got so far? I’m growing fond of the pink one with three hearts.

felt hearts half done

felt hearts half done

Ok, that’s it for tonight before I pass out on my keyboard. See me tomorrow 4/6 to see my finished products and get more information on how to make this craft your own. In the meantime, if you have any ideas on what I should use these for let me know. I’m pretty up in the air about it still.

love and hearts.

“Here is my secret. It’s quite simple: One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Strangest Animals I’ve Seen In A While…

There will be a post later today with a tutorial, along with templates, on felt hearts and all the things I decided to create with them. But while that craft is still in progress, I give you one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while to help you stand the wait.

Enjoy friends. Love.

Mice, The TARDIS, and Chalky part 3

Now that we’ve gotten through felt rodents and boxes that are bigger on the inside, it’s time to move on to Chalky.

If you’re not familiar with the police term, it’s the unofficial nickname for the chalk outlines left where a body fell at a crime scene. In reality this is rarely ever done, but here in Chicago we claim the prestigious title of Murder Capital of the US (last year we beat our everyone else by a body count of nearly 100), I’m sure some chalk hits the pavement from time to time.

Say hello to our little friend…

I used this handsome guy.

I decided to make this slight macabre kitty toy because there is a cat in my house that has already established herself as belonging to the “dark side” of existence, and she needed something new to attack in the middle of the night. Her name is Noir (a.k.a. Chunkers), and one of her favorite toys of all time is a plastic Halloween finger she found somewhere and now carries around the house like the trophy keeping little serial killer she is.

Get it Chunkers!

 Not that she doesn’t have other beautiful atributes…

She moonlights as a DJ

She also moonlights as a DJ,

and lives in the sink

Now on to making this little guy.

Meet Chalky

Meet Chalky

    Here’s What You’ll Need

   2 pieces of black felt

1 piece of white felt

white embrodery floss

stuffing

catnip

scissors/ needle/ pen

-Print out the picture at the top of the page and use the guy as a pattern for your felt.

-Cut three pieces, one from each sheet of felt, and make a little oreo type sandwich. I made the white piece slightly larger than the black ones so it stuck out a bit. The three layers make it really sturdy too, which helps when cat’s play as rough as mine.

-Then blanket stitch around the edges while you stare at something more entertaining. It get’s boring if something else is not happening around you, because it takes a little bit of time to make the stitches close enough to one another.

-Leave enough space open to stuff it while adding catnip, and do so with small pieces and move it into the limbs with a pen so you don’t get stuck with a floppy arm or head. (totally happened and it was a pain to fix)

-Then close up Chalky and get creative. I didn’t give him a face, just little eyes, but I say go crazy. If anyone does so, I would love to hear back from you and see your fantastic creations! Much love and poetry.

“She says, “But in contentment I still feel
The need of some imperishable bliss.”
Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfilment to our dreams
And our desires.” 

Sunday Morning (V.1-5)

by Wallace Stevens

Mice, The TARDIS, and Chalky part 2

Now on to the TARDIS!

I must admit, I do so love being a bit of a nerd. So when I came across the wonderful blog Allons-y Kimberly, I wanted to hug my notebook computer a little. In a DIY section she has instructions for some great DIY Geek Cat Toys. I couldn’t resist the TARDIS. The instructions are hers, and the only adjustment i made was stitching instead of hot gluing the front panels because I don’t actually own a glue gun (yet).

I only have one picture of mine because Grey Davis the cat destroyed the crap out of it several times and now it looks like a wonky destructo TARDIS.

Grey Davis and her TARDIS

Grey Davis and her TARDIS

She doesn’t really understand “sharing” either.

Here are the basics:

You can either stitch around the edges of the two felt cut-outs or flip it inside out like I did to make it a little more poofy for the kids. I also left out the newspaper and replaced the cotton balls with a generic stuffing.

The  rest of the instructions are hers, and the only other adjustment I made was  stitching instead of hot gluing the front window panels because I don’t actually own a glue gun (yet).

SUPPLIES

blue & white felt & thread

scissors & hot glue gun

cotton balls

newspaper

catnip

You can follow the link above, or just click on the lovely pictures below for full instructions.It’s an incredibly easy craft to complete. I promise you won’t regret it.

tardis instructions1tardis instructions

Now, come along Ponds…