Sunday, July 26, 2020

Custom Critters, Redoux

Got my new sewing machine yesterday. This is the first stuffed animal I’ve made in 25 years. I make up my own designs. Fun!

Made shirt and mask for my kitty. My husband Mike asked: "Is it male or female?"      Me: "Non-binary". 

Since I don't use patterns - just basically making it up as I go along - there are numerous imperfections in these critters.  This one wound up having short legs - the arms were longer than the legs - so I attached socks on the bottom to lengthen the legs. But then, one foot was larger and slightly club-footed.  In spite of that, after posting on Facebook, everyone loved it.  I sent it to be adopted by a friend, so that critter has found a new home. 

Back in 1988, I had the idea to make my own custom stuffed animals.  I had had a pattern for a sitting cat pillow, and after making a few of those, modified and added to the design, to make a stuffed cat doll.  It progressed from there. I used a lot of materials that I already had - I cut up a lot of old clothes.  Some of my characters were Chef Doggie, Carmen MirandaCat, Freud the Goat, Feline Fine and Feline Better, Artist Pup, Aloha Doggie, Landscaper Cat, Hippie Dawg, Surfer and skateboard pups, couch potato pups, and more. For over 2 years, I created these animals.  Then, I wound up giving them all away - one Freud the Goat to my therapist, a Carmen Miranda Cat was given to a friend who was battling cancer, and the rest to family - mostly my nieces and nephews.  What is heartening for me is that some of these critters were passed down to my grand nieces and nephews, who are enjoying them today!  
Just a few of my creations; niece Sarah holds one of my fancy dog critters, while reading.

Gopher It

I have a modest little yard project, and the biggest challenge is our resident gopher, "Gracie." 
I guess once you've named the critter, it makes it more difficult to kill her. I wanted to find a non-lethal way to keep my garden, just making it not a fun place to be for Gracie...though truth to tell, it looks like Gracie was here first. I'm a fan of "The Invisible Organic Gardener", who states that: "Gophers are natives to here, and belong here. They are not evil, and deserve the right to live in peace. Seek peaceful solutions, first before you decide to kill. Do like captain Kirk. He would tell Spock, “Spock, we are not going to kill today.” So, please be kind to your wildlife friends. They need all the friends they can get!"…/

So, I decided on a non-lethal way after reading about the lethal, killing methods that others use to kill gophers - they don't always work, and can be destructive to the environment and other critters, too. And I would just feel bad if I killed an animal (though I still eat meat - go figure). So, forget that.

Although when our friend Bob was visiting the other day, Gracie was kicking up a fuss with the dirt, very conspicuously.
 Bob said: "Gimmee your hose - now turn it on!" and he flushed out Gracie's hole. At first, I worried that she had drowned, but she didn't - he just gave her a bath, and made her kick up more dirt the next day.
So, I poured coffee beans and sponges soaked in peppermint oil into Gracie's holes, which so far seem to work.  I also planted gopher-repellant plants, like rosemary, ceanothus and salvia. 

UPDATE: This morning, the lobelia laxiflora was still there; later on I looked out, and it was gone. Like magic. Cross that plant off my list of things to plant in our yard again!

TWO WEEKS LATER: After I put pieces of biodegradable sponges soaked in peppermint oil down each of Gracie's entryways 2 weeks ago, I have not seen hide nor hair of her - on our property, anyway. Our plants - if not exactly "thriving" - are at least "not dead yet". Unfortunately, it looks like Gracie has now moved lock, stock and burrow over to Mom's yard (saw her throwing dirt out of it this morning).  I ran out of peppermint oil, so put evergreen and tangerine oil on sponges and put them down her entryways. 

Will that work? We'll may be a ping pong game "gopher gopher, who's got the gopher now? Gracie: "Deb Wong - Gopher it!!!"