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Quilts for Kittehs & Puppies

I have, in recent years, been giving away all the blankets and baby sweaters, cotton caps, scarves and drawstring bags that I’ve crocheted.

I’ve given them to the Ronald McDonald House of NYC for the children. I’ve given them to a nursing home for the residents. I took my daughter to the RMH twice so she would understand what it meant to give on so personal a level.

But that second time, one of the women working there was so snooty as she was coming in the door, telling my child “That’s right you stay there” that I’ve never gone back.

And then the nursing/retirement home. I learned that one of the employees took one of the blankets I’d made. I didn’t make them for employees. I made them for residents. So no more of that.

Having this pile of fabric, I’d thought to make quilts out of it. But who to give them to? Meanwhile, I helped my daughter (now just about to be 13) to finish her first quilt. A doll-sized piece for one of her stuffed animals. And I thought to myself…self, that would be a perfect size to go in a cat carrier when taking an animal home from a rescue center.

And I know someone who volunteers at a rescue center. Save-a-Pet out on Long Island. It’s not far. Postage shouldn’t be too horrible.

EUREKA! A new passion was born.

I had some triangles already cut and was going to make myself some head wraps out of them. I pinned them together to make rectangles, sewing them on the machine, pinned them to batting and cut it out. Cut out a larger piece of purple gingham left over from the bolt I’d bought for my daughter’s big blanket (now finished and only 13 years old when I did finish it!). I used the outer edges, rolling them over and over and securing to the top/batting layers to make the finished edge. Through the machine all around to secure them and then random meanderings around the middle to create the quilted effect.

Within a day, I had four little quilts finished.

They’re too small to be of much use to people but perfect for going inside the cages. I packed them up and shipped them off. My only stipulation was that the blanket an animal had with them in the cage when they were adopted should go with them to their new home. That way, they would have something of their own, something that smelled like them, when going into this brand new world where nothing would be familiar. If their own blanket with their own smell on it was under them in the carrier, they’d be more likely to be calm during the trip home. Then at home, they’d already have their own bed, wherever it was put…or dragged. They’re highly portable for the enterprising kitty.

I received pictures last night, and video, and it seems the first batch are a terrific hit. I’m simply delighted. I can see in the videos how exciting it is for the animals. They’re playing with the blanket, tunneling under, playing catch that thing with a hand sliding underneath. Such complete appreciation for this small bit of comfort.

quilts with kitties & puppy

Now I have another three on batting waiting for backs. Eight more tops sewn together. And about twenty more pinned or rolled together ready for the machine. But I need more batting. I will be having more as soon as I finish a blanket for my proofreader. But it’ll only be enough for four or five, I’m sure. I’ll have some more when I finish a quilt for myself. But, again, only four or five blankets.

I need to buy batting. And I need to pay for postage. And then when all of these materials are used up, I need to buy more fabric, more batting, more postage.

If you would like to donate cash, I’ve set up a GoFundMe account and also have a Donate button through PayPal. You can easily access whichever you would prefer to use on the Charity Work page of my website.

If you would like to purchase materials for me, I’ve made a Crafts Amazon Wishlist with fabrics and batting. I prefer a batting that’s made of recycled bottles and the size I prefer to work with is only $15 plus shipping. And I found a bunch of high quality quilting fabrics as low as $1.49 a yard! Postage for the box with the first four was about $6. It was between 1 and 2 pounds. Projecting ahead, between 3 and 4 pounds will be nearly $8. So that will quickly add up as I continue on. My initial investment has been only that first postage because I already had the fabric, the batting, the thread; but from now on, I’m having to buy things.

It’s such a worthwhile project. I cannot afford to throw wads of cash at charities. But I can offer my hands and create some comfort for the creatures who find themselves in such an unfortunate circumstance.

Lip Balm — Making your own out of simple ingredients that are easy to find.

Lip Balm

Lip Balm is one of those things that seems difficult to make but is remarkably simple. It’s just a tedious and time-consuming project because you have to fine-tune your mix.

My ingredients:

4pk of Chapstick (blue moisturizing tube is what I prefer)
Shea Butter — About $6 to $8)
Coconut oil — A jar can be found in your grocery store in the organic section for around $6 to $8.
Vaseline — You probably already have that. I prefer the squirt tube.
Hydrocortisone Ointment — (optional) I always have it on hand for bug bites and allergic reactions. I can get a painful bump on my lip from Italian salad dressing. Costs a couple bucks in store brand.
Empty tubes— Bought on Amazon.com.

Twist up all the tubes of Chapstick into a microwavable measuring cup with a pour spout lip.

Using a small spoon, add some shea butter. Using another spoon (because you don’t want to get shea into the coconut oil and vice versa), add a little of the coconut oil. Squirt a couple inches of Vaseline in.

Melt in microwave about 45 seconds at a time until liquid. You don’t want to make it too hot. It’s just not necessary.

Stir with toothpicks. I use two toothpicks held together.

Then I add about two inches of hydrocortisone ointment and stir. It should remain warm enough to stay liquid as the hydrocortisone melts in.

Stir well. Pour carefully and slowly into one tube (I set it up on a flat plate) and put into the refrigerator. Take it out about half an hour later and test it. Keep it out and test it again about an hour later. If you like it, use it all day to see how well you like it at various times of the day.

If you don’t like it, is it too soft and liquid on contact with your lips? Or is it too stiff and won’t apply easily?

If too liquid, twist out your tester into the cup and add a little Shea butter.

If too hard, add a little more coconut oil or Vaseline, your choice. I find the coconut oil feels more liquid on the lips but the Vaseline makes it more creamy. I prefer creamy.

Whichever you add, melt and stir and pour your tester again and go through the day-long tester process.

When you are happy with the consistency, melt it and pour into all your tubes and make sure you always have plenty. You never need a lip balm until you realize you DON’T HAVE ONE! lol

Never Carve a Pumpkin AGAIN!!!

A friend shared a picture of a pumpkin decorated with crayons. Not drawn on – MELTED on!

I loved the idea so much that I showed my daughter (we call her Duchess) the picture. She decided at once that we MUST do this. Now that she’s quickly turning into a teenager, I seize every opportunity to do things together. This certainly fit the bill.

My daughter and I went to a craft store and bought a white craft pumpkin for $5 and a new box of glitter crayons. We already had plenty of old crappy crayons leftover from last school year. Our total price for this endeavor was $7 plus tax. (YAY for 60% off Halloween supplies!)

Back at home, we took labels off and broke crayons into two or three pieces. Using a BBQ lighter, I melted one end of a crayon and stuck it to the top of the pumpkin wherever she pointed. All around, changing up the colors randomly until we thought it was enough.

Using a hair dryer, we melted them. (Note to self: Next time wear ear plugs.) When you do this, put down newspaper. Wax might splash.

Then we stuck on the glitter crayons and melted them over the first layer.
This isn’t a one hour project. It took us a total of at least six hours spread over two days to complete but the result is absolutely worth it! Duchess loves her spooky, melty decorated pumpkin and we had terrific fun choosing which clumps needed more melting. Next year, we can either add more to this pumpkin to change its look or we can get another and start all over.

And I never again will have disgusting, smelly pumpkin guts in my trash can or a slowly rotting pumpkin in the house!

crayon pumpkin

This year, we made another.

We used a smaller pumpkin and recorded the process with the stop animation setting on Duchess’ 3DS.

See The Amazing Melty Crayon Project!