Monday, May 31, 2010

New Felt / Shop Update

My husband likes to screen print and often buys remnant fabric pieces to save money. For whatever reason, this was a new concept for me. Why have I been paying full price for felt all this time?! I was able to score a ton of felt this weekend. I just love looking at all of the different colors:
I also sewed some new catnip toys. These fluorescent buddies are jelly fish made from some of my new remnant felt. They'll go up in the store this week. For some reason, I just love sewing marine life inspired toys. I suppose cats do have a natural inclination towards seafood, and sea creatures tend to lend themselves to shapes that cats would find appealing:
Hope that everyone else had a fun memorial day weekend!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Notorious B.L.T. - Pot Belly Pig in Search of Home

Just got this update from Great Lakes Rabbit Sanctuary. Thought I'd pass it along. Perhaps some of my readers are pig lovers or have friends who may be able to help out this homeless pig.

Notorious BLT is in need of a home!

Notorious BLT

As many of you know, GLRS is also home to 4 potbelly pigs. We recently received a plea to take in another potbelly pig in need of a good home. Her family's circumstances no longer allow them to provide for her. Unfortunately, zoning ordinances limit GLRS to the 4 potbellies already at the sanctuary.

If you, or anyone you know, has the room and resources to provide this adorable oinker with a loving home, please contact Lisa Golub at 734.663.2285 or

Piggie Particulars:

Name: Notorious BLT

Age: 1 year

Current weight: Approx. 60-65 pounds

Health: Spayed and up-to-date on shots

Personality: Litter-box trained. Very sweet and loving, used to living indoors, loves snuggling on the couch and sleeping on her leopard-print bed!

New Art Fire Shop!

I've grown slightly disillusioned with Etsy over the course of the past couple of months. Sure, I still love how aesthetically pleasing Etsy is. I love the friends I've made in the forums, the curated, ever-changing front page. I'm not planning on leaving anytime soon.

BUT. I have noticed a sudden drop in views and sales on Etsy. Sellers are feeling confused about why this is happened and no answers are coming from Etsy employees. I've decided that it's time to branch out and experiment with other sites.

One of the biggest surprises to me was how my Etsy shop is being connected with people who are searching for the types of products I actually sell when these people use google to search.

Here's an example. The following are keywords that led shoppers to my storefront on Art Fire:

Emu feather earrings
Bath powder shakers
Emerald gemstone soap
Blue coral jewelry
Fleece baby blankets with crochet border

Here are some keywords that led shoppers to my Etsy store:

Cat Toys Felt Balls
Cat Toys Felted Balls
Cthulhu Toys
Buy Milk Ring Cat Toy
Day of the Dead Stud Earrings

Contrary to what is being said in the Etsy forums, so far it seems that Etsy is doing a much better job communicating with Google than Art Fire is, at least for my personal account.

There is one way that Art Fire definitely has Etsy beat, however. The employees of Art Fire routinely troll the forums looking for ways that they can be of assistance. They answer questions, give feedback about SEO/SERP and offer very helpful advice. The culture of Art Fire is much more supportive than Etsy. Those who are posting in the forums are very supportive and upbuilding.

At this point, I plan to keep both shops open through the Christmas season so that I can get a good comparison. Both have their advantages.

If you'd like to take a look at the differences in the storefronts, check out my shops!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

So you want to be an Etsy failure?

I thoroughly enjoyed these instructions posted in an Etsy forum. I hope you do, too!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Katie Cook - GRONK A Monster's Story

One of my favorite people from last year's comic con was Katie Cook. Her adorable custom water colors were the highlight of the weekend for me.

She just started a new web comic: GRONK, A Monster's Story.

Check it out!

New Foster Friend - Tanuki the Ferret

Well, there's a first time for everything. I've never fostered a ferret before, and quite frankly I never thought I'd get the chance! Our shelter's normal policy is to send ferrets to rescues, where they will be taken care of by educated staff and paired with other ferrets. They do much better in pairs.

When I found out that the shelter had gotten in a new ferret, I asked if I could give fostering a try. I've had Tanuki for just over a week now. She's doing very well! She's a three year old sable ferret that was found outdoors. Fortunately, she is quite sociable. She only nips playfully when I chase her around. Chasing is her favorite game. As you can see from her photo she is quite flexible, albeit very clumsy.

A few things I have found interesting about ferrets: I was expecting them to be more like rats than any other animal I have had in my care, but they are really much more like puppies that can be litter trained. Tanuki doesn't have the dexterity of rats, although she is fairly intelligent. Not having the use of thumbs like rats makes a huge difference in what she is able to do. She has a lot more energy than the rats I've had, and she can get into a lot more trouble. Ferret proofing is quite the task. The smell was pretty bad at first, but I'm getting used to it. I hardly even notice it anymore, except for when I am holding her. This may have a little something to do with her change in diet, but I think it mainly has to do with me becoming more accustomed to her scent.

All in all, this is not a pet I would choose for myself unless it was the only type of animal I wanted in my house. I think it would be fun to have a pair of ferrets if I didn't already have the rabbits who roam freely in our downstairs.

Here's hoping she finds a good home soon!

Abandoned Baby Squirrels

Most of my friends and customers know that I love animals big and small because I donate a percentage of my sales to my local animal shelter and because I foster small mammals in my home. I also love wildlife, but like many people who interact with urban animals, I know very little about their lives and needs. This weekend provided a learning opportunity!

For a couple days last week, my husband and I had been hearing a high pitched shrieking sound coming from our front yard. We had assumed that it was a bird making this racket, but last Sunday our assumption was proven wrong when we found a lone squirrel at the base of the tree, periodically emitting this same loud sound we had heard.
Adam watched the baby squirrel for a couple hours while I was away at church. Something just wasn't right. We've always watched the baby squirrels in our front tree with delight, but we'd never seen them so small before, let alone without their mother. We called the very helpful folks at Wind River and described the situation. They confirmed our suspicion - the baby was probably an orphan. They told me that oftentimes squirrels rehome their young, a process that takes several hours, but we should have seen the mother. Also, the young often leave the nest and engage in the types of behaviors we were seeing to get their mother's attention when they are abandoned. Unfortunately, if the mother was killed by a car or died for whatever reason, she will never come back.

We were given the contact information of a woman who could take the baby in, and were instructed to feed the baby cantaloupe or watermelon to tide it over until we could get it to the person who could rehabilitate it. He was quite easy to capture, but as soon as we put the box down a second squirrel came out of the hole. After about fifteen minutes of shining a flashlight into the hole and climbing up into the tree with a ladder, we discovered that the litter actually contained five babies. Fortunately they all came out of their nest to see what was happening, so we easily captured them all. They had not yet learned to fear humans, so they came right up to Adam and I (although the last one needed to be coaxed with a piece of watermelon).
Aren't they adorable?! I'm so happy that they are safe and sound in Clinton, Wisconsin with their new human mom. They will be released into the wild in a few weeks, or as soon as they are able to crack nuts on their own.