RSS

Author Archives: dorisaurus

Easy Kitty Ear Hat Tutorial

Easy Kitty Ear Hat Tutorial

Brrrr!  Tis getting to the season of holiday cheer and nippy temperatures.  Perhaps this gift giving season a warm adorable hat would be appreciated by your loved ones (or, if you make one to keep for yourself…we won’t tell 😉 )

Yesterday I attended a hat making party.  The organizer, a lovely young lady named Miriam, holds these parties to sew geeky and cute fleece hats for kids going through chemotherapy – they’re going through a hard enough time without having to deal with ugly hats!  She very kindly showed me how to make a kitty ear hat.  Here’s the instructions for the pattern –  please also check out her super great tutorial for a basic fleece hat.

Picture heavy territory ahead!

Step One.  Pattern Pieces.  Fleece is very forgiving so you can sort of freehand it.  For a size Medium (most adults) you will need:

One triangle 6″ across the bottom, 5.5″ from the tip to the base.  All sides are rounded gently outwards.

One triangle for the ears, about 5.5″ across the bottom and 4.5″ from tip to base.

The hat band is 24″ x 6″.

Step Two: Cut 4 of the large triangles for your crown.  Fleece has a slight one directional stretch.  Be sure that the stretch is running across the bottom of the triangle; I give it a slight tug before I cut or sew to check.  (It’s much more comfortable for your head to have the stretch going the correct direction!)

Step 3: Cut 2 ear pieces out of your main fabric, then 2 pieces out of a contrasting piece of fabric for the inside of the ears.  Here’s the head and the ear pattern pieces on top of each other so you can see their relative sizes.

Step 4: Using one piece of your main color fabric and 1 of your contrast fabric, stack the ear triangle pieces with the right sides facing in.  Remember to leave the stretch along the bottom edge, and stitch the two sides, leaving the bottom open for now.

Repeat for the other ear.

Step 5: Flip those ears so the right sides are on the outside.  Looking good!

Step 6: This part is pretty key on making your ears look right by helping them to stand up.  Make a fold on each layer of your ear, like so.

Step Seven: Stitch the fold along the bottom to hold them in.  Technically you don’t really have to do this if you can just pin them in place for now, but I think it is easier to do this to hold everything together.

Step Eight: With your 4 remaining triangles, sew the two halves of your hat crown.  Remember, the stretch goes along the long side!

Step Nine: Now you’re going to place the ears on one half of your hat.  You can tack them in place or pin them.

Step Ten: Put the other half of your ear sandwich on.  (I just left one corner folded so you can see the ears inside.  Remember, your hat crown pieces will be with the right sides facing in.  Sew that top edge all together, and flip…

Step Eleven: Almost there.  Take a sec to appreciate how cute this will be.

Step Twelve.  Fold your hat band so the short edges match.  Stitch along the short side (right sides facing in).

Step Thirteen: Flip the band right sides out, and fold it once length wise, so you have a short tube.

Step Fourteen: Put the crown of your hat through your little tube, so that all the loose edges meet up.  Everything is right sides out.

Stitch all along your tube, then flip it over!

And you’re done!

I hope this hat will keep you or your loved ones warm this season!

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 19, 2012 in DIY, Informational, Tutorials

 

Tags: , , , ,

Cat Cookies (a.k.a. Kraftsy Kitty Kookies)

Cat Cookies (a.k.a. Kraftsy Kitty Kookies)

Happy Halloween everyone!  Time for another baking edition of Kraftsy Kitties!
I was inspired to try making some kitty cookies based off the “pattern” for panda bread.  This Japanese (of course) pinnacle of delicious cuteness is definitely worth trying, although most of my efforts in the bread arena usually end up looking a little O_o – literally, what with the stretching of shapes in the whole rising thing with baking bread.  I’ve had really good luck with substituting bread dough for sugar cookie dough – it’s much easier to work with.
In this version you’ll need two colors of dough; the larger portion for the cat face, and approximately half that amount for the contrasting eyes and rim.  (About eight hours after I mixed up the dough it hit me that a black cat would be more suitable for Halloween, but then again, all cat things I make end up being orange tabby, naturally.)  This recipe is actually great for when you don’t have a long chunk of time to bake at once, because the dough works best when you can chill it.

I love this cookie recipe for its simplicity.  To color, either add a few drops of food coloring, or a tablespoon of dark cocoa powder.  I often use matcha powder to make green tea cookies.

 

To baking!

For the larger amount, you will need:

2 cups flour
2 sticks of butter
1 egg
1 cup of sugar

Halve the amounts for the contrasting dough.  I just use a whole egg, but sprinkle in a bit more flour if the dough seems too quickly.

Beat all ingredients in a stand mixer.  Chill the dough in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight in a covered container.

1. Roll about half of your main dough into a fat log shape on a lightly floured board. Press with your fingers into an oval shape.  This will be the base of the cat face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Next, the eyes.  Roll two small ropes with your contrast dough.  Keep the ropes round.  Add in a rope of your main dough to form the space between the eyes.  Work quickly as your hands will warm up the dough, and the softer it gets the harder it is to handle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Next, take about 2/3 of your remaining main dough and rolling it out to a flat piece.  Mine started getting a bit warm and too soft, so this is what happens when it starts getting all sticky.  Still, this whole thing is pretty forgiving, so don’t stress too much if this happens you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Put your eye roll (Step Two) onto your face oval (Step One.)  Slap that flat piece (Step 3) onto the top and gently press it into place.  I found that it helps to have that flat piece ready…or else the eye parts have a tendency to roll of the head.  Moistening the dough with a pastry brush dipped in water as you put them together will also help them stick, but I like having that top-of-the-head piece on there to help keep it all together.

It doesn’t need to wrap all the way around the face – just around the eyes is fine.

 

 

 

5. Next, the ears! This is basically a repeat of Step 2, but reverse the colors.  Also, this time, instead of making the ropes round, flatten each rope into a triangular shape, including the middle pieces.  The middle channel will be slightly larger than your ear pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Holy out of focus camera!  Sorry about that, but you can see the ear segment plopped on top of the head now.  This is probably a good point to mention that you should start with a modest cat-face piece in Step One because this cookie log is just going to get bigger and BIGGER.  Looking a bit more recognizable as a kitty face now?

 

 

 

 

 

7. Roll out your remaining contrast dough into a rough rectangle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. And slap that sucker around your log.  Almost there!  And the end bits always look kind of wonky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. At this point, your log might feel a bit precarious, because the dough might not be sticking that well together.  If you try to bake your cookies like this, all your segments are going to fall apart, trust me.  So, wrap the WHOLE LOG in plastic wrap, like a sushi roll.  Then you can slide your hands down the length while applying pressure to compress the dough together and get the air out.

It’s best to chill the dough again at this point.  You can also freeze your cookie dough for later use.

 

 

 

10. When your dough is nice and chilled again (2 hours to overnight) , use a sharp knife to cut off slices about 3/8″ in thick.  Here you’ll be able to get a preview of your rolling abilities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Turn out onto a rack to cool and admire (or judge) your handiwork.  I think this is probably just a B.  But then again, all my rolled cookie animals always turn out O_o.  Still tasty though! And if they look a little scary…it IS Halloween after all! 🙂

Enjoy! ❤

 

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 29, 2012 in Informational

 

Cats in Ties! Make your cat a Tiecat too.

Just more proof that cats officially own all humans and also the internets.  Have you seen this tumblog about cats wearing ties?  It’s pretty much one of the most adorable things ever.

I’d love to dress up Otoro like Wei-ling has been demonstrating her her extremely patient kitties with their hats and being breaded.  However, Otoro is somewhat less tolerant and I enjoy actually have a face, so the full on costume is out of the question.  My answer?  Catis in ties! Have you seen this tumblog? 

Many cats who wouldn’t let you dress them up are already accustomed to wearing one article of clothing – their collars.  So it’s easier to dress them up a little bit with simple collar decorations.  The first time around, I made a dress shirt collar tube/sleeve I could slide over his collar and a small tie out of pin striped fabric.

ImageImage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was OK, but the edges didn’t hold their shape very well. And the dress collar kept getting turned around.

Next I cut out collar, tie, and bow tie shapes out of felt, and included small tabs to sew onto the back side so I could slide them onto his collar. I did this freehand, the shapes are not too complicated.

Image

The collar wasn’t the best, but the tie and bow tie were much better now!

Image

Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And there you have it!  A well dressed kitty who won’t be too upset about putting on the fancy wear. 🙂  Enjoy!  Hope you share your pictures of your well dressed kitties too!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 8, 2012 in Informational, Tutorials

 

Home made cat donuts :) (beta testing version)

Has everyone out here seen the pictures of incredibly cute cat donuts floating around the interwebs recently?  Just type “cat donuts” into Google or Pinterest and you’ll see tons of pictures of these guys.  Wow!  Trust the Japanese to continue to make incredibly cute things that I would have serious guilt over eating!  (And not just because I always feel guilty about the unhealthiness about fried things coated in sugar.)
AJ brought these adorable guys to my attention and suggested that we try making our own!
So, honestly, deep frying kind of scares me.  Wei-ling has a deep fryer but all that boiling oil makes me pretty nervous.  The home cook’s alternative to deep frying are baked donuts.  I borrowed a co-worker’s donut pans and set to work.  Here’s how they turned out!

 

1. I used a recipe from King Arthur Flour – I have had great results with their whole wheat flours and this was no exception.  I used 100% whole wheat pastry for the donuts and they really did turn out with a great texture.  The batter was quick thick, more like a muffin batter in consistency.  These will be more like the “cake like” donuts verses the Krispy Kreme kind, but even though I didn’t do a 50./50 of all purpose flour with the pastry flour, they turned out nice and soft and had a real donut shape.

2. Now the tricky part.  I almost never ice or frost my baked goods because I don’t really like gooey things on top of my delicious cake.  You can tell I don’t really do this a lot.  I thought I’d try a simple sugar glaze, the type you’d make for a gingerbread house.  I started with 1 cup of powdered sugar and added water 1 tablespoon at a time to get it to the right consistency.  (About 3.5 tablespoons.)  Then I dunked the donut it.

3. Ok,  Here’s where things where pretty wonky.  Once the glaze started to try, it turned really transparent.,  So I started to dunk them in repeatedly and the icing started to drip everywhere and boy, that icing goes fast.  I ended up using like the whole box of powered sugar for 12 donuts.  Healthiness fail…

4. And then the chocolate chip ears go on….I’m pretty sure that in the original donuts these guys have chocolate chip ears.  But with a much BETTER icing that coats and holds everything down and isn’t all transparent and is smooth.  I texted a picture to AJ, at which point she did say that well..these would be some super SPECIAL cats.  Like how Igor or Frankenstein were kind of special, with weird lumps all over them.

At this point, I just hoped and some frosting faces would save them!

 

Whew.  Kind of saved.

Round 2 of kitty donuts will have to include different flavors and nailing down a good icing.  Still, I think these turned out pretty cute in the end…even the one I forgot to take a picture of until I took a bite.  Cute or sad?

 

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 17, 2012 in DIY, Tutorials

 

Sandbag Weights

It’s great to have a network of friends who have the same hobbies as yourself.  I have certainly benefitted from folks who decided to upgrade or sell spare equipment because they outgrew it and I am growing into.  For sewing, I think I could be “little AJ” because in addition to her spare sewing machine I also inherited her old dress form.  (Wow, miles better than stuffing a dress with body pillows, despite the post-30 readjustment of body image, sadly, my bosom will never be pillowy.  Sniff.)
AJ did give me a bit of a warning though, “Watch out, that thing is INCREDIBLY tippy”.  Her kitties were constantly tipping the thing over with their antics and should I ever have a heavier dress on mine, I’ll have the same problem.  Once I took a look around the house, it did also seem like I was stocking my house with nothing but unsteady tripods – camera tripod, photography light stand, background stands.  Tipping over a dress is one thing, but expensive electronic equipment?  Nu-uh.

I ordered this set of sandbag weights from Amazon (sand not included) – studio photographers use these to weight down various bits of equipment to prevent tippage.  Each one has two side bags so it can drape over tripod legs and distribute the weight more evenly.  The color is a little bit unfortunate, however, the material is extremely tough.  I filled each side with about 5 lbs of fish tank gravel I picked up at my local Petco.

 

 

 

 

I especially like how each side has a double zipper – so it’s very secure against the sand leaking out.  I imagine that other things that will work equally well if you weren’t inclined to buy this particular set of weights.  Those arm/wrist/leg eights for working out would probably do well, though you’d have to get a few of them to provide enough stabilization.  Or anyone out there put dumb bells on the legs of their dress form?  Hey, even a bag of rocks would probably work!

Ten pounds of gravel makes me feel much more kitty safe – and fairly “I-bumped-that-thing-with-my-hip’ safe too!  So, I’ll be sure to have my weights out any time I’m using my equipment for proper safety.   Look at the kitty already coming to check it out!  HAHAHA…kitty safe now!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 27, 2012 in Shopping, Tools & Accessories

 

Tags:

D.I.Y. magnetic pin cushion/findings holder

In the last post, AJ showed off the usefulness of a magnetic pin cushion.   In addition to increased pet safety, I find that it seems awfully handy and much more HUMAN-safe as well to be able to drop your pin in the vicinity of the container and have it just go to the right spot!  How many times have you been sewing and in a groove and found it a hassle to remove pins and have to take your attention away from the machine to put the pin in the right spot?

The idea of magnets helping out clumsy people like me is a great idea!  So I thought I would try to expand on the idea with a simple DIY case that I could take with me many places, as I’m often crafting at fellow Krafty Kitties’ houses!

1. Magnets and a container of your choice.  I got these from Joanne’s for about $5 total.  This little plastic container is actually a bead container and screws into a stack of four.  But what I really wanted was a container with a lid.

 

 

 

 

 

2, Cut out two pieces of cloth to match the size of your container.  Great way to use up scraps!  And maybe some pinked edges for both the cuteness factor and to keep the edges from fraying.

It is helpful to make one piece slightly larger than the other, which I totally didn’t do here and wish I did!

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Lay out your magnets.  If you have rare earth magnets which are super strong, you’ll only need one.  I used 3 to make sure I have enough magnetic power, and a bit of tape to hold them in position as they have a tendency to flip over onto themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Stitch the two matching pieces of cloth together.  This is where one piece being larger than the other really helps out, because you’ll need that piece ON TOP – and what with needing to cover a three dimensional object it will make it easier to have the edges match up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Drop your magnet packet into place and affix with glue.  And bam!  A nice little place to drop your pins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Look Mom, no spills!

I look forward to taking this little container with me for portable sewing, I feel more secure because I can screw on the lid and drop it into my carrying bag.
The 4 stack of containers could be very useful this way for one’s beading collection of head pins, clasps, and jump rings. You can keep them all separate and don’t have to worry them all spilling out all over the place with the inevitable bump-off-the table.

 
I hope this tutorial has been helpful! 🙂  Any other uses for magnets you can think of?  Please share!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 30, 2012 in DIY, Tools & Accessories

 

Decorative Cat Grass Tabletop Garden

One of my many hobbies includes gardening, although it’s often one of those things I keep up optimistically by shuffling dead plants away and replacing them with nice live ones from the store.  But after I adopted Otoro and discovered one of his bad habits is ALWAYS jumping on the table to see what is up there, I got a lot more paranoid about accidentally poisoning my cat through household greenery. At the same time, I really wanted to continue to enjoy having plants inside.

The ASPCA has a good list of what plants are toxic to dogs and cats (and horses) that I look at before I buy any flowers for myself or for anyone who has a cat.  Sadly, lilies (my favorite flower) are like #1 deadly toxic to cats and so I’ll never have them in the house again.  Even some of the non-toxic ones are kind of barf-inducing, as I discovered Otoro going after the Alstroemeria (a lily-like plant but not toxic to cats)  like it was a salad bar and finding barf spots all over the carpet for 2 days.

I’m starting simple now with a cat grass garden.  Like, hey, if he’s going to eat it, it might as well be good for him, right?  And, having cat grass available can* encourage him to stay away from more dangerous variety of plants.

*Really? I keep reading this, but would you think it was safe to put poison next to something that was OK to eat on the theory that your pet or child will eat the safe thing and then not be interested in the poison? Yeah, I wouldn’t risk it either.
tabletop catgrass garden

tabletop catgrass garden

So, key factors in mind for an indoor garden:
1) non-toxic
2) solid enough so a curious paw won’t knock it over
3) visually attractive

Here I’ve got my little container going.  I went to IKEA and got a glass planter.  Ross, TJ Maxx, and stores like that are fantastic places for glass vases for cheap.  Of course, any planter would work, but I just happen to love glass ones.

I filled up the bottom with rocks for drainage and weight, because there are no drainage holes at the bottom of this thing.  (Rocks also from IKEA, get the undyed ones if you get them from there – after all, your cat will eat this grass and you probably ought not grow a food in dye-rich rocks.)  I put in about an inch of dirt at the top and scattered in cat grass seeds from my local PetCo.  I wasn’t sure how much dirt I would need and if all the dirt would just filter through the holes in the gravel as I watered, but it seems to be doing fine so far!  You can see the roots extend all the way to the bottom of the container so I water it lightly every few days to prevent too much stagnant water from drowning the roots.

This is my first attempt at this cat grass thing. so I will have to do a follow up with the long term sustainability of this thing.  Does cat grass keep growing if you mow it, or do you have to to throw down new seeds every few weeks?  Anyhow, it all did grow in about a week so it is at least an easy and (to my mind) attractive way to get some green in the house.

Anyone else have cats and indoor plants?  What do you do?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 6, 2012 in Informational, Tutorials

 

Tags: ,