Sunday, March 10, 2013

Kitty Kapers


"Kitty": my replica of the Barbie Put Ons & Pets Kitty Kapers pet cat from 1972.
If you've been reading my blog regularly, you might remember last week I completed a replica of the Barbie 1972 Put Ons & Pets Hot Togs Afghan Hound. My client was impressed enough to order two more animals and also took the dog to a doll club meeting! I am so happy when someone really appreciates my work, and you all know how I love solving a "problem", as we used to say in art school. I had fun looking at the original cat and figuring out how to draw the pattern for the replica.


For my version, I sewed a wool felt body and stuffed it with bamboo rayon and polyester fiber fill. The rayon blend stuffing gets really hard, so the dolls and animals you stuff with it are firm enough to stand and feel almost like they have a plastic interior, but they are still very lightweight. The only problem is that the rayon has a tendency to bunch up into little balls so that sometimes you can't push it back to the place you want it and you have to pull it out and start over. To avoid this I add really small amounts of stuffing at a time.


When the body was finished I needle-felted yarn onto the felt body to get the fuzzy look of the original. I was very happy to see we have a local yarn shop, Time To Unwind, here in town. I was able to pick up the yarn I needed without having to order it and wait for shipping or drive a long way. The owner is also a CPA so you can go in and have your taxes done while you shop! She will wind the skeins into balls for you when you purchase. The store hosts Yarn and Wine Thursdays from 5-8PM, so you can drink and socialize while you work. I was happy to find this place! I used Peruvian Merino/ Polyamide blend yarn called Ushya (meaning "soft") by Mirasol. It is already woven into fat tubes, so you can cover a lot of ground with only a little yarn and get a big, furry look. Here is the original outfit and cat I was copying: http://www.fashion-doll-guide.com/Vintage-Barbie-Kitty-Kapers.html. Just the outfit without the cat or food is rare enough to sell in the $100 range.


I couldn't resist making my cat a little poseable, so before I felted on the fur I string-jointed the legs, avoiding felting under the limb.The back are more jointed than the front, and they all move slightly so the cat and be set in different positions. This also helps the cat have a more 3-dimensional look. The original is pretty flat and looks a little like roadkill to me!



The cat is sized for 11 1/2 inch Barbie or other fashion dolls.


The cat also fits 8 inch dolls like tiny Betsy or Ginny.
 
I posed the cat with one of my daughter's Disney Barbie-sized dolls and a vintage tiny Betsy McCall. The Betsy can be purchased from me in my store: http://stores.ebay.com/atelier-mandaline. Next up for this client is a Barbie-sized Yorkie. That's going to be a challenge! I was feeling pretty confident until I saw this Yorkie by Gourmet Felted: http://www.flickriver.com/photos/gourmet_felted/4482399441/.
 
Amazing! My dog will have to be about a fourth of the size, however, so it will be really hard to get that much detail. I hope to get that dog going today, but I don't know. I have both the Elders and the Sister Missionaries coming tonight. They were supposed to come last week but we had to cancel due to Jerry and I being sick. It seemed like everyone was better until this morning, when our youngest woke up coughing and saying his throat hurts and in an awful mood. He's upstairs lying in bed just screaming right now for no apparent reason other than that he isn't feeling well. I have a ton of laundry to wash as well.
 
I should have worked on the laundry pile over the weekend, but we had really pretty weather so I didn't want to. Our daughter had a play date at a friend's house yesterday afternoon, so we took the boys to The Savory Plum, our town's new bakery and coffee shop. I highly recommend the Coconut Boston Cream cupcakes! The doughnut muffins are supposed to be good too, as is the chili and sandwiches, according to the other patrons. We shopped at a thrift store and then walked to the woods to look at the "shelter" our 14 year old is building. It's actually pretty impressive. He's not using any nails or anything, just stacking fallen logs and stuff in a ravine. It even has a thatched pine straw roof!
 
I'm happy he's found a wild place where he can be alone to do his thing. Since we moved to N.C. when I was 10 our house had a large woods behind it where I would ramble all the time on my own or with our dog. When I was around my son's age the town built a sewer line into the woods and it created a clear path for walking. I used to walk through the woods to Buffaloe Road and then down to Vandora and on to our house in a big circle almost every day throughout high school. Now those roads are too busy to walk on safely; the intersection just had a round-a-bout installed! At that time no one was ever in the woods or on the roads much. I would walk and walk every day and think, almost always alone. I can remember wishing my life would start, my real life, and it seemed like it would take forever! I think teenagers need time alone to just try to figure out the person they're going to become. I don't remember ever taking anyone else on my walk with me except one time. I didn't want to share it with anyone.
 
I'm glad we got out yesterday while the sun was shining because today's another rainy, cloudy day. It's amazing how it affects the mood! I will post more on the Yorkie project when I finish it.

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