Strawberry Pi Pie Cat Toy Tutorial

March Break didn’t really turn out as planned. A tickle in my throat at the flea market on Saturday turned into a full-blown chest cold by Sunday; Monday through Thursday I spent most of my time between decongestant doses with a hot barley bag over my face to decrease the pressure in my sinuses. The rest of the family didn’t fare much better, with my husband missing work and the only reason the kids didn’t miss school being that it was already a holiday. All of our plans for outings and most of the fun things to do at home went straight down the toilet.

However, I had made myself a promise of one thing I was going to do over the break: find a rescue kitty who would fit well into our home. This was not a spontaneous decision, since my husband finally agreed that it was time for a new cat since Christmas (our previous cats passed away of extreme old age over ten years ago). But we also knew that we were going to be in Madrid in February, and we didn’t think it was fair to adopt a cat and then go away for ten days just as it was settling in.

So over the March Break I visited the Humane Society as well as many of their Pet Adoption Locations. While I think I petted and cuddled every cat who was willing (which is honestly a nice way to spend your time anyway), it wasn’t until right before closing on Wednesday night that I found Fizzgig (originally named Violet).

Fizzgig is a female 9-month old brown tabby with green eyes who is very curious about the world around her. She is a little bit shy, but deals well with our boisterous, noisy family.

So, in honour of the new member of our household, I thought that a cat toy craft was in order. Since March 14th is Pi Day, a pie-shaped toy seemed particularly fitting! If you don’t have a cat who would have any use for this toy, it also makes fun play food for a child.

Strawberry Pi Pie Cat Toy

Materials:

– 1 sheet of tan felt
– coordinating tan thread
– red embroidery thread
– polyester stuffing
– OPTIONAL: dried catnip

Supplies Needed:

– sewing needle
– scissors
– circular item (to trace)
– pencil

1. Using a circular glass or container about 7cm in diameter, trace a circle on your felt.

2. Cut out the circle and a strip of felt about 2cm wide. The strip should be an inch or two longer than the circumference of the circle. The easiest way to determine the circumference without math is to wrap the felt around the bottom of the glass/container you used to to make the circle.

3. Using coordinating thread, whip stitch the long edge of the strip of fabric to the circumference of the circle.

4. Overlap the ends of the long strip, and then trim off the excess so that they only overlap by about half a centimeter. Whip stitch along the exterior edge to join the strip into a circle.

5. Using your stitched portions as a guide, draw a rough circle about 1cm larger all the way around than the original base. Cut it out.

6. Turn the circle over so that the marked pieces are on the bottom. Draw the symbol for Pi π in pencil at the center of the “top crust” you just cut out.

7. Using red embroidery thread and your favourite stitch (I am a fan of the split stitch, which is #3 in this article), embroider over the pencil markings you have made for the Pi symbol.

8. Using a large whip stitch (which will result in the fabric bunching around the edge to create the “crimped edge” of the top crust), sew the top crust to the rest of the pie. When the crust is about 3/4 of the way attached, stuff the pie with polyester stuffing and, if you so choose, a little bit of dried catnip. Then finish stitching the pie closed.

Your strawberry pi pie cat toy should be ready to go! We didn’t use catnip for ours, but Fizzgig likes it just the same. Her favourite thing to do is bat it down the stairs and then go chase after it. I tried to get a picture of her playing with it, but this was the best that I could do — she’s basically just a motion blur at this age!

Sock Chibi-Totoro & Snowgie Tutorial

One of the standards of children’s crafts is sock creatures, usually starting with puppets and moving on to more complicated projects from there. Sock creatures can be cheap, quick, and easy, which is exactly what you need with kids who can be easily frustrated when learning a new skill. As a bonus, basic sewing is something that everyone should learn, and sock creatures are a great way to teach sewing without it even seeming like a lesson.

I have made tutorials for two simple sock creatures based on characters from popular children’s movies. The first is Chibi-Totoro, who is the smallest of three adorable forest spirits from the 1988 movie My Neighbor Totoro. The second is a tiny snowman created by snow queen Elsa called a Snowgie, from the 2015 short Frozen Fever (which takes place in the same world as Disney’s Frozen).


Chibi-Totoro

Sock Chibi-Totoro Stuffie

Supplies Needed:
– one white sock
– 2 safety eyes or black buttons
– scraps of tan or peach felt
– polyester stuffing
– sewing needle
– white thread
– sewing scissors

1. Lay the sock on a flat surface.

2. Using sewing scissors, cut the sock as per the above photo. Discard the ankle and the toe, or save scraps for another project.

3. Turn the remaining piece of fabric sideways, so that the heel (which will be the tail) is at the back. Cut a deep vee into the top of the sock. The actual measurements of the vee will depend on the size of sock you use.

4. Whip-stitch the top of the vee closed; this will become the ears.

5. Turn the sock inside-out to hide the seam and to make the Chibi-Totoro as fluffy as possible. Attach safety eyes or sew on buttons.

6. Stuff the creature with polyester stuffing. Sew the bottom closed using an invisible closing seam; this will also ensure that the seam lies mostly flat.

7. Take a large stitch across the back of the stuffie where you want the join between the tail and the body to be. Pull the stitch tight and tie off, hiding the ends inside the body.

8. Cut out little clawed feet out of the felt and stitch them to the bottom of the body.

9. I discovered that my Chibi-Totoro would not stay up because its tail went down too far, so I took a big stitch from the back of the body to the top of the tail and pulled tight. This decreased the angle between body and tail so that the stuffie would stand up on its own.

Now your simple Chibi-Totoro stuffie is ready to be played with!


Snowgie

Sock Snowgie Stuffie

Supplies Needed:
– two white sock
– 2 safety eyes or black buttons
– scraps of dark blue and white felt
– polyester stuffing
– sewing needle
– white thread
– sewing scissors

1. Lay one sock on a flat surface.

2. Using sewing scissors, cut the sock as per the above photo. Discard the ankle and the toe, or save scraps for another project

3. Do a running stitch around one end of the tube, then pull tight and tie off.

4. Turn tube inside out so that fluffiest side is on the outside. Attach safety eyes or sew on buttons. Stuff the creature with polyester stuffing.

5. Gather the bottom of the tube together and sew tightly closed. Don’t worry if this isn’t perfect, as it will be hidden by the feet.

6. Wrap a doubled piece of thread around the middle of the tube and tie tightly, creating a head and a body.

7. Cut two rough circles out of the widest part of the second sock. These will become the feet.

8. Stitch a running stitch around the edge of one foot, fuzziest side of the fabric facing out. Stuff the foot. Pull the running stitch as tight as possible and tie off. Repeat for second foot. Sew both feet onto the bottom of the body of the stuffie.

9. Cut mouth and teeth out of felt scraps and sew onto face of stuffie. Your Snowgie is now complete!