Dewey Dude’s New (recycled/ repurposed) Dog Bed

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My little boy is growing up! LOL.  The bed that fit Dewey Dude when he was just a  little two month old puppy just wasn’t working anymore.  Now he’s a great big 8 month old (and still growing) puppy and it was definitely time for an upgrade to his dog bed.

Dewey smiles

Look at that cute little puppy! I could pick him up with one hand at this age!

morningstar hike me and dewey dude

Now look at The Kid (one of his many nicknames)! I can barely pick him up with both arms- he’s at least 50 pounds!

I thought about buying a new dog bed, but c’mon, this is me we’re talking about here!  I don’t buy anything I can make myself, and I usually make it better than what you find in the stores ;)

Last year we got a new mattress, but of course we still had the old one.  Sal’s like me- he doesn’t throw away anything that he might be able to recycle, reuse, or repurpose.  So we carefully took apart the mattress, which had a really nice pillow top, and the box spring and put everything in storage until we found a use for it.  The box spring will likely become a gate, and I already used some of the padding to re-stuff Ziggi’s dog bed.

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Ginko was helping me work on Ziggi’s bed- he’s a very paws on kind of supervisor ;)

I decided to use the pillow topper from the mattress to create a new Big Boy dog bed for Dewey Dude.  Since he likes to sprawl when he sleeps I knew I’d have to make a pretty big bed.  I cut the well padded pillow topper in half then folded it and sewed the seams.

Of course I had help from Calcifer!  It was a real pain (quite literally!) to sew all this by hand, but it did turn out really nice.  If I were to buy a bed this big and soft it would cost well over $100.  This thing has four thick layers of padding and is very durable.  I covered it with his blankets so he would know it was his, and so I could easily wash the blankets and keep the bed clean.  Dewey Dude certainly approves!

 

Hopefully he won’t outgrow this bed anytime soon!  I’ll make one for Ziggi when my hands heal up from this one.  I managed to shed a little blood on this project ;)  Hey, anything to make my critters happy! :D

Be sure to check back and see what else I’m working on!

Thanks for stopping by :)

~Michelle of CreativeCritters

Making a Glow in the Dark Mushroom House with Gnomes and Bunny

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I wanted to share my latest creation with you all today.  This fun little project all started with the cork from our New Year’s Eve bottle of champagne ;)  I looked at the cork and thought, “that looks like a mushroom- I should definitely do something with that!”.  At first I was just going to make a simple little ornament or something along those lines, but I seem to have a real hard time doing anything simple- LOL.  wip mushroom gnome house

When I started this I really had no idea where it was going or how it would develop.  I covered the cork with clay to create the mushroom, then decided that I wanted the stem to be longer so I added a foil extension, coated in Tacky glue so the clay would stick better.  There are two wires inserted through the cork and into the foil to create a secure stem.  At this point I had decided I wanted to make a house, because in my fun fantasy world mushrooms make excellent houses.

wip mushroom gnome house 2

I expanded the mushroom cap and added a door and several windows around the stem of the mushroom.  I used glow in the dark clay for the underside of the cap, the windows (so it looks like they’re lighted from within in the dark), the heart shaped doorknob, and the three hearts on top of the mushroom cap.

Then I needed a base for this creation (mushrooms have to grow somewhere, after all).

wip mushroom gnome house calcifer

Calcifer likes to supervise these projects, but seems to get the munchies, so I made sure he had a comfortable spot to eat while he watched me work ;)  The way I usually make bases for my projects is to cut out a piece of stiff cardboard in the desired shape, coat it with a thin layer of Tacky glue (to help the clay adhere), let the glue dry, then cover the cardboard in clay.

wip mushroom gnome house 3

In this case I used shades of green, blue, yellow, and gold polymer clay for the grass.  Now the mushroom has been securely “planted”.  But who lives here?  Gnomes of course!  I like sculpting gnomes because they are fun, happy creatures (at least when I make them).  As I delved deeper into this little story that was developing in my mind I decided I wanted to add an animal to the scene (no surprise there!).  I thought it would be pretty cool to have Mr. and Mrs. Gnome feeding their friend bunny rabbit.

WIP gnome house 4
I made the rabbit realistic and on a much larger scale than the gnomes so it was obvious that the gnomes were of the tiny variety.  I also sculpted a bunch of minuscule carrots for the bunny- not an easy task BTW!  The gnome is only about 1 1/2 inches tall, so this is pretty detailed for being so tiny.

WIP gnome house 2

I put a carrot in each of the gnome’s hands and carefully propped him in an espresso cup for baking.  Behind him you can see the tiny red basket filled with carrots that I baked at the same time.  Mrs. Gnome was the next to be sculpted, but I had to bake the basket first so that I could wrap her hand around the handle.  Once all the characters were baked I positioned them on the unbaked base and added lots of pretty flowers.

Gnomes and bunny main

It’s so much fun “writing” a story in sculpture!  Mrs. Gnome is an avid gardener (much like myself) and loves tending the pretty flowers throughout her yard.  Mr. Gnome enjoys his vegetable garden and both love animals and are more than happy to share their bounty with the local critters.  Mr. Bunny Rabbit stops by every day for a snack of fresh carrots.

Gnomes and bunny 3

I love how much detail I managed to achieve on such a small scale!  It takes a great deal of patience, but I find it so rewarding.  I admit, I did have to wear reading glasses this time around to see what I was doing.  I wear contacts to see far away, but lately I’ve noticed it’s getting harder to clearly see the tiny details when I’m sculpting on this scale.  The reading glasses really helped though and allowed me to get super detailed :)

And then there’s the glow in the dark effect!

 

 

In the first picture you can see the windows, the underside of the mushroom cap, and some of the flowers glowing.  The second picture is the top of the mushroom, to which I also added random sprinkles of glow in the dark powder- pretty trippy! ;)

Here’s a few pictures with measurements so you can see exactly how big the entire sculpture is.

 

 

I have this piece listed for sale on CreativeCritters, so if anyone is interested in purchasing it (or just seeing more pictures) you can click on any of the pictures to be taken to the full listing.  This was a lot of fun to make, and I’m glad I took the time to just create something fun and fanciful.  This sort of thing just makes me happy :)  Hopefully it will make you happy as well!

Stay tuned to see what else I’m creating!

~Michelle of CreativeCritters

 

Fun with the Dogs at Beaver Creek

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The other day Sal decided that we ought to take a spontaneous trip with the dogs to Beaver Creek, one of our favorite little getaways.  We always go during the week when no one else is there, so we have our choice of spots to hang out at along the creek.  Of course Ziggi, being the water dog that he is, absolutely loves the creek.  We’ve been taking him there for the last few years, and the minute we get near the water he’s in it!

beaver creek wet zig.jpg

Dewey Dude isn’t as much of a natural when it comes to water.  This is only his second trip to the creek- the first time he only just got his paws wet ;)  He’s gaining some confidence though, and he really wants to be where Ziggi’s at.

beaver creek ziggi and dewey

The dogs had a blast running and jumping over the red rocks (this is in Sedona BTW), and racing through the trees.  This place is like doggy Heaven!  And I think when the fish are around Dewey Dude may just turn out to be a pretty good fishing dog.  He knows how to put his whole face in the water and can even fish things out (like rocks and sticks).

beaver creek dewey

He’s working on getting a rock out of this puddle ;)  Ziggi tries to go fishing, but doesn’t comprehend how to stick his face in the water.  It’s really pretty funny to watch him try to go fishing.  The fish will be swimming around in front of him and he just sort of snaps at the surface of the water.  It does keep him busy though, and he seems to enjoy himself, so it’s all good.  Maybe Dewey Dude can teach him how its done.

beaver creek dewey dude and ziggi dog

This is a shot of the boys patiently waiting for their treat.  Dewey’s as big as Ziggi now!  Whenever we go on these little day trips we pack some snacks for ourselves and treats for the dogs.  It’s such a pleasure being out in nature with Sal and the boys.  We all feel revitalized when we get back :)  And it’s good to be able to let the dogs run and play and just be dogs.  I take them for walks daily, but it’s not the same as being able to climb mountains, swim, and race and leap through open fields.

I love watching Dewey Dude gain confidence and try new things too.  He was testing his balance and getting a feel for the water here.

beaver creek dewey dude in water

While part of me was a bit worried about him going over the falls, I knew he’d be fine.  We picked a fairly safe spot and there was a calm, shallow pool just past the falls.

It was a really gorgeous day- about 70 degrees and sunny.  Gotta love these Arizona winters!  It’s nice to have this time with Sal too, something different from our everyday routine.  It helps us stay connected with Mother Nature and with each other <3

beaver creek me and sal kissing

So, in conclusion, take some time out in nature.  Be happy, enjoy your dog’s enthusiasm for the great outdoors, and kiss your sweetie in the sunshine <3

Life is good! :)

~Michelle of CreativeCritters

My Latest World of Warcraft Wedding Cake Topper

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I recently finished sculpting another custom World of Warcraft wedding cake topper and wanted to share some pics with my readers.  This one has an Elf as the bride and a Tauren as the groom.

WoW cake topper This piece took a LONG time to complete, but then again, these highly detailed wedding cake toppers usually do.  It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but the bride’s dress has areas that have been stamped and brushed with shimmering iridescent Pearl Ex powders, and there are several layers to the dress.  I think the dress took as long to make as the entire elf!WoW cake topper 6 I really spent a lot of time on the tiny details like the white flowers that are twining up the bride’s legs.  That bouquet is pretty special too.  I found a vintage earring in my jewelry stash that had (faux)  pearls, diamonds, and gold accents and I added white polymer clay roses to create a truly unique bouquet.

My customer also requested that a banner with the Horde logo was included.

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That logo’s not painted on either- I cut that out of red clay and appliqued it to the black banner.  Not easy, but I think it looks better than it would have if I’d painted it.

The Tauren groom was a lot of fun to make as well.  I do believe he’s the first Tauren I’ve sculpted that didn’t have a beard.  He did have a big toothy smile though :)  My customer sent me lots of really good screen shots so I was able to create just what she was looking for.  When it comes to making these cake toppers good pictures of the characters are a must.

I really like the way the pose came out too.  The groom has one arm lovingly around the bride’s waist and is gently holding her other other hand- very romantic! <3  And the pretty elf bride gazes up at her new husband with love in her eyes.  Yeah, I’m a romantic all right!  Plus I finished this shortly after I got engaged myself, so I was really feeling the love ;)

So far I’ve only had orders for World of Warcraft wedding cake toppers, but I’m quite willing to create any characters, for any occasion.   If you’re interested in having me create a cake topper for you (wedding, birthday, anniversary, or other occasion) you can place a deposit at this link or contact me at macreativecritters@gmail.com for more information.

And now onto the next project!   Stay tuned to see how my mushroom gnome house sculpture turns out- so far it’s pretty awesome!

Happy crafting my friends!

~Michelle of CreativeCritters

2015- A Very Good Year!

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Yes, I know, we’re already two weeks into 2016, so I’m a bit late in posting this ;)  But, as usual, I’ve been rather busy and just haven’t taken the time to sit down and blog.

2015 was a very good year indeed.  The garden did quite well, and for the first time (since I’ve been in Arizona anyway) I started the seeds indoors and allowed the seedlings to mature a bit before moving the trays out to the greenhouse.  This strategy worked very well and resulted in strong healthy plants that thrived once they were transplanted into the garden.

P1030693 There were some insect issues, as usual, but the regular applications of Neem seemed to keep the squash bugs and cucumber beetles somewhat under control.  We’re considering getting Guinea Hens this year and allowing them to free range in the garden.  I’ve heard they’re excellent at insect control and not as destructive to plants as chickens can be.  If anyone wants to share any info on Guinea Hens with me please leave a comment below- I’d certainly appreciate it!

In March we got 7 new chicks to replace our older chickens who were no longer producing many eggs.  We gave the older chickens away to a lady who wanted them for bug control in her yard, so no chickens ended up in the soup pot ;)  I’m not sure if I could actually slaughter our chickens- I do tend to get attached to them, so I’d much rather just find them a new home when we get new chicks.  And our chicks have been very happy and healthy little critters!

chicks 10 days old 3 And now these cute little things are full grown and giving us delicious fresh eggs every day :)

Then in April we found out that Sal’s daughter, Christina, was pregnant :)  Anna was born in September and both she and her mother seemed to appreciate the gifts I made for her.

The kitty was named Miss Kitty and Christina used the booties and hat and blanket the whole time she was here visiting in early December.  We spent a very enjoyable 5 days together and I had a chance to get to know Christina even better, as well as spending some quality time with Anna.  Such a beautiful girl!

Anna and Miss Kitty In June Sal and I spent 5 glorious days relaxing on the beach in Mexico.  His friend has a beach house in Rocky Point and let us use it for our vacation :)  We played in the ocean, had dinner on the beach, and chilled out by the fire at night.  Of course Ziggi was with us and he just completely wore himself out chasing sea birds up and down the beach and swimming in the ocean.

rocky point mexico june 2015 3 The trip to Mexico was one part of my 40th birthday gift.  The second part of my gift came in July.  We’d been discussing getting another dog for almost a year and Sal decided that the time was right this summer.  And so we adopted the sweetest, most wonderful German Shepherd/ Rottweiler mix ever <3  Dewey Dude has been such a joy and has brought even more happiness into our household.  And I finally have my own dog, which is something I’ve desired for years.  This is what my little guy looked like when we brought him home at 2 months old.

Dewey Dude 10 wks 6

Dewey Dude

How cute is he?!  And this is what he looks like now at almost 8 months old.

dewey dude.jpg He’s grown into such a handsome dog!  Of course he’s still got a lot of growing left to do ;)  I love this guy so much!

One sad thing this year was that Calcifer got sick and I had to take him to the vet where they put him on antibiotics for an infection.  He hadn’t been eating well and had dropped to just 8 pounds.  I started feeding him kitten chow, which he loves now, and once the antibiotics cleared up the infection his appetite really came back.  Now he’s up to 11 pounds- more than he’s ever weighed!  He looks great and seems to feel as good as he looks.  He’s still eating Kitten Chow (it’s the only dry food he’ll eat) along with his canned food, and he has a good, healthy appetite now.  So what started out as a worrisome thing ended well.

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In October  we took Dewey Dude to Beaver Creek for the first time and had a blast watching him romp and play with Ziggi.  This was also the first time he was allowed off leash on a hike, and he did very well when it came to sticking fairly close to us and coming when called.

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Since then he’s been on several more hikes with us and I feel confident about allowing him off leash when we’re out in the wilderness.  Of course when we’re around other people or dogs I keep him on a leash.   Sometimes he can be a little too friendly, and not everyone appreciates that ;)

In November Ziggi was the one headed to the vet when he cut his leg.  We think he was running past some sheet metal Sal has in the yard and sliced his leg open.  He had to get about a dozen stitches then had to wear the cone of shame for about a week.  The cats couldn’t figure out why the dog was wearing a lamp shade on his head :D

Ziggi and cats He’s as good as new now, although he does sport a very macho scar on his front leg.  And the incident did prompt Sal to go around the yard and try make all his scrap metal as safe as possible so this wouldn’t happen again.  The dogs just tear around here at breakneck speed, so we have to try to eliminate or safeguard as many obstacles as possible.

And then there was December, and December 23rd, which turned out to be a very important day in our lives (and not just because it was Calcifer’s 6th birthday ;))  That was the morning that Sal proposed to me!  I love this man with all my heart and have had every intention of spending the rest of my life with him, with or without being married, but I really did want to be his wife, rather than just his girlfriend.  And yes, I did cry when he slipped that diamond engagement ring on finger, tears of the utmost joy.  And the days that followed were filled with even more joy.  Later that day we headed out (with the dogs) to the Embassy Suites where we had a room booked for two nights and Sal had arranged a banquet for his birthday (which was on the 24th) that night.  And the birthday banquet ended up doubling as an engagement party :)  There was so much love and laughter in that room that night!  Sal’s family is wonderful and I am thrilled to finally become a true part of it.  Most of them have considered me part of the family already, but this makes it official ;)  On the 24th we got engagement pictures taken and then headed over to his brother’s house for the annual Christmas Eve dinner and party- always a fun time!

engagement pic.jpg Oh, and when I was planning my outfit for the Christmas Eve party (before I knew we’d be getting engagement pictures taken), I picked out Gramma’s necklace, bracelet, and earrings to wear with my dress.  Not only did they go nicely with the engagement ring, but it felt like Gramma was there with me, at least in spirit.  I wish she could have lived long enough to meet Sal- I know she would have liked him, and I know she would be so happy for me.

We headed back home Christmas day, taking our time and stopping a few times along the way to let the dogs out to run and play in the desert.  We had a very peaceful Christmas day, and enjoyed being back home.

Then to start off the New Year we put our Christmas gifts to use.  Without planning it his aunts gave us gift certificates for dinner at the historic Hassayampa Peacock Room and his daughters gave a gift certificate for an overnight stay at the hotel.  We had a wonderful  time and I think the best dinner I have EVER eaten!  Life is so good, and I am thankful beyond words for all the many blessings in my life!

Here’s to more of the same in 2016! :)

~Michelle of CreativeCritters

 

 

Calcifer Kitty Isn’t Feeling Well :(

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Poor Calcifer hasn’t been feeling well this week.  It started Monday when I couldn’t get him to eat more than a few pieces of his dry food, or take more than a token lick of his canned food.  Since Calcifer is normally a very finicky cat this wasn’t totally unusual.  But after it continued like this for the rest of the day I knew something was wrong.  He acted like he wanted to eat, but just couldn’t.  I gave him some NutriCal, which is a high calorie supplement in a gel form and is supposed to help stimulate a cat’s appetite, and later some hairball medicine in case he had a hairball stuck.  He’s a very fluffy cat so he ends up ingesting a lot of fur even though I brush him and Ginko just about every day.  Unfortunately Calcifer also washes Ginko so he ingests even more fur from his brother, who’s quite the shedder.Calcifer washing Ginko

Then I checked Calcifer’s teeth and gums to see if he had an infection in his mouth that was keeping him from eating.  Surprisingly he didn’t object too much about me handling his mouth and running my finger along his gums.  He’s actually got some very healthy looking teeth and gums, so that didn’t appear to be the issue.

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When he still wasn’t eating the next day I knew I had to do something.  He’s not a very heavy cat in the first place and really can’t afford to lose any weight.  So I called the vet and made an appointment to get him in as soon as possible.  Unfortunately that wasn’t until Thursday, so in the meantime I had to figure out how to get some food into my skinny kitty.  I got him some chicken baby food and some Kitten Chow and he showed some interest in that.  When Ozzy was elderly and sick from kidney disease the only thing that would spark his appetite was chicken baby food, so I had hopes it would have the same result with Calcifer (even though he’s only 6, not at all elderly).

I felt better that I was at least getting a little something into his belly, but he still wasn’t eating much and wasn’t feeling good.  Even Ginko knew his brother was sick and was being very sweet to him.

calcifer and ginko cuddling

Wednesday I brought Calcifer’s carrier up from the tack room and put his favorite blanket in there so he would get comfortable with it and not freak out when it was time to go to the vet the next day.  Both cats took turns hanging out in the new Cat Cave ;)  Calcifer really seemed comfy and cozy in there.

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Before his appointment I gave him some Rescue Remedy to help take the edge off his fear.  He actually likes the flavor and will lick it right from the dropper.  When it was time to go he was already curled up in his carrier and all I had to do was close the door.  Of course he wasn’t at all happy about the ride to the vet, or the exam, but he took it better than I expected.

This was the first time I’ve been to the Prescott Valley Vet Clinic and I must say I really liked them.  Dr. Rogers and her assistants were very good with Calcifer and gave him a thorough exam.  They took some blood tests to see if any of the usual cat issues were the problem: thyroid, diabetes, liver, kidney.  He had a fever so she gave me some antibiotics for whatever infection he may have.  She also gave him some subcutaneous fluids since he was a little dehydrated.  When we got home Ginko was very concerned about Calcifer and gently washed all the places where they poked and prodded him.

ginko and calcifer 2

I gave Calcifer his first dose of antibiotics when we got home and he actually perked up a bit and ate some baby food and kitten food.  Today he seemed to be feeling even better and ate more kitten food and even a bit of his canned food.  I’m still giving him the NutriCal and will continue until he puts on the weight he’s lost.  The vet said he should weigh 10 or 11 pounds and he was down to just 8 :(

Dr. Rogers called this afternoon with his test results and he seems to be a very healthy cat, thankfully.  No issues with his thyroid, kidneys, no diabetes, and just slightly low liver enzymes- nothing to be worried about.  So he may have just picked up a small infection and that put him off his food.  He’s got a few more doses of his antibiotic and the vet has some pills that are supposed to help his appetite, so I’ll pick those up next week.

I’m still feeding him every few hours, sitting on the floor with him and putting a small pile of kitten food on the floor, just the way he likes it, and letting him lick the baby food off the spoon.  It’s time consuming, but he’s worth it.  Hopefully he’ll get back to eating like normal (which still isn’t all that much).  But I’ll do whatever I have to to keep Calcifer healthy.  I love this cat with all my heart <3

me and calcifer 2

And if anyone has any tips on getting a finicky cat to eat, please leave a comment below- I can use all the help I can get!

~Michelle of CreativeCritters

Personalized Catnip Pot

PITA's catnip pot
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One of our friends rescued a kitten several months ago and has been in the process of spoiling her silly ;)  Pita is a frisky gray tabby cat who earned her name by being a bit of a PITA, according to her mom- LOL.  In spite of being the occasional pain Pita is a much loved kitty and is very affectionate.  The first time Sal and I visited Pita leaped right onto my shoulder and started rubbing against my head and purring in my ear.  She stayed there for most of our visit!  Of course I immediately fell in love with this sweet and adorable kitty.  I’ve already sent Gayle home with some fresh clipped catnip as well as a bag of dried catnip, but I decided this kitty needed her own supply on demand.  And since my own catnip is doing so well I knew I’d be able to divide one of the clumps and pot it up so Pita could have her fresh nip whenever she wanted it.  But of course I couldn’t just plop it in a pot and be done with it- oh no, not me!  I had to make it extra special, so I made the pot personalized by sculpting a miniature Pita kitty lounging on the rim and adding a sign saying PITA’S CATNIP, just so everyone would know who the catnip belonged to. ;)

Calcifer says, "Cute kitty- awfully small though."

Calcifer says, “Cute kitty- awfully small though.”

Of course Calcifer had to inspect my work ;)

So where's the catnip?

So where’s the catnip?

I dug up a few healthy little shoots that should do well.  They had some nice roots and I think this pot will be full of catnip in no time.

PITA's catnip pot 2

I just wanted to share this quick little project with you all.  Lately it’s been all about catnip!  I’ve been busy making new catnip toys to replace the ones I’ve sold.  If you’re interested in any of my catnip or cat toys check out my Organic Catnip Toys category in CreativeCritters.

And of course if you’d like me to create a custom order for you (pet sculptures, cat toys, etc.) just let me know and I’d be happy to work with you :)

~Michelle of CreativeCritters