*The History of FleeceCircus*
All that boring stuff you probably could care less about, but I'm gonna tell ya' anyway.
Assuming anyone bothers to read pages like this, here's a little background about how I got roped into this little 'venture'.
First things first. I'm a little bit OCD, and I have to be doing something. I'm physically handicapped, so that something has to be an 'activity' that I can do mostly from a seated position. I'm an amateur artist, and the same kind of writer, but I have to be 'in the mood' to partake in those hobbies.....and in the early winter of '08....I wasn't. I like to sew, but at the time, that didn't appeal to me either. I like to fish and garden, but spring was a long way off, and I don't do cold weather outdoor ANYthing.
I wanted something new to busy myself with.
I had won a no-sew fleece throw in a raffle, and started scrutinizing it...thinking maybe I could make one. I bought a kit. I didn't read the directions right, and made a total mess of the thing. I knew it shouldn't be that hard to make something that is just a bunch of knots tied together, so I did some research and found better ways to make them.
I have an addictive personality. Anything that I get interested in...I go overboard on. I now have fleece throws all over my house.
Those that aren't decor, or being used to keep warm, are bagged up on a shelf, awaiting some use at some future time. I have given one, [or more] to every person I ever give any kind of gift to, for any occasion, or for NO occasion, and have donated many of them for raffle prizes at dog shows. I've probably made 30 of them, and have tons of fabric packed away to make still more.
Along with making fleece throws comes the inevitable truckload of SCRAPS. Those pieces that are too big to throw away, but not big enough to make anything useful. WHAT do you do with them?
Braided rope bones were too common, and too easy, so I researched again, and taught myself to make big fluffy dog balls, and large braided tugs. Then I 'invented' some 'SPIDER toys' made from hundreds of tightly tied knots. Dogs love them, and they are cute as h*ll, but making them gave me callouses, arthritis knots on my fingers, neck and shoulder aches, and carpal tunnel. I had to wear a wrist brace and garden gloves to make them....sooooo, the 'spiders' are now a discontinued item.
You will find a few of them here, but once they're gone, they're history.
I sold quite a few toys at local dog shows and agility trials, and early in 2009 my daughter started nagging me to open a 'store' on a website called "ETSY". I eventually agreed to give it a try, and my shop is HERE, but I soon decided dog and kitty balls and tug toys weren't enough to warrant my own 'store'. I needed to add some other products to my 'line'.
It didn't take me long to realize that I was going to make an average wage from ONE DOLLAR (!!!) to, (when I'm lucky) $4.00 an hour, even if I only shopped the best fleece and felt bargains. On a good day two or three toys, so I'm not going to get a yacht or a Mercedes anytime soon.
I figured if I'm going to do this....I'm gonna do it RIGHT. I experimented with different ways to construct my toys so they would be durable, machine washable, and look nice enough that I could hold my head up if I offered them for SALE, instead of just giving them as gifts.
You may run across other sellers who will tell you that fleece dog toys are indestructible. Folks......fleece is FABRIC! CLOTH! TEXTILE!
It's one of the toughest fabrics I've ever worked with, and turns my finger tips to sandpaper, but a determined elkhound can make shreds out of it in a matter of seconds.
That means simply, that my toys are designed for those dogs who are 'respectful' of their toys. The toys are not meant to be left with a dog unattended. They are for interactive play.
If you are buying for a dog, know your dog before you purchase one of my toys. Once they leave my hands, I have no control over what happens to them. There are no guarantees that they will last any longer than any other type of dog mat... if you have a destructive pet.
Our cat, Killer, is the reason I started making the balls. The first ones I made were not dog balls, but something to foil Killer's penchant for tearing the store-bought yarn balls she loved so much into hundreds of pieces to be swept out of the rug. My first attempts lasted several months, but she finally pulled them apart. So I put my thinking cap back on and I have come up with a cute, little ball that even Killer can't KILL!
I spend 30-60 minutes on each ball, methodically clipping each of approximately 150-250 tiny strips to make it as round as possible. All for a buck and a half each! Egad, talk about OCD. I think I must have been a Poodle groomer in a former life.
As I 'progressed', I added some different fabrics to the mix. I don't plan to change the name of my little venture to FLEECE/FELT/COTTON & UPCYCLED FABRIC CIRCUS any time soon, but I now use any or all of the aforementioned fabrics, along with the fleece.
I have designed a cute line of unique cat toys, filled with 100% organic catnip that will dilate your cat's eyes and cause him or her to act ridiculous. These can be seen in my ETSY SHOP. Eventually I may have enough inventory to also list them here, but for the time being, it's easier to keep my sales straight only listing them in one place. Anyway....there you have it. The whole, boring story of why I'm doing this fleece (felt/cotton/upcycled fabric) thing, and how I'm doing it. I'm always looking for something new to do, so peruse the pages, check out my wares, and if anything strikes your fancy, don't hestitate to contact me. I may burn myself out and be bored with this whole fleece obsession by tomorrow.
For those who don't know what 'upcycled' means....that is a term used for fabrics salvaged from previously used sources. It can be anything from vintage curtains to my old, out-grown jeans.