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Crafting at Nana's Ranch

9/19/2013 5:18:00 PM

Tags: Catnip, Catnip Toys, Hand Stitched, Crafts, Sewing, Cats, Nana's Ranch

NanaIt's still hot outside, but there's something in the air that's telling my brain, "It's time to stock up for winter!" Since I have suffered a 100% fail in the garden and orchard this year (thanks to the ground squirrels, gophers, deer, and rabbits), all of our winter food will come from the grocery store, not my canning and freezing efforts. It makes me sad.

So, instead of making my own spaghetti sauce, I'm sewing and crafting like a maniac. This week's project is square catnip cat toys. I don't have a cat right now, but I grow organic catnip, and I am always looking for something to do with it. Hey, maybe if I had a cat or two I wouldn't have all the trouble with rodents!

I sell sprigs of dried catnip at The Coarsegold Emporium in Coarsegold, CA. A lot of my catnip will be ground into powder and added to the next batch of Castile soap I make. It acts as an exfoliate and adds color as well as a slight scent to my soaps. Still gentle on skin, my catnip soap is popular with cat lovers. I don't know if it will do the trick, but I recently read that catnip is a natural mosquito repellant.

Catnip Plant


The catnip in the squares I'm making is fresh and pungent, having been picked just a day before it's sewn into a toy. I have a couple dozen made and will post pictures on my website.

Homemade Catnip Square

Hand Sewn Catnip Square

How I do it:

Clip catnip and let it dry. This will take from one to four days, depending on the temperature and humidity. It's hot and dry at Nana's Ranch right now, so mine is drying in just over 24 hours.

To make a square, simply cut out a couple of pieces of fabric to act as the front and back. Stitch around the outside edge, leaving an opening to stuff the catnip into. Once you have enough in the pouch, stitch it closed.

Felt Square for Catnip Toy

Felt Squares

I use felt and add decorations. Most of my button decorations are handcrafted from polymer clay. I usually make buttons with no idea where or when I'll use them, so when a project like this comes along, I'm happy to drag out my button bags and search for the right one.

Decorations for Catnip Square


Because both of my sewing machines need repairs, I'm hand stitching the squares while I sit and watch TV in the evenings.

Hand Stitched Catnip Square

Hand Stitched Final Product

I hope your efforts in the garden were better than mine. If not, maybe you can find the time to do some crafting. Either way, enjoy this late summer/early fall season.

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