Sep 23, 2012

Well, I'll be dog-gone!

Did you know that September 24th-30th is National Dog Week?

I didn't, until my friend Danielle of Squshies brought it to my attention! She was tweeting about the line of dog Squshies she was launching for National Dog Week, which piqued my interest since (you know me) I am a total animal lover!

(and ironically I think I adopted our second dog, Lucy, the same day we were talking about her new line of dog themed products on Twitter, haha!) 

I know Lu & Ed fans are animal lovers too, so I wanted to introduce you all to Danielle and her Squshies, especially her brand new line of dog Squshies, which are super cute!

You are probably wondering, "What is a Squshie?" Squshies are fun animal characters made out of felt. They are a combination of Danielle's love for animals, cartoons and plushies. They are mostly in the form of ornaments currently, but there are all kinds of ideas bouncing around in her head about other fun things the Squshies could be! There are even a few pillow versions of Squshies available in her shop!


I asked Danielle a bunch of questions for you guys so you can get to know her and learn about her awesome Squshies!


Tell us about your special dog line you are releasing - 
What breeds are you creating? 
Can people custom order them to look like their dog?

I had been working on designing a lot of different animals and thinking about how I should really make some dog ornaments. At about the same time people I knew started to ask if I had any dog Squshies. I decided I should design specific dog breeds since people might like an ornament of their dog, not just a generic dog. I spent a few days doodling dogs and by the end I had about 28 breeds that I liked how their design turned out.


I've been working on turning the doodles into felt off and on for months and realized I really need to pick a time to aim for to release them. Then I found out National Dog Week was just a few weeks away and that just seemed perfect so the last few weeks I've been working like crazy on making dog ornaments. At least 8 breeds will be available for National Dog Week and more will be released over the coming months.

All the dogs come with a tag with their name and Squshies story on it which are always included in the item listing. If people provided us with a dog's name and story, the tag can be easily customized for their dog. The stories have a character limit of 700 characters.

Custom orders are more than welcome. Dogs can be made with specific colors and/or markings or even a completely custom dog. Prices will vary based on the complexity of the request.









 



How many pets do you own, if any?

I have a cat named Hazel. I'm pretty sure she's the best cat ever, but I may be biased. Her meow sounds more like a duck quacking than a cat meowing.

When did you learn to sew?

I had a class in middle school where I learned how to use a sewing machine and then promptly forgot it all. I tried to learn how to use a sewing machine again last September, but I didn't enjoy it. I'm always scared I'm going to hurt myself or somehow break the machine if I'm not closely supervised. Due to this, last October I gave hand sewing a try and haven't stopped.

You've come so far with Squshies since October - care to tell us how you got started?

Last year I tried to learn how to use a sewing machine because I thought making my own plushies could be a fun hobby and stuffed animals are one of the many things I collect. The sewing machine didn't really work out so I tried hand sewing. The felt happened because it was inexpensive to work with and comes in so many fun colors. Felt was a perfect combination with the hand sewing.

I also moved to California last year, and spent months and months applying for all kinds of jobs with no success. When I finally managed to find a job it wasn't a very good job and it made me absolutely miserable. It seemed ridiculous to have spent so much effort trying to get this job that made me so unhappy. Friends and family finally convinced me to quit as it just wasn't worth it.
With the frustration of my job search and the encouragement of those around me I was convinced maybe I should try something new and give the job search a break. I'd always toyed with the idea of working for myself. I've always wanted to do something creative and thought it would be fun to just make things I enjoyed for sale. I never knew what, but my new hobby of making felt animals seemed like it might be just the thing.

I don't have a picture of my first felt creation, which was a dinosaur that I could never get the proportions the way I wanted. He didn't really look like a Squshie either. These cats I made as Christmas gifts came right after the dinosaur attempt. They were the first serious attempt at hand sewing and where the look of the Squshies really started to come together.

What is your favorite animal? 


I can't pick just one! There are way too many too choose from. I seem to have a soft spot for unusual animals , especially ones that lots of people don't find very cute, like Elephant Seals. I especially have a soft spot for less loved birds like Turkey Vultures. I think Turkey Vultures are just adorable.





Have you always been such a huge animal lover? 

Always. When I was a kid I only wanted to read books about animals. My favorite movie and cartoon characters were always animals. One of my dream jobs as a kid was to work at Sea World.


What is the most exotic animal you have ever met?

This is also a tough one! I've been fortunate enough to get to meet a lot of awesome animals. I've been able to pet a koala, a wombat and a tawny frog mouth. I've fed kangaroos, a crocodile, and a cassowary. I even held a baby crocodile once! Most recently I got my picture taken with a cheetah and got to feed a rock hyrax that climbed all over my shoulders.





What is your favorite Squshie to make?  

Reginald the Rhino is probably my favorite. He was one of the earliest Squshies and I seem to have a soft spot for him. Reginald and his friend Beauregard the Hippo are where the Squshies look really seemed to hit its stride.


What is your best selling Squshie in your shop? 


No one actually is a best seller yet. They are all pretty evenly matched. Roxy the Skunk was the quickest to be sold though. She was bought within an hour the first time she was listed on Etsy!



You can find Squshies in a ton of places on the web - Check the links!



For National Dog week (Sept 24th-Sept 28th) Squshies is going to donate $2 for every Squshie sold to Maxfund. Maxfund is a No Kill shelter in Denver, Colorado that also provides low cost veterinarian care. Maxfund is the animal shelter where Danielle adopted her cat Hazel from. :)

So, how are you going to celebrate National Dog Week? Here are some ideas! 

  • Adopt a shelter dog, and get a friend for life!
  • If you can't commit long term, ask about fostering short term! It helps free up shelter space and socialize dogs in a home environment!
  • Donate dog food, blankets, toys or "piddle papers" for puppies to your local shelter!
  • Make a monetary donation to help your location shelter with daily operation costs!
  • Make a monetary donation to your vet's office to be set aside to cover when a pet owner cannot afford the services for their dog (or cat)!
  • Volunteer to walk, socialize and play with dogs at your local shelter!

Thanks for reading! :) Be sure to visit Squshies this week and show your support!♥ 

Danielle wants to know - who is your favorite fictional dog character?
 {Mine is Dug from the movie Up!}

6 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Sarah! :) Appreciate your support!

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  3. Very nice interview and cute squishies! I love that they are handsewn too.

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    Replies
    1. Aren't they darling?! Thanks for reading, be sure to tell your friends!

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