April 24, 2013

Kickstarter Success!

And now a word from my studio assistants:

Our "Oh Rats" Kickstarter campaign has successfully ended which means that Snazzy Rat catnip toys will soon be making their way into the homes of fabulous felines around the world!

It also means that the staff here at Susan Faye World Headquarters is deeply grateful to each and every one of the 100 Beautiful Backers of the project!  Not only have you successfully launched a brand new line of handcrafted cat toys, you made it possible to expand the line from the original four designs to a total of NINE!

And not only are you ensuring that an independent artisan can continue to do what she loves to do, you are also supporting other small, independent, earth-friendly businesses like Spoonflower.com, who prints the fabric, and my organic catnip supplier.

I look forward to sending out the reward packages over the next two months.  Thanks again for making this an exciting and rewarding Kickstarter campaign.

You guys are the SNAZZIEST!  

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April 20, 2013

Inka's Snazzy Giveaway

As you probably know by now, Buttonwillow and Inka came to me several weeks ago and demanded a new and improved cat toy.  They demanded that it be big and SNAZZY.

The only problem is, Inka still isn't sure what "snazzy" means.

That's where you come in.  Tell her what you think snazzy means in 10 words or less in the comments section below, and you'll be entered to win one of four Snazzy Rat Junior prototype catnip toys.

What is a Snazzy Rat Junior?  It's a slightly smaller version (at 5-1/2" long) of the current Snazzy Rat catnip toy. These were my very first prototypes, but once I got the fabric back from the printer and sewed them up, they just didn't seem quite big enough and I went back to the drawing board. But the four "juniors" are perfectly good catnip toys and here's your chance for Kitty Dearest to own one.

EXTRA ENTRIES: For extra entries to increase your odds of winning, please share my Kickstarter link on your Facebook page or Twitter, then come back and leave a comment saying that you did so for each share. Each comment will count as one entry.  Here is the link to share: http://kck.st/Z05ibL

The giveaway will end Sunday night, April 21, at 5 p.m. PDT, at which time I will select 4 names at random from the entries.  Entries will also be accepted on my Facebook page.

Please make sure that I have a way to contact you if you are the winner, such as a link to your blog or e-mail address included in the comment.
You may send the info directly to my email if you don't want to make your contact info public.

Also, if you encounter trouble with the Comments feature, please contact me by e-mail. If you visit www.susanfaye.net , you will find an email link.

Thanks for participating! 

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April 19, 2013

How To Get Your Tail In a Twist (In A Good Way)

As the pledges continue to climb in my Kickstarter "Oh Rats!" campaign, we have already started working on production of the first large batch of Snazzy Rat catnip toys, plus other aspects of fulfilling rewards for my Beloved Backers.  Here are some project pre-production notes: 

As requested by Inka, each rat must have a squiggly, wiggly tail in snazzy colors.

To accomplish that, I start by wrapping the yarn around a board that is just the right width, then I cut the yarn at both ends.

  For each tail I use two strands of yarn in different colors.

 Then I tie two strands together and twist the whole length multiple times.

 When I bring the two loose ends together, the pieces "re-wind" around each other into a pretty twist, and I secure it with a knot.

Okay, one down, about 200 more to go. :-)
There, now that's better.  With help from the very patient man who lives here, we'll have our tails in a twist in no time!
 If you'd like to learn how to  make your own twisted cord for a project, just Google "twisted cord tutorial" and lots of great how-to's will pop up. 

I'm not a big fan of plastics, so I don't know what it is about sending a piece of paper through a lamination machine, and having it come out the other end perfectly preserved and impervious to the elements, but I confess-- I LOVE it! In an unselfish act of motherly love, I decided to let my son and studio assistant Christopher share in the joy.  He spent last weekend making up the first batch of generic I.D cards for the project.

As many of my long-time readers know, Buttonwillow has an intense fascination with scissors and continues to try to master the art of using them.  


When I ordered the fabric to make my Snazzy Rat prototypes, I made sure I had enough to make about 10 of each to give me a little head start on the project.

So Buttonwillow and I put our scissors to work and cranked out these puppies in no time at all.

Time to put my sewing machine to work.  I love listening to TED talks and to Jango radio on my computer when I sew.  Just look at this happy pile o' grinning rats!
Turning these babies inside-out and stuffing them are two more fun tasks that I am sharing with Chris, and he's doing a great job!
Funny story about the catnip. I've been making different catnip toys for several years now and I store these bags of 'nip in our garage where it is dark and coolWe moved into our new house about 18 months ago and soon had our first garage sale-- in the garage-- and met many of our new neighbors.  About halfway through the sale, I noticed that my four large polybags of dried green herbs were prominently lined up on a back shelf in full view.  I wonder just what might have been going through the minds of those neighbors, but no one had said a word.  Just to be safe, during the rest of the sale I hid the bags inside the house, lest there be any confusion about just what kind of herbs were in those bags....

Next pre-production task: Packaging. I'll show you what I've come up with in the next post.

Thanks again for all of your support and enthusiasm as this project progresses!  There is still time to procure your own Snazzy Rats by making a pledge at this link.  The campaign ends Tuesday, April 23.

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April 18, 2013

The Home Stretch Stretch

We are on cloud nine around here because "Cloud Nine" finally made it into the Snazzy Rat catnip toy line-up in my Kickstarter project!  Yep, thanks to all of my Kickstarter Beloved Backers and their generosity so far, we've reached one more "stretch goal" as of this afternoon.  The additional $300 raised brings the total to $2100 which means I will be able to print up and produce NINE different Snazzy Rat designs instead of just the original four!  Each backer will get to choose which rat design(s) they want to have included in their reward package. Here is the newest addition:

"Cloud Nine"  art and design copyright Susan Faye 2013
And speaking of s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g, my Kickstarter campaign is now on the home stretch with only 5 days left to go.  So how about a "Home Stretch Stretch Goal"?  

Here it is. I'm setting my final stretch goal at $2500.  If that goal is reached by the end of my campaign on Tuesday, April 23 at 5:00 p.m, I will add a bonus "thank-you-from-the-bottom-of-my-heart" gift to each and every backer's Reward Package:

It's a 5x7" mini print of our Snazzy Rat Cat logo, suitable for framing! It will be printed on high quality, matte photo paper with Dura-Brite inks and will be cheerful and, I believe, quite SNAZZY.

Help me reach this new goal by sharing my Kickstarter project with all of your favorite crazy cat ladies and cat guys on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Here is the link:  http://kck.st/Z05ibL. 

If you haven't already reserved your Snazzy Rats by making a pledge, please check out the project-- I have lots of fun rewards at every level.  If you have already made a pledge (THANK YOU!), you may increase the level at any time, in case you like the new designs and want to increase the number of rats you'll receive.

I'm excited about fulfilling all of these rewards and my little staff is already busy on pre-production.  More on that tomorrow...

Thank You SO MUCH!!  Buttonwillow, Inka and I appreciate all of your help and support!

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April 17, 2013

Endorsements Nos. 3, 4, and 5

Market research continues to be one of the important responsibilities of my studio assistants Buttonwillow and Inka. With that in mind, they recently sent Snazzy Rat prototypes to a few of their friends to get some valuable feedback.  Here is Jojo's testimonial on the newest addition to the Snazzy Rats line, "Mellow Yellow".  Terrific Tortie Jojo is a "senior" cat (about 11 in human years) who resides in Portland, Oregon, with her Cat Lady Samantha

Hello. You may think I'm just a sweet old gal, but that's not always the case. Yesterday I received a sample of the "Mellow Yellow" Snazzy Rat and was asked to give it a test run.

 One sniff of that 'nip and I felt like a spring kitten and a wild jungle beast all rolled into one!

Look out everyone!  I still have some ferocious bunny kick moves in me and I'm showing no mercy to my rodent prey.  This sweet old gal means business.

My assistants also sent a  "Happy Daze" Snazzy Rat prototype to some long-distance friends on the other side of the country.  Fluffy (a dead ringer for our previous endorser Jinx, but no relation) and Midnight of Attleboro, MA, are staff assistants to Cat Lady Rose of Angelcat Haven. Recently they took some time out from planning a big "Cinco de Meow" fundraiser to give the Snazzy Rat a spin.

Hi, I'm Fluffy and I am a lucky rescue cat.  I live with a bunch of other rescue cats, so I was lucky to get a turn with this really pretty Snazzy Rat prototype.  I don't have to tell you how much I enjoyed it, because I'm sure you can see me smiling in this photo:

"I don't always play with rats, but when I do, it's a SNAZZY RAT!" ~Midnight Gates~ (in photo below)

Thank you, fabulous felines, for your endorsements and testimonials.  Humanoids-- reserve your Snazzy Rats today by making a pledge at my Kickstarter Campaign, which ends SOONI'm raising money to buy the materials to make a full line of Snazzy Rats catnip toys. Thanks for your support!

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April 16, 2013

Another Stretch Goal Reached!... Please Vote For Your Favorite New Design

 (April 17 update: you voted and "Mellow Yellow" is the winner).

Once again Buttonwillow demonstrates her "doesn't-that-feel-great" stretching technique as we celebrate another landmark in our Snazzy Rat Kickstarter campaign!

Thanks once again to our growing number of Beloved Backers, we have arrived our FOURTH Kickstarter "stretch goal", having passed the $1800 mark late last night!  And you know what that means...


The additional $300 in pledges above our previous goal means that I will be able to print up one more brand new design to add to the current 7 rat designs, but I need your help to decide which one. Here are the prototypes:

artwork and design copyright 2013 Susan Faye
Please vote for your favorite in the comments section of this blog post.  Voting will end Wednesday night, April 17 at 5 p.m PDT.  I will also be accepting votes on my Facebook page and Kickstarter page, but please, only one vote per person.

Now how about another stretch?! Our next Kickstarter goal is the $2100 mark.  If we reach it before the campaign ends on April 23, I'll be able to add a ninth design for backers to choose from.  We are in the home stretch now with less than a week left of the campaign. Help me reach this new goal by sharing my Kickstarter project with all of your favorite crazy cat ladies and cat guys on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Here is the link:  http://kck.st/Z05ibL

Thank You SO MUCH!!  Buttonwillow, Inka and I appreciate all of your help and support!

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April 15, 2013

Catnip 101

Catnip (Nepeta cataria), also known as catmint and catswort, is a member of the mint family and contains volatile oils, sterols, acids and tannins. It is native to Asia and Europe, and was brought to North America by settlers and used as a tea. Folk wisdom says that it can aid sleep, stress reduction, and relaxation when used by humans.  In the garden, flowering catnip attracts butterflies, the plant is drought tolerant and deer resistant.  It also seems to be a repellant for certain insects.

All that aside, what we really want to know is what is the deal with catnip and CATS?

For that we turn to Scientific American and Dr. Ramona Turner"When cats smell catnip they exhibit several behaviors common to females in heat: They may rub their heads and body on the herb or jump, roll around, vocalize and salivate. This response lasts for about 10 minutes, after which the cat becomes temporarily immune to catnip's effects for roughly 30 minutes."

[Ms Turner omitted the part about them turning into crazed maniacs, bouncing off of walls.  Apparently she hasn't met Inka.]

"Response to catnip is hereditary; about 70 to 80 percent of cats exhibit this behavior... In addition, catnip does not affect kittens until they are about six months old and begin to reach sexual maturity. Catnip is considered to be nonaddictive and completely harmless to cats. "

Well that's good to know!  I'm glad that my catnip toys are not contributing to the delinquency of cats across the country.  Thanks for visiting!

You say your cat is impervious, indifferent, or forbidden to use catnip? 
 It happens.

Luckily, there is a reward in my current Kickstarter campaign that is just for you : It includes a tote bag and a generic I.D. card, but no catnip rats (see the $22 reward).  Click here for details.

The "Oh Rats" tote bag is an exclusive design available only until April 23 through my Kickstarter Campaign

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April 14, 2013

Little Guy WhatsHisName... Snazzy Rat Endorsement #2

Market research is one of the important responsibilities of my studio assistants Buttonwillow and Inka. With that in mind, they recently sent Snazzy Rat prototypes to a few of their friends to get some valuable feedback.  Here is a consumer report from Little Guy on the "Flower Power"  Snazzy Rat model.  Formerly a California Cool Cat, Little Guy now resides in McMinnville, Oregon, with his human Cat Lady Mary. 

 Hi.  I'm the kind of cat that everyone has a "pet" name for.  My given name is Nickelodeon because of the beautiful silver "nickels" on my sides.  You can see one here:

But I also respond to the names Belly Boy, Bubba, Big Fella and Hey You.  My can opener lady calls me Little Guy.

Call me whatever you like, it's important to know that I've always been pretty indifferent to the various paltry catnip toys that have appeared in the manse over the years.  That is, until my friends Buttonwillow and Inka sent over a "Flower Power" Snazzy Rat.

I'm in love with this thing! You can't believe the aroma It's the kind of essence you want to rub behind your ears....

It's the kind of thing you want to hug and toss and roll on top of.

You can call me anything you want, but right now just call me Ecstatic.

You know you want one. Reserve one today by making a pledge at my Aunt Susan's Kickstarter Campaign, which is in full swing.  She's raising money to buy the materials to make lots more of these Snazzy Rats.  I hope there are lots more in my future.
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