The only thing crazier than being a crazy cat lady is making Peep catnip toys when you don't have a cat. I love cats, but I guess since I married a guy with cat allergies I must love him more. Not only did I marry a man that's allergic to cats, but he comes from a long line of feline allergy prone males and together we even spawned a human male with, you guessed it, cat allergies. So no cats for me.
I on the other hand not only come from cat people, but I have numerous friends with cats. Which is good news for me because then it's not quite so weird that I'm making catnip toys. Right?
Bonus points if your friends hate Peeps and get to watch them being mauled by an attack kitty.
I found the original craft at dreamalittlebigger.com. I scaled the template down to two different sizes a slightly smaller 4.75 inch and an even smaller 3.75 inch. My neighbor cat tester was given both sizes and in his esteemed opinion, size does not matter.
I made bunnies with pink, yellow, blue, purple and green felt. I have only seen green Peep chicks in the wild, never bunnies. Of course the only logical explanation is that green Peep bunnies are infected with a zombie virus and quarantined deep in the bowels of the Peep factory. I submit this video as evidence, at the 1:25 mark green infected bunnies as far as the eye can see. I believe Peep is a subsidiary of the Umbrella Corporation.
Warning: The zombie bunny on the far left has eyes, stitches and bloody bits made out of wool roving that has been needle felted on. I would think an animal could potentially pull those bits off and possibly swallow them. This bunny is stuffed with stuffing and is just for me to play with and not animal safe. The other two are filled with catnip and decorated with Sharpies.
This is how the "normal" bunnies turned out:
And then I thought the zombie bunnies look really hungry and should have brains. Not having any embroidery experience this is what I came up with:
[The brain bunny isn't filled yet I just tucked the loose ends inside for the picture.]
Because I like numbers and quantities:
I was able to fit two 4.75 and three 3.75 inch bunnies on each 9"x12" felt sheet. I used the ironed on freezer paper method for cutting them out. I was going to cut them out as needed, but I noticed after a week or so the freezer paper was starting to come loose. Rather than have to drag out the iron again, I cut them all out before they completely peeled off. [After the Marines I swore I'd never use an iron again, which isn't realistic but I do manage to use it quite sparingly.]
One thing of embroidery floss in each color was plenty with some leftover. I didn't sew all of them but I cut thread for each of them and sandwiched it between two slices of bunny and packed it all away for next year. I cut about 4.5 feet for the larger bunnies and 3.5 feet for the smaller ones.
The 3.75" ones held about a teaspoon of loose catnip. The 4.75" held about twice that. A rough calculation based on potential number of Peeps, actual Peeps filled and the amount of catnip leftover leaves me to believe that I could have easily filled all 25 felt Peeps with 0.5 oz. of catnip. I bought a whole ounce which might not sound like much, but it is. I've read storing it in the freezer will help it keep, but can't find a consistent answer on how long it will keep.
During my catnip journey in Google land I also discovered that people eat, drink and even smoke catnip. I'm always leery of medicinal properties assigned to herbs and other natural substances that haven't been fully vetted. If they just didn't work that would be one thing, but some substances can end up be downright deadly. [As my mind tends to wander I think an Edward Gorey style ABC book of natural poisons would be brilliant. A is for Arsenic, B is for Belladonna, C is for Cyanide...]
Disclaimer: I'm not a medical professional, some would argue that I'm not even sane, so I am not responsible for any actions you take based on the rantings of a catless madwoman.
Catnip is supposed help with everything from menstrual cramps and headaches to indigestion and insomnia. The one consistent trait that everyone seemed to agree with is that it has a sedative effect on humans. For this reason drinking it before bedtime seems to be a common practice, although I read it also acts as diuretic. So it'll make you really sleepy and have to pee a lot? Why doesn't that sound like a good match?
Curiosity got the better of me and I couldn't find anything to suggest that catnip would kill me, damage any internal organs or cause unwanted hair growth, so I made tea with it. I steeped one teaspoon of dried catnip in a mug of hot water. I've tried it steeped for 5 minutes and for 10 minutes. The longer steeping time didn't make much difference in flavor. To me it tastes like a mild green tea. I will definitely drink it again when I want a caffeine free tea.
I'm probably not the best test subject for any "relaxing" tea, I'm pretty mellow. Any more mellow and I 'd be comatose. Maybe that's why when I tried it before bedtime, I felt a little fuzzy around the edges. I've had similar experiences with valerian root and chamomile. Or maybe it's because I was already tired or maybe it's just all in my head. I tried it during the day and I was totally chill afterwards. Of course that being my natural state, I was already chill before I drank it. And I did have to pee, but that's not uncommon when I drink tea or anything. Yeah, I'm probably not getting the Nobel prize for my extensive scientific research on the usage of catnip.
Here are a few of my favorite zombie Peeps:
Walking Dead entry in the Washington Post diorama contest. There's also an homage to Twin Peaks.