Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Monday, March 10, 2014

Review/Giveaway & Coupon: Whimsily Ever After Cat Toys

It's no secret that Piper loves a good cat nip toy. Even little Bobby goes crazy for pure cat nip, straight from the source. For Valentine's Day, I featured Whimsily Ever After's cat nip macaron cat toys on the 3rd Annual Valentine's Day Gift Guide for Cat Lovers.


Today I am featuring the mastermind behind Whimsily Ever After, Shelley Rinker, and her beautiful creations. Shelley makes all of her toys in Ventura, California. The winner of the giveaway will be able to pick a cat toy of their choosing up to $15. Shelley also has kindly offered a 15% off coupon, find all information below.

Sandpiper Cat Blog: Did you know you always wanted to be involved with designing toys, let alone your own toys?
Whimsily Ever After: I actually learned designing toys was an option after high school. I had a crazy turn of events junior year that opened up my eyes  to the toy industry. The super condensed version is: I signed up for a fashion design class which turned into a doll fashion designing class, that turned into winning a competition and have my design produced and debuted  at the International New York Toy Fair. While in NY, I along with the doll designer, did a signing of a special release of the first 500 dolls at FAO Schwarz. That was my introduction into the world of toys; so when I found out senior year that Otis College of Art and Design was offering a new Toy Design Degree I signed up, and off I went. After getting my Bachelors of Fine Arts, I went on to designing toys for a handful of well-known toy companies.
The doll Shelley designed, Gene/Sparkling Seduction.

SCB: How did you decide to make cat toys? What was the first cat toy you made?
WEA: After working 13 years in children's toys I was at the point where I delegated a lot of the "Making" to other people and toys were manufactured in China, and with the bottom line being everything the quality and the cost would bump heads. I am a very hands-on person - making [things] is what makes me happy. So after a lot of planning I bit the bullet and started Whimsily Ever After as a place for me to "Make" again. As the mom of two wonderful kitties, I felt that their time had come to get some design love. The first cat toy I made was just a run of the mill mouse. Right after I finished it I realized that there wasn't much humor in a mouse and immediately thought my cats  (and I) would enjoy a more "human food" toy and the idea for the cheeseburger was born.  The S'mores and Macaron followed very soon after, since they are favorite treats of mine.




SCB: What is the inspiration behind your name "Whimsily Ever After"?
WEA: I created Whimsily Ever After as an idea  of taking time and enjoying the fun  that should be part of every day. The purpose of Whimsily Ever After is to hopefully inject a little lighthearted quality fun into people's lives. When I hear the phrase "Happily Ever After" I think  of a Prince and Princess fairly tale, like an unattainable goal. Personally living Whimsily Ever After sounds like way more fun than happily. 


Piper tasting her macarons for the first time.

SCB: What is your favorite part about making cat toys?
WEA: My favorite part is the very end result. I LOVE it when my customers send in videos and photos of their cats going crazy "opening" their new toys. Or when a customer emails me that they almost couldn't get the toy out of the shipping package because their cat was stuffing their head into the box and wouldn't get out of the way! That brings me so much joy; I like to imagine that part as I make each toy.



SCB: Who are your kitty muses?
WEA: My kitty muses are all cats I come in contact with, but mostly my two kitties Pebbles and Mika. I adopted Pebbles back in May of 2001. I was looking for a pure white cat and instead I locked eyes with Pebbles (an almost everything but white) tortie calico. It was love at first sight. I was taking her in for some kitten shots a month later and there was Mika, a skittish gray tabby  that needed a safe and loving home. All pets are awesome for their love, loyalty and the joy that they bring all of us every single day. I'm just trying to make toys that give a little payback to them and trick their humans into taking a timeout to play with them, making take a few photos of their cat biting into a macaron or sushi toy!




SCB: What do you think your cats would say when they get a new one of your creations?
WEA: "Oh jeeze, not another one...OK I'll humor you and pretend to love it for the next 20 minutes so you get all your photo taking out  of your system." 

Hahaha! No I hope that isn't what they say, but they are basically my guinea pigs. My kitties teach me a lot because they both like to play with their toys so differently. Mika does full on nosedives into the toys and seems to get stoned out after a few minutes. Pebbles is a licker, she will grab a toy with her front paws and just lick and lick and lick for at least ten minutes. Because of her, I am working on a set of toys with anti-pill fleece that can withstand the licking from a cat's brush-like tongue. My Valentine's Macarons are the first toys I have released in this fabric. 



*******

Sandpiper Cat Blog enjoyed interviewing Shelley and learning all about how her creations came to be. The winner of the giveaway will get to pick one of Shelley's creations (of a value up to $15).

Everyone can get a taste of "Whimsily Ever After" by using the coupon code "SANDPIPER15" to receive 15% off a purchase.  Coupon expires April 30, 2014.

And now for our giveaway! 

Rules:

  • Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below
  • Open to United States & International (yay!!)
  • Winner will be contacted by email
  • Giveaway to run from Monday March 10, 2014 12 am EST to Monday March 17, 2014 12 am EST.
  • Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 17, 2014

Alice Hannah Designer Scarf Review & Giveaway

I am all about finding good cat accessories to wear. Finding a complete set of gloves, a scarf and hat that all go together can sometimes be daunting. But be daunted no more with the chic and dazzling Alice Hannah Cat Jacquard set featuring gloves, a scarf and hat! (Bonus - palm warmers that I didn't review but look excellent).

The set features a lack cat silhouette, with a red bow that makes it pop!
Alice Hannah is a fashion design company based out of London. Created in 2007 by duo Claire Pitcher and Steve Blackburn, Alice Hannah is dedicated to specialty and quality accessories. The company is named for Pitcher's mother.

In January, I traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during 40 degree Fahrenheit weather. The scarf looked adorable. It's great to be able to travel looking stylish and warm.


I'm a firm believer that the clothes you wear, enhance your attitude and general feeling. Wearing the Alice Hannah Cat Jacquard set makes me feel f(el)ine (get it? fine/feline?) 


 On a 30 degree day, right before a huge snow storm, I popped outside to take some pretty pictures to show you the complete set.

The set is a lamb's wool blend, which is soft and sturdy.

If you have a need to clean the set, it can be hand washed.

Overall, the scarf, gloves and hat set are a stunning trio that bring out the feline inside! I highly recommend the Alice Hannah products, as they are well made whilst remaining stylish! 




And now for our giveaway! Sandpiper Cat Blog is pleased to be giving away a brand new trio set for one lucky winner.

Rules:
  •  Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below
  • Winner will be contacted by email
  • United States only (though please note our out of country friends may enter and gift to a US friend)
  • Giveaway to run from Monday February 17 12 am EST to Monday February 24, 2014 12 am EST.
  • Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway





Receiving free set did not effect my review or opinion. All opinions are mine, honestly.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

3rd Annual Valentine's Day Gift Guide for Cat Lovers

Valentine's Day always holds a special place in my heart (no pun intended) as I always received an M&M candy heart from my grandparents. Even though I am no longer a kid, my grandma still buys the candy hearts for my brother and me.  It is a tradition I look forward to each and every February 14.

My latest Valentine's Day tradition of the last two years, has been writing a Valentine's Day Gift Guide for Cat Lovers! This year is my third year writing the guide. View the last two years here: 2012 Valentine's Guide & 2013 Valentine's Guide.

All items are hyperlinked so it will take you directly to the source where you can buy the item.

Without further ado...here is the official Sandpiper Cat Blog 2014 Valentine's Day Gift Guide for Cat Lovers!


This beautiful Himalayan Cat pendant from Susan Faye, is just striking. With the lilac purple backround and the pop of pink flowers, it is sure to please the jewelry lover in your life. Susan creates all of her designs and her pendants are exquisite! In September 2013 I wrote a spotlight post about Susan and her jewelry, which you can read here.


Susan also creates beautiful fused glass art and this love star is a perfect piece to hang in your home for Valentine's Day and all year round.


It isn't Valentine's Day without those delicious candy conversation hearts, now is it? These catnip pillow toys are the perfect way to tell your cat you love them! They are made to order so the 100% organic catnip stays fresh.

Now, no cat lover should be without this item...


This Cat Print Tote is from the one and only Target. I love sharing my love of cats with the world and this bag is certainly an eye catcher. It can be found both online and in stores.



In a holiday all about love, there are certainly a few anti-love on February 14. Of course, one of those anti-love felines is Grumpy Cat of course! This Grumpy Cat Valentine Plush can be customized to say exactly what you want!


Macarons have become increasingly popular recently, and I absolutely love them. I even made macarons last weekend and they were delicious. So now I can share the love of macarons with my cats! I came across these adorable little Valentine's Red & Pink Macaron Cat Toys on Etsy, made by Whimsily Ever After. These are the perfect treat to tell your cats "I love you!" ~~ Stay tuned for a review and giveaway of Whimsily Ever After's macaron cat toys, coming to you right here, later this month.


And last but not least, the Peach Industries Kitty Lounger Mini in Pixie. Pixie is a raspberry pink print. I have previously reviewed the Peach Industries lounger, which you can read here, and can definitely say that their modern cat bed is the best (and most coveted) kitty snooze spot in our household!


I hope you've enjoyed this list of fun Valentine related cat items. Let me know which item is your must have! Happy Valentine Shopping!

xo >^..^< ox

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bobby's Bulletin - Hungry Like the Wolf

Bobby has been home in Virginia for one month and he has grown so much already. It amazes me how much he is able to eat and then pitifully manly meowing for more food! It has been years since we had a young and fiercely hungry kitten in our home. 

Bobby is comfortable living in my parents' room with Piper. They both like to take little excursions out of the room daily. Bobby is confident with all the cats, even Brooke (our tortie) who can sometimes be agressive. Nope, he just plays with her like he does with all his aunts and uncle! 

Bobby gives me a kiss.


This picture above was when Bobby and Piper were still learning to appreciate each other. They have come a long way, as I have caught them curled up with each other. Bobby loves everyone! Piper was weary of Bobby at first, but she has accepted him into the Shubin fold.

Busted, I know you like each other.


Of the other five cats, Bobby definitely loves Henry (on right) the most! Maybe he gravitates toward Henry because he is also a black cat. Henry likes Bobby, I think because they are warm when they curl up together. 

When Henry went to the hospital a few weeks ago for a virus, I definitely think Bobby knew he was missing! He gave Henry a big kiss and head butt when Henry came home.

Curled up for warmth.


Bobby has become accustomed to all sorts of beds, including the Peach Industries mini kitty lounger.


Bobby wants to send a big hello to his friends and family (Charlie, Polly - that means you!) at Animal Outreach of Cape May County. He hopes all his buddies are doing well and will get adopted soon. And thank you to our Animal Outreach friend Eileen, who sent this unbelievably adorable baby Bobby picture!

Precious little Baby Bobby!



This is Bobby and Rachel, signing off from your latest Bobby Bulletin! 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The "New" Sandpiper Cat Blog

 ~From the Desk of Sandpiper~


Dear Readers,

In the month that has already gone by in 2014, there has been a great deal of change happening in the Shubin household. We rescued a kitten, Bobby from Cape May, and added him to our home. He hasn't stopped growing (or eating) since we adopted him. Please stay tuned for a Bobby's Bulletins update this weekend! 

Piper dealt with a bout of a virus that has traveled through the house to the rest of the cats. We've been recuperating and trying to return full force. Our diabetic cat Henry was hospitalized for a few days as the virus spiked his blood sugar too high. Right now, everyone is getting a lot of love and relaxation. I hope everyone will be back to normal in no time.

Meanwhile, I have been making some changes on the blog. Our third blogging anniversary occurs in the month of March, and I went ahead with a little plan I have been brewing since the start of Sandpiper Cat Blog. A big change, that I have been biting my tongue as I've been waiting to tell you. But....

Now the change is here (and boy did it take forever)! Piper and I made the executive decision to drop the "blogspot.com" portion of our URL out by registering our own domain name. You can now find us here at www.sandpipercat.com! We're still in the same location, same content and past posts - just under a different URL.

So please bookmark our new URL link, subscribe to us by email and stay tuned for February fury & March madness...there are many giveaways about to posted :)

Rachel & Piper


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Meet Bobby Shubin!

On June 29, 2013 I was volunteering at Animal Outreach of Cape May County in Cape May, New Jersey with my family, when a bunch of feral kittens in traps were brought in to the center. My dad pulled back the sheet draped over the trap to see a very small, month old black kitten. He opened his mouth and let out a big hiss! Which of course, sounded like a mere whisper being that he was all of two pounds.

Flash forward to November 29, 2013 when we went to visit the kitties and people at Animal Outreach. We were delighted to find that little feral black kitty was now a beautiful six month old kitten! Now named Bobby, he had a sleek black coat with a spot of white under his chin. He was friendly and affectionate towards my dad (he clearly knew who to suck up to). My dad loves black cats, something his father passed on to him. But of course, we had five cats waiting for us at home and surely that was enough.

Dad and Bobby at the adoption center.
Well, it was enough until the black cat tchotchkes started coming home. First it was, dad buying the cats on the bottom right, trying to campaign to wear down the resistance. Then came the two cats top right from Brazil, telling us we didn't have enough black cats in the house. Then came the big guy on the left. You can't have too many honkin' black cats, can you?


Soon my mom was coming up with all sorts of "you don't need another cat" remarks.

Mom: You have three cats with diarrhea. Do you know how much we've spent on food and the vet this month? What do you need another cat for?
Dad: So that's not "no" then?

Our friend Eileen even helped out by posting pictures of Bobby waiting for us on the Animal Outreach Facebook Page!

And then we came up to Cape May for our winter vacation in December 2013. On my 20th birthday (12/30), we went to Animal Outreach to visit. And yes, there was intent to adopt Bobby. Adoption contracts were filled out, crates, carriers, food and more were brought up to NJ from home. And suddenly, Bobby was not the same cat we met.

He really just wanted to nap. Except, these people (us) kept bothering him! We wore my mom down to let us take him home to "foster" (yeah...right). He found that he could hid not only under the bed, but in the box spring. Seriously? We spent time with him, talking to him so he would get used to our voices. We gave him food and lots of treats and attention.

We came downstairs on New Years Eve morning to find that Bobby ate all the food we left for him, used his litter box and had clearly explored. Progress! We spent time with him before leaving to run errands. We came back later in the day and spent even more time with him.

And ultimately, he came out from hiding that evening. He rolled over on the scratch box that had been carefully sprinkled with cat nip. Well, he found the cat nip and started rolling around in it and he asked for belly rubs and pats. My mom had quickly gone in and out of the room before this happened and she came back in because he was crying. He wanted attention!



Belly rubs from dad.

It's pretty obvious that he is not going anywhere other than with us. We officially adopted Bobby 1/1/14! He is now part of the Shubin six! I hope that he will do well meeting Piper because we want him to be her buddy. And it would be great for him to get along with Brooke, Vickie, Pearl and Henry.

Our secret weapon is certainly catnip and treats. Tomorrow, Bobby will make the voyage home with us to Virginia. All fingers crossed that it goes well.

So seeing as Bobby is a formal feral that still has feral tendencies, I thought I would create a special portion of my blog, dedicated to chronicling the progress he makes from Feral to Friendly, which my dad appropriately deemed Bobby's Bulletins.

Stay tuned!