Crafts for Cats is a new year-long effort launched by two creative volunteers to bring an array of thoughtful, affordable handmade and up-cycled goods to ICRA’s annual holiday fundraiser.
The idea originated at the 2016 boutique, where ICRA volunteer Karalyn Buchner saw a lucrative niche for handcrafted items as a perfect complement to the event. She reached out to her friend and fellow Island Cat supporter, Adrian Hern, with a challenge. Buchner explains, “I pitched that if we each made 100 items during the year that sell for at least $5 each, we had the potential to increase our success by $1,000.” While Buchner fell short of her 2017 goal, Hern cranked out well over 100 items that sold like hot cakes.
Explains Hern, “I’m a creative person and have been all my life. I make something from nothing just about every day – that energy needed an outlet. It was a natural fit to direct my creative spirit toward helping Island Cat.” Her inaugural effort, included harnessing a knitting hobby with block print artistry to create fingerless mittens, greeting cards, and tea towels for the cause.
The duo formalized their efforts this year, researching a variety of fun crafts for groups and scheduling get-togethers throughout the year. Several crafting parties and a small network of fellow volunteers later, Hern couldn’t be happier: “The level of TLC everyone brings to the workshops shows in each exceptionally unique handmade item.” The handmade items include glass bead air plant hangers, cooking aprons from deconstructed men’s dress shirts, colorful felted soaps, hypertufa planters with succulents, aroma-therapy eye pillows, bracelets, shower melts, and pine cone bird feeders. One regular, Martha McWoodson, particularly likes that some of the craft items repurpose materials that might otherwise wind up in a landfill. She also feels strongly that people like purchasing locally handcrafted items that also make great gifts.
Buchner is ecstatic to see this fundraising initiative come to life: “It’s been a great way to combine a lot of my interests – cats, creativity and throwing parties! It’s a fun excuse to experiment with new craft ideas, and the get-togethers give Island Cat volunteers a new way to connect.”
ICRA’s Holiday Boutique is a two-day event held on Friday, November 30 and Saturday, December 1 at the Elks Lodge in Alameda, featuring a wide variety of holiday decorations, cards, gift wrap, jewelry, clothing, serving ware, hand-crafted items, and baked goods. We hope to see you there shopping like crazy for the cats!