It has always been my goal to build a sustainable business income that will help me endure any hardships my family and I may face, once I retire from my day job as a school librarian (my retirement is scheduled for 2026 — three years away).
However, as I said in my March 15th blog post, the income for this website actually dropped by about 75% in 2022, due to the rising costs associated with keeping the site running.
‘Nuff said. Instead of worrying about money, in today’s blog post, I’d like to talk about the charity project I completed in 2022.
But if you’re curious about this website and its associated income sources, you can click on “About the Designer — Funding and Charity Work” in the main menu, or you can go back to the March 15th blog post to see my financial details for 2022.
Since 2014, I have donated 10% of the earnings from this website to a good cause.
In 2022, my husband and I noticed an increase in the number of feral cats in our neighborhood.
Because we live in Idaho, where there are a number of endangered and threatened species like the Yellow Billed Cuckoo, I took it upon myself to catch, spay/neuter, and release the cats that were living in our area.
The first to be caught was a black male.
He was very strong, and after I captured him in what’s considered a “humane trap,” he kept ramming his face into the closed door of the trap. I didn’t know what to do about this, so I kept him out in our barn until it was time to take him to the vet.
That calmed him down a little bit.
When you trap a feral cat, sometimes you don’t know if it’s going to be a male or female; the vet lets you know.
Had he turned out to be female, I would have named him “Black Betty Ram-a-lam,” like the song by Ram Jam, because he wanted to ram his way out of the trap, but since he turned out to be male, I named him Black Kitty Ram-a-lam!
There was a lot of racial controversy associated with this song, back in its hay day, but it’s good to know the whole story behind it.
I just find it ironic that the words to the song include “Whoa, Black Betty – Black Betty had a child – the damn thing gone wild!” I think this perfectly suits a cat that has been fixed, and may or may not have offspring running amok on our land!
So the name Black Kitty Ram-a-lam stuck.
The next cat I trapped, fixed, and released was a feral female. You can’t release females after having them spayed; instead, she had to stay in my sewing room for two weeks, to help her surgery incision heal.
While she was in my sewing room, I visited her, bringing her food and water and toys. She wouldn’t play with the toys at all, but she sure was pretty to look at — all black with one tuft of white on her breast.
Before I trapped her, I had noticed that she always hunted in our field when the sun was shining. I’m not sure where she was hiding during windy or stormy weather, but she definitely preferred to hunt in good weather.
After trapping her, as I traveled to the vet with her in the back of my car, I heard this song playing on the radio:
So I named her “Black Kitty Sunshine.”
When you look at the vet bills, you can see that I spent a total of $248.34 on my be-good-to-the-earth project for 2022: catching, spaying/neutering, and releasing the feral cats on our land. That’s more than 10% of what ChellyWood LLC earned ($1022.54) in net profits, in 2022. So I feel I’ve definitely done my duty to help out in our community.
The cat-catch-fix-release project is on-going though. As I said, there’s quite a community of feral cats on our land, but I wasn’t able to capture all of them in 2022.
Currently I have this little guest in my sewing room, waiting to heal from her recent spay surgery:
This little one is called “Peachy Keen, the Sewing Room Queen” because she’s such a friendly little kitten!
Her story is sort of sad, and it’s Sunshine’s story too. Peachy is Sunshine’s sister.
We own seven acres of land in Idaho, and there’s farmland all around us. So cats are sometimes hunted and eaten by the local coyotes and even mountain lions — yes, we have mountain lions where I live. Crazy, right?
One night I was awakened from sleep by the howl of a coyote out behind our house. Seconds later, I heard a cat squeal in pain! I got up and ran outside, but it was too late. A coyote had run off with one of the ferals on our land.
The next day, I discovered two little kittens on my front deck. One was Black Kitty Sunshine, and the other was this lovely calico. ❤️
Of course I tried to catch them, but they ran away from me. Peachy — the little calico kitten — hesitated. I’m sure she wanted to say, “We don’t know where our mommy is, and we’re hungry!” 💔
I didn’t see Peachy again for a very long time.
Then, about three weeks ago, I was driving up our driveway and I saw her playing in the field. I happened to have a can of cat food in my car, so I stopped to see if she would come to me.
I called to her. “Kitty, kitty, kitty!”
To my surprise, she wandered toward me, curious as ever. I left a can of cat food for her, and as I drove away, I could see in the rear-view mirror, that she waited for me to go before approaching the can of cat food.
After that, I slowly built up her trust. Over the course of weeks, we got to know each other. She’d see my car and bound toward it through the field. I’d leave the cat food. She’d eat it.
Eventually she let me pet her. And two days ago, I picked her up, put her in a cage in the back of my car, and took her to the vet.
Thankfully she wasn’t already pregnant! And now she’s sitting in my sewing room, healing from her spay surgery. But it will be two weeks before I get my sewing room back!
So I’m going to take a break from my regular blog posts, while Peachy heals in my sewing room. In fact, I need a bit of a break anyway because I’ve fallen behind on designing new patterns.
You know what I mean. Life happens.
During the month of April, I’ll be re-posting older blog posts. Heck, it doesn’t hurt to revisit some of my popular posts, like, “Where do you buy doll buttons?” and “How do you use bias tape?”
The catch-spay/neuter-release project wouldn’t have been possible without the money I earned from this website. So thank you, everyone, for sharing my blog posts online, following my YouTube channel, watching my videos, and spreading the word that this website exists.
And a very special thank you to everyone who took my courses on the Creative Spark website, Those royalties provided the most money of all my income sources related to ChellyWood.com, so THANK YOU!
If you’d like to know about my latest class, which teaches you how to design your own doll pants patterns (including patterns for making leggings, overalls, and fly-front pants or jeans) you can learn more about this new class (which only costs $19.99) by watching this video and reading the text below:
Yes, my “How to Design Doll Pants Sewing Patterns” course has been released on the Creative Spark Online Learning platform. And here’s the exciting news:
It only costs $19.99 for the whole class!
This new class teaches you how to design your own hand-drawn sewing patterns for different types of pants for dolls, using everyday tools most people have at home. This is what you’ll learn/what you’ll get out of my newest course:
- How to design pants patterns for 18 inch dolls
- How to design pants patterns for 15 inch dolls
- How to design pants patterns for baby dolls
- How to design pants patterns for small dolls
- How to design overalls for your dolls
- How to design leggings for your dolls
- A free pattern for 18 inch doll overalls!!!
- A brief overview of my doll pattern resizing formula
Are you worried you don’t have enough time for an online course? Well, for any class on Creative Spark, you don’t have to follow a schedule. Just sign up when you’re ready.
It’s a one-time fee for the course, and there’s no specific time limit to finish your course. You can just take your time and learn at the pace that suits you. So go check out my paid courses on Creative Spark, using this link.
To read more about my free sewing patterns and tutorials, please visit the “Helpful Tips” page.
Disclaimer/Credit/Affiliate Marketing Link:
The free printable PDF sewing patterns offered here on this website are the designs of Chelly Wood, and they are marked with a Creative Commons Attribution mark. Any similarity to other companies’ or other crafters’ projects of a similar nature is unintended.
Are you lovin’ all this free stuff from ChellyWood.com? Please show your support by telling people about ChellyWood.com. That’s what the “Creative Commons Attribution” mark on my patterns means: if you use my free patterns and tutorials, you should tell people where you got all this great free stuff!