Crafts are good for distracting oneself...
These little needle-felted wool felt motifs are destined to be decoration patches on felt needle books, end-of-year presents for Max's kindergarten teachers. After Max finishes the needle felting (he's been doing all of it), I'll trim them down a bit and attach them to the books.
Except for the danger of 5 super-sharp barbed needles going through a little finger—and that's a pretty big "except"—this is an fun activity for kids. I got the Clover needle felting tool and mat for Christmas, and after a 3-day frantic search through the house for it, it took us all of 30 seconds to get going. The Clover tool has a little safety cover that theoretically prevents one from puncturing one's body. In reality, we found many ways around this safety feature. Not because we were looking, but just because they came up. Ocassionally the cover would stay retracted and not come back down to cover the needles; disassembling and cleaning the unit seems to have helped. There's a "lock" position, but it very easily wiggles out of lock and into the open position. So we've stressed keeping fingers away and never testing whether it's locked or open on your hand.
The only problem we're having is that the felting tool leaves pretty big holes in the felt. Can you see them in the photo below? They're most obvious in the door and in the light felt to the lower right of the house.
I'm wondering if perhaps we poked more lightly (don't push the needles all the way in), maybe it would make smaller holes. The felter says it has fine weight needles, so I wouldn't image that needle size is the problem. On the yellow flower I was able to sort of brush the top of the flower and make the holes less obvious.
Does anyone have experience with needle felting and can give me any tips on this?
Gertie update: I just talked with the vet, he said her blood tests show that she has hepatic lipidosis. The infectious diseases panel showed no FLV, FIV, FIP, so that's good although it means they don't know what led to this problem. She's on IV fluids and antibiotics, and he suggested either a feeding tube or home care with appetite stimulants, anti-nausea meds, and special foods. I'd much rather try the less invasive technique, but not if she's so far along that any failure with this method would be Really Bad. Unfortunately, the vet was unable to say if this was the case, I guess the blood test results are not that specific. He could only say that her values were elevated, but not the worst he's seen.
So we're going to try home care first, to see if we can get her to eat with the extra pharmaceutical support. I hope it's the right decision.