I was amazed when I first saw this incredible cat scarf in etsy shop Miss Minoes (formerly makemesmile) by Ama. It definitely made me smile!!
Ama is a member of the Etsy for Animals team that I am in and she does amazing work helping her local animals in Leiden. I had long been an admirer of Ama's work before I met her.
I can see how creative Ama is and I asked her if she would have the time to answer some questions. She kindly obliged.
I'd like to know more about your work for animals and your support for the animal shelter in Leiden. Can you tell me a bit about them and how you got involved?
I donate 100% of my kitty hats proceeds and 50% of all other proceeds to the animal shelter "Stevenshage" in Leiden.
The animal shelter has just celebrated their 50th anniversary. They provide shelter, housing and care for cats, dogs, rabbits, ferrets etc.
Unfortunately again this summer the amount of stray cats is bigger than last year.
The animals brought in at the shelter are either officially abandoned (when someone is no longer in the position to take care of the animal), wounded animals picked up by the animal ambulance, strays, or the saddest cases: dumped in front of the shelter in a cardboard box, in rain, snow....
Naturally the people working at the animal shelter (paid and volunteers) are big animal lovers.
I do admire that they also keep the faith in human beings, because they do see the worst of what people are capable of.
This is Floora puppy. His eyes go straight to your heart!
I got to know about the shelter 20 years ago, before I even had cats myself. My friend had one of her cats going adventurous, so we went to see if he was found. This was before the technology of the "chip", which nowadays makes it easier to find the owner of a lost cat.
To see all those homeless kitties melted my heart and of course I would have loved to take them all home, but rule number one for bringing home a pet is committing you to it.
Housing circumstances (pet unfriendly landlords) were not right to bring home a cat yet.
Two kittens born in June. It won't be long before these two balls are the size of a cat!
Please tell me about your 2 cats Droppie and Charlie. Their ages, where did they come from, what are their favorite toys, food and games? and sleeping places?
Oddly enough I have never gotten a cat from the animal shelter. My cats usually came from people for whom I was the last resort: If I couldn't give the cat a new home, the animal shelter would have been the next and final option.
The cats I have now are 2 female cats. They are the first cats that are getting old with us. The 3 tomcats we had before went through their 9 lives way to fast.Our oldest cat is Droppie; she is a lady of 18 years old. She came as a 6 years old independent girl.
Two years ago her health went bad quickly, kidneys started failing and the doctor feared a tumor. The latter was a false alarm luckily, and her kidney situation stabilized.
As my boyfriend and I thought we were losing her we shamelessly spoiled her. Since then Droppie has been acting more and more as a royal highness. She demands. She gives me angry looks and complains if I can't make the rain stop.
Her favourite spot is sleeping on the lap of my boyfriend William. I am only a second choice to her and she doesn't even try to hide that. If she sits on my lap and he comes home she doesn’t know how quickly she can get to him. He doesn’t even have time to take his shoes of.
My other cat Charlie is a funny girl. She is a calico used to be scared of everything, but her curiosity is always a tiny bit bigger than her fear.
Where does your inspiration come from for your creations?
I like to give my creations an animal theme. The inspiration comes from the material.
Do you have a creating 'ritual'? and if so - what is it?
The knitting of the hats always start on a circular needle, at that stage my knitting goes everywhere with me (on trains, at lunch etc), the second stage I do at home, in front of the telly.
What is your favourite item in your etsy shop and why?
I am very proud of my Cheshire Cat Scarves, like this mustard tabby above.
What has and hasn't worked for you?
When I started 5 years ago the cat bell chokers were a big hit.
Where else do you sell / exhibit / show your work?
At the moment I am selling on Etsy and on the yearly fair at the animal shelter.
How many of your dreams have you achieved?
And any dreams you would like to share?
In the future I hope to give Miss Minoes an official status. I would like to put more hours into it, but financially I can not afford to work less hours at my day job (yet).
Anything you would like to add?
It would be great to at least double the amount I am collecting for animal charity.
Thanks Ama! it was a pleasure getting to know you, your incredible creations and the fantastic selfless work you do for the furries at Stevenshage Animal Shelter. I wish them all the very best. Arabella and Wesley have asked that the two baby bunnies be given a little kiss each from them.
If you live in the Netherlands please consider adopting one, or two, of their little charges. Donations are also welcome all year round - and ofcourse wool!