I made a rabbit stroller for under $15

Have you ever wondered how to make a rabbit stroller for your houserabbits, so you can take them places?  I wanted a rabbit stroller because my bunnies sometimes need to travel with me, such as when I took them to the vets today.  I originally wanted this rabbit stroller so I could include my rabbits in our wedding, but sadly the registry offices in the UK don’t allow pets or animals except guide dogs, and we didn’t want the rabbits to wait outside on the hottest day of 2014, so this project languished in obscurity.

My rabbit stroller is finally a successful, completed project!  After procrastinating for 2 years, I finally got it made last night.  It took about half an hour last night, plus about an hour or two (two years ago).  I couldn’t afford a fancy stroller conversion by a professional rabbit stroller company, and a dog stroller was way out of my price range too, so I made do with the cheapest pushchair money couldn’t buy:

When I bought the stroller (a pushchair), this was what it looked like.  Note the cracked handle (right) and the open front for baby’s feet to go through (or, for my rabbits to escape through)!  The pushchair was also dirty and very difficult to open and close, but it was an unbelievable bargain at £2.80 from a private seller on ebay.  There was no postage to pay as I collected it myself.  Why did I buy this shitty cheap stroller for my VIP bunnies?  Because at the end of the day, the fabric’s not important, I can fix that, but I wanted a good solid base, intact and working wheels, and more important than anything else, the backrest on the pushchair seat had to adjust to flat, to turn it into a pram, because I wanted more floorspace for the buns to lie down in.  This one had that function but still folds down for storage.

I bought a net cot cover (one of these) for about £2 from Amazon Warehouse Deals which, if you’ve never heard of it, is where you can buy loads of Amazon.com products at amazing discounts for reasons such as “the box is damaged” (which, if you shop on Amazon, you know happens all the time on full priced products anyway).  The strong mesh didn’t look like it would protect from mosquitoes as the holes in the mesh were too large, but it was perfect for keeping rabbits in their stroller while making the whole thing breathable (I didn’t want hot, cross bunnies).  I cut and sewed the mesh cover to the bottom of the fabric pad like so:

stroller3

This then went over the baby handrest like this, to stop rabbits escaping through the leg holes:

stroller4

Optionally, when it’s raining, it’s possible to also lift the foot rest up to cover the same spot with more solid plastic, but it does still need that mesh net there to stop the foot rest just falling down all the time:

stroller05

I don’t know what this is called but I bought it at the Mothercare outlet store on sale for £5.  The brand of this rain hood thingy is Mamas and Papas.  It’s like a rain hood with a mesh net, the whole thing attaches over the top of a stroller to keep bugs away from babies (or something, I really don’t know but all strollers seem to have things like this).  This one gets narrower towards one end for some reason, but overall it was perfect to attach to our stroller to stop the bunnies from just jumping out of their snuggly space:

stroller06

how to make a rabbit stroller DIY houserabbits
The hood thingy attached to the back of the stroller like so.

This hood thingy had popper loops that made it easy to attach to our stroller, even though our stroller was some obscure brand, not Mamas and Papas (as a sidenote, I highly recommend Mothercare for rabbit toys, they make indestructible toys for newborns that are often also great for bunnies).

how to make a rabbit stroller DIY houserabbits

The existing (non-waterproof) canopy hood thingy on the stroller was non-removable and part of the structure of the stroller but the new one from Mamas + Papas was really great because it was wider than the original, and fitted perfectly over the top, but the metal frame of it was lightweight and flexible so it also squishes through the stroller’s handle so I can change the direction the rabbits are facing (the handle flips so you can either see your rabbits, or they can see where they’re going; I recommend one where you can see your rabbits if you’re getting a stroller with a non-movable handle because the rabbits will try to escape).

how to make a rabbit stroller DIY houserabbits
The mesh net raincover thingy is attached over the top of the existing raincover.

stroller11

The outside of the stroller had now been rabbit proofed, but the inside still looked utterly miserable.  I hated it and the fabric was worn and discolored in places, so I found this cute rabbit scarf someone had bought me for a present at some point in the past, and I lined the stroller with it.

stroller12

See?  Way cuter and it has a rabbit print on it.  Long term, I think I’m going to make a new padding for the inside of the stroller so it’s machine washable because bunnies are generally very tidy and clean but sometimes they gotta pee and I like to wash their fabric cushions and other items ASAP when they get soiled.

I also tied the front of the fabric to avoid any dangling ends that could get caught in the wheels:

stroller13

To continue the improvements, I used two wide hair ribbons I bought about 5 years ago from Wal-Mart (ASDA) and wrapped them around the handle, after tying them to each other to make one long ribbon.  This looks much nicer than the cracked broken handle, and feels a bit more comfortable to hold, but long term I want some foam padding between me and the cracked handle and of course this handle isn’t practical in a rain storm:

how to make a rabbit stroller DIY houserabbits

I hooked my umbrella over the handle because if it rains, that mesh netting’s not going to keep my bunnies dry so I’ll need a backup!  This is the finished, fixed, converted rabbit stroller, it fits two bunnies in the main area and the netting just unhooks from the front to get the buns in and out:

how to make a rabbit stroller DIY houserabbits
The finished bunny stroller

Another view of the finished bunny stroller:

how to make a rabbit stroller DIY houserabbits
A side view of the bunny stroller

And, of course, here’s some pictures of Timmy in his new stroller:

how to make a rabbit stroller DIY houserabbits
Bunny in a rabbit stroller! Cutest bunny ears ever!
how to make a rabbit stroller DIY houserabbits
Bunny in a rabbit stroller!
how to make a rabbit stroller DIY houserabbits
My favorite pic of Timmy in his bunny stroller. I love having houserabbits.
how to make a rabbit stroller DIY houserabbits
“Where are we going, mommy? Does this contraption go to the carrots?”

Today I took the rabbits out in their stroller, since I no longer have a car and they had a vet appointment.  The vets is just over a mile each way.  I didn’t like how low the stroller’s handle was, and it didn’t have any way of raising it.  I’m only 5’6″, I’m above average but I’m not a giant, and it seems a bit sexist that they’ve designed this pushchair for really, really short people. I’d be aware of that if you’re buying a stroller for your buns.  Aside from that it was ok although I want more padding between the rabbits and all the bumps of the pavement.  The biggest issue is that they can’t be in it for more than about half an hour because there’s no way of giving them water.  I need one of those travel pet bowls for dogs in cars, because my rabbits don’t drink from bottles, and even if they did, there’s nowhere in this stroller to attach one.  That’s going to be the next addition to this bunny stroller.

The rabbits liked being able to see out, and I think they didn’t mind being in their stroller once they got over the initial confusion about what was going on.  The vet thought it was adorable.  After going to the vets, I needed some feminine hygiene supplies so I walked around the supermarket with my rabbits in their stroller.  The woman at the till gave me a very strange look but no-one else really noticed that there were bunnies in the stroller.  I’ve used the stroller once before, taking Fifer to a supermarket the day after Katie died (he needed companionship and so did I), but he could easily escape because the sides were open (he chose not to, because he’s a very well behaved rabbit), which I wasn’t happy about.  Now it’s 100% rabbit proof and safe to use outdoors too!

Is It Legal?
Regarding the law, unless you’re going somewhere such as a government building (eg. for a wedding), anywhere else there is no specific law in the UK against taking your bunnies as long as they are safe and in an enclosed space. As long as the bunnies are safe and can’t escape, its perfectly legal to take them to most public places (if slightly unusual), but I would suggest people consider whether the environment might stress the rabbits too much before just taking them out everywhere. Public transport (bus drivers etc) may have issues if you get on a busy bus and have to take the rabbits out of the stroller to fold it away and put in the luggage hold, because at that point there’s a loose rabbit on their bus, so I would think about that aspect as well.

Verdict:  Project successful.

Total cost: £9.80 (or about $13).

Fun Day At The Office (Not)…

I’m taking the rabbits to the vets tomorrow in the pushchair I modified for them for our wedding. I’ve just sold my beautiful car for £240.  I won’t be able to afford a new one for a while.
I took a carload of stuff to the tip earlier today to make it easier whenever we emigrate.
And apparently my latest book is on hold until I find out categorically whether or not it can have (plot critical) dinosaurs in it.  Early indications suggest not.  Stalled, at 70,000 words.

Le sigh.  I currently feel like the Von Trapp family, only no-ones letting me on the stage to do the musical number and the Nazis are getting closer with every minute.  I feel like I have no choice but to keep my blog going, keep being bright and cheery, keep writing random beauty articles, and keep writing my books, as if there’s nothing wrong, whilst outside in the big wide world people are like “your last name is foreign, why are you in my country?” and inside I’m flipping between male and female like nobody’s business and at home I’m trying desperately to work out how to get my 5 rabbits out of the country before someone legislates that I can’t own property or something else ridiculous.  Think this vote thingy was nothing to worry about?  Try having a Polish last name in England right now.  Work’s mysteriously dried up, when last week I was being inundated with calls and emails about “the busiest time of year.”  On the plus side my most recent book has now almost sold 500 copies (490 as of two days ago, sorry I can’t link it from here it’s strictly NSFW, email me if you want to know, good job I use a pen name and it’s mostly marketed in the USA), and the guy who bought my car has just come back to return the sunglasses I left in the door.  Which is good because I broke 2 pairs of sunglasses this week and only have that pair left.

The depression and PTSD keep rearing their ugly heads, and today I lost the fight with them again, resulting in them trying to convince me I had PMS cramps, failing, then choosing to attack me with a painkiller-resistant migraine.  I spent 6 hours writing an email today.  Srsly WTF.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Partners

The weekly photo challenge is Partners this week.  I got this snap of two dandelions which I thought fitted the theme:

A yellow dandelion and its grey-haired granny went out for a walk... photography
A yellow dandelion and its grey-haired granny went out for a walk…

Brexit: You have doomed us all.

So I haven’t really said a huge amount about the big important referendum that took place yesterday.  I woke up this morning (it’s currently 7:49am here) to check the results, confident that, despite all the alleged posturing etc of the “remain campaign,” that the “leave campaign” didn’t stand a snowball’s chance of winning.  I thought they’d maybe get 20% of votes.

Nope.

They won.

They actually won.

Apparently I live in a racist, xenophobic country that is more interested in getting foreigners deported than remaining a part of the EU.

To put it into perspective for my American readers, it would be like if Texas was sick of all the Mexicans and decided to quit the United States.

You might say, “whatever, doesn’t matter to me, I’m not in Texas.”  No, but I am, I am stuck in Texas that wants to leave the USA.  Only I can’t just leave because of border control.

I genuinely don’t know what to do – I think this time, I’m going to have to emigrate.  I have a cheque from US Amazon which I now can’t put in the bank as the exchange rate is so bad – it’s plummeted.  My latest book is selling really well (but also pays in USD).  All my ways of earning money are now worthless and I’ve got a foreign sounding name in a country of xenophobes who are so desperate to deport foreigners that they’ve voted to leave the EU.

There, also, goes the US-UK tax treaty.  The IRS can now tax me as well as the UK.  I will now pay double tax on my meager earnings.

I am glad I voted remain.  Now, I think I have to vote with my feet and leave the UK before it gets any worse.

Suggestions? Apparently as a writer I will meet the eligibility criteria to emigrate to Canada by next April.

TS Eliot: The Hollow Men

I’ve had this poem running round my head all morning, it’s 8:35am and I don’t think it’s going to go away.  I find acknowledging the circular thoughts sometimes helps, so here is one of my favorite poems (and I don’t like poems, as a rule).  You’ll probably know the last four lines as they’re TS Eliot’s most quoted words (aside from Cats of course): “this is the way the world ends / this is the way the world ends / this is the way the world ends / not with a bang but with a whimper.”  I’m not quite sure what it’s all about but it’s one of those rare poems where I’d actually like to know.  I wish I was better at textual analysis, but I stopped doing English at age 16 so I have limited skills.  Tell me if you know what’s going on in this poem as I can feel it dancing just out of reach of my ability to understand it.

I
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us—if at all—not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

II
Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer—

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom

III
This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.

IV
The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.

V
Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

This poem’s had a lot of use throughout the ages, but the most memorable use of this poem was when British 90s band EMF used the last 4 lines to start one of the tracks on their album Schubert Dip, playing on words to change the final line to “not with a band.”  It got a lot of airplay/TV use in the 90s:

Sorry

So I was writing a post for Monday morning talking about how I’ve been hit in the face with depression when I actually worked out what caused it, it lifted… I never finished the post but my house is a bit cleaner.  I even cleaned the mold off the upstairs windows.  I’ve got so much more to do on that front (literally, I have a list of 65 things that need doing, excluding dailies like laundry, I feel like that kid from home alone), but I made a good start today and I feel better for it.

home alone housework cleaning

Now if I can just get my house clean before school ends… I might stand a chance of enjoying more of the holiday this year.  Sometimes I feel like being a grown up is 80% being the kid out of Home Alone and 20% being screwed over by grumpy people who charge you for drinking their water even though you can’t pay them.  Damn you Starbucks!

I will write a nice beauty post once I can actually afford to buy s’more cosmetics, which will be when I’m not so overdrawn that I can’t actually buy petrol.   I’ve probably got to sell or scrap my car this month because I still can’t afford its MoT (annual government inspection) or to fix its windscreen.  Who’s going to buy a car with a cracked windscreen and no MoT???

A Japanese Commercial for… Donald Trump???

So I didn’t have a full article or anything, I just wanted to share this thing about Donald Trump with y’all because it’s So. Damn. Funny.

We are facing a similar situation in the UK right now.  For those of you who don’t know, the UK is facing a referendum where we get to vote to stay or leave the EU.  This is AS big of a deal as the prospect of ending up with Donald Trump as president.  And I genuinely don’t know which way I’m voting yet.  If there was just a box saying “deport my neighbors and we’re good EU, m’kay?” I’d tick that one.  I’d like a nice asylum seeking family, keen to learn English and excited to be here, instead of the mafioso drug dealers who play banging tunes til 3am on any given night except Saturdays (on Saturdays they clean their BMW then presumably drive it round our estate like it’s an ice cream van for the downwardly mobile).  It’s twats like that which drive people to vote for scary radical people like Donald Trump.  But then, an MP (our version of senators) got killed yesterday by someone who wants us to leave the EU.  Or orchestrated to look that way, it’s impossible to tell in the UK.  I don’t know what to make of it all, but I’m worried there will be large scale rioting if the referendum decides we stay in the EU.  This pretty much sums up my thoughts on it all, although I’m pretty sure I’ll vote remain because there are a lot of advantages to being in the EU:

Also I discovered Meryn Cadell yesterday courtesy of Diplomatic Kid and if you are unfamiliar with his work you definitely need to check it out.  This is a song called “The Sweater” Meryn is a legit LGBT icon.  Speaking of which, it is York pride tomorrow so I might actually make my first Gay Pride march: