TULSA -- An unbreakable bond can form between a child and a stuffed animal, and many kids have become attached to the fun creatures that Ashley Carver crafts entirely by hand.
Carver has made and sold hundreds of what she calls Cuddle Monsters, which are stuffed animals that come in plenty of colorful variations.
"Cuddle Monsters are kind of abstract interpretations of animals or mythical creatures or just random doodle characters I make," Carver said, "that come to life in colorful, fluffy ways that you want to cuddle."
The business blossomed, she said, during a bout of boredom 10 years ago. "The first one was made in 2007 during the ice storm," Carver said. "It was just something to do because it was kind of hard to do much else."
The whimsical toys include everything from cats and buffalo to Bigfoot and local landmarks, like the Blue Whale and the Golden Driller. She even has one inspired by her dog, Winnie.
"They're really special," Carver said. "Each one of them, I put a lot of love into and the fabrics and the color choices, so it's just really nice to have something unique that's not mass-produced. I'm really happy that people have taken a like to that."
Several stores in Green Country now carry Cuddle Monsters, including Dwelling Spaces and Ida Red in Tulsa.
Customers can also find the stuffed animals for sale online and at a store in Minnesota.
"It's nice to know that there's people in different parts of the country that have Cuddle Monsters in their homes," she said.
Carver said her mind is stuffed with ideas about how to grow her business and create new designs, so she expects to spend even more time working on the toys in her home's craft room.