I did this all in the midst of playing and so all the sewing was done by hand. To reduce project time (and if we did decide to make more) I would instead use a machine for most of the stitching next time around.
I based this pattern on a tri-fold concept. The face/body will reside in the center piece, the ears slightly behind and the tail will line up with the center of the back when its folded and sewn together.
I traced the pattern and cut it out from wool felt.
Onto the center third (which will ultimately be the front of the raccoon) and around both sides of the tail, I sewed various felt pieces. The raccoon required these extra color flairs but if one is making a cat, mouse or some simpler-faced critter, this step would be skipped.
Onto the back side of the felt (which will face forward once folded), I sewed some ear highlights.
I then embroidered on nose, mouth, eyes and some little paws to hold the heart. (I think my eyes are a little wonky and somewhat hostile looking. Embroidery is obviously not my forte.)
I folded it into thirds and sewed it up with the tail sticking out in back.
I figure there are lots of animals that can be made in basically this same fashion: bear, mouse, bunny, cat... whatever suits your fancy.
With a little effort, my second go will likely look much sweeter and more polished than this one but, chances are, I won't get any pictures next time around.
Turns out Naiya isn't letting go of this one.
She said she would like a piggy next.