The bag thing is slowly getting done.
I decided to bail on the bunny/carrot stitch for the sides and use traditional crochet instead. I like finishing off my work this way because it flattens out the Tunisian crochet part. In this case, it also allows me to crochet the sides right to the front/bottom/back piece, rather than sew pieces of Tunisian crochet together.
Plus, I finally found a stitch that worked with the thicker, stiffer yarn and without looking too frilly.
So here’s one of the cats with the work in progress: