Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Holidays and beyond

We had a lovely holiday. Just being together, no rushing to 3 different houses, no neurotic relatives, presents that we both wanted.

It was great to spend the day together. We talked, watched old movies and cooked a great dinner.

Now it's time to start the new projects for my etsy shop.

1. The introductory story for my pet shop series needs to be completed.
2. Learn to use my embroidery machine.
3. Sculpt those little dragons
4. Add little mermaids to my line.
5. make more items to my shop in the $20-$40 range.

I need to work smaller and I want to make a few more different items. I'm playing around with embroidery designs for purses that I knitted. I'm not sure how monster purses will go over, but I think they're cute.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Preparing for my Scrooge-a-thon

Every year I read A Christmas Carol and watch a few of the different movie versions that have been made over the years.

I think the Alastair Sim version is my favorite, but the George C. Scott version runs a close second.

But then again, I love the part in the Albert Finney Scrooge where he's relegated to the coldest office in Hell.

And the scene where Scrooge's poor victims are dancing on the old bugger's coffin is hysterical the reprise of Father Christmas always makes me so happy.

Of course there are several really bad versions out there, like the one with Henry Winkler or the 50's live tv version with Fredrick March. But I'll even peek at them sometimes.

I think I love the story of Scrooge because no matter how bad life seems; how selfish and rotten I feel sometimes; I watch Scrooge see all the good that could have happened in his life if he had been braver and more caring and realize I can improve myself too. Aspiring to be more than you are, is the only real change you can make in your life that really benefits you and the others around you.

I hope all of you have a Happy Holiday and aspire to be a better soul in the new year.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Son of Bun

Remember this nasty little guy? Remember how I said he was the most terrible candy experience ever? Well, I have a new story for you.

My husband thinks the Killer Bun Story is hilarious. So I think he has been looking for Buns locally to surprise me. Why he thinks I'd like to relive such an experience is beyond me, but I think he thought it would be funny to look at them and laugh over old Killer.

One night he came home from work with a Charlie Brown's Farms bag and seemed so pleased with himself.


One of our local farmers markets had started carrying BUNS. Well, vanilla and caramel ones anyway. I was almost disappointed that he couldn't find a Killer Bun. I am curious now to see if it was as bad as I remember.

The caramel one was old. It had been smashed, heated and then left to re-solidify. I don't know what possessed me, but I just had to try it. I should have thrown it out. The peanuts were stale and the caramel was brittle in some places and gummy in others. The chocolate had more in common with a candle than a piece of chocolate.

But as always... the Vanilla would do in a pinch.

I really should stop eating candy. Or maybe I should just send all future buns to my brother David and see if he'll eat them now.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sewing Free Form Figures CAPTURED

The way I work can seem very involved. In this tutorial, I wanted
to share how I
made one of my favorite pieces, CAPTURED .

I've always loved the colors of the Egyptian Funerary Art and the textures and spiraling shapes in Gustave Klimt's work.

I've always done
sketches to
help me
plan my
but I have never let the drawings get too involved though. The fabrics and the sewing itself often dictated changes in the finished piece.

After I collected up different shades and textures of fabrics in the the Egyptian inspired colors , I chose the wires I wanted to use for the armatures.

I wanted the starfish to act as a base and it needed to hold the mermaid securely. Even though it was only 8 inches in diameter, I chose 14g galvanized steel wire for the basic framework because it was stiff enough to hold the shape I wanted. After making the basic shape, I wrapped the 14g with 22g wire.

This texturing of the armature made it easier to cover the wires with acrylic yarn. I used a buttonhole stitch for this step. The yarn covering made it easier to attach the strips of batting used to plump up the starfish's shape.

The mermaid may have been a smaller piece, but her construction was much more involved. The process was basically the same as the starfish, but I worked in layers on this figure. After setting up the armature, I covered her with batting and started sewing fabric on the tail.

Once I had a stable fabric base I used more pieces of batting to create breasts and the facial structure . More fabric was then whip stitched over top. On the head, the eyes were sewn on and the forehead, nose and chin were then shaped and sewn down.

On the torso, the breasts were formed by sewing batting around a marble and sewing it in place. Once they were covered with fabric, I continued the spiraling fabric shapes I started on the tail up the torso and over the breasts.

The final steps on the starfish were to secure the resin eye in
place, sew on an eyelid and embellish the entire surface with beads.

The mermaid's finishing touches were beading the hair and embellishing the torso with seed beads. Elastic trim was used to bind the mermaid in place.

This has always been one of my favorite pieces.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Dreaded Candy Flavor

When you're a kid darn near anything sweet is a wonderful thing. But the worst candy eating experience of my life had to have been getting one of these little dudes to my left. Mom ran in to Bumpas Drug to get cigarettes or something and brought me one as a treat.

No no! Not the vanilla...that wasn't that bad really. The caramel was better of course, but the vanilla would do in a pinch. Apparently Mom didn't notice, that in her rush to get a handle on her nicotine craving, she picked up a MAPLE Bun!

I was hopeful as I opened it...I'd never had the maple before. I had the fleeting thought that pancake candy was a weird idea, but heck I'd try anything once. OMG! It was horrifically sweet and gritty like sand. And gummy... let's not forget gummy. I kept taking little bites. I guess I thought for some strange reason it had to get better. The motion of the car started to make me nauseous, my head started to hurt and I thought I was going to die. Mom would have never tried to poison me on purpose...would she?

Our green Galaxy 500 had a big deep back-seat. So I wrapped that sucker back up and wedged it in the crack between the backrest and the seat. I then tried to put the experience out of my mind.

That Christmas I got The VERMONT MAPLE COUPLE in my stocking.
I conned my little brother David into eating mine. It was easy. He used to eat Play-Doh.

A few yrs later my Dad was cleaning out the car in preparation for trading it in. He found the petrified remains of my Maple nightmare. I 'd forgotten old killer Bun and I just kinda chuckled to myself. That wild sugar poisoning from my past has put me off Maple for life.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Pet Shop of the Old Ones Coloring Portfolio

It's finally finished!! The folio has been listed in my
shop and I'm hoping for a good response to it.
People have been asking for something with my magicked animals that was less expensive than the actual dolls. I've always enjoyed writing the descriptions of the animals and decided writing a story might be the way to go.

Here it is! 22 beautiful drawings by my husband, MJ and a story by me, in a nice string tie portfolio. I hope this folio is popular. I enjoyed writing the story and deciding on what illustrations to use.

I already have ideas for a second folio.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

My Ode to Cats- In My Life and in Art

I love you my darling cats. Jackie, even when you jump off the
plant shelf and land with a huge bang on MJ's drawing table.... I may jump 10 feet, but I still love you.

Or when you have a wild game of "run and tumble" with your siblings at 2 am, I'm usually up sewing anyway.

Even little Kirby's turning into a vampire that one night wasn't that bad. He was abandoned at such a young age I guess the suckling thing is to be expected.

But sometimes I like my cats to be artwork. It's nice to look at a painting or sculpture of a cat. No biting or scratching or craziness. Just beautiful cats.

the etsy shop run by Cheryl Ellicott shows cats in all their regal beauty. I am so in love with Devon Rex Prince M. I love to look at this beautiful

But sometimes the joy of having
a cat is witnessing it's occasional zaniness. Papermoongallery's cats are so charming. I love the giant eyes and teeny legs these sculpts have. Sophisticated Kitty Cat is quite the charmer.

Yes, I'm a crazy cat lady and I do love my cats.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

New Cat Preview

This is the first Cat Woman in MJ's beautiful new series of ACEOs. The image is drawn in graphite and colored digitally.
It's funny how different artists see things.When I suggested doing a Cat
Woman Series to MJ, I was thinking along the lines of Cat Women like My Mystic Cat Dancers. More cat than human was the way I approached this idea.

As I look at MJ's Lady Blue, I want to try a new series more like her, but I suppose that the way I work I would end up with another figure similar to my Calliope.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Making Resin Eyes Tutorial

My husband makes a lot of the eyes I use in my dolls and jewelry.

He wrote this
tutorial to add to my blog .

First you'll need a silicone mold of a sphere the size you want your
eye to
be. It needs to be a one piece mold thats open at the back.

Get some Devcon Clear Two Component Epoxy from your hardware store. Also
get some dry tempera paints.

First, mix up a small amount of epoxy and use the black tempra paint to
make it black. VERY CAREFULLY, using a toothpick or some similar tool,
collect a
blob of the black epoxy on the end of the toothpick and carry it to the
mold.Let a pupil sized drop fall right into the middle of the spherical
mold. Don't let it hit the side of the inside of the mold and run down to the very
bottom, you must hit the center/bottom of the mold on the first try. You are
creating the pupil of the eye, and it must be perfectly round!

As this sets up, mix a larger batch of epoxy and tint it the color that
you wish the iris of your eye to be. Using the toothpick again, or better
yet a cheap disposable paintbrush, collect a dollop of the iris colored epoxy
and drop it into the mold right on top of the black pupil that you have just
Of course, the iris color should flow beyond the area of the pupil.
Again, hit the center/bottom of the spherical mold the first time! to get a perfectly
round iris.

While this epoxy is setting up, mix a larger again batch of epoxy and
tint it a cream or white color. This will be the white of your eye. Mix
enough to pretty much fill the rest of the mold. Pour it into the mold and it's
best to let the whole thing set overnight. The following day, demold the eye
and see how it looks. If you are happy with it, and since most dolls, figures have
TWO eyes, you now get to make a second eye just exactly like the first! Good
Luck! Once you have your TWO eyes, I would lightly sand them both to get rid of
any textures that may have formed on the surface of the eyes. Once they
have been sanded evenly, coat them both with an untinted coat of epoxy to give
them a wet look. Sometimes a second or even third coat of clear epoxy is needed to
get a uniform coating.

This is a really down and dirty way to make fake eyes.Your biggest
hurdle will be to get some molding silicone to create your spherical mold.
You'll also need a sphere to mold. A Ping Pong ball, large marble, etc.

Locate Burman Industries on the internet to purchase silicone molding materials, and
information on working with it.

Good luck! Be forewarned -This takes a great deal of practice, silicone for the molds is expensive and expect a high failure rate while you are learning.

Adding More New Items

MJ is adding a new line of Limited Edition Art Cards to our shop.

The Bleak Girls are the first set.

His next series will be Cat Women.

The Pet Shop of the Old Ones Coloring pages will be listed this week.

I'm finishing off a new Futhark Feline and a little cat soon to be either a Moonlight Cat or a short haired HexCat. I'm still undecided. It depends on how the body turns out. I've only made one short-haired Hexie so the idea is appealing. Micah was one of my first HexCats. I was looking in my files for a picture and came across this one of him and it got me to thinking about getting out the velour for a Hexie.

I'm starting a couple of new pieces too. This sad story made me want to do a memorial to poor George. Since I want to call it St. George, I'm going to do it in accordance with traditional portraits of Saints. He's going to be all battered from his fight. But I don't believe all angels are pretty.... Especially when they're being brave.

I'm also staring a medium sized longhaired Hexie. I just got the most beautiful black,white and purple faux fur and MJ made me some beautiful deep purple eyes. I love fabric sales.

Friday, November 30, 2007

New Items, New Groups... New Everything It Seems

I got tired of making the first edition Hexcats or the Blob cats as I now call them. But I always enjoyed making their little ruffs. I've seen how popular cuffs seem to be so I decided to try out putting HexCat faces on them. I think they're cute and have the added attraction of being wearable.

I also joined a new Etsy group called the Freethinkers Team. We have our own blog/gift guide here at Blogger too.
It seems like so many people were trying to segregate themselves in to groups of similars...which is fine. I like and make Dark Art so I joined the Spirit of Dark Art group too. I think that when certain groups gather up , like conservative Religious or Political groups it just makes more open minded people feel uncomfortable. I like this Freethinkers group because anyone who is willing to be tolerant is welcome. We also have a Flickr group called the Unherded Cats of Etsy
Please feel free to visit us on etsy forums in our chat thread in the street teams section
or either of these 2 other places.

I'm going to start featuring artists from both groups here in my blog . I just have to come up with a fun questionnaire for the featured person to fill out. If you have any fun ideas for questions or want to be featured let me know.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ultraman Ultra Strange

As a kid, I used to watch Ultraman regularly. My husband did too. Recently we got the DVDs of the show. I never realized how many strange things went on in that show.

What was up with those tiny shorts that all the little boys wore?
Why did the Science Patrol sleep in their cheesy orange uniforms?
Why didn't the Beta Capsule that turned Hiata into Ultraman, come with a clip so he could attach it to his belt? He was forever losing that damn thing.

And where the heck did Ultraman put the beta capsule when he was trouncing the poor alien of the week? Did it become the Ultra butt plug? I mean look at his Ultra suit in this video
Can you see a pocket?

The Aliens and Monsters - I always felt bad for these guys. Ultraman tore them to bits most of the time. I liked the Toho(movie studio that did the Godzilla etc films) solution to monsters... they got captured and put on a nice island. They even had their own medical staff to look after them.

I watched one episode this weekend where the Science Patrol had a memorial service for all the defeated monsters... it was nice, but a far cry from a private island. As an adult, Ultraman makes me sad now, but I still like all the old Toho movies. They seemed to have more respect for their monsters.

Monday, November 26, 2007

New products - Eyes and Stories

I've been experimenting with making these crocheted wrist cuffs. I just finished and listed this one this morning. Since it was a Hex Cat I used the old resin eyes.

I used the glass taxidermy eyes on this cuff. I really like how this turned out. I'm working on a new Futhark Cat that has hand painted glass eyes. I love that VanDykes offers glass blanks that you can paint yourself.

I really thought I might give up the resin eyes, but on some pieces they just look so good to me. But having tons of eye options is a great thing because it opens up so many possibilities for new styles of dolls and accessories.

My newest venture is the Pet Shop of the Old Ones coloring book my husband and I have been working on. We found these great string tie folders to use as portfolios and the drawings and the story are at the local printing shop now. We hope to have these listed in our Etsy shop by the beginning of next week. I finally put down all the stories I've added to my descriptions of the animals I make. MJ's drawings are beautiful and I hope my story is as good.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

New ! Pet Shop of the Old Ones Coloring Book

My husband and I have been working on a new project. A coloring book based on my Pet Shop of the Old Ones line of animals.

The entrance to the pet shop is what I want on the front cover. MJ says it should be a close up of the hanging shop sign
with the name of the shop and the cat logo.

Here's a few of the drawings of the animals too.

Any comments about this coloring book idea are welcome. We're still debating what we want to charge and which cover idea we want to use.