Tuesday, December 23, 2008

35% off Sale will continue!

Well, I said I'd let you know if I decided to continue my sale..... my sale will run until midnight on January 2nd.

Pieces like Valentina here will no longer be made.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Revised Plush Sale

I am discontinuing my plush animal sculptures.

I've started designing a new series of sculptures with a more adult/edgier feel

SO! If you've really wanted a plush Hexcat or a crazy monkey now is your chance to get 1 at 35% off. The items in my 25% off section in my shop will have an extra 10% off discount.

Oh and the rest of the items in my shop are 25% off. I'm continuing this sale until midnight on the 20th. If I decide to run this sale longer, I'll write another update and let you know. :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Revamping my shop...Special Sale!!!!!!

I've been looking at my plush pieces and while they are cute...I'm finding that I want to get away from them.

I've been inundated with ideas for goth women, ghosts, sorceresses, disabled people....even vampires. Not to mention the eye jewelry I used to create regularly.

So if you want a plush hexcat or a monkey, now is the time to stop by my etsy shop. I set up a 25% off section. http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=11088&section_id=5800372
There are a few older dolls listed there too.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Beezus had Ramona...Germanicus had Caligula

So, it seems reasonable that Cthulhu Should have an even more evil younger relative. This little menace's name is Lulu.

She is soft and a pretty shade of lavender, and that's as far as the nice goes. Lulu has the smallest cult of human followers of all the Elder Gods. Mostly because she has the biggest appetite for blood and she's easily bored.

These figures have been fun to make. Juxtaposing the viciousness of the characters with soft plush and big sweet eyes really amuses me. Now I just have to see if anyone else finds them funny too.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pet Shop of the Old Ones- Coloring Portfolio

I love making my animals for my Etsy shop Chatnoirstudios. I was really surprised when people asked for coloring pages and more story than I was putting in the shop descriptions.

I was happy to oblige. So this holiday season I'm reissuing the first set of coloring pages. My husband, MJ did the illustrations and I wrote the story.

I find it fun to see illustrated versions of my animals. I love the drawing of Winter Sky almost as much as the sculpture.

I have 1 portfolio listed at the moment, but you can order more than one and I can have them printed and shipped out in time for the holidays if you order before the 15th.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Going Back to the Garden

When I was little, my Grandma Bartlett taught me about many things. She told me stories about her life on a farm in West Virginia; taught me how to make perfect fried chicken and cherry pie; but mostly she taught me to be a strong woman.

One of my favorite lessons was about Eve. She was brave according to my Grandma. Life would have been nice in that garden, but people would have always been children.

It is always better to face the world and learn everything. Eve just wanted to grow up and find her place in the world with Adam. Because Eve grew up willingly, women since her have matured more quickly and men are often a step behind.

This little 10" by 5.5" or 25.4cm x 13.97 cm icon shows Adam and Eve embracing each other after their fall. They are what we are now... Left with each other to cope with the world, but with God listening. Grandma always said that the God was listening part is the most important thing to remember.

The fabrics I used in this piece were patterned cotton and rayon. Each applique is secured in place with spray adhesive and edged in a buttonhole stitch. Cotton floss was used for the embroidery stitches. The beads used as a final embellishment are glass and are sewn in place with spyderwire.

The finished piece is stretched over a wooden form padded with quilt batting and hand stitched in place with hand quilting thread.
The back of the icon is finished off with a panel of black velourand is ready to hang.

The finished piece is stretched over a wooden form padded with quilt batting and hand stitched in place with hand quilting thread. The back of the icon is covered with black velour.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tara and The White Cat

The Tara's love was so great for us that when she achieved Enlightenment,
She took a Bodhisattva vow, choosing to continue reincarnating until all "sentient beings" are enlightened.

In a story I read as a child, a white cat named Sinh who was the guardian/companion of an elderly artist asked Tara for help. His artist was working on perhaps his last painting for the Temple. It was of Buddha and the animals that answered his

The artist was grateful to Sinh for all the years of affection and companionship they had shared and wanted to add a portrait of Sinh to the painting.
Since according to legend the cat did not come at Buddha's call, everyone objected.

Sinh watched his unhappy, feeble friend and feared he would die before his masterpiece was complete. The night that the weeping artist finished the painting without the portrait, Sinh meditated asking Tara- She who saves- to bring peace to the old man.

OM TARE TUTARE TURE SVHA was the mantra Sinh repeated. In his mind, he came upon the green Tara and with a gentle touch of his paw told her of his love and sadness. All was lit with a golden light and Sinh was reassured that "You can rely on me, you need seek no other refuge"

On the morning the monks came for the painting they found that the artist had died in his sleep and lay in bed with a peaceful smile on his face. Looking around, they stood in awe of the beautiful painting before them. All the animals glowed with a heavenly radiance and the artist was there too... praying. But most amazing of all, the faithful and loving Sinh was sleeping in Buddha's arms.

This is probably my favorite cat story. It just seemed that my first attempt at an appliqu├ęd and embroidered piece should be about the brave and loving cat, Sinh. This is piece is called a Thanka. It is an embroidered piece that tells a Buddhist/religious story.

To create this piece, I secured the dark dreen tie dyed fabric with a piece of batting behind it to a scroll embroidery frame. I marked off the shape of the thanka and the width of the border with dressmakers chalk.

The figures were drawn on cotton fabric secured in a round embroidery hoop and stitched. I used a variety outline stitches, short and long stitches and satin stitches. I got the glowing effect on the cat by combining 2 strands of white floss with a single strand of golden yellow floss. When they were finished, the figures were cut out and satin stitched to the background. I deliberately varied the length of the satin stitches to add to the impression that the figures are glowing.

Finding the cotton fabric print that reminded me of Dharma wheels was such a lucky break. It was perfect for the border of this piece. I cut small groupings of the circles and carefully arranged them in an attractive sequence around the 2 figures. I used a satin stitch to secure these pieces to the background like I did with the figures.

The final steps were to embroider the tiny spirals in the back ground and the rays emanating off the Tara, quilt around the figures and the sections of the background and border I wanted to stand out. I then used Spider Wire to do the beading on the entire piece.

I cut piece of wood the shape of the thanka and covered it with batting. I stretched the finished piece over the wood and whip stitched it into place. I cut a strip of cloth to cover the edge of the wood and give smooth edge to the image side of the thanka. I whip stitched this into place. I used a piece of the background fabric to cover the back of the thanka. Sewing beads around the edge of the thanka finished this piece off beautifully.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cthulhu Awakens!!! New Cthulhu Figures

H. P. Lovecraft's stories always scared me because of that feeling of oppressive fear and dread that he was so good at creating. My favorite novel is The Mountains of Madness.

I admit his characters often left a great deal to be desired, but the unnerving atmosphere....well it got me every time.

I've been wanting to come up with a new design idea for a monster that is both cute and creepy at the same time. By using huge eyes and soft plush, I think I've made a cute version of Cthulhu, but he's still a little creepy.

I as much as I like my first Cthulhu Playtime figure Nyarlthotep, I'm going to use resin eyes on the rest of the figures. The big 3D eyes are more expressive than the embroidered eye.

I'm playing round with designing Cthulhu's little sister LuLu and a blind albino penguin. My Cthulhu needs some more friends besides Nyarlthotep.