Monday, August 27, 2012


My yarn inheritance has expanded to include crocheted squares made by my grandmother that were never actually put together.  So, I crocheted 9 of them into a little cat mat while watching Hoarders.  I don't think that's irony, but I don't know a word for "joylessly appropriate."

To make the mat, I put two squares right side together and single crocheted through the back loops.  Well, except for the one that ended up wrong side up.  The plan for the squares was always to donate them to an animal shelter.  Shelter cats don't care about color choices.

Zoot S. Riot, on the other hand, cautiously sniffed and disdainfully pawed at the cat mat before walking away.  Which is probably not a good sign since she usually likes to sit on stuff like this.

There will be another unfortunate looking cat mat for Zoot to avoid some time soon.

I dropped off the cat mat (and ugly round thing someone else made that Zoot couldn't stand to look at), and the next week it had appeared in the Kitten Nursery!
It was just the right size to wrap up a Snuggle Safe.  While the kittens who used it are old enough to keep themselves warm, they're messy eaters who usually get a bath after they coat themselves with food.  I dried them off as much as I could, but the Snuggle Safe provided some extra warmth during their post-lunch nap.

I put it out when it was play time, but most of the kittens wanted to explore the room, play with the toys, or attack each other.

Here you can see a rare moment of the kittens sitting still and enjoying the warmed up blanket.

I did put it back in their carrier when it was time for me to leave for work.  They may have done something horrible to it since it had been moved to the laundry bag the next day.

Monday, August 20, 2012


According to the internet, you can use sharpies on canvases, and you can decoupage things to them.  As these are both skills vaguely within my reach, I was ready to do some art.

I think this tissue paper came from Michael's since the purplish shade was used for one of my Xmas reindeer.  Every other color is god damned terrible.  If paper could feel feelings, I would bully the hell out of this tissue paper.  That other color on the vase/luminary used to be green.  Now it mocks me.

While I vaguely understand that "gluing to things, then painting with more glue" is not tissue paper's primary raison d'etre, I am an artist now.  You can tell because I have canvases and paintbrushes in a variety of sizes.  As an artist, everything I do is a statement.  For example, buying a pack of cheap paintbrushes marketed to children is a statement of the childlike wonder I bring to painting things.

With the canvases, my original vision was decoupage tissue paper, draw Pikachu.  Part of my cunning plan was that the yellow tissue paper would free me from such burdensome concerns as "backgrounds" and "coloring things in."

My vision was updated to "add more tissue paper so it actually looks like a respectable shade of yellow."  

One thing I've learned from becoming an artist through buying supplies I don't really understand is that great art takes time.  Most of it is waiting for things to dry.  While waiting for things to dry, I decided to use my favorite medium to make Kristen an art.

I have no idea why Sharpie is my favorite drawing medium since I kind of suck at drawing and you can't erase Sharpie.  I suppose it appeals to my edgy outsiderness and hatred of revision.

For the background, I used what is possibly a sponge brush to apply stamp ink. 

This was included with the other housewarming items.  There's only one for Kristen because I don't know what animal Steven hates least.

Another part of being an artist is going to work to earn money for craft supplies.  While driving back from work stuff, I thought about my sad, impossible dream of submitting to Art-O-Mat (This is similar to my dream of having a Kickstarter fund and making a ludicrous amount of money for something I'd be willing to do anyway).  As I considered my artistic range and the possibility of maybe coming up with something that wasn't from Nintendo or comics, I realized that I could use my skill at cutting up paper.

The maneki neko appealed to me as an artist because it's in the public domain and I'm really awesome at drawing stylized cat faces.

How to draw a happy kitty:

Step 1: Draw a cat's head
Step 2: Draw two curved lines
Step 3: Draw a mouth
Step 4: Add whiskers (not pictured)

I got some even smaller canvases at Michael's and started working on my lucky cat template.  This is the first try on the Maneki Kitten body.  It is glorious.  I am so terrified of never being able to recreate this that I traced extra heads and bodies on an index card and put them in an envelope.

I'm really happy with how these turned out.  Cutting out the pieces is kind of tricky at this size, but the templates are working well.  Tracing the template on the back of the origami paper is easier than trying to hold the little piece of index card and cut at the same time.

I've drawn some more bells for the cat on the right (and for future cats).    I still need to draw the paws and then cover the rest of the canvas in Mod Podge.  It's probably not necessary, but I think it'll look better if the whole thing is glossy (instead of just the paper parts).

As for Pikachu, I think if I try anymore they should be on a painted background.  Because then I can just add more paint if I draw a crappy one.

I actually like how this crappy one turned out.  It looks like Pikachu as drawn by Jim Davis in 1978.

The other one went to a nice farm where it has lots of room to run around and look like shit.

I need to figure out what to do with the raggedy edges.  It probably involves finding someone who can be trusted with sharp crafting knives.

Monday, August 13, 2012

House Warming

Mr. and Mrs. The Kristen moved into a new house this past weekend, so I lovingly made them small tokens of my esteem.  With a scrap of fabric.  But nothing says "Congratulations on your new house" quite like getting people to inadvertently display your initials in their home!

The pink dragon has beautiful chocolate brown eyes.

Apparently nobody uses or makes square frames like this anymore.  I had to "borrow" one from an unsold ornament.  These could possibly become collector's items among people's grandmothers and whoever else makes cross stitch ornaments.  Seriously, you can get round, oval, star, and tree shaped ornament frames, but no squares.  Tree shaped!  For those of you who like Christmas trees, so you can make a tree to put on your tree.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Another exciting Thursday post!

While views and favorites have been respectable over at the Etsy shop, it's a slow time for sales.  Since those renewal fees keep adding up, I've decided not to renew any listings or add anything new until closer to the Christmas shopping season.  The sane Christmas shopping season, not the bullshit retail keeps trying to pull.  (Yeah, the Christmas aisle is up in Michael's.  The Halloween stuff is already out in full force, despite the fact that most of it's pre-made, so, no, you don't need crafting time.)

This will also give me some leeway if I want to pretend that I'm actually (no really you guys) going to do some sort of craft show or vendor thing in the fall.  I know I say this every year about at least getting a table at a winery and then end up just going to the winery and getting drunk, but this time I am totally willing to consider that this is a thing that could happen.  Maybe.

I'm working on some new stuff right now, so if anybody misses the exciting variety of the old gift shop, I can start making obnoxious posts about EXCITING NEW PRODUCTS FROM JUPITER STAR POWER.  There will be something in stock until the holiday shopping season, but you won't see anything new on Etsy for awhile.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Negative Self-Talk

I've been making stuff, but, generous soul that I am, it's all for other people.  So, radio silence until stuff gets handed out.  See if you can guess whose heirloom in the making is under my cat!

Meanwhile, the local craft stores have been a goldmine of items that look interesting enough to make me forget my skill level.

I have discovered mini-canvases!  Step 1: Make the internet tell me what kinds of art things you can actually use on a canvas.  Paint?  Do you need, like, special paint?  Can you use Sharpie Brand Permanent Markers because you're a bad ass who doesn't follow establishment rules (and also because they're cheaper than paint and you can use them to label stuff)?

Step 2: Crushing disappointment.  My best bet is to find the next big thing that's going to appeal to hipsters but doesn't require a great deal of "artistic ability" or "talent."  Possibly some sort of cartoon animal with a mustache...

I also discovered that Mod Podge is now making all kinds of Mod Podge and Mod Podge accessories.  I may need to pick up the little flattening roller at some point, and apparently there is some kind of magic spray that will let me print things off the internet and decoupage them (otherwise the ink smears).  This would be especially helpful since I hate "upcycling" that involves destroying perfectly good things to make a stupid box, clock, or decorative bird.

For example, these pages were published in the mid 90's.  And since everybody in the 90's was convinced that their comics would some day be worth millions, these pages probably came from a book that was in perfectly fine condition.  I've got a few issues from the 60's that are fragile, but are still valiantly maintaining book form.  Also, tearing pages out of old books that were complete when you got them?  Also not upcycling.  Yeah, it's not the WORST THING EVER, especially since most of this stuff is slowly and steadily going digital, but it's not upcycling unless it's trash.

Anyway, I have purchased Mod Podge charms.  They're small acrylic shapes that, now that I've paid for them, I'm not sure how I'm going to glue things on them without gluing them to the table/the protective covering placed over the table.

I usually avoid jewelry since, like sewing, I am not willing to suffer through the learning period.  Just like how I'd love to burn some of my earliest crochet projects which torment me with their ugliness.  But I am okay at gluing things onto other things!  I think I might flip through a Free Comic Book Day issue, find something that might look good on one of these charms, and not pretend that it's helping the environment.  I would use the terrible 90's comics I was giddily destroying to make gift bows, but I assume those are too ugly for anything other than blatantly not upcycling them to make gift bows.  (While I may have referred to that project as upcycling in an earlier post, the issue in question probably counts as garbage.  Which would make it upcycling.)