Thursday, July 31, 2008

My Fellow Monstermakers - FeltMistress

I'm thinking of starting a post "series" called "My Fellow Monstermakers"...highlighting makers of plush monsters that inspire me.

First up is FeltMistress. I came across FeltMistress' monsters today via
Her blog is fairly new, but there's a lot more pictures of her work on her Flickr photostream. I'm loving her work! A woman after my own monster-making heart! (Even though her work is a lot more sophisticated than mine as far as the shaping goes...Most of my monsters are kind of just little pillows with arms, legs and faces).

I love the illustration-turned-plush! She is definitely talented! This fuzzy guy, "Leonard Groyle", has my vote!

Monday, July 28, 2008

New series?

Another sketch...
I think I may feel a series coming on...

Afternoon of Monsters & Painting Inspiration

I went to the Strong Museum this morning with my mom's class she works with. I guess after I came to the beach with them the otehr week, they really like me and the teacher specifically asked mom to call and ask if I'd like to come to the museum. It was fun. A little exhausting trying to keep up and contain the kids we were with (I give Mom a lot of credit!)...but still fun. This has been my third time there. CJ and I went there once by ourselves, and once again with our friends and their kids. Anyone with kids (that live fairly close) should take them there at least once!

When I got home, I photographed a bunch of monsters I'm planning on putting in my Etsy shop. I just finished a set of monsters yesterday...two monsters I call Cor and D'Roy (named so because of the scraps of courderoy pants I made them out of). I'm selling them as a set and just put them on Etsy today.

"Cor and D'Roy are brothers and come as a set. Cor is grey with a brown belly and arms, D'Roy is brown with a grey belly and arms. They get mistaken for each other all the time, but like to take advantage of the confusion and use the opportunity to play pranks on people. A secret to remembering the difference so they don't trick YOU...look closely...Cor has 3 teeth, D'Roy has 4...Cor came before D'Roy, and 3 comes before 4!"

Then through my daily blog browsing, I quickly glimpsed a picture at Design*Sponge that had a picture in the background on top of a cabinet...
I left a comment asking what the picture was, only to find a few minutes later that the blogger had mentioned it earlier in the post ("a photograph by Lightleaks"). When I went to the photographer's website and found a closeup of the actual picture, I found that it was in actuality really quite creepy and surreal (like most, if not all, of the other photographer's work). The photograph shows tea dribbling out of a girl's mouth into a stack of teacups. Creeeeepy! The photography is "good" in the technical sense, but some of the images themselves are a little disturbing. But I was inspired by the initial basic image I saw on Design*Sponge, and had made a quick sketch with oil pastels for a possible painting...

Still kind of semi-surreal because of the half face...but trust me, it's a lot less creepy than the image that ispired it! The image of glowing red is remeniscent of a piece I did a long time ago that involved the symbolism of love, trying to hide it, and being unable to...a self portrait I started before my now-husband asked me out when I was unsure of his feelings for me and afraid to reveal mine for fear of rejection. Later, when we were "a couple" and the painting was finished, I gave it to him as a gift.

I definitely think my painting blood is up again. I've been reading up on artists like Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso and have been inspired to start painting again.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Another Productive day!

Another peaceful, productive day! Well...semi peaceful if you don't count the plane noises.
I've been working all day on cleaning/rearranging our guest room for some friends of ours who are coming from Buffalo to spend the night Saturday. They have two little boys, so I had to get the twin mattress from the attic so they had something to sleep on. I like how the room turned out. I think it's very cozy. It's also very cheery since it's the room in the house that gets the most natural light.


I went outside to water my plants (I have one zinnia fully in bloom! Isn't it pretty?) And caught a few glimpses of the planes I've heard roaring overhead all day. I happen to live pretty close to the airport. And the Thunderbirds have been practicing for the past two days for the air show this weekend. I got a few pictures...they're nothing amazing though (I think the first one looks like a UFO). It was hard to catch a good picture of them since it was hard to tell which way they were coming from...the air was just full of jet engine roar...your ears can't determine what direction it's coming from. And by the time I saw them, I had to get them in the viewfinder of the camera and zoom in to get any kind of decent picture and they were already almost gone. The last picture is the best one I got.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I am now officially announcing...that my Etsy Shop is now open with items for sale! There's only 3 monsters up for sale as of right now and I'm still trying to learn about shipping stuff, but at least it's there! I'll be putting more items in the shop this upcoming week. Check it out!

PS: A shout-out thank you to "No Answers" for your support!

The Market, The Library and Art

After dropping my hubby off at work this morning (we're practicing for going down to one car) I took a trip to the farmer's maket in the parking lot at GreeceRidge Mall. I got a bag of green beans ($1), 3 cucumbers ($1), and a bag of carrots ($.75). All those veggies for only $2.75! A few weeks ago I got about 5 heads of Romaine lettuce for $.75 that lasted forever! I love the market! I also love finding other local farmers markets in the area besides the big one downtown that everyone goes to and can get annoyingly crowded. I've heard there's another one in the city that's not too far from me. There's one in Chili Center, and I heard about one today that's in Rush.
I also took an excusion to the library to get some books for research for the art class I'm teaching in the fall. I got some about Impressionism, Modern Art, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso. I had to make myself go to the checkout counter before my arms fell off, because I just kept seeing more and more books I wanted to check out.

I spent the afternoon curled up on the couch, listening to my music and the rain, and being engrossed in art. I read a book about Matisse and used mini-post-its to flag pictures I could use for my class. I can't use all of the pieces because there's so much nudity... ~sigh~...a roadblock I've come across a couple times in researching almost every artist and art movement I want to use for this class. It doesn't phase me all that much (I just see it as part of art history), but I don't think it would be appopriate to show 8-12 year olds (I don't think their parents would look too kindly on it either). As an artist, I haven't ever done any nudes, and don't really desire to do any. The closest thing I've done is my series I did with women's backs

Also in preperation for the class, I decided to do different versions of one of my favorite painting I've done of CJ. The first one is done in the Impressionistic style, the second to resemble Picasso's abstract/cubist style, the third using the tequnique of cut paper that Matisse used in his latter years. It's funny...I remember being told in an art class once that Matisse used cut paper in his later years because he was going blind...but the book didn't say anything about that. Darn lying art teachers...(just kidding!)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Busy Busy Weekend

We've had a busy weekend. (Sorry for the lack of pictures...I was too busy to think about taking out my camera a lot)

Friday, I went to Charlotte Beach with my mom and her summer school class she works with. It was fun. The teacher brought these cut off detergant bottles and milk jugs for the kids to play with in the water and sand...which I thought was brilliant and simple...and if they get's no big deal!
The kids were all really well behaved and sweet to me. Mom called me later in the day to thank me for coming and that the teacher appreciated the extra helping hand (I had to herd at least two of the kids out of the water when it was time to go...and even though they were extremely reluctant to get out, I had no tantrums thrown at me...phew!). Mom also told me that one of her students (who I didn't think was paying that much attention to me) said that I was pretty. I guess mom said "Yes, she has very long pretty hair." and the kid says "She has a pretty face too!" Awwww. You defintely feel pretty when a random kid you've never met before says you have a pretty's that child honesty thing.

Then on Saturday, I helped my friend Kim pack up things in her house (her family is moving), and CJ helped them run errands and take stuff to the farm with his truck. That night I spent the night housesitting/dogsitting for friends of my parents who have 3 large dogs.

Then Sunday, we left church a little early to go to a birthday party for the girl I was an aide for. Her mom called me a couple weeks ago to invite me, which made my day.
When I got there and said hi to her she looked at me and said "Hi Mrs. Sinclair!" (with no prompting!) and got a big smile on her face. Then she kept looking at me as if she was trying to figure out why I was at her house (because I was out of the normal context). I had her say hi to CJ too (which did require prompting since it was her first time meeting him). I got to sit next to her and helped her open her presents. She has a twin sister, so the party was obviously for both of them. I gave them two of my sock monsters. I asked my girl if she wanted pink or red...she said "Pink or Red." I said, "No. Do you want pink or red? Pick one." and then she said "I want red." So she got the red one and her sister got the pink one. Her sister giggled like crazy at her pink monster and said it was funny. And all her relatives gushed about how cute they were and asked if I sell them at craft shows. I said I was going to start selling them online (I really need to get my Etsy shop running! Soon, I promise!). girl seemed really happy and to be having a good day. When we were leaving, her parents told me I could come over any time and go swimming (they have a pool and their sweetpea loves to swim). I loved that CJ finally got to meet the little girl I've spent the last 3 years working with. He said later how he thought it was sweet the way you could tell she was excited when she flapped her hands (Ah...the hand flapping...). It's only been a month since I've seen her last and she looks so big! A month ago I couldn't imagine her being six years old, but she looks six now...and can tell you! Her dad said it only took him two days to teach her...because the response she'd learned to "How old are you?" before was "I'm five!"...but now she's had to learn that the right response now is "I'm six!"
It was really great to see her again. I love that her parents want to continue to include me in her life.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Monster Doctor to the Rescue!

So, I was helping my friend Amy entertain her kids last week so she could get some housework done. As I come up to her door, one of her sons greets me, sock monster in hand...when I come in the house, his older brother comes down with his sock monster.
Later on, they showed me that each of their monsters have rips that needed to be fixed. They're a couple of my older monsters, the ones I made in the early days before I had a sewing machine and before I had learned a lot about sewing. One thing I've found about my early monsters is when they've been well loved by the children they belong to, they tend to need a few repairs. (see picture at right for a referance of what "well-loved" means! Thankfully, this was after I fixed it!)

So after they showed me the rips (since they knew I was the one who made them) I told the boys I would fix them and asked them..."Should I bring them to the Monster Doctor?" which they wholeheartedly agreed and put them in my basket so I could take them home.

I sewed their arms back on and then, on a whim today before I was on my way over to Amy's house to hang out, I decided to give each monster a heart...a fun little memento of their trip to the "Monster Doctor".

These little troopers are ready to go back home!

Caleb, happy to have his monster back!...(although I think that particular one belongs to his brother). He was very excited about the new hearts each monster had. He kept saying "Mommy, look! A heart! Look Mommy! He has a heart!"

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Country Monsters and More Craft Blogs

More monsters!

I find it funny how far beyond socks I've gone. The green monster is from fabric I picked up while garage sale-ing with Rachel last Saturday. I think it looks very...rustic & country...something kind of Laura Ingles (if Laura Ingles made monsters!) Usually not the area of craft I'd subscribe to...but sinc e it's a's okay. The brown guy is (obviously) from some old courderoy pants. His heart and teeth still have yet to be sewn on (hence the pins).

So...that Crafty Crow opened up a can of worms to other kid craft blogs. All of them by crafty moms...most of them homeschoolers (I guess the people who would know kid crafts the most would be homeschooling moms).

Here's where else I've been today...

My Plum Pudding
HomeSchooling Fun
Simple Ordinary Lives

Kids' Crafts Blogs

My friend Amy sent me a link to a really cute blog that has lots of kids' craft projects (I watch my friends' kids a lot, plus I am teaching an art class for the homeschooling group in the fall).
The first one is The Crafty Crow. And one that Crafty Crow directed me to that had some good ideas was Homeschooling Fun. If you have kids/are in contact with kids and do crafts with them, check these out! many little time!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Back to the Buttons only one monster today. Sorry. But you get lots of pictures of him! I've kind of missed doing button eyes. I especially like doing the layered effect that makes the monster look kinda crazy.

I originally switched to the "safety" eyes because I wanted my monsters to be baby-friendly...since most of the kids I've given them to have baby siblings who could choke on the buttons if they happen to get ahold of a monster and a button came undone. And could you really blame them for putting buttons in their mouths that look this bright and yummy?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

More Recycled monsters...

Well I promised you more monsters...

This little guy reminds me sort of an Adipose Monster (yes...more Dr. Who referances!) Okay...maybe my little guy isn't quite as fat (or white). It's just those beady little black eyes and that little smile. Go to the link and look at the picture...can't you see what I mean?

This crazy looking gal is out of one of the socks that my friend/old co-worker, Sue, gave me.

This tall drink of water was from a horrible shorts/halter one piece outfit...(sorry Mom) that I'm sure was very stylish for moms in the late 80's/early 90's...that was a part of a bunch of clothes my mom let me take away from her house to make monsters with. I love how even the most horrible, gaudy patterned fabric is wonderful for making monsters with! I saw some flowery/paisley fabric placemats at the Dollar Store today that would be perfect.

But I have so many old clothes and fabric , it's going to be a long time and a lot of monsters and other recycled projects before I have to search around the Dollar Tree and thrift stores to look for old clothes or other fabric to make monsters out of. The only new fabric I buy for my monsters recently are fleece remnants in the discount remnant bin at JoAnne's. The fleece I made that blue monster out of cost me a grand total of 67 cents! And I still have some left!

I am NOT a romance novel author!

Okay...I Googled my name today (goofy, I know) and guess what I found out! Some woman with the same first & last name as me writes harlequin romance novels! (~flaps hands~) Eeeeeewww! Ew! Ew! EEEEEW!!!

I am NOT a harlequin romance novel author!
I don't want my name to be associated with that kind of thing! My maiden name was unique. The only thing that comes up when I Google that is some kind of online newsletter from where I used to work. It's almost enough to make me want to hyphenate my last name! (just kidding...) But...UGH...romance novels??? Why couldn't she be someone of a more respectable proffession? Why??!!!

Happy Monster Faces!

I'm so glad I discovered the "digital macro" setting on my digital camera!

These monsters are eagerly awaiting 3 more monsters coming tomorrow! I have 3 that are almost ready. I just have to do the hand sewing (the smiles & hearts) in order for them to be finished.

Monday, July 7, 2008

New Monsters

I made 3 monsters yesterday. Well, to be honest, the green one was already half done and had been laying around waiting to be finished. But the other two were made from scratch.

The green and blue ones are out of fleece remnants, and the orange one is out of t-shirt scraps. The fabric on their bellies are fabric swatches. Does anyone know a good place that sends out fabric swatches?

Here is my makeshift photo-shoot area.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

4th of July

After meeting my parents, my brother, and his girlfriend at the movies to see Hancock (which was pretty good...if you don't mind a bit of language) After the movie, we spent the afternoon/evening hanging out at my parent's house in the front yard...a bit of a tradition we've had since 2000. Although the tradition for a long time was a huge 4th of July bash my parents hosted at their house, complete with DJ, with all our friends invited from all our various social circles. But it's been toned down ever since my brother went to NYC (initially for college), and since I've gotten married. Last night it was just our family and a couple good friends. Very low key...but still just as fun. We had a fire in the fire pit that my mom got at a garage sale. My brother got out the giant bubble blower and made his own bubble solution (which was a bit tempermental).
Doesn't he look like a matador?

"Look! I did it!"
King loves catching bubbles!

He really is a nice dog! He only looks intimidating. Rottweilers get a bad rap. He really is a big cuddle-bug. I bet if someone was stupid enough to try and hurt Mommy or Daddy they'd be in trouble though!

My parents live within walking distance of the Town Park where they set off the fireworks, so some of us always walk down to the park, while some people stay at the house where you can see the fireworks...but nothing beats being right there at the park.

Friday, July 4, 2008


Okay...I am a self-admitted geek. Specifically, a sci-fi/fantasy geek. I was blog-surfing and came across a post on GeekCrafts about Dr. Who inspired crafts and from there came across a blog post about a TARDIS T-shirt. I was inspired myself to make my own TARDIS design to silk-screen onto a t-shirt for my husband (he's the one who got me into Dr. Who). I wish I'd had this thought sooner, I would have made it to give to him for his birthday (which is today). The top design is his pick. The second design is just another one I came up with that I liked. Yay for Photoshop filters!

So...what is The TARDIS all you non-geeks ask?...well it's the Doctor's funny little time-space ship that looks like an old British Police Call Box, and its big feature is that it's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

Well, upon seeing my designs (which I'm planning on silk-screening), he got all inspired to make his own full-color TARDIS shirt using some t-shirt iron-on transfer paper we had lying around.

I find it funny and ironic that he's wearing a shirt with a British pop culture icon on America's Independance Day. Hee hee...