31 March 2009

A treasury and a team

I was so surprised today to find out that my little paperbat was featured in a treasury on Etsy. Liese at Deadpan Alley curated the treasury, and it has one of my favorite themes: bats. If I was told that I could choose one item, I don't know if I could do it. Click on the graphic below to see the actual treasury while it lasts.My other news is that I'm now a member of the Etsy's Dark Side Street Team. I'm really excited about it. Etsy's Dark Side, a group of talented Etsy artists, craftspeople, and designers, offers a huge variety of products with a dark twist. I do occasionally produce some perky little doll or drawing, but most of my work is lightly dark; darkly light. Irony makes me feel real. I belong on this team. And belonging is not something that is all that familiar to me, so that's fun.

The team can be found at scads of places on the web. MySpace, Facebook, Ning, Twitter, Blogspot... wherever you are, I'll bet there's a team member too. I will tell you more places to see Etsy Dark Team members and art very soon. Click on my draft business card to see some of our listings:
I'm still trying to become competent in Photoshop. Pea will answer any questions I have, but most of what I do is by accident. Let's see... wonder what this will do? In other words, I don't know what questions to ask. I still try to do everything the hard way, even though I know that there must be an easier way.

I am working on some little paper girls. Bats included, as well as a punky little catgirl, a cicadagirl, and a devilgirl. And witchies (=very small witches)! I plan to put a few in the SugarCain Etsy shop this week and finish others this coming weekend. They are multi-purpose girls; they can be used for whatever you can think of: scrapbooks, framing, broaches, bookmarks, gifts, tags, cards... You could even make accessories for them and give them for a gift. Because they are made of layers of paper and sealed with varnish, they are actually surprisingly sturdy. They look particularly cute standing up against a stack of books or tucked in the frame of a mirror. I'm trying to decide whether to put a little loop for hanging on some of them, but I'm thinking they'll look a little too much like car air-fresheners.

The one on the top left I call Charlotte. I am completely enamored of her. She's my mascot.

P.S. Oh... and I finally found Heather. She wasn't lost. It was one of those email things. Her package is on its way to her first thing tomorrow, thanks to Exley, who offered to drop it off.

30 March 2009

And the winner is...

Thank you to everyone who visited and left comments this past week. I appreciate you helping me kick off this blog. I've had a ball so far.

So I drew the names at 8 p.m. Sunday, as I described in my first post. I had a hard time figuring out who was just wishing me well and who wanted to be in the drawing, so I put the name of every person who commented on a slip of paper. (I decided that if I drew someone who didn't want the goodies, I'd just draw another name.) I got dressed up and took one of the Woodsman's Stetson fedoras and tossed the slips of paper in.
I stirred the slips around and around,
I closed my eyes, and drew out one little slip...
The winner is hwest, otherwise known as goddess-help-me. Congratulations, Heather! Just contact me privately and let me know where to ship your goodies. I will get them out in the next couple of days. I really want to see what you'll do with them.

I'll be back soon with exciting news. (Exciting to me, anyway!)


27 March 2009

The poetry of bats is hushed and light

Print of paper collage by angelique, 6 x 6 in.

They wait,
whisper awake
as the fruit cools,
as the sonar song falls
over their dreams like a lover’s arms
and pushes them toward the twilight.
Their eyelids snap up,
they glide on black wings
out of the safe, into the fat nightbugs.
Scientists are baffled by a mysterious condition that has killed tens of thousands of bats in the northeastern United States since winter 2006-2oo7. A Science Strategy meeting will be held in June 2009 to address the situation.
Now in my Etsy shop SugarCain.

26 March 2009

Miss Z forsakes her career and her upbringing

Original pencil and ink drawing by angelique on page 154 of the Compact Desk Edition of Webster’s New World Dictionary (1962), 6 x 9 in.

Webster’s defines the elephant as ‘a huge, thick-skinned mammal with a long, flexible snout,’ but they are so much more than this,” Miss Z writes in her treatise. “They are considerate creatures who go mad from monotony and resent the excessive demands on their bodies and their strength that circus training entails.”

Every night after she acquired the baby elephant, Miss Z had the same dream. In this dream, she was harried by a horned, red figure who asked her questions she did not want to answer. Is it natural for an elephant to stand on its hands? Why does he wear an iron bracelet? Does he enjoy having you dance on his forehead? Have you noticed the moon impaled on a pole about midway down the midway?

The meaning of this dream was clear: The baby was right to refuse.The circus was electrified by the news.
In my Etsy shop SugarCain.

New art collector, raise your hand

Dear Readers,
I never thought I would become a collector of art. I never buy other people's work because I prefer to decorate with my own. Well, I won't say "never" again. Because I did.

I was once a collector of books. It took three decades, divorce, a penchant for moving, and the vast possibilities of the Internet to break the habit. After divesting myself of thousands of books that I had mailed across country more than once and paid people to store and shuffle around, I made new regulations for myself: travel lightly, don't acquire things that gather dust, and save your money for that rainy day. But now...

I have collected one small piece of art. I can't describe what overcame me. I was catching up on blog reading, and I opened the Deadpan Alley blog. There, right before my very eyes, was a portrait of my creepiest self and my creepy little sister holding hands. (This would be after everyone we know is dead and we have to live together in a post-Apocolyptic world with various small dogs and a couple of my sister's grandkids.)

I shut the blog and went on to other lands. A little bug had attached itself to the back of my brain and was pinching. I came back and opened the page again. Still there, and still giving me that little jolt of... desire. I went over to the DeadpanAlley Etsy shop in hopes that someone had already bought the little portrait and I'd be spared. Nope.

Copyright Liese Martin, DeadpanAlley. Used with permission of the artist.

MISS-CREANTS is the name of the little duo! I couldn't help it. I felt this overwhelming... need. You know as well as I do that there is no denying this feeling when it hits. If you don't bend to it, the storm continues to grow until you buy something huge and ridiculous. Or eat something huge and delicious.

Deadpan Alley is a very cool Etsy shop run by Liese Martin. Her little bookish birds are what first attracted me. But the character sketches and her clever patter keep me going back. "ORIGINAL Illustrations for the price of a print!!!" boasts the shop announcement, like a barker in front of a tiny tent show.

I'll buy just the one thing, I think. I pay for my purchase before I can change my mind. I'm practically dancing because no one else can have it now, and I know where I'm going to display it. But one piece does not make a collection. And, besides, I already have my eye on another of Liese's tiny works--Miss-Informed from her Miss-Takes series. Hands off. And then there are those limited edition books of ACEOs...


25 March 2009

Courtney and Melvin about a month before the breakup

Original pencil and ink drawing by angelique on page 267 of the Compact Desk Edition of Webster’s New World Dictionary (1962), 6 x 9 in.

Melvin is the kind of weasel who likes people to think he’s so smart. Courtney has to watch him every minute so that he doesn’t run up the credit cards or have things delivered COD. He can’t make a living because she keeps him tethered to her wrist—but she must, because she cannot trust him out of her sight.

Courtney sews her own clothing out of thrift store finds. Why not? She makes a decent living, but why should she throw her money away on ill-fitting garments that will never reveal her style and never fit her non-existent waist? Melvin calls her designs “pedestrian” and whines while she shops for cheap fabrics.

You can see how he would get on her nerves.
I like to read the poetry in the piece.

In my Etsy shop SugarCain now.

24 March 2009

More goodies on the give-away pile.

Dear Readers,
Look what I've done now! More cleaning, and more stuff added to the pile. In addition to the items listed yesterday, included now are

three bags of trim
a bag of goldtone and pearl plastic buttons
a bag of trinkets
a bag of little flowers and miniature buttons in the shapes of crayons and scissors and deer
a couple of yards of fabric in various designs
another pretty 20-inch dress pattern
Grandma Molly (and grandkids) teddy bear pattern
Spice Bear pattern by Gemini Bears
four Byron Doll Patterns of fancy dresses for 22-inch dolls

Don't forget: In exchange for putting your name in the drawing, please tell how/why you chose the online name or blog or shop name you use.

Pass it on.

My friend Pea gave me a pocket she pulled off her sweater and said, "Can you do anything with this?" Can I do anything with it! I thought. Doesn't she know me by now?

I made Pea this little cat out of the pocket. I always learn something when I make a doll. This time I learned: Don't pour BBs directly into a loosely woven cloth doll. Why didn't I put them inside a little bag and tuck them inside? I will use that method next time, but it's too late for this little kitty, who occasionally poots out a BB. Pea brought me these two shapely little bowls from her brother-in-law's studio. Aren't they beautiful? The contrast between the roughened texture on the outside of the bowls and the smooth interiors is delicious. See more of Steve's work at LookWhatSteveMade.Copyright LookWhatSteveMade

I must have one of these.

You can visit Pea's Etsy shop (PatiR) for some fabulous earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. I like the style of her earrings, especially the ones with bees. Here's the necklace she calls "Sea and Sand."

Copyright PatiR

It makes me want a floppy hat with a long sea-green ribbon, very tanned feet, and a three-tiered skirt of white cotton gauze.


Thanks to those who have signed on as readers. (I don't like the term "followers". It makes me nervous to think people are following me.) I'm grateful to know I'm not talking to myself.


22 March 2009

A give-away in honor of my first post

Dear Readers (all three of you),
This is the first entry of the rest of my blog.

Being a perfectionist, I have been filled with dread at the thought of beginning… something permanent, public, and personal. Finally I could see that I must just jump into the water and start swimming, or I will never get anywhere. Splash.

I have been working for months to improve my creative flow by organizing my workspace. Well, it isn’t my workspace yet… it has been the room where we shoved all the boxes we didn’t need to unpack from our move (last August!). I feel like an archaeologist, uncovering layers of my former selves. (I even made my son a scrapbook of all of the little boy stuff I’d been archiving from his birth onward.)

I have been working at the dining room table. It’s not ideal. For one thing, my mess is very unattractive. For another, we have to eat dinner on TV trays. And the third: An hour ago I spilled three quarters of a cup of hot tea on the table… and the doll parts… and the tools… Fortunately, I grabbed a big handful of muslin and sopped it up before damage was done. I smack my cloth dolls with a teabag anyway before I call them finished.

I wish I had taken a photo of the room when I began. It was literally wall-to-wall (and up the walls) boxes. Here’s what it looks like today:

For now, I don’t expect it to be attractive, although I’ll be working toward that. All I want is a quiet friendly room where the dollies and sewing can be left out without the danger of being eaten by small dogs or doused with tea. I’d also like to be able to find the items I know I own.

I am also planning to list my first item in my new Etsy shop. She is a little bunny with a big imagination. She comes with two hats that she uses to play dress-up.

Here she is wearing her tall witch hat. You can see more of her at my Etsy shop.

In honor of my progress, I will be giving away some of the things I’ve excavated. In the pile so far are a very cute pattern for a twenty-inch dress, a pattern for “Amanda Lou” (and friends) by Cindy Taylor Oates, a Dover book of Victorian frames, borders, and cuts, and a chubby little Berenger baby with the cutest toes. None of these things has ever been used.

I will draw the name out of a vintage hat at eight o'clock in the evening on March 29. All you have to do to get your name in the drawing is to leave a comment telling how you chose the name for your Internet identity or your online shop or blog.