Monday, February 29, 2016

DIY: Kitty Housewarming Gift

Your first cat can be a weird pet to get. They don't come with the hassle that a puppy does, but that doesn't mean they don't have their own challenges. Often when people get their new kitties, they go shopping for the adorable pet accessories. The daybed (which they will only use when you aren't supplying a "book bed"), the cat tree (aka the couch's superhero), or the cute collar (which will only be worn when you remember to put it on, which in my case is never). What they forget to buy is the paper towels (for when the cat knocks off your glass while staring at you in a threatening way), the air freshener (because you can't always get to the litter box right away), the band-aids (they will always find a way to scratch you. always.), or the lint roller (sometimes you swear you could create another cat with the hair that attaches itself to your clothes).

This is where you, as a veteran cat owner,  (or someone who read this post) swoop in to save the day. I present: the Kitty Sanity Kit.
 I put this together for a friend when they got their first kitten. It's all practical items, and they weren't expensive. I figured it would make a cute and thoughtful gift that they could use, whether it be for the cat or in every day life.

Included in my kit:
paper towels
disinfectant wipes
band aids
air freshener
a lint roller

And I've also made a cute little tag, in case you don't feel like making your own. Just save the image below and print it on whatever you have handy!

Is there anything else you'd include in the kit? Leave your ideas below! 

Friday, February 19, 2016

ten [is it summer yet?] things

It's gotten a little warmer around here, and I'm counting down the days until we get round the clock warmth. So I'm sharing a few things that are quintessential "summer" for me.



We always go to play mini golf at least once every summer, so I love this DIY Mini Golf Course from Home and Family.

This cloth version of the "squares" or "dots" game is perfect for me and my family. DIY Cloth Picnic Games from Say Yes.

Give this place Nifty Thrifty $8, and they'll send you a mystery old vintage T. Comfy and kinda timeless, I feel like a good vintage T is something everyone should own.

Camp Wandawega is the perfect setting for the summer camp you always dreamed of as a child. Rent it out and re-live those memories, or create new ones! And to get you in the mood, try watching Camp Takota! It's an adorable movie, and it always puts me in the mood for summer.

I always promise to get out more during the summer, but never mange to actually do it. But I'm gonna say it again, just like every summer. I want to be outside more! Here's a list of some great hiking spots in the Midwest.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Sketchy Outfit Thirty-One

This is my go-to casual cute outfit. It's comfortable but flattering, and a little bit girly without being over the top (for my personal style).

Most of the parts of this outfit were either thrifted and/or are sold out, so I put together another outfit that's pretty much the same that you can buy! I tried to keep everything within a budget I'd be comfortable spending.



1 - Gray V-Neck T-shirt 
(I just buy the guy ones that come in a three pack. Not flattering on their own, but super comfy and they layer well.)

Monday, February 8, 2016

inspire me: Horrible Adorables

This week's inspire me is very exciting because not only will I be showing you the gorgeous work of the etsy shop Horrible Adorables, but also I am fortunate to be able to include an interview with the shop owner! 

I am head over heels for the whimsical creatures you can find in this etsy shop. They are everything I look for in art: fun, colorful, unusual, and (obviously) adorable. These quirky critters resemble something that might have been been plucked out of a dream and put upon a wall.



But enough of my jabbering. It's time to see what shop owner Jordan Elise has to say!


Let's begin at your beginning! How did you get your start? Did you work alone at first? 

I graduated from art school in 2009 with a degree in textiles. While there I met Chris; my future husband and partner in Horrible Adorables. Horrible Adorables was initially my brainchild. I was creating these odd hybrid animals from wool and felt for my thesis project; which was centered around ideas of hoaxes and deception. Upon graduation I continued to create a menagerie of beasts for fun. They evolved into playful brightly colored creatures, as influenced by my job as a freelance designer for the toy industry. I was interested in starting my own business and selling the creatures that I loved to make, but was unsure if anyone would respond to them the way I did. After encouraging from Chris, I applied to an indie craft show and nearly sold out! We were both pretty excited, and decided to pursue Horrible Adorables together.


What are some artists/creators that you admire?

There are so many, it would be hard to name them all! Charley Harper, Walter Potter, Yoshitomo Nara, Friends With You, and Amanda Visell, just to name a few.



I absolutely love the colors you choose for your creations. They are so bold and playful! How do you get inspiration for your color pallets?

It’s mostly intuitive! I see a lot of art and follow design blogs, so I have many influences there that shape my color sense. I’m aware of the things around me, and take a mental note when I see a color combination I like that I can use in our sculptures. Chris works on the creatures as well as my assistant Emma. Everyone is just putting together color palettes that work aesthetically to them. I feel this makes the work stronger, because a huge array of colors are represented and can appeal to a much wider audience.



Your pieces have a sort of vintage-inspired feel. What sort of references do you use while in the planning process? Do you ever have to look up animal anatomy for a sculpture?

We look at different animals and plants, and piece together the parts that we like. I’m personally drawn to woodland type animals, and believe they are most reflective in our work. 


Your sculptures look so well made, and I'm sure putting on all of those "scales" is time consuming (but with fantastic results)! What is the basic process for creating a creature?

Each creature starts as a hand carved or hand molded foam base. Most of our ‘standard’ shapes are cast from molds that Chris has made. He is incredibly skilled in this production side of Horrible Adorables. Patterns of wool felt scales are then meticulously applied across the form. We have invested in some tools and a machine to speed up this process, but it is still the most timely aspect. Each scale is hand placed. Detailing comes last, with the addition of resin horns, expressive ears, eerily realistic glass eyes, and a painted wood plaque.


What is the one tool you use that you have to have while creating?

A good pair of scissors!

How do you keep yourself and your shop organized?

We use clear storage containers so we can see all material we have in stock. We also have wire bins for creatures in various stages of completion, and pegboards on the walls to hang all the finished ones.


Do you listen to music while you work? If so, would you mind sharing a few of the songs from your go-to playlist?

I love listening to podcasts! Current favorites are ‘Mystery Show,’ ‘Reply All,’ and ‘Serial.’


Do you dabble in other forms of expressing yourself?

I do a lot of illustrations that I am working on getting it into more commercial markets. I’m also a very colorful dresser. I love expressing myself through clothing and personal style. Chris is a great craftsman and always has some sort of woodworking project going on. In addition to that, he’s an avid gardener and beekeeper!
 


I find my mind wandering while I make art, and often I create back stories for the characters I'm sketching. Do you ever name your creations while working on them? Do any of them have a distinct “personality”?

All of our creatures have names! Some are scientific names, created through a combination of the animals that they resemble. Other names are silly ones like ‘Ethel,’ or ‘Maurice.’ The personalities are created as I detail them. Once I attach the eyes, I feel like I know a bit more about who the creature is, and how to express their emotion.



If you could own a physical shop that only sold your products, what would it look like? How would it be decorated?

It would be very colorful! There would be a lot of fibery decorations, patterns (I have a thing for gaudy wallpaper!), and Horrible Adorables arranged prominently on the walls.


Where can my readers find you?

Our website: www.jordan-elise.com
Instagram: instagram.com/horrible_adorables/
Facebook: facebook.com/HorribleAdorables/
Etsy: horribleadorables.etsy.com




All photo credit goes to Jordan Elise.

Friday, February 5, 2016

around here...


Lots of sketching, lots of planning, lots of not finishing projects. 
Did I ever mention that I have over 30 unfinished paintings? 
Yeah, it's a problem.

Overall, I've been feeling pretty great about everything. January was kinda... tense for me. So I'm glad to be moving on from that.


Currently reading, because why not?

Monstrous by MarcyKate Connley - This is a story about girl that is a monster - a creature made out of many parts. I have yet to start this book, but I was super intrigued by all of the gorgeous art and the wonderful concept. I'm into monsters in such a big way.

Rook by Sharon Cameron - I've been working through this one for a while. The premise is interesting enough- a girl that's rebelling in a futuristic Paris where technology has been outlawed because it brought on the end of times. The main character is great, a bamf if there ever was one. I just can't get myself into the story enough to want to finish it. Maybe it's the slow romance that's stopping me.

The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas - This is the prequel to the Throne of Glass series, which I have read and loved. I'm tentative to start this one because I know what's coming and I know it's going to be heartbreaking. But I love Maas' work so I have to take the plunge, no matter how much I think I might cry.

The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman - A historical fiction book about females who fight in a prize ring. Do I need to say more?

Six of Crows by  Leigh Bardugo - Another continuation of a series I love (the Grisha series). This one is about six criminals who are trying to pull of a suicidal heist. The reward is saving the world. Oh, and millions of dollars. I was absolutely enthralled by the magical world of the Grisha series, and I'm so excited be able to go back.


Monday, February 1, 2016

inspire me: Marija Tiurina

I have been obsessing over the work of Marija Tiurina recently. Sometimes I can see an artists work a few times before something really grabs me and makes me want to fall further into their portfolio. For Tiurina that piece was Artoxication, which is the first one pictured below. I love the style of illustration used for that piece, with all of its exaggerated features and sharp shading. And with so many little details, it's a piece you can get lost in for a good amount of time.

After looking through her various social medias, I realized that having a chaotic piece that was made cohesive by a lovely color scheme was a common - and wonderful - theme in her work. She seems to want to get you a little lost in every big piece she does. Her work is charming but in a twisted way, using colors to lull you into a sense of safety then being a little shocking when you realize what's actually happening. A great example of that is her version of the classic Pac-Man game, which was comissioned by Namco and will be hanging in a gaming bar in Chicago. 



(I'll be visiting Chicago in two months, so I hope to see that piece in person!)

Marija Tiurina links:
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