A quick look at some of the new custom orders I've been working on, thanks to fabulous The Bark magazine!
Nani and Merlin: two Cocker Spaniels with very tricky coats!
And I just finished this girl up tonight--Sammie is modeled after a 12 1/2 year old Australian Shepherd who was given up by her first family when she was young becuase their other dog was bullying her. Now she has a great home with a 4-year old Aussie upon whom she likes to pounce. Stinker!
And please say a word or two for dear Mr. Boxer. He was a recent subject of mine (see July 18 post), and his owner informed me that he passed away shortly after she contacted me. When I make these guys, I become so familiar with them that I feel like I know them. I'm so sad about this news.
I've been tagged by Jen over at the super inspiring blog Frazzy Dazzles--I'll post about it tomorrow when I'm more awake.
I'm very inspired by antique toys, lately. I've always had a thing for them, especially the weird ones, or the ones that no one else seems to want. This very old panda for instance, that was about to become a permanent resident of a garbage dump when I crossed his path. Here he is before and after some serious repairs. (With a few more to come.)
It might sound silly, but fixing something like this makes me totally happy. It's nice to give something a new life--maybe it's a result of the recycling we're all doing more of these days.
This bear is another find (i.e. pretty darn cheap, considering its age) that needed some help. She belonged to a woman who had been running a doll hospital since the 1920s--a friend of the woman's was liquidating her estate on ebay. Unfortunately, the bear's pawpad was chewed up by some kind of bug, and I had to tweeze out all the nasty stuffing inside of it and do my best to salvage the felt that was left. She was also matted and smelled like an old attic. The solution? 10 minutes of hose-vacuuming and a date with a dryer sheet in a plastic bag. Now, she looks and smells like new. (But I'm not sure she's forgiven me for the plastic bag thing yet.) I decided to leave her nose as it is. I think it adds to her charm. I'm not sure of her age but based on the way she is constructed I'm thinking she's at least 50-60 years old. I hope her original owner would approve of my repairs!
What a face.
Another bear who needed and received repairs--he dates to the 1940's and was made in Japan. I just love his chubby legs and embroidered paws. When I'm working on these, I'm always wondering about who made them--for this guy, it was most likely it was in a factory, as I've seen the same bear in various ebay auctions. I wonder if they enjoyed what they did and took pride in the finished product or if it was just about survival.
I had a roommate in college that looked at my side of the dorm room and always reminded me how much she hated little collectibles and tchotchkes of any sort. Yeah...we got along great. Anyway...
Are any of you familiar with Frozen Charlottes? They're basically 3-4" tall bisque dolls with jointed arms and sometimes legs (though the older ones don't move at all). This is a display of some really great ones at a local antique mall.
A few more:
These two girls are now enjoying the view from my desk. Aren't they great? (And only $12 apiece. Crazy.) I was going to just get one, but they looked like they were old friends and I couldn't bear to separate them. I'm such a sucker.
The woman who took them out of the case commented how lucky my daughter is to grow up in a house with antiques. I hadn't even thought of that, but I'm planning to use it on my husband next time he complains about the clutter in my office.
This next photo is not for the faint of heart, so be warned. It just may be the freakiest doll I've ever seen. He's still safe and sound in his case at the antique store. No way am I bringing that home. And I'm not too sure I want to go to the dentist any time soon.
So, now for the new stuff. Actually, this is more like just plain silly stuff. Meet Happy Hank, an impulse item if ever there was one. This photo is undeniable proof that he does indeed grow 600%!
And the very best part about Happy Hank? This disclaimer:
I completely forgot to post these photos I took a couple of weeks ago at the shelter.
Here's Nina. She reminds me of a little performer, the way she sits up to beg for a treat. Amazing how polite she is when it comes to food, considering she came to the shelter as a stray and was very, very thin. She looks a lot better, now!
My good blog-pal Beth has flattered me with a "Brillante" award. One of the rules is to give an "acceptance speech", which to be terribly honest, I'm absolutely awful at. But I will say this; writing this blog and meeting all of you has been one of the most rewarding things I've done. To be able to connect with other animal lovers, independent artists and kind-hearted people is such an uplifting experience. I am grateful to each and every one of you who has taken the time to stop by and leave a comment or two. Your words keep me going and let me know I'm doing something worthwhile.
This might sound kind of bizarre, but I need to mention someone who not only inspired me to create this blog, but also moved me to volunteer with animals, and make all those sock dogs. This is her picture:
This sweet girl was one of many strays we saw while in Taiwan four years ago. From the moment she saw me, she stayed by my side, wagging her tail and limping after me (one of her paws was hurt--the one she's holding up in the photo). Maybe she knew a sucker when she saw one, but to me it seemed like we had a real connection. I desperately wanted to help her, but the best I could do at that time was buy her dinner from a street vendor. For the next few days, I just broke down whenever she crossed my mind. This dog still haunts me, and whenever I'm feeling discouraged about sales or a creative block or whatever, I think of her and my resolve to help all animals is renewed.
Now, the second rule is to pass the "Brillante love" along to seven other blogs. I have many favorites, so this is pretty darn tough. But here are a few that I turn to often and think you might enjoy as well.
Cathy's Sweet Shop: She's a cat lover, an artist and a very entertaining blogger. My first purchase on etsy was from her, and I just recently discovered her blog. Love it!
Monica Carnesi: Her animal illustrations are bright, lively and inspiring. Reading her blog is like sitting in a sunbeam.
Green Star Studio: A fellow plushie-maker with a wicked sense of humor and so many fun creations to browse.
Living Days on This Planet: Ngo may be the kindest person I've ever (virtually) met. He takes in and cares for all of the hurt, unwanted animals he comes across. Plus, he and his father are both extremely talented painters, and use many of the funds from their painting sales to help all those animals. An amazing person, a remarkable blog.
Elsita: Elsa Mora makes most unique dolls I've seen--each one truly an artpiece. And a little bit of Hollywood thrown in for good measure.
Frazzy Dazzles: I met Jen through Beth, and I'm so glad I did! Her monsters are hilarious and just so irresistible. And she just recently started an etsy shop...yay! Yet another fabulous Australian crafter--what's the deal with all you artsy Aussies? :)
And lastly, I need to post the official rules for the nominees, so here goes:
1. The winner can put the logo on their blog.
2. Link to the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you've nominated.
6. Write an acceptance speech in the style of the Academy Awards, thanking everybody's mother, father, sister, brother, aunties and uncles and kitchen staff at your favorite restaurant!
If you have a moment today, please visit Best Friends' web site and sign this petition.
Barack Obama has promised to get his kids a dog next year, whether he is president or not. Best Friends is urging the Obamas to adopt from a shelter, as opposed to buying from a breeder or pet store. I don't think it will be too difficult to convince him, since he met Jana Kohl and Baby and from what she said, he is planning on a shelter dog.
But let's make sure! What a great example this decision could be for all of America.
Just finished one of the first customs resulting from The Bark article. Mr. Boxer is a sweet guy who had a rough start to life and lost both of his eyes as a result. He's since been adopted and is living the good life.
Unfortunately, after searching high and low I was unable to find socks that matched his beautiful golden coat. I got as close as I could...
Oh, and my sweetie is feeling much better today. I took her to the doctor yesterday and it was determined that she had a virus. Looks like it has run its course--yay! Here she is with Lolly this morning:
Just a quick apology for my lack of blogging this week. My toddler is fighting some kind of fever/bug and wants to be held all day, poor baby. So I've logged about 10 hours of Sesame Street On Demand between yesterday and today, and not much else is getting done around here. Send some healthy vibes our way, please!
We are having our annual Suds of Fun Dog Wash at
U-Wash Puppy ( 75th & Nieman Rd., Shawnee, Kansas) from 4-8 pm, Tuesday, July 15.
It’s only $5 a wash and the first 50 dog washers get a fun pack
full of dog and people goodies! All proceeds benefit the pets at The Humane Society of Greater
Kansas City. Sheridan’s Frozen Custard will be handing out free pup
cones to keep everyone cool. Plus, we’ll have some adoptable pups on hand for
people to meet, along with a dirtiest dog and cutest dog contest.
I'm currently buried under custom orders, thanks to the wonderful editor at The Bark, but right before that hit, I started a little personal project.
I found these two weary gentlemen on ebay, each with this information:
This is an auction for an Antique Bear in need of your loving attention. You're his last hope before he's turned over to the garbage man.
I mean come ON! I'm a total sucker for things like this, and I couldn't stand the thought of these two ending up in a landfill. (Yes, I'm one of the people who teared up at "Toy Story 2" when the Jessie the Cowgirl got dumped.) Plus, I love a good challenge.
So for a mere $5 each, they're home with me now and I was able to perform some highly satisfying surgery on both. Here's the straw-stuffed fellow before:
Two new eyes and some strategically placed stitches later:
The old panda is going to require a lot more work, but I was able to pull out most of his old yucky stuffing, stitch up his major holes and give him back a bit of his face. Here he is before...
And after, with a lot more yet to do:
Once I get through my custom orders and have a chance to get back to the panda, I'll put up his post-op glamour shots.