Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Ornaments

We celebrated Christmas at my Mother's house so we decided to come home via Omaha to shop at Whole Foods.  While lunching there (love their soups) we decided we needed to make a few other stops before heading back home, and am I ever glad we did.  

We found a display of Christopher Radko's "Shiny Brite" glass ornaments in the vintage 1940's designs on sale at one of our stops, and we fell in love with them.  Both my husband and I were born in the 1950s and have memories of growing up with ornaments just like these.  Of course, over the years the thin glass ornament walls didn't have a good relationship with the wood floors and many were broken.  We still have a few of the originals, which we treasure, but finding these just made both of us happy that we could get that vintage look again because of the availability of these new ornaments.

We found them in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors and can't wait for next year to put them on the Christmas tree farm's display tree.   Every customer that purchases a tree gets to select a new ornament to place on their fresh cut tree, and I have a feeling they will like them as much as we do.   They are magical!

Here is hoping your holiday season found magic as well!!  ; )

Off to the studio to mix paper mache clay!  Have a great week!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ean Elf

Ean Elf is completed so I thought I would share him with you as he is my last Christmas piece of the 2010 season.  Unlike Ean's brother, Edgar (prior post), Ean is a little further along in his hatching process from the Christmas ornament, and has managed to push one of his curlie tipped shoes out of the lower side.

He sits atop a painted base, which holds a Christmas tree scene complete with hanging ornaments and a small elf putting the finishing touches on the tree.

Ean has lots of details from the jingle bells and stripes of his hat, shirt and shoe, to the fine cracks found on the ornament's edge and the sculpted ornament hanger on the side of the round form.  Rosy cheeks and lips, pointed tip ears and tiny fingers finish out this little character popping out of his ornie.

I still have last minute details to complete in the coming week as we prepare for Christmas.  Here is wishing you a happy holiday, pass the cookies please!!   

Monday, December 6, 2010

Edgar Elf's Emergence

Introducing a new Monkey-Cats' original, "Edgar Elf's Emergence", a new piece finished in the studio over the weekend.  This funny little fellow will be placed on eBay this week with an auction ending next Monday.  Edgar, and the top sphere shaped ornament are made of paper mache, wire and 5 tiny jingle bells (yes, they actually jingle), which sets independently atop the wooden base with a complementary painted image. 

There are lots of little details in this piece from the red and white striped hat with green curved-points tipped with jingle bells and accented in gold paint, to the tiny stars and swirls painted in the night sky over the tiny red elves' house painted on the base.   

Edgar is the first elf for 2010.  Hope you find him enjoyable!

Here is the link:


Auction Ends this Evening

This evening marks the end of "Smiling Santa's" auction on ebay.  Don't miss out on a chance to purchase this little fellow.  He is the first Santa to come from Monkey-Cats Studio since 2008, and is the only Santa completed to date for 2010.

He comes with lots of added details and he just informed me that he is hoping for a warmer home (we are having a bit of a cold spell here!!)...Silly little Santa!

Here is his auction link:

Good luck!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Smiling Santa!!

This smiling little fellow that I finally finished is going on eBay tonight.  He is a unique character with lots of details that measures 8" x 5.25" x 5.5", and is made of paper mache, wire, bottle brush and gold thread.

He has blue eyes, a rosy nose and cheeks and a toothy grin under his textured moustache.  All of his hair, beard, eyebrows and moustache are textured in a similar way, are painted in cream and then touched with a brown wash to accentuate the surface quality.  The brown wash is used throughout the figure to emphasize the folds in his hat, sleeves, tassel and mittens, as well as to give the character a more vintage feel.

I hope you like him in his finished state!!

Here is the auction link!!!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Here Comes Santa Claus

I started painting on the short Santa yesterday and was able to block in his body color and paint on some of the smaller pieces he will be holding, but I forgot to put the candy canes in his hands before I took the photograph...oops!  I'm hoping for an afternoon of painting to get him closer to his finished state.

We are having family on Thanksgiving so tomorrow will be cleaning at home, time at the tree farm and food prep on those things I can do ahead of time.  I really do enjoy the holidays and find them less stressful when I do a little preparation the day before.

I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving filled full of family, food and memories in the making.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Second Elf sculpted

Work is progressing and I was able to finish the second elf bursting out from his ornament with his right foot sculpted popping out near the bottom of the orb.  Now, if he and his sibling would hurry up and dry I can paint soon.  I was also able to finally get the head on the tree shaped Santa sculpted, but he still needs his body finished.  Time seems to be moving really fast and we open the Christmas tree farm this weekend so time in the studio will become even more limited in the coming weeks. 

I'm off to the studio table to start painting on a fat little Santa this afternoon.  So anxious to work in red, green and cream again and to play a little Christmas music.

Happy Birthday Mom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have a great day!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Working on Christmas Elves

I'm in the studio working on a couple of elves this week and thought I'd show you what I have done so far.  This is the second elf I have ever sculpted that is popping out of a large Christmas ornament.  Like the Santa figure, the paper mache he is created from is pretty wet so it will be a few days before I can put paint on him, but I'm excited to see how he will look in full color.

He currently is sitting atop a tripod base and I'll see if I still like that when the figure and ornament are painted.

Hope you like the peek!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Working in Clay This Week

I'm mixing paper mache clay and sculpting this week so I won't be on the computer as much....I have a terrible habit of checking the internet when I have clay on my fingers and I really need to stop that before I ruin another keyboard!  Not a good thing when pieces of mache get trapped under keys and then you can't type with those letters any longer.  Not that I would know from personal experience or anything.

Below is the grand elf himself, Santa Claus, with his little candies and a Christmas ornament in his mittens.  He has thick layers of clay so he will take some time to dry completely before I can start painting.

I'm off to get my fingers back into the mix!!!  The elves are on the table today awaiting their next layers and they are being slightly impatient!

Have a great day!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bunnies are done, on to Christmas!!

The bunnies are done and the pastel paint is going back into the seasonal paint drawer, and it is now time to get back into some Christmas figures.  Before packing the rabbits up in boxes for shipping I thought I would share the little fellows in their completed state.

Rudy, Russell and Randolph Rabbit, also known as the blue bow tie bunny boys, are shown with Easter buckets, an Easter wreath and painted eggs.  They were a labor of love and make me look forward to making a few more in the spring months.

We are forecast to get snow tonight and it will be the first of the season for us if it happens.  Since I'll be working on Christmas figures it has me sort of excited so with that I will close with  "HO-HO-HO", it's off to work I go!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Making Progress

Finally made some good progress on the bunnies over the weekend.  I still have so much to finish by Thursday, but they will get done with some extra hours in the studio and less time spent on errands and laundry....ohhh, I like the skipping laundry part!! HA!

Hope you like the little hoppers!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Work in Progress Update

I've been painting the last few days and not making a whole lot of progress on the rabbits because of other duties and responsibilities to attend to.  Today I plan on a full afternoon and evening of painting to get this little fellow done so I can move on to the other two bunnies.  I need to move on to Christmas pieces-Yikes!!!!

It is gorgeous outside here and that isn't helping me stay at the studio table.  

Hope you like him so far.  Have a great day!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ornie Loving Orville

The snowman is finished and I thought I would share!!  This is little "Ornie Loving Orville", who stands just over 10" high.  He is the first piece completed for the 2010 Christmas Season and will be available tomorrow on Nancy Walker's blog shop, as I am her guest artist for the month of November.  Orville is SOLD-Thank you!

He is made from paper mache, wire, thread and mica, and has lots of added details on his hat, vest and ornament he is holding.  The ornament isn't attached so it can be moved to either hand, plus the arms are wire and can be moved slightly to change his pose.

His vest even has peppermint candy buttons on the back!  He comes fully signed, dated and numbered and will not be repeated.

Hope you like him!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Painting on a Beautiful Saturday

It is absolutely gorgeous outside and her I sit painting because I forgot about an obligation I had for the business.  Well, the business is coming first today so I'll just periodically look out the window at the sunshine and sigh...   Responsibilities are important to follow through on so back to the studio table I go.  I at least have a pretty good start on blocking in the paint.

Have a wonderful Saturday and Happy Halloween to you!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

WIP update

The arms, paws and feet are now finished on the bunnies.  Time needs to pass to let them dry and the next step will be a light sanding and paint.  This is good because I'm ready to get back into some color!!

Have a great day and happy creating!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Works in Progress

Working on some new pieces in paper mache this week...I know, it seems a bit early for bunnies with Halloween right around the corner, but here they are!  Three new rabbits to finish the details on, a little snowman and a large cone body that is supposed to be a Santa.   I didn't realize how big the cone was until I put it side-by-side with the bunnies.  Hmmmm, may have to rethink that big guy!!  

I'll keep you updated as the pieces start drying and I have some progress to show.  Have a creative week!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Something Special from Enchanted Productions

One of the joys of being on the internet is that you see work and "meet" artist that are hundreds of miles away, and yet you can communicate with them and become online friends.  Several weeks ago while I was in Michigan, I had the wonderful opportunity to not only type a message or chat on the phone with such a person, but I actually got to meet her!!!  Joycee Stahl, of Enchanted Productions, is a charmer both with her comments and phone chatting, but she is even more funny in person and I am smitten with her and her work!  I want her to move in next door and have coffee with me every, I like my neighbors, but I don't have them over for coffee often, so this is REALLY saying something!

Joycee and I had talked prior to Michigan, and I was able to acquire one of her gorgeous dolls as part of this trip....her name is "Anna Belle", named after my mother who had a little piece of silver hair appear in her hairline in her 30s, just the opposite of Joycee's doll, but the name was instantaneous!   Isn't she fabulous!  I had taken photos of her at Ghoultide and Machinaw City and they all came out with a weird golden color (Halloween spooks perhaps?), so I took new pictures that show her beauty!

Anna Belle is just full of details...her hair is needle-felted into her head, her eyes are lovingly painted and stitched on by hand and Joycee showed me her fingernails and finger callous to prove it, and the facial painting is magnificent down to the lavender eye shadow!  She has silver tinsel around the neckline, pearl detailing on the bodice, lace at the waistline, a beautiful bow, more beads with boucle yarn from each pearl cascading down onto a gorgeous silk fabric skirt!  She is beautiful!!

Pinch, pinch, she is mine!!!!  For any of you that have admired Joycee's dolls via a photograph, I can tell you that they are even better in person-absolutely fabulous!  I also got to meet two other creations by Joycee, and they were equally as marvelous!

The only problem with Anna Belle is that she is loved TOO much by the Monkey-Cats, Jake and Elwood.  I had her out of the cabinet for just minutes to photograph her and just that quick Jake jumped up to nuzzle with her...and to try to groom her hair!!!  I have a large curved glass cabinet in the living room so she resides on the top shelf and seems to hum inaudible sounds that only the boys can hear to tease them.  Truly, I found both of them sitting in front of the cabinet looking up at her and then turning back to me as if to tell me to make her stop!  You have to love a doll with that sort of ability!  I should call her, "Anna Belle, the Cat Whisperer" !!

I hope you enjoyed seeing her, and I wish for you to meet a kindred spirit in your future like I felt I have in Joycee.

It is back to the studio for me today so I will post what I'm up to next later this week.  Have a great week all!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Drum Roll Please.......

Last night I hosted a blog sale and gave you the opportunity to win this little Halloween candy container.  The window was narrow as you only had from between 7 p.m. until midnight to enter.  My husband pulled the number and I counted down the list, and blinked, counted again and it was confirmed, it was Lori Davis!!!

Lori, I hope you like this little fellow.  Email me your address and I'll get him shipped out to you!!

A huge thank you to all of the customers that quickly made their selections last night and made the show a success, and for entering the giveaway!! 
Thank you for your support!

Friday, October 8, 2010

We're Home from Ghoultide!!!

Goodness, where does the time go?!!   I got home very late Wednesday night and saw multiple postings regarding Ghoultide on Thursday, and realized almost a week had gone by already!  Yesterday was unpacking, laundry, mail, and email day, along with some errand running and suddenly the day was over and I realized so was the trip!  Today I was really excited to get into my pictures, and was very disappointed with the quality. Sadly, it was me and not the camera to blame so I don't have much to share as far as booth photos are concerned.    Below is the only decent picture I have from my table and you can see that my lighting was a problem before the show opened.  So sorry to disappoint you!  Oh, and can you believe I won a runner-up for booth display...can't show you why because the photo didn't turn out!  I was honored to be in the company of William Bezek (winner of best display) and Nicole Sayer (runner up) as fellow award winners.

The morning at Ghoultide started with light rain, but what was so lovely was that it didn't seem to dampen the spirits of a single person in attendance.  Below are a few pictures of the decorated grounds.

Can you believe this painted pumpkin head by Scott Smith?!!!  You should see it in person!

Ghoultide Gathering was thrilling and the talent was just amazing.  So many artists that I have admired for years, and to be in their company was just a dream come true.  Many of us dined together with collectors and friends the night before the show and the sharing nature and good will was just palpable. Thank you to all of you that traveled to Ghoultide and took the time to introduce yourselves, purchased works and gave words of encouragement.  Artists frequently work alone and this contact and feedback is so inspiring and vital to our creative spirits.  I came away filled with ideas and revitalized to create new and hopefully better pieces.

A special thank you to my collectors....I couldn't continue to live this life without you and I am forever humbled that you choose to purchase my work.  Thank you all for making this show such a great success for me and every other artist at Ghoultide Gathering.

Hope to see you next year!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ghoultide Gathering

The initial set up at home for Ghoultide Gathering has been completed, the works safely tucked into bubble wrap and boxed, and now we are preparing for the  journey to the big event on Saturday.  If you are a lover of all things Halloween consider attending Ghoultide Gathering in Northville, Michigan.  The talent is amazing (I am thrilled that I get to participate with such talented artists) and the show is sure not to disappoint anyone attending.  Cool temps are in the forecast to set the mood, and who could ask for a better setting then the Mill Race Village we will be occupying to enhance the experience.  Hope to see you there!


Friday, September 24, 2010

Finishing Up Work for Ghoultide Gathering

The last push to finish up things before packing them up for the trip to Ghoultide Gathering has been going on in my studio.  Below is "Gregory Gourdhead", the only figure on a painted stand I will have for the show.  As usual, time just got away from me and the other poor heads will have to wait for their bodies to be finished at another time.  I love doing these figures because they allow me to sculpt and paint on the paper mache head in contrast with painting the body on a nice smooth surface.  I would love to do a number of them so that the heads could be moved from base to base onto different bodies to play with the display, but that will have to happen at a later date. 

Something new this year is a Skelly Head Box shown below with three new candy buckets I was able to recently complete.  The Skelly Head box can be used as a candy container or for storing any number of things on a shelf or tabletop.  The new little candy buckets shown have a Monkey-Cat, Moon Boy and Witch to add to the characters I have already painted on some earlier buckets.  I have two buckets left to finish and then I am done with my Ghoultide pieces.

I was also able to finish the second round bodied candy container for the year.  It is similar in design to the original candy container, but because they are hand sculpted and painted they are still quite different when placed side-by-side. 

There probably won't be a post next week as I'll be madly packing and boxing pieces getting ready to leave for the show.  If you aren't familiar with Ghoultide Gathering please click on the link in the upper left column of my blog page.  I am so thrilled to be a participating artist in such a wonderful show.  Think about making the is sure to not disappoint!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Dumpty Pumpkin Boys

New to the Monkey-Cats Studio Halloween line up this year are two pumpkin figures seated on paper mache blocks that I have loving named the "Dumpty Pumpkin" brothers, "Lumpty and Humpty".  (They looked like they could fall off of those blocks and hence the names.)

"Lumpty Dumpty Pumpkin" is the first squatty little fellow shown and he is just tickled pink because a baby bat has landed on his fingers.  (Human children would be delighted by a butterfly, but in the world of Halloween a butterfly just wouldn't do, it had to be a bat.)  Being the youngster that he is, he grins with delight and puts his other hand up to signal his brother about the event.  If he gets too excited and doesn't pay attention that little fellow is going to take a tumble from his perch, and so begins their story that parallels another childhood tale.  

"Lumpty's" brother is "Humpty Dumpty Pumpkin", the elder of the two Dumpty Pumpkin brothers.  "Humpty" is a spider collector and is shown here with his favorite companion"Yo-Yo", named for his ability to go up and down quickly on his spun webs.  "Humpty" also adores his spider companion because he came with a pumpkin shape on his torso so he knew immediately that their relationship was meant to be.

The boys are headed to Michigan next week for Ghoultide Gathering.  Hope you like these silly brothers!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Candy Containers.....

I am continuing to work on Ghoultide Gathering pieces and thought I would share with you some of the candy containers going to the show.  All six of these candy containers are open at the top so all one has to do is put a small amount of candy in them to make a "sweet" gift. 

There are two sculpted cat head candy containers shown, which are slightly different because I don't use molds in the sculpting process, plus in the top photo the cat has gold colored eyes and in the lower photo the cat has green colored eyes.

The smaller paper mache candy cups each have different figures painted on the front along with different painted trims so above you will see the skelly bat figure and pumpkin boy figure....

and a Monkey-Cat and Count figure in the second photo.  All of the containers have black twisted wire handles, with tinsel being added to the cat candy containers. 

I still have much to do so I am headed back to the studio!  Hope you enjoyed the peek!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Horace Lumina

He is finally done...all 31 inches of him.  This is "Horace Lumina", grand patriarch of the Lumina family dressed for the Pumpkin Ball.  He is shown carrying his Horace (falcon) face mask and his pumpkin bucket, wearing a reversed-scalloped edged tux jacket and vest trimmed with spider buttons.  He finishes his ball attire by wearing color coordinated striped stockings and boots.

Horace oversees the Lumina family using pretty tight reins, and yet no one complains about his rule over the clan.   His demands aren't viewed as too extreme throughout the year, but come October 30, all Lumina family members are required to gather for the family harvest celebration and Pumpkin Ball, which is a two evening event culminating on Halloween night. 

Horace supervises to make sure there aren't any young Lumina boys drinking hard apple cider, that the mischief is playful amongst the frisky family members, and that the pranks pulled on humans aren't too extreme.

Horace has a gentle look, but don't let that fool you.  That appearance can quickly change when he is asked to reprimand a young pumpkin for tomfoolery!!

Horace is headed to Ghoultide Gathering in a few weeks.  He far exceeds the height of any of the other Monkey-Cats characters, but I think he will blend in nicely!

Have a creative day!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Count R. Balance

Count R. Balance is one of the new little vampire figures completed for Ghoultide Gathering.  He is a happy little fellow because he has just learned about all of the squash and pumpkins coming to this year's Pumpkin Ball, and he is hoping to nibble on a few of the attendees....he is a vegetarian after all.

As you can see he has a pretty good set of fangs, mesmerizing eyes and a smile that will melt Miss Batty Patty Pumpkin's heart.

Being a creature of the night his companion is the bat, therefore he chose to wear a bat bow tie, a bat masquerade mask and had tiny black bats stitched on the front panels of his vest, as well as....

a handsome white bat stitched on his formal cape.

I'm getting closer to finishing most of the sculpted work for Ghoultide so I'm breathing a bit easier...well, sort of!!!  So hope to meet many of you there!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Another Ghoultide Gathering peek

Wizards have always said that some pumpkin boys are grown on the vine, and some are hatched, but the pumpkin boys I have always known have all been vine grown.   I  have to admit I dismissed the hatching tale as folklore.  Imagine my surprise when I was told about "Hatch D. Lumina", a new pumpkin boy hatched from a jack-o-lantern.  Yes, that's right, pictures were taken showing the little fellow springing fully grown, clothed and carrying a JOL party mask for the upcoming Pumpkin Ball.

"Hatch", as his friends call him, has maintained his birthing jack-o-lantern and uses it to snuggle into during the day with his spider and other crawly friends.  Every evening he can be found popping back out of the cracked opening to locate his spooky companions of the night to prepare for an evening of fun and mischief.  He isn't terribly naughty, but when you see a worm floating in the Halloween punch, you don't have to ask who is responsible.

"Hatch" is really excited about his trip to Michigan to meet and party with the many mischief makers to be found at Ghoultide Gathering.  Hope you can come and introduce yourself to the him!

Have a great day!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thanks For the Spotlight Scott!!

Just wanted to provide a link to the Ghoultide Gathering website where Scott gave my little characters and studio a spotlight for the week.  Thanks Scott, you sure did make my little characters look good!

Back to the painting!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Making Progress

Painting, sculpting some final details and making some progress. I have finally learned I need to be painting on several pieces at once so that as I'm waiting for one surface to dry I still have another to work on. As you can see the heads and faces are one of the first things to be painted because the face tells me so much about what that figure's character is going to be like and what he or she would like to be wearing.

I still have a lot to get done , but I'm feeling much better about getting what I need to get done, done. With that said I better get some paint on the figures that still have too much white surface showing!

More peeks to come!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ghoultide peeks!!

For the next few weeks I will be giving you sneak peeks of works traveling to Ghoultide Gathering, October 2. This is "Count Heinrich Hardbitten"....a sweet sort of fellow if you don't mind the fact that he is a vampire (especially scary for the pumpkins, squash and gourds since he is vegetarian). The Count is dressed to attend the "Pumpkin Ball" at Mill Race Village, which will be happening after the artists set up their displays and leave them the night before Ghoultide Gathering.

Rumor has it that one of the artists' characters got on the internet and somehow contacted the other artists figures and characters and decided it would be fun to have a party without the humans the night of October 1. My little fellows started showing up with Venetian style masks in the cabinet I have them stored in and that is when I knew something was up. One of the pumpkin fellows finally broke down and fessed up about the gala event.

Looks to be quite the party. Maybe Carolee, Johanna, Pam, Joycee or Lori will sneak out with me carrying flashlights to see if we can get pictures of the ball on October 1st. I hate to miss a party!