Mar 31, 2011

All the better to scratch with!

I made Cere and Bella's claws last Monday, they're now ready to be sewn into the paws. Each rat gets 20 claws, but I made a few extra just in case. As you can see, they're like little pearls, the hole allowing them to be fastened securely to the inside of the paw. While fragile, the Fimo is more durable than you'd think!

And, old dogs do learn new tricks: I discovered making these wee things is a lot easier if you cut the clay into small slivers first rather then tearing off pieces from the larger lump.

Mar 29, 2011

The real thing!

A real rat! One of my neighbours has a family of rats visiting her bird feeder's droppings! Wow! She captured the little one with her camera, absolutely adorable!

Why a rat and not a mouse? I could be wrong, but I believe the hairless tail and the shape of the face make it a rat.

Just goes to show rats are EVERYWHERE! I've never seen one alive around here (and I do look!), but with free food they do show up!

Mar 28, 2011

Bite me!

We have a head! Cere has a head! And while it still needs a bit of clipping, the incisors worked! YIPPY!

It was quite a fiddly job to get them to stay put, and he'll never be able to close his mouth completely, but he has proper ratty incisors!

Mar 25, 2011

Adding to my own collection...

This is Mr. Jingles, newly created by an incredibly gifted and prolific artist, Robin Andrea! I asked Robin if she'd seen "The Green Mile" and sure enough she had and she brought Mr. Jingles to life! I can't wait to meet him in person! On the right is Robin's mouse, while on the left is an image from the film! Too cool!
Robin takes part in my Online Hallowe'en Studio Tour, and you can check out her blog at

Mar 24, 2011

Mad March

I suppose blogging to me is like journal-ing, unfortunately very sporadic!

Thursday already... we did get the show table all set up and everyone arranged the way we like, and so now there are tags to make and paperwork... I have printed and cut 250 Hallowe'en Studio Tour bookmarks to hand out, and Bat Conservation International sent me 100 of their nifty circular bat stickers!

Also the rats' incisors look impressive and while at first I feared they were too big, they seem to be just about right. A very different look for my rats, they will be more rodent-like, less whimsical. I hope to work on the heads this weekend.

I have taken some time to read, a rare and much enjoyed treat! This gloomy faerie is from the back cover of Book One: Kin of "The Good Neighbors" graphic novel series (by Holly Black and illustrated by Ted Naifeh). She very much captures the dark mood of the past weeks, with Japan's nuclear disaster looming over everything...

Mar 17, 2011


Last Friday we were whacked with snow! Thick, heavy, wet stuff... it was one of the worst storms of the year, leaving a thick, lumpy ice on the roads that made it feel like all 4 tires were flat on the car!

Today: we have robins!!! LOTS of them! All of a sudden, and it sounds SO GOOD! I love robins...

I'm so late in writing here, I have to apologize... The weekend did see all the machine sewing get finished and the rats' teeth have been made! Also, the table has been set up... a 6' table is kinda small. I'm going to have to leave behind the swans and the blue dragon, so if you wanted to meet a swan or Pool, let me know! Otherwise they won't be coming along!

I would like to share this exceptional rat that Tammi found on eBay and shared with me: this rat is by artist Julie Mansergh and my heart went pitter-pat when I saw it! Wow! Unfortunately Julie's hands are full, but she says perhaps one day she will make another ratty...

Mar 9, 2011

Straw into gold

Where did the weekend go? It was full of ups and a huge, painful upset... that's life, I guess. Suffice it to say, Sarah Forrest will not be attending the Philly show. Anyway, them poor rats are now behind schedule...
Here are the fabrics I picked out today for their tails, ears, inner mouths and paws, upper and lower.

And I did find renewed inspiration! I will try real rat incisors (instead of my usual fangs) because of an incredible piece I purchased from B.C. artists Michael and Dianne of Moon Raven Designs. This is a bronze rat skull made from a mold of a real skull! Just magical! Look at those teeth! I've invited these talented arts to take part in my Online Hallowe'en Trick or Treat, I hope they say yes!!

And also inspirational was a horoscope shared by a colleague at work:

"Aquarius (Jan.20-Feb18) Horoscope for week of March 10, 2011

In the old fairy tale, the character known as Rumpelstiltskin had the power to spin straw into gold. That skill has a metaphorical resemblance to the wizardry you could pull off in the coming weeks: transforming seemingly ordinary or worthless stuff into a valuable asset. Although your work might seem a bit miraculous and make some people wonder if you've used hocus-pocus, the fact is that it may at times feel tedious or extremely demanding to you. Be gutsy in your mastery of the intricate details, Aquarius. I'll be thinking of you as the Gritty Magician."

Miraculous? Maybe not, but otherwise I thought it was pretty dead on, seeing the plans I have before me! On to the rats, who have taken names: Cere and Bella (from cerebella, "little brains")!

Mar 5, 2011

Midsummer by moonlight

I knew, when I chose the black mohair, that Midsummer would be hard to photograph but yicks! Lighting him properly is nearly an impossibility, at least with my limited equipment. But here he is... any brighter photos wash out the colors in his nose. Well, doesn't he look like he's bathed in moonlight?

I'd like to point out that he has joints in all his limps, and a wired neck for great pose-ability (like that sweet head tilt). Also, glass beads fill his feet so he can stand nicely on his own.

Black mohair
Rose, plum red, dusty rose and mauve mohair swatches
Amber glass eyes
Black, mauve and variegated berry embroidery flosses
Painted mohair tuffs (in his ears)
Glass beads and polyester fiberfill
Disc joints
Faux raspberry branch

Total cost = about $36.00 in raw materials. So what is a fair adoption fee? Again, there's always the question of what labour is worth...

Mar 1, 2011

Well, the weekend was spent on lots of necessary activities that rounded out the end of (gulp!) February! Mom was able to spot the mistake I'd made in my business taxes FINALLY, so that's squared away! THANK YOU, MOM!!!

Tammi Beaulieu invited us to Cambridge on Sunday to feed the chickadees, a very tasty lunch out and a shopping trip through a favorite, Len's Mill! The chickadees actually landed in our hands to pick up sunflower seeds, it was magical on a gray, warmish-wet day. And Len's Mill had Hallowe'en stuff, left-overs I guess but new to me! What a treat! Thank you, Tammi!

Today I cleaned house and then updated the Online Hallowe'en Artists' Studio Trick or Treat's poster and bookmarks! 2011 here we come! Only 244 days to Hallowe'en, after all! Also I'm fiddling with Google translator, which I think will be very helpful on the site as we're trying to get a more international audience (and artists). It translates funny, as we can read the German and the French, but not too bad.