Tuesday, February 11, 2014

From 'Mraow' to 'Rawr': This Trade's the Cat's Meow!


Months ago on a lazy Saturday while perusing my facebook feed, I spotted a pic that my girl Charlotte snapped at her booth in a local craft show back home in Cincy-OH.  She was advertising the most bitchin' (and I only use that term in the context of the most awesomest, raddest, flyest style ever) earrings that she had made and how they were just flying off the rack for her.  And how could they not?!!  Lion Head Door-Knocker style in brassy flashy gold, with jewel drops!!  To. Die. For!  And here I was....all the way in Seattle with no way of summoning up the flight of the Concord, or maybe the ghost of the Concord, or even better, the ghost of my future lottery jackpot to get down to Charlotte's craft fair in Cincy-OH to swipe a pair of those babies!!  I mean....I am a LEO lady and anything with Gold and Lions on it is how I advertise to the world, the universe, and the inter-dimensions, my magical-zodiac-astral prowess!

Well since I couldn't summon up a tele-transportation device, I thought I'd handle this the old-fashion way.  I messaged Charlotte with a proposition.  Let's do a trade.  She's an artist and I'm an artist...she has a cat- I make animal portraits out of fabric....and I want those damn earrings!  Charlotte loves her kitty and agreed to this idea- and even said she'd make a matching necklace to go with those earrings for me.  Deal!!!!

Charlotte sent me a pic of her sweet kitty, Toots, and requested that Toots be wearing a pearl necklace and green studded earrings.  Of Course!  Anything for you and Toots....I just want those rad Lion head earrings!!!

So let's get right down to business- The making of Toots into a fabric portrait!  Mraooooowwwww!
Just look at that sweet face!  I admit, I'm more of a dog person, but Toots is too cute to boot!  A soft grey haired beauty with mysterious green eyes.... I knew I was gonna have a ball doing her fabric portrait!  It wasn't too difficult for me to break up the highlights and shadows in Toot's face.  I tried to keep it simple- with just 4 shades of grey (let's face it, 50 shades would just be too much and too creepy in this case).  I scoured my fabric stash and found 4 shades that worked perfectly together.  I even cut up an old knit sweatshirt from Target to get the the most perfect lightest shade of grey!

Next up- Tracing and cutting out the shapes of the highlights in Toots' face.
Thank goodness I have an A&C Supply store up the street from me.  I almost live there and go through rolls of tracing paper like toilet paper!  Once all of the shapes in Toots' face were cut out (with interfacing fused on the back side for stability, I positioned all the pieces together to see how it worked together, then glued it down when I was pleased with it.

And now for the really fun part....Toots comes to life!
I chose a silver metallic thread to stitch all of the pieces down in Toots' face.  The iris color in Toots' eyes is an olive green sparkle vinyl with yellow glitter flecks-- the color combination couldn't have been better to highlight Toots' captivating green eyes.  And of course, I had to sew that twinkle in Toots' eyes with white embroidery floss or she wouldn't look like a real kitty, then!  

Since Toots and Charlotte are both striking ladies with great taste, I opted for a powerful, bold, graphic red poppy printed fabric to use for the background in the portrait.  Oh lucky me I had a fair amount of that print in my stash!  Since I work for Clothworks who produced this gorgeous print in the 'Scarlet' fabric collection by Pam Mostek, I got it for wholesale price, too!  The green in Toots' eyes definitely plays well off of this print, too.  And let's not forget that frame...another A&C Supply purchase.  Easy, breezy, beautiful hoop frame to showcase a pretty kitty's mug.

After framing Toots, I couldn't forget the icing in the cake- her jewels!  I found some fun old chunky pearly buttons in my big box of vintage buttons that I nabbed from an estate give-a-way to make Toots' pearl necklace.  And the faux green gemstones couldn't be more perfect for her earrings.  Although they don't match her eyes perfectly...they add another mystical dimension!

But wait, there's one more thing to add to Toots...or she's just not a real kitty.  Her whiskers.  As much as I wish I could take full credit for this idea, I must admit it's my boyfriend Jimmy's idea.  One night I was telling Jimmy about my current project, the Toots portrait, and he suggested I should figure a way to make Toots have real whiskers.  With my sewing ingenuity, I thought -beading thread!  A-ha!  Not too wirey and not too flimsy, it was just stable enough to stand out perfectly from the portrait like a real whisker!  (Thanks Jimmy!)

And, tah-dahhhhh!  Behold!  'Toots in the Poppies' by ms.sad!
Hellooooooooo Kittayyyyy!
She's just too cute.  I almost didn't want to send her away.  Is it weird that I fell head over heels for her?!  I may just now be a cat convert (don't worry though, sweet doggies!!)  

Here's one more pic-- up close and personal to see the detail!
The colors, the fabric textures, the prints, the findings, and the threads....it all comes together in perfect sync-cat-nicity.  Yeah, I just said that.

So off Toots went via USPS!  Two cats crossin' the country.  Just as soon as Toots departed from Seattle-- Golden Leo Lion earrings and a matching necklace arrive from Cincy-OH!
Lions, Filagree, Vintage Beads, and FABRIC YO-YO's......Oh my!!!!  Oh yes!  That Charlotte is a crafty girl and I didn't have to read her business card's catch phrase 'Seamstress Inspired Jewelry' to immediately recognize the red&white fabric yo-yo that she had so cleverly stitched into the filagree medallion of the matching necklace!  The girl's a Genius, I tell you!  I was just wowed by her creation--  she told me she used some vintage beads (the red/white enameled filagree beads) that are actually Swarovski, which she picked up at the big bad-ass bead show in Tuscon, Arizona.  I'm so honored!!

Thanks a million and hurrayforcharlotte.com, too.  This trade was a blast!

I couldn't leave ya without one last pic.  Me, modeling the goods!!


The Lioness could not be any prouder!  purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.....RAWWWWRRRRRRR!!!!