Animal Makeovers: Before & After

Over the past three years, I’ve been putting an increasing amount of time into creating stuffed animals from recycled fabrics. At this time of year, after the frenzy of the holidays has passed, I like to look back at my progress and celebrate how far I’ve come and what I’ve accomplished.

A few animals stayed in the shop long enough for my style and techniques to move so far past them that they no longer fit in with the new stuff I’m making. I decided to give them makeovers. Two animals—a hedgehog and a sloth—got new faces and names, and the hedgehog sold soon afterward, so I’d say the operation was successful.

The before and after pics, tho—what a great way to demonstrate my development in the past year! 2016 Persephone became 2017 Pinklepoke, and she now lives in Pennsylvania.

And 2016 Nezbert has been rechristened as 2018 Neville. This is your year, Neville. Someone will fall in love with your delightful face, with its hand dyed and embroidered details soon enough, I’m sure…

There are a few more upgrades I’d like to do on some of my earlier creations. I’m ’bout to go all Dr. Frankenstein up in here, y’all—watch out.

Other projects currently in the works:

  • Custom Moogle (a winged cat from a video game, v cute)
  • Fiona the Hippopotamus
  • owl
  • fox
  • (to be determined—might be a goblin idk)

Also, I’ve opened a second Etsy shop for art on paper and canvas and other crafts. I’m still getting it stocked, but if you want to be one of the first to peep it, here’s the link: Galactic Gift & Trading Co.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

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Best of 2017

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Astrid the Astronotter was in the shop for less than a month when one of my friends bought her for his girlfriend, M. Ever since, they’ve been sending me shots like the one above—Astrid in the new scarf M made for her (omg ❤ right?!) Astrid chasing ducks in the park, Astrid building a snow otter. This really is the best possible outcome—it’s almost like selling my otter and keeping it too—and I wish all of my customers would send me pics like this. (hint, hint for any of you reading 🙂

I also did three custom orders in a span of a few weeks, and they were all fantastic learning experiences. I love custom orders, they always make me stretch in unexpected directions and that’s good fun. I made a fox, a dragonfly, and a goblin.

But that goblin tho…

He’s one of the best things I made in 2017, along with Astrid the Astronotter. I’ve been sewing like mad to replace stock in the shop for 2018, and four new faces now grace the shelves, with more to come.

Big plans for 2018, more about that in another post.

Otterly Obsessed

Otters are probably some of the cutest animals on the planet right now. I’ve been obsessed with them for a while, and the more otters I see, the more I love them. I love their little kitteh-pupper faces and their little t-rex arms and their little busy people-hands. I love that they collect pebbles and enjoy juggling them. And I absolutely love that *they have pockets* hidden in their baggy-skinned armpits where they sometimes keep their favorite rock.

I bring all of this up because I’ve just created a new otter stuffie pattern and have already made three of them and I’m definitely keeping one for myself because omg lookit these guys:

One of these brown tweed fellas is named  Maynard and is in the Etsy shop. And then there’s Astrid the Astronott, who’s going to Otter Space. She has a papier mache space gear and is ready for lift-off:

I’m pretty sure these are the cutest guys I’ve ever made. I want to keep them all, but I CANNOT.

Summer of Sloth

I’ve made a lot of sloths this year—they’ve been popular in the shop. Somehow each sloth I make becomes more and more elaborate—the latest one, Magenta—even has eyelids.

 

I like figuring out how make the little fiddly details like sloth lips and octopus eyes. That’s when the magic happens. I also have a deep interest in creating textiles—developing visual textures with embroidery, appliqué, quilting, dye and bleach, etc.

Here’s a group shot of everyone in the Etsy shop right now. My beautiful upcycled, eco-conscious fam.

Angie Brown | galacticbloom

I aim to run a low-to-no waste shop. But that’s another post, for another day.

Hogwarts, Class of 2017

A few months ago, I went to Universal Studios Florida with some friends—mainly to visit Hogwarts. (These are the same friends that I made the Yule Ball costumes for last year. We do love us some HP.) We had an amazing time, as expected, and so I have memorialized some of my favorite parts of our trip in a cut-paper diorama, as expected.

Featured scenes include the Jurassic Park water ride, chasing the Lorax through Suessland for a photo op, the guys getting stuck on the broken E.T. ride for 20 minutes, the Red Rip Ride Rocket or whatever it’s called (by far the Best Rollercoaster Ever Made), and—of course—Hogwarts, Weasleys’ joke shop & Gringott’s Bank), as well as the Hogwarts Express that connected Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.

The green Hulk rollercoaster is attached to the bottom of the box. It’s also a great rollercoaster, but the inside of the box was too crowded for a second one. I really needed a bigger box tbh, but I wanted to incorporate this particular box, because it came from the St. Augustine Distillery, where we stopped for a tour and some samples en route to Hogwarts. I highly recommend you pop in there if you enjoy adult beverages and are in that part of Florida.

Why did the moose cross the lake?

…Just for funsies, apparently.

I am proud to say that I have recently increased my moose knowledge by about 98% due to an almost-direct encounter with moose-kind. While visiting Lake Massasecum in New Hampshire last month, I witnessed a moose swimming across the 409-acre lake. Said moose seemed to be criss-crossing randomly, but moving at a rather determined pace. While watching breathlessly through binoculars, I began to question the moose’s motives. And then, being a worrier, I began to worry about the moose.

Luckily, my companion had the wherewithal to read aloud from the internet: Baby moose are born knowing how to swim and continue to be great swimmers as adults. A full-grown moose can swim 6 mph*, and keep that pace for two hours.

*Note that the average human walking pace is 3.1 mph, for perspective.

Angie Brown | galacticbloom
Swimming Moose at Lake Massasecum, NH

Moose also enjoy swimming because:

  • It cools them down on hot summer days.
  • They can get away from the black flies, which OMG IKR?!
  • There’s food down there—they can close their nostrils, which is a pretty unique skill to have among ungulates.
  • Respiration rates slow down while immersed, so they can remain underwater for a while, snacking and stuff.
  • It’s good for the weary bones, reducing their chances of osteoporosis and arthritis.
  • Mountain lion and wolf cannot sneak up on moose while in lake.

Mainely goats

I went to Maine a few weeks ago and stayed with a friend in a rustic cabin on a small organic farm and creamery. It was a magical experience, and my life goals are much more in focus in now. Goats are definitely in my 5 Year Plan. But first… I’ll need a house.

From my travel sketchbook, here’s a scene from the (highly recommended airBnB) Hamilton Farm & Barred Owl Creamery in Whitefield, Maine:

goat-toile

Furry McMurray’s, animal pub

Furry McMurray's | Angie Brown

When the zoo closes and all the people go home, the animals clock out from their jobs as species ambassadors and diplomats. Some like to unwind at Furry McMurray’s, an all-animal pub on the north side of the zoo. It is a very chill place.

The sloth arrived 45 minutes ago and has just made her way to the bar. She would like to order a sloe gin fizz please. No rush though—take your time.

And this is what I’ve been working on since my last post, when I wasn’t randomly visiting goat farms, making cheese* or working as an ambassador for my species. I’ve been doodling animals with beverages and animals doing people things for quite a while now, and there’s a bit of a backstory developing. There’s an air hockey table that the otters especially enjoy…

All the random little drawings in my sketchbooks are coalescing into a cohesive Thing. This could be a goal, even… more on that story as it unfolds.

*YASSS, I have acquired the ability to make cheese in my kitchen. #lifechanging
Also more on that—and the goats—later, I’m sure.

Book: The Man in the High Castle

So I’m just gonna come right out and say it—the thing I previously thought impossible, inconceivable, that I cannot believe I am now saying: The show is better than the book.

yeah.

And keep in mind that the book won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1962, and perhaps at the time it was groundbreaking work. Dick draws on his personal experiences with mental breakdowns and fugue states, and there a few passages in the book where he paints the confusion of a disjointed mind in particularly vivid detail. His portrayal of the solo female character—Juliana, however, has not aged very well. She is vain, shallow, superficial, and rather annoying. She’s a 2-dimensional plot device and a pawn, and seems to have no free will or motivations of her own (apart from being pretty).  ugh.

The Amazon original show has done a great job of taking Phillip K. Dick‘s fascinating premise and expanding the characters, weaving in new subplots and further intrigues. In the book, the plot-driving MacGuffin is a novel—a book called The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, while in the show, TGLH is instead a series of film reels. ha. I thought was a rather clever twist of artistic license.

PKD had an astounding imagination, and I love the movies based on his work– Total Recall, Minority Report, Blade Runner, A Scanner Darkly, but this is the first book of his that I’ve read. It’s one of earlier ones, so I’ll try another one soon. Hopefully he learned to write women better, (but given what I know of his relationship history, he probably didn’t) and even so, other elements of his work are strong enough to warrant giving a pass to the ubiquitous and dated sexism of the early 60s.

This has been another installment of my ongoing BookCover Project, begun in late 2015, wherein I endeavor to design covers for every book I read.