Vultures: something to carrion about

I love custom orders / commissions. People ask for things I might never have thought of making, and I get the opportunity to stretch my skill set and play outside of the usual sandbox. So when a really cool chick in Utah messaged me wanting a VULTURE, of all creatures on this green, green earth– I was ecstatic. We chatted for a bit about colors, styles, ~moods~ she said “creepy-cute Victorian goth” and I decided to channel the artist formerly known as Prince.

Well, it’s not quite the precise hue of Princely Purple, but the strategic use of velvet and satin lends the Perfect Pop. You can also see Prince’s influence in the sheer level of sassiness.

So here we have Mortimer J. Beaksworth, made from my stash fabrics, thrifted clothes, scraps and other reclaimed bits that might’ve otherwise ended up in a landfill.

Morty was an absolute blast to make. I texted frequent photo updates to my new Utahan friend, and she was enthusiastically onboard the whole way–a real pleasure to work with. So Morty will be winging out to Utah in a few days, and I am now turning over ideas for another unusual animal to make… and I’m thinking maybe… a warthog? If you’ve got something in mind that you’ve always wanted, contact me through my Etsy shop: etsy.com/shop/galacticbloom

Thanks for stopping by!

Otterly infatuated

The best part of making my stuffed animal art dolls is creating the face. That’s where the personality is, and that’s when they tell me their names. I love that the slightest change in eye position can alter the entire mood, and the right nose can really bring them to life. Look at these three otters for example– all using the same pattern, but all with very different characters. (Of course the fabric choice also plays a big part in that, if you want to get scientifical about it.)

Brimley (named after a certain Wilford due to his mustachioed appearance) is a bit mischievous, while orange Clementine is curious and bold, and sweet Florence is maybe a bit shy, but will open up once you get to know her.

I really enjoy doing photo shoots with these guys. I took them on a field trip to a botanical garden/zoo and we all had a great time with the statuary at the otter exhibit. I love otters. They’re the best.

Check these guys out in my etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/galacticbloom

Whooo’s ready for Fall?

It’s Spooky Season, y’all! Halloween is almost upon us again and people are already starting to haul out the decorations and the pumpkin spice. So it might be a great time to feature my owls, yah?

As of this writing, only two of these owls are still available in the shop—
Mr. Widdershins, the tan and denim fella, and Maisie, the black and white lady. Go check out their pages on Etsy for more photos!

And Happy Fall, y’all.

Virginia, Carolina, & Georgia

In honor of my nighttime patio guests, I have made several opossums this summer.  The first was Virginia, which I thought was pretty clever because the scientific name for the local species is Didelphis virginiana. She was the prototype, and I was especially proud of her prototypical peoplehands.  Behold the digitations, my friends!P1020516

The next opossum was Carolina June. Nice floral pattern, interesting fabrics, much personality, really cute face, mouth that screms AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. These first two barely spent a night in the shop before they were snapped up by other marsupial aficionados.

banana2
In addition to bananas and catfood, opossums eat ticks. An adult opossum can eat as many as 5,000 ticks every season. That is a valuable service. Protect your yard marsupials, they bless us with their presence, for these are very ticky times.

For my third opossum, the Deluxe Edition… Ms. Georgia Mae— I made three magnetic babies, Cricket, JuneBug, and Katydid. I sewed magnets into mama’s back and into the babies’ bellies. Am pretty proud of myself about this, actually. Georgia Mae +3 are still in the shop, as of this writing.

P1020645

Georgia Mae’s photoshoot was glorious, one of my best so far. Do yourself a favor and go check that out on her shop page. All of these opossums were made from fabrics that might’ve otherwise ended up in a landfill. Thanks for stopping by and taking an interest in my handmade, upcycled critters.

And by the way, if you have a possum that visits your patio, please post photos and/or anecdotes in the comments. It’s required. 🙂

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.