Monday, August 31, 2009

Bye Bye Mr. Finnegan (1990-2009)

It's been a tough week. My 20 year old kitty cat, Finnegan, who has been suffering from kitty-dementia for a while, has gotten worse. Now, instead of just wandering around at night howling, he has become aggressive, attacking our dog, both of the other cats, my husband and even trying to bite ME.

Finnegan Francis O'Malley (approx. 1994)

Late last week I finally decided to put him to sleep rather than risk an even more dreadful end (imagine a scenario where the dog fights back and perhaps even kills Finnegan). The earliest appointment I could get that fit my hubby's schedule was for tomorrow (Tuesday, 9/1), so the waiting has put an additional strain on the situation.

This cat has been with me since I was in my early 20s and has gotten me through break-ups, bad jobs, moves, family problems, money worries, unmedicated depression and more. Some days I wonder if I would have made it through my 20s, not to mention my 30s and into my 40s, without that fuzzy guy. I even gave up my engagement ring budget of $3,000 in 2002 to save him when he mysteriously stopped eating. I never once doubted that choice and am happy with my $299 pink sapphire and the extra seven years I got to spend with Mr. Ringie (nicknamed in 1998 for his tail, ironically enough).

After crying for the entire day on Thursday, I was sorely tempted to grab a $5 bill and hit the drive-through at In-N-Out for a Double Double (animal style) and an order of fries with which I could eat away the pain. Instead, I put my butt in the chair of my favorite stylist and got my "hurr did." Initially, I went in for a color touch up, but left with more (err... less, actually).

Pretty girl (said with sarcasm)
New hurr - no makeup
New hurr

YAY ME for NOT making a bad choice! And the sugar-free icing on this fat free cake is that my hair is off my neck during the hottest part of the California Central Valley summer.

In addition to the kitty issues, I have several art shows that are upcoming and I'm somewhat less than prepared for them. I'm finishing up some pieces, am working on a tribute to Finnegan which will be available at the Big Cat, Little Cat show at Body Tribe on 2nd Saturday, and am printing some 8x10s, so I'll be OK, but I'm still unbelievably rushed. Oh, and this is my very first year participating in the local Sacramento chalk art festival "Chalk It Up!" over Labor Day weekend - EEEP!

Go make a list of everything you need to do, check stuff off, then give your "fur people" some extra love tonight & thank them for being in your life.



p.s. Extra special thanks to my life-long friend, Joe "Tex" Selby for talking me into adopting Finnegan in the first place.
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Friday, August 28, 2009

Skelekitty on Crafty Chica's Inspiration Friday!

Guess WHO was featured on Kathy "Crafty Chica" Cano-Murillo's blog today?? She even "outed" me (for my unnatural relationship with glitter).

Diary of a Crafty Chica: INSPIRATION FRIDAY: Skelekitty!

I've noticed a new kitty on the crafting scene - and she literally is...a kitty! This friendly feline has her own web site, a blog and gobs of personality. I was recently able to grab hold of her and ask her a few questions before she sprang out of my hands to go back to her owner's art room. Can you say finicky? By the way, her owner is the talented Krissi Sandvik. Tell me how you came to be, Miss Skelekitty? Did you get shortchanged from your nine lives?

Skelekitty: Heck no, my nine lives are just beginning! I was introduced to the world in the summer of 2006 when Krissi donated the very first Skelekitty piece a local kitty rescue's annual fundraising auction. Krissi has always loved animals and became fascinated with the Day of the Dead celebration when she lived in San Francisco's Mission District. She thought the spirit of Dia de los Muertos (that is, celebrating the lives of loved ones) fit in perfectly with a kitty adoption organization. Pretty soon, people started asking to see me in more art, so Krissi created a whole line featuring me and my skelecritter pals called Skelekitty and Friends.

Q: And now you are a rockstar kitty - you have a line of stamps in your likeness! Tell me, how did you decide on the poses for the stamps? Did you get final say?

A: Well of COURSE I have final approval on all of my images - I'm a kitty who's definitely not shy about speaking her mind! The stamps were chosen by the nice lady who runs Stampa Fe art stamps in Santa Fe, New Mexico - she picked her four favorites to start off with. The response to the stamps has been so positive, you may be seeing some brand new Skelekitty stamps (and maybe some other skelecritters) soon.

Q: Tell me about your owner, I hear she is very crafty!

A: She sure is - she's always gluing something to something else and started Sacramento's coolest FREE craft night, Scary CRAFT's Night of the Creators. Even her MAIL is crafty! Here is a tutorial!

In addition to her paintings, she makes quilts, reconstructed clothing, shrines, jewelry. Krissi has always loved language and writing and has started to play with photography too! She especially enjoys a challenge where she has create outside of her comfort zone.

Q: How does having a pet helps a person's creativity?

A: Animals are wonderful muses because they are so loving and funny. One of the most popular pieces was inspired by a hungry kitty rubbing against her human's legs when they come home at night.

The antics of Krissi's kitties and dog are often the inspiration for paintings. Anyone who has ever lived with a cat or dog (or small children) will be able to relate to "The Two Sides of Skelekitty."
Q: Will you share your favorite pieces by your owner and how she made them - I'm sure you sat and watched every moment of their creation, right?

A: I imagine everyone expects the portraits of me are my favorites, but they'd be wrong! Like Krissi, my favorite pieces tend to be ones where she experimented by using her favorite imagery within a not-typically-Krissi themes. Painting The Roses Red, which was created for an Alice in Wonderland themed show, is a good example.

I also like the pieces she makes with a real sense of irony, like her "Diet Shrine" art quilt.
Krissi Sandvik. I must share that she told me she never was a fan of glitter until she went on the Crafty Chica cruise and became converted. I think this picture proves that! Krissi is a mixed media artist based out of Sacramento, CA. Visit her blog to see more of her work at

Would you like to submit an article for Inspiration Friday? Click HERE for the guidelines. -SUBMIT your piece with INSPIRATION FRIDAY in the subject line and email to kathy[at]craftychica[dot]com

Peace, love, and glitter!
Kathy :-)
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I Got Wood!

Thanks to my long-distance buddy, Travis "Mr. Purty" Smith, I'm participating in round two of a mighty cool multi-artist project called "I Got Wood." This international collaboration is the brain child of Flickr users My Dog Sighs and Jack of all Trades (creator of Kimo the Pineapple).

100 hand-made wooden puzzle pieces go out to 100 artists and are sent back to Jack in Hawaii for reassembly and exhibition.

I can't wait to see it all completed.
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Commissions To The Left of Me, Commissions To The Right...

My workload went from "famine" to "feast" in a matter of days! This bounty of Krissi-fied animal painting requests is thanks in large part to a skeleportrait I did for my friend Hezekiah of his beloved Weimeraner (and personal doggie friend of Abby's), Logan.
Logan the Pirate Dog - FINAL!
Logan as "Pirate Dog"

Logan - 1/16/09
and here is the handsome boy, himself "in the fur," as it were.

A friend of mine from High School, John B. asked if I'd make one of his Chihuahua, Chi Chi.
John B's Chihuahua, "Chi Chi"

I sent him around to look at my other paintings to see what colors, etc. he liked. He ran across the skele-portrait I did earlier this year of Allyson's dog Lulu in "Wanna Go To The River," and asked me to have his little girl popping up over a heart like Lu. Here's the finished portrait of Chi Chi:
Final Chi Chi portrait!
9x12" mixed-media on wood plaque

Chi Chi portrait - detail
Her cute little Chi eyes! I used some black glitter and did a 3D type effect by building up a little gel medium.

Chi Chi portrait - detail
Detail of her collar. I thought I was done when I realized the portrait needed a little corazon milagro charm. After I showed this to John, he sent me this!
The "real" Chi collar
See? I was right that the collar NEEDED a heart!

Chi Chi portrait - detail

Chi Chi portrait - detail

So the last coat of UV protectant / sealer has gone on and as soon as the piece finishes setting up, it's heading to John's house. I'm hoping that when he gets it, he'll send me pictures of it alongside the rest of his collection (hint hint!).

What's really exciting about this, is that (1) I've received a double commission for some Krissified Chihuahuas (with fur - LOL), (2) am trading a double portrait of kitties for a custom painting by the amazing JenX of whom I have been a longtime fan AND (3) I've heard a rumor that a long-time friend may be commissioning a piece I want to do called "Order of the Black Lab inspired by this picture of Lulu.

For all the pet portraits and skele-portraits, or to watch the process as it unfolds, click over to my Flickr account.
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Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Last Straw

Sorry for not posting in almost a month. I've been busy with commissions (update soon) and I managed to catch the summer virus that's going around.

OK, so this is a very recent pic of me at Santa Clarita Craft Lab. I took one look at this and my jaw dropped. Apparently the 20 lbs I worked so hard to get off over the past year have crept back - and they brought a few friends.

After a visit to the doctor and a look at my lipid profile, I finally decided to committing to an eating plan to go along with my exercise. I'd like to be able to go hiking without carrying the equivalent of a 40 lb weighted vest. My husband also claims he'd like me to stick around for the next few decades and not drop dead of a heart attack, thus leaving him single and really pissed of at my dead ass. Interested parties may follow my progress (including all the dirty little details - measurements and exercise and weight, OH MY!) on my weight loss blog.

For the rest of you who come for my ramblings about my dog, arts & crafts, pretty pictures and the occasional tutorial, I'll spare you the 'fat girl' ramblings on this site - I promise. LOL.
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