Monday, April 2, 2012


Hi Friends,

ChickieLou has moved to where I hope to have more, regular updates. I have also ported all the posts here (with comments) over to that link.

Also, check out my Tumblr and my Etsy Shop! See you there!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

On my drawing table...

After drawing a million and one "stylized", i.e. fake, made up flowers (and I suppose I should put quotes around the word "flowers" there), I am back to drawing the real kind in my Moleskine. Luckily, I had the sense to not put the pencils I was using on the sunflowers back in the collection, after abandoning it for 8 months. I would never find them again.

Husband is in bed on muscle relaxers for a shoulder pain, so I had to take my own photos today. Not bad... for the iPad!!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Design element - Kurbits

Lately, I am playing with a Swedish design element that has been around since the 1800s called a kurbit. According to the kurbit "comes from the Biblical story in which Jonah sat outside the city of Ninevah and the Lord caused a Kurbit, or gourd vine, to grow up beside him to protect him from the desert sun". For a very interesting essay on the Dala horse and its prominence in the World Expo of 1939, I recommend this site. There, you will learn all about this important symbol of Sweden. From the same site, is this history of traditional kurbits painting, which is also interesting.

In looking around the Internet at various kurbits examples, I found everything from the traditional to the more avant garde. Below are some designs and applications that grabbed my eye. (Attributive links when you click on the photos.) Note all the applications. They are endless.

My kurbit drawing is last.

This one reminds me of a Tarot card... stunning!

Okay (drum roll)... Here is mine:

This is just my first attempt. I was doodling around on some different supports, and I can't wait to try that next!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Inspiration - Grandma's Vintage Date Book

This book is a small treasury of gorgeous floral chromolithographs, one for each of the months in a year and each having a devotional prayer or saying in German. In doing a little bit of research on the title, Christliches Vergissmeinnicht (or Christian Forget-Me-Not), I learned there are many versions of this little book still in existence today. One source says they were printed between 1897 and 1901. Each appears to have a slightly different cover style and I have not run across any that look like mine. The book's edges are gold gilt that shine brightly, like new. The endpapers that comprise the front and back panels are a delicate tiny flower print in gold ink. The book is protected in its own cardboard chip slip case.

Mine belonged to my grandmother. In it, she kept track of friends and family members' important dates, all in her careful penmanship. If I ever research my family tree, I will definitely consult this book, as she recorded many family members' names that I do not recognize, other than the last name.

I remember being awestruck by this book as a child. I had never seen anything so beautiful then, and it still is spectacular and beautiful to me today.

Below are some images of my copy. I have also included images of other versions I found on the Internet. It's lovely, isn't it? I just think it is very inspiring.

The plate for February with a relative's birthday recorded. Who might you have been Helmuth Boettcher, born in 1898?

Here are some other images.

From a listing at Ruby Lane:

And another cover version from another site:

And another version from a German bookseller:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

More IKEA Magazine Files

I had the chance to make another IKEA magazine file. Just to reiterate from the last time I did this, the surface is very slick. If you try, this don't be surprised if you need to touch up some of the sparkle and shine (especially if you use metallic or glitter pens) before you assemble and fill it and call it done. Also, give your drawings some time for your markers, glitter pens, etc. to dry. I don't want you to have a huge smudging accident and be fretting. This is a lot of fun.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Lulla Jewelry!!!

It seems like it was last year, but no. It was only earlier this year that I was asked by a friend and fellow crafty-person, Leah of Lulla Jewelry to design a logo or something that would lend itself well to a design on a mini moo card. Leah makes incredible bookmarks which she sells in her Etsy shop. Me, being completely undisciplined (STILL) as an artist, I am frankly stunned that I was able to start it within a reasonable amount of time after being asked, but something about the task which was more of formal commission than I have experience with spurred me on with excitement! Leah's request was only slightly more certain than any of my ideas. But the information she was able to give me told me a lot! She knew she liked the fish I drew a couple of years ago. And she knew she liked jewel tones. I roughed out some drafts with koi which, by nature, had an Asian feel. But in the end, I decided to launch into uncharted territory and attempt two drawing elements that terrify me: Drawing human (or human-like) forms. And steampunk. But here's the thing: Leah loves steampunk. In the end, I knew I had to tailor my drawing to suit what I knew about Leah's taste and her aesthetic. I appreciated that she liked my Asian-feeling fish and the boxes that she wanted to send her bookmarks to her customers in were also very Asian. But in the end, I went with what I felt was a better fit. In jewel tones.

I think I was right!

And moo cards:

Etsy shop banner:

Leah's bookmarks make lovely gifts for the reader or book lover on your holiday gift list. I just love mine!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A great day for love in the great state of California

I promise you, patient friends...

I will return to my blogging responsibilities this summer. But for today, I wanted to celebrate the great news in the verdict that struck down Proposition 8 (same-sex marriage ban) in Federal Court in California today. Yes, there will be more battles to come on the front for marriage equality. But today is a victory to be celebrated.

(Yeah, I realize that Love sculpture is in Philadelphia, but it's one of my favorites.)


Friday, May 7, 2010

Good night little Minty. No more suffering. You are safe.

Minty Monroe "No Nukes" Pekarsky Jr. Esq.*
August 1999 to May 2010

*Life #5 was as a famous Civil Rights attorney. ;o)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dolls as creative inspiration

Some time ago, I ran across a photographer's work using dolls as subjects in some fairly unconventional photography. I was enthralled by the dolls. I had never seen anything like them before. Some were incredibly human and life life. Others were macabre and scary. It made me go on a hunt for these dolls which later inspired my own creative project.

My search led me to, among other places, this on-line doll shop where I became fixated on this fellow. Without much of a second thought, I parted with the $90 thinking I just needed to, no... I MUST have him.

He is Nosferatu and a vampire. I just think he is enchanting.

Since he was a pre-order at the time and delivery was not promised for nearly 2 months, I had to satisfy myself with his picture. But once he arrived, I took these pictures of my own (minus his fangs - I like him better de-fanged).

And he is wearing an awesome Goth get-up...

A bit of info about these dolls. Nosferatu is a Korean doll (Pullip-TaeYang) made by Ars Gratia Artis. As it might be expected, the Japanese take these artistic dolls to a much higher level of being nearly incarnate. From a collector's standpoint, these shown here are known as Ball-Jointed Dolls or BJDs.

Variations cover the range of everything from the human form to the fetish and fantasy form...

BJDs are thought to be heavily inspired by anime and Lolita fashion.

Japanese BJDs are not the only highly desirable doll. Here is a Chinese brand of BJD:

Here is another Korean doll, Luts. Just incredible! (I'll be poking around on this site more after I post this):

I wanted to show you these dolls as inspiration for creativity like these drawings based on the familiar Blythe doll or dressing and posing them for a creative photo shoot. Also, a note of interest: the name of my blog "ChickieLou" is named after my childhood doll, so dolls have been personal creative touchstones for me throughout my life. As I mentioned, my Nosferatu inspired me for an art project. More on that next time!

If you want to spend an entire DAY (and probably more) exploring more about BJDs, this would be a good place to start:

Warning: You might want to put your credit cards in a bowl of water and freeze it before you look at these. The emotional tug and impulse to buy one of these dolls is strong! Just when you think you are safe, one individual will draw you in. Also, please note: some of these sites may have images that are unsuitable for work browsing.

Photo streams and blogs featuring BJD:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A wretched disease...

No, this is not craft-oriented. It's life-oriented. That of my kitty's life.

My dear boy-kitty of 10 years, Minty Monroe has feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease a gastric disorder that attacks the small intestine, much like colitis or Crohn's Disease in humans. We actually got the diagnosis last June. Minty was always prone to vomiting, but being a long-haired Maine Coon, I always thought the occasional "urp" on the floor was par for the course. Usually, it was a hairball. How could I know that he was brewing an auto-immune illness that would go from monthly vomiting to nearly daily vomiting and lately, diarrhea? There is no cure for IBD. At best, it is "managed" at a stage known as "stable disease". It often turns into small-cell lymphoma and eventually effects the organs. Cancer is on the disease continuum for this illness as well as other secondary and tertiary afflictions.

Since his diagnosis, we have tried every remedy that is known of to help this illness. First one being a steroid known as prednisolone running through a medicine cabinet of drugs, supplements and foods over the past 9 months to our current experiment of a chemo drug, chlorambucil. Like so many parents of these kitties, I have become an expert on his disease. You name it, I've tried it. Recently, I feel he is slipping, but we are no where near the time when he needs to be helped to cross over. He has about 4 or 5 great days a week and one to two days of misery. The great days are still great. Bless him, he still makes it to the box even when you can see he's desperate to get in there. He still tries to clean himself up. His appetite is good and the poops are sometimes solid. He's a trooper through his twice weekly B12 shots and takes his pills without so much as a fuss or wimper. His personality has taken a hit, if anything has. He seldom comes upstairs to lay in bed with us like he used to. He prefers to be downstairs near the security of his food bowl and his heated bed. We sort of miss him already. But he's still here, and those that follow me on Twitter know that I have made this my mission to get him to stable disease, if it can be done.

I've rolled up my carpets, and cloaked the furniture in towels. I made the microwave area of my kitchen his dispensary and feeding center (he eats every two hours since he is not absorbing well) thereby decreasing my circles all over the kitchen during feeding and dosing time. We have given in to the demands of the disease on its own terms and rearranged our house, routine and our lives to make it easier, and still it's quite a bit of work. We have another kitty with a heart as big as an ocean who craves attention all the time. Poor thing has to wait for it most of the time.

So, that's been my life. With so little time to do anything else, I have not had much to show for my creative efforts. But I do have a couple things to share with you and those posts will come soon, I hope.

In the meantime, if you have a furry child, feline or canine, I wanted to tell you about Lisa's website in order to get all the support you need. If you have an animal who throws up more than 1-2 times per month, especially in the early morning, when the stomach is empty, I urge you to talk to your vet. Frequent vomiting, even with long-haired breeds is never normal and it's not necessarily hairballs. Also, chronic inexplicable diarrhea is a symptom that must be looked in to. Many times, in the early phases of the disease, it can be treated like an allergy because the commercial pet foods we feed our pets are poison with inappropriate ingredients for the species (a discussion for another time and place). Sometimes a diet change is all that is needed. Sometimes, switching a cat or dog to raw food changes the course of the allergy, although not always. This disease is as random as there are animals who have it. Other than the above resource, there are many other places on the Internet to get help, and I am available if I can help in any way. Feel free to contact me.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

IKEA Magazine files

More surface design fun. This is one of the IKEA "Flyt"Magazine Files I decorated. They don't come any cheaper and less glamorous. (Five for $2.99 - you can't go wrong.) I will be making more. Really enjoying my markers again, by the way!

Tombow Brush Pens, metallic pens, Prismacolor markers

A couple of words of caution: First, the surface is slightly glossy. So it was a little bit challenging. But actually, after it was completely dry, I REALLY liked the effect. It almost looks printed. They come flat packed so it was quite easy to draw on them when flat, and it was fun to assemble at the end.

Second, they are a little flimsy. Not the thing to store your chunky Vogue magazines. Either that or stuff it entirely so the weight at the base AND the top is evenly distributed. Heavy things leaning to one side inside of it might topple it. It hasn't popped off the shelf yet, but I don't have it anywhere where it can bean me on the head either.

New t-shirt design

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