31 May 2007

here kitty kitty

The first two pillow-softies are done and available at the shop.
Next up: the funny bunny mermaids....

30 May 2007

aiiiiiieeee, i'm bugging out

Jerome & Jezebel - closeup

Meet Jerome and Jezebel, the first two of the mini-manti that I've cooked up. Jerome will be up on the etsy shop shortly, but Jezebel is already spoken for. I have a bunch of these in the works which I will be posting later in the week. For more photos, check out my Flickr.

Jerome the mini-mantis

29 May 2007

life as we know it has totally changed


One of the collaborative projects that Matt and I have been working on is printing our own fabric. Matt has fixed up the basement and turned it into a working print shop, which thrills me to no end. Seriously, I have been jonesing to print for way too long. It's funny, too, because recently Abby had asked me if I ever thought of printing onto fabric and making the screens/patchwork canvases with those fabrics. It was as if she had totally read my mind because Matt and I had been discussing that and toying with taking different drawings, scanning them, then tweaking on them in Illustrator and making patterns. What we have here is Matt's first go at it with a design he had been playing with:


I should mention that each repeat is about 10 x 12 inches. We also have some prints of that funny cat screen that Matt made, which I will use for softies. The prints that are not 100% will be used for a new series of patchwork canvases:


Same goes for these funny little bunny/mermaid prints:



I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am about all of this. Next up, we will print up some of my designs. (I'm just being extremely anal about them right now.)

P.S. - Thanks for the birthday wishes, but it is not yet my birthday. Sorry if I misled anyone into believing it was. I appreciate the well-wishes, though. I was just saying that I get a huge case of the existential blues when it's around the corner, and it is coming up soon. Like in two weeks. Ew. I'm going to a happy place now.

28 May 2007

monday... meh....

Excuse me, but I just can't muster the creative energy to come up with a clever title. So yep, that's what we're going to go with for now. The weekend was a mixed bag, but fortunately overall, there was way more good than there was bad or ugly. Even the bad and the ugly were no big deal, really. I just let it get the best of me at the moment, and now I am over it. Well, kinda.... I always go into an existential panic around my birthday. It's not the fear of getting older that I experience; it's the fear of not accomplishing all that I set out to within a year's time. Anyhoooo.... I didn't get much work done with it being so absolutely gorgeous out and all, but I did get to check out a cool bookstore and go to the Museum of Natural History with Beba, go fabric shopping with Diana, load up on buttons for a few projects that I have in the planning stages, play the consumer some more and treat myself to a new pair of Keds, and check out various restaurants and cafés in the neighborhood (oh the ice cream at Christine's is just divine).

Tomorrow, it's back to the sewing machine for me. I've got a few things that I am dying to share here that I am almost finished with, and I will also be working on a whole new batch of Secret Agent Lovebugs. Sleep is beckoning me right now, however. I'm calling it an early night....

P.S. - I made it to the Etsy front page yesterday with one of my squirrels, a first for me, so hooray for little victories! Today, I posted a big batch of pocket squirrels on the shop. Please check 'em out.

25 May 2007

eye candy friday - duality

I feel so lazy right now. It is so warm and wonderful outside, and I have slept in again. I've been bad about that this week, but next week I hope to get back on track. I have been working on tons of stuff. All I have is a bunch of WIPs to show for it, however. I will finish them all over the next few days. Right now, I am in no hurry. It feels great to not have to work at a frenetic pace and to be able to kick back and enjoy the day. I am meeting a friend for lunch shortly, and I am so looking forward to going for a nice walk around the neighborhood. Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

23 May 2007

from the desk of malachi f. mulligan

We interrupt our regularly scheduled blogging to bring you an important message from the dog of the house.

Mali - love that nose

Ahem! Testing, testing... Is this thing on? I am hijacking this here bloggity-thing for a moment. The girl won't mind; she's cutting fabric so she's in another world right now. Besides, I can type pretty fast. Yep, not only can I run super-fast, I can type just as speedily. I can get this post up before she even notices I'm on the computer. There is nothing this Sheltie can't do. Ha-HAH! In your face Benji!

Mali - well

Hi! Thank you all for your concern and your well-wishes. I'm feeling much better today, thanks. I don't know what was up with me, maybe just a stomach bug, but oh boy, let me tell you, it was SO not fun. Anyway, I'm feeling like my old self again. I'm playing fetch at the American Academy and admiring this random anonymous art installation there with my boy:

Mali & Matt in front of nesty thing

How Andy Goldsworthy is that? I couldn't play with it because I have to stay away from sticks. The vet said they're not good for me, so I am not allowed to chew on them anymore. Oh well. It's strictly Greenies for me now. The weather is gorgeous, I'm out and about, and I feel great.

Mali - chasing the ball

Hope you're having a wonderful day, too. Thanks for all the pupper-love!

Mali - throw it again

*lots of doggy nose kisses* - Mali

22 May 2007

and they're up!

Sven take6

Sven the Garden Variety Partier and Ricky Rural the Zaubermausi can now be found at my etsy shop. Oh yeah, and the available patchwork canvases are up there, too. Please have a look.

RickyRural - zaubermausi

21 May 2007

and now for a huge sigh of relief....

The SOWA Art Walk/Open Studios went extremely well. Our work got a positive response, and we got to meet a bunch of the artists in the building. We're even doing it again in September; we will be subletting Randy Garber's studio for the month.

Buggy Circle

All of the softies sold, with the exception of the items that were on reserve for some folks and one Zaubermaus and one Garden Variety Partier. Those two will go up on my etsy shop later this week. People really responded to the softies, in particular the Secret Agent Lovebugs. Of course, it definitely helped that one of the building's property managers was one of my first customers, and he was so smitten with his buggy friend that he told everyone else in the building about it. It was extremely cool of him to do that, and he pretty much set the pace for us, which was fantastic. We had a pretty good amount of people in the studio, despite the rain. There were some quiet spots, but overall, there was a pretty steady stream of visitors.

I was surprised that the patchwork canvases didn't sell, but hopefully they will sell on etsy. People did seem to like them, but they just didn't move. The pocket squirrels didn't do very well either, but I kind of suspected they wouldn't go over too well with a more art-oriented crowd. Besides, it is something that kind of baffles me - the way the squirrels sell very well on etsy but don't do as well in person. I also didn't realize this:

pocket squirrels

Here's a quick story that I would like to share, and you'll see, it's relevant to this. When I first met Matt, he was coming in to interview at the gallery where I was working as the receptionist. Considering that the last person who had his job turned out to be a pervo-psycho freak who had no problem with giving himself the day off on his third day on the job and who was strangely obsessed with his mother (total Norman Bates - seriously, if you can tell someone is obsessed with Mommy after only speaking with them for 30 seconds, perhaps their home needs to be searched for bodies), Matt was hired on the spot. When I was filing his resumé, I took a peek and almost hurt myself laughing. He had misspelled "license." I couldn't believe it. Normally, this gallery took pride in its stringent interview process and how they didn't just hire anyone. They practically made me walk over hot coals to get the lowest, most debasing job there. Yet they hired Matt despite this glaring error. I called over a couple of people, and we laughed viciously, tsk-ing to ourselves over how the gallery must have hit hard times and "woah, this guy's a moron." Of course, once he actually started working there, he proved himself to be one of the most valuable employees there and probably the best art handler/ installer the gallery had in a long time, and everyone loved him. But I still snickered to myself over how he couldn't even spell "license" - "that fool." Hey, I was the receptionist. I got pooed on all day; I had to feel better about my position somehow. Four years later, I ended up marrying him, despite his spelling abilities or lack thereof. It doesn't matter to me anymore. In fact, I thought it was so sweet that he made a little sign for the squirrels for me, since it was a detail I had overlooked, that I didn't mind the fact that he called them "pocket squirells." I just laughed about it and left the sign up. It was cute - what can I say?

Speaking of silliness, Saturday morning, I was so exhausted from staying up all night because of a very sick Mali, that as I sat there looking at the table, I noticed that Manny:

Manny looks like Holly Golightly

bore a bit of a resemblance to Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly:

It's that expression, I swear! Yes, I was extremely tired, and this was before I had had any coffee. I still do think that Manny looked like he was about to dish some serious gossip. Anyhoo.... Moving right along....

I would like to extend a HUGE thank you to Greeley for helping out on Saturday and Diana and grumperina for stopping by with their folks. Thanks to all of our friends who stopped by - Beba, Alex, Ryan, Phil & Nicole. Thanks to John Kiger for helping to spread the word about us. Thanks to everyone who bought a softie or a print or who stopped by and gave us some sort of support/response. Thanks to everyone who dropped by to have a look. Thank you all!!! And a ginormous thank you to Bob Oppenheim for lending us his studio and allowing us this opportunity. Thanks a million Bob! This was so much fun, and I am really looking forward to doing it again in the Fall.

18 May 2007


If you're in the Boston area, please come check this out. It should be a lot of fun. The whole building is filled with artists' studios, and each studio has something different to offer. I am definitely excited about seeing all the different work and getting to meet new people. Hope to maybe see you there!

I am kinda glad that I set up the schedule that I did for myself and that I am pretty much finished with everything (all that I have to do is hang the panels and number them), because I swear, it was as if I knew something was going to happen today. Poor Malachi is super-sick, and we are off to the vet with him shortly. You know the expression "as sick as a dog?" Let me tell you, that is one mighty level of sick. Who knew such a small cuddly creature was capable of producing that much barf? Seriously, it was endless. He was sick all day yesterday, the poor boo-boo, which however distracting it was to have to clean up after him, it was much more worrying because I couldn't get to the bottom of what made him ill in the first place and because he so was not acting like himself. He kept hiding under the bathroom sink or under the kitchen table looking so miserable. Now today, he is having trouble walking, which to be honest scares the bejesus out of me, but I don't want to get overly-alarmed and freak Matt out. Mali comes before anything else, so we are off to take care of him.

More tomorrow from the open studio....

17 May 2007

2 days

soto softies cards

Wow - thank you all for your support! I so appreciate all your comments. I hope I didn't come across as some crazy insecure whinger or that batty relative who gives you the whole "you never call, you never write" schpiel whenever she sees you. I really don't want to be one of those "enough-about-me, now-tell-me-more-about-my-eyes" bloggers because really, who wants to hear that? I've just had my head stuck in all this production, and when I came up for air, I had that sudden sharp panic before the show - all that unnecessary and cumbersome worry that I'd been avoiding just hit me, thoughts like, "What if I am completely bat-shit insane and I am the only person who thinks this is cool? What if this is just total non-sense and a waste of time and no one appreciates this except for my friends who come over and see me working and what if they're lying to be nice because they like me and don't want to hurt my feelings? What if this is all crap?" See? Complete and utter ridiculousness. I'd like to think I am not normally like that or that I've gotten better about it at least. Ehhhh, it's a work in progress....

Anyhoo! Thank you all again. I would hug you all if I could.

Right now, I am finishing up a couple more screens/patchwork canvases and putting the finishing touches on things so we can spend a good chunk of tomorrow setting up. I've been putting "soto softies" stickers on bags, printing labels for the softies, and organizing a few things. I should probably try to finish up the mantis, but to be honest with you, I am struggling with these new designs a bit. I can either rush these two that are almost done and show up with something that could look like poo, or I can take my time and really do these up. I realize I have had quite a bit of time to work on these, and they kept getting pushed back in favor of other projects. I am a little disappointed in myself, but right now I really have no choice but to forge ahead and work with what I do have done. I can wallow in self-pity, or I can focus on the details, like all the branding and such. I choose to work on the details now, which reminds me, my cards arrived today. The top card in the photo above is my old business card, that I designed and printed here at home. The bottom card is one of my new cards that just arrived from Overnight Prints. Basically, Matt took my original design and tweaked it in Illustrator, and we had them printed for nice and cheap. I took a cue from Emily and decided to have the corners rounded just because I like the way it looks and it works well with the design. So yay! New cards! Woohoo! Now that I've oohed and ahhhed over them enough, I better get back to work.

Thanks again!

16 May 2007

3 days - the yakatzas

These little guys were designed by Matt and inspired by the body tattoos of the yakuzas and by anime. To be honest, I am not sure how I feel about their construction. There are things I might do differently next time. Overall, I do like them. Especially their little paws:

yakatza - paw

I have to say, I am suddenly extremely nervous about the open studio. If I were to go with underwhelming response I have been getting on here, I have a lot to worry about. I don't want this to suck ass, but I am really afraid right now that maybe I am not hitting the mark. I am not asking for a load of compliments and such, but I do appreciate feedback, as we all do. The silence I am getting is resounding, and it takes me back to critiques at that school that shall not be mentioned by name. There was nothing worse than working on something for days only to be met with suffocating silence at the critique. I certainly hope that I am not coming across as one of those bloggers who basically begs for affirmation and reassurance with their every post. I do believe that when we make something and are pleased enough with it to post about it, we expect some kind of feedback, some kind of response. I am really nervous about whether the fact that no one is saying anything (not that I have such a huge readership - I wouldn't be surprised if I could count the number of people who read this boondoggle on my fingers and toes - and let me thank you again for giving me the time and reading) means that this is lame and that I am producing shite work. Please excuse my momentary lapse into insane insecurity. I am going to go finish up some projects and try to feel a little better about myself and my work before showtime....

P.S. - If you have left feedback for me in the last few days, thank you so much because it really has meant a lot to me in the middle of this maelstrom of production.

15 May 2007

4 days - meet mergie


Mergie is short for Mergatroid, as in "Heavens to Mergatroid!" Any resemblance to Snagglepuss is completely unintentional, however. He is one of the collaborative projects that Matt and I have worked on for the open studio. Matt designed Mergie and a couple of smaller counterparts that I am working on now. I am kinda laughing to myself over how zooted this guy looks, like he's up late at night watching infomercials and digging the Zamfir commercials way too much for his own good - again, totally not intentional but just a happy coincidence, I guess....

14 May 2007

5 days - 5 digits on my hand

So much of what I am doing now requires hand-sewing, which I love and have improved at over the last few months, but it is time-consuming. I am not at the level where my needle can fly over and through all the fabric and there is a finished product only a few moments later. Right now, I have so many WIPs that are slowly but surely getting there. By tomorrow, a few more will be finished, like the ones in these teasers:

day 5 - peekaboo

So far, the squirrel brigade is almost complete:

13 May 2007

6 days - 6 buggy friends

These six will be at the open studio and will be posted onto my etsy shop afterwards. For more (coughcoughbettercough) photos of these, check out my flickr page please.

Same thing with these two zaubermausi:

critters - new zaubermausi in chair

Thank you to everyone who commented about the studio. I wish we could say it was our studio, but it belongs to Matt's friend Bob, who was kind enough to lend it to us while he is away and who urged us to partake of the open studios there. The studios in this building are outrageously gorgeous, and the location couldn't be better, with a ton of galleries on the street level. The light is much better there than in my studio, which is why I am doing a photo session there with all my softies on Friday. (Also, can I tell you how much I am drooling over Bob's sewing machines? He has three machines - one is industrial, one is super-old, and the other is just a regular ol' Singer, but still just wonderful.) My studio, which is actually a corner in our living room, looks like this, except right now it looks like there was a small explosion right in the middle, with scraps of fabric and bits of stuffing and half-finished projects everywhere. Speaking of which, I better get back to it.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! Hope you have a fantastic day and are lavished properly. (Ummmmm, Mom & Barbara, I swear I will lavish you properly once I get back to NY. Love you lots!)

12 May 2007

the countdown begins - 7 days

This is what the studio looks like. Matt has been in there the last couple of days painting and cleaning it up. The wall on the left is where he will hang his paintings; the wall on the right is where my screens will hang.

Speaking of my screens, here is one more:

screen 3

This one is pretty small - about 8 1/4 by 13 1/2. When Matt originally made the stretcher for me, we were trying to match an irregular frame that someone else had junked, which is why the size is so strange. Now, we can't find the frame, but hey, look! It's a screen.

11 May 2007

sale on etsy

softies on SALE!

By the way, I am clearing some inventory through my etsy shop because I need to make room for all the new softies I am working on, which I know I keep threatening to post photos of soon - I am working on the finishing details on the last four of the bunch and will post about them over the weekend. I have considerably lowered the price on all the large softies in my shop at the moment. Please have a look. The next shop update will be after the open studio (after May 20th).

eye candy friday - the little shop of horrors edition

audrey has grown

Here's Audrey! Actually, it looked a lot more like Audrey before it bloomed. I forget what type of tulip this is. I'm pretty sure it's a Parrot, but I'm not clear on what kind exactly. I think this Fall, I am going to plant a slew of these because my goodness, the color on this flower just rocks.

08 May 2007

second bug (loves project spectrum)

second bug tip-toes through the tulips... and the daffies take 2

You know, sometimes when I get totally into whatever I'm working on, I fail to notice the obvious things around me. Like I overlook the huge button on my sidebar that says "Project Spectrum," and I forget that the Project Spectrum colors for April and May are pink, green, and yellow. And it takes reading this on the purl bee to remind me. DOH! Just about every critter/bug/softy I've worked on for the last month has had green in it. Granted, I have been a hopeless slacker about my Green Sock Knitalong socks, but clearly, I have been playing with the color a lot lately. It's my favorite - if I were to have a favorite and all....

For now, let me introduce to you Second Bug. Yeah yeah, I know, what an incredibly inventive and creative name! Right now I am more concerned with amassing these; I'll get around to naming them once they are all done. Here it is playing with first bug:

second bug & first bug share a laugh

Actually first bug is holding second bug up because second bug is a little top-heavy. I am considering making another pair of legs and attaching them to the butt so that it can balance itself. After all, bugs do have six legs - so it would be accurate as far as that goes. Maybe I can even push a specific species' traits onto the legs and make this a cutesy katydid. Right now, I am happy about the fact that I learned how to make poseable arms:


And I swear to you, the placement of this flower was completely unintentional, but like a five year old, I can't help but laugh about it:

second bug butt

Okay, back to work for me. More finished stuff tomorrow.

07 May 2007

...and the winner is....

First, I'd like to thank you all for playing. I wish I could send everyone who entered a prize just for taking the time to enter the contest. The winner of the doll quilt giveaway is Samantha at whizzme!!! Samantha was incredibly thorough in her answers - I had even forgotten about a couple of those softies. Samantha, I have sent you an email, so please get back to me whenever you get a chance. Thank you so much for reading my blog in the first place and for playing along. Thank you thank you THANK YOU! You guys are great.

Next time I have a contest, however, I think I'll make it a little easier for everyone (including myself - I didn't consider that I would have to look up my old projects as well) and just use a random number generator.

Also, just a note about the etsy shop for anyone who is interested or curious.... I will be restocking the shop sometime immediately after the Open Studio. There will be a slew of Secret Agent Lovebugs, all sorts of Critters, including a few new designs, tons of squirrels, and even a couple of large manti. Please stay tuned for that....

06 May 2007

yay for swaps! - the doll quilt edition

Hooray! Yesterday, I received my doll quilt from the creative and extremely talented Susan at chickenfoot. I love it! The details are just beautiful. The quilt itself is deceptively simple. It's got a nice, clean, modern design. All the squares are hand-appliquéd, and the hand-quilted stitches around the squares are so perfect, I've been oohing and ahhing over them since yesterday. I have been inspired, actually, to finally try my hand at hand-quilting. It's just beautiful! Thanks Susan, for such a beautifully crafted doll quilt! And thank you for the other goodies as well - the adorable little felted balls, the pretty vintage buttons, the circles ready for appliqué, and the vintage needles and pins. It was such a thoughtful package.

And a huge thank you to Lisa at Losabia for organizing this whole swap. It was a lot of fun to be a part of this swap. Thanks Lisa!

i really love the spring

daffies on mantle

It used to be my favorite season, but it was bumped from that position by Fall for the last few years. Now it's back, as it is amazing that this year, it actually feels like we are having Spring as opposed to jumping straight out of Winter and into Summer. I cut these daffies from our garden earlier today to decorate the mantle. I've been inspired by Jane to bring into our home the loveliness from our garden.

P.S. - Yay for Sunday brunch! I love having our friends over. And look at what Girl Alex brought us - more Black Parrot Tulips! I heart these flowers so much. (And yes, we are total dorks. We make a distinction between the two Alexes - or is it Alexi? - we know. One is Boy Alex and the other is Girl Alex. Our little heads might implode should we meet another Alex. How would we identify them then?)

black parrot tulips from girl-alex

05 May 2007

screen #2

screen #2

I am so enjoying making these. I think there might be a change of plans as to what I'll be doing for the upcoming open studio. There might be a whole series of these and maybe a couple less manti. I think I need to redesign a few of them. We'll see....

Meanwhile, here's one of my other bugs in progress:

Hope you're all having a great weekend!