Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!


Just a cruddy li'l iPhone photo of a quickie li'l doodle to say goodbye to 2010, wish you a Happy New Year, and most importantly, to remind you to eat your grapes!

All twelve of them, at midnight. No skimping! Pin It

Tiny Texas - A 2011 Shop Preview


Tomorrow begins a new year, which for me also means a new start for projects (yay!), and I also hope new goods and art for my etsy shop.

Thus, I thought it might be a nice little New Year's Eve treat to share a sneak peek of an item that'll be coming soon to The Small Cat Club shop -- Tiny Texases!


Or is it Texas'? What's the plural of Texas, anyway? Texai?

These cuties made their debut in the middle of Blue Genie Art Bazaar and have already garnered quite a few fans in that short time! How can anyone resist a Texas... especially when it has a cute smiling face?

And while they prove that not everything in bigger in Texas, everything IS better with faces! Pin It

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Another Year's (and Blue Genie Art Bazaar's) End

Well, the year is drawing up to a quick and tidy end. Christmas is over, and I hope everyone had as swell a season as I!

I just wanted to give a quick thanks and shout out to everyone who stopped by, worked at, and helped organize and run the Blue Genie Art Bazaar 2010. It really was a phenomenal show this year!

I don't do much in the craft show circuit anymore these days, but I'm tickled to be a part of this continually awesome show because it includes, is run by, and attended by such truly incredible people!

Above is a shot of my magnet board from the show (I forgot to take any real pictures because of how quickly it all passed by!), but I'm happy to say that by the time I went to clear everything out yesterday, that magnet board was empty! Popular things, they were!

For those of you who are not in Austin or who missed the bazaar, fear not -- I hope to revamp and update my etsy store for the new year, so be sure to check back in 2011!

And I don't know if you know, but that's just around the corner! Pin It

Friday, December 24, 2010

Let's Go, Caga Tió!


Tonight is Christmas Eve, which means in my family, it's Noche Buena!

We Traverias do the whole Cuban and Spanish dinner celebration thing, which means we stuff ourselves with roast pork, black beans and rice, platanos maduros (ripe sweet plantains), yuca with mojo (a starchy root with a tangy lemon garlic sauce), Cuban bread, natilla (a pudding-y custardish dessert), Spanish sidra (sparkling hard cider from the north of Spain), and turrones (Spanish almond candies).

It is an unbelievably delicious night!

What with all these Spanish traditions and customs having survived the transition from Spain to the new world (I reckon it wasn't too terribly long of a jog, at least one of my great-grandfathers was Spanish...), I was a bit sad that one Catalonian Christmas tradition didn't make its way over with the turrones.

I'm talking about Caga Tió (or the Tió de Nadal) of course! Everyone's favorite sweets-pooping log!


I know, I know, it's like Mister Hankey from South Park and Log from Ren & Stimpy had a baby in Barcelona...

In Catalunya, children get to beat this cute log man with a stick and demand that he poop candies. His blanket helps keep him warm and is removed, when he is finished being beaten and sung to, to 'magically' reveal his somewhat disgusting but absolutely hilarious (in my opinion) treats and gifties!



I am of the opinion that it sounds far more disgusting than it is. Looks pretty fun and benign to me!

So, once I discovered that Caga Tió existed, I was eager to reclaim my Catalonian roots (the Traverias being from Catalunya originally) and make him a part of my Christmas tradition.

Although, let me tell you, when I told my mother about him, she was mortified. Mortified! She wants no part of Caga Tió. At. All.

But then, she's the non-Latin one in the family, so perhaps the rest of us think it's hilarious because the toilet humor is in our blood. Or maybe it's just me who has the disgusting sense of humor... I mean, we already eat turrones, right? Why not pretend that a cute little log pooped them out for us when we beat him with a stick?

Cute + Christmas + candy + caca jokes + mild violence = right up my alley!

Yeah, I know, I know. I DO have a sick little sense of humor. I'm sorry!


How can you not love that face?!?!

And even if we don't beat him with a stick to get at his sweets, he makes a right cute Christmas decor addition with his cozy little blanket, snuggled up to the hearth. No candy caca necessary.

And so, I went about making my own Caga Tió (Tió here being Catalan for 'log,' and NOT the Spanish word 'tío' meaning 'uncle') with a piece of firewood, some craft paint, and some fleece.

I chose a log that was just right in size and shape, painted on his super cute smiling face, and stitched up his barretina hat and a cozy little traditional blanket (a patchwork first for me!). It really took a lot less time than I thought it would.

I have to say, I am ecstatic with the results! Who'd ever think a log could be cute? I reckon a face and a little quilt can cute-up just about anything!

So tonight, after much stuffing ourselves with pork and many traditional Cuban starches, maybe we'll sidle up to Caga Tió and see what he's left us. Or if that turns too many stomachs, we'll just have a cute little log man by the fire.

And if my mom doesn't like it, well, I'll just forget about telling her about the Caganer...

Merry Christmas Eve and Noche Buena, everyone!
Pin It

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Quickie Christmas Cupcakes


If there is one thing a busy artsy craftsy perfectionist person such as myself has to learn, it's to let go a bit, learn some shortcuts, and make sure you enjoy the little things.

For example, in a busy holiday season such as this one, I find myself embracing the idea of cake mix and pre-made cake decorations, though I admit a little bit of me is sad that I didn't make everything from scratch... and sculpt miniature gum paste toadstools... and crack the secret to a dye free red velvet cake.

But the satisfaction of seeing cheery and cute Christmas cupcakes in my kitchen in no time (compared to the usual Alicia method of 'let's make this as complicated and meticulous as possible') was absolutely worth it!


I've actually never used cupcake picks I didn't make before, and certainly not the cool, kitschy plastic ones that I remember my mom always bemoaned when I was a child (she was not into the whole 'stick some plastic on a cake' thing). But when I saw these, I had to have them!

I just love these plastic button mushrooms and holly decorations I got from Bake It Pretty. There's just something about that retro, plastic greenery I find so very cheery and happy! I just look at it, and it makes me smile.

And I start humming Parade of the Wooden Soldiers.

I can't resist it!


This time the cupcakes were made from a red velvet cake box mix that was on sale, so on a whim, I bought it. I admit, it was the idea of how Christmasy red cupcakes could be that won me over.

Those who know me know about how I am utterly puzzled by the popularity of red velvet cake -- it tastes like nothing to me but vague chocolate and red food coloring. And then there's my unending quest to the mythical recipe for red velvet cake that I'll save for another blog post and another day... but the red cake part is darned cute!

Despite the absolute mess of dealing with a bright red batter (it looked like I had skinned something in my sink), it was pretty painless and the payoff was very holly-jolly, indeed.

But somehow, I did manage to make the cream cheese icing from scratch. As they say (though not in this context) 'the girl can't help it.'

It's a very good thing these didn't take long though, because I'll need my energy tomorrow to prepare for Noche Buena. I've got to get my stirring hand ready for that natilla! Pin It

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

I think what I like most about decorating for Christmas and is looking around and taking stock of all the little things I enjoy. I do love how it's a real treat to only get to see everything only once a year, and bringing back old memories of Christmases and loved ones past makes it even better.

Like the Dream Pet mouse ornament reminds me of my grandparents' and parents' trees, and while I'm not an angel or star tree topper gal, I LOVE finial tree toppers (that's what we had when I was a girl).

And that little paper mache angel was on our tree when I was growing up, too. reminds me of the cherub, Tillie, in Nestor the Long Eared Christmas Donkey (I love Nestor!).


So, I thought I'd share with you a few of my own favorite Christmas things -- some home made, so traditional, and some are new finds, but I love them all and they make me just a smidge merrier.

These little igloo dwellers were a thrifting steal, and I'm so fond of them, they've become a Christmas staple! So! Adorable!


And I know that everyone loves knee hugging elves (you must check out Heidi Kenney's, by the way), but this is one particularly special to me, being the only ornament I have that was once my grandparents.

It gets a special spot at the front of the tree. I might also add, it's not a Christmas tree round here without some beaded pipe cleaner candy canes!


Growing up we had a fabric wreath, similar to this one, that I loved (probably from Vogue pattern 1312). Being displeased with my other wreath attempts that just weren't 'me,' I made this one up out of Christmas fabric, ribbon and felt to capture the feeling of the one we had long ago. It's totally one of my favorite Christmas things now -- so cozy and festive!


Speaking of Heidi Kenney, there's one of her plush cuckoo clocks! It's hanging out with some of my favorite childhood ornaments, namely 'the pretty reindeer' who is flocked white plastic (she's sooo pretty! At least I always thought so!) and a counted cross stitch li'l Alicia portrait my mom's friend made me when I was a wee thing (I love li'l Alicia's pink footie pajamas).


And straight from the same Vogue 1312 patterns as the stockings, is the Christmas tree skirt! It's the same pattern we had for our tree skirt growing up, which makes me very happy (much gracias to my aunt for sending me the pattern!). This is only a portion of it, but it's one of my favorite sections of just the cutest Japanese fabric.

And you can't beat some Elmo-free* Sesame Street wrapping paper enveloped presents (Bert & Enrie only! Wow, it's like it's the 80's again!) and red tree garland (swoon).

This doll ornament is a favorite of mine -- I remember my mom let me pick it out as my own ornament. I was so doll obsessed as a little girl, so it only makes sense that of all the ornaments I could pick, I'd pick a doll. But she is sweet, isn't she?

And I've never been one for stocking hangers, but I am verboten from hammering holes into the mantel. I found the heaviest cast iron stocking hangers I could find, but had to repaint them to be more festive and Alicia-esque -- now they remind me of vintage cast iron toys, and I love that!

They might just have to become Christmas tradition, mantel holes or not.

So that's a small sampling, if you can believe it, of a few of my favorite Christmas things. here's hoping your favorite Christmas things cheer you up as much as mine do me!



* not that I don't like Elmo, I do like earlier Elmo... I just am not so fond of how Sesame Street has basically become the Elmo show. Yawn! Pin It

Friday, December 10, 2010

Skywalker Family Portrait


Did you know that today is Share Star Wars Day? And just my luck! I have something Star Wars-y to share!

I did this gouache on panel painting a while back, having been inspired by working on my Monster family portrait to paint fictional character family portraits (oh, I loved working on it so much!). I admit, I LOVE this piece. it makes me so giddy and happy!

I've been waiting for a good excuse to post it here, amongst all the Christmas time related posts, but then Share Star Wars Day comes along, and well, it's a perfect match!

I reckon it's unlikely that most readers of this blog have not heard about the social struggles of internet sensation, Katie, the Star Wars girl, but just in case -- Katie was upset because the boys in school were mocking her for having a Star Wars water bottle, because apparently they believe that Star Wars is for boys only (so wrong, fellas!).

And then in a blog post heard round the geek world, proud nerds and geeks rallied round Katie's cause to proudly and publicly like what she likes without being picked on about it.

Thus fittingly, Epbot.com, the site for 'geekiness, girliness, and goofing off' declared today, December 10th, Share Star Wars Day -- a day to share your love for Star Wars with folks and to not shy away from embracing your inner geek.

I absolutely identify with Katie's situation myself, but in my case it was being teased for liking comics. Specifically, superhero comics. So I felt that I must make some sort of contribution to Share Star Wars Day -- for Katie.

After all, it's because of my childhood love of Star Wars, He-Man, superheroes, and other interests typically reserved for boys, that I became the artist I am today! Pin It

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Stitching Stockings

The tree is up, the wine has been mulled and sipped, and the new niece's stocking is fresh of the machine (or hands if you count the hand finishing), and in the mail for decking the halls.

That's her new stocking on the bottom of the stocking stack. She's accompanied by the stocking I made for my husband last year, and all is topped off with my own almost thirty year old stocking!

Oh, how I love my stocking! It's one of my favorite homey Christmas things.


My aunt made the stocking itself, derived from Vogue pattern 1312 (also home to our family's Christmas tree skirt), and it is this stocking pattern that has become the standard Christmas stocking in our household - kids, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles -- everyone has it!

Now, I carry on the tradition and I'm the aunt making the same stockings for my own new nieces, and maybe some day for my own kids, too. But I have to admit, sewing from a pattern is tough work, at least for someone so used to winging it on my own like I do!

Anyway, it is pretty much the perfect stocking. It's sturdy, durable, big enough for toys and candy or books, cds, and gizmos without being obscenely big, you can make it from whatever fabric you like, and there's plenty of room to add whatever decoration you can dream up.

In our case, my mom gave my brothers and me our own felt applique designs that she drew, design, cut, and sewed all herself.

I have always loved my Santa stocking, but my mom has always told me she felt sorry for me that it was so simplistic in design compared to all my brothers' stockings (theirs were, indeed, far more intricate and detailed).

The story goes that my family had just moved before Christmas, and the only craft supplies my mom could find in the house for my stocking was red, green, and white felt and brown, blue, and white embroidery floss. And thus was born my Santa.

But I have always told her, I like him how he is! He's simple, happy, not too fussy or contrived, and he's so well coordinated with his stocking fabric.

Now the problem is, what on earth could I add for decoration to all the other future (and currently blank) stockings that I would love nearly as much as my simplistic Santa? Pin It

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Angel-Bells

Every year I get so wrapped up in preparations for various shows and ongoings, that it seems like I never, ever have a chance to do some Christmas crafting just for the fun of it, for my own home, for me.

Or I do make something for myself, and then this is what happens:

Husband: I'm going on a bike ride.
Me (snapping pictures): Ok. I'm going to put some pictures of these angel bell thingies on the blog.
Husband: Those are cute. Where did you get them?
Me: I made them!
Husband: Really? When?
Me: Uhhhh....Two years ago. You've just never seen them because I never put them out.
Husband: *eyeroll/raised eyebrow thing he does*

It's true.

These are two years old, and no one has even seen them other than myself. They're cute, they're Christmas-y, but each year the holidays pass by and they remain unmoved and forgotten in their little box.

That's the story of just about every thing I ever make for Christmas, if it even gets made in the first place.

But it's going to change, I tell ya! This year, I'm decoratin', doggonit!


So tomorrow, these sweet babies will finally get to hang out on a tree and ting-a-ling-a-ling for the first time ever, despite being over 2 years old.

And we will sit and I will sew stockings for my nieces, sip mulled wine, play I Spy (the Christmas Tree version as is our family tradition) and relax and enjoy the holiday season before Christmas Eve arrives for once in my adult life. Hurray!

And I cannot tell you how very much I am looking forward to it all. After so many years of rushed Christmases, it's going to be reeeeeaaaally nice. Pin It

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's finally here -- Blue Genie Art Bazaar!




It's officially open! And it is filled to the brim with awesome handmade and local goodies, so do it to it, Austin! I know I'll be getting lots of Christmas shopping done there myself with all the awesome artist's goodies I spied during set up.

Here's the schedule of events if you so wanted to stop by for one. I may just see ya there:

Dec. 1, 10 am - 10 pm -- Opening Day It's your first chance to grab up some goodies!

Dec. 2, 6 pm - 12 am -- Opening Party Complete with a DJ, snacks drink specials, and of course, awesome art and goods.

Dec. 4, 10 am - 12 pm -- Santa Claus Santa is stopping by for picture taking and Holiday merriment and some great fun for the kiddos. There may or may not be a giant jackalope involved, too.

Dec. 8, 7 pm - 10 pm -- Trivia Night Calling all smarty-pantsers! Come gather round the digital fire place and match wits with friends and nemeses at this all holiday themed trivia night at the bar. Prizes will be given and drinks will be had!

Dec. 16, 6 pm - 12am -- Holiday Gala The big holiday blow out! With a band and drink specials surrounded by fantabulous art, it's sure to be a blast.

And don't forget that the show is open every day, Sunday - Thursday 10 am - 10 pm and Friday and Saturday 10 am - Midnight from now until the 24th (though the hours might be different on Christmas Eve, I'm not sure...).

Wowie, it's going to be a fun packed December!

And now that it's oficially December, I don't feel so strange about sharing some Christmas-y holiday related posts. See you soon, blog peeps, with some Christmas cuteness! Pin It