Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Last update on the shop! Everything is now $5 and under. Order one item and any additional item ships for free. At the end of the day on January 1st I will close up the shop forever!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Shop Closure Reminder

It's happening! Just a little reminder that the shop will be closing forever at the end of December. There are still some things left to grab and it's all 60% off! 

Friday, July 06, 2012


Squid a Month Club for the accordion lover.

This club was for newlyweds so I thought including their initials was apt.

I'm hoping to get back to posting some embroidery work in the next week or so. I feel so lazy not posting more often but there really isn't a whole lot to post right now since all of my work is not something worth showing at the moment. But there will be some more squid a month clubs coming up next month.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Shop Announcement!

Just a head's up. All of the Holiday Squid that I have left are now in the shop. This includes the last of the Christmas and Halloween mini squid sets. There isn't an insane amount left so stop on over and grab some early holiday cheer. Also, there are now 3 squidtivity left. And on top of all that, everything in the shop is now a whopping 30% off and I have been including a bit of nifty cleo dee history in the orders (along with lots of other goodies). This could be especially enticing if you've ever seen my tent setup and would love to have a piece of the show- (hint,hint). These items will run out soon so if you've thought of ordering grab it while you can. The librarian, sushi and many others are long gone now.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Oh dear!

It's been quite awhile since I've posted anything. Still just plugging away at animation and stop motion as well. I'm enjoying the latter since I really do love working with physical objects. Although the possibilities of combining the two is exciting. This week I'll be posting some more of the final squid from the Squid a Month Club. I'm now down to only 2 clubs which seems weird after having an average of 5 going on each month for years. I will miss the great idea lists that people sent me. This one is based on the request of "sock monsters".

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Last of the Squidtivity

Hey Folks!
I'm not planning on listing the rest of the holiday squid until a bit later but I have listed the last of the squidtivity. There are 5 originals left and 3 of the squidtivity additions (2 camels and a new shepherd). Also! These and everything else in the shop are still 25% off!

Sunday, May 06, 2012


It'll be a long time before I post anything finished that I've done on here animation-wise, but I'll at least post an occasional snippet. This is the first one. This is the first after effects "mid-term" that Scott assigned me. There's another one next week. Right now they're all about animating abstract shapes to music. I used a snippet of Le Tigre's "The the Empty". It's still pretty frustrating not having a full grasp on the program and having to abandon ideas half-way through because I just don't know how to make it happen but overall I'm really enjoying it.

The blue path shows the key framing I did for the tiny ball inside of the big ball. I enjoyed that part way more than I thought I would. Like I really, really enjoyed doing that. Most of the tutorials I've watched so far just show you how to do everything with plugins and presets and such which has kind of bummed me out so mainly using masks and key framing for this was refreshing.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

25% off sale

Everything in the shop is now 25% off. Also, as I have mentioned before, the squid in the shop are the last of their kind. I am no longer doing custom work and there are no more squid left to list. The only exception to this is when I upload the last of the Holiday squid later this year but this will be a very limited update
(but it will include a squdtivity or two!) 
So, point being, if you see something you like please grab it while you can!

And now, for some "last of their kind" shots:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Baby Spike

My friend is having a baby. And she's most likely having it as you read this. Hear that faint crying?
I went to her baby shower last month but of course didn't finish the handmade part of her gift. It was actually supposed to be a bunch of wet bags but they weren't working out so I made this instead. 

Her and her husband have a beast of a dog whom they adore. This dog is huge. It's gotta be well over 100 pounds. So I'm really hoping she sends me a photo of her baby wearing this while riding the dog.

Here are the photos I based my felt version off of. Spike is enjoying his dish of ice cream at Twin Kiss.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

Squid a Month Club (March Animal Trainer)

Based on an actual cat and an actual activity. Apparently the cat possesses ample amounts of quiet dignity.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Uptown Warehouses

I've discovered that posting on here can be a bit sparse when the only thing I seem to be doing is After Effects tutorials and sketching. Also, injuring your back and hip and having to sit quietly propped up with pillows on the couch doesn't help. When I wasn't on the couch I hung out in Scott's chair because it is super comfy and my chair is not. I played through Super Mario Brothers 2: Yoshi's Island while I was over there. Please go play this game. It is beautiful. I first played it on my Gameboy Micro (which was gifted to me in a box of chocolates for Valentine's Day '05). It was fun but I really missed out on the backgrounds and all of the extras like little birds and frogs that hop around certain levels. Plus, it has Yoshi all the way through. 

Since my chair is terrible and I couldn't stand with my injury I decided to finally buy a drafting chair that was cushioned. We searched around Pittsburgh but sadly couldn't find anything that would work since my desk required a fairly low raised chair. I ended up ordering a chair but it did lead us into the world of used chair warehouses.

First off, they do not eff around with the names of their company. Tri State Office Furniture, Office Furniture Warehouse and Used Store Fixtures, INC. I found it charming and really helpful. I knew that when I went to these places I would find chairs and other fixtures. No surprises here.

There was one place in particular that I loved and even though I didn't find anything there I'm totally going back. It was in Uptown (who's history is pretty awesome, and of course, like most places in Pittsburgh and other cities got screwed in the 1960's and hasn't really recovered).  Scott and I walked through here during the G20 and discovered a delightful antique store that is less a store and more just a 3 story warehouse full of anything you can imagine. After the ground floor you walk up narrow sets of haphazard steps and will randomly find doors. You're not sure if you're supposed to go in. You're half expecting to fall through the floor at any moment.You weigh your options briefly and then decide to go for it. You open the door and find a 3 story shelf full of accordions. The man who runs it is also very friendly and charming.

The Used Store Fixtures warehouse had a similar vibe. The ground floor had odds and ends for store displays. Mannequin heads, hooks, shelves. Basically a lot of stuff I wish I would have known about while doing Cleo Dee's. It would have been great to grab this stuff locally. We were directed upstairs for the furniture selection. You have to walk up 5 flights of stairs and it gets colder the higher you go. We reached our destination and a rotary phone began ringing. We were told that someone would meet us up there but he took awhile to arrive so we wandered about. It was chocked full of bakery cases, those orange and yellow booths that were always in pizza shops that had arcade games, filing cabinets galore and of course chairs. Office chairs, doctor's chairs, those beauty salon dryer chairs. There were also loads of trash and recycling bins of various sizes that were for sale but currently being used to catch the water falling from the leaks in the roof. A guy finally came up and greeted us, kindly told us to mind the bins and and to let him know if we needed anything. He then disappeared behind some furniture stacks. I was bummed I didn't have my actual camera with me and that it was a rainy day since the pictures I took aren't that great but they're worth a look.

Can you find Scott?

We were tempted to ask the price on this since all of the drawers were full of letters and numbers. It was also full of papers with fonts on it. Beside it was another set of drawers filled with giant letters.

Although we didn't buy anything that day, this is on my list of places to return to. We'll probably head back there and to the antique store. I'm definitely bringing the camera and perhaps inquiring more about these if they're still there.

Friday, February 17, 2012


This is what Ico is always watching from the window. There are two of them. They are also obese. I did this mostly to keep them away from the bird feeder because what squirrel can resist corn on the cob? But I have grown pretty attached to them and Ico is in love. Also, it does melt my heart when a fat little squirrel looks me square in the eyes with one little piece of corn in his mouth.
My dad keeps me in supply of corn. My family home is surrounded by fields that we rent out to a farmer in the neighboring valley. He plants a lot of feed corn for his cows so before he harvests it my dad gathers up a bunch of it and stores it in these awesome old metal bins.Sadly I will run out of corn before my next trip home. I can only assume the squirrels have dire consequences in store for me when this day comes.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

homemade play dough

My nephew's birthday is coming up so I decided to send him a little homemade play dough kit. I found the containers and the lunch box at the craft store. Everything else I had on hand. There are tons of play dough recipes online and they're all fairly similar so I sort of just picked one at random and it worked out rather well. There were two things I changed. The first was to add an extract to the play dough. I used lemon (it was a close call between lemon, lemonade and strawberry). This isn't necessary but the original scent made me gag while stirring. I also used coloring gels instead of regular food coloring which was a lot easier to work with. A friend had just given me a box of 8 different colors so I didn't even have to mix anything.  Tip: wear gloves when mixing the colors. Once it's in the dough it doesn't come out. But at the beginning of the process it does so you will have rainbow hands. If this is your thing, then disregard this tip.

I whipped up a little drawstring bag to store some googly eyes and mini cookie cutters to use with the dough. I figured the play dough would be fun with some accessories and also, what small child doesn't like to walk around sticking things in bags? 
I want to make this for more children. There is nothing more satisfying than rolling play dough around in your hands. It's texture is different from store bought play dough- it's more velvety and it stretches farther without breaking. Also, cooking it was pretty fun too. It's on the way down south right now. I hope he enjoys it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

new monitors!

The second monitor that Scott gave me a couple months ago finally died. It had a good run, though. Scott bought new ones for himself and then gifted me with his old set. They are fancy and 4 inches larger than my old ones. It makes me feel impressive. It also makes learning after effects a much more enjoyable experience.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

200 Stitches: Don't Stitch While Sick

Here are stitches 13-16. I was sick and thought embroidery would be a delightful thing to do. I was wrong. So very, very wrong. So enjoy seeing what happens when you're trying to learn new stitches and you're not at the top of your game.

#13 Twisted Chain Stitch (did get better once I got going)
#14 Coral Stitch. Oddly enough, when I practiced it as a fill it went quite well.
#15 Scroll Stitch. Nope.

#16 Double chain stitch. The first one went well and then it just went downhill after that.
#17 Crested chain stitch. Terrible.
These 2 were the last I did before I gave up. I could feel myself blurring out on the directions. Needless to say, these are all going on the list of stitches to try again.
But, at least I made it through my first month of stitches. From now on I'll be stitching and posting them in small groups since I'll have to do about 16 a month and I feel that anyone who reads this may be bored to tears with that many posts about stitch exploration.


The other week when we had yet another day of 60 degree weather in January I took a walk around the still new neighborhood and tried some new areas. I happened upon Edgewood which everyone claims is terrible. The part I was in was full of BMWs and renovated Victorian mansions. Also, a super fancy miniature library that's right behind the miniature country club. Sadly I can't check out books since I'm not an Edgewood resident but it's still nice to visit. Here are a few of the gorgeous things I saw on the stroll.

There was a cluster of old churches and synagogues in this area. One was now a police station and another was the Western PA School for the Deaf which was gigantic. 
I had been following signs for a library but the signs were a bit off so I used my phone to get me to the CC Mellor Memorial Library. It was gorgeous. The stairs were marble. This was the stairwell.

Since the library is only for Edgewood and private it relies on donations so there were so many old books that I can only assume were in the parlors of all the old houses. And most seemed to be donated long ago when you still wrote call numbers on the spines. Although the library still uses the card catalog system. That was a treat to find in the backs of the books. This then led me to promptly find the card catalog to peruse.

I continued my walk and came across a house I'm kind of obsessed with now. It was beautiful and I couldn't tell if it was abandoned or not. I also loved that not much had changed since it was built. It still had a driveway that was a half-moon so there were 2 entrances to the street with old brick right beside the modern sidewalk.

The house went further back than I realized. I also couldn't tell if anyone lived here although the sides porches had things on them but it looks like whoever owns it only keeps up the front. The sides were in poor repair and the carriage house looked like it hadn't been painted in ages and had a sagging roof in some spots. I took a photo of that but only had my cell phone with me so they're not the greatest.

carriage house

one side of the driveway
Since it was so nice that day I forgot that it was still winter and the sun was going to be setting soon so I had to book it back to my place before it was dark. I can't wait to head back to this area and most likely peek in on this house again. I'd love to see it with all of the trees in bloom.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Farewell to Tentacles

I have over 50 squid for sale in my etsy shop. I think this is the most I have ever had. This doesn't even include magnet and brooch squid, apron squid or Tadly and Abigail. In fact, my shop is as full as it ever has been. Or, will be for quite some time. A long time, actually. Basically forever. I have mentioned before about branching out to other things. I am knee deep in those other things at the moment. One knee is in the learning pit. The other is in the embroidering wares pit. A partial knee is in a pit that involves helping the dear husband manage and schedule his business. I never even knew I had another knee but one day, poof, there it was, hanging out in a pit.
This past year was not great for selling plush squid. But I am grateful to say it was the first time in 6 years I ever even came close to a bad year. Which is amazing and awesome. But, as with anyone selling niche pieces of art, one bad season can be nigh catastrophic. So there have been changes in plans. Although, after 6 years the changes are more along the lines of kicking myself into new territories that I was planning on going in anyway. I'm kind of glad I had a bad season because I probably would have dragged my feet even more with the new plans if I hadn't. I still love the squid but I'd also love to do new things. New things that can't always be expressed in cephalopod form. New things that will make it impossible for me to sew squid and Tadly full time. So now, with the Cleo Dee's shop nicely stuffed I am taking a knee out of the squid making pit.  I'm not planning on doing any shows in 2012. So with that in mind I have put up the last of my squid and Tadly stock. My custom squid listing will still be available but the Squid a Month Clubs will only be available until the listings expire. March 28th for the 1 year and April 6th for the 6th months. I will keep the shop up as long as the squid on there are around. For the 2012 Holiday Season I will be listing my leftover squidtivites and holiday squid. This blog will focus more on original embroidery and the making of miniatures (in felt and other materials) plus when I'm more comfortable some peeks into what I've been learning. There will still be some squid a month club photos popping up since I have 3 clubs open for another 14 months. And of course the usual stuff will still be on here. Posts about the odd things I see, how I've spent my entire weekend seasoning 5 pieces of cast iron and I'm still not done MY GOD I AM STILL NOT DONE. And of course posts about my giant cat. Update: right now he is sitting on the floor by my chair sneezing. It sounds wet.
I hope you don't mind all of the changes and that you find something of interest in my new stuff. And I hope you enjoy the final batch of squid that are in the shop. I think it's a pretty good selection of all of the favorites. Not only your favorites but mine as well. I have loved what I've done these past 6 years and am thankful that you all have helped me experience what it would be like to travel around the country selling stuffed squid out of steamer trunks.  I hope you've been able to tell that in my work and in my blog and that you stick around to see what I cook up next.
Thanks again, Friends.

200 Stitches: Zigzag Stitch

If you're not using pearl cotton thread then these stitches should be much closer together. So this looks more like little mountains than zigzags.

Friday, January 27, 2012

200 Stitches: Chain Stitches

#9 Chain Stitch

I was familiar with this one since it's also one of the first basic stitches you learn. I loved the look of the chain stitch with a whip stitch (middle) and also the back stitch running through it (bottom) especially with the color combination I chose.

#10 Open Chain Stitch

#10 was kind of a pain but I do like the like of it. In real life the side stitches look like they are a different color than the rungs of the ladder. This one will need some more experimenting to discover the right combination of thread count and spacing.

#11 Heavy Chain Stitch

#11 will also need to be visited. In the book photo it has this beautiful feather quality that I couldn't get on my first try here. Afterwards I did a quick google search and found better instructions which immediately made this stitch make more sense so next time shouldn't be as much of a fail.