Ever since I first had the idea to start making cat hats (almost two years ago now!) I wanted to pay tribute to the stage hats worn by Carmen Miranda. I always loved the way an impossible amount of fruit stayed balanced upon her noggin throughout her acts as seen in the following photo:
What has taken me so long to create the kitty cat version of Carmen Miranda’s famous fruit hat you ask? Well, it was mostly logistical difficulties that kept me from completing the task. First I was under the belief that I would have to buy fruit pieces that were pre-manufactured. This caused some difficulties since I couldn’t find any ready-made fruit that was the correct size for a cat hat. A few weeks ago it hit me though: I would make my own fruit! I started out by carving shapes out of styrofoam and soon I had enough pieces to fill a small basket…. Only one problem: no small basket!
For the second part of my logistical challenge, I decided to weave my own basket since I couldn’t find one that was properly sized for a cat hat. Basket weaving using craft foam actually came pretty easily to me—- after a few days of drying time for the glue, I had myself the perfect cat hat base to fill with fruit.
And here is how the final product turned out:
I think Carmen Miranda herself would be impressed by how good Notso and Fluffy look. Watch for this new hat in the Notso Kitty Shop— it will be appearing shortly!
I had the best intentions for this weekend— I was going to force myself to work on my empire of cat hats no matter what— no excuses. Alas the long weekend is almost over and I don’t have a single new cat hat to show for it— so it goes sometimes! I guess it’s official: I’m in a temporary creative rut. I’m not too worried about getting over it— sometimes it’s just best to go with these things when they happen.
I’m not sure what might be causing my creative difficulties of late (let’s blame real work )— but I do have an informal plan to address the situation. When I first sat down to make a few cat hats this weekend I looked at my supplies blankly for about ten minutes before realizing inspiration wasn’t happening there. Here is list of things I did next:
- Ran 3 miles
- Weeded the garden
- Picked flowers
- Arranged two flower arrangements
- Watched a movie (Juno…. hadn’t seen it yet after all this time
- Went for a walk (camera in hand)
- Read two introductions to two different art books
- Played some videogames (I have a Sims addiction)
Above: my two Spring flower bouquets
You can see how in that list there isn’t a single activity that relates to cats or hats— that is by design. If I ever try to force myself to do something that I’m not in the mood for, I end up hating it. I don’t want that to happen to cat hats EVER
Above: Lily of the Valley photos from my walk. Below: Garden images from my yard (and some fun with Photoshop)
Alas, all hope was not lost: about half way through today I was struck with a few new ideas for cat hats. I have already begun work on them (as seen below), but I’m not ready to call this creative rut completely over. We’ll see what other misadventures I can find over the next few weeks to try to creatively motivate me again. That’s the thing about ruts—- sometimes they welcome a whole new phase of creativity once they are broken. We’ll see how this one ends up
Every now and then I have to get away from “cat hat studio” to find my inspiration for my next project. This weekend I was fortunate enough to visit the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain, CT. This museum is about an hour and a half away from my home in Boston—- it is a convenient meeting place for my parents and I since it is between both our homes and we all enjoy perusing the artwork on occasion. What inspiration did I come across this time? Let’s see!
The inspiration began before I even entered the exhibit portion of the museum by way of the museum’s cafe. Besides the usual offering of beverages, the cafe also stocked “Always Ask for Avery’s” sodas that are made in Connecticut. Wouldn’t you know they had a flavor named “kitty piddle”? I enjoyed the orange/pineapple flavored soda all the while grossing out my parents. Bonus
After lunch, we headed into the museum. There are several pieces of art in atrium between the first and second floors that caught my eyes. The first: a giant glass piece by Dale Chihuly that hangs (somewhat magically) above the first floor staircase.
In the background of the Chihuly piece picture, you can see the wall decor of the New Britain Museum— Below is another close up. Yes, those are cups—- most are clear plastic ones that have been painted, but there are also paper ones as well. Pretty cool, huh?
Once upstairs my parents and I made our way into the Henri de Toulouse Lautrec exhibit which happened to be going on. I have always liked Toulouse Lautrec’s paintings— something about the bold colors and style bordering on abstract expressionism. Here are a couple of the paintings/sketches/prints that I saw that caught my eye
Translated title of the above print: The cow is enraged!
Above print title (translation): A Basement Shop in Cracow
My favorite prints by Toulouse Lautrec tend to feature cabaret singers like the one above. Crazy fact I learned in the exhibit: HTL died when he was only 36 years old! Glad he was able to get a handle on his artistic style during his short life (something other master artists don’t do to until much later on). An important lesson in any case: do your best work today, since you never know when you might be locked away in an asylum tomorrow!
All in all, a pleasant museum trip was had by all. Now lets see how this new inspiration manifests itself in the world of cat hats Stay tuned…
If the internet can agree on one thing it’s this: Cats love their cheeseburgers. Ever since the dawn of the first internet cheeseburger cat meme on Icanhascheezburger.com, cats everywhere have been asking for cheeseburgers in record numbers!
Photo courtesy: Icanhascheezburger.com
It’s about time that Notso Kitty paid homage to the “cats who love cheeseburgers” craze with a brand new Cheeseburger Cat Hat! What took me so long to think of this? Perhaps since I have been a vegetarian for the past 15 years, cheeseburgers are not at the front of my brain….. But clearly they should have been!
I began construction on the Cheeseburger Cat Hat this Saturday by identifying how I would make the individual parts. I decided to make the bun, lettuce and cheese out of felt. The burger patty, tomato, and onion slices would all be made out of hand-painted glittered-styrofoam. I got to work cutting out the pieces and painting the parts— by the end of the day I had the individual components completed (save for drying time).
I decided to put my cheeseburger on a blue glittery plate— a true blue plate special. I constructed the base to be able to sit upon a cat’s head with felt lining and a bit of elastic.
Construction was complete when I topped it off with the “sesame seed” (rhinestone) bun.
The next step was getting this puppy on a cat. Fluff was available for modeling duties this morning (lucky him!) so he got to do the honors. He didn’t mind this hat too much— he actually liked how easy it was to swat off his own head After a few minutes of his patience I had captured these fantastic shots of him in the Cheeseburger Cat Hat.
Yes Fluffy! You CAN HAS A CHEEZBURGER! Now your cat can too courtesy of the Notso Kitty Shop!
I indulge myself a few trips to the Container Store every year— any store that lets you buy containers for containers is okay by this OCD neat freak I decided that this weekend would be one of such trips the other day when I noticed I desperately needed to clean a few things up around the house. I spent about $100 on supplies and the better part of yesterday shopping and putting things in order once I returned home. Let’s see what Spring Cleaning Tips I have stumbled upon amongst my efforts, shall we?
My bathroom is small— I’m not complaining, but it is a fact that presents a challenge for storage. A few months ago I bought this bright blue metal organizer from CB2– I loved how it fit in the corner of my bathroom, but I didn’t really maximize it’s storage potential until yesterday when I found these great magnetic hooks at the Container Store to stick on the side. Now I can see some of my jewelry options— a fact that will make me more likely to wear them.
I also purchased a cool new jewelry tree for some more storage space (now located in the spare bedroom). This design is by Umbra—- I love how it looked modern and cool while being functional.
At the suggestion of a buzzfeed post, I painted my old bobby pins with glitter nail polish. Now I have fun new glitter bobby pins instead of ugly black old ones!
After getting the jewelry situation squared away, my next task was taming some unruly kitchen cabinets! I found these great “under shelf” baskets at the Container Store— I foolishly purchased only two, but I will be back for more! The two cabinets that I have put them in have greatly improved in neatness in just a few minutes.
I haven’t been keeping up with my photo albums lately— a process that I usually execute with meticulous regularity. Oh well! But I have been making sure to keep my photos and ephemera organized for the day that I do get around to updating my albums again. Expandable plastic files with divisions for events and time periods are what I use to keep things together in the meantime. Eventually all the material will make it’s way into 12″x12″ albums– what I have been using to keep all my photos in since college. Maybe I’ll get around to updating those next weekend
My originally white Macbook had turned a dingy shade of grey in recent days— I decided to resuscitate it using two products I bought at the Container Store. The first was an “electronics putty” that you put on the keyboard to get rid or any dirt or dust. The second were cloths that I bought for keeping the screen fingerprint free– I used these to wipe off three years worth of paw prints. I also gave the bottom of the computer a good scrubbing with some Clorox— nothing else would work on that material. Alas, after about 30 minutes of elbow grease my laptop was restored to it’s original shiny plastic glory.
After organizing the laptop itself, I moved on to tackling it’s accessories. I bought some new cord keepers by Blue Lounge— they are great for organizing a plethora of i-product cords.
Finally! After several hours of cleaning efforts, I feel much better about my surrounding environment. I hope you can use some of my Spring Cleaning tips to help organize your own life. Hopefully this burst in organizational productivity will lead to creative productivity for myself soon We shall see….
A dirt-covered Fluff says: “Time to clean up!”