Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Night Cocktail

My goodness, is it Friday already? This week has flown by!

Since this is my "Birthday Party Weekend", I'm going to offer one of my favorite drinks in the world - nigori sake.

Most people probably know sake as a clear rice wine served hot, which tends to ease a bit of of its sharp flavor. In truth, the higher quality sakes are served chilled, including nigori - an unfiltered variety.
"Nigori" translates roughly as "cloudy". The bottle must be shaken before serving to properly blend the sediments at the bottom, resulting in a milky, finely grainy liquid that has a smooth flavor and subtly sweet flavor you won't find in other in other sakes.
It is so easy to drink, and paired with good sushi, it's heavenly. Seriously, there is a special kind of nirvana that can be reached only by eating great sushi and drinking nigori sake in good company.
A wonderful way to keep your nigori cold is to use a clever little bottle, like the one pictured above, which has a little pocket in the center that you fill with ice.
Another nice touch is to drink it from masu, traditional box-shaped cups made of cedar. These unique drinking vessels have been used for celebrating in Japan for centuries, and impart a delicate cedar aroma and flavor to the sake that is delightful and invigorating.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Art of Can Tabistry

“Tabistry - [tab - us - stree] noun, plural -tries, verb, -tried, -try·ing.
  • the art of creating versatile textile out of ordinary pop (soda)/bear/soup/fruit/other can pull tab woven together with fabric, ribbon, cord, wire, jump rings or any other material.
  • a fabric consisting of can tabs which are woven together by hand to produce a design, often wearable, used for clothing, wall hangings, furniture coverings, etc.
  • to furnish, cover, or adorn with pop tabs.”
So Tiffany defines her unique art form, but you really need to see to believe the extraordinary clothing and accessories she artfully weaves from such humble materials!
Truly a case of Trash to Treasure, and a wonderful way to creatively recycle all those beer or soda pop tabs most of us generate every day.
The result of her innovative technique evokes chain mail, mermaid scales or jewel-encrusted fabric that gleams and flexes and shimmers.
She includes the cost breakdown for some of her projects and they are astonishing. Imagine making an entire Ren Faire costume for $25!

Inspired? Want to try your hand at it? Tiffany offers an in-depth tutorial to get you started here:

The Art of Can Tabistry Blog:


In the late 50’s, pinup artist Duane Bryers created Hilda.

Unlike the standard sleek, sophisticated sylphs common to pinup art, Hilda was a pleasantly plump country girl – unabashedly silly, perhaps a bit clumsy, and utterly charming.

Whether doing household chores or enjoying the pleasures of the coutryside, Hilda seems to posses a carefree joie de vivre that’s completely adorable and extraordinarily sexy.

You can sense the affection as well as the attraction the artist feels for the character…there is a loving, fondness in each composition that’s quite wonderful.

You can explore some of Hilda’s delightful adventures here:

and here:

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Night Cocktail: Frisky Angel

On time this time!
Tonight I'd like to share with you an original recipe - our House Cocktail, if you will...the Frisky Angel.
It began as a"This is all we have on hand" experiment and was so tasty that it has become our regular Adult Beverage. It's easy, relatively inexpensive, refreshing and low in calories (as cocktails go, anyway - you're basically only getting the calories from the alcohol, as the mixer only has, like, 2 calories!).

(makes 2)

Black Cherry Fresca
Peach Citrus Fresca

Half-fill 2 pint glasses (or in our case, plastic tumblers because I am notorious for breaking glasses) with ice
Pour in 2 oz. or so of vodka into each
Fill the rest of each glass with half Black Cherry Fresca, and half Peach Citrus Fresca
Stir and enjoy!

You can also use a single flavor, but we like the mix of the Peach and Cherry. I'm not fond of the Original Citrus (grapefruit) flavor.
If you want to get fancy, garnish with a wedge of lime or lemon, or a cherry.
You could also use flavored vodkas...we've tried it with vanilla vodka before and it was a bit sweet for my taste, but perhaps it could be balanced with a squeeze of lime?

I guess I'll just have to test that theory sometime!

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Please Score My Design!

My first submission to has just been accepted!
Check it out!:

If my design is printed, Threadless will pay me $2,000 for it!
I could sure use the cash right now, so please help me get my design printed by going to Threadless (see link above) and scoring it.

The best score is $5: that means you give it a score of "5" and mark the "I'd buy it" checkbox. Comments are also helpful - if they are positive, anyway!

This is an awesome way to support your favorite (I AM your favorite, right??) artist without spending a dime!

Any support you can offer would be VERY MUCH appreciated!

A Note About Watermarks

FYI: the watermarks (my signature + copyright symbol overlaying the image) and website URL are only placed on images displayed on the web.
These are devices to help prevent the unauthorized use of my artwork.
It is impossible to keep people from "stealing" images off the web - adding these (somewhat intrusive, I realize) elements is an effort to at least make sure I am identified as the artist and let people know where to go to find more if they like the art.
It can kind of function as a form of advertising, even if people are spreading the imagery around without permission.
In this day of wildfire internet memes, one can only hope that one’s artwork causes a web sensation and ends up proliferating through MySpace like a viral epidemic!
As long as my name and URL are on there, such “promotion” could possibly lead to greater recognition and hopefully, sales!

Of course, there are some people who think nothing of removing any identifying info from art they come across. It is true that the watermarks often obscure part of the image and this can be annoying. Artists have been forced to place the watermarks over integral parts of their images because if they don’t, the info can be easily cropped off, and unfortunately, often is.
There are even those who go to great lengths to excise the watermarks from art they find, removing signatures, copyright notices and URLs from the work (even if it requires extensive Photoshopping to remove overlapping elements) before posting them on their own sites/profiles/pages.
I consider this extraordinarily disrespectful (not to mention illegal).
If you like the work enough to post it on your MySpace page (or whatever), why would you do the artist such a petty disservice?

Whenever I share someone else’s artwork, I make every effort to discover who the artist is and include that information, as well as any relevant links to more of their work.
Not only should we all give credit where it’s rightfully due, we should try to encourage folks to find out more, if their interest is aroused.
And if you want to see the artwork in its full glory, unblemished by such unsightly intrusions, you should pay for it. Artists deserve compensation for their work, just like in any other profession.
Support the artists you dig! Spread the word! We can all use all the help we can get!

*(Steps down off soapbox and clears throat)*

The watermarks and URLs do not appear on my fine art prints, cards or apparel (though there is a tiny, unobtrusive copyright notice at the bottom of the apparel designs).

If you want to share my artwork with others, by all means point them to my website and/or post an image with my watermark and URL.

I even offer free avatar images for use in profiles and sigs, etc.:
These images do not include any identifying info, but I ask that you give me credit and/or put a link to somewhere in your sig or profile, if possible.

On behalf of all my fellow artists, thanks for listening!

"Emma" Art Prints & Cards Now Available

My original "Emma" design featured a rounded "arched doorway" shape that looks really cool on the apparel (see preview image in previous post), but on a matted and framed print would have left blank white triangles in the upper corners, so I altered the design slightly for the prints and cards.
Also, my apparel designs generally include a "Cristina's Angels" logo, while the art prints and cards to not.

I invite you to check out the cool FineArtAmerica Greeting Card interface, which allows you to customize your cards with a personal message printed inside, as well as choose a background color and adjust the size and orientation of the image:
These features are available for all of my art print images.

More info:
About FAA Greeting Cards:
  • FAA greeting cards are 5" x 7" in size and are produced on digital offset printers using 110 lb. paper stock.
  • Each card is coated with a UV protectant on the outside surface which produces a semi-gloss finish.
  • The inside of each card has a matte white finish and can be customized with a text message up to 500 characters in length.
  • The artist's name and the name of the image is printed on the back of each card along with the FAA logo.
  • Cards can be ordered in a horizontal or vertical configuration. Cards can be ordered with a white background or black background.
  • All greeting card orders ship within 48 hours!
  • Each card comes with a white envelope for mailing and gift giving.
Prices start at $4.95 for a single card. This is as low as I can price them and make any money (and while I do create my art because I am driven to and enjoy it, a gal has to make a living!). At first I thought this may be a bit prohibitively high, but a recent visit to my local greeting card store set me straight. Most of the cards I found were in this price range, or more, and those were mass-produced and non-customizable.
Also, if you buy the cards in packs of 10 or 25, the price-per-card goes down dramatically.
A 10-pack is $24.50 - that's $2.45 per card - less than half the individual card price!
A 25-pack is $50.00 - that's brings it down to $2.00 per card.

If you think you have no need for this many cards, think about how many people you know who would appreciate the artwork. Giving someone a unique card with cool artwork and a little "thanks for being my friend" note is a great way to make the world a better place - certainly worth $2.00, especially when it's supporting the artist!

Also - I'm working on holiday cards that would serve well as invitations and other special occasion designs, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Work: Emma

Meet Emma, a vision in shades of blue who is positively bustling with steampunky goodness! Elaborate costumes like this take awhile, with all the little details, but it's so much fun to design the clothing! Any seamstresses (seamsters?) out there who want to team up with me to design steampunk haute couture?
Apparel available now, prints and cards forthcoming.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday Afternoon Cocktail (Kind Of)


Apologies for the extreme lateness of this Friday Night Cocktail.

I’m afraid I’ve been busybusy with other business, and I woefully neglected my weekly task. I'm very naughty, I know! Alas!

Well, better late than never, right?

So…how about something to go with lunch?

If you’re anywhere near Los Angeles, you’ll know that we’re smack in the middle of a heat wave (I am eternally grateful to my husband for getting the AC working in our bedroom/office. I now get to work in a cool, dark cave instead of a sweaty dark cave. BIG improvement!).

Sometimes the best thing on a meltingly hot afternoon is a nice, ice-cold beer, such as Angel City Brewing Co.’s refreshing lager.

“A crisp golden lager not unlike some European imports but fresher tasting because its locally brewed and not pasteurized. Angel City Lager utilizes German malts and yeast and Czech Saaz hops, arguably the finest hops in the world, which gives Angel City Lager its crisp hoppy finish. Experience the way great lagers taste in Germany-right here in Southern California.”

Angel City is a microbrewery located in the middle of L.A. (City of Angels, of course!). They offer a growing range of award-winning beers; stouts, ales, lagers, a spicy hefeweizen, smooth dunkles and more.

My favorites are the Angel City Lager, and Angel City Ale, which I first tried several years ago at the Topanga Days festival in Topanga Canyon. That was a hot day, just like today, and those crisp, cold brews sure made the heat a lot more bearable!

So if you’re in the mood for a beer and spy an Angel City offering in the cooler or on the menu, I encourage you to give it a try!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cristina's Angels Apparel Now Available

I've spent the last couple of days busily putting my apparel shop together.
I'm very excited to announce that my Angels are now available on a wide selection of apparel - tank tops, t-shirts, baby tees, raglans, long-sleeved shirts, hoodies, and more!

Now, I've done this kind of thing before through CafePress, but ended up giving up on that venture because I was so disappointed in the print quality. They used decals that would only work on white or light-colored fabrics, cracked when stretched, got discolored and faded quickly in the wash.
I didn't want folks spending good money on my products only to feel like they got ripped off.

My new apparel shop, powered by DecoNetwork, uses a new printing technology called Direct To Garment (DTG) Digital Printing, which is a method of applying textile water-based inks to a fabric using a digital printer. The image is cured onto the garment usually with a heat press. The process is quick and, unlike silkscreen printing, it is not expensive to output small quantities or personalized designs.

The result is of MUCH higher quality than CafePress, they have an awesome range of colors and I don't feel like I'm offering inferior products.

Another groovy thing about this print-on-demand service is that you can customize your items.
I've put together a selection of styles and colors that I feel go well with the various designs, but you can choose from any of the colors available for each garment.

One thing I'm not satisfied with is thier small, low-rez design preview images. But I've remedied that problem by including links in the item descriptions to high-rez images of the designs so you can see what the artwork really looks like.

The shop is organized by design, so you can see all of the items that feature each piece of artwork. Or you can view all of the items and wander through the entire selection.

I'm still building up my collection, so not all of the Angels I've posted and made available as prints are up yet. I'll continue plugging away at that.
If there's an Angel you want on a shirt that you don't see in the shop, just let me know and I'll make sure to make it available.

Please step into my little boutique for a visit and pick up a little something for yourself or a freind. Be one of the first to get these exclusive Cristina's Angels goods, and support the arts (and artist!) in the process!

(And for future reference, you can find a link to the shop in the sidebar to the right. There's also a link from

Random Mind-Blowing Facts!

Did you know that anteaters have no teeth?
Their jaws are basically tubes that their tongues (which can be two feet long!) slither through. They "chew" their food with a part of their stomach that grinds stuff up, much like the gizzards of birds.
Isn't that weird and cool?
Thanks, Bill Nye the Science Guy, for mentioning these fascinating facts (I've kind of always had a crush on Bill)!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 is LIVE!

My Angels now have their own domain name and showcase website!
At, you can check out my portfolio, get FREE Angels avatars, order custom Angels artwork, buy prints and cards, and more!
You can even get there if you misspell my name with an "h" - will redirect you to where you're supposed to be. I've got it covered!
Please stop by for a visit and let me know what you think!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"Our Lady of Perpetual Bliss"

Playing with the notion of blending the “sacred” and the “profane”. A hedonistic saint of love, lust, and making merry. Definatly not a virgin. :)

Fine digital prints available, starting at only $22!

Trader Joe’s Tartar Sauce

Tartar sauce has never been something I get terribly excited about, or have even paid much attention to. It’s generally an unremarkable mayonnaise-based condiment served with fried fish. Nothing to write home about.
Until I tasted Trader Joe’s Tartar Sauce with dill and jalapeño.
The dill, an herb that’s complimentary to most seafood, adds a lovely flavorful note, but it’s the spicy bite of the jalapeño peppers that really makes this sauce something special.
I like it so much that I’ve been coming up with other ways to use this sauce.
It goes with both the fish and the chips (the poor catchup has been usurped, I’m afraid). It’s great mixed with canned tuna or even slathered on a burger. I bet it would make killer deviled eggs. There's a plethora of culinary potential in this little jar.
I urge you to give it a taste, even if you're not all that into tartar sauce.

In the meantime, here’s an interesting article on the origin of the name “tartar sauce” from The Straight Dope.
And now I am left to ponder the possible significance of my typo-ing “Tartar” as “Fartar”. Perhaps it's best not to think too much about it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Night Cocktail

Jeesh, is it Friday already?
Why do I feel like I want another weekday? How weird is that?
I must be delirious.
Clearly, I need a drink!

How about an Angel's Delight?
Pink and creamy, like a dreamy, alcoholic dessert! Perfect!

Angel's Delight

1 oz cream
3/4 oz triple sec
3/4 oz gin
2-3 dashes grenadine
Strawberry for garnish

Method: Pour the ingredients into a shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Place strawberry on rim of glass for garnish.

More info here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

New Work: "Dark Angel"

My husband requested a "dark angel", so here she is! Elvira meets Bettie page meets the Raven. Or something like that.
"Dark Angel" by Cristina McAllister

New Work: "Tess"

The last couple of Angels I've done have been pretty elaborate. I wanted to do something simpler this time, with sleek shapes and solid colors.
"Tess" by Cristina McAllister

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pin-Up Men

This one's for the ladies! Artist A.V. Phibes believes in gender equality when it comes to sexy pin-up art!
More dangerously hansom devils, femmes fatales and more await in her online portfolio.

Lady Claire

A Lady pirate to swash your buckles!
(The colors seem to display way oversaturated on the FineArtAmerica site. For more accurate color check out my DeviantArt gallery.)
"Claire" by Cristina McAllister

"Apple" by Gueuzav

I found this artist while wandering about
I don't know much about him, as his profile and blog are mostly in French, but his artwork is delightful!
This piece, in particular, struck my fancy -I love the colors, the unusual POV/perspective, the costume (how cute is the ladybug garter???), the framing circular design element of the butterfly's wings...just beautifully done and quite charming.
Magnifique, Monsieur Gueuzav!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Queen of Spades

I just stumbled upon this striking image by Russian photographer and designer team Aleksey & Marina. I do love when the internets yield unexpected gems like this!
Thier website is a little tricky to navigate (too Flash-y for my tastes), but if you're willing to chase around the slippery menu items and wait while the tiny little thumbnails load, there are some lovely images. I especially like the "calendar" themed ones at the bottom of the "imaging 2" gallery.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Racy Redhead

"Bettina" by Cristina McAllister

Saturday Afternoon Cocktail

This Friday Night Cocktail is a bit late, I'm afraid, but just in time for your Independence Day festivities. Sweet and fruity, with an abundance of liberating spirits, including rum, rum, rum, and oh...did I mention rum?

Angel's Fall

Ingredients 1 1/2 oz. Amaretto
1 1/2 oz. Grenadine
1 splash(es) Cranberry Juice
1 splash(es) Grapefruit Juice
1 splash(es) Pineapple Juice
3/4 oz. Vodka
3/4 oz. Dry Gin
1/4 oz. 151 Proof Rum
1/4 oz. Dark Rum
1/4 oz. Light Rum
1/4 oz. Myer's Rum

Instructions: Build in a collins glass with ice or blend with ice to make a frozen drink.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Textual Perversion

I’m currently working on the first of a series of alcohol-themed angels, inspired by the advertising designs by such art nouveau luminaries as Alphonse Mucha (one of my favorite influences).
The concept is to do one for each basic type of liquor: vodka, rum, tequila, etc., with the angels wearing costumes inspired by the culture that originated that drink (or is popularly associated with it).
My original idea was to have the name of the drink integrated into the background design, but I’ve changed my mind. Instead of an obvious “label”, I’ll be using the equivalent of “cheers” in the relevant language.

So, I’m starting with vodka, and was doing my research yesterday.
The most common Russian drinking toast is na zdorovyeh, “to our health”, and I think it looks really cool in Cyrillic. Bonus!
But when I copied the Cyrillic text from the webpage and pasted it into my Illustrator file, what showed up was: “?? ????????!”, which actually made me laugh out loud. I could almost hear my computer saying: “WTF???”.
I pondered finding and installing a Cyrillic font and did a bit of looking into that option. I discovered that there are apparently several standard Windows fonts that are capable of displaying Cyrillic characters.
I tried pasting the same copied text into a Word document...
That worked fine- it came through in Cyrillic, using the Times New Roman font.
What was weird was that it wouldn’t work in Illustrator – even when I was using the same font. Even when I cut the text from Word and pasted it into Illustrator. More ?????!s.
For whatever reason, Illustrator refuses to speak Russian.

I could have just used the Word file (or even the website) for reference and just flipped back and forth between that and my Illustrator file, but that’s kind of a pain.
In the end I just pumped the font size up to 150 pts. in Word and screen captured it, then pasted that pixel-based image into my Illustrator file.
Font issues bypassed...Mission accomplished!

На здоровье!

On a semi-related note...
While researching alcohol-themed images, I came across this gem, by Source Creative, which amused me. :)

Apparently t-shirts with this design sold out within 5 days. Poor little green fairy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

From my Art Archives

An older piece of mine, but still a classic, I think!

Who Knew...

...there was so much to learn about stockings?

In fact, The Sophisticate's Diary has a plethora of educational material for your edification.
For instance; how to properly stock a liquor cabinet, tips on designing an elegant mustache, and how to create those silky 40's-style wavy hairstyles with dozens of tiny pincurls.

Vintage wisdom for: "louche libertines, feral flaneurs, suave scoundrels, Godless gassers, femmes fatale, revolutionary rakes, high-heeled harlots, seditious strippers, fez-wearing freaks, gin-soaked Jezebels, urbane explorers, desperate dandies, ravishing Reds, Veronica Lake-a-likes, suburban savages, head-shrinking honeys, wild wahines, working class aristocrats, bourbon-swilling beatniks, glamorous guerillas; hedonistic housewives, proletarian pedants, inebriate insurgents. Cads, finks, rascals, hussies, strumpets, bounders, rotters, drunks, roues, bombshells, philanderers, rogues and blaggards. Ladies who know where their waists are, gents who know where their barber is.".