Monday, August 31, 2009

Sneak Peek: New Angel in the works!

I know I haven't posted a new angel for awhile, but that doesn't mean I've been slacking off!
I have been working on one that's rather ornate and time-consuming, in between freelance jobs.
Here's a little preview of the work in progress.

Update: This piece has been finished!

The Queen of Trees

I caught this documentary on PBS last night and my mine was blown!
I love nature documentaries, but I confess that when I saw what this one was about – a type of fig tree in Kenya, Africa – it didn’t immediately intrigue me.
How exciting can a tree be, anyway?

I was soon to find out that the sycamore fig tree is the center of an incredible ecosystem that involves everything from microscopic parasites to elephants, and in between…insects, birds, monkeys, bats, fish, crocodiles, and more!

The life cycle of this amazing tree is vitally intertwined with that of the minuscule fig wasp (small enough to fly through the eye of a needle), that is its sole pollinator. This mind-boggling symbiotic relationship – mostly taking place INSIDE the fruit, is beautifully filmed using innovative techniques, not to mention plenty of patience.
A sample of this incredibly intimate filmwork can be seen here.
More behind-the-scenes info on how they achieved these amazing shots and the work that went into this production can be found here.
Beyond the jaw-dropping revelations of the wasps’ adventures, there’s the aphid-herding ant “security force” that drives off animals harmful to the tree, drunken butterflies, parasites upon parasites, sap-squirting cicadas, latex-stealing bees, hornbill birds who seal themselves into the tree’s trunk, tiny, a spiny pink mantis, a giraffe with impressively nimble tongue and monkeys munching fruit, licking sweet sap, catching inebriated butterflies and feeding the fish in the river below.
And that’s not even all of it!

This film had me captivated and awed all the way through. It made me reel in wonder at the phenomenal variety and ingenuity of life, and how complex and amazing the intertwining of different species can be.

If you happen to see it listed, I highly recommend watching!
It is also available on dvd.
A short, introductory clip can be seen here.
More info, including some videos, photographs and related articles can be found here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


From my butterfly and moth-inspired series "Lepidoptera", this piece combines the mysterious glow of the moon and the delicately-hued luna moth named after it.
Prints (matted and framed, if you wish) now exclusively available here.


"SKINGRAFT is Jonny Cota, Cassidy Haley and Katie Kay. Together the three have been making waves through the underground fashion world of Los Angeles with their indulgence in distressed leathers and furs, painted and antiqued canvases, and masochistic metal detailing and corsetry. From elongated Victorian necks and ruched sleeves to punk-inspired metal work and hand-tarnished bucklings, SKINGRAFT has created an entire world within their designs that is timeless yet excitingly inventive."

Gorgeous clothing beautifully photographed...does it get any better than this?
Well, I suppose if I could afford them, it would be better! Alas! These guys are a bit out of my league, price-wise, but I can still drool over them and be inspired for free!
They do have a ready-to-wear selection available at these retail locations, as well as working their haute couture magic.

*Sigh!* So fantastic and enchanting! I'm delighted with their growing recognition and success!

See more lush, deliriously eye-popping delights here:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fabulous Hats by Ms. Purdy!

I have a thing for hats - funky knit hats in winter, broad-brimmed sunhats in summer, pirate hats and cowboy hats and cute little flapper-style velvet hats...and most fun of all, fancy hats with lots of feathers and flowers and ribbons and bows and fabulous frippery!

Well, Ms. Purdy knows what I like! This millinery maven has been making hats for many years, and it's her passion. She sells to small hat shops and through her website, ebay and Etsy shop, and specializes in all sorts of historical costume and custom designs - Victorian, Edwardian,Civil War, Kentucky Derby, Pirate, Carnival, Steampunk, Gothic Lolita, and more.
She's got hats for church, for tea, for weddings, for riding, for touring, for going to the races, for just looking fabulous!
Check out her Gallery for photos of her happy customers decked out in fantastic finery at various costume events.
She has a huge selection of styles - from wide brimmed extravaganzas adorned with lush explosions of feathers, to her slightly more subdued and elegantly embellished riding hats, to flirty mini top hats, feminine derbies wrapped in silk, feathery fascinators, and beautiful bonnets.
Her hats are expertly adorned with fantastic compositions of colorful, tantalizing trimmings: ribbons and roses and beads and bustles and blossoms and lace and feathers and jewels and veils and butterflies...oh my!And her prices are very reasonable - I've seen hats like these going for twice what Ms. Purdy charges, and with all the luxurious materials and talented expertise put into these one-of-a-kind masterpieces, I think they are worth every penny!

She also carries a selection of accessories such as gloves, fans, hatpins, parasols and nifty Venetian Lace Cuffs, as well as hat stands and hat boxes to keep your delicate headpieces safe.

I'm particularly enchanted with this little number. Too bad my birthday just passed! :(
But I just happened to discover that today is Ms. Purdy's birthday! Happy Birthday, Ms. Purdy! Keep up the great work!

Ms. Purdy's Treasures can be found at:
Ebay store:
Etsy shop:

UPDATE: I just received a letter from Ms. Purdy and she informed me that the hat at the top of this post is not her creation, but was made by Elsie Massey, another marvelous hatmaker and colleague. Please see this post to see more of Elsie's work.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Featured Item: Angelique Tanks and Tees

ON SALE for one week only, get sultry, exotic angel Angelique on a velvety gray spaghetti-strap tank top, or rich chocolate brown T-shirt.
The tanks are made from form-fitting 100% Baby Rib cotton, and will shrink a bit in the dryer, so it's a good idea to order a size larger than you wear.

Tees also feature the winged Cristina's Angels logo across the back and are 6.1-ounce, 100% cotton with a seamless double-needle top-stitched collar, taped neck and shoulders and double-needle sleeve and hem. Sizes range from Small to 3X.

You can't find these designs anywhere else in the world!
Until the end of August, save $2.00 off regular price on these two items.

This design is also available on long-sleeved shirts, supercute hoodies, sporty raglan tops and baseball jerseys. Other design configurations also available.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Organic Armor

I discovered Organic Armor a couple of years ago at Lightning in a Bottle and was blown away by their beautiful products.
Artist Paul Hershey (below, with wife and business partner Jennifer) creates fantastic handmade costumes, accessories and props for: "tribal fairy punks, video game priestesses, alien viking warriors and circus divas, among other things".
These fantastic designs look like ancient metal, leather or bone, but are, in fact, a soft and flexible reinforced rubber that's lightweight, comfortable and durable. Not terribly useful for actual battle, but perfect for masquerades, costume events, theater and performers of all kinds.

Their most popular items are their headpieces - ornate, crowns, horns, helmets, hats and masks all beautifully sculpted and gleaming with various metallic finishes and antique patinas. They also have a selection of bustier sets and lovely necklaces, arm and wrist jewelry.
I'm especially enamored of their funky, fabulous top hats. I'm picturing one with angel wings and peacock feathers!
If you need to accessorize your warrior, princess, fairy, steampunk, etc. costume - be sure to check out Organic Armor!
They are happy to take on custom commissions. They'll even make armor for your pet!

Check them out at:
Become a Fan on Facebook for updates.

Burlesque from Berlin

I just came across this delightful image by Berlin artist Steffi Schütze. Love the peacock colors and her graceful use of line and shape.
More of her work can be seen on her DeviantArt gallery:
and on her illustration website:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Steampunk Sketchin'

Been looking at a lot of inspirational steampunk stuff lately. Here are some costume/character design sketches I did just for fun.

Monday, August 10, 2009

La Llorona

I’ve been working on some freelance projects lately, and one of my favorite albums to work to is the soundtrack from the movie Frida. One particular song has been haunting me…in the best way - a song called “La Llorona”, performed on the soundtrack by Chevala Vargas.

Listen as you continue reading – you can find the song here:

“Llorona” is pronounced: “Yorona” (the double “L” in Spanish denotes a “y” sound), and in Spanish, it means “weeping woman”.

La Llorona is a figure from South American folklore; a beautiful woman who drowns her own children, and upon realizing what she has done, kills herself (or wastes away out of grief) to become a mournful spirit.

There are many versions of this tale. In some, the woman (often named Maria) is vain and promiscuous and kills her children because they interfere with her wonton ways.
In others, the childrens' father neglects Maria, but dotes on the children and she slays them out of jealousy.
In another version, she falls in desperate love with a man who will not accept her children and she kills them in a desperate bid to win his love.
But in every version, after drowning her offspring, she realizes the horrible act she has committed and goes mad with grief and regret.

La Llorona is a cautionary tale; warning of tragic results should a woman deny her primary role as mother, betraying her first loyalty to her children for the love of a man.

The weeping spirit also serves as a boogeyman to frighten children and keep them safe.
The ghost, wasted but still beautiful, with long black hair and a white gown, walks along rivers or near bodies of water, crying: “My children! My children! Where are my children…?”
Naughty children who are out after dark, near the water unsupervised are likely to be snatched away by the mad, desperate spirit.

The song “La Llorna” is one of Latin America’s most popular folk songs, and many artists have recorded versions of it, including American folk singer Joan Baez.

Chevala Vargas’ rendition (recorded when she was 85) is particularly haunting. Her voice has a rough and edgy quality that beautifully expresses the mournful, tragic atmosphere of the story.

Ms. Vargas is quite a character herself.
Born in Costa Rica, she suffered from blindness and polio as a child, afflictions which she claims were healed by shamans.
At the age of 14, she ran away to Mexico to seek her fortune, and became quite successful in the 1950’s and 60’s, touring Mexico, the U.S. France and Spain.
She was, in fact, a contemporary and friend of Frida Kahlo, and they seem to have shared a penchant for non-conformist behavior. It is said that in her youth, Chevala dressed as a man, smoked cigars, drank heavily, carried a gun and seduced women in her audience with the romantic ranchero songs intended to be sung by men.
At the age of 81, she openly admitted to being a lesbian, and has become a beloved icon to Latina lesbians.

La Llorna lyrics (Spanish):

Todos me dicen el Negro, Llorona
Negro, pero cariñoso
Yo soy como el chile verde, Llorona
Picante, pero sabroso

Ay de mí, Llorona, Llorona
Llorona, llévame al río
Tápame con tu rebozo, Llorona
Porque me muero de frió

Si porque te quiero quieres, Llorona
Quieres que te quiera más
Si ya te he dado la vida, Llorona
¿Qué mas quieres?
¿Quieres más?


They all call me the black one, Weeping Woman
Black, but loving
I’m like the green chili, Weeping Woman
Biting, but delicious

Woe poor me, Weeping Woman, Weeping Woman
Weeping Woman, take me to the river
Cover me with your shawl, Weeping Woman
Cause I’m dying of cold

If because I love you, you want me, Weeping Woman
You want me to love you more
But if I’ve even given you my life, Weeping Woman
What else do you want?
You want more?

Now, go back and watch the YouTube video of the song, and if you haven't seen Frida, rent it!

Sources and more info:
artwork by Diana Bryer

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday Night Cocktail

In our little corner of Southern California, the weather has been divine the last couple of days. Sunny, with a mild breeze, big white puffy clouds coasting across the sky...perfect for sitting out on the patio with a good book and a glass of sangria.

Despite it's morbid name (sangria means "bloody" in Italian), this is a delightfully refreshing and genteel beverage. Originating in Spain, it is said that the U.S. got its first taste of this wine punch at the 1964 World's Fair in New York, where the Spanish World pavilion served it to thirsty visitors.

While recipes and methods vary widely, the very basics of sangria are wine and fruit juice. Sliced fresh fruit is a common (and wonderful) addition. Some people add a sweetener, such as honey or simple sugar syrup. Other optional ingredients are brandy to give it an extra kick, and carbonated water or soda to add some sparkle. Some recipes also call for spices such as cinnimon or nutmeg.

My method is pretty loose and off-the-cuff. At the grocery store, I look for fresh seasonal fruit and grab whatever tickles my fancy. Citrus is always a good choice (but don't overdo it on the lemons), as are stonefruits such as peaches and nectarines. Try it with mango or kiwi, apples, melon, grapes, berries...the possibilities are nearly endless!
Next, I get a bottle of red wine - I like something smooth and not too tanniny, like a mellow Merlot.
A carton of orange juice (or other fruit juice) and some citrus/grapefruit Fresca and we're good to go.

Slice up your fruit and put it in a big pitcher (or punch bowl). Add the wine, some of the juice and some Fresca to fill. The proportions of these ingredients is up to you...experiment!
That's it!
Pour over ice to serve.

If you're not in a hurry, allow the fruit, wine and juice flavors to meld in the fridge and add the carbonated ingredient just before serving.

I don't generally add sweetener or brandy, but by all means, give it a shot (pun possibly intended) if you want something a bit stronger.

Sangria can also be made with white wine, a variation called sangria blanca.

Sangria is the perfect, refreshing drink for a warm afternoon. And with all those fruits and juices, it's good for you, too! It's also such a flexible and forgiving recipe that you can relax and play with it and you'll always end up with something delicious.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lovechild Boudoir

I’ve just discovered this delightful couture studio, based out of Yorkshire, UK.
“The Lovechild Boudoir creates fabulous tulle showgirl bustles, opulent silk & taffeta shrugs, gothic corset jackets, steampunk pinstripe breeches & carnivale striped bustle skirts fit for a louche Victorian minx!”

They offer gorgeous designs, quite reasonably priced, especially for such unique, handmade items.
I love their shrug tops – such a simple idea, elegantly devised to stunning effect!

Their bustle skirts are also adorable – bountiful froths of ruffles and lace to enhance your derriere. They have a lovely selection of colors, fabrics and unique designs and details. Also, don’t miss their “Call of Cthulhu Fishtail Skirt” – very dramatic!

But my favorite item of all has to be the “Lady Apprentice Steampunk Corset Breeches”. Bloomers, bustle and corset-lacing all in one elegant pair of pants! Stylish and practical, for those Lady Adventurers on the go!

Lovechild Boudoir items are available at their website, on Etsy, and on Ebay.


Monday, August 3, 2009

New Design: "Monarch" Up for Scoring at Threadless

Please help me get my design printed by going to Threadless (see link below) and scoring it. It's free and easy!

The highest score you can get/give is $5, which means you give it a score of 5 and check the "I'd buy it" box.
Posting a positive comment on the page also helps!

If my design is chosen to be printed, Threadless will pay me $2,000 for it! Yay!

Please take a moment to score my design, and tell your friends - every little bit of support helps!


Saturday, August 1, 2009

GCI Kama Sutra Award-Winning Monte Cristo with Berry Merlot Sauce

A couple of years before we met, my husband won 1st place in the Kama Sutra category at the Grilled Cheese Invitational with his “Monte Cheesemo” sandwich.
His “1st Place Kama Sutra” trophy was actually the catalyst for our first flirtatious conversation. When I asked about it, he somewhat reluctantly informed me that it didn’t actually have anything to do with the Kama Sutra – that was just the name of the GCI’s “anything goes” category, and his entry had been a deep-fried ham, turkey and cheese Monte Cristo with a blackberry merlot sauce.
It may not have been as sexual as the trophy had seemed to imply, but was it sexy? Oh, yes.
The fact that this man had the desire, skills and creativity to put this recipe together and execute it flawlessly in the heat of fierce competition was no small factor in my falling in love with, and a year later, marrying him.

Ever since learning of his Champion recipe, I’ve asked him to make it for me, since I missed the original competition. He was always willing, but somehow never got around to it until I requested it for my birthday this year.
So this afternoon my husband made a terrific mess of our kitchen, and I finally got to taste his magnificent masterpiece.
The verdict?: Absolutely delicious in the most decadent way!
The saltiness of the ham and turkey was beautifully balanced with the sweetness of the berry merlot sauce. The creaminess of the cheese, the bite of the meats, the fluffy potato bread and the perfectly crisped batter were a divine textural symphony.
This is not a meal you want to eat everyday (well, you may want to, but you probably shouldn’t!), but for a special birthday treat on a warm summer afternoon, it was heavenly!

He even let me document the process, and has given me permission to share his recipe with you.

The Monte Cheesemo
(Ham, Turkey and Cheese Monte Cristo with Berry Merlot Sauce)

Black Forest ham
Mesquite smoked turkey breast
Potato bread
Ementaller Swiss cheese
Jack cheese
1 egg
Frozen (or fresh!) blackberries
Merlot wine (the fruitier the better)
Powdered sugar


In a small saucepan, combine about 8 oz. frozen blackberries, about ½ cup merlot and ½ cup sugar.
Cook over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.
“Reduce until yummy”.
Let sauce cool.
This makes enough sauce for about 3 sandwiches. If you’re not making that many, save the extra sauce, chill it and serve it over ice cream for a dreamy dessert!

Mix about 1 cup Bisquick with 1 egg and enough milk to make a thin, tempura-like batter (this should make enough for 3 sandwiches).
Heat about 1 inch of oil in a large frying pan.
Layer ham, turkey and cheeses between two slices of potato bread.
Dip sandwiches in batter and carefully put into oil. Fry until crisp and golden brown, turning once.
Drain briefly on paper towels, cut each sandwich in half and spoon sauce over.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar, serve and enjoy!

If you are unfamiliar with the Grilled Cheese Invitational, I implore you to visit their website and take a stroll around – it is quite entertaining (the Rules are especially amusing), and you may find a regional event in your area to check out!