Sweet Venus has been running around in my brain for over 15 years.
I knew everything about her, including her back story, shape, colors, personality, etc. But, for some reason, I put off creating her until this year. You see, Venus has had a rough life. Each sagging, dragging nipple was a constant reminder of another failed attempt at love. We have lost count of how many kittens she has had. What's even more heartbreaking is the number of times her heart has been broken, shattered into tiny bits. With each love loss and litter, her nipples just gave up. They sink lower and lower with every heartbreak.
As Venus's story continued to brew in my head, which is a terrifying place, I learned more and more about her and the family she and other cats like her created for themselves. Venus and her besties all live in a community together. They love and support one another and share life's ups and downs (I'm not talking about nipples here!).
While there is only one BuTT UgLee named Venus, the leader of the pack, there are dozens of her BFFs that I plan on creating. Each one will have her unique style and look, but all will have the classic sagging dragging nipples.
I allowed myself to make more than one "original" Venus. So, if you'd like an "original" Venus, I can create one that looks as close to the original one. I don't use patterns, so that I will get it as close to my first Venus as possible.
I picture a collection of UgLee cats on the wall. Venus is in the center with all of her BFFs gathered around her.
It's time to fire up that sewing machine.
Each flower is a one-of-a-kind mini work of art. I begin, as usual, with a nice big piece of muslin and a pencil. So far, I have 4-5 designs that I free-hand onto the muslin, stitch up, cut out, trim the edges, and flip. After using an iron to press each design, I go back to my machine and sew any necessary details. NOW ... I can finally bust out the polyfil and get stuffing. After one more press of the iron, the flowers are ready to be painted. So many choices and so many colors that sometimes I get on such a roll I forget to eat. Trust me, that NEVER happens! Before I know it, 6-7 hours have passed, and I'm still in my pajamas.
Uglee flowers typically have 2-4 layers of paint; dimensional paint detailing is added after the initial layers of paint dry, followed by a thin coat of sealer for protection. I then sign the back of each one. Ta-Da!
While the flowers dry for 48 hours, I set my table up for work on the stems. Dowels work best for this part of the process. Most of my stems are shades of green, but I also like to paint some in black and white and/or red and white stripes. Each dowel gets three coats. The first coat is the base color, the second is the stripe, and the final is the clear sealer. I usually give them 48 hours to completely dry.
This next stage is really fun. I match up each flower with a stem, cut a small hole, fill that hole using a glue gun, and quickly slide the dowel into place. Once the glue is dry, I pull out my BuTT UgLee tags and my enormous collection of ribbons. Again each Uglee flower receives a tag and two additional pieces of ribbon.
Now they are finally ready to photograph!