Category: Goods & Sundry

Jupiter the Faux Fur Plush Monster

Just finished the amazing faux fur plush monster Jupiter! She is about 8 inches high, with spikes of royal blue and sky blue fur, felt paws and horns, and a black felt face with safety eyes. My daughter supervised her construction, stuffed her paws, horns, and body, and pestered me into finishing her.

Jupiter Faux Fur Monster

Jupiter is a plush, stuffed faux fur monster made by Trilby Works

Jupiter was meant to be sold but my daughter claimed her while she was still a flat piece of potential in my fur grab bag so she gets to keep this cute little stuffie as long as she takes proper care of the creature. Which includes cleaning up after it when it makes messes and blames the cat.

I’m working on a tutorial for making these companionable creatures. Click here to see what I’ve got so far.

Upcycled / Recycled Springtime Glass Jar Metal Lid Ornaments

I just finished a nice batch of my upcycled metal lid ornaments and I’m happy with the way they came out. This was supposed to be a springtime collection, but somehow some skulls got in there, lol.

I’ve got one more set of spring-related artwork to complete and then I’m sure I’ll get back to some spooky, kooky, gloomy, doomy Halloween stuff.


Check out my Pinterest board below for beaucoup craft ideas and inspiration for making your own recycled metal lid ornaments.

How to Make Upcycled / Recycled Metal Lid Halloween Ornaments

If you’d like to make these yourself, here’s a tutorial I made. Have fun!

How to Make Upcycled / Recycled Metal Lid Halloween Ornaments

How to Make Upcycled / Recycled Metal Lid Halloween Ornaments

Upcycled Plastic Containers Transformed into Fairy Houses

I finally completed my batch of fairy mushroom houses, yay! They are photographed and ready to head over to the Bellefonte Art Gallery. Hope they find good homes…

Group of Fairy Mushroom Houses

Group of Fairy Mushroom Houses

To make these fairy houses, I raided our recycling bin for plastic containers: creamer bottles, yogurt cups, marshmallow fluff jars, smoothie bottles, etc. I cleaned them thoroughly and painted them in bright, happy, spring colors. I made the doors from paper clay and outlined them with miniature paper flowers. This was a fun project and could probably be completed with children, should you choose to try it.

If you need inspiration, please check out my Pinterest board:

Follow Trilby Works’s board Fairy Houses in the Garden on Pinterest.

A Springtime Celebration: Bottlecap Collaged Flower Painting

For me, artwork inspired by the beauty of springtime is all about color: vibrant sky blue, vivid new growth green, and sprinkles of crocus purple, bold orange, sunbeam yellow, and rich pink. And my favorite part of spring is the explosion of flowers in my garden.

A Springtime Celebration 3

A Springtime Celebration

In this trio of works, I started with canvas board and painted a background of blue and green. I added canvas flower shapes topped with bottle caps attached with heavy gel medium. I drew abstract flowers in Adobe Photoshop and printed them out onto thick paper, cut them out with a punch and glued them into the beer caps with matte medium.

A Springtime Celebration

A Springtime Celebration

Two of the collages have green floral wire for flower stems with leaves made from paper clay and painted green. The other piece uses green twine from the dollar store for the stems with folded and cut masking tape for leaves.

A Springtime Celebration 3

A Springtime Celebration 3

I covered the entire surface of all three canvasses with Liquitex pouring medium for a shiny, glassy finish to reflect the brilliance of spring.

This was a really fun project, with a happy, cheerful result! These paintings will be available for sale at the Bellefonte Art Gallery soon.

If you like collage flower paintings, check out my Pinterest board:

Follow Trilby Works’s board Collage Painting: Happy Flowers on Pinterest.

Griselda the Hippo Witch Shelf Sitter Doll

If you’ve spent any time on this blog, you know I like hippos. I’ve created a number of hippo art pieces but this one is one of my favorites as it combines my other favorite subject: Halloween! My hippo witch is a shelf sitter, meaning her fat legs move at the hips and are bent so that they drape over the edge of a shelf. I made her for an art doll challenge but failed to complete her in time for submission (what a shocker).

Hippo Witch by Karen Furst of Trilby Works

Hippo Witch by Karen Furst of Trilby Works

She is made from a plastic peanut butter container and styrofoam, with layers of paper clay painted and sealed. Her clothing is hand made and caused me many difficulties as sewing is not my favorite activity. I used very old purple velvet scraps from a dress handed down in my family along with orange wool felt and black sueded fabric.

Unfortunately, I can’t sell her as my mother (the original hippopotomaniac) spied her in my studio and claimed her. But maybe I’ll make another one some day.

In the fall of 2015, the hippo witch was chosen to appear in Prims magazine, published by Stampington. Here’s how Stampington describes the magazine:

Prims exclusively features art inspired by a bygone era. You will find artwork of primitive, folk, historic, and early Americana style artists that will captivate the imagination and enchant with their simple beauty. The traditional beauty of handcrafted art making includes dolls, paintings and mixed-media artwork, along with teddy bears in Stampington & Company’s unique publication.

Prims Cover Autumn 2015

Prims Cover, Autumn 2015.

The magazine requested that I write up a short essay about my work. Here’s what I came up with:

Griselda the Hippo Witch
by Karen Furst

My mother has a huge collection of hippos, probably close to 5,000 or so. It’s getting to be quite a challenge to find new ones for her so… what’s an artsy person to do? Make one! My hippo witch Griselda came to life after several weeks of gluing, sculpting, drying, painting, sewing, and experimenting.

Griselda’s body is made from a plastic peanut butter container, with a painted paper clay head, arms, and legs. She is a shelf-sitter with legs that move at the hips. Lengths of stiff but bendable wire run through her arms and legs as an armature.

My color scheme (and overall theme) was inspired by Halloween. I pieced together Griselda’s outfit from vintage purple velvet scraps from a dress handed down in my family along with orange wool felt and black suede fabric from my stash. I did not use a pattern but rather fiddled with cutting and folding the fabric to fit. I used a machine to sew the triangular strips of fabric for the skirt and its hem. I hand cut stars and swirls from felt and glued them to her skirt and cape with fabric glue. Lengths of ribbon and trim and a silk flower further embellish her clothing and add a finished look.

Griselda seemed to need a hat; I made one from black craft felt, sewn into a cone shape, stuffed with polyester, and glued to a brim of cardboard covered with felt. A purple cord covers the seams and edges. I played around a bit with the scale of the hat – should I go large and floppy or small and pointed? I decided on the latter; it gives her a pert, almost Victorian look and it’s a pleasing punctuation mark at the top of her triangular outline.

Every witch needs a broom and pumpkin. The broom gave me fits: I had no idea how to make one! I tried to buy one online but just couldn’t find anything. Finally, I clipped some rushes from a fireplace broom and glued them to a stick. I wrapped the rushes with embroidery floss to keep them in place. By contrast, the pumpkin was easy. It’s just a ball of paper clay, shaped into a pumpkin, with a twisted piece of copper wire glued in for the stem.

When Griselda flies home on her broom from her Prims magazine adventure, she’ll head on over to my mother’s house where she’ll join the rest of the hippo collection. But I know it won’t take a magic spell for my hippopotamaniac mother to fall in love with her!

Karen Furst is an assemblage and mixed media artist who is currently working on a book about how to create miniature stone fairy houses. See her work and contact her at

Tools & Materials:

plastic food container
fabric glue
paper clay
paint, brushes
fabric, felt
ribbons and embellishments
scissors, thread, needle
polyester stuffing
wood twig
embroidery floss

Thank you Prims magazine for choosing my piece!

Hippo Inspiration

If you like hippos as much as I do, please follow my Pinterest board: Hippos In Art. Here’s a preview.

A Boy Is Difficult To Manage Note Card

Hot off the presses is my new notecard with a vintage photograph of a little cutie who just happens to be my great-uncle. The darling boy on a bench belies the quote from Plato: “A boy is, of all wild beasts, the most difficult to manage.” Our exclusive note card is blank inside for your special message. This card is perfect anyone raising a challenging boy (and aren’t they all?).

A Boy Is Difficult To Manage Note Card

A Boy Is Difficult To Manage Note Card

TEXT: “A boy is, of all wild beasts, the most difficult to manage.” Blank inside for your special message.
SIZE: Folded to 3 1/2″ x 5 1/2″.
PAPER: Heavyweight premium bright white paper.
ENVELOPE: It comes with a white envelope sized accordingly.

Buy it here!

Memento Mori, A Mixed Media Painting

On my easel right now is this painting, in its final stages, that I’ve named Memento Mori, which means remember death. It’s got a sort of fiery palette with reds, yellows, browns, and orange. I’ve embedded some numbers and used tissue paper to add texture. At the bottom are three rows of skulls.

Memento Mori, Detail, Mixed Media Acrylic on Canvas by Karen Furst of Trilby Works

Memento Mori, Detail, Mixed Media Acrylic on Canvas by Karen Furst of Trilby Works

Memento Mori, Detail, Mixed Media Acrylic on Canvas by Karen Furst of Trilby Works

Memento Mori, Detail, Mixed Media Acrylic on Canvas by Karen Furst of Trilby Works

Memento Mori, Detail, Mixed Media Acrylic on Canvas by Karen Furst of Trilby Works

Memento Mori, Detail, Mixed Media Acrylic on Canvas by Karen Furst of Trilby Works

It’s not finished yet but it’s getting there, yay. Check back soon – I’ll post images when it’s done.

Fowl Language Chick Greeting Card

This greeting card is for the birds! Well, chicks, that is. Chicks with attitude. School chicks with attitude. School chicks with attitude who just got a rap on their fluffy little tail feathers for using fowl language.

Fowl Language Chick Greeting Card

Fowl Language Chick Greeting Card

I am especially fond of chickens and I love old postcards and other ephemera. But I like giving them a little twist to make them funny (or punny) and that’s what I’ve done here. A fluffy, cute chick leaves school and tosses his book away while the grumpy headmaster looks on and menaces a switch. The copy reads, “Little Johnny always knew he’d be expelled for fowl language.”

This greeting card uses an old 1908 German postcard from which I removed the words “Happy Easter” and added our my amusing text. It measures 5 1/2″ x 4 1/4″ and is printed on bright white matte heavyweight paper. This is a great card to send to a teacher or a friend who appreciates puns or really likes chickens. Buy yours today.

I also offer this design as a mint tin and as a refrigerator magnet.

Toasting Hippo Print Vintage Illustration

A proper hippo gentleman proposes a toast to his animal friends. Hippo mania swept Victorian England after Egypt’s viceroy gave gave the London Zoo its first hippo in 1850, the first live hippo seen in Europe since ancient Rome. Called Obaysch after the island on the Nile where he was captured, the young male hippo became an instant sensation and inspired hippopotamus artwork and even a Hippopotamus Polka. Four years later a second hippo arrived, this one a female named Adhela. The happy couple produced a live offspring in 1871, a female named Guy Fawkes. (Which may be why this handsome fellow below is celebrating!)

Toasting Hippo Print Digital Download Vintage Illustration

Toasting Hippo Print Digital Download Vintage Illustration

This charming illustration is available as a digital download in my shop. Click here to snag one for yourself!

You get a high resolution (300 ppi) digital file sized to 8″ x 10″ that you can print out yourself and frame or use otherwise. The file format is a widely used pdf that can be opened and used across many computer platforms. The watermark will not appear on your download.

This print is out of copyright.

You may use this artwork for personal, educational, and small business projects in any quantity. You may NOT resell the image itself in part or whole. This artwork is royalty free; you pay once for its use and then you may print as many copies of it as you like.

How To Use This In Your Art

The toasting hippo print would be wonderful on a wedding invitation or favor or could be used for an anniversary or shower.

Hippo Inspiration

If you need artistic inspiration, please take a gander at my Pinterest board for hippos in art:

Vintage French Chocolate Posters Collage Sheets

If you know me at all, you know I love chocolate. I also love France and all things French. Put the two together et voila! it’s magic. During my time in France and since, I’ve collected a bunch of French graphics, music, books, etc. and recently have been mining them for design inspiration. I’ve put together two collage sheets of French advertising posters for brands of chocolate, which you can see below. But first, some history.

Chocolat Delespaul Havez Vintage French Poster

Chocolat Delespaul-Havez Vintage French Poster

French posters have long captivated not only their intended audiences but also designers and artists. French artists in particular jostled for the chance to get their work placed on posters and seen by multitudes. Some of these included Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Jules Chéret, Eugène Grasset, Adolphe Willette, Pierre Bonnard, Louis Anguetin, Georges de Feure and Henri-Gabriel Ibels.

The technology needed to produce these posters was invented in the 1860’s by Jules Chéret (1836-1932) whose “three stone lithographic process” allowed the printing of a wide spectrum of colors from just three stones (or plates), using primarily red, yellow, and blue transparent inks. New colors were created where the transparent inks overlapped. This time-consuming process required careful registration (or alignment) of the plates to achieve its desired result of a remarkable intensity of color and texture.

These lithographic, mass-produced posters quickly spread throughout Europe, becoming the dominant means of mass communication in 1870’s Paris and other cities. In 1884 Paris held a major exhibition of this popular poster art. But the 1890’s were the heydey of the poster craze in France with artists of the day like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec contributing masterpieces such as his famous Moulin Rouge of 1891, which elevated the status of the poster to fine art.

If you love these images as much as I do, you’re in luck. I’m offering two vintage French posters advertising chocolates in my shop.

Vintage French Poster Advertising Chocolate

Vintage French Poster Advertising Chocolate

The first one contains six images from the following brands: Delespaul-Havez, Cacao Kwatta, Chocolate Meyers, Chocolats Grondard, and Chocolat Pailhasson of Lourdes.

Vintage French Posters Advertising Chocolate

Vintage French Posters Advertising Chocolate

The second one advertises Chocolat Francois of Bourdeaux, Chocolate des Antilles, Chocolat Amieux-Freres, Chocolat Besnier, and Chocolat Antoine.

Buy them in my shop here.