Answering the Mail: Loofahs, Pumpkins, and The Velveteen Cow

Darn Blogger. I’ve only been trying to post this thing for three days….

I put some loofah seeds in the mail Saturday for those of you that asked. I have more available if anyone else wants to try this plant out.

I wish that I had seen this article by Mother Earth News before I tried growing this plant. Important safety tips:
— start the plants indoors early so that you can grow the plants to full maturity. I planted my seeds directly in the ground and it took about a month for them to establish themselves and start spreading.
— traing them up something, lest they spread across your entire garden.
— Butterflys and bees love the profusion of flowers. Beautiful, but be wary. One article I read recommended this plant for arbors over seating areas — I don’t think that’s a great idea.
— When they say harvest before first frost, they really mean it!
— If you want to try eating a few, harvest the plants at six inches or smaller. Peel (or scrape) the ridges and you’ve got something roughly like a zuchinni.

A search for recipes under the alternative spelling “luffa” brings up many interesting possiblities.

Pumpkins: For Cindra, who likes my pumpkin skin: I used a mix of orange, a small amount of a pre-blended heathery brown/orange, and brown. I blended, but not completely. That’s how I got the random streaks of color. I think she’s right — there is a resemblance to a muppet.

The Velveteen Cow
OK, now for the cow. Julie, at Floribunda, asked to see the Velveteen Cow that resulted from an early effort at drawing the cow for Moo Moue. All right, then, here it is:


Happy? Quit giggling! Actually, I realize what the problem was. When you take a life drawing class, one of the first thing an instructor talks about is that you have to draw the subjects as they are, not as we “know” them to be. (Oh, Lordy, how I remember blushing when I drew my first nude. By the next lesson, “it” was all just another part of the series of lines, shadows, and shapes to be formed. The Studmuffin is offended when I inform him of this. But I digress.)

Where was I? Oh, yes, the cow. The Velveteen Cow is the result of taking a real image of a cow and attempting to translate it to a graphic, or “cartoon” suitable for working in fabric. My mistake was not to go far enough, to go all the way back to creating the idea of a cow that the life drawing teacher warns against.

By removing small detail, straightening out complicated lines, and moving the eyes, I got a stronger image. Realistically, the eyes of a cow are set at the sides; for the purposes of my cow, the eyes had to become the cartoon buttons set in the front of the face. Not realistic, but recognizable.

I’m sure there are long discussions about this in graphic arts curricula and that I could have saved myself the headache by asking my brother — who happens to have a degree in graphic arts — how to do this. I excel at doing things the hard way…..


  1. mooooooo! I think your drawing looks very cow-ish; I’m always impressed by anyone who can draw something that looks like what it’s supposed to be!

  2. ask your brother? no way, much better to do it yourself. you did a fabulous cow! love seeing the first drawing – thanks.

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