Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Elves Themselves....

I know I have said this before, but that talent and warmth of the creative community still blows me away. Take the lovely Vivian Neroni, for example.... she has this fabulous blog where she chronicles all of her latest crafty endeavors. She is one of those talented folks that seem to be able to master any art technique. So I was beyond overjoyed when I learned that she would be my partner for her 2010 Littlest Elf Swap.

Between crossing state lines to teach, gobbling down my Turkey dinner, shipping off boxes of Polka Dotted Pixies, and picking myself off of the floor after opening up my grad school tuition bill (YIKES!!!) , I was able to sneak some studio time in to whip up this little guy..... (Snow Pixie Class takers,.. do you recognize the body shape?)

And in exchange, Viv sent me this wonderfully whimsical fellow...

(Thanks for the picture Viv) He is gracing the front parlor as I type.
Now after you are done reading this post, head over to Viv's blog and check out many of the other lovely elves from the swap. Sooo much talent out there! It's exciting!

Since my camera is M. I. A. (I hope you are reading this, Santa, or husband, hint, hint) and my son will allow me use his camera phone provided I pay a small fee, I am only able to share photos of last year's Yuletide Decor....
(Music Parlor)

Dining Room

Awesomely goofy vintage carolers in my kitchen windows. Makes dish washing a delight! (well... almost)

As I am sure this will be the last post of the year for me, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who read this blog, to all who write the awesome blogs that contribute to my laundry pile procrastinating, and to everyone who purchased or took a class from me over the past year. I am truly grateful for your friendship.

Happy Happy Happy Christmas and see you in the New Year!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sale today!

Just a quick post to remind that I have a 25% off everything sale happening in my etsy shop today only (I extended the hours until approximately 5pm since we are traveling today) At last check only 9 items were left! Lots of good stuff on Etsy today! Happy Shopping :-)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Etsy Sale on Friday...

Whew it's been a long time since posting! Between a recent job switch...more about that later (spending a couple of weeks doing 2 jobs), Art Fair season and a short visit from the flu, my blogging has been once again been back burner-ed. I do, however, have something to show for my absence.... these sweet new wintertime offerings will be available on Etsy very soon. And if you check in on Friday morning (from 6am-12:00pm pst only) all items will be discounted by 25%! In case I don't post again this week, I want to take the opportunity to wish you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

(My anthropomorphic salt and pepper shaker collection)
I hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween.
For the 3rd year in a row we ran out of candy. And we like giving out the good stuff. So it was a mad rush to the grocery store for some last minute chocolate.

This Menu Plan Monday thing has been great in assisting me in the time management battle as I frantically have been preparing for upcoming shows, filling orders and prepping for classes. Here's what's on the menu this week:

Monday: BBQ Ribs, broccoli slaw, macaroni salad
Tuesday: Out to eat and see a movie to celebrate my daughter's Birthday!
Wednesday: Martha's Perfect Macaroni and Cheese, green salad
Thursday: Crock Pot Roast Beef Au Jus, Assorted Fruits and Raw veggie tray
Friday: Leftover Night
Saturday: I am teaching (woohoo!), so am picking up a Pizza (my most favorite food), Green salad
Sunday: Chicken Parmesan, tomato basil and zucchini pasta, salad

Hope everyone's week is off to a great start!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More Crafty Classes Coming Up!

This next one is practically in my backyard. I'll be teaching students how to craft this sweet little Snow Pixie at About Memories and More in Flagstaff, AZ on November 7th.

And.....If you are in the Southern California area, I will also be offering the Snow Pixie class at Paper Tales in gorgeous San Diego on December 5th. Check out their lovely website here

Also, I have at least three more classes coming up in the near future. I'll teach how to create a Santa in paper clay at Mystic Paper in Mesa, AZ on December 12, and will be teaching two classes at the Art Opera in Red Bank, New Jersey on April 8-9. I am also planning to teach in Los Angeles next July for one of Kim Caldwell's renowned Artistic Affair events! (Stay tuned for more info on these awesome events!)

These opportunities are such blessings as I truly love to share my craft. In fact, I am always looking for more opportunities to teach, so if you have a shop in your town that offers classes or a crafty event in mind, please let me know.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Menu plan Monday

So that Garlic Cheddar chicken I put on the menu last week.... huge thumbs up all around the table... here's what's cookin' in the Fern Cottage Kitchen this week.....

Monday-Simple Grilled Chicken, Rice, salad
Tuesday-Sausage and Peppers, with pasta aglio e olio, green salad
Wednesday- Chicken and noodles, broccoli
Thursday- Meatball and Mozzarella Calzones, green salad
Friday-Chinese Takeout
Saturday-Tacos, rice and beans (carry over from last Sunday, since we didn't make this after all)
Sunday- Spaghetti Bolognese, homemade bread, green salad

I'll be back in a couple of days with some exciting announcements regarding upcoming workshops! Hope your week is off to a good start :-)

(PS. Be sure to check out Org. Junkies Menu Plan Monday for more awesome meal planning inspiration!)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Work/Life/Business/Balance and Beyond

Fall is definitely in the air here. My giant (silver leaf maple?) tree in the front is just about finished putting on her golden costume. I snapped this pic while saying goodbye to the last of the shady green leafiness that I have enjoyed all summer.

Change is in the air too! I recently was delighted to receive a letter in the mail confirming my acceptance into graduate school, and beginning in mid January, I will will be pursuing my Master's degree. I am not sure yet how much this will affect my full time job ( but I am anticipating a huge change with that as well, which I will share when I am able) and I am determined to continue to maintain, and perhaps even grow The Polka Dot Pixie buy adding more pieces to my line, pursing more wholesale accounts and creating more workshops so that I can share my love of paperclay sculpting! In short, I plan to spend the next few years pursing my passions and and focusing more on my family, as the kids are growing so quickly and before I know it, will be up and out of the house, pursuing their own dreams!

In the meanwhile, life has gotten incredibly busy... but all happy busy. And have been taking advantage of some of the wonderful time management tools and advice that I found while surfing around (hooray for Google Calendar!!!). I have been a long time believer in menu planning, and now more than ever, I need it t help balance my schedule and bring some order in what can be a very chaotic life. To keep inspired, I jumping on the Menu Planning Monday bandwagon!

I hoping this will keep me both organized, and accountable for cooking more at home, and I know the planning will help me make more time for sculpting! I will need it as the Christmas orders and craft fairs are already underway and time is so limited.

If you are a busy mom, have a hectic schedule, or need some quick meal ideas while your crafty schedule fills up, I encourage you to visit Organizing Junkie's website to get some yummy inspiration.

The post below is my plan for the week....

(My first) Menu Plan Monday :-) !

(above.. my vintage but functional, 1920's gas stove)

Okay I hope I am doing this right... click on the links where applicable for recipes

Monday-Carmel Apple Pecan Chops with Potato Pancakes
Tuesday-Leftover Night (we had a busy kitchen this weekend and mom is working late!)
Wednesday- Garlic Cheddar Chicken, Spinach salad with vinaigrette
Thursday-Shepard's Pie (check back for recipe)
Friday- Cheese Pizza, green salad
Saturday- Going to an Anniversary Party!
Sunday- Tacos, rice and beans (My mom-in laws authentic recipes)

Check out more awesome menu plans at Org.Junkie!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Guess Who.....

Since I had been doing a Storybook and Nursery Rhyme Series for PFATT, (and recently inspired by that awesome cool vintage Ray Harryhausen animated short) it was clear that it was high time I crafted a doll in honor the lady herself... Ms. Mother Goose!

She was sculpted from paper clay over a padded wire armature. Her dress was crafted entirely from crepe paper, including the super cute polka dot skirt from crepe I purchased at Castle in the Air.
She carries a happy little hand sculpted goose and a full color Nursery Rhyme Book (in the public domain) that I reproduced in miniature form.

Ms. Mother Goose is number 10 in the series of twelve that I have been creating over the past year and will be available on PFATT at midnight on October 10. Blog readers and newsletter subscribers get free shipping!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The residents at Fern Cottage thank you :-)

Thanks to everyone for keeping us in your thoughts this weekend regarding the fire. School was canceled (as they are currently being used as emergency shelter for evacuees) and I have taken the day off from work today, but other than that, thankfully, we have been able to stay put.

I have been following the National Forest's service's Twitter feed. (I love technology).
The high winds have been keeping the helicopters and planes grounded, but I think the cooler temperatures helped, and so far, they have been able to keep the fire from growing worse.

Thank you also for the sweet comments on the house. Below is a picture of it from 1916.
The little girl on the porch was named Fern, and according to our research, grew up in the community and lived here for years. I like to call the house "Fern Cottage" in her honor.

If you compare this photo with the one in the post below, you can see subtle differences in the architecture. I think the gingerbread was changed out 30 years ago, and at some point, someone added an extension to the front parlor. But the fence is still the same. It's a really sweet house to come home to. Thanks again to everyone who has kept it (and us) in your thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Twin Fire

(Image from AZFamily.com)

Burning only a few miles away from my home pictured below...

I can see the flames tearing up the other side of the mountain and they have evacuated homes about 6 blocks away from me. We have some bags packed just in case...Hopefully they get this thing contained today. Please keep my little community in your thoughts and prayers .



Friday, October 2, 2009

Sale in My Etsy Store! This weekend only!

Well it's time to make room for Christmas, so I recently discounted everything in my Etsy Shop by $ 5.00 to $10.00.

And for blog readers and email subscribers I am offering free shipping! Just be sure to mention that you are taking me up on the free shipping offer in the "note to seller" field at checkout and I will refund you the shipping cost! Happy weekend everybody! :-)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Little Miss Muffet

What a perfect way to come back from a small downgrade in screen time... a vintage claymation movie courtesy of Archive.org. I think this will provide inspiration for a future Polka Dot Pixie Doll....

Hope this put a smile on your face like it did for me :-)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Turn off the TV week?

Today begins a week long nationwide effort to encourage Americans from coast to coast to "unplug" (not just televisions, but computer screens as well). At the clinic where I work, the television screens that keep patients occupied while they wait to get called back to see their docs will be turned off.
I don't watch tons of television (outside of Lost and The Office), but I do often (like, every single day) find myself glued to my chair in front of the computer and before you know it, my behind has fallen asleep, I have consumed more than my fair share of pistachios and time has run out to get my workout in (again!). While I can't completely unplug (have to use the computer for work, to list stuff in my Etsy shop , and check customer emails), I have decided to do a modified version for the next week by limiting myself to a 1/2 hour a day of non-work related computer time. It will be an experiment of sorts. If you, like myself, spend too much time with your laptop, I encourage you to take a week off (or a modified week off) and rediscover some of the things that you haven't done as much since the internet web-volution. Myself, I have a million library books that I need to read, lots of new dolls to dream up, and a treadmill that has been a bit neglected, so I am sure the week will fly by!
See you all next week :-) (((((hugs))))))
(Just so you know, I will be checking emails at least twice a day)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Quick Post

....to encourage you to pop on over to the Martha Stewart Dreamers into Doers and vote for the fabulous Papier Mache Artist Johanna Parker! Her work is truly unique!

Etsy Update on Friday!!!

Just a quick heads up that I will be listing more than 15 newly crafted Halloween goodies in my Etsy store on Friday night.
Lots of super cute ghoulies will be available for purchase! Here's a sneak peak!

In the meanwhile, this kooky Halloween Kitty is available at Spookytime Jingles!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What a Blast (and a quick survey)!!!

I had such a wonderful time teaching at Mystic Paper in Mesa! All of the students did so well. All in all, we had 6 students with a varied backgrounds and experience in paper clay sculpting. Each participant did a fabulous job and created Party Kitties that were completely unique, even while following my basic pattern.

The class was a blast, and I am so happy that I was invited to come and teach again in December! Next time will be crafting Santas! Class size will again be limited to 8 or less, so if you live in or are planning to be in the Phoenix area around December 12, please be sure to contact the awesome ladies over at Mystic Paper to sign up.

In the meanwhile, can I ask you to help me choose a Santa project for the next class? Take a look at the Santa photos below, and tell me what you think would be the most fun to learn...

Which Santa making class would you want to take?

View Results
Create a Blog Poll

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mr.Mad Hatter

Now available at PFATT Marketplace!

Free shipping and a 10% discount for for blog readers!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


One of my favorite things to do is to share my passion for sculpting with others by is by teaching! I am so blessed to have the opportunity to do so next weekend right here in Arizona at Mystic Paper!

Students will learn how to sculpt this sweet little Paper Clay Halloween Party Kitty. If you're in the area, pop on over to the Mystic Paper website! I will also have a vendor booth at the event and will have a limited number of Halloween goodies for sale.

And coming up...
I'll be sharing more about this event soon! In the meanwhile, check out the Art Opera Event site at http://artoperanj.blogspot.com/

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cottage Bathroom redo...

Earlier this year, we tore out a hideous bathroom, complete with peachy floral wallpaper ala' 1982, soggy vinyl covering up rotting pine wood floors, and a tub and toilet that had seen better days.

Since our house was built in 1895, we wanted to do a retro- renovation. So with a small budget and a wonderful contractor: here's the result.....

The renovation started with a tear out of old walls and floors. We replaced them with this octagon and dot porcelain tile pattern, new drywall, and bead board painted a creamy white. The claw foot tub was rescued out of another family's house who were doing a modern renovation. It fits our aesthetic perfectly! The shower curtain came from the Shabby Chic collection at Target. I have had this curtain for a loooong time! I took it with me to the hardware store so that they could match the wall paint perfectly.

The pedestal sink takes up much less room than the old vanity, and the mirror doubles as a medicine cabinet for extra storage.

This little cabinet is one of my favorite flea market finds. I cleaned off the glass (which was grimy and sticky), spray painted her to match the white bead board. I filled it up with antique talc tins, pretty soap boxes, collected seashells and some sweet vintage posies.

Old school photographs of flapper-esque bathing beauties adorn the walls framed up in 2 for $5.00 resin frames. Instead of hanging a window curtain, I installed faux stained glass in an antique pattern with Decra-Led window film and real leading.

Hope you have enjoyed the tour! I'll be back next week with some exciting announcements!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Drumroll please......

And (according to Random.org) the winner is.......

Harley Dee!!!! Harley Dee has a cute blog here: Koala Fuzz.

I'd post pics of the "Random Number Generator" but my image editing software keeps crashing. I think I am better off going to bed early.

Thanks so much to everyone who left a comment or sent an email. I can't express how much I truly have appreciated all of your support and encouragement. ((((hugs))))) and goodnight everyone :-)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

On PFATT tonight....

At midnight Pacific.....

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum

After seeing that movie preview, my hands stated itching for clay.
These guys are number 8 in the series of Storybook Dolls that I am offering on PFATT throughout 2009. They were individually hand sculpted in paper clay and painted and finished with acrylic washes and glass glitter. They stand upon a harlequin painted wooden box (very fussy to paint that pattern, but worth it!). I think it looks like they are having a lively conversation. What do you think they are saying? Their hats indicate that they might be on the way to a party? Perhaps someone has invited them to tea?

Thanks to all who left such sweet comments about the magazine feature. There's still time to enter the giveaway. I'll draw the winners tomorrow night and announce it on the blog on Tuesday. Happy Sunday!!!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hot off the presses!!! (and a Giveaway!)

Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Crafts!
With lots of creative projects to get your holiday mojo going, including.....

Last March, the magazine's editor very kindly emailed me and asked me if I would be interested in submitting a project for their 2009 issue. Of course (dancing around and bouncing and shouting for joy) I said yes! And a few months later, there he is. A very sassy Santa indeed!

My sweet husband insisted we buy all of our grocery store's copies. I talked him down to 4 copies, 2 for me (one to cut up and put it a frame for when I do craft shows) and one to keep. The other to give to my mom in law, who has always encouraged me to make dolls (even though I have given her some horrid ones when I first started sculpting. She still displays them with pride.)

And because all my fellow bloggers and blog readers have also been such a encouragement to me, the final copy I bought I'd like to offer as a giveaway! Simply leave a comment and share what your favorite holiday craft is. Do you make ornaments? Embroider? Handmade gifts? Gingerbread Houses? Winners will be drawn 1 week from tomorrow.
Thanks so much for sharing in my goofy excitement :-)

Friday, July 31, 2009

This sweet little baby...

Is 16 today. It's such a cliche to say, but really.... where does all the time go? I'll never forget the day he was born, the thrill at the discovery that he had inherited one of his daddy's dimples, just in the left cheek, the little blue knitted cap they put on his head before letting me hold him for the first time, me, only 20 years old, utterly terrified but oh so in love with this perfect gift...the day my life changed forever.
(Geeeeeez, is it nomal to cry when blogging?)
Happy Birthday to my beautiful son Alex!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Unprecedented second post...

But Tim Burton is worth it....

Ooooooooooh!!!! I can't wait!!!!!

On a sunny Saturday....

I find myself wasting away a gorgeous morning (I should be catching up on housework and laundry after a long workweek and a short trip to L.A.)

Instead I have been lured by the contents of my google reader, the Etsy storque (love the There's no Place Like Here series) and the fabulous resource Archive.org. I wanted to share that last one with you in particular as I sit here typing away while Fats Waller sings to me in that rich, sweet, velvety jazz voice that I adore. Fats Waller was one of the great jazz pianists of the 1920's. Lots of his songs are in the public domain. Take a listen here and if you need a little portable lift, I highly suggest you download and add some of these tracks to your MP3 player....

All that Meat and No Potatoes

A Porter's Love Song to a Chambermaid

Abercrombie had a Zombie

You can save the tracks to your computer by clicking the file; save as; on your browser. Lovely!

(Vintage photo: Picnic on the beach obtained from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA )

...then whip up some lemonade, wrap up some sandwiches and go enjoy yourself a little picnic in this gorgeous, glorious summer we are so blessed to be enjoying. Happy weekend everyone :-)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like....

Christmas in July!!!!

So grab a cup of hot cocoa.. okay, a chocolate milkshake will work too :-) And check out my newest little addition to my Storybook collection for PFATT's annual holiday celebration.

This sweet little Santa was inspired by that famous Christmas song that had the kid version of me double minding my P's and Q's in order to make sure that my name made it on that famous list!

If you take a closer look, you can see lots of names... ..Whew, looks like I am a- ok this year. (Wait......That's the good list he's holding, right??? ) This Santa is in a miniature dollhouse scale with head hands and legs hand sculpted from paper clay. Vintage polka dotted fabric and aged cotton batting creates his coat. Even his little black buttons were hand formed from polymer clay.

Included in Santa's bag are hand crafted toys: a minty swirled paper clay ball, a cane created from wire and painted in a candy stripe, and a needle felted bear, complete with a polka dot tie.

This unique Santa will be available on PFATT Marketplace this Friday July 10. Blog readers will be offered free shipping this month.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Crafting before crafting was cool...

Does anyone remember Aleene's Creative Living? Way before the "handmade movement" was mainstream, Aleene's Creative Living was a daily hour long craft show that featured wonderful tutorials and crafty genius guests. They also had a monthly magazine and would come out with varoius crafty books. It was must see TV for me. I had a giant sketch pad, and would watch the show with it and pencil in hand, and draw out my favorite ideas . I believe it was Aleene's that introduced me to polymer clay which got me on the dollmaking path in the late 1990's. I really loved that show! As a stay at home mom at the time, it was just the type of show I needed to help me take a break from exhausting toddler chasing.

(above... one of the Aleene's books... I love crafty recycling!)

Sadly, Aleene's Creative Living went off the air awhile back, and it seems like since then, despite the popularity of crafting in general, other wonderful creative shows like Carol Duvall have also slowly disappeared.
I am happy to report that the ladies of Aleene's are now doing a weekly radio show that can be listened to and even downloaded here... This thrilled me to discover. It was like running into friends you haven't seen in years! I encourage you to give it a listen. The ladies also blog here. I think we need to start some kind of letter writing campaign to the television networks bring craft shows back! What do you think?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Office decor

I am super fortunate that my workplace allowed me to decorate my cubicle space as seen in this post . A month or so after that post, I was able to move into an available office... I wasted no time in dressing it up...

The view right as you walk in the door... vintage tablecloths tacked to the wall add some coziness. I want to slipcover those chairs!!!

The hutch on my desk.. forgive the mess. I prefer the little vintage lamp light to the overhead fluorescents. You'll notice one of the best children's books ever...The Little Engine that Could... leaning against the wall. Who need motivational speakers when you have that kind of truth so colorfully illustrated.

I purchased this unusual lantern from Castle in the Air

And these lovely lanterns are from the Crown and Crumpet's fabulous little boutique.

I love vintage toys. This cute metal carousel was a gift from my sister in law

The file cabinet plays host to an awesome hand painted umbrella that I found while antiquing in Phoenix this past wintertime. The stained glass window panel was a Christmas gift from my mom, brought back from an artisan shop in Mexico.

And the bookcase to hold office supplies and essentials (yes I actually have work in this place). The record player is great for impromptu dancing. It helps to put on some disco midweek to shake off a bad day!

I get lots of smiles from people who walk into my office. As my program serves clients who are over 50 years old, it's great to see their faces light up when they recognize the linens that their mom had.

We spend so much time in our workplaces that I think it's essential to make them as comfortable as you can. My job in particular, can be very stressful and emotion filled (I coordinate a cancer screening program). So having a warm and welcoming office (complete with the record player) helps me get through the hard parts of the day, when I'd rather be up in my studio, making dancing cats out clay.

Happy July everyone!