Monday, August 10, 2015

A Peek at Some Pumpkins

I thought I would drop in quickly and show you a couple of pumpkin heads that I am particularly fond of.  I always love a pumpkin head, and one night, while lying awake in bed with characters screaming to get out, I had an idea for a vampire pumpkin head.  Soooo.........

Meet the JACKULAS!

Count Jackula on the left, Jackula on the right.
Dressed in striped pants, a vest with Swarovski crystal buttons, a lace collar and a black velvet cape, this guy sure is dapper! 

His face features dark shadows around his eyes and tiny clay fangs.  He carries a vial of blood and has his trusted bat soaring from a wire on his wrist.
Jackula is slightly smaller, with short pants, striped stockings, lace collar, vest and velvet cape.  He also carries a vial of blood.

I think he looks a little bit older than the first one.  Something about the way I sculpted the cheeks I think. 
I hope you like them! I'd love to hear your thoughts!
I can't wait to bring all my new characters out for their first show.  I'm excited for the show season, but I wish the days were not zooming by so quickly!  I still have far more characters in my head than will ever get made!  I guess that's better than having the idea well run dry, right? 
Have a great day! 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Three Little Pigs....and One Big Bad Wolf

If you have followed my blog for any amount of time, you know that Halloween and Christmas are my favorite characters to create.  Soon I will be filling this space with posts about ghosts and ghouls, Santa and Snowmen, and lots of other holiday characters.  I thought I would take some time today to show you a few 'non-holiday' characters, just for fun.

I've always loved the story of the Three Little Pigs.  I have two very specific memories of that beloved classic.  You might think these are stories from when I was a very small child, but in fact, I was 'older' in both of them. 

In the first one, I am 12 years old, a 6th grader, and it's Thanksgiving in Nebraska.  My aunt and uncle have come from Texas to spend the holiday with us. It's my 'duty' to entertain Brent, their three year old son.  He's a good little boy, and he loves to be read to.  Quickly he latches on to The Three Little Pigs.  I would not be exaggerating when I say I must have read that book at LEAST 50 times in three days.  We even had two versions of where the pigs get eaten, and one where they run away.  He liked the one where they got eaten the best, and I couldn't fool him into reading the other one---just for variety. 

Fast forward to my 15th birthday party.  One of my good friends celebrates her birthday just 4 days after mine, so we throw a joint slumber party at my house.  (What were my parents thinking?)  Sixteen teenaged girls, up all night, giggling!  My sister is visiting with her 3 year old son, Jeremy, an adorable little boy who loves to entertain.  At three, he could recite the story by heart, his favorite part being the 'I'll huff and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house down."  At which point he would blow the house down, and my friends would squeal with laughter! 

So, when I set out to create this set of pigs and the accompanying Big Bad Wolf, it is with some fond memories in my heart. 

These pigs have been running around, squealing, in my head for a very long time.  I finally took some time this spring to let them out! 

The First Little Pig, as we all know, was not willing to work very hard.  He just wanted to dance and play.  He made his house of straw, because it was the easiest way to do it.  Since this pig was all about frivolity, I decided to dress him in white shorts and an orange shirt with a frilly collar.  These are NOT work clothes!  

The Second Little Pig was willing to work only slightly harder, to build his house from twigs.  So his clothes are a little big more rugged....cargo shorts and a striped t-shirt. 
We all know, The Third Little Pig was smart and a hard worker, willing to spend lots of extra time building a house the Big Bad Wolf could not blow down.  Laying brick is very hard work, and you need to be dressed accordingly.  He wears overalls, work boots, and has a bandana tied around his neck to wipe away the sweat. 
Of course the collection would not be complete without the Big Bad Wolf.  I love the way this guy turned out!  He has lots of sharp teeth and long claws.  He needed a 'prop', and I consulted my friend Marian, to see if it seemed tacky to add a jar of BBQ sauce.  She has the same quirky sense of humor I have, so she thought it was a great idea.  Turns out, everyone I've shown this to agrees!  YAY!!  What's pork without BBQ sauce, right?  (Does this put you in the mood for barbequed ribs??)
I'm really happy with this collection of beloved story book characters.  I'm glad I took the time to make these.  If nothing else, they will be a good conversation starter at my upcoming shows! 
Speaking of which, fall shows begin in less than two months!!  I'm beginning to feel the panic, and it's seriously "crunch time" in the studio.  I have lots of wonderful new characters to show you!  Right now, I'm working on Christmas ornaments!
I hope you have a great day! 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Summer is already half over!  The seasons always dash by so quickly, but especially so when I'm working on fall/Halloween/Christmas art in the summer! 

The coming of fall also means the much anticipated autumn issue of Art Doll Quarterly is on its way.  This is always my favorite issue of the magazine.  This year is no exception, and I'm especially pleased because FOUR of my Halloween art dolls made it into this issue!  I'm so thrilled!! 

Here is the cover, with a wonderful Day of the Dead Bride doll by Sylvia Smiser:

And here are the TWO PAGES that feature my dolls in the Show and Tell Gallery:

So perhaps I spoiled the surprise of seeing my work first-hand in the magazine, but you should still go pick up a copy for yourself.  There are so many wonderful artists represented, including some of my favorites:
LeeAnn Kress of Charmed Confections
Marguerite Noschese of My Witchy Women
Carly Smith of Boggy Bottom Bayou
Amy Beeler of The Enchanted Doodler
Robert Eberz of Grimm Grinz Studio
Scott Smith of Rucus Studio
Art Doll Quarterly will be available on newsstands August 1st.  You can find it at Barnes and Noble and Joanns Fabric and Crafts.  I think Michaels carries it, too.  Or you can order a copy online at
I hope you are all enjoying your summer!


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A New Beginning

There are few things I love more than a brand new sketch book!  It sort of reminds me of back-to-school days, when you got new spiral notebooks and number 2 pencils and a fresh box of crayons!  Nothing sweeter in my mind!  All things full of possibilities! 

This morning I pulled a fresh sketchbook from the drawer so I could begin sketching the 2015 Christmas ornament collection.  (I am well aware that it is June 10th.  I am well aware that most of you are thinking about swimming pools and baseball games and flip flops and all things summer.  Being an artist that sells HANDMADE holiday decorations, I have to be in a different mindset this time of year.)

I prefer small, spiral bound sketchbooks.  They are easily portable, and you can fold the book back on itself.  This one is 5.5" x 8.5", a perfect size for me.  I try to catch them on sale so I can have a back-up on hand.  And while a simple number 2 pencil is great, these days I like to use mechanical pencils.  This Pentel .7mm is my favorite. 

The first blank page.  Oh, the possibilities this holds! 

And here you have it!  The first sketch of 2015!  A sneak peak, if you will, of my ornament collection.  I've never done any ornaments with owls, and they are so popular right now, I thought it was time to try them out.  I have high hopes for this sketch.  I think it will make a really cute one!
As I've been sketching, I've had yesterday's production in the oven.  Snowmen.  I do KNOW it's summer!  (In fact, in Omaha yesterday we were flirting with 100 degrees!  The thermometer on my card read 100 for a split second!  UGH!!  Last week at the same time we were 64 and raining!  Talk about being all over the place, weather wise!)
It's time to get back to the studio.  More snowmen are calling my name!  Have a wonderful SUMMER DAY! 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Cute Little Cats

Hi, friends!  Remember when I used to blog about 2-3 times a week?  What happened?  Well, LIFE happened I guess!  I'm finally getting back to the studio, hopefully getting back on a really productive schedule, so maybe I will get here more often to share new pieces with you all!

Lately I've been working on some non-holiday pieces.  I get so wrapped up in creating Halloween and Christmas dolls that I tend to neglect all the everyday characters that I have running around in my head.  I'm so happy to be getting some of these pieces done, finally! 

I've always liked making cats, but usually they are just plain black cats, undressed, for Halloween.  I thought it might be fun to make some cats in pretty dresses for a change. 

As I was sculpting this calico cat, I wasn't sure I liked it all that much, but once I got her dressed up and detailed, I actually love this little cat.  I hope you do, too.

Meet Posie Patches...

She is all dressed up in a pretty spring dress and carrying a bouquet of lovely flowers.  Isn't she precious?

Some of you may already know that I lost my beloved cat, Penny, suddenly in January.  I knew I would want another cat, and I searched the Nebraska Humane Society obsessively a few times a day looking the that purr-fect feline for our family.  With the young puppy, Rudy, in the house, I knew I couldn't get a shy cat.  I had a few 'near misses' before I found this young beauty.  (The NHS is a first come-first served shelter, and people before me adopted cats I had my eye on TWICE, and one other time the cat I thought I wanted had a 'fearful of dogs' remark on her chart.)  Well, it was worth the wait, because the right cat came along two weeks ago.  Here is a picture of the newest addition to the family, taken right before I brought her home. 
Lily is a 6-month old tortie, with a TON of personality!  She is sassy, and likes to talk a lot.  She is a championship cuddler, and she already has Rudy learning his place!  She is not one bit afraid of him, and I think they are going to be great pals.  Rudy is feeling very jealous, so I've tried to give him lots of extra love and attention. 

She seems to be settling quite nicely into the studio!  (Her belly is shaved from her spaying surgery.) 
So, that's what I've been up to.  How about you?

Thursday, April 2, 2015


It's amazing to me that the last time I was here I was posting about Christmas, and now Easter is just days away!  Where does the time go? 

Mostly, I take the month of January off from working, since I usually am so crazy busy making custom orders right up until Christmas.  Last year was no exception, and I finished my last order at about 3:30pm on December 23rd!  Cutting it a little too close, I know!  So, January was a deserved month of rest from the studio!

I have been making my way back to work, and itching to get busy with all the new ideas I have banging around in my head.  But this week I had another custom order to work on, and I'm going to show it to you today.

A customer who purchased several snowmen from me at one of my fall art fairs contacted me about making a group of Easter bunnies for her.  Since I didn't do any spring shows this year, and I've been slow to get back to work and get things listed in my etsy shop, I wasn't sure I would be making any spring pieces.  It was nice to have to do these.....they were so much fun!

This is Ellie.  She is a small girl, about 6-1/4".  A pink or purple dress was requested, so I did a bit of both.  The polka dot fabric reminds me of Easter eggs, so I pulled the pink out to make her clay bodice, and then trimmed it with purple ribbon, crepe paper and Swarovski crystals.  She carries a basket with little eggs.

Tessa is wearing a teal dress, with a floral patterned skirt and clay bodice.  I didn't have crepe paper to match this color, so chose to use white.  I added the white lacy ribbon to balance the collar.  She has eggs and little yellow ribbon roses in her basket.  She is much taller than Ellie.

Vivian is much like Tessa in both size and the way she is dressed.  I love this vibrant violet color.  The little purple flowers in her basket are a nice match.

I was asked to create one little boy, wearing a short blue suit, and here he is.  I named him Will.  After taking this picture, I decided he needed a little 'something', so I added a lavender felt flower with a yellow Swarovski crystal center to the lapel of his suit.  It is s subtle but nice finishing touch. 

These two pictures show the difference in the sizes of the bunnies.  The client asked for two small ones and two larger ones.  The small girl and the boy are for her grandkids.  The bigger girls are for her daughters.  I will be delivering these tomorrow.  I hope she loves them as much as I do! 
I don't know about the rest of you, but I sure am ready for spring!  We didn't have that much snow in my neck of the woods, so we were lucky in that regard.  But we had some very bitterly cold weather.  Personally, I would rather have the snow!  Of course, someone from Boston or one of the other cities that got nailed really hard would probably disagree!  But now it's over, the trees are budding, tulips are blooming, and my lilac bush is about ready to pop out full of wonderfully fragrant blooms!  We had a nice rain storm last night, and the grass is even greener this morning!  It's a wonderful rebirth!
I hope you all have a joyous Easter!  I promise to be back soon!
Oh, one other thing to share with you.  This is one reason why my studio time has been compromised in recent weeks.  On December 6th I got the best Christmas present ever!  An adorable Brittany spaniel.  I named him Rudy. 

This is what he looked like a couple days after I got him.
This is what he looks like now!  It's amazing how fast they go from roly-poly puppy to looking like a real dog!  He's a handful, but a ADORE him! 


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

2014 Christmas Ornaments

Hello!  Yes, I am still among the living!  I can't believe how fast this whole year has gone by, but November was a complete and total blur!!  Christmas is quickly approaching and I haven't posted ONE THING I've made yet!  Shame on me!  Well, I'm going to make up for that right now.  Get ready for picture overload! 

Some of you already know that every year since 1990 (yes, you read that right!) I've been making polymer clay Christmas ornaments.  I design and create each one individually by hand.  Each design is limited to an edition of only 5 ornaments.  Someone recently asked me why I only make five of each.  Well, a couple of reasons.  One, I only have so much time, and I would much rather have a variety of designs than a dozen of one.  And two, to be honest, I'm pretty much 'over' the design by the time number 5 is finished....I'm ready to move on to another design. 

This year I started out the season with 12 designs.  Unlike previous years, I worked really hard for a couple of weeks in JULY and got ALL FIVE of every design finished so I wouldn't have to be scrambling to get them done like I have in the past.  I used to start by making 3 of the 5, and then filling in as they sold.  Well, I'm so happy to have done it differently this year!  It made my studio time much less stressful knowing that they were all finished. 

Here are photos of the first 12 designs.











I'm thrilled to say that only ONE of these ornaments remains available!  Thank you so much to my wonderful customers who snatched them up so quickly.  So quickly, in fact, that I had to get busy and make some more.  You see, I have a BIG family.  And they all EXPECT to have one hanging on their own trees come Christmas.  As the supply was dwindling, I did a count and realized that I didn't have enough to cover my family, keep a couple for myself, and still have a few to sell at the shows I still had to do.  So I added four new designs.



And then I added another one for good measure:
And because I sold a few more of those than I expected, I decided to add two more!

And now I am FINISHED!!  I am NOT making any more 2014 ornaments. 
I still have a VERY LIMITED number of these ornaments left, and I listed them in my etsy shop last night.  If you want one, you better hurry! 
Show season is finally winding down.  I have my last show this weekend at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  If you are in the area, come and see me! 
Even though shows are about over, I still have plenty of work to do in the studio.  So I better get to it! 
Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!