Dec 30, 2011

Here comes 2012!

To everyone, may 2012 be everything you want it to be!

For your viewing enjoyment (and because it's fun), I've posted some videos on YouTube, including my ratties getting into the liquor, the 3 needle-felted masterpieces that Amber Rose Lawrence created for us and Willow body-slamming herself on the beach:

Dec 29, 2011

Where did 2011 go?!

So, there are only 2 days left in 2011... While I don't normally make New Year's resolutions, I feel this year I have a need to do so! This moment of clarity came as I was clearing off the desk in my studio and I rediscovered the skull necklace that needs to be rebalanced that's been lying there since October... NOT October 2011 but October 2010!!! WOW! How embarrassing! The whole year seems to have disappeared in a foggy blur and I can't blame any big events or challenges that turned me into a Busy-Back-Soon (to borrow a phrase from Winnie-the-Pooh philosophy that needs no explaining). Artistically, I have done next to nothing, only recovering a little around Hallowe'en with my ratty cut-outs and food, while my paper mache pumpkin is (Guess! Come on, guess!) still not finished. What is wrong with me?! (Okay folks, focusing on THIS particular problem. ;} )

So, resolutions:

1.) Do something creative/artistic every week. On purpose. Plan it. Schedule it. Do something to make it happen or it won't. It doesn't have to be sewing/soft sculpture, it can be pop-up cards or paper mache or photography or anything that makes something and uses my imagination and problem solving.

2.) Bellydance twice a week. It only takes 30 minutes/session, do it! Feels good in many ways (the stretching feels pretty amazing), good for me, uses those co-ordination body movement brain cells that are stuck in a "Huh?" rut.

3.) Do new things with Willow. Her brain cells are also falling asleep and the dis-connectedness I feel will be greatly reduced if we do stuff together. Again, 15 minutes means a lot. Do it.

4.) Take time to sit and relax with Mom. I don't have to list all the reasons why this is important.
SO, my goals are not lofty. I think it's all a matter of S-T-O-P-P-I-N-G and asking, "Okay, what's important here? What will make this day a good one?"

By the way, we did get a sugar dusting of snow for Christmas Eve and Monday we got a decent amount! Yeah! It was wet and sticky and made everything look beautiful!

Dec 22, 2011

All I want for Christmas...

I would be beyond thrilled to find these slippers under the Christmas tree! Wow! Sadly, they are not available, they were created for a print ad for foot cream; the ad was dreamt up by the Dm9 Jaymesyfu advertising agency in the Philippines back in 2007.

But I can still dream! Next year I'll write to Santa!

I did, however, receive a most wonderful gift from a dear new friend who shares a passion for bats and all things Krampus! She sent to me a copy of "Christmas Curiosities: Odd, Dark and Forgotten Christmas" by John Grossman. Not only are there lovely Krampus images and other scary delights, but dead birds like the one below. A dead bird on a Christmas card? What were they thinking? It's a mystery... and I thought I was alone in my weirdness!

Thank you, Rose! :)

Dec 19, 2011

Happy Solstice!

In 2 days we'll have the shortest day and the longest night of the year.

"Literally meaning “sun standing still”, solstice occurs when the sun reaches its highest or lowest point in the sky at noon. At the winter solstice, December 22, the sun is directly overhead at noon along the Tropic of Capricorn and the day is shortest in the northern hemisphere. This has traditionally been a time of celebrations involving light, greenery, fire, and the return of the sun. Such midwinter festivities have left their mark on the ways Christmas has been observed."

– from The World Encyclopedia of Christmas by Gerry Bowler

Happy Solstice everyone! Take a moment to light a candle and spare a thought for the wind and the wolves, the trees and the fishes, the soil and the water. And of course, welcome back the sun!

Making Christmas

Ah, the smell of baking... Mom and I have been whipping up some really wonderful treats, deciding not to buy any cookies this year and make what we want. (We did still buy chocolates. :) )

So, here's everyone's favorite: Chocolate Carmel Thumbprints! Wow... you squish in a piece of Caramilk into each cookie and the result is awesome! All they need now is a dusting of icing sugar. (If you want it, just email me for the recipe.)

Then I made Chrusciki for the first time ever! It's quite a process, and since we don't have a deep frier I used the fondu pot, setting it into the sink for safety. Roll, cut, fry, dry... it went well and luckily I decided to 1/2 the recipe because it takes a while and I made 92 cookies (also awaiting icing sugar in this photo)! (Just look up "chrusciki" on

These are supposed to look like "angel wings" but try as I might they turned out looking like... deep fried squid? Ah, Hallowe'en... Only 318 days away and I already have a new recipe!

Dec 14, 2011


Wow! Check out this KrampusLauf on YouTube! Awesome! Look at those costumes and HOW MANY there are!!! Why don't we have this here!? Thank you, Melanie, for the link!

I found this most unusual Krampus in a book, "The World Encyclopedia of Christmas" by Gerry Bowler. He's almost a pet here, not as humanoid as other images. Still, he's definitely a demon, definitely creepy and definitely dangerous! Look at that tongue!

(Sorry for the not-so-great scan, I didn't want to snap the book's spine.)

Dec 10, 2011


For the last 9 days, perhaps longer, my email has been spotty at best. My website is also un-editable. Why? My internet provider is having serious issues and everything is buggered up.
When will this be resolved? WHO KNOWS?!!! Sorry for the inconvenience and, yes, I'm looking for a new provider!

UPDATE, December 19: While I don't have a new provider yet, I have a new home for my websites! They now live in BC, on Glidehosting's server. Thank you Dave for making this migration nearly effortless! You guys and gals are amazing!! So my new email is

Dec 7, 2011

A Haunted 2012!

Okay, so you're Christmas shopping... If you're looking for that perfect gift for the ghouls and goblins on your list, consider the "Haunted Canada 2012" calendar! I just received my copy and it's really quite wonderful! Each month's spread is a collage of gruesome goodness, and it'll help you keep that Hallowe'en mood all year long! Perfect! You can get yours at and Hector's speedy at shipping it out in time for the longest, darkest night of the year: Solstice! (You can see lots of the collages on his website.)

Thank you, Hector!

Dec 6, 2011

Frohe Krampus Nacht!

My dear Readers and Friends,

Happy Krampus Night!

(I could wear my horns to work tonight... but I don't think that would go over too well.

It would be fun, though.)

Dec 2, 2011

Wanting meaning

I had to turn the radio off tonight to stop the Christmas music. One more tune and I was going to start throwing things. Christmas is such an insincere time of the year, all that "kindness, hope, goodwill to all" so rarely translates into action. Yeah, then tell me what did you do to make the world a better place in the name of Christmas?

I want magic!

I'll be happier when December is over...

In the meantime, I did receive a most amazing gift today. (Rose, thank you!) In an envelope from Rose there was an envelope from Hungary and in the envelope was a Krampus postcard! WOW! I'm just thrilled! (If you want to read about Krampus, try

This is a scan of the postcard.
So, perhaps I'll skip the Christmas mumbo-jumbo, focus on a Krampus and Solstice celebration (far more sincere) and take great, honest pleasure in real friendships.

Nov 29, 2011

Instructions for an ark, anyone?

It's raining... non-stop. It's not helping with the lack-of-Christmas-spirit thing... plus the crazy people on the news have kinda fouled any headway I was making. (Pepper-spray? Really?!) What's happening with people, we are so messed up!

My single pumpkin sprout was joined by two new babies, that's rather wonder-full! So cute!

We did bake 3 kinds of cookies on the weekend, they turned out pretty great, but I think I need snow. Lots.

In more exciting and happy news, I just sent in my submission to Teddy Bear Review, as Stephanie Finnegan requested material for an article about "What are you doing in 2012?" It just so happened that I was discussing a collaboration with Tammi Beaulieu and so I was able to send Stephanie our plans to create something together! I really do need to re-focus and get back to making things, I've gone stale and need to find my passion again... Working with Tammi is definitely going to help as my lady bear will need to be awesome enough to be paired with one of her dragons!!!

And by the way: 2012 is the Year of the Dragon, and, according to the Chinese Calendar, rats play nicely with dragons...

Nov 26, 2011

The taste of memories

With help from Darcie (thank you so much!!), I was able to find a recipe for a treat that I have long craved: chrusciki! Not that I knew what they were called... I only remember them from my grandmother and from long-ago German Christmas pot-luck gatherings.

You can find the recipe at, I'll be trying it out soon! Tomorow looks good, maybe the smells will create some Christmas spirit.

Nov 21, 2011

To you, they're Brandy Crisps...

Today I came across this, in the November issue of "Taste of Home" magazine. Wow, and they don't sound too difficult. The brandy in the cream should make them quite decadent... We're going to make a batch for Christmas.

And of course, you see the Hallowe'en potential!? Fried toad flesh maybe? Tint the cream green (with spinach powder) or red, maybe add some berries or raisins for gut bits and it'll look awesome!

Nov 18, 2011

Trying, trying...

Okay, cookies like these might get me into the Christmas mood (instructions are here:

But only after a hearty breakfast!

Nov 16, 2011

So, perhaps I should celebrate a success: I did create 3 rat silhouettes out of fiberboard with battery tea lights for eyes! I left the fiberboard white so they would show more in the dark and also had an extra tea light behind each one.

Here they are on their big night, pretty cute I think!

Also, visiting Elora during "Monster Month" was a highlight. At the Twilight Zoo during Scare Fair (love these names!), we met Tim Murton and Julie and I very much want to be part of this amazing Hallowe'en event in 2012. There are lots of possibilities, from helping set up to having a booth to perhaps supplying treats for an opening or closing party?? They need volunteers, so if you can help, scream it out! Visit to see some of the amazingly beautiful and spooky paper and fiber mache creatures.
Look at the joy in these dancing demons! Who would not want to join in?!

Nov 14, 2011

Pumpkin fate

So what happens to Jack-o-lanterns after Hallowe'en?

Well, the non-organic ones, like this stunning creation in the center by the Gothic Gourd lady herself, Stacy Saman, gets carefully packed away with the other Hallowe'en treasures to shine again another year.

The real pumpkins, if they're lucky, get to take part in a Pumpkin Parade, like this one where people from all over town came to drop off their Jacks of all kinds, showing amazing creativity!

And then?

Well, again, if they're lucky they get to go to a boar farm and be devoured with gusto!

Things not done...

... I have a list. A long list. The year is almost out and 2012 is brewing on the horizon.

I really wanted to use these for a meal for Hallowe'en... very cool veggie pasta.

And I really wanted to make something like this for the Online Hallowe'en Studio Tour.

So now the green grass pasta will become something Solstice-y and the ghost... well, it's a long winter.

I think I have to come to a full stop, enough running around with 1/2 a chicken head and decide what I really want. Especially for next Hallowe'en.

Nov 12, 2011

What's your dream tattoo?

I thought I'd try something new! I really enjoy creating my dressed lady bears: each has such personality and character. So why not invite you, yes you dear collector, to imagine your ideal lady bear and we will create her together!

A big part of these ladies is their tattoos and piercings, so I created a gallery of tattoos for you to see what's possible and let your imaginiation free! So please enjoy the

and please email me if you have any questions...

(Weird truth: the wilder the creation, the faster she finds a home!)

Nov 11, 2011

baking Krampus

With the falling snow (where did all the leaves go?!), it's become evident that that other Holiday (you know, Christmas) is on its way. The older I get, the less I like Christmas. I am already sick of all the stuff in the stores and it's only November 11th!!! Seriously, can't they at least wait until after Remembrance Day?
Anyway, can't stop a train wreck, can you? So, what do I like about Christmas? I like baking, and last year we made Krampus cookies!!! Yesterday I hunted for a cookie cutter, but the only one I could find isn't very good, but I did find
instructions on how to make your own cutters, and sells a cookie cutter making kit, or even just the metal refills for the kit. Hmmm... I'm thinking maybe to create some Christmas joy I need to Hallowe'en it, with a little devilish mirth!

Here's a close-up of last year's creations, chocolate cookies with red sugar glitter horns, yellow mini-Smartie eyes and dried cranberry tongues. I used two shapes, a crescent moon and a heart, but it was slow going.

Pumpkin 2012?

One happy Hallowe'en surprise presented itself when I was cutting into and cleaning our Jack-o-lanterns-to-be! Sprouted seeds! Deep within the dark cozy "womb" of one of our pumpkins, several seeds had grown roots and were sprouting!

How magical! We planted these sweetlings and one survived the shock, and here he is, being unimpressed today with another shock: snow!!!

So, what am I going to do with this baby? Can I keep him alive all winter, until I can plant him outside? How do you slow down a pumpkin's growth?

Nov 9, 2011

Getting over the blues...

I can't believe Hallowe'en is over... Yesterday I packed away the last of the decorations (although I simply couldn't fold away the child-sized skeleton, it would just be wrong! He's living in my studio for now.)
I've been rather depressed (where have all the ghosties gone?) and then I got this lovely package in the mail!

When you receive something this creative, you know you're blessed. Real leaves are taped onto the box, so simple yet so elegant! I received this from Sally J. Smith of Green Spirit Arts, one of my
Online Hallowe'en Artists' Studio Trick or Treat artists, and inside I found the 2012 calendar and greeting cards I purchased, along with many special thank you treats. These are some of the cards:

To see more of Sally's amazing work, please visit

Oct 24, 2011

Why dogs aren't allowed in cemeteries

I have a cake in the Kraft "Halloween Centre" gallery! Go to to see the gallery or directly to: If you want more details on how to recreate this cake, just email me.

I hope you're having fun with your Hallowe'en preparations. Here's a picture of my conjoined twins and partially eaten gingerbread men!
I'm so happy I found these cookie cutters!

Oct 15, 2011

Autumn's glory before the boo!

Wow, isn't Mother Nature awesome!? This is an aerial photo (that was front page on Tuesday's paper) of where I live in southwestern Ontario... simply gorgeous. Of course, things look quite different now as it's rainy and the wind is blowing hard, a lot of the pretty leaves are down. It's very October today... to help get in the mood for a creepy, branch-scratching scary Hallowe'en! I love it!
On the down side, I've managed to get a sinus infection and am laying low this weekend... bugger. Hopefully slowing down and taking care will hurry this infection along, I have to much Hallowe'ening to do!

Oct 6, 2011

Doll Master magazine

I'm so honoured to share this news with you! Back in February, I was approached by Alexandra Varenikova of "Doll Master" magazine, a Russian publication. She was looking for Canadian Teddy bear artists and had seen my work online: would I be interested in being included? YES! And so finally I received my copy and I'm entirely blown away by the quality of art in this magazine! Not only is the magazine a high-gloss publication, the doll art is breath-taking! Wow! And three of my girls are in there: Seian, Sarah Bratbie and Melusine!
(Click on the thumbnails to see full-sized images.)

Sadly, I don't know any Russian at all, do you? If you do, are you willing to translate these 3 pages? I'd very much appreciate it!! Please email me!

Oct 3, 2011

On top of the world!

So the Hallowe'en studio tour is up and running! The opening of the creaking gate went smoothly on Friday night, right around midnight and that marked the end of a long and hard climb... I didn't get to finish everything I'd planned on, but I'm very happy with the result. Furthermore, the artists all seem to be happy with the tour, as well as all the trick or treaters who have emailed... Here's to the bats!
I didn't finish my demon, he's still just an unfinished head... But there's still lots of time to create some of the Hallowe'en decorations I planned on making LAST year!!!

Sep 12, 2011

Maple Leaf Doll Show

We had a really great time! In fact, I think it was one of our best shows, because there was no pressure or anxiety and the atmosphere was really relaxed. Applause to Wade and Edythe and Judy!! Amazingly well organized and comfortable, thank you!

Here's my table, right by the entrance. It was an excellent spot.

It was a great place to meet with fellow artists and friends (thanks April for stopping by!) and meet new, incredibly talented folks! Deborah Downey of Altered Ego Artwerx became rather fond of Ceres the Rat and invited him over to her table. Before you could blink, he was cozying up to the Grandma'am Gnome and trying to get her peanut! She's a tough cookie, though, and even though she wasn't going to hand it over, they still became buddies and posed for a photo.

Aug 25, 2011

Meet the new litter!

The mini hedgies are born! Mist, Flint, Sunny, Dune and Sky are ready for the September 11th Maple Leaf Doll Club show in Cambridge!

As you can see, Mist and Flint are a happy couple. These two would make an excellent wedding or anniversary gift if presented in a basket or so. They're only about 2 inches long in "Mecki" mohair and synthetic.

And these sweeties? Made in a shorter "Mecki" mohair and various mohairs for their faces and tummies, it's amazing how different they all are!

Aug 19, 2011

Warm and gooey

It is not even close to being cool enough to enjoy this dish, but I wanted to share and tease you with a wonderful potential Hallowe'en treat. If served at a ghoulish gathering, what would you call it? Puree of spider guts? Lizard brains? Snail ooze? Ghoul poop?

Aug 7, 2011

Vacationing with the faeries

What a magical sunset! We spent a week in a rented apartment right on the beach in Port Elgin, Ontario, and this view was maybe 30 paces from our deck. It was truly a lucky find, as this was Willow's vacation and it's really hard to find a dog-friendly rental! (No AC, though!)

The main reason why we picked the long weekend was to be able to take part in the 9th annual Lantern Festival on July 31st at dusk around Fairy Lake. It was a very warm and sticky night and we were completely exhausted by our wanderings that day in the heat... believe it or not, we sat in the air conditioned car to refresh ourselves! How desperate is that!

Luckily by the time we reached Southampton (a 8-10 minute drive) we were revived enough to take part in the magical event.

Look at all the people who came out! In this photo children of all ages prepared their lanterns for the parade.

This "Wishing Wall" let you write a wish on an origami crane for the faeries to read, and perhaps grant!

Here's the path, lit with strings of lights, to guide the lantern bearers along...

It was truly wonderful, we were all very happy to take part, although poor Willow was dragging her feet as we paraded around the lake.

Here's a cool tidbit: Fairy Lake is a natural lake and one that has always been a source of danger. Parents keep their children away for although the water is only 1.5 m deep, the muck is 3.5 m deep! A natural location, obviously, for faeries and other water folk, like kelpies who'd love to drag you under...

While enjoying our deck and hiding from the sun, I worked on 5 mini hedgehogs, who will all find themselves beachy names, I think.

The only down-side, besides the heat, was that both Port Elgin and Southampton are very dog un-friendly: no dogs on the beach, or even on the boardwalk in Southampton! The trail to Gobles Grove at least let us discover a beach that we used discreetly in the early mornings so Willow could enjoy playing fetch in the water and rolling in the wet sand.

And on our last evening, this incredible sunset featuring a flying horse or dragon filled the sky!