This spring has been my busiest yet...and I love it! I haven't had time to blog but I've been super busy creating new items, fulfilling orders, preparing for workshops and getting ready to open a new ETSY shop!...more details on the new shop in my next post... but for now, here are some things that I have been working on for both M Ann M Creations and Watermelon Party.
A custom Hot Air Balloon project....
and some seasonal Surprise Balls.
If you'd like to order a class set of the Grad Cap Surprise Ball, let me know by June 14 (delivery in 1 week from order date).
This Toucan Surprise Ball is the 3rd in my deluxe collection. The toucan is made using yards and yards of crepe paper strips with a painted beak. He rests on a piece of real tree bark and his beak contains an extra treat inside!
New at my Watermelon Party Shop, this Owl Surprise Ball is the second in my deluxe collection. There will be a total of six different styles in this Winged Creatures Deluxe Collection set. The deluxe surprise balls are made with extra attention given to detail and construction making each one a work of art. Each one is suitable for decorative display. Even the prizes included are deluxe! Prizes are very special as they are one-of-a-kind, vintage or hard to find trinkets, toys and other little things.
New at my Watermelon Party Shop, this Flamingo Surprise Ball is the first in my deluxe collection. The deluxe surprise balls are made with extra attention given to detail and construction making each one a work of art. Each one is suitable for decorative display.
The prizes included are also superior to regular surprise balls as they include carefully chosen, one of a kind or hard to find trinkets, souvenirs and novelty items. If you can bear to break him open, prize after prize will be presented as you unwind the paper (for a total of 6 prizes). One jewelry item will be included upon request.
This Deluxe Edition Flamingo Surprise Ball measures about 10 1/2" tall.
My sister, Alicia, dreamed of opening a Princess Themed Children's Nail Salon and now it is finally up and running! My daughter, Delilah Soleil Mercado was the inspiration for the salon's name and logo. Alicia has taken Delilah to get her nails done since she was just under 3 years old. Alicia searched out different salons in the area but none of them tailored to little children - hence the dream was born.
With a great support system, Alicia was able to have almost everything custom made for the salon. Our father made the custom children sized thrones and tables. He also made the custom reception area and custom window seating. I upholstered the thrones and made the games and signs. While our brother-in-law drew the Delilah Soleil Salon logo, which is based on a picture of my daughter painting her doll's nails.
The color scheme at Deliah Soleil Salon works so well and it stands out from any other "princess themed" shop you may have seen. Gray isn't quickly associated with the word "princess" but at the Delilah Soleil Salon it is a shining example of unique and pretty. The gray walls also serve as a functional purpose; as chalk board paint, all little princess guests are welcome to doodle and write their names on it. But of course, you can't have anything princess without the color PINK! Which is why among the various shades of grays, whites, cremes and golds, there are the brilliant splashes of pinks. Pink pillows, rugs baskets and other decorations set the mood to any princesses delight.
We have been working like crazy these past two months making sure everything was in place for the grand opening - and with plenty of eye candy to look at. The merchandise, fabrics, art, flowers, pillows and games were carefully chosen or designed with the salon's brand in mind. Heart shaped nail soaking bowls with sparkly smooth stones calm the little princess while she watches a movie or listens to a familiar princess tune. Certain gifts and prizes are exclusive to Delilah Soleil Salon such as my Princess and Frog Prince Surprise Balls which will not be found anywhere else!
Princess dresses, wands and jewelry are available for purchase and playing dress up. And with little ones in mind, the princess dresses are made to last through years of play and they are comfortable and washable! Colorful, water-based, kid-friendly nail polish and nail polish remover is also offered for moms who are health conscious.
With it's unique offerings and special events like puppet story readings and craft sessions, Delilah Soleil Salon reminds me of The Shop Around the Corner in the movie You've Got Mail. In it's cozy boutique setting, it is enchanting and it stands like "a lone reed, standing tall, waving boldly"* amidst the other "commercial" themed salons in the industry. If you have a little princes in your life and you are in the Long Island, NY area please stop by Delilah Soleil Salon to experience it yourself.
* In the film You've Got Mail, the main character, Kathleen owns a quaint little bookshop that has been in her family for years. The survival of her store is threatened by the opening of a much larger chain bookstore. Her boyfriend, Frank Navasky provides encouragement reminding her that her store is unique and special. Frank Navasky: Kathleen, you are a lone reed. You are a lone... [sits down at his typewriter] Frank Navasky: [typing] "... reed, standing tall, waving boldly in the corrupt sands of commerce." [pulls the page out and hands it to Kathleen] Kathleen Kelly: I am a lone reed. Frank Navasky: Lone reed.
I've been on a shopping hunt for vintage surprise balls for quite sometime now. I wanted to see how they were originally made and with what kind of toys included. I finally found the perfect one (on Etsy) to splurge on. It is a Silver Swan Surprise Ball made by Charles Gregor and was sold through a department store in the 1950's. I thought it was cool that it still has it's original $1.75 price tag on it; but I had to pay ALOT more than $1.75! Since the Swan was so valuable and rare, I decided that when I got it I would save it for a special day. When my customers purchase a Surprise Ball for themselves, I usually suggest that they save it and not open it until a rainy day. A day that they are feeling really down in the dumps and need that quick pick-me-up happy feeling. Opening a surprise ball gives a small amount of energy boost and can restore your mood (if only for a little while).
I thought I would be staring at my unopened Charles Gregor surprise ball for at least a couple of months before I NEEDED to open it but, unfortunately, I only had it for two days when I needed my Surprise Ball fix. I opened it on December 14th, 2012...the day of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.
When I hear sad news on the radio, I'm sure I re-act like everyone else does - we shake our heads in despair and maybe say a quick prayer for those who are affected. Then we go about our business as usual; maybe even forgetting about it until we hear about it in the news again. But the Sandy Hook shooting was just too much for me. I can't believe how much I cried for those poor babies and teachers. Maybe it's because I also work in a school and because my children are not much younger than those who passed. I wish I could send a million surprise balls to the survivors and friends and families of the victims, but I know even that can't heal the pain they are going through.
By removing a small cardboard disc underneath a couple of layers of paper, I was able to open the bottom of the swan without completely destroying it (which is something I intend to implement in some future designs of my own). So I'm still able to enjoy the artistic effort that went into creating this beautiful swan.
Here are the small prizes that helped lift my spirits that day: a paper parachute jumper, an Italy eraser, a plastic swan, a whistle, a raffia-like lei, an hourglass (with wood shaving filling), a jumping bean, a pipe, a horse, a set of flowers, and a yo-yo.
Let me know if you would like a special surprise ball created just for you and you too can experience "Surprise Ball Therapy" (tee-hee, I just made that up...and I like it!)