Friday, December 21, 2007

Work in Progress Flowers JITB

Here is a sketch from my journal of a JITB I started working on. It's going to be made using vintage flowers and ribbons (from Tinsel Trading of course!) with a flower as the "Jack". This one is real special because it will also play music. I should have it ready to post by next week.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Circus Tent ~ Dexterity Puzzle

This Circus Tent dexterity puzzle is the final piece in my series of four circus themed dexterity puzzles. The object of the game is to get all the circus animals (horse, lion & ostrich), people (ring master & clown) and props (ball & podium) into the tents' opening on the side. Measures 4 1/2" W x 3 1/2" H x 3/4" D.

All puzzles are one-of-kind; made using acrylic paints, glass, copies of vintage images, distress inks and coated with beeswax. All pieces are available for purchase on ETSY individually or as a set $140.00.
Balancing Tight Rope Walker ~ $50
Circus Elephant ~ $45
Circus Tent ~ $35
Missing Tooth Clown ~ $25

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tight Rope Walker ~ Dexterity Puzzle

This Tight Rope Walker is the third piece in a series of four circus theme dexterity puzzles. Instructions on back read: Tilt the box left and right to get the tight rope walker balanced on her toes. - Measures 4 1/2"H x 3 3/4"W x 2"D.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Letter "M"

Well, my collection of letter M's is slowly taking over my room and even I have to say I'm getting a little worried with my obsession. With moderacy and self control in mind, I have promised myself I wouldn't spend anymore money on letter M's....Huh! Well...I will at least try. In the meantime, I already have a couple of "M" art projects in mind. I'm happy to say that one such piece has been published in the Winter 2008 issue of Somerset Studio Gallery. In this issue, there are over 400 amazing pieces of artwork including Paper Mache Book Shrines by Rima St. John whom I had the pleasure of meeting at one of Terri Ventura's fabulous art classes at Tinsel Trading Company. If you are in the area, you MUST stop by the store.

Here is a picture of my Letter "M" fairy (before her hair and outfit got rumpled in the shipping process to the editors). She is not for sale as she is one of my favorites.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Missing Tooth Clown ~ Dexterity Puzzle

Get the four beads into the gap of the clown's teeth in 30 seconds or less!

This easy to solve dexterity puzzle is a fun addition to my circus themed puzzles; two of four. Made using a vintage clown image, glass beads, glass, paper, acrylic paints and a coat of beeswax. Measures 3 3/4"H x 3 3/4"W x 1"D.

Check back next week for the 3rd piece!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Circus Elephant ~ Dexterity Puzzle

This Circus Elephant Puzzle is the first in a series of four that I have made in the theme of the circus. A functional piece of art that was a delight to make and so fun to play with!

Made using cardboard, paper, acrylic paints, glass, copies of vintage images and a coat of beeswax.
Measures 4 1/2" H x 3 3/4"W x 2"D.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Dexterity Puzzles

One of the simplest toys a child could have is a board puzzle. But more challenging than that are the dexterity puzzles that seem almost impossible to solve. One such clever little puzzle I had growing up was a 3 inch plastic square; within it were smaller, numbered squares and one empty space. The goal was to shift them around until they were in sequential order. I don't think I ever solved it! And of course there were the triangle puzzles, the ball in joint puzzles and the ever famous rubik cube.

My next postings will be some of my own dexterity puzzles in the style of Robert Journet. Check back next week for the first of four dexterity puzzles in the theme of, The Circus!

Robert Journet, maker of dexterity puzzles

Robert Journet started his toy shop in 1878 in Paddington, England. His father hand-made the first puzzles circa 1891. Sales greatly increased after they attended a British Industries fair and the puzzles were introduced to American companies. His son, Frederick took over the business in the 1930's and expanded it; picking up many advertising orders. Often copied but never surpassed, Journet puzzles went on to become the world's most popular dexterity puzzles, selling millions of "Popular Perplexing Puzzles" and entertaining generations. It remained a family business until it was sold, in 1965, to Abbey Corinthian Games who produced the puzzles from 1966 until the 1970's.

Rob's Puzzle Page website has dozens of vintage dexterity puzzles examples and has new and some reproduced challenging games.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Night Light Hot Air Balloon

Circles and stars cut into this hot air balloon softly illuminate a darkened room with a disco ball like effect. 11" x 7 1/2". Email for pricing.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Whimsical Hot Air Balloon

Burgundy, hot pink, lime green, light yellow and baby blue with black, white and silver...I've always found this eclectic combination of colors so appealing and whimsical. Here they are on a simpler design of a Hot Air Balloon. This one is made with a wood woven basket, thread covered wire and a thin coat of beeswax. Hangs from adjustable heavy duty clear line.
12h" x 7 1/2w". - $90

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Frog Prince JITB

This little frogs grin seems to be saying, "I know I'm not quite what you had in mind but with just one little kiss...". Well I think he's adorable and I'd kiss him in a heartbeat! The "jingle" is in his crown which was soldered together with bells and a vintage ring.
- $70

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Story of The Frog Prince

The story of The Frog Prince is basically about a royally spoiled brat who should be thankful to her father for teaching her good manners. Despite her rude behavior, the frog decides to stick it out so he can become human again. Just when you think he's going to ditch the broad he decides to marry her anyway and they supposedly live happily ever after - whatever.
Personally, I prefer the more popular version (albeit incorrect). I always thought the story was about a kind and meek princess who was looking for love. She was such a good person that she granted a frog's wish to kiss him and was therefore rewarded with his hand in marriage and his love after he became human again through that kiss. It appears even the fairytale is a fairytale.
Below is the (correct) version of the story by Brothers Grimm. And with this in mind, can you guess what the next JITB will be? (Check back tomorrow for a new posting!)
The Frog Prince
by Brothers Grimm

One fine evening a young princess put on her bonnet and clogs, and went out to take a walk by herself in a wood; and when she came to a cool spring of water with a rose in the middle of it, she sat herself down to rest a while. Now she had a golden ball in her hand, which was her favourite plaything; and she was always tossing it up into the air, and catching it again as it fell. After a time she threw it up so high that she missed catching it as it fell; and the ball bounded away, and rolled along on the ground, until at last it fell down into the spring. The princess looked into the spring after her ball, but it was very deep, so deep that she could not see the bottom of it. She began to cry, and said, 'Alas! if I could only get my ball again, I would give all my fine clothes and jewels, and everything that I have in the world.' Whilst she was speaking, a frog put its head out of the water, and said, 'Princess, why do you weep so bitterly?' 'Alas!' said she, 'what can you do for me, you nasty frog? My golden ball has fallen into the spring.' The frog said, 'I do not want your pearls, and jewels, and fine clothes; but if you will love me, and let me live with you and eat from off your golden plate, and sleep on your bed, I will bring you your ball again.' 'What nonsense,' thought the princess, 'this silly frog is talking! He can never even get out of the spring to visit me, though he may be able to get my ball for me, and therefore I will tell him he shall have what he asks.' So she said to the frog, 'Well, if you will bring me my ball, I will do all you ask.' Then the frog put his head down, and dived deep under the water; and after a little while he came up again, with the ball in his mouth, and threw it on the edge of the spring. As soon as the young princess saw her ball, she ran to pick it up; and she was so overjoyed to have it in her hand again, that she never thought of the frog, but ran home with it as fast as she could.

The frog called after her, 'Stay, princess, and take me with you as you said,' But she did not stop to hear a word. The next day, just as the princess had sat down to dinner, she heard a strange noise - tap, tap - plash, plash - as if something was coming up the marble staircase, and soon afterwards there was a gentle knock at the door, and a little voice cried out and said:
'Open the door, my princess dear,
Open the door to thy true love here!
And mind the words that thou and I said
By the fountain cool, in the greenwood shade.'

Then the princess ran to the door and opened it, and there she saw the frog, whom she had quite forgotten. At this sight she was sadly frightened, and shutting the door as fast as she could came back to her seat. The king, her father, seeing that something had frightened her, asked her what was the matter. 'There is a nasty frog,' said she, 'at the door, that lifted my ball for me out of the spring this morning. I told him that he should live with me here, thinking that he could never get out of the spring; but there he is at the door, and he wants to come in.' While she was speaking the frog knocked again at the door, and said:
'Open the door, my princess dear,
Open the door to thy true love here!
And mind the words that thou and I said
By the fountain cool, in the greenwood shade.'

Then the king said to the young princess, 'As you have given your word you must keep it; so go and let him in.' She did so, and the frog hopped into the room, and then straight on - tap, tap - plash, plash - from the bottom of the room to the top, till he came up close to the table where the princess sat. 'Pray lift me upon chair,' said he to the princess, 'and let me sit next to you.' As soon as she had done this, the frog said, 'Put your plate nearer to me, that I may eat out of it.' This she did, and when he had eaten as much as he could, he said, 'Now I am tired; carry me upstairs, and put me into your bed.' And the princess, though very unwilling, took him up in her hand, and put him upon the pillow of her own bed, where he slept all night long.

As soon as it was light the frog jumped up, hopped downstairs, and went out of the house. 'Now, then,' thought the princess, 'at last he is gone, and I shall be troubled with him no more.' But she was mistaken; for when night came again she heard the same tapping at the door; and the frog came once more, and said:
'Open the door, my princess dear,
Open the door to thy true love here!
And mind the words that thou and I said
By the fountain cool, in the greenwood shade.'

And when the princess opened the door the frog came in, and slept upon her pillow as before, till the morning broke. And the third night he did the same. But when the princess awoke on the following morning she was astonished to see, instead of the frog, a handsome prince, gazing on her with the most beautiful eyes she had ever seen and standing at the head of her bed. He told her that he had been enchanted by a spiteful fairy, who had changed him into a frog; and that he had been fated so to abide till some princess should take him out of the spring, and let him eat from her plate, and sleep upon her bed for three nights. 'You,' said the prince, 'have broken his cruel charm, and now I have nothing to wish for but that you should go with me into my father's kingdom, where I will marry you, and love you as long as you live.'

The young princess, you may be sure, was not long in saying 'Yes' to all this; and as they spoke a brightly coloured coach drove up, with eight beautiful horses, decked with plumes of feathers and a golden harness; and behind the coach rode the prince's servant, faithful Heinrich, who had bewailed the misfortunes of his dear master during his enchantment so long and so bitterly, that his heart had well-nigh burst. They then took leave of the king, and got into the coach with eight horses, and all set out, full of joy and merriment, for the prince's kingdom, which they reached safely; and there they lived happily a great many years.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Traditional Hot Air Balloon

Up, Up and away! This balloon is painted in colorful, bright stripes with acrylic paints and covered in a protective coat of aged varnish. Both balloon and basket are made of a heavy paper mache pulp. The basket was made big enough to hold a little doll or figurine. The bear (not included - made by Letty Worley) is on a balloon ride to nowhere...but she looks like she's having fun!
About 19"h x 9"w. Hangs from adjustable heavy duty clear line - $120

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Montgolfier Inspired Hot Air Balloon

Several illustrations of the Montgolfier flight provided inspiration for the design of this hot air balloon. Made out of a sturdy paper mache pulp; including mulberry paper, charms with reflective paper, vintage gold ribbon and acrylic paints. It hangs from ceiling with adjustable heavy duty clear line. About 15" x 9" . $165 (No, it doesn't really float - just a photo trick with the help of the computer.)

History of The Hot Air Balloon

Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier developed their first hot-air balloon in 1783. Joseph and Jacques were 2 of the 16 children of Pierre Montgolfier and his wife. The two brothers worked in the family run business, a paper factory at Annonay, a small town near Lyon in France. Their experiments were inspired by the rising of a shirt that was drying above a fire. They threw scraps of paper in the fireplace, which shortly afterwards could be seen leaving the chimney. From this they mistakenly concluded that smoke, and not hot air, had the power to lift. The density of hot air is less than that of cold air and just as air rises in water (water has a higher density than air), hot air rises in cold air. Despite their mistaken belief, the brothers' experiments led to the invention of the hot-air balloon.On April 4, 1783, the brothers Montgolfier gave the first public demonstration of the hot-air balloon at Annonay. This unmanned balloon flew a distance of nearly 2 kilometres and reached a height of almost 2 metres. The balloon was made of fabric and was lined with white paper, coated with a layer of alum, which served as a fire resistant layer. The whole balloon was kept together by about 2,000 knots. (Description from

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Humpty Dumpty JITB

Humpty Dumpty sat on a spring.
Humpty Dumpty has bells that ring.
When he jumps up out of his box, he'll have you exclaim,
"You sly little fox!"

Humpty Dumpty sits on a spring of "brick wall" and has poseable arms and legs. (The jingle is in his hat!) Made using a 6" cardboard box, papermache, acrylic paints, mulbery paper, beeswax and copies of childrens illustrations from Mother Goose rhymes. $70 Sold

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dasani, The Goldfish JITB

I never was a "fish as pets" person until I saved the life of one little goldfish I named Dasani. I was working at a trade show with a vendor who had a goldfish on display. After the job of decorating the booth was done, the goldfish was to be onto his next job of decorating a toilet bowel. I couldn't let this happen. So I became his savior and poured him into a Dasani water bottle and brought him home - hence his name. Dasani is long gone now but this JITB is in remembrance of that little fish - my first pet.

Dasani the JITB (5" box) is made of paper mache, mulberry paper fins and embellished with mica flakes. Bells, simulating bubbles, are wrapped around the spring for a little "jingle". A vintage fish line anchor hangs on the front of the box. - $55

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Jester Jack in the Box

I have been having so much fun creating these jack in the boxes (JITB's)!

They are made of cardboard boxes then embellished with stamped images, acrylic paints, paper mache, usually a vintage element or two, and then covered with beeswax.
The "Jacks" are simply made with a spring that allows them to jump up from the box upon opening. There are no cranks to turn and no music to play but they all have bells for a little "jingle".

This Jester JITB (4 1/4" box) has been heavily coated with beeswax for extra dimension and I have attached a vintage newspaper advertisement for playing cards on the left side of the box. Play the video below to see him in action! (You might have to click the play button twice to start the video up.) - $65