Saturday, December 13, 2008

Muppets Kit at FAO Schwarz


I was so excited to visit FAO Schwarz when I heard about their new "make your own" Muppet station. They've been available for several months now in the store and online.

If you're ever in the New York area and are a fellow fan of the muppets, you have to stop by FAO; if not to buy then at least to see them in person. They don't have any of the famous muppets on display or available to make but the Whatnots are just as amazing. I know it sounds weird, but when you see them it's like seeing a celebrity. So cool.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Winter White Flower Jack in the Box


This Jack in the Box is my submission for the Paper Mache Artisans Webshow A winter white flower pops out of her ice blue paper mache box on a cold snowy day.

She is made using ivory velvet & silk flower petals and sprinkled with mica flakes with sprigs of vintage flower puffs. The box sparkles with silver glitter painted in an ice blue hue with a trim of white and silver double tubular tulle ribbon. Sprigs of vintage flower puffs and flocked greenery adorn the base of the box while a tiny blue bird rests on a blue velvet pad ornament on the top of the box. Box measures 11 1/2"h x 5 1/2"w open. $180

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Baby Announcement

Delilah Soleil Mercado
arrived Monday, October 20th
at 3:56 p.m.
weighing 8 lbs 9 ounces
and measuring 20 inches long

Both mom and baby (and dad) are healthy, happy and thankful to you all for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Yellow Flower Jack-in-the-Box


And out! pops a dainty daisy delivering daily dazzling displays while delightfully decorating your den.

Neutral colors adorn this JITB with vintage sheet music and a musical movement that plays "Playful Melody". Made using vintage muslin flowers, velvet leaves & ribbon and bells. The box has a generous coating of beeswax for depth and texture. Box measures 5 1/2" h x 4 1/2"w (closed). - $115

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Baby and Art Update

Well the baby's due date came and went so, yes, I'm still pregnant (thanks to those who keep asking for updates). The good news is that baby and I are both fine and will probably be together for another week. In the meantime, we have finally finished her room (making curtains, putting furniture together, painting etc.). All that it needs now is the baby!

The paint I used for the wall was actually a throwaway from my mom. She ordered the color for her bathroom but ended up not liking it. I turned her trash into treasure and I love how the subtle color works with the bright decorations and artwork. I forget the name of the paint but I like to call it Haagen-Dazs Vanilla Ice Cream - it looks sooo delicious!

I decorated the room with some of my hot-air-balloons and some leftover alphabet boxes from my baby shower. My sister made dozens of decorations from scratch; including the boxes, banners, favors and even designed the cake. The shower turned out beautiful and I just had to incorporate her hard & loving work into the baby's room.

I also, absolutely love the two Blackbird Designs paintings purchased from Earth Angels Toys (one of which was my first baby gift from a good friend). The paintings ended up working so perfectly together with the other things in the room that they look custom made! Thanks Deirdre and Jen!

Onto news of M Ann M art: Being that I have been so busy (and physically drained) with the coming baby and custom orders, I really haven't been able to make new work available for purchase. After the Hamptons Craft fair, I've been wiped out of almost all my inventory and have to start getting busy creating more JITB's and HAB's. I have only one more JITB available for purchase which I'll put on ETSY tomorrow. Thanks again to my new and repeat customers!
Here's a picture of a Red & White striped HAB, part of a custom order I recently completed. I always provide drawings of the piece to customers of commissioned orders for pre-approval.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Black & White Jester JITB


The jester shook his hood and bells and leaped upon a chair;
The pages laughed, the women screamed, and tossed their scented hair;
The falcon whistled, stag-hounds bayed, the lap-dog barked without;
The scullion dropped the pitcher brown,--the cook railed at the lout;
The steward, counting out his gold, let pouch and money fall:
And why? Because the jester rose to say grace in the hall!
- George Walter Thornbury

A Jester JITB donned in all black & white with gold and silver accents has a musical movement installed that plays "Music of the Night". Both the jester and his stick have four-pointed hats with bells on the ends. Box measures 11 1/2"h x 5 1/2" w (open). The jester's stick measures 4" long. - $180
What was a jester's stick used for anyway? A 'Jester's stick' was used as a way to mock the clergy or the King and Queen themselves. It was in this way that a fool could get away with saying almost anything of disrespect because, after all, it was his 'stick' that said the slur.The Jester's sticks were used much like a ventriloquist uses a dummy.

Monday, August 25, 2008

East Hampton Craft Fair


Thanks to all who stopped by my booth at the East Hampton Craft Fair this past weekend! The weather was great in the Hamptons, and so was the shoe sale next door! I really enjoyed this show and look forward to going again next summer. Whatever new items didn't sell at the show will be made available for purchase on Etsy in September.

A note to my customers: I would love to see photos of the items you purchased set up in your home. If you would like, please email pictures to me at I won't post them online but it's always encouraging and quite a treat to see how my art is being displayed and appreciated throughout the spaces in your homes!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Upcoming Craft Fair

Come see me at a Showtiques Craft Fair on Saturday, August 23rd! (my rain date is August 24th).

Arts & Crafts Summer Fair
East Hampton (Amagansett) American Legion
Montauk Highway (Rte. 27), Amagansett, Long Island, NY
11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
*Free Admission *Free Parking

Here is a sneak peak of new items I am working on that will be available for purchase at the fair. If you're in the New York area, make a trip to the Hamptons for a relaxing weekend and stop by the fair!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Time Forgotten Hot Air Balloon

Here is the completed "Time Forgotten" HAB. Thanks again to Lisa Bagherpour for giving me the inspiration from her Time Forgotten photo.

As you can see, I basically used the same layout of the balloon in her photo with similar positioning of the flourishes, flags, basket and lines. I had to put my own creative spin on things with a bolder, brighter color scheme and I added some aging and highlighting techniques to give it character and dimension. It took tons of hours and a couple of weeks to complete but I love the results.
This balloon will be for sale at the next craft fair I am participating in at the end of the month . Check back next week for more details on the event and a peek at some other new Jack in the boxes, hot air balloons and paper dolls that will be made available for purchase that day.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Heat and Humidity - not a friend of Paper Mache

Well I thought I'd be finished with the three hot air balloons I started two weeks ago and I would have, if it weren't for the weather we've been having in New York. And it doesn't help that I don't have central air conditioning in my home. When I make my balloons, I sometimes use a fan in a window to speed up the drying process. Big mistake this time. Not only did the balloons not dry faster but the heat and humidity also caused them to cave in. Anyway, after a little tweaking and much more time spent, I'm at least back on track but way off schedule. I get so frustrated when I have a jumble of creative ideas in my head but clouds get in the way (literally and figuratively).

Here's a picture of my current work in progress. I hope to be finished in about a week or two.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

WIP - Time Forgotten Hot Air Balloon


Lisa Bagherpour is a wonderful Photo Manipulator and has been in touch with me as we share an attraction to hot air balloons. Above is one of her manipulated photographs including a hot air balloon that I am currently working on replicating. I am naming it after her photo, calling it "Time Forgotten" Hot Air Balloon. You can see more of Lisa's work at

Here is a Work in Progress picture of three balloons. This shows the second layer (out of three) of paper mache in the drying stage. My balloons usually take 1-2 weeks to complete. Check back next week for the completed Time Forgotten Balloon!


Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Muppets and Sesame Street

This coming October brings a lot of changes for my family and I as me and my husband are expecting our first child! Everyone is over the moon and I'm getting real excited. I can't wait to start setting up her room!

Thinking about the the baby has me reminiscing often about my own childhood and what I grew up with. Today I was thinking about how I used to love Sesame Street - and I still do. Actually, anything having to do with the Muppets is a favorite.

I've always wanted to own an authentic Muppet (or at least a pretty good replica). I remember years ago, FAO shwartz had a certified replica of Kermit the Frog. It was waaaay too much money so I decided to make my own Muppet. He's small, easy to make and not so well known, but he IS a Muppet. He's Slimey the Worm.

Slimey the Worm (also simply known as Slimey) is a light and dark orange striped worm that is the pet and friend of Oscar the Grouch on Jim Henson's Muppet show Sesame Street... His small size does not affect his attitude of being one not to wince at the sight of extreme activities. As Lou Berger, head writer for Sesame Street, put it, "Slimey shows viewers that even the smallest creature can be the most heroic, and that's an important thing for kids to see." Slimey is not only the pet of Oscar the Grouch, but also the only character with whom Oscar admits being friends and liking. Slimey is said to bring out the best in Oscar. The friendship between the two is understood, where they do not express their feelings for each other but act in a manner which shows their strong relationship. Oscar likes Slimey because they share common interests like the love of rain, mud, and soil, and the fact that Slimey doesn't talk to him when he is trying to sleep. The two do many things together, including taking mud baths and just hanging out." - Excerpt from Wikipedia

Here is my Slimey and a picture of him with a caption from the book, "Sesame Street Unpaved" by D. Borgenicht 1998.

I always laugh at the scene in Muppets Take Manhattan when Kermit is diagnosed with Amnesia. But it was only confirmed after he was poked, prodded, twisted and legs turned behind his head. Hee Hee.
Here's another favorite I've come to appreciate as an adult. It's hilarious! Janice always gets the best one liners. (You may have to click the play button twice). Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Mother Goose Rhymes and Stories


Mother Goose Rhymes and Stories have always intrigued me as they always seem to have a hidden meaning. For example, you have probably heard various versions of the story behind Humpty Dumpty. One such translation suggests the following: According to an insert taken from the East Anglia Tourist Board in England, Humpty Dumpty was a powerful cannon used in the Siege of Colchester during the English Civil War. It was mounted on top of the St Mary's at the Wall Church in Colchester defending the city against siege in the summer of 1648. Although Colchester was a royalist stronghold, it was besieged by the Roundheads for 11 weeks before finally falling. The church tower was hit by enemy cannon fire and the top of the tower was blown off, sending "Humpty" tumbling to the ground. Naturally all the King's horses and all the King's men (royalist cavalry and infantry respectively) tried to mend "him" but in vain. Other reports have Humpty Dumpty referring to a sniper nicknamed One-Eyed Thompson, who occupied the same church tower. - Excerpt taken from

For more information on Mother Goose, Wikipedia goes into detail about the history at

For other Mother Goose nursery rhymes and their meanings, there is an excellent website at

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Humpty Dumpty Jack in the Box


Here is another version of my fan favorite, Humpty Dumpty JITB. There are four Mother Goose illustrations including Goosey Goosey Gander, Humpty Dumpty, Little Miss Muffet and This Little Piggy.

Materials used include paper mache box, acrylic paints, various papers, paper mache egg, beeswax, bells, buttons and a spring.
Box measures 10 1/2" open 6 1/4" h x 5 1/4" w. - $100

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Purple and Red HAB


This purple and red Hot Air Balloon is made using my usual techniques. The paper mache pulp was slightly sanded to retain a rough texture for dimension and a weathered look. The acrylic paint finish has been aged with black and white highlights. Here are pictures of it alone and within a group of other HAB's in my studio. Measures 14"h x 9"w. It hangs from an adjustable heavy duty clear line so it appears to be floating in the air. Materials used include: paper mache, acrylic paints, ribbons, fabric covered buttons and mulberry paper. - $110

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Expressive Paper Doll Class


If you didn't get a chance to take my Expressive Paper Doll class in April, you can try again for this Saturday on May 3rd!

Using different collage techniques, you'll leave this workshop with your own unique design based on my pattern for poseable paper dolls. We'll use scrapbook papers, paints, fibers, glitter,stamps and other fun Tinsel Trading trims. The paper doll will be sturdily made with layers and layers of paper and trimings. She will last years displayed on a bulletin board, refrigerator or office cubicle wall.

Saturday May 3rd
Class fee: 65.00 + 5.00 material fee
All materials will be provided, although if you have a Crop-a-dile or other eyelet tool, please bring them.

Sign up at the Tinsel Trading Company website or call them at 212-730-1030.

Hope to see you there!


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Class at Castle in the Air


I just came back from a wonderful trip to sunny California where I had the priviledge to take a class at a fabulous little shop called Castle in the Air. It's located on a quiet, shop filled street in Berkeley; just over the bridge from San Francisco. The store is filled with new and vintage treasures and samples from classes to purchase. It has a wide selection of pretty papers, notecards, stamps and dresden. In the rear is an under sea backdrop with a huge clam shell big enough to seat an adult.

The classes are held in the "balcony"space upstairs across from some manequins who are ready to party at a maquerade ball.

John B. McRae, the instructor from the Mermaid Castle Lamp class was very helpful and super creative. Samples of his work and class offerings are throughout the store for you to be in awe at. Here is a picture of John with a fellow classmate and their mermaid castles.

John's mermaid castle looks like it was taken right out of a fairytale and it's also on display at the shop. You must visit the Castle in the Air if you are in the San Francisco area!


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Monkey JITB and Another Class Announcement!

Ten little monkeys jumping on the bed
One fell off and bumped his head
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said
"No more monkeys jumping on the bed!"

Well this little monkey won't be jumping on any beds but he will be jumping from his box with his big grin, fancy hat and jingling cymbals in tow!

Materials used include: vintage musical movement that plays Masquerade, a cardboard box, wooden balls (box feet), vintage sheet music, beeswax, ribbon, metal hinges, shredded paper (for filling), papermache, cardboard, acrylic paints, mulberry paper, a spring, pipe cleaners and embellished with vintage gold rick-rack ribbon and thread. The cymbals are made using paper with bells hidden inside for a little jingle.
Box measures 5 3/4" x 6 1/2". - $180 SOLD

Expressive Paper Dolls Class Announcement!
If you were unable to register for the class on April 5th, I have been scheduled again for the 3rd of May. Mark your calendars! More details will be posted.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Monkey JITB and Paper Doll Class

There's still time to sign up for my Expressive Paper Doll class this Saturday, April 5 at Tinsel Trading Company. You can register on their website at or by giving them a call. These classes are always so much fun with a friend, so spread the word!

I've finished my Masquerade Monkey Jack-in-the-box and he'll be there to greet you at the class. He's a little shy now but he just wanted to sneak in a quiet 'Hello' before he's introduced at the class.

I hope you can make it!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Expressive Paper Dolls Class

There are so many great art classes coming up this month and next at Tinsel Trading Company. And one of them will be my "Expressive Paper Dolls" class! Join the class and you'll learn how to make a charming paper doll using different collage techniques. You'll leave this class with your own unique version based on my pattern for a poseable paper doll. We'll use various scrapbook papers, 3-Dimensional paints, fibers, glitter, stamps and other fun Tinsel Trading embellishments. The class is on Saturday April 5th 12pm-3pm and the fee is $65.00 plus a $5.00 materials fee (to cover a prepared instruction sheet with template to bring home, paper, glue, paint, etc.) If you have a Crop-a-dile or other eyelet tool, please bring them otherwise they will be provided.

The class schedule for April should be posted at Tinsel Trading soon and when it is, you'll be able to sign up and pay through their website. Or you can send me an email to let me know you'd like to attend. But hurry as class sizes are kept small!
If you can't make it to my class be sure to look into the other classes offered by some of the best artists found on the East Coast. Below is a picture with some of the pieces I made at Tinsel Trading classes including a Cigar Box class, an Altered Book class and the Vintage Style Bracelet class all with Terri Ventura and then an Oatmeal Box House class with Charlotte Lyons. So much fun!