Cardboard Fairy Tales

It takes skill to retell a story we’ve all heard a million times and make it seem new all over again, and even more skillful is telling that story with something we see everyday. That’s the charm in the work of Spanish design studio Milimbo. Using the most ordinary of materials– paper, they bring classic fairy tales to life in playful and surprising ways. From dioramas to masks to toys, it’s a totally new twist of the toys and stories you thought you knew inside and out.

More on the Milimbo website.


Peggy Olson Gets Dressed

A few weeks back I shared the site that’s cataloged everything Don Draper has worn over seven seasons of Mad Men. Not to be outdone, the internet also contains a comprehensive listing of every Peggy Olsen outfit, from ponytailed graduate of Miss Deaver’s Secretarial School, to power player business lady. Not only is it eye candy for vintage lovers, it really is a study of the changing era, and one particular woman’s journey.

peggy-olson-s6e9-so-60s-busy-red-pattern_gallery_primarypeggy-olson-s1e5-small-check-blue-white-collar_gallery_primarypeggy-olson-s3e13-belted-brown-business-bow_gallery_primarymadmen-peggy Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 9.26.36 PMpeggy-olson-s5e2-loud-green-peter-pan-red-bow_gallery_primaryDon-Peggy-The-Suitcase-4-07-don-and-peggy-23088957-1280-720 peggy-olson-s6e9-gold-white-bands-nun_gallery_primarypeggy-olson-s1e8-double-collar-subdued-purples_gallery_primaryAnd in case you needed another reminder of why Peggy is totally the best, this is a good refresher.

New Custom Projects

I realized it’s been a while since I shared some of the custom projects I’ve been working on lately. Things always slow down a bit after Christmas, but I’ve had a few super fun commissions to keep me busy over the last few months. I hope you like ’em!

Yukon CorneliusIt’s likely been a few months (maybe a few years!) since Yukon Cornelius crossed your mind. An old friend of mine requested a Cornelius finger puppet to give to her husband– a redheaded mountain climber in his own right– for his birthday. How could I refuse? Finger puppet Cornelius turned out to be a pretty epic finger puppet with so fun details to include!

Andy + AmeliaThis Andy Warhol and Amelia Earhart pairing were inspired by the book, The Who The What And The When – 65 Artists Illustrate the Secret Sidekicks of History, which features illustrations of famous figures’ champions and muses. The customer was gifting the book to a friend and had the idea to create finger puppets of some of the people featured. After going over the list of who was included, we settled on Johnny Cash from my regular collection, and custom Amelia Earhart and Andy Warhol to complete the gift set. Amelia was a puppet I’ve always wanted to make, and it was a fun challenge to update the Andy Warhol I’d made a few years back. I really love how the pair turned out.

Shaun + EdI first spoke to a customer named Katie back in 2009 when she suggested Shaun and Ed from Shaun of the Dead as very promising potential finger puppet subjects. At the time I don’t remember if I’d actually seen the movie, but it happened that I’d recently rewatched it just a month or so back and Katie contacted me again– six years later!– wanting to move forward with a custom pair of puppets. If there was a pair basically tailor made for puppet-dom, it may be these two. Between their befuddled expressions, classic outfits and zombie fighting implements, they translated pretty seamlessly.

Custom PupsCustom pet portrait finger puppetsThis custom pack of adorable dogs was created for an Italian customer as a gift for his girlfriend. As a recent (temporarily) two dog household, I am pretty amazed– and maybe a little jealous– by anyone who could successfully manage their life with five dogs in it. But with these sweet faces, I can see why you’d want to try.Custom pet portrait finger puppetThe one above was my favorite. I’m a sucker for a dog with pointy ears!

Got a custom finger puppet idea of your own? Give me a shout– I’d love to make it happen!

Take Me To Your Leader: UFO Paintings by Esther Pearl Watson

When I was 13 or so, my dad came inside from smoking on the porch late on night and announced nonchalantly that he’d seen a UFO. Though my dad was known for his extremely dry and sarcastic sense of humor, he was not the kind of person to make up something like that, so we immediately perked up. He described a strange light in the sky unlike anything he’d ever seen before, and after a few minutes of my brothers demanding to know every detail, I got angry and told them to be quiet because clearly he was lying. In fact, I just wanted them to all shut up because it was freaking me out.

UFOs and I have had a long and tortured relationship, since the 80’s Time-Life “Mysteries of the Unexplained” commercial simultaneously terrified and fascinated me. These days, Esther Pearl Watson’s series of UFO paintings remind me of the weird place that UFOs hold in my own mind, and the way they’ve become a modern folklore narrative in our culture. Previously known to me from the Tammy Pierce is Unlovable comics, Esther’s paintings were inspired by her own UFO-obsessed father, and include snippets of her childhood journals. Their folk art feel is Grandma Moses meets flea market, combining giant spaceships, tiny figures, and swirling cosmos of endless possibilities.

Incidentally, the morning after my dad’s UFO sighting, there were reports of a unexplained lights in the sky from locations all around Southern Michigan the night before. Cue the spooky music

Via Austin Kleon

Family Portrait

I wrote about Kristina Micotti’s work about a year ago, and have been following her work on Instagram ever since. Earlier this year when I was trying to come up with a gift for Ben and my anniversary a few weeks back, I decided that one of Kristina’s gorgeous ink portraits would be just the thing. I had a portrait drawn of Ben and I for him for Christmas in 2011, but so many things had changed in the intervening four years– new glasses, different dog, and– oh yeah– that thing of a whole new tiny person in your family these days : ) I love Kristina’s sketchy style, and was super interested to see how she’d destill us down into just a few strokes. The results turned out really fun, I think you’ll agree.

We’re pretty cute, right? I love how Henry is captured as this perfect little blend of Ben and me– smiling like his mama, but a little unkempt like his Dad. And Ivy looking as forlorn as always– totally true to life.

Kristina also wins the award for cutest mail of the year, with a sketch of Ivy in sunglasses on the front of the package that she sent the portraits in.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 10.32.31 PMI also really loved that with the portrait, I got the original ink drawings of each of us, as well as a digital composite of the four drawings all put together. I was able to take the drawing of Ivy, which stood on it’s own so well, and hang it up in our newly-rearranged TV room. There she is above the TV giving us the same feel-bad-for-me face she’s giving all through dinner.


And I found a nice, sunny spot for it in our living room where the four of us can keep the plants company.

Huge thanks for Kristina for being so talented, and super great to work with. Check out her work if you’re in the market for a portrait (card, print, etc) of your own!


New Favorite Thing: Teenage Bedrooms on Screen

I’m the kind of person who finds myself watching movies for the sets. Not that I don’t pay attention to interesting characters or great plot twists, but something about the background scenery always draws me in, whether it’s the pictures on the walls, or the couch in the background. I can often be found exclaiming in the middle of a scene, “Did you see that lamp?!” (usually to the annoyance of whoever happens to be watching with me.)

Unsurprisingly, the Teenage Bedrooms on Screen tumblr is pretty much my new favorite thing. With a mind-bogglingly large collection of images, it chronicles the teen bedroom both in movies, on TV and the occasional real teen’s bedroom (usually from a celebrity’s promo shot). I highly recommend checking this one out for yourself, but here are a few highlights–

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