Spring Photos

Suddenly spring is here, huh? Our lilac bush just burst into flower in the last day or so, and even on rainy days, it’s not the cold rain anymore– it’s the kind that bring breezes and the smell of mud and growing things. I think the season has been good for me. I’ve been feeling productive in the studio, and also finding time for yardwork and kid stuff and some other fun projects. Here are a few shots from Instagram over the past few weeks, in case you missed them.

Saturday Desk

Saturday workspace and list-making.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg buttons

New Ruth Bader Ginsburg buttons. One will ship with every puppet from now on!


Daffodils getting ready to bloom.

Joan Harris puppets

Bringing back the Joan from Mad Men design to honor of “the end of an era.”


Growing things.

Henry's birthday

Henry turned three, complete with horseshoe magnet and green frog raincoat.

Bald Ira Glass

Every wondered what Ira Glass would look like bald? Here’s your answer.

Frida Kahlo puppets in progress

Frida Kahlo puppets in progress on my new yellow cafeteria tray.



Schmancy Toys Interview

I was interviewed for the Schmancy Toys blog this week. I’ve been selling with them for years now– they actually featured an interview with me prior to the Plush You show almost exactly four years ago.journalcrunch_logoIt’s a little crazy to read back through that one and see what’s changed, and this new interview was a nice opportunity to reflect on where things are right now. Plus I got to think about stories I hadn’t thought about in a long time–puppets at the White House, finger puppet engagement photos, plus the advice I would give to my early 20’s self.Ira Glass puppets in progressRead the article for all the juicy details ; )

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