Monday, December 14, 2009

bacon stank

I just feel absent from the blog-writing & if you don't follow me on twitter for some reason or another (i.e. don't care what I'm eating for lunch, if I'm late for work, or what my cats are doing), then you might be wondering where I've gone....or you're not wondering & you're only ever really reading this because we're related or you feel obligated as a friend. Anyway, I've been down with the swanky little swine flu. I'm feeling better (knock on wood) but can't seem to find my energy just yet. Napping seems necessary 95% of my day. Which, for this time of year doesn't bode well for custom orders. So yeah, if you're expecting me to make something for you before Christmas, let's all just keep our finger's crossed!

So in the meantime I've been up to my eyeballs in making puppets. Maybe not literally, but I did find a good eyeball supplier who is local, so that made me happy. It's during this time of year that I get to remind myself to take it one small puppet at a time...or arm...or mouth plate.

Val the Tissue Box

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Reminding myself of my first intentions

So I guess I have to remember that a lot of what I'm doing is being an artist & sharing my art.

Yeah, it's tiny & I've seen one or two of them in my nephew's mouth, but it's still a little bit of a sculpture that only I can spit out of my fingers & brain (really, who else would come up with meatloaf piranha?).

If I sell it, that's great. If I merely make people smile from seeing tiny art, that's good too. Ultimately puppets make people happy, and happiness is really pretty kick-butt-amazing.

So the question comes in with "do I lower prices so people can own my art?" Not right now. When my prices were lower, my production had to be higher to meet demand. That compromised my workmanship as well as my creativity in the creation process. (one can't just spit out UniCorns when one is making mass-produced red fish with really creepy orange eyes, now can they?)

It'd be nice for people to want to own tiny pieces of art, but now isn't the time. I guess I'd rather people spend money on things they real bedazzled tampons, rather than their finger puppet counterpart. Or food...they could buy food.

I wonder what attitude I should have going into this pirate festival this Friday, though. Do I allow it to inspire some awesome pirate themed puppets? Or do I crank out lots of easy-to-make, lower quality finger puppets that I can offer at a lower price to cover the pricey-for-me booth fee? It's a tough.

For comicon, I allow everything I encounter from now until then to inspire kick-patuchus puppets, done over such a vast period of time that I'll have enough inventory. Thankfully comicon kids appreciate tiny expensive things made with my girl-hands.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Brown Bunny of DOOOOOOM!

I really like the phrase "....of dooom" I think it tells a lot about someone/something, and yet allows that someone/something to keep a certain mystery about them. mmm doom bunnies.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

still figuring it out...

Alright, just because I've got my plot of land & need to watch my fruit ripen (hmm...) doesn't necessarily mean I have my act together enough to have places to put the fruit (uh..yeah), or even to let others know that I've got a sweet little farm goin on (I think my analogy has fallen apart)...

So I did the Sunnyslope Artwalk last night. The good news is that I got sweet new packaging for my finger puppets the day before, which just finished off what they'd been lacking in person for so long. Alright, then! Sunnyslope art-walkers, be prepared to fall in love with some delicious puppet pie! Booyah! In your face artwalk-y people! Yeah!

Ok maybe a little less than that...I had a few people tell me how awesome they were & how I should try to sell to children's boutiques in Scottsdale & I had others tell me that they recognized me from the Puppet Slams. I sold 2 finger puppets to some really rad teenagers who came back 3 times before they got money from their parents (Thanks, stranger Mom & Dad!).

So that's good, right? I made my money back from the booth fee plus three dollars! $3 is good for 8 hours, right?

I mean, it would be good if the people to the right & left of me hadn't been selling things every 5-10 minutes....I felt very over-looked. And I wasn't the whole night, I did get people coming by & telling me that my stuff was great, but anytime I had a lull, it was a long one & nobody else was lulling.

They sell so much better online, and I'm not sure why. Are people buying them because they like what I write? Do they just look horrible in-person? Are people afraid to pay $12-$18 on something 2" tall in person whereas they're okay with it online? Why did I forget to buy eyes while I was at Michael's the other day? Drat......And what about Naomi?

So I was sitting back and observing a lot. My friend Erin makes the most amazing Sock Zombies in the world. She just won a Best of Phoenix Award for them. We were in the same issue of the Phoenix NewTimes, I was in as an artist, she was in as a winner of "Best Zombie Related Art", & I'm all manners of proud..Anwyay, she was on one side, and some tweens were on the other side with bottlecaps-turned-magnets that they were selling for charity. I kept hearing "Whoopies" "Sock Zombies" all night...

Was anyone saying "Puppet Pie"? Well of course order to see those words anywhere, they'd have to walk over, pick up a plastic box & look at the bottom (of which the lids keep popping off) before they could even find the words "puppet pie". And even then, when they flipped things over the first things out of their mouths were "No choking allowed" and then they'd say the name of the puppet. Just walking by, from far away they could see some things in containers & a pig hand puppet inside of an unfinished wood dollhouse (I keep saying I need to put electricity in before I put wallpaper I'm stalling)--but nowhere could they see the fantastical words "Puppet Pie" to intrigue them to see what was in the actual booth. (On a side note, I dont think I'll use the dollhouse again until I finish it. because really...)

It's the same reason that nobody bought the painted dirt clods that Zachary & I sold from the playhouse in my parents' backyard when we were 7. Nobody knew we were there! Had they known, we'd have run out of the painted dirt clods, for sure--and probably have had the local paper come and do a story on the operation to boot! (It really was high quality work)

So long story short...ok not really short, but to conclude my long story, I'm making a banner. Well, I'm designing a banner & I'll have someone print it up & ship it to me.

I questioned whether or not I should just give up doing artwalks, but I think I can't give up just yet. I'll get a banner first, then I'll give up! That's called perserverance, and baby, I gots it!

Again, with the spelling...I hope I got at least a 97%.

Friday, October 9, 2009

It just occurred to me...

a) Occurred was a vocabulary word in my junior year of High School. I will never forget that.

b) I've done a bucket load's of really rad stuff that I feel compelled to list, but then I feel like that would be bragging, but then I feel like if a blog is for nothing else, it's to feel mildly indulgent, even if it's informative, because really most things people do are indulgent. I really hope I'm spelling Indulgent right....

c) I really like run-on sentences. although that didn't just occur to me. I've known this.

d) I really don't think I'm bragging. I'm just being self-indulgent to see every awesome thing that has happened to me in one place. I'm not looking for a pat on the back, because really all of this stuff is a pat on the back in and of itself (however I won't stop you) And they're not in choronological order. They're reasons I'm proud of myself at 2am.

  • Etsy made a video about me. FREAKING WOW!
  • I was in a Barenaked Ladies video for which my friend Noah Ginex did all his fancy-pants stuff (but he still credited me as a co-concept, set designer, assistant puppet builder, and puppeteer. I did do those things, and feel as though my roles were very minor, but it's really nice to actually be recognized for what I did do)
  • I've taught at-risk youth for 4 years the art of puppetry. That right there is something big because someone trusted me enough to do that. And man, kids are really great at writing scripts.
  • I was asked to make some last-minute puppets that were in two Phoenix Coyotes commercials. One with Wayne Gretzky (yeah, take that, Canada! I totally got to them before you did!)
  • I was commissioned to make 5 puppets of and for 5 famous people (2 of them are has her own Webster's Dictionary entry) and they now own those puppets. What a kick-tuchus privilege.
  • I've won awards for my film-making & writing with puppetry, and have shared those proudly with my friend Mack.
  • I've sustained performing puppet shows for grown-ups in Phoenix for 7 years.
  • I've managed to send my puppets to people in more than 10 different countries. (like..they even asked for them)
  • I was asked to be an artist for The NewTimes Best of Phoenix edition.
  • I've managed to titilate more than 3650 people on enough that they've added my shop as a favorite. (freakin' a!)
  • People like what I write. (well, up until now, anyway)
  • I'm pursuing something that I've loved since I was a toddler. I feel connected to my grandfather, who--even though he died when I was very young, I admired greatly.
  • I was asked to make finger puppet kits for the MakerShed (Craft Magazine's online store) & even saw my finger puppets printed in their magazine in an ad for the store! &
  • I was invited to be a demonstrator at the MakerFaire
  • I've been to Toronto to "work" with awesome puppeteers
  • I've received scholarships to puppetry festivals...People want me to learn, grow, and succeed!

I think of myself as this kid who is still trying to find her place (with her puppets) in the arts world....I forget that I've been recognized. I don't forget that my life is really rad & that really awesome stuff has happened to me (well, I forget some of the things)...but I do forget to see the big picture of it all. So here, now at 2:15am, I can see that I don't need to search for my place. I have my place. I've got this nice little plot of land. Now I get to lay down some irrigation & watch my seedlings grow into something even more amazing. Or are my plants already growing and I just need to sit back & enjoy each step of seeing the fruit form? Or is the fruit already there & all I need to do is harvest and eat it? Either way, something needs to be enjoyed.

Mmmm delicious, delicious puppet pie!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Autumn Pumpkin

More and more I'm realizing that I love Autum. Part of that may be because it's a huge break from our wretched summer. Part of it is that I'm older & don't dread, but rather look forward to back-to-school. And part of it, I think the main part, is that I've grown to appreciate the beauty of nature in that this is a time that (bear with me, I'm getting all I-love-the-Earth on you) we're given all of these wonderful things back from Nature. We work hard to plant things all year, and this is the time of year that so many wonderful vegetables are coming back to us. I can't wait for butternut squash soup and pumpkin pie. Even just the smell of the basil coming off of the garden at my son's school fills me with such ooey gooey feelings that I can't help but be thankful and slip out of the internet and into nature.

I'm totally reflective today.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

2% Guilt

Good news and bad news on the health-front.

Good news is that I have no gallstones.

Bad news is that I have no gallstones.

I was hoping that would be it so we could get my galbladder out of there & life could go on--without pain. Wouldn't that be nice? It would. Look at that, I didn't even make you think of an answer. I so nice.

It could be a peptic ulcer. I mean, did you see the list of all the stuff I had to get done in 2 days? Yeah, that's ulcersville right there. But again, nobody's ruling out my gallbladder.

So...about the guilt. I've left my shop really unattended all summer long & decided I'd get things back to normal once we were home from vacation & the boy was in school--I wasn't exactly expecting to start working the same day as well. I actually did pretty well when we first got back, but now I'm Mrs. Slacker Von SlackyPants McGee . You can call me Slacky for short, I suppose. Hmm no, on second thought, I want the respect of my full name being used. Mrs. Slacker Von SlackyPants McGee to you, friend.

So, to make up for it, do you think I've made new puppets? Listed new things? Heck no! Instead I've re-arranged my shop & dropped some prices on things and put them into what we like to call a "Sale" category. Yep, Mrs. Slacker von SlackyPants McGee is really putting in the effort, now.....without actually having to put in any effort.

And I'm not writing this to plug anything (this is a lie), I'm writing to inform the people about my slackage. So don't be surprised if you don't see me mention that some puppets have dropped anywhere from $2-4 in price. I know, I know, you'd like me to tell you about the future of this sale section, and how different things will rotate through and how you might find your favorite puppet slapped in there as though I don't even care about the workmanship--but I won't tell you that because I can't see the point in making this blog post about self-promotion. That'd just be selfish. I think we've established pretty well that I'm not selfish, I'm a slacker.

Just in case you missed it:

Sunday, August 23, 2009

oh change, you silly weasle, you.

WOW! What a week!

So....On Tuesday of last week I found out that the puppetry after-school program's funding is in question/limbo/happy-go-funny-wait-time-happy-hour. So that's my normal school-year job. Which means who needs a job to keep that fabulous car? This girl! (I'm pointing to myself...that is..when I'm not typing.)
It's made known to me that my son's school is looking for someone as an after-school assistant. I find out on Sunday that they'd like me to apply to at least sub in the classroom while my job with the theater is sorted out. They want me to start Wednesday. Like...I have 2 days to get everything I need in order.
What do I need in order, you ask?
CPR/First Aid certification
Food Handler's License
TB Test
Vaccination verification
Criminal history notarized
4 letters of reference
plus a little back-to-school shopping for the boy-child (who is an official kindergartener!) and he needs non-character slippers for Wednesday as well. (we started the same day--see below)

I got it all done and made his slippers from scraps of leather my mom had given me years ago & puppet fleece (not Antron, don't freak out).
I felt like superwoman. really. I felt like what I accomplished in 2 days shouldn't have been attainable. It was the back-to-school miracle.

I got up on Wednesday morning to make my family a happy breakfast of scrambled eggs & toast & saw my boy off to school.......Then went back to bed with some of the most horrible cramping EVER.

I thought I'd eaten something wrong, or was maybe nervous...or hey, maybe I even gave myself an ulcer...either way, I went off to school, eating anytime my tummy was bothering because it felt like I was always hungry--painfully hungry. Really, really painfully hungry.

So that went on 2 days/3 nights before I decided to go to the doctor's office. yeah...turns out I have gallstones. yay!
At least she's 98% sure I have gallstones. Her stat order on the ultrasound meant that I get to wait until this coming Thursday. (They originally told me a week from Monday-I said no thank you, they got me in Thursday.)
So in the meantime, I get to experience pain that's pretty darn close--if not equal--to when I birthed the kiddo nearly 6 years ago. Yay! And I get to eat a 0-fat diet. that's not the letter O sitting there, that's a zero. And the sad thing is that even applesauce and bananas aren't settling my tummy down. Stupid gallbladder and its stupid-stupidhead.
I'll likely have to get it removed--which is welcomed at this point. I'm on day 5 of this. I'm all for not experiencing this anymore.

I do feel badly that I had to call in on my third day there. I'll see how tonight/tomorrow morning goes before I call in tomorrow.

So that's all non-puppetry related...because you need to know about my gallstones, right? yes.

Anwyay...on Saturday I dragged myself over to my sewing machine to make 8 more glove monsters. I did them for the cancer fundraiser, but didn't sell any, so I might put them up on Etsy soon. Other than that, though, I'm not making much. It's just difficult to concentrate when your stomach screams at you every 10 minutes.

I think it hired the mob.

Hey did I ever show you the bunny I made for a custom order? You've probably seen it by now, but nevertheless...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wiggin' Out!

On August 22nd I'll be going to an awesome local dairy farm in Mesa. Not to drink milk---no, that'd be silly. I'm allergic. Instead I'll be peddling my wares and trying to help raise money for The American Cancer Society's "Look Good, Feel Better" program that provides wigs and support to patience undergoing cancer treatments.

The evening is going to have hay rides, honey demonstrations, horse rides, a petting zoo, a dj, raffles (you could win a puppet!) and silent auctions...seriously, for only $10 per family (as a suggested donation) there is no reason you shouldn't go and support the event.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'm Home!

I'm back from my many trips around the US..Ok really it's only two...and just Atlanta and Denver...but still, I'm home!

Puppetry Festival. wow. I can't even explain it (I can, that's a lie). It was a great festival. In some ways it exceeded Puppet Rampage (the last Puppeteers of America festival in 07) and in some ways it didn't. Overall it was great!

Highlights for me were the shows with excellent storytelling. This festival reiterated to me just how wonderful your storytelling needs to be. When you're in a dark room in a cozy chair and you're averaging 3-4 hours of sleep per night, and your days are very busy, the only thing that will keep you awake is fantastic storytelling. Pretty visuals, beautiful music, and wonderful manipulation are the things that help you drift off to sleep. A good story with good pacing will keep your eyes open.

To the puppeteers of the world: Please surround yourself with good storytelling abilities. Take improv workshops, take creative writing classes, watch good plays and puppet shows, entertain yourself. If you feel you have to stretch something, don't. Stretching for time can often lead to the SNL effect. Think about it. SNL has one punchline that they carry out about 2 minutes longer than they should. Make your point and move on. If you add material, that's okay--but add quality material that will keep me wanting to keep my eyes open. Don't be afraid of using a director. Tighten and strengthen your show by eliminating scenes that don't get you to your goal (whether that be revealing character or plot). Good story can cover a multitude of puppetry sins. It has for me.

I'll try to remember to write more about the festival in detail when I can. I'm still suffering from Post Festival Exhaustion.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Hey look, embedment!

So...Found a way to embed it. I think.

You can embed it too. just uh...go to

and copy the embedding code to the right. then embed it somewhere. Like your lawn. But somewhere a lot of people will see it--so like the lawn in your front yard, not the husband suggested the White House's lawn--because he thinks he's funny.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Why I've not been making finger puppets: an excuse in more than 140 characters

I checked how many puppets I'd made in June. only 21. That's a far cry from my goal of 60 finger puppets/month. like...a really far cry. But I have a good excuse! My dog ate friggin FIVE cats made me play with them.

Slight detour: We have 5 cats. 3 are 3 months old. We decided about 3 months ago that we'd probably keep them all. However, I do really enjoy seeing the exact same set of worried eyebrows on my friends' faces when they, for the 7th time, ask me, "So have you decided whether or not you're going to keep them?" My husband (yes, I'll blame him) had pretty much declared that we'd keep them all the moment we found out there were only 3. Still, each time the kittens are brought up, someone will ask, "So have you decided to keep all of them?" And they look at me like--if I do, I run the risk of donning a large, floral-print, over-sized mu'umu'u and chasing children down the street shaking a broom at them. To which I say, I don't even know where to buy a mu'umu'u. I do have a husband and a child...hopefully that will keep me from turning into an old cat-lady. And I go back to the husband-blaming I mentioned earlier. Totally his fault. He was allergic for so many years, I think this is his way of falling off the wagon.

Back to the road.
So I really do have a good excuse. I've been working on a very short (30 seconds) video for They're having a "make us a commercial & you can win some $" contest. So I did. I'm hoping it wins. But I suppose everyone who enters a video into the contest hopes it wins. If they didn't I'd be surprised.

Ok here's where it gets a little "uh oh": They choose the top 25 videos that go to the finals based on the number of views they get! (see? Uh oh.) I'm not sure if it's individual ISP views (meaning that you can view it once from your computer) or if it's the total number of views (meaning you can watch it a few times from your computer). So here's what I ask the 12 of you who read my blog to do: I need you to watch it. And! If you like it, send it to your friends, have them watch it too & tell them that your weirdo-friend made it. If you don't like it, send it to all of your enemies as punishment for being your enemy. Or if you're ambivalent about it, you can send it to your friends as punishment--or to your enemies as a reward.

I've gone on and on about watching it and I've provided you no link by which to see. I'm terrible.
Hooray! I'm not terrible anymore!

Alright then. World: do me proud. pretty please.

Monday, June 22, 2009

You Pick

Ok world,

In an attempt to keep myself creating I need you to help me push past the wall. I'm good on hand puppets--I have plenty of things to work on there--but in the hours of the day/night when my mind can't handle sitting at a sewing machine and isn't responisble enough to use a dremel, I need to know what to do.

I have 100% wool felt (with all these schmancy vegetable dyes and the whathaveyou--it's quite nice) & I'm not sure what to make with them. I'm thinking kid-friendly stuff with the 100% wool felt and I'll save the acrylic felt (of which I still have gobs) for things like microwaves and nunchucks.

But I need your ideas. This is yet another Puppet Pie Call To Duty. Please post (anonymously if you really want to) what puppet you think I should make. It doesn't mean I'll make it--it means that I'll really consider making it.

Things to keep in mind:

1. I won't make a penis, boogers or poop. (This is a classy operation)
2. I probably won't make a lightbulb or a peanut anytime soon.
3. I'm not an engineering genius--keeping shapes simple is good.
4. It's possible I've done it before. Look at my flickr or my sold section on Etsy to check.
5. Just because I've done it before, doesn't mean I won't do it again.
6. Put it in the comments so I have a place to find it. Telling me on twitter doesn't suffice.

What will you get if I choose to make your idea? Bragging rights. And if you're the first person to have ever given me the idea, I'll mention you in puppet's description.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Where is summer going?

At the beginning of the summer I had several projects laid out for me.

1) make a few videos
2) make some more hand puppets
3) animate *something*
4) finger puppets galores
5) maybe enroll the boy-child into swim lessons

I thought, Wow, I've got a lot of time to kill this summer!

Now its June 7th. Officially 1 week into June. We leave for vacations (and puppetry festivals!) for most of July (anyone want to cat-sit?). That means I only have three weeks left before my time to work on projects comes to an end! Yikes? Yikes, indeed.

First priority- Custom orders. I've got two to finish by the end of June. Totally doable.

Second Priority- Etsy video. To be honest, I'll likely do this sometime this week--before the two custom orders are done. I need to get it up as soon as possible--it's just a matter of writing out an acceptable dialog and then turning on the camera. Writing the acceptable dialog is the difficult part.

Third Priority- Make hand puppets! I've been stalling on making more hand puppets for my etsy shop for a long time, now. It probably has something to do with the fact that I need to clean my craft space.

Fourth Priority- I've been wanting to make some videos with my finger puppets. I want to make them elaborate, but I don't know where to go from there. I just know: Elaborate.

Throughout everything- Finger puppets. This is something I can do every day. I could probably make gazillions of these in a month, but to be honest, it's a matter of not knowing what to make sometimes. I mostly rely on my friends to tell me what they want me to make--if I get inspired from that, usually it's a winner (i.e. safety cone). But if I could, my brain would just make bunnies and puppies and kittens and mice (that, let's be honest, all look roughly the same when I make them). So if you have ideas, go ahead and leave them in the comments. I might make it. I'm trying not to make too many elaborate finger puppets right now, mostly because the price-points are more than anyone is really willing to pay for 2" of felt right now. And hey, I still might make it if it's a completely awesome idea.

Friday, May 22, 2009

If you were a newsletter, what would you say?

This shouldn't be a very big deal. I've written newsletters before that have gone out to 400 different households. A simple puppetry guild newsletter is easy, right? I mean, I write for my descriptions on Etsy all the time, it's all puppetry related, it should be a piece of cake to master a simple newsletter.

It should be.

For some reason it's not.

Our previous guild president, Ed Rogers, has been amazing and has written them for I don't even know how long. For June, he handed the newsletter duties off to me. It's about time I stepped up, anyway. And this is something I probably should have had written several weeks ago. I've been trying to second-guess what people might want to read.

When writing descriptions for my puppets, or writing puppet shows--or even writing this--I do it from a standpoint of "fooey on you and your mom, this is for me." But when writing for the newsletter, I feel as though it's selfish to write for myself. Let me rephrase--It's inappropriate to be selfish and write for myself when writing a newsletter for the guild. I think.

On the internet, you have a choice whether or not to keep reading. And you have somewhere else to go....but guild newsletter readers are hostage to my every whim. Which gives me all kinds of wonderful ideas for things to put in the newsletter, but with my sense of humor--it would only be funny to me. Like...nobody wants to see my grocery list there, however, I really want to put it in. Like...really badly. No really, I need to get Ziploc baggies and the guild needs to know.

Maybe I'll have to write a few horrible articles in order to get it out of my system.

If I do, I may post them here.

I think another thing holding me back is my lack of experience. Most of these puppeteers have at *lease* 20 years on me. Most of them have 40+ years on me. I know, I know, everyone can teach someone something. I should teach them about how much I need Ziploc baggies.

So if you were to read a puppetry guild's real newsletter, what do you want to read about?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I give short notice because I'm short

So I've had this lovely plan for weeks: I'll have a sale that I advertise in advance in many places. That works, right?

It does if I remember to actually advertise it in important my blog--which I know at least 33 people pretend they read. One is probably my mom. (Hi Mom. Glad you liked the flowers!). So hopefully someone reads it before...well, 8 hours from now.

So here's the deal....I'm going to have a TP party. That silly Toilet Paper puppet that my friend Cynthia made me make is so darn popular (not poopular, i refuse to say poopu--dag nabbit)

Anyway, it's been added to people's favorites 44 times since I listed him like 2 months ago. So I figured I'd make a bunch and sell those only at a lower price--because obviously they're lower quality. I has googly eyes for crying out loud. But I'm also adding a bunch of other swell puppets, too. Puppets I haven't even photographed yet, they're so amazingly awesome!

If you come to my blogtv show on Tuesday nights at 8pm PST, then you've probably seen the weird-butt puppets I've made for this, but other than that, I'm not giving anything away! Nope. You totally won't know that I'm going to list grilled steak to be companion to my raw steak. And you totally won't even expect a super kitten with a mask and EVERYTHING. (All caps required). And I'm definitely not telling you about the amazing carrot-bunny that I made. Because I did. I made one. It's amazing.

So....anyway. Um... My cat had 3 kittens and they're really cute. This is pirate. That's all.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I really have nothing important to say

Usually when I post to this here bloggity blog, I have some kind of idea I wish to express. Not this time, friend. This time the only idea I have in my brain is "wow, has it really been a whole month since I've posted? What the shibbidiboo have I been doing???"

Oh...right. In-school residency to 4th graders. wow. yeah. Privileged 4th graders at that....150 privileged 4th graders. Save us all.

It made me really appreciate my 1st graders. That's not to say that 4th graders are horrible...their puppets turned out beautifully--and one-on-one, I fully enjoy the conversations I have with 4th graders. Even in small groups....but you get 150 of them and all bets are off. Even in groups of 30. This is why I didn't become a teacher.

there were 5 groups of 30 kids...each did a different type of puppetry (Shadow, Overhead projector, hand, rod, & marionettes). Thankfully I didn't head this thing up. I'd have made them all draw faces on their fingers with a sharpie and called it temporary finger puppetry. "The good news, kids, is that you get to take your finger puppets home with you!--provided you don't wash your hands"

That went on for 3 weeks. At the end of the 3 weeks I was physically and emotionally spent. Teaching is tiring! Teaching 150 4th graders AND our 28 first graders all in the same day? WOW. Yeah, tiring.

I was--and still am--however, thankful for the job and the experience. It was neat to watch it somehow get pulled off. And in the end, the kids did a good job on their puppets and on their performances.

So...I guess that's where I've been...kinda. I also attended the Phoenix Improv Festival & did the National Day of Puppetry (how did I not post that?!) But I suppose I'll talk about that another time? (I probably won't really...) I mean...yes, I'll most certainly talk about that another time!

Friday, April 3, 2009

It's here!

On my birthday. *squee*

You can also read the article here that has a link to an impromptu interview we did about 18 months ago.

Monday, March 23, 2009


I'm the youngest child in my family. I also have red hair. Both of these things combined have made me into the lovely attention whore I am today...although whore is such a "negative" word....Or is it?

You may question the red hair thing, but when you're a member of just 2% of the population on Earth, people comment on your hair.... a lot. Especially when you were such a cute little bugger. (See above.)

Attention seems to go in waves. Particularly when it comes to my Etsy shop. Sometimes things are all a flurry, and sometimes not so much. Right now it's certainly a-flurry! Hooray!

I've had the lucky-luck of having been featured in an Etsy-wide (subscribers at least) email by Tina seamonster, who is everywhere and is super-awesome-wacky-fun. I've also been on the homepage of a couple of times within the last month or so.... And 1000 Markets featured my bacon puppet--and then a pretty snarky twitter account who can get downright mean sometimes (I won't mention who...) featured me as well! Wheee!

So I've been getting lots and lots of "hooray me" time. Isn't that fun?

There's more, world. There's more....

Not only is this a feature, this is a call to duty for you good people...all 27 of you. It's time to stand up for your country--whichever country that may be--and vote for my wonky finger puppet! I know you may be tempted to vote for something better or more adorable, or better made, or funnier...but resist those urges that cause you to be honest in your voting and vote for me! This is a friggin popularity contest here and won't I be so sad when I only have 2 votes at the finish line. So yes, I'm asking for your pity-vote. Hooray pity votes!

The sad thing here is that I'm "competing" against some of my favorite people--totally unfair...and I'm finding new favorite people, too...I mean, c'mon, pizza cake? Total winner!

So yeah...uhhh vote for my finger. please.

That's the entire point of this blog post.

Friday, March 6, 2009

I'm getting all serious about poop

As the title would suggest, I'm getting serious about poop. And I don't mean I'm making more toilet paper finger puppets. Not until the first one sells, anyway. I mean that I'm setting up goals! I'm asking myself if I'm successful. I'm pursuing talking about success so I can avoid actually taking action on that success. (I'm honest, right?)

So I set out some goals for myself. As I mentioned...yeah. I'm on codeine (legally). Give a girl a break.

I often get a bug in my butt to go posting to's forums about how to succeed in life. And I give amazingly good advice. Such good advice that I actually sell it. And people actually buy it (crazy, right?). So this is a refined post to the forums that got ignored, but I don't want myself to forget it. So I'm posting it here so I can go back and read it like a narcissist.

Some of them are pretty darn generic. OK, most of them are. It's like they don't really tell me anything, but it sounds pretty.

Ready? Are you? You don't care, do you, you just want to see pictures of puppets. I made dead jam the other night. It's nice. I'll get photographs up once my ruptured eardrum (yes, ouch) allows me to get up and do things. like shower. (I know).

OK so some of these things have already happened, so that's awesome. Some I'm still waiting on. That's okay. In fact, I think it's good.

Artistically I'll know I'm succeeding if:
1. People all over the world are viewing my work. And smiling.
2. I get compliments on my work.
3. I'm creating new work that isn't forced.
4. My work is represented in multiple cultures/countries and speaks to a broad population.
5. I gain recognition among peers in my field.

Businessly(totally a word, I did not just make up that word):
1. People buy my work.
2. Enough people buy my work that I survive.
3. I have 1000 fans that spend at least $10 each year.
4. I gain at least 100 hearts/month*

Ways to make it happen:
1. Not treating it like a job, but rather treating it as though I'm positively surviving on loving what I do./Focus deeply on loving what I do.
2. Seeking out avenues locally to display and showcase my work.
3. Pursuing education in my art form so I don't become stagnant.
4. Introducing my work to people outside of my selling venues.
5. Establish meaningful connections with fans. But not in a whore-y way.
6. Seeking out support from other artists, both in my field and elsewhere.
7. Not allowing myself to not create. Pushing past the runner's wall.

OK so some of those sound a little gay. (Pause--I tried to think of a synonym for this that would still convey the fact that I understand that I know I'm being about it all, that wasn't offensive, but I'm taking codeine and my brain-thesaurus isn't working properly, so gay it is!--Unpause) But that's what I came up with for goals. I have a few specific goals that I didn't put here because I just didn't. I don't need to justify to you people!........Ok so it's because it's just businessy stuff that probably isn't useful to anyone but me. A laundry list, if you will.

*For those of you who don't know, "hearts" on are given to you when someone adds your shop or item to their favorite bookmarks to their profile. So the goal here is to have 100 people add my shop to their favorites per month. I could just say that, but hearts sounds more cutesy. And if I'm all about anything, it's cutesy. Hence the bloody tampon. Schmadorable.

Oh, and somewhere in the middle, I threw in a picture of a daisy in a jar. I've decided that jars are the way to go when packaging my finger puppets for in-person shops. I suppose if people want, they can have jars in the mail. I'm sorry Amanda, but I really, really like it. Thems is funny to me.

On that note, you should come watch me every Tuesday night at 11pm EST on blogtv. because you need further proof that I'm a dork. Yes, watch me make finger puppets and chat with the people. My good friend and fellow puppeteer, Mack Duncan usually co-hosts with me.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hello, Target Audience

I'll admit, I didn't know who you were for a long time. Oh, I had a vague idea. You're someone who likes silly things. You've got a pretty good sense of humor. You like to give cute things to small children. Sometimes you talk to people in silly voices. But I didn't know what other things you liked. I didn't know where you spent your time.

I tried to find you a few places, like street fairs and and you weren't really there. I'd get people who looked and giggled, but they weren't you. I just figured you didn't really leave the house. Maybe you just like getting stuff online because of my fancy writing words. Maybe my target audience just likes reading, and that's cool. You can read. I'll just not go out into the world to try to find you. Problem solved, right?

Then my friend asked me to accompany her to the Phoenix Comicon. I did. I found you! I didn't think I'd find you there, but I did! You do leave the house! But I don't think I found all of you...

So, I guess I still don't feel like I know who you really are. I know you're not always into comic books and Star Trek. You might be into puppetry, reading books. You might hang out at libraries, or at Starbucks. You might be Miss Soccer Mom in a hot bikini. Heck, you might even be Mister Soccer Mom in a hot bikini....But I just don't know.

Now is the time for me to get to know you. Please leave a comment just telling me a bit about yourself. Be anonymous or not, I just need to know the essence of you. Where do you go? How old are you? What kind of job do you have? Are you a homeowner? Do you like your job? What are your favorite kinds of stores to shop in? What do you watch on TV? How often do you wash your hair? What is your favorite movie from the 80s? What kinds of puppets do you think I should make? All of this is to help me stalk you. All of you. No need telling me what time of day you wake up, I'll find that out on my own. From your lawn.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Totally Bad Form. I'm Sorry.

So while I was chatting with Alice Cooper today at the Boys' & Girls' Club Fundraiser Banquet, he told me a neat story about his time filming The Muppet Show in London in 1978. The year I was born. I didn't tell him about that. I didn't want him to feel old.

He said they spent about a week rehearsing the show in London before they taped it. (Maybe he said 4 days and that they were in London for a week?) He seemed surprised by that. He also told me how wonderful it was to do a number with Miss Piggy...and then mentioned how interesting it was that, Frank Oz, being so into his character (and insisted that Piggy may have been coming onto him during their duet) Mr. Cooper would forget that it was just a puppet. He'd get an idea for something and say "oh, you should put your head on my shoulder, like this" but he'd look at the puppet while saying it & then realize, the puppet wasn't necessarily watching him and then he'd ask the same question again, this time toward Mr. Oz's face somewhere below. He lit up when he started talking about it. It was surely good times.

Ok, so yeah I make it sound like Mr. Cooper and I chat on a daily basis...we don't. This is really only my 2nd encounter with the man, and the first was so minuscule.

We used to attend his church (not for very long at all), but when my son was a toddler & getting wiggly during the service one Sunday, I had him walk up the steps toward the back of the church with me. Mr. Cooper (Vince) was sitting on an end seat. I didn't know it was him, just noticed that there was an older gentlemen with long black hair flirting with my little boy. My little boy totally dug it. Totally.

When my little boy grew up to be a bigger little boy (so maybe about 3), he saw Season 3 of The Muppet Show & from then on wanted to watch the Alice Cooper episode over and over and over again. I ended up telling him about how Alice Cooper flirted with him when he was a toddler at church and it just sealed the deal. He was a die-hard fan. School's Out was his favorite song (Oh and when Guitar Hero came out with that as one of the play options? WOW yeah...he knows that one). When Dave Goelz came to visit Arizona, I pulled the kiddo out of school that day so we could go watch The Muppet Movie with him at the library. So what does my inquisitive 4-year-old ask to the puppeteer with Gonzo on his hand in front of the boy's face? "What puppets did you do in the Alice Cooper muppets?"

So tonight, when we were at a fundraiser (totally bad form, I know, I'm sorry Mr. Cooper,...I feel bad...kinda), and I saw Alice Cooper 3 feet from my face, I had to just let him know, "Hey, we used to go to church together & I just have to say, my son thinks you're the bee's knees."

I didn't want to go home and say, "Hey! Guess who I saw!" and not also get to say, "Guess what he told me!"

So, thank you Mr. Cooper. My son will leap with joy tomorrow when he wakes up and I tell him how I got to talk to his hero, and how his hero had a story for me to relay back. You made my night because I know just how much it means to my little boy. And I promise, the next fundraiser we win tickets to, I won't accost anyone. Totally promise. I'll also not wear a hoodie to semi-formal event...probably.

As a side note: The banquet was beautiful. I don't know that I've ever had someone put a napkin on my lap for me before. The Boys' & Girls' Clubs in the Phoenix area raised close to a $1 million (if not more)! It was neat to see a large group of filanthropists still giving gobs of money to worthy causes in spite of rough economic times. Also, Shaquille O'Neal is really, really tall. like. Wow. Also, best word of the night: Shaq-lock-holmes. Also, here's a bee--for funsies' sake.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hello. I made corn.

Sentences like, "I made corn," make me think that I did something wrong in my pants.

Does this make me juvenile? Sure. Can I do a higher form of humor? You bet. My theory is that the world has a lot of class, high society, and fine, respectable culture in it. It really does. It might not have enough, but it has a lot. Sometimes my job as a human is to add to that fine culture, and sometimes it's not. I choose most of the time to not, not because I think "oh I want a cheap laugh from the audience," but because I truly enjoy giving myself that cheap laugh. And honestly I don't think it's usually a very *cheap* laugh. I think it comes at a great expense to everyone's intellect. However it does come with a certain amount of bravery.

As a mild example, I don't know many people who talk about babies choking to death with humor. While, I'm very serious that babies should not choke to death (I really don't recommend it--in fact I'll go so far as to say I truly oppose choken babies--yes, choken.), I don't have any problem making light of a serious situation. I wonder if people read things & pay attention more when they're funny. I think they might.
Hey want to give that 6-month-old a finger puppet because you love them? Oh better not, that one girl was like, "your baby's going to die from your love." And she was right. She being me. The right one.

I know when I'm writing shows or even writing listings for my etsy shop (yes, I'll plug it) I'm supposed to have a message that plays to the top of my audience's intelligence, but there's a time and place for that. I think right now my time and place requires that I talk about corn like it's in my pants. That makes me happy. Maybe it will make other people happy, too.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


First of all, I would like to say that after a week of watching Care Bears 2, A New Generation, several times a day for just about a week, I am ready to blog about it. Which might be a step slightly above gouging out my eyes. The inconsistencies between the two movies is just an abortion. And why do the Care Bears and the Care Bear Cousins fully mature from infancy in a week? Oh, I could go on for hours, but I won't. This journal is supposed to be about puppetry, not writers who feel they can throw out everything we know and love about the Care Bears & the Care Bear Cousins just to help Kenner sell some Baby Care Bear plush toys. I only curse them because it worked.

I seem to get involved with projects I'm not allowed to talk about. Torture. Pure torture. So yesterday we did this thing with a video camera and it was super fun! I promise it has to do with puppets, but I can't promise that I'll ever be able to tell you what it really is. But I do promise that there's no nudity involved, but I can't promise that no one will ever see that lack of nudity. I'm not lying. Anyway, it's one of those things that was just so much fun that I want to tell everyone about how much fun it was and at the same time I can't, so I just have to be really really vague and hope that my rambling here about nothing whatsoever is mildly entertaining and just confusing enough that nobody really knows what I'm talking about and yet therapeutic enough that I get it out of my system with no questions from anyone. Longest sentence ever.

Sometimes words just come out of my brain. No other explanation.

So...I guess you deserve to look at Meatloaf.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Two days & broken promises

I'm totally writing something today even though I wrote something yesterday. If I keep this up, you people are going to think I'm a whore for blogging. So maybe I am? What of it?

Thanks to the schmancy Google Analytics, I found out that the average time someone spends here is just under a minute. 53 seconds to be exact. So to help out with the necessity of the peek & dash, I'm going to not write an epic novel today. Or maybe I am, who knows, its like 1am, I could do something incredibly crazy like that! Wheee!

I have some kind of exciting secret thing coming up tomorrow that I'm excited and secretive about. Let's just say I'd rather not have broken out with bad acne tonight. That shouldn't give you any real kinds of hints, but...yeah. I'd just rather not have it. Not like there's a good time for a break-out, there are just more inopportune times than others.

Did I mention that I participated in a 24-hour film challenge that the IFP in Phoenix put on? I'm not linking anything because I'm terribly lazy. Google is your friend if you want to visit the site. You're lucky I'm even backspacing for typos at this point. Anyhow, IFP stands for Independent Film Project. I've done two of these before, both with puppets. This time we got our film in on time. The idea is to create a film in 24 hours. I've been sick for nigh on a crow's age, so I didn't participate in the entire 24, so I haven't watched it yet. All I will say is that it's done in stop-motion animation, which pleases me to no end. I will do more of these. I will.

We also tossed around one idea that we didn't use that I'm bent on using. I'll use it! I will!

Hey you should go look at the naughty puppet in my etsy shop. Again, not linking...I think its off to the right if you really want to look. scroll down a little. pictures of puppets--that's my shop. I think I'm funny sometimes.

take the poll. please.

I'm not sure what this post had to do with puppetry. Hey look at the top! Its a puppet! There. worked that in. Smooth, aren't I?

I'm not a promise-keeper.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Spring Cleaning

It's time to clean my workspace. It just is. Especially since Puppet Pie is my main job at this point. Not something I'm looking forward to (the cleaning--I actually look forward to Puppet Pie. I mean, c''s pie...made of puppets!)

To find storage solutions that work.
To utilize the storage that I have--and make it work.
To create a system of organizing information. Basically, create a way to put my due projects up on some kind of board that keeps track of maybe it could have some sort of spongy and yet wooden material that maybe I could stick push-pins into....hmmm

I've already created a schedule of what my work-week will look like. My goal is to make at least 9 finger puppets/week and hopefully 4 smaller hand-puppets/week. I hadn't planned on making any more smaller hand puppets, but I think its okay now that the CPSIA's mandatory testing has been postponed by one year.

We've received lots of bad financial news in the last 3 the rest of the world. First, the hours at the theater getting drastically cut. Second, the theater is losing grants that they've already been awarded by the state (way to screw over the arts, Arizona!). And we also learned that our house is worth significantly less than it was when we purchased it 5 years ago--actually before the housing prices jumped so high (at one point it was valued at $240k). Which isn't a big deal unless we have to refinance because of the loan maturing...and we do.

I'm hopeful that everything will work out, though. I'm investigating some nerdy-sites to possibly advertise my little shop on. Sadly, is out of the question at $600/week.

I'm feeling rather motivated. After more than a week of being sick (it's lingering still, but I think I'm on the rebound), its good to feel that motivation again!

Also, I think I'm funny for the following reasons:

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I made a sandwich to be proud of.

Comicon was a success! So successful that we've decided we're going to do it again next year (Memorial Day Weekend), but next time we'll get a big space instead of the small artist's table. It will cost about 3 times as much, but I think it will be worth it.

A lot of people seemed to be interested in portrait puppets, which was nice, but I kinda don't think anything will come of it. Next year I'll make less expensive monster puppets and offer those. Oh, and next year? TOTALLY going to geek out and go all steampunked.

While there I made a myriad of finger puppets, which I'll upload to my shop throughout the week (I have a terrible sore throat/ear ache, so I'm not in a hurry to list).

Oh hey, also, I was featured on the Such Cool Stuff blog. My blogging about a that meta?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Titeres Galores

DEATH awaits you all with sharp, nasty, pointy teeth!

I'm going to Comicon this week. Not the big one in San Diego, CA, no no, this is the mega-con in Mesa, Arizona. Got that stalkers? I'll be at the comicon in Mesa, AZ this week. Don't rape me or anything okay?

In preparation, I'm trying to make a lot of be exact, a lot of really nerdy puppets. Got that nerds? I'm onto you! I know what makes you tick! It's things like Liches & Yetis! Oh yeah, I know that WOW isn't just an interjection, but a really creepy life-sucking game! I know the difference between a dwarf and a halfling! Oh yes! You shall see dorkdom at cactus-con a-plenty and it shall on be at my table! Or maybe not.

I'm actually having a bit of terribly wonderful bad luck with my shop. I can't seem to stock up my stuff. I've been making things and listing them on etsy, figuring one in the hand is worth two in the bush & in the last week I've sold 6 things on etsy! Including little pepe fleece for eyes, who has been in my shop since August of 2006! So hooray for adoption! The only downside to this is that I've got comicon coming up & am trying to get enough finger puppets for my table that I won't look ridiculous for the 4-day event with 8 puppets.

I'm going to the post office tomorrow with all of my goodies to bid them farewell. One is going to China.

So this week gives me hope. Maybe I can make it as an artist on my own-ish. I'm setting goals for myself. I'm hoping to make at least 12-14 puppets (finger) per week. I'll list at least one puppet per day & hopefully they sell. This week, so far, I've made...1, 2, 3...4, 5, 6 plus 5 is 1 is 3 is 15... 15! I've made fifteen puppets. I need to sell about 35 a month in order to maintain financial sanity. Well, at least financial stability.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A new beginning?

Nothing like symbolizing the birth of a new era with a creature known for the destruction of all mankind. Woohooo!

Now, I'm still working as a performing puppeteer on a daily basis until the end of January, so no panicking yet. And I had planned on making these little dorky puppets & saving them for the Phoenix Comicon (where a friend of mine & I have a table) but I figured one in the hand is worth..well, you know. So I put him up on Etsy. I'll earn as much & save as much as I can, knowing that winter is on its way.

I'm trying to stay positive about all of this. (It's difficult)
The hours I'll be working make it challenging to get another job. So I've got to make a decision: do I give up what I love entirely so I can keep the car, feed the family, keep the kiddo in the awesome school? Or do I scrape by & force my family to do the same? I could trade in the car, but at this point we've lost so much money on it by keeping it for such a short amount of time. I suppose had I known, I might have leased it instead. Can't go back. Can only go forward with ooey gooey tentacles of doooooom! (And adorable googly eyes)

Right now, the hope is that I can "make it" with Etsy, for now. We'll be thankful for the time that I've had as a performer and hope that, if the theater can afford it down the line, they'll re-hire me (which is what she had said she'd like to do). I'll still be doing the slams and things around town, so I'm not going anywhere...just...ugh. yeah. Nothing quite like hearing all of that right before you're treated to lunch at a restaurant you don't really like just after seeing someone you know at the table in across from you.

Wow, was that a whole lot of emotional-vomit?

*resisting urge to crawl under a blanket*

I'll make another puppet!

Friday, January 9, 2009

End of an era

So, I had my review today at work and was told that my hours will be cut back & that the theater can no longer pay me to do puppet shows due to nasty recession budget constraints. I understand. It hurts, but I understand. They still want me to teach for them 9 hours per week.

I'm going to have to figure some things out...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year!

When all is said & done I've re-sized, cut, & styled wigs, I've found an amazing costume designer, discovered new eyes, done makeup, figured out which fabric I'll never use again, resorted to using a pattern for the heads, am pleased with the results, but still wish I'd not used a pattern, sculpted 10 hands (which means I've sewn 10 hands--man I hate sewing hands), Found an incredible resource for puppet eyewear---then broke that eyewear--hmm, & I haven't had access to 5 bottles of wine for more than a month. Dude, I want my wine back.

Another puppeteer asked me if I was charging enough. I said no. I got a "you know how much other people charge, right?" Yeah, I know. I don't think I fully knew before I started putting all of this together, but I think I have a better idea now. I just never before felt like I could attain that quality of workmanship. I get it now. I think can do it. I put a listing in my etsy shop that is probably still low for most puppeteers, but it's a good step for me so I feel okay about it. (By the way Andrew's puppet pricing calculator is just a dream) If it's about right, do tell.

The puppets will be on their way hopefully this week. Me breaking the eye glasses (tonight) really put a big snafoo into that one. I'll give you full back story & details on the puppets just as soon as I can. (The 4 of you that read my blog probably already know the details, but what the hey?)