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Thursday, May 19, 2016


I have been on disability for the last 9 months, which has afforded me to be able to get back to creating art. It was hard to settle my mind at first, and in the settling, I had to wrestle a couple of demons into the ground. But, on the other side of that, I began to re-create and create some of my best work. Clearing out the cobwebs and commotion really helped me to think and dream and become inspired. I surrounded myself with visually beautiful images and the sparks in my mind began to fly. 

It's been a year since I made mouses and it has been great to get back to it. A book is in the works too. Mouses, a book of taxidermy will be available this fall. I've also brought out the colored pencils and paints once again. It feels great to back.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

a cookie takes a walk through a garden

Lavender Shortbread Cookie with Hibiscus Glaze and Edible Flowers

Years ago, I found a great book on everything lavender. How to plant it, harvest it, craft with it , and cook with it.
I love the way lavender smells and the way it calms me. Why not put it in a cookie??
The book's author, Tessa Evelegh produced an amazing book filled with great ideas and recipes.
 The book is simply called, Lavender.

Lavender Shortbread 
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, the best you can buy....softened
1/4 cup of superfine sugar, sometimes called caster sugar
1-1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 tablespoon of dried lavender florets or culinary lavender
(the florets are the flowers in bloom, and culinary lavender is found easily at
 health food stores. Be sure any lavender used is pesticide free)
sanding sugar for sprinkling, chocolate or sugar glaze

Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy, stir in the flour and lavender until a dough ball forms.
 You may need to use your hands and knead on a lightly floured surface. Chill for 15 minutes.
Heat oven to 400 degrees F, and place parchment paper onto a cookie sheet.
Roll chilled dough out on a very lightly floured surface. You want to use as little flour as
 possible so that the cookies stay tender and crisp. Roll about 1/4 to 3/8 inches thick, 
depending on desired thickness, with a cookie cutter of choice.
Bake about 8 minutes, a little longer if your cookies are thicker. 
They should be set and a hint of brown on the bottoms,
 Remember to sprinkle with sugar before baking, or glaze when the cookies cool.

Makes about one dozen cookies

Hibiscus Sugar Glaze
Recently I picked up Hibiscus powder in the spice aisle, while visiting the farmers market at the Ferry Building in San Francisco and was very excited to try it out. Knowing of its tartness, I knew I could pair it with many things, especially cookies! The one I purchased is from Whole Spice, Napa Valley

1 cup powdered confectioners sugar
1/4 tsp of hibiscus powder
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp merangue powder
about 2-3 tablespoons of milk

mix dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and add vanilla. beat slowly till combined, adding one tablspoon of milk at a time until desired consistancy. Have edible flowers, sprinkles and decorations ready to go, as the glaze sets up quickly. Glaze a few cookies at a time and add decorations. Allow glaze to set, about 20 minutes.

Edible Flowers
There are SO many flowers that a person can actually eat. The internet is full of sites on which ones you can. My local grocery store carries them in the organic produce section where you find the fresh herbs. You can also sugar and candy flowers for cookies and cakes as well.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I'm still here!

Hello peeps!
Yep, I'm still here. My goal is to keep you updated weekly as I create new and exciting art for Sparrowsongs. Please be patient with me, as my work is growing and there is just not enough of me to go around. This is a good problem to have and I am very thankful to be able to make a living making's a dream come true.
Lot's of shows and classes to look for. You can find more info on my Facebook Sparrowsongs page.
Here's what been up lately:
Mother's Day bouthique in Lafayette this weekend
Classes at Magpie, Cottage Jewel and The Piece by Piece
Tinsel and Treasure show in October
Holloween and Vine show in September

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A New Year

This year is starting out with a bunch of changes! I will working from home on mouses, beetles and classes and watching out after Marco. I am looking forward to what this year has to offer. Hopefully it won't be as crazy as last year. I am determined to take charge of my life and not let the "wind" carry me along as I so often do. If I could only learn to say NO! It is hard for me, for I so want to please EVERYONE! Oh, by the way....did we have Christmas last year? It seems to be but a faint glimmer of memory. Something about marshmallows and hot chocolate?. I do believe that I was so overwhelmed and exhausted that I missed it....again! NOT THIS YEAR! I will take charge of my destiny! My calendar! My life!!!
So, that being said, I am counting on a much happier, less stressful and more organized year.....and this little duck just may help with that!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Wee Wittle World of Mices

My house looks like a mouse fairytail right now....with only two weeks till showtime, my hands and mind are racing to complete "mouse visions" that have been swirling about in my imagination for some time now. It feels really great to finally bring them to fruition. We have Forest Mouses, Rapunzel...Angel Mouse and such. The grand finale Mer-Mouse is in the works as I write this blog. Now, everywhere I go, I look for mouse props. I see it becoming an obsession. There are certain ideas that will not let go. The Birth of Ve-mouse" was one, and there is a snarky black mouse in my freezer that thinks he's a pirate! How in the heck am I gonna find a pirate hat and jacket that tiny???? Anybody?
So raise a glass with me as I dive into a new area of art that I've dreamed of doing since my dad took me to the Natural History museum years and years ago......cheers!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Christmas Tutorial #1: Hand Dyed Bottle Brush Trees

The colors that you can achieve from dying your own antique or new bottle brush trees is nothing short of delightful! This is the 5th year that I have been making them and every year I create a different color palette. Last year the colors were bright fuchsia, yellow and turquoise! This year they are soft, muted and peaceful......and ya know what? the very same colors were used! Lets see how I did that, shall we?

1. First you will need bottle brush trees. Michaels crafts has packages of them for around $20 (don't forget to use your coupon!), You'll need liquid or powdered Rit fabric dyes....or any fabric dyes for that matter. I like to mix my colors in the tallest drinking glasses that I have in the house...or vases, pitchers etc. You'll need a large tall vessel for the larger trees which are about 8".....You'll need bleach and a large plastic bucket (I saved my Costco laundry detergent bucket that had a nice lid on it and used that). you'll need water, disposable gloves (hardware store) tongs, LOTS of paper towels, glitter and glue for decorating. I began picking up old perfume bottles and silver salt and pepper shakers every time I saw them at garage sales, antique stores and thrift shops, so I had enough to make a bunch of trees. You can leave the trees right on their do not have to put them on something different....that's just my spin on them.
2. Fill up your bucket with water and add bleach....the more bleach you add the faster the process is, but the smellier it is...(the ratio is about 3 parts water-1 part bleach)
3. Add all of the trees that you want to bleach out and wait.....the process takes anywhere from 3 minutes to 10 minutes to bleach out the color. This depends on who manufactures your trees and how old they are.....just keep an eye on them until they are a nice light beige color. They will not turn completely white. Take them out of the bleach and rinse them with plain warm water and leave them to dry overnight or a few hours.
4. When you work with the dyes, a little goes a long way! maybe a tsp to 8oz. Again....the more dye the brighter the colors. The more you leave the trees in the color the more color they will have. Don't be afraid to create new colors....especially if you need orange and only have red and yellow dyes...add more pink to the brown to create mauve etc....Once you have all of your colors mixed you can start dipping the trees. Have plenty of paper towels ready on a surface that you don't mind getting stained. I did my process out in the September sun a few years back and last year I had a tree dying party so we were inside in the kitchen on an old folding table. the process is messy and don't forget to wear gloves! Hold the base of the tree and dip in the glasses of colors. A quick 5 second dip will create a light pastel color. You can just leave the whole tree in the color for a few minutes too, to get a real deep color. Have a large bucket of water ready to dip your dyed tree in quickly if you find you got too much color on it. I used layers and layers of paper towels for setting the dyed trees on to dry.
Try using an ombe technique by dipping the tree in portions starting from the bottom to the top...or try dipping your tree in one color and then in another half way to get interesting looks. Have fun with the colors! The more you experiment, the funner it becomes!
5. The trees will take hours to dry depending on your environment. We blow dried them last year so we could glitter them in the class. Once they are dried, take your finger and dip it in white glitter glue, moving along the tips of the tree and roll the tree in glitter that you have put on a paper plate. This way, the tips just get glittered. I have used just clear and silver sparkles glitter and have used colored glitter as well. I used turquoise glitter over a rich brown tree...the look was amazing!!!
6. Don't forget to glitter the bases of the trees if you are going to use them that way. If you are going to put them in old bottles, or the like.....then just simply pull the tree off it's base and glue into the base. Decorate any way you want to. the possibilities are endless! Some students, last year, created little wonderlands on paper mache boxes. Or use old vintage beaded garland for "ornaments" how about using fun flock instead of glitter? I printed out my own stars and glittered them.
Please be a considerate artist and use this tutorial for making trees as gifts and for personal use and not to sell. I sell these on Etsy and the greater San Francisco Bay area. Thanks for being thoughtful in this.
Have a great time and if you are interested in me coming to your home for a home class, I'd be happy too...just contact me via email or phone! Also check out my Sparrowsongs Facebook page to find out when the next tree dying party will happen this October-November at the Sparrowsongs studio.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

FairyTail Mice

Most people do not like mice....their creepy tails and the little sharp teeth. Scurry, furry little pests that get into everything!!! I, however, LOVE them! I mean, who ever hated the little mice in Cinderella? The mice I use in my taxidermy are rescued or have died of natural causes. "Rescued"...meaning from the jaws of a snake or lizard. Rescued from a horrifying and painful death. At the EBV, they have "feeder mice" who have no chance for a home as a pet and can't be sold as such (for reasons they would not explain to me fully,.... Not Certified they said) So.....the ethical question I get all the time is "Do you kill the mice for art?" the answer is no. The EBV euthanizes them or throws them in the cages live. I choose the mice from the ones that they put to sleep before they are fed to the snakes. To me, I immortalize it and honor it's death with bringing it "back to life" in taxidermy. God gave us all living creatures as a testimony to His greatness in creation. When I see an animal, whether in picture, zoo or "stuffed" as in taxidermy; I see His great creativity and wonder at every detail.
  Taxidermy was first popular a very long time ago when you couldn't just turn on the TV, computer or such and see a porcupine. Books weren't always available to everyone. Taxidermy was the way to bring the animal to the public. Yes, sporting and hunting for trophy's is considered unethical today, and I would not hunt a squirrel just to stuff it.
  I recently spoke with a baby duck taxidermist who's relative works in a chicken hatchery that raises them for grocers. 30% of the chicks do not make it past a month. He takes the ones that die and would otherwise be thrown into the furnace and does taxidermy on them so that you and I could smile every time we saw their cute little beaks and webbed feet! It is my hope that the creatures that I stuff will be treasured for all of the wonder they are. Examine the mouses tiny paws, it's sweet little nose and delicate ears......and Praise the Creator for all that He has given us in the animal kingdom.

Friday, June 14, 2013


I believe everyone needs to reinvent themselves or their surroundings at least once in their lives....especially if you create. This last year, I created more goods than I have in the years past. glittered trees, Halloween bats and plenty of seashell art. All of which made me very happy....but somewhat unfulfilled. As I grasped straw after straw to find something new to inspire me....I always ended up with the short one. Then, about four months ago, I was asked to work at Paxton Gate in San Francisco.......and drew a very very long straw.
Inspiration (married with my lifelong love of taxidermy and entomology) started to haunt my mind and soul every waking hour. I've art had changed.
Scattered in my little home studio are taxidermy mice awaiting clothing and crowns, tiny mouse skulls adorned with gold, spread beetles that await painted shells and steampunk embellishments, forgotten butterfly wings begging to be made into jewelry and real caught read me right, I am "catching" real spider webs for art..........
I couldn't be more excited. Sparrowsongs still has it's brand....but with more of a nature inspired groove.......
Here is just a hint of what I am unveiling at this year's Tinsel and Treasures Magical Artisan Boutique this October.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

New Beginnings

As spring creeps up on us with sunny days and trees blooming, I'm reminded of new beginnings. I am beginning  what I call a "regular" three part time creative jobs right now are tons of fun but offer zero predictability (something I desperately need right now). So...the stars, fates and the Good Lord saw fit for me to work outside the home at Paxton Gate in San Francisco. THE only place in the US of A that I would even want to work at right now. The place is pure magic for a Pix like me.....a perfect blend of artisan creations using images and found objects from Mother Nature, Taxidermy, entomology, botany, minerals and fossils, along with unique and one-of-a-kind gifts.....A natural History museum with stuff you can buy! PURE inspiration and the place just feels right. It feels good, It feels like home somehow. The last place that I was ever excited to go to work to was....well.....there wasn't. Don't get me wrong, Worthington Photography, Target, Emporium Capwell, etc.....all good and fun jobs, but no where near what I feel here. I've always wanted to own and learn taxidermy and have it around me at home........(but alas, it's expensive!) Now I get to be surrounded on a weekly basis by roaring lions, funny monkeys and sweet little forest creatures!
One of the best parts of going "back" to work, and mind you, I don't "have" to work financially speaking.....but, Chef is allowing me to be fulfilled in the other ways that I need to be, outside of our family nucleus and relationships. He understands me like no one I've ever met before. He understands my need to be around people in a helping and giving way. He understands my need for creative inspiration. He understands my need to be busy! He wants me to be happy and is happy to give this to me. As he has stated to me before..."Pix, your happiness is essential to my own." AMAZING! So as I begin a new and exciting adventure, I can't help but feel like I am one of the most blessed people on the planet. I can't wait to learn and grow and give at work.....the overflow of the happiness in my heart can spill out to the ones I love and hold so dear. A better mom, step-mom, wife, friend, artist and person.........Yay!

Thursday, March 7, 2013


"If I could gather a star 
for each time that you have made me smile, 
I would have the whole of the heavens in the palm of my hand"...~Deni Kendig

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Painting Teensy ...and Tennsier

Penopoly Pens is at it again! As the LA Pen Show approaches, I am busily painting tiny again....on a cylindrical surface the size of a small cigar. My paint brushes are 10's and 20's over zero's and I am about to do some serious squirrel napping in hopes of "borrowing" a tail hair in which to sign my name on these tiny treasures.....So far we have an Indian Eagle Feather, a Rattlesnake, a Purple Tulip and The Raven.....and introducing; Sakura or Cherry Blossom.

Valentine! Oh Valentine!

Last month I was in Grass Valley and saw delicate wired jewelry work that intrigued, delighted and definitely caught my attention. the fragile little images stayed with me thru these past weeks, and I have learned that when that happens to me, I must get it out via create-problem-solve-create-tweak-create-eat chocolate....then create. Here is the first prototype using materials I had in my know, the "some day I'll use these cause they're pretty" stuff. Now I'm sure a trip to the craft store in the next few days will be in order, along with a consult with a FAB jewelry designer and friend. After that, I may have something to fall in love with creating. It's been a bit of a dry spell in three dimensional art for me as I have been painting tiny pens again, so this is a welcome gem! Not that painting isn't's just different. With Valentines Day coming up around the corner, I hope you enjoy little copper and brass birdies bringing messages of love to wherever you may roam.