Image courtesy of Patricia Sweetow Gallery.

The opening for artist Jamie Vasta's latest show, "Femme", is next Thursday, November 7th from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Patricia Sweetow Gallery in San Francisco. It is the night before my creativeLIVE class, but I really want to go. You might remember this piece I was so lucky to be able to pose for several months ago. Jamie works in glitter, and her pieces are stunning. 

The body of work Jamie has created for Femme is pretty large, with a great diversity among the burlesque and drag performers who modeled for her. David and I have decided to bring the kids to the opening. For a long time I have explained to Stella that what I do when I perform burlesque is to show people that all types and sizes of women are beautiful. I've always told her that the pasties were hair ornaments (hahahaha!), although she might've figured out differently by now. I am not afraid for her to see these glittery portraits. I think we will need to talk a little bit more about what it means to be that scantily clad onstage, but Stella also knows that I have ALWAYS tried to be clever and/or funny when I have performed in the past, so I think that's what she understands about burlesque at the core already. I know she will be mesmerized by the glitter, so maybe there's nothing else to worry about. We shall see!

I'm so excited to see it all in person. If you're in the area next week and feel like checking out the opening, let me know!


head of the class

Just getting started!

Yesterday I taught my paper flower headpiece class at Handcraft Studio School (which is just the perfect place to teach or take such a class). It was a small group due to some cancellations, which ended up being very nice for me because we got to know each other a bit and I could be very hands on when needed. Which wasn't much at all. All of the ladies had a great handle on what they were doing, and incredible eyes for palette and composition. 

Paper and pompoms for all.

I love this space!

Check out the gorgeous headpieces that each of these ladies made. Seriously amazing. 

Some of the women traveled quite a distance to make it to the class, so thanks to you ladies, and to everyone who attended. It was a lot of fun!

Top three photos provided by Marie Muscardini of Handcraft Studio School. Thank you too, Marie!


diy holiday crafts & cocktails promo video

I think I've mentioned here before that I will be teaching a live online craft class which is coming up soon. Here is the promotional video for my class, which is part of the d.i.y. holiday crafts & cocktails package being offered through creativeLIVE. If you don't know, creativeLIVE is a great resource for all types of online video classes on a wide range of creative topics.

On the morning of Friday, November 8th you can watch my class live at no charge (the class runs from 9:00 until noon), OR you can purchase it at any time to watch in the future. See here for more details on the class and on how creativeLIVE works. I'll be demonstrating how to make some really cute and fun woodland egg ornaments to a small studio audience (if you'd like to be part of the audience, click here for the application).

As I mentioned, the class is also being offered in a fun d.i.y. holiday class bundle with other classes by Janette Crawford, Lisa Solomon, and Genevieve Brazelton. They are all lovely women with great talents to share. I hope you will consider checking out my my class when it airs on the 8th. I am going to tune into the rest of the classes as well. I have been wondering about Genevieve and her bitters business for a long time! Here is the link for the four classes bundled together.

I am trying to leave vanity aside here, but that video was pretty hard for me to watch. I've let myself go completely, it's official. That's all I'll say for now on that topic. But, oof. I am still really excited about this experience, but I wonder if the nice folks at creativeLIVE wish they had screen-tested me before I signed the contract. 


A quick reminder that there are some spots left in my paper flower headpiece class this Sunday, October 27th at Handcraft Studio School in Emeryville. If you live in the Bay Area and want to register, please drop a note to Marie at info@handcraftstudioschool.com. That class runs from 1-4:00 p.m. and we will have light snacks and a little wine, and make some great headdresses. It's going to be a lot of fun, and I'd love to see you there!

Have a great weekend. Back next week with a new donut project with any luck! xoxo


what i: donut sweatshirt

Looking good from the neck down today.

It has been NINE MONTHS since I did one of these "what i" posts. I can't believe it! I know I've worn a few nice things lately, in between the times I wear the same clothes three days in a row. Do people notice that stuff when they only see you at school drop off and pick up? I dunno.

Anyhoo, is this sweatshirt not totally made for me? Actually, if it was really made for me it would have some geometrical diagram of a torus (a donut shape), but this is good enough. Did you know I reserved "the torist" dot com for that day one day where David and I open our fantasy coffee shop/storefront where I will sell my donut-shaped everything while he serves up his amazing pour over coffee to all the people? Thinking ahead!

You can find my sweet sweatshirt HERE. You're welcome! 

p.s. The One Kings Lane sale is going really well! I sold two pieces in the first hour and also received several commissions out of it, too, so I'm happy!


papel sf on one kings lane starting tonight!

Sale starts tonight, October 21st at 6:00 p.m. PST/9:00 p.m. EST.

I am really excited to announce that starting tonight, some of my papel SF work is going to be sold through the artisanal division of One Kings Lane, the online home furnishings site. They found me through my entry in the Martha Stewart American Made awards and since then it's been a quick study in all things retail, SKU's and photo styling and this and that. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will sell a few pieces during the "Wax, Paper, Essence" sale. Unfortunately I don't have a direct link to my section at this time, but I'll probably come back tomorrow and give you an update. 

I really do hope I sell some of my work this way, but either way it's an honor to have been selected!

Have a great Monday! 


round up: early fall

Clockwise from top left:
Oliver's Spanish is getting good after only two months in immersion preschool;
David and I made a point of getting breakfast together last week;
the clean part of the kitchen;
late night touch-ups to the last of the original fleet of peony piñatas before I sent it off.

There are a lot of photos of Oliver in here (and me, alone, going mad). I've adjusted to having him away for four hours a day at preschool, but what I haven't adjusted to AT ALL is how much having him in preschool has shredded my day. Shredded. There is just no time to get anything done when you're working with a half-day preschool schedule. He's loving his school and is picking up Spanish rapidly. His comprehension is amazing and he is volunteering to speak it now, not like in the first few weeks when he insisted his "body wasn't meant to speak Spanish". So that's awesome, and so is his school, but I'm still reeling about how little time I have as compared to how much I thought I would have. I need to work on a solution before I go crazy.

I'm feeling a little guilty about not spending as much quality time with him of late either. I have to keep on working when he gets home a few afternoons a week, so he keeps himself busy, but I am starting to feel bad. My "work" is going really well right now, but my childrearing skills, and as always, exercise, are taking a hit. Oliver and I are still spending time together, but I don't have a lot of bandwidth in my brain right now so we're not doing projects, we're not putting our heads together on things lately and I feel super remiss. This has to change a.s.a.p.

I had a sort of big announcement to make but I thought I'd put it off a few more days as I really don't want this blog to be one big promotion of my new career in paper. So, more photos from our fall! My apologies if you've seen these already on Instagram. I've been picking up my camera less and less around the house, but I'm hoping to change that, too. Instagram is just so forgiving on my tired eyes, my ruddy complexion and my one zillion freckles, so it's hard to quit!

Ollie in a nest;
pan de colores made with milk paint at school;
walking through the Panhandle in the morning;

Every Sunday night I work all night, every Monday afternoon we nap;
piggyback ride after school;
one of three giant flowers for a bat mitzvah in Maine;
Oliver gets air.

At the bluegrass festival in Golden Gate Park;
riffing (en Español) with his favorite school friend;
headed home from school for Stella's surprise party;
the tangled web game waiting for them at home.

Instagram won't tell you, but I'm trying to grow out my 90% grey hair;
shots from new Etsy listings (couldn't leave the paper totally out of it).


handcraft studio school class coming up

Good morning! I hope you had a great weekend. I had a great night out with David on his birthday Saturday night (I feel like I haven't been out in months, so it was extra special), and we hit up the busiest pumpkin patch in all the land yesterday. Fun times.

Now it's back to the grindstone, and I just wanted to remind anyone in the S.F. Bay Area (and beyond!) that I have a really fun class coming up at the beautiful Handcraft Studio School in Emeryville in two weeks. I'll be teaching paper flower headdress making, and I'm working on adding a new technique or two to the mix for the class. I have ordered a crazy range of crepe paper colors so you can make anything from a Frida-esque marigold piece to a fresh, spring-y piece to something you could wear through the holiday party season this year. The palette is all over the place!

I'd love it if you could join us! If you'd like to sign up for the Sunday, October 27th class, please email the lovely Marie at info@handcraftstudioschool.com and she'll get you all set up.

Have a great day! xoxo


donut pan idea no. 58: piñata cakes

Piñata cakes! These should be a controlled substance. You need to have them under control, and share one of these little piñata cakes between three or even four people or you will be hurting. They are sugar bombs. But they are really festive and make little girls' eyes pop out of their heads when they see them. I know because I witnessed this first hand at Stella's birthday party last week!

I first saw a piñata cake earlier this year at A Subtle Revelry. Victoria's piñata cake is so gorgeous (see here), I just love it. I have had layer cakes on my donut pan to-do list for ages, but it didn't hit me until just a week or two ago that the donut form is not only perfect for stacking, but is also perfect for filling! Filling the centers with candies gives them the right to be called piñata cakes. I also love their small diameter and unique proportions.

It's all pretty simple. Click on "read more" below to read more on how to put these together.


fall flower headpieces

fall flower headpieces

Today I am really excited to announce that I have been selected by Carte Fini as the first artist in their new featured artist program. For the next three months I will be creating seasonal projects made from their gorgeous floral crepe paper which will be featured at the Carte Fini website.

For my first project I've made these pretty (and pretty big!) dahlia and marigold headpieces. Click HERE for the full fall flower headpiece tutorial over at Carte Fini. There I'll walk you through how to make the pink, pointy-petaled dahlia, but there is also a guide for how to cut the petals for the other three flowers. I'll be slowly adding these headpieces to my papel SF Etsy shop as well. 

I hope you'll head on over to Carte Fini and check out their featured artist program. And have a happy Monday!

fall flower headpieces


for our girl

Stella turns eight tomorrow. Unbelievable. She is an amazing young lady, even if she takes after her parents a little too much. I love, love, love her, of course, and want to give her everything.

Stella thinks nothing is going on for her birthday. She thinks we're just going to a pumpkin patch tomorrow to celebrate, just the four of us. What she doesn't know is that I'm picking her up after school with seven of her friends, who also don't know anything, and we're coming home for a quick and sweet surprise birthday party! My mother did this for me when I was around her age and it is something I never forgot. She had me come down to the garage to help get the groceries, but instead of groceries it was a car full of my friends! I hope Stella feels the same way about this surprise!

I am throwing things together quick and dirty. I bought five of the posters above from our local shipping store. One is on the front door, three more are hung inside and the last one I just decided to turn into a "pin-the-candle-on-the-cake" game. My glue gun should just never get unplugged, it's always good for something. I've got another crazy game and some snacks, then we'll order a pizza or two. I was thinking of letting them go crazy and order the world's most disgusting pizza, but we'll see what they say. Then a special cake idea (using my donut pans, of course) that I need to get back to right now, and then our house turns back into a pumpkin at 8:00 tonight.

I will say, it was interesting and a little hard selecting which friends should come to Stella's party, since she had no say in the guest list. I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, and there are many more little ladies (Stella is just not into boys right now!) that I would've loved to invite, but I'm already walking down the Panhandle with eight eight-year-olds today. Any more than that would just be crazy. It's hard to figure out. Stella never seems to care what group she is involved with, save for one friend that hurt her badly a few years ago, so I sort of forgot that other girls might not feel the same way. I was going to go strolling onto the pick up yard at school with a bunch of balloons until one of the other mothers politely suggested I might be a little more discreet. Took a minute to sink in, but she was right. This is delicate stuff!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and please come back next Monday because I just finished a super great project I can't wait to share with you. It's beautiful here right now, I hope it is where you are, too! xoxo


showtime: my first performance, elbo room, december 14, 2010

Sketch at bottom right corner by Joshua Johnson, I'm shaded in gray.
(Throwback posts this week as I am too busy to make donuts or take photos of Stella and Oliver.)

These are a few fuzzy images of my very first burlesque performance, before I even had a stage name. A super chaste and cute performance to "Minnie the Moocher", played live by Fromagique with Bombshell Betty singing. I wore my brand new Stop Staring dress, from which I begrudgingly removed the label so it wouldn't show when I dropped it on the floor. We prepared for this class in Betty's Intro to Burlesque class over three weeks, and it required me to buy my first strapless bra, my first piece of shape wear (I was about 16 months postpartum, sadly I'm not in any better shape now) and my first boa. I thought that was worth the price of admission alone, that I would finally seek out these womanly things I'd never owned before. I am lucky to live just down the hill from Dollhouse Bettie where I got everything I needed. It was expensive, but I was excited.

I decided to start studying burlesque for two reasons. One, at one of Betty's shows a month or two before hand (my first ever) I was watching the acts on stage, laughing hysterically, and had one of those anxiety attacks that make you feel like I. MUST. DO. THIS. and WHERE DO I SIGN UP?! And two, I had had a health scare earlier that spring that has left me with the ongoing drive to grab life by the balls and keep looking for opportunities, and this was one of those opportunities.

I just signed up to perform in December and January. I've been on a hiatus which has been totally necessary for our already kooky schedule and on my stress levels, but I need to get back out there! I'm feeling timid and like I don't own it anymore, so I definitely need to get back up on stage to build my nerve up again.

Here's a video shot on a tiny cell phone of my first performance. It's really cute, and don't worry it's totally safe. We LOOK like we're being naughty but we are just fooling you. ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

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