Holiday Fair Ideas featuring Bespoke Dia De Muertos Catrina

Molding Dia De Muertos Catrinas

I have been experimenting with creating inexpensive silicone molds and using them to make impressions for a series featuring  Dias De Muertos Catrina’s (aka: lady sugar skulls) in polymer clay.

A friend who makes beautiful willow baskets has invited me to display some boxes at a Holiday Fair this year.  She had seen the raven/True boxes and thought they might be gift-worthy.

I’ve been playing with sizes of skulls and dressing up the Catrina’s, adding different style roses, hummingbirds and making one dance off of the box ( a partial bust of the dame of death)

Still testing whether I like them colored or prefer them to have an antique look.

Lining them with handmade papers is the second part of making these boxes unique and special. Since they are all individually made, no one box is the same as any other.



Zoasis Series TRUE_Raven

Macanudo Cigar Box wrapped in studio crafted paper

Macanudo box features hand crafted paper from maker Sandi Reinke
Macanudo box features hand crafted paper from maker Sandi Reinke

Exterior of Zoasis series one altered Macanudo cigar box features original borders and studio crafted paper from Sandi Reinke of  Loose Ends Studio. The exterior wrapped palette is amber and brown.  This handmade paper features a horizontal plaid design with random metallic splotches.

Polymer Clay branded TRUE with photo transfer raven image

A love of corvidae and stories that awaken wonder inspired TRUE. Golden accents gild the letters embossed onto the clay, The raven image is baked into the clay then coated with a sealer. Crocheted red waxed cord holds a simple button and bead closure.


The inside of the Macanudo Series 1 Box is lined with yellow mulberry paper sealed with rice starch flour paste. A simple cloth piping finishes the interior.


Hand stamped Zoasis series button is sewn on to the box with red wax thread. The secondary closure bead is stamped with the letter Z strung on a hand crocheted cord of red wax thread.

Zoasis button closure with Z beadEach box is individually designed: no two items are the same.



Crafted Storytelling Collage


Paper Mosaic ‘Tiles’ with Photo Transfer

The collage on this wood story-telling box come from the recipients personal photo collection. Photos are scanned then arranged by ‘era’ after they have been sized for placement on the box.

The box sides feature a hand cut and composed paper mosaic tile pattern. The sides panels feature paper mosaic interspersed with miniaturized copies of the original pictures. Both the paper ’tiles’ and the images are coated with ‘dimensional glue’ to give the effect of mosaic tile composition.

memory-box-side-two-altered-cigar-boxChildhood Photo Collage features mother and daughter

Scanned copies of the original images are printed then arranged in a photo collage on the top of the altered cigar box.  The images are embellished with gold leaf accents and small rhinestones.

The original closures and hinges remain. Unlined. Felt feet.

This project takes 8-10 hours to complete once the composition has been sketched.

Have someone special in your life who deserves a storytelling box of their own?

Commissions Accepted.




Pet photo transfer with paper mosaic tiles on altered cigar box

Altered Cigar Box Pet with Paper Mosaic
“Bells” Box: Photo transfer and paper mosaic collage

Foil border becomes design element

The foil border is a component of the overall design elements on this wooden cigar box frames the mixed media top and the design elements on the side panels..

Altered cigar box features pet image and paper mosaic assemblage

Bella’s name is shortened to Bells in the completed composition on the top of the box. Bella’s image is a photo transfer. Designed to have a sense of playfulness and humor the top is accented by hand-crafted elements.

Once the photo transfer was applied the paper tiles and other photo transfer elements were placed to enhance the playful top.

Paper mosaic look is enhanced to look like tile using Diamond Glaze, a dimensional glue that highlights the design.

Star of the show deserves diamonds

Since Bella is the star of the owners household small rhinestones represent diamonds and add the star element to the dog’s outline.

This box took 8-10 hours to complete including composition design and application of the paper mosaic tiles.

Know someone special whose pet deserves to be the star of the show?

Commissions accepted.


Signed and dated by the artist.