Nov 27, 2012

I had a great weekend at the Market. Sold tons of glasses including these college themed ones. I wish I had done more Texas and Alabama glasses! I could have sold a dozen more.

I also had a very good customer that purchased my two large canvases in this photo, the blue marlin and the white ibis, plus a pretty tropical fish, too. They also bought 1 1/2 dozen glasses and cleaned me out of all my mermaids and beach scenes. I'm now scrambling to paint more.

This is the display before my big sale. 

Frantically refilling my stock. 

This pretty vase is still sitting in my studio. I really need to list this on Etsy.
Oh yeah, my Etsy glassware shop is not even listed in my sidebar. Heres the link:

I have lots of these handpainted ornaments, too. Some with mermaids, some with snowmen, or palm trees. You know, I'm in Florida, so I like to make my ornaments tropical looking.

My santa girls have been super popular. I'm doing a special order where she wants to give them to her hairdresser friends, so they hold a hair dryer and scissors. That's a cute idea. You can't see the rest of their body in this pic - they have legs and are wearing high heeled black boots with fur on top - cute!

I'm trying to refill my Etsy shop as quickly as I can. If you want to contact me, you can email me at  It's getting clost to the deadline, but I still have a bit of time. Remember, shipping takes a week or so, so if it's after the 10th, you may need to pay for Priority shipping or Overnight. 
Love you guys!

Sep 27, 2012

New Hand Painted Glassware Designs

I just wanted to share some of the new hand painted mugs and wine glasses I have listed in my PinkParrotShop on Etsy. Oh, actually, some of these will be sold in my Flea Market shop in Gulf Breeze.  Enjoy them!

Fairy Mug - Front. Hand painted with glass paint and heat set.

Fairy Mug - back.

Hula girl wine glasses.

Two hand painted latte mugs.

I call these Moulin Rouge fairies because of their outfits. Hand painted wine glasses.

Aug 28, 2012

DIY- Make This Cute Owl Plushie with My Free Template

Here's a super easy to sew project that you can finish in about an hour or so. My owl plushie, who I've named  the Far Out Owl, is made from simple cotton quilting fabric, felt and fleece.  He's got a little bit of hand stitching to give him some handmade yummyness, too.

Here's the template for the owl. You may have to enlarge or reduce it to the size you want your owl to be.  Just whatever size you want to work with. Right click the picture and save it to your desktop to print out. It might be a bit blurry, but that's ok, I'm going to walk you through it and the pattern pieces aren't rocket science - just make them about how you see them in the template.

Materials: cotton quilting material in 2 colors, felt in 4 colors, fleece, embroidery floss, a little piece of fabric bonding material such as Steam-A-Seam Lite, needle and thread, and polyester filling material.
Cut 2 of the whole body shapes from the fabric you'll be using.  This will be the lower front of the owl and the entire back. I used a dark green swirly pattern. Take one of these and put it aside. The other one will have all your applique work added.
Cut 1 piece of the contrast quilting material that will be on the top half of the owl. I didn't show it on my template, but it goes completely across the front of the body in a straight line. DON'T cut it around the eyes. It will be behind the eye pieces.
Take the bonding material and cut it into 4 or 5 little pieces. Use these to hold the contrast material to the main body material and iron them into place. This makes it a breeze to sew later. You don't need a lot of it, just a piece here and there. Mine were about a half inch square.

After you bond the materials together, take the triangle you cut out for the beak, put it in place with a pin and sew all around it about 1/8 inch from the edge of the felt. Then, place the large circles for the eyes and do the same thing.
Using a full strand of embroidery floss, stitch the middle size felt circles in the center of the large circles. Use a large, loose overhand stitch. You want to see these big stitches and it makes it look nice and handmade, too. Stitch the smaller circles in the center of the middle circles using matching sewing thread. The last step for the eyes, use embroidery floss to add large stitches all around the large circles.

Place the wing pieces in  position and baste them by stitching 1/8 from the edge. Just do the area that is on the cut edge. You will sew the rest by hand later.

Now, place the back and front sides of the owl together, with right sides facing. You should see the "inside out" of your fabric. Pin the layers together and stitch 1/4 inch all around, leaving an opening at the bottom for turning. Turn the owl through the hole and stuff firmly. Close the hole with a slip stitch.  Using sewing thread, stitch the wings down with a small overhand stitch. Use a full strand of embroidery floss to make large running stitches on the wings.

That's it! You're finished! See, wasn't that easy? The directions just looked long because I'm probably too wordy.

Leave me a comment if you see that I've left something out in the directions.

Aug 27, 2012

Making While the Hurricane Churns

While I'm writing this, I hear the hammering from across the street where my neighbors are putting up the plywood in front of their windows in anticipation of Hurricane Isaac.  We live in Navarre, Florida, just 30 miles from Pensacola - in northwest Florida.

I have my south-facing windows boarded, and the yard cleaned of anything that can become flying missiles in 100+ miles per hour wind, but other than that and a full tank of gas, that's all I'm doing to be prepared. Some people have bought generators, ice, gas, propane, batteries, canned food, water, etc. Not us. We are optimists!

Nope, instead I've been in my art room, sewing adorable little felt ponies and unicorns. I'm working on my next feltie pattern, and besides, this is SO much more fun.

I almost have the last pony done; a winged horse, and then the pattern for all of these will be sold in my shop on etsy.
Can you see those awful reading glasses? Do you notice there's only one arm? Im pretty sad, aren't I? those are the best for me because they're kind of a middle range, and I use them when I'm around the house. I hate wearing my contacts all day because when I sew or do any kind of close work, the contacts still make it all blurry. The readers do, too, and I have to take them off for anything closer than 1 foot from my eyes. Getting older sucks!
So anyway, I run around the house with these on, and if I have to go outside or answer the door, there I am, with my crookedy glasses with only one arm, hair pulled up in a clip on top of my head and a comfy housedress or tshirt on. So very artsy looking (or bag ladyish, in reality).
Oh, I hear the wind picking up in gusts outside. Not a good thing. Maybe this is the last chance for a trip to the store for a bottle of wine.  If you don't hear from me in a day or two, don't bother to send out searchers, just send more wine.

Aug 24, 2012

TGIF - You Know What That Means!

Ha, ha, of course you know - Thank God It's Friday! I've been needing it because this has been a busy, busy week for me. First, my son turned 18 this week  (woohoo!) and started his first day of college; I also had to register an old car of ours for him to commute with, but before that we had to put in a new battery. I also spent a lot of time in my craft room, sewing dolls, finally, I've been working on writing a PDF pattern. Whew!
 ... And of course it rained almost every day. Here in Florida we have no drought, that's for sure.

My pattern for the Mini Mermaid doll is complete and for sale in my Etsy shop!
It's my first PDF pattern and it was a lot of fun to do, except that I am horrible with Word and that slowed me way down. I did figure it out though, so now I'm excited to make more patterns.

If you'd like a free copy of the Mini Mermaid pattern, send me your email in the comments below. I'll send one to the first 6 commenters. Thanks for hanging in there on my blog!

Aug 18, 2012

Developing and Refining Your Handmade Product

I've been developing a soft doll mermaid pattern and these are my test dollies. When coming up with a new design, it always amazes me how much time and effort goes into creating a consistent product. Even with handmade items,  if it's for resale and I want to make more than one, I spend a lot of time refining and reworking until I get what I want.  I realize that Handmade means things should look individual and not 'cookie cutter' (at least that's my definition)- but I like to refine my design so it becomes easier on me. I can make each item more quickly and easily and that translates to more inventory (and more money).

Do you spend much time developing your work? Are you a fanatic at keeping records of your progress or do you just "wing it"?   I'm in the wing-it category, myself. 

Look for these dolls and patterns to be listed in my Etsy shop in the next week or so.

Aug 11, 2012

Mermaid Painting

I thought I'd share my latest mermaid painting with you. She's painted on canvas that I've coated with a layer of acrylic modeling paste, so there's a very nice texture to it. Professional quality acrylics too, of course.

I went ahead and brought this painting to my booth at Coastal Antiques, but I think I'll have to bring it home to do a proper scan so I can make some prints. I think she'd be fantastic on a few note cards, too!

Feel free to critique or leave a comment :)

Aug 3, 2012

Hand Painted Wineglasses by Denise

I've started a line of hand painted wineglasses. These are all beachy themed and pretty girly. Since I live on the coast and it's so touristy, I thought it was a no-brainer.

 The ones pictured above are all customized for Destin, Florida. The sand here along the Gulf is all snow-white and and the water is a gorgeous emerald blue, just like the color I used on the glasses! I have lots of designs; crabs, dolphins, flip flops, fish and more - all suited to the beach market.

A favorite of everyone is the mermaid glass. I have mermaids with all different hair colors and tail colors. I love painting them because they're all kind of sassy and cute.  I paint my designs all around the glass, unlike some wineglasses I've seen out there.

When I take these to the shops, I add a bit of raffia knotted around the stem, to complete the beachy look. 

These are just a few examples of the line. I don't have them online yet. So far, these are just in three shops in the local area:

1822 Alpine Ave/ Hwy 98
Navarre, Fl

135B Eglin Pkwy
Ft Walton Beach, FL

Crystal Beach Plaza
Suite 140
Destin, FL

Hopefully more to come!

Feb 25, 2012

Handpainted Tiles with China Paints

my first handpainted tile

Here's my latest art experiment; china painting on tile. China paints are powdered pigments that are mixed with an oil or medium and painted on glazed pottery, then fired in a kiln for permanency. These are not like the Pebeo paints you just cook in a home oven - china paints become part of the glaze surface and won't scratch off.

I've always thought of china painting as a 'little old lady' craft, but I was surprised with the versatility. The hardest thing to learn, for me, was painting an oily, slippery paint on a slick surface. Not easy! You also need to build up color with multiple firings, and as with pottery glazes, some colors are subject to burnout at high temps (like reds). I've painted a lot of tiles, and done a lot of wiping off. I thought it would be pretty easy for me since I'm an experienced painter, but it was pretty hard to get the hang of it.

Okay,on to some pictures. As you can see, I was in a mermaid, mood.  This set of 4 is painted on 4 inch tiles I bought from Home Depot:

I couldn't seem to capture the subtle tones and delicate shading possible with the china paints. In the tile, Sea Girl, I achieved the fading and feathering with a large soft mop brush.

 Wouldn't these be cute as trivets, or hanging on a wall? I think i might want to try making enough to use as a back splash. For now, I'll just keep painting tiles :)

Feb 4, 2012

Groovy Fish Softie Tutorial

I wrote this tutorial a couple of years ago and lost the blog it was posted on. But, hurray! I found it again and thought I'd post it again for you! Enjoy!
This cute fish is easy to sew and can be made in an hour or two. I don't have a pattern, but these shapes are easy to cut on your own. I've taken photos against a cutting mat, so you can gauge the size against the 1 x 1 grid. This tutorial assumes you have basic sewing skills. If you need help with stitches like the blanket stitch, consult google for quick information.

Materials: 1/4 yd. or less of cotton fabric
1-18 x 18 sheet of turquoise wool blend felt
1- 6 x 8 piece of batting
scraps of colored felt
embroidery floss
polyfil for filling
thread - a color coordinated to fabric and felt

With fabric doubled, fold over and cut a half oval shape (see photo). I made my shape 12 inches long and 4 inches wide. You should end up with 2 football shaped pieces of fabric.

Cut a piece of batting in the shape of a fish tail. The easiest way to do this is to cut a heart shape and then cut off the pointy end. Then cut two pieces of turquoise felt about 1/8 inch larger than the batting heart. Sandwich the batting heart between the felt and top stitch "fin" lines and finish the edge with a blanket stitch in embroidery floss.

This is what you should end up with.

Follow the same process for the dorsal fin. This is what it should look like.

Cut 2 felt circles about 2 inches in diameter, 2 smaller circles and 2 triangles. Use contrasting colors. Now you will sew the eyes onto your fish.

Place the 2 layered circles at one end of the football shape. Top stitch as shown. After stitching the circles, overlay the triangles and top stitch 1/8 from edge. After machine stitching, hand embroider a blanket stitch around the larger circle with contrasting color embroidery floss.

Next, cut 2 matching fin shapes from felt and place below eye. Zigzag all around and top stitch fin lines. Make sure you create a right and left side of fish. It's easy to get confused and make 2 sides that look the same.

Now lay the fish tail on one piece of the fish body as shown. Stitch 1/8 inch from edge. Make sure to have tail no closer than 1/4" from edge of body. You'll need this extra space for the seam allowance when you stitch the body sides together. Cut off the extra pointy bit of fabric near the tail. Make sure to leave about 1/4 inch when you do this.

When you fold back the tail, this is what it should look like. Notice the extra space on either side of the tail.

Here you can see the trimmed tail area.
To put the final pieces together, fold the tail back over, and lay the dorsal fin towards the center. If it looks upside down, you did it right. Some of the dorsal fin can fall off the edge of the body, that is fine. Make sure the center of the dorsal fin lies at the edge of the body fabric. Cover with the other piece of body fabric, with right sides together. You now have your "fish sandwich".

Now you will stitch the two sides together. Use the photo as your guide. Keep a 1/4" seam allowance. Be careful to miss the sides of the tail, but catch the tail where you originally sewed it. Sew straight across the dorsal fin area. Leave an area open for stuffing.

This is what your fish should look like when you turn it right side out. Now stuff with polyfil. I like mine a little firm, so the fish holds his shape. Slip stitch the opening closed. Now you have your fish all done!

You're welcome to use this tutorial to make any fish for your personal use or for gifts only. This design is copyright 2009 Denise Ferragamo. You may not sell any fish from this design or reprint or repost this tutorial without my permission. You may, however, link to this tutorial with my blessing!

Jan 22, 2012

Using Linocuts with Porcelain Clay

I've been experimenting with combining my love of linocuts (linoleum block printing) and porcelain clay. Over the holidays, I made several linocuts on unmounted linoleum, and used them to make a series of pendants and porcelain beads that were really exciting.

Here's a picture of the linoleum cuts. You can use mounted or unmounted linoleum. I like the unmounted because I can cut a large sheet to the size I want. You can get several designs from a8 x 10 sheet:

I rolled my porcelain pretty thin. Then, pressing carefully and evenly, I rolled the linocut over the clay - then cut out the design.

Here's a picture of a birdcage design that is glazed, but not fired. Notice the amount of shrinkage, and the  fact that the image will be reversed on the final design:

I took a picture of one of the leaf designs I made. On the left you see the original linocut. In the center is the busque leaf with glaze applied and lightly wiped off to show detail, and on the left is a finished leaf.  The amount of shrinkage is pretty significant:

Lessons learned:
Don't handle the porcelain too much before it's dry. Porcelain retains a "memory" of it's shape before drying and if it's bent or curved before firing, it tends to return to that shape in the kiln.
Take shrinkage into account when carving designs. It shrunk a lot, which made some of my carving lines almost too thin.
Watch out for sharp linoleum cutters! Those things are sharp!

This was a hugely satisfying learning experience for me. I can see lots of uses for this technique and I can't wait to explore it further.  You can buy your linoleum block printing supplies at online art stores.