Category Archives: Art Dolls

French Kiss Kiss – Sweetness Sundays

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French Macarons Are A Sweet Trend, 4/6/2010. Photo Credit: Tony Bock/Toronto Star

In recent years, there is one sweet patisserie treat that is not only as beautiful to look at as it is to savor, and is also endlessly suitable to personalization. It synonymous with the luxurious life and real culinary credentials, simultaneously attaining an almost iconic image as well as a modern gustatory revolution. The French Macaron is just such a creation, with a deep rooted history, and a modern enthusiastic following at the same time. As early as 2010, they started popping up in my Toronto area bakeshops as something you could pick up on any given shop day. 

LOVE Ceramic Macaron Sachet – Fragrance Object by Hideminy, Etsy.

Valentine Jewelry Macaron Necklace by Miniature Patisserie, Etsy.

This is no easy feat, particularly for what is, when you come right down to it, a sandwich biscuit.  I somehow can’t imagine an Oreo cookie starting such a revolution on the European Continent as the Macaron has in the United States and Canada both, as of late.

Dreamy Macarons Facial Scrubs [2 Pack] by Mrs. Browns Bath Bakery, Etsy.

French Macaron Hand Soap [2 Pack] by JAKEALA, Etsy.

There is just something so fragile and special about a Macaron that cannot be mass produced. It is this fragility, the candy like colours, and the endless combinations that make up the lure of the Macaron. Movies like Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, starring Kirsten Dunst have given a new spotlight to the over-the-top decadence and girly prettiness of this petite confection.

Blueberry Macarons [Box of 12, Custom Orders Welcome] by Madeline Bake Shop, Etsy.

Parisian Macaron Stand for French Macarons/Cupcakes/Wedding Cake – Peach Cake Stand 16″ by The Roche Studio, Etsy

 
If you look at a well made French Macaron, not to be confused with what North Americans call a Macaroon [a moist coconut based drop cookie], you will see the subtle beauty of the treat.  Put together from two smoothly topped baked round wafers, with a crumbled edge called the foot, these pieces share many of the characteristics of a meringue.  Powdered sugar, egg whites, and ground almonds make up the basic recipe, but endless flavor concentrates and colorings make them absolutely breathtaking to see.

French Macarons – Set Of Three [Felted Merino Wool] by woollyduck, Etsy.

DIY Felt French Macarons [Felt & Instructions For 18 Felt Cookies] by sweet emma jean, Etsy.

 
The exterior wafers of the Macaron have a natural opalescent shimmer over the surface, almost evoking images of fairy wings, and they are soft and moist and melt in the mouth in the most delicate of ways.  I rather predict that the cup-cake craze, while not over, will give way to the pleasures of the Macaron very soon. Similar to cupcakes, the filling, or ‘icing’ between the two wafers can take many forms.  It can be a delicious butter-cream, jam or preserves, or ganache filling.

French Macarons – Pastel Pink 10×10 Size [Home Decor] by Filamento TGS, Etsy.

French Macarons/Macaroons Fine Art Photograph 8×10 Size [Home Decor] by Keri Bevan Photography, Etsy.

While traditional flavors are vanilla, chocolate, and raspberry combinations, cutting edge pastry chefs are busy inventing brilliant alternative flavors from the familiarity of lemons to the sublime Matcha green tea flavorings. Whether flavoring the wafers or the filling, they are served in a sandwich mode, with two rounded smooth ‘caps’ with the foot facing the filling, and a thin but ample layer of filling piped or spread in between. 

Macaroon Cakes Upcycled Tea Towel Cushion/Pillow Cover by Emma Mount, Etsy.

French Macarons – Hemp And Organic Cotton Cushion 12×12 by Sarah Smile Design, Etsy.

The popularity of the French Macaron in North America is blossoming, and confectionery shops have windows full of towers of these jewel like biscuits and special long narrow boxes with ribbons, ready for Valentine’s day sales.  French Macaron are a much sexier and cleaner on the fingers ‘eat’ than an icing covered giant cupcake, with just 88 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, and 11 grams of carbohydrate for each delicate and sweet sandwich.  The average small specialty cupcake has 178 calories, 5.3 grams of fat, and a whopping 32.5 grams of carbohydrate in all that over-sweet sticky goodness.

Raspberry And Pistachio Ganache Macaron – Silver Plated Ring [Polymer Clay] by Pink Island, Etsy.

French Macaron Necklace With Eiffel Tower Charm by Plushable, Etsy.

 Macarons have reached epic popularity in France, being offered on the menu at McDonald’s restaurants in that country.  This new status of the french treat is making waves in the fashion world, as well as art, sculpture, and crafting.  Pastel colours are all over the runways, and the garments seem to look as delicious and light as the cookie itself.  There are heaps of photographs of French Macarons, in wild and enticing colours, as well as ‘fake’ props for your home, soaps, toys, and accessories.

Set of 2 Funny Macarons In A Pretty Box – Tea Party OOAK Art Doll Sculpt by Sandra ArteagaA, Etsy.

Sweet Treats Dessert Hand Embroidery Pattern [PDF] by Wild Olive, Etsy.

So much of what we eat, and crave, has to do with what it looks like.  Seeing the sheer volume of jewelry, trinkets, dollhouse sized treats, and non-edibles inspired by the lovely French Macaron, you can see that people have fallen in love with this iconic ‘cookie’, and though they may be a bit complicated for the baking novice to master, they are actually not impossible to make right at home. It takes a bit of practice with the piping bag to get the exterior meringues to shape up perfectly and match in size, but then you have the fun of eating all your ‘mistakes’, which may be the best part.

French Macaron Trinket Box – Mint Green/Pistachio Polymer Clay [Limoges Style] by The Mermaid Articles, Etsy.

Macaron Mercerie Sewing Accessories PDF Pattern [Pin Cushion, Needle Case, Scissors Fob] by Quilting Gems, Etsy.

So grab a great recipe for a French Macaron from a cookbook or the internet, flavor it any way you like, be it pomegranate and orange, or espresso and match tea, and whip up a batch of sweet French Kisses for your loved ones this Valentine’s Day. Now if I can just sort out a vegan version of this amazing treat. That would be truly fabulous my darlings!

Vanilla Macaron Perfume AMUSE Perfume Oil [Spray or Roll On] by Theme Fragrance, Etsy.

French Macaron Water Transfer Nail Sticker Set by Js Utopia, Etsy.

Marvelous Mounts – Strange Stuff Saturdays

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Rhinka The Rhino – Amigurumi Rhino – Faux Taxidermy Crochet Wall Decor by Sanda, Pepika Amigurumi Patterns on Etsy. [Pattern Only]

When I was a child, my parents purchased an old but formerly grand small hotel in cottage country. After one season in that strange structure with a giant kitchen and tiny winding staircases, creaking floorboards and peeling white paint, my father had that sad hazardous fire trap of a building torn down and worked with an architect to build a modern winterized cottage in it’s place.

Faux Taxidermy Rabbit by Sabine Alpers, FAUX FAUNA on Etsy.
Custom Mounted Animal, Hand Sculpted OOAK by Ashleigh Burbidge, The Burbs on Etsy.
Yellow Pig – Mounted by Taylor Hart, Nothing But A Pigeon on Etsy.

One thing I remember distinctly from one of the drawing rooms in the place was the two mounted Stag Heads on the wall. They had been there for decades likely, with sad looking glossy glass eyes and majestic raised heads.  I am not now nor have ever been a fan of taxidermy. I don’t know anyone who actually owns a gun, much less hunts, and I care far more for the ecosystem and all it’s creatures to ever dare approve of hunting for sport alone. But there is something very rustic and traditional about having these sorts of items in a cabin or cottage setting.

Orange & Robins Egg Blue Dear Head Wall Mount by Hannah Reed, Banana Tree Studios on Etsy.
The Hooper – Blue Raspberry Resin Shark Head – Chic & Trendy by White Faux Taxidermy on Etsy.  
Captain Moose-Stachio – Faux Taxidermy Eye Patch and Mustached Deer/Moose Trophy by Bree Y., Anatomically Incorrect Creatures on Etsy. [Made To Order]

Our family, though no longer cottagers, still has one of those mounted stags, long ago named ‘Charlie”. It resides in my sister’s family Ski Lodge, with a place of honor. It reminds us to respect the animals, wild and otherwise around us, and makes us aware that the number of those majestic animals is in serious decline.

Custom Mounted Deer Head – Animal Friendly Taxidermy by Stephanie Garcia, Pockets with Posies on Etsy.
Custom Mounted Animal, Hand Sculpted OOAK by Ashleigh Burbidge, The Burbs on Etsy.
The Calhoun – White w/Silver Glitter Horns Resin Rhino Head – Chic & Trendy by White Faux Taxidermy on Etsy.

However you feel on the subject, you cannot deny that sometimes a little reminder of the traditions of the past, the whimsical side of our natural environment is often something we are missing.  We mostly live in the city and rarely see wild animals, unless you consider the odd squirrel or chipmunk, even a raccoon raiding your garbage bin ‘wild’.  Today’s strange stuff post takes a fun look at a much more magical ‘faux’ taxidermy that while strange to some, definitely has it’s share of charm.  Check out these wonderful offerings and consider if there is a place in your home for a little faux friend on the wall.

Wilbur Head Mount OOAK by Ghoulie Girls, Shop Ghoulie Girls on Etsy.
Needle Felted Cow Head, Style Faux Taxidermy by Sabine Alpers, FAUX FAUNA on Etsy.
Foxy (Orange & White) by Taylor Hart, Nothing But A Pigeon on Etsy.    

Small Art Big Love – Found On A Friday

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“Jake The Tortoise” Hand Sewn Brooch, Felt Badge, Tortoise Pin by Jess Quinn.

 Sometimes in my travels I stumble upon something that is so many wonderful things in one shop that I can’t decide upon which day of the week to feature it. That is why I am thankful for Fridays, where anything goes here on the Fab.  When I cam across the Etsy Shop of Jess Quinn, I knew the only place to do her amazing stash justice was to place it in a Friday feature.  Simply called Small Art, Jess’s shop is full of the most fabulous items, from paper goods, cloth dolls, clay creations, felt accessories, original oil paintings, and so much more. If this is Quinn’s idea of ‘small’, I can’t imagine what she considers to be ‘large’. With almost 150 items in her Etsy Shop, I would say there is nothing small about the work of Jess Quinn at all.

The Woodsman – Art Doll, Soft Sculpture by Jess Quinn.
Alphabet Fairy – Wood Art Doll – Beatrice by Jess Quinn.
“Higgety Pop” Vintage Altered Art Doll by Jess Quinn.

What is really special about Jess’s Shop is the way she presents her fabulous items.  The photos are precious and engaging, and they make you want to look closer.  She will create a whole tableau of items around her dolls, brooches, and other items, often using dollhouse furniture or toys that not only add a sense of playful whimsy, but also indicate the scale of items for sale. 

Easter Bunny Hair Band/Fascinator – Pink Felt Bunny Rabbit by Jess Quinn.
Spring Bib Necklace, Fabric Pink Clown – Blue Pom Poms – Embroidered Textile by Jess Quinn.
Little Indian Head Dress, Dressing Up, Head Band – Native American by Jess Quinn.

The little [ and big ] pops of colour against a white background are perfectly styled. Her accessories are often worn by adorable kiddies with naturally silly smiles or honest pouts, and her paper goods and artwork are presented in the perfect lighting to make them appear as magical as you know that they are.

“Isabelle” Girl In A Yellow Dress – Illustrated Greeting Card by Jess Quinn.
“Girl With Apples” Illustrated Greeting Card, Printed Drawing, Black & White by Jess Quinn.
“Knitting Queen” Illustrated Greetings Card, Printed Drawing by Jess Quinn.

Items in Jess Quinn‘s shop range in price from less than $2.00 USD to just over $200.00 USD. That means there is something  for every budget and every taste.  Shipping from Bristol, England in the UK, shipping cost are excessively reasonable. The cards are frame-able art, the dolls enchanting, the brooches would make brilliant gifts, and the accessories are instant one-of-a-kind treasures.

“Bitsy Boo” Fabric Art Doll, Red Felt, Little Girl, Linen Cloth Doll by Jess Quinn.
“Miko & Molly” Hanging Fabric Decoration, Printed Cotton Sweethearts, Vintage Silk by Jess Quinn.
Cloth Art Doll, Soft Sculpture, Textile, Square Clown Blue by Jess Quinn.

Jess takes great care when describing her items, often including little anecdotes about their inspirations, the materials used, and the dimension of the items.  All essential information when you are buying handmade goods online. I have to commend her on her presentation style, her shop feels intimate and you get the distinct impression that you are getting a peek ‘behind the curtain’.

“Miss Bird” Clay Brooch, Circus Pin – Hand Painted Small Sculpture by Jess Quinn.
Clown Art Doll, Clay – Textile, Felt Fabric, Hand Painted by Jess Quinn.
Clay Brooch, Wearable Art, Hand Painted Pin – Green, Lettuce by Jess Quinn.

Jess has divided her shop into specific categories of items, so I decided to present a few of examples of her work that reside under each category heading so you can get a good idea of the range of whimsical items she offers.  As always, I showcase items that tend to appeal to my taste, but there is so much more to be discovered in Jess’s Small Art shop. Jess herself calls her items Unique Artworks and Original Gifts, I would stress the unique, I haven’t seen anything quite so fantastically outside of the box in my recent travels.

“Clown Miko” Felt Brooch, Pillow Pin Portrait, Wearable Art by Jess Quinn.
“Bunnyhoot” Small Art Doll, Purple Felt Brooch, Plush Forest Creature by Jess Quinn.
“Matilda Mouse” Felt Brooch – White Mouse Bow Tie Pin, Printed Drawing by Jess Quinn.

You really must take a closer look at the work of this Art School graduate and mother of three, who says she comes from a family of ‘makers’. I rather like that statement, I can identify with it completely. For more information on her captivating work, you can also swing by her Blog and check out what Jess is currently up to. You might also like to know that Jess is offering a “Free Shipping” code until March 11th, 2012 and that currently she is having a small Spring Clean Sale on selected items in her shop, as if you needed more reason to head over and check it out. It may be Small Art, but I have big love for it. [In particular, that “Jake The Tortoise” Brooch at the top of the post, how incredibly sweet it is!]

Small Oil Painting on Canvas, “Sisters” by Jess Quinn.
“Infanta Margarita in Moonlight”, Small Oil Painting on Canvas by Jess Quinn.
“Mary” Small Oil Painting on Canvas by Jess Quinn.

Links:
Small Art – Etsy Shop
Jess Quinn’s Etsy Profile
Jess Quinn’s Blog

“Tom & Nancy” Wooden Art Dolls, Hand Painted by Jess Quinn.
“Lulu” Wooden Brooch, Wearable Art – Hand Painted Pin by Jess Quinn.
“Eric” Wooden Badge, Hand Painted Pin – Wearable Art by Jess Quinn.

Note: All Designs and Images are the Intellectual Property and Copyright of Jessica Quinn and QUINN. No infringement is intended. Please contact Jess Quinn directly with inquiries about her work. Follow the links provided under each image in this post  for further information about the items featured in the post, including price, payment options, availability, and shipping information.