Buon Natale, Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad!

In Italy, for Christmas, it is customary to display nativities around houses, stores, offices, pretty much everywhere. Thanks to Francesca, who sent me a picture of a Panettone Nativity, this is my last minute project with some leftover cold porcelain.

How I made my Panettone Nativity:


I modeled the figurines—nothing more than cones and spheres put together—and let them dry for a day. I used the same dough I originally made for the wedding cakes bouquets. It was very  hard to work with, and I  was worried it was going to crack while drying, but the figurines turned out fine.


I painted the figurines with acrylic colors—it took forever to paint the eyes because I  didn’t like how they came out the first ten times—and let them dry for one hour. Meanwhile, I cut a small chamber inside the panettone. I positioned the figurines inside the grotto and finally sprinkled powdered sugar on top.


Buon Natale, Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad!

Roses and Teacups

I discovered that a batch of cold porcelain I made in February is still usable. Hard to work with, but adding small drops of Elmers glue to the dough it makes it malleable again. This is the first time a batch lasts this long. I tried to take a few pictures to illustrate how I model a rose and I apologize for the abysmal quality of the images. Not an excuse, but in a few pics I was holding both cell phone and dough. Needless to say, you get what you shoot for… or something like it.

A Rose

This is more or less what you need to create a rose.

The Cone









I start with modeling the cone that will support the structure of the finished rose. The petals are made by flattening  the small spheres between my fingers.

The Petal









Then, I wrap the petal around the cone like a tight scarf.

The Scarf









The second petal I add is not as tight as the first one, but more loosely embraces the stem.

Adding the petals









I keep adding petals, leaving them more and more open as I go around, while I pinch the base.

Assembling the petal









Finally, I have a fully formed rose.

The finished rose









I cut the rose from the cone and create the stem by rolling the remaining dough between thumb and index fingers. I repeat the process with a second flower and I add a rosebud.The two roses  








Close up of the small composition. To create the rosebud I make an incision on one end of an elongated cylinder and then I cover it with a snug petal.

Close up rose e teiera









I had to have some fun with the picture as well. Paint.NET oil filter on a resized canvas to accommodate my little piece of wisdom.

Life is too short not to have tea and smell the roses

Roses and Teacups

Wedding Flowers

Recently, I had the great honor and pleasure of being invited to the most beautiful wedding.

These are the bouquets I created for K and A’s wedding cakes:































The day of the ceremony, the bouquets were placed on the wedding cakes. Thanks to my talented friend C., and a long, sleepless night, I can post pictures of the cakes. Long story short, baking didn’t go as planned, but everything worked at the end. And that it’s all that matters. Much love to you, C.

Wedding Cake 2













Wedding Cake 5












After the ceremony I sealed the bouquets with a glossy finish and then mounted them on frames:












Wedding Flowers

Dollhouses and Cold Porcelain: Love at First Sight

I have a thing for gnomes. It started when I was a little kid and my family used to go on vacation in Austria. We went for long walks in the forest and my mom told my sister and me whimsical stories about little people living under rocks or inside holes in the trees. Several years later, I laid eyes on Wil Huygen’s Gnomes and here they where: Mom’s little people.  Then, one day, looking for books about salt dough, I found the image of a tree house that reminded me of a gnome dwelling. By that time I had already adopted the more refined and durable cold porcelain (cornstarch dough) instead of the salt dough. It took me several months to finish the two tree houses, as I kept adding details until I decided it was time for the gnomes to come visiting.







Dollhouses and Cold Porcelain: Love at First Sight