in the white room

We've been rehabbing our 1920's house in what seems like forever in the 2 years we've owned it. The upstairs floor of our house I have dubbed "Man's Land" cos that's where all of Rob's guy stuff is, his studio/ office/ workshop/ storage. Man's Land is also where I keep my bulky craft supplies, like that 20 lb bag of polyfil! It's all very utilitarian with the exception of the tiny oasis known as the bathroom. We set up this temporary bedroom for my mom's recent visit, in what was and will return to be, a painting studio. We painted everything primer white, including the floor which was really gross and tacky after we pulled up the old shag carpeting.

The 'white room' has taken on a nice vibe, and our cat Rosa must agree 'cos she has adopted this space as her personal 2nd bedroom. What a life, eh?


* a taste of summer *

This be my first attempt at making Cherry-Berry Pie from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen, author of Moosewood Cookbook. Moosewood cookbooks I use pretty much on a daily basis. The pie turned out delish and the recipe was vegan to boot - I used soy milk and soy butter instead. I prefer baked things not overly sweet, so I tend to reduce the sugar content and always add a good dose of Bob's Red Mill Ground Flax Seeds (it's great sprinkled on toast, yogurt, cereal, almost anything). Just about every bowl, spoon, and inch of counter space was used, but how nice when it's fragrantly baking in the oven (during the huge clean-up process, lol). Here's to summer, and lets make it à la mode!


Don't try this at home!

The story of "Mr. Squirrel" (yes that's *her on my leg!)

Many years ago I rented an apartment in a big house which had a mini-woods as a backyard. I made friends with a backyard resident, an extroverted fluffly red squirrel I came to call simply "Mr. Squirrel", *even after I discovered that he was really a she. I delighted in the sight of my little friend and started to bring home bags of mixed nuts to toss beneath the pine tree as a special treat. Quickly, the squirrel began to equate me with a handful of nuts, and apparently I wasn't the only one on the block feeding her (who could resist her?) so she really was gettin' spoiled.

Mr. Squirrel was not shy of humans, she was practically domestic! We had our little trick, where she'd leap up my leg and fetch a nut out of my hand. Yes, it was crazy, considering what if I got bit, rabies, etc.

Our "relationship" quickly spiraled out of control. One day, I went out the yard gate to take a walk, and she followed me around an entire city block, to the amazment of onlookers ("hey, you know you got a squirrel following you?"). When we got back to the house, Mr. Squirrel was exhausted, laying belly down on the cool sidewalk. That was the last time I gave her nuts. It was time to let her forage her own food and regain some instincts!

A few months later, the property lot was sold. The 70 year old pine trees in the yard were to be leveled and the house demoed for new construction. It was sad to see it all go, and I wondered if Mr. Squirrel (and the other animals) would be okay and find new homes, since mature trees were scarce in that area. My consolation was that I would plant trees somewhere else. And that's what we are doing here at our house, minus feeding wild (or semi-wild) animals ;o)


11 Minutes

It's that kind of hot summer day... you just want to take a cat nap on cool white cotton sheets by the shade of the window. Like my feline friend Rosa is doing (and does every day for many hours). A power nap does wonders to rejuvenate mind and energy mid-day. Personally I favor the "11 minute nap", that's about all I really need.

Plus it's a good excuse to spend some quality time with miss pinky toes :)


New June Cuties at Abracadabra Teddies UK!

Here they are, the new gang I made for Abracadabra Teddies UK shop! Featuring 2 plump 'Buddha Bears'~ the lovable Mr. Blueberry Ice and happy Little Samuel Sunshine, 2 ellies~ Lucille the silly red head, and the teeniest ellie I've made yet...Blue Chiku. And who's that one in the front? That would be a singleton wee bear, the adorable Tiny Tamu. All are One-of-a-Kinds, available for adoption now at Abracadabra.


morning walk

Today's morning walk took me to the ol' abandoned railroad tracks by the woods.

The air was sweet with summer, the sky wide and blue with a soft dapple of clouds (and well, a 747 jet flying close overhead but we won't dwell on that). The gravel path is weedy, with some pretty white and yellow wildflowers sprouting here and there.

Plant life creeps through the weathered wood railroad ties and a little snake slithers under the steel rails. It is a testament to the power of nature; at some point everything returns to the earth. And in a way, that is very reassuring.


Elephant Sunset

I was going through folders on my computer and came across some paintings I did years ago, pre-Peng Peng Bears! This one is entitled "Elephant Sunset" 2002, acrylic on canvas, a very small painting just a few inches in diameter... you could hold the entire thing in your palm! It is in a private collection. Believe it or not, peng-peng.com was my *art* web site for a very brief blip in time, my little painting gallery. There you go, some PP trivia!


a tranquil window

Summer Blessings to you :) I hope the days are beautiful where you are. One of my favorite things about summer is a breeze through an open window. It may seem a trivial thing, but during the long cold months it is a singular anticipation of mine: letting the outside in (and the inside out!). Stagnancy is slow death. Fresh air, circulation, flow of energy or chi, movement, change, are vital for growth. My husband can attest that I seldom sit still, expect while working. I am most at peace while working/ creating/ exercising ~ it is like a form of meditation, a focus of energy. Having a plate full of projects and new ideas makes me happy, and keeps things fresh for me and you!

There are some exciting ideas, I would dare say even radical, that I've had on the backburner for years (where does the time go?!) and if all goes well, you will be seeing the results this summer! Lots of fun to come!


the Last Full Moon of Spring

What a poetic sky. I took this picture 2 nights ago. When the moon looks like this, it's what Rob & I call a "Ryder Moon", in reference to one of our favorite 19th century American painters, Albert Pinkham Ryder.

Albert Pinkham Ryder- Siegfried and the Rhine Maidens, 1888/1891

This was the moon yesterday evening, it shined low and heavy over the green graveyard. The fullness of the moon was just impossible to capture (especially with my little digital camera) but it's one of those things you try anyways :O)

...and a familiar face around my neck of the woods. Deer remind me of my cat, as strange as that may sound; lean, leggy, gentle, quiet creatures :)

Take in all the beauty there is during these last days of spring, and behold the coming of Summer!


Pardon the dust...

...and enjoy these humble pink poms I set out for my mom's visit this week :O) (deep inhale) ahhhhhhhh... Fresh flowers are such a simple delight.

In case you've noticed, the past day I've been experimenting and tweaking my new *3 column* blog format! For some weird reason my cute "ellie n' bear" logo isn't appearing, so while i figure out how to override the coding, please ignore that boring 'default' text which so prominently graces the top of the page.

Will be showing you the big stash of crafting goodies and tidbits my mom brought for me from Pennsylvania, maybe part of Studio Tour II (?). All I can say is I'm now officially overloaded with vintage buttons and embroidery floss, but oh all the delightful things I can make with them!

Stay tuned :)


Lonely Little Ellie looking for a home

*Happy Father's Day*

Oh my...another lost little ellie! This sweet gal is from the April herd, and wonders if she will soon find a loving home, like her herd mates have. Luckily this tiny deer came along to keep her company and now they are inseparable friends :)

"Peachi Paki" is her name and the tiny deer comes with her, of course! A chunky cutie, just 4 1/2" tall, hand dyed bristle mohair, handpainted glass eyes, hand dyed pale minty green wool felt pads, jointed limbs, excelsior/ polyfil, wearing a handmade primitive yet charming dress of vintage feedsack cottons. One of a kind. $175 SOLD

"may i join your herd?"


"Seriesously" Obsessed!

Reflecting on my work to date, what I collect, things i'm drawn to, and even my CD collection and what DVD's I watch - one thing is clear as a bell: I'm a nut about things in 'series'. Maybe it's power in numbers, things en masse, repetition, pattern, themes, abundance, to see an idea come to fruition. Series allows one to organize thoughts and process, to play with boundaries verses be caught in them. What I find most interesting and profound about series, is that a small universe is created within itself. And those are places I like to explore :)

Even as a child I collected series; Avon decanters, plush animals, Sanrio, were the big ones... and oh how I took pride in them! In my twenties I was a raging collectaholic (fueled by my thrift store addiction, Philly had some of the BEST thrifts ever!). Over time, moving homes, purges (yes, I did let go of a massive Norfin Troll collection, but will admit to have saved just ONE), and perhaps discovering a bit more about myself, I've fine tuned my life to being "a minimalist who collects things"... a favorite phrase I once read somewhere. Creating is a fascinating journey, and I hope you enjoy the places we go together :)

1. Dumplings, the miniature bears (circa 2003~ retired breed)

2. Grinning Round Headed bears (circa 2004 ~ retired breed)

3. Buddha Bears

4. Pointed nose squat bears (essentially 'retired' breed, stuffing them with excelsior proved too hard on my paws, and takes a looong time to stuff just right. But i do love them so!)

5. Antiqued Mini Bears

6. Sock Monkeys & Ellies (2005-present)

7. Anime Sweeties

8. "Wee Bears" (can't get enough of these!)

9. Mohair Elephants (wide squat-shaped and upright 'traditional')

10. What's next?? It will be exciting to see!

As for DVD's i'm currently crazed about: My husband and i just devoured the 1940's Sherlock Holmes series starring Basil Rathbone & Nigel Bruce. Now we've moved on to the 1980's Granada TV series Sherlock Holmes starring Jeremy Brett (who many claim to be the ultimate Holmes) and I must agree!


~ a flower for Petal ~

Perhaps the universe was trying to tell me something, when I posted 'one little lost ellie' yesterday. I had not yet heard the news 'til today...

On June 9th, Petal, the oldest African elephant in U.S., died at Philadelphia Zoo at age 52. May she find freedom and her herd in the heavens :)

Here is Petal in her bleak zoo surroundings, in what was to be her final months of life. Photo taken February 2008, by Friends of Philly Zoo Elephants.

And by contrast, an elephant herd in the wild (they walk in formation to protect the little ones in the center :O)

For more info about Petal & the Philly Zoo elephants:

Save Wild Elephants
The Elephant Sanctuary who took in Dulary, a former Philly Zoo ellie.
Friends of Philly Zoo Elephants
Philly Daily News


One Little Lost Ellie...

oh my! This lonely little ellie has lost her herd! She is looking for a loving home, and promises to hold on to your finger tightly with her trunk so she won't get lost again :)

"Marmella" is a new creation, just 4" seated (but very wide!), hand-dyed long n' shaggy mohair, hand-dyed pink wool felt pads, jointed limbs, hand painted glass eyes, polyfil/ encased steel BB's, vintage feedsack tie. One of a kind. $235 SOLD

xo (^____^)


the Mohair Furnace...

...one could say my studio is exactly that. 77% humidity and holding steady at 90 degrees, what happened to spring? As the saying goes & Chicagoans know, there are 2 seasons here; winter and summer!

Last night we watched Billy Wilder's 1951 classic "Ace in the Hole", the film is set in sweltering hot New Mexico, you feel thirsty just watching it. Thank god this vintage Windsor metal fan was in the basement, it came in quite handy during the heat wave! The previous owner had carefully wrapped it in plastic and safely stored it away, so it's in beautiful condition. I'd love it's periwinkle blue color... wonder if they ever made one in pale pink? :)

Today we are enjoying welcomed relief with the new AC window unit we put in my studio (phew!), and now i can resume concentrating on new projects (instead of survival things, like dehydration, lol).

Nearly completed my group for Abracadabra Teddies and working on some new items for my Etsy shop that I'm really enjoying making and can't wait to show you ;o) will keep you posted about all of that soon.

And last, but certainly not least...*Big HUGZ* to everyone who adopted the *June Sweeties* i posted here last Tuesday, they are all so happy to have found new homes (preferably with central air?) :O)

~Stay cool and have a great rest of weekend, pp


Here they are! *June Sweeties* mini delights!

~If you'd like to adopt a bear or ellie just send me an email to peng[at]peng-peng.com and I'll confirm your order ASAP. Happy June!

Little Rex (red) and Rita (pink): Both are just about 4" tall (red is a tad bit smaller), hand dyed mohair (pink mohair is tipped), waxed noses on mohair muzzles, excelsior/ polyfil, 5 way disc jointed, milk glass google eyes, hand dyed vintage lace bows, one of a kinds. $185 each. both SOLD

Nola Nicely: 4 1/2" tall, hand dyed mohair (kiwi green n' brown), waxed nose on mohair muzzle, excelsior/ polyfil, 5 way disc jointed, handpainted/ aged glass eyes, wearing a delicate handmade apron dress of antique Japanese cotton, one of a kind. $199. SOLD

the Colonel (blue): 4" tall, hand dyed mohair, waxed nose on mohair muzzle, excelsior/ polyfil, 5 way disc jointed, handpainted glass eyes, wearing his "medal" made from antique striped cotton and old button (removable), one of a kind. $175. SOLD

Kima (pink): 4 3/4" tall, hand dyed mohair, excelsior/ polyfil, hand dyed wool felt pads, jointed limbs, handpainted glass eyes, handmade cotton dress w/ vintage ric rac. One of a kind. $189. SOLD

Kibibi (means "little lady"): Perhaps my smallest ellie yet at just 4" tall! Hand dyed mohair, excelsior/ polyfil, hand dyed wool felt pads, jointed limbs, handpainted glass eyes, vintage crochet lace skirt w/ hand dyed vintage lace bow. One of a kind. $189. SOLD

Mr. Weeble: a diminutive tot only 3 1/2" tall! Hand dyed mohair, waxed nose on mohair muzzle, excelsior/ polyfil, 5 way disc jointed, handpainted glass eyes, a delicate shirt made of antique fabric, hand dyed mini knit hat. One of a kind. $199 SOLD



New One-of-a-kind cuties this week!

A little sneak peek for this week: I will be posting new One-of-a-kind petite bears here on my blog, sometime early this week (note: i couldn't fit all their heads in the photo without giving away too much ;o) No exact time or date, but i will say, before Wednesday for sure. When they are posted, I'll be sending out an e-mail notice to my private mailing list (to join, just visit my web site). Ordering is simple~ send me an e-mail and I will write back to confirm your order ASAP.

Hope you're soaking up this beautiful first day of June! I've been busy in the studio (indoors of course) so far today, but will be sure to take an evening stroll by the nearby woods... when the bats, raccoons and rabbits make an appearance :O)

~ pp (^__^)