Q - What are your charms made out of?
A - I use polymer clay. Back in the Pancake Meow days I used one specific brand, but now I use two brands and I mix those together to get a wonderful consistency!
Q - Do you color your clay or do you use it straight from the package?
A - I mix everything to get a specific color. I also add in colors. I used to mix oil paint into my specific base colors, but I found that over the years those paints bled! Ugh! Whipped cream turning pink. So I stay away from oils of all kinds when coloring my clay.
Q - How long have you been making miniature food?
A - I started making miniature food in 2004.
Q - What do you mean when you say that you don't use molds or shortcuts?
A - The market is literally saturated with quick and easy methods to making miniature food. From molds to ready to pipe whipped creams. What fun is that? Everything in the bakery is handmade by me. Right down to the fake sugar! I do not purchase ready made "toppings" etc.... This is an art and I have a deep love for it. It's worth it to take the time and make wonderful pieces and experiment with different mediums to get a specific look. That's what excites me!
Q - How do you scent your charms?
A - Back in 2005 when I started playing around with the idea of scenting my jewelry pieces, I labored over how to make this happen and finally found a way that keeps the pieces smelling nicely for a long time. Basically, I bake the scent into each charm. They have to be baked in intervals. I use body friendly scented base oils and blend those to get the specific fragrence for each charm. It's a pain that is well worth it and leaves my house smelling like a candy store.
Q - How did you learn to make your charms?
A - I pretty much just started playing around with the clay without any reference, just making cartoony looking stacks of pancakes and cupcakes. Well, my cupcakes are still cartoony, but that's intentional. Back in 2004 there were barely any references on how to make miniature food other than a few American and Japanese craft books which I was super eager to own, but the American book didn't have many desserts and the Japanese books used a different type of clay, so I just enjoyed the photos and resorted to my baking books and did everything trial and error. I loved and still love gazing at a real desserts and finding ways to make them look similar. Going to grocery stores and taking photos of things in the bakery. That's the best!
Q - Are you "The Cupcake Queen?"
A - No. I am The Lady of the Cream Horn!
Q - How did you get into illustrating?
A - I really wanted cute packaging to go with the Pancake Meow charms. I didn't have the funds to pay a graphic designer, So I played around in photoshop enough to be able to create some card toppers and that evolved. Years later I took the jump into Illustrator. I eventually had offers to design for other people besides myself and suddenly because a graphic designer.... unintentionally.
Q - Where do you get the ideas for your characters?
A - I honestly never have a set plant to draw a character. Even when I was designing party supplies. My client would call and say "I need you to draw cute cats for a mini cake set! Do your thing!" and I'd have NO CLUE how it was going to look. I would sit down and start doodling and it would just come together. Like puzzle pieces being linked together one by one until I could see it. When I get the visual from that, I can totally add to it and make it come to life. I start all my works like that.