Interview with the Artist: PuffPastry

I’m always amazed at the beautiful things people are creating with clay, these days. When the work is in miniature form, it’s even more fascinating!

Please meet clay artist, Vivien of Puff Pastry Shop!

Her etsy shop is stocked with a delightful assortment of teeny, tiny treats that are a feast for the eyes! Shopping there may make you hungry, but don’t worry – no calories are involved! Vivien turns her clay art into an adorable collection of rings, necklaces, earrings, and pins!


She graciously agreed to this interview and has even included a 20% off coupon code for my readers. Look for it at the end of this post!

Were you interested in art as a child?
Yes. I loved making things out of paper. I’m not sure my mother was pleased about me leaving little paper scraps all around the house, but I remember her showing my little paper animals to visitors. I don’t have any of my drawings anymore, but I still have a paper deer, bunny, pig and some other creatures.

tray This tray pendant measures less than 2 inches – imagine how tiny the indivdual pastries are! 🙂

What were some of the earliest projects that you created?
I used to collect fabric scraps from my mother’s sewing projects and cut them into little squares. I sewed them together to make a “quilt” for my doll, but back then I didn’t realize a quilt needed backing, stuffing and actual quilting stitches!

The sweet treats you make are the most exquisite little treasures! When did you first become interested in working with clay, and have you created other items using clay?
I loved Play-Doh as a kid. I had a set with molds for making vegetables. I loved the peapods the best! My sister had a cake-making Play-Doh set that I liked to play with as well. At my elementary school it was also traditional for the students to make a different clay item each year. We made canoes, pots and owls. (My favorite was the owls!)


Do you also enjoy making life-size pastries with “real food” ingredients?
I love to bake. It’s funny because I’m not a good cook when it comes to savory food, but people like my almond tarts, apple bread and lemon bars very much.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Just going to the grocery store is great for hungry inspiration! Also, a lot of times I get pretty materials and then decide what to make with them later. Unfortunately, it also means I stockpile craft supplies, sometimes for years!

Do you keep any examples of your best work – just for yourself? 🙂
Hahah. That’s a secret. =) Actually, I keep the not-so-nice things for myself, because I don’t like selling things that I feel aren’t up to my standards.


What advice would you give to people who would like to begin selling their art, but could use a few pointers?
The most important things is not finding what is popular, what sells well, or what is profitable, but what makes you happy. Selling can be hard sometimes, but if you enjoyed the creative process it makes it worthwhile. Also, ask for (and listen to) critique. It’s fun to hear “Wow your stuff is great” but the people who say not-so-nice things about your art can be very helpful to you as well.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks everyone for reading my interview! As a thank-you I’d like to give all the readers of Bead Happily Ever After a coupon code to my etsy shop. For the month of March 2009, enter HAPPY20 in the “Notes to Seller” at checkout for 20% off your total order! The discount will be given as a Paypal refund or you can wait for a special invoice.



Cookie Lady

Have you ever known a cookie lady?

bakingscene1 I’m talking about someone who not only loves to bake cookies, but also loves to share them with others!

Maybe you had an aunt or grandmother who always had a plate of cookies waiting when you went to visit, or a neighbor who would make cookies for holiday gifts every year. Perhaps it’s your best friend . . . or could it be you, yourself, who likes to keep the cookie jar filled with delicious homemade cookies?

“Cookie Ladies” are especially precious these days because there aren’t so many of them around anymore. Life is so hectic now; most people don’t have the time.

I believe that cookie ladies are actually born that way. You either are, or you are not, a cookie lady! It takes a special kind of personality to have the patience for making cookies. It’s so different than baking a cake. A cookie lady joyfully takes on the time-consuming tasks of mixing, shaping, rolling, and often decorating large amounts of cookie dough, and then she needs even more patience to stay near the oven to literally “babysit” trays and trays of cookies. It’s an art and a science, but mostly it’s a labor of love. The world is a better place for having cookie ladies!!!

kitchenutensilsIn my life, the Cookie Lady was my husband’s Mom. I met her shortly after I began dating her son, and on that first visit, she presented me with a little tin of two kinds of her homemade cookies – applesauce raisin and chocolate chip. I was so touched by her thoughtfulness. They were absolutely the most delicious cookies I’d ever had. As the years went by, she always had cookies waiting for my husband and me, and eventually for our daughters – her grandchildren! She had about 6-7 different kinds that she liked to make and none of us could ever choose a favorite. They were all “the best!” She’s gone now but the love she served with those cookies remains in our hearts.

I hope you have known a cookie lady, or will know one in the future. They are the warmest of people.

I thought you might like the recipe for those Applesauce Raisin Cookies. I’ll include it here and also put it in the Bead Happily Ever After Recipe Box. 🙂

Edited to add: You’ve got to see my P.S. at the end of this recipe!!!


Ida’s Applesauce Raisin Cookies

1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 cup of chopped or whole raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
¼ tsp salt

Sift flour with baking powder, soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.
Combine butter with sugar until creamy, then add the egg.
Next add flour mixture and applesauce alternately.
Add raisins and nuts.
Drop from a teaspoon onto a greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375º for 8-10 minutes.

P.S. Now here’s the incredible part of this post . . .

I’ve had the idea that I would write about this topic for several weeks now. I keep a little list of things that I’d eventually like to use for blog posts. Why I chose today to talk about “cookie ladies” and my sweet mother-in law, I’ll never really know.

I just looked at my list and grabbed one of the topics. I could have written about it weeks ago, or I could have chosen any other topic from that list for today.

The irony is that as soon as I finished this post and told you about our family’s cookie lady and her recipe – it hit me!

Today is her birthday! She’s been gone for 12 years, but she would have been 100 years old today! I hadn’t remembered that until this very second!!!

It seems so appropriate and also an amazing coincidence that I would write about her today! I think she must have somehow “wanted” me to share her recipe! 😉


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Swedish Cinnamon Cookies Recipe

Monday greetings!

My sister, Nancy, has sent in another of her favorite recipes. This one is for easy-to-make cinnamon cookies.

Her photo has me wishing I had a couple of them right now – with a nice hot cup of tea . . .


Swedish Cinnamon Cookies

1 cup margarine or butter
1 cup sugar
1 TBSP molasses
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg yolk
2 cups flour
1 TBSP cinnamon
Sugar to coat cookies b4 baking

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the molasses and mix well.

In a small bowl, dissolve the baking soda in the egg yolk, and stir into creamed mixture.

Add the flour and cinnamon and mix well.

Roll the dough into small balls and drop (5 or 6 of them at a time) into a bowl of sugar.

Shake them around to coat and place on a cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.


Thanks again, Sis 🙂