Tuesday, 29 January 2013


    Here is a short film that is both 'horrific' and 'cute'. And believe me, I never thought I'd be using those two words in the same sentence. Some of the elements in this story felt like the beginning of a Dr Who story. What do you think?

Alma from Rodrigo Blaas on Vimeo.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Coraline Progress

Design work by Melissa Gaggiano.

    Thought I'd share the early progress of the Coraline doll, which my eldest asked me to make for her.
    I have done the first draft, but after cutting it out I have realised the legs will need to be widened. The legs do need to be thin to a degree. But any good doll maker will have a melt down trying turn through limbs that are just not wide enough. Believe me, I've been down that path, and I'm not goin' back [unless I'm working with super strong, super stretchy material, then maybe...].

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Coraline Challenge

Image from the Coraline film.
    I recently introduced my eldest to the Coraline film and since then we have watched it almost every day. She absolutely loves the film. The kid has great taste. So much so that she has asked me to make a Coraline doll, just like the little doll featured in the film.
    I smell a challenge.
{Image Source}

Friday, 18 January 2013

Holiday Sticker Range

    Just a quick note to let you know, I now have a range of holiday inspired stickers available at Red Bubble. Check it out...


Art by Melissa Gaggiano.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

My Creative Space

    So what is in my creative space this week. Well, I have this doll. Though admittedly this doll was mostly done a couple of weeks ago. I did finish her this week, cutting long threads and removing gathered stitches.
    I will be presenting this little hot head to my eldest for her birthday this coming weekend.
    The design is a Mark II of a doll pattern from late last year, which can be seen here

Photography & doll by Melissa Gaggiano.

Photography & doll by Melissa Gaggiano.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

You'll Love This Snack

Photography by Melissa Gaggiano.

    I wanted to share this yummy snack that I made earlier this day. Oh my gosh! It was such a guilt free delight.

Here is what I used:
  • 2 pieces of rice cake.
  • 1/2 avocardo.
  • 1/2 tomato.
  • 1 [or 2] slices red onion.
  • salt and pepper, for seasoning.
Photography by Melissa Gaggiano.

Photography by Melissa Gaggiano.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Blue Heels

Water colour by Melissa Gaggiano.

Hello! Hello! Guess what?!? I have another piece of art available at my Red Bubble shop, over at -

It would make the perfect item for all you fashionistas and lovers of blue shoes. It is available as a greeting card, postcard, prints and posters.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Couldn't Stay Away

... for long. I just had to share this piece of lovely I saw on Pinterest. It made this moment.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Time Out

She's All Eyes

Photography by Melissa Gaggiano.

My Creative Space

Illustration by Melissa Gaggiano.
Quote by Candace Bushnell [Trading Up].

    This week I have been illustrating [as above] and contemplating my navel a somewhat.

    I also bought a Lego set using my Xmas money. I was originally planning on buying a few reading books, but when I saw this beach side house it simply called to me. I say you're never too old for Lego. It has actually been therapeutic building this thing.

Check out other creative spaces via this link.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Give Me a Break

Source: piccsy.com via Maritza on Pinterest

The following piece is quite a few months old and I just decided to give it an airing. Reading back through this piece, it makes me laugh. It was just one of those things that had to be written to take a load off...

So, I know it’s a little paranoid to presume to know what other people are thinking. Okay, okay! So it’s a whole lot paranoid. But imagine this. You’re out in public, minding your own business when a total stranger decides to not mind their own business. You cannot imagine what you have done to cause it but they are staring at you, eyes narrowed, and mouth pinched like my cat’s rear end. Without uttering a single word these disapproving strangers have already said so much, and still you don’t know what you did wrong.

I can think of one when my daughter t tripped over her feet shortly after getting off the travelator. An old woman passed us by, made a clucked her tongue and quickly looked away when I noticed her. What’s with the attitude lady? How did this put your day out? Why don’t you go away and lay an egg?

The other day my rage on this subject was piqued when in a shop, an elderly woman approached and informed me that my daughter’s hat had fallen over her eyes. I thanked her and leaned over the pram to adjust my baby’s hat. But the woman kept staring at me, eyes narrowed and disapproval practically shooting darts in my direction. What the heck! What was wrong with this woman? I matched her stare and she moved on into the next aisle but continued to keep a greasy eye on me. Seriously what was wrong with this woman? What faux pas could I have possibly committed to cause such disapproval from a total stranger in under a few seconds?

I didn’t need extra sensory perception to know this woman was judging me. But it was for a reason that I could never fathom.  Did I unwittingly earn the bad parent award because my daughter’s hat had slipped down? Perhaps she was making the presumption that I was a teenage mum? And believe me people have made this presumption before. On a good day, when the light is just right and I have eaten all my vegies and gotten a good night’s sleep I can look ten years younger than my actual age. But after all, whether I am young or old whose business it is for anyone to try and make me uncomfortable.

What if I went around presuming that every overly critical person was a bitter old hag who hung around shops just waiting for some harmless sap [like me] to prey on. And come night time they pull out their broom sticks and go riding around, cackling like the evil witches they are. Do you see what I just did? I just made a ridiculous judgement and a stereotype no less. Though I am quite convinced I am on the mark with the whole broom stick thing.

The truth of the matter is that it is quite easy to judge other people, particularly parents. Quite often we do it without even realising we are doing it. Sure, we don’t mean to be malicious. At least I don’t think I do. Yet how many times have we gone out in public and passed judgement on people who have seemingly done something peculiar, or have had a lapse in concentration. And when they do we are all over them. We see a boy with a scratch on his face and we point, “A-hah! Can’t his mum protect him?” Waiting in a doctor’s surgery a mum tries to pacify her baby with the sh-sh-sh sounds that babies love, and some toothless hag says “Leave her alone. She’s just a baby.” You carry your baby as you walk, and an old man blocks your path, “What happens if you trip over? You could hurt your baby.” For f---s sake people! GET A LIFE! And leave mine alone.

Okay, I feel better now that I got that out of my system. So the next time you are down the street and you see someone do something a little bit special or weird, instead of judging them for a twit and doing that ugly eyeball thing. Spare a kind thought for that person. They might be having a bad day. Cast them a smile and remember, “that could easily be me.” On the other hand that other person might then be wondering, “Why is that freak smiling at me?”


Source: squidoo.com via Sloane on Pinterest


The wind wasn’t simply blowing. It was blasting gusts of air making it difficult for my six year old self to walk. It was the end of the school day and everyone was homeward bound. Most of the kids rode a bus to and from school – many of us lived too far to be walking the distance. The school was built onto a slope so walking downward toward the buses would have been easy enough on a still day.  But today the weather was fiercely against anyone walking down the hill toward the buses.

I felt certain the wind would blow me away and the only thing keeping me earthed was my back pack. Even so I had to lean forward and could only take tiny steps as the wind was trying its darnedest to drag me back.

Eventually I made it to the long line of buses positioned near the front of the school wall. The wind still wasn’t letting up. It seemed more powerful at the base of the hill. I felt stuck. I couldn’t move forward. I still had a way to go as my bus was at the back of the line.

One of the teachers on duty approached, told me to hurry up, but then asked which bus I need to get on. I pointed and told her it was the bus at the far end. She told me the buses were about to leave and that I had no time to reach my bus. The woman urged me toward the bus before us. This is not my bus, I told her.  She pushed me onto the bus and said not to worry, and that this bus will probably get me home. I didn’t know what to say. I was just a kid and the teacher was a responsible adult. I wasn’t taught to second guess an adult’s logic, but I was scared all the same.

Soon the bus doors close and I am searching for a spare seat on an unfamiliar bus, with a driver I have never seen before and surrounded by equally unfamiliar children. I sat near the front, keeping a vigil of the bus’s journey. I kept hoping that the teacher would be right about the bus getting me home though I couldn’t ease the sick feeling rising from the pit of my stomach.

So far, so good! The bus did appear to be following the same course that my regular bus would take. The bus left the town centre in the right direction. It was going to be okay, I thought. But then the horror of it all came back as the bus took a left turn. The path was unfamiliar. It was definitely time to worry. What was I to do? What would the driver do at the end of the journey? Would he kick me off? Would I have to stay at the bus depot overnight? Where ever that may be. I was already sick with anxiety, but now I was terrified. I tried not to cry, but my eyes welled up despite my efforts. How could one afternoon go so horribly wrong?

On the other side of the bus a boy and girl sat. They must have been watching me for a while. The boy spoke to me, “You don’t belong on this bus do you.” I thought I was in trouble. Maybe these kids will out me to the driver and have me kicked off between stops. I nodded to the boy. I told him which bus I was meant to take and that a teacher pushed me onto this bus. The boy and girl gave each other a look - knowing what to do. I saw the momentary connection. It was decided, I was coming home with them.


It was very likely that once the two children brought me to their home, further necessary and adult steps were taken. Their mama called the school to inform them of the mishap and my whereabouts. Many kilometres away my dad, who was waiting to collect me at the bus stop, was distressed to find I was not on the bus. He too called the school to report me missing. Two and two was put together and it wasn’t long before my dad collected me. Those were the facts but hardly the most important aspect of my memory, at least, not from the perspective of a six year old.

What was important was the warmth and safety I felt once the boy and girl took charge of my immediate destiny. Once I was planted in their home a lot was done to make me feel comfortable. It wasn’t long before it began to feel like a very nice babysitting experience. A after school snack was provided, though I cannot recall what I ate. One of the children read to me a picture book with stills from Steven Spielberg’s E.T. I was shown origami for the first time in my life. I pretended that this was my family and these kids were my older siblings. I was happy. I was cared for. I was safe, which is all a six year old wants to feel.

It was a traumatic experience turned on its head. Decades later when I think about that day, particularly the family that took care of me I recall the warmth and protection that these kind strangers provided. I have such profound feelings regarding that day. I only wish I could remember their names.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The Cinema

The air base cinema of my childhood was a primitive movie house compared to the grand multi-cinemas of today. Everything appeared much bigger when I was a kid, and this cinema was no exception. In reality it was probably a small building.

The seats were hard and hardly ergonomic. But who cared? As long as there was coke, popcorn and Maltesers at my finger tips and I could see the screen.

Being able to see the screen, you’d think is a given, but not for me. I have always been tiny and to avoid some basketball player sitting in front of me, I would take residence as close to the screen as possible.

I have happy memories of this cinema. A few hours of pure escape from reality – a time well spent.

At this cinema I saw A Night on the Town, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Boy Who Could Fly, amongst many other films. I loved the whole cinema experience from the moment of buying the ticket and choosing snacks. Once finding a seat I’d looking about, to see if I recognised any kids from school.  I enjoyed watching the cheap slideshow advertisers promoting local services, followed then by the trailers. It was one massive happy prelude to the main feature.

It was at this cinema that I first saw Dirty Dancing. The film was in hot demand. So many people went to see the film. By the time my family reached the ticket box people were being turned away because every seat had a bottom. Something happened which I believe would have been unprecedented back then. The cinema staff agreed to have a second screening later that night. So for the next hour or so my family sat at the Sergeants’ Mess, drinking cokes and biding our time. And at 11 PM that night I finally sat down in the cinema to watch Dirty Dancing. Believe me! The movie was worth the wait.

My evenings spent at that cinema might have been utter bliss. But there was just one thing that could leave a blemish on the experience, and it had to do with the ladies toilet. No, it wasn’t dirty. It was a perfectly hygienic public toilet. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was the bloody movie poster tacked to the inside of the main door – promoting Ghoulies. With the ghastly by-line “They’ll get you in the end!” depicting an ugly, green, turd-like monster coming out of a toilet. Well! It wasn’t like I had enough hang ups bowel movements when I was a kid. Here was a child’s nightmare realised – THINGS in the toilet rising up to bite your bottom or something worse. So every time I used that toilet I always looked into the bowl. If anything was coming out I wanted a head start on it. I’d finish my business, wash up and dashed out of the toilet with lightning speed always with the fear that the ghoulie would get me.

I don’t think I ever really recovered from that poster. Most paranoid people look over their shoulders. Me, I keep an eye on the toilet bowl as I’m doing my business. Just making sure nothing dark and sinister climbs out. Apart from that I loved going to the cinema.

A Moments Paint

Painting by Melissa Gaggiano.
    Some of my best days are the ones spent with my kids doing arts and crafts. Today I got out the paints for my eldest, and she invited me to join her. We sat together, each doing our own separate thing.
    I painted a palm tree using a candle and just a handful of acrylic paints. A lot of painting is done in this house, so it doesn't take long for the paint supply to disappear.

Birthday Art

Illustration by Melissa Gaggiano.
    Today I worked on a birthday card for a relative. It is the easiest thing to buy a birthday card and there are some lovely cards out there. But when I have the time for it, I do prefer crafting the cards myself.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Tabouli and Falafel Forever

    These days I prefer the cold weather to the heat. On seriously hot days I fantasise about moving to a place like Canada.
    One good thing about the warm weather is that it has a calming affect on my appetite - meaning I am not as inclined to eat a lot of hot food.
    At the moment I am enjoying the flavours of tabouli and falafel patties. Oh my gosh! I could live on this food every day. I can hardly believe how something so tasty can be so incredibly healthy. Tabouli and falafel forever!
Photography by Melissa Gaggiano.

Photography by Melissa Gaggiano.

Photography by Melissa Gaggiano.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Béatrice Coron Inspires

    I just came across an inspiring paper cut artist, by the name of Béatrice Coron. As soon as I saw just one of her pieces I was instantly drawn into the image and the story contained within.
    Following is a link to Béatrice's work, as well as a video which takes a look at how Béatrice creates her images.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Cool Girl

Vector art by Melissa Gaggiano.

    It has been quite a long time [a few years in fact] since I last worked on any vector art. Years and years ago I started out doing most of my digital art in Illustrator. I eventually made  the transition to Photoshop as I became more confident with that program. This year though I thought I'd reacquaint myself with Illustrator and hone my technique.

Doodling, Dreams & Plans

Illustration by Melissa Gaggiano.

Illustration by Melissa Gaggiano.

Portraits de Voyages

This is utterly amazing... Something I came across via artist Marguerite Sauvage who also thought this was worth sharing - an illustration trailer by Bastien Dubois. Honestly! Check it out now.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Yum Strawberries

    Do you love eating strawberries? I do. I absolutely love strawberries. In fact my whole family does.
    To celebrate this appreciation of strawberries, I have made available for sale on Red Bubble a 'strawberry' shirt design.

Illustration work by Melissa Gaggiano; Available at Red Bubble.