The Music Box Repair Center

Have you ever felt like the luckiest gal in the world? I do! Because right now I'm in California studying with one of the very few specialists left in music box restoration and repair in the Americas, Don Caine. (Hopefully he'll consent to an interview later on too.)

His workshop is home to more tiny tools than you can imagine as well as big industrial gear that is surprising to see being used here, and of course all sorts of clockwork fascinations in various states of trauma, restoration and repair.

There is a small red bird the size of your thumb, that twirls on brass gears in her golden cage and really sings, and a more sullen mottled blue bird in a ruddy red cage that's lost it's voice and just needs some expert mechanical care. Does anyone remember the magical harp in the fairy tale of Jack and the Beanstalk, the one that sings? There is one here too and it plays "Music of The Night" with a perfect ethereal harmony.

My mentor is incredibly kind and patient, and for someone who deals in the world of the tiny, the intricate and the precise, he has a big loquacious personality and loves to laugh.

We've taken apart and repaired a Thorens disc player, (which I've never seen in person until now), diagnosed a multiplicity of problems with hissing and clicking and stock-still Romance movements, disassembled and corrected the same, and me, I'm learning first hand the patience and attention to detail absolutely necessary in this work.


ARTISANS' GIFT FAIR Dec 12th & 13th

One down! Next I'll at the Artisans' Gift Fair at the Tranzac, this weekend on the 12th and 13th.


The season is upon us

Oh my gosh, I have been so busy preparing for an artisan gift show this weekend. I'll report back on how it goes and on some other happenings once I catch my breath!

For those of you in Toronto this weekend, it promises to be a good one


These days have been thick with chores, duties, work and creation. I huddle over my desk making little boxes and take short breaks to sip soy milkshake. Does anyone like how soy milk tastes? It took me about a week to get used to it, now it just tastes like milk. This leads me to believe that if I drank murky pondwater for a week it would end up tasting like milk.


There's another giveaway ending today

What, another giveaway? So soon? Yes indeed, by an accident of fate a fellow blogger is hosting a giveaway for one of my Alice in Wonderland music box pendants this week. If you've been curious about them here's your chance to check one out with no obligato. She also hosted a nice little interview with me. It's my first interview ever :-)

The giveaway ends tonight at 11PM EST I believe

You can enter here: interview and giveaway

I hope you're all well and feeling good :-)


How to Install a Music Box Mechanism quick tutorial

Some people forget that I sell music box supplies as well as making musical gifts. I was explaining my weird music box hobby/habit to someone recently and she didn't run or slowly back away so I guess the frayed edges of my obsession are still tucked in neatly enough, even though not many people seem to share it. And as for supplies, I found out (the hard way) how tough it is to find a really good and affordable selection of tunes so I had little choice but to open a shop for people trying to pursue this hobby and art.

When it comes to creative work, there is so much that people can do with music boxes, but they are old fashioned and only on the radar of a very few people, so no one thinks to use them. To be fair, sometimes music box craft gets a treacly rep, but it doesn't have to be that way! With a little bit of creativity and attention to detail a hand created music box can have both the moxie and the charm .

The most basic question I get from people who visit my supply shop is "how do I install my movement?"

Well, if you aren't interested in making your own music box, the next bit is going to be BORING. Sorry!

Wild at Heart Mermaid Musical Locket

A new locket is just about ready to be added to my jewellery store. And I just love this one. It's a very old piece with a lot of wear that has been re-designed into a musical locket. It's foundation is vintage 60's and I think the previous owner was a bit of a wild one. It just needs some finishing touches I think before making its way to someone new.

This locket and others like it are available at My Secret Music Box


A giveaway winner is announced

We have a winner! Lucky number 6 was picked as an eligible entry using the True Random Number Generator. Ashley wins her choice of Daisy Chain pendants. Congratulations Ashley!
Don't worry - there's still hope for everyone else - no sad faces here :O) News about sales, giveaways and FIRST dibs on the newest items will always be listed on the music box blog.



There is one day left to enter a special giveaway - the gift is a Daisy Chain miniature music box pendant from my Garden Collection (the winner gets to choose his or her favourite one below)

The giveaway is being hosted by my friend over at Chez Chani. There are a few steps necessary to enter the contest, but it's pretty easy.

1:Take a look over at Clockwork Fantastica, and then

2: Leave a comment on Chez Chani's post about an item in the shop that caught your fancy.

If you're a reader here, you can also leave a 2nd comment letting me know what type of content you would like to see on my blog, and that will count as a separate entry for you in the draw.

The winner will be chosen by the magical random number generator and announced on Thursday. Good Luck to you!


40 Years of Sunny Days: Happy Birthday Sesame Street :-)

A headline in the Globe & Mail reminded me that tomorrow is Sesame Street's 40th birthday. 40 years, kids!

I think Grover was my favourite even though he was a bit neurotic. Seriously, does anyone remember The Monster At The End Of This Book? Poor little guy. I found an online version of that classic here --> Oh, Grover just when I'd given up ever finding it again.

My little sister was on Sesame Street in the 80's with a dozen other children in her kindergarten class. It was a french clip where all the little kids ran around one of the circa 1970's log sculptures that adorned our playground. She was wearing a pink dress and long braided pig tails; all of the kids were a little bit dressed up since being on tee vee was a _really big_ deal then. I think the clip taught us all the difference between "Aller!" (Go) and "Arrêt!" (Stop) by using freeze-frame camera-work, which was perhaps the only way they could make running, dancing 5 year olds in front of a camera stop moving.

Sunny Days. I have a vintage Sesame Street music box movement that plays the ORIGINAL Sunny Days not that new-fangled version. For anyone with a creative spirit, this is perfect to put inside your own handmade Sesame Street character or music box. If you're not a music box maker, you can still hear what it sounds like here -- Sesame Street Music Box Sounds ; I dare you not to smile when you hear it.


Midnight Roses and "Hart" of Brass

I've made some recent additions to both the Heirloom and Fascination collections at Clockwork Fantastica.

The first was dubbed Midnight Roses almost as soon as it was deemed ready to leave the studio and my favourite features, aside from the charm of the musical element, are the two little abalone-inlaid butterflies fluttering on the hematite plate chain, almost like they're on a vine.

The "Hart" of Brass is a piece of whimsy that I've added to the Fascination collection. I'm one of those city-gals who can't immediately see the difference between a moose's head and a buck - so I wasn't certain when I first held the brass stamping, but the features are very fine and certainly don't look like the back of our Canadian quarter. So I realized that it is in fact a noble deer jutting out his proud nose and antlers.

(I think he has a right to preen though, he is rather dashing.)

CUTENESS and genius resources (non-music box related)

It's hard to restrict my blog to music boxes when there are adorable handmade softies in this world too.

I can't resist sharing these little creatures made by Tiny Warbler. This bunny's tummy makes me ticklish.

There's also a snowy owl. And a wee elephant!

Another non-music box related thing  happened today, which is I had my links put up on the Toronto Craft Alert so, let me take this moment to tell you the Toronto Craft Alert is where you ought to visit if you're in Toronto and make or appreciate handmade goods. It's a genius newsletter and blog that highlights crafty events and resources in the city and nearby. It's where I find out about most of the shows that are happening. They have a mailing list, but I like to visit the site.

I think this is the most beautiful Autumn I've experienced in years. And the sky is bright blue, and my belly is full, and my cat is curled up in a snoozy ball asleep by the window.


More Tunes!

More music box tunes arrived today at Tuned Teeth which means more variety, and more music box love and cheers from music box lovers everywhere (wild dancing)!

Available for your crafting and artisan needs: 

and for the holidays (just remember to order these early so that the presents you're making for your loved ones will be ready in time)
If you'd like to hear what these clockwork mechanisms actually sound like (of course you do), take a trip over to my listening page: Listen To Them Play!

My favourite at the moment is the Historia de un Amor. So wistful (I'm actually planning to make a ballerina music box using this one). Which tunes do you like? (just curious)


The Heirloom Collection

This will be the first piece in my new Heirloom Collection found at Clockwork Fantastica.

The Heirloom Collection is an offering of classic and embellished pieces from the early 1900's to the turn of the century. This particular pendant plays Fur Elise. What do you think?


New Tunes in Stock

Good morning music box crafters and artists, I have some new tunes available for you today at Tuned Teeth.

You can now find:

My personal favourite is Close To You by the Carpenters (click to listen). As always you can hear many of the clockwork tunes I carry here: Listen To Them Play.


The True Story of Elayne and Roz, and a Marvellous Package

Brown paper packages tied up with string
these are a few of my favourite things

 Now, first things first – if you like what you see in this post, then GET THEE to Roz and Elayne’s Etsy shop for more. This story begins this morning when one of my favourite things happened – a package came for me in the mail. I participated in a Shop Swap this month, so I did expect it, but I was surprised to see not one, not two, but THREE shimmering burgundy organza bags in the envelope, all filled with works from the crafty hands of Elayne Teitelbaum.

Elayne says: Chez Chani is the mother daughter team of Roz and Elayne. Both driven by the need to craft, eventually we each ran out of room for all the finished pieces, and out of money to create more.

Thus we turned to Etsy to sell our wares. While I (Elayne) would love to do craft shows, there are not an abundance of them in Las Vegas, plus my work as a Poker Supervisor gets in the way...

When I first started jewelry making, I did simple strung beads. After a class in Peyote stitch at the local bead store, I was hooked. It was only Peyote for the next 1-2 years. Then recently I became intrigued with the many possibilities offered by resin. I'm just growing in that area while still finding time to do some stitching. I don't know what the future holds, I just wait for something else to catch my eye.

So, what was in my exciting package? This story ends with, lucky me, flaunting a matching three piece set all handmade by Elayne – first, a clever black resined scrabble tile with the initial “O” on a silver bail with a vintage effect. Second, a black glass seed bead ring, (which amazingly fit me perfectly, is very smooth to touch and is comfortable to wear- this comfort point is so important to me when it comes to rings. I have a phobia of rings that crush or pinch or rub the wrong way, so I was super pleased to wear this one). And three, a black and white glass bead bracelet, made with what I believe is a Peyote stitch. It is a famously intricate stitch that can take many hours. I am so pleased to say this beaded bracelet is very well worked and fits beautifully. My favourite detail of this bracelet is the large button that fastens the piece to my wrist.               

a happy matching trio
So of course I eagerly went over to Elayne and Roz's shop to see what other intricate delights are available from them - and you can too - Etsy Shop - Blog -Twitter - Facebook fanpage



These are two little music box pendants and a musical brooch that will be part of my Fascination Series. They are almost ready to leave my studio and have adventures of their own.


It's a spectacularly busy time in the Plucked Pins studio - I see a lot of crafter-types are in the same situation as me - all of us are preparing our goodies for our upcoming holiday shows. I'm also finishing up some custom work and a gift for a new friend in Las Vegas. In between work and family I've been dreaming of mountains.

Oh! I almost signed off without mentioning - my music box pendants are now available on the Tuned Teeth sibling site, Clockwork Fantastica!

And I almost signed off without thanking my friend Mary Goldman for sharing some secrets for enjoying Der Rosenkavalier with one's future-parents-in-law (which is where I've been this past week, visiting my beau). There's always room for learning something new when it comes to music.

Hah, what a topsy turvy entry, for a tospy turvy day.


Mystery Solved

A very kind woman from the UK recognized the Stratton music box tune - it's the song "Where Is Your Heart" from the 1952 Moulin Rouge. This song is a romantic dream. Pretty. This song is your grandparents in their twenties, played by Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire, dancing and falling in love.


The Mystery of the Red Rose Stratton Musical Compact

I just put a vintage Stratton Musical compact up on Ebay, but I don't recognize the tune it plays. I'll post it here just in case any passing Reuge buff can recognize it.

(p.s. I made the recording VERY loud you might want to adjust your volume before clicking play)


Today is today

It's a quiet day with my to-do list, although my mind is pinwheeling against the forces of procrastination.

Not like last night. Last night I was laying down with peace of mind. I could see the night clouds traveling big and slow across the sky like migrating mastodons, or grey gypsies, a traveling circus full of magicians, illusions and strange faces.


Queen West Love-In

Gentle Readers! It's Saturday night. I'm finally getting around to sharing some pictures of our day at the Art Crawl. I got a ton of love at my table from people I've loved almost my whole life. Thank you for supporting me! Every couple of hours there would be a familiar face approaching my booth; it made my day when this happened.

Mr Man helped me run things at an even keel, even on Sunday when most of the Trinity-Bellwoods neighbourhood converged on the park towards mid-day, snapping up some of my favourite pieces too.

A lot of people's faces broke into great big smiles and wide eyes when, after approaching my table and looking at the pendants & pins on display they were told "you can wind them up you know - they are mechanical music boxes that you can wear." (Me and the mister joked about a drinking game based on my booth and the phrase "Ahhhh So Cute!!!")

This was my first show presenting my own work - I'm ridiculously happy to say "they love me! they really love me!"

I'm setting up my booth a few hours before the show

A vintage Japanese lacquered music box presents my business cards.
A ballerina music box holds my miniature creations.

Booth D27

My silent familiar looks on from her perch. "chirp"


Meet me at the Queen West Art Crawl Booth D27

I've been itching to announce that my work has been accepted into the Queen West Art Crawl show and sale happening on September 19th & 20 - two short weeks away. It's the arts event of the season featuring downtown artists and it happens in Bellwoods Park, nearby the Plucked Pins home and headquarters.

I live in an apartment in a converted Victorian house in my city's Little Italy. It's a good place to be. My favourite time to work is Sundays outside when everything is steeped in quiet and mild early morning sunshine, when the older people who live in my neighbourhood take their walks in twos with slow care. It's the time of day that requires no translation if you were a child in Italy once but find yourself now across the ocean in your 70's in Canada.

Of the different pieces I've been preparing for the show, I've really been enjoying filigree and floral themes the most lately. Here are a few examples in those styles that I'll be bringing to the Art Crawl.

These pendants have winding keys on the reverse side that operate the mechanical music boxes that they contain. The filigree pendant plays a song called Love Story. The sunny yellow pendant and the pretty pink one are decorated with vintage floral findings and they play You Light Up My Life.


5 Questions: Interview with Kim Chatel, author, fiber-artist, photographer

I recently came across the beautifully rendered work of the talented and prolific artist Kim Chatel. Do you know what caught my eye? Colourful, detailed creations that, as she puts it, "sing"! Kim agreed to answer 5 questions about her art.

"Why did you choose to integrate music boxes in your work?"

I have always been a crafter and I’ve dabbled in many different media. I was making gift boxes with my photography when I discovered needle-felting and fell in love with this unique art. Needle-felting is like sculpting with wool, and I’ve discovered that I can make anything out of wool. Like many crafters, I have oodles of miscellaneous supplies hanging around. I was looking for embellishments when I came across some crank-style music box movements I had bought, thinking to add them to my photo-boxes. I held one in my hand for nearly ten minutes, turning it and listening to the music, wondering if I could incorporate this into a felt sculpture. In the end I wrapped the music box movement in velcro so it would stick to the wool and began making felt music boxes! I’ve made dozens now—bears, toadstools, puppies mermaids, dragons and more. I like to let the music dictate what creature will be shaped around it.

"What is the most challenging step in your creative process?"

Needle-felting is not a craft for the impatient. Simply building the structure around the music box can take days. This used to be frustrating to me, but I’ve learned not to rush it. My music boxes are a labor of love. They are generally too expensive to sell easily at craft fairs. I make many of my smaller critters and ornaments for these. As a result, my music boxes are made just for me. I take my time and let them evolve slowly. Though I’ve sold many music boxes, I often give them away as special gifts.

"When do you know a piece is finished?"

As a writer, I appreciate the value of revision. However, with needle-felting, I could continue to poke and prod the wool endlessly. Eventually, I have to be satisfied with my product. I generally have an idea in my head, what I want the music box to look like, but I love to add fun details and when the creation makes me smile, then I know it’s done.

"Do you have a favourite piece?"

Needle-felting generally has a built-in cuteness factor, because it’s fuzzy and soft. Some of my boxes, like Peter Cottontail and Terry Terrier make me all warm and squishy inside. However, the one I am most proud of is Hailey the Mermaid. I started making her at a book signing and promised a little reader that I would name the mermaid after her. Hailey is the culmination of many years of practice and I think she is my most technically challenging piece. Plus she is whimsical and full of fun details.

"Where can we buy your beautiful things?"

My Esty store ( has all my current pieces (including Hailey). I can also make custom music boxes and ornaments.

Chatel Village
( is my website for children’s books and here you can find “Rainbow Sheep” my picture book illustrated with needle-felted art.

The Art Gallery in Chatel Village ( also showcases many of my past creations, including a video of Hailey the Mermaid as she spins and sings.


The Delacorte Clock: a bronze disco and parade

I'm still in New York City and yesterday I got to see the famous Delacorte Clock in action. Me and the mister were strolling through the archway between the Central Park Wildlife Center and the Children's Zoo when the bells struck 5:30 and the bronze bear, the penguin with a drum, the hippo with a violin, the goat with pipes and the Kangaroo starting spinning and dancing. Of course I had to run back and take a picture. Here is a very short 16 second snippet of what I saw. (I recognize the tune, but I can't name it.) The clock plays 26 different children's nursery songs on the half hour (26!).

Depending on the time you can hear: Frère Jacque, Au Clair de la Lune, Hickory, Dickory Dock , Ding Dong Dell , Old King Cole, I Had a Little Nut Tree, Hey Diddle Diddle , Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, Georgie Porgie, My Bonnie, Little Jack Horner, The Merry Farmer (Schumann), Mary Had a Little Lamb, Cradle Song (Brahms), Three Blind Mice, Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater, Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat, Anvil Chorus, Sing a Song of Sixpence, There’s Music in the Air, Parade of the Wooden Soldiers, Baa, Baa, Black Sheep , A Tisket, a Tasket, The Farmer in the Dell, Row, Row Your Boat , Sailing, Sailing

note: there are much better videos of the clock on youtube - give yourself a treat and do a search for them. If you're ever in New York City lucky you - put the bronze parade on your itinerary.


About this blog

This page serves as a community building website for artists and crafters who use mechanical musical elements. The goals here are pretty simple - to:

1 Offer simple music box creation techniques
2 Showcase the amazing work of artisans and people new to this art
3 Relate news about Tuned Teeth shop developments.

Everything ELSE that happens in this space is a pure bonus :-)

If you've bought music box supplies from me before, then goal number two is a secret message for you - now is your chance to showcase (or simply show off) your musical creation (and really it would be an honour for me to do so with you). Submission guidelines are below -they will help me to get your post up quickly and with accuracy.

Submission Guidelines
1 A photo of your project/creation.
2 Any short words you'd like to add about the creation of use or meaning of your project.
3 Contact or website information to include in the post if you would like to give readers a method of contacting you.

If you're interested, send me a message and I can help get you started!


A Natural Violence Tempered By Enchantment

Today I launched my new web store, Tuned Teeth Music Box Supply (and more! There's always more) with happiness and excitement.

I'm a music box girl in an electronic world. I think a music box movement (the part that makes the sounds) has a build like a violin; it is completely utilitarian and waste free, but used correctly is capable of producing sounds that are deep, nostalgic, playful, lonesome, and even a little bit mysterious.

When you hold a music box you can feel it vibrating. Sometimes if you listen closely you can hear the gentle whir of tiny gears in motion and here is why: all in miniature, a metal fan spins, pushed by a gear against a gear, abut a dome. Tuned metal teeth pluck pins that are set precisely on a revolving cylinder and in your hand, a small key to power it all.

There's a natural violence to this, tempered by the enchantment of the sounds that can be produced and all the kinetic excitement of a palm-sized self-powered symphony.

If you make music boxes, like me, or want to learn how, if you are interested in the world of music box crafts and music box people, or are just wandering in and slightly bemused by all of the above, watch this space, there's more to come.


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