I put out a plea on the ATP Facebook page and Melanie, who lives in New York, replied that she was up to the challenge which, of course, led me to check out her often whimsical work. In the end, shipping the balls overseas in such a short time frame was out of the question... thick paper maché simply doesn't dry quickly. (By the way, let me know if you ever come across the ad - I'd love to see it!)
Melanie has always been creative and as a young child enjoyed using found items to make whatever she imagined. Even the name of her shop and blog is clever - M Ann M Creations. (think candy :)) She especially enjoys designing one-of-a-kind folk art items, such as expressive art dolls, hot air balloons, and jack-in-the-boxes. The detailing is impressive.
Melanie has done many different crafts, but making things with paper is her favorite. For a time, she created a line of handmade greeting cards for Neiman Marcus, Papyrus, and other stores. Mel is completely self-taught, aside from tips learned online from supportive paper maché artists.
I told her I have the sense that she loves to make something different every time she creates and she agreed... few things make her happier than specific requests.
Melanie also sells her versatile creations at craft shows and has a handmade party goods store on Etsy called Watermelon Party.