Joe normally picks the molds for orders, but, knowing that I had been a fan of hers for years, he handed me the bin and read off the numbers so that I could pick the order. So many of them were my favorites, molds I continually go back to over and over again.
I started to write a 'thank you for your order' note to her when I remembered that the reason I started sculpting in the first place was so that I could continue to stay at home with my children. We had been transferred to Oklahoma in 1981. Our financial circumstance had changed greatly but I had been a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) since the birth of our first son in 1963 and wanted to continue to do so.
The first email I wrote was the "War and Peace" version. Too long and WAY too much detail. During the day I would pop back into the studio and pick away at the email, trying for the best "Reader's Digest" version possible.
Someone once said about writing: "Don't use too many words, but, use all the words needed to tell the story." or something close to that.
After much typing, retyping and thinking, I finally sent a thank you letter to Dr. Laura. She wrote back and asked permission to read it on her show and I said yes. Here it is below.
"Dear Dr. Laura,
Thank you so much for your order. Our little mold business started in '81 because I wanted to continue to be a stay-at-home-mom. I just had to write to tell you how tickled I am that you have ordered our products. How they came about is right up your alley.
In 1981 we were transferred to Oklahoma. In our previous home, I had been a stay at home mom since 1963, raising our kids and loving it.
My mother had to work from the time I was 3 as our father and mother had divorced. Times were extremely tough in the 40's and 50's. My mom had to work. Dad, a physician, lived 1700 miles away, remarried and raising his new wife's son. Mom struggled to keep us fed and warm. Fortunately, her parents and her maiden aunt helped to raise my sister and myself. As you can tell, so many of the stories I hear on your radio show (I've been listening since the mid 90's) and in your weekly emails ring true to me. My heart goes out to the children of the self centered crazies.
From the time I became a mom I was determined to stay home with my kids.
When we moved to Oklahoma, it was a tough time for the economy. Houses were expensive, loans had double digit interest and my husband had to take a cut in pay to keep his job. We did all we could to allow me to stay home.
In a miniature club meeting in the winter of 1981 I found polymer clay and fell in love with it. Turns out, I could sculpt, who knew?
A few months later, I signed up for a small local craft show, to try to sell my hand crafted miniatures to earn enough for new winter coats. To my surprise, I made $700.00!!! You could have knocked me over with a feather. The kids had warm coats and we paid some bills. It seemed that I was in business.
For the next seven years I stayed at home with my kids while making miniatures, sculpting doll house dolls and eventually ended up with a little signature line of tiny teddy bears called PenniBears.
I taught polymer clay classes in my home, at conventions, (the kids went with us) local stores and eventually had a few dealers who sold my miniatures and PenniBears all over the country. Soon our kids were back in Christian School and I had a decent car.
In '89, my skill as a miniaturist came to the attention of Gary Clinton, owner of United Design in Noble OK. and I was offered a position of designer/sculptor with their company. Since my husband worked nights and I would be working days, there would always be someone home with the kids were home from school for the next two years until they were grown and gone. For the next 15 years I was a master sculptor designing giftware, angels, home decor, and animal figurines for home and garden. Eventually the company was sold and moved out of Oklahoma so I started a design studio in my home.
After retiring we decided to market our line of rubber molds. I sculpt, design the project, write the tutorials, measure the clay and take the pictures. Hubby Joe makes the molds, creates and maintains the website and ships the orders. We are having a great time, staying busy and enjoying life.
And, it all started with me trying to find a way to stay home with my children. Ain't life grand???
Penni Jo Couch
Designer - Sculptor - Writer"
Dr. Laura read my email on Monday Nov. 1 2010 that I had written to her on her show. I mentioned this on facebook and have been asked "What did your email say?" from those who did not hear the show.
She mentioned our website before reading the email and our server lit up, stuttered a bit but did not crash!
We've gotten some nice emails and are encouraged by the response.
If you are reading this and are a SAHM or want to be, I encourage you to keep trying. Budget both your time and $$, plan meals around items on sale, start cooking from 'scratch' rather than buying pre-made meals. Most neighborhoods have free sale fliers, check out the weekly sales and coupons.
Look around and try to see what skills may be needed and wanted that you could do while home with the kids. I have a friend who irons for people. It's amazing how many people would like to have their clothes ironed and are are willing to pay.
Check out websites for all kinds of recipes and helps for stay at home moms.
My DIL's favorite laundry soap recipe is on this page: http://www.duggarfamily.com/recipes.html -- I still make my own laundry detergent. I guess that thriftiness gets to be a habit.
Left: PJ037 Settings (bezels) for standard oval cabochon.
Thanks for stopping by and have a most wonderful day.
Oh, and if you would like some molds, please visit us here at