Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Dream Come True!

       My baby boy, Shawn Thomas Skeel, will be moving home after 5 years.  He went to Chicago to follow a girl with no money and no plan one Thanksgiving Day weekend.  He worked several jobs in retail and there was always a problem, such as being full time for Radio Shack as they slowly went out of business.  Now he wants to come home and go back to school.  A dream come true for this Mama!  He encourages my art, he lets me know what's missing when a doll needs just that little something, and his own love is working in leather, making corsets and such.  Needless to say I'm thrilled out of my tiny little mind.
       This photo was taken and edited by my lovely Daughter In Law (Wife of #1 son, Brian).  You don't see much of Shaw's face but it captures the essence of who he was at the time: a Ren Faire junkie.  He made the leather belt and you can see the artwork on the back.  He has several swords and daggers and even a whip, which he used to stand in the back yard and crack for what seemed like hours.  I can't wait until August 4th when we collect Shawn and his belongings and after two nights at my sister Kathy's just south of Chicago we will bring him home.  Sigh.  I love you Shawn!

Saturday, July 14, 2018



         We had friends over last night for our monthly "Music Night" where folks with instruments bring them, folks that sing bring their voices and anyone else can bring their ears and listen.  We do a potluck dinner as most friends work till dinner time and we want to make sure they don't have to gobble down fast food before our fun evening.  We tend to get a little chatty and start singing later than planned but everyone has a grand time.
           I was telling a few stories to friends about changes in our home through the years including Craig convincing us it would be a great idea to raise the house 4 feet and turn the crawl space into a full basement.  He bribed me with an art studio that would be 12' by 24'.  Though I drooled over that possibility I still have no recollection of saying yes.  It turned out to be a larger project that we planned as the house fell a couple times, once it pivoted when it fell and one corner was 21 inches from where it belonged.  We had a house raising company raise the house and Craig managed to lay all the block in 30 days.  It all turned out great in the end but the stories along the way seem endless and quite humorous now.
          Needless to say, as I regaled the various stories a friend suggested I write a book about everything we've been through.  Maybe someday - who knows.  All I can think of for a title is "With love from Skeelhaven," which is of course the name of my doll business, too.  I wish I had saved all the emails that went out to friends telling them about events daily.  Should I decide to write this book someday I'll have to count on my failing memory and the memories of the rest of the family.  But it sure could be a fun project!

           I'm still packing my studio.  It feels like it will take forever.  I have church friends who have volunteered to help with the move, but I have to get it packed first.  I never realized just how much stuff I have!  When I moved to the new room in the basement, same size as the one before but with the patio doors to allow sun in for a bit of cheer, I purged a bunch of stuff, such as  dolls I was embarrassed to claim I made, though I still have the very first, which is a leprechaun playing his fiddle (maybe this move will help turn up his long lost bow!)  

         I had all three bedrooms planned out in my head for how furniture would get arranged with all my drawers and cabinets, shelves of creating books, more shelves for tools, paint brushes, and drawing supplies, my life size mannequin, and all the other stuff.  Where in the world did I get all this stuff?  

         Anywhoo, yesterday Shawn, my soon to be 30 year old baby announced he would like to move home and go to college.  Though I'm thrilled beyond belief that he would finally return from Chicago where he went to follow a girl years 5 ago I realize I have to give up one of those bedrooms, and of course it should be the largest, since it is adjacent to the bathroom and what the hey, he deserves the best.  So now I get to rearrange the furniture in my head and get things planned.  I will have the living room for the daily use tools, tables for classes, sewing machines and what not, but still need somewhere for everything else.  And there is A LOT of everything else!  I guess Dear Shawn will have to help me move things room to room and unpack if he wants his own room upstairs and not the dark guest bedroom in the basement where he will start out until I am organized. Meanwhile, I am back to the drawing board for room arrangements.  Sigh.  Never a dull moment at Skeelhaven.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Paisley Praise

     I have revised another doll pattern.  This one is Paisley Praise, a beautiful angel.  You can find her at my ETSY site.

     When I was in the hospital several years ago with severe double pneumonia I was afraid I might die.  Then one quiet evening I was resting in bed with my eyes closed and I felt hands on each leg and each arm.  I opened my eyes to see who was there, but I was alone.  I closed my eyes and immediately felt the hands again.  I believe it was angels comforting me and letting me know I would be all right.  And then of course, I was all right.   The experience invited me to create this doll.

Here is a pic of the pattern
I made another version, though she is just Lady Paisley as she has no wings.

     Here is a close up on Paisley's wing.  The wing is made of two sided fabric, cut into strips of feathers, stitched using Free Motion Embroidery to add details to the feathers then attached to a wire to make the wings pose able.

     I really enjoyed making this doll.  Choosing all the complimentary fabrics was fun!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

New Pattern!

       I have dusted off and rewritten the text for an old pattern.  "Lucky Penny Pin Doll" actually has a copper penny tucked into her gathered bosom.  

       This pattern has detailed step-by-step needle sculpting and face coloring details.  She’s the perfect size for a special little gift.  Years ago she was published in a pattern book by my local doll club, the Guilded Lilies.  Her instructions and pattern templates filled one page.   Now, years later, Penny has her own pattern with ten pages of instructions.  I hope you'll visit my ETSY site and check out Penny and my other patterns and workshops!      

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Step One for the New Studio!

    Today I finished painting the living room.  In itself it's not a big deal, but now I can start packing up my studio and moving it upstairs to the living room.  I want to go back to teaching from Skeelhaven and once I'm moved and organized (okay- that's a relative word for an artist!) I can start to set up classes and find students again.  

     I'm still working on editing and revising patterns.  This week I finished a few. 

Joy! Celebrating Life

     Middle aged Joy, with her widened hips and saggy breasts celebrates waking up every morning and all the simple joys of her life through dance.  Boldly dressed in vivid colors, including her hair, she loves to draw attention to herself because she knows she is still beautiful, as all women are inside.  This doll may choose to sit or dangle from the ceiling.

Here's a drawing of the same costume completed.

Both of these patterns are available at my ETSY site.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Still Working

I am still working on revising doll patterns.  This week the main focus has been on the Dragonfly Rider.  The Elf wears a cod piece, a silk Tunic and leather gloves and boots.  Seated he is about 6 inches tall.  He also sports real hair eyelashes and brows.  The dragonfly is just under 2 feet long with acetate wings that can be colored with markers as desired.  I made one dragonfly where I fully beaded the tail in a random format, which, by the way, is much easier to do than any other type of beading.  The whole piece can be set on a stand so he appears to be flying, or he could be hung from the ceiling.
I cropped a photo to give you a close up of the Elf's face.  I added brown hair to his eyelashes and brows and you can see them in this photo.  Sadly, I can't enlarge the photo any more as it gets pixilated.  If you look closely under the hair on his forehead you can see the brows.

All in all, I think it's a pretty cool pattern. I just posted it at my ETSY site if you are interested.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

More revisions

       I am still working on pattern revisions.  In working on the Dragonfly Rider I discovered it was a pre-class pattern and missing a TON of information.  How embarrassing!  Now I have the complete Dragonfly Rider ready to offer.  He is at my ETSY shop.  Here's the new cover for The Dragonfly Rider.  It includes the Elf Rider and the Dragonfly who can sit on a table, or hover above a stand or even hang from a ceiling!

       I still have a few more doll patterns to revise before I take a look at my workshops.  

      I am also working towards bringing my doll Studio upstairs to the old unused Living Room from the current walk out basement Studio.  It's nice down there but I've been fighting the stairs too long and not going down enough- actually almost not at all so the move will get me away from the steps and if I use one (or two!) bedrooms for supply storage I will be able to hold classes again!  Oh how I have missed teaching!  I'll post photos of the Studio progress but first I have to finish putting the family room back together after remodeling.  One room at a time!