Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Folding Fabric


        That lovely lady sitting in the center of the room is me in "Studio A" of my studio set.  I say set as I have a main room and two small bedrooms.  I moved up to the first floor because I struggle with stairs.  The main room, which I just call the studio once was our living room.  Long story short, we never really used that room.  "Studio A" is what I call part two of my studio.  I finally got almost all the white / clear drawers to line the perimeter.  The drawers hold tons of things, bits and bobs, hair for dolls and polymer clay, and assorted glue products, to name a few.   "Studio B" is the bedroom next door and the walls and closet are full and a little bit over flowing.  I've got loads of yarn, possibly for doll hair.  I hope so, I don't knit or crochet.  I have bins full of chenille stems, pompoms, fabric yoyo's, porcelain doll busts with matching hands, and many projects to make more things to sell at the craft shows I used to travel.

        And then there's fabric.  F-A-B-R-I-C.  If you've ever been to a sewing store and needed to get a pattern out of the gigantic metal cabinets then you can picture two full sized pattern cabinets in my studio and picture them both completely full of fabric.  Plus a row full of floor to ceiling fabric drawers.

       So I've decided to share the wealth.  I am folding every piece of fabric I own.  If it's more than a half a yard I cut it into pieces.  As I fold each piece of fabric I decide if it brings me joy.  If yes, I place it in a white plastic drawer, sorted by color, of course.  If how ever that piece of fabric does not tickle my happy bone it gets put into a box.  The goal is to pack boxes full of fabrics and trims, and other fun things like butterflies (they make great faerie wings!).  The boxes will then be shipped to friends far away and hopefully my doll club would like to receive my treasure boxes.  Then the rest will go to Good Will.  

               My goal is to get rid of one pattern cabinet and at least one set of floor to ceiling white / clear drawers, which don't fit into studio A.  You may be able to see it behind me at the right in the pic above.  I'm stuck right now.  I'm folding blue fabric.  Blue is my favorite color.  When I shop, my package always seems to have more blue fabric in it than I remember purchasing.  So most blue fabric gives my joy.  I may have to go through the blue fabric twice!  LOL!!!  I tried to tell myself that after a laundry basket full of blue fabric already folded... well, sort of... that I had folded half of the blue fabric.  Then I found another floor to ceiling stack of drawers full of blue.  Sigh.  

        Let me know if you want a box.  I will assort pieces / colors, add ribbons and trims, bits and bobs and surprises.  The cost to you is the shipping.  It's a free gift, given with love by someone who wants to make the studio functional and far less crowded.

Friday, July 10, 2020


       A while back Doll Street had a swap of filling a gallon zip bag with sewing / doll making supplies. Five of us participated, so we each made five bags, getting five in return.  I never got around to sorting the supplies so I could put them away properly. So now is as good a time as any.  This is what my table looks like right now.
      There was some mix up when switching bags around and I only got bags from three people, two of which included two bags from the same participant so I didn't get as much variety but I got more of the same fabric and trim which could prove helpful on a larger doll.   The fabrics vary from earthy batiks to delightful designs that include metallic gold.  I love fabrics with gold so hope I find a project for them soon.  Fabrics with metallic designs seem to have more class than plain fabrics, at least to me.  
       Also on the table are two thick fabric based feathers with embossed leaf details and with color splashes and glitter all in blues and purples.  I have no idea what I will use them for since they are about seven inches long, but I'll know when the right project comes along.  There is a lot of flat lace, mostly about one and a half to two inches wide and I can see those getting used in the fabric book I started a while back.  I put all the existing pages and supplies in a canvas bag and it's around here somewhere, probably on the wall of UFO's.  Fortunately it's not a big wall.  

       There was a two inch tomato pincushion, and I believe that you can't have too many of them.  Pin cushions can be at the work table to insert into a doll pattern, beside the iron to remove the pins with plastic heads so they don't melt while pressing a hot iron over them, beside the sewing machine so I can remove pins one by one as I sew so that I don't break a needle, and with projects that get carried to the family room so I can work on projects and watch Netflix with the family. There's also a need for a pin cushion that may travel to a friends house or a meeting where I can sit and create and still be involved in whatever conversation may be going on. 

Patti Culea's Fabric Book

       I found little bits and bobs like beads, sequins and tiny plastic stars that can be glued on a project which would also be good for my fabric book.  The book started out as Patti Culea's fabric book design and I completed several of her page designs from her patterns while sitting with my friend Jody Miller, who was working on the same pages with me.  As is Jody's style, she worked on more pages at home and completed her Culea Fabric book in no time flat with her personal taste in fabrics and faces and finished her a book that totally reflected her style.  As is my style, I dove right in and accidently did a page upside down.  I worked so hard on beading it that I've decided to include it anyway and to start reshaping more pages so I can have an assortment of shaped pages throughout the book.  I may even design a new cover that would be a little bit larger to cover the assorted shapes.
       So, with all these wonderful goodies I have several projects in mind and would love to dive into them immediately BUT I have a project that I promised months ago that comes first.  As soon as I can clear off my work table I can get back to it.  

Friday, June 19, 2020



       "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

       Revelation 21:4 NIV

      This morning while reading my email this was my daily verse sent by ""  I don't often post about my beliefs but this is of complete hope and faith.  I enjoy reading the daily verse and this one hit home.  May it bless your day as well!

Thursday, June 18, 2020


        I finally sat down and created something and she is SO cute!  Meet Kittie, a pin cushion for a swap with my on line doll club Doll Street.  
       I knew I'd be stuck sitting down for at least a day and a half because I was going to get another steroid injection in my back, so I gathered what I needed and set it all beside my chair the night before my procedure.  I figured machine sewing felt would make turning things right side out a challenge, especially the tail and the tiny pointed ears so using tiny stitches I hand sewed the felt kittie. I'm happy that the stitches are so small you have to look for them.  I used the blanket stitch to border the cushion with the same pink Pearle Cotton that I used for stitching her facial features and then I made the tassels out of the Pearle Cotton and sewed them on.  I also added a little stacked beadwork at the base of the blanket stitches.
       I'm feeling much better now that the steroids have kicked in.  I'm off to the post office to mail this package off for the swap and looking forward to seeing photos of all the pin cushions as well as receiving one for me.  
       It's been a while since I had a hand sewing project and I guess I had forgotten how much I enjoy hand sewing. I love this adorable little Kittie so much I just might make another one for myself!  

Tuesday, May 19, 2020



         I've been sitting in a chair a lot as if there is nothing else to do.  It's not warm enough outside for me to garden and I've been having enough back and sciatica pain that I've resorted to using a walker almost all the time for the last week. Well, sometimes I can step away from it in the kitchen. Anywhoo, I've looked for easy things to do.  My last two posts showed that I've been drawing faces.  I thought they looked pretty good at the time but now I'm seeing lots of areas to improve on.  That sort of turned me off for drawing faces right now.  I seem to toss my hands up pretty easily these days. Then a few days ago I got out my Zentangle supplies.

       A purist Zentangle creator will insist all you need is a small permanent black pen and a 3 by 3 card. I'm not a purist. I have a small canvas bag full of Zentangle supplies. It includes Micron pens in assorted sizes, a couple pencils including a .5 mechanical pencil which has a small eraser, an extra soft eraser, and a tortillon which is French for "a rolled up piece of paper" and we typically call it a stump blender. A bunch of Zentangle books teaching how to create a variety of designs of course make it a heavy bag. Oh, and don't forget paper. I have a sketch book, and a "Bristol Smooth" notebook, but I prefer "Artist Tiles." The tiles are stiff and come in squares of 3 and 6 inches and I used the 6 inch squares clipped to a small clipboard for the ones I'm showing here.
       If you don't recognize the term "Zentangle" I will explain. It is simply glorified doodling. I remember doodling in high school waiting for other kids to finish their tests. But Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas decided that putting multiple doodling designs together was very relaxing and that's where the Zen comes in. The "Tangles" are the doodles themselves. So she labeled them "Zentangles" and has made a fortune writing books teaching technics and teaching classes where she certified other people to teach the "glorified doodles." I must say my hat is off to them. They came up with a brilliant product and reminder that we should all find time to relax and sit and doodle now and then. 15 minutes doing Zentangles will no doubt reduce your stress and maybe even lower your blood pressure a bit.

       So, now that you know what this is all about I will tell you that 15 minutes is not enough for me.  I spent hours and hours drawing the tiny designs in pencil then again in ink and then I erased the pencil marks. Then I took a 2B pencil and added shading. I had to wash the graphite off the part of my hand that slides over the page a few times as I worked.  I used my extra soft eraser to clean up messy and graphite smeared edges of the tile and then I used my mechanical pencil eraser to clean up small areas and called the piece done.  It's usually not really done because I typically think of another tiny detail to add a couple more times. So, I hope you like my Zentangles. 
       Oh, and a final thought: should wish to join the world of us who tangle all you need is a permanent pen and a piece of paper. You can find everything you need for free on line, but the books on Amazon are great, too. Watch out.  It's addicting!

Monday, May 4, 2020

Face Markers

       I buy these really cool pen/ pencil binders from Dick Blick called "Global Classic Leather Pencil Case."  I prefer the smooth black that holds 120 Pencils.  They retail at $34.14. I try to only buy them when there is a really big deal or coupon. When I started buying them they were $25.  That was probably 20 years ago. The binders were especially great when I was traveling and teaching. The core of a pencil is a bit delicate and if the pencil is dropped on a hard surface, like the floor, the inside may break which makes the lead fall out, especially while sharpening.  So I got all my supplies in one binder to create doll faces and as obessive/ compulsive as I am the colors are in Roy G. Biv color order.  For the non artist friends, that means Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. Like a rainbow. You can see the elastic strip with little divided spaces that can hold 3 pencils or typically 2 pens in the pic above. So while teaching I could always find the specific pen/ pencil I needed right away. I have quite a few pencil binders. I seem to have an obsession with buying pens and pencils and putting them in order. A BIG obsession.  And I always buy the 120 pencil size because sooner or later I always fill them.
       The binders are great for holding just what you need. I already have several for Prismacolor Pencils (2), Watercolor Pencils, Inktense Pencils, Pastel Pencils, Gel Pens, Micron pens (not just color variations but sizes as well), Pitt Pens also including various sizes and colors, Calligraphy Pens, Tom Bow Brush Tip Pens, other brush tip Pens, Zig and Paint Pens and there is one off the shelf and I can't remember what it is. Like I said, a BIG obsession. Oh, and I have a display stand for my Sharpies (I think I have 72).  

       So I recently added Arteza skin tone markers to my collection of markers.  I bought a set of 24 Arteza markers and had a few Copic markers in flesh tones so I decided to put them together in my Copic marker binder since I didn't want to fork out $35 just at the moment. The pens are all squarish so they fit there nicely. I initially thought I would buy more Copic pens that I have so far but they are expensive compared to my other writing instruments and since the Arteza pens are similar in shape I rearranged a few pens and now have a section for just flesh tone pens.

        Of course, the pens needed to be in color order. Organizing flesh colors is not as easy as Roy G. Biv. I cut little pieces of paper from a sketch pad and on each one made a color swatch, listed if it was Arteza or Copic, added the coded number and then the name the company issued that specific color.  I then shuffled the little cards around until I felt the color order was from light to dark and listed the info on a piece of paper.  Of course, there were 2 more pens than there were lines on the paper so it's not "perfect."  If the OCD gets to me I will redo the list to fix that.  Fortunately that doesn't bother me enough to keep me from making a blog post or fixing dinner since my 32 year old son is looking at me with hungry eyes.  Not the love song Hungry Eyes but the "I worked hard all day and now I'll just disintegrate and die if there isn't food coming soon" eyes.  Actually, he doesn't pester me for food, but he is really good with his expressions so it's all in good fun.
       So. Now that the pens are all in order, I wonder if I'll get busy on drawing and coloring faces on watercolor paper tomorrow. I've been watching some Karen Campbell videos lately and that's why I wanted the alcohol inks.  Copic and Arteza are both alcohol inks and they have an alcohol blending pen. I bought some other brand of pens and they blend with water but the variety of colors isn't very good.  I never found a pale enough color to satisfy me as a base skin tone.  I like pale since that's basically me, since I avoid the sun like the plague.
       So, will I get busy and see the difference between markers or finish that project I promised for Christmas?  Time will tell.  Meanwhile, I'll most likely be playing Candy Crush.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Looking for Vendors!

        The Craft Show at Skeelhaven is a unique shopping event.  Crafts are accepted 1 week prior to the show then creations are displayed in the style of a gift shop with areas such as the garden area with bird houses, yard signs and dried floral wreaths. The kitchen area will display quilted table runners and original kitchen/ dining room decorations as well as home baked/ canned goods.  Multiple Christmas trees will display ornaments with a theme, such as Victorian and Whimsical.  We are also looking for fall and Christmas creations with a preference given to original handmade arts and crafts.  Our goal is to not duplicate types of crafts by multiple vendors.

Heliotrope by Judy Skeel

        Please contact me privately with “Craft Show” in the subject line and include photos of your work. Show dates include Friday thru Sunday, November 5- 8, 2020 in the Westerville, OH area. Contact me Judy Skeel: