Soft in the Head

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"TraVeL ThRouGh ThE LaNd Of “Soft in the Head”
...the home of “Singing and Dancing Mice & Humorous Frogs!”.

Where “Original Designs” of patterns and soft sculpture characters come to life..…

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For Patterns check out the...."Soft in the Head" site
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Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before "breakfast". Lewis Carroll
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For Finished Characters: Click Here

Monday, July 28, 2014

New Idea's and Adventures!

"Getting Ready for Ghoultide Gathering"
Have you ever had something in your life that you constantly questioned whether you're talented enough to even be a part of...well that's me in a nutshell when it comes to "Ghoultide Gathering".  This is the time of year that I begin to stress and pinch myself into reality....YES I'm a vendor at one of the "coolest" shows in the United States, "Ghoultide Gathering"!  This will be my 5th year being a part of this incredible group of artists and each year I feel the pressure to be better than the past years and that means new ideas and characters.  
 

Many of the pieces that I create for this show are never even seen on the internet and most of my followers don't even know that "Soft in the Head" does this level of work.  This is "my time" to get my creative mojo cranking and let my "freaky flag fly".  I LOVE IT!!!!

I will always have a certain style and stay within that realm cause it's just who I am but I love pushing it further and further each time.  My first love has been and always will be working with fabric and all the textures it offers, wool being my favorite....hence the name of my business "Soft in the Head".  Even when clay is used my character will have a soft head.  

Halloween, being my all time favorite theme to work with,  constantly opens doors to expanding my imagination and giving me the ability to try and discover new techniques and looks for my characters.  This year my round-headed "skellies" and "pumpkin
people" will be the new addition to my inventory at Ghoultide along with a new witch and some old time cats.  Each year I surprise my followers with a new design that they just didn't see coming and this year will be the same.....I'm so excited by some of the odd pieces I have to work with that I can't wait to get started.   I truly hope that many of you can make the trip to this amazing event.  If Halloween is something you love and collect then "Ghoultide Gathering" is the place for you....I know I always go home with a new treasure to add to my collection....
For "Ghoultide" information click here:  "Ghoultide Gathering"

Sunday, July 20, 2014

"Changes"......

"Things Change and We Adapt"
When we're young we can't wait to be old....Once "old" becomes a reality then we start to wonder about regret.  I think my only regrets in my life, so far, is that I didn't grasp my creative side sooner and I'd learned to enjoy cooking!  Cooking is not one of my favorite things!

As I look back on my colorful history one of the things I never imagined is that I would be in a situation like I am now...not being able to stand and walk.  I was always an active and competitive person, eager to try new things and take chances....now I spend my days struggling to get across my diningroom or standing long enough to do the dishes.  Going a day without the use of a cane is a time to celebrate, LOL!  Life takes some funny and not so funny turns and the unexpected lies in wait around each one.  This was definitely not expected but one adapts and turns those lemons into lemonade.  I get to spend more time daydreaming which often leads to a new character.  This is my calling and I often remind myself  "better late than never"!  

I do miss having a beautiful garden and being able to plant and cultivate one but I do live in some amazing mountains where nature is bursting out all over.  So no matter how bad my attempts at gardening are now nature makes up for it! 

Though... there are times nature gets a wee bit to aggressive and decides that living in my house with me is preferable to living with there own kind.... then the battle begins with me often waving the white flag for a compromise!  Nature has me pegged, I am their champion....a liberal sap and tree hugger!

Even with my current challenges in front of me, and I'm sure there are more to come, the "powers that be" have been more than generous to me.  They've given me a rich and exciting life.  

Many lessons have been learned and passed on as lessons should be.  People still baffle me a bit but I'm learning....probably the toughest lessons come from people.  I know that I love more than I receive and with that comes difficult times.  We all like to think that we are as important to others as they are to us but this is not often the case.  Learn and accept then move on....it works!  Finding my "Bliss" has helped to keep me grounded...now,  if I could just find a way of keeping my mouth shut life would be "GRAND"!    

Thursday, July 10, 2014

It's Tume for PFATT

PFATT Marketplace for July
 
Getting into my Halloween groove now so it seems everything that is springing from the ol' workroom has a Halloween flavor! Owls are my new addiction this year and have quite a few in the works.
Grab your beverage of choice, get comfortable and take a few minutes to enjoy some amazing art at the Marketplace.....maybe even adopt a character or two!
click here:  PFATT MARKETPLACE

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Drum Roll Please.....

And the Winner Is......
Thank you everyone for celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Soft in the Head"....Without all of you there never would have been the creativity, imagination or magic...Thank You!

Monday, June 30, 2014

"Another Remarkable Day in MY Neighborhood"
EHAG Emporium
Summer is upon us and what this means to me is it is time to kick it into high gear for "Ghoultide Gathering" Oct 4th... My workroom is starting to have that look of the "day after a frat party" chaos!  Stuff is thrown everywhere and even the ceiling isn't safe for the need to find places to hang body parts and other odds and ends needed in my creative process....I bet if I had an open house to peer into my workroom I might even be able to charge admission, it is literally that crazy in here!  In the midst of it all I still need to keep active in my "Marketplaces", finish magazine deadlines and keep up with my much "over-due" orders. 

Tonight the Ehag Emporium opens its doors to some new and creative Halloween Art.  This is quite an inspiring group of artists and anyone who loves Halloween, like I do, shouldn't miss a visit to this site....Tonight I will be introducing my first "pumpkinhead" of the season "Miss Peek-A-Boo".  


Pumpkinheads in all various sizes
and shapes are one of my first loves of Halloween art and I have quite a collection.  They are also one of my favorite characters to create!  Maybe it comes from that obsession I had as a kid for the "Tales of Sleepy Hollow"...  This year I am trying out a whole new look with my wool pumpkin characters and I'm just loving the look that is evolving. 
 

I also want to remind everyone of my new "Giveaway" that I have going on to celebrate 20 years of "Soft in the Head"....Hard to believe it has been that long.  This Ol' girl has traveled down some pretty bumpy roads to get here.... some with amazing results and some with heartache but all in all lessons were learned and I
emerged a much wiser and happier person/artist from it all.  A HUGE thank you to all of you that have made my trip down this path such an incredible journey!  Don't forget to enter my giveaway either here or on Facebook.....(scroll  down for post on Giveaway)....

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"New Character For Sale"
"Agnes....on the GO!" is available in "Softee's Shoppe" right now.  check her out... www.softeesselingshop.blogspot.com

Monday, June 23, 2014

                 Mice Galore In The Softee's Shoppe
My "selling shoppe" is over-run with mice to purchase.  If you're a mouse lover and especially "mohair" mice then you should make a trip over to:  "Softee's Selling Shoppe"

I have so much fun creating these whimsical little characters especially with mohair, thank you Connie for introducing me to this wonderful textile.  The mohair mice are very popular with collectors because of their particular themes.  The "Shoppe" is equipped to take paypal so you can pay for your purchase right there.....Hope you will pop over for a peek! 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

PFATT Marketplace in June....

        "What's New This Month on PFATT"

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This month on the "Marketplace" is quite a variety in color and personalities.  Looks like Halloween is starting to make an appearance as we begin our road to "Ghoultide Gathering" in Oct.  I must admit I do love Halloween and any excuse I can find to work on it is fine with me.  I'm beginning to try out all kinds of new ideas for some old standard characters that have been in the "Soft in the Head" family for many years, it's fun to change them up a bit...I have a whole new look for a "PODD Frog" and my ever popular wool pumpkinhead doll.   I also brought back a favorite from last years "Ghoultide Gathering" Miss Agadora Snout....a seasoned witch with a gift for smells and colorful potions!   
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Not to leave out
4th of July I've added a very hip chick named "Clement"....he looks very dapper in his red, white and blue!

Hope you will take some time to visit and enjoy all the amazing talent found at the "Marketplace" and maybe even give one of my humble little characters a home.... PFATT Marketplace

Monday, June 2, 2014

Loving What You Do......

Many who are self employed probably feel the same way that I do....I love my job!  There are parts that can be a struggle but over-all it's truly a gift!  One of the main reasons I'm able to do what I love is because of the incredible man that I'm married too. He truly believes in me and helps to support this artistic adventure I find myself on.  Believing in yourself isn't the only obstacle one has to deal with but finding that others do as well can be difficult but it seems that I am very lucky re: this.....I have an entire family that supports and rallies behind my whimsical endeavors....they even oooo and ahhhh on command and without payment LOL!  I'm truly a blessed and fortunate soul!

This last month I had one of my many wishes granted, our son Chip
came home.  It has been a long eight years since my arms were around my son.....now my arms don't feel as empty and my heart is full.  This is the price Dan and I pay for raising three secure and adventurous souls and I wouldn't have it any other way.  I may not like it but my time to feel like a "mother hen' and hover is over now it's their turn to venture out and pave their own path and lives....and they have!  Being self employed made it possible for me to enjoy every moment with him without guilt or stress....sure I may be a bit behind with orders and deadlines but I know they'll get finished... now I have great memories to carry me through those work days!

Now that I'm getting back on track I will have a new pattern coming out in few days.  It's a cat called "Sasslefrass".  She was a huge hit as a finished character and I hope she receives the same kind of welcome as a pattern.  It's been a wee bit strange getting back into designing patterns, still harbor some deep seeded dread about putting my work out there in this medium but I have so many honest and caring followers that love collecting and using my patterns that it makes this leap worthwhile on many levels.  
It truly is a great feeling to be self employed and to work in a room that over-looks a field brimming with wildlife to enjoy, birds singing and a never ending supply of tea!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Not Always A Pattern

"There Will Not Always Be a Pattern"

 The questions that I get asked most often are: "Will this be a pattern" or "why don't you make all your characters into patterns so everyone can enjoy them"?  

The world here at "Soft in the Head" is constantly spinning and I never know when I'm going to be leaping off.  There are days I get inspired to create something so unusual that it actually will take me days to figure it out while staying within my "primitive" realm... so designing a pattern for it would be incredibly difficult to explain, in detail, to someone else on how to do it.  Not only that, sharing everything I do just wouldn't be good for business....secrets within ones craft is what keeps it desirable and selling.  Also  considering the
dishonesty that runs rampant out there in the cyber world sharing is not always smart.  If all my designs were available to the masses "Soft in the Head" would no longer be unique just accessible.  

I'm very protective of some of my techniques and feel that they are what make many of my characters unique and special and not real sure I want to share everything, that took me so long to develop,  in a $10 pattern.  The pattern industry has been a cruel mistress and it has taken me 3 years to become brave enough to, once again, start designing
patterns.  

Three years ago I found out that a person, who I admired and thought a friend, was taking designers patterns and converting them to PDF's without our knowledge and sharing (yep sharing) them with anyone and everyone!  Needless to say this made a HUGE impact on the income of many pattern designers, me included....one does not forget these type of indiscretions easily.  This is when I began designing "One of a Kind" pieces and became very guarded and protective of my work and I quit designing patterns except for magazines.  It is unfortunate that the actions of a few make it difficult for the many! 

I'm trying to get back into the pattern world but any pattern I design will be different from anything that I do for shows or for my collectors.
When a collector, which I have many, purchase a piece from an artist they want to be reassured that the piece is special and limited to just them....not a pattern that is accessible to everyone....though I do get many requests to make something from one of my patterns.  Some collectors might love the design of one of my patterns and want an original piece and I will do this for them.  In all honesty I wish I could just make everyone who follows, collects or just plain likes "Soft in the Head" happy and I'm working on doing just that!   

        New Pattern Coming Out June 1st....

Saturday, May 10, 2014

"PFATT Marketplace for May"....
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This month on the Marketplace "Soft in the Head" is enjoying a little bit of  fantasy, Americana and English High Tea.... Never a dull moment in this  workroom as ideas flow like a creek after a good rain fall.  Now if I could just get the ol' imagination to take a break at night so I can sleep!   The fantasy part was especially fun since I have always enjoyed Gnomes and PODDS.  Meet Fudwick and
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Gert two very busy Gnomes who are plotting and planning their garden for this year...

Next... I changed gears and went Americana....Now I haven't really made a round headed people doll in a very long time so "Glorie" is kinda special to me.  She's a shelf sitter with a very long dress and American flag apron.  I love how she turned out and especially her demure little smile!  She has loving hugs for her little "peace" bear too!
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Americana wouldn't be Americana without Uncle Sam.  Here is my newest take on Uncle Sam....meet Samuel.  I tried some new things with this guy, first I made him black and love it!  The picture doesn't show the different shades and patina that just make this guy so special (to me anyway).  I did something entirely different for his beard as well....it's sheep wool but I needle felted it to wool, it looks GREAT!  He is quite primitive and tall....His coat is the softest gray flannel and his arms are pos-able.  Just love my Samuel!
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A couple of weeks ago I had shipped an order to England.  A member of the royal family (distant relative) ordered 16 little mohair mice dressed like the help from "Downton Abbey"....well they only needed 15 after it was all said and done so I have one for the Marketplace.  This little mouse had 15 of her cousins go to England to be gifts for a "High Tea"...what an honor that was for all.  

I hope everyone will come over and check out the "Marketplace" and see all the amazing talent and incredible art there is available....

Saturday, April 26, 2014

PFATT Article in "Prims"

Something a Bit Different for Me......
Change can either be a friend or a foe....not all of us like it.  I,  for one,  enjoy it.  I get that same surge of  excitement when I change up an old recipe and the recipe works!  Change has been a constant companion in my life and I've either had to embrace it or find a new life....  This is why I wanted to try my hand at writing for "Prims" instead of designing.  I couldn't have found a better topic than my PFATT sisters!

Not many online groups weather the difference in personalities and the vast exchange of ideas but PFATT seem to have the right ingredients to make it work since it has been around for 12 years with many of same members that had joined back then.  It had originally been set up as an EBAY group but now you can find us on Facebook.

This was an easy topic to write about....but alas like all articles mine was edited down to fit the space and much of the humor and unique kinship was whittled down.  Still,  the article is a good read and a look inside of this amazing group of women who have endured and excelled beyond their expectations in business, art and friendship.

I, for one, am a better person for knowing them and count them as some of the best people I know. 
We have all watched each one of us grow in our art and business.  Many of the women are licensed with reputable companies and our art can actually support some of us which is no easy feat!  The name "PFATT" has become a well known acronym that insures a collector of "Folk Art" a certain quality.  Yes... we have high standards but it's those standards that keeps PFATT so reputable and sought after!  It definitely makes me work harder on my craft....
This group has seen many happy and fun filled days especially at our annual "PFATT-Fests" but with the good comes a huge helping
of bad and this is when strength in numbers is at its best.  We have lost fellow PFATT Sisters to death and seen tragedy raise its ugly head and almost devour a sister!  Without question we have risen to the situation and been there offering love, compassion and strength.  This is an amazing group of diverse and energetic women who I am so proud to be associated with.  Read more about them in the newest issue of "Prims" magazine........

Monday, April 21, 2014

England Bound.....

 My Little English Mouse......
England Bound......
Last month I received a rather thrilling email from a member of the English Royal family.  Of course this is a distant relative but still part of the Royal family.  She had been following me for quite a few years and just loved my mice.    The first one she fell in love with was my Mrs. Potts....a rather round little lady with a love for tea.  Mrs. Potts was from my extreme (well for me extreme) primitive years where safety pins made great arms and french knots made sweet eyes!  Boy... have times changed!  

Through the years I have tried everything and gone into every imaginable direction trying to create a new and different mouse....I mean, after all, a mouse is a mouse!  I think my favorite
Mrs. Potts
direction has always been to humanize my mice, putting them in a real life scenario like loving tea without loosing the whimsy cause we know "Soft in the Head" is all about the whimsy!  This is what my new collector fancied about my humble little folk, their whimsical human side.  From the first time she saw Mrs. Potts till now it was always that quality that made her keep coming back....and boy am I happy she did!  She loves these little characters so much that she is planning a special event, a tea, where they will be the focus...no pressure...EEEEEEK!


When I received the order for the mice there was  a list of criteria I had to follow....I was so surprised that the woman was adamant about me NOT using certain fibers or botanicals like moss or flax (I use flax all the time). She said that the moss and flax can carry certain pests and allergens and they were not comfortable having them transported across the pond....wow who would have

thunk????? Guess I'm going to re-think the whole moss, flax and fiber thing.  She also wanted them made from mohair, holding teacups and dressed in black and white with a "Downton Abbey" theme.....since I'm not a HUGE  follower of "Downton Abbey" I found myself checking out the DVD's...still not a fan but got a grasp of what she wanted.  


Fifteen of the little mice left here and are on their way to England.  After a second count she found she didn't need 16 but 15 so I have one extra little "worker" mouse that will be going up on the PFATT Marketplace May 10th.....One just never knows who is following your work.....life is just filled with random surprises!
 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Feeling the Warmth of Spring.....

Green is My Favorite Color......
The one advantage of living where I do is the HUGE corn field right behind me and the constant parade of nature's finest....I have been and always will be a lover of "Nature" and to be able to have it served up daily in all its glory is more than I could've ever hoped for.   The turkeys are one of my favorite performers in nature's theater.  They always get a chuckle from me as I watch them dance, flutter and gobble at one another.  Mating season is here and the Toms are proudly displaying their finery to win over a harem of hens with hopes of a plethora of future off spring!


A few days ago Dan and I welcomed a herd of 27 deer into our backyard as they felt comfortable enough to drink freely from my birdbath and nibble on the beginnings of spring flowers!  Good thing I wasn't to fond of those spring flowers because I think they'll be missing this year.

Since my life has changed so much in the last couple of years and I
no longer leave my house to often,  I find that the entertainment I get from Mother Nature and her flock... inspirational.  In our busy day to day lives many of us forget to stop and look around at the most basic things of life.... 
I'm not making that mistake any longer!  I want to grab a hold with both hands and go for the ride of a lifetime.  It truly is amazing what one can find in their own backyard if they take the time to look!  I guess Dan and I and our two cats aren't the only residents at this old country store here in Virginia after all!
 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

       "Popular Older Patterns Now E-Patterns"

You can find these now in my Etsy shop.......Click here:  Etsy

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

New Pattern and More....

"Getting Back Into the Pattern Game"
Meet the "newest" member of the "Soft in the Head" pattern family.  This little lady was inspired by all the blasted snow we have had this "spring?"  The temperatures have been anything but spring like so I thought a nice bunny with a bright flower would be just what we all need....meet: "Spring Blessings".  She can also be made as a wall hanging and would look great on a door welcoming friends in your house or sitting on a table as a nice springy centerpiece.  She is available in my Etsy shop right now and soon on my website....click here: Etsy Shop

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Looking forward.....

The Road Ahead
There are times a person feels like they just need to plop themselves down and take stock in where their life is headed.  This has been my dilemma as of late.  When someone close to you moves on (dies) it's truly is a wake-up call in so many ways.  I think the biggest question we often ask ourselves is...
"am I happy?"  

 In most ways I think I am....incredibly so!  Fortune has smiled down on me quite a bit over the years....I have an incredible man in my life, 41 years now, three amazing, entertaining and intelligent kids, six of the most adorable and bright grandchildren, plus my art....Oh, and I get to work from home!   

If someone had said to me 10 years ago that I would be creating art instead of crafts I would have laughed out loud....but here I am.  I've been a successful pattern designer, doll maker, Halloween designer and now author (well almost an author) I don't think two articles in magazines warrants a successful author but it's a beginning...and I'm writing a book!  The difficult part will be finding the publisher for said book.  These are things in my life that I never imagined when I was young,  

My life has taken so many twists and turns but I never quit dreaming.  This is such an important part to our existence, dreaming and feeling like anything is possible!  I envy the innocent minds of children as they go through life trying to figure it all out and haven't yet been polluted with the ugliness that seems to be lurking under every rock on our path of life.  Some of my best ideas for my characters come from the minds of children like this one, yes Maddie a pickle PODD sounds like a winner!.....and also from my own  childhood where I saw things much clearer and with an exuberance that often gets lost when we grown up.    

As my life begins down its final road I'm spending more time pondering what it is I want to do and how to go about doing it.  First....all my decisions or plans will always have to have seats for two.  Dan is my co-pilot in all my endeavors and without his seal of approval and laughter to encourage me the road will have less meaning and absolutely no excitement for me.   He is, without a doubt, the best part of who I am and it just makes me smile! 

I do know that I want to keep creating and my PODD line has grown so much and become more popular than I could have ever hoped for.... so I would like to expand on that.  The mice are near and dear to me and also to many others.  Many of you have contacted me expressing your love for a book involving these whimsical little characters especially after reading my brief story about my Christmas Mice in "Prims" magazine.  To all of you... it is in the works!   

Where ever Me and the Mister end up I know it will be an adventure and full of magic and all kinds of weirdness!  It's just who we are and we're to bloody old now to change...


Saturday, March 15, 2014

What's New on Simply Primitives

 "Simply Primitives for March"

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This was a fun month for designing characters.  This month on "Simply Primitives" we have a Spring sweetness and some Halloween.  
"Sweet Pea" is a little mouse who love sugar and is often found perched ontop of a vintage silver-plated sugar bowl.  I love making pin keeps and this one is one of my favorites!
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Next is a sweet little mohair mouse who enjoys collecting buttons and has found her perfect hiding place inside an "egg shell".  Meet Ellie and her button box!
Easter is rapidly approaching and my love for bunnies is in high gear.  This newest bunny will also become my first pattern that I have designed in four
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years.  "Spring Blessings" has turned out to be a favorite of mine.  She is simple, yet charming.  The pattern will be available soon but for right now this little lady is looking for a forever home!

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Even though spring is here I'm still scratching that Halloween itch so of course I had to make a Halloween character....meet Em and her box of sweets!   Her favorite snack is candy corn and she is always seen with her own supply!

Pop over and visit my new characters this month on "Simply Primitives".

Monday, March 10, 2014

PFATT for March....

 This Month on PFATT Marketplace......

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It's that time of the month again, PFATT Marketplace.  This month I decided to go with an Easter theme and of course a wee bit of the blarney with a leprechaun PODD.  I do love making rabbits and this little lady is so sweet.  Meet "Philomena Tuft".  She is so elegant dressed in her black "civil war" print and black shawl.  Her character is in her fuzzy little face with those buck teeth!   !

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There will also be a busy little chick PODD named "Clara" who is into painting Easter eggs for the Easter bunny.  Clara does fancy herself to be quite the artist.  Chicken PODDs are a the cutest and so much fun to create.  Chickens have a never ending supply of character to work with.
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PFATT wouldn't be  
the same without a mouse.  This month I tried something a wee bit different and made a small mouse using clay and cloth.  Mrs. O'Malley" just stole my heart.  I love how she turned out in her colonial green print dress and holding that egg.  She is just so precious!


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To give ST. Patricks Day equal time "Shaun the Leprechaun" is making his debut.  My leprechaun PODDS have quite a following and always seem to make everyone smile.  This guy is ready for a night out on the town as he is equipped with his favorite "shalaylee" to help detour him from any Irish rough housing!  One swift "ker-thunk" and all is right in the world for Shaun!  

Hope you will all stop over and check out the amazing talent at the "Marketplace" this month!