"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..…

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

Monday, February 20, 2017

Choosing a Job You Love

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!

Through the years "Soft in the Head" has been included in some
rather amazing events from being on the cover of major magazines, participating in highly juried shows to teaching classes for  respected and well known organizations.  With every new adventure there has come new friends and new ideas....it keeps an old soul like me happy and re-charged. 
As I continue to push ahead I have found I'm getting a tad slower and my humble little characters are taking me longer to create but they still  come made with oodles of love and the attention to detail that I love so much.

This year "Soft in the Head" has cut back on shows and commissions because to be honest I
have personal big plans in the making and I think it is time for me to get out there and live a little. Our trip to Australia is at the top of our list, I get goosebumps just thinking about it.  I'm still teaching for "Artful Gathering" but this year I will be teaching 2-3 classes and to top it off I will be doing a brand new
Halloween show that will also include some of my old Ghoultide Gathering buddies....I can't wait.  If any of you are down in the Pleasanton, California neighborhood September 22-23rd come over and have a "spooky" good time with some incredible and
magical artists.  Pleasanton is a quaint and special town on its own but then you throw in this event and it is a recipe for some pretty amazing "Trick or Treating"..... www.abewitchingfete.com    

Right now I'm busy in my "room of chaos" also known as the workroom creating for "Spring".  Whether it is a
bunny or a sleeping mouse spring seems to be in the air.   Mice have always been one of my all time favorite characters with bunnies running a close second so you might just hear some humming or even out of tune singing happening while the creating is going on.  I have found a new passion in the world of soft sculpture and that is the "pin keep or pin cushion".  Creating one has become an
adventure for me since I get to add my other passion of "old junk" into the mix LOL.  One of the things that makes "Soft in the Head" so special is how I re-purpose pieces of time into my characters, like the old vintage wine goblet for the "sleeping mouse", or
how an old tarnish sugar bowl can turn into a keepsake pin cushion or an antique silver compote dish can become an adventure for two whimsical mice.  I truly love my job.....but the best part are all those smiles I have created over the years....thank you one and all for making "Soft in the Head" a part of your lives.

Confucius said: Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life!

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Confucius
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/confucius134717.html

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Learning Something NEW and Liking It!

Teaching This Old Dog......
No matter how long we do something it seems we can always learn to do it better.  My problem is sometimes I'm just to bloody stubborn to admit I need to change and learn.

I love creating small little characters and in the past I have always prided myself that I made their hands and feet using an old floral trick (florist here 35 years) of bending and wrapping wire.  This technique has seriously taken over with many others doing it now, and I use to think I was original...oh piffle!  I love the look it gives my primitive characters and lets be honest it just fits with cloth where clay is a whole different medium that belongs in a club all of its own.

Being "Soft in the Head"  means just that, soft, which clay isn't!  Now, over the years I have learned to combine the two but still staying true to myself.  Lately (the last couple of years) my hands have started to show the wear that arthritis creates and wrapping wire has become increasingly more difficult so I decided a few months back to take a class about making polymer clay hands and feet for my characters.  I had already been making shoes, noses, teeth and Lord knows what else using clay so why not hands and feet.  I enjoyed the class and it opened my eyes to all kinds of possibilities..... but no one need worry I will still be making cloth characters, especially the mice!  

I tried out my new technique on a custom piece last week and the collector "LOVED IT".   This "Old Dog" really does hate new tricks but I have to be honest....IT WAS SO MUCH EASIER!  I'll still do my "old school" way on some of my characters, cause personally, I just think it adds to their look.... but this new way of doing it was just so much FUN!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

My Weight Loss Journey

"My Weight Loss Journey and Other Changes"
Weight loss at any age is difficult but at sixty-six it's almost impossible!  Four years ago I started gaining weight at an incredible rate.  This was mostly due to all the new meds I was taking for my breathing, arthritis and other severe health issues.  As time marched on my marching almost came to a complete and total halt.  Due to some rather unfortunate obstacles in both Dan's and my life we re-located to Washington state from Virginia....BEST MOVE EVER!  This is where I found an incredible group of doctors that saw me as a woman in trouble not just an over weight woman with health problems.  With the help of my dearest friend Rennie I found an amazing chiropractor and through his clinic I was introduced to "West Coast Weight Loss".  Being leery of all the fad diets out there like South Beach, Atkins and the quick loss weight groups like Nutri-systems, LA weight loss and Jenny Craig I needed a lot of convincing to try this.  My doctor wanted me to do gastric by-pass surgery but because I almost didn't survive my last time under the knife I chose to not go that route.  Dan was very
supportive and is paying for me to use West Coast....it isn't inexpensive but it WORKS!  
I started my new life style back in July 2016 and since that time I have lost 115 pounds.  I still have a very long road ahead of me considering I started out at 397...I still have another 100 pounds to go but something tells me that I can do this.  The greatest part about this diet, besides the weight loss, is now I eat to live not live to eat.  
My whole idea about food has changed. I cook everything, no conveniences for this girl.  What I can eat is limited because everything has to work with everything else to keep my metabolism going and working in my favor.  I eat no dairy, no gluten, no sugars, limited carbs, and limited proteins.  Wasn't much of a meat eater before the diet but that has really changed now, give me a steak any day LOL.  This diet has changed my life.
Last year I was in a wheelchair with very limited mobility now I can go shopping and walk the entire time.  I haven't used a walker,
cane or wheelchair in 6 months and I refuse to again!  
Dan and I are also traveling...whether they're small road trips or the planning of our trip to Australia, I'm traveling, I even applied for my passport....a year ago I never thought any of this would happen but it is.  I'm not ready for a marathon but I'm not counting it out either.
December was a tough month for me as far as sticking to my diet, I love cookies and Christmas baking.  I never over indulged but I did slip and slip often...I NEVER gained an ounce, not one.  I didn't loose but most importantly I didn't gain!
I'm enjoying my new life with such positiveness and excitement.   Where my art use to be the most important part of me it has taken a back seat, I still love it and pursue it but I am not driven by it and often chuckle at that person I use to be.  I'm enjoying everyday with a new outlook, new friends, new challenges and new adventures!
One of my greatest accomplishments is being a teacher....yep me!  I have always loved to teach and now I'm doing it again.  Whether it is just a few days a week or a couple times a year teaching is part of my soul and gives me much joy.  
I will be teaching at least two and possibly three classes for "Artful Gathering" this next year.  Registration for 2017 will be open soon.  My class last year was a huge success and so much fun!  The new friends that I made from that class are truly a gift and we talk often.  Many incredible possibilities lie ahead for me and "Soft in the Head".   I use to think that my success and happiness was based on the company I kept but with confidence and a whole new outlook I realize my happiness comes entirely from within me and the choices that I make.  Some of my choices, though difficult at the time, have been some of the best ones I have ever made, right up there with marrying Dan LOL.  
Another surprise and exciting event I will be involved with is this amazing new Halloween show, "A Bewitching Fete".  I was blown away to be included in this show.  It has a ridiculously talented line-up of artists from all over the U.S. and even some of my ol' Ghoultide buddies.  This show will be reminiscent of  how Halloween was when I was kid....embracing the magic and spirit of our inner child!  To find out more visit their website: http://www.abewitchingfete.com 
There are, yet, many more doors for me to open in my journey to self discovery and the new me.  Not everything is easy to attain in our lives but you'll find the most important pieces to your life will be worth the extra work,  the tears and the love.  Never give up on anything and especially don't let someone bully you to ever doubting your self worth....bullies are often the result of a very unhappy person.  Happiness is the key to all those doors you have yet to open....and my key ring is filled with keys that are ready to be used! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Our First Year with the PFATT Marketplace

"Enjoying Pin-Keeps and Celebrating"!
I've always loved pin-cushion/pin-keeps.  For many years I have made little mice in all kinds of shapes and sizes doing all kinds of funny little antics but my all time favorite pin-keep was one I created a few years ago of a sleeping little mouse who was dreaming about cheese.  This month on the PFATT Marketplace I
thought I would re-capture that little mouse but this time use a vintage silver plated wine goblet, hence the name "Merlot".   I may not be as gifted as some pin-keep artists but it doesn't stop me from trying and loving these wonderful creations.  I have my own collection of pin cushions that I started from the time I was a young girl wishing I could learn how to sew to now I'm a grown-up who still wishes they could learn to sew LOL

Dan and I are celebrating a year as the new owners of the PFATT Marketplace, thank you Sandy Wood for believing in us to take over your hard work of 14 years.  It was a tough struggle at the beginning to give the Marketplace a new

face lift and still keep it true to itself and Sandy's hard work but we wanted to make it a bit more customer friendly (easier to shop) and we've done it with the help of  Sandy, some pretty amazing Folk Artists and our wonderful "Guest Artists" who have come to give us some love and help.   I would also like to mention one person who is no longer with us that was a HUGE driving force in keeping the Marketplace going strong, she's even the reason for the new meaning of the initials PFATT....that is Tammy Strum.  Tammy left us quite suddenly a year ago Feb. 1st and left
a HUGE whole in the Art community as well as my heart.  She was my dearest friend.  I often look upward and with a smile yell "WE DID IT TAMMY"!   She always believed there was a place for all "Folk Artists", everyone deserved to have an opportunity to get their love of art out into the world and make a name for themselves.  It shouldn't just be a place that only supports "certain" artists but ALL artists and a place where artists can find that much needed support.  She was one of the greatest talents I have ever met and the most humble!   I miss her more than words can describe... Bless you Tammy Strum for being you!

I hope everyone will take a minute and visit the PFATT Marketplace this month.  There is some pretty amazing folk art available and you would be supporting people who love doing what they do and while you're there look upwards and give a wink to that special someone, Tammy, who always believed the best about everyone.... click here to visit: PFATT Marketplace

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Brand New Beginning....

I borrowed this from a dear friend/collector....it really hit home to what I am feeling at the beginning of this New Year and wanted to share it with everyone!  I wish one and all many positive and encouraging blessings in 2017.....
I am walking into 2017 with a clear heart & mind!!
If you owe me, don't worry... You're welcome!
If you wronged me, it's all good.... Lesson Learned!
If you have a beef with me.... rock on, you won!
If we aren't speaking, it's cool.... I love you, Be safe & I wish you well!
If you feel I wronged you... I apologize, moving on!
Life is TOO SHORT for all the unnecessary....!
Live life to the fullest.... You only get one shot!!!!!
Be more positive and a great role model !
Smile more.... It increases your face value!
Accept people for who & what they are.... Move to the beat of your own drum without expecting others to follow!
Whatever STATE of mind you are in.... I'll be happy to meet you there!
Happy New Year & Much Love!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Adventures Ahead.....

"The Road Ahead"
We often tell ourselves that the beginning of a New Year is the time to start over.....I put waaaay to much time into my life so far to ever want to start it over but what I will do is enhance it, become more creative and adventurous!  

The first item on my 2017 agenda is to "clean house"....So I'm having my first ever "Clearance Sale".  Yep "Soft in the Head" is
moving out the old to make room for what might be up my sleeve for 2017!  This is going to be so much fun!  I don't know how long the shop will stay open but I am going to continue to add to it as I clean my workroom, empty totes and dust, oh yes dust, my shelves of collectibles.  I'm excited about my life and what lies ahead.  For the first time I'm putting me first and it feels so good.

I've decided to do a Halloween show this coming year and focus on my classes and some licensing projects.  I finally feel in control and not stressed about where "Soft in the Head" is going.  I hope everyone will stick around and enjoy the adventure along with me....There will be new designs, new patterns and a new me!  Life is good and even better when we realize it and start to enjoy it!  Happy 2017 everyone!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

PFATT Marketplace and more......

"Peggy Christmas Morning"
The "PFATT Marketplace" opens today with brand new Folk Art from the artists. I always look forward to this day, it's so much fun to see the work that each one brings to the site. This month "Soft in the Head" has three new pieces..."Peggy" is a very happy little mouse after seeing what Santa brought her Christmas morning, a new
rocking horse.  Mice are fun to create in different scenarios especially Christmas scenes.  Peggy definitely looks happy!
It is also fun to see what surprises are under the tree.  Opening a gift makes everyone smile and "Billy the Duck" is a good example of Christmas smiles!  I have always loved making these mohair ducks cause they are just so darn cute and Billy is
no exception to that rule.  
What would Christmas be like if it weren't for our resident snowmen.  Everyone loves snowmen and "Flurry" is one happy fellow.  Even though the weather is chilly outside "Flurry" makes one feel warm and fuzzy inside.   Snowmen are just fun!
The "Soft in the Head" annual Christmas event/sale has come and gone but I'm leaving the "shop" open until the 15th and will be adding new characters to it along the way.  Tomorrow new pieces will be added, a couple of mice and a snowman so I hope you will pop over, listen to some great music and do some Christmas shopping.  Just click here: Softees Selling Shop
Merry Christmas One and All!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Click Here:  www.softeessellingshop.blogspot.com

So Surprised!

As many of you have seen, my birthday was yesterday. I've never been big on birthdays, mine that is, so I usually don't say anything or have it displayed on my FB page. Turning 66 was a bit daunting to me, haven't figured out why but just
know it was. Guess after the last few years I should be REALLY thankful to even see it LOL

I had mentioned to Dan in passing that I thought I was ready to welcome another kitten into our lives. Losing Seamus is still tough and I think always will be. You don't have someone in
your life for 19 years without feeling the loss the way we have, we miss him so much! Also Issa is lonely. I was "speechless" which many of you know is almost impossible for me, when Dan walked in and said "Pam meet Samson"....it was love at first sight! I cried and
blubbered like a fool for at least a half hour the whole time kissing and hugging my new little friend. As I said before, Dan rarely surprises me but he knocked me over this time....I have the greatest husband/friend ever!

I had spent the day with Rennie going to craft shows, hitting sales and eating the biggest damn hot dog I had ever seen...it was my birthday don't judge :) All in all I couldn't
have had a better day...a good day with Rennie, talking to my kids, grandkids, having my dear friends wish me well and the love of my life stealing the show with Sammy! I couldn't be more blessed and happy. Life is good and then it surprises you and is MAGNIFICENT!!!!!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

"Soft in the Head" Annual Online Wynter Sale

"Get Ready....Almost Here"
Busy, busy, busy....the wheels are cranking and the smoke is bellowing from my sewing machine as I burn the midnight oil getting ready for my annual Christmas sale.  The sale begins tomorrow
December 4th at 4pm PST-7pm EST and it will be a "Buy It Now" show.  Buttons have been implemented and once an item is gone it's gone, unfortunately no orders will be taken.  I enjoy making "one of a kind" pieces
and would like to carry this tradition on. 
Something different is happening this year though....I will keep the shop open until December 15th and try to add new pieces everyday until
then so keep checking back.  I will also add Halloween, Spring and Americana as time goes by.  I love having a my own little store and really hope I can keep it filled with interesting pieces that will continue to make one and all smile.
Hope you will come for a visit and maybe purchase a "Soft in the Head" treasure.... www.softeessellingshop.blogspot.com

Monday, November 28, 2016

"A Winter Show and Being Thankful"

"Winter Show, Thanksgiving & Much More!"
Half Moon Bay, Ca

Dan and I have returned home after a wonderful ten day adventure that included friends and family.  Our first stop was in Pleasanton, Ca. were "Soft in the Head" was part of "Winter Wonderland" my first Christmas show in over eight years.  The show was small and
intimate with only a few artists but it was amazing and filled with fun, laughter and a camaraderie only found among artists.  Dan and I were excited
Melissa Tereck
to see Phil and Nicol Sayre again since we no longer are doing a show a Michigan with them any longer.  The entire day was was filled with good times and Christmas magic.  We made new friends and collectors of our humble little characters.  I loved Pleasanton and found the downtown very unique and homey.

From here we drove to Redwood City where we would spend a few days with my dearest friends Brian and Annmarie Sullivan.  Annmarie and I have been best friends for 32 years and haven't seen each other in a few years so this visit was long over due. 

While Annmarie was at work Dan and I went on an adventure and touched base with many places that held fun memories for us and our
Our Favorite Beach
kids since they all grew up in this area.  We went to our old house house in San Mateo, so many memories,  then to Half Moon Bay where we, as a family,  spent many weekends on the beaches throwing Frisbee's and
Half Moon Bay City Council
dreaming!  As we drove to our favorite beach we were greeted by the Half Moon Bay City Council (the sea gulls)....these are the friendliest sea gulls I have ever met, they came right up to our window asking for snacks!

Many incredible memories come from the Bay area....whether it was watching our kids grow, the forever friends we made there or just finding the strength we needed in each other to keep going
Our home for MANY Years
during the tough times.....this area will always be home!   Most of this happened in this tiny little house on Williams Place in San Mateo.  I LOVED THIS HOUSE and had tears in my eyes when we sat in front of it.....how one little house could hold so much is amazing!  I hope the new residents find the same kind of magic there that we did.

Our next stop is Napa, Ca. to have a feast with

Joe in charge
family....Thanksgiving!  There is nothing better than the holidays with family.  What was fun about this one is to see the nieces and nephews take charge and prepare the feast.  Our nephew Joe Gracia was the Captain in charge and "Oh My" it was incredible.  Joe made these delicious rolls that looked like
pumpkins...even though I'm not suppose to eat bread I had two of them...NO REGRETS!   They were very tasty with just a hint of pumpkin and had pecan stems.  After the baking they even looked more like pumpkins because of their
golden brown appearance...so yummy!  Everything was very tasty and festive.  Been many years since Dan and I have broke bread at a Thanksgiving feast with his family so every minute was one to hold on to.  The table was gorgeous and the air was
filled with the smells only a Thanksgiving dinner can make.   There were three generations of Gracia's for Thanksgiving along with friends.  Thanksgiving is such a special time as we all remember the best parts of our lives and give a nod to them.  As we stood at this amazing table in anticipation Joe started the tradition with a prayer, a prayer of thanks.  Even
Dan and Nephew John
though there was one chair that was empty and never to be filled again I know that Tom looked down on all of us and knows his son Joe did him proud.  There are some things that time takes away that will leave our hearts with a hole never to be filled so that is why we need to surround those holes with as much love as possible!  I think we did just that this Thanksgiving!  

                 Blessed Be All!