The early bird…

catches the worm apparently. I’m not overly fond of worms, the fact that they will just merrily wiggle on their way when you’ve accidentally chopped one in half, disturbs me. By the way, I’m talking about gardening, I’m not some strange serial killer with a penchant for worms…although I think my Halloween vampire mouse might like worms….

 

Anyway, the Crafter’s life is all about being early to the party. Basically if you aren’t, you miss out. Real crafts take time. I can’t knock out a hexagonal candle in 10 minutes as they seemed to suggest on ‘Craft it Yourself’ recently. Even an accomplished candle maker would struggle with that sort of nonsense. My mice and birds take time. They don’t take days like my embroidered birds but they still take time. So when the sun is beating down and you’ve got all the windows open, we ‘The Crafterarti’ as I like to call us, are working on stuff for Halloween and Christmas. I say ‘YOU’VE got all the windows open’ – I don’t mean me. I live in the North East of Scotland, we had summer once, I think it was a thursday in June. We are still firing up the heating and I’m even thinking of investing in fingerless gloves to do my crafting in!

While this isn’t a problem (the early making of stuff) it can cause problems. I’m quite chatty on my page, I share other artists’ work, pages and giveaway. I rattle on about my farting Frenchie or Jensen Ackles (he doesn’t fart, he’s like royalty). I also share photos of everything I make, either during the creative process or when I’ve added it to my etsy shop. Unfortunately, that involves you getting photos of mice made of red velvet pulling a Christmas cracker with his tail….in July.

 

I’m a late November baby. That means that I always thought the lead up to Christmas was a pain in the arse. My birthday used to get muddled up in it and worst of all, the ‘big’ present. You late year babies know what I mean. That present that doubles up for your birthday and Christmas. It sucks. If you have a child late in the year, never do that! Ever! So as I grew up, I put off the Christmas excitement till December. I’m ashamed to say at one point we weren’t putting the tree up until the week before the big day. However…..I live with a man who would leave the decorations up all year if I let him. I even wait till he’s gone back to work after his Christmas break before I take it all down. We now put our decorations up in November…..I kid you not.

I do know what it’s like when smiley happy weirdos start talking about 127 sleeps till Christmas. I have to hide all the Christmas socks from a man who tells me when it’s ‘Christmas Hump Day’ – the day when it’s closer to Christmas than it is further away…

I try to be respectful on my page and always give a warning that it’s going to be a ‘Christmas’ creation and to look away. But I still get the odd message about it being too soon or worse, someone unlikes my page. It’s a difficult balance for us who love what we do. We get so excited when we finish any piece and we just want to share it with you. Please try to remember that we don’t work to the same calendar as you gods and goddesses. Please try to be tolerant of us when we are enthusing about our latest arrival of festive fur or gaudy red velvet. We aren’t doing it to ruin Christmas for you or to make the year zoom by. When that last posting day comes around in December, we ‘The Crafterarti’ are already thinking about Valentines Day or Easter.

If you think the year goes quickly for you. Imagine what it’s like for us!

 

p.s did I mention Christmas enough? LOL

Small Creatures…..

That’s the new range. I know, I know, I’ve had at least 20 new ranges this year, Angel Mice, Cosplay Mice, the Artists etc but I think that’s what you have to do in this line of work, constantly evolve and try new things. I don’t want you lovely lot to get bored now do I?

First up are the meeces! Both made of gorgeous Harris Tweed and with individual decorations, including a bead necklace and a headdress of ribbon roses a la Frida Kahlo.

 

 

Then came the fox and the badger…

And then of course, being the owner of one of these strange beasts, I had to make a Frenchie!

You can now buy my little creations directly from this blog via Paypal, so why not treat yourself! Or if you prefer, head over to my etsy page for more information!

I’m still adding stock to the shop but you can soon find all of my available mice and brooches on the following link….. ‘Shop’

Right, I’m off to do some work on my Christmas stock…yes it’s still August but I need to get ahead of the game!

 

x

 

Number 1 tip for a relaxing holiday…

Don’t have a 6 year old to stay! It may not have been relaxing but it was so much fun and one of the best weeks I’ve had in a very long time. It helps that she’s funny, her sense of humour is hysterical. On the only tricky bedtime we had (midweek) I said ‘come on now, it’s time for bed’, the husband then said the exact same thing. There was a pause and then she said in such a quizzical voice ‘Is there an echo in here?’. I fell apart and that was the end of that.

It was a week of walks, baking and sewing. I taught her to use the sewing machine, slowly I might add and in continual fear of sending her back to her mother with two fingers sewn together. She made a mouse! We used a lot of textile glue as she stuck the ears on (I’m still not comfortable giving her a very sharp needle) and she picked all of the fabric and beads, hence why it looks like it has cataracts…

She’s the image of my daughter at that age and it brought so many memories flooding back. I was so sad to wave her off on Sunday and I’m still in a bit of a blue funk to tell you the truth but just need to push on and get busy to distract me. I’m now working on some extra products!

First up are the keyrings. I was given a huge stash of Harris Tweed including lots of small fabric swatch samples, very small but too good to waste. I’ve toyed around with mini versions of my mice, they haven’t proved so popular for some reason but that’s ok, it’s all a learning curve. I’m using one of those for this month’s giveaway over on my Facebook page. Anyway, back to the keyrings. My birds are actually a great size to fit in your hand and it struck me the other day as I was looking at one of them, what a great size it would be for a keyring. It was also really important to me that they still looked like my little birds rather than a generic bird shape. I hope I’ve managed that!

I made quite a few purple ones but that’s because I was feeling lazy and couldn’t be arsed to change the thread or the bobbin. I’ll be cutting out some different colours today though changing it up a little.

Brooches are also at the planning stage but it’s so hard to be original these days, with so many very talented designers out there already making similar things, it’s really stretching the imagination to come up with something new. But, it’s important that I do, not only for me but for my customers. Every person who buys from me is getting something unique, even if its made of the same fabric as five other items and using the same beads, I try to make something different about it. It could be the wings or the butterfly, even with these keyrings, they are all different.

As an artist it’s incredibly flattering when someone tells you that you’ve inspired them to try making similar things. I did it. I bought Ann Wood’s pattern for her little birds and it is the one thing that pushed me to making my own patterns. I give a lot of credit to her for that. I’m forever grateful that she fired up a spark in me to create. What isn’t so flattering is when someone comes to my facebook page and tags a crafty friend in one of the posts and it’s screamingly obvious what their intent is. Why they don’t just write ‘LOOK AT THIS!! You could so make this’ – it would be less obvious. This happened recently, when I looked at the tagged person’s profile, yep, she was a crafter, yep, she works in tweed, yep, she makes keyrings. Might I suggest, that if you want to tell your crafty mate to copy my ideas, you do it in a personal message because at least then I don’t have to see it and sit on my hands to prevent myself having a rant at you on my posts…..

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Don’t copy my work. In fact, don’t copy anyone’s work. There’s a massive difference between people who love what they do, pouring every hour into designing and making, often earning below minimum wage and those who think ‘Oh I can do that, that looks easy, that’ll make me money’.

Picasso said ‘Bad artists copy. Great artists steal’.

On that note, I’m off to rub some voltarol into my aching back and start on a brooch or two…

Taking some time…

OFF!!

I’m off on an adventure on Thursday. Off to pick up the grand-daughter and bringing her home for a week. So excited, lots planned especially cuddles and eating copious amounts of ‘minty chocolates’ as she calls Matchmakers…

It’s August already, how did that happen? Here’s a lovely new calendar page for you, with a photo of my latest mouse, inspired by Andy Warhol who was actually born on the 6th of August 1928.

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and if you want to download the August Warhol  in PDF form.

Speaking of which, here he is in all his gloriousness! Yes, I painted that mini Monroe, sadly it’s not as good as the real thing LOL!

If you follow my facebook page, you’ll see me whooping it up about my ‘Garcia’ mouse. A few months ago I sent off my little Penelope Garcia mouse and low and behold on Twitter & Instagram last night, I finally saw it, on her desk!! I’m not joking. Thank you to Kirsten Vangsness for being so bloody lovely.

 

I’m sure I’ve bored you all silly enough with me whittering on about it but I’m so damn chuffed. I’ve loved this character for so long, being a complete net/computer nerd (and being a web developer in a past life) with a penchant for strange clothes/hair stuff myself, I love her LOL!

Right, time and tweed wait for no woman, things to make, things to faff with!

 

Have a great week you gorgeous people and remember #getyourbiggirlpantson!

What is wrong with Crafting programmes?

This week saw the start of Craft it Yourself on Channel 4. I remember seeing the call outs for crafters to apply to feature on it and thought ‘oohh finally, a show about crafting that is actually about crafting’.

I really wanted to like this show. I was fully prepped, dinner was out of the way and my kitchen cleaned. Anyone who has ever eaten with us, know that we eat at about 7pm and sit around the table for bloody hours, talking or faffing. I love my kitchen, it was the selling point of this house and I’ve worked to make it the total centre of our home. We’ve always eaten together as a family, it’s a really important part of our day and our family life. So for us to be away from the table by 7.45pm is no mean feat.

I had a glass of wine at the ready and the long suffering husband had taken himself off to his ‘operations room’ to play guitar.

It started well enough, three friendly, smiley presenters. One, Ant Anstead has been on that car show ‘For the Love of Cars’ with Philip Glenister, which I loved by the way. However, every time Ant appeared on screen I was expecting Gene Hunt to wander on and start talking about steering wheels from the MG they were rebuilding.

Clem is lovely, very smiley but with the odd raised eyebrow that all crafters seem to develop when they are explaining what they do and how they do it.

I actually shouted at the telly when they showed those little mini ‘makes’ – especially that bloody macrame style curtain and the tie dye cushion…1973 called and want those decorating no-nos back!

The whole show had the feel of a sort of budget Changing Rooms or similar. I can’t be doing with that. Crafting isn’t just about doing up your boring kitchen (was that kitchen even real?). It was almost as though some hipster bod at the production company announced in one of those brainstorming meetings, ‘hey, you know what’s in now? Crafting! That is big, especially with all those stay at home mums trying to make a few extra quid on the side! Let’s make a craft show!’

No. Let’s not and say we did.

I’m all for sharing the love of craft. I regularly share other crafters and artists on my facebook page, twitter, instagram etc. It’s a huge community of incredibly hard working and talented people who pour their hearts and soul into their work. That’s what I wanted to see. We didn’t see enough last night of the brilliant tile artist or the blacksmith.

I don’t want to watch presenters showing us ‘craft hacks’.  Do you know what this style of Craft Hacks does? It cheapens the work of real crafters who work bloody long hours refining their crafts. When you see the finished article, you are seeing hours and hours of planning, altering and hard work. Then we get it wrong and start all over again. Maybe more than once.

This wasn’t a programme aimed at Crafters. I think this was entirely aimed at encouraging people to craft and if they can achieve that then all power to them. I’ll be sticking with it for now but I’d really like to see it have a bit of a shake up! More emphasis on the crafters, less of the refurb of rooms and please…NO MORE MACRAME OR TIE DYE!

By the way, my post last week about that awful thing ‘doubt’ went wild on Twitter, all thanks to a very lovely retweet by one of my very favourite actresses! It was lovely and gave me a real boost!