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!

 

The big list of what’s holding you back…

It isn’t a big list. It’s one word. One bloody horrible short little word that can paralyse you.

Doubt. 

It is the enemy of every artist, crafter, maker whoever thought that they might be able to sell their work. It doesn’t matter where it comes from, it’s there. It feeds on your insecurities and niggles away at you like some irritating little gnat buzzing around your head. It’s always there and no amount of swatting at it will make it go away. Even if you do manage to kill the damn thing, there’s another one making a beeline straight for you.

I don’t have an answer. I can give you all the things I’ve tried or been told to try. Some will work but most won’t. I will tell you one thing though, how can anyone else love your work if you don’t? I think you already do love your work, otherwise you wouldn’t keep at it. You wouldn’t keep sketching or sewing or carving or painting if you didn’t love it. The trick is loving it. Loving it so much that you want others to love it too.

I make mice. Small cutesy little teeny tiny mice and the odd pig out of fabric. I used to make birds, some of which are really stunning, even if I do say so myself. The swans, the hummingbirds and the peacocks are some of my greatest pieces but my back problems put paid to that, the sitting/sewing position were just too much especially the hundreds of hours that I used to put into it.

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I am in love with my mice. My steampunk mice, my Cosplay mice, I love every damn one of them. They take hours to make and each one is better than the last. I make those tiny steampunk hats that measure about 1.5cm tall and every single time I make one, I get totally lost in it. When you buy one of my mice, you are buying my total attention focused on one thing, my love (that sounds bloody naff but it’s true) and my weird little brain and all it’s strange little thoughts.

Whenever I criticise myself or my work, my husband says ‘that’s my wife you’re talking about, quit it!’

He’s also the person who has convinced me into applying for Kirsty’s Handmade Christmas this year. Every year I watch it and think about applying but that absolute arse ‘Doubt’ sits there on my shoulder. It whispers and cajoles until finally my shoulders drop and I think ‘maybe next year’. Well, this is ‘next year’. If I don’t do it now, I’ll never bloody do it!

I shared the video appeal by Raise the Roof Productions and Kirsty, on my facebook page a couple of times as well as seeing it in a couple of the craft groups I’m a member of. On every occasion, there were incredibly talented people saying that they didn’t have the courage to do it. That’s why I wrote this post. I’m telling you that you do. You already have the courage it takes to share your beautiful and time consuming work with us on FB and in those groups, so why not just take a deep breath and apply? You might not go further than sending that email but you know what? You sent that email and that’s probably the biggest step of all for some of you, I know it was for me. The link to apply is here.

Put your big girl knickers on and do it. Or your big boy knickers for that matter!

I believe in you. Time for you to smash that buzzing gnat of doubt with your electrified tennis bat (we have one of those, it’s bloody awesome) and have some belief in yourself.

#biggirlknickers #bigboyknickers get them on!

#Monday Motivation…

is apparently the trending hashtag on Twitter. My #MondayMotivation is coffee, big dollop of cream (I’m still drinking it like that whether we low carb or not) and no sugar. So here I sit, trying to get motivated.

I haven’t written a list, the postit note to remind me fell off my mac and floated under my desk and I haven’t been motivated enough to retrieve it yet. It’s one of those days, can you tell?

Sunday was spent finishing off my newest cosplay mouse, a rather dark and mysterious black Harris Tweed mouse dressed up as Jon Snow from Game of Thrones. It all seemed easy enough until I realised that a. I didn’t have any black shearling and b. I was going to have to replicate his sword ‘Longclaw’ in polymer clay. I’ve only just mastered Negan’s bat….

Negan's bat 'Lucille'

I’m a real bodger and will try to find a substitute at all times and I ended up replacing the shearling with black feathers and they look very good even if I do say so myself.

JonSnow1

 

As for that bloody sword, three attempts later and I finally had one that didn’t fall apart or look like I’d sat on it.

jonsnow2

I really, really love making these cosplay mice. It is so much fun and incredibly satisfying when it’s finished. I was on a bit of a low after finishing the burlesque mouse. It’s very hard to appeal to all the people who like my page. While I like making my cute mice with the butterfly nets or the beekeeping hats, I also like to make things that make people laugh or just go ‘wow!’ It’s strange to think that I’m known for little cutesy mice when I have my nose pierced, a tattoo and own more Doc Marten’s than any other shoe. I love zombie movies and Stephen King. I’m a swearer too. It seems somewhat at odds with the little tweed mice. But that is a side of me too I suppose. I had a few negative messages about Stripper Mouse but that’s ok, not everything is going to be well received. I didn’t actually like her that much, not because of the subject matter but the red and black together is just so in your face. It’s funny but those kind of colour combos never seem to be as well received.

 

I am incredibly proud of her small fascinator though. It’s 1.5cm round and yet I managed to give it a little veil and some beading. However, she just looks like the Countess Dowager from Downton has become a hooker….

Oh well I guess I can put that down to experience.

Steampunk mouse today, in black and white instead of brown. I really like those mice! I am having to increase my prices for those as the amount of time that goes into them and the added materials add up.

I do have a sale album now on Etsy  and don’t forget, if you are subscribed to my newsletter, you will receive a code for 5% off all purchases over £15 and an extra special code as well!

Right, more coffee!!!

 

You’re mad woman!!

This week has been a bit bonkers. I decided on Monday afternoon to tidy my craft room. Just a light tidy you understand, so I could get back to my sewing. Unfortunately, I then decided to move everything around. So what should have been a 30 minute job, stretched into 4 and a half hours. By the time everyone got home from work, I was knackered and halfway through another green and blue mouse.

Tuesday was more my kind of day, I was organised, wrote a blog post, a list, cleaned up and at my desk for 8am and sewing like a demon. I finished that lovely blue and green mouse and this time it was holding a small hummingbird in the same fabric. A 2cm version of my birds! I can’t imagine doing these small parts without my trusty magnifying lamp. I use a Purelite 3 in 1, which can be used as a floor or desk lamp and even unclips so that you can attach it to your desk. It also has a battery pack so that you can be totally mobile with it but I lost the pack somewhere in the depths of my craft room.

After this, it was onto a project I’d been looking forward to since it was first suggested by one of my facebook followers, Lucy. The steampunk mouse….

 

I make no apologies for all of the photos because I think he’s probably my best yet. I’m so proud of him and I know he’ll be treasured in his new home!

Yesterday (Wednesday) saw me making a lovely yellow tweed pig called Daisy with lots of daisies embellished on her!

 

Sadly, I then decided in the afternoon that I needed to clean my oven. This moved swiftly on to me steaming my kitchen cupboards which degenerated into the mad idea of varnishing my worktops at 4.30pm with the special worktop stuff that I bought nearly two years ago and still hadn’t used. This meant that dinner was concocted from a Tesco ready cooked chicken and some pots of salad bought on his way home from work by the lovely husband. God alone knows what we are eating tonight, as I put the second coat on the worktops before 8am this morning. I also think I have varnish fumes poisoning…

varnishing

I fully intend to start on my little burlesque mouse today, hopefully the feathery yarn will turn up today so I can make her boa. If I so much as suggest getting the decorating equipment out to do the hallway, someone call the people who supply strait jackets, I’ll have one in a fetching shade of hot pink please….