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…..

IMG_5778

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…

Like a pig in…

Clover!

You thought I was going to write something else then didn’t you? 😀

May and early June was a busy month on the old mouse front which I’m over the moon about but I was worried that I would bore myself to the point of not wanting to do anymore so I’ve taken a bit of a break from them.

I met a really, really lovely lady last week who runs a fabulous shop in Aberdeen called Peapod! It’s full of vintage treasures from teacups to sewing paraphernalia. She gave me absolutely tons of Tweed in all sorts of sumptuous colours so I’ve been experimenting with different little creatures, including owls and pigs. Yes, bit of a random leap there but everyone loves a pig!


Those back legs were tricky (and still are if the truth be told) but I’m getting there and I’m not a fan of perfection anyway!

I’ll be working on this site over the next few days/weeks, it really needs a shake up and I’m hoping to have some lovely new logos to show you soon as well. Don’t forget to sign up to my newsletter, where you’ll get some tasty offers and maybe the odd pattern or two over the next few months!

Be Happy x

Me and my big mouth…..

As I approached 2,000 likes on my Facebook page, I regarded it as  such a momentous number that I wanted to give something a little different than another one of my little birds. I did a post asking if there were any particular types of bird that someone would like to see me have a go at. I suggested Crane and it became very popular. So that was that, a crane it was.

The crane I had in mind was the lovely large white ones with the flash of black and red on the head an neck – see below 🙂

Japanese Crane

Isn’t he lovely? Anyway, I also offered an alternative bird, one of my small ones in a beautiful dark grey and cream, if they didn’t fancy this one.

black and cream give

Then I set to work. Three attempts later and after a lot of hair pulling and turning the air blue with words that would make an oil rigger blush. I had the basic bird…

Then I set to decorating.

So, here is the finished bird.

crane closer

Finished Crane

finished crane 2

finished crane 3

He stands at 30cms tall with a wing span of 40cm.

He’s stunning and I’m wishing I could keep him. Remember my wasp? The one I made and couldn’t bear to sell? Yes, that’s the feeling now. With my birds, I have worked and worked at getting them exactly how I want them to look but there’s no escaping the fact that they are made from someone else’s pattern. I know I say this every post about them but if you want to have a go, head over to http://www.annwoodhandmade.com and have a look through her patterns, you won’t be disappointed.

I love those little birds.

But this one is different. Do you know why? Because it’s the first one that I’ve made from a pattern I’ve created. I screwed up bits of paper, erased, redrew, shouted, redrew and then did practically the same with calico and thread. It was a labour of love. With my bugs, I’ve always made them up as I go along, every one is different, every one was made differently. I sort of got used to doing things that way.

The more I decorated this bird, the more time I put into it, the more I loved it. The giveaway runs until Sunday the 15th of February – 5pm – and if you want to enter, head to GIVEAWAY – there are currently 370 likes and 195 comments. You need to comment for me to be able to give you a number that will be entered into a random number generator. NO COMMENT NO ENTRY! So far there are going to be a lot of disappointed likers, you need to comment, not just like.

Whoever wins this beautiful bird is getting a piece of my heart, not to mention a lot of hours of work. Be gentle with it!

Next for me are two wedding commissions (I’ll show you photos in my next post or head to my page to have a look at the cover photo) and a large bird commission 🙂

Have a great week!

Giveaway!!!!

To celebrate getting to 700 likes on my facebook page, I’m giving away this gorgeous little gold Christmas tree decoration. He has a sprig of Mistletoe in his mouth and is sitting on a little branch.

robin giveaway

All you have to do is like and comment on the facebook post here and I’ll put your names into a hat for the lovely Matilda (my grand-daughter) to pick out of a hat on Wednesday 19th November. Giveaway will close at 6pm and I’ll notify you that night. Be sure to get in touch quickly tho’ as I will only be able to post it on Thursday as I’m off on a birthday treat early Friday morning.

Hanging bird 1


So please like & comment (so that I can put your name in the hat) and if you want to share, feel free although that isn’t obligatory. This giveway is not in any way shape or form connect to facebook. 

hanging bird 3

I will be doing another giveaway at 800 likes so keep liking the page and you might win one 🙂