Where now…

It’s September!!

Hello Lovelies!

I hope you have all had a fabulous summer and that however your autumn is kicking off, you have a productive and wonderful few months.

We have been flitting in and out of the UK and US since January, yes really! I can’t believe that the time has flown by quite as quickly as it has.

I was planning on writing this as a long newsletter about work that I have done or plans for the coming months but I’m firmly in some kind of creative block. I can’t even call it that really, as I have ideas whizzing about all over the place. It’s a making block. My craft room is all set up (although most of my materials and books are still in boxes waiting to be shipped over) and I have created a lovely space to work in. But it still isn’t feeling real. This time last year I had my life all mapped out I thought. My Folksy Meet the Maker interview was ‘live’ and there were plans for Mister Mouse in the very wonderful Folksy Christmas animation. I was already making grand plans for really giving my business a push. Then in November/December that all changed.

I had to put all of my making and even selling on hold for weeks or months at a time while we flew here, flew back, flew here, flew back, looked at houses, sorted residence visas, driving licences, etc. Even now I’m still in the process of applying for my work visa. It’s sunny here. I have hummingbirds and a pack of armadillos living in my garden. I can’t find the desire to sit and sew.

I’m planning to add more videos to my youtube channel but you can see a new one of my hummingbirds there right now.

But until I can get my permit sorted, then my new paypal and etsy sorted, I feel as though I really can’t be bothered.

I’m not announcing my retirement, just trying to explain why you aren’t seeing as many posts by me at the moment. I really do feel as though I don’t know where I’m going or indeed what I’m doing business wise. It’s far easier to take my coffee onto the porch and watch my hummingbirds flit from feeder to feeder before they disappear south in another month…

I’m finally coming to terms with the resentment I have felt about having to up sticks and relocate…AGAIN. However, it’s hard being so far away especially when I know how much my kids still need me.

I’m enjoying life here but missing my kids and grandchildren with such an ache that it’s a struggle at times to even get dressed. I do though. Get dressed that is. I’m counting my blessings every day and I do know how lucky I am. This isn’t a whinge just an explanation.

Fingers crossed that when I get my work permit, I will be full of enthusiasm and desire to work!

The son arrived for a holiday yesterday and very kindly brought with him my latest order from www.alicecaroline.co.uk including the Christmas range from Liberty. I have a few ideas concerning those. Some will be in the style of my Alice in Wonderland mice, calico with embellishment and others will be more like my Liberty mice. I’ll keep you updated.

christmas fabrics

 

Anyway, thank you all so much for still reading my blog, my facebook page and my instagram, I promise you I’ll be a lot more visible in the months to come x

The top 5 things…

….not to say to a crafter or artist.

We’re a fragile bunch. We sit at home on our lonesomes, drawing, cutting, sewing, glueing, writing, wringing our hands. Some of us are mums, carers or have a day job that soaks up our creative time, making every stitch precious when we finally get to ‘make’. Some of us actually get to interact with other human beings on a regular basis. But all of us, to a one, struggle with having confidence in our work and what we do. You, the husband, the daughter, the mother, the sister tell us it’s great but we don’t believe you, you’re supposed to say that sort of thing. It’s only when strangers tell us these things that we sort of believe it and even then that’s a struggle for us, wondering what their game is, being kind!!

This is why, when you hear a certain phrase, that your blood runs cold and you wonder why you even bloody bother. There’s a hot mass in your stomach and your body tries to turn itself inside out. Most of the time we don’t get to hear these lines. I’m sure there are people who look at my mice on my FB page and think ‘HOW MUCH?’ but I’m lucky, Facebook hasn’t yet invented eavesdropping via post/comment. Not yet anyway.  I’ve had some comments in the past, which I respond to. How I respond, depends on my hormone balance on that given day. Catch me on a good day and I’m smiley and jolly, all the while imagining the commenter’s death at the hands of the sharks in my shark tank that I now have in my Volcano lair.

No one has caught me on a bad day. Yet. If they do, you’ll know it.

Here’s the list, in no particular order…because frankly, they’re all bloody rude!

‘I could make that’ – could you? really? You star! Go home, buy all the materials, draw the pattern, sew it up. Let’s see how long that takes you. Then bring it to me and show me.

‘My kid could make that’ – please refer to the previous comment. Off you trot and take your amazingly talented Tarquinus-Jackajohn (age 5 and 3/4) with you.

‘How much? I could get that cheaper in *insert retailer here’ – Off you jolly well go then. Then bring said item back and show it to me. It will often be mass produced, usually by children in far away countries for a pittance. That is why they are so cheap to buy. I’m not dissing major retailers by the way but anything you buy from them is going to be mass produced, it’s how they keep the prices so low.

‘I’ll get my friend to make me one’ – This one grinds my gears. It’s on a par with the people who come onto my facebook page and tag a friend who’ll then say ‘sure, I’ll have a go’. Let me tell you buttercup, that’s copying and if you want to do that, kindly bugger off. I’ve seen too many lovely people torn apart by finding out they’ve been copied. Trust me, if you are rude enough and so lacking in social etiquette to write that stuff on my page and I find out that you have copied my work, not only will I be sending a cease and desist letter but I’ll name you on my page and let my lovely followers loose on you. Think Liam Neeson from Taken, only more soft, womanly and angrier….some may even carry knitting needles and trust me, they know how to use them!

‘I’m running a charity event and would love to have one of your pieces for a draw’

NO! In my early days of crafting, I did this twice. The first time I got a lovely response from the organiser, with a thank you email afterwards. The second time, I didn’t get so much as a thank you message on facebook. That was someone doing a charity trek thing. I can only assume she fell off a damn cliff because she was obviously unable to write a simple ‘ta very much’. I’ll choose my charities thank you.

These kind of comments are why I don’t do craft fairs. I don’t think I could handle it. The extra loud whisper as they walk away or if they are extra rude, say it to your face. I also don’t want to have to bail my husband out of jail after he’s rugby tackled said offender to the floor and kept them there till they’ve apologised.

If you lovely lot have any other priceless lines of rudeness you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them. As a crafter I’m pretty sure I’ve heard most of them but you never know, one of you might have a rare gem to make us all chuckle 🙂

We are all thinking, sentient beings. Crafters and Artists are just that little bit more sensitive, please try to remember that when you are holding a piece of their precious work in your hands. Try to be kind. You don’t have to say it’s awesome. Just something like ‘you must put so much time into your work’ makes all the difference.

Amanda x

 

 

 

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.

Minimalist Colored Photo Calendar (1).png

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!

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.

swan-main.jpg

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!

How to get organised enough to work at home effectively…

If I knew this, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here writing this and slurping my coffee at 6am. Although, maybe I would…

morning coffee

I used to work as an Account Manager for an online company that sold training to companies. I left the house at 7am and didn’t often get home till 7pm. I loved my job, I loved being a grown up and I was really happy working for my boss, a totally insane and manic guy who raced around at 500 miles an hour. He was a great fan of Tony Robbins, the self help/motivational guru and if there was a tour, my boss made sure he got at least one of the tickets if not one for every tour date. He would go off on all sorts of retreats and weekends, he came back after one such event, ripped his socks off and enthused about how he’d walked on burning coals and hadn’t burnt his feet. He also believed in guardian angels. One business meeting journey terrified me so much with his driving that my fingertips wore grooves into the dashboard. He said ‘Amanda, you don’t need to worry, my guardian angel is watching over me’ to which I replied, ‘Yes Nigel, YOUR guardian angel, not mine!!’

Anyway, for someone who was so bonkers and practically ran on fumes ‘I don’t have time to eat’, he was extremely organised. His first thing to do every day was write a list of things he had to do and as he went through the day, he would tick them off his list. I became that person, I used to write lists everywhere. It works. It worked for me. However, I’m not that organised anymore and in fact I haven’t been for a long time. I usually write a grocery list and leave it on the kitchen table when I go to the supermarket.

Working from home (successfully) requires discipline and as I’m often still in my pyjamas at lunchtime, I’m not that disciplined. That has to change. So I am now writing lists of what I’m hoping to do each day. Actually, not ‘hoping’ – let’s try ‘going’. A list of what I’m GOING to do today.

First on my list, complete another one of those lovely green and blue mice. I’ve already made a start, this one has shiny green thread on his ears instead of blue.

small green and blue fabric mouse

After this I’m making a tweed pig, I’m thinking of trying to make a couple of piglets so that should be interesting. Fingers crossed that some of my orders turn up today as I’m planning a steampunk mouse! I already have a bag of aged looking keys in readiness!

aged keys

I’m also working on content for my first newsletter which I’ll send out at the end of this week, there will be an etsy coupon code sent out with the confirmation email when you subscribe but a bigger code sent out in that first email! So please subscribe. I promise not to bombard you with absolute nonsense 🙂

Have a great week!