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!

 

 

So much fabric and so little time…

I have an admirable fabric stash (not including the tweed which deserves a room all of it’s own) and I’ll never use it all. Ever. That doesn’t stop me buying more though and although I have been trying to cut down, there’s still that rash moment when I’m in the fabric shop to buy thread and I wander up to the counter with 6 fat quarters of assorted colours. I did that this weekend. Went in for thread and came out with extra fabric, more Oliver Twist threads and some amazingly red sequins in various sizes. I need an intervention. At least I don’t live in the same town as the fabric shop anymore!

One of the fabrics I bought was this gorgeously vibrant green and blue patterned cotton. The moment I saw it, it was in my hand. Not a good start, I’d only been in the shop 30 seconds.

I was worried about the kind of mouse it would make, I’ve bought vivid and crazy fabric before thinking how awesome it would look, only to be disappointed. But I wasn’t this time. This mouse is stupidly lovely.

 

He was so popular that he sold within minutes. I know I’ll have to make another one or two but I try desperately hard to make each mouse unique, so that’ll involve changing the butterfly or something.

The second batch of fabric from my splurge yesterday was made into this lovely little mouse.

My plans for this week involve nipple pasties for a burlesque themed mouse, considering mice have 10 nipples, this could get tricky! Oh and one of my lovely facebook fans gave me the cracking idea of a steampunk style mouse so I’ve ordered some miniature cogs etc in preparation for making one of those this week, thank you Lucy!

Don’t forget, if you sign up for my newsletter, your confirmation email will include an exclusive code for £5 off anything in my Etsy shop over £15. It works for the whole of July! How cool is that??? My newsletter will hopefully contain exclusive offers, tips and other nonsense but I promise you won’t get inundated!

I’m now off to make a little Angel Wings Mouse and then look at some options for my festive stock…I didn’t mention the C word so relax 🙂

Have a great week!!

Flaming June…

It’s apparently going to be very, very hot, so please remember to grab some shade like this little fella! You can download this Calendar babe for free, print it off or use it as your desktop I guess!

Here’s the JPG and I’ll add a pdf. version if you prefer that!

July’s Calendar Beauty!July17

The PDF Version!

Every now and then I’m asked…

“Where can I buy your mice?”

 

Well, I have an Etsy shop which I’m trying to keep stocked. If you see a mouse that you like but would like it in a different colour or with different accessories, just send me a message. I also have a shop on NuMonday which is new. Visit my Facebook page where you can send me a message and I can invoice you via Paypal.

“Do you ship outside of the UK?”

Yes I do!

“Do you do commissions?”

Yes. I can even make you a mouse with your own fabric. Do you have an item of clothing from someone special or a special day? I can make you an Angel Wings mouse using your fabric to give your little mouse extra meaning.

FullSizeRender 101

“How will I receive my Mouse?”

All of my mice are wrapped in a brightly coloured tissue paper and then put into a lovely recycled card pillow box, tied up with a coloured ribbon and then put into a padded envelope. I always try to take extra care when wrapping, it’s lovely to receive something that has been wrapped nicely!

parcels

 

“Do you make anything else?”

I make birds 🙂 Pop over to my portfolio page to see what type of birds I’ve made in the past. One of my favourites is the swan, although all of the white is a pain, it’s still a beautiful bird.

swans four

If you have any other questions, please send me a message or leave it in the comments below. I’m always happy to answer and love to talk to people who like my creations!

Keeping busy…

I have found my creative mojo. There’s no telling how long I’ll keep it for this time so I’m making the most of every day!

As you know, I already design my own patterns for my larger embellished birds, like the peacock, swan etc. Lots of trial and error goes into those birds, even after I’ve used the pattern many times I’m still tweaking and adjusting.

swan main

But with my little birds, it was pure laziness that kept me going back to the fabulous pattern that started all of this, the Ann Wood Handmade pattern.

I had a massive clean up of my craft room, which had (to my shame) got in a bit of a state in recent months. It meant that I rediscovered so many different fabrics that I knew I needed to start using them or it was just a waste. It was this that got me fiddling around with paper and fabric to work on my own pattern. It’s very basic because I prefer the decoration aspect rather than the construction.

I know that my larger birds are out of the price range of many people (me included to be honest) but because of the sheer amount of work and hours that goes into them, I can’t realistically charge a small amount. I wanted to make a bird that can be affordable to most.

My first diversion with the birds has been to use fabric with lovely images on and incorporate them into the design. I had some gorgeous butterfly and peacock fabrics which were perfect.

Unfortunately I have a limited amount of these fabrics and the fabric shop that I use is low on them as well, so I’ll be sourcing more of this type of pattern.

My little ‘Birds and the Bees’ range has come into being purely by accident. I managed to find a shape that I was happy with and was messing around with putting embroidery on the bird itself when I realised that maybe the wings would be a better canvas. This resulted in my first, a vibrant green bird with a little ladybird on the wing.

ladybird 1

This has turned into quite a collection of birds with embellishment as you can see below.

Both of these collections have sold very quickly and I know that some of you have missed out. I will be making more of different fabric and embroidery combinations but if you see a design that you like, send me a message on Facebook (you’ll also find more images of the birds on there) and I’ll see what I can do. Remember, it won’t be exactly the same, the shape will differ and I will make the embroidery slightly different so that each bird retains it’s uniqueness.

You can also follow me on Instagram, Twitter and of course on my Etsy shop, where I currently have a few birds and where I try to upload a bird on a regular basis at the moment.

So, make the most of my creative mojo, it’ll likely be moving on soon!!!