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!

#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!!!

 

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!!

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!