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

It has been…

an insane week of sewing.

I feel almost possessed, if I’m not sewing, I’m thinking about sewing, dreaming about sewing or talking about sewing. I’m exhausted by it so god alone knows how the husband is feeling, having to listen to me witter on.

It’s 9.56pm on a Tuesday night and I’m only just putting down tools. I’ve spent the past 2 hours packing up parcels for tomorrow’s post, cutting out mice and making feet, hands and tails. Normally I make them as I go but tonight I just felt like getting some of the time consuming bits out of the way.

I have been searching for a weaver of Harris Tweed for a while now. I had been buying from a great little shop on Etsy but it didn’t seem as though I was getting much for my money and they were very generic colours. There wasn’t any ‘history’ to the fabric either. It said ‘Harris Tweed’ and came with the official labels but I didn’t know who made it or what part of the Outer Hebrides it came from. As I now spend my Sunday mornings in bed with a coffee perusing the ipad for craft supplies, I stumbled across a Harris weaver from Stornaway. She had literally just put up a facebook post about some new tweeds that she had ready and I was off and running. It’s a great price (it’s still expensive compared to normal fabrics but that’s to be expected, it’s Harris Tweed!) and the colours were perfect. She had a gorgeous grey and an almost mustardy brown available.

I bought them on Sunday, they arrived today, Tuesday and they were every bit as lovely as I thought they would be. So lovely in fact that I’ve just invested in a metre of a gorgeous Red which will be put aside for Christmas mice. It’s a good job I did because she sold out very quickly.

This week on the making front, we’ve had a real smorgasbord of mice! Mice with binoculars, mice with a gardening trug. I went NUTS!

 

Anyway, more tweed is now cut and I have plans for at least one Great British Bake Off inspired mouse tomorrow, with cakes and all 🙂

Have a great night, oh wait, it’s over, I’m going to bed 😀

I should have started sketching years ago…

I mean, I’ve always doodled or drawn, whether it’s quick sketches or filling in a notepad page while chatting on the phone but with my work, I tend to just have an idea in my head and go from there. Most of my birds have taken shape properly, after a third or fourth pattern attempt. But recently, after making several little birds with butterfly applique, I had the grand idea of trying to put my little birds onto a stamp and using that for lavender bags. This idea hasn’t panned out, although I still have the Speedball linocut block at the ready, just in case.

I was sketching and colouring in one of my birds when I started sketching a mouse.

 

And the rest they say…is history. I have been having a blast, working on improving the shapes, making the bases neater and easier. I’ve also improved the shape I think.

 

I really thought this would be it but my brain has been working overtime and I’ve been adding more and more work to these little mice, giving them real characters. Here’s a few of the most popular ones.

 

Last but not least, I also made some small Angel Mice. These lovely little mice were so nice to make and it was a really special thing for me to know that they were bought by people as reminders or gifts for people who had lost loved family or friends.

 

I’ll add these to my portfolio page and will continue to do so as I add more variations. If you are interested in any of my mice or birds but can’t see any on my Etsy shop, please send me a message on my FB page and I’ll see what I can do . Some of these mice sell very quickly, within a

 

Have a great weekend x

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!!!

It’s been so long….

since I posted anything!

We are still trying to tackle the garden of this beautiful house that we moved into last year, so whenever there has been a lovely day, I’m out there, if not weeding, then sunbathing 🙂

I managed to finish a small Snowy Owl, he’s still available on my etsy shop by the way.

I may not have made very many birds but tried a few new techniques. I know that my work, especially the larger pieces can be quite expensive so I really wanted to make some more affordable pieces but still retain the artistic and unique elements of my work.

I played around with fabric paints, there was a disaster which went in the bin, then a lovely robin, which gave me a little more confidence.

IMG_0949

Then I tried a flamingo, a lot smaller than the usual ones and bloody hell that was tricky doing that neck and beak! He’s ended up as a giveaway prize as although he’s lovely, I didn’t feel as though I could charge anyone for him…

IMG_0961

Then another Robin but this time with some embroidery elements, taking it back to my embellished birds.

And the most recent one, a Blue Tit!

 

Both of these birds are available on my Folksy shop 🙂

I’m not sure where I’m going next. It’s really hard to get motivated at the moment with so much else going on. It’s a strong consideration to wind the business down at the moment as well. Registering as a sole trader, having to do those bloody tax returns takes a lot of joy out of creating for me and am entering CBA (Can’t be Arsed) mode again.

I’m such a child! LOL.

Have a great weekend!