Monday, February 24, 2014

Hope In Small Doses


Today the air smells very spring-like. My mood changes when I think the earth is waking up again--I wake up when it does. 

Sadly, my Etsy shop still does not seem to be waking up. This has been one of the slowest months I have experienced on there in the last 5 years. Usually once January is over, people have caught up on Christmas bills, and the stop starts to get really busy again. 

I do have a custom order to make today, so that will bring at least a little. I'm making two tiny felt plushies for Sylvanian Families - a pollywog, and a panda. 

I've done some more research on a multi-city flight so that I can fly into Nashville and stay about a week and then fly on to Greenville. It's much more affordable then I expected, so the budget I planned - £600 - would actually cover it. 

JM gets his bonus in a week, but we will probably have to apply all of it to household bills now due to the dry spell with my work. Still, there's a week left, and since spring is filling me with a little hope, maybe I can magically make a couple hundred pounds in a week. Ha ha ... that would be nice!

I'm looking at April or May for a visit now ... Get your guest rooms ready. ;)

Even if you can't or don't want to donate, I'd love it if you still visit my campaign page and read about it, and please do share it with others. I'm looking for magic anywhere it can be found! 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How Did I Get Here (And how do I get out?)

Let me pause a moment in the crafting mayhem to share a little bit about myself with you.

How did I get here?

Living abroad is something I dreamed of for years. And I've always had anglophile tendencies. So when my now husband decided to visit me in America, I knew it was the beginning of a dream come true. But what I didn't know was that the happy ending I was looking forward to was not going to happen in the "old world. " There is more wisdom than you may think in that phrase "be careful what you wish for! "

Real life here in the UK for an immigrant is nothing at all like what you'd imagine. It's not all tea parties with lords and ladies, or country walks and castles. Unless you have a fair amount of money, life here, especially in the northwest of the country, can be debilitating and discouraging beyond what you'd ever imagine.
I'm not feeling sorry for myself. I'm telling you like it is. Life is hard here because of the economy. Because of the weather. Because of the ocean in between me and my family. Because of the sheer distance between me and the equator.

Depression has been a very real presence in my life since I can remember, but it has never before been as a horrifyingly difficult as it has been since living in a foreign country for the last 5 1/2 years, more especially the last 3. There have been times I almost gave up completely.

While I may not always express it well or often enough, I have my husband JM to thank, really, that I am here. And of course my cats. No one else has ever taken care of me in such distress. I am also so grateful to my friends who have lifted me up, cheered mr on, anf even cried with me. Thi is not an easy life ... I wouldn't recommend it.Being a tourist in the UK is a delight. Being a foreign resistant? Not so much ...

And that is why I am so desparate to see home again. I am beginning to forget people's faces and voices. I sm beginning to feel like home is a distant memory of a story I once read and not a real place at all.

If you have read all of this, thank you. That alone means a lot.

I have started a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money for a plane ticket home-- I have not seen my family in almost five years. Please do check it out and even if you cannot or do not wish to give, I would be so grateful if you would share it.

Help Me Visit Home

Friday, January 3, 2014

Fantasy Cats!

Lately I've been just a teeny bit obsessed with making fluffy cats. The other day I decided to make a pale peach one for something different, and as she sold very quickly after I listed her, it seemed logical to start making some more.

I'm calling the fluffy little things Fantasy Cats, and they have their own little corner of Moss Mountain especially dedicated to their kind ... one of many unusual, and sometimes endangered, species to be found in that magical place.

Here are Peachy & Cloudberry. I think they look a little like feline blobs of cotton candy. :) They are for sale in my Etsy shop. 

Can you think of some other colours or designs you'd like to see? I love this cat pattern so much that I could probably spend the rest of my life making them ... Please do comment with your ideas. :)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Chapter One

Sometimes the first chapter of a book doesn't grab me, and I struggle to carry on reading. As a reader and a writer, I find this disappointing because I believe a story should be gripping from the very start. However, sometimes books that start off slowly or dull do surprise me, and turn out to be favorites. I'm hoping that this new year, 2014, follows that pattern.

Last year was really difficult in many ways, both personally and for my business. But if nothing else, I learned a lot of things about how to improve and make changes.

I also want to thank all my loyal customers for their support, kindness, and praise. Without you, I wouldn't be running my own business, which has always been my dream. I am especially grateful for a drama-free Christmas shopping season in which I didn't receive a single complaint from anyone. What a fantastic difference it's made for me and all of you, setting up my shop with only 'ready to ship' merchandise during this busy time of year. So, thank you!

The new year is a new chapter for Moss Mountain, and I'm really looking forward to all the further changes and adventures that will come in 2014.

A few plans include several new product ranges, new additions to old favorite ranges (like the Tiny Animals and Tiny People!), and an overall wider availability of 'ready to ship' products.

Here's to the new year! I hope you have a good one. :)

Pumpkin Pie & Stardust, available and READY TO SHIP today in my Etsy Shop.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Win a mini flapjack breakfast!

I'm just popping up quickly to share this give away I'm having on my Facebook page.

If you want to win these cuties, just click on THIS LINK, and LIKE & SHARE the post on Facebook.

Go, go, go!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Return of the Dodo

A lot of my famous Tiny Animals have been out of stock recently, but now it's time for some to make a much anticipated come back!

Today I spent the morning cutting out quite a few critters, including: puffins, ducks, dodos, and raccoons. As he's one of my all time favorites who has come back (from the extinct!), I thought I'd share some recent production photos of the humble dodo.

Here he is in progress. He comes from tiny pieces of felt--flat felt, not wool roving--and is hand sewn and stuffed into a tiny plush.

Many people make the mistake of thinking my tiny animals are needle felted. I suppose that's because there are a lot of such products out there, and needle felting is currently quite popular. I, however, use a number of techniques on my critters, mainly sewing.

When I set out to make a new tiny animal, I always research the real animal first. This proved somewhat difficult where the dodo was concerned! Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the most accurate resemblances we have this extinct bird come from scientific sketches and some taxidermy.

Still, inspired by The Eyre Affair, and my crazy sense of humor, I pressed on, doodling my best tiny dodo shape (I can't draw for the life of me) for a pattern, and planning the colours and finer details. And thus the tiny do was born.

Here is the finished creature:

Not so very extinct after all! You can buy a tiny dodo here: Moss Mountain shop. 

By sheer luck, it would seem, most of my tiny animals "come out right" the first time around, and I have never met an animal I couldn't make, tiny dodo being no exception. He is one of my tinies that I am the most proud of.

What is your favorite extinct animal?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Relaunch & Giveaway for 5,000 Likes!

Dear faithful Moss Mountain lovers,

At long last I have decided to begin blogging again! The last few years have come and gone, not without major ups and downs, and I have learned a lot about business, not to mention life!

I want to thank every one of you who has joyfully celebrated my successes, and supported me in all I do, because without your encouragement, I couldn't have continued.

Being a self employed crafter/artist/miniaturist  (and writer!) is not an easy  job no matter what others may say. Many people will never understand why I choose to do what I do, but I have decided that that is their issue, and not mine.

Those of you who, like me ("We happy few," to quote Shakespeare's Henry V), have a passion for the creative, in whatever form, know that to devote your life to anything less sublime would be a complete and utter waste.

Now, enough of this soppy talk. It's time to celebrate 5,000 likes on my Facebook page.  As a thank you to all of my fans, I am giving away a Christmas sheep for the tree! Just click here to be taken to the giveaway. :)