A day In The Life Of A Crafter

I thought I’d give you a day in the life of my new crafting venture. It has only been up and running for about six months and was a hobby that I started in my early twenties. Many moons later..twenty years to be precise I finally decided to turn it into an enterprise. And it has expanded really quickly surprisingly enough. I have even serviced the locals here in Wales and have had people come to my house to collect their products which I’m most appreciative of.

I normally start the day early.  I sit in front of the log burner with either a nice fresh orange juice or cup of chocolate and tucking into either a piece of toast or a  porridge made with soya milk which is my favorite.

After a mindful breakfast my thoughts turn towards my schedule. My mind is normally on the project I’m going to be creating that day or visualizing my next one. It’s certainly not hard finding inspiration considering I can see the Welsh hills outside of my window. I’ve only been living here for 6 months and the impressive views through my windows  has helped me feel more creative, have lots of ideas (I think it’s all the fresh air) and become more productive.

The project I have been working on this week is two beautiful robin mobiles. It has taken me about 3 and half hours to make each one. I use up cycled wooden curtain hoops (thanks to my friends) which are then sanded down so the paint will stick properly to them. I used to use sanding paper to sand the backs but then I discovered my sanding head on my new drill and I’ve never looked back. Not only does it take less time it gives a much smoother and neater finish.

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The wooden hoops were drilled so I could attach the robins.  Then I choose the colours of my acrylic paint. For the first project  I chose a traditional green because my customer said she wanted it for her children and required it to be Christmasy. And the second one which was for my mum I chose blues, greys and silver glitter. The robins are baked for half an hour in my oven.

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I did about 5 coats of acrylic for each robin to give it density and then finally mixed gold Glitter with the paint and coated it. Finally they were laid out on the piece of newspaper and lacquered to make sure they are waterproof and durable.

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(I’m still in the middle of painting this one)

I work with modelling clay and the clay I use has to be strong so I chose fimo which is a polymer clay.  Although the one that I bought is a lot softer than the older clays I used to work with it still requires time to knead it to become malleable. It takes about 15 minutes to get it soft enough to work with.

I’d washed the silicone mould the night before so could begin the project straight away. I made about 20 robins as have other projects to do as have a Christmas craft stall next week.  It takes me about five minutes with the large moulds to insert the fimo in. Then I use a rolling pin to roll over the back of the fimo to smooth it out. It is then popped out and put it into my oven for half an hour.  While it is baking I went out into the garden and began raking up the leaves. They are all different hues; gold and oranges and make the garden look ever so pretty and like a canvas. I normally leave a lot of the leaves on the ground as they become homes for the hedge hogs and other animals. I love the fresh air and all of the seasons. But I do miss the summer as I normally craft outside in my garden.

I went and sat in my summer house today and read a gardening magazine, scribbled some more designs for projects and had a mindful walk back to my cottage.

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It’s a huge garden full of trees (it has it’s own little woods) so there’s a lot of ground to cover to get back to the house. My garden used to belong to the field next door which is home to beautiful fluffy sheep. There is something beautiful about standing there at midnight looking up at the stars, listening to the owls hooting and hearing their wing span as they fly over head. It is a beautiful sound hearing the cows and sheep in the next field. It’s the place I always wanted to grow my business in and live in so I’m so happy that my good dream came true for me.

I walk into my kitchen just in time to switch the cooker off and take the clay from the oven. The timer is bleeping and seems to echo around the house. The clay needs about half an hour to cool before I can paint them.

I check my email and discover I have just received another 5 orders for my faerie jars so whilst the robins are cooling – out comes the glitters, jars and pearls and Swarovski crystals, pen, and for the next hour I sit happily contented at my living room table filling the jars, hanging the pearls, platting the cord around neck of jar and choosing the correct colored tissues paper to go into the boxes. Finally I colour the paper with a tea bag for an old authentic look and write a poem in the scroll.  It’s a pleasurable hour and I work with a smile on my face.

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(some of my orders heading to America)

An hour later  with the clay cooled I finally begin work on the robin project. I sand the backs to get rid  of any marks and to give a professional finish. Each robin has about 5 coats of acrylics which I find very therapeutic to paint. It is one of my favorite parts. Between each coat I will make the beads, bake them and then drill them. I make lots of beads to save time and put them all in the oven together.

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(a mar belling effect)

Once cooked and cooled I will drill them so can thread them. The pink and gold beads are two separate coloured fimo clays which are combined together using a specialized technique called marbling. The fun thing about this is to beads are never the same. Each one will always have its own unique characteristics.

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(A drilled bead before its been sanded)

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(hand made beads ready to string)

The tiger tail is measured, threaded through the robins and hung. The robins are lacquered and hung on the hoops. Finally the gold and silver cord is platted and hung from a screw so the mobiles can be hung up.

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(The finished products)

My family came in to admire my handy work and shared some more ideas for different future projects. I do feel blessed to live in a house hold full of other creative people as it makes life so easier. I have a light bulb moment about another product I’d like to create.  I immediately text a supplier who is stocking my faerie mobiles and ask is the new idea something she would be interested in stocking in her shop to which she replied yes. It seems I’m in flow which is a nice place to be. So I sit behind my computer looking for the materials I need and spend about half an hour looking for them online and then costing them up.

It’s lunch time and my daughter makes me a lovely home made soup of carrot and coriander in the soup maker with lovely chunky bread.  Life has not always been this way and you can really taste the difference between the natural soups and the tin varieties. It is nice to sit and enjoy her company. She is self employed too so like me she appreciates that we have such a lovely place to work in and she often gives me tips on how to expand my venture which seems to be working.

I check my emails to discover an order for a pearl necklace has come in so I get the materials out of my craft box and lay them out ready to begin. I feel like a child in a candy shop being able to work with such such beautiful things. It is a necklace that I have on here on my portfolio page so it has already been designed so that takes less times as its just the task of stringing it.

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After I have finished the pearl and pink Swarovski necklace I put it in the gift box and put them and the other boxes in my back back. It is time for my afternoon hike so I decide to go down to the post office which is in the the nearest village to post them. Its only about 6 mile hike there and back and I do it virtually every day so an now getting used to it.  The way down is easy but considering I live high up in the hills the ascent back up can be quite challenging. Although not everyone would agree with this. There are 70 year old men riding bicycles all the way up so that made me really determined to walk it without gasping for breath.

Six months later I can say I’m there.  Even before I wasn’t the views are all worth it though; rolling hills, valleys, forests and grazing land full of cows sheep and horses. I stop to pet the horses who are sniffing my pockets looking for treats. And it gives me an idea for a future project. It’s surprising where you can get inspiration from.

The post office is a lovely traditional one; it has a cafe in and a trinket shop. It is nice to see that this village has retained it charm.  The post office man is really friendly and he weighs my packages and I pay for the postage. . I silently wish the packages good speed and that they arrive safely before I decide to have a lovely hot chocolate in his joining cafe.

I decided to sit in the conservatory because the views are stunning and there are a good choice of books on the shelves so I can read if I choose.  The whole little village is surrounded by hills with forests on them and Johns cafe has amazing views of it all.  You can even take a walk in his lovely little garden that is full of big sea shells.  I often take our Labrador puppy in there as pets are welcome which makes life easier.  Its easy to see why this place is a popular tourism resort in Wales. I’ve been asked to bring some of my hand crafted faerie magnets in there and if they like them they said they will stock them. I’m thinking of doing a Welsh faerie in the colours of the Welsh flag. I thought that would make a nice keep sake for tourists and I feel honored he’s considering stocking them in his shop.

After indulging myself with a scrumptious hot chocolate and scone with home made jam on I head back up the hill. It takes me 40 minutes to get down and about hour and half to get back. Its so much easier in the car but walking is my other passion. I often get locals in other farm houses and cottages around where I live asking me do I want a lift. And this day is no exception. But on this occasion I thank them and decline as I’m really enjoying the fresh air and beautiful scenery. Plus watching the wild bunny rabbets darting across the road is a sight to behold.

When I get back I do the finishing touches to my customers mobile, grab the camera and have a fun half an hour in the garden taking products shots so I can send her a picture over. You really do have to diversify when running this kind of venture. I have set up a spread sheet too just in case I need to track orders as it saves time. I’ve just got my second international order so it is a good system to have.

I check my emails again and I have just received a large order for hanging mobiles so off to work I go again. Although it doesn’t feel like work most of the time and I’m thinking to myself why didn’t I decide to live my passion sooner.  Oh well better late than never.

Later on in the evening I curl up with a crafting magazine in front of the log fire and end up falling asleep.  I awake much later to find the logs are nearly burnt and I trudge out into the car port to get some more logs. Bitterly November winds are rampant (the hills like mountains have their own micro climate) and it gets especially cold in the winter. This is my first winter here so it’s something I’ve just discovered but the extraordinary beauty of the place is well worth it.  I grab the logs from the bag and run into the house, throw them on the fire and snuggle back up. I can smell wonderful smells from the kitchen and my name is called so I venture into the kitchen just in time to see my dinner being served.

I smile to myself as I tuck into my lovely meal. Its been a wonderful relaxing and productive day and now lovely food and nice company. What more could a girl ask for?

What has been enjoyable about your day?

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