Last week was one of those weeks when life just got in the way – for starters, a busy few days at Other Work after being just a Maker of Monsters for a month was a bit of a shock to the system! And while I was distracted with that, the plumbing here at Beastie Towers decided it would be an excellent time to start wreaking all kinds of aquatic mayhem.
So unfortunately, that means I have no new Beasties for you today – despite the best efforts of my little helpers, who you can see working away in the photo above!
However, I thought this little hiccup might be the perfect opportunity to tell you all a little more about what’s going on behind the scenes here at Beastie Towers… namely, my own ongoing education.
(Picture borrowed from www.fatmovieguy.com)
You see, last year I was busy. Flat-out, using-every-spare-second-and-then-some BUSY. And it occurred to me that I’d sort of reached the limits of the skills I had, and it was high time I picked up some more – skills that would help me to better design, make and share my creations.
Alas, there is no real-life Monsters University where I can enroll, so I’ve had to make up my own study programme. Here, let me introduce you to some of my teachers!
Next Level Sewing with Abby Glassenberg
Abby blogs at whileshenaps.com, and while I’ve learned a lot from her regular posts and newsletters about running a crafty business, I really hit the jackpot when I treated myself to a copy of her book “Stuffed Animals – From Concept to Construction” just after Christmas. Even flicking through the book for the first time was exciting… Finally, I’d found someone who was teaching the stuff I needed to know! Up until now, I’ve had to figure everything out myself, using a combination of guesswork and techniques borrowed from dressmaking books, with varying degress of success. But with Abby as my guide, I’ve been better able to understand how to cut and shape fabric so that it does my bidding faster, easier and with considerably less cursing!
So far, I’ve been mostly dipping into the help sections when I need guidance… but I have also attempted one of the projects. I made this felt bunny as a gift for a little girl who turned one in January!
The pattern was super-easy to follow, and it was nice to let someone else do the brainwork for once! That said, I did still stitch every seam by hand. So, another class I’ve been taking is…
Sewing Machine Wrangling 101
This is not really a class. This is me sewing miles and miles of practice seams on my sewing machine, to become better at using it. On the plus side, I’ll never need to buy another cushion cover!
I’ve also been honing my drawing skills, so that I’m able to put sketches for commissions together more quickly…
For this, I’ve been trying to keep up with Tammie Painter’s Sketchbook Saturdays… here’s what I came up with for this week’s prompt, “Leafing Out”!
I’ve also signed up for an online sketchbook workshop on Tammie’s recommendation, so I fully expect these doodlings to magically become Da Vinci standard over the next couple of weeks!
And finally, I’ve been taking a Social Media Refresher Course using this book…
(Cover image from www.thedesigntrust.co.uk)
Aaaah, social media… yes, it’s great for sharing your crafty goodies with the whole world, in a way that just wouldn’t have been possible a few short years ago. But it feels like such a time sink! I’m sure I’m not the only person who dips a toe into the murky waters of Facebook “just to have a quick look”, and resurfaces 2 hours later. I feel like there has to be a better way to use social networks which I can’t quite figure out by myself, so I’m going to let someone else explain it to me. With pictures. And that’s what this book is for. Here’s the review on Fizzi-Jayne Makes which convinced me to give it a shot!
Oh, and I nearly forgot! As an extra-credit assignment, I’ve been having a stab (ha!) at needle felting, in the hope that I’ll be able to use this method to make some of the Beasties’ smaller, fiddlier accessories. That, and it’s great for stress relief after all this studying!
Have you tried anything new this year? Tell us all about it in the comments!