Phew! It feels like it’s been another busy old month here in Beastie Towers… but when I looked into my “Ready” box earlier, there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of little monsters living in there yet. So much for my master plan of getting ALL my Christmas market stock made in the first 2 months of the year, eh?
That left me wondering what on earth I’d been up to, so I thought it was high time I offered another sneaky peek into life as a maker of monsters – hopefully it will help us all to solve the oh-so-intriguing Mystery of the Vanishing February!
First off, I ventured Northwards… And many of you will already have seen the photos Explorer Beastie and I took of our whistle-stop tour of Donegal.
(If you haven’t, catch up with Part 1 and Part 2 now!)
But that wasn’t the only reason for my trip. I was also planning to catch up with my buddy Julie from Juleco, so that she could teach me some new skills! Loyal BeastieBlog readers might remember the super revamping she did on the humble Beastie Passport last year…
… So I thought she might be able to help me figure out a better way to do my commission sketches as well. I spend a HEEEEUUUUUGE amount of time on these – time I’d really rather use for knitting! With Julie’s help, I’ve been taking my first steps with computer illustration using Adobe Illustrator, in the hope that I’ll be able to re-use elements across numerous sketches, colour-match better with the yarns from my stash and (best of all) colour in with a single click! I already feel that I’m making progress – I just hope I can get the basics down before my free trial runs out. I’ll keep you posted!
I’ve also been having fun playing with the new toy I mentioned in last week’s post. Ever since I went to an Etsy product photography evening last spring, I’ve been meaning to make a lightbox for myself… It’s so easy, and yet I never seemed to be able to scrape together the 20-odd minutes it would have taken to throw one together. I was tormented by questions of where on earth I was going to keep the thing once I’d made it, and how I would extricate it from its hiding place when I needed to use it. Fortunately for me, Boyfriend was taking notes – and look what showed up in my Christmas stocking!
It’s a Beastie-sized photography studio! It came complete with daylight lamps, backgrounds in 4 different colours and a tripod… And the best bit is that it folds down into an entirely portable (and stowable) 42cm square carry case. Now even the gloomiest winter mornings can be photoshoot days… I can’t wait to share my new-style pictures with you all, starting next week! I’ve had a few commissions on the go over the last while, and before each Beastie shipped out, they all got a little time in the studio.
In fact, commissions are probably what’s been munching up most of the month – they really do take time! And sometimes they demand a little bit of extra focus. So a couple of weekends ago, I did something that I haven’t done in… eeek, I don’t know how long! I unhooked myself from the internet. It helped that Boyfriend and I were heading off to the farm for a couple of days – in my mind, it makes a lot more sense to be offline when surrounded by wild countryside. As I made my way to the bus station on Friday evening, I caught up with all the notifications on my phone and then switched off data and WiFi for two whole days. I didn’t even take any pictures… Apart from the odd one down at the lake.
It was just the break I needed. Much as I love being part of this vast online community and meeting people I’d never have encountered otherwise, it was nice to spend time talking, reading and crafting without the distraction of a steady stream of beeps and flashing lights. I also couldn’t get over how much longer my battery lasted! It was like being back in 2005!
And when I switched my phone back on the following Monday morning, it didn’t explode with a sudden influx of unread notifications – catching up didn’t take that long at all, and I was excited to see what everyone had been up to while I’d been away. The world didn’t end because I tuned it out for a couple of days, and I didn’t miss out on a massive order, a life-changing opportunity or a genuine email from an exiled prince who needed me to hold onto his fortune for a short time in exchange for serious ca$h mon€y. In fact, I might be tempted to do this more often!
How about you? Do you reckon you could go on an internet crash diet? Let me know in the comments! And normal service resumes next week, with another new Beastie for you to meet. See you then!