Friday, June 24, 2016

A Snail's Tale

 A few weeks back, while enjoying the first salad of the season prepared entirely from our little container garden, we found a tiny, tiny (less than pea size!) snail in the bottom of the salad bowl, swimming (swimming may be a strong word for it) in remains of the lemon-honey vinaigrette dressing. . .

Certain we had caused the demise of the little one but still, holding out hope, we set her out to dry on a leaf of one of our orchids and went about our day. At dinner, she was still there, not having budged at all. Neither of us could bring ourselves to dispose of her so we went to bed and, the next day, had pretty much forgotten about her in the rush of emails, shipping and making.

That night, as we sat down for dinner, Sofie noticed that she was gone! She thought, perhaps, that I had discreetly removed her but when I said that I had forgotten about her altogether, we started a frantic search. Had the cat found a tiny new plaything? Had she dried up and fallen to the floor? Did we imagine her or was she just a dream?

Turns out, none of the above. . . she had come back to life from her "death-by-dressing" and found her way onto the plastic plant tag in the orchid pot. She had crawled about a foot from leaf to tag! We got out a quart mason jar, put in a layer of organic soil, a rock, a piece of garden lettuce, carrot tops and parsley and half an eggshell and gave it all a good soaking. . . she took to it right away and explored to her heart's content without a sign of fear. . . which is why, after deciding she should stay,  we named her Alexandra the Great!

And now, two weeks later, she is thriving and has become our new permanent house guest! She's grown so fast and we delight in giving her fresh greens and eggshells each night as well as soaking her world a few times a day. We've been reading up on snails and it seems they can live 12-15 years. . .  OK, I wasn't expecting that long of a stay from our houseguest!!

She's a marvel, having grown about 4x her orignal size in these two weeks. Most of the sunny days she hides under the half-eaten lettuce leaf or curls up beside her favorite rock but yesterday she was out and exploring during the day and I took the opportunity to get a few macro shots of her (she is still really VERY small!) to share.

Another of nature's unending small miracles. . . Alexandra the Great. . . we can't wait to see how big she gets and have already been shopping for a larger home/empire for her future, larger-snail, self. : )

Alexandra the Great conquers yet another obstacle!

LOVE the shell spiral and colors. And her amazing antennae!

Thanks for dropping by!


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Little Potted Houses and Pinterest

I recently had a custom request for two of my little potted fairy houses which I had not made for quite some time. It was a joy to see them in the reference pictures the client had sent and I was thrilled to make new versions of her.

Now, I bring this up for a few reasons. . .

One, the amazing power of Pinterest. Bewilder and Pine receives a very healthy amount of traffic from Pinterest day in and day out and, over the last year, the second MOST viewed item of all is one I made well over 18 months ago that sold within a few weeks of being listed.

Yet, it being pinned many times on Pinterest boards drives enough traffic to make it the second highest viewed item in the entire shop!

The Alpine Hornblower Fairy Scene circa 2013

Two, I can't believe the number of things I have made, and completely LOVED making, but in the rush of fulfilling new orders, custom requests and trying to get things stocked in the shop as well as work on brand new items and ideas etc, I can actually forget all about little creations like these potted houses. . .

The Fairy Houses of Padda (red) and Denka (green)

New additions include the crystal "lamppost". 

Fencing and most details are N scale (1:148). The pot is just 1.5" high.

And this brings me to a point that I will likely discuss a lot over the next few months. . . the balance of custom orders versus making what I want.

I spoke last time about how I took most of the month of May off from fulfilling almost all custom requests and how well that worked out. Now, I find myself inundated in June with all of the requests I pushed back to free up May and, in doing so, I find myself right back in the same situation. lol

So, I have set a firm deadline that July, August AND September will be "custom order free" and that I will focus instead on shop-stocking and making just what pleases me the most (and getting A LOT done on the world-building/stories/maps for my writing project too!)

Of course, I would still take on orders like the two houses above because I really wanted to make them right then and there anyway, so it's a bit tricky. . . but that's one of the things I want to free up time for. The requests that truly inspire whenever they may come along!

Of course, there is also Shadow of the Sphinx where many of the requests I receive are already in my repertoire anyway since I can't possible keep all the statues, deities and amulets in stock! ( I have a good half dozen "in progress" as I type just for that shop alone). Still, I have to be careful not to overload myself even with those sort of enjoyable requests.

I've always known that what I like the least are deadlines. . . due dates. . . so, even those I take on must now come with a "I'll let you know when it is ready." sort of looseness. This works for me because I never take money up front or as a down payment since most items I agree to make, should the customer end up not liking it for some reason when complete, will go into the shop and eventually find a loving home.

In the end, I tend to finish those loose deadlines quicker anyway when I don't feel the pressure of a firm due date.  .  . isn't the psychology of being a maker-of-things a little strange?  Or perhaps it's just me?  : )

So, that's the latest for now. . . back to the list of custom pieces for the next few weeks but then. . . well, I'll be sure to share all the new things with you all as they come to fruition!

Book Update: World-building. . . talk about falling into a rabbit hole. . . or several. This weeks "work" involved researching all sorts of bogs and the edible things that may grow in them as well as hand-cars, tidal bores, the history of the salt trade, Chinese magic mirrors and water clocks. . . . too much fun!

Hoping this finds you all well and enjoying magical days in your worlds. . .


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

New Work - June 1st

Hello dear ones!

I am excited to show you some of May's production! I'll be sharing more about this later in June but I took the month of may off from almost all custom work to focus on a little experiment.  What happens if I forego the custom order route for just making what I want to make? How will it effect sales? Would I feel more rejuvenated and happy simply making whatever I feel like making every day again?

Well, the answers to those questions I will share soon but a little hint is that I'm spending June making sure I complete all my current custom orders (which has backed up from not taking any in May) and keeping July, August and September as completely free of commitments as possible to do the same for an extended three month period!

This is not to say I am doing away with requests or custom work, just changing the way I approach it, frame it and work on it so that I can continue to explore what I love most, the unending course of un-contained imagination. :)

Ok, more on that, as I said, in the near future. . . for now, here are some of the new items created last month for my shops! I hope you enjoy. . .

This was a request for a birthday gift for a 10 year old that I could not refuse. . . 6 x 6 inch "Fairy Village" frame/shadowbox with tiny N scale houses, winged fairy and enchanted landscape! 

Living on a tidal bay inspired the idea that a fairy tower, perched on the shore of such a place, would need a door high enough to withstand exposure to the high tide while offering access at lower tides too! 

Formerly my "Alpine Fairy" houses, I have reintroduced this series as the Fairy Houses of Chatsworth Village so as to be able to write/sketch them into my world of the Bewildering Pine. I'll be adding two more to the shoppe today. 
New Mini Garden Gargoyles with their own little flowering pots!

The completed trio of Ancient Egyptian deity "busts" I spoke of a few posts ago. . . Sekhmet, Bastet and Khnum

Two Aten symbolic pieces that were a request too. I am fascinated by the reign of Akhenaten and Nefertiri. They moved the entire capitol city of Ancient Egypt to the desert (Armana) and reorganized the pantheon putting worship of the Aten, their solar Deity, at the top. These were Tutankhamen's parents. During Tut's short reign, the entire process was reversed, the new city dismantled, and much of this period was stricken from all text, tablets and monuments.  
Yes, I know, everyone is making tiny elves these days. . . but I wanted to add my own little twist. Hard to see in this image but he is in a flat mini basket with teeny pine cones, moss and green fluff. Clothing is made from handmade papers and twine. Hair is a shock of mohair

This little one is ready to go on an adventure with the handle basket!
Same idea as the one above for the clothing and hair here. 
And that's that. . . a selection of where my imagination went this past month. Much excitement to share in the coming weeks: Book progress(perhaps even a peek into one of the first stories?), Illustrations/sketches, new work, childhood memories, less custom work, more new ideas, a peek at my little town, the joy of our container garden and more. . .

Hoping June, be it the onset of your summer or winter season, is filled with magic and enchantment in your world too!