Be Patient

I live by this rule these days – but is it really a rule?  Isn’t it more like common sense?  Most of us spend our whole lives rushing around at speed, trying to get things done, trying to get everything done in very little time, so we can relax and enjoy – but trouble is, once you start doing everything, other things show themselves and so you have to do those things too (you know what it’s like –  once you’re on a roll) and before you know it, you’re stressed, you’re tired, you’re ill.

I fell into this trap.  I stopped my creations and tried to sort out my Etsy shop – I retook ALL of my photos and with 200+ listings, that was a hell of a lot and it took me weeks!  I had to wait for the good weather and got frustrated with the constant wind that blew everything around and then the stifling hot sun…  I wish I had just done a few a day and not attempted to do them all…  I mean, I’d probably still be doing them, but perhaps I would have enjoyed it rather then it become a chore?

Everything I find just takes patience – nothing is going to be a crazy success overnight – if you just take the time and stop worrying, the hard work will pay off.  But meanwhile, in-between that patience, observe what’s around you too!  Most of the time I take a few time out days, I leave my business altogether… I just go outside, enjoy the garden, see my friends, go for long walks and visit the sea – I am so lucky to have so many beautiful places within reach here in North Devon to go to, but then I did grow up in London, I experienced a city life, not always grey and busy… But I managed to escape there too – the parks were great, there were wildlife reserves and woodland and it was 45 minutes in the car to Kent – super!  No matter where you are, there is something to see – you just have to be patient, you won’t get to it in seconds! 

Below are a few of my pictures just to prove, if you take the time, if you be patience, you will be rewarded – so sit back,  let everything come to you – being a wildlife photographer, I’ve stopped ‘seeking’, it’s now whatever I find, and it’s much more relaxing and I think my pictures are improving because of this, what do you think?  From left to right a wildflower called a corncockle, a dragonfly called a broad bodied chaser, a robin called Louie (!), a perfect Devon sunset and a beautiful poppy.

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Running a business is all about patience, you just have to put in the work – I’ve worked hard at it all year round now, now I’m no longer doing craft fairs, and I’ve put in the time, the effort and the energy – I have a formula now to work with (apart from sorting out this blog, this is where I fall down!) and I’m so enjoying what I’m doing and I’m getting some of the best feedback I’ve ever had.  It’s a good feeling.   Everyone I believe can achieve this – just be patience, be still.

Emy xx

Lists and Plans

How many of us make lists?  Are they listed on your phone?  Or do you still write them down?  Or like me, are they just listed somewhere in the vast space of your brain?  My brain can hold an awful lot of information (not all of it rather useful though!)

Last night I took part in #folksyhour all about blogging and how to blog and what to blog… I think I tweeted some valid points, since I started my first blog in 2006 (No I’m not bragging, it’s rather shameful really, too much time on my hands?) and that’s the problem now – there’s not enough time to do everything!

Life used to be so simple when all you needed to do was to blog – now there’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr… Not to mention the shop platforms – Etsy and Folksy (I will not even consider NOTHS being in with that, I don’t agree with their handmade policies, since I found a shop owner sticking a bought bird charm on a bought chain and selling it for £15!!!  Disgusting.)  Which ones do you pick?  Do you do all of them?  Do you do some of them one week and the rest next week?  Do you sign up for these apps which you pay good money in order for them to do it for you, hence losing the personal touch?  Well, you really don’t need to do anything you don’t want to do, no-one is telling you otherwise – just stop worrying and listen…, sorry, read!

PLAN.

Yep, that’s right.  Don’t rush into anything headfirst – PLAN.  The best day to plan is on a Sunday and it shouldn’t take more then an hour.  Look at the week ahead, create a timetable – personally I like to ‘draw’ one out, so I can refer to it as it’s sitting next to me, by my laptop – and I find if I write things down, rather then type them, I find it better to remember what I’ve written!

The trick is, is to do a little bit of everything. 

Blog at least once a week – I had a plan to do that 3 times a week…  The plan is still in place people! 😉

I always make sure I post one thing a day on Facebook, maybe twice – a piece of work, followed by a picture of what I’ve been doing – a bit like this:

“Today I have been busy, I’ve managed to find time to paint and enjoy what I have painted, I hope you like it too… Am I flying bird obsessed?

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Followed by later on:

“Do you ever feel like you’re being watched?”  Hey Louie!

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I tend to post anything to Instagram after 7pm – as that’s when it seems to be busy as people have returned to work, have had their dinner and are now on their phones/laptops – I post new work, work in progress (WIP) and photographs of either Louie or a nice sunset…

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When it comes to Twitter – I look back at my own handy blog as a guide – I love joining in with some of the ‘hours’ that take place – there are so many and it’s best to be selective – I don’t always do them, but during my time tabled week on a Sunday I make sure I’m there for at least ONE!  I like to re-write my timetable every single week…!

I make sure I list at least one new item per day on both my Etsy shop and my Folksy shop – so today’s offering for folksy, click on the picture to get you to the shop listing:

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And Etsy:

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Of course I don’t stick 100% to my timetable, it’s just a guideline – and it’s needed for people like myself who forget things so easily!  But I am indeed a creature of habit – I once read somewhere that it takes 21 days to form a habit, as long as you’re doing this every day for 21 days that is!  Bare that in mind!

As for tumblr – I tend to steer clear of it – I don’t quite understand how it works, I’ve never liked it – but some people it works well – I am on there as lovearobin << I know, terrible name!!

Pinterest?  I LOVE THAT PLACE – trouble is, I can spend hours on it – every new listing on any of my shops, or any new photo posted on Twitter, I then pin to one of my boards – don’t even begin to ask me what that place is all about and how it works for your business, I simply don’t have a clue and hope someday someone will enlighten me!

Google+ – another total confusion with me – although I did notice one of my posts quite high up on a search item on google about hand painted jewellery – so I shall try it again – if I’m successful, I’ll blog about it!

Sorry for being so vague… I chat to my blog like it’s a real person!

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I tend to do social media in the mornings and then work in the afternoons and then network like crazy in the evenings – although some days I just disappear off the map, out with my camera, out for the day, away completely, which is so needed in this day and age or you will just about drive yourself insane.

As always, bare in mind that what works for you, doesn’t always work for others – it’s all trial and error – and as you can see I’ve rambled on and on here and because of that, I’ve actually created a blog post out of it!

I guess with blogging – be yourself, be funny (if you’re not funny usually then here’s your chance to be that funny person you’ve always wanted to be), write about everything – write about the book your reading, the film you went to see, write about the artists you love and perhaps interview a few of them. Start your own trends – like ‘Treasury Tuesdays’ – found items from wherever – not just artists, but great articles to read, fantastic recipes.  Talk about yourself, your garden, your pets – what makes you happy, sad, angry – treat a blog like your own personal sounding board/soapbox – of course, everything is common sense and if you feel you’re getting too angry or heated, just move on… there’s a great ‘delete’ button, use it!  But above all, enjoy it – it’s not daunting and if anything, it doesn’t have to be straight away – I started this blog this morning, I’ve been coming back and forth to it, and it’s already lunchtime and I’ve prattled on already with over 1000 words (how the hell did that happen?)

Anyhooooo…  I’ll be back to blog some more soon!

Treasury Tuesday

A month or so ago, Etsy decided to scrap their very popular Treasuries – they were a list of findings which you yourself could create, out of your favourites or matching colours or for different seasons – Sadly I never did get much time to look and make lots myself, but since the deletion, I do kind of miss it!

I am hoping to write a series of blog posts on my fellow artists via interview type questions, and especially the ones I admire & would love to buy from in the future – that’s if I haven’t done so already!  But first…

I’ve decided to make my own ‘Treasury’ and not always on a Tuesday either… It just happens to be Tuesday!  There will be 5 shops shared each time!

Anyhow… Here goes, instead of just one picture per shop, I’ve screen shot their Etsy shop pages – as in the first 6 listings, please click on them to be taken to each individual shop:

Let me introduce you to the stunning and original work of Jakeart1

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She has an endless and boundless talent, I swear this lady could paint anything and as you can see, top right corner, my own Louie Robin has had the fabulous Justine treatment!  I call her the Queen of the Hares – her hare paintings are stunning!  She’s also a lovely lady, I go through so many confidence crisis’s and she’s always there to make it better!  You can commission her to do anything – and she’ll do it for you and you’ll be so happy, as her work is amazing!  I cannot stress that enough!

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Next… Let me introduce you to EarthBalanceCraft and her copper wire art – I do myself own one of her beautiful robin creations and I really must photograph it for her and post it in situ asap!  I simply love her work and I have my eye on so many pieces… her sense of colour is extraordinary, as I always home into colour more then anything else!  This must take her hours, it shows!  The love and the passion she has for her creations literally ooze out of the wire!

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For the third shop here is LilCritterDesigns – I have absolutely no talent in stitching of any kind at all… Knitting, crochet, sowing… Nothing, it has totally passed me by…!  But if I could stitch as half as good at this incredibly talented lady then I’d be very happy indeed!  I have recently purchased one of her robin decorations too and it’s hanging pride of place on the dresser right now in the sitting room – again it’s the use of colour, I can’t get enough of it!

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None of these shops are in any particular order… so let’s get to the fourth shop in my Tuesday Treasury – Let me introduce you to the multitalented Fawa1 – I stumbled across her shop on one of my first Etsy hunts for anything robin (Yes, robins are indeed my obsession!) and I found one of her beautiful robin brooches which I immediately ordered and only recently I’ve been wearing it again… Her drawings are beautiful, there is so much character in all of her designs and they are so simple too, with a great modern twist:

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Lastly and in no way least – let me introduce you to DancingHarePottery – another ‘stumble upon’ while searching ‘crows’ and I found her crow bowl and another impulse buy and I use it to keep my watch and rings safe!  Another art form which has completely passed me by – pottery – although I love it very much indeed, but what I love about hers is that it’s just not about the bowl, it’s about the drawings and the designs too… her bowls are her canvas’s and they’re extremely beautiful and simple too… and of course, colourful!  Are you seeing a pattern here?  Gorgeous work, I have my eye on so many pieces!

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I hope you all enjoyed my little foray into the world of Etsy and my favourite shops and artisans – I shall be doing a blog post like this again soon!  Plus I won’t only be looking on Etsy, I shall be sharing Facebook, Instagram and Folksy… I’ve never really found many shops on Twitter!

Thanks for reading!

Emily 🙂 x

About My Inspiration

I have always loved art – I went to art college and studied painting, so I’ve always been creative in one way or the other!

Yet I also love taking photographs and especially wildlife photography, nothing thrills me more then seeing something so beautiful like a butterfly, dragonfly or bird and being able to capture what I see and then to share it for others to see too!

My family left London in 2007 and moved to North Devon and for the first time, we had a biggish garden in which we made into a wildlife haven!  Adding another wildlife pond, a wildflower meadow, a mini orchard and lots of bird and animal homes around the garden.  The wildlife came thick and fast, from grass snakes to broad bodied chasers and hedgehogs!  (all featured in my gallery)

In April 2011 I decided to feed the birds live mealworms – I had read how much they loved them and especially when it came to nesting season – easy pickings for very hungry and fast growing chicks.  Of course unbeknown to me I had made a decision which would change my life and the life for another too.  He first appeared to me after I had frustratingly decided to ‘drown’ the live and living mealworms because the birds were turning their beaks up at them and I was feeling I had wasted my money… He was a robin and he was angry – so angry in fact, he took a dead mealworm in his beak and slammed it down on the floor, then he picked it up again and did the same and then glared at me through my study window as if he was yelling ‘Why are they dead???  I want them alive!’ – so I shot out with a handful of ‘live’ and ‘living’ mealworms and replaced them… and the robin came back and took 3 away in his beak and then he just continued to do that for the rest of the Spring and Summer.  He came very close to me, in fact, he would come when I called him – ‘Larry Legs’, or just plain ‘Larry’ but the ‘Legs’ because he had long thin legs…

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In mid July that year Larry Legs introduced me to his son:

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Then shortly after, he disappeared and I didn’t see him again.  I’m absolutely convinced that he knew what he was doing – he knew that when he left, his fledglings and particularly this one would be safe.  I hope one day to meet him again when my time has come and to thank him for giving me such a wonderful small flock of amazing best robin friends!  But he certainly knew!!!

This robin I also called ‘Larry’ – but ‘Little Larry’ – as I figured he’d recognise me calling his dad’s name when he was in the nest, so I was familiar to him, the sound of my voice and my ‘shape’ too – so he was immediately a part of me – although never a ‘hand perching bird’ – he was a wild creature, not a plaything!  I literally brought him up – I would call him every day – my whole life was dedicated to him – I would sit for hours with him as he sung to me, preened, perched deep in thought… And if I moved some place else, he’d follow!  I couldn’t go away on holiday without asking friends to ‘robin sit’, I couldn’t go very far in the Winter months as I ‘had’ to get home before it got dark to make sure he was ok.  I had him from July 2011 to June 2013 – in-between he helped me through the sad loss of my beautiful mum to cancer, she loved him too and he being by my side when her physical presence had gone, made me feel like she was still with me in him.  Until he left too.  I fear his nest was attacked by magpies, as he didn’t turn up for his breakfast one morning, that fateful day of 7th June 2013 – but his wife ‘Lila’ turned up that evening, with one fledgling in tow.  My beloved Larry:

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I mourned Larry’s loss for so long, I was totally heartbroken and the grief of losing my mum, came back tenfold and it took me a long long time to not be tearful when I thought of Larry and his demise.  But you can see where I’m going with this, can’t you?  As it didn’t end there, far from it – even though I convinced myself not to get involved with another robin – their lives are short and full of danger, I’d be worrying all over again and much worse, so I won’t whatsoever – no no no – fall for another robin….

Well…

I didn’t listen to myself.  Although it took me a year, and the ground work was done – when this little bird was a fledgling, I called him using a particular whistle and then came up with a name a few days later ‘Louie’ – and finally after a few days of being very very scared and without his dad to show him how… Louie stepped out for a photograph or 10…

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Then he disappeared as all youngsters generally do to moult and gain their beautiful adult plumage and make their way into the world.  Although he didn’t go far, I would see him watching me deep in the hedge as I was out with my camera, or he would pop out occasionally to say hello!  It was my Dad who kept him friendly, he would call him every morning for some food and Louie would answer and come down.

Finally I just swallowed my fear of getting too close and I began to call him too and using that whistle I taught him to recognise when he was a youngster and the rest – well – that’s another story for another day!  But here is Louie from today – 18th November – I see him every single day now, at least 3 times, for chats and photographs and live mealworms…  He’s coming into his 4th season and he is stronger then ever!  And boy am I utterly in love with him, as in, I’ve got it so bad!!!

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But how I hear you ask is this your inspiration?  Well – note the name of my business up there – LARRYWARE – when Larry disappeared, I decided to make myself a little momento of him to keep forever – so I took one of his many pictures and made myself a pendant!  And that gave me the idea to make jewellery out of my own images from photographs and now to paintings – and it’s all Larry’s fault!  Of course Louie has been made into jewellery pieces too and he also has an official 2017 calendar:

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Which you can purchase here

I am robin mad.  In fact, I am so robin, perhaps I should change my name?!

I am ‘still’ writing a book about ‘My Wild Life with Robins’ – but that has been shelved for a bit (pardon the pun) until after Christmas, so in my hibernation period of early next year when the business goes quiet… I shall be writing then!  So watch this space!

Thanks for reading!

Emily 🙂  (& Louie!) x

P.S. You can keep in touch with Louie here daily.