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Friday, December 3, 2010

Scamper McWagglebottom the Squirrel

Introducing Scamper McWagglebottom the Squirrel to our store today, we hope you enjoy him. In the New Year we hope to add a few squirrels dressed in costumes like the mice.

Apologies for not posting on the blog the last few days, the Christmas rush has hit The House of Mouse in full force - which is wonderful - but it does not leave us much time to make posts to publish here. We hope you are enjoying the holiday season :)


Friday, November 26, 2010

Sale this weekend only!

To celebrate Black Friday and Cyber Monday we are offering 10% OFF everything in our store between November 26th and 29th! To claim your discount simply input the special coupon code during Etsy checkout.

Coupon Code: CYBERSALE


Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Happy Holidays to all of our blog readers, newsletter subscribers, beloved customers and fans!! As a big THANK YOU we're offering free shipping to any destination worldwide when you make any purchase at The House of Mouse. We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season :-)

Much love,

Anna and Naomi xx

Friday, November 19, 2010

Father Chris Mouse's Makeover!

Little Father Chris Mouse has been a part of The House of Mouse since 2008, and until now he has always worn a white felt beard. He's a very popular Christmas Mouse, naturally, and so we thought that this year he could use a little "makeover"! We decided to change the white felt beard for a full and lustrous fluffy white fur beard, and I have to say, I think it looks dead cool on him ;-)

What do you think?

Father Chris Mouse is available to buy here

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Creative Space - Creating a Time Machine

Our first "Mouse House"; The TARDIS; sold this month, and we are keen to get another one in the shop as soon as possible. It has been very popular! So I have been hard at work creating another of these very special Time Machines. It is a delicate process, as you'd imagine... ;-)

There are several very important components, and they are all lots of fun to make and put together. But there are also some extras which appear in the creation process, and I can't bring myself to just throw them away:

I think for sure that they must be destined for some wonderful project of their own, these little blue squares, but I can't think what it might be!

Any ideas or suggestions?

Naomi xx

P.S. Love checking out Creative Spaces? Join us over at Kootoyoo's blog for more!

Dumble Dormouse Giveaway

Hey everyone! Out friends over at vvb32reads' blog are hosting a very special mouse giveaway to celebrate the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1. Visit their blog to find out how you could win your very own Dumble Dormouse!

The competition closes on November 28th.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Artist Interview - feltmeupdesigns

Each week we invite a different Etsy seller to visit us at our home: The House of Mouse, where all the mice live. This weeks guest is UK based fiber artist Melanie Green from feltmeupdesigns.etsy.com

Mel and I wander down one of the many paths in The House of Mouse garden eventually finding ourselves at the old pond surrounded by trees, twisting vines and the tumbledown remains of a potting shed. Mel’s little birds are happily playing splashing games in the shallow end of the pond, letting out little squawks and twitters of joy. Our mice scamper around their feet and dance up and down the vines, they are so happy to have new friends to play with. The mice were a little weary of Mel’s owls at first, but they are so sweet and gentile that all fears are soon forgotten. We sit ourselves down on the old wooden bench (well out of splashing range). Mel watches the merriment while I locate my notes.

Ahhh, here they are! Welcome to our home Mel. Thank you so much for talking to us today.
Thanks Anna, Thanks mice! I brought you some homemade fudge to share with the mice... I hope they like chocolate... it's my malteser fudge which I make for special occasions, very chocolatey and yummy but very sweet so they'll have to remember to clean their teeth before bedtime!

Ohh that sounds delicious! I am sure they will love it. (All the mice scurry over and start tucking in, silence follows, punctuated with a few appreciative squeaks)

We'd like to begin by asking you a little bit about your Etsy store and what it means to you: when telling someone about your shop for the first time, what do you say about it?
I'm get very shy talking about my shop to people (mice of course are another story, it's very easy to open up to a mouse... I think it's probably the whiskers!) I don't know why I get so bashful about it... here goes then!

I make needlefelted birds, I call them Tweets because that's what they call themselves! Needle felting is a process where you take pile of fluff and turn it into something wonderful using only a barbed needle, big foam pad and your imagination! I make all sort of birds from little tweets with love hearts on their bellies right up to the owls which are much more complex.

Would you share a memory with us of when you first fell in love with your craft?
I started out doing a wet felting course at my local community centre and the teacher mentioned needlefelting… I tried it and didn’t like it at first, so my needles returned to their box and stayed there for over a year, then when I moved house I found them again and decided to have another go. After making a few bunnies and aliens I decided to try my hand at making a bird and the first tweet was born! I fell in love with him straight away he was a little skinny blue tweet with pink spots on his belly. The basic design hasn’t changed much since then… it’s just got more complicated as I have started making real bird portraits!

I adore your shop name, it is so clever and easy to remember. How did you come up with it?
I wish I could remember! Me and a friend came up with it one night after sharing a few glasses of wine… and it just kinda stuck!

I have watched your designs become more and more complex over the last few years, is it important to you to continue challenging yourself as an artist?
Most definitely, I have the world’s shortest attention span so I need to keep it interesting for my self and keep developing my designs. It has to be fun, I always said the minute it stops being fun I’ll stop… I still love every minute of it tho!

How do you plan for a new item in your Etsy Shop, if at all? Do you know how something will look before you start?
I tend to work in lots of different ways; sometimes it’s just a case of putting colours together and seeing what works. When I make the owls and real birds it’s a different process though. I watch a lot of nature documentaries for inspiration and when I find a bird I like I research its markings and shape so as to get it as close as possible… the hardest part is working out what to leave out so the tweet will still look like its real life counterpart! I only have a vague idea what they will look like when I start, they tend to take shape under the needle.

We do hope that you're a keen Etsy buyer as well as seller. What are some of your favourite shops on Etsy and why?
Thehouseofmouse… of course… gotta love those mices!
I love Alibalijewellery http://www.etsy.com/shop/AliBaliJewellery I met Ali on a weekend away with some of the etsy girls and watched her make some speckled sparrow earring, her work is so beautiful.
Kitlane makes the cutest Jacabobs and Jacabunnies http://www.etsy.com/shop/KitLane she an inspiring needlefelter... Her creations have real character.

We'd love to get a little snippet of your home life, please describe your home in just 5 words.
Ooo… hard question! Leaking? I live in an attic flat with slopping ceilings and lots of quirky corners so:
Quirky, cosy, felt covered loft!

Värmod the Viking Mouse loves a midnight snack. If he were to raid your refrigerator right now, what treats might he find there?
Cheese… lots and lots of cheese… so he’ll have crazy cheese dreams.

If you were a mouse living in The House of Mouse, which one would you be and why?
I’d be the devil mouse because I have a wicked sense of humour!

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit us, Mel. Please let us know how we can find you on the internet by sharing some links.
Thanks Anna, thanks mice… I had a great time, I love your garden! I’ll leave you the rest of the fudge… oh wait… the mice ate it all!

My Felty shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/feltmeupdesigns
blog http://feltmeupdesigns.blogspot.com/
facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Felt-Me-Up-Designs/31648065832
twitter: http://twitter.com/Feltmeupdesigns
My Inky shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/inkmeup

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Weekly Happy Stats

Things that made Anna happy this week:
  • Marvelling at how fast my little boy is growing up. Took him out for lunch twice this week and both times he behaved perfectly.
  • Starting a knitting project for the first time in ages.
  • Watching the Christmas sales start to roll in. 
  • Enjoying making fun custom orders again.
  • Finally getting a full nights sleep since before Declan was born.
  • Treating myself to this bag by ThongBaiTatong
Unfortunately Naomi and her little boy are sick this week, so it's just Anna's happy stats today.
Get well soon Vincent and Naomi! xxx

Happy Video of Declan Laughing

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lord Cuthbert of Mousehole

Lord Cuthbert of Mousehole comes from a long line of distinguished gentlemice. He enjoys watching polo and having a little flutter at the horse races. Every evening you can find him sat in his comfy chair by a roaring fire reading his favourite leather-bound novel. Ol' Bertie is dressed in a fine cream suit, red bowtie and top hat, he carries a cane decorated in gold and silver and even has a little monocle.

Available to buy in our store

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Certificate of Authenticity

Introducing the new Certificate of Authenticity! 
This has a gold heat embossed (raised) stamp in the corner. 
We think it looks kind of awesome.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Artist Interview - staroftheeast

Each week we invite a different Etsy seller to visit us at our home: The House of Mouse, where all the mice live. This week's guest is jewelry- and bag-designer Estella from staroftheeast.etsy.com. Estella lives and works in Turkey with her mother, Esther.

The moment Estella enters the House of Mouse, she is crowded by dozens of girlie mice who are enchanted by her gorgeous jewelry! They excitedly lead her to the living room, where a roaring fire and several comfortable chairs (mouse-sized and human-sized!) await them. Pearl the knitting mouse nudges Estella's ankles to offer her something: It is a newly knitted blanket to lay on her lap and keep warm. Pearl says that Estella can take it away when she leaves, as a souvenir. Naomi pulls out her notebook and begins the interview.

Welcome to our cosy little home, Estella. It's wonderful to have you here to chat with us today.

Thank you so much for inviting me, Naomi! And look at this gorgeous blanket I just got from Pearl, how sweet and generous, thank you so much!
(Pearl blushes bashfully)

We'd like to begin by asking you a little bit about your Etsy stores and what they mean to you: when telling someone about your shops for the first time, what do you say about them?

When people ask us what we do we tell them that we make jewelry, most people do not take it very serious as they just think it is a hobby, playing with some beads. They do take us seriously when they find out that we live off that income and even take care of 14 dogs with it! Although it is not always easy, we are very happy to be able to live creatively!

Our main passion is jewelry making and so is our main shop and focus on staroftheeast. To give us a break from that we often make home decor and other creative outlets which end up in our giftshop, GiftsandStars. And we have a huge amount of fabric and textiles, vintage and new, which we sew into mostly one of a kind and always eco friendly bags for StarBags. As we are supply addicts we sometimes buy a little too much of some kinds, and to be able to circulate that into new supplies we sell them in our supply shop, StarofSupplies so that we can buy new supplies.

Would you share a memory with us of when you first fell in love with your favorite craft?

We always have been a creative duo one way or the other. Jewelry making started with the fact that I loved wearing earrings and didn't like or couldn't afford the ones for sale in shops here, so I started making my own. During that period a course opened here, and my mother and I went there together, we were very soon in love with it and wanted to make it our job!

How do you plan for new items in your Etsy Shops, if at all? Do you know how something will look before you start?

An idea can come in many ways. Inspiration often comes from the material we have but it can also be a movie, a conversation about something totally different, other artists works (in-an-inspirational-not-copy-way) and of course nature, which is also our main supply source. Ideas sometimes do not work out as we planned in our head, or might turn into a completely different way.

We do hope that you're a keen Etsy buyer as well as seller. What is your favourite shop on Etsy and why?

There are too many to choose just one! There is so much talent on Etsy. You will be able to find many of my favorites by searching for 'europeanstreetteam'.

We'd love to get a little snippet of your home life, please describe your home in just 5 words!

1. 14 dogs; much love and fur
2. lots of books, we both read alot
3. computer = internet, a huge source of inspiration and of course our income source
4. materials, as we usually create every day
5. comfort food, life is way less fun without it!

Ahh, so "dogs, books, computer, materials, food"! What a lovely mixture, your home must be very inviting.

Musculus Maximouse gets terrible midnight cravings. If he were to raid your refrigerator right now, what treats might he find there?

Mostly vegetables, cheese, Nutella, bread, and leftovers.

(Musculus licks his mousie chops at the sound of Nutella!)

If you were a mouse living in The House of Mouse, which one would you be and why?

I think I would love to be the Frida Kahlo mouse, I love her hair, her dresses and her art! But I love all of them differently so wouldn't mind to be any of them, hmmm maybe not Axel the executioner :)

And finally, one of the mice would like to ask you a question. Flower the Hippy Mouse would like to ask you: What is your most treasured possession and why?

I have many treasured possessions, as I give a lot of value to what I have. But not replaceable and very treasured are my mother and the furry kids :)

Those "furry kids" are lucky indeed to live in a household filled with such love.
It has been a pleasure having you here, Estella. Please let us know how we can find you on the internet by sharing some links!

The pleasure was all mine, I'm so happy to finally have met the famous Mouse Family after seeing them on the web so often! Oh I brought a special notebook with me, I would love to have their autographs, before they are too famous to have time for such things!

(The mice giggle excitedly and crowd around to put a "pawprint" in Estella's little book.)

You can find our shops at staroftheeast.etsy.com starofsupplies.etsy.com starbags.etsy.com and giftsandstars.etsy.com

we blog often at http://star-of-the-east.blogspot.com
and very recently started a visual blog at http://staroftheeast.tumblr.com

We feature a different Artist each week: If you'd like to come and visit us at The House of Mouse, please feel free to pop us a message and we will try to book you in!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Moodboard - Treasures from the Forest

Top Left: Les Doux et Durs Earth by zsazsazsu1963
Top Right: Day and Night Reversible Bag by StarBags
Bottom Left: Pebble Form Ring by lilarubyking
Bottom Right: Nno Felted Shawl- Forest Green by JurgitaMi

Love Moodboards? See more at Fleur's blog!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Weekly Happy Stats

Things that made Anna happy this week:

- Hearing Declan saying "Da da da da" for the first time (His daddy is glowing with pride, I can't wait for "Ma ma ma ma").
- Finishing building a whole new set of IKEA cupboards, Yay for more storage!
- Making little warrior mice for a very special customer.
- Catching up with friends for a good old girlie chat.
- Making Declan's first Halloween costume.

Things that made Naomi happy this week:

- Getting a lovely new Blu-Ray player and lots of freebies with it.
- Starting my Abundance Quest and through it meeting lots of likeminded people.
- Hearing about Vincent's "Fireworks" painting at nursery!
- Selling our first Mouse House: The TARDIS, with a little David Tennant Dr Who Mouse.
- Enjoying the unusually warm and very beautiful weather this November.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Värmod Catcrusher the Viking Mouse

 Värmod Catcrusher is a doughty, stalwart Viking Mouse. He is strong and tireless, frequently shouldering burdens that would tire lesser mice. As a Viking, Värmod is one of the "berserkers", and has been known to rush into battle with no clothes on. If the sight of him naked isn't enough to disable the enemy, his battleaxe certainly will be.

Available in our store now

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Creative Space - Finding a Warm Spot

Three little Terry Mice have found their way into a cubby hole on my bureau: Just like real cats, they've snuggled into a cosy little corner. Don't they look cute all huddled in together? :-)

Want to check out lots more creative spaces? Head on over to Kootoyoo's blog!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wednesday Wisdom - Making lists online

If you are anything like me, you can't remember everything you need to do unless you write it down. If you are even more like me, then you also have a habit of losing your lists! I found this great, simple to use website for keeping all my lists on, called tadalist.com Now they are stored on-line so I can't lose them! I can even share the list with other users.

Do you have wisdom to share this Wednesday? It doesn't need to be long or complicated, or even craft related. Any little snippit of knowlege that might help others is welcome! Once you have shared your Wednesday Wisdom with the blogsphere, leave a link to your post here so others can find you too! (the actual post url please, not your main blog page thanks!)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Artist Interview - BHBKidstyle

Each week we invite a different Etsy seller to visit us at our home: The House of Mouse, where all the mice live. This week's guest is Hungarian children's clothes designer Eva from BHBKidstyle.etsy.com, who is currently based in Portugal.

Eva arrives with armfuls of brightly colored tiny Mouse t-shirts hand painted by her, which she tells us are gifts for all of the mice! The mice that have gathered to welcome her are squabbling over the beautiful designs, but in the end each of them is wearing a vibrant little outfit and they are all very impressed. Naomi and the mice guide Eva to the House of Mouse library, where we are surrounded not only by hundreds of beautiful books but also bright and cheerful hanging mobiles and wind chimes to catch our eyes as we chat. It is a warm, serene little room with comfortable chairs and a lovely atmosphere. There are cheesy nibbles laid out on the low tables for us to munch on! Naomi settles Eva in one of the comfy chairs and begins the interview.

Hello, Eva dear, and welcome to The House of Mouse! We're all so glad that you could make it here today.

Thank you for inviting me! I do pass your house quite often while doing my errands in town and I often wondered how so many different mice with different personalities can live under the same roof in peace. And your library! It's such a comfortable place! It has a very pleasant, relaxing atmosphere. I can just see myself sitting here under the mobiles nibbling yummy cheese scones while musing about my next design.

Well you'd be more than welcome to visit any time! For today, we'd like to begin by asking you a little bit about your Etsy store and what it means to you: when telling someone about your shop for the first time, what do you say about it?

Well, me and my Etsy store have a very up-and-down relationship. I opened it just over a year ago full of hopes and dreams. As we all know dreams don´t always come to true, or at least not immediately and that is when the relationship has its down moments. However, I´m a dreamer by nature. Dreaming keeps me going and make me a positive thinking person.

I like my Etsy store because without it I wouldn´t have been able to show the world my craft and my belief that kids have vivid imaginations, good humor and that they like wearing it. Without my Etsy store I wouldn´t have had the courage to start selling my products at craft fairs and see how much people appreciate what I do. And without my Etsy store I wouldn´t have met some wonderful people.

Would you share a memory with us of when you first fell in love with your craft?

To be honest first I fell in love with my youngest daughter's drawings. At the age of four she produced a quite complicated picture with lots of details and a full story behind it. That was the time when I decided that they shouldn´t go to waste. But of course complicated pictures can´t really go onto t-shirts so, I just use snippets of them

My first ever t-shirt was the grazing colorful sheep. I made lots of them since then in different sizes. Adults like wearing it too and I have had quite a few custom orders. I even have them for babies.

But the first time I fell in love with my craft must have been when I made a leaf print t-shirt with bugs. I adore nature! I love leaf prints and I find that when having a closer look at little bugs they are beautiful.

How do you plan for a new item in your Etsy Shop, if at all? Do you know how something will look before you start?

Well, I either get the folder out that contains my kids artwork or I start drawing the design that has been “bothering” me on paper first. It usually takes several attempts to get the picture to look vaguely like the one I imagined. If I´m not sure about it, I get one of my kids' old t-shirts out and do the design on that. For me, painting on t-shirts is much easier than on paper. However, I never know exactly what a design is going to look like until I finish it. It´s always the last touches that makes them just right. It used to freak me out but I´m fine with it now. Well, most of the time.

(Gizmo the Mogwai Mouse has crept up to Eva and is offering her a huge piece of cheesecake. Eva's eyes have lit up at this, and she nibbles at it as Naomi carries on with the interview)
We do hope that you're a keen Etsy buyer as well as seller. What is your favorite shop on Etsy and why?

(Eva starts coughing and choking) I must say (coughs – coughs) it is very mean of you waiting for me to let my guard down with this delicious cheesecake and then shooting a question like this at me! Bad manners! (Making herself at home, Eva reaches out to take another slice of cheese cake without being offered it or asking permission first!)
I like things that are out of the normal and different from the mainstream. I like shops that sell things that I would never be able to make. That is why I like
http://www.etsy.com/shop/13threads, http://www.etsy.com/shop/Jealousydesign, http://www.etsy.com/shop/Kreativlink, http://www.etsy.com/shop/ingermaaike, http://www.etsy.com/shop/StarBags,

We'd love to get a little snippet of your home life, please describe your home in just 5 words!

Disorganised, noisy, smell of bread, welcoming, loving

(Naomi points out that this must be why Eva feels so at home at The House of Mouse, as it sounds very familiar!)
Musculus Maximouse gets terrible midnight cravings. If he were to raid your refrigerator right now, what treats might he find there?

We love dairy products and the fridge is always well stocked with milk, yoghurts and of course different kind of cheese. The most precious bit in it at the moment is a very mature bit of Stilton. Do you want to come round and have a bit of it?

Some of the mice are a little too young for such strong cheese, but we do happen to know that Alfonso the Artist Mouse has a real weakness for Stilton, and Naomi shares his love! We may raid your fridge some day soon!!

You are more than welcome!

If you were a mouse living in The House of Mouse, which one would you be and why?

I think I would like to be Gourdon, the Mouse dressed as a Pumpkin. My favorite colour is orange and I really like his pumpkin outfit. It is big and roomy and he can keep lots of different things in it. Not just sweets and cheese.

(Gourdon is puffing out his little chest proudly, but admits that it is mostly sweets and cheese stuffed in his costume today after Halloween! It will need a wash in the morning...)

And finally, one of the mice would like to ask you a question. As he's taken such a shining to you, your question this week comes from Gourdon. He says that color is clearly a very important part of your work, and he'd like to ask you: As well as orange, what are your favorite colors?

Well, Gourdon, I like orange because it´s bright, shocking and warm. I also like different shades of green because it reminds me of nature and I like the different shades of blue because they go well with orange.
It has been a pleasure having you here, Eva. Please let us know how we can find you on the internet by sharing some links!

It was my utmost pleasure! I really enjoyed being here and the yummy delicious food!

Through my Etsy store, of course: http://www.etsy.com/shop/BHBKidstyle
On facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Condeixa-Portugal/BHB-Kidstyle/142217155821572
On twitter: http://www.twitter.com/BHBKidstyle
And my need to work on blog: http://bhbkidstyle.blogspot.com

Join us every week for Etsy seller interviews!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday Moodboard: Domestic Goddess

Fold Top Shoulder Bag by StarBags
Sewing forever, housework whenever by dindi
Crafting Cindy Desk Organizer by lessandmore
Purple Felted Pincushion by colouritgreen

I've made the decision: The time has come for me to buy (and learn to use!) a sewing machine. It's on my Christmas list, so hopefully by the new year I will be sewing beautiful clothes for all my family and friends!!! (Well, I can dream, can't I?)

Have a magical week ;-)
Naomi xxx

Psssst! Love Moodboards? Find more wonderful Moodboards at Fleur's blog!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Etsy Sellers Tip: Managing Expectations

 Managing expectations is a big key to running a successful business, because if you "Exceed Expectations" we all know this means we are doing a great job.

I'll try to explain what Managing Expectations is: Imagine you have arrived at a busy restaurant and are told that there is a 30 minute wait for a table. You put your name down on the list, sit at the bar and make yourself comfortable. Only 15 minutes later, the staff come to tell you that your table is ready. You're thrilled right? Because you only have to wait 15 minutes when you were told it would be 30. Now imagine if you had come to the same busy restaurant, and you are told that there should be a table ready in 5 minutes. You sit down at the bar and impatiently wait for the staff to come and tell you your table is ready, but they don't arrive until 15 minutes after you sat down. Now you are downright annoyed because you only expected to be waiting for 5 minutes.

Can you see how the expectation was set in each situation, and how much of an affect this has on a customers reaction to the same amount of waiting time?

Managing expectations is about telling your customers what to expect from you, and then exceeding the expectations you gave them. This requires good communication, because if you don't tell your customers what to expect then they will have their own ideas (which may or may not be totally impossible for you to meet). So the first step is to communicate all the information your customer will need to them.

Examples of this include:
- When an order is made, send an email to thank them and at the same time let them know when their package will be shipped, and how long you expect it to take to arrive.
- When dealing with a custom order, always let your customer know how long it will take to make.
- Fill out your shop policies with information on everything you do as a business, from the way you pack your shipping boxes to the speed at which you answer emails. Have all the information there for your buyers so it is easy to find.

To make sure that you exceed expectations, always add a little extra "wiggle room" in case of unexpected problems.

Another important way of managing expectations is how you deal with a major problem when it comes up, when your wiggle room is just not going to be enough. Perhaps you took an order for something but the shop you get the materials from has run out and it will be 3 weeks before they have more. What do you do? You let your customer know, give them options and other choices to replace the item they needed or ask them if they mind waiting until you have the materials in stock. Don't leave them in the dark expecting everything to be going fine, because they will be very unhappy to receive the perfect item 3 weeks later than they expected. 

Managing expectations is about communication, which is so important when it comes to building a good relationship with your customer. Good relationships help your business grow faster than anything else, if people know you for being honest and that you meet your deadlines they will come back and they will tell their friends about you too. 

Weekly Happy Stats

Things that made Anna happy this week:
- Finally getting over a week long flu
- Getting my happy boy back after his illness
- Getting dressed up for a Halloween party and having a perfect day out with my boy on Sunday. Lots of cuddles, smiles and laughs.

Things that made Naomi happy this week:
- Seeing this picture of my beautiful Nephew Declan!
- Listening to Wayne Dyer each day
- Making my very first Terry, the Mouse in a Cat Suit (I'm so pleased with how he turned out!)
- Helping Frances to achieve her goal and to find all of the funding needed for the amazing Olive Tree Project!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Interview with a Mouse: Gwendolyn the Witch Mouse

This month we will be interviewing Gwendolyn the Witch Mouse. She was first sold from The House of Mouse in September 2009, in plenty of time to join her first adoptive family by halloween of that year. She has been a much loved character in the House since then!

Hello there, Gwendolyn! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us today.
Hello dearie! Thank you kindly for having me. Do you mind if I lean my broomstick against this wall? Thanks ever so much.

No, of course, please go ahead. Don't take this the wrong way, but it's somewhat surprising to hear a witch speak so sweetly and kindly! We had expected you to be a little scarier...
(Gwendlyn chuckles warmly at this) Ohhh, that'll be the kiddies, giving me a fearsome reputation. It's all silliness really. Being a witch is just a job, and I'm good at it because I happen to be blessed with these good looks! (She points out her fabulously hairy warts and olive green skin). Isn't that lucky?!

Erm, yes... So you mentioned "the kiddies" – Are they friends of yours from The House of Mouse?
The cheeky little darlings! They love to play along, you know. They swear blind that I turned their friend into a toad! Little Anakin Skywalker Mouse and Frodo Baggins Mouse do love to pretend to fight the scary old witch and impress the girlies, and I humour them sometimes.

So what about your work as a witch? What does it involve, and do you enjoy it?
Well, since I joined The House of Mouse, my work involves joining new families and amazing them all with my spells and broomstick skills. I can show that Harry Potter Mouse a thing or two on a broomstick, you know! The spells are a little trickier... I do tend to get in a bit of a muddle sometimes. Last month I was trying to conjure a plate of crackers, but I had a bit of a swollen lip at the time and somehow I manged to fill the room with ducks instead... The noise was atrocious, not to mention the mess! But I love my work as a witch. I couldn't think of anything I'd rather do.

What is your earliest childhood memory as a young mouse?
Ahhh, well I'm afraid it's not such a happy one. I remember my school days, though they were a fair old while ago now. I was teased terribly for my colour and my warts. Children can be so cruel! But I learned to use humour to deflect it, and it's made me a stronger mouse today for certain.

Oh, we are sorry to hear that. Has your time at The House of Mouse been more enjoyable?
Oh without a shadow of a doubt! The kiddies here are much more playful, and it is so exciting to get a new adoptive family to get to know. I love how treasured I feel in each new home, and especially the excitement around Halloween! Abercrombie the Zombie Mouse and I get carried away when it's time to decorate the House in cobwebs and fake blood! (She chuckles again).

How wonderful! Thank you so much for talking with us today Gwendolyn, it has been lovely to get to know you a little. We hope this Halloween is a very special time for you.
And thank you, dearies! It was a pleasure indeed. (She flies off on her tiny broomstick).

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Michael Jackson Mouse

Little Michael Jackson Mouse has been turned into a zombie?! What out as he dances his way into your heart. This iconic character from MJs music video "Thriller" is dressed in the red and black jacket, trousers and signature black shoes with white socks. We hope you enjoy this newest edition to The House of Mouse family.

See more pics here

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Creative Space - Painting

Some of you may already know that I am also a painter. I haven't painted that much in the last 3 years however, since The House of Mouse took over my imagination. But a friend recently asked me if I would make a painting for her, it was wonderful to get back in front of a canvas again. Here is the painting I made, and I feel quite inspired to paint again very soon. I have so many wonderful photographs of Declan that I should paint. 

Wishing you a creative day!
Anna x

See more creative spaces here

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday Wisdom

Feed your inner artist regularly.

...No, I'm not talking about eating a varied diet, though that is of course important ;-)
What I'm refering to is filling your artistic "pool", or nourishing your imagination. If you're any kind of artist or you rely on your creativity for any part of your life, then the chances are you've had days when you just don't feel very inspired or creative. I've realised that many people are trying to call on their imagination to help them when they haven't been taking proper care of it!
Your creative mind needs fuel and some time to spark that fuel into a flame before it will start working for you. For me, the very best way to allow this to happen has always been taking some time to appreciate nature. My second in line is listening to music that makes my spirit soar.

Please treat your inner artist this week to something that makes YOU feel inspired, and see how rewarding it is! I don't want to hear "but I don't have the time..." - There is always time enough to invest in yourself ;-) and in the long run, you will find that it is always worth it.

Much love,
Naomi xxx

We invite all of you to share your Wisdom with the blogosphere by
posting a link to your Wednesday Wisdom in Mister Linky below!
(Just the individual WW post please, not your whole blog- that way we can find your post later!)
Photograph from PetitPlat

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Artist Interview - ThongbaiTatong

Each week we invite a different Etsy seller to visit us at our home; The House of Mouse, where all the mice live. This weeks guest is Dutch based Fashion Designer and textile artist Bai from ThongbaiTatong.etsy.com

Bai has joined us for lunch in The House of Mouse. We sit together at the long wooden table in our kitchen, breathing in the wonderful cooking smells as Chris the Chef mouse bakes fresh bread and prepares all kinds of tasty treats for Bai and our family of mice to enjoy. He loves that we have guests every week, because he gets to show off his culinary talents to new people. Anna grabs a piece of bread fresh from the oven, looks down at her notes and starts the interview:

Welcome to our home Bai! Thank you so much for talking to us today.
Thank you for inviting me. Sorry I am a little late. But anyway I am here now ;) Oh.. and the bread smells so nice. You must be Chris the Chef. I know you. I have seen your pictures on Etsy before. Nice to meet you.

We'd like to begin by asking you a little bit about your Etsy store and what it means to you: when telling someone about your shop for the first time, what do you say about it?
Oh, do we begin now? OK. I hope you don’t mind me eating while talking. This bread is so yummy!

About my Etsy shop? Everything that you see in my shop is the products of my love and passion for design and arts. When you love something so much you would even do it for free. And my clothes and bags are something that I would make for free.

Ohh, this is such a yummy bread. You guys are so lucky to have Chris in the house cooking for us. Sorry but I have to take another piece now. Cannot help it. Yummm.. umm..

Seriously, I would make my clothes for free! But it is so great that people are willing to pay for them. And I am grateful to these people who help me pay my bills. It enables me continue to create more and more of what I love, and to spread the love.

Would you share a memory with us of when you first fell in love with your craft? 
Good that you ask. I have been looking at this lovely wooden table and the wooden chairs we are sitting on now. They are practical and the design is really amazing. I thought of my father straight away. He is a very talented carpenter. When I was about 12 years old I had to make something for my art and craft subject. I wanted to make a very big wooden key of about one foot long, with some hooks attached to it to hang keys. My father taught me how to draw the design on the wood and how to carefully saw the wood and sand the piece so it would be smooth and neat. I watched him and listened to him. There was so much love. And my key was so amazingly beautiful.

Maybe I can take some pictures of your table and chairs and send to my father. May I?

Sure you can! This table has been in my family from when my grandfather made it many years ago. I am sure he would be happy to know that you like it so much.

How do you plan for a new item in your Etsy Shop, if at all? Do you know how something will look before you start?
I make what comes in my mind and usually begin with a sketch. When I have a great idea about something, let’s say a dress, I spend a lot of time drawing. My designs involve a lot of decorative elements, especially appliqué. In each sketch I place the decorative elements on different parts of the dress. Then I decide which design looks the best. Out of one design I usually make at least two dresses from different color combinations. I have many meters of many different kinds of fabric. It allows me to be as creative as I want with my design and fabric combination.

Actually I just saw someone walking past. Was that Heather the Artist Mouse? I love how she dresses herself. So cute and artful. Just tell her if she needs a place for her work placement she is welcome in my studio any time.

(Heather peeks her nose through the doorway looking very pleased that Bai noticed her clothes. She wore her best things today. She does a little twirl.)

Your shop is your full-time job, we know this takes a lot of careful time management, how do you keep yourself organized?
When I design something new I make a number of it for my stock. Only when I have enough stock I list the product for sale. That is why I only have 30 products for sale even though my shop is already one and a half years old. It takes about 2-3 days to design something from start to finish. But I usually need another 2-3 weeks to make the stock, before this product is put in the market. During these 2-3 weeks there is no pressure because I focus only on one thing. There is also no deadline and I only have to work as hard as I want and can. The quality of work is also better when you do not sew in a hurry.

I want to be able to list something new often like a lot of sellers do too, especially when I know I already have the design and the photos have already been made. I feel the itch. But I have to concentrate and stay patient. I wait. When things are already in stock they are also ready to ship. If you read the customers’ Feedback in my shop, you will see that the ‘fast shipping’ has been much appreciated.

I offer made to order and custom orders only on items that are easy to make and therefore less time consuming. It is stated on my shop policies that I ship my orders only on Tuesdays and Fridays. Between the two shipments I can spend some hours for custom orders. And the rest of the time I just focus on my new designs and stock.

We do hope that you're a keen Etsy buyer as well as seller. What is one of your favorite shops on Etsy and why?
Only one shop? Oh.. this is so difficult. It is just like asking me which mouse in the house I like the most. I love them all but if I have to choose I would say I love Chris the Chef mouse because he makes the best coffee in the world. Wink Wink! Chris, my dear, you wouldn’t have just one more cup of coffee for me, would you? Oh you are a darling.

Only one Etsy shop? Then I will say gufobardo by Stefania Morgante from Italy. Most of her products are original pieces. Stefania is a trained artist. And you can see how much she loves her work. Each line is drawn with skill and joy. You can see it. And I can see it because I own a few pieces of her work and I love them so much.

We'd love to get a little snippet of your home life, please describe your home in just 5 words.
1) Messy
2) Most
3) Of
4) The
5) Time

Musculus Maximouse gets terrible midnight cravings. If he were to raid your refrigerator right now, what treats might he find there?
Grapefruit juice, yoghurt, and cheese.

If you were a mouse living in The House of Mouse, which one would you be and why?
I would love to be Happy Birthday Mouse because I will get to go to different birthday parties with singing and dancing. Would be great fun.

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit us, Bai. Please let us know how we can find you on the internet by sharing some links!
You are welcome. And thanks so much for the lovely food and drink. I really enjoyed the interview.

My personal website: www.thongbaitatong.com.
My blog www.thongbaitatong.blogspot.com
My twitter: thongbaitatong
My Facebook: thongbaitatong

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