Rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. October was full of post strikes mucking up everything, taking time off with Andy, motorbike illness (the bike, not us) and lists. You know - you wake up and you start working your way through The List, by the end of the day you have hopefully crossed half of it off and then just before bedtime you make a fresh one for the next day. Sometimes when I am in the village, someone stops me and asks me how I am. ''I haven't seen you for such a long time!" Whereupon I assure them that I am, in fact, rather boringly stuck in the Hovel, working, most of the time; as if the fact of them not seeing me meant that I had vanished under a stone. Then they ask how 'work' is going. And as I haven't had much by the way of a 'proper job' for a few months, I say - ''oh, you know, this and that''. Because I don't want to bore them - or you - with the List. The List that has everything on it from making tonight's tea, updating websites, and trying to source some decent coloured card, to emailing a b c and d, ordering art prints for my Etsy shop, ordering Christmas cards, designing the darned things in the first place, trying to get 660 Christmas tags letter pressed and - well, as they say, the list goes on. And on. So I dipped my head down and got stuck into it.
Not to mention finishing off card orders. That's right, every card someone buys from me has been lovingly folded, creased and corner punched by my own podgy little fingers. It keeps printing costs down. And yes, there are hundreds to do. Still, it gives me an excuse to put Midsomer Murders on the Box, and do some work at the same time. I've whipped my time down to 150x prepared in 2 hours.
So - pleasant things which happened in October - my Robert Snowflake was kindly reviewed by the Finding Wonderland blog, who said all sorts of nice things about me. I do feel a bit of a fraud sometimes, as I have only illustrated one picture book in my life, (oh yes and a little bit of another one which I don't really feel counts) . I wish I could persuade publishers and a decent agent to change this situation, but most of my work is simply my own cards and artwork, because thankfully there are a lot of good people out there who do like what I do. So I'm never quite sure what category I fall into...oh let's have a nice random photo before I get maudlin. What shall we have...ah, my nice little new-but-vintage Christmas pony block...or rather, the results.
But - reasons to be cheerful, I have had a gratifyingly big order for Christmas cards and multi-packs of Christmas letter pressed tags from a new shop opening in Winchester, mid-November. 'Your Life, Your Style' is owned by a lovely person who is aiming to stock quality, unique products not normally seen in the High Street - and giving small creatives like myself a chance to put our goods out there. I hadn't expected my humble printing hobby to actually start making me some money so soon. So I sensibly blew my last 85 quid on 5 pots of block printing ink...when I should have bought letterpress ink. Um. Never mind, if I roll my colour out and leave it for 6 hours or more it does get the required tack for a crisp print.
Next week I am sending off my first American order to a gorgeous shop in Hawaii, (where I believe it is somewhat warmer). Nest will be selling a good selection of Red Flannel Elephant cards and open edition prints - take a look inside, is it not adorable? Now I must fly, as my ink has been tacking for nearly ten hours and should be ready by now. There are tags to press, tags to trim, supper to make, and - where did I put that list..?