Friday, June 29, 2012

Funky Friday Favorites: Cara Carmina

This week I'd like to welcome a friend of mine, Norma. I've had the pleasure to meet her in person a few weeks ago. She makes these really beautiful dolls, and other creations. So let's learn more about her. :)

• • •

My Name is Norma but a lot of people know me as Cara Carmina, this particular confusion is part my fault because I kind of like being called that way.  Truth is Cara Carmina is the name of my dolls and children illustration project.  I´m from Mexico and live in Montreal since 2009 with my husband and 4 cats!

Visit her:  Blog ♥ Facebook ♥ Twitter ♥ Website

Q & A:

Tell us more about what you make!

I'm a children illustrator and I started making dolls as an experiment one day! (One of the best experiments of my life!).  In the middle of this experimentation process I've started making a lot of different things!  I make dolls, I make what I call textile collages which are images made with a combination of fabrics, papers and black thread!  I also like to work only with paper and make paper collage dolls! This year I re-started to draw again; I've been so focused  into making dolls for the last 3 years that I stop drawing and I missed it.  I had one of those amazing inspirational moments as I began drawing again and I began to make paper cut dioramas with my illustrations! I also love to take photos of my work (I love photography!) and make lovely scenes which then I turn into postcards, greeting cards and prints! I like to play with materials... I love to create!

How did your crafty business come about? What made you want to start it?

It started when I discovered the internet as a tool for selling and promoting my work. I bumped into Etsy some years ago and was totally shocked about the amount of people making such lovely things and selling them! I wanted to be a part of it!!!  I never thought about having my own web store before!  What a great idea!!!!  I opened my store and little by little it has become what it is today. It's been quite a journey to learn how to have my own business with my work and I've loved every part of it! 

What inspires you to create? What supplies do you use?

My inspiration comes from many different sources... I love children books, art, fashion, nature, literature, music...  I love colors, I'm from Mexico and my culture inspires me in such an amazing way!!!  I like to observe people in the street... the way they dress... Children!!! Children inspire me a lot!  I love cats and they are a big part of my inspiration... I'm very visual, I like to see the work of other artists... browse around the internet looking for colors, textures, images... the world is full of inspiration, you just have to learn to see it.  The details of life are fantastic and to me the most simple things are the most beautiful ones!

My main supplies are ink, papers, fabrics and threads, simple lovely things!

What is your favorite project or most memorable thing you've created?

I love all my work, but if I really think about it one of my favorite creations are my Frida Kahlo dolls!  I love all my work but I have a special love for them.  They have part of my culture on them, a very special part of me is in each of my Fridas and for this reason  each  one becomes a very personal creation when it's finished. 

Aside from crafting, what do you do for fun?

I love children books, I collect them and one of my most enjoyable things to do is go to a book store and browse around for hours and of course reading them and looking at the pictures afterwards! I love to go to antique stores, flea markets, old book stores and thrift shops to look around for old little treasures! I read a lot and I wish I could have more time to spend hrs. upon hrs. reading like I used to when I was younger...  I like museums and love to eat!!!!!  :D

What are your favorite blogs or websites that everyone should check out?

I don't check the same blogs or websites always... I change all the time.  Lately I've been in love with the amazing design blog  it's full of inspiration! :D  I love to see the blogs of my favorite artists when I have time, to mention some of them I love all the different blogs of Elsa Mora, I love her art dolls one and her miniature books too:  and  I love the Tekiyaje dolls blog from Russia:  and the blog or Evangelione from Malasia: I also find lots of inspiration in the Etsy youtube channel where you can find portrait videos of different artists:  

I have to ask a totally random question, so here goes. If you won millions of dollars tomorrow, would you do with your little business?

Oh oh oh such a nice thing! I would buy a house where I could have a big studio full of cabinets and lovely tables where I could cut, sew, glue, etc... Lots of furniture with drawers and spaces to place my supplies and works!!! I would also buy new tools like great sewing machines, great printers, cameras, professional lights, all the lovely fabrics I dream on buying every time I go to a fabric store!!! Oh oh oh that would be a treat!!! Can you imagine going to a art supply store with no limit to spend?!  What a nice thing that would be! I'm sure I wouldn't spend every penny on my business but that would definitely be a great way to help me grow in many ways! 

• • •

Well thanks so much for all this, it was really great getting to know more about Norma, and her business Cara Carmina.

Don't forget to check out her great links!

Visit her:  Blog ♥ Facebook ♥ Twitter ♥ Website

Monday, June 25, 2012

5 Myths About Being an Entrepreneur

Hello! I was surfing through Twitter on this cool Sunday evening, and one thing led to another, and I found myself on the Young Entrepreneurs  section of Entrepreneur Magazine. I happened to find a great little article about the 5 myths of being an entrepreneur, so I've copied and pasted it here for you to read. I'll provide a link to the original page at the end! :)

Good reading!

• • • •


If you’re looking for a feel good post about why you should quit your secure 9 to 5 job and become an entrepreneur, this is not the post for you. Being an entrepreneur is great and I wouldn’t trade it for a desk job, but there are some things aspiring (or existing) entrepreneurs should know.

#1 You’re going to be insanely successful. You are not the next Mark Zuckerberg. Sorry, you’re not and I’m not. If you have the idea that you’re going to sit down and create the next Facebook and be worth billions of dollars in seven to 10 years, it’s not going to happen. Am I saying it’s not good to dream big? No. I’m saying there is only one Facebook and only one Mark Zuckerberg in this world.
#2 Entrepreneurs have a very flexible work schedule. They can work three to four hours a day and have plenty of time to goof off. I know I’m not alone when I say that entrepreneurs don’t have the luxury of ending our workday abruptly at 5pm. When you own your own company or work for someone who does, you have to put in the extra hours and the extra effort to make things happen. If you aren’t ready to work some pretty long days, you probably aren’t cut out for being an entrepreneur.
#3 Entrepreneurs can take off when they want — after all, you’re the boss, right? Remember all those times you used to be able to party on random nights of the week or just take off for a weekend with your friends? Not if you want to keep your business afloat the first year (or two, three, four, etc). Now I’m not saying you won’t ever get time off, but most entrepreneurs live, eat and breathe their businesses and a lot of times partying gets pushed to the wayside. What’s more important: Doing keg stands with college buddies or generating income so you can pay bills the next couple months?
#4 Working from home means you’ll have more time for your relationship, your pets, taking care of your home, etc. Wrong. Because you work from home, it’s like you live in this constant state of never finishing anything. You start cleaning the dishes and then think of a great idea or feature for your company. Instead of taking your significant other out to a nice meal, you ask to get drive thru so you can get back to work quicker. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked over at my dog and it looks like he’s crossing his legs because he needs to go outside (and I love my dog to death!).
#5 Everyone wants to have your job. I’m guessing it’s because people genuinely don’t love their jobs, but they think you have this perfect setup where you get to work and play all day long. I always hear things like “At least you don’t have to deal with a commute” or “I have so many worthless meetings and calls, you’re lucky”. Do you want to trade the last three days I worked 18 hours and had to go above and beyond to appease clients? No, no you don’t.
For all the starving entrepreneurs out there, keep fighting the good fight. We’re all doing things we love and enjoy, and that’s what matters. I may not be building the next Facebook, but I am excited about controlling my own destiny and knowing the harder I work, the more results I see.

• • • •
Here's the article link:

If you'd like to learn more about entrepreneurship, I think this magazine is a good start. You can read certain articles directly online!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Funky Friday Favorites: No one today.... :(


I've decided that I'm going to talk about a great artist only twice a month, rather than every Friday. I just wanted to let all of you know now, that next Friday I have a special lady lined up for our favourites.

I'm wishing everyone a great weekend, and if you're in a heatwave, stay cool, drink tons of water!

Until later!

© Curious Little Bird
Image copyright © Melanie Audet AND © Curious Little Bird -  2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Musings on Life as an Artist

I was browsing through the blog of my favourite artist, Amanda Louise Spayd, and a thought came to me. How did she start making her creepy bunny dolls? I figured I'd start at the beginning of her blog, and work my way to the present. Her style changed, but she established her look quite early. It got me thinking about my creations from last year, and how much they've evolved this year.

One of my first ever handmade monsters - 2008  © Curious Little Bird  
It also had me thinking about the future a bit. Where will I be, what will happen? I mean, I love my furry guys very much, they're lovely, and everyone else loves them too.

My monsters 2 years later - 2011 © Curious Little Bird 

But the art side of plush dolls is calling me! If it wasn't for this gov't program pressuring me to make a product in large quantities (that, and the need for financial assistance to pay my bills), I probably would be nurturing my more artistic side with art dolls. Because art dolls take so much more time, I feel guilty if I spend half a day working on something that's larger, more complex, and in the end, more expensive.  But it's nice to nurture that side once in a while.

I've been dabbling with the art doll idea. See here:

Mathilda and Marvin © Curious Little Bird  
I think they're cute, in their own little way. I know if I had more time to work on one idea, I could really develop these into something nice. I think I need to work on their clothing. If I could figure out how to make clothes for dolls properly, these could really be artistic, right? I need to wrap my head around making clothing for little people. I need lots of time, and lots of nice fabrics to do this. Making clothes is not a one hour job! I can imagine my female art sculpture with a frilly collar, and maybe a dress that actually flows. I might have to work on their faces though. I like the pinwheel eyes, but maybe it's not the right kind of eye? Maybe I could hand paint the faces. I'm very good at painting depth, colour and shading...

The Elves and the Shoemaker painting - © Melanie Audet 2004
This gives me an idea. I've always loved painting, and illustrating. It's been my passion ever since I was a child and I could pick up a pencil. Maybe I can combine fabric art and my illustration together....


Great! Until next time. In the meantime, here's a cute photo of me playing with my cat, Squeak, and a moustache sculpey I made yesterday. I love this photo. It took me a full 3 minutes before Squeak would sit still and I could position the moustache in front of his face and get the camera still. :) Success!

It's Mr. Moustachio at your service.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Funky Friday Favorites: Little Green Guy

Hello, and happy friday. This week's edition of Funky Friday favourites is a new online friend of mine named Brittany Rae Martin. She owns Little Green Guy!

Visit her:  Blog ♥ Facebook ♥ Etsy
• • •

How did your crafty business come about? What made you want to start it?

My business came about when I made a plush monster for my younger sister as a gift. I love to give handmade things, and with the current economy sometimes that was more affordable! I then did a little doodle of the plush, and showed my friends. They all loved it! And started asking for their own paintings. From there I just kept creating. I am proud to say that as of summer 2011 I didn't even know how to operate a sewing machine, and now I am constantly expanding my plush line! 

What inspires you to create? What supplies do you use?

My children inspire me, watching them get into things, their expressions when they see something new and exciting, I like to translate all of that to my Little Green Guy. As far as supplies, if I am painting I am a bit stingy about only wanting to use Strathmore watercolor pads, my brushes however I have had forever and have a strange emotional attachment to them. For sculpting I LOVE Super Sculpey, and my hands. I don't use many other tools while sculpting, I like the handmade look of my sculptures, finding a bit of a fingerprint here or there makes them original and I love that. As far as sewing I started off only working with fleece, and that is what my Little Green Guy plush is made of. But I have expanded to awesome fluffy fur! I am in love, my sewing machine doesn't always appreciate it, but he does a good job. I sew on a Kenmore, which I have hijacked from my mother, he is now mine forever, she just doesn't know that yet. 

What is your favorite project or most memorable thing you've created?

Gosh that's a tough one! I really put love (as cheesy as that sounds) into everything I create and wind up falling in love with the project. I have to say my proudest moment was self publishing my first children's book. That was a life goal for me, I didn't care if it just sat on my shelf, I wanted to create something for my children and myself. Fast forward to now and my first print order is close to sold out and I have done several classroom visits. Seeing children enjoy my book gives me such pleasure I can't express. 

Aside from crafting, what do you do for fun?

Is there anything other than crafting? Well, crafting is my “fun” but I like to DIY as well outside of Little Green Guy. Before my son was born I had a decorating blog, where I had $15.00 a week to find a few items and refinish them. That has taken a bit of a backseat now that I am working on my business, but I still love to design, DIY, and transform household things! My sons nursery was a recent labor of love!

I have to ask a totally random question, so here goes. If you won millions of dollars tomorrow, would you do with your little business?

Oh man! Well if I didn't die from shock I would TAKE THE FAMILY TO DISNEY! Corny? Yes. But they would love it. When we came back I would open my own store, without a doubt. I see shelves lined with Little Green Guy plush toys, sculptures, etc. As well as having a section for other local crafters. The only rule being everything I stock is entirely handmade. Maybe even a birthday party section for children, where they each can sculpt their own monster or paint a Little Green Guy! Ahh, possibilities!

• • •

Thanks so much for this wonderful insight into you! :) It was a pleasure getting to know you!

Visit her:  Blog ♥ Facebook ♥ Etsy

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Random Facts: Never Have I Ever...

I saw someone had blogged about random facts of stuff they've never done, so I thought what a fun post that would be. Plus, I haven't blogged since Friday's Funky Favorites. I've been just so darned busy, and I don't see it letting up any time soon. Probably won't have much free time until January!

Here goes.

Never have I ever....

1. Eaten rice pudding.

2. Graduated from University (only college).

3. Wanted children.

4. Won the lottery.

5. Been proposed to.

6. Been married!

7. Been to a concert that I wanted to attend.

8. Broken my leg.

9. Dated a guy I really liked for more than 6 months.

10. Swam in the ocean (tasted it though!)

What sort of random things have you never done!?  Let me know, I love to read your comments! :)

Friday, June 08, 2012

Funky Friday Favorites: RAWR Creatures

I want you all to welcome Jayme Walters, owner of RAWR Creatures! 
Let's get to know her, shall we?

Hi! My name is Jayme and I’m the owner of RAWR Creatures. 

By day I’m a graphic designer at an advertising agency, and in my spare time I create and hand sew as many sock Creatures as I possibly can. I live in Nova Scotia, Canada, with my fiancé Tim, and I am known to have ‘maybe’ more than a couple of collections ;) I love finding odds and ends, bits and baubles and little treasures to use in my Creature making – this helps to make each RAWR Creature unique and special.

I love getting to know other crafty types and artists from around the world, so if you stop by, please leave me a message so I can say hi back :)

Visit her:  Blog Facebook Twitter Etsy

Q & A:

Tell us more about what you make!
I hand sew little Creatures made from socks and other found objects. I’m always on the look out for bits and pieces that I can use in a new design or for my next creature. I love buttons of all shapes and sizes, those you will definitely find on all my creations :) RAWR Creatures enjoy small dark spaces and can often be found hiding under the kitchen sink. They enjoy nests made in shoe boxes, munching on clothes pins and socializing with the common household dust bunny. 

How did your crafty business come about? What made you want to start it?
I started sewing up little creatures about 5 years ago, just something to do and to keep me busy creatively. I was never quite happy with the ones in the beginning, but I started getting a lot of positive feedback and people actually wanting orders! That really helped to keep me going and motivated :) I started changing my design, a little here, a little there, until finally, I came up with something that I was happy with! :) It’s still an ongoing, ever changing process, but I find it very rewarding, especially when I have a new little creature staring back.
What inspires you to create? What supplies do you use?
By trade, I’m a graphic designer at an advertising agency. I’ve been in the business for 10 years, it’s creative and rewarding but not quite in the same way as my Creatures. A lot of times in graphic design, you’re stuck using pre-determined specifications, or details in which you need to follow. My creatures allow me to work with my hands, go crazy and do absolutely anything I want! No limitations! 

 What is your favorite project or most memorable thing you’ve created?
So far I think my owls. I love all the textiles incorporated into this design and I have a couple of new ideas to come for these guys! They take a little longer to create, but I always have a ton of fun when I sit down to work on one :)
Aside from crafting, what do you do for fun?
I love being outside, whether it’s a walk in the woods, camping, or mountain biking. I love photography and taking photos! I use to print most of my own work, but I ended up selling my darkroom stuff, and yeah... now I miss it :( 

My fiancé and I are big into thrifting, yard sales and we’re always on lookout to add to our collections. We’re both currently in the middle of renovating a house and planning to move in by the end of this year. So, I guess you could say home renovation and decorating are keeping us busy! But we’re having a ton of fun in the process.

What are your favorite blogs or websites that everyone should check out?
Well, I’m completely in love with the Dainty Squid, who isn’t? ;) I have been following her blog for a number of years now and she is such an inspiration for me – absolutely every part of her life.
I  have to ask a totally random question, so here goes. If you won millions of dollars
tomorrow, would you do with your little business?

I would 100% start sewing up a storm and open a little storefront :)

• • • • •

I hope you enjoyed learning about Jayme, and that you visit her various sites!

Visit her:  Blog Facebook Twitter Etsy

Monday, June 04, 2012

10 Things that make me happy

Here's a short post of 10 things that make me happy on a dreary, rainy day.

A sweet monster with a happy face, and bangs!

My little honey, Littleone, who's all curled up in the cutest way!

I live in Quebec, with an abundance of awesome maple syrup. The best stuff comes from a can, because I know it's from the maple sugar 'farms' in the province. Mmmm!

A very healthy breakfast of porridge with raspberries, scrambled eggs, and toast with cheese whiz (not so healthy). :)

Squeak with his handmade hat! This made me laugh!

Really fun custom monsters holding balloons!

Birds peeking out of the public bird houses in the park.

Seeing a butterfly flit by, and then marveling when it stops with its wings open, ready for a photograph!!

Sitting on my balcony on a sunny and warm evening.

When Squeak looks at me over his shoulder. It's always cute, and it always makes me happy.

Happy Monday! I hope you enjoyed my favorite things. :)

Friday, June 01, 2012

Winner Annouced for May Giveaway!!

It was hard to decide which comment I thought was the best, but there was one comment in particular that stuck in my brain.

Therefore, the winner of my May giveaway is........  <drum roll>.........

Teresa wrote the most adorable comment about bringing sheeps out and taking photos in the light! :) I couldn't resist!

All I need from you Teresa is to contact me! I've already sent you an email. Please choose which monster/animal/plush you would like!


Funky Friday Favorites: Little Lazies

Hello, and happy Friday! This week I've got a great little post about an artist who does these super cute monster sculptures out of clay! Please welcome Leah Williams!

So Leah, tell me about yourself!

Hello Melanie, and hello all the readers of Curious Little Bird! I am Leah the Lazytulip and I make cute, clay creatures I call Little Lazies! Each of my Lazies are handmade, one of a kind, and ready to be adopted. Not only do I love my Lazies, I also adore music, doodling, cake decorating, and enjoying the little things in life (cliche, but true!)

Visit her:  Shop Facebook Twitter

Tell us more about what you make!

My Lazies are my babies and I make each one with love (yes it sounds cheesy, but that’s just how I am!) I not only make them out of love, but every creature is made of polymer clay and sometimes a touch of glitter or paint here and there. I also find joy in drawing my Lazies on the boxes they’re packed up in - it’s a clever way to create ideas, while having fun too. While I love making my creations into mostly little monsters, sometimes my mind wanders into making other creatures; from video-game inspired to cartoon characters, from cutesy animals to pirates - whatever comes to mind, I create! 

How did your crafty business come about? What made you want to start it?

I always had a passion for art, even went to school for it, but in the end I decided to do cake decorating (another passion of mine). So one Autumn day, as I was decorating a cake for my sister’s birthday, I had a ball of green gum-paste in my hands (it’s like edible clay) and I thought to myself, “I am going to make her a cute little monster for the top of her cake!” I sat there for hours, making her this miniature monster, and little did I know that I was developing my style right then and there. I finished the monster and of course I showed all my friends the cute creation from the cake, and to my surprise they all wanted one, but as a figurine to keep! So instead of gum-paste, that will eventually fall apart, I decided to make my creatures out of clay that would last forever. With tons of love and encouragement from family and friends, I decided to create the world of Little Lazies and with that, a shop emerged and more! I still cannot thank my friends enough for their support; I don’t know what I would do without them (you know who you are!)

What inspires you to create?
Inspiration for me can come from a lot of things - film, music, nature - but I am most inspired by Japanese culture and animation. Japan is just full of creativity (sometimes very weird, but still creative, can’t deny that) - the style and culture brings a smile to my face, so why not be inspired by something that makes you happy, right?

What is your favorite project or most memorable thing you've created?

I am not only a lover of clay and my Lazies, but if you know me, you know I adore t-shirts - collecting and wearing! I have several favorite t-shirt designers, all of which I respect and admire, and most of the time I am in awe by their creativity and skill. With that said, one day Wotto, a favorite artist of mine, decided he needed a Little Lazy. (Ahhh, you can imagine my excitement at that point!) He got in touch with me and I created a custom “Moishe”/“Where the Wild Things Are” inspired figurine for him. To have an artist that you admire request a piece of art from you, it’s a wonderful feeling and obviously my most memorable moment, that’s for sure.

Aside from crafting, what do you do for fun?

Fun to me is music - listening while I go for walks or while I work, discovering new bands, going to shows and smiling the whole time. Fun to me is tees - wearing them proudly, collecting, exploring new brands, and blogging all about them. Fun to me is seeing the sunrise - quiet, peaceful and such a beautiful, natural phenomenon.

What are your favorite blogs or websites that everyone should check out?

I love t-shirts, have I said that yet? ;)  Hide Your Arms is a blog all about tees, and guess what? I blog there too when I am not doing Lazies or decorating cakes - so you guys should check it out when you can! It’s a good place to find deals and news about the best brands.

Also some great artist blogs/sites I follow (and I am sure you might like them too!): 

Megan Lara:

I have to ask a totally random question, so here goes. If you won millions of dollars tomorrow, would you do with your little business?

Oooh that’s a hard question, Melanie, (I have so many wacky ideas swirling around in my mind), but the first thing I think of is making a business that incorporates cake decorating and my Little Lazies somehow - a Lazy Bakery if you will. To run a lovely, little shop that sold specialty cakes along with my Lazies would make my world complete. Not only that, I would put the money towards designing Little Lazy vinyl toys to sell that everyone would love and want to collect, as well as a t-shirt line dedicated to Lazies - that’s my dream and I know with ambition (and mainly money) it could happen!

• • •     • • •     • • •     • • •

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Leah and Little Lazies, because I certainly did. You can find more of her and her clay buddies here: Shop Facebook Twitter