.

Making Mice Turns Into Full Time Business

Linda Welcome, of Ellington, began making the mice as a way to make extra money and it has now grown into something so much more.

What started off as a way to make some extra money has blossomed into a full time business for Ellington resident Linda Welcome, owner of the Heartfelt Ornament Company.

In 1981, Welcome wanted to be home with her small children, but needed a way to make some money. She began making the mice and once people saw them, the demand grew.

Her creations have gone all over the world, were featured on QVC, and were sold in mail order catalogs. In the mid 1990s, these catalogs closed. At the same time, Welcome’s daughter was starting college and so she went back to the real world and got a job as a floral designer, working for Michael’s, JoAnns, and AC Moore.

While she was still doing the mice on the side, it was nothing like what it was before or is now. After 10 years as a floral designer, Welcome returned to making the mice full time.

“You have to really love it if you do it for 31 years,” she said. “You just have to. I really love what I do. Not everybody is into mice and not everybody likes my mouse, but the people that do are just head over heels, they just adore them. I think if I didn’t have a product that gave people that kind of feeling, I don’t think I would be able to keep doing it.”

Let Patch save you time. Get great local stories like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone every day with our free newsletter. Simple, fast sign-up here.

Welcome – who calls herself the “Mousemaker” – knows how hard it is to find a job in this economy, especially for people who are older, but instead of doing nothing, she has created a successful business.

“I found myself jobless and I thought, ‘Why don’t I go right back to the mice,’ and so I have and for me, it’s just been a Godsend,” she said. “Not everybody wants a 64-year-old woman no matter how good she is. My mice don’t care. I’m definitely still enthusiastic, I really enjoy making them, and I enjoy having my own company.”

Currently, Welcome is entered into a contest being held by Martha Stewart, will be doing craft fairs again for the first time in 15 years, and will have her mice sold in a retail store. in Hazardville will have them in stock.

“I thought that it would be really nice to have my mice sold in the town I was brought up in,” she said. “It’s nice to have a retail outlet and is a darling little store.”

Welcome produces all the mice at her home and makes them in batches of 30 at a time. Every mouse has a trademark red felt heart on its right foot.

There is very little on the mouse that Welcome doesn’t have a hand in. As a miniaturist also, she makes pretty much everything that is in their hands and even if it is metal and she didn’t make it, she will paint it.

“There are very few things that I don’t do,” she said. “I have to touch every single part of it. It’s all hand done. I’m a perfectionist.”

While things are different now than when Welcome first started doing the mice – including all the new technology – she encourages people to do what they love.

“Economically, it’s really difficult out there, especially for older people,” she said. “I just wish more people would if they have an idea, just start it. I didn’t think about all the pitfalls, I just did it. Little by little it just grew. I definitely didn’t start out to have a business. I just started out needing money. I wish more people did it, even at my age. You’re never too old to start something you really love doing.”

If you would like to learn more about Welcome’s mice, check out her Etsy site or RebelMouse page.

Mona Rae Originals August 31, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Linda's work is outstanding, you can tell there is a story with lots of love in each piece. I am honored to have one and my Grand Children have several.
Paintspots and Splinters August 31, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Linda's mice are soooooo adorable! Great article on a wonderful Artisan.
Jacky Carmicheal August 31, 2012 at 02:14 PM
I have known Linda a long time and have yet to meet a more creative person. She loves what she does and it is evident in the sweetness of her little mice. Each mouse is special and comes straight from her heart.
Ashley Hughson August 31, 2012 at 02:45 PM
I'm so proud to have been given my first job by these little mice (and Lovely Linda) 17 years ago!!!!!
Kelly Hartzog August 31, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Linda's mice are a staple in our house for every holiday. So much love goes into each one, and it shows. I think it may just be time to put out my fall mice!!!
Sugar Mountain Mercantile August 31, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Linda's sweet personality and utmost attention to every detail is apparent in each and every one of her little creations. I'm so pleased to see her talents are being recognized here in her own town, as well as world-wide.
Gerry August 31, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Linda's mice captured my heart the 1st minute I saw them on Etsy.com. I sell there, too. I needed something to collect that was miniaturized since we moved into an RV to live our dream after retiring. These little mice are perfect. I have 12 with 6 more on the way! 18 maybe 24 fit nicely into a used shadowbox I found online. And these mice are perfect in every way down to the teeniest detail even the tiny cookies on a cookie sheet. She made a special baker mom mouse for me holding cookies while her little boy mouse stands with his teeny rolling pin & wooden spoon to help make the next batch. Simply awesome. Love this Mousemaker & her mice! Gerry from ID.
Marge Mills September 01, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Wonderful article about those adorable little mice and the great woman who makes them so special...they have such adorable little faces and you can find a little mouse who does just about anything you might be looking for. I keep eyeing that cute little stylist mouse and the artist too! And the holidays are coming so it is a perfect time to start collecting them. If you havent visited Linda's shop yet ( I am sure there must be a few of you left who haven't) you really need to treat yourself and go.....
Sue Cashman September 01, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Linda is a wonderfully talented artist and doll maker. Her delightful mice are full of fabulous personality and amazing detail. You can tell each sweet mouse is crafted with love. It's great to see her get recognition for her wonderful work.
Teaberry Treasures September 01, 2012 at 10:09 AM
We are just thrilled that Linda Welcome has brought her Mice and fabulous works of art to Teaberry Treasures (312 Hazard Ave., Enfield, CT - Corner of S. Maple & Rt. 190) as we pride ourselves in carrying only the best Handmade - Made in America products. Each creation has it's only little personality and what a wonderfully fun collection. Thank, BARBRA
Teaberry Treasures September 01, 2012 at 10:11 AM
Gerry: Just think, now you can get them at Teaberry Treasures, 312 Hazard Ave., Enfield, CT. Thanks so much.
Valley Primitives Kim Orcutt September 02, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Linda's mice are adorable! A wonderful write up on a wonderful artist!! Kim
Kim Vickers September 02, 2012 at 05:39 PM
I loved reading Linda's story. You can see the love in each of her wonderfully crafted little mice. I'm so proud to be associated with her. KIm

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »