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Meet our teachers: Emma Block, brush lettering

Emma Block is a London-based illustrator whose work can be found in children’s books, packaging, magazines, greetings cards and books for adults. She has worked for clients including Stylist Magazine, Random House Canada, Bloomsbury, Harper Collins, UNIQLO, Orla Kiely, Anthropologie, Mollie Makes and Time Out. She teaches brush lettering workshops at our West Hampstead shop.

Emma Block

Q. We are really looking forward to welcoming you for your upcoming brush lettering workshops. For those who do not know, what is brush lettering?

A: Brush lettering is the art of creating beautiful lettering using a brush and ink. It’s a bit like calligraphy but more organic and expressive. I find practising brush lettering to be really relaxing and mediative, and of course the results are beautiful.

Brush Lettering with Emma Block

Q. How did you first discover your arty talents?

A: I’ve always been creative and knew that I wanted a career in the arts. After doing my GCSEs I studied a national diploma in art and design instead of A-levels and then studied illustration at University. After graduating I started working as a freelance illustrator full time.

Emma Block Brush Lettering Workshop at The Village Haberdashery

Q. What was the first image you ever painted?

A: I’m not sure. When I was at nursery school used to paint horses that were just rectangles with legs!

Emma Block

Q. On your website it says that you provide live illustrations at corporate event and parties. This sounds like lots of fun! What sort of things do you do for this?

A: Live illustration is really fun but really intense. I paint portraits of people live as they stand in front of me using watercolours. Each portrait takes about eight minutes to complete, and live illustration is always very popular, so If I’m working at a party or event I’m always very busy. Doing live illustration teaches you to work very quickly and become very decisive and confident in your painting. It also helps develop your observational skills.

Emma Block Brush Lettering Workshop at The Village Haberdashery

Q. What would your dream commission be?
A: I would love to do range of packaging for a company like Marks & Spencer’s or Fortnum & Mason’s. It would be so lovely to design biscuit tins and boxes of tea.

Emma Block Brush Lettering Workshop at The Village Haberdashery

Follow Emma on Instagram at @emmablockillustration and check out her website to find out more!

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Meet Our Teachers: Renée Callahan, knitting

We have lots of knitting classes coming up at our West Hampsted Shop for all levels of knitter with the lovely Renée Callahan! Renée will also be joining us once a month for our Thursday Knit Night to offer a free workshop and knitting clinic and you can find out more about those evenings here.

Renée loves textiles and the technical challenge of knitting whilst producing something both useful and beautiful. She studied fashion design with knitwear at Central Saint Martins college and now creates new patterns with combinations of texture and colour as well as guiding knitters taking to the needles with a range knitting classes.

Renee Callahan Knitting

Who first taught you to knit?

Strangely enough, I didn’t start knitting until I began my degree in fashion design with knitwear. We learned on machines and I came to hand knitting on my own, with loads of help from youtube and a sympathetic tutor.

At college, I found a DVD of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s hidden in a back corner of the library and because craft was really not the cool thing in fashion college, I really believed I had discovered this super obscure video no one had ever seen. Little did I know…

Renee Callahan knitting

Where do you look for inspiration for your projects and patterns?

It is a cliché, but I find inspiration literally everywhere. I am constantly inspired by the natural world, which is all around even though I live in the extremely urban environment of East London. There are wonderful parks and gardens just minutes away. I also love people watching, and I live in a neighbourhood rich with weird and wonderful fashion; from the most colourful African batik to the achingly cool hipster hotspots. Inspiration abounds!
Renee Callahan

What is your most favourite yarn to work with and why?

I have so many! How to choose just one?!

I love natural fibres and am very excited about the proliferation of small batch, independently made yarns going on right now. But old favourites remain: who can resist a bit of Malabrigo??

Renée Callahan

You will be teaching hand knitting at our shop but you also have a machine knitting class on Craftsy. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the two techniques?

Machine knitting and hand knitting are a bit like apples and oranges; you can make a sweater with a machine and a sweater by hand, but both the process and end result will be very different. They are both great but for different reasons. I would argue that even the fastest hand-knitter would take many hours to make a sweater, and so the process itself must be enjoyable and enjoyed, whereas a machine knit sweater can be a speedy project, for example.

What is the one knitting gadget could you not live without?

My blocking set: blocking wires and foam mats make all the difference for a lacy shawl! I also love interchangeable circular needles… and! If a website could be a gadget, Ravelry is the best one of all!

Renee Callahan

Thanks Renée!

You can also find Renée on Instagram, find her website and check out her upcoming classes here!

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Two Truths and a Lie with Stacy Iest Hsu – the big reveal!

On Friday we posted three statements about Stacy Iest Hsu and asked you to guess which one is a lie. Here they are again, with the answers!

1. One of my most favorite jobs around the house is mowing the lawn.

True. I love mowing the lawn and doing yard work. It is how I unwind and relax. It is a job I had growing up on a farm and it has always been my favorite thing to do. I would do yard work over cleaning the house any day.

2. I have 8 bothers and sisters.

Lie. I have two younger brothers and that is all but my mom comes from a family of 9 and my dad comes from a family of 6 so I have a very large extended family. I had 34 cousins so there was always someone to play with and holiday parties were always big.

3. My name is pronounced Stacy East Shoe.

True. As crazy as it may seem, my last name, Iest Hsu is pronounced East as in the direction and Shoe as in the lovely things you wear on your feet. My family is Dutch and my husbands family is Chinese.

Here is our randomiser:
Random list generator

Out of 49 entries we had 22 correct guesses! The 11th correct guess was Beatriz! Congratulations, Beatriz, you’ve won this Just another Walk in the Woods Bundle!

Just Another Walk in the Woods by Stacy Iest Hsu

Thank you all for playing!

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Two Truths and a Lie with Stacy Iest Hsu

This giveaway is now closed! Find the answer here.

Here we are with another game of Two Truths and a Lie! This time we’re playing with the lovely Stacy Iest Hsu. Stacy lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children. She has been a textile and product designer for over ten years and has designed for some large retailers as well as recently branching out independently to market her own line of original creations. It has been a dream come true for her to work with Moda and we are currently stocking a selection from her adorable Just Another Walk in the Woods collection.

stacy Iest Hsu

So here is how you can play… Stacy will tell us three things about herself. Two are true and one is a lie. If you want to participate, tell us in the comments which statement you think is a lie. Enter by midnight on Sunday and on Monday we’ll put all the correct answers in randomizer and choose a winner.

The winner will win this super cute bundle of 10 fat quarters of Just Another Walk in the Woods and Kona Cotton Solids!

Just Another Walk in the Woods by Stacy Iest Hsu

Ready, Steady, Go!…

1. One of my most favourite jobs around the house is mowing the lawn.

2. I have 8 brothers and sisters.

3. My name is pronounced Stacy East Shoe.

Which is the lie? Tell us in the comments! Remember, the deadline to be entered in the prize draw is midnight on Sunday, 26 March. Anyone can play, but only entries in UK/Europe are eligible for this prize.

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Let’s get to know Saara and Laura Huhta and Named Patterns!

We are super happy to be now stocking the fantastic patterns by Named Clothing and we invited Founders Saara and Laura Huhta to join us for a quick Q&A so you could find out all about them! The sisters have followed their dream of turning a passion for designing clothing patterns into their career and want to encourage fellow fashion lovers to give sewing their own garments a try.

Saara and Laura Huhta and Named Patterns

Tell us about Named!

Named is a Finnish clothing pattern label founded by sisters Saara and Laura Huhta. Named garments are a combination of Scandinavian clean-lined simplicity and interesting details. The aim of the collections is to bring a new perspective to making one’s own clothes and to support ethical and ecological consuming in contrast to a clothing industry focused on fast fashion. Named launches two collections a year, and the patterns have five levels of difficulty, which means that anyone from a beginner to a more experienced sewer can find patterns suited to their skill level.

Describe the style of your garments in three words:

Relaxed, Feminine, Simple.

Tell us about the woman you design for:

A Named woman likes to dress classic with a twist. She likes to experiment with new sewing techniques, interesting cuts and fun fabrics! She mixes casual styles with dressy, and follows her own style rather than trends. A Named woman likes to create her own unique look by making her own wardrobe.

What body shapes work best with your patterns?

We have lots of patterns that work with different body shapes. We have both fitted and lady-like pieces, and loose-fitting, casual styles. Our patterns are drafted for a 172 cm tall, slightly pear-shaped woman, but they can of course be altered according to one’s own measurements. We also have lots of casual styles that don’t require much fitting!

What should home dressmakers know about using your patterns?

Something that distinguishes us from many pattern labels is that we design our collections as ‘mini capsule wardrobes’, so to speak. We try to create collections that are easy to wear, easy to modify and also easy to combine. Our paper patterns are printed on a heavier paper instead of tissue paper, so they can be traced and used multiple times. The instructions include all necessary from measurements to fabric requirements to illustrated instructions, but we also often give additional tips and instructions by e-mail whenever needed.

You can find out more about Named on their website, follow them on Instagram and find Named patterns in our shop here.


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Meet our Teachers: Elspeth Jackson, rag rugging

We are so excited to welcome Elspeth Jackson to our West Hampstead shop with her rag rugging classes! Elspeth is an avid crafter and she teaches craft-lovers all across the UK how to make beautiful rag rugs and upcycled pieces for the home. She is a regular in craft magazines at home and abroad.

Her first class with us is on Saturday, 20 May, 10am – 4pm and you can find out more and sign up here!

Rag Rugging with Elspeth Jackson

For those who haven’t heard about rag rugging before could you tell us a little about how it works?

Rag rugging is a very old British craft that involves turning old clothing and fabric offcuts into cosy rugs and other homeware. Absolutely any material can be used which means finding fabric is as easy as rummaging through your wardrobe or fabric hoard (it’s the ultimate thrifty craft!). Crafters who try rag rugging are always astounded by how easy it is to do – it’s done using a latch hook and hessian base and is extremely easy to pick up. Try it and you’ll soon be hooked.

Rag Rugging Class with Elspeth Jackson at The Village Haberdashery

I believe you have been rag rugging from a young age, how did you first discover this fun craft?

Every year my school used to put on a “Recycled Fashion Show” where thestudents had to make costumes out of recycled materials. My mum had been making beautiful rag rugs out of old clothing for years and I thought it would be a great medium for my outfit. My masterpiece took hours to make, weighed a tonne and was baking hot under the catwalk spotlights but won me a prize. By then I had caught the rag rug bug! Afterwards I began making rag rugs for myself and eventually for other people. My core rag rug pieces are for sale on my website ( but I also undertake commissions for custom-made pieces. My mother is the original rag rug guru. I’ve learned new techniques, tips and tricks over the years but without my mum’s patience when I was learning as a youngster, Ragged Life would not exist today.

Rag Rugging Class with Elspeth Jackson at The Village Haberdashery

Is it just rugs that you can create with the technique or is it possible to create other items also?

One of the things I love most about rag rugging is how versatile it is. You don’t need to start out by making something large like a rug. Pretty much anything can be rag rugged… bunting, cushions, jam jar covers, pouffes, shopping bags… you name it, I’ve probably rag rugged it. I recommend that beginners start with a smaller project to get their confidence up before jumping into one of the large projects and I’ve got plenty of smaller projects in my new book “Rag Rugs, Pillows & More”.

Rag Rugging Class with Elspeth Jackson at The Village Haberdashery

Your book ‘Rag Rugs, Pillows & More’ looks great! How did you find the writing process?

I really enjoyed making the rag rug projects for “Rag Rugs, Pillows & More” but the writing process took a little getting used to. Generally when I embark on a new project I make up the steps and design as I go along (I’m self-taught and I’m pretty sure I’m the first person to ever try rag rugging certain items) so it was a bit of a learning curve remembering to write down exactly what I was doing as and when I did it. Once I got into the rhythm I found the writing really flowed. In many ways, it was easy to write the technique and design sections of the book because I knew what questions people would ask from the many workshops I’ve run. I’m already thinking about what projects I would put into my next book!

Rag Rugging Class with Elspeth Jackson at The Village Haberdashery

A lot of crafters dream of turning their hobby into a full time job. How did you know the time was right for you to take that step?

Although I’ve always made rag rugs, it wasn’t until 2014 that I took theleap of faith to make my passion, my work. In fact, most people are very surprised when they learn that I did Geography at university, not an art or textile degree. After university, I went straight to work for Unilever in London. I worked in Marketing for three years, working on incredible brands, including Persil, Flora and Lynx. Although I enjoyed what I did, I knew deep down that working for a large company just wasn’t for me. I knew the time was right to launch Ragged Life after noticing how many people wereinterested in learning how to rag rug. There were very few rag rug “experts” out there to teach and lots of crafty people looking to learn. I’d been looking for a creative outlet for a while so it was the perfect opportunity and timing.

Rag Rugging Class with Elspeth Jackson at The Village Haberdashery

Other than rag rugging what other crafts do you enjoy? Do you find time to craft for yourself as well as work?

Like most crafty people, I just love making things. I flit from one craft to another and have tried everything from modern calligraphy and pottery to cross stitch and lampshade making over the years. Aside from rag rugging, I love to crochet – I’m not the most competent at it but I do love hoarding wool and making snoods. I’m lucky that I still really enjoy rag rugging. I’ve come across some people who have fallen out of love with their craft after making it their career. Fortunately that’s no the case with me and there’s nothing I’d rather do on a lazy sunday afternoon.

Rag Rugging Class with Elspeth Jackson at The Village Haberdashery

We are so excited for your classes in our new shop…what can the students expect?

Most of all students can expect to have lots of fun! We’ll be learning both the main rag rug techniques (loopy and shaggy) before applying them to one of a number of projects (a cushion, rug, shopping bag or wreath, for example). They’ll be plenty of 1-2-1 help and useful sections on designing for rag rug, hemming of hessian and finishing your pieces properly. I can’t wait to teach you!

Rag Rugging Class with Elspeth Jackson at The Village Habershashery

Thank you Elspeth!

You can also find Elspeth on on Instagram, find her website and check out her upcoming classes here!

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Meet our teachers: Nancy Straughan, printmaking, paper crafts and more

Nancy Straughan is teaching so many exciting classes in our new shop in March and April, from screen printing to leatherwork to stationery design! We are thrilled to have her on our team and to be able to offer you loads of new ways to inspire your creativity in fun, beginner-friendly, one-evening classes. Nancy spends her days producing beautiful homewear and accessories crafted from her own range of organic printed fabrics inspired by the motifs seen in Scandinavian and 1960s textiles. Read on to find out more about Nancy and browse all of her upcoming classes here.

Nancy Straughan

Tell us about yourself and your business!

Well I live in lovely North London and I’m a pattern designer. I work as a freelance designer but I also design for my own homeware business too.

Nancy Straughan

Have you always wanted to work for yourself and how did you make that happen?

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do until I graduated university. I thought I wanted to work in the fashion industry but after doing a few internships I realised it wasn’t for me. I organically set up my own business which started with me selling my fabrics on Etsy and it’s grown from there. I have been running my brand for the past five years and It has taken a lot of trial and error, however I feel now that I have finally cracked It and I know exactly what I want my brand to be!

Nancy Straughan

Your textiles are gorgeous. How would you describe your aesthetic and your design process? Is textile design the main part of your business?

Thank you! I’m very inspired by the 1960s and Scandinavian design. My work has a lot of texture which is important as I don’t like my designs to feel flat and lifeless. I always start my work with some sketches or paper cutouts which I will then scan into my computer and edit on photoshop. I’ve recently been exploring more painterly textures and I have become obsessed with watercolours!

Nancy Straughan

You’ve worked with some really well-known clients, including Marks and Spencer, Tommy Hilfiger, Debenhams and Graham & Brown wallpapers. Do you have any advice for designers who are trying to strike up collaborations with major brands?

Working with brands is a real mix of hard work and luck. I recommend having a really good and diverse portfolio online, so on a blog or a more professional website. Social media has been a really important part of my business too and I’m lucky that my Instagram following has been rapidly growing over the past few years. I find that Instagram in particular is a great free resource to show your work and also get feedback from potential customers too. Some designers have an agent who will send work to clients but I prefer to do all that work myself as I’m quite a control freak!

Nancy Straughan

When your work is creative, do you find any time for creative projects that aren’t for your business or do you pursue other hobbies in your down time? And do you have down time?!

I try to paint and draw something at least twice a week. I regularly meet up with my fiance in the pub after work to do a little bit of writing, reading or drawing which really helps to separate my mind from all the other creative work I have going on with clients. Whenever I get stressed from all the admin work I grab a sketchbook and some paints and spend 10 or 15 minutes doing something creative.

Nancy Straughan

You are going to be teaching so many different projects at The Village Haberdashery. Where did you learn to do all of these crafts?

I used to manage a creative events company, It was my job to organise a lot of the creative events for the V&A and Natural History museums so I had to be skilled in a lot of different crafts. I’ve always been very creative and I would much rather try and make something myself rather than buying it. Crafting is all about trying something new and having fun, even if it fails at least you’ve done something creative for yourself!

Nancy Straughan

Are there any crafts you’re dying to try, but haven’t had a chance yet?

I would absolutely love to learn more about leathercraft and more professional bookbinding techniques. I also really interested in traditional paper marbelling, It looks like magic!

Nancy Straughan

Who do you love to follow on Instagram? Do you have any favourite podcasts?

I tend to follow a lot of other bloggers and creative people on Instagram a view of my favourite people are @hanbullivant, @thelovelydrawer and @peggyandkate . With regards to your podcasts I am hugely into true crime so at the moment I am listening to Criminal and In The Dark which are both beautifully produced if not a little creepy!

Want more Nancy? You can follow her on Instagram, find her website and take a class with her!

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Two Truths and a Lie with Violet Craft – the big reveal!

On Friday we posted three statements about Violet Craft and asked you to guess which one is a lie. Here they are again, with the answers!

1. Violet Craft is my real name.

True. I married into the name Craft. My maiden name is Violet Baalman. No one believes Violet Craft is my real name!

2. I started sewing at a very young age and learned to sew with the help of my great-grandmother. 

Lie. I bought my first sewing machine with my high school graduation money and sort of taught myself to sew when I was skipping my college courses 🙂 One of my first projects was reupholstering a couch in patchwork! I pretty much put the machine away for about ten years until I was pregnant with my first daughter.

3. It took me seven years to complete my undergraduate degree. 

True. I changed majors and colleges multiple times – Data Processing, Organic Chemistry, Pre-Medicine – before completely switching to Business. I have a Bachelor’s of Administration in Computer Information Systems with emphases in Finance and Marketing from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. Go, Tigers! I did stints at Dodge City Community College (Go, Conquistadors!) and University of Kansas (Rock Chalk Jayhawk!) Even though I didn’t graduate from KU, I will always consider myself a Jayhawk AND a Tiger! You might notice no mention of art in there… because there is none. I have no formal education in art, but grew up in a home filled with art, music and crafting, Kansas style 🙂

Here is our randomiser:


Out of 54 entries we had 24 correct guesses! The 24th correct guess was Hannah! Congratulations, Hannah, you’ve won this fat quarter bundle of Christmas on Brambleberry Ridge!

Christmas on Brambleberry Ridge by Violet Craft

A big thank you to everyone who played! Who would you like us to play Two Truths and a Lie with next?

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Two Truths and a Lie with Violet Craft

This giveaway is now closed. To find out the answer, click here.

It’s time for another round of Two Truths and a Lie! This time we’re playing with Violet Craft, a designer for Michael Miller who has created not one but two beautiful collections currently on our shelves: Christmas on Brambleberry Ridge and House of Hoppington! She’s based in Portland, Oregon and she’s been making fabric and patterns since 2011.

Violet Craft at Quilt Market

Here is how we play. Violet will tell us three things about herself. Two are true and one is a lie. If you want to participate, tell us in the comments which statement you think is a lie. Enter by midnight on Sunday and on Monday we’ll put all the correct answers in randomizer and choose a winner.

The winner will win this sparkly bundle of six fat quarters from Violet’s fabulous Christmas collection, Christmas on Brambleberry Ridge!

Christmas on Brambleberry Ridge

Are you ready? Here we go!

1. Violet Craft is my real name.

2. I started sewing at a very young age and learned to sew with the help of my great-grandmother. 

3. It took me seven years to complete my undergraduate degree. 

Which is a lie? Tell us in the comments! Remember, the deadline to be entered in the prize draw is midnight on Sunday. Anyone can play, but only entries in UK/Europe are eligible for this prize.

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Meet our teachers: Laura “Lupin” Howard of Bugs & Fishes, sewing with felt

We are delighted to have Laura Howard on our teaching team this autumn! Her hand-sewn felt projects often grace the covers of craft bible Mollie Makes and she is the author of two books, Super-Cute Felt and Super-Cute Felt Animals and a contributor to many more. We are crazy about her style, which is both whimsical and modern and always fresh and fun! Read on to find out more about Laura and browse all of her upcoming classes here.

Laura Lupin Howard

Have you always been crafty or did you discover your love of making things as an adult?

I was definitely a crafty kid! I was very much an “indoor child” and loved reading and drawing and making stuff. I had a big box in the bottom of my wardrobe that I filled with anything interesting I came across that I thought might be useful for making things – empty matchboxes, scraps of fabric, bits of shiny paper, etc – and spent many, many happy hours crafting.

Later, as a teenager and a student, I discovered the joys of knitting, started an ugly (and still un-finished) patchwork quilt, and made lots of cards for birthdays and Christmas (everyone loves a handmade card!).

Laura Lupin Howard loves felt

You describe yourself as ‘completely obsessed with felt’. What drew you to felt and how do you keep coming up with new projects for it?

I first started making things with felt when I was a kid. My mum bought me a little sewing machine but it sat gathering dust as I much preferred hand sewing. Because the edges don’t fray you can just cut out a shape and go, which makes it easy and quick to work with but also easy to use to design things. I loved using it to make things like little outfits for my sisters’ Sylvanian Families.

I got back into felt crafting in 2006, after University. I was looking for things to make for my friends and neighbours for Christmas and thought “ooh, I could make some felt ornaments!” I went online and found that people were making some really wonderful things from felt – it was very inspiring.

It turns out that nowadays you can buy so many different types of felt, and in so many gorgeous colours. It’s a material people often associate with bright primary colours and simple kids crafts, but you can get some really subtle shades and the possibilities for what you can make with it are pretty much endless.

If something exists (even just as an idea in your head) you can probably make a little felt version of it. I find coming up with new ideas less of a problem than finding time to make them all!

Mollie Makes Cassette Tape iPhone Case by Laura Lupin Howard

Laura’s retro iPhone case was featured on the cover of Mollie Makes issue 41

You’ve been blogging since the very early days of blogs! What was it like to start a craft blog nearly a decade ago?

My New Year’s resolution in 2007 was to open an Etsy shop and see how it went, and it turned out that lots of people on Etsy had blogs so I thought “oh, I should start one of those too!”. I’d never really read a craft blog before and definitely didn’t know what I was going to do with mine, so I just sort of made it up as I went along. I definitely didn’t expect to still be blogging (and loving it) almost 10 years later.

There was such a wonderful blogging community in those early days. Everyone read everyone else’s blogs, commented regularly and had a list of links to their friends and their fave reads in their blog sidebar so it was easy to find new bloggers to follow. All over the world, people who had previously just been making things in the privacy of their own home could connect with all these people who loved to make things, share their projects with them, get inspired by what other people were making, get tips and advice and find tutorials to try. It was very exciting!

Felt Autumn Wreath

Learn to make an autumn wreath out of felt with Laura on Sunday, 30 October

When and how did you go about turning making things from a hobby into a full-time job?

I was picked to be a “Featured Seller” on Etsy in October of 2007. After just selling a few things a month, suddenly my shop was on the front page of Etsy and I had a huge flurry of sales. The exposure boosted my sales in the run up to Christmas, too, and made me wonder if I could turn my shop into a proper, full-time business.

I eventually became a full time crafty lady in the spring of 2009. To get there I designed loads of new things and tested them out in my shop to see which would be popular, gradually expanding my range of brooches, ornaments and masks. I hung out in the Etsy forums to pick up tips and read as many craft-business-related blogs as I could (though there weren’t that many in those days!). I sold my work on Etsy, Folksy and DaWanda (with listings translated into German by my kind sister!) and set up a shop on my own website. I worked to improve my photos and my packaging, and to always have the best possible customer service. I blogged a lot and sold ads on my blog to supplement my income. I also expanded my business into selling craft supplies (felt squares and other crafty things) and designing things for craft books and magazines.

Running an online shop solo – and hand stitching so many things to keep it stocked – was fun but kind of intense, especially in the months running up to Christmas. I relied on my then-boyfriend to help out in the busy times, taking things to the Post Office for me or cooking dinner every night when I was busy sewing and packing parcels.

When I was single again I realised that I couldn’t continue to juggle making and selling and designing and writing and still have a sensible work/life balance so I decided to re-focus. I sold off my stock and shuttered some of my online shops, and now mostly design things for craft books and magazines. I’m also currently working on some printable patterns, which I’m very excited about – the first ones will be added to my Etsy shop this autumn/winter.

Baby Weather Mobile

Make a weather baby mobile with Laura on Saturday, 29 October

How much of your days do you get to spend making things, as opposed to other parts of running your business?

It depends! Some weeks are all about the making, and others are filled with things like emailing and photo editing and blogging. There is a LOT of “other stuff” you have to do than just craft if you want to have a crafty business.

I try to write focused To Do lists and to work as efficiently as possible. For example, social media is really important when you’re running a business but it can eat into your day. I schedule lots of my Facebook and Twitter posts in advance and use apps to auto-post on multiple accounts to save time. I also try to have a “no internet after 7pm” rule which I don’t always manage to stick too, but which helps keep my evenings just for me… which means I have time to work on my personal crafty projects.

Make vintage-style felt Christmas ornaments with Laura on Saturday, 26 November

Any advice for makers who want to turn their hobby into a career?

Work hard, be nice to people, be original, pay attention to the money side of things, connect with your peers, read as much as you can about running a crafty business (there are so many great resources out there and there’s always more to learn), and no matter how busy you are don’t forget to eat lunch.

Laura sells her work and patterns online on Etsy, blogs regularly at Bugs & Fishes and fills up our IG feed with colourful things at @lauralupinhoward.

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