Made By Mrs M

PLEASE NOTE: All orders placed after 8pm on Thursday 19 October will be processed on Saturday 28 October. Thank you for your patience!

2 Minutes (plus a bit!) with... Patricia van den Akker

Books, Business, InspirationKate Marsden

2 Minutes with... returns this week with a bumper (so not really 2 minutes!) post, which I hope you'll find really inspiring. A peek into the world of the wonderful Patricia van den Akker of The Design Trust whose Business Club membership and coaching have helped me enormously over the past couple of years.

Read on to hear more about Patricia and her latest Dream Plan Do Kickstater campaign...

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Hello Patricia! Who are you and what do you do?

I wear a couple of hats! I am a creative business adviser & trainer and the Director of The Design Trust, the online business school for designers and makers, based in North London. I regularly write and talk about creative business development, and work with organisations and businesses across the UK, from Etsy to the New Designers graduate exhibition, to Top Drawer and Made London to various universities and creative professional development programmes. For the last 5 years I also wrote the business column The Design Doctor for Crafts Magazine, and I regularly write blog posts for our own website and others such as Mollie Makes Magazine, Etsy and Folksy.

I’m very involved with the Just A Card campaign ever since Sarah and I had lunch together at my house and she wondered if it would be a good idea to tell the world. My mum had a gift shop when I was growing up in the Netherlands so I have always been surrounded by beautiful products and really understand the tricky business of owning a shop.

Oh, and I have got two lovely girls and very supportive husband too.

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Why do you love what you do?

Haha, normally it’s me asking these kind of thought-provoking coaching questions! It’s one of my favourites, as it says so much about the values and motivations of someone. I often ask: “Why do you do what you do?”

Of course I have been doing some digging around this question, and for me it’s about showing that you can be both creative and entrepreneurial, in fact that you do NEED to be both … if you want to succeed! One feeds the other in my opinion; it’s not about being one or the other. So many creatives use ‘being a creative’ as an excuse for not being organised or not doing well. I think that’s nonsense. You do need to learn about these things if you want to be taken seriously and if it is your business (pun intended).


That all probably comes from the time when I was choosing a degree subject. My dad wasn’t overly impressed with my choice of wanting to study graphic design and more or less muttered ‘You will never make a living.’ But I did! (Although I never worked as a graphic designer a single day in my life haha!) And I am still trying to prove him wrong, and all the other nay-sayers too!

I love it when I see creatives with a sparkle in their eyes, who are ambitious, who - with a little bit of help - can go so much further. Very few graduates in the UK have a basic understanding of business and marketing, while marketing and branding can be so creative! My audience and clients are my biggest sources of inspiration! You do need to find out your own strengths but also listen to your ideal clients, it’s so inspiring to try and find the right solution and to provide innovative and really useful solutions for them.

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Recently somebody said to me: “Patricia, I have always been really scared of marketing myself, but in the last hour you have given me so many creative ideas of what I can do. They feel really right. I can’t wait to get started and get the word out.’ I love that, to be able to inspire creatives, and yes, also so that the world becomes more beautiful, creative, ambitious and inspiring.

I started my career as a creative business adviser nearly 25 years ago. At that time it was all about teaching people skills around business planning, finance and marketing. But then 10 years ago I realised that I would have very good meetings with creatives, but actually nothing would really change afterwards in their business. They were full of good intentions at the meeting, but often there were lots of things stopping them actually making the change. I was worried that I wasn’t a very good business adviser after all! Then I realised that your mindset is crucial in this change process, so I trained for 4 years as a business coach, which really helped me to start asking bigger questions instead of always having the right answer. In the last 2 years I have become rather obsessed with getting people into action. Not just thinking or talking about the business you really want to create, but actually doing it. Mucking in, failing even, and getting up again and make it happen. So much interesting psychology around that what makes creatives successful and happy, and what stops them! I can’t stop finding out more about that. I am now learning more than I ever have done.

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And so that’s my very long answer to your question about why I do what I do: I love learning and growing, and want to prove that to be successful you need to learn and fail, experiment and play, and keep going!

What inspired you to take the wealth of information on the Design Trust’s website and create the Dream Plan Do book?

I have been working with creatives for nearly 25 years, and there is so much information in my head! When I took over The Design Trust in 2011 (it was originally set up by the late Peta Levi MBE in 1984) I regularly got business questions from designers and makers. As I like to be effective I realised that many other creatives had probably the same questions, so I decided to share them to a wider audience and posted them as Q&A on The Design Trust website. I didn’t realise it at the time, but those were my first blog posts! Now, 6 years later there are over 120 blog posts on the site!

Dream Plan Do as an idea had been in my head for a couple of years (haven’t we all got an idea for a book in our minds?!). Then last summer we had major renovation work done at our house in North London. I work from home so I couldn’t do my usual job of providing online training as it was too noisy. So, I thought it would be a good time to work on my book idea!


Dream Plan Do is based on the idea that many creatives fantasise about what they would like to do and work really hard, but often they don’t dream BIG enough (often a bit scared of the fear of failure – or the fear of success!), they don’t think it through enough. They might like planning and to-do-lists and lovely planning stationery (who doesn’t!) but are you actually really working on the things that matter?

To be successful (whatever your definition of that is, either monetary or otherwise!) you do need to able to be strategic and think about the long term and be focused, you need to have a plan of how to get ‘there’, and you need to do the actions that get you clients and sales. You need to Dream Plan and Do!

With Dream Plan Do I have created a ‘coach-like’ book. The best way to explain it is that I have written half the book, and that the other half is up to you! In the Dream Plan Do planner I have broken down the process of working ON your business in quarterly and monthly sessions. Each month has another theme to work on, and each quarter you set a juicy 90-day goal. Did you know that setting a goal for 90 days is the perfect time to get something accomplished? It’s long enough to make some serious change, but short enough to keep your momentum.

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If you could collaborate with anyone (dead or alive!), who would it be?

Oh gosh, can I only select one person? To be honest I am really happy with the partnerships and clients I currently have but if there is one person that I would love to have a good dinner conversation with or get mentored by it would be Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook and Founder of the Lean In organisation. I have found her a rather inspiring role model. I found her book ‘Lean In’ (about women in leadership) really inspiring, because it partly explains what’s happening in society when it comes to women at work but also what’s going on in our own heads and within groups of women or how we raise our daughters. (I have got two girls myself!) It really showed it isn’t an easy topic, and she got a lot of stuff thrown at her because of it, but I found it inspiring that somebody at her level shared her thoughts on that. More recently she has written a book called ‘Option B’, which she wrote after she lost her husband unexpectedly. I still haven’t read it as it’s about grief and if life doesn’t give you what you were hoping for and I need to find the guts a bit to tackle that one … 

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What other exciting plans do you have for the next year?

Next year I really want to make more time to do research into how successful creative businesses really work, the nitty gritty stuff. That’s what I am very interested in: how people and businesses really work.

In the last year I have had to do a lot of strategic thinking and work on my own business The Design Trust. Dream Plan Do in 2016 was really popular but that means that I need to grow the business as a whole to keep it working. Early in 2018 we will be making some major changes to the website (far more based on creative professionals real needs, motivations and goals), and I want to launch a series of new online courses for very new craft and design businesses.

I also want to share more successful role models. There are so many great business owners that have created really interesting business models or different ways of doing business and marketing. Those are the ones that I want to feature as we don’t see and celebrate success enough in society!

And actually I am really looking forward to having more time for research and writing too. I have caught the writing bug, and have ideas for other books too. Often people assume that I am really outgoing, as I do so many public speaking events, but actually allowing myself to have some quiet time to read and research is something I am really excited about. I am putting in my business plan for next year to spend around 3 months in total on research and writing for next year!

You can get the Dream Plan Do planner till 30 October on

From mid November it will be available online via If you order by 1 December then you will have your own copy in the post before Christmas.


Commissions for Christmas

Architecture, Drawing, ProductsKate Marsden

Yes, I know it's only October, but my order books are now open for Christmas commissions! This includes house portraits, other illustrations and custom cushion and lampshade orders...


Over the course of the year I've received house portrait commissons for birthdays, weddings and anniversaries - they also make a great Christmas present! With enough notice I can produce custom versions of pretty much every product I offer so do drop me a line if you have something in mind.


Last order dates will be published next month, however if you'd like to get in early and place you order for a custom illustration in October, you can get £5 off with code COMMISSION5 either here or in my Etsy shop.



Kate Marsden

Last weekend, Kaylene Alder (superstar illustrator, screen printer and Just A Card team member!) and I got together and printed up a little collaborative project we've been working on...


Tote bags! I've been wanting to work on a bag for a while and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Kaylene and I designed the bag together (featuring my chairs and her plants) and we had fun getting inky at Sonsoles Print Studio in Peckham.

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We've produced a limited run of 40 bags which are a collaboration between myself and Kaylene's Plant Prints for Peace project. 10% of all bag sales will be donated to Peace Direct, who work with local people to stop war destroying lives. You can find out more about their work here


The bags are now available here as well as in my Etsy shop - you can also buy them from Kaylene and we'll be taking them along to our markets on the run up to Christmas.


Putting One Foot in Front of the Other

Books, Art, Inspiration, ReviewKate Marsden

I'll admit that I'm struggling a little bit at the moment. My motivation is lacking (yes I know, again). I'm finding it quite hard to keep ploughing on and putting everything into my work when business is so slow, and I'm wondering where it's all going. Add to that a seeminly endless list of personal stuff that's weighing me down, and well I'm sure you can imagine...


I received what felt like a rather timely surprise last week. It was a surprise as it was a book I'd preordered months ago, and then completely forgotten about. Regular readers and friends will know that I'm a massive fangirl of artist Lisa Congdon, and A Glorious Freedom is her latest book. We chatted about this one when I sat opposite her at dinner after Blogtacular last year and I'd been keenly awaiting it'a arrival ever since (I suppose I forgot about it once I'd pre-ordered as that meant I didn't need to think about it anymore!).


I say timely, as not only was I in need of some cheer and inspiration, but so far I'm finding being 39 pretty rubbish. I'm sure it's psychological - next year I'll be middle aged after all! And what have I achieved so far? Well, not a lot! Back in the summer I toyed with doing a 40 before 40 list, but my birthday was more than 2 months ago now and that hasn't happended. Anxiety, being generally busy, and the feeling that I'm certain I won't achieve it has stopped me. A Glorious Freedom is making me feel a bit better about this though (oh, and I'm not going to bother with the list).

The book profiles a wide range of women (all over 40, some well into their 80s) who were what we might call "late bloomers" or who had a complete change later in life. Perhaps a much needed reminder to keep going, but also stories and situations I see cropping up all the time with my friends, and realising that when many of us are the age I am now we can feel as though that's it - if the current situation isn't working for us for any reason that's the end. We're supposed to be grown-ups by now and have it all sorted (so apologies to my younger readers - I'm 39 and I don't feel like a grown-up yet).


This quote from Brene Brown has resonated with me the most. I think this is so true - I made the jump 4 years ago (4 years ago this month since I resigned from my job), but despite that I still spend a lot of time focussing on what I'm supposed to be doing, and what society expects me to be doing - although I am the Mum at the school gates in the slightly crazy brightly coloured clothes (I've stopped worrying about that)!

I haven't finished the book yet, but I'm working through and plan to read the every page. I think the one thing I'm taking from it so far though, is that what you're doing is never set in stone, not at any point. If this doesn't work out for me (as I fear) there will be something else, and what's to say that thing won't be even better? I'm also realising that sometimes it's good to have a bad week - read non-productive, can't focus on work - as this can be a sign that you need to switch off, or focus on yourself for a while (even though you're not supposed to focus on yourself!).


So, I'll continue putting one foot in front of the other (I have the school run to do later so don't have any choice in that matter really!), keep working hard, keep hoping everything will turn out OK in the end, as it probably will. It's quite telling that all I look to read at the moment are books and blogs about motivation, but all I really want to do is curl up under a blanket in front of the fire...

A Glorious Freedom: Older Women Leading Extraordinary Lives is written by Lisa Congdon and published by Chronicle Books.

Month in the Life - September

Month in the LifeKate Marsden

September is always a busy month and this year was no exception! Here are a few of my highlights...


September is new collection time! Amazingly I managed to pull it all together over the summer holidays...


I launched my new collection at West Elm.


Working on samples for a new workshop.


Portfolio review meeting with Jehane Boden Spiers.


New (to me) bike!


The wonderful Just A Card Day.


My fourth year at Thread Festival of Textiles.

The Living Room Makeover

Inspiration, InteriorsKate Marsden

It was decorated in June, but my living room is now very nearly finished - hooray! It's quite a transfomation from the dark (albeit cozy in the winter, so let's see how that goes) room it was before.


So we had a dark purple chimney breast, a pinky/grey colour on the rest of the walls (which was actually really nice but tatty), lots of orange wood, plus all the woodwork which had been painted, was painted with gloss.


I'm always impatient during the prep stage and this time it seemed to take forever! It was nice as it started to take shape though and the room became lighter and brighter. Here is it now...


I'm so happy with it - I keep going in just to stare. We've decided we need to add a rug, but apart from that it's now finished.

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All of the walls/woodwork were painted using my favourite, Farrow & Ball (you just don't get the same finish with anything else). The off white is Lime White and the dark grey on the bottom of the chimney breast is Railings. All in Estate Emulsion and Estate Eggshell on the woodwork.

The floor is painted in V33 Renovation Paint in Moondust Satin from B&Q - we were very gentle with it for the first couple of weeks, but now we're rough as anything (box of Brio emptied out onto it etc etc) and it seems to be holding up very well.

The beautiful yellow wallpaper is Peggy in Mustard from Mini Moderns.

The new curtains are made to measure from Laura Ashley.

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Our timing was spot on and we managed to get some bargains in the Habitat summer sale. The armchair and footstool are just lovely and we also got the mirror above the mantlepiece (all now discontinued). The cushion above is by Miesje Chafer. Cushions on the sofa in the earler image are by (l-r): Me (about 5 years ago!), Nikki McWilliams, Me (using a kit by Pom Pom Design) and Georgia Bosson.

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We needed to do something to tackle the toy storage situation, as previously the room was completely taken over by them and I'd had enough. About half were moved up to the little man's room and we then limited it to a new IKEA unit behind the door (see above) and the bookshelf on the hearth. The room feels almost empty and it's lovely!


And finally, the icing on the cake - my beautiful lampshade by Justine Ellis. It's huge (even if it doesn't look it in this picture) - a whopping 50cm in diameter and everyone's been commenting on it. We finished it off by getting a diffuser so we don't sit on the sofa staring up at the bulb.

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And that's it! So obviously all of the other rooms in the house now look rubbish in comparison, but there you go. Thinking about the kitchen next...

Just A Card Day!

Kate Marsden

Today's the day! If you follow me on social media you'll no doubt be aware of Just A Card Day as we've been shouting about it for a couple of weeks! Today we're encouraging people to share their own take on the campaign - via a lovely image or graphic, or by telling their business story. Here's the image I'm sharing over on Instagram...


It's not too late to join in! Tag your images with #justacard and take a look at what other people are sharing on Instagram and Twitter. Mollie Makes Magazine will be choosing some of their favourite images to share on their blog next month.

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Find out more about our upcoming plans for the campaign on the Just A Card blog.

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Coming up!

Craft, Events, London, Sewing, Shopping, Textiles, WorkshopsKate Marsden

I have lots of exciting events coming up over the next few months (see my events page for the full list) but I thought I'd share those which are in the next few weeks. First up, this weekend - my fourth annual trip to Thread Festival of Textiles!

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Thread is wonderful - like a more relaxed, smaller version of the Knitting & Stitching Show. I'll be setting up stall in the Great Hall - do come along, say hello and take a look at my new collection.

Then next Saturday 7 October I will be running not one but two workshops at Creative Happy London in Camberwell...

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Lampshade Making in the morning and Tote Bags in the afternoon.

Finally I'll be back at Love Art in Tooting on Saturday 14th for more lamphade related fun!

All workshops are booking now - I hope to see you soon!

Warhol in Croydon? Yes, really...

Architecture, Art, Events, InspirationKate Marsden

During the walking tour I joined a couple of weeks ago, I was asked whether I think Croydon has changed over the years. As someone who has lived next door to the place for 7 years, I've gone from pretending I live in Sutton to proudly saying I live near Croydon, so I'm pretty sure that means it has. With no offence to Sutton (which SHOULD be really nice), it has a rather depressing, run down feel and very little is happening there (even my favourite restaurant has closed down and the cinema is shut for refurbishment, so there's really no reason to go at the moment), whereas Croydon feels a little bit exciting, as if more and more good things are about to happen.

I made a little Warhol inspired version of my Number One Croydon drawing! You can get hold of a copy here.

I made a little Warhol inspired version of my Number One Croydon drawing! You can get hold of a copy here.

This month something pretty exciting is happening... Warhol Croydon, organised by the rather amazing, street art supporting Rise Gallery, brings together an exhibition of original Warhol artwork to the gallery itself (yes, real Andy Warhols, in Croydon) alonside an exhibition of large scale contemporary artworks inspired by the great man.


So as I mentioned, I joined one of the free guided tours and had a brilliant time, and I can really recommend you try and get yourself booked on one before the event finishes at the end of the month. Do make sure you book though - there were loads of us on a Wednesday lunchtime so I'm sure the evenings and weekends get very busy!

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If you don't manage to book a tour, you can use the Warhol Croydon app and take yourself on it instead. There are also other free events available - head to the Warhol Croydon website for more information.


Walala X Play

Kate Marsden

Last month I popped over to North Greenwich to see the Camille Walala exhibiton at Now Gallery. The little man and I filled the full 15 minutes of our slot messing around and taking photos (there may have been some running involved and he narrowly avoided a telling off by the staff - didn't avoid one from me though!).

Here are just a few shots of the exhibition - make sure you pop over there and see it before it closes on the 24th. The exhibition is free but booking in advance is advised.


2 Minutes with... Hester van Overbeek

Blogging, Books, Craft, Inspiration, TutorialsKate Marsden

We’re heading to the seaside today to meet craft writer extraordinaire, and fellow concrete lover Hester van Overbeek

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Hello Hester! Who are you and what do you do?

Hi! I’m Hester, a Dutchie living in the seaside town of Ramsgate, and I like to make things!

I’m a craft and DIY blogger on and write DIY books, books published so far are Furniture Hacks, Crafting with Mason Jars, Making Concrete Pots, Bowls and platters. My latest title Made with Salvaged Wood will be published in October. 

I love using materials I already have lying around so you could say I’m an up-cycler. The tutorials on my website are all interior based and range from small home accessories makes like plant pots and cushions to bigger build like a wardrobe made from old doors and a wood clad bed base. When I moved into my current home I documented the makeover from the tired stuck in the 90’s ex rental to the modern Scandi style homely home it is today. You can find a new video tutorial on my website every week.

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Why do you love what you do?

Whats better then looking at a piece of furniture in your house and think ‘I made that!’

Being your own boss is great as well, sometimes it seems like I work 22 hours a day but on lovely sunny days I can take a long coffee break and walk my dog Kermit on the beach. I’ve always been freelance (my previous career was doing makeup and hair on photo shoots for magazines and ads) so don’t even know what it’s like going into an office very day :)

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Out of all the different crafts and DIYs you’ve tried, which technique is your favourite?

I’ve tried every craft technique and besides knitting I love them all. There is just something about having to follow a knitting pattern so precisely that I sort of loose all interest. Which is weird as I like following instructions, love a flatpack assembly! ;)

If I have to choose I think wood will be my favourite material followed by fabric and concrete. Wood is so versatile and easy to work with, just make sure you measure twice before you saw. Same goes with fabric, I love using scrap bits of fabric and wood and turn them into new projects.

Concrete was a new material for me when I got commissioned for my Making Concrete book but it fast became a favourite. I’m not very patient so having to wait for the concrete to cure before seeing any results was a bit testing but the end results just give such a lovely industrial vibe to your interior.

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If you could collaborate with anyone (dead or alive!) who would it be?

Oh, that is a tricky one as there are so many possibilities. I’m slightly obsessed with Ikea (think I could easily live in their store) so anything with them would be amazing. How great would an Ikea hack kit be that you can buy with your flatpack!

I’m a magazine addict, a production in one on my fav’s would be absolutely amazing. At the moment I love Cereal, Kinfolk, the Magnolia Journal, Sweet Paul and Living magazine by my all time hero Martha Stewart.

An other collaboration that would be amazing is with a power tool brand, I’m on a mission to get more girls convertible in using power tools. There are some great DIY girls in the USA but over here its still a very male dominated environment (Builders are very surprised I do all the DIY in the house and not my boyfriend) I’m all for gender equality and hate the pink DIY tools and books some brands think we girls need

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What exciting plans do you have for the next year? 

I do a series on my blog called Meet the Maker in which I interview crafter makers and have a look around their studio or workshop. I haven’t done many video’s for this yet but there are a lot more planned in the next couple of months. 

My new book Made with Salvaged Wood is out in October and can’t wait to see what people think of it, it’s my favourite so far! All project are made from wood you might already have lying around in your shed, from bits you can find in a salvage yard and branched you can find in the forest.

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Thank you so much Hester! Read Hester’s blog here and follow her on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest.




Month in the Life - August

Month in the LifeKate Marsden

I think frantic, but mostly fun, is probably the best way to describe last month! By the time we reached the end of the summer holidays we realised we'd only had two free days in six weeks. Back to school and work for a rest... Here are some of the best bits.

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Working on a logo for a band - this image didn't make the final cut!

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My birthday!

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A rainy trip to Winchester to visit friends - this photo was taken at Basingstoke Station.

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Back at the Olympic Park for the first time since 2012 for the World Athletics Championship.

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Sampling products for the new collection.

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Bumper fabric delivery (followed by bumper fat quarter prep...).

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New chair! And a new cushion from my new collection...

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Discovering the new Petersham Nurseries shop in Covent Garden.

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10th Anniversary Reading Festival weekend (might've met Ash... cough)!

Made By Mrs M at West Elm!

Events, Interiors, London, Products, ShoppingKate Marsden

I'm really excited to be back at the wonderful West Elm store on Tottenham Court Road this coming weekend 9/10 September.

If you haven't visited West Elm before, now's your chance! It's a lovely store with the nicest staff, and the added bonus of lots of mid-century inspired furniture (and good coffee).

I'll be popping up all day on Saturday and Sunday launching my brand new collection - all the usual bits and bobs will be available too. Looking forward to seeing lots of you there!


West Elm is at 209 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 7PN and they're open from 10-7 on Saturday and 12-6 on Sunday.


Craft, WorkshopsKate Marsden

Back at the end of last month I popped down to Art Rebellion in Coulson to take part in a neon workshop with the lovely Becci of Ellbie Co. Now this wasn't a dangerous activity involving molten glass and gasses, but a rather more portable version using electroluminescent wire (or EL wire for short) - which is a copper wire coated in phosphor (so it glows when you put power through it - magic!).

I have to admit that at the start of the session I questioned how on earth it could possibly take the 4 hours which were allocated (although it did include lunch), however we soon found out that the early stages were quick but then it got fiddly! Becci recommended we go for something fairly simple so I ignored her and decided to write the word "lovely"...

You basically attach the EL wire to the aluminium wire (which I formed into the word in the images above) with lots and lots of little knots and then glue into place at the end. I think I could perhaps have been a tad neater with my knots as I did end up in a bit of a mess with the glue!

Ever impatient, I hung it up at home before it had dried properly but it's held together! At the moment it's hanging from the picture rail in my studio - suspended on more of the invisible thread - I'm still considering whether to mount it on something to finish it off. Excuse the rather grainy evening photo...

Ellbie Co also sell this as a kit (along with kits for lots of other things too) - you can see their website here.

This is not a sponsored post.

2 Minutes with... Momtaz Begum-Hossain

Kate Marsden

My loves of colour and craft combine in this week’s inspiring 2 minute interview! Meet the fabulous Momtaz Begum-Hossain


Hello Momtaz! Who are you and what do you do?

Hello! I’m a Journalist (writing for magazines for over 15 years), Presenter (TV, radio and live events) and Crafts Expert - I’ve worked in the crafts industry for over 10 years including designing crafts projects for Children’s BBC, being Editor of a crafts magazine, writing crafts books and running workshops.

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Why do you love what you do

I’m never bored! I’ve curated my career so that I can do things I truly love – every week is varied. One day I’m interviewing a Bollywood megastar for a video interview, the next day I’m writing about cake for a wedding magazine and that same evening I could be teaching a crafts workshop.

I’m constantly inspired by your beautiful, colourful wardrobe. Have you always made your own clothes? How did you get started?

Like a lot of Bangladeshi women in London in the 1980s my mum was a seamstress, sewing clothes for British high street stores like C&A. I grew up watching her sewing on a huge Singer sewing machine so ‘making clothes’ was something that was completely normal, although her machine was so precious she never let me touch it! When it came to choosing my A’levels I discovered that there were two colleges in London that offered A’Level Fashion so I enrolled at one of them and that’s when I first started making proper clothes that I could wear. I also spent my first wages from my weekend job when I was 17 on buying a sewing machine so I could continue sewing in the holidays.

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If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be?

I am a superfan of Indian Fashion Designer Manish Arora. He creates quirky, rainbow fused, embellished outfits that capture the fun side of fashion then on a serious side, behind the scenes he works with incredibly talented crafts people who do the ornate embroideries and handiwork. Working with him in some form would be a dream.


What exciting plans do you have for the next year?

I’m always making plans! I’ve been running London Craft Night The Make Escape for over five years and that’s now expanding to run more craft workshops, I’m working on a children’s TV craft show pilot and am spending more time on my blog Craft and Travel. I’m on a mission to travel the world learning about different crafts so lots of travel plans too. Plus, I’ll be at The Handmade Fair in September where you can join me on the Friday and Saturday to make needle-felted vegetables.

Thank you so much for taking part Momtaz! You can find out more on her website and follow on Instagram and Twitter.


Inspiration in Lanzarote...

Architecture, Inspiration, Photography, TravelKate Marsden

Well I wasn't really expecting a week in a very touristy, typical summer holiday destination to have much to inspire (and to be fair my main aim was to switch off and sit by the pool!) but find it I did. Our hotel was paricularly pleasing (with lots of blue and orange) - here are a few colourful shots taken all around the island. Enjoy!

Not our hotel, but a bit of a Brutalist gem in downtown Puerto del Carmen

Not our hotel, but a bit of a Brutalist gem in downtown Puerto del Carmen

This was our hotel. Pleasing (almost) symmerty at Aqua Suites (also Puerto del Carmen)

This was our hotel. Pleasing (almost) symmerty at Aqua Suites (also Puerto del Carmen)

2 Minutes with... Sinead Koehler

Kate Marsden

Your quick dose of inspiration returns this week, with a look behind the scenes of the wonderful Crafty Fox Market!

Hello Sinead! Who are you and what do you do?

I'm Sinead, and I started Crafty Fox Market back in 2010. We promote designer makers and run craft markets at a variety of venues in London. I'm originally from Northern Ireland but have been living in South London for more than 10 years now. I'm married to Stephan who can often be found behind the decks DJing at our markets and we have two boys, Rian (5 years) and Aidan (11 months). My professional background is in not-for-profit events and fundraising. I started Crafty Fox Market after a side-line in jewellery-making led me to selling on Etsy and it introduced me to the wonderful creative community that has become my home. 

Why do you love what you do?

I feel really lucky to be part of such a talented community of designer makers. The Crafty Fox journey has taken me to many unexpected places and given me lots of new opportunities such as teaching and presenting at events which I really enjoy. It is also flexible work which allows me to spend lots of time with my children.

As you know, I’m a massive fan of Crafty Fox Market whether I’m there to sell or to buy. What do you think has been the secret of it’s success?

I think it's a combination of factors. Producing good quality events and putting makers at the heart of what we do has meant that we have developed a good reputation. This helps us attract a large volume of applicants every time we run a market, which puts us in the fortunate position of being able to select makers for our events, keeping the quality high while showcasing a wide variety. This in turn attracts shoppers who appreciate our selection and come ready to buy from the traders. We have also been fortunate with timing as consumers are becoming increasingly interested in the provenance of their purchases and love an opportunity to meet the makers.

If you could collaborate with anyone (dead or alive!) who would it be?

That's a great question! We've worked on some really interesting collaborations over the years. I've always liked the idea of working with Tate - a market in the Turbine Hall would be quite something wouldn't it?! 

What exciting plans do you have for the next year?

I'm particularly excited about our Design Circus event on 23 and 24 September which is part of London Design Festival. It's a collaboration with BRIXI and will include performance, installation, workshops and circus-inspired happenings alongside the stalls. It's also in really fabulous new venue in the heart of Brixton called The Department Store. It's part of the new HQ for Squire & Partners (an architecture practice) - the building has been beautifully restored and we can't wait to bring the Circus.

I'm also looking forward to further developing - our online shopping directory over the coming year. It has loads of potential and we have some exciting plans up our sleeves!

Thank you so much for joining me Sinead! You can find all the autumn dates for Crafty Fox Market on their website and follow along on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


Modern Lettering

Books, Inspiration, Paper, Review, WorkshopsKate Marsden

I first met Becky from Betty Etiquette when I attended one of her wonderful calligraphy workshops at Liberty a couple of years ago. Now I'm afraid I have to admit that I've barely picked up my pen and ink since (slaps wrist) but her style of lettering is so beautiful, and there are few things nicer than receiving one of her hand written envelopes in the post!

So when I saw she had a book coming out, I was pre-ordering it faster than you can say "pre-ordering" and just before I went on my holiday, it arrived!

Modern Lettering is a little like a Betty Etiquette workshop, but with so much more which will keep you going for ages. Having been to one and not done a lot since, it's got me itching to have another go. There are pages dedicated to each letter so you can get practing (although I won't be spoiling the book by writing in it - I'll stick to a sketchbook for that) and for me I think the most useful pages are the project ideas - full of colourful examples and ways to make use of your new found skills.

The book itself is a very pretty thing indeed, and features that winning blue and yellow colour combination! I keep staring at it and then absent mindedly thumbing through when I should be working... There are also pictures of cakes...

Modern Lettering by Rebecca Cahill Roots is published by Batsford and available now!

This is not a sponsored post.