Made By Mrs M

Some news... it's time for a change

Kate Marsden

When I thought about writing a post like this one a few months ago, the idea horrified me. I was coming to the realisation that my business is not viable and either something needed to change radically or I had to basically give up. Now faliure is a very big word which I feel hanging over my head constantly, and I was so anxious and stressed that I couldn't see the wood for the trees. Not a good time to make big life changing decisions...


However I have now had something of an epiphany (partly due to Mr M sitting me down and telling my some hard facts, not just about the financial viability of my business but also about the negative impact it's having on my family) and finally I'm seeing through those trees and I have a plan - at least for the short-term.

I will not be closing Made By Mrs M, however I will be closing the product side of my business. I spend a massive amount of time attempting to sell my products - probably many hours for every single item I sell - if I think about my time properly I never really make a profit on anything. Sales have completely stagnated (in fact dropped sligtly) in 2017 and the dream of ever being able to make a living now seems frankly laughable.

Partly due to this, I've completely lost the love for my products - it's even harder to sell stuff when you no longer love it yourself. I no longer get excited about launching something new or attending a fair or market. Photographing my new work is a chore which I put off, as is listing the items on my website and Etsy. Then every month as I watch more money going out than coming in I just feel anxious, stressed and thoroughly miserable. This isn't how it was supposed to be.


Now, having said this there are elements of what I do that I still love. I still love designing patterns for fabric, and I don't plan to stop doing this. I will however not be launching a spring collection in 2018 - rather I'll revert to what I used to do (for a while at least) - if I create a new design or two which I like enough to add to my existing range I'll do that. Less fuss and less work, but still new fabrics from time to time for those of you who love them (and I know you do - it still amazes me that people like them enough to buy them at all so thank you). I'm also enjoying my illustration work more and I intend to do more of this and continue to offer custom illustrations and work with companies on licencing on an ad hoc basis.

So, I have now closed my shop on this website, but the website itself will remain. My Etsy shop will stay open selling my fabrics, custom illustrations and any small products or original work I fancy adding from time to time (with no pressure). All existing products are still there and available to purchase at the moment.

I do have a few markets lined up (but not many) you can find all my upcoming events here. At the moment I don't plan to book any more (other than our local open studios next year) but that may change if I start to miss doing them! 


Thank you for reading this far. I wanted to add a word at the end about the Just A Card campaign - which I continue to volunteer for and which remains very close to my heart. Despite the increasing popularity of the campaign I know that many of us are still struggling - lots of businesses have failed this year, including a couple of places local to me which I've been rather upset about, but the message of the campaign really is true - no if I sell just one card in a week (which happens sometimes) I cannot keep going, but if everyone who tells me my work is amazing buys one (or something else small) I will keep going.

Unfortunately when it comes to my products I've completely lost the love - there's only so long you can cheerfully try and flog something that people don't want; but if it's too late for me, please do think about the other artists, designer makers, shops and galleries you love. It's all looking a bit bleak out there to me at the moment and I really hope that if we continue to work hard together on this we can still turn it around.

Work in Progress...

Craft, Sewing, TextilesKate Marsden

I tend to really struggle to find the time to work on personal projects. But when I do, I like to have a go at something a little different (for me at least) and it always tends to turn in to something epic! I used to provide regular updates here on these projects of mine, but it's been a while! Here's what I'm working on at the moment/have recently finished...

FullSizeRender 100.jpg

The quilt! I've been working on this for just over 3 years on and off. I've now finished piecing it and I'm nearly ready to start the quilting - so call back in another 3 years!!

FullSizeRender 101.jpg

Now this next one's finished... Two years ago I got a needlepoint cushion kit from Pompom Design - I finished stitching it last Christmas but only got around to turning it into a cushion in the summer (which took all of 15 minutes...). Here it is after a couple of months of being kicked around the sofa/living room by a 7 year old...


Holding up pretty well so far! As this took me so long to make I am quite precious about it, much to the annoyance of everyone else in the house! 

So, as I'd finished this one (but not the quilt), I bought another kit at the Knitting & Stitching Show last month, and here's work in progress on the next one (this kit is called Kumo)...


Now my dressmaking wips could take up a whole other post (or two) - and I'm feeling pretty meh about them at the moment, so maybe watch this space for an update there!

What long term projects are you working on? Anything interesting you think I'd like to try (once I've finished these of course...!)?

Getting Organised for Christmas...

Events, ProductsKate Marsden

For us small business owners, Christmas is never that far from our minds (unfortunately - I do love it but not all year round!), but now that I'm actually starting to think about it from the point of view of buying cards and gifts myself I thought I'd share some new things I've added to the shop!


After the success of my Christmas cards last year, I've decided to go for it again! This year's design is a festive take on my chairs and plants patterns and is inspired by the 1950's room at the Geffrye Museum when it's decorated for Christmas. They are available here and in my Etsy shop.

Made By Mrs M Gift Wrap A3.jpg

And, exclusively to my Etsy shop, I've also put together a bumper download bundle. Last year I sold greetings card downloads but this year I've put a whole bundle together! There's the cards, plus giftwrap and bunting - so you can coordinate! You can get hold of the bundle here.


I'll have a few pre-printed (and cut) sets of the bunting with me at the Village Haberdashery Maker's Market this coming Sunday (12 November) as well if you fancy saving yourself some prep time!

Month in the Life - October

Kate Marsden

Another busy month! Workshops, collaborations, new work and a holiday. Phew! Here are my best bits...


I got some lovely new books! This one is A Glorious Freedom by Lisa Congdon and I also got Making Winter by Emma Mitchell.


A fab workshop at Creative Happy London - find and book all my upcoming workshops here.


Printing tote bags with the lovely Kaylene Alder. You can get yours here!


I wrote my first tutorial in an absolute age.


Made it to the Knitting & Stitching Show and got messy!


Had a clear out to make way for new stock - there are still some bargain £1 notebooks available here.


Got some new glasses and spent half term in the New Forest.


Received a lovely floor sample from Atra Floor (watch this space for more info!) and entered the Ohh Deer Pillow Fight for the first time in years (you can vote for me here).




Coming Up in November!

Craft, Events, Inspiration, Sewing, Textiles, WorkshopsKate Marsden

The run down to Christmas is approaching fast! Lots of things coming up to get you in the festive mood this month...

Makers Market Logo.jpg

My first market of the season will be on Sunday 12 November at the Village Haberdashery in West Hampstead - they're showcasing two makers each Sunday up until Christmas. Come along, start your shopping and take a look at this beautiful shop if you haven't been before!

Kate Marsden.jpg

Workshop wise, I have two lampshade workshops lined up - the first is THIS SATURDAY (and bookings close tomorrow so quick!!) - this is my popular 20cm diameter drum shade workshop as seen above and below and will be running once again in Camberwell at Creative Happy London.

Then if you'd like something a little different we'll be making BIG lampshades at Dotty's Teahouse in Carshalton on Tuesday 28 November - also booking now.


Then on Saturday 11 November come along and start making your own Christmas presents with me at Creative Happy London - we'll be making lavender bags or masks using a range of fabrics - suitable for all levels.


A Well Timed Pick-me-up

Books, Craft, Drawing, Inspiration, Painting, ReviewKate Marsden

I've always felt that Emma Mitchell is very good at judging what people need and when - like the day I turned up at her beautiful cottage in Cambridgeshire, feeling a bit nervous about joining a bunch of people I didn't know for an intimate workshop at the dining table (it was ace by the way, you can read about it here) - I was handed tea in a beautiful handcrafted mug and the most delicious cake I've ever eaten. And so the ice was well and truly broken!


I think Emma was one of the first people I "met" on Twitter, long before she had the Instagram fame she has now achieved! So you can imagine how thrilled I was to hear there was a book in the pipeline. Well it's here now and has already been really popular (my pre-order copy took ages to come as it would appear that Amazon ran out!) - it's clear to see why.


The aim of Making WInter is to inspire us through the darker months with makes and bakes and colour - it reminds me in part of The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady - a book which my Mum had when I was little and which I used to flick through regularly (while attempting to copy the drawings) - but obviously less of a diary and more of a modern take, with beautiful photography and lots more besides.


Any book which inspires me to bake has to be a success (although I have been thinking about that cake Emma made for nearly two years so I probably just needed a nudge) - I'm also thinking of getting the old crochet hook and yarn out again (if I can remember how to do it). I've realised how rarely I now craft for the sake of it rather than for a product or so I can write about it here.


I'm very much inspired by the idea of keeping a winter nature diary and I think this is something I should try doing with the little man - maybe we could both keep one! I spent an evening sitting on the sofa just flicking through the book and it made me want to get up and do something and I think that has to be a good thing...

FullSizeRender 95.jpeg

Making Winter by Emma Mitchell is published by LOM Art and is available now.

This is not a sponsored post.

Snazzy Peg Bag Tutorial

Craft, Inspiration, Sewing, Textiles, TutorialsKate Marsden

I'm back on the tutorial bandwagon!!!! Well for this week at least.... It's been an absolute age and I thought it was about time. I recently bought a new peg bag as my old one was disintigrating after 15 years of use. Someone told me I should've made my own but I pleaded lack of time. However as my old bag had a rather lovely wooden hanger inside I thought I'd make one anyway and put that to use!


So here it is. Made with my Dining Chairs fabric, I think it looks rather good. Here's what you'll need to make your own.

Wooden coathanger (preferably shaped like the one shown below)

1 x Fat Quarter of my Dining Chairs fabric - if you choose to use a different fabric make sure it measures at least 50cm deep by 75cm wide.

Thread, pins, scissors, sewing machine, iron and ironing board.

Pattern - available to download here.


1. Print your downloaded pattern pieces out onto A4 paper at full size - tape together and then cut out along the dotted line.

2. Fold your fabric and pin the pattern to it on the fold (I cut my fabric into two pieces first - each measuring 50cm high by 37.5cm wide. Then cut out.


3. Once you've cut your fabric out, remove the pattern and cut it across the middle on either one of the dotted lines as shown.


4. Cut this piece on the fold.


5. Remove the pattern from the fabric, sellotape the two patten pieces together and then cut along the other dotted line. Cut this piece out on the fold as well.


6. You should now have three pieces which look like this...


7. Press all three pieces and then fold in the edges of the front opening by approximatly 3/4mm. Fold again to hide the raw edge and press. Do the same with the centre top of both sides as shown below (this is where the neck of the coathanger will sit).


8. Topstitch all of these folds in place as close to the edge as you can.


9. Trim your threads then place the pieces right side together. Pin and stitch from neck opening to neck opening, ensuring you leave plenty of space to insert the coat hanger.


10. Trim the corners then turn the bag out to the right side.


11. Give it a good press, insert the coathanger and you're done!


The pattern pieces look like those below - ensure you print them at full size. They can be downloaded here.

Peg Bag Pattern Page 1_edited-1.jpg
Peg Bag Pattern Page 2_edited-1.jpg

Getting Inky at the Knitting & Stitching Show

Craft, Events, Inspiration, TextilesKate Marsden

I had a fab time at the Knitting & Stitching Show last week, and for the first time ever I arrived before the doors opened! By the way I'd recommend you do this as it was nice and quiet at 10am... Anyway, I didn't arrive early because I'm a morning person; I'd booked myself on a workshop!


So by 10.30am I was up to my elbows in black acryclic paint! I joined a workshop led by Nicole Line who taught us monoprinting and stamping with Gelli Plates. A new technique for me and a lot messier than I'm used to (which was a good thing!) - I'm now off to get my hands on a Gelli Plate as it was really good fun and I'd like to experiment more.

FullSizeRender 96.jpeg
FullSizeRender 97.jpeg
The best of the prints have made it onto my studio wall

The best of the prints have made it onto my studio wall

After a clean up it was time to shop... You may recall that a couple of years ago I started work on a needlepoint cushion from Pompom Designs (which I've finished and I plan to blog about - promise!), well after a few months without needlepoint I felt the urge to do another - the first one only took a year after all... So I bought the Kumo Cushion Kit and started it as soon as I got home!


I had my usual sweep around the textile galleries - I have to say that my planning was poor this year and I wandered around in a very ad hoc manner - not recommended - I'm sure I missed things, but a couple of highlights were Rachael Howard, Diana Harrison and the winning quilts from the Festival of Quilts.

Rachael Howard

Rachael Howard

Diana Harrison

Diana Harrison

Quilt by Mary Palmer and Anne Kiely

Quilt by Mary Palmer and Anne Kiely

I didn't do a lot more shopping - just a few bits and bobs for upcoming workshops, and I treated myself to a pair of mittens from Prilly Lewis - I think you'll be seeing a lot of photos of them on my instagram over the coming months!

Prilly Lewis

Prilly Lewis

Now off to finish my work as quickly as possible so I can sneak in a little more needlepoint before the school run...

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...

cut annual financials.jpg

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.

Patricia at goNorth Festival Copyright Tim Winterburn HIE.jpg

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.

cut out wall + journal planner together.jpg

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.

portrait in green square.jpg

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.

cut out wheel of life on brown.jpg

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 … 

Dream Plan Do cut out blue cover laying flat.jpg

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.

FullSizeRender 92.jpg

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.

FullSizeRender 51.jpeg

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.

FullSizeRender 50.jpeg

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.

FullSizeRender 52.jpeg

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.

FullSizeRender 53.jpeg

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.

JAC Day Image 2017_edited-1.jpg

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

Just A Card Day.jpg

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!

see us at thread.jpg

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...

Kate Marsden.jpg

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!

FullSizeRender 55.jpeg
FullSizeRender 54.jpeg

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

Hester photo by James Gardiner.jpg

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.

Made with Salvaged wood book.jpg

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 :)

Ikea dogbed hesters handmade home.jpg

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.

kitchen makeover hesters handmade home.jpg

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

Coffee cup jar hesters handamde home.jpg

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.

wardrobe build hesters handmade home.jpg

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