Made By Mrs M

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All the Fun of Open Studios!

Art, Drawing, Events, Exhibition, Painting, Pattern Design, Studios, TextilesKate Marsden

A slightly belated end of open studios post for you! We had a brilliant second weekend (you can read about the first one here) and a lovely celebratory get together afterwards. A few more images from our stop on the trail are below. The dates for 2018 have now been set so get them in your diaries - 23/24 June and 30 June/1 July 2018 - see you there!

Claire Chandler's Studio

Claire Chandler's Studio

My gazebo

My gazebo

Marie Ratnam's paintings

Marie Ratnam's paintings

The view from the road!

The view from the road!

Claire's much admired mosaic paving slabs

Claire's much admired mosaic paving slabs

The after party! Image (c) Stuart James

The after party! Image (c) Stuart James

2 Minutes with... Zeena Shah

Art, Drawing, Inspiration, Studios, TextilesKate Marsden

Someone else who has long been an inspiration to me this week… I think I first met Zeena at a craft fair when my son was a baby (so many years ago!), and since then she’s written books and has even been on the telly a few times. Here’s a quick glimpse into the world of Zeena Shah

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

Hello Kate! 

My name is Zeena Shah and I am a printed Textile Designer, Illustrator, Author and Workshop tutor. I live and work in East London. 

Why do you love what you do?

Drawing, designing, teaching and being creative all day long make me so happy. I fell so lucky to be able to say that I love going to work everyday and even luckier to be able to do what I do on a daily basis.

What element of your work do you enjoy the most? Writing books or getting your hands messy and printing?

It's definitely the messy bit. I absolutely love printing and making things. No matter what I'm doing there always has to be an element of mark making whether it be with a lino roller or a potato.

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

Ooh it would have to be Vera Neumann, she's an inspiration. Her portfolio of print designs and colour palette are timeless and she was so prolific in her career it would have been a dream to meet her.

What exciting plans do you have for the next year?

I have lots of exciting plans for next year. I'll be continuing designing print for fashion and interiors brands. There will definitely be plenty of print making workshops and a couple of new ones too. I'd love to run some more larger scale events after the success of last year's make wrap mingle. Alongside some new goodies in the shop too... it's going to be a busy one!

Thank you so much Zeena! You can find more of Zeena's work on her website and follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.


The Evolution of my Magazine Habit...

Inspiration, Paper, ReviewKate Marsden

It all started with Smash Hits. As it did for lots of people I'm sure. Ripping out photos of Kylie and Jason and Debbie Gibson and sticking them up on my wall when I was 9 or 10. I'm pretty sure I read magazines before this but I'm struggling to remember any of them. So I stuck with Smash Hits and added Just Seventeen (when I was 10...) and then by 11 or 12 I'd graduated to Cosmopolitan. All the while, still getting Smash Hits. I was on a 3-5 magazine per month habit and it wouldn't stop there!

When I was 12 I discovered "my kind" of music (which is still "my kind" now so I obviously got something right) and started to get Melody Maker every week (and NME once in a while as well) - my magazine habit also became expensive as I graduated from Cosmo to Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. I'd decided I wanted to study fashion when I left school you see, so it was research.

Party because they were reference material (and they were - a briliant resource when I got to college and they helped fill many a sketchbook and moodboard) but also because they were pretty expensive, I ended up with a collection of Vogue magazines including every issue from October 1991 to July 1998. I needed a whole cabinet for them and they weighed a ton. Shortly before we moved down to London that summer my boyfriend (now husband) drove me to the recycling bins to get rid of the lot - it still brings me out in a cold sweat to think about it...

Anyway, we moved to London but I didn't stop buying Vogue, I needed my monthly glossy magazine fix. Some time I think in that first year a lovely magazine called Nova appeared (I believe it was a reincarnation of a magazine from the 70s) and it was a thing of beauty - it smelt great and was beautifully designed, I even subscribed but I'm pretty sure it didn't last the year - the start of the whole "print is dead" thing I suppose.

So I stuck with Vogue, occassionally bought interiors magazines, occassionally bought other fashion magazines but that was pretty much all that was out there. Then in 2010 the little man was born and my magazines just kept piling up unread so I stopped buying them. Probably for a good year. I was saving the planet and money - win win!

Then in the spring of 2011 Mollie Makes appeared - and at just the right time for me too. I was finally working on creative stuff again (in my spare time as in when I wasn't working in the city and looking after a baby...) and it inspired me and I even started blogging as a result. I subscribed to Mollie Makes for 2 or 3 years but had to drop it when I left my job to go self employed as I needed to save money. I still buy it, but not every month.

Nowadays my magazine habit is expensive again, but not so heavy on it's use of trees! I don't buy anywhere near as many but I like the nice ones. It's going back to Nova again - I want something that smells beautiful, is nicely designed and unique - something I want to have to build a shelf for and something I can go back to time and time again. Here are four of my current favourites:

91 Magazine

This issue is actually the first printed copy I've bought (I've dipped in and out of the digital magazine and editor Caroline Rowland's blog Patchwork Harmony for years). I love it mostly for the interiors, but also the photography generally which is so inspiring and absoultely up my street. This issue's cover says everything about my taste at the moment - bright and white with pops of colour! Oh and it smells divine...


Frankie is an Australian magazine which I only discovered a couple of years ago (this one is issue 77 so I was late to the party). This is another one I don't buy every time, partly because it's a bit pricey but also because I can't get hold of it anywhere near home (I bought this in the WH Smith in Victoria Station which is great for magazines). Frankie contains a good mix of everything and it's just so pretty. It also makes me wish I lived in Australia (even more than I already have wished this in the 10 years since I visited!).


Caboodle is awesome - the creation of the equally awesome Kayti Peschke (it has Kayti's personality all over it) - I'm slightly biased here as I have a tutotial in the current issue, but I do love this magazine because it's so unique. Again a mix of everything - it's fun, and colourful and guaranteed to cheer me up - oh and always substantial - there's never a skinny issue of Caboodle. One you want to keep forever rather than put in the recycling in 6 months...


Now this is the epitome of pricey - I think this set me back around about £14. I also often struggle to get a copy as there aren't that many stockists I can get to easily and I can't stretch to a subscription (from Canada - the postage is insane). Uppercase is a stunning magazine - it's practically a book - there's a market for second hand copies so not quite an investment but defintely never money down the drain. Again, slightly biased as I've been in one of their books but it's undistilled inspiration in magazine form, and something I go back to time and time again. Even if my full collection only amounts to 4 issues (plus the book!).

So these are my favourites at the moment - do let me know if there's anything wonderful I've missed out or might like to try - just not this month as I've spent all my money on magazines...

2 Minutes with... Jane Foster

Art, Books, Business, Drawing, Inspiration, StudiosKate Marsden

I’m really excited this week as I get to introduce you to someone who has been a huge inspiration to me ever since I made the decision to take my business full time a few years ago. Meet the wonderful, colourful Jane Foster!

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

Hi, I’m an illustrator, author, textile designer and screen printer living in Kingsbridge, Devon.

Why do you love what you do?

I love being creative and turning my passion into making a living so I can live the life I choose. I adore all parts of what I do and love the variety involved in illustrating, screen printing, sewing and designing along with also running my little business single handedly and doing all the various other parts involved such as photography, social media, packaging orders etc.. I’m creating an intentional life where I can work flexible hours and spend lots of time with my nine year old daughter.

Are you able to offer one piece of advice to those who are just starting out and have been inspired by you and your work?

If you want to make your career work, very hard gritty determination along with talent will get you there in the end. There is no short cut (I’m sorry to say!)

If you could collaborate with anyone who would be?

My dream would be to collaborate with the Finnish company Marimekko.

What exciting plans do you have for the next year?

I’ve several more children’s books in the pipeline along with some new product collaborations.

Thank you so much Jane! You can see all of Jane's work on her website and follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

Mollie Makes Handmade Awards!

Craft, Events, Inspiration, LondonKate Marsden

Last Monday I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to represent the Just A Card team at the Mollie Makes Handmade Awards. We had such a briliant day including a fab little photowalk with Xanthe Berkley, a Tatty Devine necklace workshop, useful talks (including an opportunity for me to meet and fangirl at Donna Wilson...). It was so exciting to see so many folks I know up for awards and I came away tired but with renewed enthusiasm about our creative commuity.

Here are a few pics from the day...

At the time of writing the winners haven't been announced on the Mollie Makes website so I won't spoil it! A big thank you to team Mollie who were all as lovely as ever, to Xanthe and Tatty Devine and of course our wonderful Just A Card team leader Sarah Hamilton (who will be happy I didn't share the Boomerang I took of her on here!).

2 Minutes with... Natasha Denness

Blogging, Inspiration, Interiors, PhotographyKate Marsden

It’s time for another quick dose of inspiration for you today! Meet the wonderful Natasha of Candy Pop

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

Hi Kate! I’m an Oxford-based writer, stylist, photographer, coach and award-winning blogger. My blog (Candy Pop) is a place where you'll find simple ways to inspire your everyday. With a focus on interiors, simple living, creativity and self-care.

When I'm not working, I enjoy spending time with my family, exploring historic properties, pretty gardens and forests, watching old films and having tea and cake with friends. I cherish the simple things in life!

Why do you love what you do?

I love the freedom that a freelance life brings, especially when there's so much variety in the work I do. I also enjoy meeting inspiring people both on and offline. It's a joy to be a part of such a vibrant and creative community.

What’s your top tip for styling up a room for summer?

The one thing that makes a home feel alive and summery is houseplants. They improve air quality and make loveable housemates. And if you don't have a garden (like me!) they enable you to bring a bit of the outdoors in.

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

There are almost too many people to list. Probably Matisse when he was creating the gorgeous blue paper cut-outs or Hockney during the 1960s. Then I could spend a little time in the LA sunshine!

What exciting plans do you have for the next year?

I have several creative projects underway and I'm enjoying working with a few coaching clients. It’s an honour to support people on their journeys and I'm looking forward to offering further coaching slots later in the year.

Thank you Natasha!

You can find Natasha’s website here, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.


Stitched Jewellery and more upcoming workshops...

Kate Marsden

A couple of weeks ago I headed up to Creative Happy London in Camberwell and taught my new stitched jewellery workshop for the first time. It was a really hot day but we still had a good time and some great brooches and necklaces came out of the sessions!

I will be teaching a slightly extended version of this workshop at Love Art in Tooting THIS SATURDAY and bookings are now open here.

The following Saturday, 15 July, I'll be back in Camberwell teaching my popular lampshade making workshop - we're taking bookings for that one now as well.

And that will be my last event before the summer holidays! I have lots of things planned for the autumn including more lampshade workshops at Creative Happy London, Art Rebellion and Love Art, as well as the return of my hand stitched tote bag workshop and something new on the run up to that event in December (not saying it yet!). You can find out about all of my upcoming events here.

Carshalton Artists Open Studios - Week 1

Art, Ceramics, Drawing, Events, Exhibition, Inspiration, London, Painting, Pattern Design, Photography, Shopping, Studios, TextilesKate Marsden

What an amazing time we had last weekend! We were overwhelmed by the wonderful response to our first open studios event (and I'm mainlining coffee as I type!!) - so many people came to see us and the reaction to my work actually left me feeling a little tearful (in a good way!). Here are a few images (and a little film) from the weekend - Come back and see us when we do it all again tomorrow and Sunday from 11-5 - find all the details here. I'm at stop 11 on the trail - 133a Stanley Park Road.

2 Minutes with... Kayti Peschke

Fashion, Inspiration, Photography, ShoppingKate Marsden

This time on "2 Minutes with..." I'm chatting to the awesome, colourful wonder that it Kayti Peschke about creativity and her magazine, Caboodle...

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

Hi! I’m Kayti and I am a photographer and designer and I self publish Caboodle Magazine twice a year! I live in York with my two doggies in a crazy bungalow full of tat!

Why do you love what you do?

I think I just have this constant need to be creating. If I don’t have a project on the go I feel weird and without a purpose haha! So its great to come up with different concepts for shoots and the magazine is a great outlet for making my ideas a reality and getting them out there.

What inspired you to start producing your own magazine?

I think its something I had always dreamed of doing so when the opportunity arose I jumped at it. I’d never designed anything before so it was a massive learning curve that I went into rather blindly, but with a lot of enthusiasm!

I also wanted to create something that was a great platform for showcasing the work of other creatives - makers, illustrators, writers and all manor of creatives. A way to shout about all the amazing things people do!

I think the last two issues have felt like they had the look and feel of what I wanted to achieve and I’m really proud of what it has become!

If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be?

I think I’d go for Grayson Perry, maybe he could make a Caboodle themed pot or style one of our fashion shoots?! How cool would that be?!

What exciting plans do you have for the next year?

Well I’m hard at work getting the next two issues together, have got some brilliant features in the works that I’m so excited to share. My challenges are to increase the print run and distribution, run some craft workshops and social meet ups and build on the community side of things!  

Thank you Kayti!

You can find Kayti's own website here and the Caboodle site here. You can also follow her on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.


Adventures in Bristol - Part 2

Architecture, Art, Photography, Shopping, TravelKate Marsden

On our second day in Bristol (see what we got up to on day 1 here) we were joined by the lovely Laura Howard (of Bugs and Fishes - you can read her blog here) who lives nearby and was able to show is around and point us in the direction of some things we may otherwise have missed. We walked for MILES (and discovered that Bristol busses are really expensive compared with London!). Here are some of the best bits...


I fell for Clifton the last time we visited - hilly but super super pretty - the sort of place you dream of living in (if you like cities anyway). Street after street of Georgian houses and lots of lovely doors! Something pretty on almost every corner so heaven for Instagrammers.

There are some really lovely shops in Clifton too and I did my Just A Card duty (plus a bit!) in Soma - a fab gallery/design shop which I could easily have spent a small fortune in (but carrying a large framed print on the train home would've been tricky!).

Then on to stationery heaven a.k.a. Papersmiths...

Where again I bought a few little bits but exercised extraordinary restraint! I pretty much wanted everything in there.

For those of you who aren't in the South West, they've just opened a store in London too...

Laura also took us to Brandon Hill where there are fantastic views of the city (sadly my photos there are less than fantastic - save this one above!) - you can climb the tower but the little man didn't like the dark, steep spiral staircase so we gave it a miss.

While we were in this part of town we also visitied the brilliant Bristol Museum & Art Gallery - a lovely spot with lots to see - defintely a place to visit if you're there on a damp day. We had a nice lunch in it's cafe.

We also went on the obligatory Bristol street art hunt - the little man is particularly interested following our recent wanderings in Croydon.

Laura headed home before tea and on the following morning the little man and I had one last explore of Spike Island before catching our train back to London.

We were really sad to leave - Bristol's such a brilliant place to vist and the atmosphere is great. Sure we'll be back soon!

2 Minutes with... Lucy Heath

Blogging, Business, Inspiration, Photography, ProductsKate Marsden

Welcome to the first in a new series of mini interviews. I for one know that I have very little spare time nowadays, and I’m sure you do too, but I still want to be inspired! We’re kicking off with the divine Lucy Heath…

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

I’m 35 and I live in the countryside in Somerset with my husband, 2 young gorgeous boys and our two westies Mabel and Moose. I juggle a few hats and work as a product photographer as well as writing my blog. I’ve been so lucky to win a few awards for my blog and at the end of last year I launched the Backdrop Store which was a long term dream. I still work as a consultant in the development industry, where I started life as a Land Buyer for the national house builders. Life is hectic but happy!

Why do you love what you do?

Every day feels like a rollercoaster. The ripple effect that is the power of social media means that I never know who might come across my blog or Instagram feed and then drop me an email or message. The best part of it all is that I connect with like minded people who in lots of ways feel like they already know me, just from photographs. I get to work around my children, be there for school pick up and cricket matches and if that means there are more than a few evenings on a laptop well that’s fine by me. I feel so fortunate to have the freedom to balance home and work life. It feels like the best of everything most days.

What inspired you to set up your gorgeous backdrop shop?

The posts I have enjoyed writing the most and the sessions I have loved giving at conferences have always been about empowering the home photographer. Helping people understand the basic principles of photography, sharing hints and tips and encouraging others to fall in love with the hobby of mine that became a career. There never seems to be enough time in the day so my husband said you need to think of a product - that can help people, that you can produce as many as people might want to buy! And the number of tables and surfaces in our house that I have collected over the years was taking over…! I think a background is the base of your composition and styling, whether it’s a still life image or the backdrop to a portrait. It’s not a new concept but I am hoping I bring a new creative side by producing a unique range and collaborating with others to develop new lines. Watch this space. I am pinching myself every day that someone wants to buy one!

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?

I watch in awe of the American bloggers who have taken their passions and turned them into internationally acclaimed products and design services. My favourites Joy Cho (Oh Joy) and Emily Henderson are a constant source of inspiration and I watch their Instagram Stories religiously because they remind me that being yourself is the best business strategy. What you see is really what you get, they just have smart, focussed heads on their shoulders. My pipe dream would be to collaborate with a worldwide party company to create my own range of party ware. You name it - I’d like to develop it. Crackers, straws, plates, bunting and more - all in my print. I had a wonderful artist paint a pattern for me a year ago and it’s going to sit hidden in a drawer until the right time! Dream big!

What exciting plans do you have for the next year?

I am utterly hopeless at SEO, strategy, scheduling and all the other important things that take a creative online business to the next level. So I am setting myself some goals for the next six months to take me into next year that will help me reach more lovely people who enjoy taking styled photos or could use the backdrops for clients and their work. My launch and learn approach is still very much leading the way but I want to have more structure and ambition. I have several collaborations with incredible artists developing behind the scenes and I want to see if I can expand the product line beyond backdrops to include a tool kit for the home photographer. I feel so lucky that next year just feels full of possibility.

Thank you so much Lucy!

You can find Lucy's website (which contains her blog and her backdrop store) here - she's also on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.


New Work for Carshalton Artists Open Studios

Art, Events, Exhibition, London, StudiosKate Marsden

Preparation for Carshalton Artists Open Studios is now in full swing - we start this Saturday folks - eeek! As I have a rare opportunity to take some larger and heavier work to this event I've been putting together some new original pieces. I'll also be lugging along a stack of sketchbooks for people to look through, alongside my usual work. Here's a little sneak peek at some of the new stuff you can expect to see...

Come and see me this weekend - 24/25 June and next - 1/2 July at 133a Stanley Park Road. Find out more about the event and all the artists taking part on the Carshalton Artists Open Studios website.

Stopping Doing ALL the Things - My Actions from Blogtacular

Blogging, Business, Events, InspirationKate Marsden

I came away from last Saturday's Blogtacular feeling a little different to last year. I don't know if it was the timing (with the election - let's not speak about that), the fact it's been a tough few months for my business, or the fact that I didn't manage to go on the photowalk or to the Friday night party this year but I felt a little tired and flat. By Monday morning though (still feeling tired!) I started looking through my notes, photos and goody bag and I can confirm that the event itself definitely wasn't responsible for my deflation.

Once again the opening keynote struck a chord. I'm really bad at saying no (mostly to myself but also to others) and I'm really really good at allowing the work to heap up until it swamps me and I feel totally overwhelmed. Natalie Lue really got me thinking and I'm pretty sure I'm wasting a whole heap of time doing stuff I don't really need to do (I'm even wondering if I should continue to blog three times a week - radical I know!).

She encouraged us to take a step back and look at what we're actually doing - I need to question if this is where I want to be, and if it isn't something has to change. As ever Blogtacular comes at a good time of year when my work tends to slow down a little anyway so this can be a good time to reflect.

And of course there was the old comparison trap - which we're all aware of yet all continue to fall into I'm sure - and I may have to pop up a quote on my wall - "You're seeing the tip not the iceberg"...

Natalie Lue - Image (c) Blogtacular/Amber-Rose Photography

Natalie Lue - Image (c) Blogtacular/Amber-Rose Photography

I also got to show off my amazing new necklace which was made for me especially for the occassion by Ruth of I Am Acrylic - isn't it amazing?! It features my drawing of the National Theatre complete with polka dots! I had lots and lots of complements and you can be sure to see this one again (in fact I'll probably be wearing it to every event for the foreseeable future!).

So as ever, Blogtacular was a fantastic opportunity to meet and network with other creative bloggers (and non-bloggers) - it was great to catch up with people I hadn't seen for months, and in some cases years, and to meet some people I've known online for years (yes, my "computer friends"!).

After the opening keynote I went to a really good panel session with Alison Perry, Sunita Harley and Emma Gannon - it followed on nicely from Natalie's talk and focused on staying sane online. I defintely took some actions away from this one - social media has been making me pretty stressed recently but it's vital for driving traffic here and elsewhere and for staying in touch with people, so I need to look at how I'm managing this.

Alison Perry, Sunita Harley and Emma Gannon - Image (c) Blogtacular/Amber-Rose Photography

Alison Perry, Sunita Harley and Emma Gannon - Image (c) Blogtacular/Amber-Rose Photography

After a really tasty lunch (and a look at Lucy Heath's wonderful photo backdrop stall - see below - I'd pre-ordered one which you'll get to see lots of over the coming months!) I headed to the Finding Your Niche session with Cath Dean, the editor of Mollie Makes.

Cath took us through various exercises to help us to identify our niche and while I had done this type of thing before, it was a while ago, and I realised I needed to sit down properly and do it again. I didn't have time in the session to really think about things properly, so got to work on Monday and I'm still working on it. Needless to say quite a few things have changed since I last did this 2-3 years ago...

Cath Dean - Image (c) Blogtacular/Amber-Rose Photography

Cath Dean - Image (c) Blogtacular/Amber-Rose Photography

Finally it was on to what was probably the highlight of the day for me - Xanthe Berkeley's video workshop. I chickened out of going to this last year as I'm a bit scared of video - both filming it and being in it (OK, mostly being in it!) as it was a toss up between this and the self-doubt session I decided I'd just throw caution to my self-doubt and do the video!

Xanthe Berkeley - Image (c) Blogtacular/Amber-Rose Photography

Xanthe Berkeley - Image (c) Blogtacular/Amber-Rose Photography

And I'm so glad I did. We had so much fun and I learnt quite a lot in just an hour and a half! Here's my little film...

So now I'm completely addicted and may just start filming EVERYTHING (and really annoying my husband and son!)...

The closing keynote was the rather lovely Emma Gannon (I bought her book and I'm already racing through it - by my standards anyway as I have so little time for reading!). I had that whole "Emma's so young and successful and I'll feel inadequate" thing, but she is so very good at what she does that I forgot all about that. Lots of words of wisdom and again following on so nicely from Natalie's opening keynote, it gave me plenty of food for thought...

 Emma Gannon - Image (c) Blogtacular/Amber-Rose Photography

 Emma Gannon - Image (c) Blogtacular/Amber-Rose Photography

So onto my actions...

  • Video - I really want to do more of this. So I set up a new YouTube channel the other day and now I need to fill it with stuff! I made a slightly less successful film in Columbia Road Flower Market on Saturday and shoved that up there too (not sure what happened to the format it looks pefect on my phone - still lots to learn!) but anyway - following Natalie Lue's advice again and taking an "imperfect step"! You can see my YouTube channel here - I don't expect anyone to subscribe but if you do it'll make my day!
  • Working on my niche - this is both for the marketing of my products and services, and for this blog - the audiences are similar but not the same so this is going to take some time. I've started though and plan to finish and start putting it into action asap.
  • Create Twitter lists - Emma Gannon recommended making a list with the people who inspire and lift you so you can essentially create a curated feed. As mine's been getting me down so much recently I'm planning to do this. Doesn't mean I won't look at my whole feed but it'll be nice to be able to step back from some of the negativity when I need to.
  • Podcasts - they're up there with books as something I say I don't have time for - but you know I'm sure I do. I've subscribed to Emma's and I'm keeping an eye out for more - let me know if there's one you think I'll like!
  • Identify new blogs to read - I'm guilty of just reading a handful regularly and dipping in and out of others as and when I see an interesting tweet or Instagram post - I'm going to hunt out some which will inspire me - starting with people from Blogtacular...
  • List everything I do - in a typical week and work out what I can stop doing - there must be loads of stuff! I'm feeling completely frazzled at the moment - so I will be going back to think about how often I blog and whether that's too much.
  • No more actions! So one of my actions is to stop writing so many actions! I've attended online webinars and talks and all sorts of events lately and have so many pages/books full of things I HAVE to do - it's too much - hence I'm frazzled. I need to take that step back, stop doing ALL the things and start planning out my time in a more effective and efficient way. It might even mean I get some time off occassionally!

And that's that for my annual dose of creative business fun! I'm interested to know what plans Blogtacular will have for next year - you can find out more about the event on their website.

Camberwell Arts Open Studios

Art, Craft, Events, Exhibition, London, Sewing, Studios, Textiles, WorkshopsKate Marsden

Camberwell Festival started last weekend, and culminates at the end of this week with Camberwell Arts Open Studios.  I will be popping up at Gabriela Szulman's studio this Saturday (17th) as part of the launch of Creative Happy London...

I will be running my new stitched jewellery workshop at 10 am, 12 noon and 2 pm on Saturday - booking is advised (especially if you want to make use of the whopping 50% discount - use code CAMBERWELLFEST) - booking is open here - but there should be some drop in spaces available too.

There will be lots more workshops from the Creative Happy London team over the course of the festival - you can see them all here.

Gabriela's gorgeous studio will also be open so you can pop along and see her work and chat to her as well. Find out more about Camberwell Festival here. I hope to see you on Saturday!

Adventures in Bristol - Part 1

Architecture, Craft, TravelKate Marsden

Over half term, the little man and I spent a few days in Bristol. We did so much, and took so many photos that I've decided to split our trip into two posts - the second will follow in a couple of weeks' time.

So here's the first part...

I'd been to Bristol before but the little man hadn't so it was a bit of an adventure as far as he was concerned. We also took the train so needed something to keep us occupied. As he'd received an origami set for this birthday, I hit on the idea of making a heap of origami flowers on the train and then leaving them all over the place once we got there. Something nice and colourful to make people smile (and fewer things in my house so win win!).

We added a hashtag to them #happyorigamibristol but sadly none of the people who picked them up joined in with that. However when we wandered back around later they'd all gone so we were pleased!

We also took in the SS Great Britain which, while it wasn't a cheap attraction, was brilliant - and if you go back (the ticket is valid for 12 months) it's actually pretty good value. The little man got to do all sorts of things - shovelling coal, sweeping the decks - useful skills for putting him to work at home!!!

Keep your eyes peeled for my second Bristol post which will be full of street art, pretty doors and independent shops!

Month in the Life - May

Month in the LifeKate Marsden

May was just non-stop! Lots of exciting stuff though (even though, as I type this all I want to do is sleep!). Here are some of my best bits...

Crafty Fox Market.

Hosting my parents' 40th wedding anniversary party.

Lots of new work for Carshalton Artists Open Studios.

Another fab lampshade workshop at Love Art.

Half term trips to St Leonards (top image) and Bristol (above).

Work in Progress - Decoupage Chair

Craft, Interiors, PaperKate Marsden

You know how you have some projects which just go on for ever? I was inspired to have a go at a decoupage chair last summer after I saw some in progress in Gabriela Szulman's studio when I attended a workshop there. I think I had a total of one quiet day over the summer holidays last year and I got started. Then ran out of time...

It lauguished in a corner of my studio for months. I wasn't entierly happy (a bit too bright perhaps) but didn't really know what to do with it.

Then a couple of weeks ago I was quiet and had a bit of creative block - I was getting frustrated with a lot of work related stuff, and ended up just stopping for the day at lunchtime and working on the chair. I did this for a couple of days and I think it's now starting to come together...

The chair itself is an old one from IKEA which used to belong to a dining set we had in our old flat. I'm tempted to add some more white paint to tone it all down a bit more but I'm not sure, I also think the pink is a touch too pink! I'm really pleased with how the scalloped edge napkins worked though (and they had gold dots on too!). With hindsight I should've put two coats of white paint on the chair initially - currently considering whether I like the brush stroke look or whether I need to do something about it (erring on the side of the latter).

I think I would've benefitted from Gabriela's expert guidance again (or just from not doing it when completely knackered and at 11pm) but it's fun to have a play, and this chair will be living in my studio anyway so it's not the end of the world if this first attempt isn't perfect.

If you fancy having a go at decoupage yourself, go and have a look at Gabriela's website.

This is not a sponsored post.

Studio Tour - Abel Kesteven

Art, Ceramics, Drawing, Events, Exhibition, StudiosKate Marsden

A studio tour with a difference this week - in that there is no studio! You can however visit artist Abel Kesteven later this month as part of Carshalton Artists Open Studios (which is this month now!!). Abel produces figurative pastels which he draws on location, and expressive ceramic sculputures (from his kitchen table). So here's a look at Abel in one of his "studios", Surrey Street Market in Croydon.

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

(c) Abel Kesteven

(c) Abel Kesteven

Abel works using loose sheets of paper as seen above and aims to complete each piece in situ - I can't help but admire not only his skill as an artist but his confidence to stand in the street by himself drawing (something I've only ever done in a group!).

All of Abel's work focusses on movement, whether that be people in the street in his drawings or groups of animals in his sculptural ceramic work.

(c) Abel Kesteven

(c) Abel Kesteven

Abel was recently sent to the US by Cross Gate Gallery to draw the Kentucky Derby, and has exhibited his work both at that gallery and has exhibited at the Mall Galleries' Pastel Society show for four consecutive years. If you're local you may also recognise his work from Mine Gallery in Carshalton or the London Potters Annual Show.

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Image (c) Bill Mudge

Visit Abel Kesteven during Carshalton Artists Open Studios on the weekends of 24/25 June and 1/2 July. Abel will be exhibiting at stop 5 on the trail - 362 Carshalton Road.

For details of all the artists taking part in the event and the trail maps head to the Carshalton Artists Open Studios website.

Playtime! Or thinking about a new floor for the kitchen...

Inspiration, Interiors, Pattern Design, Products, Review, ShoppingKate Marsden

Now you know I like bright colours, and I'm parital to pattern (a slight understatement!), but I'm generally a fan of neutral stuff on the floor. Having said that my patterned tiled flooring in the hallway is almost famous (and is complemented by pretty much everyone who sees it), and downstairs certainly wipe clean is my main priority.

I stumbled upon AtraFloor as a result of my search for wallpaper for the little man's bedroom (the company make murals too) and when they offered to send me some samples* of their vinyl flooring to share here I jumped at the chance! I chose three designs, partly because these were the ones that leapt out the most on the day, but also because I'm in "thinking about the kitchen mode" and I really can't stand the tiles in there.

I'll start with my favourite - I love this design so much! I think this needs to be used in a fairly large space (like my kitchen!) in order to show the pattern off properly. I can see myself using this sample as a backdrop so watch this space!

The daisies made me feel very retro... As this is a smaller scale print I'm thinking that this would look great in the downstairs loo or a shower room. Reminding you of summer all year round...

The final one is probably my least favourite but only because it's a little less in your face (so it's probably their best seller!) - nice and calming though and made me think of a yoga studio or somewhere to relax.

The samples are nice and thick and spongy so would work really well in playrooms, bedrooms and other areas too (just take your stilettos off before walking on them!) and their range is actually huge - made possible as they're all print to order.

Now to try and persuade Mr M that we need vinyl in the kitchen...

*I was not paid to write this post, however the samples were sent to me free of charge. All opinions are my own.