Made By Mrs M

Charity Christmas Cards for Croydonist

Kate Marsden

A couple of months ago I was approached by the lovely folks at my favourite local publication Croydonist, as they were looking for artwork donations for a set of charity Christmas cards. Now we’re in November and they’re out in the world! Here’s my design…


The cards come as a set of 5 for the bargain price of £3 and all proceeds go to Croydon Nightwatch - a charity which has been supporting the homeless in Croydon since 1976. The cards are available to buy from Oval Tavern, Turf Projects and The Photo Cafe as well as the Made In Croydon chalet at the Croydon Christmas Market (26 November-9 December) so do go and pick a set or 5 up!


Here’s a little look at the other cards in the pack:

 Nativity by  James Oliver

Nativity by James Oliver

 Mystery Christmas by  Matt Bannister

Mystery Christmas by Matt Bannister

 Elgin Road Snow Storm by  Bev Jones

Elgin Road Snow Storm by Bev Jones

 Gold, Frankincense & Brrr! by  Cherilyn Yeates

Gold, Frankincense & Brrr! by Cherilyn Yeates

Head over to the Croydonist website to find out more about the cards and the other artists involved. Now to go and get my hands on some…!

10 Christmas Gift Ideas

Kate Marsden

It’s that time already! As I type this I’ve only managed to buy one Christmas present so far but I am very much thinking about it… so if you are too here’s a selection of 10 ideas - hopefully including something for everyone!

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1. Notecards - everyone needs a selection of cards in their stash just in case… this set includes 5 beautifully printed cards featuring a selection of my latest designs (so something for the architecture fans and something floral too) - take a look at the full set here - £11 with free UK P&P.

2. Have an experience - bookings for my spring 2019 workshops are now open so why not treat someone to a morning (or full day) of making? They’ll certainly remember your gift and this is a good one for those who feel that they don’t need lots more “stuff”. Booking now for March 2019 here - from £45.

3. Go personalised - My custom house portraits are already proving very popular this year (to the extent that I may have to close the order book early…). Buy them something truly unique, More info here - from £65.

4. A local scene - A wide selection of my drawings from my A-Z of British Buildings project are available as beautiful high quality giclee prints. These are printed to order so don’t leave it too late! See the full range here - £32 with free UK P&P.

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5. Stocking fillers for Croydon folk - I have a new selection of mini postcard sized Croydon prints - get them here or come and see me at Boxpark Croydon for the makers’ market on 16 December. £6 with free UK P&P.

6. For the crafter who has everything - I bet they don’t have a bundle of my hand painted fabrics! A nice light weight cotton perfect for small craft or quilting projects. £9 with free UK P&P.

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7. Colour lovers rejoice! I still have a few copies of my 365 project Kickstarter Book; 365 Days of Coloured Stuff. The perfect stocking filler! £12 with free UK P&P.

8. One off art? At a bargain price? Yes! Treat them to a unique monoprint to hang on their wall, plus these prints are currently reduced too… what’s not to like? Clearance prints from £5-£10 with free UK P&P.

9. You can’t have too many cushions…. Help them to achieve that luxuriously full sofa look with a one off cushion or maybe a lampshade from the sample sale - cushions from £15-£28 and lampshades for just £20.

10. And the ultimate stocking filler… has to be the tote bag. Yes you have loads of them but they’re needed! Buy this one with a clear conscience as 10% of proceeds go to the charity Peace Direct. £6 with free UK P&P.

Vintage Shopping

FashionKate Marsden

I felt pretty smug on Saturday when I finally managed to alter a vintage dress I bought a couple of months ago. For me fit has always been a downside of buying vintage - I’m capable of altering things, but actually getting around to it…. I have a half finished dress that’s been hanging in my studio for 18 months now!

 Me looking smug in said dress

Me looking smug in said dress

However having watched the Stacey Dooley programme about “Fast Fashion” the other week I decided I need to make more effort, and buying more vintage clothes with the aim of altering them if necessary is the way forward. I recently had a huge charity shopping spree (I spent well over £20 folks!) and snapped up a selection of “new” items for work (teaching in an art department means you can’t be too precious about what you’re wearing) and had so much more fun than I would buying mass produced clothes on the high street.

 Me shopping at Atomica - photo by  Croydonist

Me shopping at Atomica - photo by Croydonist

A step up from a charity shop of course is a vintage store - pricer but generally a far better selection (and still cheaper than most high street shops!) - Atomica in Croydon has become a favourite for me over the last few months and I’ve bought a few dresses there now (although on Saturday I bought a 70’s bedsheet to make something from instead - it’s fab: very pink and very floral!).


And of course on my trip to London Bridge a couple of weeks ago I grabbed this fantastic coat in the flea market at Flat Iron Square - I’ll definitely be heading back there for more…

 The Saturday flea market at Flat Iron Square

The Saturday flea market at Flat Iron Square

Then of course there’s my old faithful denim jacket which I wear all the time - it was £8 in a chairty shop on The Moor in Sheffield, in 2009…. so it’s vintage but still going strong!


So I’m trying to do better…. and when buying new I’m keen to get more from people like my perennial favourite Germana of Gira e Rigira and (closer to home) Plum and Pidgeon rather than heading to the conveniently located Dorothy Perkins around the corner. Oh and I should probably be finding the time to make more too…

If you have any recommendations for places I should be checking out do let me know!

Anni Albers

Kate Marsden

Last week I visited the new Anni Albers exhibition at Tate Modern. This was always going to be a must see for me but with my recent new thing for weaving I wanted to get down there as soon as posible!

  Anni Albers   Eclat  1974, Silkscreen on woven fabric, 3000 x 450 mm, The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation © 2018 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and Knoll Textiles / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London

Anni Albers Eclat 1974, Silkscreen on woven fabric, 3000 x 450 mm, The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation © 2018 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and Knoll Textiles / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London

Anni Albers was a student of the Bauhaus, who as a woman was discouraged from painting and enrolled in the weaving workshop instead. Albers pioneered innovative uses of woven textiles in art, architecture and interiors, and the exhibition shows a very wide range of her work.

 Anni Alberts in her weaving studio at Black Mountain College 1937

Anni Alberts in her weaving studio at Black Mountain College 1937

  Anni Albers   Intersecting  1962, Pictorial weaving, cotton and rayon, 400 x 419 mm, Josef Albers Museum Quadrat Bottrop © 2018 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London

Anni Albers Intersecting 1962, Pictorial weaving, cotton and rayon, 400 x 419 mm, Josef Albers Museum Quadrat Bottrop © 2018 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London

I visited late in the day and felt that it was a little overwhelming for one visit, so I’m glad it runs until late January as that should give me the chance to go and see it again. I did however leave with a burning desire to get out the graph paper and my little hand loom!

  Anni Albers   Wall Hanging  1926, Mercerized cotton, silk, 2032 x 1207 mm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Everfast Fabrics Inc. and Edward C. Moore Jr. Gift, 1969 © 2018 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London

Anni Albers Wall Hanging 1926, Mercerized cotton, silk, 2032 x 1207 mm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Everfast Fabrics Inc. and Edward C. Moore Jr. Gift, 1969 © 2018 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London

When I return I’m planning to spend more time studying the individual weavings and small sample pieces. I did spend quite some time trying to work out how she’d produced some of the examples there - so very far beyond my skill level, but inspiring nevertheless!

  Anni Albers   TR II  1970, Lithograph, 50.5 x 55.6 cm, The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Bethany CT © 2018 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London, Photo: Tim Nighswander/Imaging4Art

Anni Albers TR II 1970, Lithograph, 50.5 x 55.6 cm, The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Bethany CT © 2018 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London, Photo: Tim Nighswander/Imaging4Art

Anni Albers is at Tate Modern until 27 January 2019. Find our more about the exhibition here.

Out and About near London Bridge...

Kate Marsden

London Bridge used to be simply the station I commuted into for work, however during the last few years it’s started to come into its own as an area to visit. When asked me to visit the area for them I jumped at the chance (especially when I saw the weather forecast). The spending money for my trip was gifted by, but all views are my own.


Bermondsey Street

Our first stop was one of my favourite places - Bermondsey Street. There wasn’t much to see or do down here before the Fashion & Textile Museum opened 15 years ago but nowadays it seems to be even more interesting each time I visit.

We started out at the Fashion & Textile Museum itself. The gallery space isn’t huge but they always put on a nice exhibition - the current one is Night & Day: 1930s Fashion & Photographs (until 20 January 2019). The shop and cafe are also well worth a visit!


We skipped the museum cafe on this occassion though and headed across the road to a recent discovery of mine B Street Deli. We had amazing cakes and hot chocolate, although I’ve also had a very good breakfast there in the past.


There are more interesting shops (and a lovely flower stall) as you continue down Bermondsey Street, but our final port of call was the White Cube gallery. A wonderful modern gallery space with (you guessed it) a great shop.


Flatiron Square to Tate Modern

Flatiron Square is a relatively new addition to the London Bridge area, and when we visited on Saturday it was Flea Market day. I can’t resist a good flea market and as a first time visitor I was impressed. So much so in fact that I bought myself a vintage coat… I could easily have bought more but carrying a winter coat around for the rest of the day was enough!


While we were there we also popped in to Menier Gallery where the British Plein Air Painters had an exhibition - including work by CAOS artist John Stillman so I had to go and say hello! This exhibition ended on Saturday but I’m sure there will be plenty more to come in what is a really lovely space.


We then continued off down Southwark Street to Contemporary Applied Arts. CAA is a membership gallery representing a wonderful array of skilled applied artists. We wanted to buy pretty much everything in there (and if you have the cash you can!).


Then down to the OXO Tower

We scooted around the back of Tate Modern (don’t worry we’ll be back there in a minute!) and headed in to the amazing Marcus Campbell Art Books. A treasure trove of books at bargain prices, I couldn’t resist picking up one about Bridget Riley for just £2. I’ll definitely be back.


Then out onto the busier South Bank itself we discovered where the crowds were. We braved them though for the short walk down to OXO Tower. OXO Tower contains a rather smart restaurant and a number of interesting independents, my favourite of which is Snowden Flood. Snowden’s shop is on the first floor (on the corner as you approach from the London Bridge direction) and can be a little easy to miss but it’s a brilliant place if you want to do some stylish souvenier shopping (think London themed stuff but nothing remotely tacky in sight). I did of course have to do my Just A Card duty (and then a bit… but I did have presents to buy).


Back to Tate

We turned back towards Tate Modern and popped into the rather nice Bankside Gallery - which displays a lovely array of watercolours. The shop here is particularly good for artists’ greetings cards and we had to restrain ourselves from buying all the Christmas cards (in October!).


Lunch options near London Bridge are plentiful but unless you fancy Borough Market (very busy but well worth popping by - I can recomment the oysters…) or a pub you’re mostly looking at chain restaurants (but they’re all there so you’re spolit for choice). We headed to the Carluccios behind Tate Modern as it was quick and easy and had a decent selection for my vegetarian friend.


We then climbed the 10 flights of stairs to the best free view in London (in my opinion!). Tate Modern features in all the guides but its for good reason. I’ve been a member of Tate for 18 of the 20 years I’ve spent in this town and it’s been worth every penny. My friend hadn’t seen the view yet and we figured the 10 flights would help to burn off the pasta! There are lifts if you’re not feeling too athletic but there can be a bit of a wait…


The other reason to visit Tate Modern was the Anni Albers exhibition (until 27 January 2019) which is a must see if you’re a textiles fan like me.


And returning to London Bridge

We headed back along the river towards London Bridge Station at dusk - the main walking route is very popular so can get annoyingly busy (but compared to the days when I used to go running down there a Saturday afternoon stroll wasn’t too painful!). We walked back via Southwark Cathedral and Borough Market (but no oysters today as I was still stuffed after all that pasta!).

London Bridge Station itself is also worth a visit if you like architecture. Not only is is topped by The Shard but the undercroft (joining the rail station to the underground) is a beautiful example of concrete shuttering which you’ll very much enjoy if you like that sort of thing…

Then I ran for my train, which miraculously, was on time!

A flying visit to Bristol...

Kate Marsden

Last weekend Mr M and I headed off for a child-free couple of days in one of my favourite places, Bristol. The weather on the Saturday didn’t really lend itself to my usual colour hunting photography session (much to Mr M’s relief!) but the sun came out the next day.


We stayed at the beautifully refurbished Avon Gorge Hotel, which is now part of the Hotel du Vin chain, as a 40th birthday present from my best friend. It was just lovely - a really cozy room with great views and brilliant food. I suspect we’ll be back!


On Saturday we headed down the hill into town in the rain (my first time in a rainy Bristol - it’s OK, I still like it…) and went to see the Ruth and Brendan of I Am Acrylic in their gorgeous shop on the Christmas Steps. They’ve been open for nearly a year but it was the first time I’d made it down there so we had the tour and then bought lots of stuff (of course!).


Other than that Saturday was mostly about eating!! On Sunday morning we got out into the sunshine and I did manage to take a few photos around Clifton…


As we’d had a very substantial breakfast at the hotel, we skipped lunch and drove about an hour south from Bristol to Bruton and the Hauser & Wirth Somerset gallery. I’d been hoping to visit ever since it opened, but it’s quite a long way from home (and to be honest, in the middle of nowhere) so we had to combine it with something else. Well worth the detour though - it’s an absolutely beautiful spot with some great artwork on display. We’ll definitely be back the next time we’re in the viscinity.


And then it was time to collect the small boy. A whistlestop trip but it’s always nice to be in Bristol. I think I need to make it an annual occurence!

New Work for Festival of Crafts

Kate Marsden

October has come around very quickly! I’m now in the midst of preparations for the wonderful Festival of Crafts at Farnham Maltings at the end of the month, and I’ve been working on a few new products for the event…

save the date.jpg

I will be taking along a selection of items in my new fabric designs; Tapestry Flowers, Agapanthus, Costume and A-Z of British Buildings, including lavender bags, jewellery and greetings cards. The jewellery items shown above are all one of a kind and I won’t be repeating them, so do take the opportunity to visit and get something completely unique!


I will be selling greetings cards for the first time in a couple of years and I’m hoping to also use these to help spread word of the Just A Card campaign.


In addition to the new items, I’ll also have my fabrics, prints, cushions, books and some bargain ex-display lampshades!

The Festival of Crafts is at Farnham Maltings on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 October. Find out about all the other exhibitors and book your tickets here.

New Croydon Street Art - RISE Festival

Kate Marsden

I was a little late to the RISE Festival - visiting on the final day just over a week ago, however it was a great opportunity to head out and see lots of new street art which has recently popped up in Croydon. My last post on the subject was well over a year ago so it was about time for an update!


The ever popular RISE Gallery organised the festival to celebrate international urban art and it certainly achieved that. Alongside the new artworks they also ran events and walking tours.

The festival may be over but the artwork is still in situ (as I type!) - I’d really recommend a walk around, and if you’ve visited Croydon to see the street art before but not recently, do go back! Here are just a few of my favourites seen last week…


Commissions for Christmas

Kate Marsden

Yes, I know it’s early to start talking about Christmas… but commissions take time so I thought I’d better get in now to let you know about last orders!

A-Z image.jpg

House portraits and other commissions were very popular last autumn. My last order date this year will be Saturday 1 December, however I will bring this date forward if I get particularly busy. So if you’ve been thinking of commissioning me now may be the time!


As well as the house portraits, I can make pretty much any item you see on my website or Etsy shop as a custom order - this includes fabric designs and new colourways for existing designs. If you see something you fancy do drop me a line!


The lead time for most commissions is usually 2-3 weeks however this may extend as I get busier over the coming months. If you’d like to chat before placing an order please let me know!

You can order your house portraits over in my Etsy shop and see my full portfolio here.

Autumn Workshops

Kate Marsden

We're all in back to school mode now, and the leaves are starting to turn too! If you're anything like me you find yourself itching to try something new in the autumn, and now's the time you fancy booking yourself onto a workshop!


I have a number of dates for my lampshade making and English Paper Piecing patchwork workshops this autum, and the first is this coming weekend! All open for booking now as follows:

15 September 2018 - Lampshade Making Workshop - Love Art - Tooting - BOOK HERE

29 September 2018 (AM) - Beginners Patchwork/English Paper Piecing Workshop - Creative Happy London - Camberwell BOOK HERE

29 September 2018 (PM) - Lampshade Making Workshop - Creative Happy London - Camberwell - BOOK HERE 

20 October 2018 - Lampshade Making Workshop - Creative Happy London - Camberwell -BOOK HERE

10 November 2018 - Beginners Patchwork/English Paper Piecing Workshop - Creative Happy London - Camberwell - BOOK HERE


This is the last set of dates for 2018 so get booking! If you're interested in any other types of workshop do let me know and I'll see what I can do when I plan the schedule for the spring.

Hope to see you soon!


Holiday Sketchbook

Kate Marsden

Just over a week ago we returned from our holiday in Lanzarote. It was the second time we'd visited and I decided that on this occassion I really would make an effort to keep a sketchbook. I took it more seriously than usual, packed my watercolours and told people I'd be doing it... so I did!

Here's a very image heavy post featuring every page! I'm being brave... as you'll see some things were more succesful than others but I think it was a good experience, and as ever with a sketchbook it's generated lots of other ideas.


Weaving at The London Loom

Kate Marsden

I discovered The London Loom a few months ago when they did a pop up community weaving event at Boxpark in Croydon. I picked up one of their postcards and discovered that they ran workshops using floor looms - which I'd never used before. I kept on thinking about it and in the end decided to book myself in for a 5 hour weaving session as a birthday treat.


The London Loom is based at Hackney Downs Studios which to be fair is a bit of a schlep for me travelling from south London (just over an hour and a half each way) but it was worth it. Brooke got me started off on the loom and I was hooked within minutes. The studio contains a mouth watering array of yarns which you can choose from - I settled on a colour pallet before I started though so I didn't end up with a mess!


I definitely went for more of a freestyle approach than the other weavers that day! I have a bit of a thing for roving and had to insert lovely little lumpy bits every few rows... I also kept on working for the full 5 hours without a break - always one to get my money's worth!


I knew I'd produced quite a large piece of fabric, but I didn't realise just how substatial it was until it came off the loom - it measures 1.75m! It's going to become my winter scarf so expect to see lots more pictures of it over the coming months.


The London Loom run several different workshops and you can find details here. I now need to resist the urge to book in every week!

New British Buildings Prints!

Kate Marsden

My A-Z of British Buildings series continues and all the the drawings I've produced so far are now available to order as giclee prints! A few examples are shown below. Head over to my Etsy shop to see them all.

A quick reminder that I'll be taking a break over the next week or so, and all orders will be processed on Saturday 25 August. Thank you!

  S is for Sheffield  (Park Hill)

S is for Sheffield (Park Hill)

 O is for  Oxford

O is for Oxford

Summer Sale!

Kate Marsden

It's sale time! I'm having a bit of a clear out before I start work on new things for the autumn, so there's currently 25% off a wide range of items in my shop, including these hand painted fabric panels...


And some fat quarters...


There's also an additional 25% off all clearance items, meaning that prints now start from just £5.25 each!


So head on over and grab a bargain! The sale continues until Friday 31 August. Please note that all orders placed after lunchtime tomorrow (14 August) will be processed on Saturday 25 August. Thank you!

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2018

Kate Marsden

Last week I took the small boy off to this year's Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy. I had high hopes for it this year as it was curated by Grayson Perry, and it certainly didn't dissapoint! Here are some of my favourite images from the day - I took a lot... some are here because I loved the artwork and others because they made me laugh (the Sootys for example - I have one just like this from when I was little!).

The 250th Summer Exhibition continues until 19 August - more details here.


Edward Bawden and a bit of Lino Cutting

Kate Marsden

Anyone who's visited my house will know I'm a bit of a fan of Edward Bawden. So when Dulwich Picture Gallery annouced their current exhibition, I was there booking my tickets straight away!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Edward Bawden he was an illustrator, printmaker and commercial designer - paticularly well known for his mid-century posters and book illustration. You'll definitely recognise his work if you see it.


The exhibition is heaven for Bawden fans, with the largest collection of work spanning his whole career which has been seen since his death in 1989. If I hadn't had an 8 year old with me (who to be fair to him was pretty taken with it himself) I could probably have stayed all day! I invested in the exhibition catalogue (shown above and below) even though I have way too many art books, but I found the whole thing so inspiring (and photos weren't permitted), and of course as I said, we're fans anyway!!


I came away with lots of ideas, but the first was a burning desire to cut some lino! I cracked on with this a few days after we visited, partly because it took me that long to find my tools and the one piece of lino I knew I'd saved somewhere...


This unusual looking piece (some people have asked whether it's white chocolate!) is an easy cut lino - and it really is. I did come away with a couple of little cuts but no sore hand from carving so I'm pleased past me chose to buy this one!


Inspired by Bawden's floral work, I decided to make something based on my recent tapestry flowers design. To date I've only had time to make a few test prints but it has been fun and it's also given me some ideas for some of my other work (taking me back to my buildings at last!).


Making the Internet Work for Me

Kate Marsden

The summer is always a really quiet time for me during which I don't sell very much or tend to get any new work coming in. In a way this is a good thing as I also have the school holidays to contend with, and it's useful to use what time I do have to plan for the autumn and reassess what I'm doing, but after the worst period of sales/new work I've experienced since starting my business (and a dead summer season which started 2 whole months earlier than usual) my optimism is distinctly lacking.


Like most people I know I do tend to scroll through social media when I'm procrastinating and I've been doing rather a lot of that lately. For a change I'm not really comparing myself to others as it seems we're all having a really hard time of it at the moment - I wonder whether this, combined with increasingly bleak news, is actually getting me down more than the usual "so and so's much more successful than I am" nonsense. When everyone's struggling, where do you turn?

Now obviously I have the wonderful Just A Card team and all our fantastic supporters - we're all here giving each other a little lift, and I appreciate the opportunity that working on the campaign gives me to stop worrying about the other stuff for a while. But it does feel hard shouting about other people's work when you can't sell your own!

I've been reading a couple of books recently which are making me realise that if nothing else I need a bit of a social media audit this summer. I don't want to be constantly refreshing stuff and getting frustrated when I should be either having a nice time with my son, or using the opportunity of quiet time to come up with something new and exciting.

Matt Haig's new book Notes on a Nervous Planet (shown above minus it's dust jacket because look! It's rainbow coloured!!) talks about how the modern world (and social media/being constantly switched on) is leading to increased rates of stress and anxiety. At the time of writing this I'm just over half way through and devouring every page. I don't think I'm the most extreme example but I definitely find it very hard not to check my phone. Not helped by the fact that I need it on - what if school calls or there's an emergency? And I love to take photos using it (whether for the purpose of posting to my Instagram or not). I discovered when my phone broke earlier in the year that the anxiety caused by not being contactable was so great it far outweighed that created by constant Twitter scrolling.


In The Multi-Hyphen Method, Emma Gannon talks about making techology work for you rather than against you and I think a compromise is called for. When I start my new job at the end of the summer I'll have time each week when I really can't mindlessly scroll through social media, or use it to procrastinate (because when I'm here with my self employed hat on it is work after all!) - and when I realised that this is one of the reasons I'm looking forward to starting the job, I decided to change things now...

I've been looking at social media blocker apps (Freedom in particular is supposed to be a good one and seems to do everything I'd want) but I'm not sure I can stretch to the cost at the moment (as I don't have any money coming in!). I'm thinking I'll need to do it the old fashioned/free way.

Accepting that I'll be more anxious without my phone than with it, I'm going to start using the alarm clock combined with diary reminders to set myself times each day when I will not look at social media. I can check my emails, send and receive calls and texts, take photos if I want to but no Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Let's see how that goes! After all if I were at work every day, rather than working for myself from home, I'd have no choice but to do that anyway. I'm aiming for set times each day and I have the alarm set now as I'm typing this so I can't be distracted!

The plan for the summer holidays then... I'm only going to be writing this blog once a week for the next 7 (I currently blog twice a week - had you even noticed?!!). I want to keep it going because I enjoy it. I'm aiming to schedule tweets throughout the summer, not force myself to post to Instagram every day. I also see this as a good opportunity to question why I keep picking up the phone - am I procrastinating? If I am I need to put it down and get on and do that thing I'm putting off - I'll feel great when I have! Am I bored with what I'm doing? Do I have 15 minutes spare before the school run? Well, why am I bored and is there anything I can change? Why don't I read a book or just sit quietly for 15 minutes making the most of the peace and quiet - like I used to do... I so often say I'd love to have the opportunity to be bored.

Are you completely hooked on your phone or do you already have this all sorted? Any (not too drastic please!) tips for managing time better? I'm hoping any changes I make over the holidays will continue once we get into the autumn. I love the internet and I'm a massive fan of social media (Twitter in particular which has given me so many opportunities over the years) but I think the time has come to start using it better (and most definiely not more!).

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig is published by Canongate, and undoubtedly available in your local independent bookshop! As is The Multi-Hyphen Method by Emma Gannon, published by Hodder & Stoughton.

And that was Just A Card Week!

Business, EventsKate Marsden

I know I know, it's been nearly a month since Just A Card Week but better late that never?!!

The week was overwhelming and wonderful in equal measure. It was all I could do to keep up with it at the time as it coincided with our annual open studios event, but keep up I did.


Along with many others, I really enjoyed the 5 day Instagram challenge - seeing the number of people involved and reading their comments made me feel rather emotional! This little campaign we've been volunteering for for years actually means something to people and that was a really special feeling.


Not only did Just A Card gain THOUSANDS of new followers that week but I'm sure many more exciting things will come from it for the campaign (Sarah keeps getting asked to go on the radio now so that's definitely a good thing!). The images here are mine from the week, but do head over here to see them all.


We have lots of brilliant new things planned for the autumn, including a bigger and better Indie Friday so do watch this space! In the meantime thank you so much to everyone who took part and continues to support the campaign - you made us all very happy indeed!

New Patterns and a trip to the V&A

Kate Marsden

A couple of weeks ago I headed off to the V&A to see the Frida Kahlo exhibition. The exhibition itself was fab (albeit rather crowded) and as usual at the V&A photography wasn't allowed, so I won't be sharing much of that! What I can say though is that the final room, which contains a selection pieces from her wardrobe is just amazing and the exhibition is well worth visiting if you can.


I made the most of my time there and revisited the Fashion and Tapestry galleries (off which is the Costume and Theatre gallery which I'd somehow never seen before - well worth a trip in itself) and decided to do a bit of sketching. I'm always quite self concious sketching in public as my drawings aren't always great when I feel rushed (and I'm standing up) and people tend to lean over to see what you're doing (or actually comment!) but I decided to just go for it.

I was on the look out for some different motifs to use in pattern designs and somehow ended up really drawn to florals, as well as some bolder abstract shapes in the costume gallery.


In the tapestry gallery (which has THE BEST aircon...) I was drawn to the details in the amazing tapestries (dating from the 1500s) and found these rather wonderful flowers.

Now as is often the way with me, when inspiration strikes I have to just go with it! I turned my drawings into repeat patterns which I coloured to match my current designs and I was really pleased with the results...

Tapestry Flowers Repeat.jpeg
Agapanthus Repeat.jpeg
Costume Repeat.jpeg

And so I decided to get them sampled on fabric. All three fabric designs are now available to pre-order here - they look great alongside my A-Z fabric (if I say so myself!).


I'm also having a bit of a studio clearout at the moment, so do pop over to the shop to grab a bargain. Hopefully once I can see the floor again I'll be able to get on with some new work for the autumn!


Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up is at the V&A until Sunday 4 November 2018.

Mollie Makes Awards 2018

Kate Marsden

I had the complete honour of being invited to attend the Mollie Makes Awards again this year to represent the Just A Card campaign. I joined Sarah Hamilton and our new JAC team member Emily Quinton at the event at The Dead Dolls House in Islington on Monday. Despite the heatwave we all had a great time chatting about Just A Card and handmade and independent businesses generally. It was also a wonderful opportunity to meet more people I've only previously known online in real life!


I'll let Mollie Makes themselves announce the winners, but here's a little rundown of my day at the awards...


We started out with a really fun photowalk  - I haven't wandered around in Islington for years, so this made a nice change. Also a chance to catch up and get chatting to some new people! 


Then back to the venue for a great talk about self doubt from Sas Petherick. My main takeaway being that if David Attenborough has self doubt, I'm in a pretty good club!


Lunch was gargantuon and very nice - an almost bottomless banquet - I heard people making reference to meals at Hogwarts...

ACS_0518 2.jpg

I also had a chance for a really good catch up with Sarah and Emily.


In the afternoon I jonined a macrame workshop with Peas & Needles - had a good time but discovered that macrame is not something I'm naturally skilled at!!


Following that we had a panel discussion led by Yvette Streeter of Mollie Makes, in which Sara Tasker, Elisalex de Castro Peake and Katie Leamon chatted about working smarter not harder - something that resonated with a lot of us in the room!

Then following a closing speach from the wonderful Keith Brymer Jones it was time for the winners to be announced (and for a glass of fizz!).

Congratulations again to the winners and thank you so much to Mollie Makes for giving us the opportunity to attend the event and shout about Just A Card with such a great group of people!