Made By Mrs M

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Open Studios - This Weekend!

Art, Events, Exhibition, London, Products, StudiosKate Marsden

We're nearly there! I've had such a busy couple of months and Carshalton Artists Open Studios has definitely come around very quickly this year... I'm looking forward to seeing lots of familiar and new faces this weekend and next!

I'm finally getting close to being fully prepared (sort of anyway!) and I thought I'd share some of the new things you can expect to see from me...

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I will have three of my little zines available to purchase, including my new lavender coloured booklet about Wallington and Carshalton, which I've made especially for the event.

I also have new colour ways of some of my most popular prints and have restocked the Carshalton Ponds prints which sold out last year.

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Prints will be availiable framed and unframed.

I've a new sign, and I have some unique one off monoprinted fabric panels for sale.

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In addition to this I will have all of my usual bits and bobs, including fabrics (and my brand new designs as well!).

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Don't forget that I will also be a pick up point for Just A Card shop window stickers like the one show below. So if you have a shop or gallery based in London or the South East come and see me!

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Carshalton Artists Open Studios runs this weekend and next - 23/24 June and 30 June/1 July and locations will be open from 11-5 each day. I will be at stop 14 on the trail; 133a Stanley Park Road, SM5 3JJ with Claire Chandler and Marie Ratnam. For full details of all the artists involved head to the Carshalton Artists website.

Fabric Manipulation and New Ideas

Fashion, Inspiration, Products, Sewing, TextilesKate Marsden

As I said at the start of the year, I'm keen to go with the flow more in 2018 (and I've certainly been doing that for the last five months!). One thing I've been doing quite a lot of is playing with ideas that may be rather different to my usual style and approach, and just seeing where it takes me...

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A couple of weeks ago I attended an interview (which I'm pleased to say was successful), and as part of this interview process I had to devise and deliver a "micro teach" workshop to a group of 12 students (and the whole thing had to be completed in 20 minutes!). It was to be around the topic of fabric manipulation, and I sought out the fashion designers I most associate with sculptural and interesting work to see what I could come up with to base the session on.

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I settled upon this Spring 2018 collaboration between Viktor & Rold and Zalando and prepared handouts together with a couple of samples which you can see in the first image above.

During the session I encouraged the students to play with the materials provided then go with their gut instinct and run something up quickly. Now this was partly out of necessity due to the time contstraints, but also because this is one of my favourite ways to generate ideas. My preparations for the session led me on to play more with felt and look at how I could combine this with my fabrics once I got back into the studio.

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As you probably know, I'm not really doing products this year, but Open Studios are around the corner and I do need a few items! I ran up this cushion, inspured by my micro teach session to accompany some of the other new work I'll be showing at the end of next month.

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So I'll be bringing this baby along together with the quilted cushion I made to showcase my Spring fabrics, and the rather fetching sewing machine cushion which is a favourite of mine!

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Watch this space for previews of more of the new work I'll be sharing at Carshalton Artists Open Studios this summer!

I made a book!

Books, Inspiration, Photography, ProductsKate Marsden

As I reached the end of my 365 project back in December, I started to think about making something to mark the end of it. I did manage the whole year after all (and nobody was more surprised about this than I was!). Then I came across Blurb and decided to make myself a book (by the way this is not a sponsored post)...

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It's small, but perfectly formed, and I absolutely love it!

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Now, Blurb books come with an ISBN (which excited me more than is natural) and you can sell your books through them or Amazon. I was really keen to list it on Amazon, but aside from the fact that the books end up costing a small fortune to buy, the terms and conditions as the owner of the book left me quaking in my boots, so I'm giving that a miss for the time being!

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That hasn't stopped me wanting to share it with the world though, so it's currently available as a pdf download in my Etsy shop (at about a 5th of the price it would've been for a hard copy). Blog readers can also save 20% on this using code COLOURBOOK - the code is valid until the end of January and you can find full details in the listing.

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Leaving it to the last minute...

Craft, Paper, ProductsKate Marsden

I'm usually pretty organised when it comes to Christmas but I really struggled to feel festive at the start of the month, and as a result ended up falling behind.

My shop will remain open over the Christmas break (I just won't be going to the Post Office between 24 December and 2 January) and my last orders for the UK aren't until midnight tomorrow, but if you feel you've left it a bit late I do have somthing for you!

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My festive download bundle is available at any time of day or night (including Christmas morning if neccessary!) and it contains this rather fetching wrapping paper, cards for those people you've fogotten about (there's still just about time to post those too at the moment!) and some lovely festive bunting, which could be a nice thing to make with the children on Christmas Eve in an attempt to contain their excitement....

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You can order the bundle here - and, as I mentioned, it's an instant download so all you need to do is print your stuff out and go!

But if you'd rather buy a physical product, last orders before Christmas are at midnight tomorrow Tuesday 19 December and I will be posting all orders first class.

Floor Goals

Inspiration, Interiors, Pattern Design, Products, ReviewKate Marsden

I received some flooring samples from Atra Floor a few months ago (you can read all about them here) and they were fab. However my eyes lit up when I saw their new Flower Power Fauvism collection. They kindly send me a sample of my favourite to share with you and I've been having lots of fun with it!

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Image (c) Atra Floor

Image (c) Atra Floor

The collection is inspired by Fauvism and featured gorgeous hand painted flowers and leaves. My sample is now sitting in my studio in the manner of a rug (and even like that and surrounded by the chaos it looks wonderful!) - I see many a future flatlay (and dream of replacing the carpet with it)...

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Image (c) Atra Floor

Image (c) Atra Floor

I went for the Mimi colourway but it comes in lots of other options.

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Image (c) Atra Floor

Image (c) Atra Floor

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

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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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...

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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.

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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.

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Made By Mrs M at West Elm!

Events, Interiors, London, Products, ShoppingKate Marsden

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

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

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

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

2 Minutes with... Leona Thrift-ola

Business, Fashion, Inspiration, Products, Shopping, StudiosKate Marsden

ALL the colour for you again this week as we spend a couple of minutes in the fun, surprise filled word of Leona Thrift-ola…

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

I run a subscription box business called Lucky Dip Club which is the home of super fun surprises by independent artists. We’re on a mission to bring colour, fun and positivity into the world whilst inspiring our subscribers to follow their creative dreams.

Why do you love what you do?

I’ve always embraced colour and been drawn to the more playful side of design so being able to make a living producing the products that I love is fantastic. I’m obsessed with creating a shopping experience that makes my subscribers feel like a kid in a candy store. I also love discovering new artists and having the opportunity to collaborate with so many talented people and share their work with our community is really fun.

I’m pretty sure the original Lucky Dip Club was the first box of it’s kind that I came across (much imitated, never bettered!). What inspired you to create it in the first place?

Aww thank you very much! In 2006, I launched a range of colour themed Lucky Dip bags full of surprise jewellery and when I closed that business down 5 years later I had sold thousands of Rainbow Rebel mystery bags. I was looking to start a new business and the subscription trend in the beauty industry had caught my eye so I decided to mix the two and Lucky Dip Club was born!

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

I’d LOVE to collaborate with Lisa Frank. Not only is she a kitsch powerhouse and forerunner of the unicorn, rainbow and neon trends but she started her business at the age of 24 in 1979 and still runs it to this day. So much to admire!

What exciting plans do you have for the next year? 

We’ve literally just re-launched and our new website is online with new subscription packages - Lucky Socks, Happy Pins and My Rainbow Life. The plan over the coming year is to grow the Girl Planet community and turn Lucky Dip Club into a subscription box that’s fully community driven with the launch of our charity partnership programme. Exciting times!

Thank you Leona! You can get your Lucky Dip Club fix here and follow on Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

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.

 

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.

Studio Makeover?

Blogging, Events, Inspiration, Interiors, Products, Shopping, StudiosKate Marsden

Having shared my studio with you last week, I'm even more concious than ever that it's a bit of a mess (and yes I'm always the one to tell artists that this is a good thing as it demostrates your creativity!). It was actually the ticket holder competition Blogtacular are running with one of my complete faves West Elm (where I've popped up a couple of times - you can see me there again in September!) that really got me wondering what I could do with it. I'm always wandering around the store thinking how lovely their stuff would be in here, but can't justify spending money on making my studio look pretty. However, if there's a giveaway which could enable me to do this... well, I'd be silly not to enter!

This is the look I'm going for:

And here's a reminder of what it's like now (I said it was messy!)...

There are certain things I need to keep in the room for practical reasons, and my choices from the West Elm range reflect this. They have the most beautiful desks, but I currently have a long bench running the full length of the longest wall (and as you can see from the image above I make FULL use of it!). I also have the little plan chest above and a whole wall of storage (behind me in the top picture).

I would however like the room to look a little more cohesive, I hate the beige carpet and could do with yet more table space and at a different height. Here are the items I chose and why:

1. Wire Frame Dining Chair - I'd like to have 2 of these. One by the sewing machine and one by the computer - this would also give me a second comfortable chair for guests. Obviously in the yellow...

2. Large Globe Ceiling Lamp - For no other reason than that I like it - and the little man likes the one I have at the moment and wants it for his room.

3. Box Frame Counter Table Marble - the dimentions of this table are the real selling point - that and the marble top which would be a great photo backdrop! I've seen these in store (and was positioned right next to one at my last pop-up) so I know I love it. It's quite high so would sit over my little plan chest and provide more storage (the plan chest is on wheels so I could still use the top of that if I wanted to as well).

4. and 5. White Rim Lacquer Trays - I fell in love with these last year - I'd actually like to use them to display my work in at events as well as at the studio, as they look so good with my notebooks, fabrics, pretty much everything in! I'd like a rectangular one (or two!) and a round one.

6. Margo Selby Zigag Stripe Kilim Rug - to cover up my nasty carpet. I can take this up when I'm doing anything messy then hide the stains with it afterwards...

7. Papier-Mache Round Mirror - The mirror I have at the moment was left behind by the previous owners of the house and it's a bit sad to say the least. I do need one in here though as it's a small room and it helps to make it feel a little bigger.

Fingers crossed for the competition! But if nothing else I now have some new ideas!

More Josef Frank and Svenskt Tenn

Books, Interiors, Pattern Design, Products, Review, TextilesKate Marsden

If you read last Friday's post you'll know that I adored the Josef Frank exhibition at the Fashion and Textile museum. It reintroduced me to Svenskt Tenn, who I'm pretty sure I discovered when visiting Stockholm, but as this was getting on for 20 years ago now my memory is a little hazy! (This reminds me - I need to go back to Stockholm).

Anyway, when the lovely folks at Thames & Hudson then dropped me a line to see if I'd be interested in seeing a Josef Frank/Svenskt Tenn colouring book*, I jumped at the chance...

I've mentioned before that I'm not a massive fan of colouring books, as I prefer to draw rather than colour other people's work, but for this one I may just be able to make an exception. The only downside being that it's such a beautiful book I'm not sure I want to mark it (and wouldn't let the little man anywhere near it, the poor thing!). The first thing to strike me was the size (see my hand for scale!)...

It's gargantuan. Oh and so much more than a colouring book. It's an introduction to Svenskt Tenn and includes images of Josef Frank's fabrics, examples of Svenskt Tenn interiors and more. It's just a lovely thing - whether you want to colour it in or not!

Swedish Modern: A Colouring Book of Magical Interiors by Janet Colletti is published by Thames & Hudson and available now.

*I received my copy free for the purposes of this review, however all opinions are my own.

Custom House Portraits

Architecture, Art, Drawing, ProductsKate Marsden

Last week I launched something a little different - custom house/building portraits. I'm not really sure why I haven't offered them before (as I'm all about drawing buildings after all!) but having received a couple of commissions, I decided to go ahead and offer them via my Etsy shop.

As you know, I do love mid-century style, but I live in an Edwardian house, and I know that not everyone is lucky enough to live in a mid-century gem like the one above! I do really enjoy drawing buildings of all types so you really can send me anything - and if you'd like me to edit out the satellite dish, or repaint your front door, I can do that too!

You can go for a traditional look as with the Georgian house above or I can add some of my trademark polka dots or another pattern if you like...

I am planning to offer a general custom illustration option as well in the near future (so if you'd like me to draw something that isn't a building let me know - I also offer custom pattern design) - in the meantime if you pop over to my portfolio page you can see some of my recent work (then drop me a line at kate@madebymrsm.co.uk if you'd like to discuss).

House portraits are available to order now from my Etsy shop.

p.s. If you'd like to order an illustration as a Mother's Day gift, please place your order/contact me TODAY in order to ensure I can get it to you in time - thanks!

My New Spring Collection!

Pattern Design, Products, Shopping, Textiles, TravelKate Marsden

It's finally here! My new Spring collection launches today and is available now from my website and Etsy shop.

The new collection is inspired by my travels last year - in particular my trips to Paris and New York - I really hope you like it!

I've designed four new patterns which can be found on fabrics by the metre and fat quarter, notebooks, travelcard wallets, home accessories and some new prints. Do pop over to the shop(s) and let me know what you think!

Look Lane

Products, ShoppingKate Marsden

A couple of weeks ago a brand new site opened and I have a little shop, isn't it cute?!

Look Lane is the brainchild of Debbie Ingle of Duck and Dufflel, who I've known for a few years. Debbie wanted to create a different kind of online shopping experience which is more akin to actual in person shopping - hence the little shops and the "Lanes" inspired by Brighton.

A lot of time and effort has gone into making the site just right and it certainly does have a different look and feel to the other platforms we're all familiar with.

Here's a quote from Debbie:

‘All the Look Lane team love shopping in cool markets, browsing beautiful things in incredible stores like Liberty’s or mooching through the lanes in Brighton where you can shop across brands and discover amazing new products without ever really knowing what you are looking for. What we wanted to do with Look Lane is to replicate that shopping experience as you browse and discover shops and products.  A place where beautiful must have items are glimpsed through the windows of shop fronts as unique as their creators.  We wanted to make a world for all things authentic and hand-made.’

It's certainly not as overwhelming as a lot of the other sites out there and from my point of view I really loved having the little shopfront to play with! I'll be updating it with the seasons...

My full collection (except for fabrics) is available on the site - do go and check it out and let us know what you think!

Make Your Own Tote Bag!

Craft, Products, Sewing, Textiles, Tutorials, WorkshopsKate Marsden

The latest new addition to the shop is a tote bag making kit! This is a full kit to make one of the bags you may have seen being stitched at my workshops, and it includes everything you need (except for scissors, pins and an iron!).

The kits are now available in my Etsy shop and you can choose any of my in stock fabrics in order to make it your own.

A nice little treat for yourself or a great gift for a crafty friend - they're so simple that even people who say they can't sew can make them! No need for a sewing machine as they can be hand stitched (as they are in my workshops).

Popping Up in Leeds

Events, Products, ShoppingKate Marsden

Another little trip to Yorkshire... for my work at least if not me! For the next few weeks my cushions, travelcard wallets and notebooks are available from the Bowery Arts Centre in Leeds!

Here you can see the items on display...

Image (c) Bowery Arts Centre

Image (c) Bowery Arts Centre

Image (c) Bowery Arts Centre

Image (c) Bowery Arts Centre

If you're local or just visiting the area do pop in and see them - they'll only be there for a limited time! You can find out all about The Bowery on their website.

Paris is Always a Good Idea...

Architecture, Art, Drawing, Pattern Design, Products, TravelKate Marsden

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you will probably have seen my new Paris prints...

With a nod towards my new Spring collection (coming soon folks), the prints come in a colourful dotty version or a more subtle pink (and actually look great displayed together as a set). I also think they'd male a lovely Valentines gift.

I've also been playing with some hyperlapse videos over the past week or so - here you can see me doodling some similar polka dots...

While you're taking a look at the shop it's also worth noting that the sale ends TOMORROW MORNING (Thursday). There are now final reductions with all sale items priced between £1-£10 so why not treat yourself to a little something. You can find the January Sale section of my Etsy shop here. GET AN EXTRA 10% OFF (sale items only) UNTIL MIDNIGHT TONIGHT (18 January) WITH CODE "LASTORDERS".

Little Man's Room

Inspiration, Interiors, Products, ShoppingKate Marsden

So this year will mostly be about doing the house rather than traveling all over the place! The little man's room was last decorated when he was 4 months old and he's now heading (rather too quickly) towards 7 years, so it's about time.

We've started planning his new room together - he needs a desk corner (probably with shelves above it, possibly with a blackboard), new carpet, and lots of other bits. Here's a first stab at a shopping list (including some things he has already). He's mostly interested in geography and animals...

1. Mountain Peak Decorative Mirror and Shelf - £60 - Push the Apple Cart (who I met at Weekend of the Maker in Sheffield).

2. Funky Alphabet Print - £20 - And Smile (he already has this!)

3. For the Zoo book to Regent's Park Penguin Poster - £9.95 - London Transport Museum (similar to one he already has).

4. He's been eyeing up this rug for months (it looks like grass!) - Hampen Rug - £30 - IKEA

5. Another one he already has! Mini Whale Toy from Made By Swimmer (sold out at the time of writing but they have lots of other lovely things!).

6. Splat Dining Chair - £199 - West Elm

7. We may well be planning the whole room around this! Explorer Kids World Map Mural - £25 per square metre - Murals Wallpaper

8. I'm not sure it goes.... but he's desperate for a cushion in my Suburban Streets fabric (he already has a notebook) - Suburban Streets Cushion - £43 - Made By Mrs M

9. And a new blanket/throw (his current one is a floral Laura Ashley number) - Strimlonn Throw - £39 - IKEA