MEET THE MAKER
DAY 1 - YOU
Simple, uncomplicated and generally drama free, that’s how I’d describe my life, some would say boring - I would say content!
I’m usually somewhat inconspicuous and so to tell the world all about myself is going to be quite a challenge over the next few weeks!
For those that don’t know me, my name is Gemma. I’m a happily married, mum of two - more about my family later on in the challenge! My business is completely new, having started from scratch late last year. I worked in Finance for what feels like an eternity of 9 to 5 misery and boredom, but being made redundant in 2017 helped me to consider my future. I decided to take control of my circumstances and having a more positive outlook meant that I could launch my own business Hattie Rose Handmade. Art, designing and textiles are in my blood and I’m now in the very early stages of my new creative happy life...filled with calm, positivity and most of all hope!
DAY 2 - WHERE
What is there not to love about the tranquillity of village life? I’m very fortunate to absolutely love my home and this small village in Staffordshire! My hubby and I bought our dilapidated 1850’s cottage eight years ago, just after we were married, we had no money whatsoever to start renovating. I can still remember sobbing as we moved in, wondering how we’d survive and if we’d ever manage to transform it, thankfully we had a good imagination. It’s hard to conceive that eight years on we still haven't quite finished, it’s been a labour of love which I’m very eager to complete!
DAY 3 - HOW YOU STARTED
Creativity is limitless, it’s always been inside me, the more I experience, observe and engage in, the more obsessed I become!
So when we first started to turn our house into a home, I craved high end, unusual, yet attractive items that really meant something to me personally. I realised that these weren't items I could get from the high street, so I started making them myself and this cunning fox was one of the first items I made for our home.
Having my daughter inspired me to take the plunge and turn my hobby into a career. Her playful, can-do, attitude and her enthusiasm for life (just like me when I was her age!) made me realise that anything can be possible, if you put your mind to it.
DAY 4 - FAVOURITE MAKE
This is Charlie a Bedlington terrier, he has now sadly passed away, he’s completely bespoke and means a lot to the owners on a personal level. I love how something unique like this, can spark someone's emotions.
Creating bespoke items for my clients gives me a real insight into their lifestyle and allows me to engage with a subject very dear to them. It’s a creative journey which gives me the opportunity to make something new and different, and in doing so creating something truly special which a family can treasure.
DAY 6 - WORKSPACE
This is my kitchen table, (I confess that it’s probably not one of my best photo’s!) it feels like the most practical place in the world to work from, until tea time arrives and I have to shift everything again!
Much to my husbands objections, my sewing tackle is slowly taking over the house and he’s finally succumb to giving me my own space! So he’s is currently in the middle of renovating a small room in our home, which I can clutter up instead!
DAY 7 - ROUTINE
Well I've made it to day 7, high five to me and everyone else who’s got through the 1st week successfully!
This one is easy, the day must start with a brew right? Earl Grey for me please! If I’m honest my mornings are currently spent contemplating what image and text I will be posting for this challenge, whilst enjoying my morning cuppa of course! Once that's ticked off the list I can enjoy the freedom of a very unconventional day as a maker!
DAY 8 - FLATLAY
Before this challenge I had no idea what ‘flatlay’ was, so after doing my research I came up with this.... I’m always on the hunt for antiques and old bits and bobs or vintage pieces to liven up my home. Giving something that’s old and often tatty, a new life is really important to me and I adore how they can add a unique twist of eccentricity to a room. Shown here are a few quirky sewing accessorise, along with ‘Stanley’...he’s the colourful if not a little cheeky hare!
DAY 9 - HOW'S IT MADE
Everything I make starts with an initial design followed by a pattern, which I then use for cutting my fabric pieces. I like to draw all my designs by hand, sorry no fancy technology here! Usually I have multiple pieces which make up a complete pattern, but I thought I’d just share a little snippet of this process with you today.
Please visit my Instagram feed for the full video.
DAY 10 - TIME TO RELAX
After concluding that an image of a bottle of gin was probably not the best advocate to demonstrate how a working women unwinds at the end of a busy day. I decided to go with this image, getting away from it all is definitely the best way for me to unwind, believe it or not this is Devon - so beautiful especially when the sun is shining! A quiet Stroll through Overbecks - national trust garden whilst on holiday. In truth I find relaxing quite difficult! I also took up running and yoga a few years ago and I have to say, it really does help me to feel calm and I'm convinced that time to myself, while doing something beneficial, stops me from going crazy!
DAY 11 - BRANDING
Right now, these images pretty much sum up my small and newly established business, I have ambitions and key elements that form my branding approach, which I try to keep in mind when designing new ideas. But getting an established brand that customers buy into and forming an identity in a saturated market of incredibly talented people, is the tricky bit! My conclusion is this:- I need to have presence, be consistent and precise, give it time and have an abundance of patience!
DAY 16 - HELPER
I have two - a double act! My helpers are, Hattie aged four and Freddy aged two! They run the show or should I say home, I’m usually just a bystander in there shenanigans!
They test me, drive me crazy and physically exhaust me at times. I’m not sure how they ‘help’ me as such, but I really don’t know where I’d be without them! I love them more than anything and everything I do is for them.
DAY 17 - CUSTOMERS & FEEDBACK
Talking of feedback, I do wonder how I am doing with this challenge so far? Hopefully I’m not a complete calamity!
Customers and feedback are extremely important to me, they aid development and can even inspire improvements, it makes this job so much more worthwhile!
But I’ve decided to go down a different route with todays prompt, so if you are in need of a little motivation this morning...dust yourself off and sashay, parade and strut yourself into celebrating all the marvellous things you have achieved so far.
DAY 18 - INSPIRATION
A number of things have inspired me, so it’s really tough to pick just one. Completely unintentionally, my work has followed an outdoorsy route of animals and nature. So here are just a few things that have influenced my work:
Hattie and her love of fresh air even when its freezing outside! She inspired me to first set up my business, hence my business name.
The escapee cows that somehow ended up in our back garden!
A walk over the fields... something we do regularly and often seeing an abundance of wildlife.
Please visit my Instagram feed for all of the images.
DAY 19 - CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT
I wonder how many of my fellow makers had an image of their husband, boyfriend or loved one in their head today?
Well mine took a bit of persuading, but I managed to tie him down with my tape measure eventually and if nothing else I did have a giggle trying to take this shot, I actually couldn't keep my hand steady for laughing.
He was an obvious choice for todays prompt though, I certainly couldn't live without this man (to be fair, many couldn't live with him), he puts up with all my crap and keeps me grounded and calm, despite the mayhem of everyday life.
Oh yes, I nearly forgot...my tape measure comes in pretty handy too!
DAY 22 - SKETCHBOOK AND LISTS
Who doesn't love a notebook, to do list, sketchpad or doodle? I know I do, I've always got a list (or two) on the go!
I also really enjoy painting and its one of those things that I find strangely beneficial, the time can just fly by once I start…. I just need to find more of that time!
DAY 23 - HANDS AT WORK
A little bird told me that todays prompt is all about using my hands, so today I’ve banished my sewing machine in favour of a knitting spool.
Slightly unorthodox and very unusual for me , It’s actually the first time I’ve made one of these!
Please visit my Instagram feed for the full video of how these birds are made.
DAY 24 - ACHIEVEMENTS
I'ts early days for major achievements, but so far I have successfully reached day 24 of @joannahawkers #marchmeetthemakerchallenge!
So what are my other accomplishments... well I also managed to set up and launch this website - not bad for a technophobe! Along side this, my work was showcased in Tatler Magazine, after being contacted by them to be featured on their interior motive page. But my biggest achievement is ’this’ being here and turning my dream of owning my own creative business into reality and all of those little triumphs I’ve overcome along the way, it’s something that I never thought possible 12 months ago.
DAY 27 - RECOMMEND A MAKER
This challenge has really opened my eyes to how many brilliant and clever makers there are, but today I wanted to recommend someone a little closer to home. This is the work of a very talented garden designer based in Cheshire (UK). Its actual a business owned by my brother (James), he’s done dozens of projects from small and intricate cottage gardens to huge grand designs ,that only dreams are made of. Check out his Facebook page JS Garden Projects, if you are interested in his lovely work.
He recently produced a design for my garden and I just love the concepts he’s proposed… we only started work a couple of weeks ago, so its more of a building site / swimming bath than a stunning garden at the moment, but watch this space!
DAY 28 - ORGANISED
I absolutely love to organise - sometimes a little too much!
I’m a ‘list writer’ so I don’t need anything fancy for this, other than a reliable pen and my trusty notepad. I like to plan weekly and more long term projects which helps to keep me focus. There's something rather satisfying about ticking an item off as its accomplished, don't you think?
I also admit to having a terrible memory, so the only way I remember to do something is by writing it down!
My organisational skills extend to colour coordination!
DAY 29 - COMMUNITY
Taking part in #MarchMeetTheMaker has been great for me in so many ways, but above all, its been a fantastic opportunity to see so many wonderful makers and gain an insight into their craft and businesses. What a helpful and lovely bunch you all are! With a special thanks to @joannahawker for kicking off this fantastic challenge.
I’d also like to give a shout out to the Etsy South Cheshire Team, who are full of practical advice and resources. It’s a team that openhandedly provide feedback, hints and tips, which has so far proven to be invaluable.
DAY 30 - TOP TIP / ADVICE
Be yourself, enjoy what you do, think positive thoughts and smile!
As you may now know, I like to paint in my spare time, but I’d like to get better at it - So I’ll keep practicing.
Butterflies come in so many different shapes, sizes and colours but each one is beautifully unique - Just like us, so believe in yourself.
A plant starts off small and with a little care and attention it will grow, they may look delicate and fragile but they are also very robust - Stay determined and never give up.
Please visit my Instagram feed to see the timelapse of me painting this picture.
DAY 31 - CREATIVE FRIENDS
I can't believe its the last day of MarchMeetTheMaker, the month has gone so fast!
To stay on theme of keeping it in the family, I have put togther a few images for todays prompt ( please see my instagram feed for all of them).
1: My mum knits occasionally, she knit these lovely little mice for Hattie when she was born, they now sit on the mantlepiece in her bedroom.
2: Another knitted garment from when Hattie was born, made by my nana who owned a wool shop for many years and taught me how to knit and sew when I was a girl.
3: My dad paints for pleasure, although I have to say he’s pretty good at his hobby.
So now you know...I come from a brilliantly artistic family, who are unmistakably responsible for inspiring my creative passion!