Announcing our second very special runner-up for Needcraft’s competition #Lampshadebusinessinabox!
Andrea’s free motion embroidery combined with lampshade making produces beautiful and joyful results. Her Intricate, child-like designs really encourage light and laughter! Raggedy Ruff simply had to be a runner up in the Needcraft competition to win £250 to spend on lampshade making supplies and the five runners up each a lampshade manufacturing pack! Read on to hear about Andrea’s experience of running a craft business from home with four children giving her a helping hand!
Thanks to a very craft filled upbringing, I’ve always enjoyed bringing my own designs to life though I have very little formal training. I have four small children including twins who are just turning two so as you can imagine my house is always rather chaotic!
I started Raggedy Ruff Designs to showcase the clothes and characters I make for my lovely children, and to meet other crafters as being at home with young children can be a little isolating at times. Ruff is a cheeky dog, always happy to play dress up, and Mew is my four year old’s favourite as she is mad about cats.
I use free motion embroidery to applique designs, using only 100% cotton fabric, and where possible I also undercut the other layers so when the lights are turned on, it gives a lovely stained glass effect which is quite unique.
The long thin nature of the lampshade provides an interesting challenge and I’ve had a lot of fun designing landscapes and scenes into the space which then provide a different view from all sides.
I stumbled across Needcraft‘s site by accident and haven’t looked back. Needcraft’s lampshades and lanterns offered the opportunity of bringing my characters into the lives of people either without children or whose children would no longer fit into rompers and frilly dresses, and the lanterns and lampshades make ideal gifts.
The Needcraft kits are ideal as everything is included and I could buy just as much as I needed without having to make a big cash investment at the start of my business and instead have been able to grow the business as my order book as increased.
My biggest challenge so far has been fitting a small embroidery business on top of everything else as the number of hours I can devote is seriously limited.
I try to keep a balance of customer orders with items for family and friends and the look on my little ones faces when it is their turn is priceless so it’s a battle I am determined to keep fighting.
I find the materials provided by Needcraft have scope outside just lampshades and I use one of the oval sets to make a planter for a monthly fabric flower-pot club where I send seasonal embroidered pots by post which never need watering. I’ve also used the clear backing to make light catchers for windows!
Before having children I had a varied career from being a gentleman’s bespoke tailor to designing battery systems for spacecrafts. Recently I have been venturing into more science designs such as old plane schematics and botanical style illustrations.
After a recent house move I’m now fortunate enough to have a heated conservatory as my work space and it’s filled to bursting with lovely fabrics. I am in there as often as the little ones will let me, enjoying the natural light, usually with someone sat on the back of the chair, watching with great interest. Already they help me with the designs so I don’t imagine it will be long before they will want to join in the business.
Angela’s favourite websites:
The lady behind Lotty Lollipop has been a bit of an inspiration for me as she has a similar size gang of little people and a successful small business.
I’m particularly in love with this website at the moment for inspiration.
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