Hello, welcome to my blog, a place where I plan to document & share with you my creative life. Thank you for finding your way to my little corner of the inter-world. I will be sharing with you my making, gardening, styling, adventures & explorations, as well as snippets of family life. So settle in with a nice cup of something & take a peek in to my creative world…
I thought I would start this blog with a bit of a ‘get to me’ post. I tried to cheat & did a google search on creative person questionnaires, but I couldn’t really find anything that wasn’t written in a deep psychological manner, so I guess I’ll make the questions up as I go!
Where do you call home?
I live in the beautiful Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, Australia. I love living in the mountains & being close to the bush. We have such a stunning landscape up here. Even though I’ve lived here my whole life (30 something years), there is still so much of the Mountains that I’m yet to explore.
Who do you share you Creative Life with?
I share my life with my Husband Tim, our daughter Matilda (Tilly, 19months old) & our Fur Children, a cat called Tink & a miniature dachshund called Indie. We are really fortunate to have a lot of our family living close by, including both our parents who live just in the next town over (perfectly convenient for babysitting!).
What creative crafts do you pursue?
My main craft is patchwork & I particular enjoy English Paper Piecing. I enjoy doing a lot of miniature patchwork using this method. I also enjoy crochet. I have mostly been making amigurumi toys, with a few blanket projects here & there.
Of the crafts you do what is your favourite & why?
English Paper Piecing is defiantly my favourite. I have been sewing using this historic method since my early twenties. Once I started using ¼” hexagons my passion for creating miniature quilts was ignited! I love the slow, steady nature of hand sewing that EPP (English Paper Piecing) provides. I find it incredibly therapeutic, & I find I want to do nothing more than pick up my needle & thread at the end of a day’s work. I get major withdrawals if I go more than two days without hand sewing! I also love how portable EPP is, especially my miniature projects. They don’t take up much room & can easily be packed up & taken away on holidays, or just as easily be worked on sitting on the lounge watching TV.
What other crafts would you like to try?
I would really like to learn how to knit. My mum taught me ages ago & I made a very simple scarf, but I would love to knit myself some socks! I have been watching so many wonderful Knitting podcasts & seeing all the beautiful projects being made that I’m now desperate to join the Knitting Revolution!
There are more things I’d like to learn with Crochet, in particular I’d like to try Tunisian Crochet, & also garment making with Crochet. I’d also like to try weaving & I have started Yarn Dying & have plans to dye & print fabric also.
What other crafts have you tried, what was the first?
I think the first thing I ever learnt was how to Cross Stitch when I was in primary school. I also tried my hand at long-stitch, latch-hooking & Quilling as a young child. In my teen years I was mostly in to sketching & drawing & enjoyed working with chalk pastels. Aside from that I’ve dabbled in a bit of scrap booking but never really got in to, I prefer a more digital way to record photos & memories.
Who taught you your craft?
I learnt everything from my wonderfully talented & crafty mother. And I mean everything. She taught me how to cross stitch, use a sewing machine, everything she knows about patchwork I know about patchwork. She taught me how to crochet & has taught me once before how to knit, but I need some new lessons! When she isn’t around or available to answer my crafty questions, I turn to Google or YouTube tutorials to find the answers to my questions
Who are your Crafty Role Models?
Definitely my Mum! Not only has she taught me so much, but we love sharing our crafty endeavours with each other. We enjoy spending time making together, as well as going on crafty expeditions to quilt shows, patchwork & wool shops. My Dad is also creative in the field of photography & so I call on him for opinions on that & other things. You are always guarded to get an honest opinion from him, whether you agree with it or not!
Aside from my parents there are many women in the making world I look to as Role Models. Amy Butler is a big one & I have admired her work since I first discovered her when I was getting in to patchwork quilting. Recently I have found new Crafty Role Models in the likes of Jooles from Sew Sweet Violet, Sandra form Cherry Heart, Melody from B Mandarines, Danni from Little Bobbin Knits & Molly from Homespun House. And really I could go on naming so many more!
Where do you get inspiration from?
I find inspiration from so many places. Of course there is the obvious Instagram, Pinterest & Podcasts, as well as books & magazines. But I also get a lot of inspiration from my surroundings & travels. Be it from my local bush surrounds, a trip to the coast or a trip out in the country. Being in these places not only inspires me but rejuvenates me. I also find inspiration from simple things such as flowers, going in to a craft or homewares shop, & also from fabrics & yarn.
Tell us about your Crafty Business.
My business Miss Leela Handmade took many years to get off the ground. I held myself back from launching it for so long from a lack of confidence & feeling like I wasn’t ready. I also wanted everything to be perfect from the get go, my branding, my products etc. Finally I got the courage up & decided I was ready. I opened my Etsy shop on the night of my First Wedding Anniversary, October 13, 2013, so now I get to celebrate two awesome things on that date!
In my shop I sell my miniature patchwork wall hangings, as well as patchwork quilts, crochet amigurumi & décor items. I also in recent years developed my own range of cut paper pieces for miniature patchwork & I sell packets of these in my shop.
In 2016 I took Miss Leela Handmade out of the studio & did my first ever market, the Etsy Made Local Blue Mountains Artisan Market. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience which I shared with my Best Friend Rachael who kindly helped me out on the day. I also took part in last year’s Etsy Made Local event, both as a stallholder & organiser. I did a few other markets last year, & whilst it’s lovely to meet people out at markets, it’s bloody hard work! This year I’m not planning on doing too many markets & instead will be focussing more on my online Etsy shop.
What are you Making/Creative Dreams?
My big number one creative dream is to move to the countryside on a big rural property, with a lovely Australian country house & enough space to build a large studio & run a Making Retreat, where guest can partake in all manner of different creative crafts & stay in glamped up Yurts.
Other making dreams include writing my own patterns for EPP, writing a book, & to develop my own range of fabrics & yarns.
Aside from craft, what other creative pursuits do you have?
I have worked as an interior designer for the past 12 years. This has led me in to pursuing styling & photography. In particular I love styling crafty bits & bobs, & handmade items. I do also enjoy a bit of home interior styling. Last year I tentatively launched my own Styling Business, Miss Leela Styling. I am currently building up my portfolio & nutting out what my particular styling/photography ‘style & technique” is.
When you’re not making, what else do you enjoy doing?
Reading, colouring in, working in the garden & watching a good movie or TV series. I enjoy spending time with Tim & Tilly, as well as catching up with Family & Friends. Going out & exploring new places is also something I like to do.
What are some of your favourite things?
Tea! I love tea, pretty much any flavour tea except for anything liquorice flavoured, chai or green tea. One of my most favourite simple pleasures is making myself a pot of tea in one of my china cups. Also chocolate! Basically I need this to survive. Rarely is there a day that goes by when I don’t eat chocolate!
I love homewares & soft furnishings. I also like to collect things. So far my collections extend to cut glass vases, china tea cups & saucers, owl figurines, fabric & yarn (of course!), vintage sewing baskets, & vases of all different shapes & makes.
Well I hope you enjoyed reading a little bit about me. I would love to connect with you so please don’t be shy in leaving me a comment below, or connecting with me on Instagram or Facebook.
I hope to be back really soon with more from my Creative Making Life.
Miss Leela xo