I believe that I can genuinely claim to be an 'expert' crafter because, as you will read below, crafting has been a hobby, a job and a passion for most of my life.
My earliest crafting memory is of my mum teaching me to knit when I was just 5 years old - I was hooked!
My first love is sewing - the first thing I remember making was a lime green cotton skirt when I was 11 years old. Unfortunately, I wasn't told to secure the seam ends and so when it was washed for the first time, it started to come apart. Nobody ever became an 'expert' without making a few mistakes along the way!!
My parents had a handicraft shop and my natural crafting talents were put to good use making caneware (trays, plant pot holders etc), mosaic tables, lamp bases (from empty wine bottles) and raffia lampshades. It always amazed me that customers were willing to pay for my efforts!
At 16 years old I studied soft furnishings and upholstery at night school. At 18 years old I went to college to study fashion and learned dressmaking, tailoring, millinery, pattern cutting, designing ... and lots of patience!!
When my children came along I became an avid knitter - I particularly remember being very proud of a jumper I had knitted with a very intricate willow pattern on the front.
I took up card making in the late 1990s when the craft was in its infancy and there was nothing much more than peel-offs and coloured paper. Since then I have developed quite a reputation as an expert card maker and have given many demonstrations in stores across the country.
In 1995 I went back to college and obtained a Degree in Education. I have subsequently taught Adult Education in dressmaking, soft furnishings, embroidery, card making and jewellery making.
Since 2001 I have been a consultant for Habico, a leading wholesaler of crafting products. I help them with product evaluation, sales staff training and demonstrations at trade shows and exhibitions.
My first TV appearance was on QVC in 2002 when I demonstrated embroidery & tapestry. More recently I have appeared on Create & Craft TV and Hochanda demonstrating knitting, needle felting, haberdashery and tapestry.
In 2012 I became UK Ambassador for Prym, a leading global supplier of creative sewing products, needlework and fashion accessories. On Prym's behalf, I have demonstrated their products in the John Lewis Oxford Street store, on TV Craft Channels such as Create & Craft and Hochanda and at several trade shows and exhibitions.
I love sharing my passion for crafting with other people and giving help and advice for resolving crafting related problems. Please don't hesitate to contact me should you require any help, assistance or guidance.
Owner of Cottontail Crafts