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Women Who Create / Kate Rochester. In this fortnight’s edition of women who create things I am excited to introduce to you designer and illustrator Kate Rochester. I first met Kate some years back when she took on a studio space with us in Brighton at our old HQ. Her joyful and colourful work always brings a smile to my face! Her love of colour and texture has filled many a children’s story book, map and more recently murals!

Tell us a little about your background…

I was always encouraged to cook, sew and draw as a child. I went on to study surface pattern at college, where I developed my drawing and practical skills. This enabled me to achieve a diverse career in print for textiles, graphics and illustration. My work is a combination of good old painting and drawing mixed with digital. I make all of my own textures and draw everything by hand before scanning in and refining on the computer.

kate rochester illustration

Do you have creative habits or rituals within your work that help you stay focused and happy?

If I know my dog has had a good morning walk and is settled, then I can focus. I listen to music, podcasts, womanise hour and desert island discs.

Lists are essential! I have lists everywhere from scraps of paper to notes in my sketchbook and diary (old school hard copy, not digital!)

What two things can’t you live without?

My dog Dolly, and Pinterest!

dolly the dog

What is your biggest source of inspiration?

Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, magazines, nature, and every day things like packaging and the shapes in architecture. I treasure hunt at antique shops and flea markets looking for children’s books, textiles and ephemera. I like to use hand lettering in my work and love looking at the variety and individuality of fonts. I get really inspired by group workshops, strengthening techniques and learning new skills.

kate rochester illustration

What is the meaning of ‘craft’ to you?

Home made, hand made, thrifty, recycled. I love to bake, sew and build and re-use vintage and second hand stuff wherever possible. I haven’t bought a birthday card to send for years, although I have got a box full for inspiration! I make gifts for friends too when I have time and always have a craft or DIY project on the go.

kate rochester studio

If you could collaborate on a creative project or idea with anyone… who would it be & why?

I would love to work on a big mural or window display for Anthropologie; produce some inspiring pages for Flow or Uppercase magazine; or create my own range of screenprinted products

Do you have a favourite piece of equipment that inspires your day to day process?

I have recently got into collage and papercutting and have rediscovered my scalpel and scissors.

kate rochester collage

What is the best thing about working for yourself?

It is flexible and varied and I pay my bills by drawing and painting! It can be challenging sometimes to balance financial security with freedom and creativity, but it is worth it.

What is your proudest creative moment in your journey so far?

I was commissioned to design a series of panels for a specialist heart ward at the Royal Brompton hospital in London. They feature buildings and scenes from allover the world. There are animals hidden throughout to give the patients something to do and the palette is bright and colourful so I like to think they bring some to an otherwise daunting hospital visit.

kate rochester mural at royal brompton hospital

Kate’s newer work is filled with collage… hop on over to her Instagram to find daily inspiration and website for more wonderful projects!

Etsy / Printable Planner Pages. Hi folks! Those of you who are signed up to my newsletter will have already received this little treat and hopefully be using it to plan your weekly projects, blog posts, social media and life in a joyful fashion!

After weeks of fine tuning I am mega excited to let you know that the first Super+Super downloadable planner page PDF is available for you over on my Etsy UK store as digital download to print out at home.

This new design includes a weekly social media planning page and a 3 column week to view projects page!

3 pdf files are included so you can print 2 A5 size pages on one sheet and then turn over and print back too… Then trim & punch then add to your weekly planner. Once you have bought your pdf file you can print as many as your heart desires!

Or print off as A4 size single pages and stick on your pin board! I use mine with my gorgeous kikik pause planner and they really have changed how I plan my week for the better.

I am also in the process of getting sets of this page plus another exciting edition printed for my store so if you want to buy the ready printed versions drop me a comment below and I will add you to the list for round 1 print run. I am very excited indeed!

Happy planning x

planner pages from supersuperhqplanner pages from supersuperhq

printable planner pages

printable planner pages

Mollie Makes / Christmas Gift Sack DIY. Yay a new issue of Mollie Makes and a fun new fast craft tutorial from me for you to make yourself at home :) Find the full tutorial plus tips & hints on pages 42-45 of the newly released Christmas crafts edition 71 in stores now!

I’d love to hear about what you are planning this year for crafty gift making! Are you starting simple and slow with gift wrap and cards? Or going the whole hog with a proper handmade christmas!? I am trying to make even more treats for my family and friends this year and am hoping to get several of these lovely sacks filled in time… You can find some of my favourite hand made gifts inspiration over on the ‘Craft Lover’s Christmas’ board I have been topping up since last year. There are some wonderful treats for Autumn & Winter alike.

Happy Crafting folks! Amy x

mms71-santasacks mms_71_cover_web

Women Who Create / Helen Hallows

Welcome to this weeks instalment of Women Who Create Things. This week I am happy to introduce you to artist/designer and one of my newest creative peers Helen Hallows. Helen’s work is full of texture, tone and the richness of nature and her no nonsense business practice & advice are extremely refreshing! Her gorgeous home garden studio is a trove of inspiration… take a look for yourself.

Tell us a little about your background… 

I trained in textile design at Loughborough College of Art and Design before working freelance for an agent who sold my designs internationally. I created embroidered and appliqué designs for home wares, bedding, ladies and children’s fashion and stationery. My agent closed her business around the time that I started my family. My creativity went out the window as soon as I had little people in my life and it took me a while to find it again. I did some greetings card designs for a Nottingham based agent but really missed creating handmade, crafted work. I started to create some personal work based around family memories and out of this grew some work about memories of places, and captured moments. I used a mixed media approach with paint and paper and stitched into them, much as I had my appliqué designs. Fast forward seven years, and now I create framed artworks that I sell at art fairs, I run workshops and art holidays to share my ideas and techniques and I license my art for cards and prints as well as selling my own range of limited edition prints and products through my website

helen hallows work

Do you have creative habits or rituals within your work that help you stay focused and happy?

In the last two years I have been exploring the process of creativity and how to sustain creativity after hitting a period of creative block for the first time in my life. I’ve learnt to keep a notebook/log book/journal of my life that keeps me centred and my creativity flowing. It swings between shopping lists, to-do lists, sketches, doodles, scrapbook and a place to let everything out and pour my heart out. I wrote about my creativity and overcoming obstacles to creative flow and from the writings I recorded a spoken word CD called’I am Nature – creative visualisations for working with nature as inspiration’ to help others find flow on their creative journey.

helen hallows cd I Am Nature

What two things can’t you live without?

Ooh, good question. My notebook/journal and sunshine!

What is your biggest source of inspiration?

Nature…everything I do comes from nature. I feel very much in tune with the seasons, a time to grow, a time to rest. I’m most inspired in the summer…I really do need the sunshine to thrive.

helen hallows art holidays

What is the meaning of ‘craft’ to you?

Working from the soul, Making from the heart. Becoming an expert at a technique. My work falls in the gap between art and craft, art because it is framed, craft because it is stitched into. I dislike the delineation and wish there was a word for ‘creating something with passion’.

helen hallows art commission

If you could collaborate on a creative project or idea with anyone… who would it be & why?

I’d love to create some large scale tapestries. I’ve dabbled in tapestry weaving before but it’s a long and skilled process. I’d love to collaborate with an established weaver.

Do you have a favourite piece of equipment that inspires your day to day process?

My sewing machine. Sewing is rooted in me. I use the sewing machine to draw into my work. I don’t think I could let that go.

What is the best thing about running your business?

The best thing is the variety and being able to create a new project or decide to try a different way of doing things. I love running a creative business because I can be creative in how I run it. I meet such like minded souls too, through art events and at my workshops.

helen hallows art

What is your proudest creative moment in your journey so far?

In 2011 I had an exhibition at Sock Gallery in Loughborough. I had just started selling my landscape work and it was my first exhibition so I didn’t know what to expect. The night of the private view I arrived and people were buying my work, red dots appearing left, right and centre! I felt that I had stepped into being who I wanted to be.

helen hallows art work

Find more from Helen on her website or book a wonderful workshop and find your own inspiration x

Craft Kit Box / Crochet For Beginners. Hello Folks! After months of slow development, miss-prints and time restraints I am extremely proud to be able to share with you the first carnation of my Crochet For Beginners Craft Kit Box which is now available through my little Etsy store.

This kit contains a collection of products from the S+S collection which I have been focusing on developing and is a superb gift for a friend or family member (or yourself obvs!) who wants to learn all the skills to become a crochet pro and build a fantastic foundation in this wonderful yarn craft. This kit is a combination of tried and true patterns, projects and materials which I love!

What this kit includes:

1 x Super+Super crochet project book
4 x balls of DMC cotton yarn in varying colours
1 x 3.5mm hook
1 x screen printed hand sewn craft kit project bag (to keep all your goodies inside!)
1 x loyalty card

1 x welcome pack which includes membership to our online craft community + 10 exclusive crochet tutorial videos via my online school of craft (link details included)

Because of the handmade nature of my product range this craft kit box is only being produced in small runs of 5 at a time. I pick, cut, sew, fold and wrap each item. Seeing all these pieces come together makes me super joyful and I am excited to help new students learn to crochet from the comfort of their craft room or sofa! It certainly makes wonderful gift for a friend or new hobby for yourself!

*First 5 purchases get a limited edition original vintage ‘Special Offers’ card + a secret extra gift*

And just to highlight the super value of buying a kit the RRP for all these items separately is up to £87.99

So if you know someone who is looking to master the art of crochet in simple digestible steps with lots of help and fun projects along the way… plus the option to join a fantastic creative community on-line… then this new kit might just be perfect.

craft kit and bag

craft kit box contentscotton crochet yarns


Inspiration / Crochet Plant Hangers. Since moving to a new home which has more space and much more natural light I seem to have tripled the number of plants indoors! I just love them, cannot get enough of propagating old plants, swapping seeds and rescuing sad plants from the reduced isle of the supermarket or garden centre. I am proudly turning into a crazy plant lady!

I have soon come to realise that I can combine two of my favourite past times craft/crochet and plants together as I experiment in making lots of different pots and plant hangers! There is now a crafty hanger creation of some kind in at least one corner in every room and I strongly recommend you all join in and create you own too.

Tips for creating crochet plant hangers…

  • use a strong cotton/synthetic yarn that doesn’t have too much stretch for the hanging cords (plants can get heavy!)
  • make sure your crochet body/pot is lined with a water tight tub or lining – soggy crochet is gross!
  • keep your colours bright or light to highlight the details on foliage
  • light leaved plants love sunshine! hang in indirect sunlight in the lightest part of your house…
  • unless you have lots of dark leafed shade loving plants such as stag horn or fern which are happy in partial shade or in a bathroom
  • don’t over water!
  • don’t be afraid to pull off all old leaves and damaged stems – this is very important for making room for new growth! Often the plan is NOT dying it just needs thinning out a little and crispy leaves removing
  • add beads to your hangers for a little extra fun!

I also thought i’d share some of my favourite inspiration for crochet plant hangers from my home and Pinterest too…

crochet plant hangers_72dpi
 Find links to these brilliant images over on Pinterest by clicking through below

  1. Crochet cotton cord hanger with beads from Pinterest here
  2.  Textural plant holders here
  3. Vintage crochet doily holder here
  4. Jersey pop colour hanger here
  5. Chunky cotton colour work crochet from my recent on-line crochet class

I hope this post has inspired you to grab a hook and rescue some sad plants!

If you need a little more inspiration head over to my Plants & Home Pinterest board. Please do not hesitate in emailing me if you want to know more about this post, future workshops or anything else craft related at Super+Super!

Happy crafting

Amy x


Women Who Create / Ali Lewry-Beale. Hi Folks! This week I am super excited to have Ali of hello DODO, the dream team design duo on the ‘Women Who Create Things’ slot! This is your chance to be totally inspired by Ali & Jam’s amazing biz skill, brilliant designs and some of the loveliest and most colourful social media in my feed. Thanks so much for joining me on the blog guys!

Tell us a little about your background…

I’ve always been a very creative person but not particularly talented at drawing or painting so when I was younger I struggled to understand what it was I should be doing. At college I took up photography and completely fell in love! I was totally suited to wandering around on my own with my camera and then printing up my work in the darkroom. I went on to study photography at uni where I met (my now husband) Jam who was studying Graphic Design. It wasn’t until after finishing uni and travelling Europe that we began toying with the idea of working on a project together and decided to teach ourselves screen printing. And that’s how hello DODO was born!


Do you have creative habits or rituals within your work that help you stay focused and happy?

I’m a great list maker! I always have to have a notebook on the go with lists of what needs doing and what ideas to work on next. Our notebooks would look like a great scribbled mess to anyone else but I definitely need them to keep myself sane and focused. Even at our most hectic times I need to feel like there’s new, exciting things that we’re working to achieve.


What two things can’t you live without?

It’s a sad thing to say but I definitely couldn’t live without my iPhone! And a bit more lo-fi, my squeegee!

What is your biggest source of inspiration?

I do find inspiration everywhere in everyday life! It’s definitely a lot easier to feel inspired if you’re able to occasionally escape the routine though, even if just for a short walk. Animals ALWAYS inspire us and we usually get lots of ideas after a trip to the zoo!

What is the meaning of ‘craft’ to you?

To me craft means using a special skill you have learnt to create something awesome and unique. I think I feel a little extra proud of our business because we taught ourselves screen printing from scratch and we do everything ourselves from our home studio.


If you could collaborate on a creative project or idea with anyone… who would it be & why?

Ooh….good question!! I’m currently completely obsessed with the work of graphic designer and Miffy creator Dick Bruna, he’s wonderful! He has such a lovely face.

Do you have a  favourite piece of equipment that inspires your day to day process?

Ok I’m going a bit left-field here and saying the kettle! Without coffee NOTHING would get done!


What is the best thing about running your business/working for yourself?

After years of slaving away in rubbish retail jobs and dreaming of quitting, running my own business is literally AMAZING! Just knowing that I’m doing it for myself is hugely satisfying.

What is your proudest creative moment in your journey so far?

Last year we exhibited at Pick Me Up, the graphic arts festival at Somerset House which was a real life dream come true. I still pinch myself that it actually happened!

Thanks so much Ali! You can find your own little bit of Dodo sunshine over one their Etsy store and if you don,t follow their Instagram account already its a must!

Coco Wawa Crafts Crochet Pattern Feature. Hello love’s today I wanted to share a recent crochet collaboration project that I was super excited to create for Ana aka Coco Wawa Crafts!

I met Ana recently when she emailed me to say hello. Having both followed the other on-line for a while I was over the moon when her name popped into my inbox AND even more excited when she suggested a new collaboration project. Now you know how I feel about my wonderful creative community, so as the plans came together and yarn and deign sketches were exchanged I was pretty much in my element!

So here it is… And you can find the full pattern + tutorial over on the Coco Wawa blog along with a little intro about what i’m getting up to craftily this summer. Also whilst you are there you must check out Ana’s amazing selection of jersey yarns! Such a huge collection of colours and pattern… #yarnspiration #neverenoughyarn


Coco Wawa crochet collaboration project

The project is accompanied by step by step instructions, pictures and crochet pattern! This project is simple, fun and you can whip one up in an afternoon. if like me you are planning a hand made Christmas this year, you might like to make a few for friends and family too!

Coco Wawa crochet collaboration project

Hop on over to my Etsy store for pdf patterns, craft books and limited edition ready to wear crochet accessories. Or you could also message me to discuss a private commission.

Happy crafting

Amy x