Sunday 18 March 2012

Designer Interview: Caroline of Carolee Crafts

Introducing first in the series of interviews with designers - today the spotlight is on Caroline, the designer/maker behind Carolee Crafts 

Hi Caroline!  What do you design and make? Textile gifts and cards using machine embroidery designs, patchwork, appliqué, vintage lace, recycled beads and fabric turning them into cushions, bags and more.

Where does your inspiration come from? Nature, Magazines, walking around antique markets my favourite is the Packhouse Antiques centre in Farnham, Surrey a plethora of colours and textures, browse around there gives me ideas for a plethora of designs.

What tips do you have for generating ideas for designs? Open your eyes, take a walk on a beautiful day whatever the season there is so much beauty around us in the colours of plants, take a camera to capture a scene, sketch book to record ideas as you think of them. Browse magazines and cut out pictures that speak to you. I have loads of journals created over the years and a quiet afternoon can often be whiled away just flicking through the pages, creative block for me rarely happens in fact the opposite I have too many ideas I would love to make but doubt will ever achieve in my lifetime.

How do you record your ideas? Journals, photographs, sketch books. I also use a system called Bento, a brilliant software enabling a digital record of so many things.

What tips do you have for motivating yourself? As said before rarely have a lack of motivation just need more time but if I am stuck often just taking a walk and doing something different inspires me back to work.

Do you have any time management tips? I am not that strict over time keeping, if busy with an order can knuckle down until done, sometimes forgetting to take a break when I should. I find a 'To Do' list (although it can read like War and Peace) an ideal way to keep track of things to do and the time scale. Again use iCal to record and prioritise what I have to do and find only looking at one task at a time is better than thinking I have so much to complete, little steps.

What’s your workspace like?  Can we have a sneak peek? I have 3 rooms, the sewing room, workroom and the office - does that make me any more organised? No!

Do you have any top tips for other designer makers? Be proud of what you do and never cut corners. Make sure each piece made is a work of art and made to the highest standard.
Anything else you want to add? Follow your dream and believe in yourself, never look back and regret always look forward with anticipation as to what is coming next. Finally a big thank you to Wendy for giving me this promotion opportunity.  

Thanks so much Caroline for being my first interviewee!  

You can follow Caroline on Facebook and Twitter as well as on her blog. You can browse her shop and buy beautiful handmade products at

If you'd like to be featured in an interview on Handmade Harbour, you'll find more info here

I'm linking this interview to Handmade Monday, where you can be inspired by the beautifully diverse collection of craft blogs that link up - have a peek, you'll be glad you did!


Carolee Crafts said...

Aww, blushing! Thank you Wendy

Handbags by Helen said...

You have THREE rooms for crafting. Am soooooooo jealous

Annie Cholewa said...

Some great advice here, and how marvellous to have all these insights into other's creative processes to look forward to :D

Anonymous said...

Some really great tips, I love the idea of using journals to store inspiration! Very jealous of the 3 craft rooms!!! I've not even got one just a dining room table!

Samantha x

lovetartan said...

Caroline what a great interview and some really good tips. Loving your 3 craft rooms! Mich :)

Highland Monkey's said...

Well 3 craft rooms I want one of them!! Nice interview it's interesting to see how other people function in the crafting world!

fatmonica said...

Your crafting spaces look so fabulous-so jealous!

Jam Dalory said...

Great interview and just like the others i'm pretty jealous of your 3 craft rooms! x

Anonymous said...

Great interview. Thanks to Wendy and Caroline for putting it together.

Ali said...

Great interview and very wise words from Caroline regarding not looking back but forward. Great insight into another talented crafter's world! (So jealous though - THREE rooms? That's just greedy!!)

Ali x

June said...

Great interview, interesting to see how other people harness their creativity. I think its important to believe in yourself. My mum used to have a saying - 'Never doubt yourself, there's enough people in the world who will do that for you'. I often think of those wise words. I'd add 'stay positive - to stay focused'.