Hi my lovely readers! It’s Featuring You time again – this time I’m happy to introduce a very skilled lady, who loves sewing, knitting, gardening, etc., makes use of beautiful vintage prints and has the most swoon-worthy garden mood boards on earth. If you love flowers, fabric, a great sense of humour and beautiful photographs – this blog is definitely for you!
Hello hello readers of This blog is not for you! I’m Sabrina and I’ve got a blog called Wolves in London. I’ve been writing it for nearly a year now; the blog started out as a way of documenting my attempt to start up a fabric business, but since I am inherently a super lazy person, the fabric business is still just a little twinkle in my eye, but I’ve been blogging about lots of crafts, sewing, knitting and just the teeniest little bit of fabric design along the way too… Q: For how long have you been blogging and why did you decide to start a blog?
I’ve been writing my own blog for nearly a year now. It first went live in December 2012, though I cheated at the time and back-posted three months worth of posts so it wouldn’t look too sparklingly new if someone landed on it in the first few weeks. What I had totally failed to think about was that nobody would land on my blogs for weeks, months even. Days went past where I had not a single visitor, and I would hopefully email links to my Mum to ask her to look at things I’d written and then check the stats to see – no – still no visitors, not even my Mum dropped by. I’m digressing wildly here, but the reason I was slightly naïve about how long it takes to build up a readership on a new blog is that I had previously launched and written a corporate blog for an online travel company I used to work for. The first day that blog launched, it was listed in Google news and had thousands of daily visitors right from day one. So, though Wolves in London is my first personal blog, I did have a bit of blogging experience beforehand. Though, I’ve got to say, very very very little of it has been even remotely useful and I’ve re-learnt most things as I’ve gone…
The reason for starting my own blog was to write about my fabric business that I was allegedly also starting, but soon, of course, the interest in writing the blog itself rather took over and I write it now for its own sake. The fabric design business is still being planned, I hasten to add, but perhaps downsized a little to a simple Etsy shop selling a few things I’ve made with my own Spoonflower designs. World domination might have to wait until 2014 after all.
Q: What was your first ever blog post about? How do you feel about it now?
My first blog post was really a much more succinct outlining of everything I just said above! I think it’s still pretty representative of me and my writing. Check it out here if you like: Building a fabric empire.
Q: What was the first blog you regularly read?
There used to be a blog called Little Birds, which I read about seven or eight years ago. It was by Stephanie Congdon Barnes (now to be found at 3191 miles apart) and documented her sewing, things she made and stuff she did with her kids. Her photography was beautiful and she seemed to me, at the time, to display a superhuman skill at sewing. (Not that I am knocking her sewing skills now, of course, it’s just that I now understand it is possible to use your own hands to make something.)
I read it avidly at the time I worked for the aforementioned online company and I would sit in my office in London, reading about this crafter in America and all the fun (photogenic!) things she was doing all the time, which seemed infinitely more appealing than my life.
It introduced me to all these ideas I’d never heard of before. I remember pondering for a long time over statements that she had sold things in her “little Etsy shop” – what was an Etsy shop I wondered? Was this some weird American term that described a small village shop? Did it mean something like “ditsy”? Why was the shop so infrequently stocked? And how did everything in it sell out so quickly? Did she have really amazing passing footfall where she lived? Perhaps she had a little hatch to her front room, which she opened up onto the street when she had things to sell and a huge stampede of eager buyers would rush down the road, money in hand, to purchase little hand sewn animals for their children.
It was a strange world to me then, but now of course, I see how much she was living the dream!
Q: How and when did you learn how to sew?
Ha ha! I don’t know that I have really learnt to sew. I first used a sewing machine when I was about 13, doing textiles as part of my CDT GCSE (Craft, Design and Technology, if memory serves correctly). My innate desire to massively overstretch myself was in force back then as well. For my exam coursework project, I decided to create a costume design for Juliet (of Romeo and Juliet fame). I remember it being rather Pre-Raphaelite inspired, in a deep purple, with pointed ends on the sleeves that were held in place over the middle finger. Of course, it was nowhere near finished the night before my coursework was due in, so I distinctly remember my Mum sewing up the hem for me by hand, while my Dad was making the LEDs work on my technology project (a child’s board game that involved cars and traffic lights) and I frantically wrote it all up. I’ve got to say, this is still so close to the way I approach everything now it’s unbelievable. These days, though, it’s my poor partner who is left with the hand sewing to finish something off (which I ALWAYS find boring) while I start writing it up for my blog…
After that, I didn’t really sew for at least a decade, but picked it back up again a few years ago when I made my first version of this doggy draught excluder.
Having been a knitter for a few years before that, I was hooked at the possibility of finishing something in an afternoon, rather than a few weeks…
But I don’t spend all my time sewing. I’ve normally got a knitted project on the go too, and can’t resist trying out weird and wonderful new crafts as soon as I find out about them, like shrink plastic jewellery.
Q: What are you doing when you’re not crafting or writing blog posts?
I’ve got a 13 month old toddler, so my blogging and crafting all fits into his nap times or the evenings. Right now, I’m busy getting ready for my wedding which is coming up at the start of September, so I’ve been trying out flower arranging, making favours, and all the other various wedmin bits and pieces. But usually I’m just doing all the main stay at home Mum things: parks, walks, stories and so on and so on. Rock’n’roll, eh?
Q: What does a normal day in your life look like?
6am: Wake up to the sound of my son protesting from next door that it’s time to get up. Sleepily whack partner on the side and ask if he will go and get him up. Roll over and go back to sleep til 7.15. (In my defence, the morning time is generally the only time they can spend together, since the sproglet is in bed asleep by the time my partner returns from work…)
8.30am, partner heads off, we wave him goodbye from the window and I put the sproglet down for his morning nap.
8.30 to 10am, frantically rush around the house trying to simultaneously photograph anything I’ve made recently to go onto the blog, finish making something, write a blog post or two, tidy the house, do the washing up. Decide the house doesn’t really need tidying yet and that I should leave the washing up until there’s a proper big pile of it and all of the plates are dirty. Wonder when we will ever manage to renovate the house and add a dishwasher.
10am, sproglet wakes up. Either head off to meet friends somewhere, amble round Peckham Rye Park, walk up to the Horniman Museum, window shop along Lordship Lane or just mooch around the sitting room seeing how high I can build a tower of blocks before they get knocked over. (Not very high…)
Repeat this general type of activity until…
5.15pm Watch Pointless. Genuinely. Every single day. I am super addicted to this programme. 6pm supper, bath and bedtime for sproglet.
7.15pm, sit down on sofa. Feel exhausted. Have a glass of wine. Await return of partner. Remember fondly and through rose tinted spectacles the times when we used to do outrageous things like, shock, go to the pub in the evening, or the theatre, or the cinema. Feel secretly pleased that I don’t really have to leave the house this evening and turn on the TV, with some knitting in my hand…
Q: Do all of your friends/family know that you are a blogger?
A few friends, and most of my family, though everyone in my family displays a wonderful lack of interest. I occasionally try and bribe my Mum into reading my posts by sending her links saying things like: “There are some pictures of my wedding flowers in this post, Mum” – but normally after a week or so she says, “Oh yes, I saw your email but I was too busy to click on the link…”
Actually, though, I really quite like the fact that the majority of my readers are “strangers” to me (or at least “online friends”). After my first job out of Uni in a big broadsheet newspaper, listening to all the old hands slag off the writing of everybody else first thing in the morning, I have never quite got over a fear of being ridiculed for bad writing. I never link up my blog posts on my personal Facebook page for that very reason. What if a friend reads it and thinks it’s rubbish?! I should get over this, I realise…
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
Oh a million, million things! On the go currently are some bug bags I’m planning on selling in my Etsy shop when I finally open it, plans for a giant car mat for the sproglet, some tea cosies made with my own teapot fabric, a quilt that I’ve been working on for my sister and her husband since, ahem, last November and a present for a friend’s sons which literally just needs a bit of hemming and which I have failed to hem for about six months now.
Q: If you had 500 dollar/euros/pound to spend on your blog/hobby, what would you buy?
Well, I’d love to set myself up so I could do screen printing on fabric at home, so I think I’d definitely spend it on supplies for that…
I tried out screen printing a few months back and adored it, but was shocked (shocked to the core!) by the cost of either doing it in someone else’s studio or buying all your own kit to do it at home. Surely there’s a cheaper solution?
Oh, or I would use it as a little starter fund to set up a UK Spoonflower, something we’re desperately lacking here, I think.
Q: What can we look forward to seeing on your blog in the future?
I’ve constantly got ideas for new features and various things for the blog that I somehow never quite get round to actually writing up. At the moment, the big plan is to write a series of how to guides for different types of fabric designing and printing: hand stamping, using Spoonflower, screen printing etc etc. Now just give me a gentle nudge in six months and remind me that I promised that, will you?!
And there will always be lots and lots and lots of waffle. As you can see from my answers here, I find it seriously hard to keep to short writing…
Btw, isn’t Sabrina’s banner and logo absolutely awesome? It’s designed by Paola Zakimi for those interested!