My name is Francesca and I run mrs eliot books, an online shop selling my own prints, cards and homewares. I also wholesale to a few shops around the world and have just started licensing my designs for print. I live and work in London with my husband and two boys.
What's your creative space area like?
My work setting is known as 'mummy's work room', a lovely spare room in our house. Big and light and a bit messy. I try to keep it tidy but I'm always rushing to finish work and go and get my little one from nursery, so I often leave it looking like a bomb's hit it!
If you had to take only one of your crafts to a desert island, what would it be and why?
I don't really have crafts as such. I don't really knit or crochet or make things, so i would take a sketchbook and my camera.
How do you work and get inspired?
I'm never really short of inspiration, I'm a bit of a sponge, I get inspired by the strangest things, and I can make a whole project out of it. If I feel a creative block coming I doodle. And something usually comes out of that doodle. It's like automatic thinking - if I try too hard it doesn't work but if I just let it go and take the pressure off, something comes to me.
What top tips would you give to any novice bloggers and those thinking of selling their designs?
I would say just get out there and start. It can seem overwhelming because there's so much out there but if your work is good it will get noticed, there's room for everyone. Try not to compare your work too much to other people's. Take your time to find your own style. I'm a believer in just starting something, even if you don't know where it's going to take you. Here's a good quote from Mark Twain:
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”
And I sharing this little film with everyone know!
Is there a story behind the name 'Mrs Eliot Books'?
At college I used to make sketchbooks filled with cut up sentences from books. The first book I chose, I just happened upon in the second hand book shop. I chose it because it was very English, and had some lovely words and sentences I knew I could use. It was the Middle Age of Mrs Eliot, by Angus Wilson. A few years later, I started making wooden books and I was still using words from this book. So my little wooden books became 'mrs eliot' books. I don't make those any more unfortunately, too time consuming, but the name has stuck :-)
If you could go to a Creative Blog Award dinner with any 5 people/fictional characters (dead or alive), who would you choose?
Woody Allen, Rosalie Gascoigne, Dustin Hoffman, Gregory Peck, Columbo
And finally...book & tea or film & wine?
Oh no! Can't have film and tea? I'm a film nut, but if I drink wine it puts me to sleep and then I miss the end of the film (a common occurrence in my house!)
Ooh, thank you Francesca! It's been wonderful getting an insight into your creative, blogging world! And my oh my, I not only love that Mark Twain quote but the Ira Glass video is sooooo inspiring!! Never a true word spoken.
Aha, I think I might have to invite Columbo over to my table too. Maybe we could solve a few mysteries together!
Thanks again Francesca!
I hope you've all enjoyed this month's Blog Gem. Stay tuned, as I've got some fab Blog Gems lined up!
All of the images and interview answers are the copyright of Francesca at Mrs Eliot Books. Please do not use without seeking permission first. Thank you.