Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Meet the Member: Kate from Kate's Cottage

Please introduce yourself. Who are you, where do you live?

Hello! I’m Kate. I am a blissfully married stay-at-home mother of four sons. I live in a 120-year-old farmhouse-style cottage with a flower garden all around it, in the small, rural town of Hillsdale, Michigan, in the U.S. {which is in central southern Michigan}.

How would you describe your work / style?

I see my work as “sensibly romantic and charmingly whimsical”. I gravitate toward the shabby chic, cottage style {chipping white paint, crocheted rag rugs, mismatched vintage china set on a table covered with a sweet rose-print vintage bedsheet}. The work I produce is in keeping with this style. Not too fussy, quite romantic, with a touch of whimsy and light-heartedness.

Who, or what, inspires you?

I am inspired by concepts of good and evil, honest-to-goodness true love, hope {especially in the face of adversity}, and perseverance. I am also inspired very much by nature, its simple beauty and wonders.

What made you decide to start selling your work?

I’ve been shopping on Etsy for a few years now. I can’t actually remember where I heard about it. But I have thought for a couple years now that I’d like to start selling SOMETHING on Etsy. I’ve been a dedicated stay-at-home mother for 14 years now. This year, when my youngest son went to kindergarten, I felt like it was time for me to start selling.

Do you have a website or blog address?

I don’t have a website, but I have a blog that I really enjoy. I try to blog two or three times a week. My blog address is:

How did you learn your craft? How long have you been creating?

I’m always learning new craft techniques. I’m a bit of a Jill-of-all trades. I don’t say this boastfully, as I recognize that I like to learn a little bit of many different things, instead of really focusing on doing one thing really, REALLY well. I’ve tried lots of different things: batik, clay sculpting, drawing, painting, jewelry-making, home-decorating, carpentry, sewing, crocheting, knitting. I think the knitting was the worst for me. I could do it, but ended up with my shoulders in knots . . . I could never understand how some people find it relaxing! ;) The things I always come back to though are sewing and jewelry-making. I really love doing those both . . . and have been most of my adult life.

Is there any other craft skill you would like to learn?

Yes . . . EVERYTHING! :) On my short list of things to learn though are soap-making {with lye}. I hope my sister, Emily will teach me this someday. I’d also like to learn to solder and weld. In high school, I learned the lost-wax method of jewelry-making. I made 3 casts of silver bands. However, I always ended up with a puddle of silver, as the plaster cast always broke for some reason or another. Since that time, I have always wanted to learn to solder as it seemed a more reliable and easier way of making jewelry. I also would love to take some photography classes, learn to tat lace, and become patient enough to finish a quilt!

Anything exciting planned that you’d like to share?

Yes, I plan on living every day to its fullest and enjoying the small, simple, and significant things in life. I’m not sure what else could be more exciting to me!

Have you had any work featured in magazines/books/galleries

No, I never have, but wouldn’t that be fun?!

Has your work won any prizes/competitions?

I made a necklace last year that won 2nd place at the county fair {these are really my kind of competitions}. I’m a country girl at heart, and just love to see local artists’ work and enjoy displaying my own. The necklace was an interpretation of a butterfly’s life cycle containing elements of every growth stage, ending finally in four butterflies fluttering about with the word “hope” transferred to a shell button.

If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be………

caught up on laundry, enjoying a clean house, eating sensible lunches . . . ;) I’d also probably be volunteering in my kids’ schools more than I am now, and I’m sure I’d be busy with all the creative home projects that are on my to-do list. I’m really not happy unless I’m creating SOMETHING, so I’d probably be busy making other things. I actually think I would love to be a home-decorator for people on a tight budget as I just love thrifting and antiquing, and finding free items that I can turn into something amazing.

Describe your perfect day.

My perfect day would begin with a walk through the arboretum on a cool and slightly misty morning. It would include lots of time with my husband and kids, playing, laughing, building an outdoor playhouse with them. Then a picnic, for sure, to the lake. Laying on our backs, watching clouds go by. It would have to include doing something nice for others, maybe baking cookies or picking up trash in the neighborhood. Then, an outdoor garden party in the evening with family and friends. Lots of good food, laughter and dancing. Watching fireflies light up lazily. Bathing the kids, reading a book with them, and sending them off to bed. Then cuddling up with my husband on the couch, lighting some candles, listening to spring peepers, or enjoying a nice thunderstorm.

Describe your proudest moment.

I don’t have just one. And have to include each day one of my children was born. There’s no other feeling like it! I also experience being pleased or proud every so often when I overcome a personal obstacle, or can see some growth in myself.

What do you do to relax?

I love to read. I also like to do yoga, go on short 2-4 mile walks, sing while my husband plays guitar. I love to listen to Irish music, and play the penny whistle and mandolin. I love on {most} Friday nights, to put on my pajamas early, pop some popcorn in the kettle, spread out some blankets, and turn on a family movie for what my kids affectionately call “Friday Night Movie Night”.

What animal would you like to be, and why?
I can’t imagine actually BEING an animal, but if I could have any other species’ attributes, I would love to flutter and fly like a butterfly. I would love to be free and feel the wind beneath me.

What’s your weakness?

I’m not sure if this means what are the things I’m working on to be a better person, or what yummy things I crave and can’t stay away from. I’m going to give my answer to the latter. I LOVE Lindt truffles! I’m not a real candy-lover, per se, but Lindt truffles are the best! And I can’t resist anything baked . . . pie, brownies, lemon bars, cheesecake. And I love, love, LOVE strawberries, pears and peaches!

Fondly, Kate


  1. What a great insight into what makes Kate tick!

  2. Hi Kate, What a lovely interview. Your butterfly hair piece is beautiful. TJ

  3. Thanks, bluebell and Tracey Jane! :) XO!

  4. This was great to read! I love the sound of your house!

  5. That was wonderful! Truffles, they are so hard to resist!!! lol
    Great interview, thank you for sharing.

  6. You are such a "romantic" and it not only shows in your work but by your words here. I can definitely see you making soap and it being gorgeous!!!

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Kate, your shop is amazing! I loved reading about you and the picture of your garden is gorgeous!


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