Shirley Woosey from Whimsey Woo Designs

I’d like to introduce you to the lovely Shirley Woosey from Whimsey Woo Designs on Etsy and Folksy. She is today’s guest blogger and makes the prettiest book covers and miniatures for dolls’ houses that can be found her 2 etsy shops.

I’ll let her tell you a little about herself and her shops:

Shirley Woosey
Shirley Woosey

Tell us a bit about you
I am in my early sixties now, the Mother of two grown up children and I have one 3 year old grandson.

How did you decide on the name for your shop?
My surname is Woosey and I wanted to use the “Woo” part in my shop name. I tried various combinations of words but decided on Whimsy because I though it suited the fabrics I use and went well with Woo. So Whimsy Woo Designs was born.

How long has your shop been open and why did you start?

My Etsy shop has been open since May 2011 but my Folksy shop opened a few months earlier in January 2011. I needed a creative outlet for my sewing and the amount of fabrics I had stashed.

What is your favourite item in your shop at the moment?
Currently this is my favourite item: It’s a large
Bible or Book Cover made from a gorgeous piece of green and gold vintage kimono silk from Japan.

Silk Kimono Book Cover
Silk Kimono Book Cover

What made you start?
I have always loved fabrics and find I can’t resist beautiful and unusual ones. When I was quite young, under 10 years old, my Granny taught me to sew book covers for my school books. These used to have carry handles. I always loved making them but over the years I have evolved them. They are more popular now without the handles and have an elastic loop and button fastening.

About 5 years ago I thought I would make some as Christmas presents for friends and family. They were a great hit and I needed something to do which was creative. My job in accountancy was becoming more and more frustrating and I needed to do something else to relax. My daughter suggested selling on Folksy and I soon discovered Etsy as well and after 2 years I was able to give up my accountancy job and concentrate on Whimsy Woo Designs.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
My original inspiration for sewing and crafts definitely comes from my Granny who was a trained milliner in her youth. Now my inspiration comes from beautiful fabrics which are created in the United Kingdom if possible, especially Harris Tweed. The tweed comes in all sorts of bright colours and is very contemporary. One I especially like is this Pink Harris Tweed.

Pink Harris Tweed
Pink Harris Tweed

I also love Art Nouveau and vintage designs. I have managed to find several vintage fabrics from around the world over the last few years. I especially love vintage kimono fabrics from Japan. The warehouses in Tokyo and Kyoto have many bolts of silk and yukata cotton fabrics which have been stored for 40 to 50 years. These are unused and have the most beautiful patterns and pictures on them. I tend to buy fabrics which I like myself because I know I will enjoy sewing them.

Silk Kimono Book Cover
Silk Kimono Book Cover
Vintage Art Nouveau Butterfly Maiden
Vintage Art Nouveau Butterfly Maiden

What do you love the most about running your own business?
The best thing is being my own boss. If I want to spend all day in my pyjamas, just pottering around my craft room, then I can do. It gives you an enormous amount of freedom.

What do you love the least?
My least favourite thing is editing my photos and putting listings on my websites. I would far rather be sewing or choosing fabrics.

What other things do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time I love to read. I can always find a little time to read, even if it is only a few pages a day.

I also love dolls’ house miniatures and hand stitch miniature rugs and carpets. Some of these are for sale in my other Etsy shop, Whimsey Woo Miniatures along with other miniature textiles I have made. I have my own 4 storey dolls’ house which I am slowly decorating and filling with furniture and rugs.

As my husband is now retired and my Etsy shops are not as busy in summer time we take the opportunity to get away as often as possible in our motorhome. We love to go to Scotland and across to Europe. My favourite places to stay are in the mountains and I also find time when travelling to look out for more fabrics for my book covers.

What would be the one piece of advice would you give to a person setting up their own shop?
The best advice I can think of is to take the best photographs you can of your craftwork. Remember if you are selling on the internet then the customer can only judge by the pictures. They can’t pick the items up to look and feel them. And do make something you enjoy doing.

Thank you, Shirley!

You can find Shirley and Whimsey Woo Designs here:

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