Featured seller: Cheese Before Bedtime

A recent redundancy, after working for seven years as a visual merchandiser, was a blessing in disguise for Amy Dawson. It gave her the push she needed to get Cheese Before Bedtime up and running and now she spends her days stitching in a sun-drenched Onehunga bungalow with wee dog Pepper by her side.

What do you make?
I make modern and quirky embroidery art to adorn your walls. No two are ever the same due to their hand stitched nature, and the colours and fabric combinations used.

What’s the story behind your shop name?
I find that most of my inspiration comes just before I fall asleep. Sometimes I can lie awake for hours with images or new ideas running through my mind. I wanted a shop name that reflected that crazy, inspiring time for me. I love the myth that eating cheese before bedtime gives you funny dreams. I also liked the fact that it was a memorable name and could grow with my shop if I decided to expand into different products.

How did you get into your craft?
I was the creative of the family – the baby of the family with her head constantly in an art project. My family recognised this so every birthday, Christmas, housewarming (I could go on!) they would request a piece of my art as a present. And that is how the stitching began… I was asked to make a piece of art for my sister’s birthday but wanted to do something a bit different. I had a light bulb moment (no doubt after eating cheesy pizza!) and decided to stitch a picture and wrap it around a canvas. After a lot of hours and few all-nighters I got it done and thoroughly enjoyed the process. From there it grew into making some stitchings of my own and experimenting with processes as I went.

galleryDo you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
I have a Bachelor of Art and Design, majoring in Spatial Design. Although it isn’t directly related to my craft I somehow managed to make most of my projects a piece of art rather than a technical drawing! It also taught me how to edit ideas, work with colour and time-manage.

What creative process do you use to achieve the final product?
Using an outline of my desired image, I trace it onto cotton fabric using my light box and water-soluble marker. I stitch the outlines in black thread then have a brainstorm session playing with colours and fabric combinations that I’ll use. Once that’s finalised I fill in the coloured thread sections, then stitch on the fabrics and trim them to shape. Now all I need to do is wash the marker off, dry, wrap around the canvas or place in a frame and think of the perfect name for them.

What inspires you?
It’s hard to pull me away from inspiring fashion blogs, kids’ blogs, and online magazines. I also love hipster magazines and street fashion. I like to create unique handmade work that I would buy and that customers will cherish – the brighter the better!

Describe your workspace:
I work from home at what was the dining room table. Due to the open plan nature of the house I’m still in on the action and can watch my favourite shows at the same time, or fiancé cooking dinner (yes, lucky!). I have transformed my wee corner into stitching heaven. I need tidiness at all times, music, colour and Pepper the dog.

What are five words that describe your mind?
Bright, cheerful, bursting, creative, grateful.

Your favourite response from a customer:
It’s a great feeling getting repeat customers. I have a lovely customer that has bought three pieces from me now as gifts for others.

What do you like listening to?
In summer I love Kiwi music such as Sola Rosa, Shapeshifter and Kora. In winter I like to stitch while listening to audio books.

What are you reading now?
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared.

Do you have any pets?
Pepper (aka Woofie) is the family dog that has been passed on to me. She follows me everywhere, not letting me out of her sight, and likes to sit under my desk when I stitch. Every arrival home it’s like she hasn’t seen me for years. She is a Cairn terrier crossed with an Hungarian Puli (basically a scruffy ball of black fluff) and the cutest thing on four legs.

If you were a crafty superhero, what would your name and superpower be?
I think I would be ‘Thimbelina’ – like ‘Thumbelina’ but crafty. I would come to the call of crafty mishaps with my fairy first aid kit. I would soothe your hot glue gun burns, glitter eye, paper cuts and needle pricks.

galleryWhat was the last handmade item you bought?
I bought a cute clay bunny in a painted gourd from Mexico. It looks like a green pear with a bunny peeking out of it. It sits in my new niece’s nursery.

What’s in store for 2013?
My head is bursting with new stitching ideas so my focus for 2013 is growing the range. I will be doing more ‘Personalise Me’ pieces, more kids’ stitches and maybe some smaller pieces. I have just opened a Facebook page so if you would like to get updates on my current work and behind the scenes photos like my page! Oh, and did I mention I’ll be planning my handmade wedding for March 2014? Phew, it’s going to be a busy year!

Have a wander through the fromage-fueled imagination of Cheese Before Bedtime – we never tire of looking at Amy’s fresh and quirky creations! Leave us a comment below and you’ll also go in the draw to win this gorgeous stitched portrait of the adventurous Lizzie. Amy tells us that Lizzie likes to play pirates and spy on her little brother. This four-by-four-inch Cheese Before Bedtime original would look very cute in a nursery or child’s room. The draw is open to New Zealand residents only until Friday 1 February.

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46 Responses to “Featured seller: Cheese Before Bedtime”

  1. Mark Catley says:

    Love it!
    Great name for a label as well! Hot stuff.

  2. Danielle Armatage says:

    Amy, you are amazing and soooo creative!

  3. kirsten says:

    Love your work! Have been watching closely for a while now :)

  4. Aimee says:

    You are AMAZE and I love your stuff!! :D Office is cute to x

  5. Helen Green says:

    I love your work Amy, you are amazing :-)

  6. Clare Hilsz says:

    I absolutely love your aesthetic Amy !!! Simply divine and so wonderful to read the inspiration behind your brand !!! So so clever !!! I love it xxx

  7. susannamay says:

    Amy, I find you and your work inspirational. Thank you, Susan.

  8. Sa says:

    Wowsers! love her work off to stalk her on Facebook!

  9. Lyn says:

    Love what you are doing – any child (or adult!!) would love to have one of your creations!!

  10. Vikki says:

    You have more patience than I can even begin to imagine!

  11. Melanie says:

    Came across your page via the felt interview… What an awesome name! Your items are gorgeous, heading to your page to have a proper look :)

  12. Anna says:

    Clever, clever! Your work is beautiful Amy – and love your taste in music too :-)

  13. Felipe says:

    You make some damn funky stuff – can’t wait to see what other creations you dream up. Currently saving up to get ‘Hannah’!

  14. Esther says:

    Great work. Keep it going! :)
    I was made redundant as well last February and since then I am trying to earn a living using my creative skills.
    Every ending is a new start!

  15. Rhiannon says:

    Pretty much the coolest, ever.

  16. Emma Makes says:

    Your work is beautiful and I’ve looked at it lots before on Felt. So great, such a brilliant idea and I really hope to be a future customer.

  17. [...] Before Bedtime is one of my favourite sellers on Felt and is their current featured seller. She makes stitched artworks – if you comment below her feature you can win an artwork too. [...]

  18. Ooh, yay, I love stitched illustration! Your work is very beautiful. x Helen

  19. Trish says:

    Now that’s clever! Gorgeous work.

  20. Suzanne says:

    wonderfully creative, I love your work and your little setup at home looks so cute

  21. Sandra says:

    I just found you on facebook today. I love your work and look forward to seeing more.

  22. Evan says:

    Loving your pieces. There is nothing like them. The characters spark my imagination and I want to join in their adventures. Amazing talent.

  23. Riss says:

    Great pieces, they look lovingly made and I agree with Suzanne your design space at home looks lovely and fresh.. nice area to get inspired.

  24. Robyn says:

    Fantastic work – love it, soo original – thanks for sharing it with us.

  25. Ingrid says:

    Love your quirky pictures, so creative and inspiring.

  26. Elizabeth says:

    Amazing work – love, love, love. Inspiring story, good on you for giving your art and creativity a chance.

  27. Sally says:

    Don’t believe I haven’t found your felt shop before!! (Obviously not browsing enough..) I absolutely LOVE all of your embroideries – they’re cute, unique and quirky. I need to save up so I can have some on my wall. Keep creating, Amy! :o)

  28. Kate says:

    Amazing work, really inspiring:-)

  29. Sadhna says:

    Work looks amazing. Office looks stunning as do you. Love the hair :)

  30. Chloe says:

    Amazing work! such beautiful detail, I love how they still look like drawings, but so textural and tactile. Keep it up!

  31. Kelly says:

    What a creative mind and eye for detail Amy has. Love it when people get to make a living from things that they enjoy to.

  32. Therese B says:

    You are one clever cookie Amy!! Great name for a business too – I got it straight away :-). I just love your pieces that have bunting in them. I can’t get enough of bunting at the moment…it just adds a touch of special to everything!

  33. Rebecca says:

    It’s exciting to see such fresh ideas and creativity.

  34. Kerry-Anne says:

    So Inspiring!

  35. Tanya D says:

    So clever to come up with designs. Fab to see embroidery back in vogue too

  36. Aimee says:

    Another compliment!!! I’m just full of it today!!! Amazing work Amy Rose Dawson!!! You are a true talent and a star! :)

  37. natasha says:

    love it your so good and your work space is cute and fresh

  38. Alice says:

    Amy, you are so talented and creative! Such gorgeous pieces of art. I would love these in my home (adding to birthday list as I speak).

  39. Jessica Lindblom Brice says:

    Your work is beautiful. I love how you have taken clever drawings one step futher and stitched them into this merge of art and craft. I love it. Well done. X

  40. fiona illingworth says:

    I love your work! there are a couple of pieces that remind me of my precious daughters. i can’t wait till they are old enough to share crafting with them.thank you for keeping it alive.

  41. Jacinta says:

    Awesome work Amy!! So creative and fun! Love it!

  42. Maggie says:

    I love your work and I would love to have this gorgeous one on my wall!

  43. Lisa S. says:

    Cool work Ames….she’d look fantastic on a wall somewhere on the East Coast of the United States….hint,hint x

  44. Zoe says:

    Love it Amy! Well done! Awesome work you’ve created cant wait to see what else you come up with in the future!

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