This series was originally inspired by working at home with only George our dog for company. Recently we moved house and we're super lucky to have a landlord who allows pets but George has been living between ours and K's Mum's house (as he's their family pet originally). I miss him SO much when he's not around, especially when I'm working from home. He really is my number one colleague and I love taking him for walks on my lunch breaks - it's a great excuse to get some fresh air! I'm so pleased we managed to find a place that allows pets as it's so rare when renting in London. Our landlord even left some dog food for us - how lovely!
For this month's Crafty Critters interview I chatted to biscuit queen Nikki McWilliams, probably best known for her biscuit cushions which I've been lusting over for some time. I dream of a sofa full of Tunnocks bars, tea cakes, custard creams and party rings! Nikki works at home in Scotland with her painter husband Michael and her gorgeous cat Frankie. Find out some more about them below...
How did your business start? Have you been making biscuit cushions since the start or was your first product something totally different?
I've always made stuff to sell (in primary one I'd make origami puppets that I'd flog for 20p to my classmates) but my cushion business started developing after I'd finished Art School. I was learning screen printing, and making badges using Tunnocks Teacake foil and it all kind of went from there.
When are where did you get Frankie? Was it important to you to have a furry friend to keep you company whilst working from home?
We got Frankie when he was a kitten from a litter near Edinburgh. We met his mum (Phoebe) and his adopted mum (a German Shepherd called Kiera whose head he would sit on) and took him home a few weeks later. We'd been desperate to adopt a cat for YEARS (it was literally our main reason for buying a house with a garden and more space).
I love working with other creatives because we all think and work so differently. The things I've made with others are usually wayyy out of my comfort zone and I love that collaborating helped bring them to life.
Pets seem to love your cushions, I'm always seeing cats and dogs snoozing on them on instagram. Who are some of your fave cushion-loving pet pals?
Ohnorachio's menagerie of kitties are up there with my favourite cushion loving pets! Kim (Finest Imaginary) has 2 Norwegian Forest crosses (same as Frank) who seem to be the sweetest little fur babies. Kat at Blogtacular has a gorgeous Tonkinese called Cosmo who loves a snuggle with a Nice Biscuit cushion- he's a handsome chap!
You sell quite a wide range of products from wall art to jewellery and passport covers to cushions. What are your favourites to create and how much do you create in-house?
All of our cushions and textile products are made in house, it's only recently that we've introduced some new things like the passport covers and enamel pins that are outsourced. There's no way we could specialise in making every product (cushions are our main gig!) so it's been nice to bring in new manufacturers to help create something new!
What's your favourite thing about Frankie? Does he have any quirky or unusual habits?
He's such a funny boy. He likes to sit on you, wherever you are (we think he picked this up from sitting on Kiera the dog as a kitten) so he'll often climb onto my back when I'm lying on the floor. When he was smaller he loved to sit on your shoulder like a parrot, but he's a bit too big for that now…
Did you have any pets growing up?
I had a cat (Sophie) from the age of 8. She was a bit feral but she was my wee pal and I loved her so much. We also had goldfish in a pond in the garden (but Sophie's main goal involved extracting them from said pond) so sadly they didn't last very long.
Yours and Michael's recent wedding looked beautiful (and very biscuity of course!).. It looked like it really was a DIY wedding. Was it important to you that you created as much yourselves as possible? Your personalities really shone through in the photos!
We had a wonderful wedding day. We were both a bit skeptical of the idea of it being the "best day ever" but we were blown away with how happy we felt and how much fun we had. I think that a lot of this was down to the fact that we'd poured so much of "us" into the preparations. We made everything that we could ourselves: we decorated the reception venue, did our own flowers, music, cake, invites...EVERYTHING! It was hard work but we had a great time working together and all of the late nights were worth it when we saw it all come together on the day. I still need to write a blog post about it all...that's the next thing!
Thanks to the lovely Nikki for taking the time to chat about her work and her fluffy feline friend. You can catch up with what Nikki's up to on her instagram and buy your own biscuit cushions on her website, just don't blame me when you can't decide which one to buy first! Frankie has his own instagram account too!