If you’ve ever been curious about what goes on behind the scenes here at The Crafty Kit Company, in our series Meet the team we’re chatting to our lovely colleagues to learn more about the work they do, as well as sharing their favourite craft tips and tricks. This week we’re catching up with our Designer Nicki, who has created several of our best-loved kits, including our Little Teddy and all of the projects in our 2021 Needle Felting Advent Calendar!
Alongside her work at The Crafty Kit Company, Nicki loves creating her own cosmetics from natural ingredients, and has shared her recipe for making bath bombs below!
Nicki joined the team two years ago, and lives close to our workshop in East Lothian with her husband and two of their four daughters, as well as their dog, cat, and corn snake.
Have you always lived in Scotland?
I’m from the West Coast, and moved to Edinburgh when I was seventeen to share a flat with my older brother. While there I met my husband, and thirty-three years later I’m still here in the East! Next year we’ll be celebrating our thirtieth wedding anniversary, and are really hoping that we’ll be able to mark the occasion with a trip to Italy.
When did you join The Crafty Kit Company, and what do you do here?
I originally started what was meant to be a temporary role - but I’m very happy to say that two years later I’m still here! It’s always lovely to go in and see everybody: no matter what’s happening the team is always positive, and everyone just digs in and carries on.
I first joined the company as a Production Assistant, doing a little bit of everything to help make up our kits, from labelling boxes to cutting threads and winding yarn (I think I’m the only person who really enjoys that task, unless you have a particularly stubborn ball of wool!). I find it all quite therapeutic, and particularly love anything that involves organisation!
I discovered needle felting when I joined The Crafty Kit Company - the first thing I made was the Baby Bunny, which I followed with the Wild Scottish Hare. I then moved on to making my own creations (I’m not very good at sticking to instructions, and tend to go off-piste!), and in 2021 I began to help Jo with designing new kits, such as the projects for our Needle Felting Advent Calendar, and our Little Teddy Needle Felting Kit.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not in the workshop?
I’m a proud mum of four girls, and have one grandson, aged two. My kids are the world to me, and I’d say that when I’m not at The Crafty Kit Company, I’m busy mumming.
We have to ask: what inspired you to get a pet snake?
It was my youngest daughter’s idea - she really wanted to get one, and we found ours, Daz, through the SSPCA. Her older sisters are a little less keen - perhaps that’s why she loves him so much! I’m fascinated by him, and as a pet he’s very easy to look after.
What are your favourite hobbies?
I love cooking, and walking with our dog Pip, no matter what the weather’s like.
I’ve always been interested in crafts, and am a dabbler in a lot of things, including needle felting! My current obsession is pom-poms: I make colourful wreaths from them, as well as little animals - you can even needle felt onto them! I was also a massage therapist, and I think that’s where my love of natural beauty products came from - I create my own moisturisers, lip balm, and bath bombs from all-natural ingredients.
Which is your favourite Crafty Kit Company kit?
It has to be the Nordic Gnomes: they’re a really good kit to start with, as they’re so easy to make, and you can create them so quickly. I think that if you start with the Gnomes you’ll soon be hooked! I suspect the Owl Family will be the same, and I can’t wait to make them!
The hare took me far longer to finish, and I was constantly changing it as I went along, but that’s part of the fun of needle felting! If you find that you’re getting stuck then sometimes you just need to leave what you’re making alone, and come back to it later.
Which craft would you most like to try next?
I’d love to try cross stitch. I’ve never done it before and would love to give it a go - though I suspect I’ll need to be a little better at following instructions with it! I think I’ll start with the green octopus from the new cross stitch collection, which I’m really looking forward to!
How to make your own bath bombs!
To make Nicki’s natural bath bombs you will need:
- 1.5 cups of bicarbonate of soda
- ½ cup of citric acid
- 1 tbs coconut oil
- A few drops of your favourite essential oil
- A few drops of natural food colouring (optional)
- Dried petals, such as rose petals, hibiscus, or lavendar (optional)
- A mould, such as silicone cupcake cases (you could even use the tray from a packet of cherry bakewells!)
1: Add 1.5 cups of bicarbonate of soda to a mixing bowl. Add ½ cup of citric acid (which is used in wine-making, and can be purchased online or from health food shops), and slowly stir together using a whisk.
2: In a separate bowl, carefully melt 1 tbsp of coconut oil in a microwave on a low temperature. The oil should be just melted, not too hot. Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil, and a few drops of natural food colouring (optional).
3: If using dried petals, place these in the bottom of your moulds.
4: Slowly add the liquid ingredients a few drops at a time to the bicarbonate of soda and citric acid in the mixing bowl, and stir.
5: Wet your hands, and add a small spritz of water to the mix. Quickly stir, before using your hands to scoop out the mix and add it to the moulds - they might tingle a little! The mixture should mould together in your hands, but not be too wet. If it is too dry and crumbly, add a few more drops of water, but the mixture shouldn’t be too damp. The amount of moisture you need to add to the mix will depend on the humidity levels in the room, so you might want to experiment with a few batches!
6: Press the mixture into moulds, and flatten the top. Leave them to set for at least a few hours, but preferably overnight. If the bath bombs crumble when you turn them out of their moulds, have another go using a little less liquid in the mix, and use them as bath salts instead! Enjoy in a nice relaxing bath - additional fizz optional!
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