Friends: Introducing Melanie Hurlston of Melly & me

Today we welcome Melanie Hurlston, one half of the Melly & me design dream team.

Tell us about you
I am a 30 something mother of two who only fell into the land of crafting/quilting approximately 5 and a half years ago. The earlier part of my life was spent working in computer system support in the insurance industry before I became a mummy. Now my days are spent playing mum as well as making or dreaming up the next new design. When not sewing I love to spend my time reading, visiting craft markets and going to the beach. My family and home and super important to me and I love that my business allows me to spend my work time surrounded by all that I love!

How did Melly & me come about?
Through lots of persistence from my sister Rosie!!! I had only just began quilting/sewing when I confided in my sister (Rosalie of Rosalie Quinlan Designs) that I just wanted to sew more and more, but had trouble finding patterns that inspired me or spoke my language. Rosie's simple answer was "Well design them then!!!" I think it took a further 4 months of her pestering before she convinced me to have a go and start a new design label with her. My start was very unsure and as a complete newbie sewer I was sure that success would not be possible. With the mindset of just having fun, having a go, and making things that brought us joy, we started Melly & me in June of 2006.

Tell us about your products
One philosophy that I try to keep with my patterns is that they are all completely usable! I love to create bright and fun softies/toys that are completely play friendly, handbags that are practical and wearable for everyday as well as fun quilts and other items that will brighten up a room. I am not really inspired to make things that are purely decorative by nature but like to make things that can be used and enjoyed. A lot of my patterns are perfect for making gifts for all of your loved ones - young and old.

What is your favorite product?
This changes monthly!!! When I create a new design it almost automatically becomes my favorite because it is new and fresh! Over the last 6 months I have released approximately 6 new designs and if I was to pick a favorite from those it would have to be my dolly, Dahlia. This was the first dolly I have ever made and for some reason I just go "awwwwww" every time I see her. I also am super partial to my brand new handbag, Raspberry Ripple, and just love the pleating effect I have come up with!

Where do you find inspiration for new products/designs?
I could almost turn this around and say "where do I NOT find inspiration!!" I find that inspiration is everywhere, all the time! I find that ideas assault my mind at all hours of the day, but it is only when an idea gives that excited feeling in the belly that I sit down and start sketching. The things that inspire me are my children and their drawings, nature and colour, cartoons and television, fashion and fabrics, different cultures and experiences. I think that we are always taking in information and images and all of these things bring different inspiration and ideas.

What does the future hold for Melanie Hurlston/Melly & me?
This year holds a lot of known and unknown possibilities. I find that one of the exciting things about this business is that you never know what opportunity is around the corner! With that in mind, I like to hold the future with open hands, knowing that Melly & me may take any number of directions depending on where opportunities and ideas lead me. There are two major projects that I am starting on this year which I am still keeping under my hat, but I am sure if you keep your eye on the blog, they will come to light shortly!! Other than these two adventures which will keep me fairly busy, I hope to continue creating fun and fresh designs that will bring joy to me and hopefully some of you too!

The Oz Material Girls and Patterns Only stock the fantastic Melly & me patterns. You’ll find a huge range of patterns for both softies and bags. Or check out our Beginners Sewing Kit which includes an easy sew Melly & me pattern.

Pop back tomorrow when Melanie will share a tutorial demonstrating some useful tips and tricks for completing Melly & Me softies.