Katharine Novak on Apr 20, 2016
Perfect for my son's first birthday!
Handmade felt creations for kids and their grown-ups.
I guess you could say that Hilly House Designs originated with a very sad event in my life.
I first began working with felt ten years ago. My father, who lived on the opposite coast, became terminally ill. I had already been applying to grad school, so I quit my job early to spend more time with him. For months I alternated three weeks with my dad, and three weeks at home with my new husband (we were literally honeymooners when this began!). Those three week stretches were rough. I spent the whole morning in Dad’s hospital room, then headed back to his lonely condo for the rest of the day. It soon became clear that I needed something to do. At first I thought I would learn to bake bread. But there's only so much bread one woman can eat. Creative expression had always been a stress-reliever for me, so I looked for a craft project that was portable, non-messy, and did not require lots of special tools. I had seen antique felt penny quilts in museums and they seemed just the thing! My first felt work was a large wall hanging that graced our living room wall for years to come. It was a great reminder of that time spent with my dad.
Amazingly, Dad hung on for five years. I couldn't maintain the bicoastal existence for all that time, but I continued to visit him while pursuing my degree in early childhood education and starting our family. My husband and I bought a real fixer-upper of a house and slowly renovated it. I taught preschool up until the birth of our second child. With money always tight, I often gave handmade gifts for the holidays. Besides, I enjoyed the excuse to make stuff! One year, I saw some pretty flower pins and thought, "I could make those!" So I figured out how to make my own, in my own style. I gave one to all the women in my life that year. I was shocked when one friend asked if I could make them for all the women in HER family. "I'll pay you for them, of course!" she added. Oh! Then my sister-in-law called. She had given my email address to a few people (strangers!) who had admired her pin. "You should start a website," she said.
And so it began. Hilly House Designs (named for our house, which tilts dramatically due to foundation settling long ago), made its etsy debut on Valentine's Day 2010. Every one of my designs came about in the same way the pins did: my daughter had a loose tooth, so my tooth fairy pillows were born. My son was celebrating his first birthday, so I made my first birthday party hat. I make things for the people I love! I believe this is why my shop has been a success. Because each design is something that real people want to have and use. And whether the birthday hat is for one of my kids or one of yours, it is always lovingly and thoughtfully made.
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I'm Amy, the one and only face behind Hilly House Designs! I'm originally a teacher with a degree in early childhood education. I now run my business out of my home while my kids are at school. We live in Providence, RI.
- Accepts Etsy gift cards
Returns & exchanges
- Custom or personalized orders
- To communicate with you about your order
- To fulfill your order
- For legal reasons (like paying taxes)