When a friend of mine first suggested that I should consider doing a 90 second promotional video for my soft furnishings business, Mill House Designs, I was very sceptical and, to be quite honest, a little scared at the prospect. What did I know about making a film and talking to a camera? I was sure that my business did not need this type of marketing tool, after all, most of our customers came from recommendations and repeat business, but I was still curious and I did agree to meet with Mike Hax from Hax Media (www.haxmedia.com) for an initial consultation and to see what he had to say.

He put all the benefits before me, outlining that the soft furnishings industry was full of colour and visual stimulation and that I would be ‘missing an opportunity’ if I chose to not promote Mill House Designs through this media. I still wasn’t convinced, but something inside started to seriously consider his proposition and the seed was sown.

I had to conquer my own fears; and you’ve heard the saying, ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’, well this became my mantra. I was sure if I overcame my anxieties it would all turn out well. Hax and I had several telephone conversations, and meetings, always with him assuring me that all would be fine and he would guide me thorough the whole process, which I have to say, he did splendidly.

Once I had agreed to go ahead with the project, my mind started to fill with ideas and images of how I thought it should be and what I wanted to show. The process started with a questionnaire so Hax could get a better understanding of my business and my ideals. Then, as if by magic, he turned my answers into a script! It was all getting very serious and I have to say I felt excited and nervous at the same time, but was determined to see it through and do the best job possible.

Finally the day of filming arrived, and I was up early, bath, hair wash, make up and about 10 changes of outfit, before I was ready. I had spent days tidying up, as my workroom was normally a mess with stuff everywhere, fabrics waiting to be made up into orders, and tools of the trade littering every inch of space; I was ready.

We started by filming the script, which was going to be used as a voice over to tell the story of my customers journey when they visit us. This was the worst part of the whole day for me, but Hax was very patient as I kept fluffing my lines, nervously laughing where I should be serious and generally feeling a little foolish and on show. Though I have to say I was quite pleased with myself that the blushing teenager of old did not decide to reappear, which was one of my many fears.

We then moved onto filming in the workroom and with a customer, and the rest of the day just flew by. I have to say by home time I was exhausted, but very pleased that I had said yes, as I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and went home looking forward to seeing the finished film.

Once the first cut of the film was ready, I nervously watched it and was very critical of myself; the way I looked and sounded was a horrible thing to see and hear, and I had to watch it over and over again before I could get past this feeling and look at it from a more constructive stance. Poor Mike I think he was a little disappointed that I wasn’t jumping up and down with joy, after all, he had done an excellent job and delivered exactly what he had promised.

Now the film is finished and is ready for all to see, I love it, and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again, or update it in the future. I can see what a great marketing tool it will be for my business and informative and interesting for my customers. If anyone out there is thinking, ‘Would a video be good for my business too?’ have a look and if you like what you see I’m sure Hax would be only too pleased to guide you through the same process.

I’m Sandie Hotchkiss from www.millhousedesigns.net


Winter curtains to help reduce fuel bills

by Sandie on September 10, 2012


As the nights draw in and the temperature starts to drop, there are some very simple steps you can take to help conserve energy and reduce your fuel bills by using curtains to help insulate your rooms.

The use of various types of blinds is very popular at the moment, and a common sight in many households. However, once the autumn appears and the dark nights draw in, they offer little protection from the cold outside.

Although it may feel a little indulgent to buy new curtains, it will definitely help reduce drafts. The law of nature dictates that heat energy moves from warmer areas into colder ones, which simply means that your warm centrally heated air is drawn to the colder air at the windows and out through the glass.

If you already have blinds fitted, do not despair, as you can probably hang curtains in front of the blinds, or across a bay window. If the blinds are recessed, then it should be quite easy to fit a track or pole above the window to hang winter curtains. They can always be taken down in the summer, an activity that was greatly used in Victorian times when they alternated between summer and winter curtains. If your blinds are in a bay window, then it should be possible to hang curtains across the front of the bay, so they clear the windows during the daytime, allowing as much winter sun through as possible, but can be drawn once it gets dark to insulate the room.

Also, if you have a poorly fitting front or back door, put a curtain across it; you will immediately notice a difference, and have it extra long to stop the cold air coming in under the curtain.

The best curtains for insulation are interlined curtains with thermal linings. These will not only look sumptuous and full, they will have the best insulation properties too.

Even better if you can use a heavier weave fabric. There are many contempory colours and designs to choose from, so your new winter curtains can be bright and cheerful.

If interlined curtains are a little out of budget, go for thermal lined curtains. You will still notice a big difference in warmth, and how lovely to have new curtains to brighten up the winter months.

Another trick, if you already have curtains hanging, but they are not very thick, fit a Roman blind behind them, as Roman blinds have two layers of fabric and can be fitted close to the glass, which will really help keep out the cold. Or alternatively, put a second lining up behind your existing curtains. Use a blackout lining or thermal lining as every extra layer over the glass will help in reducing your heating bills.

So you see with a little thought and planning, you will be able to reduce your heating bills and cheer up your surroundings.

Contact Mill House Designs for more ideas and help, or come and see our wide range of fabrics available.


Villa Nova Indienne Collection now at Mill House Designs

June 19, 2012

Villa Nova new Indienne Collection is now available to view at Mill House Designs.              The origins of  ‘Indienne’ – came from a type of printed or painted cotton  textile, which was manufactured in Europe between the 17th and 19th  century, initially imported from India. The original Indian techniques for textile printing involved […]

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April 25, 2012


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Sanderson Bloomsbury Canvas, Dalloway & Orlando Collections now at Mill House Designs

March 22, 2012

Sanderson Bloomsbury Collection The long awaited New Bloomsbury Canvas Collection from Sanderson is now available to view at Mill House Designs. Why not treat yourself and update tired rooms, cushions and even sofas with these fantastic new collections. How the Sanderson Bloomsbury Collection was created There are 11 canvas fabrics within the collection, all of […]

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Make a self bordered cushion with envelope opening

November 28, 2011

Making a self bordered cushion with envelope back. Decide on the size of the cushion pad you want to use and measure across the width and length of the pad then add on 10cm (2”) to both measurements. Front Cut out the front section to this measurement. Use a cushion template, if possible, to get […]

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This is a test event

November 21, 2011

Event Description: This is a sewing class Event Date 11/22/2011 Event Time From: 16:00 – To: 18:00 Event Venue Millhouse Event TimeZone (GMT+0) Europe/London

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Cushion Making – Level 2

November 6, 2011

Cushion making for those with some sewing experience or who have completed the Level 1 Cushion-Making Course. You will learn how to make piping, and attach it to your cushion and learn how to insert a zip across the centre back of your cushion. Students will leave with their own cushion cover. Cost includes selecting […]

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Curtain Making Class – Level 3

November 6, 2011

Learn how to make handmade interlined curtains with handmade headings by making a sampler in class to take home for future reference. The sampler will have mitred corners and will be weighted. Learn how to lock in your interlining and lining for a professional finish. This course is only really suitable for students who have […]

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Curtain Making Class – Level 2

November 6, 2011

Learn how to make a handmade lined, curtain sampler with pencil pleat headings and mitred and weighted corners. Students will leave with a sampler for future reference. We will also discuss pattern matching and how to calculate fabric with a pattern repeat. This is a good follow on from the Level 1 Curtain Making. Cost […]

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