Aussie designer and entrepreneur Dianne Fisher tells us about her mini cross stitch designs and her love for interiors big and small.
Interview by Katie Allen.
As a child, Dianne always dreamed of having a dolls house – and today she has too many to count! The creative whizz based in Sydney, Australia also designs beautiful miniature cross stitch kits that wouldn’t look out of place on an influencer’s Insta account. She spoke to CrossStitcher about how she’s bringing modern Scandi stitching to the tiniest of homes.
Dianne Fisher – Little Fish Creations
Hi Dianne! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I live in North Epping, a northern suburb of Sydney, with my husband Daniel and my three kids Jessica, Abigail and Jacob. We’re surrounded by the Lane Cove National Park so we have lots of native birds like cockatoos, lorikeets, kookaburras and scrub turkeys, as well as possums!
Have you always been interested in creativity, style and interiors?
I actually studied Science and I’m a facilities manager! But I have been really interested in styling interiors since buying our first house in 2004. My husband and I are home renovators and have renovated a few houses now.
Why did you decide to start Little Fish Creations?
When I had my first child and was no longer working, I soon realised that I needed a creative outlet. I didn’t have much money so I started making things myself and also for friends as gifts.
After a little while I started Little Fish Creations and began selling my creations – cushions, papercut artworks, butterfly mobiles and crocheted baby rattles, and so on. Over the years Little Fish Creations has undergone a few different transformations, including a fabric design business, but now my focus is on designing miniatures for dolls houses. I also have Foliage and Forage, another Etsy store where I sell vintage and retro items. I love encouraging people to buy secondhand and being more environmentally aware.
“Basically I try to create and decorate miniature spaces that I would be happy to live in myself.”
Why did you want to design patterns for miniatures?
I started doing cross stitch when I was about 12 but took a break from stitching for about 20 years. While on maternity leave with my third child I decided to decorate my very first dolls house. It was decorated in a Scandi/modern style and needed a few rugs. I had the idea to replicate some rugs I had seen in magazines and thought one way I could do it was to embroider or cross stitch them. I bought some cross stitch design software and started designing patterns and then stitched them.
After having a few people ask me about them, I decided to start selling them on my Little Fish Creations Etsy page alongside my range of miniature wallpapers.
Did you have a dolls house as a child?
No I didn’t. I always wanted one and my dad promised that he would make one for my sister and I when we were little but he never got around to it. We had Barbie dolls growing up and made houses for them out of plastic crates and I used to make furniture and televisions for them out of wood but the scale was always way off! I actually never sewed anything for my dolls as a child.
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Do you have any now?
I don’t really know how many dolls houses I currently have – possibly 10 or 12. I have three main dolls houses I often decorate and photograph and a few others that are stored as they are yet to be renovated.
How would you describe your (miniature) style and what inspires you?
Basically I try to create and decorate miniature spaces that I would be happy to live in myself. I like to look in magazines or on Instagram at real-life houses for inspiration. I definitely love modern Scandi styling, but also love what I call Scandi Boho (basically modern monochrome but with lots of timber and plants). I also like retro/vintage styling as it allows me to use lots of bold colours. Only stitching in black and white can be a little boring at times!
Lover of all things miniature? Then you'll LOVE our Dolls Houses & Miniatures blog!
What have you learned about designing and stitching at such a small scale?
All of my cross stitch creations are using 12-count aida fabric. Although I know there are stitchers that stitch in much smaller scale, I like that size as it’s easy to stitch (even for beginners) and it means it’s quick to finish a project.
What are your plans for the Etsy store?
I would really love to release a complete mix and match set of retro-inspired wallpapers, cushion and rug patterns.
If you could replicate any design classic in miniature, what would you choose?
I would love to make a miniature wall hanging of Tretchikoff ’s Chinese Girl (or Green Lady). Not sure how it would turn out in cross stitch but would love to give it a go!
Visit Dianne’s online shop at www.etsy.com/shop/littlefishcreations to check out more of her wonderful, mini cross stitch designs!