BRUNSWICK, Maine — Heidi Boyd starts her day walking her mini Australian shepherd, Otto, and by mid-afternoon, she’s picking up her daughter from elementary school.
In between and late at night, Boyd produces HeidiBoydWhimsyKits, boxed and bagged kits of felt, embroidery floss and other materials that crafters use to make surprisingly huggable narwhals and other whimsical craft creatures. The whimsy comes in both the creative process and the end product.
“My goal has always been to make sophisticated designs that are easy and approachable,” Boyd said.
That was enough for Martha Stewart. On Monday, Boyd, 48, learned that Stewart’s American Made Marketplace eBay shop will sell Whimsy Kits. The kits also will soon be available in 37 Barnes & Noble stores.
Whimsy Kits include felt, embroidery floss and an embroidery needle — all the materials needed to complete an embroidered project. Instructions explain basics such as separating embroidery floss and securing fabric in an embroidery hoop.
Projects, including Squid-eating Nathan Narwhal and Nesting Matryoshka Dolls, are designed for “a customer who wants to open a bag or a box and try something.”
The business is about to take off. With a degree in fine arts and a background in publishing — Boyd also is about to publish her 15th crafting book, “Fairytale Sewing” — she is ready for the boom.
Boyd designs crafts for publications — including Better Homes & Gardens — and has written books about knitting and how to make resin and wire jewelry. Her how-to craft guides have been successful, with some Boyd books on beading selling more than 100,000 copies, she said.
Whimsy Kits have been sold for several years at local sewing and quilting shops, national sewing retailers and on Etsy, an online artists’ marketplace. But the volume is about to increase.
Amid their third year of Whimsy Kit business, Boyd and her husband, Jon Boyd, often find themselves sitting at their dining room table cutting felt and assembling kits for Heidi Boyd to ship from the Brunswick post office the following day.
Jon Boyd, an architect, “is a really, really sweet man and cuts a really straight line,” Heidi Boyd joked.
As demand grew, preparing the kits became “more than we could handle,” so Boyd partnered with the Unity-based company Pieceworks, where workers will cut felt and assemble the kits.
“Having a company we trust makes us feel in control of the product,” she said. “It’s nice to stay in state and nice to be able to run up and have an eye on what’s going on.”
The company is profitable, but Boyd, a mother of three, said the best part is the way creating the kits and writing craft books fits into her life.
“It’s so flexible,” she said. “I can finish the work day and be there in time to pick up my daughter at 3:30 [p.m.]. And at night, when I can’t do thinking work, or at my daughter’s swim meet, I can be making 10 narwhals for stores to use as displays. It just feels right.”
Boyd has several other Whimsy Kits designs brewing, and she also hopes to expand into other types of craft kits.
“So far it’s all been manageable,” she said. “I have plenty of experience. I should be able to pull it off.”