"I have always been arty, for as long as I can remember!"
Natasha McCarty has always been crafty. At the age of 5 she learned how to make lace, by 15 she had her first card design printed as a charity's official Christmas card, and by 17 she ran a young enterprise group, selling cards she had designed!
"Sunday nights were spent doing my art homework for hours on end - I still have my art books now, I can't bring myself to throw them out!" After achieving an A* at art GCSE, she I went on to do a year of art A-level before switching to do physics, biology and maths ("I think I wanted to be taken seriously or something").
After school, Natasha went to work for the Royal Shakespeare Company, working in different departments to learn how the theatre worked, before going on to train in acting at Birmingham School of Speech and Drama. She then went on to teach, while also working as a scenic artist.
Natasha's passion for extreme sports and fitness then began and she helped set up a sports agency and began presenting on Extreme Sports channels, before training for the Olympics herself in Modern Pentathlon. Sadly, injury put an end to that.
Shortly afterwards, Natasha married and became pregnant, which is when she rediscovered her love of sewing.
My Grandmother had been a seamstress; she was so gifted and I learned from her the basics of sewing and knitting. After she died when I was 15, I inherited her sewing machine - which still is my trusty machine!" Natasha started making soft furnishings and was soon getting requests from friends, before expanding into upcycling furniture!
"I am a big fan of chalk paints and the things they can transform. I am happy to turn my hand to most things and what I don't know, I soon learn!
What did you do before Create and Craft?
I've had a very varied life and career, including working as a scenic artist, actor, Maths and English teacher, modern pentathlete and fencing instructor. But art has always been a big part of my life and after falling pregnant, I dug out my Grandmother's sewing machine and started sewing again - and haven't looked back since.
Most embarrassing on-screen moment?
Oh, where to begin?! Keep watching; I'm sure there'll be plenty!
Tell us a secret
I was once the face of a drainage company - oh the glamour!
What's your idea of the perfect Sunday (when you're not working)?
Time with my family; walking the dogs together (usually somewhere that Freddie can get to feed some ducks, whilst we try hard to stop any of the dogs chasing said ducks), riding my horse and a big fat roast at the end of the day.
Who do you most admire and why?
Ohhh tough one. My husband, Stephen, firstly for managing to put up with me, but also for his constant ability to be positive in every situation. It makes life so much easier.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself and others?
Greed, from that second helping I didn't need, to greed on a global scale.
Aside from property, what's the most expensive thing you've bought?
Before marriage and children I had an MX5 two seater sports car. I always had the roof down and my spaniel, Arthur, as co-pilot with his ears flapping in the wind. I now drive a sensible mum bus.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Time to myself to go for a long ride and get lost in the countryside.
How would you like to be remembered?
As a kind person who liked a laugh and always had time to listen.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
You are not responsible for what others think of you, the best you can do is be kind and well intentioned. If things are taken the wrong way the problem possibly isn't yours...
Favourite Create and Craft product?
I need them ALL!!!!! (now referring back to question 6!)
Which phrase do you overuse?
"Perfect", "fantastic", "amazing", and "REALLY?!"
If you could travel back in time, which period would you visit?
As a fencer and horse enthusiast, any era when carrying a sword and charging about on a horse was the norm gets my vote.
Share your best crafty tip:
Hairspray often makes a great and inexpensive 'fixer' for pastels, pencils, charcoals, anything else that might smudge or rub.