Beautiful bedtimes Warm, colourful and artistic describe both Nichola Vernon and the fabulous handmade pieces she creates through DanHan Quilts and Crafts.  Despite having fibromyalgia which limits her mobility and dexterity, this gifted and motivated Chesterfield woman has been assisted by the Work for Yourself programme to start her new business and transform her life. Her health condition arose following a stroke and ended Nichola’s career as a slimming consultant.   She explained how her life-long enthusiasm became a business: “I was taught to sew when I was four by my mother and grandmother and worked in a sewing factory as a teenager.  Now I use the machine to create the quilts and then hand embroider and appliqué them to create a special piece for each customer.  I’ve just finished one for a boy who now sleeps under a castle surrounded by fire-breathing dragons and his own knight on horseback.  A current commission is for a husband to celebrate his passion for Vespa scooters, the 1960s scene and music.  Clients’ ideas are inspiring - whether traditional or modern.  My interpretation reflects individual personalities, stories and memories through the design, colours and materials.  The results are unique pieces of art.” Looking back over the last five years, Nichola said, “I was very miserable and depressed but now I’m managing my health.  I’ve got a purpose to get up in the morning, do something productive and earn some money.  I’ve got my confidence back and know that I’m still capable even though I have illnesses.  My family have been brilliant.  My husband even helps with the hand-embroidery and fitted out my new business unit.  The whole family is happier because I am too.” Nichola said, “Since launching last November, I have built up three months of orders.  I make bespoke quilts from baby to king-size - the Alphabet design from Apple to Zip is really popular.  My unique ‘Quillows’ transform from a cushion to a fleece-lined blanket - ideal for the car, sofa or anywhere you want something warm and comforting.  Cushions can be designed for a special birthday or use clients’ own fabric to match their homes.  In the future, I plan to provide kits and run courses and share my passion for quilting with others.”
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