I’ve been embroidering the side panel of the spool holder (as part of the etui set that I am making) this week. This is not one of my designs, but is by Carolyn Pearce, from her book ‘Home Sweet Home Workbox’. I wish I had more time for this at the moment, but it’s just not possible! So, all I have done is one little flower. Still, it’s a very nice little flower.


Spool holder 3

It’s a cornflower, with the flower head worked in four shades of lilac / purple / pale blue straight stitches, radiating out from the centre. The very middle of the flower is closely-worked seed stitches done in very dark maroon, and old gold metallic thread for a bit of sparkle. The stem is chain stitch in a grass green shade of Gloriana thread (not sure of the thread name, as the label has fallen off!). The leaves are straight stitches in three shades of green.

Not much stitching, then, for a whole week (this flower is about an inch and a quarter high), but sometimes quality is better than quantity, and I’m pleased with how it has turned out.

This week I’ve started stitching the spool holder for the Carolyn Pearce ‘Home Sweet Home’ workbox (the design is from her book) – this is a beautiful little round box with wildflowers around the sides, and oranges stitched on the lid and base.

In her book, Carolyn suggests using a long-armed cross stitch for the oranges. When I tried that, mine came out very untidily, so I unpicked them and instead worked them in satin stitch, with a base layer of satin stitches laid in the opposite direction first, for padding, and a border of split stitch to define the outline (covered over with the final layer of satin stitches). The ‘ends’ of the oranges (is there a proper name for that bit?!) are little cross stitches worked in very dark brown, with one strand of Anchor thread.

This is the base of the spool holder:

Spoolholder 1

The top of the spoolholder has more oranges and leaves than the base, and an eyelet stitched in the centre, for the leading thread from the spool to be fed through, when the holder is completed. The leaves are worked in Vandyke stitch, in a variegated thread.

Spoolholder 2

I’m not sure that I pulled the thread tight enough when I was finishing the eyelet, so the hole isn’t very big, but I think it will work. The spool that I want to keep in this spoolholder is DMC number 12,  and that quality of thread is very fine, so I think it will work.




I’ve been meaning to design more dollhouse samplers for a while now – this is the first of the new range that I’ve finished. It’s available as a kit (complete with the tiny wooden frame) on my website from today.

The dollhouse sampler kit called 'Blue vases', stitched on 32 count evenweave fabric, measures 1 7/8 x 2 1/4 inches

The dollhouse sampler kit called ‘Blue vases’, stitched on 32 count evenweave fabric, measures 1 7/8 x 2 1/4 inches

It only takes a couple of evenings of stitching, as it’s worked on 32 count evenweave fabric – so, unlike silk gauze, where you have to ‘fill in’ every hole on the fabric background, with evenweave, you only need to stitch the actual design. The fabric colour itself is left showing around the design, making it a quick project to complete.

blue-vases-closeup-cropped 900

The design is to be counted from a colour block chart. Clear instructions on how to finish the sampler, a suitable needle, a piece of 32 count ecru evenweave fabric, lots of Anchor stranded cotton and the wooden frame itself are also included in the kit. The design is called ‘Blue vases’, and is available on my website now, priced £8.95.

There is a tutorial on my website about how to complete one of these miniature sampler kits, so that you can see exactly how to make one before you commit yourself!



I was determined to get this pincushion finished this week. As I explained last week, I haven’t been enjoying doing this one (not the fault of the project itself – the lovely pincushion design is from Carolyn Pearce’s ‘Home Sweet Home Workbox’ book) – but more to do with how I was feeling about it.

So, this is the back of the pincushion, showing how I tied the strong green thread around the pincushion, pulling it tight and fastening a tiny button in the centre. I wasn’t quite happy with the squiffy shape of the pincushion at this stage – a bit lop-sided, and not very round.

Home sweet home pincushion 6

At the point when this photo was taken, I had just started to work the beaded hedebo edging around the pincushion.

Home sweet home pincushion 7

This is a lovely stitch, but takes a bit of planning. You need to make a foundation row of cross stitches – one short, one long, one short, etc – along the length of one section of the pincushion, across the seamline. First, you stitch all the ‘bottom left to top right’ slanting stitches.

Home sweet home pincushion 8

Then you go back along the section, stitching the ‘bottom right to top left’ stitches. It looks very messy at this point, but these stitches will all be covered later.

Home sweet home pincushion 9

Then, with the same length of thread, you attach a green seed bead on top of the first, small, cross stitch, anchoring it in place by going through the bead twice, and making a small stitch neatly in the fabric.

Home sweet home pincushion 10

Over the long cross stitch alongside it, you work a row of buttonhole stitches, without piercing the fabric itself, so that you create a lacy-looking edging. When you have tightly filled the long cross stitch, you attach another bead over the short cross stitch….and so on all around the edge of the pincushion. It’s actually easier to do than it is to describe! Carolyn’s book has very detailed instructions with photos at the back of her book. And her photos aren’t out of focus :-)

Home sweet home pincushion 11

So, this is the finished pincushion, which I like a lot more, now that it’s finished! Cute, isn’t it?

I think that the next ‘small’ for the workbox that I’ll make will be the spool holder, with the oranges on it and the wildflower border around the sides.

I had hoped to get the pincushion for the Home Sweet Home workbox etui by Carolyn Pearce completed this week, but I’ve had a bit of a setback! This is how far I’ve got:

Home sweet home workbox pincushion 5

Not far, really!

I managed to stitch the embroidered half to the plain backing fabric, right sides facing, leaving a 1 1/2 inch gap for turning. I hand stitched it, and when I turned it right side out, I noticed that my stitching hadn’t been very neat, and that I had more of an octagon than a circle – part of the ‘circle’ is distinctly flat!

I tied strong thread around the pincushion, to divide it into 8 parts, and added the tiny buttons front and back. So far, so good.

I’ve started to stitch the beaded edging, too, but not got very far with it yet. I’ll try taking more detailed photos as I get further on.

The reason it hadn’t really worked out right was that my mind wasn’t on it completely. Ever since I’d done the actual embroidery, I’d been feeling ‘not quite right’ about this pincushion. Has that ever happened to you? While I’d been doing the embroidery, I’d been feeling in a very ‘flat’ mood, because I’d recently ended a relationship with someone who I’d thought of as a friend, but they turned out to be not what I’d thought at all. It seems that the emotions I was feeling at that time have got kind of  ‘stitched in’ to the pincushion, and now, whenever I look at it, I feel fed up again.  So, it’s hard to get motivated to finish this.

Maybe by next week I’ll have got this finished, and then I can move on to something more pleasant   :-)

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I am attempting to make this wonderful Home Sweet Home workbox etui set by Carolyn Pearce of Australia. Her book is wonderful, and very clear, but the project is a big one! However, as several people commented after the previous post when I wrote about it, if I stitch it, they will try to stitch it along with me, so maybe we can all achieve it together!

Home 2

I’ve decided to make the contents before the box itself, which is not the way that Carolyn explains it in her book. Obviously, it would make more sense to make the box first, as then I’d have somewhere to keep the things I’ve made, but being awkward, I’ve decided to tackle the smallest things first, and work my way up to the biggest, as it’s less daunting that way.

So, I’m going to make the pincushion tuffet.  All the threads I’ve used for this project are from my stash, by the way, and not the ones that Carolyn lists in her book. I suggest trying to do the same yourself, as it would reduce the cost of this project enormously – Carolyn uses lovely threads, but LOTS OF DIFFERENT ONES, and sometimes only for one or two stitches.

So, I stem stitched the twisting stems first with fine Medici wool, and then stitched wound roses with French knot centres in a very pale peachy pink.

Home sweet home workbox pincushion 1

Then I stitched more roses using a deeper pink, and worked a few rosebuds in Vandyke stitch.

Home sweet home workbox pincushion 2

The sepals of each rosebud were worked by continuing the Vandyke stitch, but in deep green Medici wool.

Home sweet home workbox pincushion 3

Finally, I added the leaves in a bright green and more of the dark green Medici wool. The bright green really gave this a lift, as I was beginning to think I had chosen shades which were too dull. The pencil lines outside the tuffet edges, below, show where I will need to tie the tight threads around the assembled and stuffed pincushion, to pull it into shape. If I have stitched the roses in the correct places, then the tight threads won’t cut across any of the roses, but lie in the gaps in between.

Home sweet home workbox pincushion 4

Next part is to assemble the tuffet, then……

New on my website this week is a matching set of an ‘Elephant’ teacosy kit, with a tray cloth kit echoing the pattern of the rug on the elephant’s back. If you love novelty teacosies, then you’ll love this set! They are both quick to stitch, and easy to assemble.


The teacosy measures an inch and a half wide, and is stitched on 32 count silk gauze

The teacosy measures an inch and a half wide, and is stitched on 32 count silk gauze

Both kits are to be stitched on 32 count silk gauze, in needlepoint embroidery. The teacosy kit contains stranded cotton, a generous piece of silk gauze, clear instructions and stitch diagrams, a suitable needle and a colour block chart to count the design from. The tray cloth kit contains all of the above, plus mahogany components to make the tea tray, which simply need gluing together.

Various designs of teapots and tea sets are also available to complement all the teacosies that I have in my range.

The kits are available from my website – the teacosy kit page is here, and the traycloth kit page is here. They can be bought separately, if you prefer.

If you haven’t stitched in this scale before, or you would like to know what is involved in making one of these kits, visit the FREE ONLINE TUTORIALS page and see how easy they are.