How to find a Beatrix Potter themed box for a new cross stitch project

I’ve never been one of those people who do idle retail therapy. When I go shopping, either online or in person round ‘real’ shops, it’s because I know exactly what I want, and I’m just trying to find it in the shortest possible time, as I don’t actually enjoy shopping much.

So, when I decided the other day that I wanted a box, I wanted a very particular kind of box, and quickly. But it wasn’t to be!

Beatrix Potter cross stitch

I’ve mentioned on my blog before about the gorgeous little French cross stitch book ‘Le monde de Beatrix Potter’ by Veronique Enginger, full of very well-designed interpretations of Beatrix Potter’s animal characters and related motifs from the series of books.

Beatrix Potter cross stitch


Beatrix Potter cross stitch

Annoyingly, it’s now out of print, and when it appears on places like Ebay, it is really expensive. I paid about £40 for mine, several years ago, but I’ve never got round to stitching anything from it, because I couldn’t decide what to use the designs for. Then, this week, I had another look through it and decided how I’d like to use them.

What I’d like to do is stitch lots of the designs and related motifs from one page in the book (for instance, the iconic Peter Rabbit image of him holding a carrot, and then a border of carrots and cabbages, the robin, the scarecrow, etc.) leaving lots of space around each motif, and then cut the fabric around them so that they can be appliqued separately on to pieces of patchwork fabric from my stash (Ha ha!! Then I can get my fabric stash down at the same time!! Fat chance!), and store them as loose ‘sheets’ in a box. I don’t want to make them into pictures or pillows, because my house is so full already, but I thought that a square box would do nicely, as I could then store them flat.

Here’s the fabric that I want to applique the motifs to. It’s called ‘Whitewashed Cottage’ by 3 Sisters for Moda:

Beatrix Potter cross stitch

Should be easy, then, shouldn’t it? A square box, about 10 x 10 inches, with a lid? Hmmm……

Well, I looked on Etsy (arty, but not suitable), then on Ebay (cheap, but not suitable), then on Amazon (gaudy, and definitely not suitable – their search engine kept showing me leather-covered rectangular footstools, for some reason). Getting slightly desperate, I looked on Pinterest (but I always find that frustrating, as the images are great, but the links never go to anything that you can actually buy), and Google images (those links tended to go to blogs, or American shops which don’t ship to the UK).

I searched with the phrases ‘Beatrix Potter box’, ‘fabric covered box’, ‘memory box’, ‘gift box’, ‘lidded box’, ‘wooden box’, ‘decoupage box’….you get my drift? It’s not easy.

I even contemplated learning cartonnage and making my own box from scratch, after I came across a remnant of Mrs Tiggywinkle fabric on Ebay.

After about five hours I was giving up the will to live. I’d stopped looking for PRETTY boxes, or boxes with Beatrix Potter images on, to ANYTHING remotely ‘nice’. Still no luck.

Then, the following day, I thought I’d have another go on Google, and lo and behold, with the wonders of the internet, Google in its wisdom decided to show me something ‘related’ to my previous search….and actually showed me in the sidebar what I’d been seeking for hours the day before – a 10 x 10 inch gift box with a loose lid, covered in Peter Rabbit paper, nicely lined, and only £6.50, from Paperchase. Hadn’t thought of them!!

So, here’s the box I’m going to use:

Beatrix Potter cross stitch

I hadn’t noticed at the time I ordered it, but the Peter Rabbit on the box lid even has a fluffy little tail!

Beatrix Potter cross stitch

Simple, eh? All I needed was the internet to behave itself…….

Beatrix Potter cross stitch


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My fascination with Beatrix Potter embroidery kits through the years

When I was a teenager, back in the 1970s, I used to spend my pocket money on embroidery kits featuring Beatrix Potter characters. I used to travel into London from Essex, and visit the lovely (and long since closed) ‘Needlewoman Shop’ at 146 Regent Street to buy the needlepainting kits and cross stitch kits that were available then. Beatrix Potter images seem to be timeless – the first of her books appeared over a hundred years ago, now, but the images of all those cute animals in ‘human clothes’ don’t seem to date.

Recently, I was surfing on Etsy, as you do, and I came across this:

Beatrix 1

I clicked ‘Buy Now’ in an instant. This was a kit I’d had my eye on for years (it came out around the late eighties, I think), but originally it had been quite expensive, as it is large, with lots of threads included. But now it’s classed as old, so it was nice and cheap! The design chart is printed on one huge sheet of paper, and the threads looped onto two thread sorters. They had never even been out of the packet. Wonderful!

Beatrix 2

I try to buy up Beatrix Potter kits or charts if I see them on Ebay, but I’m not prepared to pay silly prices. These two booklets were about £5 each:

Beatrix 3

This Chrismas-themed booklet is one which always seems to be described as ‘rare’, and can be difficult to track down – eventually, I got lucky, and paid about £7 for this one. I’ve seen it sell for £28 before now. The designs in it are nice, but the charts are hand drawn, which makes it a bit hard to follow at times.

Beatrix 4

Different manufacturers have brought out their own version of Beatrix Potter’s images at various times. More recently, Anchor has produced this one, which I couldn’t resist, although I do find it a bit odd that there are *two* Mrs Tiggywinkles in the same picture. When I get around to stitching it, I think I’m going to have to adapt it somehow  – maybe by eliminating the left-hand Mrs T and moving the lettering over to fill her space, and then stitching her on a separate piece of fabric.

Beatrix 5

In the 1970s, JEM Patchwork used to produce these gorgeous threadpainting kits of characters from Beatrix Potter. Anyone remember these? I clearly remember standing at a display of the kits in a needlework shop, adding up my small change to see if I really could afford one of them with my pocket money – after all, they were almost four pounds each!! The kits included a cheap plastic frame (not anything to write home about, but how many kits these days include a frame?), the printed fabric, the threads, and a kind of  ‘colour by numbers’ printed design sheet to work from. I loved doing these, so when I came across some on Ebay, I jumped at the chance to buy them. I must be going soft in the head, as I bought designs I’ve already made once – although that’s going back almost 40 years now, and I don’t have the originals any more. I’ve now re-bought Tom Kitten, Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny.

Beatrix 6

Aren’t they sweet? This Peter Rabbit kit must have been just a bit too much for the person who first bought it – they’ve only stitched half of one of his ears, and then put him back in the packet. Oh dear!

Beatrix 7

This Benjamin Bunny kit has never even been out of its plastic wrapping, and it only cost me £3 on Ebay!

Beatrix 8

I’m still looking for my other favourites from this range to stitch, so if anyone particularly has Cousin Ribby (the cat), the Tailor of Gloucester sitting on his cotton reel, or Squirrel Nutkin, PLEASE let me know by emailing me at, and I’ll gladly buy them off you!


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