There’s an Easter sale of dollhouse needlepoint kits on my website!

Just a quick shout-out to let you know that there’s an Easter sale of dollhouse needlepoint items on my website over the coming weekend. All 1:12 scale dollhouse needlepoint kits, chart packs, and fabric project packs are on sale on my website

Remember to use the code EASTER2019OFFER to claim your 10% discount at the checkout!

Top up your stash with little goodies at discount prices to make your dollhouse look great. Kits available on 18 canvas to 40 count silk gauze, suitable for anyone from beginner to expert. Hours of fun for any stitcher 

Easter Sale of dollhouse needlepoint kits

Kits are available for the following miniature needlepoint items:

Carpets  ~~~ Staircarpets ~~~ Cushions ~~~ Bellpulls ~~~ Samplers

Wallhangings ~~~ Dining chairs ~~~ Needlework stands

Rectangular footstools ~~~ Firescreens ~~~ Christmas stockings

 Teacosies ~~~ Clutch  bags ~~~ Tray cloths ~~~ Handbags ~~~ Pole screens

Round footstools ~~~ Christmas tree mats ~~~ Bolster cushions

Table runners ~~~ Placemats

I also sell a range of Magnetic Needle Minders, based on images of my stitching.

Postage & packing is a flat rate of 2.25 GBP for UK orders (4.50 GBP overseas) up to 50 GBP order value. Orders over 50 GBP are sent post free, worldwide.

The Sale ends midnight on Easter Monday, so visit the website now to treat yourself! (Remember to use the code EASTER2019OFFER to claim your discount.)

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needle minders, needle holder, pin keep, sampler, cross stitch, magnetic needle holder

 

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Book review: Inspirations magazine index for the first 100 issues

For those of you who collect the wonderful Australian embroidery  magazine ‘Inspirations’ – either with a subscription, or just the occasional issue – this recent release from the publishers for an index for the first 100 issues will come as a welcome addition to your collection.

Inspirations magazine index world's most beautiful embroidery

At first, I was a bit put out that the index costs almost £20 – as much as a ‘proper’ embroidery book! And this is ‘just’ an index….except it isn’t – it’s far more than that, really.

I remember around 1999, Inspirations brought out their first index, which was for the first 24 issues – I think I’m right in thinking that it was just a free supplement to an issue of the magazine itself:

Inspirations magazine index world's most beautiful embroidery

It was pretty, in their usual style, but only had 16 pages, and was really just one list of projects and stitch diagrams, all listed together, with the occasional illustration to jazz it up.

Inspirations magazine index world's most beautiful embroidery

This new index for 100 issues is something else entirely! For one thing, it’s beautiful – really nicely produced, with lots of clear photos of all the projects, and magazine covers. 148 pages altogether!

And it covers a lot of subject areas, so you can use the index for looking up things in all kinds of ways:

Inspirations magazine index world's most beautiful embroidery

In the main part of the index, the cover for each issue is shown, as a visual reminder, and then all the projects for that issue are listed, with  a quick note about what the main technique being used is, and which page it is on in the magazine.

Just browsing through this main section made me realise how many lovely projects there are that I’d still like to stitch!

Inspirations magazine index world's most beautiful embroidery

There is a good section at the back, of projects by type (so, if you wanted to make something for babies, or a doorstop, for instance, you could track down a suitable project here). There’s also an index of designers, so if you want to see all the projects, for instance, that Carolyn Pearce has done for the magazine over the years, then see this section to look them up.

Inspirations magazine index world's most beautiful embroidery

There’s also a technique index, and it’s amazing to see how many types of embroidery have been featured over the years. There’s even an index of the step-by-step how to’s for particular stitches, which is really useful.

One section which is very useful is where they list the errata (there’s bound to be some in a magazine with this much detail!). This section includes reprints of charts, or parts of designs if necessary, or just a description if it’s a little thing that needs correcting.

If you don’t own the full set of back issues, you might think that this index is of no use to you….however, although many of the back issues are now sold out – especially the early ones, which, when they pop up on Ebay occasionally, sell for a lot of money – many designs are available as digital downloads from the website now, so having the actual back issue is becoming less and less of a problem.

The publishers plan to gradually release most of the projects from the 100 issues as digital downloads, sold separately (rather than a whole magazine’s worth!). Many are already available on their website, but if you look one up in this index and then find it isn’t available yet as a download, contact them, as they say they could probably fast-track the one you want to make it available  🙂

Inspirations magazine index world's most beautiful embroidery

Originally published in late 2018, this index sold out really quickly – it’s been reprinted, and is back in stock now (April 2019). Available from their website HERE.

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needle minders, needle holder, pin keep, sampler, cross stitch, magnetic needle holder

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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This is my Christmas haul….some fantastic embroidery books!

Every year at Christmas, I give the ‘Christmas Elf’ (also known as a ‘husband’) some ideas of what I’d like for Christmas. This system is foolproof – this way, I always get things that I love (and so does he – there’s a female Christmas Elf who collects ideas of what he’d like, too!).

This year, I had a bumper crop of gorgeous books:

Embroidery and patchwork books

This first one is one that I knew had to be on my Christmas list as soon as I saw it first advertised, back around September.

Passion for Needlework

It’s the new Inspirations book ‘A Passion for Needlework 2: Factoria VII’. This features twelve designs from a variety of designers who also create designs for the Australian ‘Inspirations’ magazine. The book is the second in what is now looking to be a series of volumes, fortunately – this is stitching eye candy at its best. The book is very well produced, the photography is wonderful, and I’m tempted to start on one or two projects right away! This is one of my favourites from the book, which I am itching to stitch:

Embroidered etui set

And these gorgeous little stumpwork pots are calling to be stitched too:

Stumpwork floral pots

One thing that I wasn’t very keen on with this book was the settings that the photography had been done in – a converted bacon factory in Australia, which is now a home, but it’s been decorated in the, admittedly, popular ‘industrial’ decorating style. But I hate that! The actual embroidery, in many of the images, seems a bit ‘lost’. Like this one:

Passion for Needlework

I don’t like to have to play ‘hunt the embroidery’ when I’m looking at a picture in an embroidery book……

This next book has been on my Amazon wishlist for a couple of years, but never got beyond that:

Stumpwork embroidery book

I think that’s because although the embroidery is great, I’m not personally very keen to stitch things all in white, so the cover was putting me off. But on Pinterest a few weeks ago I saw an image taken from one of the projects inside the book, and then I ‘upgraded’ the book from ‘maybe one day’ to ‘yes, now!!’

It’s got some gorgeous stumpwork projects in it – really creative stuff. This complements Jane Nicholas’s style very well (Jane is Australian, and has a lovely neat stumpwork embroidery style, doing mainly botanical studies). I’m looking forward to trying some of these projects, too. This is my favourite so far:

Stumpwork embroidery book

The book has a long section at the beginning covering all sorts of ‘how to’s’ – very good detail.

Stumpwork padding

I also received a couple of patchwork books, as I have a huge interest in making American Civil War-style mini quilts at the moment, using reproduction fabrics from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Patchwork

This book is by two really good quilt designers – Jo Morton and Kim Diehl. They both showcase designs based on the same blocks throughout this book, showing how a designer can be influenced in very different ways, when using the same basic elements as another designer.

This is my favourite design from this book. It’s one of Jo’s:

Jo Morton quilt

The other quilting book is a very new one:

Patchwork and quilting book

This book uses a novel idea – the author took one ‘layer cake’ of fabrics (that is, a pack of 40 co-ordinating fabrics, each ten inches square), to see how many projects she could make out of it (plus the backing fabric).

These are all quick little projects, so I want to get a few of these done soon, such as this one:

Patchwork mug mat

I’m hoping to share more of my attempts at patchwork and quilting on this blog during 2019.

Finally, I also got the latest Johanna Basford colouring book ‘World of Flowers’. If you haven’t seen this, you’re from another planet! I want to work on this one on the right hand side first:

World of Flowers

So, as long as I get some spare time (Ha!! What’s that?!), I should have some good things to be working on during the coming year  🙂

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