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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Book review: Le Monde de Beatrix Potter – a cross stitch book in French

I really like the work of Beatrix Potter – the original books especially, but also the many styles of embroidery kits of her work that have appeared over the years. I have collected several of them, when I come across them on Ebay, for example.

Recently, I managed to get hold of a copy of this little gem of a book:

Potter 1

It’s in French (the title, ‘Le Monde de Beatrix Potter’ is a bit of a giveaway there!) – it means ‘The World of Beatrix Potter’. The book is small in size  – 6 x 8.5 inches – and only has 80 pages, but it’s gorgeous, nonetheless.

It is by the French cross stitch designer Veronique Enginger. If you haven’t come across her before, try looking at the page dedicated to her on her publisher’s website. She does beautiful cross stitch kits and books – always in a very distinctive French style. Many are available on Amazon.co.uk.

This book is rather different for her, though, as she sticks very carefully to Beatrix Potter’s signature style, as in the watercolour illustrations from the books.

Potter 2

The book is mainly composed of double page spreads of little collections of motifs on a theme, such as Peter Rabbit, or Pigling Bland. There are one or two larger designs per two-page spread, and then lots of smaller motifs scattered around, on the same theme and colourway.

Potter 3

So, really, this book is more a collection of motifs for you to choose from when composing your own projects, than a book of ‘complete designs’. All the colour keys give thread colours for DMC stranded cotton. There are several pages of styleshot photos, showing how the cross stitch designs can be used in items such as cushions, tote bags, and so on.

Potter 4

At the back of the book is a section on how to do cross stitch, materials needed, how to work out how big any particular motif will be when worked on different counts of fabric, etc. Beware, though, that these are, obviously, written in French, as it’s a French book! So, if French isn’t your best subject, just stick to using the book for the designs themselves.

Potter 5

I’m considering taking motifs from this book and making a kind of ‘soft book’ with about six pages in (so that’s twelve page sides to stitch), to be able to use my favourite images from Veronique’s book. I could fill in the space around the edges of the pages with the smaller motifs, and design my own cover. If I get the time, that is. If not, it’s just a pretty book to look at!

As I said before, I ‘managed to get hold’ of this book – it is out of print now, and has been for a while. It occasionally pops up on Ebay, or Amazon (also, try the French Amazon site, as that’s where I got my copy from). But be warned….it’s not cheap now. My copy cost me over £40. But I think it’s worth it, for such a pretty book, with so many well-designed classic images in it.

Le Monde de Beatrix Potter, by Veronique Enginger (out of print)

Originally 10 euro when in print.

Mango Pratique Series, published by http://www.fleuruseditions.com

80 pages. Paperback.

ISBN 9 782842 706326

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