Saturday, 31 May 2008


This was chosen to go in my son's bedroom which had a safari theme. Shame that now I have finally finished making the cushion cover, we have moved and he wants a Dr Who room!

I bought the fabric from Hobbycraft and chose a cream fabric for the backing. I have ordered a large cushion pad (20"x20") to complete the design.

I machine stiched the back and front together, the back having an envelope opening. I hand finish the hem on the back opening. It made a pleasant change to do some hand stitching.

If I remember rightly, there were two squares of this design and I have thought that it would look nice if it was quilted.

Thursday, 29 May 2008


When I was young my mum bought me a book from St Michael called Handicraft Gifts by Eve Harlow. Even then, I knew how much more special handmade gifts could be. So I decided to make one for myself, combining two loves-cooking and making things.

There was a pattern in there for a patchwork apron which I adapted using the same measurements. I even added a frill to the edges. It was my first serious meeting with the sewing machine, and though it's not perfect, I am still wearing it 30 years on!

Autumn Cushion

This cushion was inspired by my love of autumn and hedgehogs. We have had the pleasure of watching several families of hedgehogs in the garden.

The main panel is patchwork, machine stitched, and then the tree, leaves and hedgehog have been appliqued, hand stitched in place. A black button stitched in places makes a very good eye. The cover was then filled with a shop bought cushion pad.

Cushions Galore

Where we lived before, both boys had themed bedrooms, one was space and the other the jungle. I had fun choosing fabric and making the cushion covers for their rooms.

I used shop bought cushion pads and recycled pillows for the fillers, and one of the small ones was stuffed using kapok.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008


My dad has always had a love of fishing. I can remember when I was little the nights when he would put me in the back of the van, and off we would go to Felixstowe where he would fish off the pier.

For a few years, he lived in Tenby, West Wales, where he was able to go sea fishing again, so it was with him in mind that I chose this cross stitch kit.

Most of the design is stitched using cross stich, but the sail lines are done in straight stich. I love the shadow effects and the sun on the water. The picture does not do this justice and I will choose a frame and mount to compliment this.

Sunflowers and Bees

The boys are home educated and a many projects we have done have had very simple beginnings.

When the boys were quite small, we had a set of cards that had activities, games and information designed for pre-school children. One of those cards was about bees which started us on an exciting journey.

As they loved bees, we contacted a local bee keeper who allowed us to go and visit his honey bees. They were dressed in the full protective suits and were able to see into the hives. It was a fantastic day and something the boys have never forgotten.

My niece designed and stitched her own cross stitch bee and when I saw this cross stitch design by Jane Greenoff,I decided to stitch it, adding some bee charms.

All from a simple card!

Birth Sampler

I enjoy stitching samplers, and as I had cross stitched one for my first son, I definitely had to find a design for my second. Unlike the first one, this was stitched well after the event.

This design was stitched on evenweave and gives a completely different effect to aida.

When I get to framing this, I will probably use a blue mount and frame.


This design came from Martin Leman's book Needlepoint Cats,designed by Jill Leman.

I chose to do Boris because he reminded me of Mouse, a rescue cat we got from the RSPCA in Bristol. We called her Mouse as she was unable to miaow properly after she had cat flu. When she was really desperate, she could manage a squeak.

The frame was recycled, bought from a charity shop. It's always worth looking around, you never know when you'll pick up a bargain.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008


When we first moved to Bristol, we overlooked the old railway track eventually became part of the Bristol to Bath cycle track. We had great joy watching a family of foxes there so as you can imagine, I just had to stitch this design.

I went to a stitching exhibition at Olympia in London and had the pleasure of meeting the designer. The designer Valerie Green, had lots of lovely wildlife designs, just wish I had time to do more.

I bought the canvas then used DMC tapestry yarn for the stitching. Definitely looking forward to framing this and finding a space on the wall for it.

Harvest Mouse

Having moved around a lot, we have lived in several place where harvest mice have been popular. However, they have at times featured more in our lives than we might have wanted. Have spent many nights trying to catch the ones that the cats have brought in!

This was a design from a stitching magazine and I used DMC threads.

Being an oval design, I will get a professional framer to cut the mount for me before I frame it. I'm really looking forward to seeing it up on the wall

Blackwork Mushroom

This is the result of another online course that I did. I had always wanted to have a go at blackwork and enjoyed doing this simple design, especially as mushrooms are one of my favourite foods. It may be simple, but incorporates several different blackwork filling stitches.

A Mother's Plea

I enjoy doing cross stitch samplers, and this one jumped straight out at me, as a mother of two boys! Seem to repeat this every day, so thought if it was stitched and displayed on the wall I could save my breath. Think that may be wishful thinking.

I will probably frame this with a blue mount and frame.

Fabric Covered Box

I always like to try new things and this is where the internet can come into it own. Some of the online tutorials can be fantastic.

When I signed up for this lesson, they sent all the cardboard pieces that were necessary and I just had to choose the fabric I was going to use. Needed two different fabrics that would compliment each other in the final design.

The step-by-step guide was very simple to follow and the end result was well worth the time and effort.

Cable Top

I knitted this several years ago and it still holds the same sheen as it did when I first knitted it. It washes really well and I still love to wear it. It has been one of the hand knitted garments I have made, that everyone thinks was shop bought. Sure it's all down to the yarn used.

It was knitted using a silk mix yarn which was really soft. Made a nice change to work a cable pattern.

Monday, 26 May 2008

All Our Yesterdays

I really like the All Our Yesterdays cross stitch kits by DMC. They really do evoke memories of childhood. I am sure all of us have wonderful childhood memories of days out or holidays by the sea.
I have done a few of the series so eventually they will be framed and displayed as a group.

Bluebell Lane

I love the needlepoint designs by John Clayton from Heritage Stitchcraft. It was lovely to stitch this design and is a lovely reminder of the bluebells we used to see in the woods at Sirhowy Valley Country Park.

The tapestry has been stretched so it is square for framing. As a circular mount was required, I went to a professional picture framer to have the mat cut. Although the design is circular, with the mat, it means that I now have a square frame to make.

I will be using a dark wood moulding to complete this design.

More Balloons

As with all crafts, I feel that is important to help our children experience the joy that they can bring. I find it most enjoyable to spend an hour with my nine year old son stitching together,

Think the love of balloons hass been passed on as you can see by this first cross stitch kit that he completed. We are both very proud of the accomplishment.

I will frame this for him and it can take pride of place on the wall.


All my family, from my great grandmother on, has been involved in one form of handicrafts or another. All the materials, patterns, needles etc have then been passed on to the next generation.

As a result, I have a collection of old knitting patterns dating from the 1940's. Some even have pictures of garments modelled by Roger Moore. Even James Bond has to start somewhere!

This jumper was knitted following one of the patterns that had once belonged to my grandmother and even though the pattern is over 40 years old, it was a pleasure to knit and to wear. I really liked the delicate look achieved by using 4 ply yarn. Made a change and quite an adjustment after chunky wool!

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Summer and Autumn Lanscapes

These long stitch summer and autumn landscape kits were done to be displayed as a pair. They look great together hanging above a door.
The metalic thread was a bit more difficult to stitch with, but is perfect as it catches the light, just like sun glinting on water.

I bought the mounts ready cut from the local craft shop but made the frames myself. I used natural wood moulding which was then stained.

Map of the World

Our family has always had a fascination with maps. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we have moved house so many times.

I'm not quite sure where this map came from, but with all the changes on the world scene, it is fascinating to look back and see the impression of the world people once had.

The moulding and mountcard was chosen to compliment the colours used on the print. As the print is outlined, this was continued on the mount. This helps visually to add depth.

I am hoping in the future to find maps of areas where we have lived and frame them too, though I really like the historical maps.

Bargello Cushion

Since I have moved, I am determined to complete the unfinished projects I have lying around. In my search, I found this cushion cover that was started by my mum. As I am in great need of cushions, I finished stitching it.

This is the first bargello design I have ever done. It was very relaxing to do, and the pattern easy to follow. It is very soft and smooth to the touch even though it is stiched using tapestry wool.

I need now to select a backing fabric and purchase a cushion pad to complete this. Then it will be sit back and relax finishing something else.

The Beginning

This is the piece that got me hooked onto needlepoint. Up until this time I was into knitting so it was a real novelty to try needlepoint. I loved the stitch variety and the feel of the finished stitching. It's funny now watching my youngest son, he touches all the pieces I finish to see how they feel. Something very tactile about stitched pieces.

This needlepoint kit was bought for me by my mother when I was about 16 years old, to give me something to do in the evenings on a caravan holiday in Tenby. Once I had started, I couldn't stop.

This piece could also have been completed as a cushion, but at the time I didn't have the confidence to do that, so I took it to a professional picture framer to have framed as a picture. It was really satisfying at a young age to see a project displayed like this.

After this, there was no stopping me as I then moved on to cross stitch and other forms of needlecraft.

Les Petits Chats

I'm never happier than when I share my home with cats. There was however, a time when we weren't allowed to have pets in the home, so I decided to stitch some, so hence the cat and kittens here. Anyone that has kept kittens will know the hours of fun watching them can be.

I worked this tapestry on a frame which helped to keep the canvas square, important for when it came to framing later. When I thought I had finished, I held the stitching up to the light to make sure each of the holes had been covered, it's amazing how many you miss!

A friend framed this for me as this was before I had started doing them myself. We chose a natural wood moulding which we then stained to the appropiate colour. Staining and painting wood moulding is a fantastic way of making sure you get the colour you want.

Lessons were learnt from framing this piece-it is imperative that the moulding recess has enough depth to take both the stitched piece and backing board. Otherwise you have the problems I have had with this one-if you're not careful, the back comes off! Before rehanging, this will need to be repinned and taped. As with all journeys, a few lessons learned on the way.

In Memory

My mum was only 53 when she died from the effects of Primary Bilary Chirosis. This is a condtion where the immune system attacks the liver. She died two days before my second son's first birthday, and as my eldest was still only two, I wanted to stitch something that would remind us of her.
Autumn was always her favourite time of year and there was nothing we liked better, than to go for a walk enjoying the autumn colours and kicking through the leaves. I used this as the inspiration for this piece, the autumn reds, russets and oranges.

This embroidery incorporates leaves, both real, fabric and stitched. The real leaves used were taken from one of her shrubs in the autumn. Silk fabric and threads were used, the fabric being layered in some places and cut out to expose the fabric underneath.

All the important dates covering the major events of her life have been stitched into the design. The writing was done using stem stitch, leaves in long and short stitch and others in satin stitch, cut outs secured with blanket stitchand back stitch.

Though I completed stitching this piece some time ago, it still needs to be framed. I will mount it using a mat in autumn colours and am thinking of embellishing the frame with leaf veins. I'll keep you informed of progress on that score.

It is lovely that every time the boys see this, they talk about their Nanny Janet, and I know she'll never be forgotten by them.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Embroidered Cushion

It's a nice feeling to be able to use your hand embroidered items around the home, not just hang them on the wall. This embroidered cushion uses a variety of embroidery stitches and makes a lovely addition to the bedroom.

This took a little longer to do and looks complicated, but all the instructions were included in the embroidery kit. Very satisfying when it was completed.

The long and short stich shading makes for subtle blending of colours on the petals and leaves, and for the tactile person, feels very pleasing to touch. Other stitches used are stem stitch, french knots, outline stitch, satin stitchand lazy daisy, which I had not done for a long time.


A lot of the projects that I choose to do, are associated with people or places that mean something to me, or my family.

For many years we lived in Bristol and that is where both my children were born. Every year we would look forward to the Bristol International Balloon Festival held at Ashton Gate. We've even followed the balloons by car to see them land and to be packed away.

When I saw this long stitch kit, I knew I had to do it. Though this looks a large project, because it is long stitch, the stitching was completed in no time and was soon ready for framing.

The blue mount card was chosen to blend with the sky. The double mount adds depth and perspective. The moulding of the frame itself compliments the colours of the background sky in the stitching. With DIY Framing, and by going to a professional picture framer, it is always possible to match all the components together, showing your stitching to its best advantage. This is not always possible with ready made frames. Definitely worth the effort.

As we walk down the stairs, we can see this picture ahead of us, imagining what it would be like to be in one of those balloons-I'm still dreaming of the hot air balloon flight.

Cherished Memories

From when my son was a few months old, my mum would send him a post card from every place she visited. As she died when he was two and a half, these became very precious and I wanted to find a way of preserving them for his enjoyment when he was older.

I thought that the best way to present them was by framing all ten cards in one frame. Having only cut mats with one aperture before, this was going to be a challenge. It's important to keep in mind that the principles of mount cutting are the same, no matter how many apertures.

It is important to measure and then check everything again before cutting. Mistakes in measuring can easily be rectified before cutting commences. The same principle applies to all framing, to

Having decided the overall size, placing the cards on the surface first helps to visualise the finished article and the placing of them. Note all the measurements on paper and then measure and mark out on the reverse of the mountcard. Once checked, the cutting can commence.

Imagine the relief when everything fitted. I was very pleased with the finished result, especially as this was completed after only about 6 weeks of lessons.

As what was written on the cards were as important as the pictures, I copied them all and placed these in an envelope that I placed on the reverse of the frame. This means that whenever he wants, my son can read the messages that his nan sent him.