From time to time I post a needlework project I have completed.  Here is a blackwork tray cloth I undertook after a class with Liz Almond. It took me ages to do.

You can imagine this on one of the ubiquitous tea trays that always make an appearance in many scenes. Er... not in my house though. No putting rings on my tray cloth, thank you very much.

As you may know, Blackwork is from an earlier era, and was simply something I wanted to try, along with the fancy edging that might well have been used in the Regency period for finishing a handkerchief. The style would have been known to our ladies of the ton, if only from the paintings in their galleries of ancestors. Not in this form though, which is a modern take on it. I can assure you, the back does not look exactly like the front.

I often read about Regency heroines who hate embroidery. Knowing how satisfying this form of creation is, to me hating embroidery or needlework, seems like us hating having new paint on the walls of our living space or even hating having a job.  Embroidery was an expression of a lady's skill in making her home a comfortable and beautiful place to live. A Lady (as against a woman) would have hours of time at her disposal, and since medieval times and before, embroidery was valued for its beauty and its purpose. It was a sign of being a lady, in my opinion.

All of my heroines have some embroidery on the go, just like me. While embroidery on a gown might be done by a seamstress, embroidery on underthings, monograms on handkerchiefs, decorative pillows, embroidery on slippers, would be the privilege and pride of a lady, who would sew while her hero read to her, or a sibling did so, or while merely sitting chatting of an afternoon or evening. She would consider it her work, her contribution to her home.

Until next time.............

Royal Weddings, family weddings and more

It came as quite a surprise when I discovered that the story I did for the Royal Wedding last April, is now coming out with the other stories as a print anthology in the UK.  It's a bit like getting the wedding cake out of the freezer on the first anniversary, I suppose. 

For those of you in North America, I know you will be hugely disappointed to learn that this print version is only available in the UK.  Sigh. Oh but wait! You can order it from The Book Depository, no shipping charged for delivery.  Yay!

What do you think of the new cover, as against the generic one for the e-book? Just a bit tasty don't you think?

So back before Christmas I said I would publicly track my progress on this cross-stitch project as a way of motivating me to get it done!  This is the photo I took at the end of January. Now if you look very very carefully, and compare to the last picture (as if you would) you will see that the outside border is finished, beads and all. And I have rolled it upwards a fraction to start on the embellishment to the fountain scene. 

I have been working away during February on that scene and will post another picture at the end of the month.  And just to brag a wee bit, I also made the dress. I love the smocking part, but have to force myself to construct the garment. This one with its lack of sleeves went together very well.

I just returned from a delightful family wedding in Trinidad, hence the lack of posts, accompanied by a bit of fun in the sun on the Island of Tobago.  While the weather was a bit on the damp side, it was lovely to meet up with old friends and catch up on all the family gossip.

In true Royal Wedding tradition, I wore my fascinator.  Felt like a Princess for a day.

There you have it, what I have been up to since you saw me last. Next we return to our regular programming.  Until then, Happy Rambles.

Will I ever finish?

I have had this project ongoing for some time now. Years in fact. And I am beginning to wonder if I will ever finish.  I never have that problem with finishing my stories, but this, well it would be a great shame not to finish it now and have it framed, don't you think? (And I have a few more that I would like to tackle too.)

Seeing the NaNoWriMo excitement, I thought I would try to give myself a bit of encouragement.  I am going to post my progress from time to time. Once a month.  Here is a picture of where I am at the moment.

The thing is, it is dreadfully fiddly counted cross stitch and its hard to see if you are making any progress at all.  This is only the top one third of the whole piece.

All of the cross stitch is done, now we are embellishing.

Next, I have to finish the outside border, there is some outlining to be done around the very edge and then that criss cross stuff you can see that stops before it reaches the top, and then there are beads to add. Anyway, by this time next month, I hope to have the outside border completely finished and then I can start on outlining the greenery and finishing off the peacock inside the large picture panel.

It will be interesting to see if this helps motivate me to get this done.  One year. That is what I am aiming for.

More about the Regency next time.