Wednesday, 22 May 2013


Good Afternoon to you,

Let me introduce you to a much loved English actress..... Una Stubbs.

Throughout her career, Una has played many parts on stage and screen. One of  Natasha and Danielle's favourite children's series was Worsel Gummidge, in which Una  played the part of Aunt Sally.

.....but I think you will know her from the Bafta Award winning series, Sherlock, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, where she plays the part of  the landlady, Mrs Hudson.

Apart from acting, there is another side to Una.  Una is a self taught needlewoman..... and her work is exquisite.

I bought Una's book "In Stitches" in 1985 and I was drawn in by the beautiful photographs.  

I certainly could find a place in my sewing room for this beautiful shaped dresser, as I love the brass handles on the drawers and the Bakelite telephone which sits on top of the dresser. The overflowing basket of  muted coloured wools, the cotton materials and  the lace, all beckon me to open the other drawers to see what other treasures  are hidden inside. 

This dresser has been beautifully lime waxed. Nowadays chalk paint is popular, but in the 1980's it was all about removing paint from furniture and lime waxing. 

.... and so the wheel turns, paint on, paint off, paint on.  How many years will it be before it is paint off again.

I always thought of this as the perfect sewing corner. The baskets ladened with embroidery threads,  the wooden hoops, the books and baskets of dried flowers, and the reading lamp to ease the eyes whilst sewing.

During the 1980's and early 90's, dried flowers were very popular.  At the time I was part of a fund raising team for our school and one of the ideas we came up with to raise money, was to have an auction.

We arranged for a local auctioneer to host the evening. Parents and businesses were very generous and the donations came flooding into school.  One of the items, was a  beautiful basket of dried flowers.

At the time, I had a large fireplace with a basket of dried flowers on the right hand side, but I needed another basket of flowers on the left side.  So this was a perfect opportunity to bid for the basket. I had meant to bid, but I became caught up in the running of the evening and I missed my opportunity and so I never managed to make a bid.

The bidding started, and unbeknown to me, Natasha was amongst the bidders. The bidding reached the point where there were only two bidders remaining, Natasha and another person. Natasha would up  her bid and from the back of the hall came the other persons bid, they went back and forth upping each others bid.  Now, there were no voices to recognise as the bidders just showed their cards. Can you imagine the surprise when Natasha turned around to see who else was bidding and to find out it was her dad, all anyone heard was "D...a....a....a....d,  I'm buying this basket for mum, will you stop bidding!" to which everyone burst out laughing. George conceded and Natasha bought the basket of dried flowers,  at a rather inflated price.  I was thrilled when Natasha gave them to me and laughed when she told me the story.  In George's defence he had popped in on his way home from work, as he wanted to bid for the basket of flowers and he did  not see Natasha seated at the front. It was so lovely that they both had the same thought and wanted to buy me the basket of flowers as a gift. 

Doesn't this sampler make you want to pick up your needle and thread and start recording the stitches you have learnt.

Una writes "My long-legged son.  Not a perfect likeness maybe, but a very special memory nevertheless."

I love the humour in this piece of work.

These cushions are made by drawing threads, using embroidery stitches and beads.

I think you can see how my love of embroidery and beading evolved..... thanks to Una's inspiration.

This is a close up of the centre panel on one of the cushions..... it is so beautiful.

I have made quite a few of these brooch cushions  some were used for brooches, but others were filled with lavender.  

I love everything about this photograph, but especially the embroidered tablecloths.

Una mentioned in the book that the inspiration for these Signature tablecloths came from Una's grandmother's embroidered tablecloth .

I think this is a wonderful idea. Have you ever thought of asking family members to write their names on a tablecloth and then embroidering the signatures.  I did this once for a friend who was moving, all her friends wrote their names on a tablecloth, which I embroidered.  When we gave it to her as a gift, she burst into tears, not because she was upset, but because she said she would never forget us.  In the years to come, she would think  of us every time she looked at our signatures. 

These embroidered cards are adorable, again these are cards I have made time and time again, but not so much in recent years...... maybe it is time I started making them again.

..... and finally, this beautifully embroidered barley design. Una added this design to form the centre-piece for a set of pillowcases..... it is just lovely.

This is a lovely book, and although each time we moved, I had to cull books from my shelves, I could never part with this one.

Is there a book you have had for a long time which you would not want to part with. Maybe it is a cookery book or a gardening book..... well, really it could be just about any book. I would love to know.

Take care and I will see you later in the week.

This week I shall be joining,


  1. I have never seen such beautiful embroidery! I've seen the garish colors sprawled on the back of someone's jean jacket, but nothing beautiful in neutral colors, like this. I love it! And I love the auction story. That is such a great story.

  2. Everything is so beautiful! I especially like the barley embroidery. I think using the same color of thread as fabric is so elegant. My favorite craft book is a crochet book published in 1984 called Forever Favorite Crochet. I have other faves, too!

  3. What beautiful pieces and of these days I shall have to post a photo of a hummingbird and morning glory vine piece I did. Nothing so lovely as yours but I was quite proud of it as I designed it myself.

    Your husband and daughter were so sweet!

  4. Que lindos bordados, é uma pena que eu não saiba bordar. Eu amaria fazer essa toalha com as assinaturas da família. Me deste uma ótima sugestão uma toalha com nomes bordados. Vou aprender a bordar.
    Tenho um livro de crochê que comprei quando casei, esse livro já está comigo a 28 anos. Amei a história do leilão, foi um ótima surpresa.
    Tenha uma ótima semana.

  5. Those white embroidery pieces are delightful. I have been ironing vintage linens so this post goes right along with that. xo, olive

  6. I love embroidery and haven't done any for years. I keep saying I will start again, but some other craft project always seems to come along. You have shown some wonderful pieces.

  7. All the embroidery is so beautiful Daphne! I LOVE embroidery work...especially samplers. The story of the dried flowers is priceless and how funny that both your daughter and husband picked out the SAME item just for you! They both know you so well. I hope you have a wonderful week!

  8. Funny story about the auction, Daphne! :)
    I used to do a great deal of cross stitch, needlepoint sister still does, but I gave it up a while back. Love the photos of all the exquisite work. I inherited a lot of fine linens from my MIL and I treasure every piece.

  9. i love the story about the basket bidding! what a nice gesture!

  10. Dearest Daphne,
    Loved the story about Natasha most, besides those photos from Una Stubb's book!
    One of my favorite books is: Perfect Setting, you can view it here on a previous post by me:
    Enjoy a lovely weekend!

  11. I really enjoyed this post. I have been stitching all of my life. As a toddler I had those stitched cards where I'd thread a shoelace through holes surrounding an image. I loved doing that. I bought a set of those cards (with modernized drawings) for my boys when they were little. Recently, after a long hiatus, I started stitching again and find it very relaxing. Before she passed away, my mother gave me a pair of pot holders that she stitched for her "Hope Chest" when she was sixteen. They are well worn, but the stitching is exquisite. I have never seen such tiny stitches. I plan on photographing them and writing a blog post, so be sure to look in.

  12. Daphne, you're posts are like reading a beautiful book!!!
    I can remember stripping furniture in the 70's lol - and you know I'm one
    of the ones on the Annie Sloan craze.
    I keep saying she has a plan - once she's gotten everyone to paint all their furniture she'll
    come up with a product to remove the paint
    I wrote about in today's post LOL
    Much love,
    Have a great weekend
    Hugs from Montreal

  13. Dear Daphne,i realy love those photos from Una Stubb's book!!
    So many and beautiful creations!Amazing embroidery!Thank you for sharing!!Have a wonderful weekend!

  14. I love embroidery and I have some samplers that has wonderful embroidery on
    I love that barley design and I never could embroidery that fine but like trying I have worked on a crazy quilt a crazy long time

    I have several books on the stitches and have a fabulous book on ribbon embroidery

    i enjoyed your pictures

  15. Daphne,
    Thank you for the invite, what a beautiful blog and content. I will be following you.
    Wanda Ann @ Memories by the Mile

  16. We adore the latest incarnation of Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch (he's wonderful as the villain in the new Star Trek movie) and Martin Freeman! :)

    Love the story of the basket, so much fun.

    I hang onto my embroidery books from the 70's and 80's as well ... my favorites are from Erica Wilson.

    Wishing you a lovely weekend!

  17. What a wonderful book. I have so many books I would not want to part one and the one that comes to mind is "A Stitch in Time". I did the cross stitch that was featured on the cover of the book. Sweet hugs!

  18. Isn't it nice to know that both Natasha and your husband know your taste. It was a funny story!


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It is so wonderful to know you enjoy reading Ivy, Phyllis and Me! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me a comment. I really do appreciate it.

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