More Pin Tins

I know that Fiona is very distressed that the blogs have been few and far between.  I have been busily stitching and teaching and there is no excuse for not busily blogging.

I am on a mission to design  a stumpwork top for each of the small ‘Sajou‘ pin tins.  I showed you the violet design on a previous blog and I have now completed a beautiful little toadstools.  I will put this on the web site as the next free design.  I will let you know when it is up.



I have also worked an acorn version.  Acorns are definitely my passion at the moment!



Lyn in my ‘Stumpwork as a Competitive Sport’ class has also completed two beautiful tins.  I have a few more in construction including a beautiful little needle-lace basket of apples.  ‘Sajou‘ now have a larger size tin as well so I will have more to play with!  Do visit their website  to see all the beautiful needlework supplies, visit  To buy the pin tins visit



Acorn Tree Revisited

I think last Easter I talked about working an oak tree with acorns.  Sometimes other priorities get in the way and the new design takes longer to hatch.  I finally started work on it in Florida in December and today (in Vermont) I finished it!!!!!


I am very pleased with the results, particularly, the acorns.  On the original 1650’s inspiration the acorns were turned with a little raised end for the cap end.  I used some felt padding to achieve the same results and then worked the needle lace over the top.  Hope you like it.


Snow Angel


I know that you are all wondering.  Yes, I did see snow on Christmas Day.  The snow here has been patchy but we are expecting a big snow storm tomorrow just as I am due to fly out to Myrtle Beach.  Everyone here thinks I am a little crazy as I thrill about the powder snow and frozen lakes!  I made my first snow angle the other day and tried snow shoeing in the back garden.  I have even provided pictorial evidence!



However, I think my BIGGEST achievement was my coldest New Years Eve ever!!!!!  I went out into 0°F and then found out that the wind chill made it -18°F!!!!!!

Jan’s “Bog Blog”

I have been dying to write a (cranberry) ‘bog blog’! While in Boston my students were telling me all about  the cranberry bogs and how beautiful it is when the cranberries are harvested…..and you know how obsessed I am with berries!


So off we went with Kathy Dacey to find a cranberry bog. We were a few weeks too late and the berries had been harvested but I still took a photo to prove I had been there!  The bogs are flooded at harvesting time and the ripe berries float to the top to be gathered.  It is worth looking on the Internet to find more pics or growing cranberries and harvesting.


At Christmas time I was given the task of making the fresh cranberry relish to go with the turkey.  You put a packet of fresh cranberries (They are available frozen in Australia and I am going to try it when I get home!) in a saucepan with a cup of sugar and a cup of water and simmer until the berries ‘pop’.  I did a great job and it tasted delicious. Now I need to perfect how to stitch them!


Happy Christmas

I know that I have been a bit slow with the blog.  Sorry!  I have been thawing out from Paris in the beautiful Florida sunshine.  Last Monday Vi and I went to “Sea World” to do some research for my new underwater blanket.  I didn’t have my camera man but I think my photography is not too bad!


I just loved the Manatees!  We spent ages photographing and just watching these wonderful creatures.


We had lunch with the sharks and spent lots of time photographing coral.  The new blanket is underway - I know that the  girls at ‘Mandeni Needlework’ will be very pleased as they have been waiting 12 months for this blanket.  I will keep you posted on the progress  with some pictures for the next post.  Now I can’t decide whether to add velour fish/seahorses/shells or to thread paint them? However, the stitched coral is looking great!



At the moment the warm Florida weather reminds me of Christmas at home.  However, tomorrow I am travelling north towards the cold weather and snow!  Thankyou for following my travels and I hope everyone has a very Happy Christmas.


The Royal School

 I was in a huff for a few days thinking that nobody loved me - no comments on the blog! I kept checking and thinking that I wouldn’t tell about the RSN until I got some comments! Then I realised that I hadn’t ticked the box to allow them.  Since then I haven’t had Internet connection so you have just had to wait.


I skipped off to class early and Doug took some tiara pics before class.  Do you like the picture?  It would make a wonderful postcard!  Doug wouldn’t let me have the camera (I think it is attached to his hand!) so you will have to be happy with external photos of the class room.  I was quite nervous about class and hoped I would be good enough.  We had to wait at reception for a pass and then we were escorted through the back gate, in past the back of the chapel and up a very narrow winding staircase into a Georgian section of the castle.  The class room was light and bright with four of the wonderful round Georgian windows and fabulous views out to the formal gardens.



There were a number of samples of students work on the walls and a wonderful library of embroidery books outside the classroom that we were free to browse.  Later the teacher, Helen McCook, gave us a tour of the samples in the RSN collection in the down-stairs classroom. The highlight was a panel (there to be cleaned/restored) designed by William Morris (the original painted design is at the V & A) and stitched over 8 years by a mother and daughter.  What a bonding experience!!!

There were 11 students in the class and the project was a wonderful thread painted peony rose.  I was very pleased with what I achieved (husbands are banned from saying, “Is that all?!!”) It was the experience of a lifetime and I felt that my skills were equal to the task!


The Gates of Savannah

I found a delightful little book of watercolour paintings of ‘Gates of Savannah’ by Merana Cadorette.  So Doug and I set out on a mission to photograph some of these delightful gates.  Some were old gates and some were modern. The first picture is of an old garden gate. This is typical of many of the walled gardens - little glimpses of serene gardens - decorated for Halloween with wonderful orange pumpkins.


The modern gate I have picture is an orange tree with a little mushroom too!!!! Then I have a favourite gate with humming birds!




I also  found some wonderful iron laces with (you guessed it!) acorns and oak leaves!! I am sure this will inspire some more embroidered acorn panels.


I also found this wonderful acorn seat at an antique shop, but alas, too heavy to carry home.


While walking around one of the squares with the walking tour book clutched in my hands, a lady approached us and was delighted to see the book.  She was the author and artist and we were the first people she had seen using the book!  We were both thrilled and she autographed it for me!

Walking in Savannah

I have been sorting through all of the beautiful Savannah photos and trying to decide which ones I should show you! I am facinated by the wonderful iron lace on all of the od buildings and can see the possibility of incorporating some of the designs into my embroidery.  I would also love to use some of the windows andstreet scapes as backgrounds for embellishing with stumpwork.  I think a more detailed stumpwork garden is in the pipeline!


It is an enchanting city and it is a delight to walk through the shaded squares and peep into the delightful, manicured gardens and chat to locals.  Every step is a walk into history!




Savannah Georgia

I have been sifting through all our beautiful pictures of Savannah trying to decide which ones to show you.  Savannah is a wonderful city with beautiful live oak trees (yes more acorns!) festooned with spanish moss.  We have spent the days walking the beautiful streets and beaches. Taking lots of photos and sampling all the great seafood.  I wish you could all be here with me!  I think a stitching tour of the south could be wonderful fun.  Anyone interested?


We are staying at Tybee Island.  You travel out of Savannah across the marshes, past all the shrimp boats and onto the beautiful beaches fringed with sea oates.


Autumn/Fall in Virginia

Virginia is beautiful in the fall and we had a wonderful trip down the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The autumn leaves are just starting to turn and should be at a peak in a few weeks!  The other sign of Autumn are the most beautiful pumpkins everywhere.  Today I went and picked one from the pumpkin patch.





 Doug has had a wonderful time taking photos.  I guess we have also included gourds in ‘pumpkin’ category!  I just can’t wait for Halloween!





 PS.  Fiona, I am still waiting for a comment to know you are still reading!  Love Jan

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