Suzie Stanford

I’m obviously in craft mode, because pretty soon after I finished gilding my copper candelabra, I decided I’d crack on with my vintage needlepoint kits. I think it’s because I haven’t actually made anything in ages. There was a time when I used to take myself off to college once a week for four years, so I could learn upholstery. And when that didn’t interest me any longer, I went on a course to learn how to make lampshades by hand. So I suppose that making stuff is sort of in my blood; it’s just that after years of being an interior designer, and running my shop and clients’ projects, I’ve lost the knack of making time for being creative in a more hands on way. So I thought it was about time to delve into my dusty old ‘craft drawer’, sift through all my unfinished projects, and root out the vintage needlepoint kits I bought a while back when I was inspired by some funky tapestry chairs I’d seen on Pinterest!

By Marie Berbar

By Marie Berbar

After completely drooling over the beautiful images I’d found, I decided that I’d like to have a go at it myself and cover one of my own chairs with some tapestries. Many moons ago I bought a pair of lovely 1950’s dining chairs with the most fantastic shape, and although I used one of them in my bedroom in our second to last home, they’ve been in storage ever since. I thought the shape of them would suit a vintage needlepoint, and also the small sizes of the areas to cover would mean I wasn’t embroidering for the rest of my life. There is a part of me that is devastated to be ripping off that wonderfully vintage floral fabric, but I’m keeping the other one of the pair original for posterity, and I’ll be keeping the ripped off fabric from this one to make a cushion with. So I feel a little better about it all.

Flossie helping me take a photograph

Flossie helping me take a photograph

my chair

There are some gorgeously embroidered pieces out there that I think are absolutely beautiful, like the exquisite chair already featured by Marie Berbar. I also love Kaffe Fasset’s red French chair shown below, and the footstool that follows, by Nathalie Gagneaux Créations. But my absolute all time favourite, and something that I would dearly wish to own myself, is the fantastically embroidered sofa that sits in the home of Luis Laplace and Christophe Comoy; it even comes with its own colour-coordinated chicken sitting on it. I love it! One day I will have something like that myself, but for now, I can only lust over that image…which I do on quite a regular basis, but shhhh, keep that to yourselves please. If you do follow their link (c/o Vogue), you’ll get to see their entire home in France, which is an absolute treat.

Kaffe FassetNathalie Gagneux Creations

Luis Laplace Christophe Comoy

The tapestry, the shape, the velvet, the trim, the chicken…I love it all!

However, when I was deciding on what I’d like to do myself, it was the kitsch stuff that appealed to me more, as I’m a bit of a fan of anything tongue-in-cheek. And I also thought that the old-fashioned paint-by-numbers type of tapestry kit would really compliment the 1950’s shape of the chair. My inspiration included the armchair at the beginning of the post by artist Suzie Stanford, and some other lovely piccies I found on Pinterest (the black hole I find myself in on most evenings when I snaffle my iPad into bed with me!):

patchwork needlepoint

Pinterest pouffe

Pinterest sofa Kitsch needlepoint chair

My favourite chair above was the one with the ballerina on, because when I was little that’s what I wanted to be with ALL of my heart! So when I began looking for vintage tapestry kits on eBay to cover my own chair in, I was just so excited to find my very own ballerina. Sad aren’t I? I was also drawn to a completely kitsch kit depicting scenery straight out of Heidi, with mountains and cabins and snow-capped peaks. I think it was all the turquoise, green and dash of pink that drew me in, my three favourite colours. Lots of favourites going on here aren’t there?! So, the smaller ballerina tapestry was to go on the back of the chair, with the mountain scene on the seat, and all I needed to do now was just get cracking.

my tapestry kits

tapestry plan for chair

But it was the ‘get cracking’ bit that seemed to elude me, as I bought those kits back in March last year! However, over New Year I realised I waste so much time watching telly of an evening and that if I did a bit of old multi-tasking, I could make something with my hands at the same time. And that’s what really appealed to me about the kits; after coming home from being creative all day at work, I can just switch off, and the kit tells me what I need to do next. Not out loud silly, I’m not mad. But I just don’t have to think or concentrate. And that’s why I like doing crafts, it gives me a break from the active creativity that my job entails, but still allows me to ‘create’ something…I want to say mindlessly, but considering the popularity of grown-up colouring books as a way of encouraging meditation, I think ‘mindfully’ is more the word. And I’m really enjoying it, despite the odd looks I get from my husband!

I will keep you posted on my progress, hopefully the finished article will be with you before New Year of 2017! And if you have any craft projects on the go, please do tell me about them.