Monday, December 29, 2014

New EU Vat Regulations and blog break

There are new tax laws coming into effect in January for countries in the European Union regarding digital sales. From January 1st, businesses selling digital items to EU countries are obliged to register and pay VAT (Value Added Tax) to the country in which the customer lives.

With these new EU VAT regulations coming into effect in January, I'll temporarily to close my Etsy shop Lynlubell until I can work out just how I should handle the sales of digital patterns to my EU customers. It seems onerous for a small hobby shop to have to register for VAT in each EU country where a customer may buy a digital pattern, but that is the way I understand it at the moment. Etsy are bringing in some changes to help with the process and I will keep you posted on how this progresses.

In the meantime please contact me through my blog if you are interested in any of the pincushion patterns you may have seen in my Etsy shop. Leave a comment below and I will get back to you. You may also email me directly at "lynette dot warner at gmail dot com" in the usual format of

On another note, I will be taking a break from blogging for a few weeks. I should be back here with you by the end of January with batteries fully recharged.

Till then, happy stitching!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Season's Greetings

Christmas has come and gone and I hope it was a truly cheery time for you.  I have had my daughter and her family here and they will be with us for a couple more weeks too. For us it was wonderful to spend Christmas with two little ones in the house and see the anticipation  and excitement in their faces as Christmas unfolded.

This was my 3 year old grandson's top Christmas wish, and he still sleeps with it in his bed at night.

Yes, its a stop sign! What's it for? Well, it's to stop the traffic! You have to wonder at the workings of a 3 year old's mind.

The house has been busy these last few days. There was great concentration yesterday using the new cookie cutters to bake cookies with Mom and wearing his new pirate apron.

This sunny little chap makes the most delightful burbles and goo sounds. They are difficult to describe but they remind me of the character Morph in Tony Hart's TV Show that was aired in South Africa in the 1970's and 80's. I just love listening to him as he explores his little world.

Did I do much stitching before Christmas? Yes, but it was all on the sewing machine. With 4 grandchildren there were lots of aprons to make, bean bags to sew, and warm tracksuit tops to finish in time for the big day. Doesn't Aidan look sweet in his little top?

As this year draws to a close, enjoy the rest of the festive season and I wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2015. May you also have many happy hours of stitching to look forward to in the coming year.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Ornaments

Making little things is always enjoyable for me and I have just completed drawing up the pattern for three little canvas work Christmas ornaments.

They can either hang on your Christmas tree or be used as scissor fobs and mini pincushions. Add tassels and hang them on doorknobs or attach them to special keys.

The Christmas Ornaments pattern is available in my Etsy shop Lynlubell which you can visit by clicking here.

Its a nice quick project to complete in time for Christmas and a perfect opportunity to use up threads from your stash.

Happy stitching and take care during the rush of the Festive Season.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Free Christmas fonts

One of my favourite blogs that I visit for inspiration and crafty ideas is Craft Gossip.  Being the Christmas season there are lots of Christmas related ideas, links and projects. Many are free and this is where I found these Christmas fonts.

Look at the Christmas story depicted in 9, all the tree shapes in 7, and symbols of Christmas in 3, 11 and 16. There is no chance of having a white Christmas in summer in Cape Town, but those snowflakes in 5 are really pretty and just waiting to be used somewhere.

The fonts are free for you to use on your Christmas cards, gift tags and letters. Click here to find the free Christmas fonts on Lil Luna's blog. I wonder what you are going to do with them?

I started writing this post yesterday and today there is another link to free Christmas scripts on Craft Gossip. Click here to take a look.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Barefoot sandals at Oakhurst Girls' Primary School

This morning a group of girls at Oakhurst Girls' Primary School in Rondebosch had a morning of embroidery, stitching and beading. The project was to make a pair of barefoot sandals.

The Cape Embroiderer's Guild arranged for a group of volunteers to teach some basic embroidery skills such as threading a needle, starting and ending threads, spacing of stitches, straight stitch, buttonhole stitch and how to apply beads. A two hour workshop is not long to do all that but the girls loved it and they turned out some super work.

There are going to be some pretty feet around this summer. Well done girls!

Later.... These photos of the beautiful 'no-shoe shoes' were kindly sent in by Sue Kingma:

If anyone from the workshop has more photos of their completed sandals, do send them to me and I will add them to this blog post. My email address is lynette dot warner at gmail dot com, written in the usual format

Barefoot Sandals

A group of us from the Cape Embroiderer's Guild got together to learn how to make barefoot sandals, something quite new to me. This was in preparation for a workshop at Oakhurst Primary School where the Guild teaches by invitation at the end of the school year. Two grannies of the school joined in too. The more helpers there are the more individual attention each girl will have at the workshop.

Toody Cassidy put together wonderful kits of ribbon, beads and felt and showed us how to embroider and make up the barefoot sandals. Each kit was different and we had a rainbow of exciting colours with which to work.

Jill was the first to complete her barefoot sandal.

Then Stella.

And here are our efforts by the end of the morning, not all completed, but we sure had fun. 

Jill managed to finish both sandals - and they have matching toenails! Very pretty. 

I'm sure the girls are going to love making them! They are super for prettying up bare feet and just in time for summer here in Cape Town.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


A nice warm, quiet afternoon of sewing didn't turn out quite as I expected. I turned away to my cutting table and suddenly it seemed that the neighbor had started up their weed-eater right outside my window. I closed the window but the startlingly loud noise continued right behind me.

I turned and for a second I couldn't take in what I was seeing. My over-locker was sewing at top speed all by itself! Look at that long curly thread it made when I was nowhere near it.

As I reached for the switch to turn it off I smelt a slight touch of burning. Then I remembered. The same thing had happened to me many years before. A small fault developed in the foot and the machine suddenly started sewing. Very eerie! 

No more sewing for a week or two while the foot is repaired and the over-locker is serviced. I find the over-locker gives such a good finish to seams that I don't like to do any sewing without it, even though my trusty Bernina sewing machine does have an over-locking function. It's not the same without the neat trim that the over-locker does as it finishes off the edges.

Has the same spooky thing ever happened to you? Do leave a comment and tell us about your experience. 

To make commenting a little easier I have removed the CAPTCHA test i.e. you will not be asked to type in random characters and prove that you are not a robot. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Silk Flower Doll Couture

This doll's dress may not be embroidery but it is hand stitched and quite exquisite.  Click here for the link to take a look at the video of Nigel Chia's work which I first came across on Karen Ruane's blog.

I just want to start making tiny silk flowers and creating rich fabrics of flowers. The video makes it looks so easy and so quick.

The dress reminds me of the hours I spent with my Cindy doll and this Simplicity pattern.

How my mother's little Singer Featherweight sewing machine could sew too!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Florence Caulfield & Art Nouveau Embroidery

I was intrigued when I saw a design featuring these three proteas on Mary Corbet's blog and wondered if there was a South African connection. It's quite unusual to find distinctly South African embroidery designs.

Protea motif
from the Illustrated Needlework Book
 at the Victoria and Albert Museum
A little research revealed that the designer Florence Caulfield, an embroiderer and a specialist in South African flora, went to England shortly before World War I broke out. Her embroidery book, titled The Illustrated Needlework Book, features Art Nouveau designs based on indigenous South African flowers but it seems that due to the War it was never published. Sad to think she was so near to publishing but that it didn't happen.

If you have been in Cape Town at the right time of the year you may have been lucky enough to see swaths of red disas, just like the one illustrated below, growing freely on Table Mountain. It's something I still want to go and see. Where's that bucket list?

Disa motif
from The Illustrated Needlework Book
at the Victoria and Albert Museum
The proof copy of Florence's book is held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and delightfully for us embroiderers some of the designs have been made available in digital format for downloading and using. They can be found at the Victoria and Albert Museum website here.

On the V&A website there is a brief description of the style of embroidery Florence used, a style that included a limited range of colours and mainly satin stitch. You can see too a wonderful photographic portrait of Florence wearing a dress that she herself embroidered.

If you do try one of Florence Caulfield's designs, I'd love to hear about it and will share it with other readers in an upcoming blog post.

Till then happy stitching!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Stellenberg Open Gardens

Stellenberg in Kenilworth, Cape Town, has an open day each spring in aid of charity. Last weekend my Sunday morning was spent wandering around the beautiful gardens.

The elegant manor house dates back to the mid 18th century somewhere between 1742 and 1768 and it is classified as an historical monument.

You enter the gardens under cool, shady trees and see first this gracious view of the U-shaped house.

The gardens are what I go to see and a quote from the leaflet containing the garden plan explains why: "The philosophy behind [the] gardening is to plant each section with a different mood in mind, but always to give a sense of peace and serenity to the person walking through it".

You enter past the white garden.

Walk along the main facade of the house and over the sweeping lawns.

Through the wild garden with crisp yellow irises 

... and bronze leafed cannas that dwarf you.

Then along the stream garden with it's stonework bridge now half hidden by a tree.

Through the garden of reflection with that hedge that is fascinatingly, perfectly smooth and vertical and the rows of sculptured shrubs that are as round as bubbles.

A tantalizing glimpse of the vine walk before you get there.

A glimpse of Table Mountain across the corner of the walled garden with its profusion of plants contained by formal little hedges.

An unexpected picturesque arch of roses in the herb garden,

...sweet smelling roses.

A shady walk to the vegetable garden.

Passing another lovely old tree.

And a rest in the all-white rose garden.

...with a glorious view of the mountain.

And finally passing the tall sweet peas, just coming into flower, before relaxing in the busy yet tranquil tea garden tucked unexpectedly out of sight around the corner.

What a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Home Again and Rhodes Stitch and Roses Pincushion Pattern

Four lovely weeks with family are over and there are lots of happy memories to treasure. Birthday parties; seeing my 3 year old grandson learning to swim before my eyes; building lots of Lego boats and towers; picnics in the park - even a picnic on a balcony; and family barbeques and braais - yes, they do have real boerewors in Brisbane if you know where to look.  

The jetlag is receding and I am getting busy tidying up the overgrown garden and catching up on my rather neglected stitching. There are several things on the go as you can see here on my sewing table.

This week I finished off the pincushion that Beryl and I had been working on just before I left. The Rhodes Stitch and Roses canvas work pincushion pattern is now available in my Etsy shop Lynlubell. You can see a glimpse of it on my sewing table.

After the lovely comments and feedback that customers have left previously in my Etsy shop, I spent quite some time this week completing the notes and trying to make sure they are detailed and clear to follow.  Some of those kind comments are:

"I bought several items from this seller and found them unique easy to follow patterns and as good as they look on screen." Marion Oates.

 "Lovely design with clear instructions." Marette Walker.

"Excellent pattern. Thanks for responding so quickly. Excellent instructions." Kathleen.

Sewing aside, the day is cooling down and it's time to pay the lawn some much needed attention. It's become rather patchy over the winter and the last few weeks while I was away have been rather dry. One of my favourite things is standing out in the garden as evening approaches and watering with the hosepipe.

Have a restful weekend!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bangkok visit

Two lovely weeks in Brisbane with family and grandchildren are over, with lots of outings and picnics in the numerous parks along the sea front just down the road.

One felt ball was finished and handed over to await Chistmas day. I still have to figure out how to upload the photos via a borrowed iPad. 

The pentagons of the second felt ball are being stitched together for my one year old grandson. Those photos too are waiting to be uploaded. 

Bangkok is hot and steamy and there's lots of swimming with our grandsons. I am in awe of the lush vegetation. Gardening must be a dream here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Storing linen

The carpet-fitters were here recently replacing the carpet in my sewing room. As they packed up and carted off the old threadbare carpet my eye fell on this. They were only too willing to leave it behind for me.

A cardboard roll is just perfect for storing linen.

Rod got out the sturdy craft knife to cut off a length for me. That cardboard is tough!

And oops! Rod ended up with 3 stitches in his leg and no running for a week! Be careful.

I've found that it's not easy to roll up your fabric to exactly the same width all the way, so give yourself a bit of extra length when measuring where to cut. My roll is about 5cm/12cm longer than the width of my linen.

There's no knowing how long my linen may be on that roll for. To protect it from any damaging acids in the cardboard I cut a piece of washed calico and stitched it onto the roll, working outwards from the centre towards each end.

I had plans to stitch neat round circles onto the ends but finally decided to gather up the ends with a strong thread instead. Much quicker. And it does the job of keeping the calico fixed in place on the cardboard roll. Also, I hope the air circulation through the roll will help keep any pesky musty smells away.

Then, out came the linen.

You can see the nasty creases in this piece. After a while creases can be almost impossible to get out. Also, the fabric can wear and get dirty along the folds if you store it folded in the same way for a long time. If you do store your fabric folded up in a drawer, refold it regularly along different fold lines. This prevents excessive wear along the same folded edges.

Once its rolled up, I don't like using ties to keep the fabric in place because they can leave puckers where the fabric is accidentally gathered up. Surprisingly, the late Kay McLaurin used a stocking to keep her fabric neatly on a roll. I tried it and it works superbly, even if it looks a little odd. Well actually very odd indeed, but I've got used to it now. I found the stocking a great solution.

You can roll up more than one piece of linen on a roll says my friend Tricia Elvin-Jensen. Just keep a note of what's on there so you can find it when you want it.

Finally, how to store those rolls? My big linen roll stands behind the storage boxes in my sewing cupboard. (The photo below is rather misleading because my sewing cupboard does not usually look so neat and tidy! I wish it did.) Any smaller rolled up pieces of fabric fit nicely into those storage boxes with the other bits and pieces.

More ideas from Tricia and Kay are to stand rolls all together in a bin or container, or perhaps work out a way to hang the rolls up on the back of a door.

Otherwise, there's not been much progress on the new pincushion pattern I've been working on and with an unanticipated visit to family starting next week everything else is on hold for a while. So, it may be a while till my next post too. In the meantime, happy stitching!