Monday, 17 September 2012

The world is your ... embroidery kit?!

Don't you just love holidays?  Travel is one of the many things DH and I have in common.  He's done a lot more of it than I have, but we both love it.  We've both lived abroad too and would love to give that another shot sometime before we're too old.

Over the years we've both collected lovely souvenirs from our travels and our home is decorated with many of them.  I must admit that DH has a very good principal when it comes to buying presents and souvenirs - get something that someone can use or need/want, rather than just buying for the sake of buying and the item collecting dust in a cupboard somewhere.

Since being together we've bought a beautiful rug (India), a St Bridget cross and butter dishes (Ireland), garden lantern (Wales) and a Benjamin Franklin quote print (Philadelphia). We also have Chinese script, south American textiles, African masks, Aboriginal artwork, Czech prints and a few Christmas tree and Easter decorations from our various solo trips.  We do tend to buy a tea towel or two while we're at it too and in our collection there are some from South Africa, Ireland, Belgium, Sweden, Brittany, the London 2012 Olympic Games and Australia.

I love to try to buy embroidery magazines while I'm abroad too, as they are often slightly different to what you'll find here.  But my ideal souvenir is to find an embroidery kit that shows something typical of the country I'm visiting.  It isn't always easy though, but I have managed to get a lovely May Pole from Bavaria, a banner of typical/well known Norwegian buildings, a Swedish Christmas banner, a map of Brittany and some Quimper faience pattern 'samplers' and I also have a provencal table cloth from a visit to my cousin when she lived in Toulon.
Bavarian may-pole - when I replace my camera I'll add a better photo!

Map of Brittany by Philomène

Greetings from Norway - typical buildings

Provencal table cloth and napkins
We were fortunate enough to be in New York for a week when the Icelandic volcano struck and caused havoc with international travel.  What hardship to 'have' to stay there for an extra week!  During the second week I discovered a lovely little embroidery shop around the corner from where we were staying and I went to see what I could find.  I discovered an embroidery 'designer' called Prairie Schooler which has a lot of folk-art style designs.  In the bargain bucket I found "A Prairie Year II" booklet - 12 designs, one for each month of the year - which I thought would be quite practical for a pretty, quick stitch as a card or small gift.

Before leaving NYC, I showed the booklet to our hostess and asked whether she'd like one of the designs and promised to send it to her once I'd finished (with the caveat that I'd no idea how quickly I would manage it!).

It is just as well really, as I saw her again a fornight ago - for the second time over here since our visit there in 2010 - and realised that I still hadn't finished her design.  Well, to be honest, I finished embroidering it ages ago, but haven't made it up into anything yet.  I'd also embroidered another two designs, one for Christmas (but that hasn't turned out as successfully as the other two as the background fabric is a bit pale) and one with a beehive design for another couple we know who keep bees.  I've filled them both with dried lavender so they not only look pretty, but they also smell heavenly. 
Prairie Schooler lavender bags

Yet another UFO to tick off my long list.  How do you think they turned out?

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