CHRISTMAS SEWN UP
Every Christmas, wherever my family may be, I lay two cloths on the table, one rotated to reveal corners of the other. Then come eight delicate linen napkins with cross-stitched flower detail in each corner.
The cloths were my grandmother’s and the napkins embroidered by three great aunts. Along with three pillowcases embroidered with our kids’ initials, this is the kit that forms the foundation of our celebration.
The beauty of the napkins is their simplicity. They look just as good with a painterly Bonnie and Neil linen tablecloth from a couple of seasons ago as they do with Granny’s. The tiny stitch detail takes me back to sewing lessons with the Principal’s wife at my tiny country primary school. Between hot summer days and Bullrush at lunchtime, the needle always seemed hard to grasp, the cloth evermore damp! So, I’m full of admiration for the team who embroidered our cover this month. We hatched the idea quite some time ago and it’s just as well… Even in the hands of two exceptional stitchers, Sharyn Hutchens and Mary Brown from the Embroiderers’ Guild NSW Inc (left) the job took more than 100 hours. I’m sure you’ll agree the result is truly magnificent – a stunning Christmas cover! Embroidery and embellishment is making a resurgence, along with macramé and weaving, pottery and other handcrafts. Once deemed a bit ‘nanna’, these time-honoured skills are being appreciated anew and, stitch by stitch, adding an extra dimension to many fashion and homewares collections.
If needle and thread are not your thing, the DIY paper decorations devised by designer Sophie Wilson and stylists’ assistant Sara Åkesson are something everyone can buy into. Follow the how-to instructions on page 214 and enjoy a little pre-Christmas crafting: a budgetfriendly and beautiful way to decorate.
There’s much, much more to discover in this issue, and I particularly love the alternative palettes our style teams and featured home owners have employed… our summertime Christmas opens up many options. From Lynda Gardener’s vintage white-on-white table with stunning wattle bough overhead to the Simpson-Craig clan’s crimson bougainvillea spray and elsewhere, sea blues and bush greens, there is much to delight. With a hint of sparkle in the mix, almost anything goes.
This issue sees us sign off on Australian House & Garden’s 70th birthday year and we’ve published a beautiful book to commemorate the occasion – Australian Homes: 70 Years Well Lived. Highlights from each decade, key influencers and architecture, interiors and gardens of note are chronicled in a highly visual walk down memory lane. I sincerely hope it will find its way under your Christmas tree
(see details on page 73).
As ever, we’ve loved putting this issue together. Thank you for sharing this special year with us and Merry Christmas to you all.