Australian House & Garden - - HG | EDITOR’S LETTER -

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.

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