Christmas wreath with Liberty fabric


From the beginning of December I start getting all excited about Christmas. I would start the frenzy earlier, but I don’t think Mr Flora’s Patch would be able to cope with a longer Christmas fantasy world. From the 1st of December though, it’s fair game. The tree goes up (it’s a fake one because I decided when I was little that watching a tree die- even a tree all decorated and full of fairy lights- doesn’t ever make feel cheery), strings of lights appear all over the house and under the front porch in the various shapes of stars, snowflakes, flowers and colourful acorns. This last one sounds a bit random but the colours on that one are really intense, it’s beautiful. I also adorn the front door with a wreath.


This year I made my own. The base is a willow wreath that I bought ready-made. It has a strong metal frame behind the willow that should keep the whole thing in place for years. I tore some pieces of Liberty fabric from my scrap pile, which felt like I was committing a crime. Such a beautiful fabric to just shred… But I like the untidy, fringy edges it creates. I tied these ribbon pieces randomly to the willow.

The bird is made of felt. I did some appliqué on the wings and the head markings (I took my inspiration from a partridge, because of the Christmas song “Partridge in a pear tree”), also in Liberty fabric. I painted a partridge in watercolour and copied my painting for the bird design. For the first one I used tiny black buttons for the eyes but for the second one I used teddy bear safety eyes. I stuffed the bird, which sounds macabre, and used a blanket stitch all around. Then I took my rabbit Penelope for a walk in the back garden and together we collected some sticks from the birch tree. Well, I collected, she nibbled. She really likes birch. Branch, leaves, catkins, she would eat the whole tree if I let her. And if the tree hadn’t grown to an unreasonable 25 metres high (It grew from a seed that a sparrow had pooped into a terracotta pot in the patio!).

Back to the partridge… I sewed a ribbon to the back of its neck, sewed its underbelly to a stick and secured it to the centre of the wreath. I used another ribbon directly above the hanging bird to tie the wreath to the letterbox on the front door.


I hope you have a go at making yours. If you don’t have the time, I have listed a couple for sale in my Etsy shop here: Flora’s Patch

Happy sewing!


Crochet pen étui

A few years ago my first book came out and I had some book signings sessions at various events. At the last minute I panicked: what kind of message do you write to complete strangers who happen to like your book? Presumably you have some things in common but at the same time, you don’t know each other. So I googled it. “What do you write at a book signing?” Surprisingly, Neil Gaiman, of whom I am a big fan, has written loads about the subject. His first piece of advice was to buy yourself a Sharpie.


I had heard of Sharpies, but I thought they were these big permanent markers basketball players use to sign autographs on basketballs. A bit over the top and slightly coarse for botanical painting… Then I found the fine Sharpies. Refillable in a metallic body. Pretty. It doesn’t bleed through the page, it is touch dry instantly even on glossy paper, doesn’t smudge when you close the book… perfect. (Honestly, they are not paying me for this; I really do like my Sharpie.)


Then obviously I wanted to share the love. I have a friend in France who is a comic book writer and has signing events too. Mr Flora’s Patch needs a pen in his breast pocket at work. My best friend likes everything I like, so definitely one for her. Soon enough, every stocking that year had a Sharpie on order. The fine refillable one with the metallic body.


Then what? It might be a good pen, but a pen just like that on its own is a bit boring. I decided to make étuis to hold them and make them more Christmassy. So I made these in crochet, with an organza ribbon fastening and a little satin rose. Except for the comic book writer. He is a man and not a man who would enjoy a crochet pen holder that includes a little satin rose. I bought him a faux leather affair in black. Had he known what he had escaped from, he would have been grateful.


The pattern is very simple: it is worked row by row, all straight, long enough to fit the pen front and back and to have a fold over flap at the end. Line the crochet piece in velvet, so that the pen doesn’t fall through the holes (the horror of losing your Sharpie!) and so that the body of the pen doesn’t get scratched. Use the same yarn to stitch the sides and a thin thread to attach the ribbons and the rose. It is worked in trebles all along or if you feel fancy you can add a few shells at the front.

Yarn: Patton mercerised cotton

Happy crochet!

(Copyright Sandrine Maugy)

Apple pincushion

Every year I choose a project and I make a thing for all my friends, in different colour variations to suit their tastes. This is the one I made last year. (I can’t blog about this year because my friends will read the blog and they’ll know what’s coming (apart from winter, but they already know that…)


Using different variations of Liberty, Tilda and Frou Frou fabrics, I made little apple pincushions. I like pincushions. Apart from actually being useful, they can look really amazing too. Some people are very creative with them…



Of course, being a botanical artist, I couldn’t help having to make them more or less botanically correct: the leaves are serrated, the stem has two different colours for the bark and the wood core, and the veining is anastomosing… That is, I thought they were botanically correct until some clever clogs pointed out that apple skins are not usually in segments of colourful ditsy flowers. Ha! Should have seen this one coming.

Anyway, my friends seemed happy with them…

During the year I made some more and I listed them in my Etsy shop here: