Heaven in the High Country


My first blog began with the words
‘I love colour, texture. I love the tactile pleasure that comes from running my hands through beautiful threads and textiles. With these, I weave my magic.’

So it was at Easter this year, that Robyn Alexander’s Felting retreat was my heart’s delight. Rangers Valley Cattle Station in the Great Dividing Ranges N.S.W was the venue. The nearest country town was Glen Innes.

A three hour plane flight to join Robyn in Mullumbimby the night before, a dawn start for the five hour drive to the station were only minor discomforts compared to our ultimate destination. By the mid afternoon, we were settled into the traditional homestead midst an English garden, with surrounding views that can be only described as breathtaking.

There were ten of us. The aim was to create a fabric large enough to cover a holdall embroidery bag and the first step was to explore the Colourstreams’ luscious felts and exotic wools for the raw materials. I was in my element.

Under Robyn’s watchful and animated guidance, the first two days were exciting and playful; full of creative fun; punctuated with laughter and fascinating stories; lots of eating and drinking as we all worked on our felted pieces.

The photos tell the story. Original artwork, fabulous designs.IMG_1619

Our Saturday evening highlight was a tour of the huge 14,000 acre cattle station and surrounding valleys. Don Mackay the Station manager was our guide. We drove through shallow river beds and rocky terrain all the while mesmerised by a sunset spreading across an orange hued sky.

Ranger Valley Cattle Station Shearing Sheds

Ranger Valley Cattle Station Shearing Sheds

The property was originally  sheep station and we explored the old shearing buildings still intact, seemingly just waiting for the next flock and their shearers to clatter across the boards once more.IMG_1645

Just the best few days ever…

On the way home, we diverted through Byron Bay.

Stay tuned for my next instalment. Rocking at the Byron Bay Music Fest . Yeah! to the Doobie Bros and Boz Scags.



Tasmanian Treasures at Stitch In Time

Gosh, I love going to Hobart.

What a delightful city. Beautiful colonial houses and shops, no hassle with traffic congestion between the city and the airport, unlike Melbourne that is well overdue for a train link; the journey takes hours. In Hobart, only 20 minutes tops and straight through check-in as well…

My five days at A Stitch in Time with Mary Anne and the girls were wonderful. They always make me feel like one of the family.

Stencilling the Florentine Bag Design

Stencilling the Florentine Bag Design

The first two day workshop was absorbed by the Florentine bags, influenced by my 2010 trip to Florence of course! The ladies stencilled Colourstreams luscious hand-dyed velvets with metallic coppers and gold.

Dimensional French beading and sequining atop the bags resembled the sea anemones and coral flowers of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Lovely!

Metallic organza baubles, sumptuous silk tassels and shimmering cords completed the luxury look.

On the second two day workshop the ladies were introduced to the art of thread painting woodland creatures (mainly those little mice) a subject I really like as many students know… Getting the character into those mischievous faces was the main skill in this workshop.

They also learnt the art of shadow and colour shading these creatures; very important if a perfect life-like picture is to be achieved. 

Much happiness and squeals of delight were to be heard as the ladies grasped the concept of creating an animal’s character. A very successful class indeed.

Love, Love, Love

Love, Love, Love

On my last day, Mary Anne and I explored the city, or should I say, we spent a professional development day around the shops. 

Yes I certainly would move to Hobart in a flash if they could provide much warmer weather into Tasmania all year round….


This entry was posted on March 24, 2014. 1 Comment

New Zealand Embroidery Cruise Adventure

The New Zealand Cruise Ship

The New Zealand Cruise Ship

Hello Stitchers everywhere!

Home from the New Zealand embroidery cruise last week, my thoughts have lingered on a wonderful new group of stitching ladies from around the world with whom I shared the journey. We shared a love for embroidery, family anecdotes, laughter, friends and the challenges of life’s occasional hiccups.  Stitching the while, we became as a sisterhood.

 I taught three projects. The perennial favourite The Flemish Still Life, Going to Seed, rapidly gaining its own popularity and the ribbonry of the sweet Fritillaries. All pieces were received with great excitement and enthusiasm. 

By cruise end, many stitchers could proudly display completed pieces, the ribbon fritillaries being the easiest to finish in the time frame.Fritillery NZ

It was the usual groups of fun loving stitchers, but the difference was, that we were fun loving stitchers on a large cruise ship.

The New Zealand coast is awe-inspiring.

 Cruising the South Island’s coast, manoevuring through Dusky, Doubtful and Milford Sounds,  were breathtaking adventures that I count among my best life experiences.

 Otago Embroiders Dunedin2 2014 Otago Embroiders Dunedin 2014More to reveal but now I am off to Tasmania to re-join old friends at A Stitch in Time to teach my Florentine Hand Bag Collection.


New Year! Fresh Start!

A new kitchen and a new family room. <Sigh> Longed for and long awaited. But at what a price! My workroom sacrificed… Cleared out… Demolished.

 …where do I find a creative space to call my own?


Hmmm! Crafty woman Thought.

That large bedroom could make an ideal stitching goddess cave.

 It overlooks the beautiful rose garden, floral scents waft through the window in summer.There’s room to fit all my precious stitching treasures and fabric stash around me,  space for my music and I’m sure I can secret the odd bottle of stress relieving potion.


I set my plan into action. H1 must be convinced that it’s in his best interest having a contented lady around, who can increase her business  creatively, maintain a clean house and produce a delectible meal at the end of the day. 

 During  afternoon tea, his favourite cake in front of him, I launch my ” H1 beneficial plan” to the man of the house.   Voila! It worked.  I moved furniture and effects before he realised what he agreed to.    


Mission accomplished.  Another step for woman kind 🙂       

                    IMG_0383             IMG_0384        IMG_0382  

Girls any accomplishments to spill? I would love to hear about them.
Cheers Catherine

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2014

Happy New Year 2014

Happy New Year 2014

Well, that year’s gone.  Hurray! We are now at the helm of the New Year. What will 2014 bring? What mischief can we get up to with our stitching in 2014? 

My immediate goals include: preparing kits for the Pacific Cruise in February, teaching in March for A Stitch in Time in Hobart and, of course, fresh project designs for Koala Conventions in July.

I need to expand the Catherine Howell greeting card series, and keep up the impetus for my book on that most popular design, The Flemish Still Life.

Time to sit down and think of new projects?. Finish the UFO’s??? Not inspiring?? Wondering what all you stitching ladies are creating at the moment?  Do drop me a line, its lovely to hear how you are going……
Cocktails by the Pool


‘Tis The Season…


Hello Fellow Stitchers,

My 2013 teaching year has been a non-stop stitch-fest. Apart from my regular, weekly classes at Mt Eliza Needlework and Bustle & Bows, I was rewarded with a few wonderful getaways.

February saw me in Hobart, teaching with Mary Anne and the girls at A Stitch in Time. In April, I was in Brisbane at Kerryn Lightfoot’s Allthreads Sit & Stitch week-end. Thank you Ladies for a happy time.

July took me to Brisbane again. This was my 11th year teaching at Koala Conventions. Full workshops, old friends, new students, fun times and great camaraderie. I always love going here and this year was no exception.

In September, I spent a delightful week with Robyn Alexander of Colourstreams indulging myself with her lucious silk threads, velvets, wool felt and her ubiquitous sequins. Fun, laughter, trips to Byron Beach, Shopping!!! Add the occasional wine and the creativity flowed merrily.

Term 4 came all too fast. I was back at Mt Eliza Needlework. October is count down time for many projects’ completion dates, in time for Christmas giving.

And here we are again. Christmas!

Season Greetings, Happy Stitching, Don’t eat and drink too much, not.
I’ll see you all next year.


Emily Elf

Emily Elf

 Christmas Trees

Give Me Colour, Texture and a Needle & Thread

I love colour, texture. I love the tactile pleasure that comes from running my hands through beautiful threads and textiles. With these, I weave my magic.

My designs come from my endless dreaming of the many thread ranges and newly discovered textiles into an embroidery delight.


Come Share My Journey & My Joy