Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Two Embroidery Finishes & a Key


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Just to prove that something really does get accomplished occasionally in my embroidery world, here are two finishes since the beginning of the week.

I’ve actually finished so many tasks since Monday morning, that I feel a little justified in taking at least part of today off. I think I’ll go out to lunch, go see a movie, do a little shopping… oh wait.

Nyah. I’ll just stay here and work. Why not?!

Ok, let’s browse through these finishes. I’ll add some commentary about what you’re seeing, but I’ll try to keep it pretty short!

Hand embroidered floral heart with key

I’ve been simultaneously working two projects – the floral heart and a colorful voided monogram needlebook. Both of them have the same type of back – a line sampler of random stitches in coordinating colors.

In the photo above, you can see the front of the heart and the back of the needlebook.

Hand embroidered floral heart with key

Here’s the whole heart.

It’s a sachet – there’s a little layer of lavender tucked inside it, and it smells oh-so-lavendery.

Instead of a tassel or decorative line of beads or what-have-you, I decided to finish the heart with a little hanging key at the base of it.

Hand embroidered floral heart with key

The key to my heart.

I know, I know. It seems a little cheesy.

But you know what? I like cheese. Give me a triple cream brie and some little crostini, maybe a little pepper jelly or fig jam, and we’ll be best friends for life!

And there’s a little bit of my heart that likes to be cheesy, too. I like the key.

This is going to be a bridal shower gift. But it would also make a terrific Mother’s Day gift, or an any-occasion gift for someone special.

Hand embroidered floral heart with key

As I mentioned above, the back of the heart is just a series of random lines that I’ve stitched over with decorative line stitches.

I love stitching decorative lines! You can just let your imagination go and do whatever you want with stitches over a straight line. It’s a fun exercise!

Hand embroidered floral heart with key

And there’s the full back.

Hand embroidered floral heart with key

And here’s the voided monogram needlebook, finished, with that ostentatious ribbon and bow.

This is my Favorite Ribbon that I’ve Ever Bought, and perhaps it’s a little “dressy” for this project, but I think the color worked well with the whole exuberant thing.

Hand embroidered floral heart with key

I did the Bead Thing on the edge – I think these are 8/0 delicas (Miyuki). The thread is #5 pearl cotton. There are two Palestrina stitches between each bead.

Hand embroidered floral heart with key

The inside of the needlebook is fashioned with wool felt over a very thin, soft batting, sewn onto the back of the embroidered piece using buttonhole stitch. It’s a very easy way to finish the inside of a needlebook.

If you wanted to decorate the inside, too, you could embroider some coordinating flowers or maybe a ladybug or something on the wool felt – but I think this piece has enough embroidery on it already!

Hand embroidered floral heart with key

Here’s that ribbon. You can see the color change in the shot silk, due to the different colors in the warp and the weft. It’s a bright coral and a bright pink together.

Hand embroidered floral heart with key

The beads do get a little lost on the edge, with all that embroidery, but, given the whole overdone abundance of the thing, it still works.

At this point, I was working completely from my stash. I wasn’t able to go out hunting for beads in the last couple weeks, so I made do. I wanted something sunshiny and warm and colorful. I think it worked ok.

Hand embroidered floral heart with key

There’s the back of both. I think the heart got a little more coverage!

So, those two models are finished. Next job: finishing the designs for each letter of the alphabet, in both square and round layouts. Good thing I’m already on Q, or I might be tempted to despair!

I’m so grateful to have much to keep me occupied right now, and to be able to share it with you. There is much to be said for creative activity any time in life, but it sure is a most wonderful gift these days!

I hope that you are finding a silver lining every day and something to be grateful for – that’s the key to peace and contentment!

Hang in there!


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(30) Comments

  1. Deeelightful! Adore the big ribbon! And HB2U, Mary; thanks for another year of joy and eye candy.
    Peace and Blessings,

  2. Just a note to say how much I enjoy your newsletters and instructions and most of all your writing style. You have a gift and your messages never fail to lift my mood; your cheery writing style makes me happy.
    Stay well!

  3. Just beautifully done!! I look forward to your post each time. Thank you for the inspiration. Have a wonderful time creating, we all benefit from it. Suzie in Idaho

  4. Just stunning. I’ve loved watching the progress on these projects and the bright colors have cheered me up so much these days! Thanks for all that you do Mary, stay healthy and safe 🙂

  5. Hi Mary!

    I just love these colorful projects and finishes! Especially like how you show a close up of your edges. Question: how do you attach the cording to the piece and how do you start and finish the attachment so that the ends are not noticeable?

    Thank-you, Molly

  6. Thank you so much, Mary, for keeping your blog going during this time. You don’t know how much it lifts my spirits to see your email popping into your folder on my computer 🙂 It might be a while before I can get back to embroidery, as I have masks to make now that I’ve figured out a pattern that will work on my brand-new lemon of a sewing machine, but when I do, an allover design really appeals. Something where each little element is different from all the others. Gee, could that have anything to do with making one mask after another with just differences in color to make them less boring? 🙂 Thanks again, and keep ’em coming as long as you can. My thoughts are with you and your loved ones.


    1. I, too, am finding making masks very tedious… and looking forward so very much to more interesting stitchery.
      Mary, as others have said, your beautiful work is a joy to my heart, and inspiration to my soul, and motivation to get other *&^% done so I can get back to some embroidery! Thank you!!

  7. Awwwww! I adore cheesy gifts! And bridal showers! And anything handmade! (Note: I am noticing how aggressive the exclamation points are, but trust that they are simply meant to convey an effusion of sweetness and good natured feeling.) I used to get cross-stitched gifts from my aunt when I was little. I regret, sadly, that I left them behind in a move. (To be clear: I did not want to move and didn’t pack anything. The only reason I actually ended up in my new home, notably not kicking or screaming, was because my family lost my cat. I found him in less than ten minutes. I would say it was just a trick to get me to cooperate, but no. He was lost for a couple hours before they called me.) The Point! I think your gift is sweet and lovely. Anyone should be glad to receive it.

  8. LOVE the ribbon & bow! It’s reminiscent of early 1900’s photos of children with large bows in their hair or tied at the neck under a big collar. The fresh colors are so cheerful, they take our minds off current circumstances. Thanks for keeping us motivated to make beautiful things while we’re quarantined.

  9. First of all, I enjoy every one of your posts and the way you create conversation with us all. Thank you!
    I was just thinking about how I am so drawn to your embroidery style even though it is so different than mine. I’m a bit ‘messier and asymmetrical’. But we are both colorful!
    Just realizing that, as creative folk, it’s a good place to be to enjoy different styles and not feel like we have to change ours.
    I get inspiration not only from other’s work, but also from their creative thoughts and energy shared.
    Be well!

  10. Hey Mary,
    Question: How do you stitch that line with the rosebuds and little leaves?
    There are two of them on the back of the floral heart and one, I think, on the back of the needlebook.
    I’m calling it Line o’ Roses!
    Thank you

  11. Hi Mary,
    Thank you for the crosses. Very appropriate for today. Stay at home in Easter Week is difficult. My church is facebook live broadcasting the Good Friday Liturgy, but it is not the same.

    I found the link for the Sunflower Cross to be broken. I searched and it is in your posts. You might check on this, to verify that being stir crazy has not affected my brain!

    Blessings to you in this difficult time and on this most holy day.

  12. Dear Mary

    I love the finished voided monogram needlebook and the Floral Heart they are beautifully stitched I can’t believe how lovely they are and the stitching involved is overwhelming so many and they just fill the heart and monogram, well done and the added bonus of the key makes it so professional they are lovely. Yes I’m finding lots to do and am not bored at all, at least I can go out around the garden grounds that we have here and talk to neighbours at a distance. My family on the other hand, I just see online Zoom app is very good and a lovely way to keep in touch. Thanks for your blogs they really keep us going. Take Care and Keep safe.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  13. Hi,
    I absolutely love these designs! (Long time lurker, first time posting!) You mention finishing the design for each letter of the alphabet-on the assumption that this is in order to have them for sale, do you have any kind of idea when that might happen? (If you haven’t change your midn about it, which is fine, if a bit of a shame!)

  14. I hope these are going to be sold as a it or at the very least a pattern and instructions for finishing. I LOVE these! Smalls are so “in style” currently. And, practical for gift giving all year round!

  15. I am having so much fun going back and re-reading your previous posts. Amazing what I missed the first time around. Thank you for all you do for the stitching community. It is appreciated immensely.


  16. Hello mary
    Congratulations for your work . I love to follow your blog, I read them all and I love it!!!!
    I look forward to these new projects for 2022.
    Big hug and happy holidays!!!!
    Angela Garcia from Brazil, Rio de Janeiro

  17. My favorite thread is a single strand of DMC embroidery floss. I do lots of needlepainting, and I love the way the cotton floss shines when it is laid smoothly on the fabric!

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