Category Archives: embroidery

The Fifties wedding package

Freshly back from an invigorating short break in Italy and France (which I’ll post about soon), I’d like to share a trio of items completed before I left, commissioned by one of my repeat customers – the lovely Marilu Vella.

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Rockabye baby

A little while ago, I was commissioned to come up with some embroidered wall art to celebrate the birth of a little baby girl. Equipped with a photo of her adorable nursery for reference (where it would finally be displayed), I started out with spray painting a vintage wooden frame white, in order to match the decor.

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Initial here, and here

Last week saw a collection of one of my favourite items: initial necklaces and lockets. First, a bride wanted her own and her husband’s initials in a heart-shaped locket, as well as the date of their wedding day embroidered on a separate frame. As a gift to her two bridesmaids, an initial necklace each for them.

Besides their own initial embroidered within the locket or frame itself, I also like to personalise each necklace with a recycled charm from a thrift haul or old piece of jewellery. Besides adding a pop of colour, I especially love how this ensures that no two necklaces are ever exactly the same – it really depends on what gem I come across or what little treasure I choose to add!

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Week-long celebrations

Woah, this past week’s been a crazy one! From a few days before my 25th birthday on May 26th (that’s right, next year marks my lucky birthday!), things have been quite non-stop on my end, with events (both birthday-related and otherwise) aplenty.

From a beautiful wedding (the bride of which I had the pleasure of making a veil for) and a cousin’s Holy Communion party to cocktails, house parties and several birthday dinners and outings with friends and family, it’s been one week-long celebration. It was even punctuated by a visit from the jetset brother! Thanks so much everyone, for the presents, food (and boy, was there lots of it) drinks and generally being all round amazing company. Here is some of what went down:

Despite being busy and generally being more out than in of late, I still managed to find the time (in true Secret Rose style) to work on a few projects, and more, as ever, are currently in progress! Here are a few of the things that have passed through these itchy fingers of late, among which being the aforementioned veil (which I’ll dedicate a proper post to soon), Mother’s Day frames, an anniversary locket and other assorted embroidery fun:

I’m back!

I’m finally back in action following a refreshing and re-energizing holiday half way around the world. After a couple of days to sort myself out, I’m getting back into the swing of things and once again turning my attention to a list of orders that won’t cross itself off! Watch this space for updates on creative goings on in the land of The Secret Rose.

Initial locket with key charm

Custom embroidery for The Death of Snow White

Before 2013’s rush of orders, before Christmas and even before Patches’ December edition and the preparation for that, there was a little thing called The Death of Snow White. I’ve been meaning to write a full post about doing the embroidery for the costumes of this breathtaking production for a while now, but waiting for images from photographers etc meant that it had to be postponed. Finding myself quiet at home (which, as friends will confirm, is very rare indeed) I’ve decided to just put it together with what I have 🙂 (I’ll post any additional photos as I receive them!)

It all started in early 2012, when production designer and costume extraordinaire Luke Azzopardi approached me to design custom embroideries for four costumes to be worn by the main character in an upcoming production by Naupaca Dance Factory – The Death of Snow White. He explained that the aesthetic would be eastern leaning, and that the costumes (and embroideries) would each represent a stage in Snow White’s life.

Each of the embroideries had to be made on skin-colour tulle, which would then be sewn on to the dancer’s leotards. The first costume was to be in nude, depicting a cherry blossom tree along the rib cage – a symbol of Snow White’s lifeline.

production photo © Darrin Zammit Lupi

production photo © Kris Micallef
production photo © Darrin Zammit Lupi

The second would be representative of her white stage, depicting purity and innocence. For this one, I decided to go very Japanese, designing a motif of storks in flight along the chest and hip bones.

production photo © Darrin Zammit Lupi

production photo © Charles Paul Azzopardi

Snow White’s red stage and corresponding costume, Luke explained, was representative of her maturity and sexuality, and had to be designed to fit into an exposed part of her back. For this, I designed a pair of koi fish – another strong Japanese symbol.

production photo © Kris Micallef

The pièce de résistance, and the toughest of the four, was to be the black costume – representing Snow White’s death. Following some planning and two different designs, Luke and I settled on a design portraying Kitsune – a Japanese folklore creature – amidst a flurry of tree branches that would extend around Snow White’s waist.

production photo © Charles Paul Azzopardi

production photo © Darrin Zammit Lupi

production photo © Charles Paul Azzopardi

The whole project was an exciting (and tiring) one, and took the best part of a couple of months to complete. Still, it’s very difficult to describe how I felt on taking my seat on show night, and finally seeing the costumes, bearing my work, in action.

I’m so proud to have been part of this project, and would like to take the opportunity to thank Luke and everyone involved for allowing me to contribute to such a masterfully executed production, as well as congratulate them on its success. I look forward to (hopefully) working with you again in the future!

Weekend food

Just when I thought the festivities were over, another weekend full of good food shot down my healthy eating intentions before they even got started. On Saturday, a couple who are close friends of ours held a *very* belated housewarming dinner, almost exactly a year to the day they began living in sin. The evening’s choice of food was Indian, and they wowed with quite the variety of homemade curries and treats, right down to the samosas.

 Their tastefully decorated (and jealousy inducing) apartment in Naxxar echoes their 60s stylistic preferences, so as a present, we got them a retro Beatles alarm clock I found at a flea market when they *actually* moved in together as well as custom embroidered wall art in a bright red frame. It was lovely spending the evening among great company I haven’t had as much time to see of late.

Sunday brought more culinary marvels, as Teo and I ventured out for a cosy lunch at Valletta’s Rampila (ex-Fusion 4), near Hastings. The cosy atmosphere and a favourite bottle of ice cold Chablis went down very well with my choice of pumpkin and coriander soup and the most tender octopus stew I’ve ever tasted.

Needless to say, I’m still full 🙂

Ladies who lunch (well into dinner time)

As has become tradition, the much-awaited ladies festive luncheon took place at Maria’s last Sunday. This year’s edition was as much fun and, dare I say it, featured an even prettier table set up than last year’s, all courtesy of Maria’s fine touch.

Prettied up still by gifts, flowers and everyone’s culinary contributions, we passed the day in a haze of happy nomming, chatting (with some conspiratorial complaining, as is customary) and general quality time with the girls… I couldn’t have asked for a better Sunday (or more food)!

~ MENU ~

Rachel: dips and fragrant mulled wine

Carla: shakshouka and gorgeous ‘frikkeh’ meatball soup

Alexandra: mayonnaise-happy roast potatoes & garlic mushrooms

Maria: yummy chicken stew

Vanessa: imqaret & selection of drinks 
 Me: lemon, lime & poppy seed cake


As a little gift, I made each of the girls an embroidered initial necklace, each with it’s own salvaged charms. I was delighted to see them wearing them throughout the day, all looking like members of some secret club! In fact, I think I’ll make one for myself when I get the chance…