Category Archives: patches

Busy little bee

With just a few weeks to go until Patches Christmas Fair on November 30th, things have definitely been kicked into high gear here at The Secret Rose. With so much to prepare (and so little time!) I can get a little crazy in the run up to the market, but it doesn’t change how much I absolutely LOVE this edition in particular.

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The definition of peace

Last weekend, my boyfriend and I took a much needed break from the daily grind to go on a mini road trip. We started in Turin, Italy, drove through the Alps (literally, via the Mont Blanc tunnel!) into Bourgogne in France (more specifically, the Cluny and Macon areas) and back again for a night in Valle d’Aosta, in the mountains.

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2012, you’ve been quite a year

As we welcome the new year with the traditional excessive amounts of food and drink, I find myself looking back at the past year, and how formative it has been. Here, before I wave 2012 off properly, I round up a few noteworthy developments from the past 12 months.

A full-timer
2012 is the first full year in which I’ve worked full-time. Whereas I felt the change quite dramatically, particularly because it left me with less time to work on The Secret Rose, I cannot go so far as to say I dislike it. I find my job as editor of a local publication, despite being stressful at times, satisfying, and even though I could do without the hassles it sometimes entails, I do enjoy co-ordinating fashion shoots, feature writing, meeting interesting people & learning new things.

A trip to Dubai
In March, my dad and I travelled to Dubai to visit my brother Ryan for his birthday. Ryan and I have always been close, and since he works as an air steward for Emirates and is based there, I don’t get to see him as often as I’d like. It was nice to experience his world for a little while and get a taste of life in Dubai, and I’m really looking forward to our ‘siblings holiday’ in Thailand in 2013!

After putting it off for as long as I could, and two failed tests, April 2012 saw me getting my driving license. I have since been a menace on Maltese roads and loving it. It’s so great to finally be able to have the freedom to zip around at my leisure and transport bulkier things (which I seem to accumulate) with ease.

Participating in the promo video for V18, alongside Maria of Babettopolis, was certainly a highlight, and I was very flattered to be asked. Setting up our pretend atelier was fun, and the result was great. Now that Valletta has been declared European Capital of Culture for 2018, I’m excited to see what happens next!

London calling
Everyone who knows me knows how I feel about London, so it’s no surprise I fit in another short visit in summer 2012. Air fare is cheap and my boyfriend and I have the added bonus of being able to stay with a sweet couple who are friends of ours, so its just the ticket when I feel the need to get my creative juices flowing again.

Summer fun
After the previous year’s summer being overshadowed by my MA dissertation, I was determined to make the most of this one, and I did! Having my own car meant I was able to go to the beach and other events whenever I liked. Besides this, I swam, snorkled and paraglided my way to a great summer indeed.

Girly time 
Despite my perceived ladylike persona, I have never been one to have many ‘girlfriends’ with which to have ‘girly time’ in the past. In recent years though, I’ve been lucky enough to bond with a number of lovely like-minded ladies whose company I really enjoy. 2012 saw a sweet birthday picnic which I was really touched by, as well as a fancy high-tea at Palazzo Parisio among other girly get-togethers. Roll on our festive luncheon, for which I really must decide what dessert I’m making!

Despite my main endeavour being crafts and embroidery, I have always loved playing around in the kitchen, especially when it comes to sweet treats. Even though this year’s been a very busy one on both VIDA and The Secret Rose fronts, I’m happy I still managed to find some time to bake. When I have my own home and kitchen (which, fingers crossed, I’ll be writing about in next year’s yearly round-up) I look forward to many baking adventures indeed!

Me, a model?
Having worked as a stylist and shoot coordinator for three years now, I had gotten used to that hat. For this reason, it was quite interesting to get out of my element and model for a shoot for Hey-Birdie Pie – a friend’s vintage venture – along with a couple of other glamorous girls. It took some getting used to, but I warmed up to it in the end, and have since even been involved in another – the results of which have yet to be made public, so shh!

© Elaine Bugeja

Creative collaborations
Having worked with Maria from Babettopolis on a wedding dress in the past, this year had us working together again on a pretty jacket with custom embroidery. The result is one I’m very proud of, and if I can help it, it certainly won’t be the last time I collaborate with this talented lady.

December saw the staging of dance production The Death of Snow White, for which I collaborated with costume designer Luke to design and carry out custom embroidery on the title character’s costumes. It was exhilarating seeing them on stage, and I’m still in the process of collecting photos. Once I do, I promise a full post dedicated to that! 

© Charles Paul Azzopardi

I took part in the summer and Christmas editions of Patches in 2012, with the latter being the most successful, both in terms of market sales and custom orders, in the Secret Rose’s journey thus far. Besides market success, I was also *very* excited to have my first celebrity customer in the form of Dame Helen Mirren – jeweller to the stars, anyone? Here’s hoping it just gets better in 2013!

Happy New Year everyone!

Craft market success & a *royal* endorsement!

After a whirlwind few weeks in the run-up to Patches Market last Sunday, and a crazy but amazing day at the market itself, you’d be forgiven for thinking things may have quietened down on my end. This is not the case however, as besides lots of festive events coming up, I’m very fortunate to have had a lot of orders for Christmas presents placed, which are sure to keep me busy right up until Christmas day and beyond!

Me behind The Secret Rose stall @ Patches Market

Before I get to them though, I’ve already stated it via The Secret Rose facebook page, but I just wanted to express my gratitude on here (and elaborate!) to everyone that made my participation at Patches on Sunday possible. Besides the organisers themselves (who consistently do a great job) for putting on such a great market in a fabulous new location (Magazino Hall in Valletta) and for selecting The Secret Rose to be a part of it, I also had a helping hand from a number of other particularly special folk. I hereby thank my long-suffering boy Teodor for helping me out with frame restoration & generally putting up with staying indoors and a very busy other half indeed! Thanks also goes to DIY-savvy Rachel for the top notch display unit she whipped together for my frames from a (very) rudimentary sketch. Other than them, thanks to my uncle for cutting some frame backs to size and my dad for putting up with all the brick-a-brack that his workshop-less daughter is so talented at accumlating. Oh, and sorry about the paint on the yard tiles. And stealing your pebbles for the stall.
Christmas tree decorations
Patches Christmas Edition turned out to be a great success. Not only did I have a great time chowing down on myriad tasty treats from the many food stalls and greeting all the cheery customers, but sales were also very good and towards the middle of the day I was even visited by a very special customer indeed – only Dame Helen Mirren, who was in Malta for the European Film Awards held the day before!
 Helen Mirren @ The Secret Rose
Diaries on display
When Teo whispered to me that he heard she was at the market, my only thought was whether we’d be able to catch a glimpse of her. Imagine my surprise when she wandered over to my stall and proceeded to compliment my work! She had something nice to say about everything, and when she saw the necklace that she would eventually buy, she excitedly offered to wear it for a photo (at which point my up-till-then speechless self jolted into reality) and suggested I “make many of them in different colours”. Certainly a highlight in the Secret Rose’s journey so far!
The Secret Rose stall @ Patches Market
Back in the real world, it’s time for me to start tackling those orders, so I’ll leave you with another big ‘Thank you!’ and lots of crafty love x

The Secret Rose: Home

As promised, here are some offerings from the newly-appointed Home section that will be available at Patches market on November 27th. This is only an ever-so-slight taster, and lots more, in both sections, is in both the process-of-being, and patiently-waiting-to-be made.


These proved quite popular last year, and so I’ve come up with some new ideas and designs. There’ll be plain-ruled notebooks as well as brand spanking new 2012 diaries. The first of the bunch is this dressmaking-themed one, for which I embroidered a sewing pattern – an idea which came to me a while back but had to wait patiently in my sketchbook till circumstances allowed its birth.


Comfy and gorgeous all at the same time, cushions are brilliant because they really allow me space to play around with embroidery ideas – and I aim at having quite the variety (in terms of colours, patterns & sizes too)! This particular one features the first of a series of embroidered anatomical drawings which I’m calling ‘Biology’ – the detail of biological diagrams is something that’s always struck me as so beautiful in its precision, so me being me, I wondered whether I could transfer it into needlework (yeah baby)!


Bookmarks are a favourite of mine both due to their nature (I really wish I had more time to tackle my personal reading list) as well as their shape. They’re fun to make because no pattern/colour combination is the same, so its always fun to see how they turn out, coordinating fringe and all!

The Secret Rose: Boutique

Upon receiving word that my application to take part in this year’s Patches Christmas edition was accepted, I think its high time to share what’s been happening in my crafty world! Having been unable to participate in any of Patches’ editions for the past year due to other (largely academic) commitments, I’m really *really* excited to be able to take part again, and to feel the creative juices flowing at such a steady pace once more! (I’m not even exaggerating – my hands need to be creatively occupied in order for my brain to continue functioning properly). So, without further ado…

In a bid to achieve some semblance of order on the stall and for The Secret Rose in general, I’ve decided to split my wares into two sections: Boutique (for all wearable items) and Home (decorative items including stationery, frames & cushions). The following are some of the first items from the Boutique section.

Embroidered frame necklaces

Made from recycled wall frames, these two are from a set of an eventual six. The embroidered motif or pattern is placed within an antique frame, which is in turn connected to a coordinating chain. There will be a longer and shorter length for these – as featured here. The necklaces will all be assembled differently and each will receive its own unique touches and add-ons.

Peter pan collar

Another item that will hopefully be forming part of a set, this collar is made so as to be easily worn with any high, round-neck item in your wardrobe for added pizazz (sp?)! Featuring hand-sewn pearls, rope braid and satin ribbon tie, I’m a little in love!

Stay tuned for another post, detailing some of the first items to go in the Home section, soon!

SPCA item #5: Leopard Pouch

I’m pleased to (finally) present the fifth and final item of the SPCA/Patches series. After several attempts to take clear photos of it due to dastardly weather resulting in a very dark house indeed, I have given up, and simply offer my apologies – the photos don’t do it justice!

For this item I teamed some lace from an old skirt with some leopard print fabric (making an oblique animal reference!) to make a simple pouch, going on to embellish with black feathers (second oblique animal reference!) and felt flower.

Since finishing the series, I have been hard at work on The Secret Rose items for Patches, and will post some photos of what I’ve been up to soon! 🙂

SPCA item #4: Tweet Cushion

The fourth item is here, once again sporting an example of the avian portion of our animal friends. The items I used from the SPCA charity shop to make up part of this cushion were a sheet made of brightly-coloured 60s style fabric and a pair of brass rose-shaped earrings.

The sheet went into the basic fabric for the cushion, whilst the rose earrings went toward embellishing felt birds adorning the cushion. A stray earring of my own (I have since gotten over the untimely loss of its partner down the drain of my bathroom sink) was used in the same way on the third bird. Tweet tweet!

SPCA item #1: Roky Cushion

With the largest embroidery project to date finally under my belt (all will be revealed soon!), it is finally time to set upon SPCA/Patches items. For the first of the five I am required to make, I used my very own bestie beastie (or is it beastie bestie?) for direct inspiration.

The charity shop item I started out with was a pair of linen blend trousers. I first drew a portrait of my little pooch Roky, then went on to use that as an embroidery pattern to feature on a little cushion from the charcoal trouser fabric in a contrasting pinky/orange thread. Once sewn, I used the drawstring from the trousers to add a little interest on the opposite side via a neat little bow 🙂

It had to be approved by the subject…

I’m really happy with the way it turned out, and am definitely tempted to use the pattern again to make something for the subject himself to snuggle up on! Let me know what you think 😀

Stay tuned for item number two in the coming days! In the meantime, have you seen Maria & Carla’s gorgeous contributions to the project? If you haven’t, you can find them here and here x