Category Archives: presents

US crafts haul

Having spent the festive season in the United States,  first in New York then with short stop overs in Philly, DC, Baltimore and Atlantic City, I had loads to do upon my return – hence haven’t found the time (till now!) to share some of the lovely crafty things I brought back from my trip.

As well as some beautiful velvet ribbon and wooden gift tags from the lovely Anthropologie, when in Philly, I treated myself to a little (ok, not so little) shopping spree at arts and crafts superstore AC Moore. With seasonal discounts and nothing even close (both in size as well as stock) to this huge warehouse of craft supplies back home, a short visit soon turned into a two-hour-long spree, much to the chagrin of my long-suffering other half!

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Christmas orders bonanza: initial necklaces

The festive season is always a busy time for The Secret Rose, with the weeks leading up to Christmas Day generally being chock-a-block with orders for custom Christmas presents.

I’m a strong believer in unique and one-of-a-kind gifts – there really is nothing more special than receiving something that was created with you in mind, especially for you. One of my products that is particularly popular as a gift, especially at this time of year, is the initial necklace.

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A + M Pillowcases

One of the first orders that claimed my attention after the Patches artisan fair was this pair of custom embroidered pillowcases. Commissioned by a friend of the couple as a personalised wedding gift, they feature the couple’s initials surrounded by a floral wreath design inspired by the bridal bouquet.

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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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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…


Presents Post!

Now to close off the festive season and 2010 on an even better note – a presents post! Here are a few photos of my favourite presents received this year. Why, you may ask? Well, I’ve never been above gloating 😉 Still, I love giving presents so much too, as well as making the wrapping look as unique as possible! Therefore, above is a photo of a couple of gifts I gave, and their presentation 🙂

a selection from Carla’s santa sack of goodies – a vintage decoration, eyeshadow, nailpolish, little bowl and arty postcards

a pair of beautiful brogues from my love

a floral mug from Rachel, beautiful handmade brooch and carpet book from Babette

Sending much love to all those present-givers out there, and I really hope you like the gifts I gave as much as I like the ones I received!

some more of Carla’s treasures, including a unicorn keychain and vintage book

an elegant cake stand with mirror top from the brother

another selection from Carla’s santa sack of goodies – postcards and baking forms

and lastly, a very unclear photo of me wearing a gorgeous hand-knitted scarf from Dani and crocheted palm-warmers from Carlita 🙂