Roland-designs , Virginie's blog.

"Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Handmade Christmas ornaments - Free patterns

Handmade Christmas ornaments make wonderful gifts for family and friends; they are also popular for charity sales, or raffles (lotteries). 

The perfect way to use up leftover threads and aida/linens, ornaments are easy to adapt to your stash since you need only small amounts of supplies to create them. 

Since 2008 I’ve been designing a small seasonal ornament or motif for Roland-designs, the patterns are varied and include everything from cross stitch to tatting, hemstitch, petit point, Hardanger, beads and more. I try to come up with original ideas, all the while keeping it relatively simple enough so you can be finished in a couple of evening at the most. 

I’m always thrilled to see photos of your embroidery so be sure to send me an email or use the #rolanddesigns tag when showing your work on social media.

The patterns are available as instant download PDF files on the website: Free Christmas patterns

Some of my Christmas ornaments, I wish I still had all of them but some have gone on to new homes.

The 2019 Christmas ornament includes cross stitch, hemstitch and a blanket stitch edge.

In the PDF for the 2019 ornament you will find lots of detailed photos, and clear instructions.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

The first book of "Hows"

The first book of  'Hows'

This most interesting little needlework booklet came into my possession, due to the tattered condition it was in, and the fact that it was meant as a self-teaching manual for children I presume it must be a rather rare copy.

It is a rather fascinating peek into what was considered important and basic skills which every girl should learn at the turn of last century.

Button holes, turning a Dutch heel, cross stitch embroidery, basic tailoring, and more.

The booklet is in a very poor state, and my scanner is not much better, so I’m offering the scan of the booklet for just a small contribution fee.

I hope you will find it useful both as an historical educational document, but also as a way to maybe go back to the basics of traditional sewing.

The scan is available here: The first book of Hows - ETSY 

The booklet was tucked inside another cover, with a simple brown cloth cover.

I'm interested in knowing what those 'Frames and boards' were like ?

Note the 'Teacher's note'.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Easy plum Clafoutis


Plum clafoutis
A clafoutis is a French flan type cake traditionally baked  with cherries, but often made with other fruits as well. 

My recipe is a simple adaptation of the classic clafoutis and I used fresh, seasonal yellow plums.


-          500 g plums
-          150 g sugar
-          100 g flour
-           50 g melted butter
-           2 dl milk
-           A pinch salt
-           ½ teaspoon vanilla suga
-           30 x 20 cm oven proof glass pan (or equivalent)

- Pre-heat oven to 180

- Slice your plums in 8 pieces each.

- Melt butter and let it cool, but use a little to grease your pan.

- Beat eggs and sugar until smooth.

- Add the melted butter, mix well,  then add the rest of the ingredients.

- Place your plums in the pan and pour the batter over.

- Bake in a 180 degrees oven for about 40 - 45 mn. If you use an electric oven you can use the function ‘heat from under’ to avoid over browning on the top, remember most French ovens are gas oven and heat from under.

- Let it cool and sprinkle with a little sugar if you like.

- Serve with vanilla ice-cream or cream

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Free pattern - Little rose and forget-me-nots cross stitch, counted pattern.

Here is a free pattern you can freely copy, print, share, make free kits with or simply stitch yourself.

The only request I have is that you use it exactly as it is with the link to my website, and that you do not commercialise it in any ways. 

Even though antique patterns are in the public domain, reproductions from originals privatly owned are copyrighted. Thank you for respecting !

So many pretty colours.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Birthplace of Joan of Arc

Birth place of Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc was born on January 6, 1412 in Domrémy-la-Pucelle.

In 1431, at 19 years of age she was burned at the stake as a heretic

In 1920 she was canonized as a Catholic saint.

I must have been about 18 years old when I first passed by the birth house of Joan of Arc, however only very briefly. I had always wanted to return, but never found myself in that area again until this summer when we were returning from visiting family and decided to do a little detour to visit Domrémy. Unfortunately I once again only had a short time as we had a rental car due to be returned and  were already running late….. Lesson learned, don’t short book yourself and start late when using a rental!

It had changed from what I remembered in that there is a modern building with a gift shop, and museum near the house. The house itself is very simple as it was stripped bare of all but the four walls, fire places and roof with a small garden surrounding it. It being a place of such importance in French and catholic history I personally feel it should be free to visit, I think Jeanne would have preferred it that way.

So here are a few photos taken inside the house, and a visit to Domrémy with time to spare will remain on my ‘To-visit’ list.

Birth room
Copy of a statue of oan of Arc donated by king Louis-Philippe in 1843

The brothers bedroom

Store room

Door to the store room in the forefront

Bedroom shared by Joan and her sister

Garden view from the front door

Basilica of Domrémy-la-Pucelle

Beautiful view of the surrounding country side

With my daughter Rosaline and niece