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jeudi 29 mars 2018

Let me Tell you My Story...

Today I'm taking you behind the scenes with me to introduce myself a bit more and to tell you my story, and explain why, and how, I became an Embroidery designer! So make yourself a nice hot cup of tea or coffee, take a seat and gift yourself 20 minutes of calm and let me tell you my story...

Early Days and Education
As most of my clients know, but for those of you who are new here, do not necessarily know, my name is Melanie. I was born 49 years ago (yikes) in Wimbledon in the suburbs of London, the first of three girls. My Dad is English and my Mother is French..so I'm lucky to have both nationalities.
Me at School - 10 yrs old

I did all my schooling there, and yes in uniform and tie (a kilt even from ages 11 - 16) and knee high socks ... in a house like Harry Potter ... but with a little less magic than him ... I loved school ... Every summers (8 weeks) were spent in Perpignan at my maternal grandmother's (seamstress) .. the heat, the sea, the huge and tasty tomatoes and ... handicrafts (yuk) .. she taught me canvas embroidery, knitting and worse of all crochet ... for me it was waste of time - I could rather be in the sea ... but I got to spend time with her and for that there was no price ..

My French Grandma

Me on the beach..not knitting!
After my A levels (equivalent of the BAC), a French degree and a post graduate year in education , I leaned towards a career as a language teacher .. one side of my family was and still are teachers ... the other side are artists and colourists ... some of them even do both professions in one! Anyhow here I am teacher..a job that I always told myself was not for me..but in my veins ... in my guts ..

THE encounter that changed my Life And then I meet Gilles ... in France ... at the beach near Perpignan..a brief holiday romance..with not much of a future ... or maybe not ... After 5 years of round-trips (and ups and downs) I find myself in Dijon, teaching English and still with Gilles. Every day walking to work, I had to go past a haberdashery, located next door. Every day I stopped to look in the window, then one day I went in. I bought a mini DMC Cross Stitch kit ... two teddy bears one pink and one blue..I quickly went home to stitch it .. the crosses went in all directions, it was ugly but I loved it ..and the sensations of the needle came back to me and memories of my grandmother too ...what joy ...

Loved them so much I kept them!

Parisian Life
Gilles got a job for La Poste .. so here we go on our way to the Paris region, in a town called Meaux ... We both have jobs and enjoy our work, life is beautiful, we get married (so much for the holiday romance) and Thomas is born a year later. I continue to embroider huge pieces by Lanarte and Marjolin Bastin and I love it!

Then a transfer falls from the sky ... Gilles's "Parisian" colleagues had welcomed him saying .. "you are with us for at least 20 years before being able to go home to the south" .. how depressing that was! We moved south to Salon de Provence with a great joy to find the sun, the blue sky and the cicadas ... I give birth to Lily two years later and I took a parental leave to take full time care of our children...

The Start of the Beginning!
Then one day a desire to embroider an alphabet with the theme of the Catalan country came to me..but couldn't find it anywhere, it didn't exist..so I decide to create it myself and work on it for a year! Following the encouragements of my family and friends I design the chart and approach a haberdashery .. they contact me 7 days later to order 10 more... wow it's cool!
ABC Catalan - My first design

The second Encounter that changed my Life! So armed with my new earned positiveness, I defy myself to create a design for a contest. I take my stitching to a frame shop in Salon. The owner asks me if I'm a cross stitch designer and if I can show her my drawings. A week later I come to collect my framed piece and I show her my drawings. She makes an offer I can't refuse.. she asks me to stitch some of my designs with her new hand dyed stitching thread range and see what I think ... well it looked great! My creative career was born that day..and Martine (The Fil Atalie) became my professional godmother..I was in the right hands! Whilst writing this article, I realise all the wonderful opportunities I had and that my encounters throughout this story were truly guided. I am about to change the company's formula (it's been 15 years that I started it) . I will carry on with the embroidery designs, and the hand dyed fabrics and threads of course, but I'm going to introduce plenty of new and fresh ideas and add an approach that is a little different, to bring you even more pleasure and especially to make you feel good!

The Moral
The moral of this story (if there is one to be found) is that you have to trust your lucky stars and be open to everything, be flexible. Even when you think something is bad or negative or that something is blocking the road, there is a good reason why it's happening to us and I truly believe it's because there is an even better solution a little further along!

Working with a Smile :)
Have you had similar experiences or just have something to share with me ... please leave them in the comments below. Do not forget to subscribe to the Newsletter here or on the Online Shop (and receive a reduction code for signing up) so you can stay in touch and get all the news about the evolution of Tom & Lily Creations and much more!

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Happy Stitching!

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