This summer we will be releasing many more kits. We will be doing features on our designers. Check back here to find more information coming soon!!
Meet our needlepoint designers!
Name: Brooke Thorn McGowan
Home Town: Dorset, Vermont
Were you a creative child? What did you like to do when you were a kid? Always. I had an incredibly active imagination as a kid and have always been very curious. I liked to write and illustrate my own books, get lost in reading books, dance, play music, take photographs, throw ceramics, make mosaics, paint murals, anything and everything I could get my hands on. We also grew up around a lot of animals like pet chameleons, bearded dragons, Gila Monsters, snakes, labs, Himalayan Cats and wildlife. In nursery school, I brought my pet bearded dragons to school for Show & Tell… There’s a reason we call my little sister Jane Goodall… Thankfully art came intuitively to me and opened doors to a multitude of mediums and interests that have informed my work accordingly. Art and nature are an introvert’s paradise and such healthy outlet to feel your feelings. It’s really neat to see how many things have remained constant in my work and how much growth came from curiosity. I was never one to keep a journal, but I do have art.
Do you cook? What is your specialty? To be honest, I didn’t really learn to cook until I moved to London. Once I graduated from University and moved to Burlington, cooking became both a monetary necessity and desire to absorb as many locally sourced foods as possible. Before moving to Cambridge, I had eight house mates and it was such a pleasure to have so many wonderful people with different backgrounds and therefore culinary ideas they would bring to the table. I have almost always lived in houses with lots of people (I’m talking between six and thirty-two) so I love big, family styled meals. It also makes baking and cooking more fun when you have so many stomachs to feed. For inspo, I love mixing ingredients from a variety of compatible cuisines and use recipes as inspiration for ingredient combinations. I’m always looking for new ways to eat my veggies and my go to is a veggie, kale, ginger, chicken and cayenne medley of voodoo magic that can be delicious as a soup or over grains. To bake, I make a mean banana bread with dark chocolate and chia seeds. Currently, I am having a moment with poke bowls.
Describe your ideal summer evening? After a long day of outdoor activities and a late afternoon swim, I’d love to host a gathering of friends outside with yummy food and drink under some sort of strung lights followed by a live show outdoors. After the show, we would head over to and close down a local brewery. We would walk or bike the long way home in a gaggle of laughter and a cloud of homegrown green to go watch under the stars in the back yard. Someone would bring out a guitar, another light the fire pit and we’d all just be where our feet are- staying up to watch the sunrise.
Where is your favorite place to eat a summer lunch? Borough Market in London or on the porch of The Cottage overlooking Lake Michigan
Favorite writing Utensil? Faber-Castell fine tipped markers
Do you have a family treasure in your possession that you adore? A vintage Cartier cigarette holder with my grandfather’s initials engraved on one side- I now use it to store various treasures when I travel or am on the go
I’m kind of a birth order freak. Where you are you in your family’s birth order? Do you think it reflects on who you are? First born and second in line. Absolutely- I’ve always been an overachiever and I hear that that is indicative of my birth order
Any packing tips for travel? Roll your clothes, bring less than you think you need and always pack a headlamp, a needlepoint project and a party dress
When you travel, what do you bring home with you? An SD card full of photographs, little works of art or a beautiful piece of jewelry
Favorite decade for music? The 60s
Favorite movie? A Knights Tale or Notting Hill
Living in Vermont, I learned so much more about being sensitive to the environment and trying to reduce waste? Do you have a favorite things you do to try and be environmentally friendly? So many things, but in short: I really try my best to not use single-use products or buy things with lots of packaging, to walk everywhere I can manage, and to invest in consumer products that have a sustainable mission and/or support a female founder. I have also been trying to the best of my ability to cut out meat with the exception of occasional poultry.
Any frugality tips? Learn to cook! Use a French press, a reusable tote, stainless steel water bottle and insulated metal thermos. It’s amazing how much money you save when you make your own coffee and don’t buy soft drinks- money that can go to more exciting things. Investing in fewer, but perhaps more expensive, higher quality and versatile pieces goes a long way. I could not recommend enough for everyone to read Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chinouard, the Founder of Patagonia. He discusses this at length and although it’s always been my M.O. he really breaks it down. Better yet, check out second hand stores and resources like TheRealReal. Oh, and Rent The Runway! It may take a bit more planning, but it’s becoming increasingly easier to be both frugal and sustainable.
Favorite luxury? Cameras, fine jewelry and beautifully made handbags
What’s in your purse/briefcase? After a weekend away: Two cameras, a headlamp, a bag of assorted needlepoint projects, a folded paper of my Game of Thrones predictions, needlepoint jewelry case, sketchbook, variety of pens, handful of lip products, a bottle of Vintners Daughter, CBD oil, extra contacts, wallet, keys, a thirty year old copy of A Portrait of A Lady by Henry James that I found at a used book shop in SOHO.
Favorite gift to give? Books I love
Where do you find your design inspirations? I really love color palettes that exist in nature, Turkish tiles, byzantine mosaics, patterns on ancient ceramics and go from there. I’m really inspired by popular culture, art history, architecture, music and nature
Name: Tricia Heaton Home Town: Boca Grande, Florida
Were you a creative child? What did you like to do when you were a kid? Yes. Creativity was encouraged in my home. My father grew up with a father (my grandfather Harry C. Thorn Jr) who was a watercolorist. Painting was my grandfather’s passion, not his trade. My father was rather talented at drawing himself and we’d spent all of our time in restaurants or our club drawing together on the backs of paper placemats. I loved every aspect of drawing, coloring, and any kind of needlework. My favorite thing to do was to play with my dollhouse. It had been my mother’s and I treasured it. I loved making things for it. I also loved making paper dolls with my grandmother. I started needlepointing when I was 6. The other side of me loved adventuresome daring games like Dodgeball, kick the can, sardines, and capture the flag. I loved the adrenaline rush.
Do you cook? What is your specialty? YES! I love to cook. That said, I’m not an every day cook because I love to go out to eat too. I love to entertain. We have seven children and I love having big family dinners and big dinner parties. I would say that Beef Bourganoin is my specialty for winter gatherings. I have a funny little roast potatoes recipe I make after seeing a fabulous French chef in our community buying bags of tri-colored marble potatoes. I went home and figured out a great recipe. (You never know who is snooping in your cart at the grocery store!) My kids and their friends always request my special potato recipe. I’ve had mother’s of teenage boys call and ask for the recipe after their kids went home raving.
Describe your favorite summer evening? Easy answer here. Evenings at our family summer cottage on Lake Michigan. The Heaton family gather from all over the country in the summer at the cottage. We all still follow the dinner plans put in place by our beloved matriarch, Mame. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres begin on the deck at 5 pm sharp. Family come and gather from the day’s activities and other family cottages down the beach. On a deck over looking the lake, we gather in faded deck chairs. The hors d’oeuvres are served on a simple barrel coffee table on dishes from the 1960’s, folks gather in their cottage wear, bathing suits, running shorts etc. We take turns making dinner as a group. The table is set for all included. The numbers of place settings are big, 25 at dinner would not be surprising on any given summer eve. Buffet style, sit where you want. Fun conversation! Post dinner is spent back on the deck with after dinner drinks and a late night Lake Michigan sunset.
This summer for this time we are taking a huge group of our pals from Vermont to Lake Michigan. Can’t wait!!
Where is your favorite place to eat a summer lunch? My family, the Thorn Family are all Martha’s Vineyard people. Our parents took us to Chatham and Edgartown every summer as children. My siblings and I try to make pilgrimages to the Vineyard whenever possible, together is better. My children love it as well. My best summer lunch would be sitting on the deck of my favorite restaurant with the entire Thorn family and eating lobster Quesadillas.
Favorite writing Utensil? Pencil. I love a great pencil. I have cups of them all over. I recently won a fabulous auction item of a gorgeous blue and white English printed paper desk set from Cambridge Imprint. The donor included turquoise pencils that say Boca Grande on them.
Do you have a family treasure in your possession that you adore? I have several. I am very sentimental about treasures from lost loved ones. We have artwork from both sides of the family. We have one painting of a woman at a flower market from my mother in law. I sit facing it at our dining room table and think of her every time. A gold Tiffany pin of a koala was a gift from my father to my mother when I was a child, it reminds me of both of them and I treasure it. I come from a long line of fine china hoarders. I am the very grateful recipient of several fabulous sets of china.
I’m kind of a birth order freak. Where you are you in your family’s birth order? Do you think it reflects on who you are? I am the baby. My brother and sister are 12 and 14 years older than I (same parents). I was like their little pet growing up. I had very little discipline. My father used to say “I’m too old and tired” to my sister when she would complain about the vast injustice of my freedom after her first born rules. I grew up with a hippy brother in the 60s and 70s. My sister wore white gogo boots. I am a flower child. I am also married to a baby. He’s a major baby too! If it hadn’t been for some rules at boarding school….I’d probably be living on an island somewhere…oh wait…. I am.
Any packing tips for travel? I am a packing freak! I LOVE LOVE LOVE to travel and have studied packing like a completely obsessed weirdo. Pack in a different room other than your bedroom. You are much less likely to add things to your suitcase if they are not right there handy. Take out 10-20 percent of what you though you need. Don’t forget about hotel laundry services. They are much cheaper in Europe than in the US. I’d rather take a tiny capsule wardrobe and have fresh clothes along the way than spend two weeks carrying a suitcase of dirty laundry around. Only bring things you love!
Also, if checking bags for overseas travel, try putting a couple outfits on your partners bag and vice versa. This way if one bag goes missing, you each have a few items.
When you travel, what do you bring home with you? I am a hunter and gatherer. On my last trip to France I brought home a velvet ornament from Notre Dame and antique illustrations (with french descriptions) of tropical birds from Lyon. I framed them in gorgeous raffia mats and gold bamboo frames. From Lucca, Italy I brought home a pair of emerald green ballet flats and a stunning red leather bag. These bring me great joy because I had so much fun that day shopping with my friends Kari and Savonn. From Germany I brought home a fabulous felt hat with a pin and feathers on the band. It reminds me of my grandmother.
Favorite decade for music? I could survive for the rest of my life on music from the 40s and the 60/70s.
Favorite movie? I’m a huge Hepburn and Tracy fan. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner is my favorite of theirs. Cary Grant is the great love of my life, so anything with him! High Society and anything Jane Austin is on constant replay for me….but my all time personal favorite is…. Please Don’t Eat the Daisies. My dream was to live in an old house in the country and to have a pack of wild children just like that. And I did…but I added three extras. And I bet our Adam could pick a lock too. Doris Day is my spirit animal.
Living in Vermont, I learned so much more about being sensitive to the environment and trying to reduce waste? Do you have a favorite things you do to try and be environmentally friendly? We are big recyclers. We also try not to take bags when possible. We have a dear loved one who is trying to tackle the micro plastic issue so I have become very conscious of single use plastic. Giving up Diet Coke has helped immensely.
Any frugality tips? I love a great thrift shop or consignment shop. I have lots of gorgeous items from thrift shops and half our furniture in Vermont is from my favorite consignment shop. The old stuff is all so well made and fits in so much better with our family antiques. In Vermont, other than beds, I could count the pieces of furniture I bought new on one hand.
Favorite luxury? Eating dinner in restaurants and things that are tactile like velvet and cashmere. I’d rather have one old holey cashmere sweater than 20 wool ones. Impulsive cocktail table book purchases.
What’s in your purse/briefcase? A tech pouch with headphones, adapters, anything little that helps keep my gadgets working at their best. Dr Hauschke’s lip care stick and Welda’s skin food. I have really dry skin so I love all kinds of heavy luxurious creams. A millions different versions of prescription glasses, contacts, reading glasses, sunglasses. I’ve been wearing glasses since 9th grade and like to be prepared for any adventure. My phone. I am the air traffic controller for our 7 kids. I must often have my large fabulous camera as well. I’m a photography buff. a gold pencil cases and some sort of notebook or my calendar book. I don’t use an electronic calendar. I always always always have my passport with me when I travel anywhere away from home. Years ago we were at our cottage in Michigan when our youngest son had an emergency appendectomy in PERU! I couldn't get there because my passport was in Vermont. We have a son living in the Netherlands so I don’t mess around.
Favorite gift to give? Well…I love to give needlepoint, something I made for a friend or a kit for a stitcher. I have learned though, only give something you made to someone who really understands the hours, days, weeks etc and the expense that went into it. A needlepoint ornament is not the same as an ornament from the local shop!! Save the needlepoint projects for the people who understand the love that went into it. I also love to give special items you wouldn’t buy for yourself. For example last year I gave three of my favorite men really amazing knives for Christmas.
Where do you find your design inspirations? EVERYWHERE!! It’s a problem. I write them down all day. I have notes in my phone, notebooks, and scraps of paper flying around me like Pigpen from the Peanuts. I see needlepoint in everything and in every color palette I love. I can get 20 ideas watching a favorite movie.