the handmade needlebook

by | Jun 25, 2020 | a slice of life, All Things Home, Antiques, Favorite Things | 29 comments

Well, I spent the morning writing and then planning and making some purchases for upcoming projects.  I am excited to get a few rooms that are underway finished (like the master bedroom and sewing room) and I’ll be starting some new projects that have been on my list for a while.  This is how it seems to go for me.  For a few months, I’ll work on small, quieter projects like painting and tweaking, making slipcovers, etc…stuff I can do myself that is relatively inexpensive.  And then, all at the same time, I’ll start some larger projects that we’ve been planning and budgeting for.  It’s exciting and nerve-wracking simultaneously!

Of course, I’ll be sharing more along the way…

But, today, I’m sharing about a lovely gift I received from a woman who has become a dear friend to me – Mary of Trout Lily Hill.  She is one of the sweetest and most creative people I know.  After retiring as a school teacher and losing her husband to cancer, she is starting a new chapter of her life as a blogger and creative entrepreneur!  I mean, this lady is one of my heroes!

She knew I was working on my sewing room, so she started making a gift for me…

It’s a needlebook (actually called a “hussif”) that she designed and handmade from antique scraps, including my own grain sack scraps that she purchased from me over six years ago!  Every detail is just exquisite.  She has the talent and ability to back up those creative ideas.

HERE is Mary’s post about the needlebook she made for me.

Every page was thoughtfully designed.  A pouch to hold a vintage pair of sewing scissors…

A vibrant blue velvet is embellished with an antique piece of lace to store safety pins…

handmade needlebook | miss mustard seed |

Other pages store pins and needles.  Mary even included a vintage needle threader!  I didn’t know that existed, but I could use it!  I don’t have great eyesight and my depth perception is always testest to the limit when I’m threading a needle.  This will be so handy and I love the little case that fits perfectly in a feed sack fabric pocket.

handmade needlebook | miss mustard seed |

There are more pages for pins and needles to be safely stored…

…and more pockets made out of antique bits of fabric…

handmade needlebook | miss mustard seed |

I tucked Mary’s note in one of the pockets to keep with this needlebook.

And she even signed the back, like a piece of art.  Which it is…

I was so overwhelmed by the gift that I started tearing up as I was sharing it on Instagram.

handmade needlebook | miss mustard seed |

I know how much thought and work went into this and it was overwhelming.  It will be used and cherished for many years!

handmade needlebook | miss mustard seed |

Mary also sent me this adorable pincushion made in a vintage blue and white creamer…

handmade needlebook | miss mustard seed |

The strawberries are made out of hand-dyed antique blue velvet and filled with crushed walnut shells to sharpen needles…

Not only were these amazing and thoughtful gifts, but I told Mary that she was onto something as a business owner.  When I shared these on Instagram, Mary was flooded with requests for needlebooks and pincushions.  She’s been working hard to make more to sell and figuring out the process of taking orders for one-of-a-kind custom pieces.   She’s also planning to share a tutorial on her blog to show others how to make one with their own fabric scraps.

If you’re interested in purchasing something or commissioning a piece from her, I would suggest sending her a message through her website HERE or a DM on Instagram.

I also received a beautiful handmade pillow from a woman named Patty who follows me on Instagram.  As someone who has done cross-stitching before, I really appreciate the time it takes to make something like this and the skill to get those stitches so even.

I propped it on my “guest chair” in the studio and it is perfect with the checked upholstery and dainty green pattern on the pillow.

One of the fun things about getting happy mail is that I get the sender’s address on the return label!  It’s a sneaky way that I can send some surprise happy mail back to people as a thank you for their thoughtfulness and generosity.

I’ve been at the computer long enough, so it’s time to head up to the sewing room to get back to caulking, priming, and painting…



More Happy Mail!



  1. Charlotte

    The needle book she made is beautiful! I remember watching it in your stories and you made me tear up! She’s inspired me to try to make some pincushions out of antique pieces I have on hand. Such a beautiful gift!

  2. Susan

    Mary is one remarkable woman, and I am so glad that you shared details of the beautiful gift she crafted for you. We have known her, and her late husband Dave, for some years now, and we are so encouraged that Mary has begun a new chapter of her life after all the sadness & difficulties she has endured. You’ve been a great catalyst in this new chapter. Thanks for what you do for so many.

  3. Mary

    The little hand made book is exquisite! The pillow is lovely as well. Both needle artists are very talented and how lovely that they shared their talent with you!

  4. Louise

    Miriam these little gifts are just adorable and was so sweet of her to send them. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Kathi

    What incredibly thoughtful, beautiful gifts. You are lucky to have such devoted friends.

  6. Ruth

    See how much good you do in the world?
    Personally you have given me encoragment to continue painting. And I thank you for that💙

  7. Betsy

    I’d be lost without my needle treader! I consider it one of the best gifts my husband ever gave me. mary’s work is truly a piece of art. her stitches are lovely as is her use of fabric. The strawberries are so charming and useful too. Thank you for introducing Mary to us. Have a wonderful weekend Marion.

  8. Catt from KY

    What an incredible gift!

  9. sandi m

    Oh my. What a lovely, beautiful gift! I used to be an avid sewer and appreciate all the details Mary has incorporated.
    She is a special lady … and you are a special gift to all of us!

  10. Nancy Cox

    This is absolutely beautiful. Such a thoughtful gift.

  11. Jessica

    The pillow is so perfect for your color palette in your home. The flower actually looks like a Louisiana iris which is actually purple but it looks beautiful in blue. What a perfect gift for you. I love the molding you and your husband installed. It looks beautiful!!!

  12. Ce Ce

    What lovely, thoughtful gifts from both Mary and Patty. You inspire others who inspire others and the gifts go on and on… You all bring so much joy and beauty into the world. Thank you, Marian, Mary, and Patty!

  13. Julie | Home On The Hill

    Seeing this needle book has stirred a memory from my past, I can feel it trying to come to the surface. A needlebook I knew as a child, maybe my mother’s or maybe something I made at home from her stash of fabrics she kept in the hallway linen press? I hope it resurfaces fully so I can enjoy the memory just as you are enjoying your beautiful gift.

    I do love that adorable little pin cushion! That the strawberries are filled with walnut shells for a purpose is the icing on the cake. I love things that have ‘layers’ of use or meaning, it’s incredibly pretty, it’s a pincushion & it’s a needle sharpener, add to that it’s blue & white – it couldn’t be more perfect. 😀

  14. Cheryl

    Such a beautiful and thoughtful gift

  15. Connie

    Wow! Mary & Patty are both so talented & loving to share such exquisite gifts with you! And you are right Marian, both gifts are works of art!

  16. Jenn Anderson

    The needle book is just gorgeous! So many special details and beautiful handwork! The cross stitch pillow is beautifully done also! Lovely gifts!

  17. Michele M

    WOW – you sure have some incredibly thoughtful and generous readers. Their talents are beyond amazing.

  18. Suzette

    So thoughtful! Wish I was talented in the sewing field!
    I would have teared up too, receiving these beautifully hand made items!

  19. Jenny

    Such a lovely and thoughtful gift!

  20. Tina

    What a nice post and a beautiful gift! And thanks for including the link to Mary’s post about it. It was fun to read her post as well!

  21. Patricia Unger

    The little needle book is just beautiful. What a thoughtful and precious gift. I enjoyed reading your post.

  22. Cynthia Johnson

    How serendipitous that the beautiful hussif is made with fabric Mary bought from you. It’s true what we give away comes back ten fold. Such treasured gifts.

  23. Dianne

    So grateful for your weekday posts. Not only are they inspiring and motivating, but they focus on the good that is going on; the beauty, the kindness, the generosity and love. Always, thank you for sharing. You are a blessing to all.

  24. Vicki Pitlyk

    Marian… what address can I send you happy mail? I’ve tried getting your address to no avail… thank you!❤️Vicki Pitlyk

  25. Sue

    Oh my goodness, this is just unbelievable. I was mesmerized looking at each page and my thoughts instantly turned to “please let this woman have a shop, please let this woman have a shop” – just absolutely priceless. These are the things I need to take up my time with instead of endless internet surfing!

  26. Diane

    A sweet act of kindness. I find needlework is so comforting and fulfilling. The needle case and pin cushion is beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Di

  27. Gwen

    What beautiful, thoughtful gifts! Now I want a needle book.

  28. JuneM

    The needle book is a work of art, such a thoughtful and lovely gift.
    Thanks for sharing.

  29. Vanessa

    What a lovely ,beautiful gift. So thoughtful. The idea of the pin cushion is fantastic. I have a small white sugar jar that’s broken a tiny bit on the rim and I think , turning it into a pin cushion will be perfect.


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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