About your hostMeet Jane
Bill and me at a family celebration
May I share a little about me…
I suppose the story starts with being the eldest of five children and a constant disappointment to my father, who wanted a son or at least a clever girl. (He continued to comment until I was well into my fifties that I failed my Eleven Plus.) I suspect this is why I am a fairly driven personality, as I had always wanted to prove him wrong!
I left home as soon as it was possible and, at 16, joined the Cadet Nurse scheme in Hastings on the south coast where I earned my place on their State Registered Nurse training programme. I qualified at the age of 21.
I continued in the nursing profession until 1981 when Bill and I had our first child, James. I had expected to return to work but Bill’s employer moved us to the Cotswolds. We could not believe our good fortune. We moved into a tiny Cotswold cottage and I looked for something appropriate to decorate the walls. A neighbour introduced me to completely unaffordable antique samplers and I was fascinated by the idea of children creating these works of art. I decided to design my own antique sampler using graph paper. As a result of becoming completely hooked on counted embroidery, I began my cross stitch company, The Inglestone Collection.
My long-suffering husband always encouraged me in the business in spite of late meals, takeaways and late nights. We were both put to the test when our whoops-a-daisy baby, Louise, arrived just at the time I started writing my first book. I can still remember a courier arriving to collect a parcel, only to find me on the floor, the baby in one arm and bubble wrapping stitched pictures with the other – all whilst fending off the irate midwife who was trying to get me back to bed!
Much of the rest is history – the thrill of supplying Liberty of London with cross stitch kits for over 25 years, designing samplers for clients all over the world, and Bill and I working together without any plate throwing! One of my proudest achievements is founding The Cross Stitch Guild, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2021.
After 42 years of marriage, two fine grown up children who make us smile almost every day, and now our first grandchild, I am probably the luckiest woman alive. I did try to retire (and, as Poirot says, “grow vegetable marrows”) but stitching is still such a passion as well as work! I need a place to share ideas, patterns and treasures. I also needed a reason to shop for and find treasures for people like me… So here we are.
Pinks Barn, The Home of My Treasures
My husband Bill (who doesn’t mind being listed as a treasure!) and I have lived in Pinks Barn for 26 years. The house has been a big project both in effort, muddle and money. Converted from a barn, it became a very successful restaurant (where the name ‘Pinks’ comes from), which eventually closed leaving the building much neglected for many years.
On the day we moved in our electrician discovered there was so much gas in the eaves space, that it could blow the roof off. The previous owner had removed all the U-bends from all the sinks in the house as well as every single light fitting. It was challenging to say the least. Three days later, the boiler was condemned, and I found a rat sitting in the airing cupboard eating a bag of crisps taken from the top of the larder. At that time there were moments when our previous tiny cottage seemed simply perfect!
There were wonderful moments too. When Bill moved into his new office, we all fell about laughing – he had only just realised that he had been working on a child’s desk in his tiny study in the roof at our old cottage.
Since those scary and very expensive days, we have simply loved living here even when we seemed to be living with builders, carpenters, damp proof specialists, plasterers and, of course, the rat man.
Today the barn is a lovely home and Bill and I are enjoying this new phase of our time here. Our children have flown the nest but love coming back to it, and some very happy events have been celebrated here.
The garden is a whole other chapter, which I will share with you soon.