Making for a living

With one half a seamstress and the other a cabinet maker; this couple couldn’t have come up with a better work-from-home concept than Needle and Nail.

The best part of Jeremy Rolston’s day used to be getting home in the evening. The worst part was having to leave his wife Dee and their five children again the next morning.

Then last year he injured himself while building. Recuperating at home over the next four months, Jeremy realised he really didn’t want to have to leave Dee, Jada, Ty, Monte, Danny and Sawyer again. So he decided to look into working from home. After tiring of “waiting for something to come up”, the creative couple decided to make something of their own – literally.

Dee had already been working from their rural Waikato home, largely selling handmade dolls on Felt and Etsy. Well known in crafting circles for her attention to detail and her beautiful use of vintage fabrics, she was already doing the needle work in what was to become their business, Needle and Nail. A cabinetmaker by trade, Jeremy would become the ‘nail’ in the equation.

These days going to work for Jeremy means walking into his work-shed straight from the house, coffee in hand, with one of his younger children tagging along to help. There he makes hand-crafted wooden rifles, kids’ post boxes and wooden sewing machines, complete with moving parts. He couldn’t be happier.

Inside, Dee home-schools the children each morning, with the help of a degree majoring in linguistics. Afternoons are given over to whatever adventure the kids can find on their two-and-a-half acre lifestyle block in Whatawhata. Meanwhile, Dee settles in for a session at her sewing machine.


But it’s not just in the work-shed and sewing room that you’ll find evidence of the Rolston brand of creativity. Their home is a wonderful fusion of op shop finds, salvaged, gifted and family pieces, as well as both Jeremy and Dee’s handiwork – quilts and cushions made from vintage fabrics, and art on the walls.

They have also created custom-designed spaces for their kids. Four of them share their L-shaped space with good grace– with only the youngest, Sawyer, having his own room. Yet each has a special corner to call his or her own.

Both Jada and Ty’s spaces reflect their love of horses and outdoor life. Ty’s bed is a sight to behold, with a ‘bivvie’ Jeremy constructed out of fence palings over the top of it.

The foot of the L is Jada’s space, an ode to a love of vintage fabric that she shares with Dee. The two younger boys, Danny and Monte, share an alcove with vintage truck wallpaper, celebrating one of their favourite interests. A shared Lego
Pit completes the fun room – a great idea when you have five children who all take after their parents in their love of craft and construction.

Making things together is something the Rolstons plan to continue doing for a long time to come. For a family who loves living, learning and playing together, working as a whole was the perfect last ingredient to add to the creative mix.

Words Anya Brighouse
Photography Evie Mackay



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