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Friday, June 16, 2017

June birds and bees
Week two grab bag

 Give Away details

We are having two give aways for our followers.  One is a basket of patriotic items in honor of "Independence Day" for our US mainland followers.  The other give away will be for our followers outside the US mainland who will win a PDF pattern of their choice from our talented friend Ezster of Sub Rosa. 

Here is our basket filled with goodies that will be mailed to our US mainland followers

Here is a beautiful example of a Sub Rosa design but there are so many more PDF patterns to pick from for our followers outside the US mainland.  There are many to choose from at her Etsy shop.

In our short time of blogging, we have met so many kind and helpful fellow stitchers and we wanted to show our appreciation to all of you.

To enter our give away all that is required is to be a side bar follower and to leave a comment that you want to be entered.  If you are a follower from outside the US mainland, please let us know so we put you in the correct drawing.  We do not want to announce email addresses so if you follow by email only please add your name to the sidebar so you will be included in all of our drawings.  

We have put together a pretty basket with a charming pouch pattern called "Liberty House"  from Homespun Elegance.  We've included a nice assortment of Moda fabricspatriotic charms and antique buttons.  We think you will love the paperweight to use with any stitch you wish.  We have also included an adorable ceramic bird because of our love for birds. They look great in cross stitch displays too!

An American flag completes our patriotic give away.  Red, white and blue were chosen as the colors to represent valor, liberty and  justice.

We have included photos of the basket give away and just a few of Sub Rosa's lovely PDF patterns below.  Now how can you resist signing up to win one of these?

The cute basket of goodies for our US mainland give away

Included in this pretty basket are Moda fabrics, a brand new Homespun Elegance pattern, a pretty glass paperweight,the linen which is needed for the bag, a flag, a ceramic bird, antique buttons and charms.

Below you will see just a few of the many Sub Rosa PDF patterns to choose from for our followers outside the US mainland.  If you are from somewhere outside the US mainland please let us know so we can put you in the correct drawing.   You can see all of the patterns at Ezster's Etsy shop which you can find here

A lovely bird that would look wonderful in your home anytime of the year

Here's a great selection for the fall season.
This is a gorgeous choice for the winter (a personal favorite!)

 Our bee stitch lovers will enjoy this pattern

All needleworkers will enjoy this one!

You will have a whole month to sign up as a sidebar follower on the right. We will be picking the two lucky winners on Grab Bag week in July which is our second post of the month. Good luck!
We hope you have a fun week and lots of time for stitching. Next week we will be showing our old stitches made new.
                                                                       Mary and RJ

                                                  Don’t just fly, soar.   
                                                         Walt Disney

Friday, June 9, 2017

June Birds and Bees
Week one

While working in the garden, it was easy to hear the birds singing and a bee buzzing around a flower.   There is only one thing that can draw either of us away from such a perfect day outside and that is cross stitching.  If you are like us not a day goes by without stitching.

Styling with Stitches

This month's project is pin cushions.  We chose two very pretty bird patterns from Brenda Gervis of With Thy Needle and Thread.

When I was a child I was fascinated by my Mom's sewing items.  I loved how pretty her pin cushion was and all her spools of thread.   I can remember playing with her sewing box and I would set it up like a classroom.  Boys were spools of thread in colors like navy, brown and tan.   And the girls were in pretty shades of pink, red and green.  I would teach them all a lesson from school that day.  It did not surprise my Mom when years later I majored in elementary ed. and became a teacher. 

Today we don't have those pretty wood spools with engraved writing on top of them for our thread. Now we only have plastic spools with paper labels.  We have to rely on searching for vintage spools make of wood.  But, we still can buy pretty pin cushions thanks to people who cross stitch, quilt and do needlework.   I have a large pinterest board just on pin cushions that you can find here.

We hope you like our pin cushions with bird stitches for our monthly June theme.  We selected two different styles for their finishes.  One is in a tart tin and the other is on a pretty wood stand.  

RJ's pin cushion: I used the pattern "A Tisket A Tasket" by Brenda Gervis.  The little bird with her bonnet in this pattern is just too cute not to stitch.  I didn't follow the directions for finishing, however. Instead, I found the center of my stitch and drew a five inch circle using a protractor.  Cut the same sized circle out of some pretty fabric and stitched them together leaving a small opening to turn. After it was turned, I filled it with crushed walnuts and sewed the opening shut.  Then I tacked on some pretty cotton lace that Mary had sent me. I added some ribbon and a scissor charm before I placed it in a tart tin.  I bought the tins here on Amazon.  I found the cute bird stick pin at Etsy from the sweetest lady from Victoria, Canada.  Her site is called Pincushion Crazy and can be found here.

I gave my new 50 lens that my blog buddy sent me a try today.   It blurs out some of the surrounding items while you get a good view of your target.  It is a fun accessory thanks to Mary.

Closeup of the stitch still using the 50 lens

This is the tart pan laying flat like it will be used. I had to stitch the ribbon and lace to the pin cushion.

A Tisket A Tasket
by With Thy Needle and Thread
40 ct. country mocha linen
called for over dyed threads were used


Mary's pin cushion: The story behind this stitch exemplifies the generous spirit and kindness of stitchers.   RJ found a photo of a pattern that she wanted badly and her search for it came up empty handed.  I went on a cross stitching facebook page and asked for help in identifying the pattern.  A lovely lady named Cathy offered to send it to me.   She not only sent that one but several more Fanci That patterns and even some of the coordinating buttons. 

She was very happy that they were going to be used and asked us to pass them on after they have been stitched.   As soon as we are done stitching them, we will be sharing the patterns with our followers as part of our give-a-ways in future posts.

This pin cushion was just a small thank you to Cathy.  I used the pattern Pin Feathers by Brenda Gervis and the talented Faye of Carolina Stitcher finished it using some of my antique buttons and a wood stand I painted with Annie Sloan "Duck Egg Blue" paint.  The wooden stand can be found here.  I was thrilled when I received the finished pin cushion and was tempted to keep it myself!  Cathy loved it too! 

I love how the antique buttons hang from the pin cushion

Pin Feathers
by With Thy Needle and Thread
40 ct. Newcastle flax linen
called for over dyed thread

Next week we will have a special "grab bag" you don't want to miss.   We have a really nice give - a - way to tell you all about.   We also will have photos of our challenges.   See you then.
                                                         RJ and Mary

                               When life gives you crumbs…feed the birds.
                                                        author unknown 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May Flowers
Week four

Something New

Spring has sprung and the weather has been beautiful.   Hope you are enjoying great days by you too. This is our week for sharing new ornaments with a garden/flower theme.   Hope you like the two we picked to stitch.

RJ - I chose Sweet Violet by With Thy Needle and Thread.   The pattern was much too big for an ornament so I made some changes.   I only stitched Violet, her sheep and the flowers to the right of her.  Everything on her left I did not stitch.   I also left off the pretty checkerboard lawn and the top border.   By subtracting parts of the stitch, it brought it down to ornament size.  I added Fleurs to the top right side because she would be going on my French tree. 

Here you can see the cute purple buttons and the watering can charm plus the great little fabric patches

The purple wool for the flowers was not available any longer on Country Stitches so I found these really cute purple flower buttons and they did the trick.  Mary sent me small pieces of three coordinating fabrics that worked perfectly at the bottom. The fabric all the way to the right is seersucker and too cute for words. There was not enough for the back so I used a purple polka dot fabric and then chose a polka dot ribbon up at the top for the bow.   I used over dyed threads I already had from another project to stitch Violet because I don't use purples very often.  They worked out well.

Here's a closeup of the three fabrics that go so well together.   I just put a X stitch between the seams and added a small silver watering can just like the can Violet is holding.

Sweet Violet
by With Thy Needle And Thread
40 ct. flax linen
over dyed threads I had on hand
buttons and charm


Mary - Garden Pleasures by Little House Needleworks is my new stitch for June.  It was a pleasure stitching this for my sister who is a wonderful gardener. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of trying to frame it myself.   I measured twice and still made a mistake!   I cut the right side too short for the frame and the fabric barely fits and it pulls unevenly.  So, I am on a quest for a new frame that is smaller in size so I can re-frame it.   Has this happened to anyone else? 

She is such a sweet gardener who grows such lovely plants.   This was a enjoyable stitch!

Garden Pleasures
by Little House Needleworks
30 ct. linen
called for threads

Have a great stitching week.   Hope to see you next week for our June Styling with Stitches project.     Mary and RJ

                                          Where flowers bloom so does hope
                                                          Lady Bird Johnson

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

May flowers
week three

Something old

It's time for showing our old ornaments with some small additions to doll them up a bit.   It's hard when they are already made because we can't add fabric and stitched in trims to them. But we will using small things like trims stitched to the outside seams, bows, charms, buttons etc. 

There is a monthly freebie at the end of the post for you too.

RJ -
I chose Garden Pleasures by Little House Needleworks for our week three showing.   It was a bigger stitch and I wanted it to be an ornament so I did it on 25 ct. Lugana over one. I have two tabletop trees at Christmas and one is French themed so I changed the words Garden Pleasures to The French Garden.

It is a really sweet stitch but done with a plain finish.

Changed Garden Pleasures to Le Jardin Francais


This is a petite stitch so I thought it needed a girly finish.  My first thought was rusching but how do you do it?    I searched blogs and you tube and making the ribbon ruffle did not seem too hard but no one actually said how they attached the ruffled ribbon.   So I was on a trial run.

After I finally got it on (don't ask how!), I also added a bow at the top and a set of garden tools in the girl's hand.   Hope you like her new look.
It's's pouring!  The ornament is sitting in a garden conservatory hoping for sun.

Lighting is not too good on this gloomy day but you can see her little garden tools and the French words a little better 

Love the back fabric.   It is embroidered with flowers.  I bought it at the Fabric Guru online.

Garden Pleasures
by Little House Needleworks
25 ct. country mocha Lugana
called for threads
garden tool


Mary -

Before: Here is my birdhouse ornament before the update.  Love this stitch but it needed something more.

My updated oldie is LHN's "Birdhouse Alphabet".   I wanted this to be ornament size so I stitched it on 28 count over one.  It was a fairly easy transition for me as the smallest count I had previously stitched on was 18 ct. Aida.  I used the called for thread, Crescent Colors Belle Soire Beanstalk silk thread.

I have trouble making bows so the Bow Easy which can be found here makes tying little bows easy.  It's a little piece of plastic for $11 but I found it worth every cent.  If you have trouble making little bows you might want to give it a try.  There are many helpful videos on you tube if you have trouble understanding the written directions as I did.
Added buttons and a bow

Closeup of the buttons

Birdhouse Alphabet
by Little House Needleworks
28 ct. Lugana
Belle Soire Beanstalk silk thread

Freebie for May

You can find the free chart from Glory Bee here

We hope you have a great week and get in a lot of stitching.  Hope you will come back next week to see our new May garden stitches.
                                                                    Mary and RJ

                                    Friends are the flowers in the garden of life

Monday, May 15, 2017

May flowers
Week two

RJ's Grab Bag

Here is my newest stitch that I have been working on for grab bag week.   It is a baby sampler by Lizzie Kate called Welcome Baby.  I love LK patterns because they are easy, quick stitches and fun to do.   It is a gift for one my close friend’s new little granddaughter, Amelia.


My tip on framing

If you are like me, custom framing has gotten so expensive that I hardly ever use it.   But I love to make stitches for other people and frame them.   So I have been changing the pattern a tiny bit to make them fit a store bought frame perfectly.   The Lizzie Kate baby sampler was stitched on 40ct. flax and it came out to be 2  ½ by 3 ½. The width was perfect but the length of the stitch needed to be an inch longer for a perfect fit.  It needed to be 2 ½ by 4 ½ to fit my 4 by 6 frame.  So this is what I did.   I stitched the sampler to the birth date and stopped.   Then I measured down from the top of the stitch 4 ½ inches and marked it.   I then stitched the bottom border up from the marked spot.  This left just about an inch of linen space to stitch.

Disclaimer:   these are just examples of things you can use to add to your stitch to make it longer.   They are not perfectly centered yet or in the perfect colors for this stitch (just tucked in).  The last photo will be the real gift with the right colors and alignment.   
Here it is with the extra space to make the stitch fit the frame.
Now I had to fill that extra inch of linen with something.   Lots of things came to mind… like how about a strip of lace?   Wouldn’t that be pretty for a little girl?
  Just added for display purposes. 

Or maybe some large rick rack?
If this was the real finish I would have used a different color rick rack.

Or how about ribbon and buttons?
Would have used a more delicate ribbon and little vintage white buttons if it was to stay.
How about a strip of ribbon?
Definitely would have used a wider ribbon the color of the border if it was staying.  But I like the polka dot for a little girl.
Or you could stitch a cute little saying like:

                                                               SUGAR AND SPICE
                                                      AND EVERYTHING NICE

Here is my finished baby sampler.  I chose to make 10 long stem tulips to fill in the empty space.  It also has an attached heart button.  But you can see there are lots of choices to pick from to add to the empty space and I'm sure you will come up with even more.
I made up the tulips so I hope you can tell that is what they are!

closeup of the 10 added tulips to the stitch

Welcome Baby
by Lizzie Kate
40 ct. flax linen
over dyed threads
Kohl's frame

I can’t wait to buy a pretty little outfit and wrap it all up and take to little Amelia Faye.

Side note:

In the past I have bought all of my frames at craft stores like Hobby Lobby, Michaels and Joann’s.  But I found they had so little depth, it was hard to close them in the back after putting a finished cross stitch in.   Then I discovered these great frames at Kohl’s.   The line is called Maison and they have enough depth to fit your stitch even with buttons and charms attached.   And the back closes easily.   They list at $15.99 but they are on sale all the time for half price and then if you have a 30% off coupon too you can get them for $5.60.   Now that’s pretty good for a well made frame with lots of room for your stitches.   I always stock up when the deal is that good.

Stitching Challenge

We made a small change and moved our stitching challenge to week two to join our grab bag week.  I was able to get another Santa stitched and Mary stitched her Christmas ornament and now they are just waiting to be finished. Come join us and make a challenge for yourself?   

                                                           RJ's Santa challenge

I was able to get my second Santa stitched this week.  This is a Prairie Schooler design from the booklet Santas Revisited III.   I love gardening themes so I especially enjoyed stitching this one.   I used all over dyed threads that I had and am pleased with the choices.   Well two down and lets hope many, many more to come!

I collect vintage water cans and can't resist stitches that they are in.

Cayenne, Cidermill Brown, Wood Trail, Wisper White, DMC 950, Antique Rose, Otter Creek, Wheat Fields and Tomato over dyed threads were used

Prairie Schooler Garden Santa
Santas Revisited III
32 ct. raw linen
over dyed threads

                                                   Mary's ornament challenge

My challenge is to alternate months between Prairie Schooler Barnyard Christmas and the LHN Christmas ornaments.  I have a precious 3 year old nephew that I'm making the animal ornaments for.  I look forward to selecting from my large LHN stash next month.  With this challenge, I may finally get them all finished.
Here are all of the Barnyard Christmas ornaments.   I think my nephew will love them.

The PS horse was stitched with called for DMC colors with the exception of Weeks Red Rocks and Crescent Colors English Ivy.  This is my fabric choice for the ornament.

Prairie Schooler Barnyard Christmas
32 ct. beige linen with a distinctive green tint
DMC and over dyed threads

Looking forward to seeing you next week with our old stitches dressed up.  And we will be sharing our cute freebie find on the third week too.    Keep on stitching!!!   Mary and RJ

                              You are as welcome as the flowers in May
                                                          Charles Maclin

Thursday, May 4, 2017

May Flowers
Week one

Spring is in full bloom and we are enjoying the pretty flowers all around us.  We also have been busy stitching and finishing projects for our new blog Stitching Friends Forever.


While we have been working hard, our sewing machines have been humming along getting everything sewn up.   So we thought we would treat them to sewing machine covers with new cross stitch patterns and fabrics.  They were a lot of fun to stitch.   Why not make one for your machine too?

RJ's:  This is a simple finish that can be made as easy or hard as you want.  First just find a cross stitch pattern that you love and want to put on your sewing machine cover.   I chose This is my Happy Place by The Scarlett House.   I think cross stitching is the happy place for so many of us and I loved stitching this design. 

Cross stitch, fabrics and rick rack
Added bird on spool and rosebud border to stitch
I bought this lovely fabric of rosebuds and tiny birds at a great little quilt shop.  I was all set to use it for the sewing cover, but I worried the white background just didn't go with the country mocha linen.   I went back and forth on using this fabric.  At first it seemed the white background might pull out the white letters on the stitch.  I thought if I added a row of rosebuds to the bottom and a tiny bird on one of the spools it would work even better.  I was all ready to go with it...but then I decided to look more at fabrics I already had. The red and cream check seemed better suited for it.  But I still really wanted to use the rosebud fabric too.  So, I coffee dyed a small piece for pockets and added it to the check cover.   Now I was happy!            (the rosebud border chart can be found here).    

Coffee dyed pockets

Pocket with rosebuds and tiny birds picks up the bird and rosebud border in the stitch

I decided to line mine, add rick rack trim and stripe ties.   I added a double pocket  for embroidery scissors, a small ruler and pins.   You can add any embellishments you wish like lace, buttons, a ruffle etc.   Then it just needs some ties which you can add with buttons or stitched into your seam when you line it. 

Stripe Ribbon Ties

This is my Happy Place
by The Scarlett House
40 ct. country mocha linen
over dyed threads


Mary's:  My Stitching Friend Forever suggested the pattern Pineberry Lane's Proper School of Needlework when I was looking for something that would work for a sewing machine cover. With just a few adaptations, I was very pleased with the result.

Stitch and fabrics used
I made a few changes to the original pattern.   I changed the words to our blog name, gave one of the sisters blonde hair and completed the thread on the spools a different way.   I filled in all the spools with X stitches in DMC 869 and then wrapped the spools with DMC 613.  I used the chart LHN's Quaker Bird for the flowers instead of the ones that were called for.

I had no idea how to center words but with RJ's instructions I was easily able to make the adaptation. Moda has some of the best fabrics and I chose Kansas Troubles Favorites II in two contrasting colors.  I am very pleased with how my cover turned out.  I even lined it!  I hope  you enjoyed seeing our sewing machine covers.

Closeup of trim and heart buttons

Proper School of Needlework
by Pineberry Lane

28 ct. cream Cashel linen
called for threads with changes listed above

Next week we have a grab bag post we hope you will enjoy and our stitches from our challenge.  Until then, hope you get lots of stitching in this week.   Mary and RJ  

                              Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature
                                                               Gerard Nerval