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Saturday, May 4, 2019

April Post Three
Stitchers Choice
SAL Update

Happy Spring everyone!   It may be May to the rest of the world, but "stitching friends" thinks it is still April.   So, today we are doing the April Stitcher's Choice post.  We try hard to do three posts a month (styling with stitches, grab bag and stitcher's choice.)   But, with a power shortage and a 30 day month, we are late.  Better late than never right?


RJ's Stitcher's Choice

I'm planning a Spring tree for the near future so I thought I would make some ornaments for it. I have three to share with you today and they will be added to five I've shown before.  Hopefully by next year I'll have a good dozen or so.  

Three new stitches sitting in the garden house

The ornament on the left is a pretty garden stitch that I found on Etsy.  Because of the plaid linen I didn't use any fabric with it.  I just added a navy print bow and a tiny watering can charm.  I added the French word jardin to the bottom.   

Watering Little Sampler
by Primitive Acorns
found on Etsy
overdyed floss from stash
plaid 28 ct. linen

The middle ornament is one of the sweetest patterns that Mary gifted me.  I love the lavender colors and the cute little lamb.  On this one, I added three coordinating fabrics patchwork style and then put a row of X stitches between the fabric and the cross stitch. A lavender polka dot bow sits on top and a dragonfly charm is above the lamb's head.  This pattern comes free if you buy the called for floss.

Welcome Spring
by Little House Needleworks
40 ct. flax linen
floss comes with free stitch

And, the ornament to the right was also an Etsy pattern.  I stitched this one awhile ago and it was my first attempt at the herringbone stitch.   After I took the photo, I noticed that one of the stitches is loose so I'll fix that.  I used navy dot and print fabrics and some lace.  At the top I replaced the planned stitched section with a bow and garden tools. 

The Rabbit and the Elderberry
by Primitive Acorns
found on Etsy
40 ct. flax linen
over dyed floss from my stash


Mary's Stitcher's Choice

I purchased this standing chalkboard frame at Michael's with the intent of finding a stitch that would fit.  I lucked out and found an entire series!!!

This was my first finish using Priscilla's method of using magnets and washers to attach a stitch to the frame.  This works out ideally for a series that will be changed out seasonally or even monthly.

I used matboard for the base layer and sticky board for the stitch. Both had a layer of felt cut to size under the fabrics. I glued 2 magnets on the chalkboard. Now, how to match up the washers???  So, I put a little craft  paint on the magnets and placed the backside of the stitch down on the magnets which marked where I should put my washers.

After the stitch was on, I felt it needed a little something extra so I glued on cording in coordinating colors.  

If you happen to be unfamiliar with Priscilla, she has a facebook page Stitching with the Housewives, youtube videos Priscilla and Chelsea-The Real Housewives of Cross Stitch and her blog

Welcomes 'A Plenty
V Series Summertime Home
32 ct. Zweigart Belfast linen
Parisian Taupe

called for floss


SAL Update

We are all loving our newest SAL called Summer Schoolhouse by With Thy Needle and Thread.   It consists of five projects and will cover the whole alphabet.   They are stitched on 28 ct. mushroom lugana fabric one over one. The stitches are very petite but so pretty. All of the colors are soft and working well.  

Meg's progress
Here is Megs' after 39 hours.   You can visit Meg here and see more of her SAL and her lovely blog    

Mary's progress   25 hours in. 

RJ's progress
My first stitch is done!   It took 39 hours and 15 minutes.  Now on to the second project in the series.   


Isn't she lovely and perfect for Spring?   You can find the free pattern here


As May begins, we are preparing for lots of neat things for the month. Our theme is usually garden related but we changed it this year to sewing projects. The next post will be a double one with styling with stitches sewing projects and then our grab bag will include tutorials.  So we would love for you to come back to see us. Hope you are all doing well and getting a lot of stitching in. We will be by to see what you have been up to. As always, thank you so very much for stopping by. We really appreciate your visits and comments.

                                                           Stitching Friends   


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

April Post Two
RJ's Grab bag/Jutta's bunnies
SAL update/Schoolhouse series
Update on the French village

We hope you had a joyful Easter with family and friends.   Good Friday brought a big storm to Gainesville and we lost power for two days.   But, it came back just in time to put the ham in the oven and prepare our Easter dinner.  Mary celebrated the day with her family and lots of good food too.

This month's theme is bunnies and I have a special bunny project to share.  Last year, Jutta was giving away adorable pieced bunnies on her blog. Have you ever seen something that you immediately fall in love with?  That happened to me.   I didn't think I would win so I was thinking could I teach myself to make something like that. But, I actually won!!!

I can remember the day my package arrived.  My husband walked in carrying a package and said "RJ, you got a package from Germany".  I was so excited that I couldn't open the package quick enough.  It was even prettier in real life. Jutta's work is so beautiful and perfectly done.

Jutta's lovely pieced bunnies

My first instinct was to make a wall hanging but I have such limited wall space in my house.  And, I wanted it somewhere that everyone would see it.   I was sitting in a chair in my family room one day staring at the sofa and there it was a whopping big brown check pillow on the sofa.   I thought why not a "Stitching Friends" pinafore.   So off I went to the store to pick up some fabrics.   I found a nice brown fabric with circles, a pretty paisley and some really nice quilters cotton batting.
Paisley and circle fabrics

I added the brown printed fabric to the top and bottom and then added large pieces of paisley to each side.   Next came some quilters batting.  Then the back was made out of the brown circle fabric and finally linedRibbon ties were added with buttons to the sides. I could not find the brown ribbon I bought so I used some white ribbon for the time being but will change it.
Bunny pinafore

But the fun part was adding the whiskers, the yo yo pin to the girl and the bow tie to the boy.  Putting the buttons on broke two needles because of the thickness of the fabrics but finally it worked!
Closeup of the boy bunny and his bow tie

Closeup of the girl bunny and the yo yo pin

Closeup of the sweet couple "Hanna and Francis"

Pieced bunnies from Jutta
Fabrics from Joanne's

A lot of patterns name their bunnies so I thought I would do that too.   I named them Hanna and Francis after my German grandparents.   I smile every time  I look at them and think of my sweet Oma and Opa and my sweet friend Jutta in Germany.


SAL Update

We are all merrily moving along on our Sal "Summer Schoolhouse".  The floss colors are so pretty and they have been a lot of fun to stitch.  You can find our good friend Meg's blog here where she has more info.

Meg's SAL after 31 hours:

Mary's SAL after 18 hours:

RJ's SAL after 31 hours:


RJ's French Holiday Village update

Here are my last two French Christmas Village stitches.   Next month, I will start to finish them.  After making the Poinsettia Hotel, I thought my village needs a B&B too.  So I pulled out another old pattern called "Holiday House" by LHN.  The only changes were to add a sign called LaCour  which means the Courtyard.  I also added a hanging sign that says B&B.  And, I changed the topiaries to one ball so there was room for the hanging sign.  I had to make a few adjustments to the windows but all and all this one was easy.

One day I received an email from our good friend Robin asking if I could use the Gazebo by CCN for my holiday village.   The Gazebo is a summer stitch but I thought I could winterize it and said I would love it.   I changed the grass to snow, the sun and sky to snowflakes, and the potted summer flowers to urns of topiaries with little red lights Then I added a sign that reads Noel for Christmas and a cute little wreath.   The pretty bluebird was replaced with a red cardinal.  
The original pattern
The gazebo after holiday changes


We want to thank you all for stopping by and visiting with us.  Your comments are much appreciated.  Special thanks to Jutta for the pretty bunnies I used for my grab bag today. We will be back in about ten days with our third April post.  It is our Stitchers Choice post which should be fun.  Looking forward to seeing what you all have been stitching and sewing.  Hope you are enjoying beautiful Spring days. 

                          “Spring is Nature’s way of saying ‘Let’s Party.”
                                                    Robin Williams

Thursday, April 11, 2019

April Post One
Styling with Stitches
Friends who Stitch
Sal Update

Happy Spring everyone!   Have you been wondering where those two derelict stitching friends have been?   Well we both had some very unwanted visitors named sinus, stomach virus, allergies and the flu that never seems to go away. It's like the Ever-ready Bunny - it keeps going and going!  We spent more time in bed than on our feet!  And, as a result our March projects did not get done.  We are happy to have an April post to show you today. We thought Spring wreaths would be a good way to get us started for our "Styling with Stitches" project.

Last year we bought the seasonal "Hello" series by Plum Street Sampler and also the seasonal "Basketful" series by With thy Needle and Thread.   Mary will be using "Hello's" for her wreaths and I'll be making mine with the "Basketful's. Then we will switch patterns later in the year for another project. That way we both will get to stitch all eight of these really cute designs. 

RJ's Wreath

"Basketful of Spring" was really a delight to stitch.   I loved the design and chosen floss colors.   The bunny is adorable and I love how he pulls his wagon of chicks. That double row of green is a specialty stitch called Algerian Eyelet.  It was done in Baby Spinach which is my favorite green.  It is such a sweet stitch and really easy to do.  I didn't want to stop making that row.

Making a flat finish was challenging for me. I just don't like working with glue. But after many, many hours it got completed.   I would not win a bow making contest I just made two bows and put them together and added a pretty Mother of Pearl button in the center.   The wreath was easy because it was a premade.   Joann's was having a big sale and the wreaths were 60% off.   I could not buy the grapevine wreath and all the pretty flowers for only $14.99 (sale price) and I didn't have to put it together.   Win - win!!!
Wreath is hanging off an old antique shutter I found for $3 at the beach

Closeup of bow with Mother of Pearl button

You really have to get close to see the word Spring as it is very subtle

Basketful of Spring
by With thy Needle and Thread
36 ct. Summer Khaki linen
Called for floss
Wreath and ribbon from Joann's


Mary's wreath

The first Spring flowers that bloom in my area are daffodils and hyacinths, so I changed the color palette of "Hello Spring" to my favorite Spring colors of yellow and purple.  The only called for color I used was Weeping Willow for the green swirls. 

I did not have RJ's luck in finding a pretty, pre-made wreath but fortunately I have a talented friend who is always willing to help me out with all my projects.  Armed with an assortment of Spring flowers, ribbon and wreath I left the decorating to Cheryl.   I am so happy with how the wreath turned out, I think it sets off Paulette's design so nicely.  My friend, Cheryl was happy too as I gifted her the wreath and stitch.  

I also finished the stitch as a flat fold and copied the pom pom trim as it was shown on the pattern.  I am so pleased with how it came out that I will have to stitch this again for myself! 

Gracing Cheryl's door

I used Whisper thread for the tail

Hello Spring
by Plum Street Sampler
36 ct. Zweigert Antique linen
Assorted threads


Friends who Stitch

We have some lovely followers that don't have a blog.  They are active stitchers and we thought it would be neat to show some of their stitches here at Stitching Friends.  So once a month we will show you a stitch from stitchers without a blog.   Just send me a photo and the name of the stitch, designer and any thing you would like to add and we would be so happy to share one of your stitches here.   It can be just stitched or totally finished.

This month we are so happy to feature Robin and Marilyn with two of their fabulous stitches

Robin's stitch was a gift for a friend who is a stitcher, but also a quilter and sewist.  We have this pattern and can't wait to stitch it after seeing Robin's beautiful finish. 
Sew Happy
by All Through the Night
32 ct. fawn linen
Gentle Arts Sampler threads
Framed by Total Framing

Marilyn's stitch is such an adorable bunny with a cute finish.

A Spring Day
by Heart in Hand

Thank you so much Robin and Marilyn for joining in.   Hope to see you next month.  I know everyone will enjoy seeing more of your lovely stitching.


Sal Update

We have chosen the series Summer Schoolhouse for our newest SAL.    This is a fun group of patterns to stitch but it will take us quite a bit of time.   We are stitching these charming patterns on 28 ct. Mushroom Lugana fabric over one and we are using all the called for floss.

Meg has joined us and we are thrilled to have her.  You can visit Meg here .

Meg's Sal
This is after 23 hours

This is after 20 hours.   I will catch up with our leader Meg this weekend.


Thank you so much for stopping by to see us.  We are so happy to be back and starting our third year of blogging. Where does time go?   More bunny projects are coming this month so we hope you will stop back in about ten days.   We are catching up with all of your posts that we missed but you can be sure we will be there.  Hope you are having nice Spring days as the weather begins to change. Happy stitching!!!

                                                      Stitching Friends  

                                       April is a Promise of what’s to come. 

                                                        Glady’s Taber

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Mistletoe in February
RJ's Grab Bag Post

You must be wondering why I'm posting about mistletoe in February?   Well love is our February theme and this is a little love story with a beautiful stitch to go with it.   So with encouragement from Mary I went with it.   Hope you like it too. 
I looked at this cross stitch pattern by Heartstring Samplery  in the fall over and over again. There were three band samplers to choose from but for some reason this one kept calling me back.  It was BIG and would take a long time to make so I kept passing on it. But, then one late night, I hit purchase and I was soon stitching  "it must have been the mistletoe"  every free moment I had.   It had to be done for Christmas because I realized why I loved it so much…it reminded me of a very special  night in my life.   It was made with lots of love and tons of hours of work for the most incredible person I know.  

This photo really dates us…my flip hairdo, George’s wide wale corduroy suit and a silver tree were a must!  I’m glad there was a photo because it turned out to be a night to remember.  It was our senior year of college and  we were going to a holiday party at George’s frat house right before Christmas.  I was excited about the new dress my Mom had made me and having a fun evening.

As we drove off from my house, George told me the car heater was not working.   I was soon freezing because it was a very cold and frosty night.  After awhile we were driving through a beautiful neighborhood and he stopped the car in front of one of the pretty decorated houses.   He pulled a blanket from the back seat and asked me to put that on my legs to help warm me up.   Then he gave me a pair of his leather gloves to put on my hands.   When I slipped my fingers into the one glove, I felt something hard.  I pulled it out and it was my engagement ring!  Of course I said yes.

 It was turning into a very special night.  After a kiss, I saw snow starting to fall.  There is something so unique about new fallen snow…romantic and pretty.

As we started driving again, the heater suddenly worked.  When we got to the house and were walking up the stairs, he brushed a snowflake from my nose.  It was truly a magical night!

We opened the door and one of the brothers had hung mistletoe in the hall.   I had my first kiss under the mistletoe.   I already knew I loved George but it must have been the mistletoe that made me love him even MORE!!!

I was almost done when I ran out of Juniper thread.   But, my trusty sidekick Mary had a brand new skein that she immediately put in the mail.   It looked like this but finished up quickly after receiving the floss.  I only had one line to go or so I thought.
But now I had a framing issue.   The stitch turned out to be about six inches wide and twelve inches long and I could not find a frame to use for it.   After some thought, I figured I could buy a frame with an 11 by 14 opening and the 14 would be perfect for the 12 inch length but I would have a lot of extra linen on each side.   So I decided to take a line from the stitch, turn it on it’s side, center it on each side of the finished stitch and keep stitching until I reached the top and bottom. 
It turned out perfectly and left an inch of linen showing all around the stitch.   It was my favorite line so I enjoyed stitching it again.  

My luck really kept going when I went to Super Joanne’s and found a really pretty frame half price plus I had a 30% off coupon to use.   It even came with the double mats which made the frame quite large and was just what I wanted for a Christmas stitch to sit on the mantle for the holidays.  It was stitched on 40 ct. raw linen and it popped well against the cream mats.  
In this photo I got the shadow of the chandelier and in the next photo the shadow of the fan.   No matter where I put it something would pop up.   

After I framed it, I attached the photo of George and me to the back and included a letter  telling how this stitch reminded me of that very special night.   I hope someday it will get passed down in the family and someone will enjoy reading about it.  
It must have been the Mistletoe
by  Heartstring Samplery
40 ct. raw linen
Juniper overdyed floss by Weeks
Frame from Joann's 

I truly loved stitching this beautiful pattern that Beth Twist designed.   It was one I didn't want to put down and actually didn't want to come to an end.   I enjoyed stitching with one color, Juniper by Weeks and how each line changed to such lovely designs.  

You can see more of Beth's beautiful designs here  Her patterns are very easy to follow and a real joy to stitch.   And if you have not heard the song "it must have been the mistletoe" you can listen to it here.  Once I heard it , I hummed it almost the whole time I stitched the sampler. 


As the month of February ends, we are preparing for lots of new things for the month of March.  Our theme is sewing and we have some neat projects to show you.  We also begin our newest Sal with Meg.  If anyone else would like to join us, just drop us an email for details.  And, we have a special new  surprise feature that should be alot of fun and we think you will enjoy.    Hope you are all doing well and getting alot of stitching in.   We will be by to see what you have been up to.   As always, thank you so much for stopping by.   We really appreciate your visits and your comments.

                                                                Stitching Friends

                           A friend is what the heart needs all the time
                                                           Henry Van Dyke

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Styling with Stitches/Love
French Village Update
Valentine Freebie 

Happy Valentine's Day everyone.  Hope you get to spend time with the people that are special in your lives.   It's a great day to show love and kindness to others. Sometimes a smile can make another's day.  So sending smiles to all of you!

RJ's Music Box

I had a bigger project planned for today but then fate stepped in.   I was cleaning out a craft cabinet a few weeks ago that was filled with old crafts and things I don't really use too often.  But, towards the back there was a shoe box that was labeled "cross stitch".   I opened it up and I spotted it...a tiny music box!

I looked at it and my eyes welled up with tears.   It was more than 30 years old.  My parents had come to visit us in Alabama. Mom and I went out to pick up a few groceries and she spotted a cross stitch store in the strip mall.   Well, you know we had to go check it out.   It was the first real cross stitch store for both of us.   It was such a sweet store filled with many neat things to use for your stitches.   My Mom spotted the music boxes and said we both need one of these and put them in her basket.

Less than a month later, we were packed and moving to San Antonio, Texas for our next military assignment.   Before I even got my boxes unpacked and had the house settled, I got a call from my Dad that my Mom was very sick and to come home.   I spent nine months caring for my Mom until she passed on Valentine's Day at a very young age.   I didn't stitch for some time after getting back to Texas and I must have forgotten about the music box.

I had even forgotten the song it played.  It turned out to be "As time goes by". My husband is a big Bogie fan and Casablanca is one of his favorite movies.   I knew immediately I would put a stitch in it for him.  I used a sweet Shepherds Bush stitch that fit the box perfectly.   I smiled the whole time I stitched it remembering how happy my Mom was in that cross stitch store and finding these tiny music boxes.   This little project is filled with a lot of love...a Mom's love for her daughter with increased love for a special man.     
George's grandfather's pocket watch to go with "As Time Goes By" music box

Closeup of "Be Mine" cross stitch

Be Mine Kit
by Shepherds Bush
blush linen
silk threads included
bee button included


Mary's Covered Box

I chose V is for Valentine by Heartstring Samplery for my stitch.  I wanted to mount it on a round wooden box.  After coming up empty handed for a wooden box, I resorted to a paper mache one.    To my surprise, the box took the chalk paint and waxing just fine.  I lined it with a pretty fabric and used sticky board to attach the stitch.  Black rickrack shows off the stitch.  It looked "blah" without it. Finishing is always a work in progress!!!

Does anyone have a tip on how to cut sticky board in a circular shape?  It was very difficult to cut with scissors and as you can see it's not perfect.

What Valentine's treat will my husband find in here? 

V is for Valentine
by Heartstring Samplery
called for threads
mystery linen


RJ's French Village Update

Stitching these fun shops has been a totally enjoyable time.   I have three more to share today. I decided I needed a "boutique hotel" for my little French village.   I looked through my older patterns and found the Poinsettia House by LHN.   I thought with some tweaks and additions it would work well.  I think this would be the perfect spot for Vickie to stay.

To make it work, I lowered the windows a bit to fit a sign that said Le Poinsettia which means The Poinsettia.  I added little shrubs on the front, Christmas trees with little fences on the sides, and a small hanging sign that says HOTEL.  I used the same color Wild Berries for the bows to match the color of the Poinsettia wreath.   I think it worked. 
Le Poinsettia Hotel

The second stitch is the train station.  There were not too many changes to make here.  A black sign was added with the word Avignon.  I added an extra row to the boy's pants and a row to the boy's shirt to make him just a bit taller to match the taller station.  Two added rows to the bottom of the engine, two extra rows at the top and two extra stitches to the smoke stack made it the same height as the station.   I left off the trees on the right to keep it a smaller size for an ornament.
Train Station in Avignon

My newest stitch is probably my very favorite because of all the changes I made and how much fun it was to come up with ideas.  This is actually LHN's coffee shop that I didn't think I could use because it just didn't look French to me. But, it bothered me that I was not using a brand new pattern so I pulled it out again and decided to make it something else. 

It is now an antique/second hand store.   There were a ton of changes on this one.   I started with making it olive instead of brandied pears.   I added a painted flower instead of the coffeepot in the peak.  A sign that says Brocante was added.  I changed the awning to reds and creams.  Then, I added different benches to the front of the shop in hickory sticks to look like iron.   At first they were not showing I stitched over them again.   It made the color pop and they have a bit of 3D look as they are thicker than the rest of the stitch.   But now the real challenge came.  What do I put in those windows?   I had no little antique stitches in my stash.   My first thought was an antique quilt hanging in the window.  So, I stitched an iron rod across the window and began to stitch a block quilt checkerboard style.  Then, I thought why not put flowers on the white blocks. That worked.

But, there was the other window and I was at a total loss what to put in it.   Alot of the other shops had Christmas trees so that seemed like a good idea.  I used the one from the clock shop but made it taller and wider.   I then thought of my husband's antique standing radio.   It had a simple design so I gave it a try.   I basically made a rectangle and rounded off the top.  Then, I made a screen in white and dials with French knots.  And, then a lighter color for the fabric that covers the speaker.   The window still did not look full enough to go with the window with the quilt.   I thought of alot of different things but settled on adding garland to the top of the window.  Not done yet!!!  Now, the windows needed to be wider and longer to fit the quilt which meant the door had to be adjusted too.   I put a big header in cream and added windows to the door and changed the color to red.  The final touch was to add steps and snow and I had myself a sweet Brocante that I love. It's now my favorite French shop.
The Coffee Shop becomes an Antique Shop

Valentine Freebie
We have a little freebie for you.  This is a complimentary chart from Hands on Design.   You can find the pattern here    Hope you enjoy this sweet stitch from Cathy.


Thank you so much for your visits and kind comments.   They really mean a lot to us.  We have a "grab bag" post coming up  next.   Lots of new projects are coming in the near future too that we hope you will enjoy.   We look forward to coming by and seeing all of your new stitches and crafts too.  Happy stitching!!!
                                                   Stitching Friends 

                               Life is the flower for which love is the honey.
                                                           Victor Hugo