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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

August Sunflowers
Week two

RJ's Grab Bag

Christmas Challenge Stitches

Before we get started I have had a lot of emails about the pinafore and how to make one or where to find directions.   It's kind of a made up term because it reminded me of how pinafores go over little girls' dresses to make them extra special.   I've been doing this to my cushions on wicker furniture to change their look for years and I thought why not on a pillow.   I will be making another pillow pinafore with a tutorial in the future and I think that will make it an easy way to understand how to make them.  They are a lot of fun to make and I hope you will all give one a try.   

On our way to Durango, Colorado this summer, we stopped for a two week visit with our son Mike in Texas.    While there, I was amazed at our son's new found hobby.   Mike has taught himself to paint. Where he acquired this talent I have no idea.   It certainly was not from me or my husband. So for my grab bag week I thought you might enjoy viewing some of his artwork. His Mom is mighty impressed and proud!

Here is a sampling of his work:
Michael Phelps

Buddy Holly


Bridget Bardot

Roberto Duran

Linda Ronstadt

George Harrison

Little Richard

Barney Fife
Thank you so much Mike for sharing some of your art with us today.  I'm sure it was enjoyed by all.

                                       Stitching Friends Challenge

RJ - This month I stitched  a cute Sunflower Santa from Prairie Schooler from the booklet called A Christmas Visit book 48.
Love this smaller PS Santa with the sunflowers and garden elements.

I'm practicing with a new 50 lens from Mary.  It fades out the edges and background.

Sunflower Santa
by Prairie Schooler
A Christmas Visit book 48
35 ct. Weeks Cocoa linen
over dyed threads of my choice


Mary -    My latest Christmas Challenge is LHN's "Six Little Cardinals" and this is the second time I have stitched this. The first time it was a gift for my niece and I remember it being a quick and easy stitch.  This time not so much!  I spent a lot of time "frogging" and I blame it on the Mets!   Listening to my team losing while stitching is not a good combination! 

I assure you this is a fun and easy stitch and one of my favorite LHN Christmas ornaments.  I used all the suggested threads except I substituted Weeks Pecan for DMC 410 and GA English Ivy for DMC 3051

Six Cardinals
by Little House Needleworks
Weeks cocoa linen
overdyed threads

Next week we will be showing our oldies made new.   Thank you for visiting us today.  We hope to see you next week.   Mary and RJ

                                            Friends are the sunshine of life.
                                                unknown author

Saturday, August 5, 2017

August Sunflowers
week one

When we think of August, our thoughts go to beautiful sunflowers standing tall and following the sun.   We both love sunflowers so we really liked finding patterns to follow this month's theme.


We have two special projects to share.  For quite awhile, we have been thinking of new ways to use larger stitches and our favorite way is making pillow pinafores. We thought we could make a new one for each month and special holidays.

They would be easier to make than a pillow and would store flat so we could have lots of them.  Plus you only need to buy one pillow.  We chose to use a nice rectangle down filled pillow from Ballards Design during a great sale.   And that means lots of uses for big stitches!

We will make two pinafores a year and every time one of us makes a pinafore the other will make a word play.   We immediately fell in love with the monthly word plays from With Thy Needle and Thread and decided to make them all.

RJ's pinafore -  I chose the pattern Sunflower House by Plum Street Samplers.   There were so many details on this stitch that I loved like the horse and buggy, the sunflowers, the barn and of course the great American flag.

I changed it up quite a bit because I wanted it to be longer for a pinafore.  So instead of stitching the random Shaker signs, I decided to add a whole row of them across the lower section of the stitch.  Then I took a song line from the Beatles "I'll Follow the Sun" for my next added row.   I finished it with a long row of tall sunflowers.   I used the sunflower design from the August word play to make them.  I kept the border going around the whole stitch.  This was my first Plum Street Sampler cross stitch but it definitely will not be my last.  In fact we have purchased quite a few more for the coming months.  I loved this pattern because it took on so much personality with each completed section.   When I got to the end, I was sorry there was no more to stitch.

Well here it is ... my first cross stitched pillow pinafore!

Tried it out on another chair for better light.   Forget "sunny Florida"...we have only had rain!!!

The pattern ended where the horse and buggy are.  So I added a row of Shaker signs, a line from a Beatles song and a long row of tall sunflowers to make it longer.

I used black ticking, black gingham ribbon and black buttons.

Sorry I cut off the flowers and the border but I wanted you to see the details.  The border is black and the red like the barn.  

Sunflower House
by Plum Street Samplers
40 ct. flax Newcastle linen
over dyed threads


Mary's word play -  When I found out that RJ was using Sunflower House for her August pinafore, I was thrilled because it meant a "no work" post for me!  She had sent me this beautiful Word Play as a birthday gift in 2014.  This is such a delightful series and my favorite month is August.  Not only is it my birthday month, but I love the garden theme which included sunflowers, tiny bees, a hive and a sweet girl holding a watering can. It is such a charming stitch and you can see why we were both smitten with the whole series.

I loved the finish of this pretty stitch which included hanging vintage buttons, the perfect coordinating fabric and the sweet addition of a stitched sunflower on the back with a running stitch.

But, the best part of this gift is it was stitched with love.  I am so fortunate to have RJ as a dear friend and my blogging partner.  One could not ask for a more generous, kinder soul and I'm blessed to have her in my life.

I display my word plays on my curio cabinet

Close up of the stitch and the hanging buttons

I love the backing fabric RJ chose

Such a sweet additon

August Word Play
by With Thy Needle and Thread
35 ct. Abecedarian linen
called for over dyed threads

Have a great week of stitching.  Next week we have a really neat grab bag post and also our stitching challenges to share. Hope to see you then.   RJ and Mary

                              Tomorrow may rain so I’ll follow the sun
                                                       The Beatles

Saturday, July 29, 2017

July Stars and Stripes
week four

Something New

July is such a fun month...picnics, the beach and fireworks!  We have two new patriotic stitches to share.   One is an ornament and the other is framed.

RJ - I stitched a sweet pattern called Glory by Shepherd's Bush for my new July ornament.   A child holding the American flag steals my heart every time!   This stitch went very quick and was enjoyable to finish too.  I stitched Freedom to make the stitch abit longer. I added pretty cotton lace and some vintage buttons.  I tried my best to do a herringbone embroidery stitch between the fabrics but I must admit I was not satisfied with my first attempt as it got bigger and bigger as I stitched across the fabric.   But after a second try, I liked it a lot!  I finished it with pleated ribbon for a hanger, a star ribbon bow and a cute little wavy flag charm.  It has become one of my very favorite small ornaments.

Plumbago from our garden accompanies the Glory ornament 

I added crocheted lace, vintage buttons, a herringbone stitch and a cute little wavy flag charm.   

I wanted to show you a closeup of the really cute fabrics Mary sent me...they were perfect!

Found the star ribbon in Hobby Lobby and the charm on Etsy

by Shepherd's Bush
32 ct. lambswool linen
over dyed threads I liked
fabrics from Mary

Mary - Red, White and Bloom is by Country Cottage Needleworks and my new July stitch.  I used the called for thread and linen.  I framed it myself with a rustic Michael's frame that I thought worked well with the cocoa linen.  Framing 30 count linen, is not easy. It was difficult trying to get the threads to lay evenly and became quite a challenge!

Although I love how this cross stitch turned out, I became bored while stitching it.  I'm not sure why but maybe I like to change colors more often.  I'd love to hear if this happens to anyone else.   

I made a holiday arrangement to go with my new stitch.

Linen color is accurate in this photo

Red, White and Bloom
By Country Cottage Needleworks
30 ct. Weeks cocoa linen
called for threads

Have a great week friends.   Our next post will be our big project to start the month of August.   We have some nice projects planned.  As always thanks so much for stopping by.    Mary and RJ

                               From every mountain side, let freedom ring 
                                                     Samuel F. Smith

Friday, July 21, 2017

July Stars and Stripes
Week three

Something Old Made New
Monthly Free Pattern

Hope you are enjoying our third week of old ornaments made new.  This has actually been the hardest week to do.   Finding ways to jazz up an old stitch is difficult but we are giving it our best.  

But before we get started, we wanted to tell you about a great giveaway that our friend Linda Lee is having at Lov'N My Stitches blog She is one of our sweetest new friends and has a lovely blog that I think you will all enjoy a lot.

And some more good news...our dear friend Stasi at Bee-mused and Bee-stitching is having a fun giveaway too.    She is another very sweet and talented friend.  Links to both these blogs can be found on our sidebar.  So stop by and say hello to these lovely two ladies and tell them Stitching Friends sent you

Here are our new stitches made new for July.  Hope you like them.

RJ - I picked Brave Hearts by Little House Needleworks.   This pattern was love at first sight and I wanted to stitch it right away.  Once again, it was way too big for an ornament so I put my own spin on this one.   I only used the house and flag like it is on the pattern.   Then I had to move around the climbing flowers to fit the new saying I was using.  I shortened the lawn under the house by a lot and dropped the whole bottom right side. Instead of the original poem, I stitched Home is where the Air Force sends you. This is a very popular military family saying and it fit this stitch perfectly. To fill in the bottom right,  I stitched three little pots of flowers in red, white and blue.  This one hangs on my nature Christmas tree. 

Before:  Here is my spin on Brave Hearts as a small ornament.
I love this ornament already but wanted to add something extra to it.

After:  While shopping in Hobby Lobby recently, I found this navy pleated ribbon which seemed like it might work for my old ornament.  So I added the ribbon, a navy star bow and a new patriotic charm we just purchased. This little stitch was special to me before but I love the new look it was so entitled to.   

This is the plane my husband flew in the Air Force with the made over ornament

I added a star flag charm with star ribbon bow.  You can see how the pleated ribbon ruffles!   It was a great find.

Closeup of Home is where the Air Force Sends You

Home Is Where the Air Force Sends You
adapted from Brave Hearts
by Little House Needleworks
25 ct. lugana one over one
over dyed threads


Mary- Challenging is definitely an accurate description of how difficult I find it to update an older "finished" ornament.


After: This stitch was originally finished with cording, trim and a rustic plaid fabric that RJ sent me which blended nicely with this bird.  It needed something extra however and this proved to be a challenge because the ornament is only 3 1/2 by 2 1/2.  I added  a tiny JOY charm and a little corded bow.  It is now officially "finished"!

Homespun Elegance "Majestic Bird"
28 count over 1, mystery variegated threads

                                                           July Freebie

Notforgotten Farm has a great free stitch for you to enjoy and it is perfect for July. You can find it here

I've seen this chart stitched up and it is adorable.   See you next week with our new stitches for July.   RJ and Mary

           This day will never happen again, make the most of it
                                                 unknown author

Saturday, July 15, 2017

July Stars and Stripes
Week two

Winners of Give Away
Mary's Grab Bag
Christmas Challenge


Bridget Wilson for our  USA follower
Mouse from England for our International follower

We are thrilled to have such a great response to our giveaway and to meet so many new stitching friends, please keep coming back because we will be having more fun giveaways in the future.

Mary's Grab Bag/Quilt Show

I recently had the pleasure of attending two quilt shows.  The first show was held in early May and hosted by The Northern Star Quilters Guild in Danbury, Connecticut.  This was a large show with over 300 quilts displayed which included bed quilts, traditional quilts, hand and machine quilted, and art quilts.  I was in quilting heaven!

I attended the show with my friend, Grace, who displayed a quilt of her own design called "October Sky".   Her quilt was entered in the Art-Small category. They all measured less than 20 inches on each side.  Autumn is my favorite season and I loved her entry.

The show also had a wonderful boutique with over 30 vendors.  It was a great place for cross stitchers to shop for fabrics as many of the vendors sell the fabric in fat quarters.  One can never have too many fabrics in their stash and lovely Moda fabrics came home with me.

This past weekend I attended another show presented by The Milford Valley Quilters in Milford, Pennsylvania.  I brought my husband to the show and he enjoyed it as much as I did.

Please be sure to read the descriptions for the quilts that I posted.  These quilts were extremely beautiful but the story behind them is what pulled at my heartstrings.

The quilts that follow are just a small sampling of the talent that was displayed at both of these shows.  If you have the opportunity to attend a quilt show, please go and support these talented men and women.  You will be in awe at the talent and originality of these artists.

  Northern Star Quilters Guild Show
Grace's beautiful quilt

The photo does not do this quilt justice.

The detail on this quilt was amazing

Lovely sentiment on this block

Brilliant colors

close up of quilting

Such a cute fox

A quilters shopping paradise!

The Milford Valley Quilter's Show

            Made and quilted by Dorothy Decker, designed by Barbara Adams of Blackbird Designs                  

A Single Bud

The raffle prize for 2018 from the Milford Guild.  I will be taking chances on this beauty.

Gorgeous applique work

Christmas Challenges

RJ - I stitched another Prairie Schooler Santa.   This one is patriotic and from 2002.   I used my own choices of over dyed threads and stitched it on 35 ct. cocoa linen.  I'm enjoying all of these Santas and can't wait until I finish them and have a completed set.   I've got my dough bowl ready for that day.

Such fun patterns to stitch.

I used over dyed threads instead of the called for thread colors

Prairie Schooler Patriotic Santa
35 ct. Weeks Cocoa linen
over dyed threads of my choice


Mary -  North Pole Express is a sweet, though unrealistic, stitch from Little House Needleworks. A polar beer pulling a sled???  I still think it's adorable and I really enjoyed stitching this pattern.  I'm so glad RJ suggested this challenge.  Now, my tree will be adorned with pretty new ornaments.

North Pole Express
by Little House Needleworks
complimentary chart when you buy the selected threads
mystery linen
Next week will be our old ornaments made new.   Hope to see you.  Mary and RJ

  One flag, one land, one heart, one hand, one nation evermore 
                                                 Oliver Wendell Holmes