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Friday, December 15, 2017

December Week Two
Something New
Freebie

The excitement of the holidays is in the air.   It is getting colder everywhere and you might even have snow!    Are you ready for the holidays or are you behind like Mary and me?  Every year we plan to have everything done ahead of time but somehow it never works.  
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Something New:   This is when we make a new stitch to share.   We usually turn it into an ornament or a framed stitch.   Next year we will be adding some new ideas to week four.  

RJ's Something New I chose the pattern Kringle's Crow by Threadwork Primitives to make a new Christmas ornament.  It is such a sweet little stitch with a cute blackbird sitting on Santa's hat wishing everyone a happy holiday.   I used a pretty black fabric with holly on it. Moss green rick rack is added between the stitch and the fabric.  He has a little red collar with a tiny jingle bell.   More tiny jingle bells are added to a red and black check bow at the top.  This was a quick and fun stitch!  


My Christmas stitch!

I love how the variegated threads change colors in this stitch

Closeup of this pretty blackbird dressed for the holidays
Kringle's Crow
by Threadwork Primitives
40 ct. flax Newcastle linen
variegated threads that I had
tiny bells from the charm section of Hobby Lobby
                                                                                                                                                            
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Mary's Something New: I chose Snowy Pines from the "All Dolled Up" series by Little House Needleworks.   This is yet another stitch from this sweet ornament group.  I just had to stitch this because of my fondness for bears.    I used black rick rack to emphasize the little black bear.   I also added a black ribbon bow and a pretty snowflake charm.


My Christmas stitch!

So beary sweet!

Closeup of the snowflake charm

Snowy Pines
by Little House Needleworks
30 ct. linen
called for threads

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Free Pattern:

Here is our Christmas gift to you.    It is a beautiful cardinal stitch called Blue Christmas from New York Dreamers Needleworks. Isn't it pretty and would stitch up fairly quick too.   Enjoy!!!  





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Thank you all so much for stopping by to see us.   We love your visits and appreciate your comments so much.   Next week will be our grab bag week and we will be showing you some holiday decorating from our homes.   Hope to see you then.
                                                             Mary and RJ


             "Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone"
                                                        Charles Schultz
                              


Thursday, December 7, 2017

December Week One
Styling with Stitches
Welcome

It's the most wonderful time of the year.  We are all busy shopping, baking and planning for the holidays.  But, this time of the year is also a season of Hope which is so important to many of us. May the holidays be blessed and special to all. 
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Welcome
We would like to welcome Meg who is a cross stitcher with a new blog named
Live to Stitch to the stitching community.    She is a lovely lady with a really nice blog with great stitches to view.   Please go over and say hello and enjoy her great photos.  
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Styling with Stitches
It's time for our second pillow pinafore and word play combo.   Mary made an adorable Christmas pinafore and I made the December word play.  We are excited to show you our first Christmas cross stitch projects.   They are fun to make and we hope you will give them a try too.   


RJ's Word Play
I've stitched the December word play by Brenda Gervais.   I wanted to make it a little different than just sewing it together.  There are a lot of trees on this stitch so I added a lot of tree elements to the finish.  I sewed a strip of tree fabric under the stitch and added a wool tree applique with a small jingle bell. In between the stitch and the fabric, I added some green cotton ric rac and stitched some rust bells on the bottom.  Green silk ribbon with a tree charm on the left side is used for the hanger.

This was one of the quicker word plays and a joy to stitch!   Except for the called for linen which I hated.   It came wrinkled and no matter how much I pressed it...it stayed that way.   If I made them again I would use a different linen.  

It is a rainy and very gloomy day so I took a lot of closeups of parts of the word play so you can see it.    I wish I got better photos today.    


December word play hanging on a bookcase

Closeup of top
Closeup of bottom with ric rac, rusty jingle bells and applique

Closeup of tree applique with a running stitch.  I think my trunk is kinda wide...need to fix that.

Closeup of tree charm attached to bow.  It is from Boheminan Findings on Etsy.

December Word Play
by With thy Needle and Thread
35 ct Abecedarian linen
called for overdyed threads
bells from Amazon
charm from Etsy

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Mary's Pinafore
For my first pinafore project, I stitched Letters for Santa by Brenda Gervais.  I wanted to finish the stitch a bit differently than as shown on the pattern.  So, I did not dye the linen or ticking as suggested because I wanted a more colorful pillow for my Christmas Decor. I sewed up a quick envelope pillow cover in ticking and then made my pinafore out of a red burlap runner.  I really scored buying the runner for only $2 in an after Christmas sale at Michaels.   I layered the stitch with a check fabric I had on hand and added  the pompoms as trim.  I used snowflake buttons on the back from my stash.  The burlap is held together by small Velcro ovals made for fabric.  

This pinafore easily stores away and lets me use my pillow for another project. My festive Christmas pillow makes me very happy!

Here it is...my first pinafore!
It will make it's home on my LR sofa

It attaches in the back with Velcro 
I used snowflake buttons for decoration on the back of the pinafore

Letters from Santa
by With Thy Needle and Thread
22 ct. Ariosa linen two over two
called for overdyed threads

pom pom fringe from my stash

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Hope you all enjoyed the pinafore and word play combo.  Next week we will be showing our new Christmas ornaments for this year.   We really appreciate you coming by to see us and taking the time to leave a comment especially during this busy time of the year.     Happy Stitching!           RJ and Mary


I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
Charles Dickens
  

Thursday, November 30, 2017


November Week One and Four

Thank you's

Styling with Stitches
New Stitch

It's hard to believe that today is the last day of November.   The time is just flying by and there is still so much to do before the Christmas holidays. Mary and I have been busy stitching for week one and week four.   I bet you thought we forgot about week one this month.  We didn't!   We are just late in getting them sewn up.  So today will be a double project day which means double the work double the pleasure.   

We start with thanks you's to three lovely ladies.   This past week I received a most beautiful RAK ornament from Andrea of The Craft Room.   I have been following Andrea for quite some time because of my love for her stitching and stunning finishes.   So you can imagine my delight when I found out I won one of her RAK'S.    It is a beautiful Prairie Schooler Santa which I'm so over the moon about.   I love everything about it from the perfect flat finish, the pretty cording, the organza bow, the lovely three pearl pin and even an adorable heart charm on the back.  I was like a little girl on Christmas morning opening a gift when I received this beautiful gift all the way from England.  




Stitching Friends thanks our good friend Catherine of I love to stitch for the really pretty Blackbird Designs and Shepherds Bush patterns she sent for Mary and me to stitch. She knows how much we love patriotic and SB stitches.  We can't wait to get going on these lovely designs.

We also would like to thank our new friend Sandy of  I majored in Home Economics for the beautiful chart Silent Night, Holy Night with the prettiest cardinals that was sent to us too.  It is a time consuming pattern but so pretty.

Thank you so much stitching friends.   

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Styling with Stitches
For our week one project we made stitched quilt hangings to put on metal containers.  They are both by Fanci That which make them whimsical and adorable!

RJ's quilt hanging
I chose Harvest Angel by Fanci That.   This company is not in business anymore but I was able to find this one on Ebay and scooped it up.   I chose my own over dyed threads and added a star button to the halo and a blackbird on the fence.  When I made the little quilt I used a tiny sunflower border in black and cream and then a bigger border of homespun black check.  I still want to go back and do a quilt stitch around the borders but probably not until after the holidays.   


This is my little quilt hanging on a metal container.  I added a plant, some fresh sunflowers, wicker pumpkins and a birdhouse for the blackbird

The quilt hangs by vintage black ribbon
Closeup showing the two borders...one with sunflowers and the other a check homespun


Kinda crooked but shows the detail of the stitch and buttons better.  Can you see the pumpkins on her feet?  And it says Crows on the mailbox with a small red lever.   The details on these angels are amazing.   I wish I had gotten a better up close photo

Harvest Angel
by Fanci That
40 ct. country mocha Newcastle linen
overdyed threads
buttons from 123 stitch
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Mary's quilt hanging
My hanging is another Fanci That stitch appropriately named Pumpkin Hollow.  I think the Fanci That patterns are such charming and whimsical stitches. 

I found this great wood and metal basket at Hobby Lobby and knew it would be perfect for a fall display to hang on my door.   I enlisted the talents of my good friend, Cheryl, to help me design the arrangement.  

I omitted the word Pumpkin that was on the pattern.   I found some tiny wooden leaves at a quilt show that worked well for the little halo.   The called for threads were used with the exception of substituting a few DMC colors, 3371 for Cherry Bark, 931 for Blueberry, 340 for Purple Iris and 738 for Summer Meadow. 
Closeup of quilt hanging

I love how this arrangement turned out
                                                                                     
The back has a hanger at the top
                                                                                               
Pumpkin Hollow
by Fanci That
40 ct. country mocha Newcastle linen
threads listed above
buttons found at a quilt show


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Something New

RJ's new ornament - I chose a design by Blackbird Designs.   Have you ever seen a chart that you just had to stitch?   Well this one did that to me.   The first time I saw it I was in love with everything about it.   I really thought the blackbird was beautiful with the golden basket in his mouth and I loved the pretty brick color of the alphabet.   I usually don't date things or put my initials on them but this one needed it.

For the finish I did a thin piece of black homespun and then a larger piece of a pretty tiny floral that Mary had sent me from a quilt show.   It had the perfect brick red and black in it and worked so well.   I made my first attempt at a yo yo with a button.  Why?  I made a mistake when trimming my stitch.   I trimmed three sides and forgot the bottom.  Only after it was sewn up, did I notice my error. I may pull it apart and fix it later but for now I think the yo yo takes up space and helps make the extra length of the linen look more in line.  At least I hope so.  


Love the colors in this stitch

Closeup showing the yo yo and fabrics

Gathering Basket
By Blackbird Designs
overydyed threads
40 ct. flax Newcastle linen
vintage button




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Mary's new stitch -  I stitched this for my friend Cheryl's printers box.  She changes the display seasonally and I volunteered to make a little stitch for each season.    I call this my mystery stitch because I cannot recall the design or threads used.  I tried a flat fold for the first time using chipboard and gluing the linen down. Neither method will be used again by myself! The chipboard was difficult to cut and once I placed the linen on the sprayed glue surface I could not move the stitch to align it evenly. I'm glad my learning experience was on a small piece like this one. 


Perfect for Cheryl's printers box

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Thank you all so much for your visit.  We really appreciate each and every one of you.  Next week we will the doing our Styling with Stitches post.   Until then "Happy Stitching".                      Mary and RJ


                                        Begin each day with a grateful heart
                                                               unknown author
                                                                   

Monday, November 20, 2017

November Week Three

Old Ornaments Made New

Free Pattern

With Thanksgiving approaching quickly and Christmas not far behind, we know everyone is very busy.   So, we are really happy you came by for a visit today. We have two of our older ornaments updated to show you.  And, we have included a free pattern we hope you will enjoy.

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RJ's old ornament made new
I chose the pattern The 12 Days of Santa by Heart StringsI love this Santa with his  "argyle like jacket".  You can't tell but different shades of yellow are used in each of the squares. There was a lot of counting to get the white individual x's in the right place.  And then, it was my first time using the Wisper thread for his beard and mustache.  I was really happy with this sweet Santa.   But like all our older ornaments, it needed a bit more to dress him up!

Before:
Love this Santa stitch but why not dress him up for his big day!

After: 
Well I thought I had a cute new idea for this ornament. But after working on it for quite awhile, it wasn't coming out like I wanted.   So I went back to a tried and true method of hand stitching some red pleated ribbon around the ornament.   I added a red check bow to the corner with a charm that says "believe". There is also a cute little cardinal button still sitting on top of the tree.   Now he looks more dressed up!


He seems at home in the greenhouse!

Or maybe he'll stay here in the basket of flowers

Closeup of the bow so you can see the believe charm and how the pleated ribbon ruffles
The 12 Days of Santa
by Heart Strings
35 ct. unknown linen
called for threads
Wisper thread for the beard
Cardinal button
Believe charm from Joann's

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Mary's old ornament made new
My Christmas update is one of several ornaments I received from RJ as part of my 2013 Christmas gift.  ( I have a very generous friend!)   It is Tiny Tidings XV by Lizzie Kate.  

RJ suggested updating some of the older ornaments she had stitched for me.  I hesitated, as I love the stitches "as is," but I am running low on my own stitches so I took the challenge

Before:
Love this sweet little stitch but RJ asked me to doll it up!

After:   
I added some cording around the edges, replaced the bow with jingle bells and a tiny bow on the wreath.   I know she will love the new additions to her pretty stitch.  


The cording colors were a perfect match and I found it on sale in Hobby Lobby which was an added bonus. You can see the little bow made with six strands of thread on the bottom of the wreath.

Love the fabric she used for the back.   We both wish she had more.  You also can see the cording separated for decorative back finish.  

Tiny Tidings XV
by Lizzie Kate
Weeks cocoa linen
English Ivy, Cayenne and DMC blanc threads
Cording from Hobby Lobby

                                                                   
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Free Pattern for you

We hope you enjoy this pattern we found on Plum Street Samplers.   It is perfect for the season.

You can find the chart here   

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Hope you all have a lovely and blessed Thanksgiving.   We know we are most thankful for each and every one of you that come by and visit.   We are truly honored that you like our blog and take the time to comment.  We hope to see you next week...we are working on a  double post to end the month of November.            Mary and RJ
    
                                                                      anonymous

Sunday, November 12, 2017

November Week Two
Veterans Day Thank You
Cross Stitch Birthday gift
Birthday Cake recipe
Christmas Challenge stitches

Stitching Friends would like to say thank you to all our Veterans past and present for their dedication and service to their country.   This week we have a cross stitch gifta recipe and our Christmas challenge stitches to share with you.


RJ's Grab Bag

As an Air Force wife for 30 years, I can tell you I am so proud of all the men and women who serve.  I asked my husband if he would tell me what being a veteran meant to him.  His response was the following: 


Being a veteran means being part of the 1% of the population that steps forward to defend our nation. It means sacrifices by both the service member and his or her family, but there is also great satisfactionYou learn to appreciate teamwork and a shared purposeYou have the opportunity to associate with like-minded individuals who become your extended family and lifelong friendsPeople frequently tell a veteran, “Thank you for your service.” That sentiment is certainly appreciated, but in reality, it is an honor and privilege.

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Cross Stitch Birthday Gift

It was also my husband George's birthday today and one of his gifts was this cross stitch from Little House Needleworks.   It is called Brave Hearts.  The first time I saw it I knew I wanted to stitch this for my military husband.   I love everything about this stitch.   The colors really pop beautifully.   I really enjoyed stitching the checkerboard roof and the wavy navy was a great color for the house.   I always like stitching the American flag and this was a great one.  And letters are always fun which made this meaningful poem especially enjoyable to stitch.   Happy Birthday George! 

Love everything about this stitch!
Here is a WWII photo of my Dad in uniform sitting in a field of flowers with a a bouquet in his hand.  It is one of my favorite family photos.


It found a home in the green house!

Remember
 when I made this ornament in July?   I used the pattern Brave Hearts above for the house, flag, bird and some other small parts.  Then I added my own words, pots of flowers and moved things around abit to finish it off.

You can see the changes I made to make this my own ornament.

Brave Hearts
by Little House Needleworks
25 ct. vintage country mocha over one
called for overdyed threads

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German Sour Cream Cake

George's favorite dessert is my Mom's German sour cream cake and that is what I will make for his special day.   I would like to share the recipe with you all.   It is a very easy cake to make.   I followed the recipe almost exactly.   The only change I made is I always use pecans instead of walnuts.  But recently, I substituted pralines (glazed pecans) instead.   It really gave the cake a nice sweet crunch.   A slice of this cake is perfect with a big scoop of Blue Bell homemade vanilla ice cream.   

 Mom’s German Sour Cream Cake

½ lb. butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
4 eggs
1 pt. (16ozs.) sour cream
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts (we prefer pecans)
Vanilla ice cream (Blue Bell is our choice)

Cream butter and sugar.   Add eggs one at a time beating after each one.   Add sour cream and mix well.   Add all dry ingredients and mix well.   Add vanilla and nuts and blend in.   Bake in greased tube pan at 350 degrees for one hour.   I find it usually takes another 10 to 15 minutes.   Sprinkle with powdered sugar when cake is cool.  Serve with really good Vanilla ice cream. 
Enjoy!

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RJ's Santa challenge -

My Christmas challenge is St. Nicholas II Santa by Prairie Schooler.   I saw this stitched on black on Carol's site "Stitching Dreams" a few years ago and just loved it. Even though I had never stitched on black linen before, I had to give it a try.   At first it was very hard on these old eyes, but after awhile I got the hang of it.  At first I was stabbing trying to find the hole.   After the first row went in, it went fairly easy.   I love this Santa because he is holding a cardinal which is very near and dear to my heart.  I used overdyed variegated threads which really popped on the black linen.


I used cayenne for the reds in this stitch which really popped against the black linen.

St. Nicholas II Santa Book No 36
by Prairie Schooler
32 ct. black linen
overdyed threads I had on hand
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Mary's Christmas challenge -

My Christmas Challenge is another favorite by Little House Needleworks called Quaker Birds.   I had to look up the name because I renamed it Snow in Love.   I just love these two little birds.  I stitched this once before all in cream and used it as the topping for a gift for my niece's Wedding Shower.  I received so many compliments on the brown craft paper packaging, burlap ribbon and this lovely stitch adorning the gift box.   I think a pretty ornament being used as a bow is a thoughtful idea for a special gift.

Love these sweet birds!

Quaker Birds
by Little House Needleworks
30 ct. Weeks Cocoa linen
called for threads
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Thank you once again for stopping by to see us.   We really appreciate the time you take to comment.   It always makes our day special.   Next week will be our last old ornament made new for this year.   Hope to see you then.   Mary and RJ


We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude
                                                  Cynthia Ozick