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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.


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!

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

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


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

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

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


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   


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

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.


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!

 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


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. 


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

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

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

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October Week four
Something New for You
A Treat from Mary

Fall is such a lovely time of the year with it's leaves changing and the crisp smell of apples in the air. Do you pick apples by you? Are your leaves changing into beautiful autumn colors?  The cooler temperatures sure are enjoyable after a long, hot summer.  

We have chosen two fall inspired ornaments to share.  Hope you enjoy!      

RJ's new ornament -  I chose a scarecrow ornament by Shelly Auen.  She is a designer that sells PDF patterns on Etsy.   Isn't this little guy cute with the blackbirds and pumpkins surrounding him?  I really like how the O in crows is a sunflower and how the crows sit on the C and the S.   I used pumpkin fabric, vintage black rick rack and a black satin bow at the top.  I added a tiny pumpkin charm in the scarecrow's hand.

Love how the O in Crows is a Sunflower!

Mary sent me the vintage black rick rack and ribbon which worked perfectly

Crows in the Corn
by Primitivestitchin
32 ct. flax linen
variegated over dyed threads
charm from Bohemian Findings on Etsy


Mary's new ornament
-  My new ornament is Hocus Pocus by Shepherd's Bush. This was one of the patterns RJ bought for me when she had the pleasure of visiting the Shepherd's Bush shop in Ogden, Utah last year.   The pattern came with the adorable sunflower button.  One word of caution: I broke off one of the petals when turning the stitch to the right side, thankfully, I was able to attach it back with super glue.  

Embellished with French knots on rick rack

Hocus Pocus
by Shepherd's Bush
Weeks 30 ct. cocoa linen
Called for DMC and Onyx instead of 310


A Treat from Mary

Halloween decorating has become very popular in my area the last few years. My good friend Louise loves this holiday and has decorated one of these homes. I thought you might enjoy a few photos I took last night.   I've also included a couple of photos of my adorable nephew Hudson.  He makes a handsome police officer! 
It won't be long and this bucket will be filled with candy!

This is serious business tonight.   I have to come up with the best plan to bring home a lot of candy.


Thanks for your visit.   We so appreciate the time you take to read our blog and leave a comment.   Next week we will be doing our Styling with Stitches post.  Until then "Happy Stitching"!        RJ and Mary

                                    Autumn is the time of picturesque tranquility
                                                       Sir Kristian Goldmund Aumann

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

October Week Three

Something Old Made New
Free Pattern

Hope you are all enjoying the fall weather.   Do you have changing leaves by you?   What has your weather been like?   I know it is beautiful in New York by Mary but here in Florida it is still hot and muggy.   It seems like summer is here for a very long time this year.

We have two old ornaments made new to share with you this week and a nice, free pattern for fall.   


RJ's Old Ornament Made New

My old stitch is Snow in Love by Little House Needleworks.   It's such a cute, little stitch but you can see I just sewed it up and put a ribbon hanger at the top when I made it four years ago.  So it needed some dressing up!  

I added some red pom pom fringe that I found in the dollar bin at Michaels.  The needle went through this fringe pretty easily when I was hand stitching the trim on.  It is not top quality trim but it did the trick.  At the top I added a red check bow and then attached a snowflake charm. So you can see it does not take much or cost a lot to make a difference!
Just a couple of little extras to perk this ornament up

The red pom poms are a little bright but for a dollar who can complain?

Snow in Love
By Little House Needleworks
Called for threads
35 ct Weeks cocoa linen
Red pom pom fringe from Michaels
Snowflake charm from Etsy


Mary's Old Ornament Made New

My "old" Christmas ornament nearly made it to the garbage bin.   I was so frustrated that I cut both ends too short.
What to do?

I had none of the red fabric left to add a strip on the the top so I decided to start from scratch and dismantle the ornament.

Remember measure twice and cut once!

I have admired the ruffled trim that RJ has done on a few of her ornaments, so I decided to try that technique.   Well, I now know why it took RJ so long to attach the trim!  After two frustrating hours of sewing, I removed the trim and decided to try gluing it on as Carol from Stitching Dreams had suggested.   I pinned the trim on and then gently lifted each pin, put a drop of glue on the seam and then reinserted the pin to hold the trim in place.   After a few minutes of the glue drying, I gently removed the pins.   I used the called for threads with the exception of two colors. I substituted GA Carriage Black for Weeks Onyx and GA Dungarees for the Weeks Williamsburg Blue.  

My stitch is salvaged and I'm very happy with my "new" ornament.
Ribbon trim is from Michaels
Free Pattern
Can be found on the Shepherd Bush site
Thank you Tina Herman for this sweet, free stitch
25 ct. even weave
Called for thread colors 


Free Pattern:  Hope you enjoy the free pattern we found on  It's a neat one for the fall season.  


Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting.   We are so grateful that you took the time to comment.   It makes our day!   Next week we will be back with our new themed stitch.  Hope to see you then.  Mary and RJ

                                                    My favorite color is October
                                                                   Author unknown   

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

October Week Two
Winner of Mini Give Away
RJ's Grab Bag
Christmas Challenges

Winner of the Batty cross stitch pattern is Sandy.   Congratulations!  Hope you have alot of fun stitching it up.   Thank you all for entering.   Look forward to more give aways. 

RJ's Grab Bag - a trip to Yellowstone 

Have you been to Yellowstone National Park?  If not, it truly is a place to put on your list of places to go.   My husband and I have been to many national parks but Yellowstone is by far our very favorite.  There is so much to see and do. Yellowstone is so diverse that it is almost like having eight parks in one.  It's truly an experience to be savored.  We like to spend a good week there to get to see all the spots of interest.  Where else can you see geysers, paint pots, hot springs, canyons, wildflowers, waterfalls, historical buildings, a huge lake and fantastic wildlife?  And to make it even better, Wyoming has the best summer weather with lovely days of sunshine, blue skies and no humidity.   I will give you the highlights of each area so you can get a feel for each section.

Lamar Valley is one of the entrance points to Yellowstone.   It is a very pretty area and if you are having a lucky day you will probably get to see some wildlife.  Bears are usually harder to spot but there are many buffalo to see.

How lucky were we to see a bear our very first day!
This was our first herd of buffalo to see.
We got even luckier...we spotted another bear!

Old Faithful is the most popular spot in Yellowstone and also the most famous.   Here there is great lodging in the Old Faithful Inn, the Snow Lodge and the Old Faithful cabins.  This area has the most places to eat and the most shopping for gifts to bring home.  But, the biggest reason everyone is there is to see the grand old dame, Old Faithful herself.   But don't miss the nearby paint pots and some pretty waterfalls.
This is Old Faithful with a rainbow forming behind her.

This is our favorite place to view Old Faithful from the balcony off the second floor of the Inn.

The fireplace is three floors high in the Inn.

This is the second floor.   The whole Inn was made from logs in Yellowstone.   The story behind how it was constructed is amazing.   Don't miss the free tour of Old Faithful Inn.
Here is a nearby paint pot.   They are all different colors.
This is where the cold stream meets with the very hot springs.

The Canyon area is downright gorgeous.   There is an area that they call the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and you will see the resemblance right away.  You will really enjoy the hike down to the lower falls where you feel like you can almost touch the falls.   It's a hard hike back up but there are lots of places to stop and rest.
Part of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
Lower Falls


Another view of the Canyon
Mammoth area is another very popular area with visitors.   Here you will get to see the hot springs that have calcified over the years.   There is a mile hike to the top of the hot springs and you get a great view of the area from the top.  The little village offers very good accommodations and dining.  It also has military housing of many years ago that now houses the park rangers.   It's a great area to walk around.   Female and baby elk are plentiful and walk among the people.

Calcified layers after many years.
Mile hike to view the hot springs.   Great view to the village below.

These elk are very used to people being nearby.

Old military housing that now house the Park Rangers.
Hayden Valley is in between the Canyons and the Lake area and this is your best chance to spot wildlife.   There are fields and fields of buffalo and at some time during the day they will single file crossing the street to the other side.  This causes what they lovingly call the "Buffalo Road Block".  You may sit there for a long time but if you are lucky enough to be at the front of the line you get quite a show.                 
 Here is a gorgeous elk.       

This was an unbelievable find...a Mama and her cubs crossing the creek.
Here they are coming out the other side.
How cute are the baby cubs?    
Love his face.

 The Buffalo Road Block begins.  

It's a Grizzly!!!
This big boy took a detour and is coming over to say hello.   
Yellowstone Lake area is by far my favorite place to stay.   It is quiet and serene and the perfect spot to lay your head at night.   It has a beautiful restored hotel, a hotel annex which is more like motel rooms and lots of cabins.   They have the best food in the park with the number one dining room and the only made to order deli plus a diner just a mile away.   There are all kinds of water sports and you can even catch your own fish and have it made to order for your dinner in the dining room that night.  But the very best part of staying at the Lake is most every night a fantastic string quartet plays in the sunroom of the hotel.   For me, a perfect day in Yellowstone is hiking or touring during the day and then relaxing to the quartet at night.   They are four school teachers who come every summer and they will play any kind of music you want.  
Lake Yellowstone is huge

     This is the restored original Lake Hotel.           

The peaceful sunroom where you can look out at the beautiful lake.   It is a huge room and this is where the string quartet performs most nights.   The other nights they have an excellent piano player.           

This is a photo of the string quartet from the Yellowstone website.  This must have been a special day performance because we have only seen them at night after dinner.

The Lake Lodge is right across the street.   It has a big front porch with rocking chairs so you can view the lake.   It also has lots of sitting areas inside and is a great place to play cards in front of two huge fireplaces.

We came home one day and a buffalo was grazing on the cabin lawn right across the street from us.
Came home another day and he was standing right in our parking space in front of our cabin.   This is very unusual for them to come into the housing area.   They are massive creatures!!!
Roosevelt area is more of a primitive area for lodging.   It only has cabins that are very rustic and you must share your bathroom.    This is more for the young people who want an inexpensive place to stay.   It's worth a ride out there though because they have a western theme and their dining hall makes barbecue and steaks for a nice change of pace.  Wildflowers are plentiful in this area too which is a very pretty sight. 
The wildflowers are so pretty up in the Roosevelt area

Closeup of the wildflowers

This adorable cub was enjoying the wildflowers too.   We drove by and saw him on the side of the street.

And the last area in Yellowstone is called Grant.   There is some lodging and a dining room but that's about it.   It does not have much wildlife (sometimes elk) or any other attraction.
This elk is enjoying an afternoon snack.

I hope you have enjoyed the tour of Yellowstone and that you will consider a trip there.    It's an awesome place that I think you and your family will enjoy very much.  Happy trails!!!                                                                        

Christmas Challenges

RJ's Santa challenge

I chose Santas Revisited by Prairie Schooler.   I really love the sunflowers and birds in this stitch.   I used all over dyed threads that I chose instead of the called for colors.   These Santas are really alot of fun to stitch.   I'm getting closer to having enough to fill up my dough bowl.

            Closeup of Santa with sunflowers and birds              
Santas Revisited
by Prairie Schooler
35 ct. Weeks cocoa linen
over dyed threads that I chose


Mary's Ornament Challenge

I chose LHN's Pine Tree Inn for my Christmas Challenge this month as I wanted a quick stitch.  I made a small change to the original pattern which I really like.   Instead of a fence on both sides of the house, I stitched a tree on both sides and substituted a small heart button instead of stitching the heart.

Pine Tree Inn with added trees and heart button

Pine Tree Inn
by Little House Needleworks
28 ct. Zweigert Cashel raw linen
called for threads

Hope you are all enjoying a lovely fall.   It is such a beautiful time of the year. Thank you so much for coming by for a visit.   We always appreciate hearing from our stitching friends.   Next week we will be doing our "old ornaments made new".   RJ and Mary

            Autumn colors remind us we are all one dancing in the wind
                                           Lorin Morgan- Richards