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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

January Week Three
Challenge Week

Are you getting lots of stitching done during this very cold weather?    We have never had such a cold winter in Florida.   And, my dear partner Mary is truly freezing up in New York plus she gets SNOW!    I would love to see some pretty white, fluffy snow fall from the sky.

This month is flying by and both of us feel like we are catching up with all the projects we have scheduled to do.   This week is what we are calling our "Challenges" week.   It will consist of a challenged stitch from last year now finished and our new challenge for this year stitched.   It should be fun to see if we can keep up. 

RJ's Finished Challenge

Remember this Sewing Santa from last year?  It's called Santa please bring me.   

I was going to use the tree fabric but couldn't find it at sewing time so I made a change

Here it is finished into an ornament.  It was fun finishing Santa.   I thought the addition of old buttons, lace and scissors would give him a good sewing look.  I added a bow to the hanger and a button in the middle for a little extra.  I've been closing up my ornaments in the back instead of the bottom the last few months and what a big difference it makes.   It gives it a much neater finish and it is easier to stuff when the opening is in the middle of the back too.   Give it a try...I think you will like it.  

Lace, vintage buttons, a button bow and scissors were added.  I used Wisper thread for his beard!

Closeup of the buttons and charm

Santa please bring me
by Homespun Elegance
Mystery cream 32 ct. linen
Over dyed threads I already had
Vintage buttons and lace


RJ's New Stitching Challenge

I chose to do the Hometown Holiday series but with a twist.   I'm going to turn them into a French holiday village.   The first one I've stitched is the Florist.   I think I'm going to call it Fleurs for flowers in French. But I left the name on the sign off for now.   I really love these little store fronts.   They are so colorful!  I love that they have awnings and other sweet details.   And each one has a cardinal...that sold them for me.   Stay tuned for more little stores, houses etc. to be added to my little French village.

Some changes were made to make it a smaller size.  I left off the lamp post and another tree.  And for now I didn't stitch the name of the store.   I'm pretty sure it will be Fleurs but I'm leaving my options open for now.

Hometown Holiday
The Florist
by Little House Needleworks
40 ct. vintage country mocha
Over dyed threads


Mary's finished challenge

North Pole Express by Little House Needleworks was stitched last July for my stitching challenge.

It is finally finished!  I'm always on the hunt for decorative accessories for my stitches and found these cute wired stars in one of the craft stores. I snipped the wire at either end of the star and twisted it to form a button hole of sorts. I threaded my ribbon through the little hole I made out of the wire and sewed the star and ribbon to the pillow ornament.

I used a small amount of Dritz fabric fray on the ends of my ribbon.  You have to use a very small amount, otherwise the ribbon will stain. After several stained ribbons, I put a drop on a toothpick and gently put it on the ribbon. Finally no stain!

   I was very happy that I sewed my rick rack on evenly on my first try! I have sewn rickrack on stitches before but never under the seam. It took tons of pins but I  was pleased with how it turned out.
I put a small amount of Dritz fray check on the ends of the ribbon to keep them from fraying.

North Pole Express
by Little House Needleworks
Called for over dyed threads


Mary's New Stitching Challenge

I am a stitching challenge dropout!  My goal was to stitch either a LHN, a Prairie Schooler Barnyard animal or  Hawks Run Christmas.  Time got away from me so I stitched this little freebie from .romyscreations. She has many small stitches on her site.  This was stitched in an evening and I'll make it into a small ornament for my nephew. Next month I hope to organize my time better!!

Here is the free stitch from romyscreations


We hope you like our new week three feature.  We have not forgotten about old ornaments made new as they will pop up now and then too.  Hope you are keeping warm and getting lots of stitching done.   We love to come to your blogs and see what you are up to.  Thank you once again for visiting us.  We truly appreciate the time it takes to leave a comment.

                                                                 Mary and RJ         

                                           Kindness is like snow-
                                         It beautifies everything it covers.
                                                                  Kahil Gilbran


  1. I love your Santa finishing, RJ. It's amazing to see how creatively you can embellish the designs with all sorts of buttons. I have used some myself rather often. And your new stitching challenge for this year is so lovely. Great idea to turn the village into a French village.

    North Pole Express looks gorgeous, Mary, the way you finished it. Rick rack always gives these little pillows a special look. And your little snow finish is so sweet.

  2. Thank you for sharing your stitching, i will be popping over rot look at the free patterns on romyscreations. x

  3. What beautiful stitching a wonderful finishes .
    Love all the little extras.
    Thank you for all the lovely ideas .
    Hugs to both of you.

  4. Wonderful little ornaments.
    I like all the little details you have made.
    Big Hugs to both of you, Manuela

  5. Fabulous...such creativity love them all♥️♥️...Blessings to you both🕊

  6. I've heard a lot in the news about the snow in Florida and the hot temperatures in New York. With us it is only cloudy and wet.
    Your Santa looks class, and the Hometown series is really beautiful, of which I've already embroidered some motifs, the florist was also there. Even the little snowman looks great now.
    Hugs to you, Martina

  7. RJ, your Santa ornament is perfect for stitchers and I love how you finshed it. Are you cutting a "slit" it your back, stuffing then sewing shut? I can't wait to see your French Village grow!
    Mary, your challenge piece is equally wonderful! I love the little child on the sled; it immediately reminded me of a small wooden piece I have of a small boy on a sled. I will try to send you a photo.I love snow people on that linen--perfect!

  8. R J I have been doing the seam at the back for a while after watching Vonna's tutorial. I love it and you are much easier and neater!! I love the idea of the French cute. I am feeling so much freedom in being able to change up the charts for my taste. Mary, those stars are delightful. When I visit any store now I am always looking for things that I can use in finishing. It is all about being creative. I just love to see your finishes and I am spurred on to get to finishing some of my FO's.

  9. It is always delightful to see a new post from you two. RJ, I like both of your challenge projects. You already know how much I like your idea to turn the Hometown Holidays designs in your French village. Mary, your snowman piece is a cutie. And no, you aren't a challenge dropout.

  10. All three of those designs are in my to-do pile! Love seeing them stitched up and finished.

  11. Lovely little touches you two! Sweet patterns chosen by you both. A French village sounds really neat RJ.

  12. Love that Santa finish, RJ--have that chart and I don't know why I haven't stitched it yet! I'm glad the back closure is working for you. I tried it once and it was not pretty for me so I am sticking with my regular old bottom closure :) Your LHN French village will be adorable! I got all of those charts for my birthday and am planning on doing them on black like I did the tree lot.

    Love your stars on the North Pole finish, Mary! And the ric rac underneath looks great. I often do that--just like the little bit of it peaking out :) A cute new finish, too! Did you like the polka dot fabric?

    Enjoy your day--hope it warms up for all of us soon!

  13. I love the embellishments of both of the pieces. The ribbons, stars, scissors, buttons, etc. make both so adorable. The French store fronts will be a cute idea and the snow piece is cute on the dotted fabric.
    Always love to see what y'all have planned.

  14. To you both,your embellishments work so well with your projects,they sre all so pretty.

  15. Dear RJ and Mary,

    Still in the winter mood ... how lovely it all looks though! You are such masters in great finishes, sigh, the beauty ... The first one with the list is priceless, giggle ...
    I must confess my ort jar is still empty. Too busy, aaarrrggghhh! It will come. My 'to finish' thing is my TIAG strawberries of course.
    The new projects are adorable, happy stitching my friends :)

    Love, Carolien

  16. P.S. I forgot to mention it but - unbelievable - I took out a chair from the garage this afternoon. Sat outside with a cup of tea. The temperatures felt like Spring. I hardly dare to say it, it was so special! Loved it.
    Hugs across the ocean, Carolien

  17. RJ and adorably creative your finishes are! RJ...loving the idea to change to a French village...can't wait to see how that develops! Mary...your rickrack and stars are perfect!

  18. RJ, the snow is pretty when it is falling but after that it is just a stinking pain that nobody wants to deal with! I just LOVE your Santa! You did a great job on making it into an ornament and I love the additions to it! The Fleurs storefront looks amazing and I am looking forward to seeing what you do with the Hometown Holiday series!

    Mary, I hope you are staying warm in the cold you are experiencing. I just love the stars you added to the North Pole ornament and thanks for the ribbon / fray check tip! I have had ribbon challenges in the past. Sometimes our plans are grand, but our time is always limited, and I think we can all understand that! I wouldn’t call you a dropout, you just took a different route and I am sure Hudson will LOVE it!

    Thanks for sharing your great week ladies!

  19. Is that the perfect Santa or what? Always enjoy seeing the new finishing ideas you both come up with - lots of fun!

  20. You ladies are both such a great inspirations. Especially to those of us who are not the most efficient finishers!!Just wonderful ideas and thank you for sharing them with all of us.

  21. RJ and Mary - you both take such lovely photos of your stitching - your blog is a joy to read.

  22. RJ and Mary... I love your ornaments, and especially the added embellishments! So sweet! Those little stars are the bomb. I like how you thought outside the box to turn them into buttons. I’ve never seen that Santa with the stitching wish list before....I may just have to find that pattern. It certainly fits me! My mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and asked me to update my Amazon wish list. I told her, “Oh, forget that. All I want is cross stitch stuff!” Lol... Always a good idea to stock up on linen, I think, since I’ve been in that predicament of only having scraps or weird colors/counts in my stash. No worse feeling than thinking you can’t start a project until your fabric arrives in the mail (the woes of not having a local shop). Stay warm and cozy, friends. Looking forward to your next post!

  23. Oh! I forgot to say in my comment, that I love your tip for putting the opening in the back rather than the bottom. My sewing skills are a work in progress (and I am at the base of that very tall mountain!), but I do recall a tutorial on Vonna’s Blog that looked fairly straightforward. I will give that a try! Hugs to you both.

  24. I need to try stuffing from the back and cover up the hole with a cute little wool appliqué. Such a great idea and I'm glad to hear how much more easily it was to get a good stuffing going on!

  25. Great work on your ornies. I tend to whip stitch everything because I like the way the corners turn out.
    Love the idea of the French Village. Maybe Jocondine could help with names for the shops?

  26. Hello RJ and Mary....

    O still my heart...your stitching is just lovely! Honestly I don’t know how you two accomplish so much! You are both incredible...

    RJ...that Stitching Santa is so adorable! I have not seen him before so you can only imagine how my heart skipped a beat or two or three...grins! He has IMMEDIATELY been added to my already full stitching list but I can’t help it he is just toooo adorable! I love how you finished or ornament and am very curious how you stitch the opening in the back. I also love the Hometown Holiday series from LHN and will be stitching a least one this year. I am thinking about the church. What a great idea to make yours a little French village...I can see it already! Beautiful just beautiful!

    Mary your North Pole Express is one of my very favorite patterns. I love the little boy on the sled and the Polar Bear pulling him just makes my heart smile! Thank you for sharing this one! January is the perfect month to stitch snowmen and yours is adorable! I feel like we haven’t even had a winter here in California so seeing anything having to do with snow is wonderful! I would also love to stitch Hawk Run Christmas but that is a someday!

    I am trying to finish my TIAG Sampler Grandmother’s House! I WILL finish it this year...grins!

    Sending hugs and love to you both!

  27. All of your finishes are so pretty and I just love the extra touches you use too.

  28. Pretty finishes RJ. I am ready for spring.

  29. Bonjour a vous deux,
    Toujours dans la neige sur ce blog merveilleux,j'adore,pas de neige en France sauf humide et gris,triste!
    En admirant toutes ces petites broderies,je me crois a nouveau a Noël,c'est si charmant.
    Il me reste des grilles de Prairie Schooler ,j'éspère en broder pour l'hiver prochain.
    Mais maintenant d'abord j'aimerais un peu de printemps.
    Amicalement a vous deux,brodez bien,excellente semaine.

  30. I like the `Santa please bring me´ design with the added scissor charm and buttons and the french holiday village sounds an interesting idea with different shop fronts. Mary´s N. Pole express with the added pretty fabric, ric rak and ribbon makes a gorgeous ornament. Great stitching.

  31. RJ: I am totally in love with your Sewing Santa, what a beautiful finish, adding the scissors and buttons are perfect, it is cold here also, today in the 20s later this week back to single digits.


  32. Mary: What a sweet finish, the stars and ribbon are perfect, but you know I love rickrack.
    Thank-you Mary and RJ for sharing with us all the beautiful work you both do.


  33. Lovely stitching, RJ and Mary!
    How wonderful idea to change the names of that LHN series.
    The north pole ornament is to cute, love that stars on the ribbon!

  34. I'm impressed by your lightening fast stitching and finishing. It's inspiring--something I'm going to need a lot of if I'm ever going to get through those beautiful small charts in my stash.

  35. And here in Berlin we did not have for a long time any more such a mild winter with so little snow!
    JR: Your Santa cushion is great and the small French flower shop becomes also wonderful!
    Mary: 'Let it snow' I have already embroidered, and I love the sweet polar bear with the North Pole express especially well.
    Happy stitching, Jutta

  36. very beautiful and so lovely work :) i like your good idea ,Thanks for the inspiration!