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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Week two and three

Grab Bag

What's Stitching
Finished Challenge
Stitched Challenge
Recipe of the Month

With February being such a short month, we decided to combine two weeks again.  We have a lovely grab bag to share, an easy dessert recipe, our two challenges and some progress on our SAL's. Hope you all enjoy!


Mary's Grab Bag- Adventures in Stained Glass

Has anyone tried their hand at Stained Glass?  I had the opportunity a few years ago to take an adult ed class in beginner stained glass. 

I was taught the copper foil method which was developed over 100 years ago by Louis Comfort Tiffany.  To describe the process here would be lengthy, so I have included a link if you would be interested in learning more about the process. To read about it, go here  

The first piece I designed was for RJ.  She loves all things French so my designed pattern around this pretty pre-cut fleur was perfect for her.  I found antique (man-made as opposed to machine made) glass from Germany and France in her favorite color combination. 

Upon completion of the piece, I put it under my couch for safe keeping till I was ready to ship it.  One day I was fluffing my couch pillows and heard "CRUNCH"!!!  I stepped on the glass and broke a piece! It was not a piece right on the edge but on the second layer of glass.  Yes, I cried, and it was over a year till I could bring myself to tackle the job of repair.  It finally made its way to Florida and hangs over RJ's kitchen window

Fleur d' lis stained glass for RJ

RJ says it sparkles when the sun shines!

First piece I kept for myself
It has an Art Nouveau style

I made this for my friend Louise

What's Stitching
Have you seen sneak peeks of the Nashville Market?   If not check out this siteMary and I have already picked the patterns we like.

Our "Birthday Party" is coming up at the end of March and we hope you will all attend.  Please send a photo of one of your favorite stitches by one of your favorite designers either finished or just stitched.  If you don't have a favorite designer any favorite stitch or craft will be great tooA big thank you to all who have already sent a photo to us. 

On a personal note, thank you so much Mary for my gorgeous stained glass. You should see it on a sunny day when the sun shines through my kitchen window.  It is one of my most treasured gifts.   I think of you every day when I look at it.  

Finished Challenges
Last year we both stitched challenges and this year we are showing them finished.   

RJ's challenge
My finished challenge is another Prairie Schooler Santa for my Santa collection.  I added my favorite fabric to the bottom and cream pom pom to the middle. I had bought some really nice, dyed green, pom pom trim but it was too good of a match and it kind of faded away.  The cream pom pom brought out the creamy white in the bird and the beard so I went with that.   I added green check ribbon, a bow and a tree charm to the finish.  

Closeup of stitch with pom pom

Closeup of bow and tree charm

1986 Schooler Santa
by Prairie Schooler
35 ct. Weeks Cocoa linen
Over dyed threads on hand
charm from Bohemian Findings on Etsy


Mary's Challenge
Little House Needlworks Quaker Birds is my finished challenge piece. Each time I stitch one of these ornaments I think it's my favorite one! I just love all the LHN ornaments but this one really is my favorite! 

Pretty lace and a button are a simple addition to this sweet stitch.
Quaker Birds
by Little House Needleworks
30 ct. Weeks Cocoa linen
called for threads


Stitched Challenges
These are our new stitches that will be finished next year.   

My stitched challenge is the bookstore from the Hometown Holiday series.  I'm loving these little stitches with the great colors and cute details.  I changed it up a bit to make it smaller.  I left off the lantern and the small tree and rearranged the snowflakes.  Once again I left off the name of the store until I come up with a great French name.  I'm looking forward to finishing my French village for the holidays.
Bookstore from the Hometown Holiday series
by Little House Needleworks
40 ct. vintage country mocha linen
called for threads



New into my rotation of Christmas Challenges is block 10 from Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow by Carriage House Samplings.  I won this great series of 12 different charts from Stasi at Bee-mused and Bee-stitching blog.  I haven't made much progress as the adorable "frogger" RJ gifted me has been put to good use! 

Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow
by Carriage House Samplings
36 ct. linen
called for DMC threads


Recipe of the Month
RJ's Easy Brownies
Do you need a really easy and quick dessert that everyone will love?  I make these brownies all the time for tail gating, parties and to take to friends.  Everyone thinks they are homemade but we will never tell!

1 box of Ghiradelli supreme  brownie mix (the one with the package of chocolate syrup included)
1 egg
and secret ingredient:
1/2 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup of milk chocolate chocolate chips

Make mix according to directions on box.  At the very end fold in the two different chocolate chips (this is the secret ingredient).

Bake as directed but you may need to let it bake a few minutes longer as this is a very moist mix.

If serving as a dessert put a scoop of good vanilla ice cream on top and some swirled chocolate syrup.  If they have Blue Bell in your area try Homemade Vanilla for the perfect addition.  Icing is optional.

You also can crumble it and stack sliced strawberries, ice cream and crumbled brownies in a parfait glass for another dessert.  

Just a scoop of good vanilla ice cream on top of the brownie is the way my family likes it!


We are really enjoying our SAL and they are coming along nicely.   We started stitching on January 20th and we follow a few rules. One hour a day is all we can stitch and we don't count our time until the needle hits the linen. If we miss a day, we can stitch two hours the next day to make up.  Silk threads are being used which we both are really enjoying.  Mary's stitch is on 32 ct. linen with two threads and mine is on 40 ct. linen with one thread.   And to make it more fun Mary started from the bottom and I started from the top. 

RJ's Update
This is where I left off on February 14
Deer, words, cardinals and potted plant were added.   This is after 22 hours
And this is where I am today February 28th.
It has details on all the cardinals, flowers in the flower pot, large cardinals and more of the deer.  This is after 35 hours.

Closeup of the deer and his garland.   This deer has a lot of stitches!  Still need to do filling in around eye and ears.


Mary's Update  
This is where I was on February 14th.
Deer, basket of fruit, cardinals, tree on right and flower are new since last update.  This is after 22 hours.

This is where I am on February 28th.
Deer is growing,  cardinals, 3 more flowers and tree are new additions.  This is after 35 hours.


Thank you all for stopping by to see us.   We truly appreciate every visit and love your comments.   If you have a blog that we do not know about please let us know as we would love to come and visit with you too.   Next post will be our Styling with Stitches projects that we are working on now.  See you in about ten days!

                                                                        Mary and RJ 

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


  1. Oh wow, what great glass work, very noble.
    Again two beautiful challenges, both of which please me. And also your new ones you have chosen great.
    You can tell how much fun the SAL embroidery is for you, that makes me very happy. Great progress.
    Big hugs to you both, Martina

  2. Wonderful stained glass work. All looks so great.
    Your finishes are beautiful as always.
    Great progress on your SAL stitching.
    Big Hugs, Manuela

  3. There is so much to see in this post. The stained glass is beautiful, and something that is such an extra special gift. I love all of the Christmas stitching, every year I say I will start some early. x

  4. Another lovely post full of wonderful goodies and stitching.
    The stained glass windows are beautiful.
    Love your ornaments , and your SALs have a fun week , hugs.

  5. Hello dear RJ and Mary,

    Party time, what a long and lovely post! The stained glass projects are beautiful and what a talent to do this :)
    The stitches look great, happy stitching, dear ladies. It's a little early perhaps, but have a nice weekend!

    Love, Carolien

  6. First off...Mary- you are a woman of many talents; your stained glass pieces are fabulous!
    Love your challenge pieces, both the finished ones and works in progress.The SAL project is progressing nicely--it will be fun to see you "pass" each other on the journey.
    RJ, Costco sells a box (6 pkgs.)of Ghiradelli Brownie Mix called Triple Chocolate which already has 3 different types of chocolate chips in it. They are my "go to" dessert and extremely moist. My mouth is watering as we speak!!!

  7. Seriously ladies, I get so excited when I see your post pop up in my sidebar. You have done such a great job and I think it is fun to see things from two different people too. Y'all have inspired me to start looking for those little things to add to the finish. They really add a lot. Your stitch along if fun to watch too.
    The stained glass is so pretty and the brownies sound delicious.

  8. oh girls....I want to pick up my needle so badly.. everything is just beautiful. marvin has always wanted to do stained glass. I hope he can take it up in retirement. I am looking forward to market night on tuesday at my LNS....even if I cannot stitch I can buy!

  9. Gorgeous stained glass - I love all your stitching, it's great fun to see your SALs growing

  10. I love stained glass RJ. So pretty. THE Cross stitch pieces are adorable. I am so excited for market.🌻🌻🌻

  11. Your stained glass pieces are fantastic! What a great craft to try. I can't imagine how you felt when you heard that crack of the glass breaking!
    Love all your stitching.

  12. Hi Mary and RJ,
    wow, stained glass .... I have no experiences with glass.
    I love all your stitcheries! Your progress with the SAL are great!
    Thank you for the interesting post,
    hugs from Berlin, Jutta

  13. Oh Mary, your stained glass is gorgeous! RJ I love your Santa finish. Mary the Quaker Birds are lovely. Brownies are my favorite chocolate dessert!!

  14. RJ and Mary.... beautiful finishes, as always! I swear, each time I visit your blog, my wish list at 123stitch grows longer. How fun your SAL must be! Looking gorgeous! Mary, your stained glass projects are amazing! How long did they take to make?

    Be well, dear friends, and may you find lots of happy time to stitch.

  15. RJ you are guilty of tempting me !! That brownie recipe looks wonderful. For week 3 I have gone to WW and not lost a pound!! I still have 15 to go!! UG! I do love all the cross stitch. The ornaments are just beautiful and the finishing great!

  16. The SAL is really coming along ladies and looking great! It is nice to stitch together!

    Mary I just LOVE your Quaker Birds makeover! That stitching on that piece really looks great. Sorry you have had to use the frog so often.

    RJ that stained glass is stunning. I bet your heart just broke when you heard the cracking of the glass. Your Santa looks great and I love the poms you added to it. LOVE your bookstore too. I am going to have to try to get over there and look at this series.

    Another great update Ladies!

  17. Beautiful stained glass! The stitching projects are wonderful.

  18. Lovely stained glass - I would have cried too upon hearing 'crunch'! As always I enjoy reading about and seeing your great stitching projects and finishes.

  19. Another great post, ladies. Beautiful stained glass, Mary and lovely stitching from both of you. Thank you so much for the link to the Nashville preview - so many gorgeous designs to choose from. K xxxx

  20. That Santa is to cute, RJ! Mary, your Quaker birds is so pretty, how adorable heart button!
    Wonderful projects for the stitched challenges!
    How great progress on your stitch-a-long! That design is amazing!


  21. No, I have never tried stained glass work, Mary. But what you accomplished for RJ and for yourself looks absolutely gorgeous.
    I love how you finished the Quaker Birds - that piece of lace is so delicate and compliments the two birds perfectly.
    Great to read that your SAL is working so nicely.

    Love your Prairie Schooler finish, RJ. Such lovely fabrics and embellishments make him very special. And your SAL piece is coming along so nicely. You both seem to have fun with this SAL.

  22. Incredible stained glass, Mary. RJ...I adore your finish on the Santa! You could give lessons! And Mary...I always love the way you use lace!
    This issue was packed with goodies! You two are such great examples of friendship and such talent!

  23. Beautiful stitching and finishing as always, girls! I really like that LHN ornament Mary, and RJ your Hometown Holiday stitches are so pretty.
    Thanks (I think) for the link to check out the Nashville charts. I had No idea it was even Nashville Market, and somehow I've ordered 5 new charts!

  24. I love the stained glass, they are all beautiful pieces. Very creative.
    More wonderful ornies too. I really like the Bookstore (of course!) and the Hawk Run Christmas too.
    I am holding off on ordering HRH Hallowe'en!

    I also sent my photo for the Birthday Party so watch out for that in your inbox RJ.

  25. OH MY - the stained glass is glorious!!!

    You both are such thoughtful stitchers. You pick just the right touches to really make each piece special - charms, lace, little bits of ribbon.

    I think the garland on the deers neck is one of my favorite features of And Heaven and Nature Sing!

  26. The stained glass is beautiful. Lovely stitching too. That's a great recipe x

  27. Gorgeous stitches, Mary and RJ! Mary, your stained glass pieces are stunning. RJ, I am drooling over your brownie recipe. Have a wonderful week!

  28. Wow! Lovely stained glass, Mary! My mother-in-law used to make some lovely things--she even made four panels for her kitchen cabinets in lovely shades of blue. I'm sure your gift to RJ makes her smile every day :) Love the way you've finished your ornament with that pretty lace and the cardinal block of Christmas at HRH is looking wonderful. I stitched the whole thing back in 2011 (?) and that is my favorite block :)

    And those brownies sounds wonderful, RJ--I have a tough time finding things that I can make for my middle son if they include chocolate chips because he has a soy allergy. Will just have to try to find a brand that doesn't contain soy lecithin. Lovely PS finish--the little tree charm is darling. Thank you for the mention of her Etsy shop--I took a look and may just be in trouble :) Love your Bookstore finish and the whole idea of a French village is charming. I assume you've been to France having lived all over the world? I've never been myself, unfortunately.

    Hope you are both having a nice start to March--can hardly believe that this year is zooming by so quickly! Looking forward to watching your SAL grow next post!

  29. RJ: Your Santa is adorable, I love the little silver tree and ribbon, what a beautiful finish.
    Your Little House design is adorable, I am excited to see what name French name you come up with.
    Your progress on your SAL is coming along very well.
    Oh my gosh the stained glass Mary did for you is positively beautiful.
    Thank-you Ladies for the dessert recipe.


  30. Mary: I love the stained glass designs you did I still have all my stain glass tools and grinder, I should get into it again.
    Love the LHN finish, the way you displayed it is adorable.
    Your progress on your challenge is really coming along, you two girls can see the light at the end of the tunnel on both pieces.
    Thank-you for the recipe.


  31. Beautiful stained glass design and a good place to display it where the shining sun can emphasize its beauty. Pretty quaker bird ornament and I do like the bookstore pattern with so much tiny detail.

  32. Beautiful stained glass, ladies. Now, I know why I've not been attracted to most stained glass. It wasn't my style. Now, I'm seeing the beautiful possibilities :-).

    Your projects look wonderful, and I'm very excited about your stitch along. Could I possibly finish up Dearie and Darling before your finishes on HaNS? It's something to think about. :-) Happy Stitching. Judy

  33. Love the stained glass projects! And all your stitching projects are lovely - don't you love stitching with silk!

  34. Oh my, all they stained glass looks fantastic! I'm glad you kept one.
    Both of your finished pieces are so lovely, the added touches are just right.
    Nice progress on the two sals also!

  35. Pretty projects and great idea,Thank you for the tutorial and for sharing !


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