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Saturday, November 17, 2018


This is our blogging month of thanks and we are certainly grateful for all of you that take the time to come by and visit with us.   It's hard to believe Thanksgiving is so near.   It is one of our very favorite holidays and we look forward to spending the day with family and friends. 

This post is our challenges.   We have not done them for awhile so we have a nice assortment to share with you.  Among our challenges, we have stitches, finished ornaments and some old ornaments made new.   We hope you enjoy!


RJ's challenges

I'm still working on my Santas and hope to have them all ready for my dough bowl for Christmas.   I have two finished to share today.   They both have garden themes and both are Prairie Schooler designs.  One is a Santa who has his tools and wheelbarrow and is getting ready for a day in the garden. The other is a sweet little stitch with Santa surrounded by sunflowers.  I love anything connected with the garden and so these are two of my favorites.

The first one is the Garden Santa. I love his watering can, wheelbarrow and the tools in his pocket.  I used over dyed threads instead of the called for DMC's.   He came out quite big so I decided to just back him with a checked fabric, add a bow and a flower charm.   It's a simple finish and was easy to do.

Well guess what? This Santa was supposed to have the garden tool charms and the other the sunflower.  I'll have to change them later.   Love how variegated the red and green threads turned out.   

Santa is sitting in a basket of flowers and old garden tools

Garden Santa
from the booklet Santas Revisited III
by Prairie Schooler
32 ct. Raw Linen
over dyed threads


The second challenge is one of my favorites.   Once again, Santa has a watering can, a basket of tools and lots of sunflowers surrounding him.  I used over dyed threads instead of the called for DMC and whisper thread for the beard and trim on the coat.   I found this cute fabric in my closet that had a border of sunflowers on it and it worked really well.  Green rick rack between the fabric and the stitch was added.  And, the addition of the garden tool charms to his belt and a bow at the top were the finishing touches. 

Garden tools added to his belt

Santa is sitting in a market basket of flowers on an old shutter

Sunflower Santa
from Christmas Visit book 48
by Prairie Schooler
35 ct. Weeks Cocoa linen
over dyed threads

whisper thread for the beard and coat


My third challenge was two more stitches to add to my French village.  I now have the toy shop and the tree lot to add to the others.  I have one more to show you next month.   I can't wait to sew these up next year.

Love the trim on the toy store.   Just need to add a French name on the white area.

The tree lot will get a name on it's sign before I sew it up


Mary's Challenges

"Apple pick'in" by LHN was a complimentary chart that came with the purchase of two new Classic Colorworks flosses, Hayride and Wagon Wheel.

Apple picking is a Fall tradition as I live in "Apple Country".  So, I purchased and stitched this as soon as the chart was available.  I just finally finished it!   I backed it with red wool felt and added a sweet apple button.   I used CC Cherry Cobble for the apples.

A basket from Hobby Lobby and an apple dish towel complete by Fall vignette.

My favorite apples are Honey Crisp and Macoun.  There is nothing like a good, sharp cheddar on a slice of crisp, tart apple for a Fall treat.  I'd love to hear what is your favorite way to enjoy apples.

I found the perfect dish towel to go with my apple stitch

Isn't the apple button cute?

Apple pickin
by LHN
28 ct. Zweigert Raw Cashel linen
called for Fancy Floss


My second challenge is two Ornaments Made New.  I stitched these ornaments a while ago and thought they were both too small and they were put away not to be seen again!

The first one is a free Shepherds Bush stitch.  I stitched it and thought it came out too small so I immediately re-stitched it and put the other one away.  A pop of color with the thin cording and a star on top brought this ornament to life.  I'll add it to the top of my tree on the smaller branches and my mistake now works fine.

The second stitch called Pear Tree by LHN was stitched one over one on 28 count which made for another small ornament.  All that was needed to jazz it up was some rouched ribbon and a small heart button.  I am pleased with my "imperfect" ornaments.

I'm glad I gave both ornaments a second chance!
before photo

Happy Snowman 
Free Stitch
by Shepherds Bush
Mystery Linen
Called for floss

before photo

Pear Tree
by LHN
Mystery linen
Called for floss


Hope you all enjoyed our challenges today.   We will be back after Thanksgiving to show you our Styling with Stitches project for November.  They will be on our holiday dinner tables this year.  Thank you so much for coming by to see us and we will be by to visit with all of you.  If you have a blog and it is not on our sidebar yet, let us know the name and we will add it.  Have a very blessed and happy Thanksgiving Day.
                                     The girls from Stitching Friends

"Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom

                                                       Marcel Proust


  1. Wow Garden Santa looks great, a pretty subject. And Santa with the sunflowers is a great finsih.
    I love apples, and everything you can make of them, especially apple pie. The little apple motif is cute. And - oh, funny - I already embroidered the little snowman and will give it away in December.
    Hugs to both of you, Martina

  2. Beautiful stitching! Garden santa and Apple pickin' are really really cute. Have a very good weekend

  3. Oh how I love coming to visit your blog .
    I love Santa and the garden ornaments .

    The little apple ornament so sweet .

    And all the finishing is just wonderful.

    Have a wonderful Thanks giving both .

    It was a real treat to come over and visit .

  4. Wow so many wonderful finishes.
    I like your two Santa finishes , RJ. The Sunflower Santa is very cute.
    The apple ornament is cute. I like it very much, Mary.
    Happy Weekend to you.
    Hugs, Manuela

  5. You both have some cute finishes.
    Have a great Thanksgiving.

  6. Fantastic stitching and finishes.
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebrstion.

  7. Your stitches are perfection!! I always get some good ideas from reading your blog. And you know I love a good Santa.

  8. Ladies, your projects are stunning and always so inspiring to me! I love the patterns you choose to sew and your finishes bless my stagnant imagination! When my life settles down (after my move to the new house), I hope to get brave and move beyond Aida for my cross stitching. Your projects make me want to get better at this wonderful pastime!

    Thank you, too, for adding my blog to your side bar! I am so complimented! Bless you both and have a most wonderful Thanksgiving season!

  9. All of the stitches shared in this post are wonderful. I am partial to the PS designs, but I really like the Apple Picking one that Mary stitched as well. Wishing you both a very blessed Thanksgiving!

  10. RJ, your Santas are adorable. I love the first one, but that border on the second one turned out perfect. I have one to go finish have me thinking! Your little French village is going to be so cute.
    Mary, I love that apple stitch. I love apples and honeycrisps are my hubby's favorite. I don't know if I have a favorite...I truly just love apples, but I don't like apples in anything. It is kind of a joke around here. I don't like apple pie, caramel on apples. I just like apples and probably come pretty close to eating an apple a day all year long:)
    Your second chances turned out cute too. I love the pear tree one. I may need to add that to my ever growing list.

  11. Hello dear friends....

    I am sitting here this morning sipping my tea and was just so happy to find a post from you! What a great way to start my day!

    RJ....your Santa ornaments are just adorable! I have loved, loved, loved the Prairie Schooler Santa’s since they first were introduced way back and can you believe I have yet to stitch one!! Honestly! I need to get started! Grins....Yours are just wonderful with the color changes and special finishing touches! Your Hometown stitches are lovely as well! I started this series last year and I really need to get back to it....maybe next year...but for now I will admire yours!

    Mary your finishes are also just lovely! I love your apple picking stitch! When Scott and I lived in Indiana we would always attend the Johnny Appleseed Festival and I loved all the apple choices. The air was crisp and cool and I would bring home enough apples for pies and apple crisps to last the few weekends of Fall! This is one of my favorite memories...see how important stitching is? Thank you for sharing your apples...❤️ Your Christmas ornaments are lovely as well. I always admire stitchers who can make a stitch new again! You did a great job and both patterns are some of my favorites!

    Hugs my dear friends! I hope you both have a very Happy Thanksgiving! Love you guys!

  12. Such sweet finishes RJ and Mary. Love the way you dressed them up! Have a Blessed Thanksgiving both of you!

  13. Love both of your Santas, RJ--the whisper thread gives the sunflower Santa such nice texture. And your two new village additions are so sweet. I really need to get back to stitching these darling designs soon!

    Very cute apple finish, Mary. There is just something so special about New York apples. I was just up with my mom and couldn't get over the variety that even the local supermarket offered :)

    And your revived older ornaments look great--believe me, I have a few of my older ones that could use some perking up, too.

    Wishing you both a most blessed Thanksgiving Day with your families! ♥♥♥

  14. Gorgeous stitching and finishing. I really like to see how you makeover ornaments. x

  15. Your completed works are beautifully highlighted. It's a pleasure for our eyes.
    I love Santa Claus and also the one with apples ... I love apple pie :-)
    Thank you for quoting the famous writer Marcel Proust at the end of your article.
    There is a quote from him that I really like ....
    Tรขchez de garder toujours un morceau de ciel au dessus de votre vie.
    Marcel Proust livre Du cรดtรฉ de chez Swann (1913)
    Thank you for taking the time to leave words on my blog. My name is Christel. Lara is the name of my granddaughter.

  16. I love your Santa stitching. love the garden santa's I do love all the rest of your stitching. I have to redo the pear tree for me. i gave away the one I had made. hugs

  17. Stunning finishes ladies, well done.
    I haven't seen the PS Santa designs before, they are fabulous, I really love them.
    Wishing you both happy thanksgiving celebrations with those you hold dear in your hearts. X

  18. A very Happy Thanksgiving to you both. I love seeing your ornaments. Of course, when it comes to Santas, it is hard to beat prairie Schooler. Love the gardening guy with the pretty red flowers. Mary, I love your redos!

  19. So beautiful ♥️❤❤❤❤♥️๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜

  20. How do you stitch so much? Wow. I love the Sunflower Santa. That ribbon is perfect. Your favorite apples are mine too. McCouns are getting hard to find around here lately, but I pick them up whenever I see them. I love your finishes.

  21. Wonderful finishes/stitching all around!!! Creativity abounds! Wishing you both a Happy Thanksgiving and feeling blessed to call you friends!

  22. RJ - I like the PS gardening Santas! The sunflowers are cute but I think the pretty poinsettias suit him more (or maybe I'm just feeling Christmasy already!). I think my favorite of the Santas is the one with the old sewing machine. Have you chosen a French name for the toy shop yet?

    Mary - Delicious apple finish! My favorite is a Granny Smith though I'd never turn down a Honey Crisp either! I use the Grannies to make apple dumplings; such a delightfully warm fall treat. And I love that you've given old ornaments a new life.

  23. All of your stitching finishing are delightful. Both of you ladies stitch and finish beautifully.

  24. RJ: My goodness the Santa's are adorable, I love the sunflower button and the tools button, your coordinating fabric is perfect and of course I am a lover of rick rack.
    Your Challenge piece is lovely, I love that you are using a French word on the shop.
    Oh my the scissors are beautiful.


  25. Mary: My favorite apple is the honey crisp, I looked up where it originated from, it was an apple created in 1964 I think that is what the article said, then stopped producing because of the cost, then reappearing I think the article said 1984.
    I love the Apple cart design it is adorable, the button and towel are perfect with this set.
    I am loving your Snowman he is so sweet with the cording and star button.
    The LHN Pear design is beautiful, the rouching is a beautiful touch.

    Happy Thanksgiving

  26. Bellissimi tutti gli ornamenti, adoro quelli di Prairie Schooler

  27. @ RJ: Oh, I love both Santas .... hihi, with gardening! Very very nice.
    And your French village will be magical, we can see that already.
    Have a nice new week!

    @ Mary: Oh, such beautiful little pillows, one is more beautiful than the other. Thanks for the coin, so we can see how tiny these little things are.
    But my favorite is the Apple picking, I love apples!!!!!!
    Have a nice ne week, too!


  28. I love the idea of setting yourselves challenges. The Santa with sunflowers is very cool - I love the addition of the tools on the belt. Lovely upcycling (?) of the ornaments; it has really made a difference x

  29. Apple pick'in is such a cute ornament Mary! Love how you dressed up your old ornaments and made them new again.

    RJ your Gardening Santas are adorable! Guess Santa needed a hobby during those off months! Your village is coming along nicely too.

    Have a blessed Thanksgiving with your families Ladies! I am sure we all have a lot to be grateful for this year!

  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. Your Santas are amazing, RJ!! Now I want to stitch the sunflower Santa!! Lovely finishes too! Love your colour choices!! Lovely progress on the French Village!
    I love apples!! Your basket full of apples is adorable, Mary! Love your ornament too! The new makeup ornaments are so pretty, how lovely the pear tree ornament!
    Hugs x

    (sorry for the delete comment above...)

  32. Wonderful finishes. I love the Happy Snowman ornament. So cute.
    Waving greetings Lari

  33. I love the Prairie Schooler Santas and especially those with a garden theme. Love your finishing touches, RJ! As sunflowers are my favorite I'm going to search my charts to see if I have that particular Santa. Love the toy shop and tree lot, too! And Mary, your Apple Pickin ornament is stitched and finished just beautifully! I've recently discovered just how good apples taste when dipped in peanut butter. : ) I'm glad you gave your ornaments a second chance, too! They're sweet! Wishing you both a Happy Thanksgiving!

  34. Great work on your challenge pieces.
    I love the red thread Mary used for her apples. My favourite way to eat apples is apple crumble with lots of hot custard! When I was pregnant with my older son I had cravings for custard every day.

  35. Mary and RJ, all of your ornies and finishes are gorgeous but I would have to say that my very favourite this month is Apple picking - I just adore the pyramid of apples on the cart - too cute!

  36. Such beautiful stitches from both of you! I have also finished Pear Tree and do not like the way it was finished. I really need to refresh that one. Your blog is so inspirational especially when it comes to re-finishing/refreshing ornaments that could use it. Hope your Thanksgivings were wonderful!

  37. Hello dear ladies,

    Lovely stitches! And no, I didn't see Poldark, Mary. I know the name ... maybe one day! The girls told me Downton has 6 seasons, so still a long road to go LOL

    Have a good Sunday, dear friends! Hugs across the ocean and happy stitching!

    Love Carolien

  38. Hi, RJ and Mary! OMG - I just realized I read your post a looooong time ago but didn't leave a comment. Ugh! I seem to be in a fog lately. Forgive me?

    Your ornaments are wonderful - it's amazing the staying power that PS charts have, isn't it? In my previous cross-stitching phase (I stopped for a few years), I didn't even know Prairie Schooler existed - my shopping options were very limited and I don't think they were available where I shopped. But I'm so glad I found them now. Your gardening Santa and Santa with the watering can are delightful! Love that sunflower fabric, too - beautiful finish. The gardening tools are the PERFECT touch.

    I have all of the hometown holiday series charts, but have not started yet. Still trying to think of how I want to ultimately display them, which will dictate the fabric I stitch them on.

    Mary, your ornaments are just delightful. The apple pickin' one reminds me of a time when I was young and my family gathered apples off the ground in a big orchard, then pressed them for cider using an old-fashioned press. I can still taste it.

    The happy snowman is a-DOR-a-ble! Love the ruched ribbon on the pear tree. That's a skill I'm new to, and would love to practice more.

    Have a wonderful week! Hugs from Idaho

  39. Lovely work as always girls, I like the Santa designs in the garden with the sunflowers and Mary´s ornaments made new, pretty apple pickin and pear tree embroidery.

  40. RJ - What great PS Santas - love them both. Mary your basket of pears is just beautiful!

  41. RJ - I love your Santas, and the overdyed threads look great!
    Mary - Wow, those small changes made such a difference!
    Great finishes, both of you.
    Btw, I’m not on your side bar and would like to be added, I am adding you to mine right now!
    Barbara xx (of The Flashing Scissors -

  42. Your Santas look fantastic, RJ! I love the changes you made and the finishes are great. Your shops look good too, are you naming them yourself?
    Oh Mary, your apples look yummy! I love apple crumble and adding cranberries makes it even better. Both of your second chances look wonderful!

  43. Your Santas look fantastic, RJ! I love the changes you made and the finishes are great. Your shops look good too, are you naming them yourself?
    Oh Mary, your apples look yummy! I love apple crumble and adding cranberries makes it even better. Both of your second chances look wonderful!

  44. RJ and Mary, y'all did an amazing job with your ornament makeovers. Feeling nervous right now though, Mary. I've always been a little scared to try apple pie with cheddar cheese, but tonight I step out of my comfort zone. Granny Smiths are in the oven as I write and the cheddar awaits. I'm not a picky eater by any means, but this has been a bit of a kryptonite. I'll let you know how it goes. Judy

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