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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Styling with Stitches/Snowmen

Our January theme is snowmen.   Once a year, we each pick a month to stitch a pinafore.  Mary chose January and I will be doing mine in July.   The other person does a word play door beller. Our goal is to have a pinafore for all 12 months and the same with the word plays.   Several people have asked what is a door beller?   That is what Brenda Gervais the designer of With Thy Needle and Thread calls them.   The word play is because there are many words that are associated with the month you are stitching and door beller is because you hang them on your door and they make a jingle when you open your door.


RJ's Word Play Door Beller

Here in Florida, it never snows and I miss seeing it.   Ok, I know if you are somewhere really cold tonight you are ready to throw a snowball at me!   I do remember as a child getting out of school early because of snow.   We couldn't wait to get outside and make snowmen.  My Mom would make me wear two pairs of socks under my boots, a sweater under my coat, a wool hat and scarf and my hood up, two pairs of gloves and sometimes even a second pair of pants.   It's amazing I could even walk in all those clothes let alone make a snowman.  

When my Dad would get home from work at five, we would dress our snowman up.   My Dad would bring out charcoal for his eyes, a carrot for his nose, buttons from my Mom's button box for his shirt, my Grandpa's pipe to put in his mouth and my Dad's hat and scarf.   He would usually fatten the jolly man up too with added snow.   

Now I only get to stitch snowmen and remember those fun days growing up. I really enjoyed stitching the January word play.   It seemed quicker and easier than the others.  Who doesn't love snowmen?   It was fun stitching him in the wagon and all of the winter words.   I did change the color of the wagon to red but everything else was just like the pattern called.   For the finish, I used a French General fabric called Doily snowflakes in dark green.  In between the fabric and stitch, I sewed in white rick rack.  Then I added a red wool heart with a running stitch and added a cute snowman button because I snowmen.  A white ribbon hanger and a small bow with a snowflake button was stitched on the top left side.   And to turn it into a door beller, rusted bells were stitched to the bottom.   I wanted to paint the jingle bells white so they would look like snowballs but time did not allow me so I stuck with the rusted ones that I have used before and work great.  (Maybe one day I'll change it!)

Door Beller is hanging on an old shutter

Closeup of the heart, snowman button and rick rack plus those dangling bells.

Closeup of the white bow and tiny snowflake button
January word play door beller
by With thy Needle and Thread
35 ct. Abecedarian linen
called for threads except used cayenne for wagon
button from 123 Stitch
rusted bells from Amazon


Mary's Pinafore

"Jolly Happy Soul" otherwise known as "Frosty"  by Brenda Gervais was my choice for a snowman pinafore.

I thoroughly enjoyed stitching this sweet fellow but once again I struggled with the finishing.  I initially used my burlap envelope pillow that I used for  my Gardener Goode Witch Pinafore but it was not doing anything for poor Frosty and certainly not doing anything for me!

Rejected Frosty finish

I remembered I had some red burlap in my stash and made a new envelope pillow cover.

I think he looks so much better on the red. 

Even Smokey agrees! 
Jolly Happy Soul
by Brenda Gervais
With Thy Needle and Thread
35 ct. Old Town Blend linen
by R+R Reproductions
called for floss

Stay safe and warm if your being affected by this Polar Vortex.  I certainly won't be building any snowmen today in freezing New York!!!


What's Stitching?

Well we are about to start a new SAL in March.   It is a four pattern series (but will include six projects) by Brenda Gervais of With Thy Needle and Thread.   It is called Summer Schoolhouse Lessons.  It is stitched on 28 ct. mushroom Luguna over one, but you can use any fabric of your choice.   If you would like to join us let us know.   We will be following the same rules as before which is to  stitch only one hour a day on this project.  If you miss a day you can catch up on another day.   You can show it on your blog at anytime you wish.  

photo taken from Country Stitches sales site 

There is a new pattern out that I have been so anxious to stitch.   My dear blog partner Mary bought it the first day it was available and sent it to me and I can't wait to get started.   I just have to order my floss and I'll be stitching a great new SNOWMAN.   He is precious but look at that adorable cardinal on his head.   That sold it for me.   I just love him!

Photo taken from Country Stitches sales site


RJ's French Village Update

The last time I showed you a village shop it was last November.   I stitched eight last year and this year my challenge was to finish them.   Well I got two new patterns for Christmas and started stitching them again.   I literally became obsessed with stitching these cute village shops and before I knew it I had stitched seven more just this month!   I had a lot of fun with many of the new stitches changing many parts and even making up parts of the stitch.   I will show two each time we post and then finally start showing them finished into ornaments at the end of February.

One of the newest patterns out is the Clockmaker.   I liked everything about this pattern and stitched it just like the pattern called.  Well except for changing the doors to Baby Spinach and changing the name from Clocks to Temps which means Time in French.   The word for clock in French was much too long and I didn't like how it sounded.   So I looked up Tick and Tock but they didn't work either.  Then my husband George who remembers his French way better than me suggested Temps.  Perfect!

Then the next new one was the Coffee Shop.   I was going to use it for my French Cafe' but it just did not look French to me at all.   So I purchased the Cafe' from Country Cottage Needleworks and made adjustments so it would fit in with the rest of the LHN shops.   So many features looked French to me like the menu board, the iron lantern, the balcony, shutters, and outdoor eating.   It looked like so many cafes I've seen in the French Quarter of New Orleans and so I thought it would fit perfectly in my French village.  It turned out really cute and was just what I wanted.

I changed the shop to olive instead of a bright avocado.   Then I stitched the doors and shutters in red instead of the called for brown. And, changed the doors to double doors too. I did the awning and umbrella in red instead of the called for colors.  The trim and window box were changed to ecru. The tablecloths were made white so they would stand out.  The outdoor furniture I stitched in hickory sticks to make them look iron instead of wood.  I put cafe on the menu board instead of menu.   And, lastly I added a sign above the awning that says Croissant (the name of the cafe' because it is famous for croissants).  It turned out to be one of my favorites though I love them all.


We enjoyed visiting with you today and hope to see you again in about ten days when our February Styling with Stitches projects will be ready.   We will be by to visit your blogs and to see all of your new stitches/projects too. And if you have a blog and we don't have it listed on our sidebar, please let us know as we would love to add you.  Stay warm and keep stitching during these cold days. 

                                                     Stitching Friends

                                  Snowmen fall from Heaven unassembled
                                        unknown author


  1. RJ, your word play and French village pieces are awesome. I love how you are stitching the pieces to meet your French village needs. Mary, I like your snowman pinafore and glad you remembered the red burlap in your stash. I look forward to seeing what you include in your next post. Thinking of you!

  2. Oh I love the Door Beller. I am going to have to make one of them. And congrats on the pretty pinafore Mary. I had trouble getting my FROSTY straight on my Jolly Happy Soul. Oh well no one is perfect I tell myself and it makes him look more rustic.( That is what I tell myself anyway.) Right now I have 14 projects ongoing. I am not going to start anything new until I finish one of my stitches. Really ten projects are about all I need!! The struggle is real for me as I see so many pretty stitches like the ones you lovely ladies share here!

  3. It's a pity that there is no snow, but you have your great memories. And maybe you have the opportunity to spend a week in the snow holiday and to build a snowman. I love your Door Beller, a great subject. And I like Frosty too, a great finish. The red linen fits perfectly.
    RJ your two stores look great, I'm excited. The color change looks great, and fits very well with the whole theme. Big Hugs to you both, Martina

  4. Well we now have some snow , I don't think it will last .

    So your snowmen were a delight to see this morning .

    Love all your stitching and finishing and yes Mary the red looks fab.

    Love Your new chart RJ and the village WIP.

    Have a lovely February .

  5. Such pretty stitching and finishing too. One day I must get around to doing the wordplays too. x

  6. Adoro i pupazzi di neve, sono tutti bellissimi!!

  7. Hello RJ and Hello Mary,
    a wonderful post.
    The Door beller looks wonderful. Very cute the little heart with the button.
    I love your french cafe. Hard to believe it is the cafe from the Main Street Series by LHN:
    The Pinafore form Mary ist wonderful. The red fabric is great.
    Can't wait to see the first photos from your new SAL.
    I wish you a wonderful weekend and a big Hugs, Maneula

  8. Your door beller, and Mary's burlap pillow turned out so cute.
    Yes, it looks great with the red burlap.
    Love your changes on the shops, so cute.

  9. Spectacular stitching ��...always love to read your blog so wonderful with photos and descriptions! Finishing are delightful...Blessings to you both

  10. Your door beller is so beautiful; I just love how you finish things. Mary, your pinafore is so pretty and I agree, the red burlap really sets off your stitching.

  11. Everything is wonderful as usual. The pinafore is adorable and such a great idea that one of these days I a, going to copy it. Maybe in 2020. I have a couple of those word plays and really love those too. I like them on the doors. Oh and that French town is going to be so cute!

  12. RJ I love the way you did your Door Beller. Mary the red is perfect for the pinafore. I was happy to get to see Smokey too! RJ your village looks so wonderful.

  13. I love your kitty, I like your monthly door bellers. really like all your stitching hugs

  14. RJ and Mary - Hi! :-)

    Your projects Amazing! Both of you have great eyes for detail and finishing. I have learned a lot from you both.

    RJ, the word play finish is perfect. I cannot imagine that wagon in any color but red. And Mary, your pinafore is darling. I thought the original burlap looked pretty good, but when you put it on the red, holy moly, it just popped! I bought that "Frosty" pattern in December in Oregon, but I don't know when I'll start it.

    Your SAL is going to be so beautiful. When I looked into it before, patterns and fabric were going to be in the $200 range, and I had already put all my eggs in one basket with the HRH series. But oh, that SAL of yours is just breathtaking. I'm looking forward to seeing your progress. And I'm drooling... just a little.

    I've had my eye on All Bundled Up. It will be making its way into my stash in the coming year or two, if I have anything to say about it!

    RJ, love your French village! I have all of the patterns in the series that have been released so far, but have not started them. I'm thinking of taking a cue from you but doing mine in Gaelic, since my husband and I both have a lot of Irish/Scottish in our heritage. The way you changed the colors/elements on the "Croissant" shop is just outstanding, RJ. I predict that you will be designing your own patterns in the near future...

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Hugs from Idaho!

  15. Who knew red burlap was even a possibility! Love it and love the big red cardinal! I think I just love red!

    Happy February!

  16. Que de beaux ouvrages !! J'ignorais qu'il existait de la toile de jute rouge. C'est très joli.
    J'aime beaucoup cette série de Brenda Gervais.
    Bravo pour vos boutiques temps et croissant. Horloger et boulangerie auraient été bien trop long, alors ces mots sont un bon compromis.
    Le futur projet est une merveille. Je vais aller voir sur le site. J'espère le trouver en France.

  17. Lovely finishes, as always :)
    The cat is perfect too ;)

    Hugs across the ocean and happy stitching ... and I hope you won't suffer from the cold too much!

    Love, Carolien

  18. I love seeing all your finishes, you are so talented. There are so many beautiful, projects all so tempting.

  19. Beautiful snowmen finishes! I love the way you finished your wordplay for January, RJ! I stitched that one, too, but made it into a tiny pillow. Just put it away for another year :) And wow--amazing how much better Jolly Happy Soul looks with the red burlap, Mary--perfect! I love it when you hold up a fabric to a finish and just know that that is THE one :)

    Your new SAL looks so cute and your French village is really growing, RJ. I love the way you took the CCN design and adapted it. I'm not usually a fan of the really bright colors so I think your choice of olive is perfect.

    Hope February is off to a good start for you two ♥

  20. I LOVE the snowmen ladies!

    RJ I love how you made it into the door beller and I think the rusted bells look great on there as they kinda stand out a bit. Your village is really growing into quite a community. What will you do with them once you are finished? Frame them and display them all together?

    Mary I think you are right! Red suits the snowman very well! The snowman on the new pattern you bought for the two of you looks so cute I can see why you bought him right away.

    I hope you two ladies have a great February and I look forward to seeing your new SAL!

  21. Dear RJ, dear Mary,
    your beautiful snowmen are both my favorites today. Both of you are so talented and work so perfectly, it is a pleasure to look at your photos.
    Many thanks for this great post, dear greetings from Berlin with snow, your Jutta

  22. So many beautiful projects! It is always a pleasure to visit and look at your work. Looking forward to see more of your SAL, the charts are lovely
    Have a wonderful weekend

  23. All stitching is so very pretty!! The red burlap is gorgeous, fits very weel with the design! Mary, your cat is adorable!
    Love your new stitch-a-longs!
    RJ, your pieces are so darling! So lovely changes on the series village shop. My favourite so far is also the cafe/croissant piece!

  24. Such delights to feast the eyes on in this post.
    Sweet wordplay for January and finished so beautifully.
    The red certainly does show off the snowman beautifully.
    Will enjoy watching your SAL develop over the year to come.
    Have a lovely week x

  25. RJ: Ack I love that Doily Snowflake fabric! I like the snowman in a wagon too, so cute. It snowed here while it was so cold... but that makes for very dry and squeaky snow. So no snowballs thrown at you. :) I still dress up that warm when I go out to shovel. Gives me a bit of a goofy waddle but I stay warm and that's what matters!

    Mary: Yay, I get to see Smokey! Can burlap be dyed by traditional means? I like the red one too; really makes Mr. Frosty pop! You could've bundled up like Little RJ and ventured out to play in the snow! (I didn't go outside at all when it was so cold).

    G'luck with y'alls beautiful SAL!

  26. Love your projects.

    RJ … your word play is a wonderful finish. Love the fabric and accessories you teamed it with.
    Your houses are coming along a treat/ Looking forward to seeing how you finish those.

    Mary … Frosty is just so gorgeous on the red, I think you made the correct decision.

    Good luck with your SAL.

  27. Mary: I totally love the pillow, the sleeve is a perfect idea, the coordinating trims are perfect as is the fabric.
    Your SAL looks like a lovely choice, I am looking forward to seeing them done.


  28. RJ: That word play is such a sweet design, I love the all the buttons and trims.
    I am like you I like to change colors of thread on some projects, you and Mary are so good at coordinating trims on a project.
    That snowman and cardinal are adorable.


  29. I always love seeing what you ladies are up to. Your stitching is always lovely. RJ you made me think of the little brother in A Christmas Story when you described how your mother bundled you up! It made me smile!

  30. Mary and RJ, it was a pleasure to spend time with you. As always I can't pick a favorite.

    RJ your bundling story reminded me of the day my sister and I were sledding in our backyard in Poughkeepsie, NY. As far a slopes go you couldn't ask for better. I would rate it as black plus. Why plus? There was an icy creek at the end, and if the shrubbery didn't stop you first. I do remember a close call one day. Fortunately, after two hours of sledding the two teens were just snow wet with very cold legs.

    Mary, I was a French Education major when I first entered college, so your part of the post held a very special place in my heart . . . and now I'd like a beignet with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate please--lol. Judy

  31. Many lovely stitching projects. I love the french City.
    Waving greetings Larissa

  32. RJ, I love your January door beller, it's adorable. The French Village is coming along beautifully.

    Mary, your Frosty Pinafore is precious, the red pillow really makes it pop.

  33. Hello RJ and Mary....I’m sorry my greetings from California are a little late but oh how heartfelt they are!!

    This post is just amazing!! I throughly enjoyed everything about it! I’ll let you two in on a secret...I LOVE snowmen too...grins. RJ your word play is absolutely beautiful. You have a real talent for stitching and finishing my friend! Every little detail is perfect! And the memory you shared about building a snowman when you were little was just precious! I loved how your dad would come home and “fatten him up” and dress him for you! That just brought tears to my eyes because that is exactly what Scott would have done❤️ We don’t get snow here either and I miss it as well. The last time we had a surprise snowfall was 4 years ago on New Years Eve. We had a wonderful day as a family and it is one of my most treasured memories. Scott even bought me a charm with snowflakes on it for my charm bracelet to remember that day😊

    Mary your snowman pinafore is just the sweetest and most perfect accent for your home! I just love these! The red burlap was the perfect addition and just makes your stitching pop! Smokey of course is also the perfect addition! I just love him! I have a few rescue kittens that have adopted me over the years and they are just the best!

    RJ your French Cafe is adorable and makes me want to go and pack a bag and fly to France just for coffee and! I love how you are stitching all of these and truly making them your own! What a wonderful collection you will have!

    Your SAL looks like it will be a lot of fun and I am anxious to see it all come together! I have always loved these patterns and you two will stitch them just beautifully!

    Hugs my dear, dear friends! I am sending lots of love your way as well!!

  34.'ve done it again..another inspiring post. Mary, your pinafore is precious and the red was the perfect choice--the colors really pop on it!
    RJ, the Word play is so your finishing ideas! I have that series but haven't started it're motivating me! Your village is, as Mary Poppins would say "perfectly perfect in every way"! your changes are right on!!! You will have to check my friends blog out and see her version of All Bundled Up--she did it over two on a 20 count WDW blue linen. It is so bright and fun. Her blog is called Salty Yarns and it's the Jan. 25th post.

  35. Great work on the WordPlay for this month, it's one I have stitched myself and scrapbooked.
    Definitely prefer the red for Mary's pillow.
    And I adore the French Village, especially the changes to the Cafe Croissant. C'est tres belle!

  36. The doorbeller and memories associated with it are great. I agree that the red for Mary's pillow is much better; it's amazing how a simple colour change can have such an effect. It's great to see how the French Village is coming along x

  37. Pretty stitching and finishing. I love the door beller and how the French village is progressing. The Frosty pinafore is gorgeous and such a good idea to make several - the red fabric is really striking.

  38. Ladies, I see that you have included a link to my blog in your right-hand side bar! Thank you; how kind of you!

    Thank you for defining "doorbeller" for me. I like the term and the idea! I need to make some!

  39. And Mary, regarding your Frosty pinafore, both versions look great, but the red does have more "pop" to it. I'm also new to the term "pinafore". You girls are giving me terrific ideas!!

  40. RJ, I love your coffee shop/cafe conversion--so clever and cute! I'm stitching the coffee shop right now, and have changed mine a bit, too.