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Wednesday, December 12, 2018


Today is the 12th day of Jo's Advent Hop.   Every day there will be a new blogger(s) who will share a Christmas stitch and their favorite Christmas song.  We are thrilled to take part in this fun, annual, holiday hop that Jo has so graciously put together.   If you would like to read more about the hop and see a list of the other blogs to visit, go to Jo's blog at Serendipitous Stitching.

RJ's ornament

I made this one for Mary because of her love of birds.   It is called "Christmas Birdhouse" by Country Cottage NeedleworksIt was stitched on 40 ct. flax linen with over dyed threads.  I used  check and mini flower fabrics and green check ribbon ruched around the ornament. It took a whole roll of ribbon to make it nice and full.   And, I love the little wreath button on the peak of the birdhouse.

RJ's favorite Christmas song:

Choosing my favorite Christmas song was hard to do because I love so many.    My very favorite is "Oh Holy Night" by John Berry (who has an incredible voice) but it has been chosen a few times so I will pick another favorite which is "I'll be Home for Christmas" by Rascal Flatts.   Love the harmony on this rendition.

You can find John Berry's "Oh Holy Night" here

and "I'll be Home for Christmas" by Rascal Flatts here


Mary's Ornament

My Christmas Ornament is "Season of Love"  by Diane Williams of Little House Needleworks.I used the called for DMC with the exception of substituting Weeks Chestnut for 869 and GA Cranberry for 3721.

"Season of Love" is one of my favorite ornaments in her series. It was a quick stitch and I love the sentiment as Christmastide is indeed the Season of Love.

My favorite song is "The Christmas Song" sung by Nat King Cole.  I remember hearing it for the first time in my grandparents living room in the 1960's and ever since then it has been my favorite Christmas song.

You can find Nat King Cole's "Christmas song" here


Just couldn't resist posting this:


We wish everyone a very blessed and merry holiday season.   This year has been so much fun getting to know all of you so well and sharing ideas.   We should be back with another post right after the holidays if not before. 

                                      The girls from Stitching Friends  

        "He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree."

                                                         Roy L.Smith  

Sunday, December 2, 2018

November Thanks
Styling with Stitches

Can you believe November has come to an end?   I feel like we say that every year because it gets so busy during the holidays.   So we are a bit late showing this post but we hope you can get some good ideas from it.   We have decided to make cross stitch items for our Thanksgiving tables a little at a time. This year we are showing two of them but many more will come. It is such a wonderful holiday to spend time with family and friends and be grateful for our many blessings.


Styling with Stitches

RJ's silverware holders

For my Thanksgiving table, I made silverware holders.   They are basically pockets to hold your knives, forks and spoons.  The tall back was made with black and cream ticking with quilters batting in between so the silverware would have a soft spot to lay. The pocket is make out of a sweet little black and cream print with cross stitched pilgrims in the center.  They are lined with ticking and pretty cotton lace is sewn between the print and ticking fabrics.

You can find the pilgrim design on the WTNT November word play.  The male pilgrim was shorter than the female so I added some extra stitches to lengthen his legs. These can be made for any holiday theme or with no theme at all.  This is a good way to use small stitches and scraps of fabric and have fun!.  I save the smallest pieces of fabric...yes I'm a fabric hoarder!   I hope you will give them a try.

The bowls hold a napkin, glittered acorn and some bittersweet.  The print fabric on the silverware holder kind of mimics the flower design on the salad plate.  Just good luck!   

Our table needs a runner or tablecloth...could that be the next project for our Thanksgiving table next year?

Closeup of the pilgrims ready for a Thanksgiving feast!

Pilgrims are from the November word play
by With Thy Needle and Thread
Called for Over Dyed Threads
32 ct. Vintage Country Mocha Linen


Mary's Napkin Holders

I used a complimentary chart by Barbara Cooley from Plum Pudding Needle Art for my multi-purpose napkin holders. 

I thought these could serve a dual purpose as a favor/gift box for your dinner guests to take home.  A cellophane bag filled with candy and tied with a ribbon could be inserted in the box and given as a small remembrance of the occasion.

These can be adapted for any holiday, season or special occasion.  Let your imagination run wild!!

I can't recall where I purchased these, either a dollar store or Michael's. I do recall they were only 1$ each.  They come unfinished and I used a little bottle of acrylic paint on mine. Sticky board for the stitch and a small piece of fabric cut with pinking shears for the bottom layer. I attached the stitch to the backing fabric with Aleene's Fast Grab Tacky Spray, and used the same spray to attach it to the box.

Love the crow holding the flower

Tablecloth was a Three dollar and 25 cent find at BB&B! 

Barbara Cooley design
by Plum Pudding Needle Art
30 ct. linen
Called for DMC colors
Substituted 720 for 3853
Substituted 3853 for 3854


RJ's Challenge

This is my last stitched challenge for this year.   I'm kind of proud of this one because LHN has not done a bakery yet.   So I decided to make my own. I took parts from all the other holiday shops and put together a new village shop...the Bakery. The roof came from the Sweet Shop, the windows and door came from  the Florist , the bench came from Bookstore and the tree came from the Toy Shop.  I used the Needlework Shop as the inspiration to stitch a cake on the peak of my bakery.  Now, I have one more French village shop to add to my Christmas tree.

Just about everything had to be readjusted in size.  I had to make the windows longer to fit a shelf I made up.   Then I was able to add a row of cakes.   I also had to lengthen the door to make the lines work with the longer window.  The roof needed to be wider and taller.  I shortened the bench and turned the cardinals in the opposite direction.

Now, I just have to add a name for my French bakery and sew it up. Next year all of my French village will be sewn into ornaments and I'll be showing them with their French names added.   I'm still debating on how to finish them but look forward to it.

It's hard to see but there is a cake up on the peak of the roof and then the French name will go in the white area.

RJ's Patisserie
Parts taken from several shops of the Holiday Village
by Little House Needleworks
Over Dyed Threads
40 ct. Vintage Country Mocha linen



Here is a sweet fall freebie from Beth Twist of Heartstring Samplery.  You can find it here  We really love Beth's designs.   She is very kind and helpful too if you have a problem with your stitch.   Her Etsy shop is well worth a visit. 


Thank you so much for coming by and visiting with us. We know you are all busy getting ready for the holidays so we really appreciate you stopping by. Are you decorating, writing cards, baking, shopping and wrapping gifts?   So much to do and never enough time!!!  We look forward to seeing all of your holiday stitches.  So you can count on us to be visiting with all of you.  We have two posts coming up in December to share.

                                       The girls from Stitching Friends 


" Give thanks not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day of your life "
                                                    unknown author

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

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Styling with Stitches
SAL update
What's Stitching

Cool weather finally found its way to Florida today.   What a pleasure to have temps in the low 70's, sunny and hardly any humidity! I'm hoping Fall is here to stay.   We have been spending a lot of time at the beach this month thanks to some really good friends that offered their beach house to us.   It is so comfortable with the ocean breezes but when we came back home for doctor appointments the heat hit us hard.   Mary just got home too to beautiful fall weather in New York which she was not able to enjoy in the unusually very hot October that Florida had this year.  I know she is happy to be back home with family, friends and her loved pets.

It is time for our pinafore/word play door beller projects.  We also have SAL updates and a freebie to share with you.   Hope you enjoy!


Styling with Stitches

RJ's word play/door beller

Mary chose October for her pinafore this year so I stitched the October word play door beller. If you are a new follower we both pick a month each year to do our pinafore and then the other one does the word play for that month.

changed  a few things on the stitch as it seemed there were way too many pumpkins.   I took away a couple of them and replaced one with a basket of apples.  Instead of the white triangles WTNT always uses for a filler, I stitched leaves changing colors.

To finish it, I used a cute black and orange dotted fabric on the bottom with orange rick rack in between.  I made up a pumpkin applique with wool felt that I attached with a running stitch.  Then, I added some rusted jingle bells to the bottom and a black silk bow with a pumpkin charm to the long black hanger at the top. It was a fun stitch to finish and just in time for the Fall weather.

My finished door beller is on an old shutter.

Closeup of the wool applique added with a running stitch.

Closeup of the charm added under the black silk bow.

Here you can see the added basket of apples and leaves of different colors.

October word play
by With thy Needle and Thread
35 ct. Abecedarian linen
called for threads
rusted bells from Amazon
charm from Bohemian Findings


Mary's pinafore

I chose Gardener Goode Witch by With Thy Needle and Thread for my pinafore.   I loved stitching this as Autumn is my favorite season and I love the colors of Fall.   I found this fun dotted linen in a quilt shop in Vermont while on vacation and I thought it would be a whimsical accent to the finish.

I sewed an envelope pillow cover in burlap and added 1 1/2 inch pleated trim to the band of fabric that covers the pillow.  The pinafore is attached with Velcro in the back for easy removal.  The buttons used to embellish the stitch were from Stampin Up.

The pinafore and pillow envelope cover can be folded and put away for easy storage and the pillow reused for my next pinafore.  My goal is to have a pinafore for each holiday and season.

Closeup of this fun stitch and the buttons I added.

The pinafore worked perfectly with my Fall decor.

Gardener Goode Witch
by With thy Needle and Thread
called for threads
buttons from Stampin Up

SAL update

We did it!  We both finished our second SAL while on vacation. This stitch was truly a pleasure to stitch for both of us. We loved the design and the colors.  Now to come up with two good finishes.  We will show you them when they are all sewn up.


I need a filler between the red birds.   Perhaps the date would work?

Mary's SAL

I just noticed I left off the letter D on the bottom !!!


What's Stitching
Past Pinafores and Word Plays

We thought our newcomers might like to see our past pinafores and word plays so you get a better idea of how we are gradually going to have one for each month and holiday.  All of the pinafores can be taken off and packed away until the next year.   And the pillow can be used for all the pinafores.  So all you need to buy is one pillow and then add a new pinafore every month.  It is a great way to use large stitches that you don't want to frame.   We now have four done for you to see.  Here are the earlier three:

August 2017

December 2017

March 2018



If you would like to stitch this beautiful Fall pattern from our friend Ezster of Sub Rosa just go here  It's perfect for Thanksgiving.


Hope you are enjoying the change in weather and getting in lots of stitching. Mary and I have been gone most of the month and we are catching up with all of your blogs.   If we have not been to your blog yet we will be there in the next few days to leave our comments.  We missed our challenges this month so our next one will be a double challenge post.   Hope to see you then.

                                   The girls from Stitching Friends 

                                           We love you Jenny!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

September Friendship
Friendship gifts

It is so hard to believe it is the end of September.   We always hate to say goodbye to summer but look forward to the cooler temps and changing colors of Fall.   Some of us however will endure the heat for a few months longer.  I'm actually writing this from the beach and Mary is on a business trip in Florida and it remains hot here.

We are closing the Friendship month with our challenges and some lovely gifts from stitching friends plus a freebie at the end. We hope you enjoy.

RJ's Stitching Challenges
We have missed our challenges for a few months so I have two French village stitches to share and one finished Santa.   I had hoped to have two Santas but the beach called my name.   We actually got a last minute invite and could not turn it down because it is our favorite place to be.

My stitched challenges are the village church and the village needlework store.   They were both a joy to stitch.   Not many changes were made to these two.   I did change the colors of Mary and Joseph to softer colors.  I am truly enjoying stitching the French Village and look forward to their finishes.  I still have to stitch their shop names on the empty signs and I will name the church at the bottom too.   I did find out this week that there are no cardinals in France.  I read that they are only in North and South America which was a big surprise to me. When I started my village, I did not know this.   I'm going to leave them though as anything is possible at Christmas right?

The Church
I think I will name it Saint Pierre Cathedral

Hometown Church
by Little House Needleworks
called for threads with a few changes

40 ct. country mocha linen

The Needlework Shop
Just needs a name.  Can you see the spool right under the roof?

Hometown Holiday Needlework Shop
by Little House Needleworks
40 ct. country mocha linen
called for threads

RJ's Finished challenge

Patriotic Santa
My finished challenge is the Patriotic Santa from Prairie Schooler.  I loved stitching this one as I always love patriotic stitches and this one is so sweet. For the finish I added a blue star fabric, a red plaid yo yo, flag heart button, red rick rack and a flag charm on a star bow at top.  I have five more to finish so all my Santas will be ready for my Christmas dough bowl.   Time to get busy!!!
Sitting in a grape bucket filled with  plumbago

I changed the yo yo twice trying to get the right fit.

Patriotic Santa 2002
by Prairie Schooler
over dyed threads from my stash

35 ct. Weeks cocoa linen
button from a craft show in Texas


Mary's Finished Challenge

Farm Fresh
This past August, Arlene at the Nanaland blog had a give a-way of the "Farm Fresh" chart by Hands on Design.   I was thrilled when she notified me that I was the winner.  I wanted to use this in my kitchen for my Fall decor so I changed up the colors.   I used GA Chamomile for the straw, DMC 5200 for the eggs, GA Wheat Fields for the border and GA Wood Trail for the letters.

I had no idea how I was going to display it but serendipity struck!  I was checking out Michael's 80%  end of season sale and found this cute wire basket that contained 3 bottles fused together.   It was only $4 and I knew it would be perfect for the stitch.   I aged the chicken wire with raw umber acrylic paint.

I then attached the stitch to sticky board and covered the back with a piece of fabric using Aleen's Fast Grab Tacky Spray.   I think this was the easiest finish I have ever done!  I see more stitcky board projects in my future.
Farm Fresh stitch with a flower arrangement I did for the Fall

Closeup of Farm Fresh on my new bottle holder

Farm Fresh
by Hands on Design
over dyed threads in my stash
Bottle holder from Michaels


Gifts of Friendship

A gift from Stasi to Mary

Stasi at Beemused and Bee stitching blog has two sweet granddaughters that enjoy crafting.   I have an extensive card making supply and so I sent the girls supplies to try their hand at card making.

These are sweet borrowed photos from Stasi's blog.   You can see they are in deep concentration on their projects.  Esther is first and Cora is the second photo. 

I thought it was so sweet that the girls asked what my interests were and made the cards with them in mind.
The girls included horses, a camera, flowers and many of the things I like

Stasi sent me this beautiful gift to say thank you and what a special gift it is.  Thank you Stasi for this lovely locket and crow pin.  I love them both but especially the locket as I truly appreciate the time and effort that goes into a stitched gift.  You can visit Stasi and her awesome projects here
I will treasure it!

What an adorable spool  box it came in!
This is the front of the box that the gift came in.


A gift to both of us from Robin
Robin sent us both gorgeous Victorian Motto Sampler threads to try out. These threads are so soft, beautiful and colorful.   They are overdyed skeins but the best part is they are 20 yards instead of 5 yards like other overdyed companies and they are the same price.   What a huge bargain for such beautiful threads. Right now Nancy is having a give away on her blog. You just have to be a follower and leave a comment.  If you win, you will get 11 Christmas skeins of reds, greens, golds, burgundy, and cranberries.

Thank you so much Robin for being such a generous and giving friend.   We appreciate you so much.
20 yards on each skein!!!
Colors are more true in this photo.  The last three I am using right now and love them.

The give a-way will be in a gift box.The colors are lovely for the holidays. You can sign up here


A gift from Arlene to RJ

I was a lucky winner on Arlene's lovely blog "Nanaland" too.   I won the most ADORABLE set of measuring cups.   I just love them!   Unfortunately, even though the USPS says “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night the mail must go through", sometimes they break things and two of these cups had their handles broken off.  My DH George did his best putting them back together and they still look adorable.

Aren't they the cutest???

Can you see the yellow handle?   It happened to the big blue one in the back too.  I wanted to cry but DH came to the rescue!

But, Arlene felt bad that they broke and so she sent the cutest Shepherds Bush pattern with the prettiest stocking button soon after.  I could not wait to get started on it.   I will have a finish done for the holidays and it will be hanging on my treeThank you so much Arlene for being "double the pleasure" sweet. The measuring cups were more than enough and I was thrilled to win them.  But, being a big fan of Shepherds Bush I'm truly in love with the chart and the beautiful stocking button.  You were too, too kind to me.  In the photos below, I have not used the button that came with the pattern because I made the stitch smaller. So I used a smaller stocking button I had but I will save the one that came with the chart for a future special project because it is a special button.  Make sure you stop by to see Arlene here.   You will have a good time!
Now how cute is this???

It's hard to tell but it is red garland and the cutest little gold stars on the tree!


This month's freebie is from Lizzie Kate and is called Friendship grows.   Who doesn't like Lizzie Kate and I bet you miss not seeing new patterns from her.   Hope you enjoy this one that you can find the chart here


Thank you so much for stopping by and visiting with us today.   We hope to see you again in about ten days with our Styling with Stitches project.   We have two neat ones I think you will enjoy.   Hope Fall has come to your area and you are enjoying cooler weather, walks, college football games, leaves changing colors and of course lots of cross stitching.   We both are going to be out of town for awhile but we will catch up with all of you as soon as we get back.  
The girls from Stitching Friends 


Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud
Maya Angelou