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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January Week Four

Something New
SAL Progress
Review of week four ornaments of 2017'

It's hard to believe that it is the last day of January already.  This month just flew by for us.  We hate to admit it but we just put our Christmas decorations away this week!   We squeezed in our posts on the very last day of the month!  

Week fours are usually a new smaller stitch that we turn into an ornament or a bowl filler but this year we have some new ideas we will be sharing too.   We are starting the year with snowmen ornaments to follow our January theme.   We also have a new feature to share...a SAL.   And, we have a review of our week four projects from last year.   Enjoy!


Something New
RJ's New Ornament

Snow Love by Country Cottages was the choice for my January ornament.   I've been wanting to stitch on the dotted fabric for some time and this chart seemed well suited to go with it.  The only problem is when you have to stitch through a dot because they are painted on and it is hard to go through them.  I used a deep red fabric with tiny hearts the color of the linen.  Mary found this pretty fabric at a quilt show.   I wish we had tons more of it.   Tiny pom pom fringe was added to the middle to resemble snowballs and a heart button was stitched between the snow couple.  I finished it at the top with a bow and a small heart charm that says made with love.

Sitting in the greenhouse with snow couple and trees

Pom pom fringe, red heart button and heart charm were added.  

Closeup of charm "Made with Love"

 Snow Love
by Country Cottage Needleworks
32 ct. raw/white petit point linen
over dyed threads I had
pom pom fringe from Hobby Lobby
charm from Joann Fabrics


Mary's New Ornament

January 1st and I had nothing stitched for our new ornament.  So, you can imagine how pleased I was to find this adorable Snowman on Martina's blog on January 1 st!! A great start to the New Year! 

He stitched up quickly.  I made a few small changes to the color scheme and  the shape of the snowflakes.   Pretty trim was added between the stitch and the fabric.  A bow with a snowflake charm was added to the finish.    You can find the pattern here.

Thank you Martina for your lovely design and sharing your talents with us! 

The colors read true.  Photo was taken in daylight

Close up of charm taken in artificial lighting

Pattern by Martina
Assorted DMC and Gentle Arts threads
  28 count raw cashel linen by Zweigert
charm from Bohemian Findings on etsy



Mary and I buy all our patterns together and then we decide who will stitch what for the blog.   We always know which one the other one really wants and we always say you do that one.   But one pattern popped up on blogs towards the end of last year that each of us really LOVED.   We both were willing to let the other one make it for the blog but deep down we both really wanted to stitch it.   So we said lets do a SAL.   We have enjoyed watching Martina, Manuela and Jutta do SALS together and thought it looked like fun. 

We received our patterns late in the month so we have only been stitching for 10 days so far.  The first two days we did only 30 minutes but then we decided to move it up to one hour daily.  

We have rules we follow.   We  can only stitch one hour a day but we don't have to count ripping out or putting the part we ripped out back in.  And time does not start until the threaded needle hits the linen.  If we miss a day we can stitch two hours the next day.

And to make it more fun, Mary started hers from the bottom of the chart and I started mine from the top.   Now see if you can guess which pattern we are stitching???


 Mary's SAL


Review of week four ornaments from 2017'

We showed you a review of our bigger projects for last year in week one.  So, we thought we would do a review of all of our smaller week four stitches this week. We will continue to do stitches like this in 18' but we have some new projects planned along with our new SAL.  

April bunnies


May garden

June birds and bees

July patriotic 

August sunflowers

September friendship

October and fall

November thanks

December "Christmas"


Hope you have enjoyed seeing our new January ornaments and watching progress on our brand new SAL.  We look forward to your visit next week for our latest "Styling with Stitches."   The time you take to visit is much appreciated and we always enjoy reading your comments. 

                                                                        RJ & Mary 

 “Snowflakes are one of natures most fragile things, but look at what they can do when they stick together.”   

                                                     unknown author

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

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

January Week one and two

Styling with Stitches - Week One
Free Pattern
Grab bag - Week Two
Recipe of the Month

Happy 2018' to all!   Hope everyone had wonderful holidays and are enjoying the new year.  Do you have lots of stitching plans?  We are so excited to be back and can't wait to share our new stitches with you.   

We still will aim to have four weekly posts a month with different themes.  You will find a few changes to the themes and posts on the sidebar.  Another goal is to have two topics to cover each week.  We hope you like the changes and additions.

Well we got a late start this month so we will be putting week one and two together.   So pull up a chair, a cup of coffee and enjoy a  jam packed post!


Styling with Stitches
Week One

RJ's Journal -  The pattern Sewing Bird by With Thy Needle and Thread was my choice for the journal.   I love to make notes and plans for the blog so I thought the beginning of the new year would be perfect for a sewing journal.   I bought a book from Amazon and then stitched Sewing Bird to add to the front.   I finally made my first flat finish but still need lots of practice!  I added black rick rack around the stitch and a little black bow at the top.   As a little extra, I attached a ribbon to the book to act as a page marker and stitched a scissor charm to it. 

I made some changes to the stitch to make it longer. Where it was suppose to end I made a new design  by putting the top border together with the bottom border.   Then I added some words "Just One Stitch More" under the new design.   I'm always saying that to myself each night because I never want to stop stitching.  I ended it with more so it would rhyme with the 1 2 3 4 in the stitch.  And, then I added the original bottom border.    
Adding the black rick rack and bow grounded it 

Closeup of the new stitch and words I added

I pulled the bookmark out so you can see how the scissor charm was added at the bottom

Sewing Bird
by With Thy Needle and Thread
40 ct. flax linen
called for over dyed threads
vintage rick rack and ribbon
scissor charm from Bohemian Findings on Etsy


Mary's Journal - My journal is for Hudson, my 4 year old grand nephew.  I’m hoping his mother will use it to journal his daily activities.  I stitched the train on 18 count country mocha Aida with 4 threads of assorted DMC for full coverage.   The most difficult part of finishing was trying to evenly place the rick rack, and I didn’t succeed so well at that!  On second thought,  the difficult part was trying to thread the needle with 4 threads!!!

Here is my journal for my sweet grand nephew 

H is for Hudson!

H is for Hudson
18 ct. Country Mocha Aida cloth
DMC threads in primary colors
black rick rack


Free Pattern for you

Robin sent us this great free stitch that we thought you would really enjoy.   I know it is in our stitching plans.

You can find the chart at glorybeestitch


Grab Bag Week Two 
Review of Styling with Stitches 17'
Our first grab bag of 18' is to review our Styling with Stitches from our first year of  blogging.  We thought this would give newcomers a way of getting acquainted with Styling with Stitches and a place for our early followers to find them all together. Our goal for Styling with Stitches is to find new ways to use our stitches.  They usually are our bigger projects of the month.   

April was our very first post and we made candle banners.  We were so afraid to hit the publish button that first day!   But we are so glad we did and got to meet so many wonderful people through this blog.   

May was a fun month and we still use these sewing machine covers every day. 

In June we made two cute pin cushions.   One in a tart tin and another on a wooden stand.

July was our patriotic month.   We made two projects - a flower bag and a paper weight.

August was our first pillow pinafore and word play combo.   You will see two of these each year.

September was our gift month.   We made a set of seasonal birds and a really pretty sewing set.

In October we made two projects.   One was a stand to hold a stitch waiting to be finished and the other a cloche tag. 

November was our fall month and we made two Fanci That angel hangings.

In December we ended our first year with our second pillow pinafore and word play combo.

It was a fun first year and we look forward to many more with all of you.


Recipe of the Month

This is a new feature we will be adding every second post of the month.   We will share our favorite recipes and hope you will enjoy them.

Mary's Butternut Squash Chili:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large or 2 small jalepeno seeded and chopped
¼ cup tomato paste
3 large plum tomatoes, chopped (In off season, I substitute Hunts petite tomatoes)
1 cup apple cider
1 cup water
1 tsp cumin
3 Tablespoons chili powder (I start with 1 T and add more to taste)
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into one inch cubes
3 cups black beans (I use three 15 oz cans drained)
¼ cup cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread butternut squash cubes on lightly oiled cookie sheet. Bake 12 mins or till tender to touch, remove and set aside.

Heat oil in large pot, add paste, garlic, jalepenos, cover and cook for 5 mins. Add beans, tomatoes, apple cider, water, spices and squash. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer till squash is very tender, about 20 mins. Add beans and simmer uncovered for additional 20 mins. Garnish with cilantro.

I prebake squash in microwave for a few minutes to make cutting easier.  I don’t add jalapeno as my husband does not like “hot” food. It’s good with and without jalapeno. I have even served this cold as a dip with tortilla chips.  

I am fortunate to have a local farm stand that sells the squash for 1$ each and load up on it in the fall. Squash stores very well in a cool spot. This is a healthy recipe to start off the New Year!! 


Thank you so much for your visit.   We really appreciate each and every one of you.  Next week will be our new "challenges" post.   Until then, we hope you get the time to do lots of stitching. 

                                                       RJ and Mary

                  Snowmen fall from heaven one flake at a time
                                                             unknown author