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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

Friday, September 21, 2018

September Friendship
RJ's Grab Bag/ Friendship Rotation
Mary's Recipe of the month

It's hard to believe that September is coming to an end.   We enjoyed the summer and our vacations.  Mary was able to get away to the beach for a week and then a lovely vacation in Vermont.  The weather was perfect with cool breezes and the scenery quite beautiful.   Hopefully, she will do a Grab Bag with photos soon.   We did not go far this year.  Two really relaxing weeks were spent at the beach one early in the summer and we just got back from another.  This time, all seven days were sunshine, blue skies and perfect water temperatures.

This month is our Friendship month so I'm doing a grab bag on charts sent from stitching friends that I'm truly loving.   And Mary has a delicious recipe for all of our stitching friends to enjoy.


RJ's Friendship Rotation

I have always been a start a stitch and finish a stitch kind of girl.   Once I'm stitching a pattern I'm just so anxious to see how the next part of it is going to look that I keep going into the wee hours of the night.   But, since stitching SALS with Mary this year, I realized I can actually do a stitch for just one hour a night and stop.   Now I really don't like stopping but I'm doing it.

I've been lucky this year to win some very pretty charts or have been gifted lovely charts by sweet stitching friends.  I really wanted to stitch them as I love every single one of these pretty designs.   It had been hard to fit them in because Mary and I stitch with a theme and a project in mind for the blog.  "Light Bulb moment"...why not try a rotation RJ and stitch just one hour a night on five of these lovely charts rotating the charts every night? This way I'll get six hours of stitching done on each one a month and they will get done.

While I was sick this Spring, I got a great start on all of them by stitching 15 hours on each of these wonderful stitches.   But, starting today the one hour a day rotation starts!!!  I'll show you an update every few months when there is a noticeable change.   Then next year, I'll have another Grab Bag Post showing them all stitched and finished into projects.   I have some ideas in mind already but that may change so I'll keep it a secret for now.  Wish me luck as this will be a challenge for me.

A huge thank you to Catherine, Robin, Rhona, Stasi, and Sandy for these five lovely charts.   Your kindness and friendship is much appreciated.

Here is how my rotation looks after spending 15 hours stitching on each one. 

Lady Liberty:
The first stitch is called Lady Liberty by Blackbird Designs.   It was sent to me by our friend  Catherine.  She knows I love patriotic designs and thought I would enjoy this one.   She was so right!  This has already been such a pleasure to stitch.  I used over dyed threads I had on hand and really like how it is coming along.  The chart shows it as a drum finish but I have a different idea in mind.  You will enjoy Catherine's projects on her blog here

Love the colors in this stitch!

The flag is coming along great...took some concentration!


A Proper Young Lady:
This chart called A Proper Young Lady is by Hands on Design.   Our friend Robin sent this one to me and I truly love it.   I'm really enjoying the rick rack stitch.   Once you get into the rhythm of it, it goes very fast.   But the real treat of this pattern is the flowers that are all done in a different specialty stitch.   I'm learning a lot and truly enjoying the process.  She also sent these gorgeous threads from Victoria Motto Sampler to try out and I'm loving them.  Robin does not have a blog but she really should because she is a wonderful stitcher and a faithful follower to so many.

Don't you just love the rick rack going around the whole stitch?

Each flower is a new specialty stitch.   I'll try to get a closer view of these flowers and their pretty stitches for the next post.


Etude aux fraises:
The third chart I won on our friend Rhona's blog.  It is called Etude aux fraises by V.Enginger.   When she offered it, I jumped at the chance.   I have always loved botanical prints but the added bonus is the words are in French. Ya'll know how much I love anything French so this one I totally fell in love with.   I was shocked that I was the lucky person to be picked but thrilled too.It has been a challenge so far because of all the shading with lots of DMC threads.  Just a leaf may take seven different green threads very close in shade.   But, that is what is making it so pretty.  You can find Rhona's lovely blog here
This one has been a challenge but a very worthwhile one!

The shading is so pretty.


Redbird Sampler:
While I was sick, this great chart Red Bird Sampler by Bent Creek arrived in the mail from our friend, Stasi.  I have always enjoyed stitching houses and letters but the added bonus is a cardinal will be sitting on top of the alphabet.  I changed the letters to mocha because I thought they stood out better against the very dark green and dark brown of the tree and house.   It is moving quickly but there are specialty stitches between the letters which may slow me down.  You will find lots of lovely stitching at Stasi's blog here

This one is off to a great start!

There will be specialty stitches between the alphabet!


Silent Night Cardinals:
This pattern is called Silent Night Cardinals by Stoney Creek. While reading our friend Sandy's blog one evening, she was showing us her newest stitch and it was this one.   I just totally went head over heals about it and not much later it arrived in the mail too.   It is a challenge like the strawberries because all of the shading is done with over 40 DMC threads.   You have to be very careful with your counting as the colors change rapidly.   But the result is beautiful! Enjoy a visit with Sandy at her fun blog here
This time I made a working chart to cross out as I get the change in colors done.

Aren't the colors gorgeous on this cardinal?  I may do this cardinal just by himself too!

Mary's Recipe of the Month

      This is what I call a  "doctored" cake.   Doctor it with a few added ingredients and you make a plain box cake taste so much better!   Autumn flavors are some of my favorites, apple pie, hot apple cider and everything pumpkin.  The combination of the pumpkin and cream cheese icing is what makes this cake taste so good, so be sure to make the icing!!

Don't forget to make the icing.   You will be so happy you did!

I wish I could offer everyone a slice right now!

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees


1 package (18 1/4 oz) spice cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup of cooked or canned pumpkin
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1 package (3.5 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix ( I use Hershey's instant creamy vanilla 3.5 oz)
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 cup of chopped pecans ( I use walnuts)

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except nuts.  Beat at medium speed for 5 minutes. Stir in nuts.  Pour into a greased and floured 10 inch fluted bundt or tube  pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 mins or until cake tests done.  Let cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to wire rack.

Frost with cream cheese frosting when cake is thoroughly cooled.

Cream Cheese Icing

8 oz bar of cream cheese
1/4 lb of unsalted butter ( I used salted and it came out fine)
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 cups of confectioners sugar

Cream butter and cream cheese, add vanilla and then add confectioners sugar.

I keep this refrigerated but it tastes best at room temperature.


Thank you all for dropping in to visit with us.   You know how much we enjoy having you.   We will be by to see all of you too.   If you don't see your blog on our sidebar, let us know and we will add it.  Next post will be our "challenges" week.  So we hope to see you all then.   Happy stitching!!! 


                                  Stitching Mends the Soul - Author unknown

Saturday, September 8, 2018

September Friendship
Postcard Hop
Winner of stitching shirt
Styling with Stitches
SAL update

In this past year we have had the privilege to get to know so many of you and you have become a part of our "stitching friends" family.   Right now one of our dearest stitching friends is going through a very rough time.   If you have read Vickie's postyou know that Jenny's husband Scott's cancer has spread.  We need prayers, lots and lots of prayers for this very kind and loving family.


Postcard Hop

Jo has started this enjoyable hop where you send a summer cross stitch postcard to an online stitching friend.  We received a beautiful card from lovely Kaye in Australia  She wrote: "Dreaming of summer on freezing winter day Downunder"

Isn't it a great summer stitch?   We love the colors and the pretty house and of course the big flag.  Thank you so much Kaye for thinking of us.  We enjoyed receiving your wonderful postcard

You can visit Kaye and see more of her lovely stitches at

You can read more about this fun hop at Jo's blog at



Congratulations Vickie on winning the sweet cross stitch shirt that Mary brought home from her favorite cross stitch store in Florida.


Styling with Stitches

This is our friendship month so our stitches today are ones we have made for each other. Having a best friend to stitch for is more fun than even stitching for yourself.   And when you hear they love it, it makes all of the hard work worth it.  So we thought you would enjoy seeing two of the gifts we sent to each other that made us both very happy.

For my gift to Mary, I chose the pattern Mary Valentine's Handework.   Mary loves birds and WTNT designs so I thought she would like this one a lot.  I fell in love with it the minute I saw it.   My favorite part is how the wing of the bird is satin stitched and how that makes it stand out.   I also like the urn and pretty flowers.

To finish I used the perfect fabric that Mary found at a quilt show (she didn't know that she was contributing to her gift)   It blended so well with the thread colors and mimics the flowers in the stitch.  I did a herringbone stitch between the cross stitch and the fabric and then added a basket charm.

This is the first door hanging I did with the closing in the back and I'll be doing them that way from now on.   It gives such a nice look and sits on the bottom perfectly.  This is one I'll be making for myself too!

I love the beautiful setting Mary used to photograph my stitched gift to her

The gorgeous vase came from Mary's Aunt.  It was a gift Mary's parents gave her Grandmother when they were dating.  Mary admired it while visiting her Aunt in Florida and weeks later it arrived in the mail to her home.  She does such wonderful flower displays and this beautiful vase is the perfect accompaniment 

Closeup of my favorite parts: the satin wing, the basket charm and the herrringbone stitch

Mary Valentine's Handework
by With thy Needle and Thread
40 ct. country mocha linen
over dyed threads from my stash
charm from Bohemian Findings at Etsy


For RJ's gift I chose Button Button! from With thy Needle and Thread by Brenda Gervais.  I could not go wrong selecting a pattern by Brenda as RJ loves her designs and if you haven't realized already, Brenda is my favorite designer.

The pretty blue birds are what originally attracted me to this stitch but I had an idea of another use for this pattern.  If you are not familiar with this pattern it is shown with rows of buttons in the blank space under the birds. Instead of sewing on the buttons and having it as a solely decorative piece, I thought that area would be perfect to hold your threaded needles when stitching.

So, I enlisted the talented Faye Riggsbee of Carolina Stitcher blog to fulfill my vision. ( I wanted a standing flat fold for this project and my sewing skills were not up to the task.)

Faye exceeded my expectations!! I love how she added the pretty blue wool fabric to line the back and layered it to hold the needles.  The standing flat fold is so practical and yet decorative.  I was thrilled with her finishing and I know RJ was too!!  

RJ styled such a pretty vignette! 

I hope RJ enjoys many years of use! 

 Cording and pretty little beaded pins on the sides

Buttons Buttons!
by With Thy Needle and Thread
32 ct. linen
called for threads
Finishing by Carolina Stitcher


SAL update
We are so close to being finished! This has been such a pleasure to stitch   Here is our newest progress.

It's almost done!!!

Closeup of the new stitches

Mary's SAL


We love having you stop by for a visit.  Next post is our grab bag and it will be fun.   We love visiting your blogs too so let us know if we don't know about you yet so we can add you to our sidebar.   And, thank you so much for becoming "Stitching Friends".  You all are much appreciated.

        Friends are God's way of taking care of us.