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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Mistletoe in February
RJ's Grab Bag Post

You must be wondering why I'm posting about mistletoe in February?   Well love is our February theme and this is a little love story with a beautiful stitch to go with it.   So with encouragement from Mary I went with it.   Hope you like it too. 
I looked at this cross stitch pattern by Heartstring Samplery  in the fall over and over again. There were three band samplers to choose from but for some reason this one kept calling me back.  It was BIG and would take a long time to make so I kept passing on it. But, then one late night, I hit purchase and I was soon stitching  "it must have been the mistletoe"  every free moment I had.   It had to be done for Christmas because I realized why I loved it so much…it reminded me of a very special  night in my life.   It was made with lots of love and tons of hours of work for the most incredible person I know.  

This photo really dates us…my flip hairdo, George’s wide wale corduroy suit and a silver tree were a must!  I’m glad there was a photo because it turned out to be a night to remember.  It was our senior year of college and  we were going to a holiday party at George’s frat house right before Christmas.  I was excited about the new dress my Mom had made me and having a fun evening.

As we drove off from my house, George told me the car heater was not working.   I was soon freezing because it was a very cold and frosty night.  After awhile we were driving through a beautiful neighborhood and he stopped the car in front of one of the pretty decorated houses.   He pulled a blanket from the back seat and asked me to put that on my legs to help warm me up.   Then he gave me a pair of his leather gloves to put on my hands.   When I slipped my fingers into the one glove, I felt something hard.  I pulled it out and it was my engagement ring!  Of course I said yes.

 It was turning into a very special night.  After a kiss, I saw snow starting to fall.  There is something so unique about new fallen snow…romantic and pretty.

As we started driving again, the heater suddenly worked.  When we got to the house and were walking up the stairs, he brushed a snowflake from my nose.  It was truly a magical night!

We opened the door and one of the brothers had hung mistletoe in the hall.   I had my first kiss under the mistletoe.   I already knew I loved George but it must have been the mistletoe that made me love him even MORE!!!

I was almost done when I ran out of Juniper thread.   But, my trusty sidekick Mary had a brand new skein that she immediately put in the mail.   It looked like this but finished up quickly after receiving the floss.  I only had one line to go or so I thought.
But now I had a framing issue.   The stitch turned out to be about six inches wide and twelve inches long and I could not find a frame to use for it.   After some thought, I figured I could buy a frame with an 11 by 14 opening and the 14 would be perfect for the 12 inch length but I would have a lot of extra linen on each side.   So I decided to take a line from the stitch, turn it on it’s side, center it on each side of the finished stitch and keep stitching until I reached the top and bottom. 
It turned out perfectly and left an inch of linen showing all around the stitch.   It was my favorite line so I enjoyed stitching it again.  

My luck really kept going when I went to Super Joanne’s and found a really pretty frame half price plus I had a 30% off coupon to use.   It even came with the double mats which made the frame quite large and was just what I wanted for a Christmas stitch to sit on the mantle for the holidays.  It was stitched on 40 ct. raw linen and it popped well against the cream mats.  
In this photo I got the shadow of the chandelier and in the next photo the shadow of the fan.   No matter where I put it something would pop up.   

After I framed it, I attached the photo of George and me to the back and included a letter  telling how this stitch reminded me of that very special night.   I hope someday it will get passed down in the family and someone will enjoy reading about it.  
It must have been the Mistletoe
by  Heartstring Samplery
40 ct. raw linen
Juniper overdyed floss by Weeks
Frame from Joann's 

I truly loved stitching this beautiful pattern that Beth Twist designed.   It was one I didn't want to put down and actually didn't want to come to an end.   I enjoyed stitching with one color, Juniper by Weeks and how each line changed to such lovely designs.  

You can see more of Beth's beautiful designs here  Her patterns are very easy to follow and a real joy to stitch.   And if you have not heard the song "it must have been the mistletoe" you can listen to it here.  Once I heard it , I hummed it almost the whole time I stitched the sampler. 


As the month of February ends, we are preparing for lots of new things for the month of March.  Our theme is sewing and we have some neat projects to show you.  We also begin our newest Sal with Meg.  If anyone else would like to join us, just drop us an email for details.  And, we have a special new  surprise feature that should be alot of fun and we think you will enjoy.    Hope you are all doing well and getting alot of stitching in.   We will be by to see what you have been up to.   As always, thank you so much for stopping by.   We really appreciate your visits and your comments.

                                                                Stitching Friends

                           A friend is what the heart needs all the time
                                                           Henry Van Dyke

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Styling with Stitches/Love
French Village Update
Valentine Freebie 

Happy Valentine's Day everyone.  Hope you get to spend time with the people that are special in your lives.   It's a great day to show love and kindness to others. Sometimes a smile can make another's day.  So sending smiles to all of you!

RJ's Music Box

I had a bigger project planned for today but then fate stepped in.   I was cleaning out a craft cabinet a few weeks ago that was filled with old crafts and things I don't really use too often.  But, towards the back there was a shoe box that was labeled "cross stitch".   I opened it up and I spotted it...a tiny music box!

I looked at it and my eyes welled up with tears.   It was more than 30 years old.  My parents had come to visit us in Alabama. Mom and I went out to pick up a few groceries and she spotted a cross stitch store in the strip mall.   Well, you know we had to go check it out.   It was the first real cross stitch store for both of us.   It was such a sweet store filled with many neat things to use for your stitches.   My Mom spotted the music boxes and said we both need one of these and put them in her basket.

Less than a month later, we were packed and moving to San Antonio, Texas for our next military assignment.   Before I even got my boxes unpacked and had the house settled, I got a call from my Dad that my Mom was very sick and to come home.   I spent nine months caring for my Mom until she passed on Valentine's Day at a very young age.   I didn't stitch for some time after getting back to Texas and I must have forgotten about the music box.

I had even forgotten the song it played.  It turned out to be "As time goes by". My husband is a big Bogie fan and Casablanca is one of his favorite movies.   I knew immediately I would put a stitch in it for him.  I used a sweet Shepherds Bush stitch that fit the box perfectly.   I smiled the whole time I stitched it remembering how happy my Mom was in that cross stitch store and finding these tiny music boxes.   This little project is filled with a lot of love...a Mom's love for her daughter with increased love for a special man.     
George's grandfather's pocket watch to go with "As Time Goes By" music box

Closeup of "Be Mine" cross stitch

Be Mine Kit
by Shepherds Bush
blush linen
silk threads included
bee button included


Mary's Covered Box

I chose V is for Valentine by Heartstring Samplery for my stitch.  I wanted to mount it on a round wooden box.  After coming up empty handed for a wooden box, I resorted to a paper mache one.    To my surprise, the box took the chalk paint and waxing just fine.  I lined it with a pretty fabric and used sticky board to attach the stitch.  Black rickrack shows off the stitch.  It looked "blah" without it. Finishing is always a work in progress!!!

Does anyone have a tip on how to cut sticky board in a circular shape?  It was very difficult to cut with scissors and as you can see it's not perfect.

What Valentine's treat will my husband find in here? 

V is for Valentine
by Heartstring Samplery
called for threads
mystery linen


RJ's French Village Update

Stitching these fun shops has been a totally enjoyable time.   I have three more to share today. I decided I needed a "boutique hotel" for my little French village.   I looked through my older patterns and found the Poinsettia House by LHN.   I thought with some tweaks and additions it would work well.  I think this would be the perfect spot for Vickie to stay.

To make it work, I lowered the windows a bit to fit a sign that said Le Poinsettia which means The Poinsettia.  I added little shrubs on the front, Christmas trees with little fences on the sides, and a small hanging sign that says HOTEL.  I used the same color Wild Berries for the bows to match the color of the Poinsettia wreath.   I think it worked. 
Le Poinsettia Hotel

The second stitch is the train station.  There were not too many changes to make here.  A black sign was added with the word Avignon.  I added an extra row to the boy's pants and a row to the boy's shirt to make him just a bit taller to match the taller station.  Two added rows to the bottom of the engine, two extra rows at the top and two extra stitches to the smoke stack made it the same height as the station.   I left off the trees on the right to keep it a smaller size for an ornament.
Train Station in Avignon

My newest stitch is probably my very favorite because of all the changes I made and how much fun it was to come up with ideas.  This is actually LHN's coffee shop that I didn't think I could use because it just didn't look French to me. But, it bothered me that I was not using a brand new pattern so I pulled it out again and decided to make it something else. 

It is now an antique/second hand store.   There were a ton of changes on this one.   I started with making it olive instead of brandied pears.   I added a painted flower instead of the coffeepot in the peak.  A sign that says Brocante was added.  I changed the awning to reds and creams.  Then, I added different benches to the front of the shop in hickory sticks to look like iron.   At first they were not showing I stitched over them again.   It made the color pop and they have a bit of 3D look as they are thicker than the rest of the stitch.   But now the real challenge came.  What do I put in those windows?   I had no little antique stitches in my stash.   My first thought was an antique quilt hanging in the window.  So, I stitched an iron rod across the window and began to stitch a block quilt checkerboard style.  Then, I thought why not put flowers on the white blocks. That worked.

But, there was the other window and I was at a total loss what to put in it.   Alot of the other shops had Christmas trees so that seemed like a good idea.  I used the one from the clock shop but made it taller and wider.   I then thought of my husband's antique standing radio.   It had a simple design so I gave it a try.   I basically made a rectangle and rounded off the top.  Then, I made a screen in white and dials with French knots.  And, then a lighter color for the fabric that covers the speaker.   The window still did not look full enough to go with the window with the quilt.   I thought of alot of different things but settled on adding garland to the top of the window.  Not done yet!!!  Now, the windows needed to be wider and longer to fit the quilt which meant the door had to be adjusted too.   I put a big header in cream and added windows to the door and changed the color to red.  The final touch was to add steps and snow and I had myself a sweet Brocante that I love. It's now my favorite French shop.
The Coffee Shop becomes an Antique Shop

Valentine Freebie
We have a little freebie for you.  This is a complimentary chart from Hands on Design.   You can find the pattern here    Hope you enjoy this sweet stitch from Cathy.


Thank you so much for your visits and kind comments.   They really mean a lot to us.  We have a "grab bag" post coming up  next.   Lots of new projects are coming in the near future too that we hope you will enjoy.   We look forward to coming by and seeing all of your new stitches and crafts too.  Happy stitching!!!
                                                   Stitching Friends 

                               Life is the flower for which love is the honey.
                                                           Victor Hugo