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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

Friday, December 15, 2017

December Week Two
Something New

The excitement of the holidays is in the air.   It is getting colder everywhere and you might even have snow!    Are you ready for the holidays or are you behind like Mary and me?  Every year we plan to have everything done ahead of time but somehow it never works.  

Something New:   This is when we make a new stitch to share.   We usually turn it into an ornament or a framed stitch.   Next year we will be adding some new ideas to week four.  

RJ's Something New I chose the pattern Kringle's Crow by Threadwork Primitives to make a new Christmas ornament.  It is such a sweet little stitch with a cute blackbird sitting on Santa's hat wishing everyone a happy holiday.   I used a pretty black fabric with holly on it. Moss green rick rack is added between the stitch and the fabric.  He has a little red collar with a tiny jingle bell.   More tiny jingle bells are added to a red and black check bow at the top.  This was a quick and fun stitch!  

My Christmas stitch!

I love how the variegated threads change colors in this stitch

Closeup of this pretty blackbird dressed for the holidays
Kringle's Crow
by Threadwork Primitives
40 ct. flax Newcastle linen
variegated threads that I had
tiny bells from the charm section of Hobby Lobby

Mary's Something New: I chose Snowy Pines from the "All Dolled Up" series by Little House Needleworks.   This is yet another stitch from this sweet ornament group.  I just had to stitch this because of my fondness for bears.    I used black rick rack to emphasize the little black bear.   I also added a black ribbon bow and a pretty snowflake charm.

My Christmas stitch!

So beary sweet!

Closeup of the snowflake charm

Snowy Pines
by Little House Needleworks
30 ct. linen
called for threads


Free Pattern:

Here is our Christmas gift to you.    It is a beautiful cardinal stitch called Blue Christmas from New York Dreamers Needleworks. Isn't it pretty and would stitch up fairly quick too.   Enjoy!!!  


Thank you all so much for stopping by to see us.   We love your visits and appreciate your comments so much.   Next week will be our grab bag week and we will be showing you some holiday decorating from our homes.   Hope to see you then.
                                                             Mary and RJ

             "Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone"
                                                        Charles Schultz

Thursday, December 7, 2017

December Week One
Styling with Stitches

It's the most wonderful time of the year.  We are all busy shopping, baking and planning for the holidays.  But, this time of the year is also a season of Hope which is so important to many of us. May the holidays be blessed and special to all. 
We would like to welcome Meg who is a cross stitcher with a new blog named
Live to Stitch to the stitching community.    She is a lovely lady with a really nice blog with great stitches to view.   Please go over and say hello and enjoy her great photos.  

Styling with Stitches
It's time for our second pillow pinafore and word play combo.   Mary made an adorable Christmas pinafore and I made the December word play.  We are excited to show you our first Christmas cross stitch projects.   They are fun to make and we hope you will give them a try too.   

RJ's Word Play
I've stitched the December word play by Brenda Gervais.   I wanted to make it a little different than just sewing it together.  There are a lot of trees on this stitch so I added a lot of tree elements to the finish.  I sewed a strip of tree fabric under the stitch and added a wool tree applique with a small jingle bell. In between the stitch and the fabric, I added some green cotton ric rac and stitched some rust bells on the bottom.  Green silk ribbon with a tree charm on the left side is used for the hanger.

This was one of the quicker word plays and a joy to stitch!   Except for the called for linen which I hated.   It came wrinkled and no matter how much I pressed stayed that way.   If I made them again I would use a different linen.  

It is a rainy and very gloomy day so I took a lot of closeups of parts of the word play so you can see it.    I wish I got better photos today.    

December word play hanging on a bookcase

Closeup of top
Closeup of bottom with ric rac, rusty jingle bells and applique

Closeup of tree applique with a running stitch.  I think my trunk is kinda wide...need to fix that.

Closeup of tree charm attached to bow.  It is from Boheminan Findings on Etsy.

December Word Play
by With thy Needle and Thread
35 ct Abecedarian linen
called for overdyed threads
bells from Amazon
charm from Etsy


Mary's Pinafore
For my first pinafore project, I stitched Letters for Santa by Brenda Gervais.  I wanted to finish the stitch a bit differently than as shown on the pattern.  So, I did not dye the linen or ticking as suggested because I wanted a more colorful pillow for my Christmas Decor. I sewed up a quick envelope pillow cover in ticking and then made my pinafore out of a red burlap runner.  I really scored buying the runner for only $2 in an after Christmas sale at Michaels.   I layered the stitch with a check fabric I had on hand and added  the pompoms as trim.  I used snowflake buttons on the back from my stash.  The burlap is held together by small Velcro ovals made for fabric.  

This pinafore easily stores away and lets me use my pillow for another project. My festive Christmas pillow makes me very happy!

Here it first pinafore!
It will make it's home on my LR sofa

It attaches in the back with Velcro 
I used snowflake buttons for decoration on the back of the pinafore

Letters from Santa
by With Thy Needle and Thread
22 ct. Ariosa linen two over two
called for overdyed threads

pom pom fringe from my stash


Hope you all enjoyed the pinafore and word play combo.  Next week we will be showing our new Christmas ornaments for this year.   We really appreciate you coming by to see us and taking the time to leave a comment especially during this busy time of the year.     Happy Stitching!           RJ and Mary

I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
Charles Dickens

Thursday, November 30, 2017

November Week One and Four

Thank you's

Styling with Stitches
New Stitch

It's hard to believe that today is the last day of November.   The time is just flying by and there is still so much to do before the Christmas holidays. Mary and I have been busy stitching for week one and week four.   I bet you thought we forgot about week one this month.  We didn't!   We are just late in getting them sewn up.  So today will be a double project day which means double the work double the pleasure.   

We start with thanks you's to three lovely ladies.   This past week I received a most beautiful RAK ornament from Andrea of The Craft Room.   I have been following Andrea for quite some time because of my love for her stitching and stunning finishes.   So you can imagine my delight when I found out I won one of her RAK'S.    It is a beautiful Prairie Schooler Santa which I'm so over the moon about.   I love everything about it from the perfect flat finish, the pretty cording, the organza bow, the lovely three pearl pin and even an adorable heart charm on the back.  I was like a little girl on Christmas morning opening a gift when I received this beautiful gift all the way from England.  

Stitching Friends thanks our good friend Catherine of I love to stitch for the really pretty Blackbird Designs and Shepherds Bush patterns she sent for Mary and me to stitch. She knows how much we love patriotic and SB stitches.  We can't wait to get going on these lovely designs.

We also would like to thank our new friend Sandy of  I majored in Home Economics for the beautiful chart Silent Night, Holy Night with the prettiest cardinals that was sent to us too.  It is a time consuming pattern but so pretty.

Thank you so much stitching friends.   


Styling with Stitches
For our week one project we made stitched quilt hangings to put on metal containers.  They are both by Fanci That which make them whimsical and adorable!

RJ's quilt hanging
I chose Harvest Angel by Fanci That.   This company is not in business anymore but I was able to find this one on Ebay and scooped it up.   I chose my own over dyed threads and added a star button to the halo and a blackbird on the fence.  When I made the little quilt I used a tiny sunflower border in black and cream and then a bigger border of homespun black check.  I still want to go back and do a quilt stitch around the borders but probably not until after the holidays.   

This is my little quilt hanging on a metal container.  I added a plant, some fresh sunflowers, wicker pumpkins and a birdhouse for the blackbird

The quilt hangs by vintage black ribbon
Closeup showing the two with sunflowers and the other a check homespun

Kinda crooked but shows the detail of the stitch and buttons better.  Can you see the pumpkins on her feet?  And it says Crows on the mailbox with a small red lever.   The details on these angels are amazing.   I wish I had gotten a better up close photo

Harvest Angel
by Fanci That
40 ct. country mocha Newcastle linen
overdyed threads
buttons from 123 stitch

Mary's quilt hanging
My hanging is another Fanci That stitch appropriately named Pumpkin Hollow.  I think the Fanci That patterns are such charming and whimsical stitches. 

I found this great wood and metal basket at Hobby Lobby and knew it would be perfect for a fall display to hang on my door.   I enlisted the talents of my good friend, Cheryl, to help me design the arrangement.  

I omitted the word Pumpkin that was on the pattern.   I found some tiny wooden leaves at a quilt show that worked well for the little halo.   The called for threads were used with the exception of substituting a few DMC colors, 3371 for Cherry Bark, 931 for Blueberry, 340 for Purple Iris and 738 for Summer Meadow. 
Closeup of quilt hanging

I love how this arrangement turned out
The back has a hanger at the top
Pumpkin Hollow
by Fanci That
40 ct. country mocha Newcastle linen
threads listed above
buttons found at a quilt show


Something New

RJ's new ornament - I chose a design by Blackbird Designs.   Have you ever seen a chart that you just had to stitch?   Well this one did that to me.   The first time I saw it I was in love with everything about it.   I really thought the blackbird was beautiful with the golden basket in his mouth and I loved the pretty brick color of the alphabet.   I usually don't date things or put my initials on them but this one needed it.

For the finish I did a thin piece of black homespun and then a larger piece of a pretty tiny floral that Mary had sent me from a quilt show.   It had the perfect brick red and black in it and worked so well.   I made my first attempt at a yo yo with a button.  Why?  I made a mistake when trimming my stitch.   I trimmed three sides and forgot the bottom.  Only after it was sewn up, did I notice my error. I may pull it apart and fix it later but for now I think the yo yo takes up space and helps make the extra length of the linen look more in line.  At least I hope so.  

Love the colors in this stitch

Closeup showing the yo yo and fabrics

Gathering Basket
By Blackbird Designs
overydyed threads
40 ct. flax Newcastle linen
vintage button


Mary's new stitch -  I stitched this for my friend Cheryl's printers box.  She changes the display seasonally and I volunteered to make a little stitch for each season.    I call this my mystery stitch because I cannot recall the design or threads used.  I tried a flat fold for the first time using chipboard and gluing the linen down. Neither method will be used again by myself! The chipboard was difficult to cut and once I placed the linen on the sprayed glue surface I could not move the stitch to align it evenly. I'm glad my learning experience was on a small piece like this one. 

Perfect for Cheryl's printers box


Thank you all so much for your visit.  We really appreciate each and every one of you.  Next week we will the doing our Styling with Stitches post.   Until then "Happy Stitching".                      Mary and RJ

                                        Begin each day with a grateful heart
                                                               unknown author