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Monday, September 18, 2017

Week 2
Mary's Grab Bag- Interview with Faye from Carolina Stitcher Blog

I think one of the greatest compliments you can give someone is that you have been inspired by them and Faye, who blogs at Carolina Stitcher,  has certainly inspired us.  We look forward to each new post and she never fails to delight with her finishing.  

Before we started our blog I asked Faye if we could interview her for our future blog and we were thrilled when she accepted.  
Meet Faye! 

      Thanks for the opportunity to do this interview! When I was about 12, my Mom taught me how to sew. Then in high school I was very involved in Future Homemakers of America. I was hooked!  I graduated from N.C. State University majoring in textiles which fed my love for fabric, thread and creativity.  After college I began stitching. My mentor was Edna Medlin of Threads of Gold Designs.  She taught me so much. I also model stitched for her shop.  Her love of reproduction samplers rubbed off on me. She passed away a couple of years ago but she touched the lives of many N.C. and Va. stitchers.  As my retirement journey begins, you'll see me stitching more and finishing more. As my Carolina Stitcher products (project bags and stitcher rolls)become more popular, I may begin inventorying them for last minute buys. Until then, all my products are made lovingly on an individual basis.  

How long have you been stitching?  40 years
Who taught you? I am self taught
Do you have a favorite designer? Threadwork Primitives by Nan Lewis
How long have you been finishing for others? I began Carolina Stitcher finishing in 2010
Do you ever get nervous when finishing a stitch that you will make a mistake and ruin the stitch? I take a deep breath each time I cut someone else's precious linen.
What is your favorite part of finishing? My favorite part is envisioning something unique and special, then gathering supplies. 
Where do you find your finishing inspiration? Like everyone, I see projects finished by designers and others, then I put my special spin on things.
Do you ever tire of finishing? No....
Do you have a stitching buddy? Linda Page of NC is my #1 stitch buddy, travel buddy and assistant at retreats. 
Have you ever thought of designing your own patterns? I'm considering designing-
What brand sewing machine do you use? I use Singer machines but my first was a Kenmore. A gift from my Mom. 
Do you have a favorite brand of fabric that you use in your finishing? I use good quality cottons, Moda primarily. 
What is your favorite linen to stitch on and do you ever stitch on aida? I started on Aida but  quickly went to linen. 40 ct Lakeside Linen is my go to linen.
What product do you use to hold your fabric, in hand, qsnaps, other? I use a 6"wood hoop that a good friend from France gifted me 10 years ago. (Manufacture unknown)
Have you ever entered your stitches in a fair? No
Have you ever been published? Cross stitch magazine, etc? Cross Stitch magazine wrote an article about me June 2016. This was a UK publication, issue 262.
You are obviously great at time management, any tips to offer on that? I'm organized. I have to stay that way. Fortunatly as a teacher, those organization skills come naturally. 
Do you know the number of stitches you have finished for yourself and others? LOL..too many to know. 
What do you find most rewarding about stitching? Finishing? Stitching and finishing are relaxing for me. 
Have you ever been commissioned to stitch for a designer? Absolutely! I have been honored to do commissioned stitching for designers many times. 
Where do you purchase your great trims and fabrics? On trips, online.
What are your other hobbies and interests? I enjoy traveling and reading.
We are looking forward to your retirement because it means even more great posts from our favorite finisher, what are you looking forward to in your retirement? As a retired educator, I hope to finish more, relax more and shorten my turnaround times. 

Thank you so much Faye for participating in our first interview. One can see that you put your heart and soul into your finishing and stitching. It's so nice to learn more about a kindred stitcher and  we are so happy you took time to share with us and our followers.   

We hope you enjoyed learning more about Faye.  I have used Faye for several finishing projects and her work is impeccable and she truly brings your projects to life.    You can find her blogging at  If you have never been to her blog before you are in for a treat!

                                            A small sampling of Faye's finishing talents

Faye's lovely needle bag

Her choice of trims and fabrics are always lovely
Quaker rounds collection
Her heart shaping is perfect!

Stitcher roll and project bag

"A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you." 
                                                                          Elton Hubbard

Thanks for visiting and taking time to comment, we love hearing from you! 
Next week we will be showing our "oldies made new" hope to see you then. Mary and RJ

Sunday, September 10, 2017

September Friendship
Week one

There is a Miracle called Friendship
that dwells within the heart
and you don't know how it happens
or when it even starts.

But the happiness it brings you

always gives a special lift
and you realize that
Friendship is God's most precious gift. 
author unknown

How could a blog called Stitching Friends Forever not have a month of friendship? For this month we will be showing cross stitch gifts we have made for each other and other friends. As stitching friends and blog buddies we are in constant contact on a daily basis. For me it is a pleasure and honor to have such a wonderful and caring friend like Mary in my life.

Styling with Stitches

RJ - I chose four stitches by Homespun Elegance to make four seasonal door hangings for Mary for Christmas one year.  They are all from the delivering series.   I made Delivering Flurries for winter, Delivering Fleurs for spring, Delivering Posies for summer and Delivering Harvest for fall.  I used all over dyed threads some called for and some I liked better.   

The stitch I used for spring had a sheep with the cart but I changed it to a bird from Delivering Americana so that all four of the stitches would be birds.  It meant changing the straps where they meet the bird but other than that I pretty much followed the pattern. The sheep was adorable but Mary really loves birds so I wanted to be sure they were all birds. There were lots of details in these cute stitches like lots of small French knots, button wheels, cute charms, decorative buttons and ticking ribbon.  It really was so much fun putting these four separate patterns together and making a door hanging for each season.

Delivering flurries I used for the Winter bird and added a snowflake button to his beak.

My favorite was made for Spring.   I changed the sheep to a bird and added garden tools to his strap.

This was my choice for the Summer bird.  I added a ladybug button to the cart.  The insides of the flowers were all tiny French knots.

The autumn bird had a lot of detail which was fun.   I added an acorn charm to the cart.  The caps of the acorn and flowers were all tiny French knots.  And there was a lot of backstitching to highlight the stitch.

Delivering Flurries, Delivering Fleurs, Delivering Posies and Delivering Autumn
Homespun Elegance
Over dyed threads
40 ct. flax Newcastle linen
decorative box from Michaels


Mary - The thoughtfulness RJ put into her gift speaks volumes of the kind, generous soul she is and I'm equally honored to have her friendship.

Only a fellow stitcher could imagine my delight and how touched I was to receive this beautiful series. My favorite is also Delivering Fleurs because of how she personalized this just for me.  I love birds and how she kept the continuity of the series by changing the sheep to a bird made it even more special. I loved the addition of the red bird sitting on the bird's head, the flower between cart and bird and the shining sun she added.  The time and effort that it took to personalize this just for me is what made this so special. 

I wanted to give RJ a gift that would bring as much joy to her as her gift brought to me so I enlisted the talented Faye of Carolina Stitcher to finish Valentine Sampler by Brenda Gervais, With thy Needle and Thread.  

Project bag and Needleroll

Pocket and padded pin cushion

Sweet addition of hanging buttons

Faye chose lovely coordinated fabrics

Love the wool felt heart and button she added to the fob

Rouched ribbon trim

How lucky was I to receive this gorgeous sewing set from Mary for my birthday. I can't tell you how much I truly love each piece and the love behind Mary's stitching and Faye's wonderful finishes.  We are now beginning our sixth month of blogging and we have met so many wonderful people.   We thank you for coming to our blog and becoming "stitching friends".  Next week we will have a special "grab bag" post we think you will enjoy.   Hope to see you then.  
                                             Mary and RJ 

  Strangers are just friends waiting to happen
                                     unknown author




Thursday, August 31, 2017

August Sunflowers
Week four

Something New

You can never have enough sunflowers so for week four we will be making a sunflower ornament and a framed piece.  We both love this over sized flower that always brings a smile to our faces.

RJ - I found this small sunflower house on the bottom of my basket filled with unfinished cross stitches. But as hard as I looked I could not find the pattern.  It was almost done and just needed about fifty more stitches on the right border so I fudged and just followed the other side and finished it up. It fit our theme so well I decided to use it.  I will keep looking for any details I can find.   

I definitely had an ornament in mind until one day I was shopping at Michael's. As I walked down the frame aisles, there was this adorable sunflower frame. It was $20 but on sale for 50% off.  I also had a 25% off coupon on my whole sale so for only $7.50 I could not resist the charm of this frame.

Cute sunflower frame found in Michael's

Closeup of this cute little house stitch

A friend of mine made the birdhouse with the sunflower for me when we lived in Montana.

My sunflower inspiration from Avignon, France.  It was such a beautiful area like all of Provence


Mary -  Fields of the brightest and most cheerful flowers grace the landscape on hot, summer days.  I wanted to bring some of that summer sweetness into my home.  This little stitch adorned with button and bee makes me smile.  The simpler things in life bring me the most pleasure.  I hope you enjoy our sunflower stitches.

Cute little sunflower stitch with some vintage sewing items

Back of stitch

Close up of charm and button

Have a great week and hope you get to do a lot of stitching.  Thank you so much for stopping by.  Next week will be our big projects to start the month of September.   Mary and RJ

                                               You are my sunshine!
                                                    author unknown

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

August Sunflowers
Week three

Something Old Made New
Monthly Free Pattern

We are deep into summer and hope all of you are enjoying warm weather and vacations. It's week three and it's time to come up with another way to doll up an older ornament.

RJ - I picked the train station from the Hometown series by Little House Needleworks.   I stitched it on 25 ct. Lugana over one to make it small enough for an ornament.   Because of my love for French things and my French tree, I added Avignon, France on the bottom of this ornament.

Before: When we visited Avignon, there was a train station which made it a good selection for another French ornament.   This was a fun stitch but needed a little embellishment.

After: I wanted to do something special for this stitch because I loved my time so much while I was there.   Well it's French and it's petite so the dreaded ruching seemed like a good solution.  I had this brown and white ticking ribbon which seemed like it would work well with this ornament.  I ruched it up and added it around the train stitch. It was easier than my first try at ruching but still took me all night to attach it.  I guess I'm just a very slow hand sewer!   A bow at the top with a cute little train engine charm and my old ornament was made new.

I added brown ticking ruched ribbon, a bow and a train engine charm.

Closeup with added Avignon, France.  When it hangs, you will see the hearts better.

Cute little train engine came from Joann's

Train Station from the Hometown Series
by Little House Needleworks
25 ct. lugana one over one
called for threads
charm found in Joann's


Mary -    My something "old" is "Down Jinglepot Road"  by The Victoria Sampler Designs by Cathy Jean.  The pattern can be found in the Just Cross Stitch 2014 Special Christmas issue.

I made this for my good friend who owns a Christmas Tree Farm.  I loved the magazine finish and did my best to copy it. 

This is a photo of the stitch from the magazine

This is my original finish

I added a felt applique and brass bells to the back for my something new

Down Jinglepot Road
by Victoria Sampler Designs
30 ct. linen


August Freebie -  We have found another very pretty free pattern from Sub Rosa.   You can find the chart and the colors here   While you are there look at all of the very pretty patterns Eszter has for sale.   Mary and I have a long wish list.

Thanks so much for visiting us today. Next week we will be showing our new stitches.   Hope to see you then.  RJ and Mary

                         Be a sunflower, stand strong and follow the sun
                                                 author unknown

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

August Sunflowers
Week two

RJ's Grab Bag

Christmas Challenge Stitches

Before we get started I have had a lot of emails about the pinafore and how to make one or where to find directions.   It's kind of a made up term because it reminded me of how pinafores go over little girls' dresses to make them extra special.   I've been doing this to my cushions on wicker furniture to change their look for years and I thought why not on a pillow.   I will be making another pillow pinafore with a tutorial in the future and I think that will make it an easy way to understand how to make them.  They are a lot of fun to make and I hope you will all give one a try.   

On our way to Durango, Colorado this summer, we stopped for a two week visit with our son Mike in Texas.    While there, I was amazed at our son's new found hobby.   Mike has taught himself to paint. Where he acquired this talent I have no idea.   It certainly was not from me or my husband. So for my grab bag week I thought you might enjoy viewing some of his artwork. His Mom is mighty impressed and proud!

Here is a sampling of his work:
Michael Phelps

Buddy Holly


Bridget Bardot

Roberto Duran

Linda Ronstadt

George Harrison

Little Richard

Barney Fife
Thank you so much Mike for sharing some of your art with us today.  I'm sure it was enjoyed by all.

                                       Stitching Friends Challenge

RJ - This month I stitched  a cute Sunflower Santa from Prairie Schooler from the booklet called A Christmas Visit book 48.
Love this smaller PS Santa with the sunflowers and garden elements.

I'm practicing with a new 50 lens from Mary.  It fades out the edges and background.

Sunflower Santa
by Prairie Schooler
A Christmas Visit book 48
35 ct. Weeks Cocoa linen
over dyed threads of my choice


Mary -    My latest Christmas Challenge is LHN's "Six Little Cardinals" and this is the second time I have stitched this. The first time it was a gift for my niece and I remember it being a quick and easy stitch.  This time not so much!  I spent a lot of time "frogging" and I blame it on the Mets!   Listening to my team losing while stitching is not a good combination! 

I assure you this is a fun and easy stitch and one of my favorite LHN Christmas ornaments.  I used all the suggested threads except I substituted Weeks Pecan for DMC 410 and GA English Ivy for DMC 3051

Six Cardinals
by Little House Needleworks
Weeks cocoa linen
overdyed threads

Next week we will be showing our oldies made new.   Thank you for visiting us today.  We hope to see you next week.   Mary and RJ

                                            Friends are the sunshine of life.
                                                unknown author

Saturday, August 5, 2017

August Sunflowers
week one

When we think of August, our thoughts go to beautiful sunflowers standing tall and following the sun.   We both love sunflowers so we really liked finding patterns to follow this month's theme.


We have two special projects to share.  For quite awhile, we have been thinking of new ways to use larger stitches and our favorite way is making pillow pinafores. We thought we could make a new one for each month and special holidays.

They would be easier to make than a pillow and would store flat so we could have lots of them.  Plus you only need to buy one pillow.  We chose to use a nice rectangle down filled pillow from Ballards Design during a great sale.   And that means lots of uses for big stitches!

We will make two pinafores a year and every time one of us makes a pinafore the other will make a word play.   We immediately fell in love with the monthly word plays from With Thy Needle and Thread and decided to make them all.

RJ's pinafore -  I chose the pattern Sunflower House by Plum Street Samplers.   There were so many details on this stitch that I loved like the horse and buggy, the sunflowers, the barn and of course the great American flag.

I changed it up quite a bit because I wanted it to be longer for a pinafore.  So instead of stitching the random Shaker signs, I decided to add a whole row of them across the lower section of the stitch.  Then I took a song line from the Beatles "I'll Follow the Sun" for my next added row.   I finished it with a long row of tall sunflowers.   I used the sunflower design from the August word play to make them.  I kept the border going around the whole stitch.  This was my first Plum Street Sampler cross stitch but it definitely will not be my last.  In fact we have purchased quite a few more for the coming months.  I loved this pattern because it took on so much personality with each completed section.   When I got to the end, I was sorry there was no more to stitch.

Well here it is ... my first cross stitched pillow pinafore!

Tried it out on another chair for better light.   Forget "sunny Florida"...we have only had rain!!!

The pattern ended where the horse and buggy are.  So I added a row of Shaker signs, a line from a Beatles song and a long row of tall sunflowers to make it longer.

I used black ticking, black gingham ribbon and black buttons.

Sorry I cut off the flowers and the border but I wanted you to see the details.  The border is black and the red like the barn.  

Sunflower House
by Plum Street Samplers
40 ct. flax Newcastle linen
over dyed threads


Mary's word play -  When I found out that RJ was using Sunflower House for her August pinafore, I was thrilled because it meant a "no work" post for me!  She had sent me this beautiful Word Play as a birthday gift in 2014.  This is such a delightful series and my favorite month is August.  Not only is it my birthday month, but I love the garden theme which included sunflowers, tiny bees, a hive and a sweet girl holding a watering can. It is such a charming stitch and you can see why we were both smitten with the whole series.

I loved the finish of this pretty stitch which included hanging vintage buttons, the perfect coordinating fabric and the sweet addition of a stitched sunflower on the back with a running stitch.

But, the best part of this gift is it was stitched with love.  I am so fortunate to have RJ as a dear friend and my blogging partner.  One could not ask for a more generous, kinder soul and I'm blessed to have her in my life.

I display my word plays on my curio cabinet

Close up of the stitch and the hanging buttons

I love the backing fabric RJ chose

Such a sweet additon

August Word Play
by With Thy Needle and Thread
35 ct. Abecedarian linen
called for over dyed threads

Have a great week of stitching.  Next week we have a really neat grab bag post and also our stitching challenges to share. Hope to see you then.   RJ and Mary

                              Tomorrow may rain so I’ll follow the sun
                                                       The Beatles