Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Day 12....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~

Day 12

Today....
I have another Prairie Schooler Annual Ornament that was stitched for me by a sweet lady named Lori, who lives in Iowa. It is the 1994 Annual Santa and a part of what I'm calling the 2017 Prairie Schooler Santa Kindness Project. 
LU_PS Santa 1994

Again my heart is just F-U-L-L!

We are halfway through the days of Christmas and today I thought I'd share just a random story that happened to me in the winter of 1996. 

In January of 1996....
I was working at a small hospital about 20 miles from Bloomington, in a small town: Bedford, Indiana. I worked second shift at that time so went to work at 3 p.m. and got off at 11 p.m. I had a 30 minute drive between our home and the hospital and of course if the weather was bad it would take a bit longer. Where I live is very hilly. The glaciers did not come to this little pocket of central/southern Indiana so we have rolling hills. Not much flat...just lots of up and down. This night I was driving home, it had snowed A LOT and during the day it had melted, then the roads refroze and were slick. I was going slow and at a stop light ahead a car turned in front of me running a red light. I had to slam on my brakes and instead of hitting the car that turned illegally in front of me, I ran into the ditch. 

It had snowed a lot that winter....
and I had a car that sat low to the ground. The snow was up to my car windows and I couldn't get out because of the snow pack. Luckily a driver behind me saw the whole thing and he stopped and dug me out but was himself on his way to work and couldn't stay with me. He did however have a cell phone and called the police - remember this is 1996 and cell phones weren't like they are now: they were in briefcases and expensive. (the car that turned in front of me did not stop). So here I was on the side of a highway, in the middle of the night, waiting for the local police to get there, by myself. . . . 

All of the sudden this man came walking up....
I didn't know where he came from...but
he smiled at me and said, "I saw what happened, I was walking my dog over there on that hill." He pointed to the area across the dual highway which was probably like 3 football field lengths from where my car was and the road he spoke of was a rather steep incline. "I saw that you were alone so came over to wait with you until someone came, are you OK?" I said yes, that the police had been called. We chit chatted for 10-15 minutes I guess. I never was scared or afraid of him, I was just thankful someone was waiting with me. The policeman came then and walked up the side of my car and said he would go call a tow, that my car didn't appear damaged. As I was talking to the policeman the man that had been waiting with me came up to my left hand side, just behind me and said, "Well I'm going to go now since he is here to help you." I turned and looked at him and thanked him for waiting with me." I  turned back to the officer who was standing about 10 feet in front of me looking at the front end of my car in the snowbank and he said, "Who are you talking to?" I said, "That man..." and turned to start to point to him and he was no where to be seen. The officer looked at me like I was nuts and said, "What man?" and I said, "The one that came to wait with me. He saw me when he was walking his dog over there..." I pointed to the road that was on a hill across the highway. The officer shrugged and said, "I didn't see any man and we'd be seeing him if he was walking his dog." Then he asked to look inside my car. Where was I coming from, why was I out at this time of night? On and on he questioned me, because I think he thought I was hallucinating or on drugs or something. Why? Because I said a man had been waiting with me and he hadn't seen one and no man went back up the hill with his dog. He had a flashlight and started flashing it on the road across from where we were looking for footprints. There wasn't any. The road he said he'd been walking his dog on didn't have houses on it close to the highway, they were further up the hill like 1/2+ mile. 

To make a long story short....
the tow truck was called, my car got out, and I drove home. It was when I was driving home that I began to think about the whole scenario in my mind. The snow was deep. There would have been foot prints across the highway on the side of the road and then leading to the street on the hill that the man had said he was walking his dog. Yet I didn't see any - nor did the police officer. Where was the dog? Why did the police officer not see the man or hear him talk to me? Just heard my response and ask me who I was talking to. I never felt upset. I only felt peace, a quiet waiting - even though the man was a stranger. I can still, in my mind's eye see his face. He had brown hair, like a russet color - it was longish below his ears sort of like John Denver hair in style. He had a straight nose and smooth skin. He was handsome. He was probably older than I was but not much older - I was 26 at the time and I would have put him at like 33-35. He wore a brown leather bomber style jacket and jeans. He wasn't snow covered on his pants legs, yet should have been to get to where I was. He didn't breathe hard from exertion to get to me, yet it would have been a hike to get there. No footprints.... and he never told me his name....

What do I think?
I think I had an angel encounter. That's what I think. When I think about it rationally...to this day...there should have been foot prints. There were none. There should have been a dog - what dog waits without barking, untied somewhere? Yet there was only this man - no dog, no barking. Even if the policeman didn't see him - why didn't we see him walk back up the hill? We should have seen him walking back up that hill. There was NO PLACE else to go. And why would anyone be out walking their dog on a icy, snowy (nearly blizzard-like conditions) night at 1130 p.m. 1/2 mile from any houses that may have been where he lived? And at at nearly midnight, in the middle of the week?
I believe in God. I believe He has angelic messengers/protectors. I believe one helped me that night.

Angels walk among us, and I met one in a bomber jacket.

Happy Day 12!!!!

Hugs and love in Stitches, 


Vonna xxxx
L&L annual angel
Lavender and Lace 1997 Complimentary Angel 
stitched for the angel that came into my life in 1997 ~ Katie Grace Pfeiffer

Monday, December 11, 2017

Day 11....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~
Day 11
Holidays to me....
is all about warm, cozy, comfort. In my mind when I envision what I think the *perfect* holiday is, I think of a long table of family with gleaming, smiling faces, delicious food, fun and just being at home together. When I was first married I told Keith that I wanted a large family...four kids was all my body could muster - my pregnancies always ended in an emergency and early (Ellie stayed in the longest at 36 weeks - but I was also on complete bed rest for 20 of those weeks). We would have had more children, but it just wasn't in the cards for us. So we thanked God for the blessings we had and set out to be the best parents we could be. We've done good, I believe. And my dream of a long table of gleaming faces...isn't far off from reality.

This year....
when I was decorating our home for the holidays I knew just how I was going to do our hearth. The hearth represents to me, the heart of the home. I always pay special attention to our hearth and make it the focal attention of the room it is in. All our furniture, beautiful reproduction samplers, and the accessories "frame" our hearth and it is the first think your eye is drawn to when you step in our home. Without further talk - here is our 2017 Christmas Hearth:
2017 Hearth

It features Country Cottage Needlework's - "Gingerbread Village" which I stitched and then finished as mounted flatfolds. Want to learn how to do a mounted flatfold? Well I have you covered: HERE for Video Tutorial

Here is a close-up view of the cute as a button Gingerbread Village.
Oh my word ~ Be still my heart! I love it!

Flatfolds....
whether they are just straight mount simple flatfolds. What to know how to make flatfolds? Got you covered: SIMPLE FLATFOLD TUTORIAL or if they are the Mounted Flatfolds such as these are finished as - are the most perfect (in my mind) way to finish seasonal pieces. They fold down and store flat and if you take care in wrapping them and storing in a box, pull out year after year perfectly while taking little space. Flatfolds are the perfect finish!
2017 Mantle_Country Cottage Needleworks Gingerbread Village


Today, December 11th....
is also a very special day for our family. It is the day that 20 years ago, God gifted us with our first little miracle, Katie Grace! Here she is at 2 years old just a few weeks after her twin brothers came to live with her....
Katie 2 year picture


Here she is two years ago on her graduation day...

Katie Standing best 8x10

What does a mother say about her first born baby? I prayed for a girl, I wanted a girl desperately with my whole heart...and God provided. She and I have a special relationship and I love her with my whole heart.

Last year....
she went to college and went ice skating for the first time. (she's second on the right hand side)
She told me she hated ice skating...
Katie Dec 2016 college

SO her ornament that I stitched for her this year is...
Her Ice Skating! LOL LOL LOL!

It is Little House Needleworks ~ "Snow and Ice"
stitched on 32 ct. Black Evenweave
Katie Ornament - LHN Snow and Ice

Here she is at Thanksgiving...
with her boyfriend, Austin. Aren't they a cute couple?
Happy 20th Birthday Katie!
WE LOVE YOU!

Untitled

Happy Day 11!!!

Love and hugs in stitches, 
Vonna xxxx

Keith and Katie_Katie's 3 birthday_Dec 2000

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Day 10....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~
Day 10

I have a finish to share....
M Designs
Letter E from M Designs Alphabet Series
Available in her Etsy Shop HERE 

Untitled

I (for the most part) frame my own finishes...
I get asked about once or twice per week if I would do a tutorial on framing. Many moons ago, I had a framing tutorial. I caught endless hell over that tutorial from people not agreeing with me or fill in the blank. So, I deleted it and vowed never to speak on this subject again.

But...being I'm older, wiser and my skin is a little thicker, not to mention I get a lot of e-mails every year over how do I do XYZ and where do I find ABC that I decided instead of answering lots and lots of e-mails I'd just write a tutorial. Since I have a finished Christmas gift ready for framing and we are in the midst of the 25 Days of Cristmas with The Twisted Stitcher, well that just solidified my mind that sharing was caring and I'd share how I frame again with my readers.

*DISCLAIMER* this is how I frame my projects. I know, as in anything in life, there is more than one correct way to do it. If you don't agree with how I do it then nobody is holding your feet to the fire to do it this way. I offer everything I know and have learned on my own with those in the cross stitching community ~ FREE. I ask for nothing -  all my tutorials are FREE and as such, please give me the respect I deserve by allowing me to share freely and without negative commentary either here or on Facebook, Instagram or wherever. There is nothing more upsetting to me as a person of goodwill to go into a group that I am a member of and be torn apart because someone doesn't agree with my technique and act as if I won't see their comments. I see them and I take note.  Finally, if you use it, give me credit, that is my payment and a very small price it is. 

Needlework Framing ~by Vonna Pfeiffer

M Designs _ Letter E

HAPPY DAY 10!!!

Until next time...
Love in Stitches,
Vonna xxxx

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Day 9....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~

Day 9


Today another Santa that I have to share is from another dear lady in Indiana :)
This fellow Hoosier stitched for the 2000 Prairie Schooler Annual Santa!
I stitched her initial and year tag for the back and finished it in my signature annual Santa ornament finish :)
LD_PS Santa 2000

How do I love Prairie Schooler Santas....
let me count the ways:
Simple but striking...
Few colors used for each one, yet striking when complete...
Matching because the same colors are used for all....
THEN...
 Finishing them in a uniform, simple manner
....well...
that makes them all the more striking when hung on a tree together.

You know I've said this over and over....but SIMPLE really is best.
My finishing, is not over the top. It is classic and timeless. These ornaments will go on hanging on a tree long after I'm gone and they will still look great and not be outdated and frumpy with someone thinking: WHAT?! was she thinking?!

Want to know how I finish these simple ornaments?
Well I made a tutorial last Christmas, but it's always good to revisit. So here is the link:


For your needlework bag you need to invest in:
The Dritz Snag Nab-It
snag nab it

Available at Joann's, Amazon, wherever you buy your sewing essentials...
made to fix sweater snags...it is PERFECT for using in your needlwork.
If you can see on the end there is a grooved tip on one end and a pointed end on the other. When stitching how many times does a leg of the X not lay right, or there is a fuzzy, or a piece of thread tails comes up with a stitch and you have to fiddle fart around trying to fix it. 
Well FIDDLE FART no more!
Grab your Snag Nab-It and pointed end down through the hole where the fuzzy, poorly laid leg, or tail is sticking out and Bingo Bango FIXED!
Highly suggest this sweet little tool for everyone's stitching bag :)
A cleaver, cheap, weapon to add to your arsenal!

HAPPY DAY 9!!!!!!!!

Until tomorrow....
Hugs in Stitches,
Vonna xxxx

Friday, December 08, 2017

Day 8....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~
Day 8 

Today I'm sharing another Santa that was so generously stitched and sent to me by a dear friend from Alabama, Amanda. Amanda stitched beautifully the 1996 Annual Santa from The Prairie Schooler. And I finished it in my typical way that I do for all of my annual Santas. 
Red Ticking on the Back and Amanda already stitched the initial and date tag because she knows me so well! 
AL_PS Santa 1996 

Another beautiful addition to the Prairie Schooler Tree. 
~Thank you so much Amanda~

A little token that you need to purchase for your needlework basket is:
Dritz Seam Fix - mini seam ripper
DRITZ seam fix

I thought everyone used these until I mentioned it on my FlossTube channel one video and had an overwhelming response...
I get mine at Joann's. The seam ripper part is very sharp and really smooth when you need to frog.
Then the little white nubbin on the end just sweeps those fuzzies away. 
I have about 6  of these scattered everywhere around the house and in my car for when I stitch in there. LOL! I can't be without!

Now I know many stitchers literally, "unstitch" when they make a mistake to save the thread and restitch using it again. Not me peeps...if I have to put myself through the agony of taking stitches out that I spent precious time in putting in, then I want it done quickly and swept out of my life!
😂
This seam ripper does it quickly and efficiently!

Happy Day 8!!!!!

Until tomorrow....
Love in stitches,
Vonna xxxx

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Day7....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~
Day 7

One of the most wonderful things about my life....
are the true friendships I have made through this hobby of mine. So many people that I know and care about have come into my life via cross stitching. This early fall, I got a package and inside was a Prairie Schooler Santa ornament. How wonderful, I thought! One I can mark off my list of needing to stitch 😂

The friend that sent it was one that I was very friendly with...and I thought she was just gifting me. But it soon became apparent that...yes she had gifted me and there were a whole lot more people that were gifting me because more, and more and more packages came to my box ~ all of them containing stitched Prairie Schooler Santas for my PS Santa Tree.

Besides Santa, each package contained heartfelt notes filled with friendship and love - words fashioned just for me telling me a variety of wonderful things. I was astonished. I was amazed. I was frankly shocked and then I became a little frantic because I thought "How am I going to repay these people for what they had done for me?" I better start stitching! I was telling my husband these very words when he said,
"Vonna, you are the most excellent giver that I know, but you stink at receiving. These people don't want anything in return, because you already gave them something. They are doing this because they love and admire you and want to thank you for what you have done for them. Turn your head off and just let them do this for you without thinking what you have to do in return. You have got to learn to RECEIVE."

Now ya'll...
My husband is a man of few words (you know I'm the chattering magpie who doesn't like silence so I'm busy chattering and he's busy being silent) So for him to say all of these words together, at the same time was shocking in and of itself, but I guess the most shocking thing to me was....that when I sat and reread all the letters, when I looked at the sheer amount of people that had sent these lovely stitched Santas...
it was apparent, that Keith was right. 

But me...
not being able to turn my head off completely and keep my mouth shut like a good girl, I said: "But I haven't done anything!" to which my husband started laughing and shaking his head and said, "You do more than about 3 people combined every day and then look all innocent and say: (in his mimic of me voice) 'I haven't done anything' looking all innocent and guilty at the same time." 

So I took a page out of the Book of Keith....
and shut up and turned off my head. I will be featuring all of my beautifully stitched and gifted Santas throughout the rest of these days. I'm finishing them up a little each week - working them in between client work and my own work so that on the culmination of The 25 Days of Christmas with The Twisted Stitcher, I can show you the handiwork from our hands. 

My Prairie Schooler Santa Tree a history....
I started collecting the PS Santa cards way back in college in the 1980's. They were cheap, I liked Christmas and I started collecting them. I stitched a few here and there - gave them away to friends and family - until 2012 when I decided I was going to start making a concerted effort to stitch Santas and keep them for myself. 2012 was a flop. I didn't stitch any. Big ideas - no pay off. 2013 came and I stitched a couple. 2014 - Buddy that was going to be THE banner year for PS Santas and I vowed I was going to have a small tree dedicated to PS Santas by December. I worked stitching all year. I had a couple of friends who for my birthday and Christmas presents also stitched a few Santas, just for me.  And by December...I had myself a  Prairie Schooler Santa tree!!!

2014:

Prairie Schooler Santa Tree Daytime

Boy was it cute...I was hooked! WHY didn't I stitch more...so 2015 came I stitched one or two.
2016 came and I had more stitched. Last year proved to be a fuller tree than I had the previous two years.
2016 Prairie Schooler Santa Tree:
2016 Prairie Schooler Santa Tree


Wait until you see how my tree will look this year, thanks to the hands and loving stitches put in by my friends that wanted to make my Prairie Schooler Santa Tree the reality of my long held dreams!


First Santa I'm sharing is from a lady in Indiana, named Carmie.
Carmie stitched the Prairie Schooler Complimentary Card Pear Tree Santa.
I finished it up into a Mounted Flat Ornament, featuring green pillow ticking, with jute twisted cording and rusty bells.
PS CA_Comp Card

I decided to make my signature tags for all the ornaments featuring the stitcher's initials that stitched them for me with the year - you can see in the little heart insert on the picture above. Some stitchers made their own little tags because they know me so well and have studied the peculiarities of Vonna :) HA HA! That way I will always remember who stitched it. I also created a notebook filled with all the notes/letters/cards sent with the Santas as a momento of what a group of friends did for me in 2017.

Awesome!
I'm blessed to have the friendship of so many. As undeserving as I am, I am so very, very blessed!

Happy Day 7!
Thank you Carmie for your stitching gift to me <3 p="">
Until tomorrow...
Love and hugs in stitches,
Vonna xxxx

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Day 6....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~

Day 6

Today we are going to talk about a set of ornaments that I have talked about before...
the Boy Scout and the Ballerina!

The Boy Scout and the Ballerina

When Keith and I were married, his mother gave me a box of ornaments and in the box was the clothes pin Boy Scout that Keith made when he was a little boy in scouts. Imagine my surprise when I saw this because when I was a little girl I had made a clothes pin Ballerina! I told him it was meant to be obviously since we had a matched set of clothes pin ornaments. From that first Christmas in 1996, the Boy Scout and the Ballerina are always wrapped together in tissue paper - face to face to await the 11 months in storage together -  until they are brought out again. These ornaments are 40 years old. They still are looking great ~ just like the peeps who made them 😂😂😂😂

Many people over the  years have asked how I met Keith....
~ well let Grandmother Willow tell you a story ~
Settle in now girls and boys...

A long time ago in 1994....
there was a girl who had been working as a Microbiologist for two years in a hospital in Evansville, Indiana. She worked swing shifts, where 6 weeks she was on night shifts and 2 weeks she was on day shifts. She loved her job, but was lonely. She had broken off a relationship that wasn't good for her mentally and had sworn off men!  (lol!) She was praying daily the St. Anthony novena, with the intention of intercessory prayer to find a partner...(or throw in the towel and go to the sperm bank...)

Then her mother gave her a slip of paper....
on the slip of paper was a name and address. My mother told me that a man that she worked with had saw my picture on her desk. The man asked some questions and said that he had a brother that was the same age as I was, that he was single and did she think I'd be interested in his brother's address. Her mother said that she'd take the address and give it to me and I could decide what to do. When she gave me the slip of paper...being that I was a little fed up with men (and moving from one apartment complex to another), I took the slip of paper and put it in my cookie jar (which was sort of like my junk drawer).

So I moved into my new (much nicer) apartment....
and about 2 months later, started going through my cookie jar looking for something else and found the slip of paper with the man's name. Being happy in my new apartment, I decided quite literally "what the hell" and wrote a letter to the man. Now remember...no computer and cell phones at this time - it was 1994. Just a few days later, I had a letter in MY mail box from the man!

We wrote back and forth several times...
and in one letter 6 weeks from the time we started writing each other was his phone number. He told me that he was coming to town to visit his Mother and Father and stay the weekend with them (his family lived in Evansville - I lived in Evansville). He said he didn't think I could get my number back to him in time and so if I'd like to go out, could I give him a call.

So I called....
and when he answered my heart skipped a beat because he had a deep voice that made my toes curl.
~remember he had no idea what I looked like and I had no idea what he looked like~
He asked me on a date that coming Saturday night. I accepted. He set a time he'd come to pick me up and we hung up. This was Monday.

I was so excited....
I went shopping and got a new outfit - remember those studded knit outfits that were popular in the 90's? - well I got a dark purple knit outfit with gold/pearl studs around the V neck line
(it was HOT! NOT! LOL!)
A new pair of gold lame bejeweled flip flops
(OH YEAH!)
and a new bottle of Sand and Sable perfume!
Looking back on this makes me laugh to be honest.

Anyway...
I was set for Saturday night! I went to work on Friday morning (I happened to be on my day shift part of my rotation that week) happier than a lotto winner! Coming back from my lunch break I felt a little stomach upset...hmmm...by 3 p.m. I was very, very sick. I had gotten food poisoning. I got off work...drove home and promptly was VERY sick all evening/night long. Living alone in my own place, I didn't have anyone to go run and get me ginger ale or crackers...so I sort of toughed it out thinking HOW am I going to go on a date tomorrow night. Well Saturday morning dawned and although I was still not feeling well, I was at least not running to the bathroom every 10 minutes. As the day progressed, I got better. . . I decided I was NOT going to call the man and cancel.

At 7 p.m.....
I was peeking outside my window and saw his car that he described to me coming down the road. Remember this was a completely blind date. I hurriedly closed the blinds so he wouldn't see me peeking and waited for the knock on the door. I thought to myself...if I open this door and he looks me straight in the eyes and doesn't do a whole body sweep with his eyes, I will know this is going to work out.

I opened the door....
looked him straight in the eyes and....
he did a full body sweep.
(darn it!)

He introduced himself, I introduced myself.
We shook hands, he asked if I was ready, I got my purse and off we went.

He opened the car door for me to get into his car ✅
He asked me when he got in the car if I like Olive Garden ~ I smiled and said yes!
(and then in my head was going through thinking what could I get that wouldn't upset my recently very upset tummy)

We made it to Olive Garden...
He opened the car door ✅
They seated us...and he pulled out my seat and scooted me in ✅
We looked over the menu. He asked what I'd like, I told him and when the waitress came he ordered for me and for him. Now some may think that was not a good thing, but to me, I liked that he listened to what I wanted and took it upon himself to order for me.
He had ordered a beer - I asked for Sprite (ha ha) and I began to talk.
Something you need to know about me...
I do not like silences - at all. So I chatted away like a chattering magpie. He drank his beer watching me. In my head I was thinking "shut up, shut up, shut up you are scaring him with your chatter" but I couldn't shut my pie hole. Dinner came and we ate and he chatted and I filled the silent stretches.

As he was paying the bill....
he asked if I would like to go Putt Putt golfing instead of a movie. I said, "sure, that'd be fine". (in my head I was thinking...GOSH he doesn't even want to sit thorough a 2 hour movie with me...). We went to the Putt Putt place and he bought 3 games (they had three courses easy, medium and hard) and out we went to play. It was July 18, 1994. So it was a warm summer evening. What I thought would be quick, really took like 3 hours.

When we were done with our games...
he drove me back to my apartment. I asked him up for a drink. He came up to my apartment, I fixed drinks and we watched Saturday Night Live. After it was over, he got up, thanked me for going. I walked him to the door and he turned and shook my hand. We said goodnight and he left.

Well... I thought, that does that, you'll never hear from him again.

I started the work week back on night shift...
that Saturday night (I worked every other weekend) the phone in my department rang. I answered it and the hospital operator asked if there was a Vonna in the department, I said there was...she told me she had a call that she was putting through for me. She put it through, I said, "Hello" and I heard Keith's voice. You could have pushed me over with a feather. He HAD called and how did he know the number to the hospital?

Come to find out...
he was on work travel. He was calling from Corpus Christi, TX. He was going to be down there for another week. He had gotten the hospital phone number when he was home the weekend before after our date, and called and asked for Vonna in the lab. He wanted to see me again. Would I be available for a date the following Saturday? We made plans for the following Saturday. I told him I'd cook since he'd be tired of restaurant food from his 2 week business trip. He told me no, no he'd take me out. I insisted I'd cook and he could take me for ice cream after.

So....
now you know the rest of the story.
July 18, 1994 we began dating.
August 18, 1995 we were engaged.
April 27, 1996 we were married.

Best Life Decision Ever. Period. Amen.

Oh, Speaking of Amens....
years after we were married I was telling his mother that I prayed a novena prayer to St. Anthony (the finder of lost things) to find a partner. She looked at me shocked and said, "I was praying the same novena prayer to St. Anthony for Keith to find a wife."
St. Anthony, really pulled a rabbit out of his hat on this deal.
Thank you, St. Anthony for your prayers, and ours, being answered!

Happy Day 6!!!!

Hugs and Love in Stitches, 
Vonna xxxx

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Day 5....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~
Day 5
Today...
we are going to talk about finishing. That was the #1 topic that people wanted me to talk about in the comments where I asked for topic suggestions for the 25 Days of Christmas. It also was apparent in the comments that many didn't know all the places that I share my finishing techniques. 

Blogging...
I have been blogging since 2006. WOW...huh?! Yep, truth, that is going on 12 years of my sharing what I know, shouting to the world all that I love about cross stitch. When I first started blogging my finishing SUCKED. Literally. 

For instance...
back in 2004, Katie was a 1st grader. She had a wonderful teacher that I loved. I went in to school once a week on Fridays and would help kids with reading for an hour. I would read to them, they would read to me. That year for some strange reason this book was very popular:

Every week when I went in the kids wanted me to read that story, over and over and over and over.
It became like a private joke between me and the teacher. So that year for Christmas I got my graph paper out and I charted a design and stitched and finished it. 
This weekend that teacher, was putting up her tree and she sent me this photo:

Pigeon Ornie

Now then...
the design using pencil and graph paper...pretty darn good and a very good likeness to the character. The finishing makes me cringe 😖
THOSE corners... 😬
The sewing machine ZIP along the top of the aida...😱
The store bought cording....😕

OMGosh....
I was thrilled that the teacher STILL has it and that it brings back special memories to her each year she brings it out and puts it on her family tree, but when I saw it...I was like holy cow that finishing sucks. I've come a long way baby!

So what does this story have to do with anything?!....
I get sidetracked sometimes....excuse me....
So I have been stitching since 1985. I was 15. Finishing was basically framing. Then as I got married and started having children, Christmas was ALWAYS special to me. I had the idea that I would make an ornament for each child every year. The early years of finishing were like the above example. But as the internet took off and we got computers in the home and I saw bulletin boards, chat rooms, groups and blogs dedicated to cross stitch. MAN! That really opened my eyes. Soon I started my own blog, started reading lots and lots of other blogs and found that as I stitched more and more smalls, I got better and better at sewing, learned tricks and actually sort of had an affinity for creativity.

Did you know....
that in college I was actually a double major? My first major was Biology. My second was Secondary Education. I wanted to be a high school science teacher. I didn't finish my Indiana Teaching license because at the time where I wanted to live (where I was born - Haubstadt, IN) had so many teachers there were no openings. I went all over the surrounding counties and there were simply no openings for science teachers. I could have gotten a job in St. Louis, Chicago, Dallas, but to be honest I just didn't want to move from Indiana and particularly wanted to stay in the Evansville area as that was where my family was. (this was pre-Keith Pfeiffer). So this story is being told so that you understand I have an affinity for teaching.  

So back to the original story....
~ are you confused yet? ~
As I gained confidence in my finishing and started sharing my finishes, people started asking me questions about how I did X or Y or Z. So I decided I would make "tutorials"
So moral of the story: I sucked at finishing and as I practiced, just like the old saying: "Practice makes perfect" is truth. Practice DOES make perfect. I can teach anyone to finish.
 Did you know I had a tutorial blog that has been up and active for years? and being added to yearly?  I am always trying to make my blogs very user friendly to get to all the places I share. But with that being said, I can't spoon feed everyone. I have search bars at the top of every blog. If you can't find something, type in a key word and search. If I have it as a subject, you will find it.
 For those of you that do not know....my written and pictorial tutorial blog is at this link:
Learn to Finish with The Twisted Stitcher

If you can't remember my "handle", URL's or Blog titles did you know if you simply type in: Vonna
I am first hit (not to mention several entries after the first hit) and you can quickly and easily find everything I share.

Thoughts on Finishing....
I'm going to try to give some tips about finishing as we go along but I want to give my personal philosophy (what I practice) on finishing.

1.) TIME
 is the single most important factor in finishing. How long does it take to stitch something? Lots. Don't slam, bam, thank you Ma'am through your finishing. Why would you spend so much money, time and effort on creating a beautifully stitched piece to hurriedly, sloppily go through something? Slow down. Think it through. Be deliberate in your finishing efforts.

2. MATERIALS
Use archival quality materials whenever possible. Acid free glue. Acid free mat board. Quality quilting cottons. Don't use that sticky board stuff. It is not acid free. I used it a long time ago when I didn't know any better. I have things that are horribly yellowed (20 + years old) and it is because of that sticky board - its not acid free. I have tried to salvage my old finishes on sticky board..and it is a nightmare. You pull the fabric off the sticky board and if it doesn't rip from being stuck on the board with the adhesive, it will still have the adhesive itself all over the back. It comes off sticky and nasty. It deteriorates the fabric too, yellows it and on one of mine that I framed in 1996 and gave to my mother in law...it is eating holes in it and yellowed horrendously. No amount of washing gets it off...AND if you have used over-dyed flosses the washing sometimes makes those colors run. Take my advice...don't use it and if you do use it, someday down the road you'll be sorry you used it.

3. GATHERING SUPPLIES
Finishing takes a lot of supplies, scissors, cutting board, utility knife, fabrics, trims, glue, upholstery thread...on and on. Build your finishing stash slowly over time. You don't have to have expensive finishing tools, but you do have to have the basic ones to do finishing properly and make the finishing come out as best as possible. Proper tools, make for clean finishing. A dentist doesn't have a hammer and anvil to remove teeth (although it might feel like it). He has proper tools to do his job. So does the finisher have proper tools to finish their items.

4. AFFINITY
Best advice I can give is: If you don't like finishing, don't do it, find someone to do it for you. I'm not promoting myself, there are lots of other finishers out there. (Including me!)

So as we go through the 25 days of Christmas with The Twisted Stitcher, I'm going to be giving advice on what products I use in my Finishing Cave. A lot of what I use and recommend is already on my tutorials, in my blog posts and videos...but going over them again - for new readers and reminding long time readers - never hurts :)

The first product I am going to highlight is: 
BEST PRESS
It literally does give the BEST press. I have used it for over 1 year now. I bought a small spray bottle of it on Amazon. And now: I buy it by the gallon through Joann's online (fill up the original small spray bottle I bought on Amazon)
It is NOT starch. It is a starch alternative. It is acid free - therefore safe for use on our needlework projects.  I have never had it bleed the floss colors. Worried about bleeding? Take a small piece of floss and test it on a scrap of white fabric to see if anything bleeds - that's what I do. I spray on the back side only. It gets out the toughest hoop marks. Fold lines? NO MORE. It is fantastic.
I use ONLY the clear, non-scented so I cannot comment on the fragrances or if the tinted brand stains cloth or anything else. I use the clear non-scented because: A. I don't want my needlework to smell. B. I don't want to have to worry about a tint staining my needlework. The product is report to repel moths and other bugs that may be interested in chomping on fabric. It is available at any big box store (Target, Walmart, Joann's...). Give it a whirl...be amazed!
*NOTE* I have gotten a very large number of E-mails asking me if I truly believe if Best Press is safe for needlework. This is what I have to say: If I didn't believe in a product. Or if I thought it would harm anything I (or someone else) had spent hours of work on....do you think I would recommend that product. OR use it myself?
I am not here to convince anyone of anything. Rather, I am here to share what I have learned, so that we all can enhance our workmanship. If you want to know more about it, do what I did: GOOGLE "Best Press" and research/read for yourself. Then decide for yourself what you want to do. I use it. Daily.

Happy Day 5!

Love and Hugs in stitches, 
Vonna xxxx

Monday, December 04, 2017

Day 4...

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~

Day 4

December 4th....
WHAT a day to live on in my heart and mind...
The day that two little rascals came to live with us
Vonna with newborn Ian and Jacob Keith with newborn Ian and Jacob Twins Birth 1999

I know I share these same pictures every year...
but that pregnancy and birth...
WHEW!
and today, they are 18 years old.

😢😢😢😢

Where did the time go?

Ian and Jacob...
my little dear hearts. Oh they loved their Mama a lot at one point, and although I know they still love me, they don't spontaneously come and hug me, exuberantly smack a kiss right on my mouth, slobber all over me.
(or really hug me at all, in fact most of my children want little hugging/kissing going on at all! LOL!)
Nope, they are big boys...seniors in High School.

I took their Senior Pictures this fall on the campus of Indiana University
(my alma mater and of course it is right here in the city where we live)
Here are a few of my favorites:

Ian (Baby A)

Ian 15


Ian 5


Ian 7


Ian 13


Ian 19


Ian 20

Jacob (Baby B)

Jake 2


Jake 8


Jake 10


Jake 12


Jake 18


Jake 19




Mama's Sweethearts
Different as night and day

Ian and Jake 2 


My favorite photo of them together...
Ian and Jake 6

Both boys...
have been accepted at IUPUI (Indiana University - Purdue University of Indianapolis). They both have been direct admits into the Purdue School of Engineering on the IUPUI campus. They both have declared Electrical Engineering as their major. Yes, this is the same college Katie attends and is also the same major Katie is working toward. Their Daddy is an Electrical Engineer and since they were small children, he and I together have reinforced math and science studies here at home independently of their school studies. All 4 of our kids are talented especially talented in math.
They are leaders.
They are problem solvers.
They, with the grace of God, will be awesome, talented, hard-working Electrical Engineers, just like their Daddy someday.

Next fall...
my babies will fly the coop and although my heart will probably be a little sore, I know, with my whole heart that Keith and I have raised them to fly high - to soar - on their own. I also know that God walks with, guides and protects them. So I have no fear of the future, because I know He has great plans in store for us.

My little rascals...
We celebrate you, Ian and Jacob, today!


Happy Day 4!!!


Hugs and love in stitches, 
Vonna xxxx


Manger 1

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Day 3...

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome to ~ 

Day 3

Happy First Sunday of Advent...
I always am so happy when the season of Advent arrives in church...
Anticipation...
The New Year of the Church calendar...
The Advent Wreath is brought out...
The Vestments change from Ordinary Season green vestments to Advent Season White or Purple then Rose which is only worn on Laetare Sunday (the 3rd Sunday of Advent) during the year...
The readings of "instruction" during the Ordinary Season, become the readings of anticipation of the birth of our Savior....
Yep...Advent....a special time of preparation for the coming of the holidays and really, in my mind, a preparation for the coming of the New Year. 

So...because my family and I are preparing to share the good news, I decided I would prepare and share a tutorial for something that I believe many of you would really like.


How to Magnifier Cover

You can find the tutorial: HERE
and as I always say, when you use this tutorial or any tutorial of mine, that I give freely, please give my name and tutorial credit. 
~Thank you~

If you have an magnifier...
PLEASE make one of these if you own a magnifier and it is naked. A few years ago I burned a hole in my brand spanking new couch because I didn't realize that sunlight through the window, shining on the lens of a magnifier (unless I was specifically trying to make a fire) would actually make a fire. Yowza it did. 
Thankfully it didn't cause a fire...just burned a hole 
:(

This is a VERY simple sewing project and you will be able to whip it out in no time...I did this in 10 minutes (and that was taking pictures)...so it is a snap!

Until tomorrow my dear friends...
Happy Sunday...
Create Something today...
Smile...
and remember:
I'll be back tomorrow!

Happy Day 3!

Hugs and love in stitches, 
Vonna xxxx