Spool-en-dids Ornament Project #3 – A primer on cross-stitching

Hello Friends — have you been sewing along with a little friend, or by yourself since I last shared “Happy To Be ME” and Smar-kly ornament?

It’s time for me to share with you the third of six mother-daughter (adult/child) collaborative ornament project, released to highlight Aurifil’s Aurikids iniatiative — an effort to pass on the love and joy and needle and thread to the next generation.  This third ornament is a simple primer on cross-stitching, to get us ready to do cross-stitching for ornaments #4 and #5.

Read more about Spool-en-dids, and find out the names my daughter has for her selected colors HERE.

#1.  YOU may now purchase the collection from FAT QUARTER SHOP by clicking HERE.

#2.  YOU may purchase the collection from Donna — email her:  followthatthread@yahoo.com

#3.  YOU may also purchase collection by clicking HERE.

#4.  OR, ask your local Aurifil dealer to order the collection for you.  Click HERE for a dealer near you!

Miss Baby is saving the royalties for her college fund, as well as supporting the medical missions of Samaritans Purse.


PROJECT: Cross-stitching Primer Pillow Ornament


Cross-stitch Aida fabric (11 or 14ct — I recommend 11ct for younger children 7 and under, 14ct for older), Spool-en-did thread (s), Aurifil 50wt thread, a piece of ribbon, embroidery hoop, tapestry or embroidery needle, stuffing material & basic sewing supplies. 

You will need 4 pieces of fabric scrap to frame stitched piece, and one for backing the pillow case.

NOTE: This tutorial, as well as all subsequent pillow ornament tutorials, is not for a specific finished size. You may make it as big or as small as you wish. Since we hang our pillow ornaments on our Christmas tree, our ornaments do not finish larger than 4″.

GOAL: This project is to get children familiar with structured stitching associated with the “holes” on Aida/cross-stitching fabrics.

PLEASE read through the entire project before attempting. You may let your kid stitcher step in and be involved in any of the steps. For us, my daughter participated in selected the fabrics and stitching. I did the rest.

So — you would want to start with a piece of cross-stitch Aida fabric that amply fits your hoop.  The stitches are done with (2) strands of embroidery floss.  The Aurifloss consists of 6-strands of individual floss, just like the conventional embroidery floss.  So, you would have to cut a length of the floss, separate out 2 strands for the stitching.

Step 1.  Refer to the photo below to teach your kid stitcher stitching just straight lines, half-cross-stitches, and then cross-stitches! Notice all the Spool-en-dids come out to play on this one!

Important Notes:

#1.  It’s really important that you hoop the cross-stitch Aida fabric so that the stitches will turn out nicely.  If not, hooped, your kid stitcher might struggle with the tension of the stitches.

#2.  Your kid stitcher may choose to stitch more than just 15 squares in a row.  She might want to stitch long lines for a nice throw pillow.  Since we are doing ornaments at our house, we do a limited number of stitches so that our ornaments do not end up being more than 4″ x 4″.

#3.  To make it fun, feel free to mix colors – using 1 strand of yellow and 1 strand of brown for example for a fun effect.

Step 2.  After stitching is complete, remember to praise your kid stitcher to the sky!  Trim and square up your piece, and frame with fabric scraps to make pillow ornament top.  Then, with the pillow front and back pieces facing each other and folded ribbon piece tucked in the between, I sewed with a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a small opening. Turn pillowcase right side out, and stuff. I started using the stuffing made by Hobbs recently, and have ABSOLUTELY loved it!!  Hand stitch opening shut, and there you have it!

Next month, we will be cross-stitching a thread spool ornament!

Meanwhile, Miss Baby is stitching a Patchwork aux Chats sampler (designed by French designer Jardin Prive – I highly recommend her designs for children).  She is mixing her colors to stitch the cats.  Follow me on Instagram for work-in-progress pictures.  My handle is ivory_spring.

I hope you will enjoy this little stitching project with your kid stitcher, and jump start a lifetime of sweet stitching memories.


p.s.  If you missed the article in a recent Quiltmaker issue about my experience in teaching Miss Baby to stitch, it is now available online here.  Enjoy!

Joy of Needle and Thread: Part 8

Miss Baby:  Mom, do you know what I would do if I were retired?

Me:  Tell me.

Miss Baby: I would just stitch and read my Laura books (i.e.  Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series) all day!


The above conversation took place a couple of days ago.  While I am busy working on things that aren’t share-worthy yet, what I can share with you is a sneak peek of Miss Baby’s current stitching project.  The pattern is Angels from Country Cottage Needleworks.  You can click on the link to see what the finished ornament looks like.


Earlier today while stitching at a coffee shop with me, Miss Baby also toyed with the idea of stitching up ornaments for sale… that way she can save the proceeds for retirement.  I am not quite sure why retirement is at the forefront of a 6 year old’s mind… I guess I am still getting a hang of this parenting thing!

Thanks for stopping by – I have GOT to run and meet some non-negotiable deadlines, but I am hoping I will get to share with you a magazine quilt by this weekend.


If you are new on Ivory Spring, you may click herehereherehere, here, here, and here to catch up on my daughter’s needle and thread adventures.

Joy of Needle and Thread: Part 7

Happy Monday, Dear Friends!  This week marks the first week Miss Baby and I are back to a 24-7 arrangement — because school is out for the summer!  Due to my workload and summer plans, I am not sure how available I will be… but I will try!  Please bear with me if I disappear for a long period of time.

I thought I shall kick off the summer by sharing with you what Miss Baby stitched for her teacher before school ended.  I am so convinced only my six year old has the time to stitch for leisure these days…


And Mom is dismally lacking in the finishing department…. because it seems like all Mom can make are hanging pillow ornaments.  So, Mom made the latest stitched piece into a hanging ornament… yet another one!


Me thinks Mom needs help in the creative department in finishing stitched pieces… don’t you?



That’s all for now, Dear Friends.  Miss Baby has started her next piece – one we hope we can enter in next year’s Woodlawn Needlework Show.  I am a bit doubtful on this next project because there is a marked jump in difficulty level, but I am the last person to dissuade her from a difficult project…. considering with no experience at all or whatsoever, my first quilt was a pieced and applique quilt (story here)!  So, this next stitching project of Miss Baby ought to be interesting…. stay tuned. :)

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you have a lovely week ahead!


Click herehereherehere, here and here for past Joy of Needle and Thread posts.

Birth Sampler: Part 9

Happy Friday, Friends.  I hope you have had a good week.  Friday always comes a little too soon for me, but I am happy I got quite a bit accomplished this week.

The last time I shared with you on my progress on Miss Baby’s birth sampler was Fall last year…

I spent the first three months this year completing the next motif on the sampler.  And here is the latest progress picture.



Miss Baby’s birth sampler is one thing I would like to finish stitching this year.  So, anytime I can add a few more stitches to the sampler is time well spent.

Speaking of the little Miss, she delivered to me a note she wrote all by herself without assistance… I am SO going to frame this for the future! :)  I thought the note would give you a chuckle or two too.


Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you have a most blessed weekend!  God’s blessings to you.


Six done, six more to go…

Hi Friends, if you have followed my trials, tribulations and occasional triumphs on Ivory Spring for a while, you know I have been working on this set of ornaments for quite a while.  I have a mini triumph this past weekend–I finally finished the 6th ornament in the Twelve Days of Christmas series…


Nowadays I mainly squeeze in stitches for these ornaments when I am waiting in the car to pick up Miss Baby from school.  I do well to put in 10 stitches each time I stitch.  It’s my little last bit of calm being Miss Baby storms back into my life… no, I am not complaining.  It is just a fact in my current season of life. :)

Here you see the current lineup… for some reason, seeing these ornaments all lined up makes my brain go into overdrive, and I start hearing in my mind “Six little ducks that I once knew…”.  I seriously wonder why that’s the case, ha!

Or perhaps, I should be singing six little geese… it is Six Geese A-laying after all, to be technically correct.


Click here, here, here, here and here to see more pictures of the previous five ornaments.  [Note:  Pattern is charted by The Cat’s Whiskers.]

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a lovely Monday, and week!  Hugs to you all.

2 Turtledoves Christmas Ornament

Hello Friends!  I hope you are well.  If you know me, you know I work at really odd hours.  I rarely pack in more than 6 hours of sleep a night.  So, that means, one can easily find me up and piddling around at 3am or 4 am, when all is quiet at my house.  I was too sleepy to do any real work when I woke up at 3am one day last week, so I sat in my chair and finished up my “Two Turtledoves” Christmas ornament.  Pattern is The Cat’s Whisker’s “Twelve Days of Christmas Series”.





Here is a closer look at my “Partridge in the Pear Tree” Ornament that I finished up for Christmas 2012.


Not to be outdone, Miss Baby claimed this is her “Three French Hens” ornament, ha!  You can be the judge whether the ornament fits the label… :)


Thanks for stopping by, Friends!  Happy Monday, and Happy Week to you.

Birth Sampler: Part 6

It’s been a long time since I posted any progress on the Birth Sampler I am working on for Miss Baby.  I have just been too busy in the past months.  The last progress picture I recorded is the following:

I was able to work on my needlework projects these last couple of weeks.  You can see the wee bit of progress I made on Miss Baby’s birth sampler:

I thought I would be able to finish stitching the sampler during my hiatus.  My sister told me I was unrealistically and naively ambitious…. and she is probably right! :(

Thanks for stopping by.  I am stitching away whenever I get a few minutes.  I haven’t given up on my goal yet… ;)

A mini quilting break

Right about now, I would be taking a mini and short quilting break because I won’t have my precious sewing machine with me.  Instead, I am revisiting some ongoing projects:

1.  Daughters of Longbourn

2.  Mary Wigham

3.  Miss Baby’s Bienvenue Birth Sampler

Hope to have some progress pictures for you soon.  Have a great week ahead!

Eiffel Tower Pillow Ornament

I finished my Eiffel Tower pillow hanging ornament for my friend! Here it is!

Free chart from Blackbird Designs

I am a sucker for useless information. I love working on projects that send me on a goose chase for trivial information. Working on this Eiffel tower stitchery was just the excuse I needed to read up a bit on the history. The tower, once derided as a hideous blot by Parisians, is now one of the most recognized structures and visited monument in the world.

The tallest structure in Paris was completed in 1889 as the entrance archway to World’s Fair held in Paris to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the French Revolution.

It is named after Gustave Eiffel, a specialist in structural engineering. Eiffel has quite an impressive repertoire of structures he had built in his lifetime, many of them are scattered all over the globe!


Photo from Wikipedia

Here are some nerdy facts about the Eiffel Tower that I found to be absolutely fascinating:

1. The top of the tower may shift up to 7.1 inches due to thermal expansion of the metals from facing the sun.

2. The tower sways 2-3 inches in the wind.

3. 50-60 tonnes of paint are used every seven years to protect the structure from rust.

I am a happy girl now that I have actually completed one cross-stitch project for this year (isn’t that pathetic?), and my head is a wee bit fuller with some trivial information.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a marvelous weekend.

Lost and found…

My friend was taking French classes at school a couple of years ago.  So I started this little cross-stitch project for her two years ago as a birthday gift for her.  And…. for some unaccountable reason, I misplaced the little bag that held the project.  I looked high and low, and could never find it.

I was cleaning out one of the drawers last week, and guess what I found?!  Yeap – the unfinished cross-stitch piece.  I will give you three guesses what my friend will be getting for Christmas this year…

I over-indulged in sleep over the Thanksgiving weekend.  So, it will be a
“catching up” week for me this week.   You have a lovely week ahead!

Daughters of Longbourn: Part 2

Getting from this…

… to this took about two hours.   This is the other “ME” project (besides the Civil War Bride quilt) I am currently working on.  It was fun to add a few more stitches to my Jane Austen sampler.

I know it’s corny, but Pride & Prejudice is my all-time favorite fiction.  I read that book regularly.  I opened up my Windows Explorer the other day, and saw that my technical support guy (aka husband) has re-named my hard drive.  I thought it was pretty cute:

“Jane’s Fame” by Claire Harman is a great read if you are interested in an analysis of Jane Austen’s work…

I stumbled upon “Following Jane” – Discovery of Jane Austen from a guy’s point of view:

Going back to my sampler, this is what I am striving for:

Thanks for stopping by.  I wish you lovely day! :)

Birth Sampler: Part 5

From the last time I posted about Baby’s birth sampler:

Here is the latest progress picture.  You can see that my second motif is now complete:

I thought the stork with the pink bundle is the cutest (there’s no guessing as to what the stork had brought me!).  The stork symbolizes parental love and filial devotion.  It’s Germanic name (adebar/odebar) means “bringer of happiness”.  Indeed, Baby has brought much joy in the Ivory Spring household.  We only pray that we continue to learn to be better parents.

The swans are birds of love, also symbolic of purity:

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you have enjoyed these progress pictures on my Baby’s birth sampler.  Have a nice day, would you? :)  Till tomorrow.