February 19, 2018

Saturdays with Shandy: Christmas Edition! Prim Christmas Stitcheries

Hand embroidery, particularly primitive hand stitching,  is one of the easiest craft projects there are. It’s very forgiving, and is meant to be imperfect. It’s also very rewarding, because in a very short time, you can create something beautiful for your home, or to give as a gift. You can really take creative license with hand embroidery, and there are many different styles you can create… everything from modern to vintage to primitive designs (like we’re doing today!) and anything from pictures to quotes to stitching names and words in your own handwriting!

Believe me when I tell you that even someone who has no craft experience can do this! I wasn’t taught any specific technique when venturing into prim stitcheries, but instead taught myself. I saw a pricey stitchery in a catalog, looked at it and thought, “I can do this!” I went to the craft store and bought some inexpensive materials, then I just sat down and started stitching – knotted the end of the embroidery floss and began running the threaded needle under and over until my project was complete!

I like to put my stitcheries in frames when complete. I buy inexpensive black picture frames, and use sandpaper to distress them. Usually, I remove the glass so the fabric is exposed (like the one on the left) but there is one stitchery I made (shown on the right) where I created a “photo mat” by folding the muslin and tea-staining the middle darker than the border.


I also create “labels” to affix to stackable boxes (another project I like to do!) or to attach as tags on gifts.


At Christmastime, I display many stitcheries… ornaments, table runners, magnets, framed pieces…  there’s nothing like a handmade Christmas!

have yourself a merry little christmas

I hope this has given you some ideas of your own! Or maybe you’ve seen something here you’d like to create! Start with something simple if you’ve never made a stitchery before.

{Last week, we learned how to make “tea-stained” fabric in preparation for this week’s project. If you missed it, you can find the tutorial HERE.}

Round up the following supplies:

  • muslin
  • embroidery floss
  • embroidery needle
  • embroidery hoop
  • scissors
  • sharpened pencil

Basic directions:

  1. To get started, lightly sketch your design onto the muslin with the pencil. You’ll be stitching over the pencil marks, so don’t worry that they’ll show.
  2. Then, place the fabric into the embroidery hoop so that the area where you are starting is in the middle of the hoop and taut.
  3. Thread the color of embroidery floss you’re working with first through your needle and knot it at the end.
  4. Starting on the backside of your fabric, use simple back stitching to complete your project. (Our very own Shauna did a post on embroidery a while back, and shared THIS picture with us to give us a visual on how to back-stitch. You come up from underneath the fabric on the odd numbers, and go back down through the top on the even numbers. Piece of cake!) *See notes below.
  5. When complete, or to change colors, knot your embroidery floss (which must now be on the back of your fabric) and cut off the ends.
  • Note: Space evenly and pull gently, but not allowing the embroidery floss to be loose… you want it to be snug on the fabric, but not so tight that it’s wrinkling or puckering the fabric.
  • Note: On curved lines, you may need to make the stitches a bit smaller so the curve forms nicely.

Happy stitching!

Love & Blessings,


Be sure to visit Shandy’s personal blog Aprons ‘n Pearls for crafts, recipes, homekeeping tips & more!

Our next Women’s Online Bible Study,

“Crazy Love,” by Francis Chan,

begins January 6, 2013.

To sign up for this Online Bible Study, click HERE and follow the instructions. You will also be given a link to where you can purchase the book for this Bible study. We’re looking forward to learning about this “Crazy Love” with you!

Saturdays with Shandy: Christmas Edition! “Tea-Stained” Fabric

This week and next is a two-part project. This week I am teaching you how to make the  “tea-stained” fabric that you will need for next week’s Prim Christmas Stitcheries. This is one of my favorite craft projects to do. It’s easy, smells wonderful for years, and looks beautiful.


What You Will Need:

  • muslin fabric (I dye 1 yard at a time)
  • cheap instant coffee
  • cheap imitation vanilla extract
  • cinnamon
  • large pot
  • large cookie sheet


  1. Fill a large pot with water (approx. 5 cups) and heat on the stove to boiling.
  2. Remove from heat and add 1/3 c. vanilla extract, 2 cups of instant coffee, and 1/4 c. cinnamon to the water.
  3. Put the fabric in the pot and let sit for an hour.
  4. If you want a “grubbier” textured fabric, you can rub cinnamon directly into the fabric as well, after you take it out of the pot.
  5. Gently wring out, then hang to dry, or place fabric on a large cookie sheet and bake on low heat (200 degrees F) for a few minutes. You will need to stand by and watch the fabric so it doesn’t burn. This is my preferred method, and it makes for a slightly stiffer fabric as well.


  • You can make more stained fabric with the remaining mixture, or put it in a container and refrigerate to reuse later.
  • This fabric is wonderful for all sorts of craft projects, especially for those like me who love primitive country decor.
  • I buy my coffee, cinnamon, and vanilla at dollar stores. No need to spend money on good ingredients!
  • I never pay full price for fabric! The popular craft stores have apps with 40% off coupons!
  • I also dye embroidery floss to give it a muted or aged look, and just put it on a plate to dry. Works well for lace, too!
  • Use for craft fabric only, and not for garments, as it will at least partly wash out.
  • I once dyed a shower curtain in the bathtub using the mixture, leaving it in for a few hours, and it came out beautifully. I just hung it to dry! When it came time to wash it, I washed it in COLD water, and it preserved some (but not all) color.

This opens up a whole new world of crafting. Have fun with it! The possibilities are endless!

Love & Blessings,


Be sure to visit Shandy’s personal blog Aprons ‘n Pearls for crafts, recipes, homekeeping tips & more!