1. Please introduce yourself – name, where you are from, family, pets etc.
Hi my name is RJ and I live in sunny Florida. I married my college sweetheart who was a pilot in the Air Force. We spent 30 years moving around the country during our 17 moves. We also got great opportunities to see a lot of Europe and Australia. It was a great experience that I miss now that we are retired. We have one grown son who lives in Texas. He stayed there for college while we had four new assignments and decided to make it his forever home. We go out to the Lone Star state as much as we can.
2. How long have you been stitching and how did you start?
I learned to stitch from another Air Force wife when I was in my late twenties. I stitched on and off for the next 30 years. We had some assignments that had great cross stitch stores and then others that did not have one single store of any kind. About five years ago I decided to make Noah’s Ark for a baby shower and realized how much I missed stitching. I found that now there are so many online sources and so many outstanding charts to choose from that there will never be a lull in my stitching again.
3. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you and Mary to start a joint blog?
Right after making Noah’s Ark, I started looking for more charts to stitch. I found adorable Christmas ornaments by Little House Needleworks and started to mail them to Mary to see how she liked them. She loved them too. That is when I taught her to cross stitch through the internet. I mailed her a ton of supplies and she was off and running. Before long she was stitching on linen which she said she would never be able to do. From there, we both started finding blogs and they looked like so much fun. But both of us were kind of afraid to start one even though we really wanted to. One night I said “Why don’t we do one together”? She said yes and that is how Stitching Friends Forever got its start. It’s harder than it looks organizing two people but it’s also double the fun when it all comes together.
4. How would you describe your stitching style? Are you a serial starter, a rotator, a OAAT (one at a time), highly organised, random and eclectic, etc.?
For the most part I would call myself an OAAT. I like to be organized and plan ahead.
5. Do you have a favourite designer or style of design you are drawn to?
This is a hard question because I like so many designers but I can’t resist With thy Needle and Thread patterns. My pocket book knows this even better than me. I also got to visit Shepherd’s Bush two years ago and was amazed at their talent. I just tackled my first larger kit of theirs and am totally hooked on their designs and all I’m learning about new embroidery stitches.
December Word Play by With thy Needle and Thread
Shepherd Bush design
6. Which piece are you most proud of in your collection?
The stitch I am most proud of and my very favorite is 'Tis the Season by Blackbird Designs. I fell in love with the beautiful red cardinal and the French writing. But a life circumstance that happened to me during the time I was stitching gave it exceptional meaning and a special place in my heart. It is only stitched so far but will be finished later this year for a blog post.
'Tis the Season by Blackbird Designs
7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?
My worst disaster is the typical - a diet coke was spilled on it. We were leaving a base for a new assignment and would be staying with friends the last few days later in the week. I wanted to make them a nice farewell gift. I bought a chart about where you live. I totally charted it to fit the description of San Antonio and it was looking really good when the accident happened. Another friend was visiting with her little boy who knocked over the drink so I didn’t want to make a big deal of it while they were there. So it just sat with the stain. When they left, I rushed it to the sink and laid it in sudsy warm water. It was before overdyed threads so it did not run. Much to my surprise the coke stain all came out and the gift was saved.
8. Which new technique would you like to try, either stitching, finishing or another craft?
I would love to learn how to do cording and as many embroidered stitches as I can to vary my finishes. And, I’ve promised myself this year I will learn how to do a flat finish.
9. Do you have a box of finished-but-not-fully-finished pieces? Or is everything FFO'd? What's your favourite way to fully finish a project and what do you do with them?
I have a box of about 100 or so stitches that have not been finished. It is one of the main reasons I wanted to do a blog to push me to finish my stitches. Only problem is I keep starting new stitches for the blog. I really like to find new ways to finish stitches as I have little wall space. The first week of our blog we do a post on new finishes and this is my favorite week. We have done things like pinafores, sewing machine covers and candle banners among others.
Sunflower House pinafore by Plum Street Samplers
This is my Happy Place by The Scarlett House sewing machine cover
Spring Day candle banner by Heart in Hand
10. Which of your projects most represents "you"?
I love patriotic stitches and because of our 30 years in the Air Force they probably most represent me.
Glory by Shepherd Bush
Brave Hearts framed by Little House Needleworks
Home is Where the Air Force Sends You
with parts taken from Brave Hearts and the rest by me
11. Tell us a secret about yourself. Or a joke. About anything!
Lately a lot of people have asked Mary what is RJ’s real name. I have not been called this in 25 years but my real name is Roberta Jean. I had been called Roe, Rob, Bert, Berta and Bertie and really did not like any of them and then one day my husband said “How about RJ”? We were about to move to a new base and he began to introduce me as RJ and it has stuck. It sounds funny when friends we knew earlier in our life call me Roberta now.
12. Anything you would like to add?
I would thank Jo so much for asking us to be bloggers of the week. It a honor to be considered. But more than that, I want to thank Jo for all the help she gave us when we were starting out. She taught me how to do our blog roll and also taught us how to not be no reply bloggers. She is a great teacher and I think could instruct anyone anything about blogging. For two novices like Mary and me we truly appreciated such expert help and friendship.
Thank you RJ! It's a pleasure to help.