Family,  Holidays,  Stitching

Winter Sampler Exchange!

Oh my goodness, you have no idea how giddy Mom and I have been about our annual sampler exchange, and it finally happened yesterday! We were only waiting for the boxes from Jill's studio to arrive, and as soon as they did, my plan was to run every red light bw here and Mom's house in my excitement to swap samplers at last!

As soon as the UPS man rang the doorbell, I knew it was time. I felt like that Target lady from past Black Friday television ads…

With brute strength I snatched the box off the front porch, yanked the phone up to my ear, then dialed Mom's number, informing her in a breathless burst that she needed to immediately stop watching tv and eating petit fours working and open the front door with her Jill-box in hand, bc I'd be there in a single bound or less.

After squealing insanely and having a supersonic conversation that I can no longer remember the words to, I loaded up the package and headed out. When I arrived, I found that Mom had the same wild-eyed look in her eyes that I had, so we decided it was best to begin the exchange posthaste.

I'm laughing in the photo below bc I was trying to scramble back in time before the timer clicked the camera shutter…

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Mom had the fun idea to exchange boxes rather than the opened samplers (which we usually wrap in Christmas paper… except for the year I didn't know she was wrapping hers, and mine was just in wrinkly brown kraft paper).  Those of you who order from Jill know that unwrapping one of her packages can take a few hours, so when we finally got to the sampler inside, we removed the packing paper without looking at it, and turned it so that it was facing away from us. This way, Mom could see what she had stitched for me before I saw it, and I could see what I'd stitched for her.

(See how much effort goes into this process? It takes a very clean diet and weeks of steady gym workouts to prepare for.)

Then it was time to turn the samplers around, and after a brief, suspensful silence, our reactions were identical:


Gasp again.

Say "OH MY GOSH" in unison.

Cover our mouths with one hand while holding our samplers with the other.

Crawl across the floor and give each other big hugs.

Here's what my wonderful mom stitched for me:

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(The verse is amazing!)

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Hannah Cummins, 1828
Reproduced by Ellen Chester of With My Needle

Mom said she chose it for me bc she loved the verse on it. I couldn't be more thrilled with it, and it now proudly hangs in my George & Martha Suite! (And is that moulding not absolutely amazing?)

Here is what I stitched for my mom…

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I stitched my name and the year in place of what was originally charted, bc this is not a reproduction sampler.

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Sarah Spurr
Carriage House Samplings 

I chose this sampler for Mom because of the red bird, and because she had mentioned in the past wanting to stitch it for herself. I absolutely loved every stitch of it, and fondly remember working on it with my coffee in the early mornings during the Shepherd's Bush retreat, while Pat from R&R worked on her sampler on the couch next to me. We'd have long chats in the peace and quiet, and I loved watching the sampler slowly come together. I have no idea what linen I used to stitch it (although I suspect it's by Lakeside Linens), and I used my own AVAS conversion because I didn't have the NPI on hand that it called for.  

Jill, you did an outstanding job on our framed pieces, as usual, and we can't thank you enough!  I think this was our most fun exchange so far, and I'm already looking forward to next year's. 

Mom, you are the most perfect mother in the world, and I thank the Lord that you're mine. And not just because I got this amazing sampler.

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Merry Christmas!


  • Dede

    WOW! You are both blessed! Thanks for sharing the love you have for each other with us. My mother was not a cross stitcher but I loved giving her pieces of myself. She appreciated the time it took. Merry Christmas!

  • Katrina

    OMG, you are absolutely hilarious and I am beyond jealous!!!!!! What a fun exchange and both samplers are just wonderful :-). What a sweet tradition to share with your mom!!!!!

  • Terri

    Two beautiful ladies, and I’m not talking about the samplers 😉
    I have been stalking your blogs to see if you had exchanged your annual samplers. Merry Christmas to you both.

  • Kim

    OMGoodness they are both just beyond gorgeous!! I love them BOTH and now have to add them to the stash. But my gosh those frames are amazing and you two are just too cute for words. I’m so envious of the mother-daughter relationship you have…what a blessing! Merry Christmas, indeed!

  • Natalia Canaday

    Oh Paulette, you always make me laugh. You have a clever sense of humor and I enjoy your posts. Both samplers are just so absolutely beautiful, made more so by the special relationship you and your mom have. May God keep her for you for many years and may you both enjoy each minute you spend with each other. I am very happy that you have such a gift.

  • Laurie in Iowa

    Both samplers are gorgeous and I love the mouldings you both chose. I love hearing about the exchange. You and your mom have such a special relationship.

  • Karin

    Love, love the tradition and of course both of your samplers are stunning!! Jill did an amazing job on the framing, spectacular. The biggest gift is that you and your mom have this bond and all those exchanges you have done will be treasures forever!

  • Melissa

    Paulette! I love your yearly sampler exchange with your mom! Both samplers are beautiful and the frames are perfect! Your post made me cry because of this amazing relationship you two have. You are so very blessed!

  • Siobhan

    I’m so excited!! I feel like such an uber dork for being so excited to watch you guys exchange your samplers, but I am. Love love love love everything, from the designs to the moulding to the love that you two have for each other, that shines through all that you both do. So fun!!

  • Margaret

    Well this is always an event for me every year! And every year you two exchange the most beautiful pieces. And Jill of course picks the most amazing frames too. So beautiful! You are both so lucky to have each other. Thanks for sharing with us every year.

  • Nan Lewis

    What a wonderful tradition you and your mom have. Both samplers are amazing. It was wonderful to see it all unfold. Thanks for sharing your tradition with all of us.

  • Sheryl

    Oh My Gosh!!! You two are too much. I love it. I really love the samplers you both did and really love the frames. That story was awesome

  • connie adrian

    I’m not going to go on in a big gushfest like everyone has so far because…..
    I AM SOOOO JEALOUS!!!! LOL!! Not just of the samplers, or your stitching ability, or your cute and perky little nose & dazzling smile(oops..didn’t mean to let that one out of the bag!!)or your keen sense of humor, or your wonderful beautiful Mother …I am jealous mostly because…I’m NOT your sister!! LOL!! We could have a three way exchange…oh the joy of it…three boxes, three samplers, THREE..just thing of it…and now I’m going back to being me…crap….

  • Debra

    Love, love, love the samplers!! I am so stinking jealous that I don’t have anyone to do this with. I think it is wonderful that you have this tradition, and Paulette, where is Rudolph when you need him?? Would have saved you all those redlights! 🙂

  • Cathryn

    Wow. How really lucky you both are. But you know that don’t you. Thanks for sharing this wonderful family moment. God Bless you and yours. Cathryn

  • bre

    what the heck!!! you guys were supposed to wait til christmas!!! …we all watch you guys every year and the confused look on the whole families face when you guys act like you hit the powerball…lol!!! you cheaters got early pressies!!! lol. I love both the samplers…I still want the one you stitched for Grandmommy but in a different version of colors and crazy patterns…waaah!!! when do I get to be included!?!?!

  • bre

    p.s. that is a really good picture of you both! you two are always in the least amount of photos… my goal this year is to get 25 pictures of you both and do a whole photos of mom and grandmommy blog post…i get to be the special guest blogger!! hehe

  • karen T

    How wonderful…. both are just beautiful.
    Thanks for the laugh with the Target lady… doesn’t get much funnier than her!

  • Michelle

    Love this post! I love how much fun you too have together and that you share your love of stitching in this way every year. What fun to open the boxes from Jill and have the surprise of seeing the piece you stitched in person for the first time as well as seeing what was stitched for you. Merry Christmas to you both!!

  • Lynn Jones

    I think I’ve been looking forward to this almost as much as you two have! Absolutely gorgeous samplers!!! You did an awesome job on the one for your mom.
    I loved the commentary! I could almost hear the boxes being ripped open, packing paper flying and the gasps of delight. Thanks for sharing your wonderful tradition with us!

  • mouse

    lovely to see both of you again and just love your tradition … if you mum would like to adopt me I would love to be able to swap one with her … trouble is I am over this side of the pond *sigh … gorgeous stitched pieces and beautifully framed too 🙂 hope you have a wonderful christmas and a merry stitchy new year 🙂 love mouse xxxx

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