Family,  Holidays,  Stitching

Winter Sampler Exchange 2014!

Those of you who have been reading my blog (what little of it there is) for the past several years, know that each year my mother and I exchange samplers for our annual Winter Sampler Exchange. It's the most fun time of the year for us, and each year we've had different ways of doing it, all while trying to keep what we're stitching a secret.

The only rules to this exchange are:

1. The stitch counts need to be similar. (This rule came into effect when one of us was highly embarrassed one year when her stitch count was a bit on the lean side after her mother presented her with the densely-stitched Garden Glade.)


2. The piece must be framed by the enormously-talented Jill Rensel of frame fame. (Jill knows that she will be hearing from us around the end of each summer, begging her to please-please-please hurry because Mom and I have ants in our sampler pants once the pieces have been dropped off at the post office.)

This year my mother suggested we have a theme to our exchange, and she decided that the theme would be Christmas. I agreed, after which she exclaimed excitedly, "Oh this will be so fun, and I already know what I'm going to stitch for you!" Then I heard her say with coyly-downcast eyes, "If only you would design something for your mother.. that would be so nice."

I knew then that I wouldn't have much say in the matter, especially when she looked directly at me and added the two words she knows will make my knees buckle:


Yes, those two G-words have the ability to shrink me back down to a child in my mind…


But I'm a grown woman now, and grown women do what they must…


One more thing that those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know: I am completely joking when I portray my mother this way. She is truly the most loving mom in the world, and our exchange was just as fun and exciting as it's always been! My mom stitched the most beautiful sampler in red for me, and I am so in love with it! And as usual, Jill couldn't have been more spot-on with her choice of moulding for it!

I did, in fact, design something for my mother. It's called Merry Brew, and when it was finished, I felt that it could use some of Jill's legendary hand-painted mats! Jill didn't disappoint, and I was so happy with the beautiful work she did on it!

Here's a closer look at the gorgeous details on the frame, mats, and fillet…


I wish I had a picture to show you of my mom's reaction.. it truly was priceless, and we both had so much fun laughing and chatting about how we chose to stitch what we did for each other.

I may not ever make up for the Great Garden Glade Debacle (at least in my mind), but I do know my mother was very, very pleased, and so was I!

Next year's theme was my suggestion, but it's not in stone just yet: Houses.

Merry Christmas, and thank you for tuning in to this year's episode of our Winter Sampler Exchange! ๐Ÿ˜‰

P.S. For those of you who saw our exchange pieces on Instagram and asked about Merry Brew's release, I will most likely release it next autumn. Thank you so much for your kind words and lovely compliments! They made my day!


  • Susan Rainer

    “…ants in our sampler pants…” made me snort out loud in laughter. Beautiful job, ladies! This is always one of my favorite blog posts of the year. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Pam Lacey

    Wow! I truly love both of the projects that the two of you stitched! As always, Jill Rensel just does magnificent work! I look forward to the release of your pattern. How blessed the two of you are to have this to look forward to each year. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!

  • Betty

    WOW! What wonderful samplers, what a wonderful tradition and what a wonderful sense of humor. Both samplers are beautiful and the framing is totally Jill.

  • Linda

    It wouldn’t be Christmas without you posting about your exchange. Both pieces are gorgeous!!! Can’t wait to get Merry Brew into my q-snaps!!! Hope you and your Mother have the most wonderful holiday.

  • Pat Henningfeld

    I guess I’ll have to wait for Merry until fall. Love it. But what is the pattern of you mom’s sampler. Could stitch in the meantime. Happy holidays. Love colonial gatherings.

  • Margaret

    lol! You make it worthwhile to see the lovely exchange again between your mom and you even if I’d already seen it on IG. Great post, and I think the design you made for your mom should make up for any Garden Glade debacle you still might be feeing. ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Joann

    I just love seeing what you two stitch for each other each year. Truly works of art! You never disappoint! Not familiar with your moms choice, but I love what you designed for her! Another hit!

  • Judy Starkey

    Love them both, always enjoy seeing this each year. So glad you both have time for each other..that is what is most important. And I love your designs!

  • Robin in Virginia

    Always enjoy seeing the samplers you and your Mom stitch for each other. I love the piece she stitched for you (I have one that hangs up all year in my house that was stitched by a stitching pal of mine) and I love the Merry Brew one.
    Enjoy your weekend!

  • Cathryn

    Oh Paulette, I fell in LOVE with your Merry Brew. The love for your mother just shines through! Of course Jill’s finishes enhance both stitching pieces. I think this is the most wonderful tradition I’ve ever heard. I look forward to it every year. Thanks so much for sharing it again. Cathryn

  • Melody

    What a great exchange! I really like the piece you designed!! Jill’s framing really set it off as well. I love the photos and captions, too funny!

  • Laura

    How fun! It is always a highlight of my year to see what you and your Mom have stitched for each other. What a sacred tradition! Count me in on the waiting list for Merry Brew!!!! I can’t wait to stitch it!!!! Merry Christmas to you and your family!!!

  • Maggee

    Great Exchange! I think I have the one your Mom stitched for you in my stash, languishing… (but maybe not for much longer… you know, once you see it…). Jill Rensel is a framer extraordinaire! I love seeing my Rosemarkie every day–she did such an excellent job! Merry Merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family! Hugs!

  • Sharon Long

    I love seeing what you two stitch for each other every year! What fun and always you two stitch such beautiful pieces. Every year I am inspired! Now Paulette, you had to know we we were going to beg you for that wonderful design! Also, what is the name of the piece your mom stitched for you? Did I miss it?

  • Sheryl Hicks

    I love this time of year to see what the two of you came up with. You and your Mom always do beautiful gifts and the framing is amazing. Merry Christmas to you both

  • Kim

    Oh friend, you crack me up! Garden. Glade. Bahahaha. Absolutely beautiful exchange pieces! You know how I envy this tradition you and MM carry on! Merry Christmas! xoxo

  • Kristina Murphy

    This post was a scream! It is clear you have a very dear relationship with your mom – what a blessing! Thanks a bunch for sharing your lovely stitching with us!
    Kristina in FL

  • Karen Chaudoin

    I am back reading some of your posts. Is that like the way the Japanese read right to left instead of English left to right. Anyway, I got a good chuckle out of this post AND got to enjoy the beautiful stitching and framing! Happy New Year now! Karen in NC

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