Cross Stitch Finish: Leona’s Sewing Box

When I went to the cross stitch retreat in Osage back in August I met blog reader Barb Yarnell. When we were there she showed off her finish of Leona’s Sewing Box by Blackbird Designs. I loved hers. It just so happens that “Leona” is charted on the chart and her Grandma’s name was Leona so for her, it was a much stitch.

Barb was so sweet she offered the chart to me. She didn’t have it with her and would mail it to me. After fighting the mail system, it came to me and within a month or two, I started stitching it.

I finished it on the 11th. I did have to do some finagling with the chart. Originally charted is the name “Leona Adams”. My mom, who I was stitching it for, is Evalonne Johnson. There are more letters in the name.

I ended up widening the top border and the grass under the house so they would be as wide as my mom’s name.

The next day I went to my basement to try to find a box in my stash that might work for it. I needed something that would accomodate something 5″ x 5″.

In my stash, I found this box…

This is a Hobby Lobby box I bought some time ago. It was $8.99 and I got it when it was 50% off. It has a mirror and is intended for a jewelry box.

My original plan was to put the stitched piece in the top insert. I needed to paint the box. Ugh…what color?? I didn’t want to go to town. I didn’t want to buy anything else so I went with Absedarian Blue from Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Then I put on the Antique wax and then the clear wax over it all.

I’m so impatient for paint to dry…it actually worked out pretty well as each night after work I did one more step in the project.

One night I also got my piece laced. I put a layer of batting down first, then lace. I start out really loose as I lace and then tighten the threads.

I was so pleased with my piece…now to try it in the box. Immediately, I saw my mistake. I wanted to mount this where the mirror was and display the box open. I didn’t paint the middle of the box on top because I was originally going to mount my piece there. UGH. So I went back and painted the center of the top of the box. I had to redo all of the steps. Paint, wax, and wax.

On the 16th which is my mom’s actual birthday, I did the rest of the finishing.

I wanted a more finished look so I measured, cut, and covered some pieces to go in the bottom of the compartments of the box. It just so happens that this is a Blackbird Designs fabric that was long ago out of print. I thought the color would nicely match the flowers I stitched in the piece.

Next, I found some frames a blog reader had sent me thinking I would use them for cross stitch…

I wanted a couple of pictures of my mom in the box. I thought I could put them in the box…problem…they were black and didn’t match the vibe so I solved that by putting some Antique Gold Rub and Buff on them. I HIGHLY recommend this product especially if you are doing stuff like I do. It’s about $5 a tube but it lasts forever. You can find it HERE.

I really didn’t have photos but my sister made a photo album so I took pictures of it, made them to size on the computer, and just printed them on cardstock. It’s good enough.

Then I went around the house and found some dodads. A blog reader contacted me some time ago and had some vintage sewing things. My daughter Kayla met her in Manchester and picked the items up from her. I few things were put on auctions but I’ve kept the buttons. They would be so expensive to ship. I’ve been using them on projects including this one. The spool of Dual Duty thread was actually my mom’s. Everything else was from things I’ve found along the way.

I am so happy with this piece!!

People fuss about how expensive it is to finish a cross-stitch piece. This wasn’t expensive at all.

I love that mount the piece on the inside and will display the box open.

I love the little picture frames of my mom and dad and the picture of my family when I was a baby. The frames are perfect.

Many thanks to the three blog readers who helped make this happen. I couldn’t have made it without the chart, the cute little frame, or the wonderful buttons.

Please note…if anyone wants to replicate this idea…You have to stitch your cross-stitch piece on 40-count linen for it to fit right. I stitched mine on Boston from Seraphim BUT, recently while at a cross stitch shop, the Boston color was more blue than light gray like mine. I used all of the called for overdyed floss.

The box was painted with Absenarian Blue from Annie Sloans, then a dark wax and clear wax.

I think that covers it all. If you have any questions, please ask. I’ll answer them if I can.

It was great adding the finishing touches on my mom’s actual birthday. It was the best I could do to spend some time with her appreciating her for the good mom she was. She’s been gone 33 years now.

I’m so happy I stitched this….What a fun stitch!!

25 thoughts on “Cross Stitch Finish: Leona’s Sewing Box”

  1. It is beautiful and a wonderful way to honor your Mom. I know that you tell all of us that she taught you a lot about sewing and crafting during the short time you were able to be together. She gave you a lovely way to always remember her and keep her in your heart.

  2. Jo, you keep outdoing yourself! This is a beautiful finish and was a nice tribute to your mother. I love seeing how you finish your projects. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Susan from Michigan

    This is really beautiful. I’m sure it will make you smile every time. A lovely tribute to your mom. Did you remove the mirror or just insert the work over it?

  4. A lovely finish. I have a large collection of those types of doodads, but I often have trouble choosing which ones. I lost my mom about 20 years ago and sadly/fortunately my siblings weren’t interested in most of her needlework pieces so they now live with me.

  5. Jo, that turned out perfectly! It’s a beautiful and meaningful tribute to your mom. Don’t you just love it when it all just comes together so serendipitously?

  6. Hi Jo,
    I have only recently found your site and really enjoy your cross stitch updates. What a beautiful project and a great way to remember happy times with your mom. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Judith Fairchild

    Jo, that’s a wonderful keepsake of your mom. I can’t think of a better way to keep a memory of her. I finally got a picture of my mom at 19, I’ve wanted it for a very long time. So I know how you feel.

  8. Cynthia from SW Minnesota

    Jo, your box is so charming! Homespun is so charming. Just the right everything. Great idea, your project turned out so nice.

  9. what a treasure and the beauty of it is that you created it with your dear mother in mind. All the crochet and embroidery my mother did was gifted to others. She never kept anything for herself. Have puzzled about this at different times.
    congratulations on a superb treasure well executed.

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