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Bake & Share

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Hi y'all! It's Christy Schmitz here, bringing you the freshest and latest news and ideas from the world of Just CrossStitch.

So, it's almost mid-September, which means it's almost fall, my friends. I love fall, and I get so excited in September because it's almost here. It's still hot during the day, but the mornings and evenings have a hint of cool air in them. It's teasing me to start prepping for pumpkins and mums on my front porch, but I will wait for Oct. 1. It's just what I do. Like I mentioned last time, fall makes me want to bake more, and I'm still on the bread kick, mixed with an occasional pound cake (my grandmother's recipe). Last weekend saw a batch of homemade beignets on the table for breakfast, and this past week I made a batch of homemade English muffins (topped with a poached egg and luscious hollandaise sauce to make eggs Benedict). Let me just say that this new obsession is bringing me so much joy. I enjoy mixing the doughs, waiting for them to bake, and then seeing the faces of people who eat them. Everyone loves a yummy, hot-from-the-oven treat. Even Abby and Ellie look forward to the timer dinging, and they've learned where those treats are. If it's an appropriate treat (not many sweets), they'll each get the tiniest morsel, and they are so happy with that miniscule bite. Their joy knows no size limitations, and those wagging tails know no boundaries.

What do you like to bake? Or do you like to bake? Are you more of a cook instead of a baker? My advice is: Do what makes you smile what makes your heart happy. Create a finished product that is amazingly tasty and demands to be shared. Once again, share the things that bring you joy -- shout them from the rooftops!

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Don't Be Square ... Be a Four-Sided Square

We've been taking a look at various specialty stitches, which I hope you're still enjoying. Today, we're looking at one more favorite -- the four-sided stitch. It's a simple combination of backstitches worked in a specific order that yields a lacy and dimensional effect. I like to use it in borders or dividing bands on a sampler since it adds a little extra something special in the finished project. Let's count down together ... a 1, a 2, a 3, a 4.

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1. After securing the thread on the back of the fabric, bring the needle up as indicated by 1 on the stitch illustration. Next, sink the needle where indicated by 2 on the illustration. Bring the needle up where indicated by 3 on the illustration and sink where indicated by 4. You've made half of your square four-sided stitch just by combining backstitches!

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2. Bring the needle up where indicated by 5 on the stitch illustration and sink the needle where indicated by 6. Then, bring it up at 7 and down at 8 to complete your square, aka four-sided stitch. This last leg will now become the first leg of your adjoining four-sided stitch.

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3. Continue working the adjacent stitch, bringing the needle up at 9, down at 10, up at 11 and down at 12. You can continue working the stitch as long as desired; if you want to round a corner, just make the "bottom" leg your first side and rotate your fabric to match. Like with all stitches, be sure to watch your tension and thread placement as you work.

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If you want a lacier effect, you can pull each leg a little more firmly to open up the fabric; just remember to be consistent.

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For other stitch illustrations, check out Annie's Stitch Guide here.

Chalk It Up to Painting

For years I had heard about chalk painting and basically ignored the trend. I had too many other hobbies, so I couldn't possibly add another, right? Wrong, friends. I finally dipped my toe in the chalk-painting realm a year ago with a side-table project. I was hooked. It's a little daunting to begin, but once you do, it's so incredibly addicting. I was so excited to find this new video from Annie's Creative Studio dedicated to chalk painting! From getting started to finishing ideas, it's an amazing video. I'm now on the hunt for a chair to make a planter of my own. What will be your first chalk-painting project? Take a look at the video from Annie's Creative Studio here and find inspiration for finishing your next project.

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Annie's Creative Studio is a new streaming service which debuted this year. New content is added weekly to this membership-based service, and new members can sign up for a free 30-day trial membership. Check out the new Annie's Creative Studio here.

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