Embroidery Merit Badge, Expert Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 5,929 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—8,474 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life   

For this week’s Stitching and Crafting/Embroidery Expert Level Merit Badge, I took advantage of some down time (that’s what I call it’s-too-hot-to-go-outside-and-it’s-too-hot-to-turn-the-stove-on) and got out my collection of embroidery floss. What’s floss without needles naturally? so I got those out as well.


And of course, what are you going to do with a bunch of thread and needles and nothing to stitch them to, right? so I crawled into my linen cabinet.

Yes, literally.

It’s a really deep cabinet, girls.

And somewhat unorganized, I confess.

Ahem. Is there a badge for closet organization?

I admit to being something of a pillowcase hoarder, but today is the day where my irrational love of rectangular shaped cotton covers was finally going to pay off. By golly, I had a place to put these puppies now and it wasn’t the back of the closet with last year’s Halloween decorations, 12 rolls of wrapping paper, a set of curlers (for my hair … not the sport you see at the Olympics), and a case of toilet paper bought from one of those warehouse club places that will last me until approximately April of 2064.

Anyway, I seem to have gone off on a bunny trail there. My point was this: I had recently rearranged my living room to include a lovely window seat. (Talk about needing a badge for that one, am I right, girls? I’ll be covered in badges in no time.) Well, really, it’s an upcycled set of cabinets, turned on their side and placed strategically beneath my large picture window. But if you didn’t know better (pretend like you don’t know better), you’d say the architect was a genius.

Why, thanks. *blushes*

And as we all know, window seats are made for pillows. Or pillows are made for window seats. Or something. All I know is, I had an awesome place to sit and nibble cookies and people watch, and I needed some cushions to do so in comfort. My pillowcase collection was about to be put to good use!

Of course, it wasn’t as simple as all that. Just pulling a stack of fabric niceties out of your closet isn’t going to earn you a badge – sorry to disillusion you. No, this badge was all about embroidery, remember? (Why you keep getting me off track with all this talk about toilet paper and Olympic sports and architecture is beyond me. Try to focus!)

My plain, slightly boring pillowcases needed a makeover, and I had just the floss, needles, hoop, and nimble fingers to do it. Since I knew this windowseat would be excellent for reading novels, I used some of my favorite quotes to decorate my pillows. You can print out fonts and iron them on, or use stencils, or just free write them with a pencil.


Here are a few things my friendly pillows have to say as I snuggle in with them. Can you match the quotes with the novels?

I am so glad to live in a world where there are Octobers.

To live would be an awfully big adventure.

I wish I’d done everything on earth with you.

You have bewitched me, body and soul.

Let’s begin by taking a smallish nap or two.

I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.


Answers: Anne of Green Gables, Peter Pan, The Great Gatsby, Pride and Prejudice, Winnie the Pooh, Harry Potter.



  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Dear MBA Jane~ We must have been on some common wavelength because this Farmgirl was reading through your Stitching Room and Ideas books and decided it was too hot for knitting and perfect for embroidery. Now, my hoop and floss has not been used for (ahem) 3 decades so you can imagine what I had to do to find my stuff. But, there it was and just waiting for discovery. Then , I had to zoom off to JoAnn Fabrics for a few flour sack dishtowels as that was my project decision. A few years ago, a Farmgirl swap landed me these adorable iron on transfers and I was set. It is a good thing I had your Stitching Room book with pages showing how to make the stitches because I had truly forgotten what to do! And, my stitches weren’t as neat and pretty as I remember them. But, practice makes perfect, right? So, I have been stitching away and having a blast the past two weeks!

    I love your idea of stitching up favorite quotes. Perfect for gift making too! Last night, I finished my clothespin apron from your Ideas book and decided to add some embroidery to the pockets. I have wanted to make this apron since I first read the book 3 years ago, and finally I found some fabric I wanted and the time to get busy. This pattern was so easy, even I could follow along and do a decent job. So now, I am adding a clothespin apron WITH embroidery for a simple and fun gift giving idea. Plus, I need to go back and look up those badge requirements because I might have just completed another badge! Amazing what happens on a hot and humid summer afternoon when you dig out your embroidery and material!

    Thanks MBA Jane!!

  2. Wowie Zowie ! and to think that I just curl up with a “chilling” mystery
    by the creek on a hot day. Nope no airconditioning in this ole farmhouse, altho it is mostly in the shade -so not that hot.
    I collect vintage linens and the ones with ” turkey red” ( from the old days when the dye was imported from the east) embroidery are always the most charming. I use the antique and vintage pillow slips (what we always called them in the south) nightly. Hot sweaty night? just use another one- I have stacks. Around here they are often written in German. But your idea of stitching your favorite quotes is just brilliant. Might just try that for gifts as well.
    And you, Winnie, I’m amazed at how much you know how to do! Funny , I have also been perusing the big MJ book of late, so relaxing to sit and look at the beautiful photos and dream ( ok i dream more than I do, not like you ,Winnie ,who seems always so full of energy !) I have stacks of those darling iron on transfers from Aunt Martha’s. But ,uh, no iron !

  3. Karlyne says:

    Well, how timely! I was determined yesterday to do something creative today, and since it’s too hot to stake up the tomatoes again and I ran out of shade while mowing, it has to be indoors. (Forecast: 102′) Why, yes, it will be an embroidery sorting and sewing kind of day!

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