DEAR SUN SPOTS: The Franco-American Genealogical Society (MFGS) is offering the opportunity to purchase an affordable, meaningful gift for a special friend, family member, or even yourself this holiday season.

You can skip the shipping deadlines and “out of stock” labels with a one-year membership gift certificate to MFGS.

We have a great collection of Maine Franco-American resources right here at your fingertips as well as a friendly, knowledgeable staff who can help start the process of building that family tree.

Give a gift that keeps on giving and share the history of family roots as you gather for that special anticipated holiday celebration. Yearly single membership is only $20. A family membership is $30 for two people, with each additional person costing $10 each.

Please contact us at MFGS, 217 Turner St., 2nd Floor, Auburn, ME 04210. Call 786-3327 or email [email protected]

ANSWER: This is a wonderful gift idea! MFGS is primarily a self-help genealogical research library dedicated to assisting individuals in discovering their family’s history. The web site is if you would like to explore all the ways MFGS can help you discover your history and more.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Last week you printed a letter from Katie of “No town” who was looking for cross stitch kits in her area. Your answer was very good, but it was limited. May I add a few suggestions of my own? Has Katie tried ordering kits and supplies the old-fashioned way through mail order catalogs? I have catalogs sent to me frequently from Herrschners (, Mary Maxim ( ) and The Stitchery ( You can request a catalog or order on-line from them.

I would also like to suggest that she check the local bookstores for cross stitch magazines. Barnes and Noble carries British publications as well as American ones.

Lastly, be sure to save the instructions and patterns from the kits you complete. Who knows? Someday you might like to use them again. Yes, you’ll have to buy new materials, but it also gives you a chance to make changes to create a unique and individual project. — Sheila, no town

ANSWER: Thank you for these resources. Katie was looking for local places and people to supply her with cross stitch kits and supplies, but it doesn’t hurt to add mail order places to the mix, and the idea of checking out bookstores is helpful as well.

I have also seen vintage cross stitch kits and instructions at the Topsham flea market in Fort Andross recently so looking for them in local vintage and antique shops and in thrift stores is yet another idea. My daughter picked up a good-sized basket of embroidery floss and Aida fabric at Goodwill a few weeks ago and although some of the floss was tangled, it was quite a bargain at $3. She figured there was at least $50 worth of supplies in the bag. She already had other needed supplies on hand.

I also found some free patterns and instructions to download and print on and I must say that writing about cross stitch makes me want to get back into it, too!

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name. We won’t use it if you ask us not to. Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected].

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