July 31, 2009

Look What I Found...

I was tidying up (ok, I was cleaning and purging) in the studio yesterday, and look what I found! I had started this project a long, long time ago - when we still lived in Wisconsin. When we moved, this was put in the box with some of my other needlework projects, and then just went into the bottom drawer of my pattern file when I moved into my current studio.

As I opened that bottom drawer yesterday, these ribbon embroideries caught my eye. The embroideries are completely finished and all I have to do is assemble them as pincushions into the shaker bases that I have for them. I can't believe I'd forgot all about them! Especially knowing how much I love pincushions.

If you've never tried silk ribbon embroidery, it's really a fun and although there are specific stitches for creating the different flowers, the stitcher has a lot of leeway in the finished design. You can embellish nearly anything with the embroideries. Very pretty - and definitely very vintage.

I think they've waited long enough for me to finish them. I bet you can't wait to see them all put together.

By the way, can you believe it's August 1st already? Only 6 more days until my 100th Post Giveaway!!!

July 30, 2009

Organization In The Studio...

I'm going to try really hard not to get carried away with this mosaic feature, but I couldn't resist. Doesn't it enhance the clean look of a post? Well, speaking of clean (I know, nice segue right?), I just wanted to show you some of the ways that I try to control clutter in my studio.

First, I want what I use to be beautiful and different. I have way too much plastic behind those cupboard doors, so I'm more conscientious about what's out in the open. Things I love to look at, along with things that are functional. My oak thread cabinet is one of those things that is both.

You can see from the mosaic that there are four drawers in the cabinet. The top drawer is full of needles in packages, and miscellany that looks like a kitchen junk drawer. You know, the one where you can find everything, but you don't want to show your friends how messy it looks?
The other drawers hold my silk threads, perle cotons and DMC© and Anchor© cotton flosses. We're not going to chat about my Type A personality, but to answer any questions...Yes, my flosses are in numeric order. 'Nuf said about that.

Then yesterday, I remembered that I have this beautiful jewelry chest sitting practically empty in the back of my closet and it occurred to me that it would be perfect for my little glass bead bottles filled with my special beads and newest charms and cabachons. So, of course I got right after it and removed one of those ugly (but highly functional) plastic organizers from my work area.

Don't you love the vintage, stripey, hydrangea beauty of it? I have it sitting on top of my work table now - at least for the time being - so that I can enjoy looking at it. What was I thinking when I sentenced it to the back of my closet? I must have been confused. I admit, some days are just like that.

Oh, before I run, I want to remind you that there are only SEVEN more days until my 100th Post Giveaway signup and giveaway gifts are announced. Hope you'll check back so you can enter the giveaway, too!

July 29, 2009

I Simply Remember My Favorite (British) Things...

On Monday, Mum boarded a plane for the long trip across the Atlantic to visit her best friend, Pam (who Mum calls "Pammy"), and attend Pam's daughter's wedding. We have lots of relatives there, so in addition to Pam, I know Mum will see her brother, my Uncle Graeme and Aunt Gloria and perhaps others. She's going to be gone for a whole month!

I'm grateful for the Internet because she's already emailed me twice. Once to let me know she arrived safely, and again to tell me that she missed me and she's having fun. I savored every word, and could read the excitement in her messages. She's only been away three days, and I miss our daily chats like crazy!

So, I decided to pull a collection of my favorite British keepsakes out of their display or storage spots and share them with you. (And thanks to my friend, Linda of White Linen - Lavender Field, I learned how to make a mosaic of all of them for the main image here today. Hugs, Linda!!) You can also go to my Flickr link here to see closeup photographs and descriptions of everything in the mosaic. I even have a few more things that aren't in the mosaic and will add to the collection from time to time to share with you.

Just the activity of taking things down, dusting them off and remembering where they came from made me feel happier and closer to Mum. I know she's having a great time with her best chum, and I hope she finds delight in every second that she's there. I'm really looking forward to more emails from her, and then a long visit after she returns to the states. Of all the things British that I cherish...she's at the top of my list!

Love you, Mumsy! (Hi "Aunty" Pam!!)
You'll also be able to link to "My Favorite British Things" album in "My Other Flickr Photo Albums" in the right sidebar. I'll be adding more items from time to time to share with you!

July 28, 2009

I'm Planning A 100th Post Giveaway...

Today's post is Number 91, and there are officially NINE more posts until I log in for Number One Hundred. It's hard to believe that it's nearly 100 posts already. The time has flown and I've been having a ball telling you about me, but mostly learning about Blogland, meeting other bloggers and getting to know all of you.

I'm giving you a heads-up about my 100th Post Giveaway. You'll need to be a "follower" of my blog to participate, but here will be other ways you can get more entries in the drawing, and I'll tell you all about it on Post #100.

You can keep track right along with me...just look at my blog archive in the left sidebar and it will tell you how many posts before I reveal all the information for the drawing. I think you're going to love the items I'm putting together for for you, so check back to see what's in store.
OK...I couldn't resist a little hint for you. Everything in the giveaway package has been mentioned in posts since I began my blog! Am I making you curious, yet? (giggle)

July 27, 2009

A Fairy Princess Crown...

It was a productive day in the studio Monday. I traced out the pattern pieces (for their respective sizes) for our granddaughters' birthday dresses onto my favorite medium, Swedish tracing paper. That part of the process is now officially out of the way.

Today I will lay out all the pieces on their own fabrics and then cut out all the components for each of their new dresses. This part (tracing and cutting) always takes me two days. Have I told you that I really don't like this part of the task? It's always been that way. I love choosing the fabrics and sewing them together, but the cutting...not so much.

So, not to get sidetracked here...I have everything ready to go for Phase II. Knowing that, I moved right along to my next project for this week...a Birthday crown for Granddaughter #2. I pulled all the materials out of my magic cabinets and set about creating something just for our younger granddaughter.

Because both of our girls' birthdays are in August, I've incorporated peridot crystals in each of their crowns. To this one, I also added sparkly blue seed beads, pretty, clear, faceted beads and a fairy charm. I happily spent the afternoon winding wire and beads and flowers until I was happy with my results.

I always leave the back of my crowns open so that they will fit from a child all the way up to the (adult) Queen of the Birthday Celebration. My fondest desire is that the girls will love my creations well enough to want to wear them for every single birthday - from now until they're little old ladies. To make sure that the crown stays, I've added tulle, both for embellishment and to secure the crown on the wearer, tied in back into a pretty tulle bow. Voila! A completed Fairy Princess Birthday Crown!

I've also chosen a special box, just the perfect size for the crown I've made. She will be able to keep it in her closet until it's time to take it out for another birthday celebration.

I packaged up the crown, safely nestled in a bed of tissue paper, and posted it for shipment today. All in all a good day, wouldn't you agree?
Just click on the images to see larger views.

July 26, 2009

Current Projects In The Studio...

I thought you might be more interested in hearing about how I've been occupying my hands lately, rather than an update on my healing lip. So, I decided I'd start this week with photographs and images of what's happening the my studio. Last Friday's blog hop was a roaring success, but it's time to get back to creating in the studio again.

Our two granddaughters have birthdays only a week apart in August, so Grandma's having fun choosing fabrics and patterns from my stash for their new party dresses. I pre-washed all the fabrics on Sunday, so we won't have to worry about the dresses shrinking the first time they're washed. Their mom, Jess, picked out a pattern and asked me to make them. The pattern is from Portabellopixie - called "Claire". I'm tracing out the pattern today (in two different sizes). Starting something new is always so much fun. Don't you agree?

When our elder granddaughter was a year old, I made a birthday crown for her. I imagine her as a little, ol' lady - me, long gone - donning the birthday crown made just for her by her grandmother! I envision her proudly wearing it year after year to commemorate her special day.

Shame on me, I still haven't made her little sister's crown yet, and so I decided that I'd better get busy with that project, too. When I'm not sewing dresses, I'll be making the crown for our little granddaughter! I already have the hat box it will be stored in for safekeeping, but have to get cookin' on the actual crown! (Don't you just love the fabric it's sitting on? That's for an Amy Butler smock project for me!)

I have a couple other little projects that I want to finish this week, too, but I think I must first concentrate on those granddaughter deadlines!I guess I'd better quit typing and get sewing! I have a lot to do. I love deadlines...and grandchildren. They really motivate me.

July 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sister Goldenhair...

We had already moved to the United States with our Mum still expecting her. She was born in Wisconsin in July, 1956 - nineteen months after my birth.
We've shared bedrooms, bathrooms, closets, clothes, crushes, Barbie dolls, bicycles, cars, hopes and dreams for all these years. Together we welcomed each of our new siblings until we numbered six.

We've taken care of each other, and we've fought as only sisters can. We've played together, and when we were old enough, we partied together. She's been my friend longer than anyone else I've known.

She traveled the world, while I was content to stay home. She's been married (more than once) and divorced (more than once), but along the journey, she's blessed me with two beautiful nieces. I was honored to be asked to be godmother to her eldest, and last fall, that same goddaughter asked me to make her wedding gown. I love both young women as though they were my own.

Now we're grown and living our own lives in two different parts of the country. She lives with her family in Minnesota, and I'm in Florida with Handsome, but some things never change between us. It will always be this way between sisters.

Happy Birthday, Sister Goldenhair. I hope you have a perfect birthday, filled with all the family and happiness you deserve.
Remember, you can always click on my images to enlarge them! (hee hee)

July 24, 2009

Running On Auto-Pilot For The Past Few Days...

Thank goodness for a little feature in my bag of blogger tricks that allows me to schedule posts to appear when I want them to. I've been a bit under the weather since Wednesday when I had a much-overdue surgery on my bottom lip. Nothing serious, but a real nuisance when you consider it's smack dab in the middle of my face!

I've needed this surgery for more than a few years, but kept putting it off because the biopsy had me complaining of pain for a full ten days. A person just doesn't forget that! Well, it was time to put on my "big girl panties" and do what needs to be done, so I scheduled the procedure and it was performed this past Wednesday afternoon.

Don't worry. Handsome is taking great care of me. I'm doing better every day and coping with the stitches pretty well. I'll be better than before when this is all over (and again I'm looking forward to having these stitches removed!).

I'll be writing fresh posts very soon, but for now, I'll stay on auto-pilot and concentrate on healing. Don't have too much fun without me, now!

And a little something extra - This really brightened my day yesterday. If you haven't seen it, I think it's great. Hope it brings a smile to your face, too! (just click on these words)

July 23, 2009

Welcome To Brynwood Needleworks and My Studio...

Well, I sure hope you're having a great day visiting all the creative women who are participating in the "Where Bloggers Create" studio hop!

Welcome to Brynwood Needleworks (in case you haven't visited before)! Whether or not you're a regular around these parts, I'm so glad you've stopped in today.

You won't see a staff of employees, fairy godmothers with magic wands, or even little elves in a magic tree. It's just me here, and I enjoy every minute I spend in my studio.

In the past year, I've made a "Princess Bride" wedding gown for my god daughter/niece; an heirloom Christening gown for a new great-nephew; numerous knitted and sewn blankets for Project Linus; handknit socks, sweaters and beaded scarves; and myriad sewing projects for friends, family and for sale in my Etsy shop or locally.

I've also started an ongoing Artist Trading Card Swap on my blog and have had such fun sharing cards with people from Florida, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, and New Zealand. I'm always creating new cards to add to the assortment available to trade, so if you're interested, check out the link on my left sidebar for more information.

It's certainly been a busy spring and summer with the launch of my blog, but I'm thoroughly enjoying sharing my creative and joyful life with you.

I have been designing for about twenty years, and draw much of my inspiration from my love of nature and family. I'm a country girl at heart and would much rather spend a day with nature than a day in town. I believe I'm a reliable and true friend, a good wife, and a loving and honest person. I strive to bring those qualities to the foreground in my art, no matter the medium.

Feel free to browse through my blog. Stop to look at my project images, family photos and links to other wonderful places in cyberspace. Of course, you're welcome to stop back any time to visit! My blog is always open for visitors. The more, the merrier!

I'm sure you're dying to see photos! More than one friend has described entering my studio as "falling down the rabbit hole". so just click on Alice and she will take you to my Flickr album chock-full of studio images. Be sure to read the captions, as they'll help explain what you're seeing. In the spirit of Alice in Wonderland open your mind to the possibilities, and have fun.

Again, thanks so much for stopping by. I'd love it if you'd leave a comment so I'll know you were here!
If you see something that you have a question about, just post a comment and I'll answer it here. Also, I'll share more closeup photos of supplies or projects in my studio during the week next week, so feel free to come back to see more!

July 22, 2009

A New Resource for Machine Embroidery...

Oh, goodness! I met my friend, Loreen, yesterday afternoon and she pointed me in the direction of another website for fabulous machine embroidery designs. It's called Embroidery Library, and I spent quite a while this evening looking at their available designs.

To say that their selection is vast would be an understatement, and with detail like that in the image I am sharing here, anyone who machine embroiders will be tickled with the quality. Oh, did I mention that their prices are great, too? They even offer free designs throughout their site.

I've added a link in my sidebar to the Embroidery Library website, but I'm also going to make these pretty finches a link, too. Once you've checked them out, come back and let us know what you think!

Be sure to visit Loreen's blog, too. Please let her know Donna says "hello".

July 21, 2009

Rebecca Is Looking Forward To Friday...

Rebecca has asked me to remind you that Friday is our "Where Blogger's Create" party! She has been working on a favorite needlework piece because she's so excited she needs something to occupy her time until the big day.

Please remember to stop by for our bloggers Studio Hop, as we visit the studios and creative spaces of all the participating creative souls.
In addition to sharing photographs of where we spend our days and nights working and playing, we'll also share our inspirations and muses with you.

Rebecca knows that Friday will be a day you won't want to miss in cyberspace. Plan to set a tray with a pot or pitcher of tea (hot or iced), a plate of your favorite cookies and then plan spend a few hours just hopping from blog to blog. Our party hostess, Karen Valentine, has organized your stops on her blog "My Desert Cottage". Just click here, scroll down the right sidebar and you'll find the names and links to all the participating blogs. With a few clicks you'll be on your way to some fabulous and wondrous places.

Rebecca is looking forward to seeing you on Friday! (Here's a little secret, too: She's not the only one who's excited.)

July 20, 2009

My Vintage, Beaded Tea Cosy...

I've had this tea cosy for many years, but thought you might enjoy seeing it today.

I actually don't know very much about it. I found it in an antique mall in Wisconsin on one of my hunting trips for needlework. I was so tickled to find it sitting in a corner of one of the vendor stalls! I don't even remember looking for a price. I had to have it!

It's a two-sided tea cosy, and it's done almost completely in seed beads on a velvet ground. On one side, you'll see a white lion chasing three white deer. They're running through a field of flowers and grass, and an ornate palm tree presides over the chase.

On the opposite side (I really can't choose which side might be "front" or "back"), is a pair of elegant, grazing cranes (or storks). Their wings are colored sequins - which are the only non-bead elements in the entire piece. The birds are separated by a trio of
large, beautiful flowers.

It is finished with more beadwork - to create either a border or frame for the subjects - on both sides. It has a lining, with wool batting between the front and back, which makes for a bit of a weighty piece. It definitely keeps a pot of tea warm for quite a while! It's an incredible piece of needlework, worked by unknown hands in an unknown time.

Perhaps some day someone will answer the questions I have about my lovely tea cosy. Until then, I'll just enjoy being its fortunate custodian.
You can click on either photograph of my cosy to go to an album with more images of the cosy and its beautiful beadwork.

July 19, 2009

Everyone Needs A Little Frippery©...

Isn't "frippery" a great word? A few of the synonyms for this word in the Thesaurus are: adornment, bauble, decoration, fanciness, fandangle, frill, knickknack, ornament, or trinket.

Well, I've been playing with some baubles in my studio and now have some frilly little adornments to offer to you! They are fobs for your needlework tools or scissors. You can use your fob to identify your tools at classes, guild meetings, or just to dress them up at home!

I've created each fob using Swarovski and Czech crystals, sterling silver beads and sterling or pewter charms. Of course, because they are handcrafted, no two will be exactly the same. Some have little sewing charms, or sea creatures, or fun charms, like flip flops!

You can visit my Etsy shop: brynwoodneedleworks if you'd like to see my full line of offerings. Everyone needs a little Frippery©.

July 18, 2009

Love Letters...

Do you save your love letters? I've saved sweet thoughts and messages from Handsome since before we were married. I even have a special photo or two in there. They're more reminders of why I love this man.

I came across this beautiful fabric envelope while shopping a while ago and wanted to share it with my talented friends. Perhaps some of you seamstresses or needleworkers would like to try your hand at making one of your own.

This one is slightly larger than a business-size envelope (taller and less wide), and features a beaded flap with the word "Love Letters", surrounded by bead embellishments and silk ribbon embroidery. It opens to reveal a pocket inside to collect your special memories. A silk ribbon ties into a bow to keep the contents safe.

I think I'd like to make my own in the future. Don't you think one would make a beautiful gift for a bride-to-be or a newlywed?

July 17, 2009

Marion's Artist Trading Cards...

Imagine me giggling like a silly schoolgirl when I opened the package that arrived in the mail yesterday! My online friend, Marion and I have been involved in a few swaps over the past few months. When I announced the ATC Swap, Marion signed up and yesterday her card(s) arrived!

The first thing I noticed was the lovely fabric that was wrapped around the rest of the package contents. Upon reading Marion's enclosed note card (with the cool cowgirl on it), I learned that Marion had hand loomed the towel herself - and after reading my tea towel post decided to send this one to me . Woven in beautiful blues, it fits in perfectly with my color scheme.

Then, I got to the ATCs! Oh, goodness...the first card is a watercolor lily painted by Marion, with pretty green beads hanging on the side. On the reverse is a Bible verse: "Through love serve one another" Galatians 5:13. I really like that.

Marion had told me in her card that there was a second ATC in my package, and when I saw it I laughed out loud (so did Handsome, who was watching over my shoulder). Marion had drawn an image of a wild hog with a bullseye on it!

If you've followed my blog at all, you'll understand this card. If you haven't heard about the Great Hog Invasion of 2009...just use my Google blog search feature in the sidebar and type in the word "hog". It will bring up each post I wrote related to our saga!

Marion, I want you to know that your package really brightened our day. I'm constantly reminded of the talented women whom I am fortunate to call my friends. I'll be putting your package together and sending it off soon. (I have something special to add to your ATC card, too!)
You can see larger images of all the Artist Trading Cards I've received as they arrive. Feel free to leave comments on each photo so those talented women get more feedback on their creations!

July 16, 2009

I Love Sparkle...

I sure love shiny, pretty and sparkly! On a recent trip to Michaels, I found these lovely bits and bobs and was so excited to add them to my stash.

I've already used the freshwater pearls in my tiny birds nests (which you can see here), but I'm equally excited about the prospects for the rest of my new goodies!

I'm thinking that the large blue pendants might make the perfect closure on a hand-sewn bag, or perhaps something knitted and then felted, or what about a trim on a bottle of the perfect shape? My mind is already starting to create as I write this!

For now, I'll add them to my other shiny baubles until that perfect inspiration strikes. You see, even when you least expect it, "Art Always Finds A Way". (Hint: You'll see my quote again very soon!)