December 31, 2010

Happy New Year...

Happy New Year from our family to yours.
Wishing you health, love, prosperity and creativity in 2011.

Congratulations to
Shirley K. of Shirley Stitches
winner of the giveaway!

(Be sure to visit tomorrow, when I debut
a new giveaway for the new year!)

December 30, 2010

Fezzik Friday - 29 Weeks...

Happy New Years' Eve from Brynwood's newest party animal - ME! I hear that tonight is a rip-snorter among many a reveler, but in our house, it will be a quiet steak dinner for Mom and Dad. I know at midnight, I'm planning to smooch Kessie when Mom and Dad smooch. Don't tell Kes, though. I want her to be surprised. Mom said we leave the high-powered partying to schnauzers and cocker spaniels.

So, I guess what I want to say is that if you're a schnauzer or cocker spaniel, please be careful tonight. Remember to watch out for the other guy. Don't overdo it. You don't want to start tomorrow with something Mom calls "the hair of the dog". (She said it like it was a bad thing!)
Before I leave today, I just want you to see the great place I've found for napping these days. After all the chasing and barking Kes and I do under Mom and Dad's dining room table, I decided to stretch out there one day last week. I didn't know it was a great hiding place, too. Mom said she couldn't find me for a while and wondered where I was.
See? It's really comfy and I don't have to worry about anyone buggin' me when I'm trying to get a little corgi shut-eye. I'll see if I can find a new way to be adorable for next week's post. Until then, stay safe, warm and happy. I'll see you next year!
Fezzik Inconceivable

Note from Mom: In case you've missed my latest giveaway, just click here to read more about it and to enter.

December 29, 2010

'Tis The Season...

Thank you, my friends, for all your kind and generous anniversary wishes. I read each one to Handsome and he shares my sentiment. You're all so thoughtful to leave us such nice messages. Hugs to each of you from both of us!

Now, on to the important stuff! (giggle) Drum roll, please! And the winners of my two Spring Magic Mug Mats (Chosen by the Random Number Generator) are...
#27 - Debra of Common Ground
#1 - Sherry of Createology
Congratulations, Debra and Sherry!
You've been faithful followers for a long time and I'm thrilled that you've won my impromptu drawing. I have both your addresses and will send your mats out to you.
All those fabulous pre-Christmas giveaways from fellow bloggers got me to thinking. The Season of Giving doesn't need to end on Christmas Day. I've decided to sprinkle a few little giveaways between now and the first week of January.

This giveaway is for the 2010 issue of Christmas from Gooseberry Patch, filled with fabulous holiday ideas and recipes and a little Christmas house tea pot. I'm even going to add a container of our favorite Instant Hot Cocoa Mix and a couple of candy canes!

You don't have to become a follower of my blog, but this giveaway is for followers only. There ought to be perks for reading my musings on a regular basis, after all. Make sure that I have a way to contact you if you win, too, please.

All you need to do is leave a comment on this post (only) to be counted in the drawing. That's it!
This drawing will be open until 10 pm New Years' Eve, and I'll announce the winner on New Years Day. Good luck!

DRAWING IS CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who left a comment.

**If you're reading this on my FB page reprint, you have to go to my original blog post to enter. I'll add the url to the original post to link back.

December 28, 2010

Celebrating Love...

Spring 1984. Taken the first time we came to Florida together.
This photograph was taken by Handsome's mom at her condo in Naples.
Today is Handsome and my 26th Wedding Anniversary. Thirty years since I first laid eyes on him and it seems like only a moment ago. God blessed me the day he came into my life.
Happy Anniversary, Husband.
I had to do a little paperwork yesterday morning, but once that was finished, I headed to the studio. I had decided that I wanted to make mug mats for the gals in my Books A Million group and needed to finish them for last night's gathering.

I went into my fabric stash and pulled out two honey buns of Spring Magic fabric from Moda. (Remember that I made a Spring Magic quilt for my last giveaway?) Nothing like fabric to remind you of a spring day when the weather is chilly, don't you think?
These finished mug mats measure 6 3/4" x 5 1/2". I managed to finish all of them before I had to leave, and gave one to each of the gals. My friend, Adele, said that she didn't want to chance spilling anything on hers. She was going to take it home, fold it in half, add a button and clasp and make hers into a needle keep.

We had a great time catching up. I hadn't seen the gals for a couple of weeks and had missed them. My sweet friend, Krisann, had made a beautiful, new scarf for me in a pretty aqua color. She said the color is called "Sea Glass". I put it on and it immediately took away the chill! I'll take a photo today, and then add it to this post so you can see just how wonderful it is. Thank you, Krisann. You're so generous - and I'm so grateful.

Oh, and I'm not giving up on finding a way to obtain Helen's recipe for the decadent Peanut Butter Meltaways that she brought to the gathering! They're addictive, and I have to have more!
I'm not even embarrassed that I licked the empty plate last night. Well, maybe just a little...

***Now, you've read all the way to the bottom of this post without complaining, so I'm going to surprise you with a little drawing. If you'd like a chance to win one of two Spring Magic Mug Mats, leave a comment on this post. I'll draw two names from all the comments left and will let you know tomorrow who the two lucky winners are. This drawing is for current followers only. I mean, if you read and tolerate me on a regular basis, you ought to be rewarded. Good Luck!
***Drawing will be held at 11 pm on Wed., Dec. 29, 2010.***
Thanks for entering!

December 27, 2010

Take Good Care Of Yourself...

If you live in a state where you're currently digging out from under inches or - Heaven forbid - feet of snow, I don't expect you to have an ounce of sympathy for me. But, honestly girlfriends, it's going to be freezing down here the next couple of nights!

Handsome and I spent time yesterday afternoon protecting a few of the ornamental trees in our yard. Now, it looks like all the pygmy date palms are wearing shower caps! Let's not even talk about the fact that all my good sheets are now out in the yard. sheesh!

I'm not going to show you what the plants in the Holidome or the back yard look like, either. My huge star jasmine bushes (planted when we first moved here) are safe, but look like they're in a witness protection program hiding under sheets - and the covered plants in the Holidome make it look like we're getting the ceiling painted! Stylish, don't you think?
We've really perfected our technique of whipping those sheets around as we wrestle control from the wind. We've got quite the collection of heavy duty clips and clamps to secure the sheets to the trees so they stay in place. We're quite a sight to behold.

These protective covers will only have to stay on the trees two nights at the most, but it's the second time we've had to do this already this winter. Perhaps the next snowbird to cross the border will close the door behind them. It's really cold for those of us used to southern Florida weather! I've become a real whimp since we moved here...and I love it!

I remember being in first grade in Wisconsin. My teacher's name was Mrs. Kerr, and I loved her dearly. I recall the end of one specific school day that winter. She was helping each one of us bundle up so that we could walk home. Our parents didn't drop us off and pick us up each day. We walked - in my case three blocks - home. I had warm clothes to wear and a particularly jaunty black and white scarf. As she bundled me up, she sang "Buckle up your overcoat, when the winds blow free. Take good care of yourself. You belong to me." I still smile when I think of this sweet teacher.

I hope that wherever you are, you're warm and safe from your weather. If you have to travel, please be careful, and "take good care of yourself. You belong to me."

December 26, 2010

Leftovers and Football - And A Project...

I didn't sew as many pieces this year as I did last year, but my Christmas gifts were a bit more involved in 2010. I thought I'd create a mosaic to show you everything that was sewn and sent off to very special people this year.

I've already got feedback. Let's see...Granddaughter #1 said, "She always send the neatest pajamas!". Grandson said, "The pajamas fit perfectly, Grandma, and I love my new quilt." Daughter-in-love #2 said, "The little chenille coat is just wonderful. We love it!"

I made a deal with Shell from The Raspberry Rabbits this year. In 2011, we're going to start nagging each other in June or July to start working on our Christmas projects. I'm going to hold her to it. I'm already working on the ideas for next year!
Sunday was a day of playing with my iPad, munching on leftovers and watching football games. I did manage to sew a project, too. I made a case for my iPad, of course! I thought up my own design as I went.

I cut fabric, allowing for an extra 1.5" all around, and then backed it with two layers of batting. I then quilted the front piece and the back piece. I also quilted a flap in the same manner.
I added my label to the bottom of the front piece. After I'd sewn the front and back together I cut a lining from a soft flannel fabric. I joined them and top-stitched the seam at the top of the case and then I add the flap. The case closes with velcro, which was the last element I added to the case. My iPad fits perfectly and will be nice and safe when tucked inside.
I needed an accessory case for the usb power connector and camera adapters, so I set about to sewing one together in the same fabrics - also, without a pattern. I decided on a folded style.
There is a flap on top to keep the accessories from falling out of the case. I also added ties to secure the folded case.
When the flap is lifted, it reveals a row of pockets (one with a gusset for extra room). Everything fit so I'm happy with the results. Back to playing with my new toy!

December 25, 2010

Happy Boxing Day...

Boxing Day is the day after Christmas in the UK. Although we're here in Florida, I do have friends and family in Great Britain, so the reference is for them. Happy Boxing Day!

This is our Christmas tree this year. When our kids and grandchildren are here for the holidays, we get a large tree, but when it's Handsome, me, a friend or two and the doglets we bring out our small optical tree. I can sit and look at it for hours.

I hope you got your heart's desire this year. For the last couple of months, I thought that Fezzik was my early Birthday and Christmas gift. (That's what we agreed when I got him.) When Handsome and I exchanged gifts yesterday morning, I found out that my husband had decided on a little something extra for me.
He gave me an iPad for Christmas! Can you even imagine how surprised I was? I squealed with excitement. I'll be spending the next few days learning how to use it, and I'll also spend a little time in the studio making a special case for it. I'm still walking around the house on my tip-toes.

Our dear friend, Ellen, spent Christmas Day with us. We shared memories, music and a meal. It was a beautiful day.

Thank you to everyone who's left a comment for me the past few days. I hope you know how much I appreciate when you stop by to visit. I promise to be better at responding personally to each of you in the new year. Until then, I wish you love and continued merriment as you bask in your Christmas afterglow.

December 24, 2010

Peace, Goodwill Toward Men...

(Our 2010 Family Christmas card)
"Hark, the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King."

Merry Christmas
from our home to yours.
The Liljegrens

December 23, 2010

Fezzik Friday - 28 Weeks...

Greetings and Glad Tidings on this Christmas Eve Friday. I thought it only appropriate that I should dress up for the occasion. I'm more than a little excited to be celebrating my very first Christmas.

Mom and Dad are celebrating the birth of Jesus this weekend, and I know it's going to include people visiting, lots of good food...and presents! I'm not sure what presents are yet, but Kes has been telling me that I'm going to like them.
Kes wanted to say "Merry Christmas", too, this week. She was happy to pose with an arrangement that Mom's friend, Ellen, gave her. She has always liked this time of year, but loves it in Florida. Her ol' bones don't have to trudge through the snow when it's time to go out. She tells me that when she lived in Wisconsin, "Dashing Through The Snow" had a whole different meaning.

There are no Grinches at our house, but this will really make you smile. We'd like to leave you today, with a musical presentation of "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch".

This was performed last Sunday afternoon by the North Port Orchestra, featuring a young man who plays in the violin section. His name is Sullivan Hendrickson-Boyd and he is a 15 year old high school student at North Port High School. (Mom and Dad have his mom's permission to share this with you.)

We all think that Sullivan has a brilliant singing career in his future. He is a natural bass, including his speaking voice, and this rendition of "Mr. Grinch" will positively stun you. So, please sit back, turn up your sound and enjoy Sullivan's singing with the Orchestra (our Handsome Dad is on the drums).

Merry Christmas from your
four-legged friends at Brynwood Needleworks,

Fezzik Inconceivable (and Kes, too!)

December 22, 2010

Right On Schedule...

It happens every clockwork. Temperatures dip into the 30s, we unpack our sweaters and enjoy an occasional chili dinner. The warm, Florida days yield to cooler weather, and send a clear signal that it's time for my Christmas cacti to bud and bloom.
For the last ten years, this Christmas cactus has heralded the holiday season with her stunning blossoms.
They were white when I purchased the plant, but our water has changed her snowy blooms to a faint pink. I love their "watercolored" quality with light petals with darker edges.
The cactus on the lower shelf of my plant stand is always the second one to bloom. It's almost as thought it knows that the older plant is to be respected. The darker pink cactus will bloom next week, between Christmas and New Years Day. Handsome and I will be able to enjoy our holiday just a little longer because Mother Nature has awakened her beautiful decorations for us.

December 21, 2010

I Must Have Been Good...

Over the past week, the postman has been delivering the most wonderful surprises for me. I received a package with a familiar return address. Upon opening the wrapping from Michelle Palmer, I saw her enclosed gift note that told me the acorn trinkets were gifts from Marydon of The Blushing Rose!

My dear friend, Marydon. How thoughtful and generous of you to think of me at this time of year. Of course, you knew that Michelle's acorn charms would be perfect for me! I can't wait to create something beautiful with them. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
A couple of weeks ago, I sent a birthday package to Terri Gordon of Designs by Terri Gordon. I never expected anything in return, so you can imagine my glee upon receiving a box in the mail from her. What could it be?

I carefully tore open the box to find the black and white diamond wrapping paper. Inside was this handcrafted piece from her.
She made the cone filled with creamy shred, embellished with an amber crystal at the bottom and wrapped in beautiful paper. Then she attached a key, beads and ribbons...
...and this sweet image embellished with laces and mounted onto a tag. She attached a wire so that I can hang it to display and enjoy. I am awestruck by this lady's talent!

Terri, my friend. You really didn't need to reciprocate for the birthday package, but I'M SO GLAD YOU DID! I love your creation and will treasure it. It's already hanging in the studio!
Last, but certainly not least, one of my very first blogging friends, Christina Jackson of iCandy sent a sweet, tiny box that was a gift in itself! She took a checkers playing piece -
star facing up, and glued it to the top of the box. She also glued a soft ribbon to the box for a little sheen. Then, she tied the top with a primitive stripe fabric strip. I was happy with the box, I tell you, but I thought I'd better check inside - just in case.
Look at the adorable, pearly charms that she tucked inside! I'm going to hang these beribboned, acorn charms above my sewing machine where I can just admire them for a while. I know I'll think of something to create with them, but for now, I'll look at them and smile at the gift my friend sent to me this Christmas.

All of these friends took time from their holiday preparations to think of me, and I'm tremendously grateful for their care and generosity. Really, I must have been good this year. Someone call Santa...please!

December 20, 2010

In Praise Of Angels...

Yesterday, I worked on my artist trading cards for the Blissfull ATC Swap group for December. I'm swapping with two different members this month. I always have so much fun making these tiny works of art, but sending them off in padded envelopes with a few extra surprises is always the best part.

I'm nearly finished with my first card. I have a few more touches to add and then I'll make the second one.
These angels are two of my favorite angel images. One, innocent and pure with her beautiful white wings, and the other, a medieval angel, playing music.
Do you remember last fall when I told you about losing the berry bowls I'd purchased from an antique shop in Wisconsin? I purchased them when I was there to help my mum stage her house to sell. I paid $2.50 for six of them, and was pretty proud of myself for scoring such a deal.

I got them home, washed them and put them away...and for over a year, I'd been unable to find them again. No memory whatsoever of where I'd put them. Until today. Perhaps the fact that I was working with angels had something to do with it. But, I wanted something pretty to photograph with the cards.

I opened one of my cupboard doors to grab a teacup from a top shelf. When I pulled the teacup down, I spied the edges of vaguely familiar, small dishes. Could it be? How could I have missed seeing them for so long? I got up on a stool, grabbed the little stack and held my breath. My berry bowls are missing no longer. What was lost is found. I'm going to give my angels all the praise for locating my pretty bowls.

December 19, 2010

Just Like A White Wing Dove...

I've been invited to be a guest on Sweet Jeanette blog. I hope you'll visit Jeanette today and check out my tutorial to make your own "White Wing Dove" Mug Mat.

I've been seeing all kinds of beautiful mug mats on other blogs lately, so when Jeanette invited me to create something for her blog, I decided to create my own take on these quick and easy gifts. They only take about an hour to make, and are a great use for your scrap fabric and batting. I know I'll be making more to give!

I'm also sharing one of our easy family recipes with her (she does have a cooking blog, after all). My Instant Hot Cocoa Mix would be a perfect accompaniment to a mug mat for a friend or family member. Just the ticket for a last minute gift!

Only 5 days til Christmas! As you hurry about to complete your projects and shopping, please take a moment to remember the Reason for the Season.

Thank you to my beautiful friend, Ellen, for making the lovely Christmas centerpiece in the photo.