June 30, 2010

The General Advances With Good News...

Day Two of my French General quilt...
When I showed it to Handsome, he really liked it!

Another cool thing is that, when I'm finished, I'll
still have enough fabric left for another project or two.

I just saw that Brynwood has 400 followers.
I can't tell you how much this means to me.
So, you know what that means for you, right?
A Four Hundredth Follower Giveaway!!!

I'm going to draw a name to win a Strawberry Rose tonight
for the Where Bloggers Create II studio hop. If you haven't
entered that drawing yet,click here to enter.
The drawing will close at midnight tonight.

I'll announce the winner in my post tomorrow.
After I announce the winner of that giveaway, I'll
show you what I'll be offering to celebrate my newest milestone.
I hope you'll come back to visit and enter.

June 29, 2010

A Date With The General...

Yesterday, I opened the doors to my fabric cabinet and
pulled out all the fabric I've collected from this Moda fabric line.
It's called The French General, "Rouenneries".
Isn't this collection wonderful?
I really love the colors and patterns. Each lovelier than the last.

I started cutting - large squares, small squares, fabric strips -
and began arranging and sewing, and I even un-sewed a few!
I accomplished quite a bit yesterday, and had great fun
working without a pattern. There's a certain freedom in
not following a set diagram or having to work to a specific size.

I'll be in the studio again today, and we'll see how far I get.
I'll share photos of my progress tomorrow.
Hope you have a happy and creative day!

June 28, 2010

Home Again...

Wisconsin was a wonderful respite from Florida's
current summer temperatures. I spent time with family
and friends - and celebrated my cousin's beautiful wedding.

I thoroughly enjoyed my short trip to Wisconsin,
I'm so glad to be back home with Handsome and Kes.

I'll be starting something new in the studio today,
and I'll be back tomorrow to share it with you.

June 27, 2010

Outside The Box Art Challenge...

Today, I'm joining our hostess,
Lisa from Tarnished and Tattered
for her Outside The Box Art Challenge.
All of the participants were challenged to purchase one of these
soap boxes and decorate it for this event. I hope you like how
I decided to transform my soap box.
This is what I did. Silk fabric and ribbons, pearls, roses, and an acorn.
I started with fabric which I embroidered with silk roses; (Yes, this is one of the images I teased you with last week.) I've been playing with silk ribbons and making roses A LOT lately. Are you surprised that I stitched a few up for the box? I glued a pearl bead to the outside edge of the opening before I mounted the rose needlework piece. I then mounted the rose, along with padding to a fome core base to create a pincushion that would fit into the oval opening on the front of the box, and also glued that in place. (Are you surprised that I created a pincushion?)
A wrapped the box in duppioni silk remnants (which were also glued in), mounted the rose pincushion to the box opening and then added padded fillers to the inside. Now the inside can serve as a needle keep, too!
Of course, I added my signature Brynwood acorn. (This is another image I teased you with last week, when I was playing around with the macro feature on my camera. Not bad, eh?)
I completed box by making a raw edge, silk ruffle which I glued to the outside of the lid. I added a twisted silk cord on the lid, and a pearl bead edge on the base and voila! I was finished.I hope you enjoyed my project and how I met the challenge. Please click on Lisa's Art Challenge button to see how other participants transformed their soap boxes. I can't wait to visit each and every one!

June 26, 2010

In The Shadow Of Giants...

A vista I well remember...that of the much-loved Horicon Marsh.
Geese spending a warm, hazy day on the water. Quiet and serene,
interrupted by the sound of familiar red-wing blackbirds calling
from their swaying, marsh grass perches.
Orange day lilies growing haphazardly along the roadways,
waving in the breeze, bright greetings to passers-by.
The pastoral scenes of serene holstein cows in farm yards.
The familiar Dairyland of my childhood, now existing in the shadow
of giants. Wind generators to mark a new age, new needs, new ways.

I'm not sure that I fully appreciate this "progress".
I guess I really am an "old-fashioned girl".

June 25, 2010

Miracles and Marriage...

I was driving on Highway 41 in Wisconsin today, when I saw a red-wing blackbird attempt to fly across two lanes of traffic. It tumbled under a truck which was in a line of at least five vehicles.
I held my breath as the bird moved like a plastic grocery bag in the wind. It rolled under the truck, flared up in the air after it cleared the truck's rear end, and as if lifted by the hand of God,
it moved up into the air - away from the vehicles and away from danger. It flapped its wings and flew away - untouched. A miracle right in front of my eyes, and I knew this day was blessed.
I'm here to attend my cousin's wedding.
His bride is a lovely young woman and we're pleased
and proud to welcome her into our family.
The service was perfect for them,
and the party was a ball.

Today was a very good day, indeed.

June 24, 2010

A Wedding Blog Party...

If you're here for the
please click here.

Today I'm participating in the Wedding Blog Party,
hosted by Stephanie at Angelic Accents.
Our only guideline is that it be romantic or wedding-related.

My regular followers know that I recently completed
a wedding gown for my mum's April beach wedding,
but if you're new to Brynwood, I'd like to share my favorite
photograph from her big day:
Our family has known Burt for over 45 years.
It was a match made in Heaven, and their celebration was perfect
and I was honored to make the gown she wore for her special day.
You can click here, if you'd like to see the entire wedding album.
In 2008, my eldest niece (who is also my goddaughter)
was married. I made her gown, the attendant's dresses
and the cummerbund for her husband and his son,
who she has now adopted.

In March of this year, she gave birth to their second son.
I made his christening gown from the surplus fabric
I'd purchased for her gown. (I'd planned ahead, knowing
that they wanted to have more children together.)
You can click here to see their entire wedding album,
from choosing the fabric, to Handsome and me
dancing at their reception. I've even included a photo
of their new son and his finished christening gown,
which I am hand delivering to them this weekend.
I couldn't do a romantic post without sharing my wedding
photograph to Handsome. It was 60ยบ on December 29th
in Wisconsin!! (Yes, it was a record heat wave in 1984.)
We celebrated our 25th anniversary last December,
and I'm as crazy about this man now as the day I met him.
(It was love at first sight...really!)
In the words of the vicar in The Princess Bride,
"If it's Wuv...Twoo Wuv."

I hope you enjoyed my romantic post today,
and that you get a chance to visit the other participants
in The Wedding Blog Party.

May your days also be filled with love and happiness.

June 23, 2010

The Bloggerette Sorority...

As requested by our gracious hostess,
Karen of Some Days Are Diamonds,
I'm posting early for our Sorority "Rush" Event.
Karen provided us with this sweet image, and challenged all
of the sorority sisters to create something special using it.
(You can click on any of the photos to enlarge them.)
I had so much fun making this in the studio...
a cushion with "The Girls" front and center.
(You're not surprised, are you?)
I changed the image to sepia-tone and printed it on silk fabric.
Then, I sewed it to the fabric for the front of my cushion,
and hand embroidered each of the flowers and hair treatments
on each of the girls. I especially love the little lace bow in
the hair of the second sweetie from the left.
When I had completed the embroidery, I added vintage lace trim
and sewed in a muslin ruffle. I finished the cushion with vintage
buttons and a muslin and silk flower to add a little flair.
This cushion measures approx. 12" x 17", including the ruffle.

Thanks, Karen, for the challenge. I really had fun with it.
I hope you'll visit Karen's blog and the other Sorority Sisters!

June 22, 2010

Busy Hands, Happy Heart...

If you've dropped by today to tour my studio,
please click here.

I wish I could show this entire project to you...but I can't.
Not yet. But soon. I promise. I think you might like it.
I finished this project yesterday, and then went right
to work on this...
...an ATC for a friend. It will go in the mail today.

I went to Books a Million last night and spent the evening
catching up with my knit/crochet/needlework girlfriends.
I took along one of my Strawberry Roses to work on. One of
the gals was really interested in how I made the roses, so I
did an impromptu tutorial for four of the ladies.

I love the exchange of information and talent that we share
on Tuesday nights. I'm blessed to be surrounded with
a group of women who nurture my creative spirit,
and hope that sometimes I spark something in them, too.
I wonder if anyone will go home this week and try to
make a few roses for themselves?

By now, you know just how important it is for me
to have busy hands. I'm always playing with something -
either "tried and true", or something new.
Busy Hands = Happy Heart = Happy Donna

Today is my mum's birthday.
Happy Birthday, Mum!

'til tomorrow, my friends.

June 21, 2010

Spending The Day With Alice...

If you've dropped by today to tour my studio,
please click here.

Yesterday, I spent the day in my studio working on a couple of
special orders. The first project was an Alice In Wonderland cushion.
I'll be shipping it out to its new home today.
I also had an order for an Alice Needle Keep, but the recipient
doesn't care for The Mad Hatter, so she requested a different fabric.
I was happy to oblige, and this is the fabric I chose for her piece.
Alice is on the front and the Queen of Hearts is featured on the back.
I'll ship this out today, as well.
I also want to share the sweetest ATC I received in the mail on Monday.
Sandy of Vintage Sandy hand stitched this sweet fabric art piece for me.
Hers is in the mail today and winging its way to Ohio. I hope she likes it!

Today, I'll be completing my "Rush" project to debut on Friday
for the Bloggerette's Sorority. This event is hosted by
Karen at Some Days Are Diamonds. There's still time to sign up, but
you'd better hurry. I'm pretty excited to show you my creation, but I
have to wait until the rest of my Sorority sisters join in the fun.

I hope you have a creative day...I'm off to the studio!
Marie at Lost Bird Studio is celebrating her 100th post
with a generous giveaway. Click on the photo to enter.
Deadline is June 27th!

June 20, 2010

Nurture And Nature...

Father's Day was spent nurturing Handsome.
Time in the studio was not on the agenda.
Homemade lasagna was the meal request, and I was happy to oblige.
A trip for two to SweetScoops for ice cream cones after dinner.
The day was a treat for both of us.
When you keep your eyes open, you never know what you'll see.
What appeared to be a piece of bark near the pool, revealed a
caterpillar struggling to emerge from, without a doubt, the most
interesting cocoon I've ever seen. Sadly, when I went back to see
how it was progressing in its efforts to escape, I found that the
struggle had been too great, ending in its demise.

(Just so you know what you're looking at in the photo:
The actual caterpillar is the first three "segments" at the top
of the cocoon. It was white, with black markings and a little
brown on it. If you look closely, you can even see a tiny leg on
the left side of each segment. It was sooo close to freedom!)

I was so curious to know what this caterpillar would become.
Now, I'll never know.
If you haven't toured my studio yet, you can click here to
have a look around and enter my drawing.

June 19, 2010

Happy Father's Day...

Bryn's first litter. Bannor is the darkest puppy in the middle.
I hope you get to spend the day celebrating a special father in your life.
I'll share my day with Handsome,
grateful for our two sons and their families.
I'll also call Dad Burt later today to send him a long distance hug.

If you haven't toured Brynwood studio yet,
you're invited to take a peek in the previous post.
Don't forget to click on the image of the sleeping squirrel
to see my entire Flickr album with LOTS of photos.
Be sure to enter my drawing while you're there, too!

Happy Father's Day!

June 18, 2010

Brynwood Joins Where Bloggers Create II...

Welcome One and All!
We've been waiting for your visit.
(You can click on each of the images to enlarge them.)Kes is really glad to see you today!
She's been so excited at the prospect of helping me
welcome you to our studio as we celebrate
Where Bloggers Create II,
hosted by the beautiful and talented
Karen Valentine of My Desert Cottage.
Kes would like you to notice the brand, new track lighting system
added to the studio recently. No more working by lamplight!
You can't miss my wall of fabric when you walk through the studio door, and on clear days, I have lots of natural light spilling into my space. Now, I have plenty of light, even on days when the sun was hidden behind rain clouds.
If you look to the left as you enter the studio door, you'll find an entire wall of deep cabinets, which are stuffed with fabric, trims, and other paraphernalia. (You can click on the link at the end of my tour to find more photos and see what's inside the cabinets.)
At the end of the cabinets, I've hung sweet, vintage, baby dresses.
This is the left wall of the studio. More storage, a long shelf to display treasured pincushions and other items, pattern and thread cabinets, and my Babylock machines, now dressed in their new party finery. (I've made new covers for each of my machines to protect them from dust and light, and so they have something pretty to wear when they're not in use.)
A favorite mirror, mounted above the pattern cabinet, bounces additional light around the room and holds court above other treasures...acorns sent from around the country by my blog friends; assorted white buttons; and pincushions made by two beautiful and talented blog friends, Dawn Edmonds and Shell May. Don't miss the tiny birds sitting on top of the mirror, too! I've added little touches like the birds - reflecting my love of the outdoors - to fuel my creative muse.
In keeping with my Brynwood acorns theme, I commissioned Michelle Palmer to create these beautiful ink-on-fabric images. I then designed and created my wall organizer, so that favorite scissors and other tools would be displayed and then, close at hand when I'm sewing.
In this corner, you'll find my Espire sewing machine, nicknamed "Prissy", my iPod music dock, vintage lace and trims on display (on cardboard tubes covered with thin batting, which I mounted on tension rods used for cafe curtains), and above that, my inspiration board.
As you can see, I have an assortment of wonderful and beautiful gifts from some of my inspiring blog friends. Photographs, ornaments, tags, keyrings and charms, all given and accepted with great affection.
I'm blessed with a wonderful view of our back yard, through my beautiful windows. My chair faces my Ellisimo sewing/embroidery machine (nicknamed "Miss Ellie") and right in front of the window is my Evolve serger (yup, I've nicknamed this one, too! You can call her "Evvie"!).
 "Ikea Varde kitchen counter" with larger purchased countertop
My Ikea (Varde kitchen counter) work table, with a custom made formica top. I needed the extra work space, so I had it fabricated at our local Home Depot. It's the perfect height for when I'm standing, and the size accommodates cutting out garments and larger projects. I also have room for a few trinkets.
This is where all my creative dreams are conceived and fulfilled. My life is joyful and blessed with the love of my husband and family, but the joy has been augmented ten-fold since I became of member of this blogging community.

I am so grateful for the new friendships that have been forged in the past year and a half...all because I chose to share my creative endeavors in this wonderful online world.

Thank you for visiting Brynwood Needleworks. If you'd like to see A LOT MORE studio images, please click on the last photograph (my little, sleeping squirrel) to go to my studio Flickr album. Be sure to read the captions I've written for each photo.

I hope you'll also look at my photo galleries and the Brynwood Boutique to see some of my creations.
Leave a comment on this post and you'll automatically be entered into a drawing for one of my Strawberry Roses (similar to the one above). All are handmade by me, so no two are exactly alike. I'll choose a winner through Random.org on July 1st. Good luck!
UPDATE: July 1st Midnight...The Drawing Is Closed
Thanks everyone!
Click here to enter my 400th Follower Giveaway
until July 10th, 2010.

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Don't forget to say hello to the other participants of
Where Bloggers Create II.
Thanks again, Karen, for being such a great hostess!!