January 31, 2010

EOM Silver Sunday...

Today is the last Silver Sunday for January. We still have another chance to wow you with our collections after today, but I want to thank Beth at Gypsy Fish Journal for inviting all of us to share our love of silver with you.

My first "bring and brag" contributions are a beautiful pair of egg coddlers that I've owned since 1981. I purchased them in Grand Cayman as a souvenir of my first trip to the island. They're Royal Worcester (pronounced "Wooster") with silver screw-on lids. They're embellished with exquisite and accurate renditions of blackberries around the outside of the bases. Perhaps you already know what an egg coddler is, but just in case it's something new to you, I'll explain how you use one. While you boil a saucepan-full of water, put some warm water into the coddler and then pour it out. (You don't want it to crack when you place it in the saucepan.) Next, place a pat of butter (I don't use margarine) in the bottom of the coddler, and then crack a raw egg into it. Secure the lid and place the closed coddler into the boiling water (which has been taken off the heat).

I use an egg timer that goes right into the water with my eggs (called the Eggsact Egg Timer. I wrote about it in a previous post. Click on its name to learn more about how to get your own.), and once that shows me that the eggs are cooked to my desired doneness, I remove the coddler from the water, open the lid and run a butter knife around the interior of the container. The egg will easily lift out and it's ready to enjoy. You can place your cooked eggs on toast or an English muffin, and even add Hollandaise sauce if you'd like. I always clean my coddlers by hand and not in a dishwasher. I'm hungry now. I might have to go and give the pair a whirl!
I also want to show you this label that I've had for years. I purchased it at a trade show from my friend Lydia Reed at Wyndham Needleworks. I haven't seen my old friend in years, but she's still in business and has an online shop with many unique items.

I wish I could tell you loads about this label, but alas, I'm light on information about it. It measures approximately 4 1/2-5" wide and is about 3 1/2" tall. It's silver metallic paper and has adhesive on the back.Upon close inspection, you'll see that it has a small plate on the bottom center with the letters "No" (as in "number") and "Yds", so it leads me to believe that it was a label for a thread, ribbon or other fiber. If anyone has more information to share with me about this, I'd really appreciate it! (Perhaps I'd better send photos and an email to Lydia to see what she can tell me!)

I hope you enjoy today's treasures. Be sure to head over to Gypsy Fish Journal to see the other silver treasures our participants have to share with you. Thanks again, Beth! See you there...
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January 30, 2010

I Just Couldn't Resist...

I know, I know...I said I'd finish that beaded shawl first,
but the French silk ribbons were calling me.
I couldn't concentrate. I tried to resist, but I just couldn't.
I ran my fingers through the ribbons and selected shades
of soft pink, seashore blue, earthtone, white and sand...
and then I started to manipulate and stitch them to buckram.
I added a milliner's bow in champagne duppioni silk, and then
a few velvet leaves and buds...and created this combination to be
used to embellish a new project I've been working on in my head.The soft cotton candy pink ribbon became a large rose,
and I hid clusters of sand and earthtone blossoms with
sparkling beads beneath its petals. There will be more to this one
before it's finished, but for now I'm happy with its sweet beginnings...Ribbons in soft, sultry colors make my heart sing.
Just like sending a Valentine to myself.
Resisting these ribbons is like resisting chocolate.
These ribbons make me weak in the knees.
I just couldn't resist.
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January 29, 2010

The Ribbons Are Waiting...

My recent order for gorgeous, French, hand-dyed ribbons has arrived and I'm just itching to start playing with them! Don't you agree that they look just scrumptious? Such exquisite shades of cotton candy, sea, sky and sand. I love the way these ribbons slide through my hands and fall in folds onto my work table. They're going to make luscious blossoms.

My inspiration comes from the latest Sew Beautiful magazine (Issue 128-2010), and Helen Gibbs' Ribbonwork book. Sew Beautiful Magazine's website is a great place to visit for inspiration. Check it out when you have a chance.

I'd be working on my ribbon flowers already if it weren't for the time I'm spending on the Beaded Shawl for my knitting class. Don't worry...I'll show photos of the shawl as soon as it's finished, and I'll be making my flowers before you know it.
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You can always click on my photos for a closeup view.

January 28, 2010

Miniature Masterpieces...

I finally got to the point where I couldn't resist any longer! I had to have one of these fabulous, intricate creations from Paulette at Beedeebabee on Etsy. (Her blog is also a great place to visit.) I'm simply smitten with her work.

The pin in the first photograph is only four inches square! Can you even believe how truly beautiful it is? Felt fabric, hand embroideries and beads are used in various stunning combinations to create her tiny works. I love her delicate and perfect stitches. I simply love them!
When her package arrived with my order, there was this second sweet bird pin included as a gift! What a lovely surprise! My own little Bluebird of Happiness from my new friend, Paulette. The pretty pink packaging was equal to its contents (with a special presentation for the square of Girardelli chocolate). You'll have to order your own to see what I mean.

Please check out her Etsy shop and her blog. (Oh, and all that time I spent trying to decide which pin I wanted...only to read one of her latest posts showing her superb Valentine pins! arrrggghhh You'd better hurry and get them before they're all gone! Paulette's "miniature masterpieces" don't linger long in her shop - for obvious reasons!
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January 27, 2010

Scarf Love...

All those scarves I made over the holidays to present as gifts, and all the scarves I created last year...Can you tell I love making them? I love wearing them, too!
I saw my friend, Krisann last night when the yarnies all gathered at Books-A-Million. She hadn't been there for a while because she's been attending evening classes to become a certified massage therapist. (Congrats on your recent certification, KA!) It was so nice seeing her again, and she surprised me with a belated birthday gift. Inside her wrapped package was this lovely, soft pink scarf...FOR ME!!!

Remember, that I love drawing out my Birthday celebrations as long as possible. Thanks to my girlfriend, my last celebration lasted 53 days! A new record has been established!

My new scarf features a modified pineapple design, and she said it's called the small strawberry. Delicious! I wore it all night, and the rest of the gals loved it as much as I did. Thank you, Krisann, for this lovely scarf from your own, talented hands. It's my newest treasure!
I have to share this great new scarf book with you, too! Ocean Breezes by Sheryl Thies. It's chock-full of beautiful scarves with designs inspired by the sea. I have a favorite already, and can't wait to work on this design...
Starfish motifs embellish the center of this scarf. Isn't it pretty? I'm imagining an organic cotton yarn in a soft, natural sand color. Ok, I know...add it to the list, right? Right! I can't help it. It's officially "Scarf Love".
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January 25, 2010

Just Another Domestic Goddess...

Thinking of Valentines Day...
as I spent the day ironing - after using and admiring my new washer and dryer. I love the smell of clean laundry, my Egyptian cotton spray and the sight of all those pressed and folded clothes.
Don't feel bad for me. I really enjoy ironing, but I still get tired rather easily since my surgery ten days ago. (No worries. I really am doing much, much better!) Check out my new machines. The Kenmore twins are wonderful! We got the Oasis washer and dryer, which are very quiet and efficient. They were delivered yesterday. The front load washer that previously occupied this space rattled the whole house during the spin cycle. I wasn't even aware that the new washer was finished running until it sounded off! Worth every penny, as far as I'm concerned.

I'm hoping to get back into the studio this week. We have house guests coming soon and there are things to do as we prepare for their arrival. For now, I'm enjoying my Domestic Goddess status.
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A Gift From The Heart...

My brother-in-law has lived on Nantucket Island (MA) for over twenty years, and it's one of our favorite places to visit in the fall. By October, many of the tourists have headed to the mainland and there's a little more breathing room on this tiny but bountiful island. We always have a great time when we're there.

On many of our trips, I have admired the Sailor's Valentines, but have resisted purchasing one because even the contemporary works are a bit expensive. (Forget purchasing antiques, unless you have a significant amount of money to spend.)

Sailor's Valentines represent one aspect of Nantucket's vast whaling heritage. In the early 1800s, sailors returning from long whaling voyages would present one to their sweetheart or wife as a declaration of their love. They are created completely of seashells. Lots of seashells. I can't even imagine how much time is involved in making one!

Long thought to be crafted by the sailors themselves, it is now believed that they were more likely created by locals in some of the port towns where the sailors stopped for supplies (Barbados, for one). You can read more about them through a Google search or this Wikipedia link.They're so pretty and intricate, and there are a half dozen or so recognized styles. This style is called "The Windrose", and I'm sure you can tell how it got its name from the center motif. When I think of Nantucket, I think of the signature baskets, those beautiful grey-sided homes, cascades of hydrangeas...and Sailor's Valentines.

This past Christmas, my future sister-in-law and Handsome's brother sent this one to me as a gift. I started to cry when I opened the box, instantly recognizing the treasure within. I am now the lucky owner of this fascinating piece of Nantucket's history. With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I thought you might like to see my most recent Valentine - not only created with gifts from the sea, but given as a gift from the heart.
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January 24, 2010

Evidence of A Charmed Life...

Welcome to another installation of Silver Sunday here at Brynwood Needleworks. Today, I'm going to share one of my favorite silver pieces with you. It's the charm bracelet I've been building since the original link bracelet and the first charm were given to me by my mum. That first charm was my "Sweet 16" charm given to me on that birthday. (Yup. That's was a while ago.)
I've regularly added to my bracelet over the years and have amassed quite an assortment of meaningful mementos representing my travels, interests and activities. I can generate quite the "jingle" when I wear it!If you click on it any of these photographs, you'll see charms from places I lived or visited and loved; my interests, represented by the motorcycle, sewing machine, Grand Cayman scuba turtle from my scuba diving days, knitting needles and yarn, camera, a barn, a piano and a dog; but there are so many more. I'd probably bore you to death if I told you the stories behind each one...so I'll spare you the details.And, as if those weren't enough, there are even two more that haven't been added yet. My Handsome drummer boy and the "Welcome" pineapple to remind me of great days and nights spent in Williamsburg, VA last fall. All these are tiny silver memories of my charmed life.

Be sure to visit the rest of the Silver Sunday contributors, and our hostess, Beth over at Gypsy Fish Journal. There are so many wonderful silver pieces to see, you won't want to miss a single post!
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January 23, 2010

Thoughtful Recognition...

I recently received a lovely blog award from my pal, Dee Dee over at Dee Dee's Craft Spot. She stated in her post that I "knock her socks off" over here at Brynwood. That's quite a compliment, my friend!

Now, I need to award three other blogs, and list ten things that "knock my socks off".

I'd like to pass this blog award to the following blogs:
  • Debra over at Common Ground always offers up oodles of inspiration sprinkled with her special brand of humor. I love visiting her and I'm sure you will, too! Debra has a second blog, A Day In The Life, which offers a Bible study for those of us seeking to explore and grow in the understanding of our faith.
  • Twyla and Lindsey at Two Crazy Crafters. Oh, goodness this mother/daughter team have boundless energy and their wellspring of ideas are always bubbling over. Check out the girls!
  • Anne at Fiona and Twig (Don't you just love her blog name?). A junkin', craftin', stylin' gal who makes my day brighter with her F & T posts and visits here at Brynwood. She's got great taste and offers up many of her finds in her Etsy shop. Tell her I said, "Hey".
Now...For those Ten Things That Knock My Socks Off
  1. My talented Handsome husband. After twenty eight years together and twenty five years of marriage, this man still knocks my socks off...mind, body, soul and rhythm. 'nuff said.
  2. My grandchildren. They are intelligent, beautiful and so much fun. I'm constantly awed by their loving personalities...and their vocabularies! Wow. Yup, they knock my socks off!
  3. Our sons and their wives. Both loving families are the incubators for our wonderful grandchildren. They are hardworking, supportive of each other and all-around great people.
  4. My mum. Her capacity to love, her inner strength and her faith make her a daily inspiration in my life.
  5. My BFF, Lee, who is the hardest working women I know. Her employer gets 2000% for their money and really don't appreciate exactly what she brings to the table. I mean it. Would you go into work in the middle of the night to file forms online when the computers would be least clogged with people trying to do the same thing you were? She did and does on a regular basis. All that and a fun-loving gal, to boot!
  6. My brother, Del, who shelters his family and friends with his love of God and His word. He is one of the few people I personally know who speaks freely of his beliefs. He really walks the walk and I admire him immensely.
  7. Eli - I don't even know where to start. Your strength in the face of unspeakable loss, the love and support you give to your children and grandchildren, and the friendship you give to me...I love you and hope to be as good and loving a wife as you are.
  8. My girlfriends at Project Linus in Port Charlotte who have created (knitted, crocheted or quilted) literally thousands of blankets for babies, young children and teenagers. There are so many individuals who go to sleep with a warm hug each night because of these generous women.
  9. Kes. Old dogs really develop special personalities. She makes me laugh and cry. She humbles me with her unconditional love, her blind trust and her friendship. I joke about her regularly, but darn, I love this little Labrador!
  10. All of the friends and acquaintances I have met because I decided to start blogging last March. I really enjoy my daily "fixes" from those of you who have your own sites, or who leave comments on mine. You are all the best of the best of Blogland. Thank you!
  11. The spirit of the Haitian people who, in spite of immense loss and hardship, still find a way to carry on their daily lives and reasons to smile.
I know that was eleven...but I just had to include the last one. Please remember the Haitian people in your daily prayers.

Thanks again, Dee Dee. Not only for the award, but for inspiring me to sit quietly and really evaluate what knocks my socks off. Sending a big hug your way.
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January 22, 2010

A Gift To Dream On...

I was in Michael's last week and came across this beautiful book box. It was exactly what I was looking for! (Remember, I told you a couple of days ago that I'm the wedding planner for an upcoming wedding.) I wanted to give this new bride a collage of colors and items that I'm planning to use for her wedding to her Mr. Dreamboat. This bride is wonderful as she's leaving all the planning in my hands. How often does that happen?

I love the sentiment on the front of the book box. It says, "True Love is a friendship set on fire". Perfect words for this couple as they've only known each other forever. The theme for their wedding is "At Last".
When they open the box, they'll see my vision for their special day. A beach wedding in colors of the sky and sea. White and aqua ribbon roses, sparkling gems to mimic the shimmer of the ocean - and the love light in their eyes, the fabric for their attendant's dress, and seashells that will be the theme for their dinner table. The bride's dress is going to be flowing layers of white organza or chiffon, accented with ribbon roses (which I really love creating!). I'm going shopping for the fabric very soon. The wedding is April 17th, so there'll be no dawdling on this project.

Between now and their wedding day, I hope the bride and Mr. Dreamboat love this gift to dream on.
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If you're new to my blog, you can always click on my photos to enlarge them. I will be posting photos of the dresses and wedding, as they're available, for you to see!

January 21, 2010

One Of Her Nicknames Is "Dobby"...

Harry Potter's Dobby
and
My Kes.

Is it any wonder one of her nicknames is Dobby?
(just scroll up and down and up and down)
It's the ears (which I call "ear thingies").
I know, the resemblance is a little scary, isn't it?

Kessie has a lot of nicknames. I think I'll reel them out a little at a time, instead of laying 'em on you all at once. Might be too much for you to take. Handsome thinks I have a warped sense of humor, and he's very protective of my little lab. ("Stop making fun of Kes! You're not actually going to put that on your blog, are you?!) More giggling as I rub my hands together and prepare to upload and type. I'm laughing out loud right now. (muahahahaha)

Ok, enough screwing off for today. I'll be back tomorrow with some fun new things. See you then!
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January 20, 2010

Obsessive Wild Hare Wednesday...

Just look at this photograph! Go ahead. Look carefully.
Enlarge it, if you need to, but check out the titles.
They're all knitting and crochet books.

I learned to knit when I was a kid, but like many others, put it away until later in life. In my case, I began knitting, in earnest, about eight years ago. When I did, I purchased my first book, Stitch 'n Bitch by Debbie Stoller. It's a fabulous book with great pictures to help any knitter learn or improve their techniques. It could have been enough. It should have been enough. Well, perhaps just a few patterns to make cool things for my family and friends were in order.

Instead, the Knitting Pattern Bug...a 'wild hare' of sorts...bit me. If you think these are all the books and patterns I own. Au contrair, Wild Hare. I'm more than embarrassed. I'm ashamed at my obsession. If you are looking for a particular title, let me know. I just might have it...and would give you a fair price.

Really. There's nothing to see here, people. Move along.
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Although Shell has completed her "Wild Hare" Wednesdays over at Tales From The Raspberry Rabbits, I'm making up for last week when I missed the final post.

January 19, 2010

Brides and Babies...

In the spring of 2008, my eldest niece and goddaughter, Jennifer asked me to make her wedding gown. Twenty seven years prior, I made her christening gown, and that spring, so many years later, I was honored that she asked me to create her wedding gown.
Those of you who know me well, know the health crisis that temporarily interrupted the creation of that wedding gown, but after a three-week-long delay, and over three hundred fifty hours of joyful work, the gown was complete. I also made the attendants' dresses and a few other accessories which, when finished, were driven by Handsome and me to my niece in Minnesota. She wore the gown in October, 2008.
She was a beautiful bride and the wedding was beautiful, too.
My niece and her husband are now expecting their first child together this spring. I planned ahead, purchasing extra fabric when I made her wedding gown, so I have enough of the same fabric to make the christening gown for their child. Duppioni silk, beaded duppioni and an Oscar de la Renta brocade fabric that still makes my eyes water.
This is one of my favorite styles - with a beautiful coat. I'm going to use this as the basis for the christening gown set I'll be creating next. I'm envisioning ribbonwork, beadwork and elegant. I think it will be perfect for their little prince. Don't you?
Baby's due March 15th. Guess I'll be cutting fabric soon!
(I can't wait to tell you about my newest adventure as a Wedding Planner.
I'm saving that for another day!)
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January 18, 2010

Checking It Twice...

On Wednesday, I'll be teaching a Beaded Shawl class at A Good Yarn Sarasota. This pattern is from Deanna's Vintage
Styles
and it's a beautiful shawl.

This past weekend, I spent my recuperation reading the pattern and then starting the knitting process. One of the things I tell people who are either beginning knitters, or who are knitting a new technique is that "Patterns are meant to be knit, not read."

I found those words to be particularly true when going through the instructions for this shawl. Try as I may, I couldn't tell from reading it exactly how this shawl was going to work up. I couldn't tell if I'd be knitting it "top down", "bottom up" or "side to side". After setting up the yarn and beads, I began knitting the pattern and all was revealed. It will be created side to side.

Today, I'll continue working on the shawl, making class notes and taking photos to help my students envision "the next step". I think of myself as a "fearless knitter", because I'm never intimidated to try something new, but not everyone has my (sometimes obnoxious) level of confidence. Because I'm going through this process before the class, I'll be able to give some of my confidence to each of my students. By working the pattern right before they do, I'm checking each step twice for them. My students won't have to worry about pattern accuracy as they embark on this new project. I want to be sure that Wednesday is fun for all of us!
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January 17, 2010

I Love Silver Sundays...

Happy Silver Sunday, mon amis. Today will be a study in silver spoons and serving utensils. No, I was not born with one of these in my mouth, but I certainly love the beauty of each and every one. Many of these were family pieces I inherited, but there are a few of my own with short stories I can share with you.
Do you remember when you were a teenager and Oneida offered a sample spoon for a mere one dollar? Well, this is one of the spoons that appealed to me and went into my hope chest. I've had it all these long years, and it's a treasured addition to my collection.
This spoon was part of the silver assortment I received when my
mother-in-law, Evelyn died. It has a monogram, but is
otherwise - like Evelyn - simply elegant.
These assorted pieces are lovely serving implements, also inherited.
Some patterns match and some don't, but I think they're all beautiful.
Here are two sets of sugar spoons.
They're much smaller and more petite than a teaspoon.
There are three at the bottom that match,
and the rest are all the same design.
I love these little spoons.
Now, even though it's probably cold where you are,
close your eyes and imagine a sultry, hot summer day spent
sitting on your veranda with a tall, cool, iced tea in your hand.
These are sipper spoons that also belonged to my mother-in-law.
I love their heart-shaped bowls.
And, look at this great feature...
There is a "straw" built into the long handle of each sipper.
You can stir your sweetener and lemon, and then sip the afternoon
away through your spoon!
This is a newer set. I purchased this set on eBay a couple of years ago.
Are you surprised that they're leaves? I didn't think so.
My final entry in my Silver Sunday post is this lovely, single spoon with a
rose-trimmed handle. I really love this sweet, little spoon. So pretty.

Have a great day and enjoy visiting with all the other
Silver Sunday participants, courtesy of our hostess, Beth.
Just click here to visit her blog and the other participants!
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