February 28, 2011

Memory Lane Monday - Stitches...

Welcome to Memory Lane Monday!

When I wrote my last Memory Lane Monday post, I hinted at what I planned to write about this month. All that changed last week, when I received an email that really touched my heart. I wrote back to the author and asked if I could share her message with you and she agreed. So, today most of my post will be written by Barb.
"Donna,
I don't have a blog & this is the first contact I've made of ANY kind in blogland. I thought maybe an e-mail would be ok. I have a story for Memory Lane Monday, should you choose to use it.

The memory is of a lovely shop we had for too short a time in a nearby town. Right from the sign over the door you were taken to a gentle whisper of time. The music in the shop was soft & restful and encouraged you to linger, and escape your day for awhile.
The proprietress was friendly and welcoming even when you could see that maybe it wasn't her best day. She never showed it outright. She never looked down on a customer who couldn't maybe afford the very best of her wares, (need I say myself?) but, gave the same beautiful service to all. With your purchase she included a printed card punched with two tiny heart shapes - and a gold needle threaded through them. It made you feel appreciated no matter the size of your purchase. I still have several of them, unable to use them and to toss the cards.
This gracious lady went so far as to invite customers to what she called a "stitch in" (if I remember the name correctly), to her own home! She introduced us to her "handsome" husband and four-legged "children", and gave us a tour of her exquisite home. She then served us refreshments and conversation on top of it all! It was just a lovely time.
Yes Donna, the lady I speak of is you, as if you hadn't guessed. You and Stitches have crossed my mind so often. You are still both sorely missed. I knew you were selling your home and wondered where you ended up. It was a happy accident that I found your blog through another. I believe it was The Raspberry Rabbits.

I went back over your entire archives and see that, if anything you have only become more gracious over time. Anyone who has only met you through your writings and thinks you are very special, has no idea. Sorry if this is too long, but, I did want to thank you for lovely memories of a lovely shop and an even lovelier lady.

God Bless. Barb D.
"
Barb sent this current photo of herself for me to use today.
When I realized that Barb was referring to me, I started to cry. Her use of the word "proprietress" was my first clue, as that was the designation I used in all of my business references. It appeared on my storefront window, along with my business cards and advertising materials - including my needle cards, to which I affixed a single gold needle given as a thank you each time a customer made a purchase. Barb's reference to those needle cards was my second clue.

I opened Stitches in 1989, and spent a joyful eight years of my life meeting needleworkers who became good friends. Customers were greeted by red geraniums growing in my planters outside, and in the winter, we tried to keep the geranium theme alive inside. Classical music filled the shop, and there was always a cup of coffee, tea or hot cider and comfortable leather wing-back chairs to settle into. Customers were welcome to come and stitch anytime they felt the urge.

My memories are full of beautiful pieces completed by both novice and accomplished needleworkers. I loved teaching a new customer how to do counted cross stitch, and then see her glowing smile as she brought in the completed piece for me to see.
I also carried needlepoint, crewel embroidery and rug hooking (I still love those Claire Murray rugs and kits!) in my shop. There really is nothing quite like spending time in the company of women who share a passion for the needle arts.

The women who worked for - and with - me were friends I came to love. Beverly, Jan, Lori, Emily, Allison, Lisa and Grace to name a few. Laura (a grade school friend) became my shop manager and I love her more than a sister. We still keep in touch, for which I am very grateful. Grace was like a mother to me, and Lisa became my daughter-in-law. They loved our customers, and cared for the shop as though it were their own. No owner could ask for more.

To think that I had touched one customer's heart this way affects me deeply, and I can never adequately express all of my feelings. I am so grateful that Barb took the time to write to me and share her memories - memories that we both share.

Thank you, my friend. I look forward to reconnecting with you now that we've found each other again. God surely works in mysterious ways...and for that I'm forever grateful.

Thanks for joining me this Memory Lane Monday. I'll always put the date of the next Memory Lane Monday under the button in my sidebar. You're welcome to use the button on your blog, too.

Now it's your turn to share a tale or two. Please link back here (below) so that others can visit your blog, too.



February 27, 2011

Sunday Scripture...

"God's eye is on the sparrow,
and sees its darkest night;
You will not be left comfortless
for you are God's delight."
From God's Eye is on the Sparrow
by Bob Hurd

God's eye is on the sparrow...and I know he watches me.
May this Sunday bring you rest and joy.

***Reminder: Tomorrow is Memory Lane Monday. Hope you'll join us and share a story from your past!

February 26, 2011

Bikers, Blankets and Stuffed Garlic Bread...

The men-folk returned from their motorcycle ride to The Keys on Friday morning. They had a wonderful time and the weather was perfect for their excursion. I'm not ashamed to admit I was glad to have Handsome back home. It's just not the same around here when he's away.

Amid the rehearsing, household chores and other boring tasks, I managed to cut and assemble some of the blocks for my Flying Clouds - "Girly" version last week. I can now show you what they'll look like. I haven't squared them up yet, though. I won't do that until all of them have been assembled.

The "Manly" version for Handsome will have the same green dot/cream on cream combination, but the floral will be less...well...floral, and I'll be combining it with a music-themed fabric for the darker value on that half of the block. I'll be doing those next week.

Friday afternoon was filled with music as we had our Chorale tech rehearsal for this evening's concert, and then I made dinner (Emeril's Kicked Up Stuffed Garlic Bread - this is the recipe link) for all the guys. (Warning: If you make this, you'll be hooked! Have I ever lied to you?) It's always a huge hit around here. It's simple, quick and easy...and delicious.

I'd love to chat longer with you today, but I have a lot to do before we head over to the Performing Arts Center to sing tonight.

Before I close, I just want to remind you to enter my 600th Friends Giveaway if you haven't done so yet. The link button is near the top of my left sidebar. I'll be back soon with quilt updates and perhaps a musical video or two. Have a wonderful Saturday, friends.

February 25, 2011

Fezzik Friday - 36 Weeks...

Hi, everybody!
I decided to write a silly Fezzik Friday this week.
Mom started singing this song one day, and I
thought it might be fun for my post today.
Sing it with me, now;
"Head...
and shoulders...
knees...
and toes."
See? I told you it was silly. Do you know that song?
Mom says, "Corgi drummies. No one can eat just one!"
Then she laughs and says something about "frito feet".
I guess I make Mom silly, too.
She asked me to remind everybody that Monday (Feb. 28th) is the next Memory Lane Monday. If you don't know about Memory Lane Mondays, just click on the button to learn more.

I know Mom has a really good one this month. We're looking forward to reading your stories, too, so I hope you're planning to share one with us. I just love big parties!
Oh, and don't forget to join in the giveaway! Just click on the pretty picture above so you can go to the giveaway post to enter.

All the guys are coming home with Dad today from their Wild Hog trip to The Keys. I'm pretty excited to have all those guys around again. They like me, so we really have fun together. I guess I'd better go so that I can bark as soon as they get here. See you next week!

'til then,
Keep Wagging!
Fezzik Inconceivable

P.S. (From Donna) Thank you to everyone who has entered my giveaway so far. I'm a bit overwhelmed with the wonderful response to my celebration. Please forgive me for not responding to every message. I assure you that I read them all, and you will all be entered in the drawing. God Bless and Good Luck!

February 24, 2011

600th Friend Giveaway...

I spent part of yesterday creating a special gift to include in my newest celebration. I was surprised to notice that we're 600 friends strong now. It just about took my breath away thinking about it!
To say "thank you" for honoring me with your friendship, I'm going to celebrate with another drawing.

I made a small tote/handbag using some of my favorite fabrics and vintage lace. I added a silk print of one of the acorn fairies I recently shared with you. Add a little ruffling, beads, and some seriously sparkly buttons on the handle (see the first photo?). I finished by lining the bag with some pretty acorn/oak leaf fabric.

I added a 2011 needleworker's date book and a fragrance candle that smells like autumn to the package for one lucky winner.
Finally, I've added one of my current favorite quilting books, "Jelly Roll Quilts". I've written about this book before, and seriously love the designs created by Pam and Nicky Lintott.
If you'd like to enter my celebration drawing just leave a comment on this post. (If you read this on my FB page, you need to go to my blog - http://brynwoodneedleworks.blogspot.com - to enter. I won't count comments on my FB page.)

You must be a public follower (friend) to enter. I feel anyone who is a follower and reads me on a regular basis should be rewarded, but because I'm not able to give all my friends their own gifts, I'm limiting the entries with this requirement instead. It's my way of saying, "thanks"!

That's all. You don't need to post about this or put my button on your blog. All you need to do is be a follower and leave a comment.

I'll draw one name, via Random Number Generator,
at 11 pm on March 4th.

I'll announce the winner on Saturday, March 5th.

Thanks so much for reading, commenting and following Brynwood Needleworks.
I'm so grateful for your friendship.
Good Luck in the Drawing!

UPDATE: THE DRAWING IS NOW CLOSED.
Thank you to all who entered.

February 23, 2011

Get Your Motor Runnin'...

They're back together again. This year there are five gents gathered for Wild Hogs II. Two more joined the group for their ride, and this year they're riding to The Keys. One is missing from this photograph because he's joining the rest of the group along the way.
Of course, when there are more riders in the group, everyone has to be on the same page to avoid accidents. Handsome is the Road Captain leading the ride, so the rest of the riders need to know his hand signals and his riding rules. There's no better time to impart the information than right before they set out on the ride.
Tires and lights inspected. Check! Gear packed. Checked! Helmets on. Check! This wife kissed goodbye. Double Check! Kick stands up and it's time to roll. Gentlemen, get your motors runnin'.
They'll be riding the back roads as they make their way south. Handsome in front with Rich riding second...
Handsome's brother, Bruce (riding my Harley), and Eric riding "sweep". It was 82º and sunny - a perfect day to set out on a motorcycle tour. Have fun, boys. See you later this week. Remember to keep the rubber side down!
Be sure to come back tomorrow, when I'll be posting my "600th Follower Giveaway". Can you believe we've reached another milestone? See you then!

February 22, 2011

Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This...

I thought you might like to see the next assortment of fabrics I'm going to play with. They're going to become quilts for the Flying Cloud. One quilt - the one for me - will be more flowery, and the other will be more masculine for Handsome. They'll cover us on chilly evenings as we slumber in our new coach.
This fabric will be made into pillowcases. It's appropriately called "On The Road" by Dan Morris for Robert Kaufman. It will make wonderful cases as it's extremely soft. I'll also use it for accents on the quilts.
This fabric will be featured prominently in my quilt. It's called "Silence Beauty" (I know, it's not a title befitting me, is it?). It's manufactured by Quilt Gate. This floral will be beautiful with all the birch wood in the coach, and I love the soft colors.

So, I'm going to make two nearly-twin size quilts. They'll be perfect for naps or full-fledged sleeping. I have a slot open with Kathy to have them machine quilted on March 8th. Tick. Tock. Here we go again. Off to the races!

I hope you have a great day planned. The weather here is perfect and my view from the studio is peaceful and serene even as I'm cutting fabrics and whirring away at the sewing machine. I promise I'll show you photo updates, but I can assure you that Prissy is really earning her keep these days.

February 21, 2011

I'd Like You To Meet Sofie...

Miss Ellie (my Babylock Ellisimo) and Prissy (my Espire) are the hardest working employees a seamstress could ever want, but there's just one thing. They refuse to leave the house. They love being in the studio on their respective tables and they prefer to wait for me right there for me.
I found myself needing an employee who was willing to travel, who didn't take up much room and who would happily tackle any project I might want to attempt while on the road.

I reviewed a number of resume's, and yesterday I hired Sofie. Her full name is Babylock Sophia, but like Miss Ellie and Prissy, she likes having a nickname. It's a good thing, too, because I told her that's how we roll at Brynwood.
At a mere fourteen pounds and a petite fifteen inches long (without the embroidery unit attached), she won't add much weight to the coach or need a room to herself when it's time to hit the open road. She can embroider small designs (up to 4" x 4"), and she's sturdy enough to quilt. She also has many of the features of the "big girls". She has an automatic thread cutter, the much used and appreciated needle threader, and built in specialty stitches. I know that our association will be a match made in...Sarasota!

Now, don't think I went out and paid a full contract price to employ Sweet Sofie. Thanks go to my dear friend, Carol of Serendipity (who lives part time in Sarasota). She wasn't using Sofie to her full potential and decided to let someone else hire her. I jumped at the chance! I'm sure that she'll enjoy working with my other two girls...and I know she's going to love the wayfaring life I have planned for her.
If you haven't visited Carol before, be sure to stop over to see her beautiful spot in Blogland. She and I have been friends since meeting a few years ago at a local quilt shop. We've taken classes together, and since her latest trip south, we've met with another blogging friend (who I'll tell you about soon) for lunch, shopping and visiting. She creates truly fabulous quilts, participates in Tablescape Tuesdays, and she's in the process of redecorating her blog these days. Of course, you'll remember to tell her "hello" from me, right?

Sofie is looking forward to sharing some of my creative collaborations with you over the summer and into fall. She'll be back to visit again before you know it.

February 20, 2011

Sunday Scripture...

"If you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet."
Proverbs 3:24

February 19, 2011

Someone, Please Pinch Me...

My Mug Mat Swap package arrived from Elizabeth S. in Australia yesterday. It was a hefty envelope, so I knew there was more than a mug mat inside. As I opened the packages, you could have knocked me over with a feather!

Inside, I found a new apron (I LOVE aprons!!!), a box of Tin Tans (they're scrumptious!) and an incredible assortment of other gifts.
Elizabeth told me about herself in a wonderfully written letter, and then she explained some of the contents of my package.
She sent a souvenir spoon from Melbourne, Australia...
as well as a souvenir pin...
and acorns that she knit from wool she'd spun herself (I could cry!).
There were three pieces of Australian fabric.
One with Aussie animals, birds and amphibians (goannas, which are lizards; emus; kookaburras; kangaroos and more!).
Another features beautiful flowers (you can see it in the photo above showing all three fabrics) , and the last is the fabric she used in my mug mat. It has acorns all over a leafy background (swoon).
I absolutely LOVE the mug mat! All my favorite things...acorns, laces, and beautiful fabrics.

Thank you, Elizabeth. I can see that I seriously under-gifted you in our exchange! Your generosity has left me humbled, full of gratitude and the desire to send more surprises your way. You can expect another package in the near future that will make for a more equitable swap.

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