August 31, 2015

Tuesdays With Tag - Beauty Rest

Brynwood Needleworks - Taggart
Hi, Everybody!
Another week has passed and it's time for me to tell you all about my excitin' life. Well, maybe not this week. It's been rainin' non-stop, and there's nothin' at all excitin' about sloppin' around in puddles. Bella likes it just fine, but I'm not a big fan.

When it's not rainin', Mom and Dad get us into the pool where we fetch and swim to our hearts' content, but otherwise, it's fetchin' toys and just hangin' out in the house.
Brynwood Needleworks - Tag and Bella
One afternoon, I was restin' on Mom's lap. We were just havin' a nice private talk and look! That Black Dog hopped right onto Mom's lap, too, and I had to share Mom's attention with her! The nerve! 

Mom finally got up when her leg fell asleep. (I'm not gonna say it was fun watchin' her try to walk, but I laughed so hard I actually barked!)
Brynwood Needleworks - Afternoon Nap
Usually around dinner time, Mom puts Bella into her X-pen 'cuz she gets fidgety. This happens to be one of my favorite times of day because I can sleep without bein' harrassed. I mean, give a guy a break sometimes!
Brynwood Needleworks - Bella Snugglin' With Tag
I'm not even gonna say anythin' about this picture. She obviously sneeked up on me when I was sleepin'. I'm not snugglin' with her one bit...and no one's gonna make me say different. No way! I'm just gettin' my beauty rest and mindin' my own business. I can't be held responsible for what happens when I'm out cold.

Mom says we're in for more rain this week, but Bella and I hope the weatherman is wrong. We've got stuff to do outside! So, before I bore you anymore, I'll be on my way. (I guess I'll take the Black Dog with me).
I'll see you again in seven! 'til then...
"Chase A Dream - Or A Squirrel".

August 30, 2015

Class Wrap-Up...

Brynwood Needleworks - Dressed In Joy - Our Latest Dress
I arrived early on Saturday to set up for our Pineapple block class and was met by Jamie. She handed a gorgeous dress for our "Dressed In Joy" campaign to me, and she even created a little doll for the pocket!

We now have 176 dresses, and I know there are still more coming before I deliver the entire batch on September 17th. Thanks to Jamie for our latest dress. I just had to give her a big hug!

I got all my class models and my machine set up and was finishing up as my students began to come in for class.
Brynwood Needleworks - Pineapple Quilt Block Class
Being the good blogger that I am, I remembered to take photographs to share with you. I enjoyed showing my students each step they would need to accomplish to make their blocks, and waited (or helped) as they did that step.

Once everyone had a finished row, I'd share the next step and then go to each student to be sure they understood how to use the trim tool correctly for that portion of their block.

Brynwood Needleworks - Pineapple Quilt Block Class
I had a total of sixteen students, and our class ran from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. Because I wanted them to get into the habit of using spray starch (Faultless Professional Spray Starch is my favorite), they needed to get up and head to the iron a lot. They were joking that it felt like church with all the "sitting and standing".

I should have worn tennis shoes, with all the walking I was doing. It's so gratifying to be next to my students when you see that they understand what I've been teaching and are ready to fly solo. It didn't take these ladies long at all!
Brynwood Needleworks - Pineapple Quilt Block Class - Finished Blocks!
We decided that we'd stop for lunch as soon as the ladies had their first block finished. We ate lunch around 12:30. Not bad, right?

After we ate, the ladies went back to their machines to begin work on their second block. I let them do the second block on their own, only helping by double-checking their tool placement prior to cutting. They were pros by the time we all headed home.

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed teaching the class. I'm already looking forward to my next class in the spring. It was wonderful spending the day with my quilting friends, but even more so because I was able to share a new technique with each of them. 
This week, I have more commissions to complete. Tropical Storm Erika will drop more rain on us, but nothing like originally expected. Perfect weather for staying inside and sewing.

I hope you have something creative planned for this week. I'm praying for rain for my friends in California; good health for a few of my friends who have been ill; and great days for those who are experiencing a rough patch. One of my girlfriends' basements flooded over the weekend...and it's where she has all of her sewing projects, machines and furniture. I saw photos and it's not at all pretty. I'll be praying that her space dries up and she can get back to normal, too. For everyone else, I send out wishes for a happy and creative week.

Tomorrow is September 1st. 
Aaaaargh! Where is the time going?

August 29, 2015

Sunday Scripture...

Image from

August 28, 2015

Workin' For The Weekend...

Waterside Table at Pop's Sunset Grill in Nokomis, Florida
I took a break from my class planning to have lunch with my girlfriend, Stacey, yesterday. We drove up to Nokomis for lunch at Pop's Sunset Grill. It's right on the water across from Casey Key, so we could see the island over the waterway.

Although we had storms all around us, it stayed sunny and breezy all through our lunch. The meal was delicious, too. I hadn't had a great conch fritter since our annual trips to Grand Cayman in the 1990s, so it seemed like a perfect choice for a perfect day. I'm happy to report that they're the best conch fritters I've had stateside!

After lunch, we headed over to Detwiler's in Venice (remember I told you about the Amish Market?), and restocked on veggies before we headed home. We only drove through a little rain, but we managed to stay dry.
If you've watched any news/weather reports in the last day or so, I'm sure you've seen that there may be a little storm headed our way. As of last night, the weather service predicts heavy rains, but the current storm could strengthen if/when Erika enters the warm waters of Gulf. 

Whether we have a heavy storm or a full-blown hurricane, we're prepared. Thanks to storm shutters, a whole-house generator, gas for the grill, and a stocked pantry, we'll just stay inside right here at home, safe and sound.

Today, I'll be teaching my Pineapple block class for the guild. The weather won't be a factor at all...just a fun day ahead. I'll tell you all about it on Monday.

August 27, 2015

All Is Right With The World...

"Home Again" - Framed Cross Stitch Design Featuring D. Morgan Image
This framed needlework piece used to hang in my shop (Stitches) in Wisconsin, but now it resides in the hallway of our home here in Florida.

I love the verse:
"I hear your footsteps down the hall.
You are home again and safe.
All the burdens of the day are softened -
and all the night noises are music to my ears."

Handsome got back home yesterday afternoon. Tag and Bella (and I!) were jumping all over him, and we were all so glad to have him home again.

We spent the evening catching up on his travels, and sharing news on the home front. The dogs just wanted to cuddle and have him pay attention to them. (They were such pests!) 

Studio time working on class models was put on hold. I'll finish preparing for my Saturday class today.
Leisure Arts Chart for "Home Again".
This is the chart for the design, just in case you're interested in stitching this piece for your home. (It is not a Brynwood Needleworks design.)

August 26, 2015

Class Prep...

Brynwood Needleworks - Prepping For Pineapples
I'm teaching a class on Saturday to members of our guild, and I'm really looking forward to it. There are sixteen or seventeen ladies signed up, so I want to make sure that they have a fun experience as they learn to make Pineapple blocks with the Creative Grids™ Pineapple Trim Tool.
Brynwood Needleworks - Class Preparation
I'm a great believer in the power of visual learning, so I've been busy preparing the different stages involved in creating a single block. That way, I can show them how the tool is used as they build their individual blocks.
Brynwood Needleworks-"Birds In The Pineapples" blocks (Not sewn together yet)
I still have a few to go to finish up the class models, but I'll get them done today. The great thing is that, after the class, I'll be able to complete all the steps on each one to make more blocks for the "Birds In The Pineapples" quilt I'm making! 

My students will learn to make their Pineapple blocks, and I'll be that much closer to finishing my quilt. Win, Win, right?

August 25, 2015

All Done...

Brynwood Needleworks - Wallet #30 - Tiles and Flowers
Number Thirty is finished, and should be in its recipient's hands today or tomorrow. I love how it turned out!
Brynwood Needleworks - Wallet #30 - Tiles and Flowers Interior
All the fabrics are coordinated and part of the same line. I'm not sure if I have enough to generate one more like it, but I definitely have more of the exterior flap and body fabrics...and other fabrics that look like they were part of this collection (but aren't).

I already have another wallet ordered since I showed this finished one on my Facebook page. I'm actually not surprised. This happens to be one of my personal favorites! I'll make up #31 after I finish my other commissions and work this week.
Today, I'll be at Nifty 50s with my girlfriends.  I'm making samples for the Pineapple Block class I'm teaching to our guild on Saturday. Once they're finished, I'll be set for class. Oh, and Handsome is on his way back from Wisconsin! We're pretty over-the-moon happy about that. We've been missing him a lot!

Tuesdays With Tag - Wrestlemania...

Brynwood Needleworks - Liljegren's Suncoast Bella
Hi! I'm Bella. 

Tag can't come to the door right now, so I'm here to welcome you to Tag's post for today. He's been pitching a fit, so he's trying to collect himself before saying hello today.
Brynwood Needleworks - Liljegren's Suncoast Bella
You do want to come in, don't you? I mean, you weren't thinking about standing out there in the heat the whole time, right? Well, come on in, then!
Brynwood Needleworks - Liljegren's Suncoast Bella and Brynwood's Taggart
"Heeeeeeere's Tag!"
(pssst. Tag. I hope you're not expecting me to do this introducing thing for you again! I have other things to do, you know! Hey! You wanna play?)

Hi, Everybody!!
I hope The Black Dog didn't talk your ear off. She can be a chatty one.
"Fix your ear, Bella. You look a little nuts."

I've been busy tryin' to get her to settle down whenever she's hangin' out in the house, but she can get pretty, darn obnoxious when she wants to. (Like most of the time!!!)
Brynwood Needleworks - Tag and Bella. "I don't want to play right now!"
All I really want to do is relax, and she comes around boppin' me in the face with one toy or another. Really? I try to ignore her, but sometimes I just have to tell her to BUG OFF! You can see, she's not even interested in runnin' away.
Brynwood Needleworks - Bella and Tag "Now is much better!"
Other times, I have to just give in and grab the end of whatever she's stickin' in my face. I'm just not always the best mood, either. She'd like to drag me across the room sometimes. sigh It's a good thing it's humid outside. Otherwise, I'd get a static electricity shock. Oh, and she's gutted my favorite bear, too.
Brynwood Needleworks - Brynwood's Taggart & Liljegren's Suncoast Bella
I can't go to the bathroom that she's not lookin' over my shoulder. Ahem...She's behind me, isn't she? I knew it! What a pest!

Okay! That does it! I've had enough for this week. Dad will be home in a couple of days and then he can entertain her. I think I need a vacation! (I really like the puppy, but I've got a reputation to uphold.) 

I'll see you again in seven! 'til then...
"Chase A Dream - Or A Squirrel".

August 23, 2015

Working On Wallet #30...

Brynwood Needleworks - Fabrics For Wallet #30
I worked on wallet #30 over the weekend, and I'll finish it today so that I can get it in the mail. Our elder daughter-in-law has a Birthday on Saturday, so I want it to be on its way by Tuesday, latest.
Brynwood Needleworks - Fabrics Already Cut From Templates
I can't show you more of this project until after her big day. I don't want to ruin the surprise. I'll show you Saturday, though. I think I'm going to love this one!
It's going to be a busy week, too. Monday - finish the wallet; Tuesday - Guild Sew-in and teach some of the quilters how to make our Dressed in Joy dresses so they can make more; Wednesday - Nifty 50s, continuing work on the Wooly Critters Sampler quilt blocks; and Saturday, I'm teaching a class to our members. They'll be learning how to make Pineapple quilt blocks using the Creative Grids™ Pineapple Trim Tool. Oh, and yes. My days and evenings will be punctuated with "let the dogs out - let the dogs back in - repeat"! 

Hope you have a great week planned, too.

August 22, 2015

Sunday Scripture...

From InCourage - Shared by Brynwood Needleworks

August 21, 2015

Dressed In Joy...

Brynwood Needleworks' "Dressed In Joy" Facebook Cover photo
Our satellite group for the Dress A Girl Around The World group has a new name. When I only thought that we'd make a drive for a single donation of one hundred dresses, it was easy to just call our group "Dress A Girl Around The World - Brynwood Needleworks", but man, that's too much work to tell people if you want to invite them to find us!
So, after talking with our Ambassador today and committing to an ongoing effort to make dresses as a group, I sat down to contemplate a new name. We are now "Dressed In Joy".

I created a new logo (of sorts), and changed up the title of our Facebook group to reflect our new identity. I thought it was appropriate, considering my word for 2015 is "Joy".

When that was finished, I set up a new page here on my blog. You can find a link to it along with the others up in the menu bar at the top. As new posts are written about our group, I'll add the links on the page, so you can find everything in one convenient place.

You'll also find direct links to the patterns and other useful information there, and you can find updated project deadlines and dress totals by going to the same place.
I'm planning to head to Orlando to our deliver dresses to our Ambassador on September 15th, so I'm going to include any dresses that arrive between now and then in our count. I've challenged the Facebook group to help get us to 200 dresses. (And to think I was nervous when I first asked for 100!) Of course, those who are not on Facebook and would like to make and send dresses would be equally appreciated.

Anyone in the state who would like to join me in Orlando on the 15th of September can contact me through the email link in my right sidebar. We'll have photographs taken when we turn in the dresses and I'd love to have some of the group participants there with me. Wouldn't that be fun?

So, please check out the new page, head over to the Facebook group and request to be added, or send me a note to let me know you'd like to meet up with me in Orlando. In the meantime, I'll be busy finishing up my dresses.

August 20, 2015

Alice In The Studio...

Brynwood Needleworks - Adventures in Wonderland fabrics
If you have appointments and run errands that take up your entire afternoon, there really isn't much time to start something new to share by dinnertime. Have you noticed that simply playing in your fabrics, fibers or books, feels nearly as good as actually creating something?

I chose to play in my fabrics! I have Alice in my studio, so I was checking out the designs in the fabric, trying to decide how I might actually use them (besides incorporating the pretty selvage in my ongoing selvage blocks).
Brynwood Needleworks - Adventures in Wonderland by Windham Fabrics
I have a few ideas...a Classic Organizer (Pattern HERE); a Classmate Organizer; a child's quilt; a little dress; a pincushion or even a tote. The possibilities are endless. Why...I believe I just imagined at least six impossible things before breakfast! Who knows what I'll actually decide to do with them?

Sharing What Works For Me...

Brynwood Needleworks - Fruit and Vegetables
Just over a month ago, I made a commitment to a healthier, more deliberate eating plan. I wasn't thinking "diet". Instead, I decided that I needed to change the way I think about and look at food.

Two weeks after I started, I had my annual doctor's appointment, and already the benefits were evident, with much improved blood test results. I was off to a great start.
Brynwood Needleworks - Fish and Meats
Then, one of my dear blog friends (who many of you also know through her writings) Dawn Edmondson of The Feathered Nest, decided to start a Facebook page and invited me to join.

It's called "Eating Healthy, Low Carb & Sharing What Works" (the name is a link). 

I found old friends there, and invited some of my own friends to join, as well. It's a great place for getting and sharing ideas and support for each other. It's "perfectly Dawn"!

The first two pictures are the result of my shopping trip to our local Amish market (Detwiler's) in Venice, Florida yesterday. All this glorious, colorful, healthy food (and the $12.99 succulent plant!) for slightly over $125.00, and this shopping trip will provide two meals a day for more than a week. Not bad!

***The raw honey in the back of this picture is a surprise for Handsome. This is a Sarasota product, with the bees collecting pollen from orange blossoms. mmm mmm! The jar next to it is Siesta Salsa, which I also use as a salad topping.
Brynwood Needleworks - Chicken Curry
Handsome is in Wisconsin right now, so the first dish I made while he's away was my own version of Chicken Curry. He's not a fan, so it's one of the things I enjoy in his absence.

I also create a side dish that is called "Raita" in East Indian cuisine. It has shredded carrots, baby peas, cabbage and chopped beets. Just right with the curry.
Brynwood Needleworks - Scallops and Brussels Sprouts
After shopping at our Amish market, I made sauteed' scallops with scallions; roasted Brussels sprouts; a side dish of avocado and heirloom baby tomatoes. I finished with a dessert of stewed fresh rhubarb, seasoned with Stevia, my homemade vanilla, cinnamon and topped with whipped cream.

It sounds decadent, doesn't it? Under the low carb (I chose Atkins to follow) plans, it's all allowed! So you don't think I'm feeding an army here, I served my scallops/sprouts on a 6" square plate and my side dishes are small berry bowls. It's a little hint to trick your mind into thinking you're actually eating more because your plates look full.
Brynwood Needleworks - Upscaled Tuna Salad
Lunches are healthy salads, like this tuna salad I made with a simple blend of Duke's mayonnaise and celery mixed into the tuna. I then topped a bed of lettuce with a nice scoop of the salad, and garnished with walnuts, chopped apples and shredded cheddar cheese.
Brynwood Needleworks - Meatballs and Cauliflower
Publix makes the most delicious meatballs that they sell raw in their meat department. I almost always have a package of them in our freezer for quick meal options. I made this batch into a stroganoff-type mixture and then served it over mashed cauliflower (blended with butter and cheddar cheese). Peas over the top were a nice finish.
Brynwood Needleworks - Chicken Kiev with a filling side salad
In a low carbohydrate diet, dairy is encouraged...whole cream, half and half, sour cream and cheese in moderation. Protein choices are meats, fish, and nuts, and vegetables add color, fiber and texture to meals. Anything "white" is to be avoided...sugar, potatoes, flour, breads, rice, and pastas. Juices and high sugar fruits in moderation. Anything "low fat" actually has added sugar, so avoid those items, too.
Brynwood Needleworks - Sonny's Sliced Pork, Sweet Potato and Broccoli
The reason I gravitate to this food plan is because it's easy to know what to eat (mainly by knowing what to avoid). I don't have to count calories and I'm not constantly thinking about food. I'm learning to "eat to live" rather than "live to eat" (the way I was raised). 
Brynwood Needleworks - Grilled Cheeseburger
The other component to this lifestyle change is that you don't need to feel guilty about eating something not in the plan once in a while. You just don't do it every day.

In the month since I started changing my eating habits, I have lost 14 pounds. Changing my outlook about food will continue to benefit my overall health, so I'm doubly motivated to keep on track.

Don't worry. This isn't becoming a "foody" blog. I only wanted to share this aspect of my life that helps support me so that I can accomplish all those other things that bring you back to visit the time I spend in the studio.

These photos were all taken to share in our Facebook group. Many of the members share meal photos...and then share recipes, too. If you would like to join Dawn's group, you can click here and ask to be added. You'll find the group to be welcoming and generous, just like our leader.

Oh, and apologies right now if scrolling through these images has made you hungy. I only hoped to inspire, not tease. If you'd like any of my "recipes", just let me know and make sure I have your email address so I can respond.

Now it's time to get back to playing in the studio. I'm going to make more dresses today. Friday is our deadline!