June 30, 2016

A Holiday Message From Tag and Bella...

Brynwood Needleworks - Fireworks Tag

  Hi, Everybody!
It's me again. Mom said Bella and I could come back this weekend to share another message with you. This time, we're here to remind you to take extra good care of your pets this weekend.

Lots of dogs, cats and other animals really don't like the loud noises and flashes from fireworks. Did you know, this weekend is the busiest weekend for shelters each year? Yup. Pets get scared and then run away. It's pretty dangerous for them if they're scared and runnin'.
Brynwood Needleworks - Fireworks Bella
Tag and I want you to know some great ways you can keep your pets safe and comfortable this weekend.

1) Prepare a safe space for your dog. Tag and I love our kennels, so I'll naturally head to my kennel crate when I want to relax. Make sure there's a comfy cushion in it and then put a few treats in the crate to keep your pet busy with something yummy.

2) Toys are always a good distraction. We can play to keep us busy during the noisy parts.

3) Make sure your pets are tagged and microchipped, just in case the celebration starts when they're outside doing their business and run off scared. Someone who finds them will get them scanned first to see if they're chipped. And, if your pets are already chipped, make sure your information is up to date. (You can do that online!)

4) Best of all...Staying home with your pet is the best medicine. Cuddling up with you on the sofa sure beats shivering in a corner alone!

This is something Mom found online. If your dog gets scared and you don't have a Thunder shirt for them, here's a way to do a makeshift Thunder shirt for them.

Facebook image

  I'm glad that Tag and Bella got together to share their pointers with you.
Our family hopes all of you have a safe and happy 4th with your families and pets.
Donna, Handsome, Tag and Bella

June 29, 2016

Tuesdays With Tag - Better Late Than Never...

Brynwood Needleworks - Mike Sommers Sporting Dogs

Hi, Everybody!

No. It's not Tuesday. 
Yes. This is Tuesdays With Tag for this week.

Yes. I'm considerin' firin' the help. Nothin' like bein' late for my weekly post! I'm tellin' ya, I'm not sure what it takes to get things done on time around here. We had a really nice weekend last week, and I apologize that you have to wait two extra days to hear about it. So, I'm not gonna keep you waitin' even one more minute.

Mom, Dad, The Black Dog and I drove across the state for Bella's trainin' last Friday. I waited in our truck while Bella had her workout. Mom set me up with a cushy wire crate (with a nice thick pad to lie on), lots of water, and a gentle breeze blowin' through the open, shaded back of the truck. It was so nice, I never even panted

She ran her exercises on land and in the water. I could hear Dad and Uncle Mike cheerin' for her good retrieves. I know she's good, but really. There's no need to go overboard.

Brynwood Needleworks - Exploring With The Puppies

The fun started for me after the client dogs all had their turns. I got to play with a bunch of small dogs...although I'm not sure why. I've run with the big dogs before, and they were quite impressed. Maybe I was supposed to clue these little yahoos in on what the future holds? (I just enjoyed snufflin' in the grass and actually got a little swimmin' in myself.)

There was a black Lab puppy, a yellow Lab puppy, and a young dark yellow Lab (called a "fox" color, now), and a couple of English cockers. We all ran around and explored the grounds together.

Brynwood Needleworks - Tag and Cotton

One little minx decided that she should stick with me. Her name is "Cotton". Don't ask me. I don't know why. Cotton Candy? Cotton Mouth? Cotton Swab? Cottontail? pfffffttt! I ran out of ideas, and nobody else asked. Hard as I tried, I just couldn't shake her!

Brynwood Needleworks - Sweet Little Cotton

I had to admit, she was a cute, little thing. She's only about twelve weeks old, so she's just a baby. I only told her once to quit gettin' in my face, but you know puppies...

Brynwood Needleworks - Waiting For Treats

She's pretty good at gettin' treats already, too. Of course, I hung close, in case she dropped one. Uncle Mike saw me, and after he gave her a little Milk Bone, he gave one to me, too. I'm thinkin' she's not so bad, after all.

Brynwood Needleworks - Mike Sommers Land and Water Training

We thought we were gonna get rained on more than once that day, but the skies never let go. It was breezy and warm, but not as hot as if we'd been in town. It's always really breezy at the ranch.

Brynwood Needleworks - Leaving The Ranch

Bella rode back to Uncle Mike's kennels with all the other wet dogs in the dog truck. Each dog has a private berth and the entire carrier is well-ventilated (air conditioned, when it's needed). Believe me, she had a comfy drive back. I know from when I was there for trainin'.

Mom, Dad and I followed in our truck. I got to stretch out all over the black dog-hair-covered back seat of our truck.

Brynwood Needleworks -That, Ladies and Gentlemen, Concludes The Day.

Once we got back to Uncle Mike's, he took Bella off the truck and she ran to us. She jumped right into the back of Dad's open truck, and ran over to the window to thank him for takin' her over for trainin' for the day.

After Mom took this picture for me, Dad finished unloadin' our truck and we all went inside for Friday movie and pizza night. I got my dinner. That's all I cared about!

So, now that we've had our weekly visit, I feel so much better. How about you? Are you glad you got your "Tag fix" with this installment? Let Mom know, please. She needs to feel a little pressure for droppin' the ball, after all.

I'll start buggin' her now so she doesn't forget that we have to do this again in a few short days. I'll be back right after the holiday weekend. In fact, Bella and I might be back early, to wish you a Happy Fourth!

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

June 28, 2016

Blooms And A Good Book...

Brynwood Needleworks - Bromeliad Blossom

Destiny is still away. I thought I'd pick her up yesterday, but her "therapist" is sick. As I prefer not to be ill, too, I told him to call me when he's feeling better and I'll run up and get my machine.

I guess it's just as well. My foot is still acting up, so I've been keeping it elevated and on ice. What a pain! I stayed out of the studio and chose to start a new book instead. (I'm reading American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld.)

Brynwood Needleworks - Bromeliad

Years ago, my eldest niece and goddaughter, Jennifer, gave me a beautiful Birthday bromeliad. It was a single, perfect plant with a gorgeous pink bloom. I put it outside near the pool, and then later planted it in the yard under an oak tree. Each year, the plant grew bigger and even multiplied.

Brynwood Needleworks - Bromeliad

When I let Tag out yesterday, I saw that my now-large bromeliad clump is alive with blooms! They surely brightened my day. 
I'll be back in the studio today, rain or shine, pain or not. I've got stuff to do, and my little Janome is going to help me get my projects finished. I just have to focus, right?

June 27, 2016

Helping A Friend...

Brynwood Needleworks - Grief Quilt
Yesterday, I helped a friend with a very important project. Amanda, asked me to help her in her effort to fulfill a request from her sister-in-law to create a grief quilt, using important elements personally chosen by the mother.

Amanda came over in the morning with a bagful of various items. There were t-shirts, baby clothes, blankets and tiny caps. Each was rolled up with a note, secured with a rubber band. The notes explained the level of importance of each piece, and its significance to her.

You see, my friend's sister-in-law lost her sweet baby girl thirty six hours after she was born. She was severely compromised and doctors actually never expected her to live to be born. Her parents chose to take her to term and were able to hold her so she could feel their love before she passed.

Brynwood Needleworks - Grief Quilt Little Birds

Once I had an understanding of the significance of all these elements, I decided that everything would be treated with equal importance. To this mommy, they all represented the life of her lost baby. The finished project will be her tangible link to a child she can no longer hold in her arms.

We opened up every rolled treasure, and discussed how to use them to the best advantage. Because of the variety of fabrics, colors, textures and "stretchiness", I determined that we should stabilize many of the fabrics to keep them from distorting before they could even be sewn into the quilt. So, we cut and immediately fused the t-shirts that we cut, and then we fused other items that were taken apart to keep them stable, too.

Brynwood Needleworks - Grief Quilt Mommy's Sweetie

We opened the seams of this sweet baby onesie, and then fused the front to the woven stabilizer. Once it was secured, we zigzagged the little monkey edge to one edge of the fabric she chose for the background for this block, and then turned and fused the opposite side of the onsie to the block to be hand appliqued'. The fabric with the tiny lavender and green buds is the fabric that will be used for the quilt. (The blue and brown hearts to the right of the onsie are actually my table cover on the table in our dinette area, and not a part of the quilt at all.)

Amanda is going to take the lavender flower off this little cap (which perfectly matches the little bows and lettering on the garment) and sew it over the missing sleeve, as shown.

Brynwood Needleworks - Grief Quilt Hawaiian Ruffled Fabric

This child's mommy and daddy loved Hawaii and spent their honeymoon there. They brought back a sweet ruffled top and bloomers. I took the outfit apart, salvaged the elastic ruffles and the long pieces that were gathered to create the top. I also kept the labels which will be worked into a seam next to this fabric. (You can see how she might incorporate those elements into the quilt if you look back at the first photograph.)

Brynwood Needleworks - Grief Quilt Fabrics

Once Amanda had a concept for the quilt, she was ready to go home and tackle the rest of the prepping for the quilt. She took the tiny lavender bud fabric (and another coordinating piece) I gave her and headed to the fabric store for a coordinating sashing, backing and binding fabric.

These are the fabrics she chose. the strips over the top of the bolts are the two fabrics I shared with her. She's actually planning to make two different pieces; one for each parent. The bottom (white) is Pellon Shape-Flex Lightweight Fusible Woven (SF-101) which will stabilize the other stretchy garments she's cutting up. The greens will likely be the sashing and backing, and the top, dot fabric was chosen for binding.

I'll likely see her again once everything is prepared for joining. I'll help her trim and join her blocks, and help make her fabric decisions for each application (if she asks).

I do know one thing is certain...Amanda's efforts will result in a beautiful pair of grief quilts for her family members, and will offer some comfort to them in their deep grief. I was honored that she asked for my help in such an important piece.


June 26, 2016

A Little Getaway...

Brynwood Needleworks - Training Day At The Ranch
I hope you had a nice weekend. We sure did! Handsome and I packed up Tag and Bella, a few clothes and headed over to the other side of the state for the weekend.

It's always fun to visit with our friends, Mike and Joann, and a training day for Bella is always a great time. The weather was hot HOT, so her workout was short, punctuated with water work to cool her off. 
I injured my foot recently, so Mike's assistant, Rene' took me from field to field on the "gator" (atv). Then, he made sure I had a chair and umbrella whenever we stopped, so I'd be comfortable and have some sun protection (in addition to my "stylish" hat) while I watched the dogs work. After he dropped me off, away he'd go to set up for Mike's training exercises.

After all the dogs on the truck got their training for the day, we headed back to the house for "movie night". We'd brought a dvd with us (Roy Orbison's A Black & White Night concert, which is a true classic) and then we watched a movie that Joann picked up (A Royal Night Out - a comedy based on Queen Elizabeth II and her sister, Margaret on VE Day, marking the end of World War II). Sarah Gadon was delightful as the young Elizabeth II, and Bel Powley was a hoot as her younger sister. You can click HERE for a short trailer from the movie.

Destiny is still at the spa, so I've set up my Janome 3160 QDC until she returns. I'm teaching a quilting class today, but my Janome and I will be back to work later this afternoon. I'm looking forward to a busy week!


June 25, 2016

Sunday Scripture...

Brynwood Needleworks via FaceBook

June 24, 2016

Waiting For Destiny...

Brynwood Needleworks - Michelle Palmer Fabrics

They're all waiting for Destiny's return.

Brynwood Needleworks - Michelle Palmer Fabrics

Fabrics, selected and cut that will become Ltd. Edition Brynwood clutches.

Brynwood Needleworks - Michelle Palmer Fabrics
Paired with cork from Portugal, I think these are going to be stunning.
I'll be working toward creating and listing them by next weekend.
For now...we wait.


June 23, 2016


Brynwood Needleworks - Blue Tequila Restaurant

Handsome and I have the best neighbors, Rich, Stacey and their two teenagers. Stacey and I try to have lunch together a couple times a month, usually on Fridays. As Handsome and I are off to train with Bella tomorrow, Stacey and I decided to go to a new, local restaurant yesterday.

Blue Tequila is located on Tamiami Trail in North Port, and we highly recommend their establishment. In fact, we both said we should do this again soon with our husbands.

Brynwood Needleworks - Blue Tequila Restaurant

The interior is quaint and colorful, and the staff is friendly and attentive. The menu? Fabulous, authentic, fresh Mexican cuisine. Delicious, Mexican cuisine.

Our hostess seated us and then a server brought a flavorful salsa and chips while we decided what to order. We added a little guacamole appetizer and visited while we chose our entrees.

Brynwood Needleworks - My girlfriend, Stacey, waiting to eat.

Stacy always orders a chicken dish. It doesn't matter where we go. So when she chose chicken fajitas I wasn't surprised. She took home all our leftovers.

Brynwood Needleworks - Having lunch at Blue Tequila
I chose a single, shredded beef burrito with salad and rice accompaniments. I ate the burrito and salad and left the rest. That was plenty of food...well, except for a little dessert. We ordered sopapillas...tiny fried, puffed tortilla shells, sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, and drizzled with honey. They were served hot. We got one order of them, which we shared, and we still couldn't eat them all.
I know many of you are states (and countries) away from North Port, FL, but to my more local readers, I can safely say that this is the tastiest Mexican food I've eaten in sw Florida. It's well worth the drive.
Destiny is back at the spa as of yesterday. Rather than play in the studio after lunch, Handsome and I drove back to Bradenton to drop her off. She needs a new automatic needle threader, which I apparently damaged while horsing a wallet around under the needle last week. 
It's actually amazing to realize how much you can come to appreciate a simple feature on a machine. When I'm changing out thread colors, I'm so accustomed to threading the machine and then pushing a button to thread the needle. It's especially wonderful when I have to change 15 or more times to stitch out an embroidery. A recent order required that I embroider a design onto the exterior flap, and I squinted, mumbled and grumbled at every thread change.

My current outstanding orders can be sewn either on my Janome 3160 or Kenny, so now is the best time for Destiny to go on break. She'll be back some time next week. I'll get the rest of my orders out while I wait for her.

June 22, 2016

An Angel On His Shoulder...

Brynwood Needlework - Woolen Strawberry In Progress
I was at Nifty 50s yesterday and this is what I worked on. Jamie was leaving early to pick up a friend at the St. Pete airport, so I stitched on while the ladies sewed. 
About twenty minutes after she left, she came back into the sewing room to tell us that she was still in the parking lot, helping an elderly gentleman who seemed lost and confused. I went outside with her, to find this man sitting in his still-running vehicle with the door open.

She explained that he told her he couldn't remember how to get back to his nursing home. She had her iPad with her, so she searched local facilities and called their phone numbers. After contacting the fourth one, she finally found that he'd be missing for a while and people at his home had been looking for him. They said they would contact the local police department and get him picked up.

I knew Jamie had to get to the airport, so I told her to leave and I'd stay with the man until he was safe. In the meantime, our friend Kathy (who used to be co-owner of Sandy's Quilt Shop) came out to help me. Thankfully, the man wasn't beligerent. He quietly sat in his car, dozing off from time to time. We reassured him that someone was coming for him.

After waiting at least another half hour, I contacted 911 myself. While I was on the phone, a vehicle pulled in with a lady in the passenger seat. The man driving said he was with security from the nursing home and the lady was the gentleman's wife.

My heart melted when she got out of the car, ran to her husband's vehicle, put her hands on his face and kissed him. She said, "It's okay, honey. I'm here to take you back home." He was so happy to see her - and you could see how his fear was eased by her presence.

The security man spoke with the 911 dispatcher I had on the phone, and told her that they were going to make sure the gentleman got safely home, and they needn't send an officer or ambulance. He handed my cell phone back to me, and we went inside, knowing that he was in good hands and would be okay.

In this day and age, it's good - for so many reasons - to keep your eyes open to events unfolding around you. Yesterday, Jamie's attentiveness made all the difference for one family.
Thanks to Jamie for stopping (in spite of her tight schedule) to help the man; and to Kathy who thought to take a cup of water to him while we waited. Jamie said we had our own little Silver Alert this afternoon. His car was only a few yard from a wide open boat ramp into the Peace River, so we believe he had a guardian angel on his shoulder. We were just her helpers.
I did finish the embroidery on my piece, which will be made into a lavender sachet for my client this morning. I'll have it done in time to go with today's mail...with plenty of time to have lunch with my girlfriend and start another project before the end of the day.


June 21, 2016

Blissfully Busy...

Brynwood Needleworks - The Wanderer Traveler's Clutch - Black

I completed the clutch for a commission I recently received. Once I make the wristlet and key fob (this morning), it will be on its way to a new owner. (This client didn't want the shoulder strap.)

It also has the compass embroidered (tone-on-tone) on the exterior of the flap - in black, this time. In addition, I added the initials my client requested to the inside flap.

Brynwood Needleworks - The Wanderer Traveler's Clutch - Black - Interior
The interior is a different map fabric from my collection. I don't have a lot of it...perhaps enough to make one more wallet interior, but that's it.

I can also see I'm going to have to learn to take better photographs of the black cork. (I'll have to ask Handsome, who used to make a living photographing black Mercury Marine outboard motors, to share his expertise.)

I also completed another Acorn Woolen Pincushion, which was delivered to its new home last night. Today, I'll be completing two more orders for Woolen Strawberry Pincushion/Sachets, with two more wallets waiting in the wings. Yes. I'm blissfully busy.


June 20, 2016

Tuesdays With Tag - I Wanna Run...

Brynwood Needleworks - Tag Loves Horses

Hi, Everybody!

Mom and I were on neighborhood patrol last week, and guess what? The ponies were out in their yard, right down the street!!! Did I tell you that I love ponies? Whoa, yeah. I sure do!

Brynwood Needleworks - Horses Love Tag

This gray one seemed to like me, too. I was a little distracted, though. There was some really fragrant stuff over there in the pasture. It made it a little hard to concentrate, but I managed to keep it together.

Brynwood Needleworks - Not All Horses Love Tag

Then, I walked a little further and I saw another pony! This one was a really pretty Golden Retriever color, but lots bigger!

I tried and tried to get this one's attention, but he wasn't havin' any of it. He stayed a polite distance from the fence, so I couldn't give him a proper "hello".  Believe me, I really tried, too.

Brynwood Needleworks - Tag's Gotta Go Now

Wait a sec! What's that guy doin'? He just came runnin' by while I was tryin' to get friendly with the ponies.

"Hey! Wait for me!!! I love runnin', too!"

Brynwood Needleworks - Gotta Run

"See ya later, Red Horse! I've gotta catch up to that guy! Maybe I'll see you on my next walkies. Really...I've gotta run! Try not to miss me, okay?"

I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...  
"Chase A Dream - Or A Squirrel".
(or a guy runnin' down the road!)


June 19, 2016

This Might Just Work...

Brynwood Needleworks - Hexies

While I was away at retreat a few weeks ago, I did have a chance to work on my hexies. I pulled out the box with my fabrics, and threaded a needle to stitch on them.

Brynwood Needleworks - Hexies

The hexie on the left is how I've been sewing them. I've been using the same method with my fusible, washaway forms as I would if they were made from cardboard. I stitched through the fabric with a running stitch all the way around the hexie, through the form.

My pal, Jamie was apparently watching me, because she suggested that I only needed to anchor each fold, and not even stitch it to the form. Then, when I have them all stitched together, I'd only need to remove the thread from the back, if at all. I gave that a try, and then I had an idea.

Brynwood Needleworks - Hexies

If I ironed the fabric down around the form, I could have a more crisp hexie for stitching, so I took it to the ironing board and pressed away.

Brynwood Needleworks - Hexies
As I walked back to sit next to Jamie, something occurred to me. If I use a washable glue stick to hold the stray fabric down on the back, why would I even need to stitch anything? 
I could save myself a lot of work. I'd simply arrange them into a pattern, and then sew the hexies together. That would work, right? I'll let you know.