August 31, 2016

Weathering The Storms...

Brynwood Needleworks - Sofa Dogs
Thanks to our safe and secure home; stocked pantry; a whole-house generator; storm shutters (not yet needed); and Handsome who takes such good care of all of us, we're doing just fine. Lots of rain and some wind, but no worries at Brynwood. We're saying prayers for all those in harms way further north.


I've Been Waiting...

Brynwood Needleworks - Massage Web Image (Not me!)
My friend, Krisann has magic, healing hands. She makes her living as a certified massage therapist. We scheduled my Birthday massage for the day after our primary elections. (Man! I just realized that I managed to extend my Birthday nearly NINE months this time!!)

We haven't seen each other more than once since Handsome and I went to Wisconsin, so in addition to her healing touch, we had a chance to talk. Before we knew it, she'd been hard at work on my knotted muscles for over two hours! I was pretty much jelly when she was finished. She'd managed to massage all the stress and strain away, and I was feeling about a million times better.

I know that I'll need to schedule some "Krisann Time" more often in the coming months. I'm going to need it, for sure!

Thank you, my friend. You truly are a one-of-a-kind healer.


August 30, 2016

The Best...

Brynwood Needleworks - via Internet
I had a great team at the precinct yesterday. We were finished and made our
delivery to the Supervisor's office before 9 pm. I'm going to rest and stitch today.
Thank you to my team members - Loretta, Nancy, Susie, Dick and Barb.
You all made it look easy. Until November, when we'll do it all over again...

August 29, 2016

Tuesdays With Tag - Florida Votes...

Brynwood Needleworks - Taggart

Hi, Everybody!

Today is Primary Election Day in Florida.

Mom left home at 5:15 this mornin' and will be gone until her work is done. I'll be here makin' sure things run smoothly at home, but I'll be watchin' for her to come back in the door. Dad and Bella will be here, too, but I'm not happy until I know Mom's back.

I know she's doin' important stuff, but I like it better when we're hangin' out together. I guess I'm just gonna go sleep near the garage door until I hear her in the driveway. 

Go vote if you're supposed to today. It's your civic duty. If you don't...don't complain. That's what Mom always says. I wonder when we're gonna have an election around here. I wanna vote for favorite meals; minimum swimmin' pool breaks every day; and how much time I have to spend with BB. Maybe we'll have to talk about that.

I've gotta run for now. I'll be in the garage if anyone is lookin' for me.

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

August 28, 2016

Back To Stitching...

Brynwood Needleworks - Stitching Travel Pillow Detail
We completed preparations for our real estate photos which were taken over the weekend. Once the work was done, I could play again. I've been stitching to reward myself..

I'll have a twist to the Stitching Travel Pillow. Sometimes, revisions are born of necessity (shaking my head). I'm going to call it a "design decision". Yup. Photos later. 
I'll be stitching until I have to head over to our precinct to set up. It will only take about an hour and then I'll work on this until it's finished.

Tomorrow is Primary Day in Florida. I'm glad Tag's here to write his post. I'll be having a loooonng day. 4:30 comes early tomorrow morning.


August 27, 2016

Sunday Scripture...

Brynwood Needleworks via Little Birdie Blessings. Thanks, Abby!

August 26, 2016

For Someone Special..

Brynwood Needleworks - Web Image - Fitzgerald Quote
I've posted this for someone special today. 
If it speaks to you, then it's for you, too. 


August 25, 2016

Waiting For Fall...

Web Image
Real estate photos today. I'm tired. I'm hot. I'm happy. 
Tomorrow I play. I've earned spades!


August 24, 2016

A Surprise Gift...

Brynwood Needleworks - Voting Rose

I have voted every election since I came of legal age. It's been a matter of civic pride to me to head out to the polls on Election Day. I never cared much for early voting, preferring the shared experience of standing in line, finally making it to the registration table, showing my identification, signing the poll book and then taking my secret ballot into the booth to cast my sacred vote.

More recently, my pride has extended to being more a part of the process by sitting on the other side of the registration table. The precinct where I serve as clerk is not the same precinct where I cast my vote, though. Once I get to the polls (by no later than 6 am) on Election Day, I - along with all the other poll workers - am required to stay there until the polls close and all our work is done. Then, my assistant clerk and I deliver the locked ballot box and tabulator (that counts the votes) to the Supervisor of Elections office.

What this means for my being able to cast my vote(s) is that I have to vote early. The Supervisor of Elections office in North Port is open up until Friday evening for anyone who prefers (or needs) to vote early, so Handsome and I went there yesterday.

Brynwood Needleworks - Voting Rose
As we exited the polls, the Deputy handed each of us an "I Voted" label and then told us that the florist next door was handing out free roses to each voter who cast their ballot early. I took my label next door and the owner, Andree, directed me to a large container, filled with beautiful and fragrant blooms.

This is the one I chose. I placed it in one of my mother-in-law's crystal bud vases as soon as I got home, and I'll be enjoying it through the rest of the week. 
Thanks to North Port Natural Florist in North Port, Florida - and the owner Andree Belliveau - for such a nice gesture. I know where I'll go next time we need to purchase fresh flowers or a beautiful arrangement. 


August 23, 2016

Let's Talk...

Web Image
As I sat down to write this post, I thought, "What shall I write about today?" I'm not one to have an issue "hitting the wall" when I write, but face it...most of what I've been doing lately is neither joyful or creative. It's been hard work. Then, I thought, "That's okay. Sometimes, you just sit down with a friend and tell her/him about your day." That's what I'm doing today, so grab your cup of coffee or tea and get comfy.

Our home is back on the market! Our realtor is sending a professional photographer to take pictures of our home on Friday for the listing. Saturday, they've got someone coming to take a aerial images of our entire property with a drone. So since last Friday, I've been packing boxes, purging and cleaning room to room.

I began in the studio. I filled five or six boxes with bolts of fabric (with many more to go) and those are already in the garage, waiting for more. I also pulled bolts that I'll be listing over the weekend into my online shop for sale. I also packed items that will be donated or sold...or thrown away.
Next, I moved into the dining room and living room. I've been reading more about how to stage for showings, so I pulled up our beautiful Persian rug in the living room, and that's now in the garage. The room already looks lighter and brighter with more Italian tile visible.  Likewise, I wanted to feature our wood floors in the dining room, so I pulled the rug out from under the dining set, and then cleaned the floor before moving the dining set back into place.

Less is more (always), so I'm deciding what's precious to keep, and what we'll send along to Suncoast Resale Shop to benefit the Suncoast Humane Society animals. I'm trying very hard to make snap decisions and avoid handling things more than once. (That's especially difficult for me, but I'm getting better.)

There's still more to do, and it's so dang hot outside that the air conditioner is having a hard time keeping up in this oppressive heat. It makes my work a little more difficult inside, too. When I came home from Paneras last night, it was still 86º at 10 pm!
Today, I'll run over to our local storage spot and get more boxes and packing paper so I can do more of the same. Truthfully, I'm already over this process, but in an effort to keep less, I keep telling myself that it will get easier...and I'm "doing good" with those things we decide to donate. 

The reward for us (hopefully) will be a quick sale so we can move on to our next big adventure. I'm also looking forward to my short-term reward...getting back to the studio after the inside photographer leaves on Friday. By then, we'll be ready for showings and I can play for a while. I want to show you a completed project by Monday. No. I need to show you a completed project by Monday.


August 22, 2016

Tuesdays With Tag - A Bella Day...

Brynwood Needleworks - Tag - August 23, 2016

Hi, Everybody!

I think this week's post will pretty much speak for itself, which is a good thing. I rarely speak on command. Mom's still workin' on gettin' me to talk when she wants me to, and Dad tells me to be quiet. I kinda wish they'd make up their minds. 

Anyway, I'm goin' to share a few pictures with you from this past week. Let's just say, I'm glad to be back home again.

Brynwood Needleworks - Sleeping Beauty Bella

I think this one is so funny - and cute - of Sleeping Beauty Bella. She does this all the time. I have no idea why she leaves her tongue out like this. Heck. Flies could land on it, or somethin'!

Brynwood Needleworks - Bella, Bella, Bella

Mom's been busy this week. She's been movin' stuff in the studio, but not makin' anything. She's been fillin' boxes, and Dad helps her move 'em into the garage. Then, Sunday mornin' she got busy in the kitchen with these ingredients (and a bunch of different fruits).

Dad was readin' labels and said, "Look. Stella Bella and Bella Sera!" Great. I'm thinkin' Bella this, Bella that. Oh, look! There's Bella Butt! Enough already. These guys have no future as comedians! I left the room.

Brynwood Needleworks - Mom's White Sangria

Anyway, after all that messin' around in the kitchen, Mom just put a pitcher in the fridge and went back to work. At the end of the day, she got out a big glass and filled it with the stuff from the fridge.

She took a sip, sighed and declare her day "Done". She smiled a lot, too. I guess she liked it. She said the good thing is that there was enough left to drink the rest of this week! (She's not much of a drinker, actually.)

So, all in all my week has been pretty borin'. I've been dodgin' the hustle and bustle, happy to be in my crate. Mom leaves the door open, so I just trot in and snuggle into my pillow. It's best if I just stay out of the way. Bella and I will keep a low profile the rest of the week. As long as we get to go swimmin', we'll be happy pups.

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

August 21, 2016

The 36-Hour Shirt...

Brynwood Needleworks - THE 36-Hour Shirt

I've been packing up in earnest these days. I'll have more to tell you about that in the coming days (and weeks), but sorting and packing led me to this discovery. Today, I'd like to tell you the story of The 36-Hour Shirt.

To all of you who create, I'm sure you each have a story like this. You know...that one project that nearly pushed you off a ledge. The job commission project or, in my case, "government job" (read free) that almost killed you. Well, this is mine.

Brynwood Needleworks - Inspiration For The 36-Hour Shirt

Here's the story:
The year was 1981. I had recently moved back to my hometown and had been working where I met Handsome. We were already good friends. I was settled into my apartment, and I received this magazine clipping from a relative. Under most circumstances, I would have charged (even way back then) for my work, but it was my father who made the request.

If memory serves, he was in charge of some sort of horse-rider's organization at the time, and I think he found the "inspiration" photo in one of his horse magazines. The magazine article talked about how this shirt was all the rage; where shirts like this could be purchased (all on the West coast); and how much it cost. The perfect shirt for a Midwestern cowboy. (FYI - in 1981, the shirts were available from a variety of sources for $50 - $300.)

He approached me on a Friday. It was one of those "You sew and you can embroider. Will you make this for me for a banquet next weekend?"

Yup. That was pretty much my reaction. People often see the results of our efforts, but don't really think about the amount of time that goes into the finished project. I know that was definitely the case here. Have you ever had anyone accuse you of bragging when you share a finished project? (I have. Nice, right?)

Well, I guess the fact that many of us know how to meet deadlines helps to perpetuate the myth that we're miracle workers and time isn't really a factor in our chosen craft(s). "Sure. I can have it done by next Friday." (I still don't know what I was thinking. I didn't have a machine to do the embroidery. That would be done by hand after I sewed the shirt together.)

So, off I went. I located a pattern that was close in style; chose a beautifully soft black, cotton blend fabric and white cotton for the contrast. I grabbed packages of premade white piping and the snap hardware for the fasteners down the front.

Even then, I cut fabric on one day and started sewing the next. It's my way of dealing with the fact that I hate really dislike cutting out patterns. One day spent on that task. (I had plenty of time, right?)

Brynwood Needleworks - Back Yoke Detail Of The 36-Hour Shirt

I sewed the shirt together on Saturday, planning to start the embroideries on Sunday. That would give me a week to get them completed...or so I thought. On Sunday afternoon, he came back to me and said, "Is there any chance you can have the shirt done on Monday? There's another function I'd like to wear the shirt to, if you can swing it."

Wait. What? Seriously? "I'll do what I can", was all I could say. Then the panic set in. Who stitches that quickly? Who wants to stitch that quickly? I got a little sick to my stomach, but I set my jaw and kicked it up a notch. Game on.

Brynwood Needleworks - Close-up Detail of Embroidery On The 36-Hour Shirt
Yeah. These photos are the real deal. (I've come a long way in my technique, baby!) In those years, I didn't yet know about prewashing threads (hence the color bleeding when it was washed - some time after all the events), and wow! Who knew you separated plys of cotton floss? (Kidding? Not kidding. I didn't know.) Frankly, plying the floss wouldn't have covered nearly as well, though.

I stitched through the night. Really. I stitched all night, stopping only to take a shower and get ready for work on Monday. I grabbed a bag with this project tucked inside, drove to work and got there early enough to stitch. I did my job, but every lull, I pulled out the project, trying to hide that I was working on it. 

By 6 pm, I had a full 24 hours of stitching into the shirt...and it was finished. That bloody shirt was finished! I was in tears while I labored over it. Handsome saw it, saw my stress and said I should bail on it, but I couldn't. It became a challenge that I overcame.

Thirty six hours after the first request, I called it "done" and handed it off. (I did iron it before I gave it away.) I took on the challenge and performed a miracle. I couldn't even call it a labor of love. It was far from it. I took two photographs of him wearing it. He was proud as a peacock. He put it on and headed off to his early event.

Why am I not sharing one of those photos? My hands were so shaky, that both images are two blurry to really tell what it is.

Some time much later, I got it back again. Why? A seam had frayed. Could I fix it? Sure. Would I fix it? I still have it, don't I? Thirty five years later. I still have it. That bloody shirt. A reminder of thirty six panicked hours of my life when I got it done. No bragging...just fact. Never again.


August 20, 2016

Sunday Scripture...

Image via Sophie and Dakota's World
blog link: 

August 19, 2016

Recipe For White House Sandwiches...

Web Image
When I posted about making White House Sandwiches for dinner last night, I guess I hadn't realized that I hadn't shared the recipe with you before. They've been our family favorite since the first time I made them, so I'd like to give you the recipe today.
Apologies for not having a photo to go with the recipe now, but the next time I make them, I'll it to this post. I'm not sure if they actually have anything to do with the White House or not, but that's what they were named the first time I ever tasted one.
When I was in my 20s - before I ever met Handsome - I worked as a paralegal and office manager in a law firm in Portage, Wisconsin. Across the street was a restaurant. I wish I could remember the name, but I can't. Anyway, they used to serve what was called their "White House Sandwich", which I ordered whenever I went there. Years later, I developed my own recipe, based on my memories of that meal. Warning: My version isn't fat free, but it is tasty!
White House Sandwich
Donna Liljegren - Brynwood Needleworks 
Prep Time: 1/2 hour        Serves: 2

Ingredients to make two sandwiches:

To make white sauce:
1/4 c. - All Purpose Flour
1/4 stick - Butter (real) 
1 1/2 c. - whole milk (I admit, I use Half & Half)
1/4 lb. Portabella Mushrooms, sliced
To assemble sandwiches:
4 slices - Deli Tavern Ham  
4 slices - Deli Roast Turkey
4 slices - Cheddar Cheese 
4 slices - Bread or 2 hamburger rolls, cut in half (I like sourdough or Italian bread!)
In a saucepan, melt the 1/2 stick of butter over medium heat. Slowly add flour until mixed. Remove from heat and slowly add all the milk, mixing with a whisk to avoid clumping. Bring to a slow boil, which helps avoid the "flour-y" taste. Mix until mixture begins to thicken. Add salt and black (or white) pepper, to taste. Set aside.

Saute' mushrooms in 2 Tbsp. butter, until tender. Add mushrooms to the white sauce. Keep warm.

Toast bread and place on heat-resistant dinner plate. On each slice of bread, place 2 slices of ham and 2 slices of turkey. Cover with some of the sauce mixture. Place cheese slices on top and cover with a little more sauce.

Place plate under the broiler until the sauce and cheese starts to bubble. Serve.

Making the white sauce is actually the hardest part! If you only want to make one sandwich, you can keep the extra sauce in the refrigerator. Just add a little more milk when you reheat it. You can adjust the ingredient quantities to make more or less sauce.

That's it. Add a side salad or your favorite vegetable (or nothing at all), and you've got a delicious, satisfying meal in no time at all.

By the way: I've now added a "Recipes" page to my menu bar (up there at the top under my header). From now on, you can easily find a recipe there, and I'll add them as I post them in the future. I'll even add other non-edible recipes, laundry soap, etc. Of course, if the recipe is not my original, I'll always give credit.


August 18, 2016

Ready For Friday...

Brynwood Needleworks - Rest Area Flowers
I'm really ready for Friday this week. I wish I could say that I'm recuperated from our travel home, but yesterday morning, I was up early for training for the upcoming primary election....five hours of training. 

Everyone who works for the Supervisors of Election in Sarasota County is required to take training before every election. That way we know about any procedural changes, changes in hardware or features, and updated laws. I have to admit, the last thing I wanted to do this morning was get up before the sun, so that I could be at my training site at 8 am.

Once there, I always enjoy interacting with staff and the other clerks and assistant clerks. One of my inspectors from this spring will be my assistant clerk this time, and I'm tickled. She's a delightful lady and we'll make a great team.

At the end of our training, we have to take a competency test. While some people get nervous taking tests, I've never had that problem. (I was a real bookworm/geek in school.) I aced the test - earning a perfect score - and now I'm looking forward to working with my staff and interacting with the voters in my precinct. I'm ready.

After training, Handsome and I met for an appointment, and then headed home afterward. Our yard needed attention, so I offered to ride around on the mower for an hour or so. I managed to beat the afternoon rains and the yard looks so much better - except for the low-lying parts which retain water.

I made White House sandwiches for dinner and then put my feet up. I'm already making a list of things I want/need to accomplish today. I'm itching to get back into the studio, but there are other tasks that have to come first. My goal is to finish the projects I was working on over our travels tonight or tomorrow. Work before Play. (sigh) Sometimes it's no fun being a responsible adult.


August 17, 2016

Too Tired To Talk...

Brynwood Needleworks - Another Airstreamer

Once we crossed the Florida state line yesterday, we saw another Airstreamer making their way south. It's always nice to see those other silver campers, as they're few and far between. On this trip - nearly 3500 miles long - we only saw about seven other units.

Brynwood Needleworks - Passing Their Rig

We actually saw this one twice. The first time we passed them, I waved, but I think the driver (who was talking with her passenger at the time) noticed me too late to wave back.

Along the road, we stopped for lunch and fuel and then got back on the road. The next time we saw them, they were slightly ahead of us (again), and heading off to their exit. I looked back to find the driver waving (enthusiastically) to me this time. I grinned from ear-to-ear and waved back in kind. It actually made my afternoon! Funny how much a smile and a wave can brighten someone's day.

Brynwood Needleworks -Tired Road Warriors
From there, we drove the last hour home. The dogs are the best travelers, but all of us were weary of the road. I've almost reached my "word limit" for this post. I'm as tired as they were. (Remember, I write these posts the night before you get to read them.)

Today, I have to be in Venice by 8 am for my clerk training for our next primary election. I don't know about other states, but Florida requires refresher training prior to every, single election. My goal is to never, ever be the Florida precinct that ends up in the national news! (I know I'm not alone in this.)

I'd better grab a good cup of coffee on my way out the door so I can shake off my desire to just stay in and sleep today. Good thoughts are greatly appreciated!


August 16, 2016

Homeward Bound - Last Leg Today...

Brynwood Needleworks - Homeward Bound -Tennessee River Crossing

We left our campsite in Clinton, TN (just north of Knoxville) this morning, and crossed the beautiful Tennessee River as we moved south on Interstate 75. We don't know why we've never traveled this portion of I-75 before, opting instead for a more southerly route. We agreed that we'll definitely use travel this way again.

Right after we passed through Atlanta, we encountered a traffic-halting, toad-strangler of a storm. Portions of the highway had some roadwork on the median and shoulders, and there, we had to take care not to hydroplane our package in the flooded areas. Handsome managed to white-knuckle our way through the storm, and the sun came out about ten miles later. We were so grateful!

Brynwood Needleworks - Homeward Bound - Northbound I-75

As we got to the dry pavement, I took this shot of the northbound lanes. Yes, that traffic was stopped all the way down the road past the curve in this picture! We felt bad, knowing what they had ahead of them, and prayed that there would be no accidents.

We continued on our way toward Valdosta, GA, deciding to spend the night in the Tifton KOA. We arrived shortly after 4 pm. That's early for us to stop, but it was another arduous day, and we decided not to chance driving farther when Handsome was getting tired.

Brynwood Needleworks - Homeward Bound  - Tifton Neighbor

We pulled into our spot and were watched by a nosy neighbor the whole time we set up. I couldn't resist a photo of this sweet, quiet dog who rested his/her chin on their windowsill. Tag and Bella missed seeing this face, but I have it for our album.

Brynwood Needleworks - Homeward Bound - Tifton, GA KOA

We were settled under the trees (great because we're back in truly hot weather again), and I fed our pups first. Then I pulled out the shrimp, cream, parmesan cheese (which I grated), minced garlic and noodles to make a nice homemade shrimp alfredo for the two of us.

I don't drive on these treks, so my gift to my dear husband is to make a great meal for him, and then let him get his rest so he's ready for the next day's drive. Cleanup was finished by 7 pm, and he settled in to watch some of the Olympics while I tackled a book I've been reading.

We'll be home by noon today, and then set about emptying and cleaning the Flying Cloud. (I know she's got a name, but old habits are hard to break.) Homeward bound and ready to sleep in our own big bed tonight.

August 15, 2016

Tuesdays With Tag - Big Bone Lick State Park...

Brynwood Needleworks - Tag on Tuesday

Hi, Everybody!

Well, this Tuesday you find me headin' for home. We've already left Wisconsin, have gone through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and we stayed in Tennessee for the night. It's been an interestin' ride, but I think this tops it.

Brynwood Needleworks - Big Bone Lick State Park web image

Mom called my attention to the fact that we were drivin' past a place called Big Bone Lick State Park! You can't even imagine how excited I got just thinkin' about lickin' some really big bones! I was beggin' Dad to stop there, but he just kept goin'.


Bella almost had a heart attack, and Dad completely ignored me. (Guess he got a lot of practice when our sons were youngsters.) sigh

Brynwood Needleworks - Sniffin' The Car Vent

The best I could do was sniff the vent as we traveled down the road to see if I could at least smell those big bones. (No such luck!)

Brynwood Needleworks - Brynwood's Taggart

I overheard Dad tellin' Mom how much he liked this route between Florida and Wisconsin - and that we'd be drivin' this way again. I'm gonna put in my request now, and hopefully next time, we'll stop for a little while. I know I'm gonna dream about it, for sure.

We're gonna get to Valdosta, Georgia for tonight, and then tomorrow we'll be back home. Mom's got more stuff to tell you about tomorrow, so I guess I'm done for today. It's hard work ridin' in the back seat with Bella all day...and I get to do it all over again today. Oh, well...

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