September 30, 2016

Nine Finished, Ten In Progress...

Brynwood Needleworks - Finished Wooly Critters "Crow & Pumpkin"
I finished Block Nine earlier in the week, before I was sidetracked with those lovely hickory nuts. Before the week is over, I wanted to show you how it turned out.

Brynwood Needleworks - Detail of Finished Wooly Critters "Crow & Pumpkin"

I'm especially fond of the crow, and the fabric I found for the wing. I added the little curly details per the pattern, but stitched curls are a personal favorite.
Brynwood Needleworks - Detail of Finished Wooly Critters "Crow & Pumpkin"

I appreciate looking at my photos after the stitching is finished. In this image, I can see that I need to trim off the little wooly tufts on the left side of the leaf. It's just a little finishing touch to clean up my work.

Brynwood Needleworks - Wooly Critters "Squirrel & Oak Leaves" In Progress
Friday night was rainy, so there was nothing I liked more than to pick up the next block and start the embroidery work on it. It seems appropriate that I'd stitch this little squirrel this week. 
The rain is supposed to continue today, so I'll get the dogs out for a good run, check for any hickory nuts that might have blown out of the trees overnight, and then I'll complete this block. What's not to like about a rainy day?

Welcome to October, friends!


September 29, 2016

Nature Called...

Brynwood Needleworks - Hickory Nuts

Nature called...but not in the usual way this term is used. I awoke yesterday to the sun rising over the horizon east of the farm. The skies were clear and it was going to be a beautiful day. Bella and Tag were anxious to get out and have their breakfast, and I took a shower and got dressed. We had plans to meet my aunt and uncle by 9.

My uncle is going to be painting the rooms in our farmhouse (he's a retired painter), so the three of us went to pick up the paint I chose while Sherwin Williams is having their 30% off sale. I was purchasing 15 gallons of Repose Gray and 5 gallons of Ibis White, so I didn't want to miss the discount! We made a few other stops and headed back to the farm to unload the truck, and then we headed our separate ways for the rest of the day.

I took the dogs outside and decided it was much too perfect a day to spend inside. I changed clothes, grabbed a large bucket and went to collect hickory nuts, while the dogs snuffled in the grass and explored our property. There was a nice breeze and the land is beginning to smell like fall. I savored every minute.

Brynwood Needleworks - Hickory Nuts

When my bucket was nearly full, we went back to the house, parked in the sun coming through the open windows in the kitchen, and proceeded to open up the green and brown cases hiding those precious hickory nuts inside.

Bella was more interested in this process than Tag, so she spent most of the time watching me remove the outer husks. I'd open them in a few moves, toss them into a waiting shopping bag on my left and with the other hand, place the moist nuts into a bowl on my right.

Brynwood Needleworks - Hickory Nuts

As I went through these motions, I let my mind wander. The clean, nutty/almost citrusy/earthy fragrance of the outer husks wafted up as the autumn sun warmed my shoulders.

I thought how much Mom would have enjoyed watching me as I worked. Sis told me that she remembered shelling hickory nuts with her grandmother when she was a young girl, and how she loved the taste of them.

I thought about the pioneer women who would have performed this same act as they harvested the bounty the land provided for them. As I collected the nuts from our trees, I noticed that we also have small, sweet, wild grapes growing in the same hedgerow. (I'll remember those for next year!)

Brynwood Needleworks - Hickory Nuts

Sis told me that after the still moist nuts are removed from the outer husks, they used to lay them out on trays to dry. This allows the shells to harden. No need to bake them. Just let them harden so the shells can be stored to crack later.

My bucket yielded nearly seven pints of whole nuts. Friends have shared their favorite family recipes with me that will used the nut meats. I'm looking forward to trying the cookie and cake recipes that have been sent to me, and sharing them with my family.

There was only one sad note to this otherwise perfect day. Handsome and I have been watching the resident red squirrels as they prepare for winter. One particular squirrel has amused us as he'd run across the yard, stick his nose into the grass - and his butt in the air - to bury nuts he'd shelled under the largest hickory tree. He liked to run across the end of our road between the hickory trees and the pear tree in our south tree line. I mentioned earlier in the week that I figured I'd be competing with him to collect my own harvest.

Sadly, as I drove out to meet my aunt and uncle, I found him on the road just past our driveway. He wasn't there when I came home last night, and there were only a few cars that came down to the end of our road to the farm late yesterday. Someone must have accidentally hit him on their way in or out. I stopped the car, actually said how sorry I was that he was gone, picked him up, and gently placed his body into the tall grass on the side of the road.

I haven't seen the other squirrels at all since. I'm hoping that they'll be back to entertain us, and collect the hickory nuts that are still clinging to the high branches of the trees....and I hope they steer clear of the road. I'd much rather enjoy their antics.

September 28, 2016

Latest Farmhouse Finds...

Brynwood Needleworks - Farmhouse Finds

I stopped at my favorite antique mall yesterday and came home with a few fabulous finds. Let's start with this stack of beauties, shall we?

Brynwood Needleworks - Farmhouse Finds - Enamel Mixing Bowl

This is an enamel mixing bowl. It has measurements on the inside and was an advertising bowl for Volrath Company here in Wisconsin. I'm especially fond of enamelware and this will be a useful addition to the collection.

Brynwood Needleworks - Farmhouse Finds - Large Ironstone Oval Dish

I also have a few lovely ironstone pieces, and this is the largest one now. It's an oval dish that measures about 9" long. I'll use it in the (new) studio, and it will also be welcome in the kitchen. It's in pristine condition with no cracks, chips or crazing.

Brynwood Needleworks - Farmhouse Finds  - Large Enamel Tray

This is the largest enamel tray I've ever found. I popped a few wooden utensils into it to give you an idea of how large it is. It's about 3.5" deep, and it's also in great shape.

Brynwood Needleworks - Farmhouse Finds - Grain Sack

The antique mall is in Kewaskum, Wisconsin. As I was walking around, I say this intact grain sack that was being used as a table cover. It's like a big pillowcase, so that's likely how I'll use it. I'll insert a king size pillow into it and then close up the end. It might look nice on the sofa or on one of the beds...after it's washed.

Brynwood Needleworks - Farmhouse Finds -Enamel Cabinet

Speaking of enamelware, I also found this great little cabinet. I needed something to place next to the washer in the basement for holding cleaning supplies and my homemade laundry soap. It's the same height as the washer.

Brynwood Needleworks - Farmhouse Finds - Cabinet Top
The top is in great shape, too. It was marked $35.00, and the booth was having a 30% off sale! I'd say it was the perfect price, too.

I spent $85 (including sales tax) for all my purchases and came home with some really useful, practical and attractive, vintage items. I'm looking forward to installing all of them in the farmhouse.

When I got home, I spent the evening stitching. I'll show you my finished Block Nine tomorrow.

September 27, 2016

This Is More Like It...

Brynwood Needleworks - Wooly Critter "Crow & Pumpkin"
Yesterday was a great day at the farm. I was scheduling work to be accomplished here, pulling nails and playing with my Wooly Critters blocks!
I chose my wools when Kathy and I last went to Primitive Gatherings, so I have lots of color and pattern options for the remaining blocks. 
Brynwood Needleworks - Wooly Critter "Crow & Pumpkin"

This one is Block Nine, "Crow & Pumpkin", and I'm very happy with the colors I chose for this one. As soon as I finished fusing this one to the ground fabric, I went right on to the next block.

Brynwood Needleworks - Wooly Critter "Squirrel & Oak Leaves"

Block Ten is definitely a favorite! I know. You're shocked, right? I love how the hand dyed wools create real dimension on the leaves and acorns.

Brynwood Needleworks - Wooly Critter "Squirrel & Oak Leaves"

I chose the threads for these last night, and I'll start stitching on them in my "down time". Just getting my hands back into my needlework supplies was so nice. Stitching at the farm will be heavenly.

September 26, 2016

Tuesdays With Tag - Farmer Tag...

Brynwood Needleworks - Tractor Shoppin'

Hi, Everybody!

Boy, it's been a busy week at the farm. We may be workin' on the inside of the farmhouse, but the grass hasn't stopped growin', and we have stuff that needs our attention outside, too. 

Yesterday, Dad, Mom, Bella and I headed down the road to our local tractor dealership.

Brynwood Needleworks - Tractor Shoppin'

We looked at medium-sized and smaller tractors and Dad finally made his decision. We went back inside and sealed the deal. We have a new yellow and green tractor comin' to our house.

We've always had John Deere tractors, so it was just natural that we'd get another one for the farm. Rather than move our Florida tractor to Wisconsin, we'll let that one stay in the south with a new owner.

Brynwood Needleworks - Readin' Up

When we got home, I decided I need to learn more about the bigger tractor Bella and I will be chasin' around in our yard. We're gonna have a new mower deck (Dogs aren't allowed outside when the mower is runnin'), a new loader and a few other cool accessories. It's important that Bella and I know the ins and outs of the new machine so we can be safe when Dad and Mom are usin' it.

Brynwood Needleworks - Farmer Tag

Why are you lookin' at me like that? You knew I could read, right? Don't act so surprised. Mom's even teachin' me a little Spanish these days. Every well-rounded Corgi should be bi-lingual.

I'm gonna get back to readin' this brochure. Then, I think I'm gonna spend a little time with Mom's Rosetta Stone program before the day is over. Bein' a well-rounded guy takes effort. Bye for now. Uh, I mean adios!!

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

September 25, 2016

Decision Made...

Brynwood Needleworks - Sherwin Williams Repose Gray and Ibis White - Pinterest Image

While visiting with our younger son and his family over the weekend, I mentioned to our daughter-in-law that we were mulling over paint colors for the farm. I told her that I'd already tried out a few grays on the wall, but I wasn't sold on the colors yet. I told her that I wanted to get a can of Sherwin Williams "Repose Gray" to try.

She told me that they just painted the interior of one of their flip houses with that color! (What a coincidence!) Well, you know we made arrangements with them to see the house before the weekend was over, right? We had wanted to see their progress anyway, and seeing the paint job was a bonus.

Brynwood Needleworks - Sherwin Williams Paint Chips
Long story short, we saw the house on Friday and loved the paint choices! So, the decision has been made. We'll be painting "Repose Gray" on the walls and ceilings and "Ibis White" on the woodwork. Trust me. You're going to love it in the farmhouse as much as we will.
As soon as our plaster walls are repaired and the new ceilings are up, painting will commence. Of course, you can count on photos as soon as we get some on the walls.

September 24, 2016

September 23, 2016

Already Decorating (In My Head)...

Brynwood Needleworks - Cindy Austin "Brown & White Cow"

Right now, our farm kitchen is a blank slate. We have a pantry (not a "butler's pantry" as farmers never had butlers!) with a farm sink and all the cabinets a heart could desire. The adjacent room used to have a stove and refrigerator when the previous owners lived here, but those appliances are long gone and we have an empty room to turn into our kitchen.

Brynwood Needleworks - Cindy Austin "Cow Painting"

I've had stainless steel appliances in our Florida home for years, but stainless seems out of place for our farm. I'm opting instead for white appliances. Handsome and I have also settled on repeating the butcher block countertops, as they're really our favorite counter surface.

Brynwood Needleworks - Cindy Austin "Moonalisa"

The rest of our kitchen ideas will be revealed in good time, but one item keeps coming back to the front of my mind. We're in the Dairy State, surrounded by dairy farmers. I can see cows on the landscape, almost without leaving home. 
Brynwood Needleworks - Cindy Austin "Gwendolyn"
I love Cindy Austin's animal paintings, and this one - "Gwendolyn" - has captured my heart. I'll be ordering this canvas to hang in our farm. I'm thinking "kitchen" right now, but either way, Gwendolyn is going to live on one of the walls in our farmhouse.

You can find Cindy's artwork in her Etsy shop (pinkgloves2) HERE. She paints more than cows, and I love everything she does.


September 22, 2016

Turning Leaves...

Brynwood Needleworks - Turning Leaves

Although the weather is still in the high 70s during the day, the temperatures are in the low to mid 60s at night. It's perfect sleeping weather with our bedroom window open, and the trees are turning toward Autumn in Wisconsin. 
I stopped to take photos of the maple leaves in our front yard, only to realize that they're falling onto beds of clover. Next time I go out, I'll be looking to see if I can find the elusive four-leaf variety, tucked in with our grass.

Brynwood Needleworks - Turning Leaves

This tall, slender maple is the only one in our yard that has begun to turn, but I know it won't be too long before the woods behind our property displays a riot of color. I'm looking forward to the sights and smells of Autumn. It's my favorite time of year.

Brynwood Needleworks - Hickory Nuts
Our hickory tree is nearly ready to share its bounty, too. Handsome purchased some 5-gallon buckets for me, so I can collect them this year. That's if I can beat the resident squirrels to them, of course.


September 21, 2016

Farmhouse Renovation - We're Starting Here...

Brynwood Needleworks - Dining Room Renovation

This is going to be the first room for our farmhouse renovation. I'm standing in the living room side of the arch to take this picture.

The doorways in our farmhouse are 7' tall, and in all the other rooms of the downstairs, the ceilings are 9' high. This room and the living room have dropped ceilings, likely because the lathe and plaster were damaged or cracked. We'll know for sure early next week when these ceilings are torn out.

We have a trio of beautiful casement windows along the southern wall, a built-in china cabinet on the west wall and a large picture window that will welcome every sunrise. The carpeting is hiding maple plank floors, and will go away. The harwood floors will be refinished and sealed. We're choosing not to stain them so their natural beauty will show through.

Brynwood Needleworks - Dining Room Renovation - Radiator Cover

You'll notice that there's a radiator, covered like this one, in the dining room. This one is in the living room. We're going to leave the covers (and the radiators), with a few changes.

Brynwood Needleworks - Dining Room Renovation - Jeanne d'Arc Living Image

I'm inspired by this image I found in a 2010 issue of Jeanne d'Arc Living magazine. The legs on this cover are beautiful, however, their radiator is wall mounted, whereas ours stand directly on the floor. Some of our radiators are painted brown, so they'll all be painted white.

What we'll do is remove the punched metal inserts on ours, add a center support and one across the top (right below the removable top), and then make frames just like these with fly screen over the openings, so the radiators show through. The ends of ours are solid wood, so we'll likely do the same treatment on the ends to allow more heat to escape through the screens.

Brynwood Needleworks - Dining Room Renovation - Choosing Paint

I've been putting paint samples on the wall, too. It's the only way to tell what the color looks like. These are the colors I'm leaning toward at this time. (I think I still have one or two other colors to try before I'm sure.) All the woodwork would be painted in Sherwin Williams - Fundamental White. At least in the downstairs, all the walls would be the very palest grey of Sherwin Williams - First Star. I tried "Passive"(on the left), but I think it's too dark for these rooms. The ceilings will be bright white.

The only other options I'm considering right now are Sherwin Williams - SW 7008 Alabaster for the woodwork and SW 7015 - Repose Gray for the walls. I still love SW 7057 Silver Strand, which we used in our Florida Master Bedroom (See THIS post), but I'm not sure it would work in the farmhouse here. Decisions! Decisions!

Brynwood Needleworks - Dining Room Renovation - Dining Room Chandelier
The UPS driver brought this fixture today. I ordered it through The copy said that it requires some assembly, so I guess I'd better do that soon to make sure the quality is up to snuff. If it is, it's going to be a beautiful chandelier to hang over our dining room table.