July 31, 2017

Farmhouse Renovation - Fabric Studio...

My Studio Mascot

I finally finished arranging my fabric studio. I'm fortunate to have two rooms for my creative space at the farm. One room is for my fabrics, yarns and works in progress. The other is my sewing studio, where I have my machines, computer and - everything else. I'm not quite ready to show you my finished sewing studio, but I am ready to share my fabric studio.

My View As I Enter My Fabric Studio

As I walk into this room from the hall, I can see out the north window toward the field outside. I frequently see deer, turkeys or sandhill cranes through this window.

In front of this window is my map chest. I store plastic packaging, unfinished handbag or wallet projects and a few other things. The oak cabinet on top of that is filled with pearl cotton and embroidery floss.

On the wall to the right, I have two stacked cubby storage units. They hold some of my books, and a few trinkets on the top.

I added a beautiful, small oriental rug in front of the counter, because this is where I'll stand when I'm choosing, cutting or measuring fabrics. I wanted the floor there to have a little extra cushion. The rest of this gorgeous, refinished maple floors is rug-free.

My Cutting Table And Fabric Arrangements

I took four of my cubby shelf units (that were stacked on top of each other in Florida), and used them as the base for my countertop. The counter measures 60" x 48", so I have a lot of space for cutting the fabrics on the bolt, flat folds or from my rolls of cork or canvas. It's perfect to handle just about any cutting job.

Of course, my shelves made the trip from Florida and are attached to the wall for stability. I'm a little overstuffed with fabric, but I'll continue to sort through those as I have time. I'll be listing fabric from this stock in my shop in the coming months.

Cutting Table, Looking Toward Storage Closet

I have yarns and ribbons stored in the cubby against the wall. I also have upholstery samples stored here. I use them for a variety of projects, and now that I've sorted through them, keeping my favorites, so you'll likely see some of those again.

In the closet are my rolling drawer units, filled with wool felt. I also stacked my plastic cases containing projects in process and supplies that I usually carry when I leave the house to sew or stitch with friends. I also have batting and long bolts of specialty fabric stored stuffed in there (but I can easily still get at what I need).

Cork Crock And Storage Closet

Along this wall is another window, and in front of it is my grandfather's antique crock, filled with canvas and cork used to make handbags and wallets. Right next to the crock is my bulk zipper tape and more fabric used specifically in projects I have in my shop.

All in all, I quite happy with the results. I'll photograph the sewing studio as soon as I'm finished tossing in there. I just keep telling myself, "It's a process". It's all good, and things are definitely coming together here at Hickory Hill Farm.


July 30, 2017

July 29, 2017

There Is Always The Garden...

Web Image
Oh, dear. How I've come to treasure my time outdoors in the garden. 
Our weather this summer has perfectly suited to my taste, so if I'm not in the studio, 
you'll likely find me in the garden...counting my blessings.


July 28, 2017

Time Out For A Special Project...

Forest Friends Fabric Assortment

 I have a very special project to make for a certain granddaughter celebrating a Birthday next week.

Forest Friends Animals

 She loves nature and animals, but these days, foxes are her favorite.

Forest Friends Foxes

 No shopping necessary. I just went to my fabric studio and pulled what I need.

Forest Friends Fabric by Ingrid for Moda
 "Forest Friends" fabric assortment will fit the bill nicely. I'll be cutting today, to work on 
something I know she wants. I have a week before I need to finish it. Plenty of time.

July 27, 2017

A New Name...

Brynwood Needleworks "Bryn Crossbody Wallet"

This custom order is finished and ready to ship. Four crossbody wallets ready to go to their new homes. I made three in the Hibiscus cork fabric and three in the Orchid cork fabric. (One of each pattern will go into the shop later today.) 

These have a little "headroom" between the flap and the main body of the wallet so you can actually put a little more inside without the wallet getting too tight. I was also able to put my iPhone 6 Plus (with an Otter case) inside this size.

Brynwood Needleworks "Bryn Crossbody Wallet" (Shoulder and Wrist Straps Included)

I've renamed this crossbody wallet. I've decided that our Labrador and Golden retriever girls will be the names for this wallet, and all my new designs from now on. That being said, these are now called my "Bryn Crossbody Wallet".

Brynwood Needleworks "Bryn Crossbody Wallet" Interior

It's going to be fun as I debut new pieces with more names of my girls...Bryn, Kyra, Kes, Kirby, Samantha Rose, Matty (Mata Hari), Bee and Bella. The Grab & Go Crossbody and Wristlets will keep their current names.

Brynwood Needleworks "Bryn Crossbody Wallet" Back
These six are finished, and my new lining fabrics arrived yesterday. That means I'll get them cut out today and finish prepping to complete the other nine. 
I have a few other projects I'm going to be working on, too. I'm so inspired here at the farm, and I can't wait to share what's next.

July 26, 2017

Work and Play...

Assembly Line Sewing

Yesterday was a perfect day for balance. The weather was beautiful, I have 90% of six wallets completed and Handsome and I had a date.

I started the day by sewing in the studio. At lunch time, I took a break outside on our porch so I could enjoy the weather, and then I got back to work. I managed to get quite a bit accomplished.

Lighthouse Big Band
Around 3 pm, Handsome told me about a local big band (Lighthouse Big Band in Fond du Lac, WI) whose lead saxophone was leaving the band. Last night was his...last night with them, and they were having a party for him. We went to the party, and heard some great music. It's so nice to see that there are so many music groups in the area, and we're enjoying getting to listen to them.
Today, I'm going to finish the six crossbody wallets I'm working on in this batch I'm waiting for a new lining fabric to arrive before I complete the rest. I'm thinking that will be by the weekend. I have to say, I'm really liking how balance is playing out here at the farm.

July 25, 2017

Tuesdays With Tag - Country Walkies...

Brynwood's Taggart 07/2417

Hi, Everybody!

It's been perfect weather for walkies, so that's what I did...Walkies.

The Call of the Open Road

 Do you hear it? Yup. It's the Call of the Open Road!

My Roaming Gnome

 I couldn't help but hum "Country Roads" as I walked on the farm lane.

There And Back Again

 I love these little walks with Mom. There's the smell of lilies comin' from the other
side of the fence row, and you just never know what might jump right out at you.
Why, I noticed a rabbit that must be the mama.  I could have caught her, but
Mom wouldn't let me. She mentioned somethin' about fleas and other bad bugs.


We turned up toward the hill, and caught the last of the sunset over the hill.
Guardin' My Garden

...and maybe a flower or two. Thanks, Mom. I love these little hikes!
 We think it's important to take regular breaks...and always take them outside!

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

July 24, 2017


Clock In My Sewing Studio

 One thing I ran out of this weekend...Time.

Rebecca and Her Corgi

I had grandiose plans to work in the studio this past weekend, but we spent much more time outside instead. The only thing I accomplished upstairs was in my sewing studio. I hung my television/dvd player on the wall and installed a few embroideries to clear off my cutting table. I have a few more things to put away (need a place for them), and then I'll take more pictures.

We spent nearly five hours yesterday mowing grass on our place, and also next door. We were returning the favor for all the times Andy kept our driveway clear last winter. Handsome and I each got on one of our tractors, and we split up the yards to get twice as much accomplished. It was nice to spend the time outdoors, and do something helpful while we were at it.

Fresh Beans and My Old Settlement Cookbook

Shelly gave us three (large) kohlrabis. I cut them up and blanched them for freezing. I put up five bags when all was said and done. She also gave us fresh peppers and beans. I think those beans will become pickled beans (great for Bloody - or virgin - Marys). I've canned dilly beans before, and think I'll do those. I'll pick up supplies on my next trip to town.

A Gift For The Farm

Friday, Shelly's brother, Craig stopped over when she and I were out for lunch. Craig delivered this gorgeous bench/shelf that he made for us. It was such a lovely surprise when I got back home.

Hickory Shelf/Bench

Craig and Kim (his wife) have learned how much symbolism means to me, so he created this gift with that in mind. He chose hickory wood. It's heavy and so well made, and is another gift that will be treasured from the family who used to live in our dear old house. The little squirrel was Mom's, and became mine when she moved to the nursing home. Squirrel loves the hickory bench, too.

Thank you, Craig and Kim for this most special gift from your heart and hands.
Thanks, and thanks again.

Tag and Bella...Every Vigilant
Whenever we go outside without Tag and Bella, this is what greets us on our return.
We love these two, and it just wouldn't be home without them.

July 23, 2017

Sunday Scripture...

Brynwood Needleworks via Happily Hope

July 22, 2017

If You're Looking For Me...

Web Image - Gatekeepers
I'll be in the studio today.
I've been photographing and listing new fabrics for sale in my shop ($5.00/yard!!),
I'll be sewing up new crossbody wallets that I'll list up when finished, too!
Have a great Saturday, my dear!

July 21, 2017

Studio Play And Friendship...

Cork For BW Crossbody Clutches
The sun was shining. There was a gentle breeze, and I was in my studio cutting parts and pieces to make fifteen new BW Crossbody Wallets (I'm working on a new name for them) for my shop. These will all be cork, in various colors and patterns, and some are already spoken for. I'll sew them up over the weekend.

Mail Call!!!

Our mailman, Tim, delivered a package from my sweet friend, Sherry of Createology blog. She has commented on nearly every post I've written since she started reading them. We've become friends through our blogging, and I'm truly blessed by her friendship.

Sherry's Artist Trading Card 07/2017

We have traded gifts back and forth for quite some time now, and I figure that I'm the one who is on the better end of our exchanges. She always sends such wonderful surprises for me!

If you've read my blog for a while, you know that I love making and receiving Artist Trading Cards (ATCs). I have quite a collection of them, and now I have one more to add to my treasure trove. Of course, thoughtful Sherry used balance as her theme. Isn't it perfect?

The Back of Sherry's ATC

Sherry even has this fabulous stamp to add her signature and other important information for the recipient (lucky me!). Every detail shows the care and talent she puts into her work. Her heart really shines through.   

A Custom Made Bubble Wand
The last (but certainly not least) item in my gift package is this fabulous bubble wand, created by my dear friend. She even included a homemade bubble recipe! Can't you just imagine me in the yard, blowing bubbles for Tag and Bella? If you can't, you don't know me very well! I'm that kid-at-heart who will run through the rain (as long as there isn't lightning), and I have no hesitation taking my iPhone into the tall grass and dancing to my favorite music. I'd better be careful or poor Shelly and Andy might wonder what kind of loon lives next door to them now. lol
Thank you again, dear Sherry. Once again, you've made this gal feel so special. 
Shelly and I have been invited for lunch by our sweet neighbor, Mary Jane, today. I'm really looking forward to our visit. I'm sure it will be a lovely day for an afternoon with friends. It's hard to believe it's Friday again already! See you tomorrow.

July 20, 2017

Homekeeping On The Farm...

Fresh Basil Pesto and Banana Nut Bread

After pruning (harvesting leaves) from my basil plants last week, the remaining plants exploded with more leaves. I'm sure the rain and lightning (which precipitates nitrogen) had something to do with that. It was time to take my second harvest and make more pesto. This time, I made seven more jars full.

The bananas that had ripened past where we will eat them in cereal were ready to make another loaf of banana nut bread, too.

Still Warm and Delicious

Two overripe bananas make for one large, tasty loaf. Handsome waits until it's "fashionably" cooled and then tests my latest batch. Another success.

A Little Light Reading

While I waited for the bread to bake, I pulled out two of my books to learn more about herb details, identification, and uses. I'm more interested now that I want to be growing my own. 

An Old Gift

This book was given to me by my father twenty years ago. I've always been interested in the outdoors, being a country girl at heart. He was a teacher, and during the summers, he taught outdoor summer science classes. I took those classes with him for a few summers.

We learned about edible plants and survival skills then, and in the decades following those classes, I've further embraced what I learned. He gave me this book in 1997. I got it out of the moving box that held my other gardening books to read again.

I've already found some of the plants mentioned in the book growing on our farm property. Who knows what else I'll find once I really start looking? Reading my books was a nice way to pass the time as I waited to take the bread out of the oven.

Afterward, Handsome and I mowed our lawn together. We bought a larger yard tractor when we first purchased this property, and then, when we moved north this spring, we decided to keep our smaller yard tractor, too. As a result, Handsome can mow the upper yard while I mow the lower yard (or vice versa). Things certainly go quicker when we use two mowers. We were finished in no time.

Cornish Saffron Bed
Tuesday night, I went to the public library in Fond du Lac to attend a demonstration. They have a monthly program called "Breads Around The World", and last night's program was for a Cornish Saffron Bread from Great Britain. 
After the demonstration each attendee received copies of Cornish recipes, and we were able to sample the finished bread. I found it quite tasty, and having all the ingredients here in my own kitchen, I made a batch yesterday afternoon.
One batch yields four small loaves (or one large one). This bread has a scone-like texture with a light saffron/lemon flavor, further enhanced with raisins and currants. I find it quite tasty. Handsome isn't quite so sure. lol
I'm having lunch with neighbors on Friday, so at least one loaf will be a gift to our hostess. I'll definitely be making more in the future.
A Rainy Sunset
Our day ended with a glorious sunset. The sky was a wonderful red, yellow and purple, and the clouds rained down through the colorful display. It was a perfect end to another perfect day at Hickory Hill Farm.