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.
 
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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.
 
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July 19, 2017

Hickory Hill Farm - Garden Progress...

2017 Hickory Hill Farm Garden

I've really been enjoying working in my garden this summer. I've added new plants and have been weeding, cultivating and watering the plants we put in first. They seem happy to be here, too.

I found a tool I really like. It's called a "garden claw", and it's wonderful for aerating the soil, and loosening the weeds so I can keep the bed clear. We originally placed mulch in this bed, but it made it really hard to keep after the weeds, and looking ahead, I figured it might make it more difficult for the plants to get larger and spread. So, about a week after we originally finished planting this bed, I raked and removed as much of the mulch as I could.

2017 Hickory Hill Garden - Phase 1

Now, all I have to do is go in with the "claw", remove the dislodged weeds and turn on the soaker hose...unless there's rain in the forecast (like there was yesterday evening). Tag and Bella like watching my progress from their vantage point on the porch.

So far, everything is doing well. We began with hostas, lavender, foxgloves, obedient plant, hollyhocks, chamomile, basil, rosemary and cilantro. All of those plants are thriving. In fact, the basil seems to have doubled in size since I trimmed off four cups for my first batch of pesto! I'm ready to make my second harvest this week for another batch.

I found shasta daisies at a local garden center, so I've added Mom's favorite flower to our yard. I'm sure I'll add more of them in the next phase, next summer. I also added a pot of mint (which I kept in the pot to keep it from spreading this year).

Kitchen Garden

I also have a little kitchen garden, too. I purchased celery, lettuce and sweet potatoes a few weeks ago. After I trimmed off the bottoms, I placed them in water until they root, and then I'll transfer them to soil. One of the celery plants is already in soil and growing well. The sweet potato (on the back left) is really putting out leaves, but the roots aren't ready to plant yet. I have a second celery in the window and lettuce on the right side of the windowsill. (It's a little wonky, and so far, I'm not doing well with lettuce, so we'll see if this one makes it.) The four plants in the right foreground are kohlrabi. I've recently discovered this vegetable, and I love it! I'm curious to see if this method yields new kohlrabis, too.

Newest Garden Addition

We have a new addition to the garden, too. This is a fabulous, old double farm sink. It's about six feet long and really sturdy. My plan is to plant herbs into the sinks. My male corgi seems to think my tall plants are for his benefit, so I'm constantly shooing him away from them. This elevated garden planter is a perfect solution. Next year, my herbs will be planted here next to the back door where I can easily snip what I need. It will be a true farm-to-table project!

I guess my brown thumb really is turning green as I learn to tend the grounds here at the farm. It's my skin that's brown now from all the sunshine and fresh air!

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July 18, 2017

Tuesdays With Tag - Waitin'...

Hangin' Out On The Porch

Hi, Everybody!

There's nothin' quite like hangin' out on a sunny day in Wisconsin. Really. There's nothin' better.

Our Favorite Spot

This is a one of my favorite places to hang out here. Our porch gives me a perfect vantage point to keep track of everybody's comin's and goin's. I can watch the birds, includin' the really big ones (that Mom says are sandhill cranes). I even chased them last week!

I can also see the little girls who live down the road when they ride around on their bicycles. They like to sing when they're ridin' around. I like listenin' to them sing. It's very sweet. Sometimes they even come down here to visit.

Black Dog

Boo likes to hang out here, too, just as long as someone's sittin' with her. She likes the company of people...especially if those people are Mom and Dad.

Dad was gone all last week, and believe me, we were both all missin' him. He left last Sunday and went to Illinois first. From there, he went on to the Windjammer's summer convention in Ohio. He was playin' music and catchin' up with his music friends.

Mom told us that Dad was comin' home on Sunday, so we spent the afternoon hangin' around outside, waitin' for him to come up the road.

Glad Dad's Home

Dad finally got home in the afternoon. We were so happy to see him! The black dog was actually talkin' to him, she was so excited! I was jumpin' up (which I'm not really supposed to do), but I couldn't help myself.

Boo's in heat again (oh, joy!), so when she's in the house, she has to be in her kennel until she's done.
Dad sat down to tell Mom all about his week, and I jumped right up onto his lap so I could hear better...and so I could cuddle Dad a little bit.

See? I can be sweet sometimes. Just don't tell anyone. They might think I'll make a habit of it.

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

July 17, 2017

Just What I Need...

A Chair For The Bedroom
 
...another project!

I need a comfy chair for the bedroom, so naturally, I went to Facebook Marketplace (again). I found a great deal on a comfy chair and ottoman.

I'm definitely going to paint the legs white, and then I'm going to reupholster it. I'm debating yardage of feedsack fabric, canvas drop cloth, or quilted fabric. I'm going to spend a little time sitting in it while I contemplate how I want it to look.

I'm "getting there" with the bedroom, but not quite ready to share pictures. I still have to paint the dresser I bought, and then, the washstand (which I'm using as a side table). I'm leaving my oak commode alone. No way that gets paint, because I love it the way it is.

Don't worry. When I get the chair done, you'll be the first to see the results. It won't be this week, though. I've got orders to fill and more listings to write up. I'll probably break up the process by painting the legs on the chair...and repainting a few spots in the stairwell that got a little nicked moving the chair upstairs (sigh).
 
This is going to be a fun week. I also have a few special things on my calendar, and I can't wait to tell you about them! What do you have planned?

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July 16, 2017

Sunday Scripture...

Brynwood Needleworks via HowGodProvides.com
 
 
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July 15, 2017

Grab & Go Goes Irish...

Grab & Go Celtic Crossbody Clutch Embroidery

Finished yesterday, and will be handed to its new owner today. I love how this one turned out. The claddagh embroidery on the front stitched out beautifully on the cork.

Front of Celtic Crossbody Clutch

I created this one in a vertical format, rather than the horizontal format I had used previously. I'll be adding new bags in this vertical format soon.

Back of Celtic Crossbody Clutch
 
The back is all natural cork. The interior is the same green fabric shown on the front of the bag. The shoulder strap is 48" long. 

This was definitely a fun project to make. I have another commission to do in this format - with a different embroidery, but I have four Brynwood Crossbody Wallets to make first. I'm on a roll now!
 
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July 14, 2017

Today's Another Day...

Playing With Photoshop Elements
 
My sister came to visit with me yesterday. We had a great time, and I look forward to seeing her again soon. 
 
After she left, I took out our larger yard tractor and mowed the grass...for over two hours. The breeze was blowing, it was a bit overcast, and perfect for the work at hand. The barn swallows swooped and darted for insects kicked up by the mower. The bluebirds tended their nests and watched me from the apple tree, and the wrens stuck close to their nests in our birdhouses hanging from our porch. Our yard looks tamed again for another week, or less if the rain continues.

What I didn't do was list up more fabrics in my Etsy shop or head to the studio to sew on my commissions. I took a few photos, spent time with my sister, enjoyed the outdoors, and later, hung out with the pups. I rested.

Today, I will be in the studio. I will sew, and then list up more fabrics. Remember, it's all about balance. I know I like it, and I think Tag and Bella do, too. So goes our life at Hickory Hill Farm.
 
I'll be happy when Handsome drives back in the driveway on Sunday, too. We're all missing him. Best keep busy. Time moves faster, and Sunday will be here before we know it. See you tomorrow!

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July 13, 2017

Under My Needle Today...

Brynwood's Celtic Knot Crossbody Clutch Fabrics
 
I'll be working on a commission today. I'm going to machine embroider that design onto the natural cork fabric. The green Celtic-designed fabric will be used to coordinate well with the cork.

The fabric selections will be used to create a Grab & Go Crossbody Clutch, but instead of a horizontal configuration, this one will be made vertically, so the bag is longer than wide for this design.

I love these fabrics, and can't wait to put the fabrics all together. I'll be having more fun in my studio, which is getting more organized by the day! It's beginning to look normal again.

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July 12, 2017

Destiny's New Tattoo(s)...

Tattoo by Urban Elementz

I purchased this little bit of machine decor before we left Florida this spring. I decided it was time to give my beautiful Babylock Destiny even more "pretty". Well, I only just found it, too, so there's that.

Tattoo On Back Of Machine

They were really easy to attach. All you have to do is clean the area where you want to adhere the decals (I used alcohol pads), and then follow the instructions that came with the package. I made sure that none of the decals covered attachment points for servicing my Destiny.

Tattoo on Machine Head

I currently have my large spool stand attached to the top of my machine, but I added a flourish to the removable cover, too. When the spool stand isn't attached, the cover will finish Destiny's look nicely.
 
Wave on Wave - Ocean Tattoo from Urban Elementz
 
This is the design I chose for Destiny. It's called "Wave On Wave" - Ocean - clear back (as opposed to white), from Urban Elementz. HERE'S a link to Urband Elementz' site. Check out all the designs while you're there. You might find something you like! (I have another set in the hibiscus design, called Hawaiian Holiday, too. I'll be decorating my Janome with those.)
 
Disclaimer: I have not received any compensation, in any form, for writing this post. I'm just a happy customer who thought you might like to know about this machine "bling".

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July 11, 2017

Tuesdays With Tag - Bed Hogs...

Tag On The Bed

Hi, Everybody!

This week, I'm comin' to you straight from Mom's bedroom. I thought you'd like to see how we chill when Dad's not home. He's in Ohio for the week, so we're watchin' out for Mom while he's away.

Bed Hogs

Usually we sleep in our crates. We have nice comfy mattresses in 'em, and we always get a treat last thing at night after we go outside one more time. Any time we get a treat is a good time.

When Dad's not home, Mom lets us sleep upstairs. We really like that arrangement. Not only are we upstairs, we also get to sleep on the bed!

Sweet Dreams, Bed Hogs

Mom likes havin' us with her, but she said we're bed hogs. Wait? US? Bed Hogs? I asked the black dog, and we agreed. We don't know what she's talkin' about! We're innocent. I mean. Just look at us. We're stumped. (No jokes about short legs here, either!)

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



July 10, 2017

Little Cases...

Brynwood Tea Pockets (top to bottom: Vintage Hibiscus, Natural, Orchid, Blue w/Silver Fleck and Tiles)
 
I cut out a sampling of my cork fabrics to make cases that are larger than my needle cases. These cases will hold your favorite tea bags, sugar or sugar substitute packets or ear buds. Of course, you can use them for whatever fits...coins, thumb drives...the possibilities are endless.

You can see just how wonderful, durable and pretty my cork fabrics are, too. I have more fabrics in my repertoire, but I'm going to list these in my first batch. I'll finish them today and you can find them in my shop tomorrow.
 
Have I told you how much I enjoy working with cork?  

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July 9, 2017

Sunday Scripture...

Brynwood Needleworks via Happily Hope blog
 
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July 8, 2017

Saturday Flea Market...

Brynwood Needleworks' Cork Fabrics
 
I've been cutting more cork fabric. This image gives you a little hint of what I'm working on for my shop. I'll have them ready to show you on Monday.
 
This morning, I'm going to a local Flea Market event with Shelly. Who knows what we'll find? I'm sure we're going to have a ball looking. The weather should be perfect for a day outside. I can hardly wait to share it with you! 

I hope you have summer fun planned for your weekend, too!
 
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