September 30, 2017

Friday, Friends & Fellowship...

Web Image
 
Shelly and I spent much of the day together yesterday. We decided to engage in a bit of "retail therapy".  We had a great time (as usual), and got back home mid afternoon.
 
New Prospect, Wisconsin
 
In the evening, Handsome and I headed to Woodland Creek to meet up with old and dear friends for a genuine, Wisconsin Friday Night Fish Fry. 
 
Supper clubs are a Midwest phenomenon, and are apparently uncommon in the rest of the country. People gather to share an adult beverage (like our unique and tasty Brandy Old-Fashioned Sweet), followed by a delicious meal of deep fried, grilled or baked fish. (If you know what's good for you, you order deep fried!)
 
We sat with Cathy and Tony, and fell right into the rhythm that only good friends know. It's always as though no time has passed at all since our last visit - even when it's been years. It was time well-spent, and we agreed to make another date very soon.

I did nothing in the studio yesterday, but deepening or renewing friendships more than makes up for it. Of course, today is another day. Who knows where it will lead? I'll tell you all about it on Monday.

 
Happy Fall, my friends.
(my favorite time of year!)
 
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September 29, 2017

Kirby Crossbody Bag...

 
 
My latest bag is the "Kirby" Crossbody Bag in cork fabric. I really love this one!

I'm making an assortment in various cork fabrics next week and will add them to my shop. I'll let you know when they're all listed. Of course, they'll coordinate with my Clutch Wallets, as well as a few new wallet styles I'll be adding, too. I've got so many great styles coming in the next few weeks, and I think you're going to love them as much as I do!

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September 28, 2017

Over The River And On The Wall...

Over The River Quilt

I've been thinking about this since I got back to the farmhouse. I wasn't sure whether or not we'd install a window on this wall (between our kitchen/back entry) as part of the kitchen remodel, so I delayed hanging up a quilt. Yesterday, Handsome and I decided against the window, so it was time to hang up my "Over The River" quilt.

My dear uncle came over with a section of scaffolding to span the basement staircase, and get high enough to attach the hanging hardware to the wall. Twenty minutes later, the quilt was hung.

Entry With Over The River Quilt
 
Handsome likes this installation as much as I do. Now the farmhouse has my favorite quilt hanging in the hall of our "friends and family" entrance. I think the only thing left to do in this area will be to change out the flooring when we do the kitchen. Every little thing we do for our farmhouse makes me love it more, and it seems to love us right back.
 
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September 27, 2017

Under My Needle...

Cork Fabric and Notions
 
I'm working on a new bag for my shop (and myself!). I got everything cut out yesterday, but Handsome asked me for help with a project, so I changed course. One thing led to another, and I spent the entire day with him.

I'll be back in the studio today to work on it again. I'll put my blinders on so I don't get sidetracked again. We'll just wait and see how that works out.

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September 26, 2017

Tuesdays With Tag - Silly Selfies...

Hangin' Out At The Farm
Hi, Everybody!
 
I snagged Mom's camera last weekend, and I'm workin' on my selfies.
 
Tag's Selfie
 
 Are ya diggin' this one?
Does it show my sensitive side?
 
Another One
 
Maybe you like this one better.
I tried to make duck lips, but didn't do very well.
Guess you'll have to settle for my masculine, "steely gaze".
or
maybe I'll just have to keep practicin'. Naaaahhh.
 
I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...  
"Chase A Dream - Or A Squirrel".

September 25, 2017

Enjoying September...

Liljegren's Hickory Hill Farm

It was unseasonably warm this past weekend, and our nearly-100 year old farmhouse doesn't have air conditioning. We have windows, and beautiful breezes that cool our home. Even so, Destiny and Jane generate a little too much heat for me to spend time sewing up in my studio. Instead, we could be found outdoors.

The soybeans in our north field (and beyond) are turning color from green to gold. We're told it should be ready to harvest in October or November. Until then, we enjoy watching them change with the seasons.

Drying Hydrangeas

Our hydrangeas are changing, too. They spent the summer in their creamy, white dresses, and now they're turning from green to linen-brown. They occupy one whole end of our wraparound porch, and they're beautiful every time of year.

Tag and Bella Love The Farm, Too.
 
So, I took the dogs and my latest read, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan (a book loaned to me by our elder granddaughter), and headed outside. Our porch was the perfect place to sit and read, and the dogs made sure I took plenty of breaks to let them run around in the yard. 

Sometimes I tossed a retrieving dummy for them, and sometimes they just ran along with me as I took pictures (or picked up windfall hickory nuts). I didn't play in the studio. I played outdoors. 

This week is supposed to be cooler, I'll be making a new crossbody handbag style, sewing up those aprons I put off last week, and setting up the last three Wooly Critter blocks to finish.
 
What will you be doing this week?
 
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September 24, 2017

September 23, 2017

Blessed...

 
Looking forward to a fun weekend with Handsome and the pups.
Enjoy Life, my friends.

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September 22, 2017

Let The Games Begin...

Hickory Hill Farm Hickory Nuts

The squirrels have started foraging in the yard. That means one thing. The hickory nuts have begun falling, and I'd better put on my sensible shoes if I want to harvest any of them for cookies and cakes this winter.

We had storms last night, so many of them were on the ground in front of the farmhouse. Andy was on his hands and knees picking them up in the treeline between our properties...that's where the squirrels are right now, and he already filled a five gallon bucket! Those old trees are really producing this year, so I may have a little grace period before the squirrels move down the hill to the trees I pick.

So, game on, squirrels! I'll be out there every morning to see whether or not I can beat them to those precious nuts. (Don't worry. There are always lots of nuts I can't reach in the trees - or find in the grass - so they'll have plenty to carry them through the winter.)
 
Hickory Hill Farm Lavender Jelly
 
I also harvested more lavender from my garden yesterday morning, and made another small batch of jelly.
 
I told my sister, Di, that I wasn't happy with the color of the last batch (yes. I added food coloring). She told me that the McCormick "Neon" set has a purple, so she got some for me. I used it in this batch, and love the resulting color.
 
In case you're wondering about the green "thingy" in the bowl with the lavender flowers, it's an herb stripper. My same sister is a Pampered Chef consultant, and she sells these. (I'm not being compensated in any way for this endorsement - nor is this a solicitation asking you to make a purchase. I only posted this in the event you wondered what the tool is, and/or you wanted one for yourself. I know you guys. Someone would have asked.) 
 
There's a whole selection devoted to herbs and preserving tools. This tool easily pulls the leaves, buds or flowers from the stem of any herb. (If you're interested in checking out any of these tools, HERE'S the link to Di's business page for them.) 
 
I won't be doing any more canning until I purchase apples. I want to make applesauce - and maybe pie filling. That won't be before Sunday, and probably next week. I want to make my apron - and I  already need a few for orders - first. Oh, yes. I have to get out into the yard for my daily contest with the squirrels, too!

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September 21, 2017

Fairy Steed Corgi Pincushion...

Brynwood Needleworks - Fairy Steed Pincushion Detail

 Ordered from my shop...

Brynwood Needleworks - Fairy Steed Pincushion

 Created yesterday...

Brynwood Needleworks - Fairy Steed Pincushion Detail
 
and already on its way to a new home.

(I have more available in my shop, just waiting for you to choose your filling.)

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September 20, 2017

Family Day...

Me, With My nephew, Logan
 
My youngest sister picked me up at the farm late this morning, and we headed to Milwaukee to see her son (my nephew). I love this boy, but with his work schedule and me being in Florida for the last sixteen years, we just never seemed to connect when I was back in Wisconsin. That all changed yesterday.

I got to see his apartment and visit with him for a little while. Our time together was actually cut short because he got called in to work on his day off. He's a sous chef for a relatively new restaurant (which he really loves), so he's needed to prep the food that's then presented to hungry customers. Duty calls, and he answers the bell.
 
That's A Lot Of Pearly Whites!
 
I really kinda stink at taking selfies, but I wanted to commemorate our visit with a photo of the three of us. We agreed we'll have to do this again soon on his real day off so we can have a longer visit.
 
After a too short time together, he headed off to work and my sister and I drove down to the Third Ward for lunch. (Delicious, by the way.) It was a nice way to spend a Tuesday, for sure.
 
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September 19, 2017

Tuesdays With Tag - Don't Tell Bella...

Brynwood's Taggart
  Hi, Everybody!

Greetin's from Hickory Hill Farm, where the weather really suits us.
It's been "not too hot, and not too cold". For us, it's "just right"!
 
Tag Liljegren

 Are you okay? I know some of you are in Florida and Texas, and I worry about your safety.
We watched the news and saw all the storm damage, and we really hope you weren't harmed.

French Woods Musicians - Image by Benson Lange

Dad has been away for the past week. He drove to New York state to play music with a bunch of his friends. He's played with many of them before, but he met some new people, too. 

We were all invited to go with him, but there was no campground close by, and Mom thought it would be better if we just stayed home this time. We weren't really sure about accommodations bein' appropriate for us dogs.

He's called while he was travelin', and he said he had a really great time. (This picture was taking by one of the musicians. Dad's the tallest dude in back.) He's been invited to go back, too, so we just might join him next year.

Tag At Hickory Hill Farm

Bella and I have been wonderin' (forever) when he's gonna come back home, but Mom's been real tight-lipped. She knows that if she even says, "Dad", Boo will go bonkers, and start runnin' around like a lunatic. It gets really hard to settle her down, then, too.

Mom whispered to me that Dad's comin' home today!! She hasn't said a word to Bella, and told me she isn't gonna either. The Black Dog is gonna jump out of her fur when she sees him. She's crazy about him, so she'll probably start talkin' and barkin' as soon as he comes up the driveway. 

Not only that, but he's bringin' company, too! His brother and sister-in-law (and their border collie, Cassie - who was here with him just a few weeks ago) are traveling back to their house in Wyomin'. It just worked out that everybody was headin' this way at the same time, so now they'll be stoppin' for a visit again. That's really gonna be fun!

Brynwood Needleworks - Tag

 Well, I'd love to stay and chew the fat with you, but I'd better go and spruce up my kennel.
Mom's makin' sure the house is tidy for our guests, and I'd like to do my part to help.
I'm gonna have to do all the work myself. If I tell Bella, it'll get nuts around here real quick.
We don't want that to happen, do we?
 
I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...  
"Chase A Dream - Or A Squirrel".

September 18, 2017

Busy Weekend At The Farm...

Sunday's Canning

On Saturday, Aunty Margaret, Uncle Dick and I went to the farmer's market in search of tomatoes. I knew there would be some, but I was looking for a better price than $65.00 a bushel. Although there were quite a few vendors, it wasn't really busy. I think the gorgeous weather drew people elsewhere.

It didn't take long for me to find a vendor who had baskets and baskets of beautiful, red tomatoes, and her price was a little better at 40# for $35.00. (.88/pound vs 1.23/pound) Goodness! I had no idea they'd be this expensive, but I'm happier with this lady's price, so we packed up forty pounds and headed home.

Aunty Margaret was up at the farm by 9 am Sunday (giving me time to air out and feed Tag and Bella). We shared a cuppa tea and then commenced to cleaning, coring, skinning, and canning the tomatoes. We developed a nice system, and by 2:30 my trays were empty. I only had two salsa water baths to go and we were finished.

The neatest thing is that my aunt is no longer canning, so she gave me her jars. All I had to do was purchase new seals and rings. I was quite happy, and Aunty even ran them all through the dishwasher to sterilize them before bringing them to me. Isn't that wonderful?

When all was said and done, we'd canned 15 quarts of crushed tomatoes; 5-1/2 pints of salsa and 1.5 pints of picante sauce. I'd say that was another productive day. Only thing left on the list this season is applesauce...and a few more jars of lavender jelly...but not this week.

Liljegren's Machine Shed
 
I'm sure you must have recognized this building in yesterday's post, but do you notice anything different? Late in the day on Saturday, Shelly came down the hill to spot me as I climbed up to the peak of this beautiful barn building. (It's actually a machine shed from when this was a true working farm.)
 
I wanted my compass to be installed for a reason. Handsome has been in New York state all week, attending a new music camp, while the dogs and I kept the home fires burning. I wanted him to see the compass, where I'd intended it,  when he drives in the yard. It's there to always guide us back home.

Now, what I'd really like is to have a sign that says " Liljegren's Hickory Hill Farm" below the compass. Perhaps next year.

I'll be in the studio today, and doing laundry when I'm not sewing. My dear husband is bringing his brother and sister-in-law home with him on Tuesday, and I want to make sure the house is spic and span for their visit.

Gotta run. Miles to go before I sleep.
 
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September 17, 2017

Sunday Scripture...

Liljegren's Hickory Hill Farm
 
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September 16, 2017

Jellies and Jams...

Hickory Hill Farm Lavender

Yesterday was a "make Lavender Jelly" day. I harvested lavender flowers before the sunlight was directly over these perfect, little flowers.

Friday's Harvest

I didn't need many, and when I brought them into the house, they filled the kitchen with a wonderful aroma.

Lavender Flowers Detail

 Perfect, tiny flowers.

Lavender Jelly On Toast

By 10:30 am, all the jars were in the canner, processing. I scraped the last of the jelly from the pot, and sat down for a late breakfast...Lavender Jelly on toast, of course!

Lavender Jelly

Before I could finish my tasty breakfast, the timer went off and I pulled the jars of Lavender Jelly out of the bubbling water. I tried to combine food coloring to get the jelly to be more lavender, but even though blue and red make purple, it didn't turn out as I planned. I'll try again next time. Thankfully, color had no effect on the taste of this jelly. It's heavenly!

Strawberry Jam

I also made six half-pints of Strawberry Jam...

Sweet Basil Jelly


and four half-pints, plus three "smalls" of Sweet Basil Jelly. I think this will be if for canning basil this season. I'm going to let the rest of the plant go to seed now.

Pantry Shelves
 
My pantry is filling nicely. Top Shelf: Regular Dill Pickles; and canned Sweet Banana Peppers. Second Shelf: Bread & Butter Pickles, Salsa, and Chopped Tomatoes. Bottom Row: Sweet Basil Jelly, Strawberry Jam, Lavender Jelly, Strawberry-Rhubarb and Pears in Light Syrup.

I'm going to the Farmer's Market with Aunty Margaret and Uncle Dick today. If I find Roma tomatoes, I'll be bringing them home to can this weekend. Otherwise, I'm going to be making aprons in the studio! 
 
Enjoy your weekend, my friend. I sure will.

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