October 31, 2017

Tuesdays With Tag - I'm Bluer Than Blue...

Hi, Everybody!
I have all kinds of things to tell you about, but they'll have to wait until next week.
Truth is...
I'm missin' Dad and the Black Dog.
Mom keeps remindin' me that they're in Florida now and they won't be back for a while.
More Waiting
 As smart as I am, I'm not sure what "for a while" means.
Will they be back later today? Tomorrow? Next week?

So far, I'm not likin' this. No Boo to lick my face. No Boo to chase me around the yard. No Boo to steal Mom's shoes. I can't believe I miss her, but I do.

I might have to borrow a smart phone for a little FaceTime with her. I'm thinkin' she'd like that, too. (Even though she's stayin' with a cocker spaniel right now. Fickle Labrador, but I don't even care.)

I think I'd better take up a hobby. Mom and I need to figure out a few things to keep be occupied durin' the day so I don't lose my appetite or somethin'. (Okay, so that's not gonna happen, but you know what I mean.) We're gonna have to think about this a bit.

Mom said she's gonna dress me up for Halloween today. (Oh, great.) I'm gonna put up a picture on Mom's Brynwood Needleworks Facebook page later, in case you wanna see. I know I won't be a Happy Halloweener Dog! That's for sure! lol If you're not on Facebook, I'll post a picture here next week, too.
I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...  
"Chase A Dream - Or A Squirrel".

October 30, 2017

Counting My Blessings...

Aunt Donna with Great Nephew Ethan 2001

This photograph was taken of my great-nephew with me in 2002 or 2003, shortly before Handsome and I sold our Wisconsin home to move to Florida full time. I have another photo from the same day of Ethan, his cousin Julian and our grandson, all being cuddled by me the same day. All three boys were born the same year.

Another Favorite - circa 2010

Almost every trip back to Wisconsin I've managed to spend some time with my niece (Ethan's mom), and Ethan. He's a wonderfully sweet and intelligent boy, and I cherish the time I spend with him.

When his mom was little, I spent time with her, too. Just last evening she was enumerating some of the memories she has of times we did things together. It warmed my heart. Now, I'm sharing time with her son and it's a blessing, indeed.

Ethan - October 27, 2017
This past weekend, Ethan came to stay overnight with me at the farm. He helped me with a few chores that I needed another pair of hands to accomplish, but we mostly caught up on his life and how school's going (very well, thank you). 
He also asked about a few things in my studio, and he showed interest in having one of the key fobs I made. Rather than just give it to him, I asked if he'd like to know how to make one. He was more than enthused about the idea, so we chose the materials together, I explained how Destiny works, and he sat down and sewed his chosen ribbon to the webbing. When that was finished, he added the hardware (under my guidance), and in no time at all, he had his finished key fob. He was pretty proud of himself, and happy with his creation.

On Sunday, my sister showed up with her family. Two of the boys from that old photo were together at our home (Ethan and Julian), and it made me with our grandson had been here, too. My goal now is to get all three boys together again so we can recreate that image with their auntie/grandma. I'll have to work on that.
Handsome called me after dinnertime last night to let me know he arrived at his Florida destination safely. We've kept in contact the entire trip, but it's always great to know the cross country drive has been safely accomplished (Thank you, Lord). He starts rehearsals right away tomorrow morning. Fun times. 

This week, I'll be back in the studio; doing a little painting (more on that later); and catching up on some homekeeping and book work. First, I'm going to count my blessings.


October 29, 2017

Sunday Scripture...

Sunrise at Hickory Hill Farm

October 28, 2017

The Wanderer...

Road Warriors - Handsome And Bella
Yesterday, my heart and his dog left for Florida. Music season has already begun, so he's a little late to rehearsals. He couldn't wait any longer, so we packed up his instruments, clothes, and Bella's tack and Handsome headed south.

He really didn't want to leave the farm, Tag or me, but we'll travel back and forth to see each other over the winter, so it won't be so bad. Of course, we'll miss each other, but we're strong and we've got this. I'll be sewing (and preparing for my first vendor event in over thirty years), and he'll be making beautiful music (which will be recorded so I can see, too!).
He'll arrive in Sarasota on Sunday. I know he's going to have a ball with his friends, and everyone who hears them play will be better for it. Until we're together again...
Safe travels and have fun, my love.

October 27, 2017

I've Got Sunshine...

Talented Second Son

Yesterday, Second Son arrived at the farm with a new door for my sewing studio. I've been waiting almost eight weeks for it to arrive, and I'm very excited that it finally came in.

Sewing Studio Door - Before

I didn't take a picture of the door before he started work, but I looked through old photos and found exactly one that showed it before. Once my studio was populated, the corner with this door was dark - even with the track lights. I needed a new door with a window, so I made the request, and our son, who is a carpenter, made it happen.

Sewing Studio Door -After

My beautiful new door allows light in throughout the day, and will bathe the room until the sun sets behind the woods at the top of the hill. I'm so happy with it.
It's a wooden door, and it's unfinished, so in the next few weeks, I'll prime and paint it to match the rest of the woodwork. I'll show it to you when it's all painted, but I just had to share my excitement with you right away. I know you understand.
I've Got Sunshine!!!


October 26, 2017

The Retriever Quilt...

The 30 Year Old Retriever Quilt

About thirty years ago, I wanted to make a lap quilt long enough for my husband. Handsome is 6'5" tall, so not every lap quilt is long enough for him. I had never made a quilt before but I'd seen this great panel and figured, "How hard can this be?".

I'd already been sewing for decades at that point, so I just purchased enough yardage to use as the top, and then found more retriever-themed fabric for the back. I put the (polyester) batting, backing, and panel together so that I could sew three and a half sides, flip it right side out and sew the opening closed. Then, I sewed around the dog motifs and borders of each square (well, you can pretty well see where I sewed)to hold the batting in place.

Edge Detail

I even added a few rows of specialty stitching for interest. I didn't know how to bind an edge back then, having never made a "real" quilt before, so I didn't know about how it protects the edge of the quilt. As a result, what you see in this photograph demonstrates what happens after thirty years of use.

Handsome loves this quilt. He loved it from the moment I gave it to him. Many naps have occurred under this quilt. In fact, it's so warm and comfortable, it's almost impossible not to nap when using it. Frequently, if I fall asleep in a living room chair, or watching something on television, I'll awaken under the warm quilt that Handsome has lovingly placed over me.

When it started to fray on the edges, he would ask me to affect some sort of repair. Mind you, there are holes on the edges, but everything is faded, and a far cry from the sorts of quilts I make now. Even so, Handsome asked me to fix the frayed edges, so I did.

Binding Repair On Retriever Quilt
This should come as no shock, that I actually have about two yards of one more fabric that coordinated with the rest of these. It's dark green with small yellow labs scattered all over it. Yes. It, too, has been in my stash for thirty years!
I made a proper binding and sewed it to the edge of the quilt yesterday. I machine stitched it instead of finishing it with hand sewing, and now the edge is good as new. Handsome is very glad. I think he feels a nap coming on.


October 25, 2017

Musical Kirby...

Musical Kirby Crossbody Bag Detail

I made a new Kirby Crossbody Monday afternoon. This one is for a dear friend as a thank you gift. She's a musician in the Suncoast Concert Band in Sarasota, where Handsome plays.

Musical Kirby Crossbody Bag

I'm quite sure that this is my favorite music-themed fabric. I hope she likes it, too. We'll find out soon enough. Handsome is going to hand deliver it.


October 24, 2017

Tuesdays With Tag - Call Me "Greenfoot"...

Brynwood's Taggart
Hi, Everybody!

There's nothin' quite like a run through freshly mown grass. Don't you agree?
It's one of my favorite things to do, actually. I love comin' back with green feet. lol

Over the weekend, our farm neighbors brought in tractors towin' huge hoses. They started waayyy up in the southwest corner of a field that belongs to Miss Shelly and Mr. Andy, and they stretched those hoses all the way across our road, through culverts under the county road and all the way back up to a big tank in their farmyard.

It wasn't long before those hoses were puffed up and gluggin' the most odiferous potion to another big tractor. That machine had metal discs on the back that kind of plowed up the ground. Once there were trenches, they sprayed that liquid stuff into the ground. They were at it for a few hours, but it smelled "dog-heavenly" for the rest of the weekend.

Mom and Dad were like crazy people when Bella and I had to go outside. They only let us go around our yard away from the fields. Guess they really didn't want us to have any fun. Spoiled sports. 
We keep tryin' to run over to the hickory tree in front just so we can scoot over the rocks, and roll in the field. They're not havin' any of it. They whistle and call us back every time. Really? I wonder just how long this is gonna go on? A guy's gotta roll, you know?

Well, better luck next time. I know they'd better stay on the ball, 'cuz Boo and I aren't gonna give up that easy. We're nothin' if not persistent. I like green feet, but I could dig brown feet, too. Sort of like changin' socks. hee hee

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

October 23, 2017

It's Nearly That Time Again...

Holiday Fabrics
 This week is going to be hectic, but I'll tell you more about that another time. 
This week, I'll be listing up more fabric (holiday designs!), along with the Kirby Crossbody bags that I haven't sold yet. I'm shipping out the ones I did sell today, and then I have a few orders to sew.

Only one week until November, and then I'll be making my holiday sewing list. Grammie's Jammies are always on it, and I'll have some new items to add this year. We'll also be gifting tasty treats from the farm. Much of that work is already done (yay!).
When do you start your holiday sewing?


October 22, 2017

October 21, 2017

Cinnamon Scrapplesauce...

Ready To Make Applesauce

When I finished the first batch of applesauce, I estimated that I had about thirty pounds of apples left from our purchase last week. I was guessing because I hadn't weighed the first batch of apple before I cooked them down. I actually had a total of twenty eight pounds. I decided to can the balance yesterday before they got mushy in our warmer weather. I got out all my supplies and set to making applesauce.

As I cranked the apples through my peeler, corer, cutting tool, it occurred to me that I really should do something with all the apple parts I'd usually toss...especially because there was still apple in those pieces. It's sort of like deciding to make soup to use up all the goodness left on a turkey or chicken carcass.

Secret Ingredient

The first seventeen pounds of apples I cut up went into two slow cookers to cook down, while I placed all the apple scrap into another pan to cook down on the stove. After everything was soft, I put it through the food mill to remove all the seeds, skins and inedible bits. I added a cup and a half of granulated sugar, and small handful of my secret ingredient...cinnamon imperials (aka "red hots") to the milled apples and placed them back in my cooking pot. I brought the mixture back up to a boil on the stove top, and it was ready to put into the jars.

Completed Cinnamon Scrapplesauce

After I canned the first batch of what I'm calling "Cinnamon Scrapplesauce", I cut up the final eleven pounds of apples to process on the stove top. I treated those scraps the same way.

The slow cooker applesauce and the stove top applesauce were all finished by dinnertime. Handsome came in from running errands, and dug right in to help. Just in time, too. I was starting to get tired!

At the end of the day, there were eight pints, plus one quart (for the refrigerator) of slow cooker applesauce; six pints of stovetop applesauce; and five pints of Cinnamon Scrapplesauce which was a true bonus! (It tastes as fabulous as it looks, by the way!)

This weekend, I'll clean up the kitchen garden for the end of the summer. I'll cut down and cover my lavender plants, harvest the last of the sweet basic and then let the rest go to seed, and just after first frost, I'll cover the garden with marsh hay to protect my perennials for the winter.

I'm sure I'll do mini canning projects through the winter, but for now, my canning supplies will be stowed away, and I'll dream of a bigger garden next summer.


October 20, 2017

And Then There Were Ten (More)...

Brynwood Cork Kirby Crossbody Bags

They're all finished!
Ten Nine new Kirby Crossbody Bags will head to my online shop today. 
(One's already sold.)

Brynwood Cork Kirby Crossbody Bags
If you're interested in one (or more), please send me a message.
I give discounts if the sale is outside my online shop listings.
I'm going to be canning the rest of our apples today.
More goodness from the farm coming.


October 19, 2017

They're Here...

Farmhouse Labels

I ordered these a couple of weeks ago and they finally arrived on Monday.

An online company (fiverr.com) was recommended to me to design a logo for the farm, and I worked with a great woman. I sent her photos of our Compass Barn and suggested a hickory tree for the background.

In less than twenty four house, she got back to me with her first draft, and after a little tweaking, I had a finished product. I asked her to add a little information to the original basic logo (which is everything above the "Goodness from the Farm" line on our labels, which originally formed a half circle. I wanted a full circle to be able to commission a label for my canning jars. Within the hour, she emailed my label art to me.

Farmhouse Labels and Piglet

Once I had the artwork in hand, I went to Etsy and contacted a company with whom I'd previously worked (TwinCityPrintShop). They created a custom order for me, and we went to production. I love them!

A little side note about my little piggy.  I've had this piggy bank for about twenty years. It's a favorite piece, and it sat in our laundry room to collect change that usually went through the washing machine first.

I wanted her to join my cows and chickens in the kitchen, so onto the buffet cabinet she went. The neat thing is that, in conversation with Shelly, I learned that Shelly's parents used to raise pigs on our farm! There have been many instances since we moved here that some things seem more "destiny" and less "coincidence". This is just another example.

Isn't it cool how things like this happen? Not only will my little pig remain in the kitchen, but when we finally do our kitchen remodel, I'll be sure to place her in a place of prominence.
Farmhouse Labels
Most of the jams and jellies will be gifts this fall and winter. Now, each jar has a label to not only describe the contents, but also remind the recipient where it came from. I plan to use them on all goodness I package as gifts this winter, too. I can see that I'll be using them a lot!

October 18, 2017

Sew and So...

Mary Engelbreit Art

I'm almost finished with ten new Kirby Crossbody bags. I only spent yesterday working on them, along with the last batch of Lavender jelly for this year, and bringing in all the furniture from the porch for this season. 
So many things to do. It's wonderful, really. I love being busy. So, what are you doing these days?

October 17, 2017

Tuesdays With Tag - I'm A Poet...

Tag Under The Hickory Tree
"Under the spreading hickory tree
The handsome corgi stands;
The corgi, a mighty dog is he
with short and stocky legs;
And the muscles of his brawny butt
are strong as iron pegs."

Handsome and Sturdy

"His hair is full, and gold, and white,
His face is like the tan;
His brow smells like he rolled in stuff,
He finds where e're he can."

Brynwood's Taggart
"Week in, week out, from morn 'til night
You can hear his..."
 "Tag! You're mangling Longfellow's poem! Stop that right now."

"I'm just gettin' started, Mom! You're no fun!"
I guess I have to stop changin' the words to the Village Smithy poem. It just seemed appropriate since she keeps draggin' Bella and me to the hickory trees twice a day to pick up nuts. Bella's enjoyin' the hunt so much that she even runs down to the tree when she's supposed to be doin' her business. She comes runnin' back with a nut to give to Mom every time! sigh
Mom's gonna be really busy crackin' nuts this winter. She's just about ready to let the squirrels have the rest. Almost, but not quite. If you're lookin' for me, I'll be under the branches of the hickory tree...with the other nuts.

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

October 16, 2017


Large Enamelware Pot

On Saturday, I teased you with a photograph of enamelware pieces I purchased on Friday. I wanted to wait until daylight to get some better images to show you. Well, it rained most of the weekend, so although I'm less than thrilled with the pictures, here they are.

This first picture is a large pot I bought. It still has the original label on it. I guess that's a big deal for collectors. I'm not sure how I'll handle it, as I plan to use the pot in the future.

Covered and Larger Pieces

I went to the home of the lady who was selling these pieces, and as I was the first one there, I had my pick of her treasures. Most of the pieces I purchased have no interior chips. That's really wonderful, considering their age, and that she used them, too. Some of them look brand new!
All Shapes and Sizes

There were rectangular pieces, bowls, a colander and pie plate, and a handled saucepan. She actually had all the sizes of the saucepans, but in spite of the awesome prices, I tried to budget myself. I also considered that I need to find a place for all of them until our kitchen is finished, too.

Half Gallon Enamelware Pitcher

Another feature that really will come in handy is that many of the pieces have markings for measuring the contents. Here's a closeup of the half gallon pitcher (in excellent condition!), showing the markings.

My thinking on these new acquisitions is, 1) They're perfect for a farmhouse, and 2) many of them can be used for cooking (and canning!), so they're beautiful and useful. In fact, I've already used more than a few pieces for canning this past weekend.

Perfect For Our Chinois

One large piece was missing the bale handle, but I saw it and immediately knew how I would be using it. As soon as I got back home, I grabbed the chinois and placed it over the pot. Perfect fit! Now I have a piece that will catch everything that I mill through the strainer, and then I can easily pour from that back into a pot to finish cooking.

Slow Cooker Applesauce
Of course, I tried it out Saturday. Handsome and I had to run errands, so I cored and peeled twelve pounds of apples and popped them into two slow cookers before we left. We came home to stewed apples, which I ran through the chinois and then back into a pot to bring up the temperature.
Handsome stirred the mixture while I added the cinnamon and nutmeg, and set up the canner, jars and lids. He's actually enjoying this process as much as I am, and most days he's offering and eager to help. (Remember, he didn't like peeling pears, though.)
This applesauce is darker than the first batch. It tastes just as fresh and rich, but I'm thinking the addition of more peels is responsible for the browner color.

Our elder son and his family were here yesterday for the heartbreaking Packer game, followed by dinner and Birthday cake for same son. We sent them home with a number of jars from the pantry. Our pickles were a particular hit with our daughter-in-love, so we made sure to include those in their care package. I gave them jar of the applesauce, too, and I got a text late last night telling me that our grandson thought it was delicious, so that's all this grandma needs to know!

Needless to say, there was no sewing this weekend. Today, I shall not be dissuaded. There will be sewing...rain or shine.