November 30, 2017


Happiness At The Farm
This rug greets everyone who enters our "friends and family' entrance. I saw it when I was on a recent shopping errand. Tag likes lying here where he can see out the back door and window. (It's his other favorite place in the farmhouse - second only to the sofa!)

You know I've been busy with kitchen pursuits lately, but orders are calling me back to the studio. I'll finish my cookie decorating for Sunday today, and as soon as I'm finished with that, I'll begin work on those orders.

I'm also making my Christmas sewing list today. Grammie's Jammies are always on the list, but I have a few new things to make, too. It will be December tomorrow, and I'll open the holiday workshop for this season. I'd better put out my call for elves!

Happiness is definitely Homemade.


November 29, 2017

In Case You Wondered...

Advent Wreath In Process

Frequently, when I post pictures of my finished work, be it canning, needlework or something else here at the farm, someone invariably comments that they don't know how I get so much done.

Truth is, most times, I work in fits and starts. I accomplish things in a flurry of activity, and then I have to rest and kick start again. Sometimes, I just sit in a chair and read or do needlework.

Yesterday was one of those days. Monday afternoon I drove to the Milwaukee area to go to a music concert with our elder daughter-in-law. We went to St. Paul's Episcopal Church to see a performance by Milwaukee Symphony's Concertmaster, Frank Almond and four of his musician friends.

It was a magical evening, and in some ways ushered in the Christmas season for me. I only wish Handsome could have been there with us. He would have loved the music.

Tag and I stayed overnight with our elder son, his wife and our grandson (and their black lab, Duncan). Tag had a ball while we were gone, and the guys had a football banquet to attend. We got back to the house and visited for a while before everyone headed off to bed. It was, after all, a work/school night for them.

Almost Done

On my way home, I stopped at JoAnn Fabrics to pick up a few supplies for an idea I'd been working on.  Sunday isn't just my Birthday (Yup. It's that time of year again!). Most importantly, it's the first Sunday of Advent on the Christian calendar. I wanted to have an Advent Wreath this year, so I needed the candles and wreath to make a centerpiece for our dining room table.

The only thing I forgot were candle holders for tapers to set in the center. I learned my lesson about burning candles decades ago (when I nearly burned down our home during a cocktail party), so I will have the candles in fire-safe holders inside a glass container - and the each candle will be lit on each of the four Sundays in Advent while I'm in the room with them. No unattended burning candles in a hundred year old farmhouse!

I added little cardinals to my sparkling wreath, and there are three purple candles, with the one rose-colored candle to signify the eve of Christ's birth. That will be the last candle burned.

Kathy Schmitz Needlework
I spent much of the rest of the day reading, and then pulled out one of the last Kathy Schmitz embroidery projects for the other quilt I've been working on. I think there's only one more block after I finish this one!

Today, I'll be making six dozen cookies for a cookie exchange party I'm attending on my Birthday. Aside from my chocolate chip cookies, I haven't mass-produced (six dozen is "mass produced" for me!) a batch of cookies. Each person who attends was asked to bring that many for the exchange. There will be contests and games and such, and I'm looking forward to going. 
I'm making cutout cookies that I'll decorate. I'm not sure I'll get all of that done today. I may bake them today and then decorate them tomorrow. I might decide to sit and stitch a bit more. We'll see how it goes.


November 28, 2017

Tuesdays With Tag - Summer In Fall...

Brynwood's Taggart
Hi, Everybody!
I'm comin' to you today from my second favorite spot at the comfy sofa.
We had a great Thanksgivin' last week, and I want to tell you about the new friend I met.
Summer, Tag and "Aunty Jan"

Her name is "Summer", and she's Mom's sister's pup. Actually, Summer belongs to Aunt Jan's fiance'. She's a really nice little girl. Of course, she was the perfect hostess. She welcomed me into their house, and she was fun to play with, too. We even shared the big, comfy footstool together. (She's almost as nice as bein' with Bella!)

Runnin' Around The Yard

She has a huge backyard, and it's all fenced in, so you know what that means? We could just go out the back door and play, play, play! The weather was perfect, too (almost 60ยบ in Wisconsin), so it was perfect for bein' outside!

More Runnin'

We ran and ran, and if it hadn't been for the fact that I knew there was turkey and fixin's inside, we could have just hung out here all day. Mom said we were like little kids..."Let us in!"..."Let us out!"...repeat...repeat...repeat. It was just my kind of day.

This Isn't A Dog

There was somethin' else that caught my eye, too. This HUGE, fuzzy critter kinda reminded me of a dog, but I had to get closer to explore further. My aunt said usually dogs don't want to have anythin' with this corner of the room, but I'm not a usual dog. I'm TAGGART! I jumped right on the sofa to give it a good sniff. 

It actually didn't have a smell, and it wasn't breathin' or movin', so it held my attention for about thirty seconds. After that, I jumped down (before I got hollered at), and played with the real, live Summer instead. She was a lot more fun.
One Bushed Corgi
We had a great time, and by the end of the day, I was one, tired corgi headin' home. We got in the door, Mom fed me, and I came back to my favorite spot. I stayed just like this until it was time to go to bed.

It was a wonderful Thanksgivin' for us...and I'm lookin' forward to goin' to Summer's house again soon. Or better still...I hope that she can come to the farm some time. We could really run around here, and that would be great.
I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...  
"Chase A Dream - Or A Squirrel".

November 27, 2017

Cookie Cutters, Old and New...

Vintage Cookie Cutters

I'm going to a Cookie Exchange my niece is hosting next weekend.

I need to make six dozen cookies, and apparently they choose best tasting and I'm not sure what else. Knowing my personality, I guess you already know that I won't just make a simple drop cookie for this party.

I pulled out my tin of vintage cookie cutters, and a box filled with newer ones. The tin of vintage cookie cutters belonged to my mother-in-law, Evelyn. There were trees, santas, stars, hearts, and even a set of card suits to make cookies for bridge night!

New vs. Old

Then, I opened up my storage box for all the various newer cutters I've purchased over the years, including a corgi cookie cutter from Tasha Tudor's online store! I couldn't help but notice how cookie sizes have changed over the years. It surely demonstrates how McDonalds isn't the only place you can find something "super sized"! 

The pink-edged, heart shaped cutter is a newer one, and the two hearts on the right were Evelyn's. The new one is about three times the size of the old ones! Kind of explains how clothing sizes have upsized, too!
Supersized Cookies
These cookies would be as large as my hand! While that's nice. I'm surely not going to make six dozen in this size! (I'm not making the hearts either.) I'll show you what I chose after I make and decorate them.
Today is our elder son and daughter-in-law's 24th wedding anniversary! 
I'll see them later today. There's dinner and a concert in my immediate future.
May you celebrate many more together.

November 26, 2017

November 25, 2017

A Pleasant Surprise...

Wooly Critters Pattern

Remember last week when I went with Kathy at Primitive Gatherings? The night before, I was in the studio trying to decide what I was going to take along to work on at the Sit & Sew.

My mind immediately went to my Wooly Critters project (which is taking forever!). I pulled out the plastic carryall I used to carry back and forth to Nifty Fifties. It holds this project and the Kathy Schmitz pieces I've been working on, too. I needed to figure out which Wooly blocks still needed to be set up if I was going to work on one.

My Completed Blocks

I started pulling them through twelve. Wait. What? One, two, three, four, and all the way to twelve. I've finished all of them! Squeeeee! I guess with the cross country move, I just lost track of my progress.

Sashing Fabric Choice

I chose this checked flannel fabric ages ago just for this project. Of course, I have to square up and cut down the size of the background fabric on those blocks first. There's too much space around each design, but once I've done that, I can add the sashing, using this fabric.
If you look back at the first picture, once the blocks are all joined together, I'll just have to choose the fabric for the border...and sew the flowers all around. That's all I have left to do! Then I'll decide if I'm going to hand quilt this one, or send it off to my pal, Susan (in Georgia) to get machine quilted.
For now, I'm just jumping up and down to know that all these blocks are done. I guess I'd better think about stitching up the last of my Kathy Schmitz blocks soon. (I actually think I only have two or three of those left to do.)


November 24, 2017


Jan's fiance' and his boys

I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving, spent with loved ones or friends. Handsome is in Florida, and he had dinner with dear friends. My youngest sister invited me to spend the day with her, so Tag and I traveled "over the river, and through the woods" yesterday.

She and her fiance' prepared a fabulous dinner. It's the first time I haven't cooked a turkey for the holiday in over thirty years! She made the same dressing my grandmother taught to our father, and we picked up by watching him. Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes (with her special addition of cream cheese!), roasted Brussels sprouts and dinner rolls - timed perfectly and perfectly delicious.

They asked me to say grace, so I voiced the words I speak before every dinner I've shared with my dear husband since we moved to the farm. They're words of gratitude for our food, family and each other.

My sister and fiance's story is so sweet. They dated for three years in high school - and were actually engaged - thirty some years ago. They broke up all those years ago, each eventually marrying other people and having their separate families. They hadn't so much as laid eyes on each other in all those years. They each were divorced and living single lives while raising their kids, and through his younger brother, reconnected about six months ago.

It was as though they'd lost no time at all. They realized how much they still loved each other, and that they weren't going to waste any more time apart. The rest shall be their "history". (May I add, I've always loved this guy, too. I told him a few days ago he reminds me of Rick on Pawn Stars, and he told me he hears that a lot.)

L-R: My nephew, me, Jan's fiance'

My nephew (same age as our grandson) was with his dad's family for dinner, but he got home before I left. I enjoyed the chance to visit with him (and get a photo). I'm always surprised how much he's grown since "the last time", and now he's now taller than I am.

Tag, Summer and Jan

Tag met a new friend, Summer, and they spent most of the day running around the fenced back yard. The weather was perfect for it, but like little kids - when they were outside, they wanted to come back in, and when the were inside, they wanted to go back out. Tag will share more pictures next week. It was pretty cute!

Donna and Jan

I know. Happy smiles and lots of teeth. There are thirteen years between us, but we always have fun together, and enjoy each others company. Among other things on Thanksgiving Day...I'm grateful for her.


November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Wishes...

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.

November 22, 2017

A Primitive Day...

Primitive Gatherings' Owner and Designer, Lisa Bongean

I drove up to Menasha, WI yesterday morning to meet up with Kathy D. She invited me to join the Sit & Sew group she attends once a month at Lisa Bongean's warehouse and offices for Primitive Gatherings.

I'm sure that if you quilt, you're familiar with Lisa's name and work. She's an extraordinary designer, and her woolwork quilts and projects are beloved by many. She's also extremely entertaining and personable! As her shop is one of my favorites, I was happy to join Kathy and the ladies for a day in Menasha.

My girlfriend, Kathy D.

The gathering always begins with Lisa sharing her new fabrics, designs and or ideas with the ladies. It's also a chance for each of the ladies to share what they're currently doing, projects they've recently finished, or to get input into how to complete a block or quilt top. Lisa's opinions, as well as those of the other ladies, are helpful for everyone.

Kathy is a prolific wool worker, and I always enjoy seeing what she's been working on. She opened up her case to show us her latest completed blocks, along with her ideas for assembling a quilt top with them.

Kathy's Blocks

I'm sure you can see a number of reasons why I fell in love with these blocks! I can't wait to see it finished, and how she does her own quilting on the assembled top. It's going to be a stunning piece when it's done, for sure.

English Paper Pieced Quilt Top

I don't know everyone's names (yet), but I'm looking forward to getting to know these talented ladies better. Isn't this a gorgeous quilt top? It's all paper pieced, and she chose the colors completely randomly. I think that makes it even more charming.

Some of the attendees have never worked on an English Paper Pieced project before, so this lady brought kits of tiny hexies (and even precut fabrics) so that we could make our own tree ornaments.

English Paper Pieced Make & Take

This was one of her models for the class. I completed my hexie assembly yesterday, and just have to mount it to a wool backing. I'll finish it soon, and show you what it looks like after I do that. (It was a fun project working with tiny hexies, by the way, and very generous of her to share her teaching knowledge and materials.)

Show & Tell Wool Wall Hanging

I thought you might like to see a couple more of the pieces that were shared with the group. I love this alphabet sampler. It's a great size for a wall hanging, and I love the color choices. It's completely done in wools.

Show & Tell Wool Quilt Top
This is a finished quilt top, and its owner brought it to ask about the best ideas for quilting it. She also chose her quilt backing next door from Lisa's warehouse stock. How cool is that?
All in all, it was a really fun day. Everyone brought a dish to pass, too, so we had a delicious lunch (and a wide choice of tasty desserts).
The next gathering will be held at Lisa's home, and it will be a Christmas party of sorts. I'll definitely have a project to share, and we're having an ornament gift exchange, so I'm going to make one of my own acorn ornaments. (It's pictured in the third picture of my blog header above.) You can find my pattern on my "Free Patterns and Tutorials" page (link in my top menu bar). I can't wait to do this again!

November 21, 2017

Tuesdays With Tag - I Can't Talk Right Now...

I'm Serious!

 Hi, Everybody!

I know you're back this week expectin' me to be my usual, chatty self, but seriously,
 I'm not in the mood. I've been so severely abused AGAIN, that I can't even talk.

 I know Mom and Dad don't consider this abuse, but I can't think of another word for it.

When Mom wrote my "Loose Ends" post, she noticed somethin' while she was editin' photos. She said right then and there that she was appalled that my toenails were so long!

I've managed to steer clear of her stoopid nail clippers and Dremel file for as long as I could, but she finally caught up with me and trimmed all my toes right to the bone! Man! We just did this a couple of weeks ago! I think she's got some sorta fixation on my feet! I swear I'm walkin' around on stubs right now! (No short leg jokes, guys!) 
I wanna know who I can call to report this maltreatment! I'd run away from home, but the food and cuddles are too good to leave. I wouldn't even let her take a picture of me. Next thing ya know, she'll be tryin' to paint them or somethin'! I'm still shakin' my head. I'm goin' back on the sofa to recuperate.
I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...  
"Chase A Dream - Or A Squirrel".


November 20, 2017

Monday Morning Lists...

Coming Soon! New Wooly Project Bags

I had a great weekend, and hope you did, too. I spent time in the studio choosing fabrics for new project pouches, pulling fabrics to list in my shop, and cleaning up the fabric studio.

I'll be making up the new pouches and filling special orders today, as well as shipping out orders I received over the weekend. It's going to be a busy day!

"Brewing" New Hickory Syrup

Over the weekend, I also brewed up a new batch of Hickory Syrup. I received my bottle order on Saturday, so orders will go out in style!

Hickory Syrup Available
I've already run out of the filled sample jars shown in this picture (Thanks, Facebook friends), but I still have a few of the sample bottles available that I showed you last week.
I'll list these up in my shop in case you're interested in a bottle for yourself or as a gift. If I run out this week, I'll make more over the weekend. I expect that I'll be able to keep making more through New Years', but will have to see how my hickory supplies last from there.  

I hope you have a fun week planned. I'll be stitching with Kathy D. tomorrow at Primitive Gatherings, so I'd better get my tasks accomplished today to play Tuesday!

November 19, 2017

Sunday Scripture...

 Mom Grace's granddaughter, Kayti gave birth to her first great grandchild last week. 
She would be happy that Thanksgiving will now hold a happier memory for her family.
Welcome to the world, Paisley.


November 18, 2017

A Rare Day...

Brynwood Sewing Studio
If you create anything at all, you know how your creative space can get away from you. I refer to it as "creative chaos". Lately, it's looked like a bomb had gone off in this room. I had to take a little time to bring some order back into my sewing studio. (We won't look in the fabric studio today, though.)

This is a panoramic scan using my iPhone, so you'll notice a little distortion. One hundred year old farmhouse floors aren't quite that curvy! 

I was standing in the doorway to my space when I shot this image. Immediately to my left is my pattern file cabinet, filled as usual with fat quarters, patterns and some kits. It's sitting next to my Ikea cabinet with the glass-front drawers. I use this as my "local" cutting table (my big cutting table for cork, etc. is in the fabric studio in the next room). 

The door on the left side of the room leads to the walk-up attic, which will eventually be a guest room/bunk house for when our grandkids, nieces or nephews come to visit. You might notice my newly painted shelf mounted on the wall. I really like it there. 

Kenny and my little serger sit on the table in front of the south window. When I'm sitting at my Destiny table, I can see out that window to our driveway. Tag makes sure no one ever sneaks up on us, so when he lights up I just have to look out the window to see who's on the drive.

Next to that window is my drawer stack. These were purchased in Florida from a scrapbook store, and that was the intended function. They work perfectly for holding my bag hardware, a few stamps and other supplies. The rest of my hardware and KamSnaps sit in drawers on the countertop. Everything is within easy reach of my sewing tables for efficiency. The cabinets hide hold shipping supplies, bookkeeping binders, my sewing notes/hand drawn patterns, and office supplies.

Of course, you can see my computer, printer and tool box on the table facing our back yard. The new door with it's much-appreciated window still haven't been painted, but it lets in light, and in front of it is the perfect place to take photos in natural light. 

Jane sits on her Sew Eze table in front of my thread cabinets and a bookshelf, and the last thing on that side is a closet for things I don't need sitting out. If it were a little larger, some of the other items that are in the room would be in the closet, but farm closets were built smaller. I think I'll have some shelves put in them to make it easier to get at what's in there, but that's a project for another day.

Now that I'm reorganized, I will be sewing today. It's supposed to be rainy yucky today, so sewing will be just what the doctor ordered.

Before I go today, you may have noticed that your comments weren't showing up as soon as you hit the send button. I had been getting a bunch of spam written in languages I don't read, so I set the moderation to "always", which means nothing posts unless I give permission. Then, I promptly forgot that I did that and hadn't been checking. I'm such a doof! It was brought to my attention last night, so I went to see whether or not there was a problem. I had NINETY TWO comments to moderate. I'm so embarrassed! 
Thank you to everyone who left comments. I'll try to catch up and respond to everyone over the weekend. I'm going to sew for a while now (she says as she scuffs her toe and slowly backs away). See you tomorrow!