December 15, 2018

Oh, What A Night...

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra "Harry Potter Night"
We had a great night with our granddaughters last night. Handsome joined us for dinner, and then drove us down to the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee, where our granddaughters and I had a "ladies' night out". (Handsome went back to our elder son's house and spent the evening with him, our grandson and daughter-in-law.)
The MSO (and a chorus) performed the entire soundtrack to "Harry Potter and the Prison of Azkaban" movie, while the audience viewed the movie (with dialogue). It was riveting, and the performance lasted over three hours, including a 20 minute intermission.
At the start, the conductor invited the audience to laugh, cry, clap, sneer and cheer as the spirit moved us, and we delivered. We were all totally engrossed in the experience, and there were people of all ages. We saw older couples (with and without kids), younger couples (likewise), and plenty of young people cheering for their favorite characters. 
Butter beers (described to me as tasting like butterscotch soda - perhaps cream soda?) were served in plastic mugs, as well as HP jelly beans, and other refreshments. Adults and kids, alike, were seen wearing scarves representing their favorite Hogwarts house. Our younger granddaughter chose a Griffendor scarf (naturally!).
Brynwood Needleworks - Post Concert - Three Happy Ladies
When the performance was over, the audience stood for an ovation for the orchestra and chorus. We clapped until our hands were sore.

Grandpa (Handsome) was waiting for us when we left the concert. He'd scored a parking spot right across the street from The Riverside, so we crossed the street, got into our waiting coach, and headed home. We dropped the girls off to their parents around 11:30, and these two, happy-tired grandparents rolled in our garage after 1 am. 
I think a little Christmas decorating is on our agenda, but we'll be otherwise taking it easy today. It was quite the (perfect) night.

December 14, 2018

Done and Done...

Brynwood Kirby Crossbody Bags and "Abby" Custom Clutch

It was a busy day, but I finished two "Doxie" and one feather-print Kirby crossbody bags, as well as  the custom "Abby" Clutch. One Doxie and the clutch are packaged and will go out in today's post.

The other "Doxie" and the feather-print Kirby will be listed up in my shop today. While I made the bag with the feather print, I thought about how I'd like to start a special line of nature-themed fabrics. 
This feather bag will be the first in my "Nature Girl" Series. They'll be limited edition and all have an outdoor/animal/bird/nature theme. Of course, they'll all have cork as their primary fabric, too. 

I've got a few homekeeping things to do today, and then I'm taking our granddaughter to a special girls' night out concert this evening. We'll have dinner out with Grandpa (Handsome), but then just the three of us will go to a Milwaukee Symphony performance of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They actually screen the movie while playing the sound track. We're all very excited about going!

The weekend will be dedicated to making Grammie's Jammies for our grandchildren. I won't be able to show pictures until after Christmas, though. Don't want to spoil any surprises, just in case nosey people check out my blog ahead of time!

I'm still fighting off this attempt at a cold, so I'll be medicated the rest of the day. I don't want to spread any bugs while I'm with our girls! I can't wait to tell you about the concert, and I will share what else I accomplish (except the jammies) with you on Monday. Happy Weekend, dears!


December 13, 2018

A Corgi Clutch...

Custom Machine Embroidery
In order to create this clutch, my client chose one of my myriad Corgi machine embroideries...with one catch. She didn't want the tail, and her tri-color pup had very little brown in her coat. 

Changing colors is easy. It took a little longer to remove the tail, but I did it. A little hocus here, and pocus there, and this embroidery became tailless. I pulled the fabric, stitched out the embroidery, and then it was time to assemble the clutch.
Custom Machine Embroidered Clutch
I'm going to add a cork wristlet, and then it will be finished. Getting to this point took longer than I expected, so I'll make the Doxie bag(s) today. 
I'm also getting the sniffles. It was another reason to shut down earlier than I usually would have yesterday. I'm too busy to be getting sick right now. If any bug would just hold off until after Christmas, that would be wonderful. I'm drinking lots of water, orange and pineapple juice, and I'm going to make sure I take care of myself. One day at a time. Now...where's my list?

December 12, 2018

Holly Berry Strawberry...

Brynwood Needleworks - Holly Berry Strawberry Design by Erica Michaels
I completed this commission on Sunday, and sent it on its way yesterday. My client requested that I fill it with lavender buds, so it smells heavenly. It was truly a pleasure to stitch this small design on 32 ct. linen, although I admit, I'm much more dependent on my lighted magnifier now than I used to be.

Today, I'm making two pieces for a is a Corgi Clutch bag, and the other is a Kirby with dachshund fabric accents. I'm going to make two of those, so I have a second one to put in the shop. It's a cute design. 

I'll show you the completed pieces tomorrow. Then, I'll only have one more commission to complete before I get to this year's Grammie's Jammies. Off to the studio! The elves are calling!


December 11, 2018

Tuesdays With Tag - Now, Just A Doggone Minute...

Brynwood's Taggart and The Imposter

 Hi, Everybody!

I bet you're wonderin' just what the heck is goin' on here.
Well, let me tell you. It was touch and go for a minute.

Last night, I got up on Mom's bed, just like I've done for the past seven and a half years. What the heck do I find, but some stuffed imposter hornin' in on my favorite spot! Who the heck does he think he is?!
Inspectin' The Front End

That little pipsqueek wasn't gonna pull the wool over my eyes. No siree! Get over here, why don't ya? You can call me the Imposter Inspector, thank you very much!

Let's start up here by the eyes. I know you think you're adorable and fuzzy, but I already have one of those to deal with. We aren't namin' names, but you all know I'm talkin' about that Black Dog! Well, you don't smell too cute offensive.
Checkin' Behind The Ears

Lean over and quit wigglin' around. I'm gonna check behind the ears and make sure you aren't bringin' fleas up on my Mom's bed. Last thing I need in the middle of the night, is a bunch of skritchin' because you're itchin'!

"All clear, Mom!"

Hold on now. You knew I was gonna have to check the back end. I'm lookin' to see if you need a butt freshenin' and figure out what you had for dinner. Oddly enough, it's smellin', if you ask me. (Not that that's a bad thing!)
Reachin' An Accord

Well, after thorough inspection, and careful consideration, I've decided you can stay. Mom said you were a present from her friend, Marie on Sunday. (I'm gonna have to talk with Miss Marie next time I see her!)
There are rules, though, so we better get those straight right now! Number One: No one kicks Boo's butt except me. Number Two: No one licks Boo's dish clean after she's done eatin' except me. Number Three: No one cuddles up to Mom except me (and sometimes Boo). You wait at the back of the line. Period. Number Four: No soundin' the alarm when the mail guy, UPS guy, FedEx guy, paper guy, or Miss Shelly or Mr. Andy drive up the driveway. That's strictly MY job. If I catch ya barkin' on my watch, you're outta here. Got it? Good.
Then you can stay...and you can sleep on my bed with me once in a while if you want to. Just don't tell anyone I said it was okay. I'm not kiddin'. I'll deny it if you say anythin' different. Welcome to the pack, you little scrub.
 I'll see you again in seven, 'til then...  
"Chase A Dream - Or A Squirrel".


December 10, 2018

My Weekend - And Giveaway Winners...

Four Generations of Friends - l-r: me, Linda, Marie (in back), Annabelle and her mom, Adrienne

I've been working on a lovely Christmas strawberry commission and nearly finished it over the weekend, but I took time out to travel to my old stomping grounds for a holiday party with dear friends.

In 1976, I moved to Portage, Wisconsin (following my young, foolish heart), and took a job at a local grocery store. I had been a cashier all through high school, so this was something I knew well. The first person I met was Linda, and we became fast friends.

I've told you about how I would eat dinner with her family every evening, and then, she, her daughter Marie, and I would clear the table, set up our sewing machines and sew all night. (By this time, my heart had come to its senses, and I was working as a full-time secretary, eventually becoming a paralegal and office manager for the city attorney.) We followed this routine for years, and eventually, when I moved back to my hometown and met Handsome, I had to re-learn how to sew alone. It was lonely, and I had to learn to cut out my own pattern pieces again...a job that I still don't enjoy, but Linda was more than happy to do for me.

We've been friends through her children's growing years (Marie was just a teenager when I first met her), and there were two boys who grew into great young men. I stood up in Marie's wedding (even helping make my bridesmaids dress, and remember when Adrienne was born.

Linda was sitting behind me when Handsome and I were married thirty four years ago, and years later, I was among the attendees when Adrienne was married. I have watched as she raised her own family. Now, her six year old daughter, Annabelle recognizes me, and will sit on my lap and chat with me. It's truly wonderful to have this long connection to this beautiful and loving family.

When I received the invitation to their family holiday party, I marked my calender. Yesterday, I kissed my husband goodbye for the day, jumped in my car, and drove that all-too-familiar drive to Portage to celebrate the season with them.

There was the joyful, large-family hustle and bustle that I know so well, and there was so much food to enjoy, that a person hardly knew where to start. I sat and visited with all of them, meeting new family members I hadn't seen yet, and watching all the children moving in and around the the adults.

Of course, before we parted company, I made sure we took photographs to memorialize our visit. Linda and I sat together, and her daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter were part of the picture, as it's always been.

I never would have guessed when I accepted that job all those years ago, I would have formed this fast and lifelong friendship with dear Linda, but I can't imagine my life without her in it, and how blessed I am to have my life so entwined with hers. We promised that it won't be forever before we see each other again.

It's time now to announce the winners of my 3500th Post Giveaway.
I decided to choose four names, rather than just two, and before I name names, I want to ask


to please send me an email (through the link in my sidebar). I have a little something special for you for leaving the comment that really brought a smile to my face.  I'll tell you more when I write back to you...but you need to contact me first, because I don't have your email address.

Giveaway Winners
Winners 1 and 2 are Sherry of Createology blog, and Toni of Sewing in CT blog.
Both of you will receive a cork key ring, as well as another small gift.
I have both of your addresses (you're long-time followers and friends, thank you!).

Winners 3 and 4 are Mary of Hill Country Quilter, and Carla of With Needle & Thread.
Both of you will receive a cork key ring.
Mary and Carla, please send your addresses to me. 
Carla, even though I've been to your home, I don't think I have your actual address. (face palm!)

Thanks to everyone who commented in the drawing. I loved hearing from all of you, and I truly
appreciate that you visit my blog. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Always.


December 9, 2018

Sunday Scripture...

Brynwood Needleworks via

December 8, 2018

Kitchen Ideas On My Mind...

Pinned Kitchen Ideas
I've got kitchen cabinetry on my mind these days. I love the randomness of our current setup, but I know we'll eventually install cabinetry. I've saved lots of pictures, but these four have elements I really like.

One common thread is light-colored cabinets. Another would be the windows for natural light. I also like the different shelving options. We actually already have the oak shelves and brackets to hang above our range (like in the upper left photo). I also love butcher block counters like the ones we had in Florida, but I think only for the cooking area. I'd like a light-colored, waterproof option for the sink area. I'm really enamored with the glass panel cabinet doors, too.

Beyond that, I'm still tossing ideas, randomly, at Handsome to see if anything appeals to him, too. (Oh, and the pink in the lower right corner is not a color option for us.) I'll keep saving pictures, and when we're settled (hopefully in 2019), we'll start the project. No rush. It's not like we're eating badly in our current setup! I just know that it will be comfortable, and suitable for a 100 year old farmhouse. What do you think about these kitchens? What do you like? What don't you like? I'd love your feedback.

Don't forget to leave a comment on the 3500th Post Giveaway post! I'm choosing a winner on Sunday night. You still have the weekend to join in the drawing. The link is in my right sidebar.


December 7, 2018

Late Week Baking...

Liljegren's Farmhouse Sandwich Bread

Handsome is healing like a champ, and the doctor is really happy with his progress. He likes sandwiches, but he wasn't eating much bread when he first got home. I hadn't made any in a little while, so when he mentioned the day before yesterday that there wasn't much left for toast, I knew what I'd be doing yesterday.

I began around 10:30 in the morning, and by 2 pm, tasty part-whole wheat sandwich bread came out of the oven. The house smelled of warm, fresh bread, and for the first time since I started baking at home, I cut into a loaf before it was fully cooled. It was delicious, topped with a bit of butter and some of our homemade grape jam.

I have an extra loaf that went into the freezer until we need it, so I think I'll likely make baguettes or rolls next week. That would be nice with homemade soup, now that it's cold outside.

Brynwood Needleworks - Cook's Illustrated Bread Recipes Magazine
If my (mostly) weekly baking has you thinking about trying your hand at bread making (or getting back to it), I can highly recommend this magazine. I got my copy (and one for my sister, Di, who also bakes breads) at our local Piggly Wiggly grocery store, but I'm sure you can get your own at Barnes & Noble or your own grocery.

I love that Cook's Illustrated does all the experimenting, and then gives you the best tips, supply recommendations, and recipes. There are some really good ones in this issue, too. I'll be trying the recipe of that beauty in the Dutch oven very soon!

Handsome needs a haircut, so I'll be doing that first thing. Then, I'm working on commissions today, so I'll be back in the studio if you're looking for me. I hope you have a great day!!


December 6, 2018

Look What I Found...

Kewaskum School Fund Raisers
I found these in the grocery store in Kewaskum, Wisconsin (where my friend, Wendi lives). I was killing a little time waiting for a break in her work schedule, so I stopped in the grocery store to see about picking up some things we needed back at home.

As I walked in the front door of the store, there was a big board filled with cards like these with various leaves and acorns on them. They're made of clay, by school kids from the Kewaskum School District, and they're being sold to support the local community food bank. 

This is a brilliant idea to teach the act of giving to the kids, and it benefits people in need. Of course, I didn't hesitate to get the acorn magnet, created by Hoyt (grade 4), and the oak leaf pin, made by Osmaror (no grade given).

I'm going to make cards (using single images of each of these pins) to send back to the school to let these kids know how much I love what they're doing, and how wonderful I think their creations are. I know, if I had made them, I'd love the feedback. In fact, I may have to go back to get a few more to give as gifts!

Speaking of gifts...Don't forget to leave a comment on my 3500th Post Giveaway for a chance to win a gift for yourself! Just click on the above image (located on my right sidebar) to go to the giveaway post. Only comments left there will count for the drawing. Good luck!


December 5, 2018

Celebrating 3500!!!...

Brynwood Needleworks - Cork Key Rings
When I wrote my first blog post in March of 2009, I never dreamed that I would faithfully continue to write every day since, with only one exception...the week after my sweet, little Fezzik died. Many of you were there with me when it happened and grieved along with me. No single blog post has had the response that I received from the post announcing his passing. For that I'm so grateful.

Today's post marks number 3500! Thirty five hundred times I've shared my thoughts, hopes, celebrations, creations and favorite scriptures. Those posts have been read by you over 967,000 times! (That alone almost leaves me speechless, but you know me...)

I've been playing around with a new idea for an addition to my show booths (and online shop), and thought these sweet cork key rings might be just the ticket. These have a key ring on top and small wooden beads, as well as acorn/oak leaf charms (Business on top. Party on the bottom. lol). Whether or not the acorn charm is this exact one in the future, all key rings I create will have at least one acorn charm on them. What do you think? 

To celebrate my 3500th post, I'm going to hold a little giveaway for one of these two key rings. There will be two winners, and you don't have to live in the US to enter! This drawing is open to one and all, but you will be responsible for any VAT fees or other taxes upon receipt. I'll pay postage, though.

To enter, just leave a comment here (one per person, please), with a way to reach you in the event  your name is drawn, any time between now and Sunday (December 9th). I'll pick two lucky winners on Sunday evening (11 pm) and announce the winners next Monday (December 10th). If you've been stopping by to regularly see what I'm up to, now you can leave a comment for a chance to win something! (I'm planning to add another surprise or two along with each key ring!)

Thanks for being there for all these years and posts. I really appreciate knowing you're on the other end of my daily messages. Good luck in the drawing!


December 4, 2018

Tuesdays With Tag - We're Pooped...

 Brynwood Needleworks - Tired Taggart

Hello, Everybody!

We are seriously in dog tired. Seriously. We partied like rock stars yesterday. Mom sure knows how to celebrate (for an old girl). We don't even know how to figure out how old she is in dog years!

Mom and Dad got up yesterday, let Boo and me outside for our usual mornin' walkabout, and then we they got dressed to hit the road. Dad took us to Port Washington to pick up a present he ordered for Mom (which she loved, by the way), and then took her out for lunch. They may have shared a little with us, too.

After that, we went all the way back to Fond du Lac to see Mom's sister, niece and great nieces. By the time we'd driven about 10,000 miles, we got back home, where we relaxed and had a quiet dinner (except for Boo who can get a bit noisy).
Brynwood Needleworks - Two Furry Couch Potatoes
We spent the evenin' watchin' football and hangin' out. Just the perfect way to spend a perfect day. We're guessin' she's not finished celebratin' yet. You know her. She likes to "extend" her Birthday every year, and she's got it down to a fine science.

Tomorrow, she's got an announcement (and giveaway) to tell you about, so be sure to come back to see what that's all about. I'm gonna go take another nap.
 I'll see you again in seven, 'til then...  
"Chase A Dream - Or A Squirrel".

December 3, 2018


Brynwood Cutout Cookies

I'm celebrating today. I finished the six dozen cookies Saturday to take to the party, and still had two dozen left for home. I fooled around with the icing for our cookies, and actually liked how they turned out! No pressure, just playing.

Brynwood Cutout Cookies - Final Version
These were my final party cookies. Royal icing takes practice, which I definitely haven't done, so they ended up cute, but not perfect, by any means. I'm happy with how they turned out, but if I do cutouts again, I'm going with the traditional frosting, and just make them yummy. Too much pressure if I use the royal icing.
The party was great fun. Games, about a dozen guests who brought their cute and delicious cookies, and well worth the drive home in a snowstorm. I'm so glad I went. Time with sisters (pictures on one of my sister's camera, waiting to be downloaded), nieces and their friends. Another cookie exchange under my belt.

Today is my BIRTHDAY!!! Handsome and I are going to celebrate together. We have a little trip planned, and will have lunch overlooking Lake Michigan. I'm looking forward to spending a relaxing day with him. 
The Beatles "When I'm 64" is running through my head. How the heck did that happen so fast? I sure don't feel more than about 50. Well, maybe a little more than 50. lol I'm going to close now. I've got some partying to do!


December 2, 2018

December 1, 2018

There Be Bears!...

Farmhouse Cutout Cookies
I finished my commissions in the morning yesterday, and then headed down to the kitchen. I had cookies to bake yesterday so I could decorate them today. I used the same recipe I used last year, as they were a big hit. I shared the recipe in my blog HERE last year. I decided on polar bears this year.
Six Of Eight And A Half Dozen
I made four batches of the dough, and ended up with eight and a half dozen cookies. Six for the cookie exchange, and two and a half for us to enjoy at home.
I posted about making the cookies on my Facebook page, and one of my friends said she thought I was amazing. I wrote back and told her that I'm only "partially amazing". When I finished cleaning up after making all those cookies, I took an hour-long nap before dinner. lol (Nothing like keeping it real for you, right?) 

I'm well-rested now, and ready to decorate these bears! I'm going to use royal icing again, and we'll see how ambitious I am with the decorations. I know that however they get iced, they'll be tasty. It really is a never-fail recipe. The party's tomorrow, so I'd better get cracking so they set up properly before I have to box them up again. 

I'll share pictures of the completed cookies (and the appetizer I'm taking with me), on Monday. I'll share that recipe then, too. 
Happy December!


November 30, 2018

Completed Commissions...

Brynwood Needleworks "Bryn" Crossbody Wallets
I just have to add rivets and these three Bryns will be complete! Two are gifts, and one is for the giver. They'll be hand delivered in the next day or so. 

Today, I'm running to the grocery store to pick up a few items, and then I'm coming home to bake cookies for the Holiday Cookie Exchange at my niece's home this weekend. I've decided on my cookie, and will be making six dozen of them. I'll be sure to take pictures before they head to the party. Gotta run. My mixer and the oven await!


November 29, 2018

Kirby's Little Sister Prototype...

Mini Kirby Prototype
I got back to working on the Bryn Crossbody Wallets today, but not before I completed a prototype for a smaller version of my Kirby Crossbody Bag. This one is going to be a Birthday gift for one of my little sisters who loves purple, and I'm sure she'll like this one.
Kirby and New Prototype - Side by Side Comparison
This is a side-by-side comparison of the Kirby Bag and the new bag, with only one front zipper compartment. I love it, but it's not quite what I had in mind.
Showing Final Size Preference

The red line on this image is where I want the final bag bottom to be. I'm not going to modify this one, but I've changed the measurements on my notes. I'll make another after I complete the wallets today. I'll show those to you tomorrow. By the way...Don't you love the purple cork? I sure do!



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