April 23, 2018

Playing With Needle & Threads...

Queen Anne's Lace (Wild Carrot) Web Image
 
Since posting my most recent strawberry sachets last week, I have three new orders. I'll be playing with needle, threads and/or silk ribbons this week. I'll also be in Menasha tomorrow with my pal, Kathy for the monthly Sit & Sew at Primitive Gatherings.

The sun was shining last weekend (with more expected), the snow is melting, the birds are singing, and my loved ones and I are all healthy and happy. What more could one possibly ask for?

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April 22, 2018

Sunday Scripture...

Web Image

Just a few, uncustomary Sunday Scripture words today. This verse was spoken by Barbara Pierce Bush's funeral, by her granddaughters, yesterday. It's one of my favorite chapters in the Bible.

Web Image
 
These are the lyrics to a song that was sung at the funeral, too. It's a personal favorite of mine. My British grandfather played the pipe organ at his church in England. When he came to visit us in Wisconsin, he played this on the piano for us.

When I heard it, I was moved to tears, imagining my Granddad playing that magnificent pipe organ in the Bush family's church. The lyrics are beautiful, but if you're not familiar with the hymn, I encourage you to look it up on YouTube, or see if you can find a recording of Mrs. Bush's funeral. That reading of this hymn was magnificent.

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April 20, 2018

Shabby Silk Roses...

Brynwood Needleworks Silk Ribbonwork
 
 This will be my next Strawberry Rose Sachet. I love these soft, shabby colors.
I may have to keep this one, but I'm sure I'll make more. Did I say I love these colors?
 
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April 19, 2018

Silken Ribbons and More Guests...

New Silk Ribbons For Brynwood Strawberry Sachets

Part of the new silk ribbon colors I recently ordered arrived yesterday. These are so beautiful, and they'll make for lovely Strawberry Rose Sachets (pincushions and other pretties). I still have another package which should be arriving soon, but I'll have fun starting with some of these.

Ribbons, Threads and Seed Beads
 
I've chosen the two colors shown here, along with the floss colors (and possibilities for bead embellishments) for my next strawberry. I'll choose the final bead color(s) after the stitching is done. I'm itching to start this one.
 
Mourning Doves
 
I guess our bird guests told their friends about the new neighborhood buffet. We had new birds join them yesterday. Joining the other birds at the feeders were juncos, purple finches, bluejays, and mourning doves. 
 
We got more snow, too, but we have plenty of seed, suet, fruit and feeders, so we'll clear off those feeders right away this morning, and they'll be right back in business. I'm telling you, I was beginning to feel like Snow White. Wherever I turned, there were happy, singing birds, a squirrel and a bunny enjoying the banquet. I would have started singing, but didn't want to scare them all off! hee hee
 
Appointments for Handsome and me (in different directions) today, but I'll definitely get some stitching time in. I hope you find time for something (or someone) you love today. 
 
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April 18, 2018

It Was A Day For The Birds...

Early Morning View From The Farmhouse
 
When we got up yesterday morning, the sky was so beautiful I had to take a picture of it. Every morning offers another blessing for us, and I always take time to stop and be grateful.

I had read that this new-fallen (deep) snow has stressed out all the wild birds (and likely other wildlife, too).  The robins, especially, could use a little TLC because they're ground feeders (worms, grubs and other tasty earth-dwellers). We don't usually put out feeders, as we think the natural growth around the farm supplies the birds, but we decided to help them out for the rest of the winter - and future winters.

Handsome and I went to town and purchased two chicken feeders (which hold 20 lbs. of feed each); a covered feeding station we're called in the "Cedar Feeder"; two suet feeders; two 40 lb. bags of wild bird seed mix; four or five different kinds of suet, including one especially for bluebirds and robins, which contains dried fruit and grubs; and fresh apples and raisins.

Feeding Stations Are Set Up

We had fun deciding where to put the chicken feeders. One is on the side porch, because we saw lots of little bird tracks in the snow there. The other is across the drive under the large lilac bush, for protection from the wind.

We hung one of the suet feeders from the old apple tree, and the other from a wrought iron shepherd's crook, also near the lilac bush. Then, I scattered birdseed on the snow near the far feeders, as well as on the top of the pillar and on the boards of the porch (just to announce that there's food to be had around here).

We took the special suet for the bluebirds and robins, broke it up and scattered it in the bare ground to the right of the porch feeder. I'd seen those birds hanging around that area. It's warmer because of the south exposure, protection from the house, and because our dryer vents right there, outside the house.

Our Guests Have Arrived
 
It didn't take long at all for the birds to come in. By mid-afternoon, red-winged blackbirds, cardinals, crows, robins, bluebirds, chickadees, sparrows, wood tits and a few other types I don't recognize (yet) had come in to feed. Everyone was getting there fill, and there was plenty left so breakfast will be waiting for their return. 

Handsome and I both smiled, checking out the windows all day, knowing that we'd done something good today for all those hungry birds. We'll make sure their tummies are full the rest of this winter - and we'll do it again next year. It was a good day for the birds at our Hickory Hill Farm.
 
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April 17, 2018

Tuesdays With Tag - Dear Mother Nature...

Tag Has A Question
 
Hi, Everybody!
 
We really thought Mother Nature was done with the white stuff for this year. Boy, were we wrong! It snowed Saturday, Sunday, part of Monday, and might even snow some more today.

I don't know if she noticed, but if we get more than a couple of inches, my business is draggin' through the snow! Seriously. Enough already! I'm goin' back in the house until she gets sober again.

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

April 16, 2018

Queen Anne's Lace In The Snow...

My Latest Embroidery

The snow started Saturday, causing us to cancel a trip to Milwaukee to see a much-anticipated symphony concert. We were quite disappointed, but felt it was better to be safe than sorry after seeing the latest weather forecast. In the end, we made the right decision.

Sleet, ice and snow caused dangerous road conditions, and they continued through Sunday night. Handsome cleared some of the mess on our driveway with our utility tractor and a bucket attachment, but there was obviously too much snow (with more falling) for our tractor to get ahead of it. I tried shoveling near the doors, and the ice, mixed with snow, was a booger to clear. We weren't regretting our move north, but didn't see any reason to fight with Mother Nature, so we headed inside to wait out the storm.

I decided to start another strawberry. This one is going to be a Birthday gift for someone special. I decided Queen Anne's Lace, forget-me-nots and ribbon flourishes were in order, so I'll work to finish this one today.

When I showed it to Handsome, he remarked that he was impressed that I was doing such fine work in white-on-(nearly)white. I smiled knowing that, after all these years together, I still do things that impress him. (He manages to do the same for me, by the way.)
 
Andy, Clearing Our Driveway
 
Andy made the rounds yesterday. He went into town to clear his daughter's yard, and then headed up the west shore of the lake to clear his mom's yard, too. When he got home, he hooked up his snow blower attachment and brought down his trusty tractor.
 
He told us that the ice underneath made plowing with his truck impossible, so this was the way to go. He used to drive this tractor on his dad's farm when he was a kid. It still serves him (and us!) well, making quick work of the mess that was our driveway. He finished his day outdoors, but clearing his drive as he headed back up the hill to his and Shelly's home. 

When I posted pictures and a "thank you" on Facebook, our humble friend replied, "It's what neighbors do." If anyone wonders why we love the Midwest, our farmhouse, and even being back in the snow belt...this is one of the reasons. We love the way people live, work and play here. It makes the snow (which was more than anything we had all winter!) worth it. Oh, and if anyone thinks that farmer boys aren't tough, let me introduce you to Andy some time.

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April 15, 2018

Sunday Scripture...

© Pam Coxwell Designs
 
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April 14, 2018

Sweet Strawberry Rose Sachet...

Brynwood Needleworks - Strawberry Rose Sachet
 
This sachet is leaving for its new home today. I'll be making more in the next week, with stunning new colors of silk ribbons that will arrive shortly. I can't wait to show you the new colors!

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April 13, 2018

It's Blooming In The Studio...

Creating Roses

 I'm still stitching, so I'll just share a few images of what I'm working on.

Beads, Ribbons and Threads

 I love looking at (and using) my seed beads.

Doing What I Love

 I always use my mother-in-law's embroidery hoop when I do these sachets.

Blooms, Foliage and Flourishes

Progressing nicely.
 
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April 12, 2018

Custom Cork Set...

 
Custom Cork Set

I finished a custom order in cork yesterday. The set includes a regular glasses case with a snap closure (left back); an extra large credit card holder (much like the tea bag carriers I've been making); and a cell phone/eyeglass holder meant to be worn around the neck.

Custom Cell Phone/Eyeglass Holder

I drafted my own pattern, based on my client's requests, and this is the result. It measures approximately 7.5" tall by 4" wide by 1.5" deep, and features a removable strap that measures 34-35" long. The holder is meant to fall just below bust level, and without the strap, it will easily fit in a handbag or tote.

Interior of Custom Cell Phone/Eyeglass Holder

The interior has a soft green canvas fabric and a single divider. The cell phone goes in the front section and eyeglasses will rest comfortably and safely in the back section.

Back Side of Custom Cell Phone/Eyeglass Holder

The front of the case is natural cork fabric, with a beautiful vintage hibiscus cork print on the back and flap. 

This set will mail to its new home in California today. I can't wait to get some feedback from my client. I hope it's exactly what she wanted, and that it will serve her for a long, long time.

Today, I'll be working toward a finish on the Strawberry Rose Sachets currently on order. Happy me!
Happy Dee!
 
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April 11, 2018

Another Find For The Farmhouse...

Our Kitchen

Handsome and I have decided to wait until next fall or winter to renovate our kitchen. The space is  completely workable as it is, and served generations of families before us with much less. We've decided to take our time choosing cabinets, (much needed) flooring, and any needed appliances.

The New Centerpiece

I did say much needed flooring. Well, choosing just the right new floor will take a bit of looking and research. Many of our floors in this hundred year old beauty are crowned, making a hard plank or tile floor out of the question. We need something more flexible (to accommodate the unevenness of the floor), and heavy duty (because of kitchen traffic and the dogs).

However, the current floor leaves a lot to be desired. It's a stick-on tile that was additionally glued down onto plywood, screwed over the hardwood and previous linoleum (which may be asbestos. Ya think?). I've been on my hands and knees (oh, yay) with a scrub brush, and I still can't get the floor clean to our standards. It's chipping up in places, so it's been grating on me.

In order to replace this floor, we'll first have to completely remove the tile and plywood beneath it. Then we'll have to assess the linoleum to see if we can get down to the original, hundred-year-old maple floor. If we get there, we'll have the same man who brought back the other floors in the house tell us whether or not our original hardwood floor can be restored. If so, we'll do that. If it's beyond saving, we'll choose a new floor covering that will go with the renovation we're planning.

What Floor?
 
I've been trolling the Marketplace, looking for something that could cover the floor until we redo it. Night before last, I found this beauty. It's an eight foot, circular rug. It's not an expensive, Persian rug like our red one that you would have seen in photos of our living room in Florida (which I hope will fit into the attic bunkhouse when that's done), but I wouldn't want one of that quality in a kitchen anyway.

I showed this one to Handsome, we contacted the seller and picked it up (a mere 12 miles away!) yesterday morning. Within a half hour, we'd cleared the table and chairs out, vacuumed and mopped the floor, let it dry, and installed the rug. 

Voila! What floor? I don't see that floor anymore. We walk into this room and see a comfortable kitchen space with a beautiful rug. Until it's time to pull up and replace that tile, this will do perfectly. Score another one for the Marketplace (and me!).

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April 10, 2018

Tuesdays With Tag - Somethin' In The Air...

Can You See Me?

Hi, Everybody!

We got snow again! We thought it was gone for this year, but noooooo. We got more. It's okay with Boo and me, but Mister Andy (thankfully) came down to help us by plowin' out our driveway one more time. There was that much snow.

The rest is already meltin', and it's supposed to be in the 60s this week, so we'd better play in it while we can. It's not gonna be around for long.

Can You Smell It?

Even so, there are still some really high snowbanks in the yard...at least by my standards. There's somethin' else on my mind, though, these days. Bella's smellin' different. Mom says she in "heat". Dad said she's actin' a bit wild. (He actually calls her "meth lab". hee hee)

Hickory Hill Farm Dogs - Tag and Bella

The good thing is that she's gotta go outside about once an hour, which means I get to go out, too. We run around the yard and chase each other around. We go back inside, and pretty soon, she has to go out again, and we run around all over again.

Mom and Dad say, "Let the dogs out. Let the dogs in. (Put the diaper back on the black dog.) Sit down for 25 minutes. Repeat." sigh  Don't ask to see Bella in her diaper either. Dad won't let Mom share any pictures of her in her fancy pants. (She's real cute, too!)
 
Gotta Run!

All I know is pretty soon, Mom's says I'm gonna be chasin' my own tail. Even though Bella is smellin' pretty interestin' right now...it's gonna get worse before it gets better. Oh, yay. Just what I need. Hurry up, Boo. Let's get this over with so we can get back to normal around here!
 
I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...  
"Chase A Dream - Or A Squirrel".
 
Tag's 7th Yr. Picture
 

April 9, 2018

A Mixed Weekend...

Lake Winnebago Shoreline
 
Handsome and I had a busy weekend. On Saturday, my dear friend, Laura, came to visit. I've known her since grade school, and when I had my needlework shop, she was my shop manager. I couldn't count how long we've been friends, but I'm sure you'll understand the fact that we have so many shared memories and experiences.

Tag and Laura

She drove down from the northeast part of the state and we spent the entire afternoon together, drinking tea and catching up. As you can see, that fickle Corgi jumped right up into the chair with her, and spent the entire time cuddling. Laura loved the attention. I just shook my head.
 
 
Wood Stove For Farmhouse Decor
 
After she left, Shelly and Andy came down with a new flea find for me. They brought a ittle wood stove for me! It's no longer suitable for actually burning anything, but will be perfect with a plant in the firebox. I think it needs geraniums! I'll show you again once they're planted.
 
 
 
Sunday morning, Handsome and I went to town to pick up some "girl supplies" for Bella (sigh), and then had brunch together. As we turned up our road to the farmhouse, I noticed a sandhill crane in the field. We usually see them standing on their long legs, but this one looked to be in a nesting position...too early for this time of year (and they don't nest in open farm fields either).

I was concerned, so we backed up the truck and I walked far enough into the field to see that she was injured and dragging herself by her wings. Both legs were straight out the back and she couldn't get up. I don't know how long she'd been there, but she wasn't there when we left home. She was obviously in pain.

I immediately contacted our local game warden, who arrived within twenty minutes. He got closer to inspect the bird, and we agreed that rehabbing a crane with two badly broken legs would likely be impossible. He decided to end her suffering. I asked him if I could see her after she died. He said I could.

As he walked across the field again, the cranes (about two dozen gathered in the opposite field) started calling. It was almost like they were saying goodbye. (I know this is attributing human actions to animals, but the timing was so coincidental.) The crane passed quickly, and the warden motioned for me to approach her. 
 
I wanted to touch her, and silently honor her as I had read Native Americans might. I admired and stroked her beautiful plumage, regretting her passing. I then thanked the warden, who picked her up and took her with him. I was sad at her passing, but grateful that she was no longer in pain. I went back home with tears in my eyes.

 
Handsome and I left home again about two hours later to attend an afternoon concert. It was the last of the winter series, and it was filled with fabulous music. He's really looking forward to playing with them again this summer.

We finished our Sunday date with dinner at a restaurant on the south shore of Lake Winnebago. Even though the weather had turned colder and grayer, it was still a nice dinner with a great view of the lake. 
 
Brynwood Strawberry Rose Sachets
 
This week, I've got a number of new commissions to work on. I'll be sewing a few projects, and making some new silk ribbon embroidered strawberries. It's going to be a fun week!

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