October 15, 2018

Vintage Jewelry...

Perfect Embellishment For A Jean Jacket

I recently acquired a huge selection of vintage jewelry. These are all pristine, sparkling treasures. I have a few that are favorites, so I chose these two to pin to my favorite jean jacket. (There is a single stone missing from the leaf pin, but I'm going to go through my Swarovski gems to see if I can use one to repair it.)

Vintage Pins For Future Projects

I know I'll use a number of these in future craft projects. Perhaps I'll use them in upcoming pincushions or decor pieces.

More Vintage Pins
 
I haven't looked at the backs to see if any of this jewelry bears a special maker's mark, but I'll definitely be doing that prior to adding them to my projects. For now, I'm just going to enjoy them in my typical Scrooge McDuck fashion. Yep. Mine. Aaaallllll mine. (wink)
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October 14, 2018

October 13, 2018

We'll Be Outdoors Today...

Liljegren's Hickory Hill Farm
 
Time for outside work today. I have herbs to harvest for drying, and it's time to put the garden to bed for this year. We'll be enjoying the outdoors while we store things away and prepare for winter. There will be time for stitching and sewing later. Enjoy the weekend, friend.

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October 12, 2018

Thanksgiving Table Quilt Update...

Brynwood Needleworks - Thanksgiving Quilt
 
Last week, I told you I was going to Kathy D.'s home to work on my Thanksgiving quilt. This piece began life as a vintage tablecloth. I found two of them, so one was for our table, and I gave the other one to Kathy.
 
We made plans to get together to put them on her longarm machine and quilt them. I showed you the fabrics I chose for the backing, and was happy that I had enough of the the caramel-colored fabric, as that was my first choice.
 
Whole Cloth Thanksgiving Quilt

I worked on the quilt one day last week, and I went back again yesterday, intending to complete it. Fortunately, I did finish the quilting. This tablecloth was much larger once I started working on it, than it initially appeared.

Detail - Whole Cloth Thanksgiving Quilt

This was my first time using Kathy's longarm machine, so I got off to a tentative start. I decided to use a pattern that I've doodled in pen/pencil/marker since I was in junior high school (more than a few decades ago). I have muscle memory for drawing it over and over, so it was the perfect design for me to stitch in freehand (by machine).

Whole Cloth Thanksgiving Quilt
 
Kathy zeroed out the "odometer" on the machine before I started sewing, so that it would keep track of the total time I spent on the design. When we finally took it off the machine last night, the timer registered 6 hours, 15 minutes (and 33 seconds). 
 
We laughed because, to tell the truth, that was just the time the machine was running. I was at Kathy's house much longer than the initial 2 hours that registered on the machine. Yesterday, I arrived at 10:30 in the morning, and left some time around 6:45 in the evening. Did I say I was gassed by the end of the day? I was...but in a good way.

I love how my doodles translated to fabric and thread. All I have left to do is cut off the excess fabric and batting, and bind the edge. I'll do that over the next few days. I think I'll take a little break and just admire my first real exposure to the longarm. 

By the way, I'd like to give a shout-out to my longarm "expert" friends, Susan Slaton, Pat Alderman, Rhonda King, Melinda Sword, and, of course, my hands-on tutor, Kathy D. I have a new found appreciation for just how much practice, attention, skill, and talent it takes to do the work they seem to do so effortlessly. Kathy doesn't hire out her longarm work, but for all the quilters who do, you don't charge nearly enough!

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October 11, 2018

Fall Has Arrived At The Farm...

Liljegren's Hickory Hill Farm Barns

It's my favorite time of year, and the farm is getting dressed in its autumn finery. I thought you might enjoy just a few images of the fall beautiful colors.

Farmhouse Front Yard

We have a magnificent, huge, old maple tree in our front yard. The squirrels (and we) love this tree. It's canopy rises taller than our rooftop. He's a majestic, old man. We love that we can see the gorgeous orange leaves from our bed in the morning.

The View From Our Front Porch
 
This was our view yesterday, right after the rainstorms passed. The sun was shining, and the clouds that carry the rains moved away to the east. 
 
The view is stunning from our vantage point, and the best part is that the trees will continue to change as Mother Nature paints this view in the most wonderful shades of orange, brown, and yellow. Every day brings a new view...each more beautiful than the last. I hope you enjoy these as much as we do.

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October 10, 2018

Doobie Brothers Concert...

Brynwood Needleworks/Donna Liljegren Image © 2018
 
Yesterday was my BFF, Lee's Birthday. To celebrate, we went to Milwaukee to the Riverside Theater to see The Doobie Brothers. It was a fabulous, fun concert, and we heard pieces they'd never before sung in public, along with their our old favorites.

Lee and I were joking that there sure were a lot of "old" people at the concert. (Of course, we were part of that demographic.) Truth is, everyone who attended likely feels just as young-at-heart as we do. The one thing that marked our "evolution" was that when the Doobies were first popular in the 70's, all of us were out dancing all night to their music. When I first saw them in concert (also with Lee about 15 years ago), we were still dancing. Last night, we were all singing along, but when I scanned across the audience, all of us were sitting in our seats - either rocking or bobbing our heads in time to the music (including me). Even so, every one of us loved the music last night, as much as when we were teenagers back in the 70's.

We picked up commemorative t-shirts, went to dinner afterward, and then drove back from Milwaukee, where I dropped Lee off to get her car. Then, we both headed home. I got back to the farm at 1:30, jabbered for a while with Steve, and then headed off to bed.

I think it was a perfect way for two girlfriends to celebrate a Birthday, and best of all, we now have a new memory of a fun time spent together...with The Doobie Brothers and a host of other fans, of course.

Happy Birthday, Dear Lee.
May you have many, many more happy days.
xo
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October 9, 2018

Tuesdays With Tag - My Primer For Dogs...

Brynwood's Taggart

Hi, Everybody! 
Happy Tuesday from the farm.

Today, I'm launchin' a new subject for my blog posts. I'm callin' it my Primer For Dogs. (Mom told me that it's prounounced "primer", like "prim - er", not "prime - r", like the paint stuff.)  Anyway, I'm gonna write one to help dogs everywhere, whether they're young whippersnapper pups or old fart dogs. Some dogs may not have learned what knowledge I have to impart.

My subject this week is "The Art Of Drivin' Your People Nuts - Part One". This is somethin' that every single dog will love knowin'. I know it's served me like a charm...and Boo is even gettin' the hang of it from me! Go, Bella!

Barking Taggart

One thing that will drive your humans nuts is barkin'. I don't mean those cute, little "woofs", even though puppies have an inherent knowledge of them for wrappin' humans around their tiny paws from first exposure. I'm talkin' about the persistent, loud, percussive barks that I enjoy doin' while runnin' through every room on the main floor to be sure Mom and Dad heard me.

In this photo, I'm demonstratin' the typical pose as you begin to tighten up to deliver your initial barkin' fits. If you glance over your shoulder, you can actually see your humans tighten up as they start to sit a little straighter, and get ready to stop you from "singin' the song of your people".   (That means it's workin'!)

Gettin' Obnoxious

Next, you look your human(s) right in the eyes, and wind up for the serious mouthin' off. Mind you, there doesn't even really have to be anythin' there. You can double your impact if you bark like this at a closed door. Then they're wonderin' what's behind Door #1! (This can really be hilarious!)

Once you get up a good head of steam, you can actually start runnin' around the house again, like there's someone tryin' to get in. By now, you'll be gettin' some talkin' to, louder than you're usually used to. Just ignore it. You don't want to be distracted as you work your way though Barkin' Practice.

Enlistin' Partners In Crime

Of course, it's always fun to carry on solo, until you can get another dog from your household involved in the barkin'. That way, two dogs can get hollered at instead of just one. Mom and Dad are onto this tactic, though. You can't use it every time, because they'll catch onto the fact that you're instigatin' someone else to do your dirty work. I'm sorta like Huck Finn that way.

"Here, Bella. Come and see what's ____*_(fill in the blank)______ (* outside, runnin' around in the yard, you get the idea...). That ought to get her barkin' right away. Once she's goin', I can head back to our livin' room, climb into my bed, and watch as she barks until she gets reprimanded.

So, here's your assignment...Get yourself settled at home, and then, like it's out of the blue, start barkin' your brains out. See how your humans like it. You'll thank me later. Seriously! 

Well, this is the end of my first entry into the Primer For Dogs. There are gonna be more, and I'm pretty sure you know I've got about a million new ones. So, don't miss my Tuesdays With Tag posts, as you watch for more Primer For Dogs. I'm already workin' on the next one!

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

 

October 8, 2018

Well, That Was Fun...

Reunion Wrap-up Gathering (l-r: Mary S., Karen C., Pat B. Rose R. and me. Missing: Jane W.)
 
On Sunday afternoon, a group of us from our 45th Class Reunion Committee gathered to get a final accounting on our party in August. Numbers came out good, and we even still have money in our checkbook as we look ahead to our 50th!!

I hosted the group here at the farmhouse, and we had fun as we "conducted business". These are ladies I've known since we were all kids. I had lots of snacks prepared, and each of them brought along goodies, too, so we nibbled and laughed while we went over the last celebration. Then, we brainstormed ideas for the next one!

(Missing from our pictures is another friend, Jane W., who left before we got out our camera phones.)
 
Reunion Wrap-up (l-r: Mary S., Karen C., Joe G., Rose R. and me. Missing: Jane W.)
 
At one point, we mentioned something about our ages...and we all agreed, we sure don't know how we got to be sexagenarians, because we don't think or feel like it! 

We kind of kept track of the Packer game (they lost - booo!), and then said our goodbyes mid-afternoon. We've decided we'll be getting together again to continue early planning for the 50th, and to spend more time together. Another reason I'm so glad Handsome and I moved back to Wisconsin. These are really wonderful women (and Joe) and I'm close enough now, to see them more often.

I'm back in the studio today. I'm going to be doing a local craft show in November, so I've got some ducks to get in a row as I prepare for that. I think I'll start working on Christmas gifts early, too this year. I can't believe how quickly it's coming! What are you doing this week?

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October 7, 2018

October 5, 2018

Thanksgiving Tablecloth Quilt...

Brynwood Needleworks - Thanksgiving Tablecloth Fabrics 1

I'll be at Kathy D.'s home today. We each have vintage, whole-cloth tablecloths that we're going to turn into quilts. We had seen a Christmas tablecloth done this way, and decided we loved the idea. 

That evening, I went online and found the same Christmas tablecloth (which we'll do another time), and then found this gorgeous Thanksgiving tablecloth. So, I purchased two of them. One for Kathy's home, and another for ours. 

Kathy has a longarm sewing machine, so we're going to get them up on the frame, layer fabrics and batting, and get them quilted in time to use on our tables this Thanksgiving.
 
Brynwood Needleworks - Thanksgiving Tablecloth Fabrics 2
 
I've chosen two different fabrics as choices for the back of my Thanksgiving tablecloth quilt, and which I choose will ultimately come down to whether or not I have enough of one fabric over the other. My first choice is the darker color shown on the first photograph (and on the far left side of this photo). The lighter colored fabric is also lovely, but will give the tablecloth a dressier look and feel than the darker one. We'll see which one will work.

So, if you're looking for me, I'll be needle dancing with my girlfriend. I'll show you which I chose as my backing when I write again tomorrow.

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October 4, 2018

Something New For Our Farmhouse Kitchen...

Bread-making Cart
 
Do you like it? I found this great three-tier, rolling cart - you guessed it - on Facebook Marketplace a few days ago. I contacted the seller within two minutes of her listing it, only to find that it was already pending pickup. 
When I went back a day or two later, it was still listed, so I sent another message to the seller and said that if it hadn't been picked up yet, I'd pay her five dollars more and come and get it right away. She responded quickly, told me the other buyer had backed out, and she'd accept my offer. Handsome drove me to pick it up this afternoon, and this sturdy beauty came home with me for a whopping $30. (Almost a steal, right?) 

We brought it into the house, I cleaned it up, and put my baking flours, sugars (brown and white), canning vinegars and a few other containers on it. It's the perfect height, and has convenient storage shelves below. 
While the butcher block is very useful (and I love it), there's some gapping between a few of the blocks, which make it difficult to use for making bread. The flour would gunk up (that's a technical term, you know) the crevices and crannies. So, until we figure out how to deal with that issue, this little cart will take up the slack.

I'm going to sand the top to remove the sealer, and then simply oil the top with a mineral oil. That will be the perfect, sanitary surface for creating the beautiful doughs I learned about last weekend. The shelves will provide the perfect spaces for my food scale, tools and ingredients, freeing up some space in the pantry for other things (like my canned goods!). Score another point for the Marketplace!

Today, I'm back in the studio until I have to leave for a haircut. I'll show you what I get accomplished tomorrow. I hope you have a great day!

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October 3, 2018

Inspire...

 
It's busy these days at the farmhouse. 
Photos to come soon.
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October 2, 2018

Tuesdays With Tag - Housebound...

The Comfiest Spot In The House

Hi, Everybody!

I'm glad I've got the comfiest spot in the house (on Mom's lap), because I sure spent enough time there this weekend! Between the Brewers playin' for position in the playoffs, and the Green Bay Packers playin' on Sunday...and rainy weather...there wasn't much goin' on outside. Dad always throws retrieves for Boo and me first thing every day, so we did get some exercise, but most of the rest of my time was spent tryin' to mooch a treat or two while Mom and Dad cheer on their teams. (I succeeded a couple times, too!)

Hey! It's A Corgi!

A commercial came on the tv that started with a cat mewin', and that got my attention right away. Then, I saw there was an unusually large Corgi! I jumped off the couch, ran to get a closer look, and I even barked at it! Mom and Dad laughed, but I couldn't help myself. Every time that ad came on, I did the same thing all over again. You can't fault my enthusiasm, right?

You Got A Problem With This?
 
I spent most of my time on the carpet, my little bed, or the couch, but I decided to give Mom's footstool a go. I wanted to see if it was in the least bit comfy. What do you think? Is it me? I don't know. I think it needs to be a little wider, 'cuz I'm pretty sure my butt's hangin' off the edge. 
 
It's rainin' again, so I'm not thrilled about hangin' out in the yard. I pretty much run out, do my business, and run right back inside. Gimme a cookie, please! Yeah. Works for me.  

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

October 1, 2018

I Have Made Bread!...

Artisan Bread Class Results

Saturday was a day of learning, and it was so much fun! I drove to Fond du Lac to take a class at the technical college. Our instructor was Tom Endejan who, I confirmed that day, is an older brother of a great guy I dated for a little while in high school. Small world. There were eight other ladies who were there, like me, to learn how to make artisan breads. We certainly weren't disappointed.

Teaching Us About Artisan Bread Consistency

Tom taught us about ingredients, measuring, bread types and consistency, and we immediately got our hands-on experience. The students mixed up doughs for multi-grain, sweet, oatmeal and French (my class partner and I did that one) breads. We learned about proofing the bread, and how to treat it after it went through each phase of the rising process. I learned you don't have to beat up the dough (or yourself) to turn out a delicious, crusty bread. Tom also had two foccacia doughs in progress that would become our lunch before we left for the day.

Artisan Bread Classmates and Instructor, Tom Endejan

Here are the students with Tom (I'm behind the lens), and they're all holding a piece of the fabulous, crusty foccacia that had just cooled from the oven - and was our lunch.

We all brought home a selections of the doughs that we'd created in class, so we could bake those at home. We also brought home loaves of multi-grain bread that had been baked while we were learning, along with samples of the baked sweet doughs that had been turned into rolls and coffee cakes.

When I walked in the back door of the farmhouse, Handsome was there to take my bags from me. He was surprised at how much came home from the class, and after tasting everything, he declared the class a huge success. No more grocery store Italian bread (in ten different shapes) in our house. From now on, there will be freshly baked goodness from recipes we received in class.

I'm already scheduled for a second class in late October (Rustic Breads and Soups), but Tom is teaching a second class that takes what I learned over the weekend, further steps in the process. I'm going to the school this morning to see about enrolling in that one, too. (Handsome is encouraging me to go!)

I hope you had a great weekend. Our football and baseball teams (Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Brewers) both won their Sunday games, which is always fun for us. Can you even believe it's already October? Where is the time going? What's the hurry? I'm still wondering what happened to September!

Web image

Well, Happy October! I guess I'll just have to "roll" with it. (I really didn't mean to make that pun. lol) Gotta run. I'll see you Wednesday, after Tag checks in with you tomorrow.

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September 30, 2018

September 29, 2018

New Style Brynwood Grab & Go Crossbody...

Brynwood Grab & Go Crossbody II
 
I redrafted and created a new style for my Brynwood Grab & Go Crossbody Bag (G & G Crossbody II). This one has a flat, gusseted bottom, an interior cell phone pocket, with slots for two ID/credit cards. Finished measurements are approximately 7" long x 3.5" wide at the bottom, 9.75" long at the top, and 7" tall. There's a zipper closure, with two side rings to attach the included crossbody strap.

This one already has a home, but I'll be making more in two-color/pattern cork fabrics in the next week to list in my shop.

Today, I'm heading off to the local technical college to learn how to make artisan breads. I can just imagine cool, fall mornings with the scent of homemade bread rising through the farmhouse. Wish me luck!

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September 28, 2018

This Could Get Interesting...

My New Pressure Canner
 
You've watched as I've learned about how to safely preserve my canned creations since moving back to Wisconsin and the farmhouse. All those foods have been preserved via water bath canning. Until now, I've avoided a pressure canner/cooker because I was told when I was a young woman that they were a good way to blow up your kitchen (one of those misguided members of The Committee I mentioned in THIS and THIS post.)

I'll be reading my new manual from cover to cover, and I intend to view whatever I can find on YouTube, and glean additional information from my online canning group, to learn how to safely use my new tool. (Oh, and I'm challenging another mental entry from The Committee, who I'm equally sure, in this case, will be proven wrong.) While nervous, knowledge is a powerful thing, and I intend to be fully educated before I tackle my first project with my new pressure canner.

What I do see in our future, is more preserved food - meats, low acid vegetables, and fruits - that I can put in our pantry. We'll know what's in those foods, that they were safely preserved, and available even when the snow is deep and the roads impassible. I'll be able to put much more food on the shelf than I could ever store or access in our freezer. It's also a frugal way to store away food when the best cuts or choices are on sale, and they won't require the additional vinegar, sugar, or salt that are required to safely can in a water bath. 
 
It may take a while for me to inform myself, but I'm sure that as soon as I'm ready, I'll be canning up a storm using my pressure canner. I'll be sure to share what I learn, and how it goes. You know me. I'll share the successes (and failures, if any). I always thank you for following along. I'll keep you posted.

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