March 31, 2018

I'm Getting There...

Winter Penny Mat Project

I completed the hexagon portion of the mat. I've stitched all the pennies and attached the back piece of ivory wool to the front. The next stage is to stitch the border pennies to prepare for attaching them to the main body. I'm getting closer by the minute!

Speaking of getting closer...The giveaway for my Ninth Blog Anniversary will be ending soon. If you haven't entered yet, you can still get in under the wire. Click HERE to go to the entry page.


March 30, 2018

Winter Penny Progress...

Primitive Gatherings Winter Penny Mat In Progress

I'm moving right along with my Winter Penny Mat. I've moved from doing one at a time to doing all the large pennies first, and then following along with the ivory wool pennies on top. This is soooo relaxing!

Back Side Of Winter Penny Mat
I like to share a little revelation with you. I completed fifteen pennies when I realized a pattern in my stitching.
See the arrows? They're pointing to my start/end points for the large and small pennies from the back side of my project. I knot my threads and always begin on the front side of the work. Without realizing it, I managed to start and end both pennies in each set in the same place! Now that I'm aware of it, it doesn't "count" anymore. I just found it interesting to share with you. I'm predictable...even in my needlework. giggle
I'll likely finish the top early today, then it will be time to assemble all the outer pieces. I'll see how much further I get by dinnertime. My plan is to have this finished and on our Easter table on Sunday. I know I can do it.

March 29, 2018


Stitching Pennies

This is my newest needlework project. It's called "Winter Penny Mat" from Primitive Gatherings. The colors coordinate with the colors in our living room rug, and is another project toward our color scheme for the farmhouse.
Primitive Gatherings "Winter Penny Mat" Project
This is the pattern image of the finished mat. It will be a generous 15" when completed. As you can see from my photographs, this piece requires stitching many wool penny combinations to create this beautiful mat.

Making Pennies

There are a variety of 1-1/2" circles of wool in shades and patterns of greys and tans. Each one is topped with a smaller circle in ivory wool. There are forty four sets of each combination for a total of eighty eight pennies that will need to be stitched down.

Ready To Stitch Pennies

These eighty eight circles cover the main hexagon, so once these are stitched down to the base fabric, the next step will be to work the outside circles around the edge. 

Relaxing Pennies

As I write this, I have already completed fifteen sets (30 of 88 circles), stitched in variations of the blanket stitch. I'll continue to joyfully "needle dance" in the coming days, peppered among my other projects and commitments. Don't worry. I'm having so much fun with this that it will go quickly.

In case you've missed my post about my Ninth Blog Anniversary Giveaway, click HERE to enter. You can enter daily, but you can only enter on that post for your entry to count. Then, after that, all you have to do to get back to that post to enter again, is click on this image (at the top of my sidebar).

Good Luck!


March 28, 2018

Warehouse Tour...

Tour Guide - Lisa Bongean's Son

I spent the day at Primitive Gatherings' monthly Sit & Sew yesterday. In conversation about the warehouse, I mentioned to Lisa that I'd never seen her warehouse before (I'm the newest group member), so she asked her son (who works for her) to give me the tour. My girlfriend, Kathy D. and her friend, Jody, joined us.

The warehouse adjoins her office area (where we meet monthly), so out one door and in the next one. I'm only going to share a few photos, but believe me when I say I'm not surprised she's a "big dog" in the primitive/wool/quilting industry. She does everything on a huge scale...and the lady knows what she's doing.

Primitive Gatherings Valdani Room

This is the Valdani Room. Every color, every count, boxed, kitted, impressive. (This was only half of the room!)

Primitive Gatherings Signature Fabric Lines

There are actually rows and rows of bolts of Primitive Gatherings' fabrics. These are all fabrics that Lisa designed. Once pulled from this area, they are either kitted or installed in her shop, a few miles from the warehouse.

Primitive Gatherings Hand Dyed Wools

In addition to these finished and ready-to-sell wools, there are facilities on-site to hand dye all the Primitive Gatherings' wools. Bolts of the raw materials are rolled and lined up, waiting for the dyers.

There are multiple washing machines and driers in the warehouse for preparing and felling all the wools. Once they're dyed, they're washed again to make sure no dyes bleed into finished projects. Nice touch, right?

The website and shop also offer Swatch Books. You, too, can have samples of all the colors (and textures) available through the shop. In fact, you can special order your favorite colors in your favorite textures, too! The loose leaf binders are available for $30 each. (I bought one to bring home with me today.)

Primitive Gatherings Kitting Room and Supervisor

The last area I'll share with you from the tour is the Kitting Room. This light-filled space is in the front of the warehouse. With all the blocks of the month, classes, and stocking the shop, there's a large area dedicated to creating the kits.

Lisa's son pointed out the "supervisor" up in the corner. Wouldn't you like to have Captain Jack Sparrow making sure you don't miss a kit component? Really. If I lived closer, I might apply to work for Lisa!

I hope you've enjoyed this quick, little tour. There were many more areas, like the packaging room, shipping area, wholesale section, and even a show booth staging and stocking area. It's a quilter's dream place...our own Fantasy Island!

I took many more photos, but I wanted to make sure I didn't divulge any proprietary information. Lisa was kind enough to allow me to take these photos, so I asked her to approve each image for this post. Be sure to visit yourself if you ever have the chance.

Before I close, I want to remind you about my Ninth Blog Anniversary Giveaway. To enter, click on the top button on my sidebar to go to the post. You can learn about the giveaway, and enter once a day to win!


March 27, 2018

Tuesdays With Tag - Spring Break...

Brynwood's Taggart - January 2012
Hi, Everybody!
I've decided to go on Spring Break like all the school kids this week. I'm not goin' to the beach, but I'm dreamin' about it the time I went to the Venice Dog Beach for a Corgi meetup. You can read about it HERE

I'm gonna hang out with Mom and Dad, and I'll have a new story to share with you next time we're together.
Happy Easter!
I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...  
"Chase A Dream - Or A Squirrel".

March 26, 2018

Blog Anniversary Month...

March is the anniversary month for Brynwood Needleworks' blog.
2018 marks my NINTH Anniversary of writing my (almost) daily posts.
Since I first began sharing my creative life with you I have written
3246 blog posts
and there have been almost 
1 million views.
 Not bad, considering I conceived my blog to be a joyful journal that only I would read.
You've left messages for me on so many beautiful days, and helped me over the sad ones, too. Only once did I miss writing every day. That was when I took a week off to grieve Fezzik's passing, and then, you completely overwhelmed me with your love and support. Over 100 messages were left on that one post alone. I was speechless, and ever so grateful for your outpouring and shared grief. Thank you again for that.

We've shared lots of events, projects and musings together, so I'd like to do a little something to return the favor.

Brynwood Needleworks Handcrafted Pincushions/Sachets

To celebrate #9, I'm going to give away (at least) one of my handcrafted pincushions.
Winner may choose from my Wooly Acorn, Strawberry or Corgi!
may choose from crushed walnut shells, lavender or rice filling.

Leave a comment ON THIS POST (only).
Deadline to enter is April 1 (No fooling!), 2018 at 11 pm. 
I will draw a name from the comments (using the Random Number Generator),
and post the winner's name on Monday, April 2.
You may only enter once per day. 

***You may enter if you live outside the US, but the winner will be responsible for any VAT fees or duties.
Thank you again for being a Brynwood friend.
Good Luck!!


March 24, 2018

A Cute Story...

A New Sign For The Farmhouse Half Bath
We have a small half bath in the back entry of the farmhouse. There is no heat vent in the room, but there is an exhaust fan that dumps cold air into the space. There's a radiator in the rear hall, but a wall separates it from the bathroom, so it's cold in there.
Handsome and I considered a number of options, ranging from cutting a hole in the wall between the radiator and the bath (which would also let cold air in); cutting a hole in the floor (which would let the warm air from the basement radiate into the space); or adding a heat source in the room.
When shopping one day, I decided to look at small space heaters. I bought one that was about as big as a handbag. The instruction manual was non-existent and the darned thermostat didn't work properly. We deemed it unsafe and I took it back.
The second one was even smaller, and plugged directly into the wall outlet. It did an adequate job, however, we weren't confident that it was safe, so we unplugged it at night and when we went away. The room was cold by the time we would go back to it. Back to the drawing board.

The next time I shopped, I found a nice, compact electric heater. It looks like a small radiator on wheels and it's filled with oil. When plugged in, it warms the oil and heats the room. It's perfect. Even on the lowest setting, it keeps the bathroom toasty warm.
Signage Installed

If you were a kid in the fifties and/or sixties, you may have ice skated on a pond or a city rink when you were a kid. Handsome and I did, although we didn't grow up together.

My sister, brother and I used to walk about six blocks to a local city rink to skate on a flooded parking lot. They'd light it at night, and it was fun (but cold). They had a small shanty set up with benches and a small heater  to warm up the skaters. Handsome called their building the "warming hut" when we talked about it. In fact, he said that this little, heated bathroom now reminds him of one of those warming huts. I started thinking about that and decided to surprise him.

Alex and Our Nieces - Photography by Ashley Williams
My nephew has the most lovely partner named Alexandria (Alex, for short). She and Dan are the parents of two sweet two-year-old girls, plus Dan's two sons. They're loving parents to four happy kids, and I appreciate the time I can spend with them.
Alex has a side business making signs (in her copious free time), so I contacted her about helping me surprise Handsome. She was great to work with, and I'm tickled with the results! I installed the sign (using 3M velcro picture hangers, so there won't be any damage), and can't wait to see Handsome's reaction. (He'll see it on Monday.)

You can check out Alex's creations by visiting "Ledden the Moon Designs" on Facebook (HERE). You can message her through that page. If you're not on Facebook, I can share her email address with you. You could tell her you found out about her from me. (I don't think she'll charge you extra. giggle)
***Disclaimer: I am in no way compensated by Alex for mentioning her business on my blog. I'm happy to do it - just because.


March 23, 2018

Color For The Studio...

Hoffman Bali Full Line Color Panel
I've been busy tidying up the studio rooms, continuing to list fabrics, donate items to our local St. Vinnie's and give myself creative elbow room. It's fun to come across things I plan to keep, too, and this is one of those things.

I found a panel I'd purchased a couple of years ago. It's Hoffman's full color palette of their Bali line. It's in need of a good pressing, and then I'll be doing what a good quilter would do. I'm going to turn it into a quilted hanging for the hall between my sewing and fabric studios.
Full View of Hoffman's Bali Color Panel

I first thought I'd just have it mounted to a wooden frame for hanging, but in the end, I think it will look much nicer if I make it into a quilt. I thought about adding quilt blocks all around, but I don't think I'll do that now. The panel really does stand well all on its own. 

I'll work on this very soon. I'm anxious to see it finished and hanging in this spot. Since I just pinned it to the rod and hung it up yesterday, it's a nice, cheery "hello" every time I walk through. I know it's found its place.

March 22, 2018

Back To The Drawing Board...

iPad Case - Beta Version
As a dearly departed, old friend used to say, "Some days, it just doesn't go by the book". Today was one of those days. 

Handsome asked for a case for his newest (larger) iPad, so I set about making one for him. I chose a beautiful (authentic) Harris tweed fabric, and a coordinating cork fabric. I pulled a beautiful, soft, organic cotton flannel for the lining. Then, I measured the iPad, cut out the fabric components, and began my assembly process. When all was said and done, it fit, but was a tight squeeze, and after all the adjustments I made trying to make it fit, it ended up with more than a few flaws. ugh

What I have to change: 
  1. The strap for tucking in the flap has to be longer. (I made it the same size, and it was holding the body of the case too tight to insert the iPad.)
  2. I need to taper the flap from the fold to the end of the flap so that it properly fits under the strap.
  3. I need to increase the size of the entire case so that it's not so tight. (I didn't account for the lining taking up more of the interior space).
  4. Next time, I'll make it in practice fabric to double check for fit.
It's really beautiful fabric, so it's a good thing I have more. This fabric won't go to waste, though. I'll cut it apart and create a little zip case to hold Handsome's iPad cords and stylus. I'll do that today, along with the new, improved design for his tablet.

If you're wondering where I am, just head into the studio. I'll be sitting at the "drawing board", and then my machine. (I just wanted you to know I'm just like everyone else. Some days, it just doesn't go by the book.) wink


March 21, 2018

The Learned Wife Sampler...

The Learned Wife Sampler

One of the things I did yesterday was to put up a few photos in our master bedroom. I decided that I'd put up on of my all-time favorite samplers between Handsome's and my photo. This is "The Learned Wife" sampler from Kingsland Designs. (I wish it were one of my designs, but it's not.) I'm especially fond of the verse...

"One did commend me to a wife both fair and young,
that had French, Spanish and English tongue.

I thanked him kindly and told him I loved none such,
for I thought one tongue for a wife too much. 

What love ye not the Learned, yet as my life,
A Learned scholar, but not a Learned wife."

This sampler is a reproduction of an original, dated 1740. I only changed one thing from the original design, and that was to change "French, Spanish and Italian tongue" to "French, Spanish and English tongue".

Master Bedroom Vignette
My sampler now hangs between photographs of Handsome and me. I took the image of him while on our honeymoon in Grand Cayman, BWI in 1984. My photo was taken by one of his photo students in a class Handsome was teaching in 1986 (I think).

The bottom photo is of the first litter of yellow Labrador puppies whelped by my first Lab, Bryn. Bannor is the dark yellow pup under the center top dog. This photo always makes me smile, and I love having Ban's picture where I can see it. I still miss that guy. (He was 16 when he passed.) 

And, yes. Bryn was the inspiration for Brynwood Needleworks. She was about four years old when I began my counted thread design business of the same name. That was almost thirty years ago!

So, another area of our farmhouse is just a little more "us". There's no rush. We're having fun and taking our time. Everything about life at the farm is slower paced. This might as well be, too.

March 20, 2018

Tuesdays With Tag - Hangin' Around...

Upside-down Corgi Sloth

 Hi, Everybody!

Today, I'm just gonna share a few photos of me relaxin'. We've been doin' a lot of fetchin' and runnin' outside in the nice weather, but when it's time to rest...I'm a PRO!

Seriously. Can you hang off a slippery sofa like this and not fall on the floor? You could if you were a pro like me! Be jealous. Be very, very jealous. (heee heee)

Snoring Corgi

When I've had enough of the "blood-rushin'-to-my ears" pose, I pull myself up, kick my legs out a bit and get right back to the business of sleepin'. Sometimes I even snore (or so I'm told).

Heaven forbid Mom should sit down in her favorite, comfy chair. Before she knows it, she's got Boo and me sheddin' at the same time all over her! Blonde on one side, black on the other. She's such a lucky girl. Really! Just ask her. 
I've got to get back to it, so I'm not gonna bore you with every, little thing we did last week. You can probably guess anyway, right?
I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...  
"Chase A Dream - Or A Squirrel".

March 19, 2018

It Was A Cozy Sunday...

Repaired Tea Cozy

I managed to get a little bit accomplished yesterday, and still found time to put my feet up and relax. This little tea cozy wasn't difficult, and I enjoyed recovering the original, lined padding.

It was originally created by a loved one, so I wanted to keep as much of the original intact as possible. I also didn't want my part to be acknowledged, so I didn't sew one of my usual Brynwood labels to the exterior. (Instead, I wrote a blessing onto the stabilized back of the floral fabric. It will only be found if it's necessary to replace this cover.)

Preserved Lining Fabric

I applied the cover fabric in the same manner as the original, hand sewing it in place once I created it. I'm quite happy with the way it turned out, and I think it will be used for many more years to come.

Hickory Syrup Cooling Off
The first thing I actually did yesterday was make more hickory syrup. I began around 8:30 in the morning, and had it bottled and cooling by 1:00 pm. The whole house smelled of this fragrant syrup the rest of the day.
The sun was out and the temps were in the high 40's all weekend, so I did spend time outside all weekend with Tag and Bella. They're loving this nice weather, too, so I couldn't keep them inside. I had them running and retrieving, and they just hung around while I raked the driveway side of the yard, so we all slept well at the end of the day.
I already have a list going for this week. I put quite a bit of fabric in my shop last week, but I have more to do. I also have items I want to donate, as well as yarn to package up to send to Tammy in Virginia and Krisann in Florida. I'm sure if they don't use it, they'll share it with someone who will.
Time just seems to fly. This is already Easter week, and there's so much I want to get done this month. I'm gonna be a busy grandma! What's on your "to do" list?


March 17, 2018

Sunday Scripture...

Thank you, Abby of Little Birdie Blessings


On Deck - Tea Cozy Repair...

Well-loved Tea Cozy

While the sun has been shining, I've been photographing and listing new fabrics in my shop. Later yesterday, I was working on my "Stitch On!" wool work piece that I showed you yesterday. When I finish that (today), this is next on my list...a sweet, well-loved tea cozy in need of repair.

Inside of Tea Cozy

This is a picture of the inside of the cozy. It's got a nice, fuzzy, plushy interior. The exterior is what really needs my attention. It won't take long to replace the fabric, and I can use the removed fabric as a pattern for the new floral I've chosen.

Fabric Replacement Choice
The pretty fabric with the black background will be made into the new cover for this piece. I'll make it today, and share my finish(es) with you on Monday. I'm really in the mood to play since I sent off our tax documents.
Happy St. Patrick's Day to those who celebrate the holiday. We'll celebrate our younger son and his wife's anniversary, as they were married the same day. 

May you enjoy the luck of the Irish today!