July 21, 2018

Last Day Of School...

RSN Tutor, Owen Davies With Second Week Students
 
Yesterday was our final class session. We received our last day of instruction from our tutor, shared meals with new friends, and took lots of pictures. I even came away with two, new "adopted" daughters, Pauline and Sarah (both to the immediate right of me in the photo)!
 
Autographs From RSN Summer School

We exchanged autographs like high school kids, and have already made plans to get together again somewhere next year. Our butterflies will be completed at home, and then shared on social media...and we'll start new projects to share, too.
 
Memories and new friends were made this past week, and we'll hold them in our hearts and heads for a long time to come. We were the first to attend a summer school sponsored and taught by the tutors of The Royal School of Needlework. We can't wait to gather again for the next one.
 
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July 20, 2018

My Final Class Day In Lexington...

My RSN Tote Entry
 
It's 2:30 am on Friday as I write this. I just finished stitching out my design for my RSN tote entry. It's not my best work, but I'm happy with how it turned out. I see a few wonky US flag stripes, but I'm calling this done. I can amend it at home, but I'm not going to while I'm here.

We're still stitching on our butterfly parts, and will see how the assembly is done in class. I'll likely finish my mockup at home, and then do the assembly on my practice pieces. Then, I'll stitch out my "real" one in silks...in my comfy chair at home.

I know you'll understand my keeping this post short. I have to be up again at 7:30 so I can get ready to be at the school by 9. I'll be back with tomorrow's post before I pack up to drive back to Wisconsin. Happy Weekend!!

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July 19, 2018

Burning The Midnight Oil...

The Work Table In My Hotel Room
 
I haven't made it to bed before 1 am since I got to Lexington. Each day, I'm up early, shower, gather my things, and then drive to the school to arrive well before my class starts. Last night was no exception.

I have a great Daylight™ LED lamp clamped to the desk, and my supplies and tools are set up for marathon stitching. I'm working to absorb every single second of my stay here, while accomplishing my assignment (my butterfly), as well as an added piece that's part of the RSN Friday night challenge. (I only started it last night.)

I'm not going to show it to you until after it's shown on Friday night, but I will be back tomorrow to show you how my butterfly is coming. I'm heading over to the school early today to finish stitching my name onto the tablecloth. My tutor, Owen was actually stitching away yesterday morning, and as the tutors are all stitching their names in the center of the cloth, I couldn't access my spot without wrestling him - and it was too early in the day for that! lol - so, I'll try again today. 
 
I have a lot of stitching scheduled for today, and a banquet this evening. Its going to make for another long, fun day!

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July 18, 2018

Day Two - RSN Class...

Brynwood Needleworks - Day Two "Butterfly" Class
 
I wish you could be in Lexington, Kentucky with me this week. I'm learning so much, thoroughly enjoying my focused needlework project, learning about the incredible needlework collections at the Royal School of Needlework, and meeting new friends (who are fellow classmates or tutors) each day. 
 
Lexington is a beautiful city, by the way, and I've enjoyed dinners in a few of the local restaurants, as well as visiting a local needlework shop.

To update you about the class I'm taking, yesterday we worked on the preparation for stitching the butterfly wings. In the two photos at the bottom of this mosaic, I'm showing you how we set up the wire to to be able to cover the length with buttonhole stitches. 
 
These wires were 7" long for the bottom wing sections, and the top wires were 8" long (four total wires). I don't even know how many (3-strand floss) buttonholes are assembled to cover each of the four wires. I can tell you that the process has a rhythmic, zen quality about it, making it very relaxing.

One thing that's extremely helpful is that Owen (our tutor) is stitching the piece right along with us. When he's finished explaining technique, reasons for doing things a specific way, and also teaching us some tips to help us work toward the RSN standard of excellence, he then is able to actually show us the steps put into practice.

After dinner last night, three of us were walking back to the Sayre School for our evening lecture, when I noticed a butterfly flying toward us. The blue color caught my attention. One of our group lives in Lexington, and he smiled. He told me, "Yes. That's the butterfly you're stitching in class." Owen designed a Kentucky butterfly species for our class (the Red Spotted Purple), and I actually saw one of the living, breathing beauties! I know Owen will be jealous when I tell him in class today.

All the students from this week's session were asked to sign their names on a table cloth that's set up in one of the work rooms. After signing, we're then asked to stitch out our signatures. The tablecloth will be displayed and then become a part of the permanent collection in Hampton Court Palace to commemorate the first ever US summer school! Isn't that cool? I signed the cloth yesterday, and will finish stitching it out today. I'll take a photo to share with you later this week, after others have had a chance to add their names, too. 

We should finish our practice butterfly today, and then we'll start working on the "good" one. I'll show you updates tomorrow - and the rest of this week, too! Fun times!!

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July 17, 2018

Tuesdays With Tag - Tell Me, Have You Seen Her?...

Sleeping Taggart
 
Hi, Everybody!
 
Sigh...I woke up yesterday and Mom still wasn't home. 
Dad says I'll be just fine, but it sure isn't the same when she isn't here.
I actually don't like it one, little bit.
 
Boo has tried to make me feel better by cleanin' my face, and lyin' around next to me,
but I can't possibly enjoy hangin' out with her when I'm committed to serious poutin'. 
I mean, she really couldn't take me with her? What's up with that?
 
I'm gonna just lie around by the back door, in case you wanna know.
I'll be happy when I see her comin' up the drive. Then, things will be normal again.

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

July 16, 2018

And So It Begins...

My tutor this week - Owen Davies
 
I left Wisconsin at 7:30 CT yesterday morning, and arrived in Lexington, KY at 5:30 ET (I lost an hour thanks to the change in time zones). Even so, it was a ten hour drive in traffic I'd expect for a Monday, rather than a Sunday! Once I checked into the hotel, I had a half hour to clean up, change clothes and drive to the welcome reception at The Sayre School.

As my tutor is the only male instructor, it wasn't hard to pick him out in the crowd. I walked up, introduced myself and we started chatting. As it turns out, he and I were born in the same hospital in Surrey. He still lives there...nearly within sight of Hampton Court Palace.
 
I packed and brought my sewing box with things I thought I'd need for the course. Yesterday, Owen told me that everything is supplied for the class! I told him that I brought supplies, finding it hard to believe that scissors and such would already be here. I also brought my prized sewing hoop (which belonged to my mother-in-law), and he suggested that I use it for my sample stitching. (I'll explain that later in the week.) I'd like to do that, so I'll take it to class tomorrow.

One Of The Buildings Of The Sayre School

This is one of the main buildings of The Sayre School. Students move from building to building over about three city blocks via the brick walkways. It really is a beautiful, historic-looking campus.

Chief Executive of The Royal School of Needlework

We were welcomed by the Chief Executive of the RSN, Susan Kay-Williams. The more she spoke, the more enthused I became. I think I'll still be pinching myself on Saturday, finding it hard to believe I was fortunate enough to attend.

My "Welcome" Bag

When we checked in at the registration table, each of us received a tote, filled with some lovely treats. Oh, and while all the name tags were on the table alphabetically, by surname (last name), there was only one tag with "Liljegren" on it, and the first name was Pauline! As I didn't feel like answering to that name all week, I now have a name tag with "Pauline"(crossed out), and my name in handwritten, in black magic marker. bahhh!

The reception was fun, and I've already made a friend. Also, I found out that the man who helped bring this event to Kentucky made sure that each tutor received (to borrow) a proper teapot and cup/saucer for their week here. Unfortunately, they're all drinking American tea...and believe me, it tastes different than British tea. Before I went back to the hotel last night, I found a Meijer store, and purchased three big boxes of PG Tips (my favorite). I'll be gifting all the tutors with the tea bags tomorrow so they can now enjoy proper English tea in their proper tea sets. (I'm working on Teacher's Pet, too, don't you know. lol) 

Tag told me he wanted to write a blog post tomorrow, even though I'm out of state. I can hardly wait to see what he has to say for himself!  I'll be back with a school update on Wednesday.
 
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July 15, 2018

July 14, 2018

Debuting the Brynwood "Encore" Everyday Tote...

"Encore" Everyday Tote, created by Donna Liljegren © Brynwood Needleworks
 
 Here it is...with a name and everything!
 
This is my rework of the Corgi Tote I've been making for the past few years. I've added a drop-in, two-way zipper to close the top of the bag, and beautiful metal hardware to attach a new crossbody strap. I've also shortened the other two handles, rather than the previous shoulder straps.

This one was a custom order for a client, who chose navy blue and natural cork fabric. Of course, I can do it in any of a number of cork fabric combinations, or in high quality cottons with cork accents.

I'm getting ready to leave for Kentucky tomorrow, but I'll be adding the Encore listing up in my shop before I leave. You can see all the details at BrynwoodNeedleworks.com once it's live.

I'm so excited about this trip, that I can scarcely contain myself. I've got packing and driving to do, but I'll be there by tomorrow night in time for the welcome reception at the Sayre School in Lexington. Of course, I'll be taking you with me. Wish me luck!

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July 13, 2018

Too Pooped To Pucker...

Web Image
 
My grandma used to say that. I think it means you can't even must a smooch, so that covers about how I feel right now. whew! It was a great, productive day, but I'm done in! I executed one of my totes with a number of adjustments, and I'm really happy with how it turned out.
 
You know I usually write my posts to go live at midnight, but this one went up a little late. I completed my commission, but it was dark outside by the time I was finished, and that makes for crummy photographs. I'll take a photo of it today before I mail it to my client. I'll show and tell tomorrow.

I'm busy, busy getting ready to leave for Kentucky on Sunday, so I'm going to keep this short (again). Happy Friday the 13th...just another day to do something creative or interesting, in my book. Thanks for stopping by today. I'll be back tomorrow, and I hope you will, too.

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July 12, 2018

A Quick Hello...

Holly Hobbie Stitching Girls
 
 Things are buzzing at the farm...and the bees aren't the only ones!
 
I'm working on a commission, at the same time I'm getting ready to head to Lexington, KY on Sunday. I can't tell you how truly excited I am to be dedicating next week to complete immersion in a pursuit I've loved for over forty years!

I had a wonderful day yesterday. I had an epiphany on a personal level, which I'll keep to myself so as not to bore you with the details. However, as a consequence, I had a completely peaceful and happy day. 

Handsome is playing with the Windjammers this week in Iowa, so he wasn't in town to perform with the Fond du Lac Symphonic Band last night. I knew the program was going to be fun with a theme of "Super Heroes and Princesses", so I met Sis and another friend, and we headed to the park for their family concert. Ariel, Mulan, Elsa and Jasmine (all Disney princesses) performed their signature numbers, and their voices were heavenly. (They are all actually local young ladies, and they were great.)

Superman appeared to the delight of the crowd, as he ran back and forth on the green in front of the bandshell. There was a nice breeze, which really caught his cape. The children loved him. By the way, many of the children were dressed as heroes and princesses, too. I'm so glad I took a timeout to go.

I'm going to finish my commission today so I can get it in the mail before I leave for Kentucky. Then, I'll be putting my Etsy shop on vacation until I return. So much to do by the time I drive out of here on Sunday. I'll be sure to take pictures before this piece goes in the mail, and I'll tell you more about my preparations, too. I'm going to sign off for now, but I'll be back tomorrow.

I hope you make today a great one. Whatever you do, give it your best.
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July 11, 2018

Farmhouse Update - The Pantry...

A Place To Hang Towels

Handsome and I do dishes every night after dinner. Together. By Hand. Usually, I wash the dishes and he dries. We talk while we clean up after our evening meals, so that the sink area of our pantry is tidy for making coffee first thing in the morning. We actually like the time we spend talking and doing dishes. It's become a happy ritual.

One of the areas where we wanted to add some light was at the sink. There's one overhead light in the pantry that I'm sure was perfectly fine for many years, however, if I'm washing, Handsome's tall physique kind of blocks the light. We decided we wanted to add something to the sink area to help.

He's on his way to play circus music this week in Iowa. I went to Hobby Lobby, and well...one thing led to another. Before I knew it, I'd found three pieces I thought would be perfect, paid for them, and turned for home.

Early Winters' Brass Candle Lantern

The vignette in the first photo is the shelf, with hooks, I bought for hanging towels. I moved the "Coffee Labrador" up from its previous spot directly above the paper towel holder. Now it's above the tray portion of this shelf.

Recently, I was unpacking a few more boxes and happened up this portable camp candle lamp. I purchased this one (and one other) shortly after Handsome and I got married. His initials are engraved on the front (below the silver name plate shown), and on the back I had engraved something sweet we've shared between us since before we were wed. The lantern fit perfectly on the third hook.

Let There Be Light!

My main purchase was this cubby hole shelf unit. I wanted something onto which I could mount a strip light fixture. This fit the bill on many levels.

Once I got it home, I took measurements and installed the wall anchors and screws where they needed to be. Next, I mounted the LED light strip under the shelf.

Have you ever had trouble siting the location for the mounting hardware before? I discovered a genius, little method to avoid trouble. I just take the largest width of painter's tape, find a good reference point, and then place the tape across the back of the piece with the mounting hardware within the taped area. Using a pencil, I perforate the tape right where the screws would go for hanging. Now, gently pull the tape off the back, and mount it on the wall where you want to hang the piece. Make sure it's level, and then drill pilot holes through the tape where you marked the mounting hardware to go, and install your wall anchor. (I happen to like the screw in-type). Now you can pull the tape. Hang your piece, and you're all finished. Easy!

Pantry Sink Area
 
The last piece was the "rake" on the side wall. Another place to hang tea towels. I also put almost all of my creamware into the cubbies. Then, I ran the outlet cord for the light bar behind the "labrador" shelf and down to the outlet. We'll do some permanent solutions when we remodel the kitchen and pantry, but for now, this is going to work like a charm.
 
Oh, I don't want to forget to tell you about the gift Shelly gave me shortly after we moved into Hickory Hill Farms. She brought a small milk can down for us. She said her dad used to take it up to the dairy each week for milk. Now it's ours, and is in a place where it can be seen. I love it up on top of the shelf!
 
I installed everything myself, and spent well under a hundred dollars on everything. A lot of form and function for the buck! Now, washing dinner dishes will be a little brighter. Happy. Happy.
 
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July 10, 2018

Tuesdays With Tag - Not Again...

"Oh, Farm Boy!"

 Hi, Everybody!

Well, this week I've got good news and bad news. What do you wanna hear first?
Bad news? Nope. I'll tell you the good news, and then I'll tell you the bad stuff.

"Keepin' Me Legal"

I went back to my doctor last week, but this time it was for my annual checkup, along with a couple other things. She "checked under my hood" (which I kinda like, actually), and then she gave me my three-year rabies shot. I was a champ. She gave me a nice treat after my shot, so I was just fine.

The bad reason I was there (No, it's not what you might be thinkin'!) is because I've been limpin', and my back leg makes me yip every once in a while. Mom was worried about me, so she asked the doctor to figure out why.

She took me for a little look-see, and when she came back, she told Mom I had a luxatin' patella. That means the kneecap on my left rear slides and grinds all around, slippin' out of position...which it's not supposed to do.

"Not Again!"

Soooooo, I'm back on restricted activity. No chasin' The Black Dog or squirrels. No runnin' up and down the stairs. No activity that could bother my knee at all. She has to make me rest as much as possible. 
 
The doctor will see me again in two weeks. I'm takin' medicine (Mom thinks it's a steroid. Golly. I hope I don't get "roid rage"! That's all I need!), to help ease my discomfort. It will taper off over the next two weeks.
 
We also need to keep track of how long it is between now and this happenin' again. She said I might even need to have surgery! Mom said Boo and I have our own health insurance, so that's not a worry. We'll do whatever we have to to make me better, but we're hopin' it isn't the surgery option. That would be more than a little inconvenient. You always have to worry about us furry critters goin' under anesthetic. We avoid that whenever we can.
 
I'm gonna behave as much as I can...and Mom will be the enforcer, just in case. She's even carryin' me up and down the stairs right now, which I kinda like! We'll show the doctor what we Liljegrens are made of! 
 
Don't worry about me. I'll be fine, but if you could time to say a little prayer for me, we would sure appreciate it. Mom and I thank you in advance. I gotta heal up good, 'cuz, in case you didn't know...Corgis love to run and romp. I wanna get back to it soon!
 
I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...  
"Chase A Dream - Or A Squirrel".
 

July 9, 2018

(Our) Farm To Table...

Sweet Tomatoes and Basil Pesto

There's something wonderfully satisfying about growing your own food. Last weekend, I harvested some of my sweet basil to make fresh basil pesto. I added fresh (from the farmer's market) garlic scapes, rather than minced garlic. The flavor was much milder and quite tasty.

Once the pesto was made, I cut up sweet cherry tomatoes (also from Hickory Hill Farm), having a pasta dinner in mind.

Pesto Pasta

It really came together perfectly. Cooked penne pasta, stirred in the fresh pesto and cherry tomatoes, salt & pepper, and then topped with more freshly-grated parmesan cheese. It was sooo tasty.

Growing More Basil

Late last week, I placed basil cuttings in a juice glass. I love the fragrance while we eat our evening meal. Not only did the basil share its sweet aroma, it also went to town, making roots! I've already planted it in soil, so I have even more basil for pesto and for freezing.

Growing More Celery and Lettuce
 
...and while I was at it, I placed celery and Romaine lettuce in water to get it to root. I'll move them to soil as soon as they have viable roots. 
 
All of this is to say that I enjoy this "farm to table" movement. It's nice to know that I can participate for our family. I really understand now just how rewarding the whole process of gardening can be. I'm already planning for raised beds that I hope we'll build over the winter. I think I'll be creating a garden layout, with notations for "what will go where". I promise to share with you when I get to that point.
 
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July 8, 2018

Sunday Scripture...

Cornfield Psalms © 2018 Brynwood Needleworks
 
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July 7, 2018

How Does My Garden Grow?...

Hickory Hill Farm Hollyhocks

The grass is getting "crunchy" here at the farm, because we really need rain. I've be watering the gardens so the tomatoes can mature, and the heat doesn't kill the herbs and flowers that are growing near the house. 

I love the color of the hollyhocks! Any shade of pink is perfect in my estimation. This is the color I always looked for and wanted for my gardens. Aren't they pretty? I'll harvest seeds once they set, so I can start more plants for next summer.

Hickory Hill Farm Lavender
 
My lavender is doing well, too. I'll preserve my first batch of jelly next week. Until then, I'll enjoy their color and fragrance where they grow.  
 
I've added more mulch to the garden to help retain moisture, and I'll continue to watch all my plants so they don't get heat stressed. The tomatoes and peppers like the hot weather, and their fruit hangs heavily on the plants. I just have to make sure they get enough water so they don't drop without ripening. I should be able to start making salsa very soon! I can "taste summer" already!
 
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July 6, 2018

A Patriotic Project...

My First Ornament Girl Ornament

I saw the June 2018 Patriotic Ornament from The Ornament Girl on Facebook about a month ago. I thought the Lady Liberty headpiece look was so cool that I had to get the kit to make one for the farm.

I was a little nervous about getting started because I'd never made an ornament like this before, but well...how do you know whether or not you can do something unless you try? ...and you know me. I'm always up for a challenge!

Patriotic Ornament Supplies
 
My kit arrived mid-month, so I finally opened up the box and set out the supplies. I had downloaded the instruction booklet (which comes specific to the ornament in each month's kit) into my groovy, new iPad, so I was ready to go.

In only a few hours, I had a completed the ornament...and it was quite relaxing! The instructions were complete, loaded with photographs, and simple to follow. The kit fabrics were separated into three packages, and all the notions (pins, buttons and hanging cord) were in their own bags. I haven't added the cord to hang it (yet), because I wanted to have it sitting out without it. I can always add it later.

This project only uses pins to secure the fabrics and embellishments. No glue. No other products. It couldn't be more simple.

In case you're interested, click on The Ornament Girl to learn more about their Monthly Ornament Club. They even have a closed group on Facebook where people can share their projects. Also...now I find out that Staci Ann is based about 10 miles from where we used to live in Florida!

Disclaimer: I'm in no way affiliated with The Ornament Girl, and have not been compensated in any way by their company. I'm just a customer like everyone else...and wanted to share my completed project with you.

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July 5, 2018

Summer Block of the Week Progress...

"Twilight Garden" Summer Block of the Week Progress

I'm all caught up on my "Twilight Garden" Summer Block of the Week setups. They're all cut and fused, and available for my needle and Valdani™ thread whenever it strikes my fancy. I am falling in love with this colorway!

Freebie Summer Block of the Week
 
I'm fully caught up on the FREE Summer Block of the Week blocks for weeks 1 through 3. They're stitched and finished.
I'm thinking there will be blossoms on each basket which will correspond to the week that the block debuted. (ie. Block One has one blossom; Week Two has two; Week Three has three.) I'm definitely seeing a pattern. 
I'm looking forward to seeing what Block Four has in store! I know that, whatever it looks like, it will be fabulous.
I hope you all had a safe and fun day off. We sure did!
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July 4, 2018

Independence Day...

 
Celebrating America's Birthday.
Happy Independence Day!

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