July 31, 2018

Tuesdays With Tag - Saturday Night Campfire...

Campfire Taggart

 Oh, Hi, Everybody!

Glad you could join me this week!
Wish you could have been here Saturday night. We had a great campfire.

Campfire Bella

When I got up to have a little snuffle in the yard, Boo jumped right up on Mom's chair with her! Talk about "cheeky"! She wasn't there long. I made her think I found somethin' good, so when she jumped down to check it out, I got right back up in my spot!

Dad, too!

Dad made the campfire, so he settled in once it got goin', to enjoy the flames with us. He made a really nice fire, too. We all liked it.

Enjoying the Campfire
As the sun set over our back hillside, we watched the fireflies blinkin' near the woods. Mom and Dad don't know it, but I know they're actually fairies watchin' us, too! I'm not gonna tell 'em either. Sometimes, it's better if they don't know all my secrets.

I'm hopin' we do another campfire real soon. I like it when we all hang out together outside. Maybe I'll see my fairies again, too! Either way...
I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...  
"Chase A Dream - Or A Squirrel".

July 30, 2018

Pickle Monday...

A Canner Full of Pickling Cucumbers
This is what is on the agenda for today...a huge canning pot, full of pickling cucumbers, will become dill pickles. Handsome loves helping with this task, so we should have most of the jars processed by early afternoon. In fact, if things go well, I may be able to work on my butterfly project later today! (Of course, by the time all the pickles are processed, I may just want to take a nap! I'll let you know.)


July 29, 2018

July 28, 2018

Fulfilling Friday...

When I first got up yesterday, the temperature outside was hovering around 59º. (Great sleeping weather!) I went out to check on the garden, and found this fuzzy bumblebee snoozing in one of my hollyhock blooms. There it remained until the sun came around to warm the garden, and then I imagine the bumblebee flew off to go about its daily chores.

I mowed the yard today, as Handsome has been under the weather this week. There are a lot of blossoms in the yard (clover, Queen Anne's Lace, chickory, bird's foot trefoil, and others) so I left our high yard (on the hill above the house) mostly unmowed. It was full of bees and butterflies, so I decided they can enjoy the flowers until the buds are spent.

We've also been short on rain for more weeks than the grass likes, so we've been holding off on mowing to help the grass. The wildflowers can thrive in drought conditions, but the grass needed a break from the weekly mowing. The yard looks much better now, and the colorful flowers are welcome, plus the colors provided by the butterflies they are feeding.

Orange Juice Applesauce From Our Farm
In the process of mowing the yard, I picked up all the windfall apples under our very old apple tree. Many of the apples had already been chewed on by bugs, but there were also a basket full of unblemished fruits.

I brought them into the house, cleaned them, cut them up, and tossed them in the slow cooker. I added a fruit preservative so they wouldn't brown, and let them cook for a couple of hours. When they were soft, I put everything through Handsome's mom's - now my - antique chinoise. 

After milling out the fruit, which separates the skin, seeds, etc., I heated the mixture, added a small amount of sugar and Ceylon cinnamon. In the end, the mixture yielded one quart and one pint of tasty applesauce.

Handsome and I finished the day by trying a new-to-us restaurant in our own town. From the first to last person working there, we were treated to friendly, Midwest hospitality and fine food. We'll definitely return. On our way out, we ran into old friends who go there every Friday! I'm sure we'll see them again, too.

Today, my BFF, Lee and I are going to the farmer's market in West Bend, WI to see what they're offering this week. I'm looking for more garlic scapes and raspberries (for jam). I'm looking forward to our outing!

I'm going to be stitching on my silk butterfly, too. Now that I'm silk thread instead of cotton floss, it's going slower (one strand, as opposed to two when I was working on the practice piece). I'm not in a hurry, but I would like to move right along on this. I'm looking forward to seeing it completed. (Patience, Donna. Patience. sigh)

July 27, 2018

Scotty McCreery Concert...

Scotty McCreery in West Bend, Wisconsin

I went to a Scotty McCreery concert last night. Scotty first performed in Wisconsin when he flew from North Carolina to Milwaukee, to audition for American Idol.  He returned to sing at the Washington County Fairgrounds in West Bend, WI.

I attended the concert with my BFF, Lee, who got us seating in Row G of the closest area for fans. Scotty didn't disappoint. He sang for nearly two hours straight!

McCreery Concert Crowd

The weather was perfect, even on the cool side, but definitely nicer for performers under the lights. The crowd was huge, too!

Scotty McCreery Signing Autographs
After all the work Scotty did to entertain us, he was even gracious enough to sign autographs afterward. (A lot of boots made their way to the stage!) I think I can safely say that no one went away unhappy. I took lots of photos, but it will take me quite a while to sort through them. (I know. It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it!)

If you ever get a chance to watch this 24 year old (now "married"), young man perform, please go! You won't regret it. We sure didn't.


July 26, 2018

You Say "Tomatoes"...


I say "tom-ah-toes". Either way, ours are starting to ripen. Romas here, with Celebrities ready soon. These will be made into sauce, and the Celebrities will become salsa. The cherry tomato plants continue to produce, too.

I'm in the studio for a few days, but I'll be canning these beauties soon. No matter how you say it, our farmhouse tomatoes are going to be tasty!


July 25, 2018

Work And Play...

Silk Butterfly

Although I haven't finished my practice butterfly, I've decided to start working on my actual piece. I purchased Au Ver A Soie and Soie Crystale silks to stitch it. I'll be working on this when I'm not completing my current commissions.

Tutor, Owen Davies supplied us with a 50-page instruction book to go along with our awesome instruction. That combined with our actual classwork gave us the confidence to stitch the actual piece on our own. I've decided to jump right in...and will let you know how it goes.

Curtain Fabric

Under my machine needle today is four sets of curtains for a northern retreat for a special client. I'll get these sewn today for weekend delivery.

Handsome has a concert this evening, too! It will be wonderful to hear him play again, as he was at the summer Windjammers meet for the last concert. I always enjoy performances more when he's playing.

It's going to be a busy day - and evening - so, I'll close now to get right to it. See you again tomorrow. I hope you have a perfect day.

July 24, 2018

Tuesdays With Tag - Takin' This Week Off...

via quotesgram.com
Hi, Everybody!
Mom and Dad are both home now. Boo and I make four...all present and accounted for. 
I'm gonna take this week off to spend time hangin' around with my pack. 
I'll be my usual, irreverent self next week.
I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...  
"Chase A Dream - Or A Squirrel".

July 23, 2018

A Day Of Rest...

QE II China Tea Mug

I spent yesterday resting and enjoying being back at the farm. I filled my Queen Elizabeth II tea mug with my favorite British tea (PG Tips), my Walker's Shortbread biscuits, and did a little stitching on my butterfly wings.

Relaxing With The Pups

Tag and Bella are happy to have me back home, and are staying close. Handsome has a cold, so I'm glad I'm back home to take care of him.

Liljegren's Hickory Hill Farm Produce

The garden was busy while I was gone. It's amazing how plants react to rain water over well water. My "Celebrity" and "Roma" tomatoes are just beginning to ripen, but my cherry tomato plants are yielding beautiful, sweet, little gems.

I picked a bowlful of tomatoes and a handful of basil leaves, and brought them inside. After rinsing, I cut the tomatoes in half, chopped the basil, added cut up Bellagiosa bite-sized, fresh mozzarella cheese (from Sheboygan, WI), and mixed everything together with olive oil and a bit of salt. It was our side dish with the roast beef and veggies I made for dinner.

I'll continue to work on my butterfly wings, but I have a commission to make, as well. Time to get back to the studio!


July 22, 2018

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.

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!!


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!


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!!


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.

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!


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.