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!


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.


September 27, 2018

Farmhouse Quilt Nearly Finished...

My Farmhouse Quilt - Detail
I worked on my farmhouse quilt again yesterday. I got everything quilted, and just have to add the binding, which I'll do this evening. It's a great "sit and watch TV with Handsome" project.

Farmhouse Quilt - Front and Back Detail

I chose a linen-look cotton fabric for the back. This will be used as a winter curtain, so I didn't want to choose a fabric that would obviously sun-fade. This will just look more "worn" after it's been used.

For most of the quilting, I followed the lines, making them a little uneven, just like the barn board lines in the print. Then, I went back to the interior and sewed over the lettering, leaves, and around the main motifs (chickens, tractor, barn, etc.). I purposely wasn't exact with those either. I wanted them to look less-than-perfect.

Farmhouse Quilt Front
Here's the entire front, including the borders. I'll be binding it in the same black/white floral fabric, which I'll cut out later today. I originally wrote about this fabric HERE, in case you'd like to know more about it.

Brynwood Needleworks - Cork Fabric Combinations

After an appointment this morning, I'll be coming back to my studio to work on a commission. I have a new eggplant purple cork now, so I'll make my newest style Grab & Go crossbody bags in both print/solid combinations shown above. One will go to its new home, and the other will be available in my online shop. I'll show you what they look like finished tomorrow.

I'd better run now. Lots to do before I turn out the lights tonight! 
Is it the weekend yet? lol See you tomorrow.


September 26, 2018

Sunset On The Farm...

Hickory Hill Farmhouse View - East

Handsome and I spent most of the day indoors. We did a few things in the kitchen, and then moved on to the living room. It was a rainy day, so we wanted to do a few tasks we'd been putting off. (We got everything accomplished, and I'll share photos and explain that soon.)

Hickory Hill Farmhouse View - West

Tag and Bella made sure we stopped in time to give them their dinners, and we rewarded them with a few bits of leftover roast along with their usual kibble and pumpkin. Have you ever heard a dog burp? Hilarious, really! 

Hickory Hill Farmhouse View - Northwest

When it was time to make our dinner, I stopped to look out the window and saw the most beautiful sunset developing to the south of the farmhouse (that's where our kitchen windows are located). I put what I was doing on hold, grabbed my iPhone (no time to dig out my "real" camera), and ran outside. I walked around the house, taking pictures as I went.

Hickory Hill Farmhouse View -South

There was even a line of geese, honking as they flew across my southern view! They're our annual reminder that the weather is changing, and they'll soon head to a warmer southern climate.

Hickory Hill Farmhouse View -West
I took all these pictures to share with you, so you can get just a small idea of the majesty that Mother Nature shares with us every day at our little farm. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe that we've landed in such a perfect place to live out the rest of our days. 

September 25, 2018

Tuesdays With Tag - Fall At The Farm...

Brynwood's Taggart - Lookin' Good

 Hi, Everybody!
I'm hopin' all of you are enjoyin' the cooler weather as much as Bella and I are.
We had a fabulously, wonderfully cool day yesterday, so Mom took us out to catch some rays.
Brynwood Needleworks - Runnin' Corgi

I also did a little explorin', but Mom thought I was gettin' too far afield, so she called me back.

I'm Back!

Good thing I like to run. It fit with her plan that I should stick close, but I really just wanted to run!

Taggart, Sniffin' The Air

There was more than a little air sniffin' yesterday, too. Everythin' smells different in the fall.
It's Mom's favorite time of year, but I'm thinkin' it's mine, too. There's so much to see sniff and do.

Everybody's A Critic

 Of course, Bella was hangin' around, too, but apparently, she isn't impressed with my 
sniffin' skills. Too bad, lady. It is what it is, and I'm happy to sit here an sniff the day away.

Tag Says, "See Ya Next Week!"

I'm glad we were able to spend so much time outdoors. The weather fell apart shortly 
 after  these pictures were taken, and it got dark and cold. We'll take the sunny days while we 
can. They might get few and far between. It really is fall at the farm!

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

September 24, 2018

Beautiful Weekend...

Oldest and Youngest
What a perfect fall weekend I had! It began with a visit with my youngest sister. I always enjoy time with her, and this visit was no exception. We had a great time, and of course, memorialized the day with a picture together.
Drum Room Painting

Handsome and I also put the final coat of paint on the inside of his ground-level storage room. Now for him to choose carpet and shelving. This room will be climate controlled (and comfortable) for storing and setting up his drums. He'll be setting one kit up to play, and I think he needs a chair or two in case anyone (me! me!) wants to sit and listen while he rehearses.
Farmhouse Lavender Jelly

After putting the final coat of paint on the new room, Handsome and I each hopped on one of our yard tractors and mowed our yard. It usually takes one person about three hours, so when we both tackle the task it takes (somehow) less than half the time! It was done in no time flat!

On the way back inside, I noticed that my lavender was full of blossoms (and bees, enjoying them), so I thought there may be enough to share. I worked without disturbing the bees and left plenty for them to enjoy. I quickly had enough blossoms for a "short" recipe for Lavender Jelly, so I went inside.

Within an hour, I lifted the finished jars out of their water bath to cool. I now have five small jars of jelly to enjoy or share over the winter. I may be able to make one more small batch after the bees are ready to rest for the winter, but it's okay if I don't. I'll be preparing my garden to sleep under the snow in a few weeks, so the bees still have time to feast among the flowers.

Sunset over Lake Winnebago
I took this photograph on my way home from my sister's on Saturday evening. I pulled over to safely take it. It was a perfect day weekend, and I'm happy to have these pictures to remember it.

I hope you had as wonderful a weekend as we did, and that you have a great week ahead, too.

September 23, 2018

September 22, 2018

Stormy Day Activities...

A View From Our Farmhouse © 2018 DLiljegren

We awoke to a wildly windy day, with clouds dancing across the sky. Every once in a while, the sun would peek through, giving us a glimmer of what the day could be. Then, just as quickly, it would dart behind the clouds and it would rain. By mid-morning, the rain stopped, but the wind continued. It was a perfect day to work inside.

Handsome and I spent part of that time vacuuming and tidying up the attic, and then we both moved downstairs to the kitchen. Canning was on the agenda, as there were grapes and pears that could wait no longer.

Friday's Canning Output
I cleaned the grapes, and then separated the skins from the pulp so I could make up the jam from the grapes I got on Thursday. I'm calling the finished product "Grafton Grape Jam" to honor where I picked the grapes. One larger jar shall be set aside for the generous folks who shared their fruit.

I also cleaned all the pears that were sitting in the basement. They let me know that they could wait no longer. The were all fully ripe, and as I cut them, quite juicy. They were all small fruit, so I wasn't going to be able to just cut them up. I decided instead to make Pear Butter (actually like a thick applesauce in consistency). I added grated orange zest and nutmeg to the mix as it cooked, and ended up with five pints of the tasty butter.

Dinner was also ready (thanks to my LeCrueset roaster) by the time we finished canning. Good thing, too. By the time everything was cooked and canned, the kitchen cleaned, and everything put away, Handsome and I were more than ready to sit down, enjoy dinner, and then put our feet up to relax. It was a perfectly productive and wonderfully tiring day.

I'm going to spend some time with my little sister and nephew today, so I'll leave you with wishes for a superb weekend. I'll be back tomorrow with my weekly Sunday Scripture. Until tomorrow...


September 21, 2018


"Resilience" by Autumn Skye ©2017

I saw this image on Facebook a week ago and, based on the watermark, managed to find the artist's website. Autumn Skye creates beautiful images, and this one is my favorite. It really speaks to me. Were it not for bees, my garden efforts (and much more) would be for naught.

Whenever I visit my kitchen garden, it is abuzz with honey bees, bumble bees and other pollinators. They allow me to work among them, too. If I don't bother them, they don't bother me...and I always leave blossoms for them to feast on, too. I know they need the nectar for the hives up the hill, or to nourish themselves for the winter ahead. I'm more than happy to share.

"Jasmine Bees" - ©2018 DLiljegren-Brynwood Needleworks
I had a lovely day yesterday with Daughter-in-Law #2. We went shopping in Cedarburg (WI), shared a delightful lunch at an old stone farmhouse restaurant called "The Farmstead", and even made it to a local farm market (Witte's) so I could bring home fresh produce for dinner.
Before I turned for home, I stopped at the home of one of her and our son's friends. They have concord grapes growing on an arbor in their back yard, which they offered to me for the picking. I'll be sharing grape jam with them when I make it today.
When I arrived at their house, I was greeted by a huge jasmine bush (comparable in size to those we had in Florida), and the fragrance was intoxicating. I knew I'd be taking a picture to show you. When I got closer, I saw that it, too, was humming with bees. It was a veritable feast for them, and they weren't wasting the opportunity! (I managed to capture two of them in this shot.)
After taking a few pictures, I walked to the back of their yard, where they told me I'd find all the grapes I cared to pick. I was also warned about the mosquitoes, which are legion in Wisconsin this year. No kidding, I had to battle them to harvest about three gallons of grapes! I pulled my jacket up over my head and closed it across my face to keep them from swarming my ears and face. Even so, I left looking like I'd played goalie in a dart game! My face was pocked with "sting and go" mosquito marks. Thankfully, they weren't full-blown bites, and by the time I got home, the redness had disappeared.

Handsome and I will be making Grape Jam and the last batch of Zucchini & Pepper Relish for this year, plus canning pears over the weekend. All that will be left is applesauce. First things first. I can almost smell the grape goodness rising in the kitchen.


September 20, 2018

Still Painting...

Handsome's Play Room
We started painting the inside of Handsome's outdoor room yesterday. It was built inside another building for added weather protection, as well as security. We completed the first coat of paint inside, will paint a second coat, and then tackle the outside. 
It's going to be really nice storage space once it's finished. The weather is cooperating, too. It's perfect weather for a little brush and roller action. 

Today, I'm having lunch and a little retail therapy with Daughter-in-law #2, and then I'll be back home to continue with this project. I'll share photos as soon as it's all done.


September 19, 2018

Another Quick Project Under My Needle...

Farmhouse Quilt

I've had this panel since my friend, Jacque A. and I spent the day shopping last fall. The panel has been in service all summer, blocking late day sun in the pantry, but I decided that I needed to actually do something with it beside hanging it the panel on a rod.

I was in the studio a couple of days ago, pulling fabrics I'll soon list in my online shop, and found the perfect pieces for a border on the front, and for backing to turn it into a completed hanging. I thought the black and white floral was just the right pattern for the borders, and I have a darker version of the  linen-look cotton seen on the farm panel.

The fabrics are sandwiched with batting, pinned, and waiting as I contemplate how I want to quilt it. I'll have it finished by the end of the week...binding and all.

Selvage From Farmhouse Quilt Panel
When I showed this on my Brynwood Needleworks Facebook page, a number of friends asked for the information on the panel, so I'm sharing it with you, too. It's from Deb Strain's "Homegrown" line from Moda Fabrics. Like I said, I purchased it last fall, so you may have to check Etsy or Ebay to find it. (HERE'S a shop I found on Etsy that has more than one panel available)

Today, I'll be helping Handsome paint the inside of his new drum room here at the farm. Our younger son, who is a talented carpenter, built it for him, and as soon as the painting is finished, we'll shop carpet and shelves. The temps are cooler now, so it's perfect painting weather.
We hope to have it move-in ready in another week or so, which is good, because his fall rehearsal schedule has already begun. It'll be nice for him to have a place to set up and practice, plus a climate controlled area for his instruments.

Once the painting is finished, I'll be back in the studio. I have orders to fill, and this small project for myself to finish. I love having busy days. Such a feeling of accomplishment at the end of a day, and I sleep like a log. Life is good.

September 18, 2018

Tuesdays With Tag - Bein' A Beggar...

Brynwood's Taggart

 Hi, Everybody!

I hope you're doin' good today. I've been thinkin' about everyone in the path of the hurricane. We were on the lookout for those storms all the time when we lived in Florida, so I have an idea what some people have been goin' through. We'll keep prayin' that everybody is okay.
Handsome Brynwood's Taggart

So, today, my post is kinda silly. (Like that never happens, right?) Mom says I get a "look" when I'm beggin'' patiently for food. I'm not sure what she's talkin' about, so she said she'd take pictures so you could maybe see what she's talkin' about.

This is what she calls my "normal" (handsome) look. Kinda de-bone-air, don't you think? I'm just my usual, alert self.

Are You Eatin' Somethin"?

Now, Mom says this is my beggar look. I don't see it, but she's pretty sure I have a special look about me. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

Can I Have Some?


Okay. So my eyes are a little wide...and my lip is stuck to my pearly whites.
What's the big deal? 

Wait. Is that a cookie you're offerin'? I think it is. I'm pretty sure it's got my name on it. 
Come on, Mom. Quit messin' around. I really need that cookie. 
You know you want me to have it!

Sorry I got sidetracked, but I'm gonna have to sign off for today. I obviously have to give this matter my full attention. I'm slippin' up if I don't end up scorin' a snack! We can't have that. I have a reputation to uphold, after all. 

Have a great week and stay safe!
I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...  
"Chase A Dream - Or A Squirrel".

September 17, 2018

Celebrating Eight...

My Great Nephew

We celebrated my great nephew's Birthday over the weekend. He turned eight, and his parents hosted a party for him at a local park. It was fun to meet some of his little friends, as well as gathering with his siblings and cousins. Family and friends all attended to make him feel special on his big day. It was quite lovely.

Great Nephew With His New Quilt
I love having deadlines. I knew I wanted to make a quilt just for him, and I needed it yesterday.  I chose to do a whole cloth quilt this time, and added straight line quilting to hold it all together. I sat with Handsome on Saturday evening, stitching the binding to finish it, and then I wrapped it Sunday morning, in time to go to the park.
I know this boy is into dinosaurs and robots right now (notice he's in costume for his party!), and figured that everyone else could (and did) lean that way with their gifts. Instead, I chose to make a baseball quilt for him. I mean...what kind of kiddo doesn't like baseball?
I'm happy to report that he loved his quilt (and his older brother loved it enough to ask if I'd be making more). Of course, I will...especially when someone I love requests one! I'll wait until the next gifting opportunity to make one for him, too.
When we went back to his house, his daddy (my nephew, Dan) asked me to sit down at the piano with him. It's been too, too many years since I've played, but we dabbled a little together, and then he treated me to watching him play. He's never had any formal instruction - and cannot read a single note - but his ear helps him create beautiful music, and I was in tears listening to him play. I'm looking forward to listening to his piano playing in the future, and will actually make a point of it. (I also told him I think he needs to learn to read. The sky would be the limit for him, then.)
I love being back in Wisconsin where I can attend these family gatherings. Watching the little ones grow up with adults I have loved since birth is one of the greatest joys. It was just such a day yesterday...and I am, yet again, showered with immeasurable blessings. Happy Birthday, Dean!