October 31, 2018

Trick or Treat...

Tag, The Magic Dragon and Bella The Little Holstein

Hi, Everybody!
Happy Halloween!
 This year, I'm "Tag, The Magic Dragon", and Bella is "The Little Holstein".

Bella and Tag's Halloween Shirts

These are our Halloween shirts. Mom says that our little friend, Conner is gonna get these next.

"You Will Give Us Candy!"

 We know how to stun you into givin' us treats. We give you our "reflector eyes"!
"Yoooou Will Give Ussss Caaaandy!" booooooooo

er...um...we mean, "Trick or Treat"!!
(No chocolate, though, please.)

That Was Fun!

You wanna give us treats now, don't you? hee hee
We're off to terrorize Mom and Dad for snacks. What are you dressin' up as this year?
Whatever it is, have fun, be safe, and don't eat too much candy!
 I'll see you again in six. 'til then...  
"Chase A Dream - Or A Squirrel".

October 30, 2018

Tuesdays With Tag - Yard Work...

Tag and Bella In The Leaf Pile

 Hi, Everybody!

The leaves are fallin' fast and furious at the farm. Mom wanted to rake for a while today, so Boo and I decided to help. Dogs are color blind, but Mom told us the leaves are really pretty this time of year. There's nothin' wrong with our sniffers, though, and we noticed all the good smells instead.

Our Front Yard At The Farm

Mom told us we aren't much help, 'cuz we love runnin' around while she's workin'. She just about gets a pile done, and we've gotta run right through it. She's mutterin' somethin' about "two steps forward, and one step back", whatever that's supposed to mean.

Anyway, I have a feelin' she's not gonna keep at it for very long. The wind is gettin' a little nip in it, and she doesn't have a fur coat like mine (or even Bella's!). She'll wimp out and head inside before I can even fetch a stick!

We're coming back tomorrow, too! It's Halloween, and you might need to see our costumes! So, you'll get to visit with us again. Don't forget! Trick or treat!!
 I'll see you again in seven tomorrow. 'til then...  
"Chase A Dream - Or A Squirrel".

October 29, 2018

Saturday Class Pics...

Saturday Class Breads

Saturday's class in Rustic Breads and Soups was wonderful and exhausting. The class was fast-paced, informative, and we stood the entire six hours.

We all came home with samples of everything the class made, so we all got to share our breads and soups. The breads in the photos are (clockwise from left: Crusty French Baguette, Hearth Bread, Rustic Fruit and Nut Sweet Bread, and two small loaves of Rye Bread with Dill.) Each one has its own delicious flavor and texture, and will be healthy additions to my bread making repertoire here at the farmhouse.

Students Listening To Chef Sue

One especially delightful surprise was coming face-to-face with a high school classmate I hadn't seen in decades. The best part was that she recognized me as immediately as I recognized her! She attended the class with her husband (the tall man behind Chef in the next photo), and we had a little time to catch up, too.

Students And Chef Sue

We learned more about bread making techniques - like water/milk temps to add to the ingredients for dough making (115º), and optimum temp for a fully baked loaf (210º).  I also got more practice for shaping boules and long loaves (and the best way to get them from bench to oven). Those things alone were worth the class fee!

Four Rustic Soups Made In Class

We tended loaves of bread from mixing to proofing to baking, while we also created delicious soups. Top to bottom: French Onion Soup (not shown are the tasty slices of baguettes, topped with shredded Gruyere cheese for floating in the hot soup), a delicious Pork Stew, Autumn Squash Soup (with homemade faux creme fraiche and sunflower seeds), and finally the soup created by the team I was on...Chicken and Corn Chowder Stew. 

Everyone sat down for samples of each soup and bread, and we all declared the class a rousing success. This is the last of the classes I signed up for until Spring. I'm already looking forward to that, but will be making new breads and soups to keep us warm through the winter. I'm sure we'll be sharing with family and friends, too! These are all too good to keep to ourselves!

I'm in the studio today. I've got orders to ship and commissions to work on. We've got plenty of bread from Saturday, which means I won't be baking any this week. So, if you're looking for me, look upstairs at the farmhouse! Tag will be here to say "hi" tomorrow. 
Have a great Monday, friends.


October 28, 2018

October 27, 2018

A Special Project...

Brynwood Needleworks Memorial Cushions
This will be a post with few words. What can you say when a woman passes at 41, leaving a grieving husband, three children, two stepchildren and a host of family and friends who will miss her?

The Celebration of Life is being held today. I created two memorial cushions for her daughters. Each cushion is made from silk dupioni with images of each young woman with her mom. I added ruffled silk, centered with matching vintage teardrop-shaped jewelry pieces.. At the bottom of each image, I added the words, "Love Never Dies". They each measure approximately 12" x 16".

A family member will present these to the "girls" today. I extend my deep sympathy to them, their stepdad, and the rest of their family.


October 26, 2018

Pincushion Progress...

Embroidered Brynwood Fairy Steed Corgi Pincushion
I completed all the embroidery for the current Corgi Pincushion. I decided to embroider it a little differently than I've done in the past, and I really like this one! 
I would have completed the assembly, but got sidetracked to complete two very special projects. I have a short deadline, so I had to squeeze them in before I got the pincushion done. I'll complete this one later today.

I have another bread-making class tomorrow, so I'll get this and the special project finished before I spend the day with my hands in flour. That class is called "Rustic Soups and Breads". Do you think I'm going to have fun? Count on it!

I'll share my finishes with you tomorrow, too, so I'd better get back to it. I love it when I'm busy!


October 25, 2018

The Well-Behaved Corgi...

Brynwood Needleworks' Corgi Pincushion In Progress
We've been doing a lot of outside work, preparing for the inevitable colder weather. Even so, when I've finished my outside chores, it's so nice to come back inside, make a hot cuppa tea and then, sit down to stitch. 

I have commissions that are waiting for my attention, so I'm happy to spend my indoor time doing what I love best. Needle dancing. Next up are my Corgi pincushions. Yes. The well-behaved Corgi.
(Tag can be like the little boy in the Calvin and Hobbs' stories. lol)
Brynwood Needleworks' Corgi Pincushion Embroideries
After I cut out and stitch my Corgi shape, I hand cut and place all the flowers and leaves. Next, I can sit down and stitch all of those. Then, I'll assemble and fill my pincushion, and it will be ready to go to a new home. See you tomorrow!


October 24, 2018

Dust In The Wind...

Milkweed On The Farm

That's the song in my mind as I was watching the milkweed seeds spreading in yesterday's breeze. All of the pods have burst open, and now Mother Nature (and the wind) will disperse the seeds for next year's crop.

The sun is getting lower in the southern sky as fall turns toward winter, so the light was warm and wonderful on our field. I couldn't resist taking a few pictures to help me remember this day.

Hickory Hill Farm Sandwich Bread

When I came back into the house, the aroma of freshly baked bread greeted me. I think I'm getting better with practice. I also like that I'm creating tasty breads, rather than buying it at the store.

This Saturday, I'll be taking another class at the technical college. I'll be learning about "Rustic Breads and Soups"! I think it's going to be fun to add to my current repertoire.

I'll be working on commissions today. I have pincushions, a strawberry, and three wallets to make in the next week or so. Today, I'll tackle the pincushions first. I'll show you what I'm doing later.

October 23, 2018

Tuesdays With Tag - Gettin' Ready For Winter...

Brynwood's Taggart

 Hi, Everybody!

Can you believe we've even had snow already? It was snowin' so hard that Mom was laughin' at me. So what if I was runnin' around the house barkin'? It was windy, too!

Brynwood's Taggart

I admit I get a little exercised when it's snowin' and blowin'. Do you have any idea how cold it gets down there when there's even a little snow on the ground? My legs aren't long enough to keep my important parts out of the way, if you catch my drift. Stop laughin'! It's not funny.

Brynwood's Taggart

Thankfully, it all melted pretty quick. Even so, Dad decided we should get the driveway markers in before the ground freezes. That way, we'll know where to drive even when the snow is deep...and believe me, it's gonna get deep, even by my standards.

Brynwood's Taggart

For now, I'm gonna spend the sunny, warmer days lookin' for that darn squirrel...or "Chip" (the chipmunk) as Mom likes to call him. sigh

Runnin' Around The Yard

Of course, I'll be runnin' around tryin' to catch up to that crazy, runnin' Black Dog, too. She loves this fall weather as much as I do...and she always loves to run.

Until Next Week...

I hope you enjoy this weather, too. Maybe it stays hot where you live (Hi, Uncle Eric and Aunt Becky! See you soon!) Maybe it gets cold like it will here. Either way, find the good stuff to roll in, the best stuff to snuffle on, and the best folks to hang around with. Life is too short to sweat the weather.

As Mom would say, "Enjoy every second you're handed, and count your blessings."
 I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...  
"Chase A Dream - Or A Squirrel".

October 22, 2018

Still In The Studio...

Brynwood Needleworks - Favorite Needlework Pieces
 Yes. I'm still in the studio. I'm cleaning, purging and moving things around.

Brynwood Studio Wall
This is the wall above my computer. I've placed favorite pieces of needlework and art on it.
From left to right: 
• Eileen Bennett of The Sampler House is a dear friend of mine - even though I haven't spoken with her in years. This is her Acorn Sampler, which I stitched in 1991.
• This is a favorite watercolor, painted by our younger daughter-in-law, Jessica. She's an amazing artist, and her watercolors are whimsical and sweet. This one features a chair with fairy wings, and pots of beautiful geraniums.
• In 1994, my dear friend, Laura I, stitched a piece as a gift for me. Yes. There are acorns on it. I treasure this intricate piece, made just for me.
• Below the small sampler is a beautiful, little mouse with hearts. This was made by Susan Pilotto of Mouse Droppings. (Cute name, right?) She makes the most amazing pieces, and I'm fortunate to own three of her works.
• "Today I choose Joy" was a recent gift from my old friend, Wendi. She chose it specifically with me and our farmhouse decor in mind. I love it right here, where I'll see it every day.
• Below that is a Charland Design that I stitched. It's a strawberry sampler, with so many beautiful stitches. It's called "Strawberry Fields".
• A beautiful, medieval needleworker card is framed for my wall.
• The sampler on the far right is my first sampler design. I called it "Examplar One", and created it as a teaching sampler for my shop. It was also the catalyst for my Brynwood Needleworks' design business in 1991.

So, this is about the only picture I can share of the studio right now. I promise to get this cleanup done this week so I can take more pics...and get back to the important business of creating!


October 21, 2018

October 20, 2018

Day Tripper...

A View Along The Way
Sometimes you need to slow down. Take time to regroup. Reevaluate. Regenerate. Yesterday was such a day.
It was a good day...a cleansing day. A day when I responded to a "shoulder tap". Do you know what shoulder taps are? (Here's a link that will explain better than I can.) I get them from time to time, and although I've had them since I was a young woman, I listen more carefully now.

So, Handsome and I decided to take a rainy day drive to honor my most recent shoulder tap. In the process, we accomplished a lot, but I only have this photo to share today.

Have you ever had a shoulder tap? Do you call it something else? How do you respond to it? Are you compelled to respond (as I usually am), or do you brush them aside? I'd love to know.

October 19, 2018

For Your Viewing Pleasure...

Tag and Bella - Fall At The Farmhouse
I've been busy cleaning my studio rooms (machine and fabric), as well as working outdoors to button things up for winter. Of course, there's still the rest of Autumn to enjoy, so I put together a little farmhouse vignette in the far corner of my kitchen garden.

I'm not going to completely pull out all the plants (and would never remove the perennials), so that there will be a place for the bees and mousies to sleep when the snow falls. Then, I saw these beautiful fall mums, and knew they had to come live with us. I'll move them to cold storage for winter, but the hay bales will stay in place until Spring.
The lighting was perfect to show off Bella's sleek coat and caramel-colored eyes, and Tag was happy to be in "his" light, too. I hope you like seeing a little bit of Fall at the farmhouse. It's like I'm in Heaven on earth, really. 


October 18, 2018

Sweet Little Embroideries...

Brynwood Needleworks - Working On Kathy Schmitz' Embroidery Patterns

Over the weekend and into last evening, I've began working on a series of little embroideries. They're all designed by Kathy Schmitz from her "My Little..." series. There are four sets of patterns available, and when completed, each design measures approximately 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" square.

In the series are the four patterns: "My Little Garden", "My Little Home", "My Little Year", and "My Little Stitches". The designs you see above are from the "My Little Garden" pattern.

Getting Started
I have a small light box, the Cabin LED Light Panel CL-5300P (You can find them new on Ebay), with a viewing surface that measures about 4" x 5". It's the perfect size to pack in my needlework kit to keep handy when I need to trace out a design. I'm using my current favorite air-erasable pen (Leonis Air Erasable Pens). I order them HERE from Amazon. 

I'm glad these are small designs and I stitch fairly quickly, because the ink is nearly gone by the time I finish the design. Once I iron the completed piece, the rest of the ink disappears, and I'm ready to go on to the next one.

I do have some stitching commissions to begin, but in between, these are the perfect designs for a quick needlework fix! Just right as the evenings get a little cooler at the farm.

October 17, 2018

Bread Making Monday At The Farm...

Proofing Sandwich Bread

I chose sandwich loaves for my first, completely scratch made bread on Monday. The recipe from my recent class yields 2-3 loaves, depending on size, and it was fun to watch the size of the dough increase for each proofing.

Finished Freeform Sandwich Bread Loaves
When the dough was ready for shaping, I chose to go with a freeform, rather than doing the final rise in a pan. I think next time (think sandwich loaf), I'll put these into a pan for traditional, sandwich-shaped bread.

Handsome and I cut into it as soon as it was cool enough, and there were definite smiles-all-around. Success! We decided that Mondays will be bread making days at the farm from now on.


October 16, 2018

Tuesdays With Tag - Something Feline This Way Comes...

The Most Handsome Corgi Brynwood's Taggart

Hi, Everybody!

Fall is definitely in the air, but here at the farm, I smelled somethin' else recently.
 Let me back up a bit.

On Saturday, Mom and Dad were out workin' in the yard, and because The Black Dog and I kept tryin' to go on an adventure (when they weren't lookin'), we were takin' a time out inside. Dad was washin' our tractors while Mom was cleanin' up the garden.

Dad and Mom noticed they were bein' watched right about the same time, and they had a little discussion about how it could get interestin' around here if we happened to see it, too. They hoped it would stay off our property, and went back to work.
Black Cat Image via TheSpruce.com

As Mom was makin' breakfast Sunday mornin', she looked out the kitchen window to see a set of cat's eyes lookin' back at her. It was right outside the window...on our grass! Ho, boy! That's one brave cat. It sat lookin' at her for a while, and then walked off into the yard.

Boo and I had to do our business shortly after that, and although I didn't see the black cat, as soon as I finished takin' a whiz, I picked up the faint aroma of kitty cat on the wind and started trackin'. Mom called me off it before I ever saw anythin', but she knows she's gonna have to be vigilant, just to be safe. 

We don't know if the black cat is plannin' to stay just for Halloween, or even if it has a home to return to, but Mom wants to avoid anyone gettin' hurt. She'll make sure we don't see it, if she can help it. 

Boo and I won't try to hurt it, but it's possible that the cat might take a swipe at us, just 'cuz we don't know each other. I'm tellin' ya, though, if someone scratches me across the nose, I might get a little testy. I think it's better if we just gaze at each other from afar. That's what Mom and Dad want, too.

I'd better go set up in my favorite lookout spot. You just never know what might saunter across the yard, and if that happens, I'll have to sound the alarm.
 I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...  
"Chase A Dream - Or A Squirrel".