November 30, 2018

Completed Commissions...

Brynwood Needleworks "Bryn" Crossbody Wallets
I just have to add rivets and these three Bryns will be complete! Two are gifts, and one is for the giver. They'll be hand delivered in the next day or so. 

Today, I'm running to the grocery store to pick up a few items, and then I'm coming home to bake cookies for the Holiday Cookie Exchange at my niece's home this weekend. I've decided on my cookie, and will be making six dozen of them. I'll be sure to take pictures before they head to the party. Gotta run. My mixer and the oven await!


November 29, 2018

Kirby's Little Sister Prototype...

Mini Kirby Prototype
I got back to working on the Bryn Crossbody Wallets today, but not before I completed a prototype for a smaller version of my Kirby Crossbody Bag. This one is going to be a Birthday gift for one of my little sisters who loves purple, and I'm sure she'll like this one.
Kirby and New Prototype - Side by Side Comparison
This is a side-by-side comparison of the Kirby Bag and the new bag, with only one front zipper compartment. I love it, but it's not quite what I had in mind.
Showing Final Size Preference

The red line on this image is where I want the final bag bottom to be. I'm not going to modify this one, but I've changed the measurements on my notes. I'll make another after I complete the wallets today. I'll show those to you tomorrow. By the way...Don't you love the purple cork? I sure do!


November 28, 2018

I'm In The Studio...

Cork and Fabric
Yesterday was spent measuring (twice), cutting (once) and embroidering, as I prepared to make custom Bryn wallets for a client (along with a few for my shop). I'm also making another special bag (as a gift for one of my sisters), that I'll eventually have in the shop. It's my tester before I go into production.

So, I'm going to keep this short and sweet. I need to finish these today. Cookies are waiting to be made (6 dozen!) for my niece's cookie exchange on Sunday, and I want to leave myself plenty of time for whatever I finally decide to make. 

It's cold outside, so it's perfect weather to get busy in the studio. I'll be back tomorrow with photos of my finished projects.

November 27, 2018

Tuesdays With Tag - Harvest Time...

Taggart - Outstanding In His Field

 Hi, Everybody!

It's almost December, and I've been a good boy this year. I just know Santa is gonna bring good stuff for me! I'm not sure about Bella, but we'll keep ya posted.

Catchin' Somethin' On The Breeze

Hey! Do you hear that? I hear somethin'. I'm not sure where it is. I haven't got the best vantage point down here, ya know. I have to rely on my keen sense of smell, and deductive powers.

Let's see...

I Think It's That-a-way

I think it's comin' from over that way. Seems like there's somethin' in the fields besides coyotes, turkeys and raccoons. This is much louder than that. I know I've heard that sound before, and not that long ago. Hmmmm...I believe further investigation is in order.

Neighborhood Farmers

I was right! There's a big truck on the road, and there are a couple of tractors haulin' trailers behind 'em. I asked Mom and she said they're busy harvestin' corn off the property they own, and this field which belongs to our neighbors, Andy and Shelly. There's a lot of it, too! They're definitely gonna be at it for a while!

Our field to the north has already been harvested. The land we lease was harvested the day Mom was at the holiday craft fair. She was really surprised when she got home to see all that corn was gone!

Gotta Run

I, on the other hand, have more pressin' matters to attend to. As soon as I'm finished with, we'll be headin' back inside. After all, it's gettin' cold out here, and there are animal crackers waitin' for anyone who's been a good boy. Yessiree. That would be meeeeee!!!
 I'll see you again in seven, 'til then...  
"Chase A Dream - Or A Squirrel".

November 26, 2018

How Did I Do?...

Brynwood Needleworks - Hickory Hill Farmhouse Sandwich Bread
I had quite the list of goodies I wanted to make over the weekend. I managed to get to some, and not to others. This was my list:
  • Reese's Peanut Butter Bars
  • Banana Nut Bread
  • Cranberry-Jalapeno Jam
  • Hickory Hill Farm Hickory Syrup
Liljegren's Banana Bread (sans Nuts)

Let's see how I did:
  • Reese's Peanut Butter Bars (nope) Probably just as well. I love those tasty treats!
  • Banana Nut Bread (Yes!) Even though I made the first batch without nuts, I made BNB!
  • Cranberry-Jalapeno Jam (no, however, I'm using the cranberries to make Cranberry-Jalapeno Salsa, that I'm taking to the Holiday Cookie Exchange this weekend!)
  • Hickory Syrup (Yes!) I shared that I'd made syrup on Facebook, and sold out the batch before the end of the day. I made a second batch yesterday (photograph below), and just have to get the labels on the bottles after the syrup cools down. They're already listed in my online shop HERE in case you're interested in a bottle or two.
Liljegren's Hickory Hill Farm Hickory Syrup
So, you can see, it was a mixed bag of accomplishments. I'm happy tired, knowing I got a lot done. I'm off for a haircut this morning, and then I'll be in the studio when I get home. I have two projects I have to make up today (an "extended" Birthday gift for my sister, who I'll see this weekend; and a commission).

I also worked on a new project that will appear in my shop this week. I'll tell you all about that when I have more to show you. They're going to fit right in with my Brynwood cork creations, and I'm pretty excited about them!

Tag will stop by tomorrow. I hope you rested well over the weekend, and that, if you're in the path of the winter storm (we aren't), you'll stay safe and warm. Later!


November 25, 2018

November 23, 2018

Creating In The Kitchen...

Peanut Butter Bars Image and Recipe via
This weekend will be spent in the kitchen. I'm making this recipe for Reese's Peanut Butter Bars from I've made this recipe multiple times and it's a huge hit with everyone who's tasted it. It's become our new favorite.

I'll also be making multiple loaves of my Banana Nut Bread recipe. I shared this recipe with you before HERE. I have bananas just waiting to reach their full potential in my bread. (translation: they're so ripe, they're almost slipping out of their skins. Perfect for my recipe!) I also use our tasty hickory nuts in the batter.
We also need bread, now that Handsome is feeling better. There will be fresh, homemade bread in the kitchen, too, this weekend. My sandwich bread recipe yields two loaves, and will hold us over to next weekend.

I love this time of year because cranberries go on sale. I picked up jalapenos, so I'll be making up a batch of Cranberry-Jalapeno Jam from a recipe I found HERE.

Finally, I've only got one or two bottles of Hickory Hill Farm Hickory Syrup left from Thursday's batch, so I'll brew and bottle more for stock (and personal use!) today or tomorrow.

Next weekend is my niece's annual holiday cookie exchange, so next week, I'll be making cookies to take to the party. Last year I made White Wing Dove cutout cookies. I've got something in mind for this year, but won't lock in my decision until later next week. Check back later, so you can see what I'm making.

So, you can see I'm going to be busy in the kitchen. Oh, and our new freezer arrived yesterday! We're really happy with it. It's a Frigidaire upright, and we can see it's going to really come in handy. We won't need to worry about running out, if the weather is too "Wisconsin-y". lol

Our turkey dinner was delicious yesterday. Day late or not, it was exactly as we'd planned...and the leftovers will be just as tasty. Hmmm. Would it be bad to have a turkey and dressing sandwich for breakfast?

Our Thanksgiving...

Web Image Thanksgiving Turkey

Happy post-Thanksgiving, friends. We don't observe Black Friday at the farm. We stay home...grateful for what we have, rather than going out to vie for deals with frantic, post-tryptophan, early bird shoppers. It's never been our thing, and I'm still not sure I even get it.

Grazing on Facebook last night, I saw an entry from our hometown police scanner saying that 15-20 people were already fighting in a local Target parking lot! Craziness, I tell you.

Anyway, I do have a story to tell you about our day. After decades of always bringing home a frozen turkey, and placing the shrink-wrapped bird into cold water to thaw, this year I did something different. I decided to refrigerator-thaw the bird according to Jenni-O "safe-thawing" recommendations and guidelines.

Handsome and I were spending Thanksgiving on our own, so I found a nice, small 11 pound bird. Jenni-O said putting it in the fridge to thaw on Monday would give us a bird that was ready to prep and roast for that's what I did.

I took it out of the fridge today to find a rock-hard bird! Seriously! I told Handsome it was a darn good thing we weren't expecting company! I took the bird, double bagged it in plastic bags, filled the sink with well-water cold water, and declared that we'd have our turkey dinner today, instead of on Thanksgiving Day. (Thanks, Jenni-O. sigh)

I had a delicious English beef roast in the refrigerator, so I made a wonderful shepherd's pie instead. Believe me when I say we sure didn't suffer. It was just right for the blustery Thanksgiving we had yesterday.  The menu change left me with a lot of spare time, though.

Brynwood Needleworks - Hickory Hill Farm Hickory Syrup
I decided to make up a new batch of Hickory Hill Farm Hickory Syrup. and that was finished mid-afternoon. I mentioned it on my Facebook page, and nearly sold out of it! There are still a few bottles available through my Brynwood shop (HERE).

Then, I even went up to the studio, set up my ironing board and got caught up on all the ironing I've put off for way too long. Got every bit of it done! I'll be able to head into the weekend without thinking about still having to manage that task.

Today, our new upright freezer is being delivered. I'm especially chuffed (tickled) that my sales last weekend financed the purchase. (Thanks again to everyone who purchased my creations at the Kewaskum Holiday Craft Show - and since!) 

As soon as it's plugged in and up (down?) to temp, I'll be transferring food from our crammed kitchen freezer down into the new one. Am I silly to be so excited?

I'll be back tomorrow to tell you what else I manage to accomplish. Enjoy your Friday, and if you're a Black Friday shopper, be careful out there!


November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving Blessings...

via Web
From our home to yours...


November 21, 2018

Organizing The Creative Chaos...

Destiny Awaits

I spent the day cleaning up the mess from two intense weeks of sewing. I have to do this before I can even consider starting something new. I have to be able to find everything, after all!

Parts Bins and Computer

Handsome had a doctor's appointment this morning, so that's where we started. When we got home, I just headed upstairs to start cleaning.

My New Serger (Under Wraps), and A Comfy Chair

I've added a comfy chair to the room, which will be perfect for sitting and stitching, or sewing on binding. I'll haul my footstool in, too, when I'm not at the machines. It's easier to get around, though, if it's not in here full-time.

Jane, Waiting For Her Next Assignment

A few bags, hanging, as they await new homes. I'll be starting new projects very soon! I'm adding some new wallets and bags to my line, and hope to have a few ready in time for Christmas giving.

A Well-Earned Movie
After dinner, I came back upstairs with a cuppa tea, so I could enjoy the fruits of my labor. I turned on the telly, to find silly Austin Powers just starting. I watched enough to know that I'd rather watch something else. More serious, you know. Instead, I went to my recording list and pulled up Nicholas Cage in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". lol That's more like it!
Handsome's getting his surgical staples removed this morning. He can't drive yet, so I'll take him to his appointment. When I get back, I'll be making up an order of Hickory Syrup. Some to send out for orders right away, and some for stock. I'll make Christmas gift syrup in another week or so, because I want to get back to sewing sooner, rather than later. 
Guess I'd better make another list today, too. Santa and I are going to have a busy December!


November 20, 2018

Tuesday With Tag - Cuddle Bugs...

She's Chokin' Me!
 Hi, Everybody!

I apologize that I'm in a compromisin' position to greet you today. This is what happens when I fall asleep on Mom's lap. I'm so embarrassed. sheesh!


One minute, I'm sleepin' on her lap and snorin' away. The next, she's scooped me up and is callin' me her little cuddle bug. What the heck? 

I'd like to say that I wiggled myself free, and extricated myself from this humiliatin' pose, but I'd be lyin'. I actually liked it, and stayed like this for longer than I wanna tell you. Only reason I looked up was to see what Dad was doin' when he took my picture! I don't like havin' evidence that I really like bein' cuddled.
Watchin' Football With Dad

Friday afternoon, Dad, Mom, Dad's brother (Uncle Bruce), Boo and I watched Grandson's football team compete at Camp Randall (Madison, WI) for their division championship. (They won!) 

Boo and I spent more time sleepin', but looked up to see what was goin' on whenever there was cheerin' and whoopin' in the livin' room. Like to startle us silly, it did! And, before you ask, "yes". I'm very comfortable, thanks.

Sleepin' Beauty
Uncle Bruce left on Saturday, and I actually wanted to go with him. He really helped Mom, because she could concentrate on gettin' her work done, while Uncle Bruce took care of Dad and us guys. 
He's a great guy. He liked it when I got up on the sofa and slept with my head on his lap, and he gave us lots of treats - even if we didn't have to go outside! We're lookin' forward to his next visit already. 

Dad's doin' really well, and Mom had a great time at her show. We spent most of Sunday just keepin' him company until Mom got home. Thanks, Uncle Bruce.  You were a real asset, and now, we've got this from here. Cuddle Bugs at your service!

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

November 19, 2018

Successful Show...

Brynwood Booth - Kewaskum Holiday 2018 Craft Show
I promised a photo of my booth prior to the start of the show yesterday. Here it is! As I told you before, I had over 20 Grab & Go Clutch/wristlets, over 20 Event Crossbody Bags, a number of Kirby Crossbody Bags, a large Bella Tote, and a few Bryn Crossbody Wallets.

I sold out of the tote and wallets, a number of Kirby bags and wristlets, to declare that our participation in the show was a grand success! In fact, so much so, that I reserved my booth for next year, as well as their summer outdoor show called "Party on the Pavement".

I was set up this time in front of the school's rock climbing wall, with those red floor mats behind my display, so my backdrop was very "holiday". I'm already planning what my future booths will look like, which may include gridwalls for more hanging possibilities. I also have two more of the acrylic racks like the one shown for table top variety, and I may or may not use the wire cubbies again, although they were perfect for this event.

My stuffed Corgi not only greeted my customers, but was (of course) a conversation starter. My screen saver on the Square checkout was the fall photo of Tag and Bella sitting in the leaf pile, so they could see what both dogs looked like.

I built my own checkout stand from supplies I purchased at Jo-Ann Fabrics. I bought three wooden crates on sale, as well as the wood piece (meant for home decor by adding letters or words) that I used for my counter top. I had a 25% off coupon for my purchase, which even covered items already on sale, and then I used an Ibotta coupon for an additional 15% off through the app. I purchased the brackets to securely attach all the components into this configuration, and then attached a short-tailed, three-outlet extension cord to the inside of the top crate (for plugging in my Square stand). In the end, this checkout stand cost me less than $45! Pretty thrifty, I think, considering how cool it looks.

I used the crate openings on the backside to store my shopping bags, receipts, and other supplies (including a few snacks, which I never eat in front of prospective customers!). It turned out to be a really useful addition to my booth. I set up my tissue paper on the end of the table, and had everything I needed to complete a sale right at my finger tips. I wouldn't change a thing about it.

The show ended at 3 pm, and I was on my way home by 3:15. The items I didn't sell yesterday will be listed up in my online shop early this week, and I'll definitely be making more Bella totes in other fabrics to list up, too. I have orders for the Bryn wallets, so I'll make extras of those for the shop, and soon those items (Bella Tote, Bryn Crossbody Wallets and Event Bags) will be available for holiday shopping.

For now, I'm going to get caught up on some of the homekeeping things I neglected to be able to have a well-stocked booth. Laundry awaits, and oh, yes...I have two studio rooms to put back in order (they got a little messy during all the pre-show production). I want to have everything back to what passes for our "normal" in time for a relaxing Thanksgiving, but I had to stop to share how happy I was with the culmination of my recent flurry of creative activity. 

Thanks to everyone who has left woefully unanswered comments for me. They've been appreciated, as you shared get well wishes for Handsome, and messages of support for me as I struggled to get my work accomplished in time for the show. I'm grateful to all of you, both on my blog and on Facebook. You're really the best of the best.

Tag will be here tomorrow to carry on as only he can, and I'll be back with updates on Wednesday. Here's to wishing you a great week, as you prepare to celebrate your own Thanksgiving. Blessings.


November 18, 2018

November 17, 2018

It's Almost Show Time...

Brynwood "Bella" Tote

The show is tomorrow, and I'm nearly finished with preparations. I added a new tote to my lineup, and am calling it the "Bella" Tote. In case you haven't noticed, all my bags and totes are named for our female dogs (so far), past and present.

Brynwood "Bella" Tote Zipper Detail

Tag wanted me to call this the "Black Dog", but that's the name of a whole concession on the East coast, so I'm leaving that name alone. wink

This tote measures 15" tall by 19" wide by 5" deep. It has one exterior pocket and two interior pockets. There's a gusseted, zipper closure and is made from beautiful and durable cork fabric.

Someone is going to love this one, but after the show is behind me, I'll be making more (in different prints and colors) to add to my shop. You can treat yourself to your own Christmas gift!

Brynwood "Bella" Tote Pocket Detail

In the limited time I had leading up to today, I managed to complete 22 new "Event" bags, 29 "Grab & Go" clutches (wristlets), 9 "Kirby" crossbody bags, 2 "Bryn" crossbody wallets, and 1 "Bella" tote. Whew!

I would have liked to create more Bryn wallets, but to tell the truth...I'm tired, and I'm happy with my output. This is just my first show. I'm looking forward to more in the next year. I'll have more next time.

Brynwood "Bella" Interior Detail
I'll probably grab the key fobs I've had in stock for a while and take those along. If I have time today, I may make a few more of those. We'll see.
Wish me luck! I'll share photos of my booth and let you know how I do when I visit with you again on Monday. Fun times ahead!

November 16, 2018

So Far, So Good...

Current Stock for Show
I'm giving myself one more sewing day, and then I'll be working on signage and display for Sunday. I'm doing pretty well. I've got a few Bryn wallets to make, and a few in a new style that I'm calling the "Kyra Clutch". Then, I'll call it done for this show.
I was tripping along in fine form yesterday, and then this happened. The piece I was supposed to sew to the front (on the left side), is still sitting on my sewing table in this picture. The back for another bag got sewn to the wrong front. sigh That meant a little un-sewing was necessary. A slight setback. Sharing to "keep it real".

Handsome's brother is here until Saturday, so I'll be working great guns to finish up the last of my sewing before he leaves. Then, I'll do a mockup display in the dining room so I'm sure what my area will look like at the show. I'm planning to get a lot more accomplished today. Monday will be my day of rest. Gotta run. Have a great day!