June 26, 2019

My Latest Finish...

Brynwood Needleworks - Explore - Shop Hop Crossbody - Front
I completed this for a client yesterday. I have two more bags to complete for her (larger than this one), which I'll do yet this week.

This is my Brynwood Shop Hop Crossbody Bag (also available as a pattern), and I'll be making more completed bags available in my shop, too.
Brynwood Needleworks - Explore - Shop Hop Crossbody - Front Detail

Don't you love this machine embroidery? It's a new favorite for me. I think it looks great on the black cork fabric, but I'll also offer it on natural or navy cork.

Brynwood Needleworks - Explore - Shop Hop Crossbody - Back

One thing different from the pattern is that I've added a convenient, lined slip pocket on the back side of the bag. I think it's a nice, handy feature.
Brynwood Needleworks - Explore - Shop Hop Crossbody -Interior
The lining is a cotton map fabric to complete the theme. This one is already spoken for, but I'll be making more for my shop. I'll have them listed very soon.

More bag-making today...but a nice cup of coffee and a visit with Handsome first. Then, I'll be back in my studio today.


June 25, 2019

Tuesdays With Tag - Deer Here...

Brynwood Needleworks - Farmhouse Corgi - Tag
 Hi, Everybody!

One of the great things about livin' here at the farm is the number of animals that stop by to visit from time to time. For one thing, they usually leave somethin' quite odiferous for Boo and me to roll around in. Another, is that most of 'em are entertainin', which means we get to carry on when we see 'em.

We've had these regular visitors for the past week or so. Mom and Dad have been watchin' 'em, but Boo and I didn't actually know about 'em until a couple of days ago.
Brynwood Needleworks - Deer

They've been gettin' closer and closer to the farmhouse, and a couple of nights ago, Mom and Dad were watchin' them out the windows. As Dad leaned forward in his chair, The Black Dog looked to see what he found so interestin'. When she saw the deer, she started with a low growl. Dad told her to be quiet, but that was all I needed to jump up and bark my fool head off.

The deer stopped and looked at the house. Mom told me to knock it off, and after a few more barks at who-knows-what, I stopped...and the deer went back to rompin' around in the field. Mom could tell - even through the window screens - that three of them were spike bucks, and one was a small girl. She was havin' fun, runnin' circles around the other three.

One of the boys has a limp, too. We think he got hurt somehow, but he still gets around pretty well. We don't think it's life-threatenin'.
Brynwood Needleworks - Four Deer

Please excuse the blurry picture, because it was taken through a screen. It's such a trade-off...take off the screens to get good pictures, or keep the screens on to keep the mosquitos outside. We opt to keep the bugs out. You get it, right?

Next week is Independence Day (week), so please come back for my Public Service Announcement. I've got some important stuff for you to read about. I'm gonna go back and see if I can find those deer...or at least somethin' interestin' to roll in!
 I'll see you again in seven, 'til then...
"Live Like Someone Left The Gate Open".

June 24, 2019

Oh, Look! A Squirrel...

Brynwood Needleworks - Farmhouse Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Filling

I know you're wondering about the title for today's post. Well, I had completely different plans for the weekend, but my mind wandered and I ended up doing this yesterday!

It all began with a gorgeous Saturday, that was comfortably cool for working in the garden. I weeded out a huge bed, and then tackled the area adjacent to the rhubarb patch. Before you know it, I was pulling the flower stems on the rhubarb, and then pulling rhubarb to take inside. (Did you know that you're not supposed to cut the stems of rhubarb from the plant? Rather, by twisting the rhubarb near the base, it comes clean from the plant, and also signals the plant that it's missing a stem. That way, the plant knows to replace it with a new one. Cutting short-circuits the message, and the plant doesn't know to regenerate. Mine are already sprouting new shoots, so I'll get at least one more harvest this summer!)

Anyway, we bought twelve pounds of strawberries, and I picked a basket of rhubarb so full that I almost couldn't lift it to carry to the house! (Don't worry. I persevered, and I made it to the kitchen with my haul.)

When I got up on Sunday morning, canning beckoned. I began at ten o'clock in the morning, and finished with the water bath for the last batch at five thirty in the afternoon. A long day, but much to show for it. I finished with eighteen quarts, plus one pint of beautiful strawberry-rhubarb pie filling. Handsome was outside, and when he came back in, he said the whole house smelled like a candy factory!

I made some of this last year, but not nearly as much. There's something wonderful about inviting summer back into your home in the depths of winter. It really is possible with this pie filling.

I'd like you to see something else in this picture, too. Do you notice the little drawers to the left of all those beautiful jars? It's a recent gift from a blog friend.

Brynwood Needleworks - Gifts From Marcy

If you followed my blog in 2015, you may remember the "Dress A Girl Around The World" effort that I sponsored here on my blog. I love this program to make dresses for girls and young women around the world, as a way to raise their self esteem and clothe them at the same time. You can Google "Dress A Girl Around The World" to learn more about their worthwhile effort and how you can participate in your state.

When I began the dress drive in 2015, I simply asked if there were people who read my blog who would like to help me reach a goal to donate 100 dresses. That number was quickly surpassed, and my one-time drive lasted through 2016.

By the end of my involvement (we were preparing to move back to Wisconsin), my blog friends and I had donated a total of 725 dresses and 429 dolls. We really made a difference.

Well, one of my friends continues to make and donate dresses to this day. Marcy lives in California, and hopes to sew her 1,000th dress before the end of this year!

Brynwood Needleworks - Butter Press

Marcy saw one of my posts about needing to downsize my fabrics, and asked if there might be anything I could pass on to her toward her goal. Of course, I immediately said "yes"!

She offered to trade with me, because she also knew that I have been searching for a set of antique spice drawers for our kitchen that wouldn't cost an arm and a leg. She had two, and said she'd like to give one to me. Can you even imagine how excited I was!!! Not only would I be able to help her reach her dress goal, but I would have a set of spice drawers, and they would come from someone I deeply admire. She said she'd package it up and send it on to me.

Brynwood Needleworks - Enamelware From Marcy

Not only did my dear blog friend send the spice drawers, but she also included some lovely enamelware pieces to go on my kitchen shelves! A sweet funnel, and a little covered pitcher were also in the box.

Brynwood Needleworks - Enamelware and Tooled Box

She didn't stop there, either. She also included a large enamelware tray, a wooden butter press and a sweet tooled box that I'll be using to carry threads! I was really speechless.

Brynwood Needleworks - My "New" Old Spice Drawers

I'm so grateful for the gifts Marcy sent to me, but I'm more grateful for being able to say that I'm friends with this kind and generous woman. I'm going to choose some of the most beautiful fabrics to send her way, and I know she'll put them to the best use by making more dresses for little girls.

Thank you, Marcy, from the bottom of my heart. I love everything, and will cherish these gifts always.


June 23, 2019

Sunday Scripture...

Brynwood Needleworks via Facebook

June 22, 2019

I Was A Bad Blogger...

Brynwood Needleworks via Internet
Yesterday was a flurry of activity, and I barely paid attention to my phone. No photographs were taken to record the day's events, and there is nothing to show for all that was accomplished.

First thing in the morning, our dear neighbor showed up with tractor and trailer to meet his nephew at our house. His nephew brought sons to help, and in no time, a basement window was removed and there were busy hands tossing firewood up and out of our basement.

When one trailer was full, it pulled away from the house, and another took its place. Handsome ferried wood in the front loader of our tractor from the house to the trailers, and at the end of the day, we estimated that a whopping three cords of wood had been emptied out of our cistern and wood room. (Chastising myself here for not taking a single photo of the work in progress...or the cistern, full of wood...or the cistern empty, for that matter!)

I needed to run errands, and when I got home, Handsome was vacuuming the last of the cobwebs out of the floor joists. I thought the cistern was going to be a perfect storage room, and man, I had no idea! It's HUGE now that it's empty! 

Our immediate thank you to Andy for his help in the process was to invite him, Shelly and their grandson down for dinner by the fire (pit). It got a little chilly as darkness fell on the farmhouse, but we enjoyed our visit none the less.  (We're working on a few other tokens of gratitude for them, too, but don't tell, okay?)

This was a perfect day - well, you know, except for the lack of photos. I'll be taking pictures of the cistern today, so you can see what I'll have to work with. I think paint is in order before shelves, but that won't happen right away. (Remember my list from yesterday? First things first.)

Enjoy your Saturday, and I'll be back to share photos with you on Monday. (Of course, I'll post a Sunday Scripture for you, too.) 
Oh, and this photo isn't mine. I saw it on Facebook last night. I can't wait for our hollyhocks to open up. They're going to be magnificent this year! 

Happy Summer!!


June 21, 2019

I've Got Lots To Do...

Brynwood Needleworks - Batik and Black Cork Fabrics
I have a custom order on deck next. I'll be making two different bags using this batik/cork fabric combination. I'm also making one of my new Shop Hop Crossbody Bags, for the same client, in cork with a lighthouse design on it.

Brynwood Needleworks - A Sampling of New Wallets
When that order is complete, I'll be adding new Bryn Crossbody Wallets to my shop. I'm also going to make them in a slightly different style with a chain crossbody strap option. I'll show you all those when they're finished, but I have that custom order up first.

I'm also going to be making a number of Shop Hop Crossbody Bags for my shop, too. All of these will be listed and available next week, but I'll show them to you here first.

If you're interested in making your own Farmhouse Chickens Pincushions, Convertible Market Tote, or the Shop Hop Crossbody Bag, the patterns are all listed in my online shop now. (Click HERE to go window shopping.)

GREAT NEWS!! My email server is finally back up and running properly, and I'm receiving my emails again. Apologies if I haven't responded to a recent message. I ask that you resend if you need to reach me.

We've got people coming today to help move all the rest of the firewood out of our basement. (Seems unnecessary that it be there since we removed the wood burner last fall.) We have plenty in the wood shed already for our backyard firepit, so this wood is going with the people who are helping us get it out. 

I'm pretty excited about this, because our old cistern is currently filled to the brim with wood, and I have another idea in mind for that space. Once it's all cleared of the wood, I'll be giving it a good cleaning and paint; we'll add shelves, and it will become my canning storage area. All my canning supplies will go on one side, and all the canned goods will go on another. We'll only keep some of what I can in the pantry, and the rest will be downstairs.

First things first. Wood will be on its way today, while I'll be in the studio working on my commission projects. Then I can think about what's next...like the weekend!! Make it a great one!


June 20, 2019

An Evening of MSO in FdL...

Brynwood Needleworks - Milwaukee Symphony

Last night, Handsome and I were able to sit together in the audience as Yaniv Dinur conducted the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at Buttermilk Creek Park in Fond du Lac, WI. Usually, Handsome is on the stage when he's at the park, but we weren't going to pass up another chance to see the Symphony perform in town.

Brynwood Needleworks - Sunset Over Fond du Lac (WI)
The program began at 7:15 pm, and the sunset was appropriately wonderful as the orchestra played "Hymn To The Fallen" near the end of their concert. If you have a chance, go to YouTube and do a search on this piece of music. It's so hauntingly beautiful, made even more so, as the sun set over my hometown. It was a lovely evening for a concert.

I had a busy, tiring day, so I apologize for not getting my patterns listed yesterday. It's first thing on my agenda for today (after my cup of coffee)! See you tomorrow.


June 19, 2019

A Day Of All Work And No Play...

Brynwood Needleworks - Convertible Market Tote - Closed

I finally finished writing the pattern for my Convertible Market Tote. Whew! First I had to make it, while I wrote out the steps and photographed it through all the construction. Then, I edited the images.

Once the images were edited, I could write the pattern...fabric requirements, cutting instructions, and finally assembly instructions with photographs.

Brynwood Needleworks - Convertible Market Tote - Open

It's a lot of work, but I finally finished it yesterday. That was the good great news. While I was busy at the computer, though, I got a text from my buddy, Kathy D., asking me if I was going to the Sit & Sew...yesterday.

Wait. What? Because I'm still having email issues, I didn't get the reminder email to my inbox. I had it in my calendar as a "maybe" date, to be decided later. I missed the email confirming that the meet up was on. Dang it!

Brynwood Needleworks - Convertible Market Tote - Interior
While I was completing my work, all my pals were visiting and having a stitching good day at Lisa's house. I finished my pattern, but was kinda grumping because I wasn't there with them. 

My email is supposed to be fixed today...and you can bet I'll be making a follow up call to make sure it's back up and running the way it's supposed to be.

In the meantime, I'll be listing my new patterns up in my Etsy shop sometime today, too. There will be a new printable PDF pattern to make your own flock of Chicken Pincushions; another for the Shop Hop Crossbody Bag; and finally this one, the Brynwood Convertible Market Tote. 

None of the patterns are longer than ten pages, and are really simple to sew together. You could have the pattern, and a new project completed by the weekend! I'll have the patterns listed up by dinnertime today. And, I'm going to make sure my notification alarms are set for the next Sit & Sew, so I don't miss our play date in July!

June 18, 2019

Tuesdays With Tag - She Threw Us A Curveball...

Brynwood Needleworks - Travelin' Hounds

 Hi, Everybody!

Well, it appears that The Black Dog is takin' her good, sweet-natured time gettin' in heat. Mom and Dad spent that first weekend keepin' track of her, but didn't see any more than that first little splotch. 

So twice last week, Dad took her to the vet to get checked. After the second set of tests, the vet say, "No way, Jose'. She's not in heat." Boo got all that attention for nothin'. Now we just wait.
Brynwood Needleworks - Jerry and Kathy

In the meantime, Dad, Mom, Boo and I took a little road trip. We went to see Mom's Facebook friend, Kathy B. and her husband, in Illinois. Miss Kathy sold Mom and Dad a primo whelpin' box for when Bella actually has a litter. Arrange-ments had been made, so even though Bella threw us a curveball by not bein' in heat, we went and got the box anyway.

Brynwood Needleworks - Selkie's Puppies

The bonus was that Miss Kathy's Corgi girl, Selkie had a litter of puppies almost four weeks ago, and Mom and Dad got to see them. Of course, Bella and I weren't allowed to get close to them because they haven't had their shots yet. They're too little. We just cooled our heels in the truck. That was okay, though. Better that the puppies be protected than we get out and snuffle all over 'em too soon.
Brynwood Needleworks - Selkie's Puppies

Selkie had eleven puppies, but one didn't make it when it was born, so there are ten healthy puppies in this litter. (Mom and Dad are hopin' that Bella has ten puppies when her time finally comes!) Aren't they adorable? 

Brynwood Needleworks - Rory, Selkie and Shooter

Mom also got to meet Miss Kathy's other two Corgis, Rory and Shooter. Shooter is the fluffy guy on the right, and Rory is the dude with the smile on the left. Sweet Mama Selkie is in the middle.

It was really nice that Mom and Miss Kathy got to meet in person after all this time bein' online friends. They had a nice visit, Dad and Mr. Jerry loaded up the whelpin' box, and we headed back to the farm.

The whelpin' box has been unloaded, and Mom and Dad put it into the kennel setup, so we'll be ready when the time comes. Mom sure hopes Miss Black Dog Furball gets in gear soon. She and Dad really wants to get this party started! We'll see what The Black Dog has in mind.
 I'll see you again in seven, 'til then...
"Live Like Someone Left The Gate Open".

June 17, 2019

Playing With Wool and Thread...

Brynwood Needleworks - Wools From A Wool Box 3 Kit
One of the perks of our monthly Sit & Stitch at Primitive Gatherings is that we're able to pick up our Wool Box kits when we're there. That means we're among the first to get them, so we're asked not to share the contents until Lisa is sure that everyone has received their shipment. We don't want to spoil the surprises for the other recipients.

The reason I'm explaining that to you, is because I was working on one of the kits in the third Wool Box over the weekend. I've hidden the pattern from view for this kit, only sharing the wools, and the little wooden piece that came with it. The threads are from my own stock.

Once we get the "all clear" from Lisa, I'll show you everything that came in this kit (minus the long-gone caramels), and what I've made up so far. It's an awesome kit, and I'm looking forward to showing you all the goodies!

Tag will be here tomorrow, and I'll be back on Wednesday with more to share. Have a great week!


June 16, 2019

June 15, 2019

A New Day...

Brynwood Needleworks via Jennifer Lambein
I spent yesterday tidying up my studios. It looked like a bomb went off around here! It's all back under control, and I'll be ready to create again without guilt and chaos.

Handsome, the pups and I are meeting up with an old friend and her husband for brunch and a long-overdue visit today. Time to play.


June 14, 2019

Sweet Surprises Right Outside Our Door...

Brynwood Needleworks - Our Hickory Hill Farm Kitchen Garden

Every time we step out the "friends and family" back door, we're greeted by new surprises in my little kitchen garden. The mint got a head start this year, and they may have choked out the morning glories this year. Time will tell.

The chives were next on the scene, and I've let them bloom. The blossoms are lovely in their purple/pink dresses. The hostas love this spot, and they're shading the creeping phlox in front of them. The dianthus is already showing red blossoms, too. The lavender is taking a little longer this year. I left their stems to shelter the little bugs that may have hidden under them for the winter, but the sweet fragrance of their leaves is starting to fill the air, too. As I weed, I can smell lavender everywhere.

Brynwood Needleworks - The Hollyhocks Are In Bud

My big surprise this year are my hollyhocks! Where I had to support the plants last year, their stems are large and strong this year. Even though I picked many of their dried seed pods to be able to sow new plants this year, it definitely won't be necessary here! Just look at the size of my stems, and the number of blooms at the top of the plant. Those clusters of blossoms cascade down every plant, so they won't just flower at the tops!

Brynwood Needleworks - HUGE Hollyhocks
Look at how big the plants are...and how many of them there are! If you scroll back up to look again at the first image, you'll get a true sense of their size. Boy, are the bees (including the bumblebees) going to love me this year! Last year these were all bright pink. I'm looking forward to seeing just how colorful they get. I'll be sure to show you, too. It won't be long before they begin to open up!

By the time I took these photos yesterday, shade had already fallen over the corners of my little garden. The shasta daisies I planted for Mom Grace are nearly as tall as the bird bath behind them. Mom would love how they'll look once they start to flower. I will have to move them, temporarily, right before the porch project begins so I can protect them. I'm going to get a beautiful big planter to hold them until it's safe to replant them. I'll use the planter on the new porch, with new plants (hmmm. Maybe geraniums?) once it's done. I'm sure I'll get pictures of the daisies before I pot them up, so you'll those, too.

Only a few short weeks before the masons show up to start their work. Bella is taking her sweet time coming into heat. She seems to have thrown us a false alarm last Friday, so she's seeing the vet every few days to be checked. For now, we're staying put at the farm. Once she starts, I'll count off eleven days, and plan to be in SE Florida by the eleventh day for breeding. If she doesn't start soon, I may have to take her to San Antonio (TX), as her boyfriend will have gone back home. Cross your fingers for me, please. I'd really rather drive to Florida than Texas alone this summer, so I'm praying Bella gets going here very soon. In the meantime, I'm going to sit back and smell the flowers.

June 13, 2019

Rainy Day Delights...

Brynwood Needleworks - Downtown Plymouth
Handsome and I went to Plymouth (WI) for breakfast yesterday. We had some grocery shopping to do, so we decided to go to our favorite place for an early meal (The Hub) before going to the store. 

As we left the restaurant, it was just beginning to rain. We looked across the street to see a line of pre-schoolers walking hand-in-hand with their teachers down the main street. They were adorable, as their teachers reminded them to keep holding hands, and to hurry along to stay with the rest of the group. They looked like little ducks running to catch up with their classmates.

Brynwood Needleworks - Little Ducks In The Rain
This little girl, in her pink dress, sandals, and hat caught my attention, but I couldn't help but smile at how adorable all of them were. Handsome and I smiled all the way to the grocery store. The rain didn't stop these kiddos from having a good morning.
Brynwood Needleworks - Soloist For Elvis Medley
Handsome's evening concert, scheduled for the bandshell at the park, was moved indoors at the fairgrounds because of the rain. They never get the big crowd indoors that they get outside, but there were still quite a few people who attended to hear all the great music.

There were four soloists, performing music of the 70's and 80's. This young man did an Elvis medley; two young men sang a medley of Simon & Garfunkel; one of them went on to do a Rolling Stones medley; and the last soloist did an astounding rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen). 
We were invited to sing along, and you know I did! These songs were all from my high school years, and I know ALL the words to Bohemian Rhapsody. Freddy Mercury was a musical genius (in my not so humble opinion), and many of my classmates were in chorus (as was I). If you got to class early enough, a group of us would start singing this song, and before long, everyone was singing a different part. Joyful memories reprised last night, listening to the soloist kill it for an appreciative crowd.

Have I told you how much I love being back in Wisconsin? Living in rural Wisconsin again is one of the blessings of our lives. My hometown is within 5,000 people of the population it was when I was in grade school. Forty thousand inhabitants is still small town by many standards. 

We still go out on a summer weeknight - even in the rain - to listen to great music, and applaud our own. My husband still opens my car door, and smiles at me across a restaurant breakfast table. We say grace before eating our dinner, and we hold hands when we walk together in town. We delight in the faces of small children, tripping through rain puddles for a Main Street outing. We're grateful for every moment we share together. Rain or shine, I can't imagine a better life than the one we share, and we look forward to whatever tomorrow brings. 
I'm going to finish my morning coffee, and then I'm going to get about my day. Thanks for coming to spend a little of your day with me as I reflect on yesterday with you. I wish for you blessings like these, and the gift of joyful memories - even when there's rain.



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