September 16, 2019

Farmhouse Renovation - Goodbye, Mud...

Brynwood Needleworks - Mulching
 
Well, we're working on it, anyway. The dirt in the foreground has been seeded with grass and clover. The history of the farmhouse says that the year it was built, it was "planted" in a field of clover. Much of the clover still grows along with the grass. We're continuing that tradition when we plant grass.

The top of the yard (above the wall) is being mulched to keep down weeds while we work on plantings. The long downspout will eventually be replaced with a gravel "riverbed" and a little pond. It's part of my plan for next spring, however, if I have time yet this fall, perhaps I'll get started on it.
 
Brynwood Needleworks - Goodbye, Mud
 
I've already planted sedum, Jacob's ladder, gypsophila (baby's breath), pink and purple coneflowers, lavender, and hardy mums. I'll be adding Shasta daisies (Mom's favorite), and a few others. I also have a beautiful butterfly bush, but I read that it can get 6-8' tall, so I'm rethinking that. While I want the plantings to fill in, I don't want them to obstruct the stonework. 

My plan for the stone "riverbed" and little pond will begin at the base of the downspout, and work outward toward the corner and stone monument. The lavender and coneflowers will frame it. I'll be trying to decide what I'd like along the retaining wall, too. Perhaps something that will trail over the edge? 

I'll be able to work on my plan over the winter, order plants, and be ready for more landscaping in the spring. I'm looking forward to that.

For now, Handsome and I will place the rest of the ten yards of mulch that were delivered on Saturday, along with the additional five yards being delivered today. We only managed to place this much on Saturday, before we were both pooped (and I was also running back and forth into the kitchen, as I was making bread that had to proof thirty minutes at a time. I baked it off after we stopped at the corner). 

We also lost a beautiful branch from the old apple tree last week, and Handsome is mulling over my request to place it in the front garden bed (you know, like some places use driftwood). We may move it in there so I can see what it looks like (after the mulch), and then I can imagine how I'd like to plant around it. I'm sure I'll take photos to share with you before and after it's moved in place, so we can decide if it's going to stay.

Tag will be here tomorrow to tell you about his week (or day). We're going on a little outing this morning. Shhhhhh. I'm not telling him where, but I'm sure he'll have something to say about it when you visit with him tomorrow. I'd better get going...
 
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September 15, 2019

September 14, 2019

Custom "Sea Turtle" Set Finished...

Brynwood Needleworks - "Ensemble" and "Nocturne" Bags

I've completed my latest custom order for a client who chose this beautiful blue batik fabric. She loves sea turtles, and this set is for an upcoming trip.

Brynwood Needleworks - "Nocturne" Travel Bag
 
This "Nocturne" bag (great for sleepovers!) is the bag I just finished. All I needed to do yesterday was add the handles and shoulder strap. 
 
I got a lot accomplished while it rained the past few days, but it's supposed to be nice today, so I'll be working in the yard today. I plan to enjoy these nice days while we have them. Have a great weekend, and I'll see you again tomorrow.

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September 13, 2019

Almost Finished...

Brynwood Needleworks - "Nocturne" Travel Bag
 
It rained yesterday. I had some tasks that needed to be handled in the morning, but the afternoon was spent in the studio. By the end of the day, all I had left to do is make two short straps, and one crossbody strap for this piece.

Because it's not completely finished, I'm just sharing a peek. I'll show you the whole bag tomorrow. 

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September 12, 2019

Kitchen To Studio...

Brynwood Needleworks - Farmhouse French Bread Loaves and Rolls

I've been busy since last we visited. I wanted to make fresh French bread and rolls for Handsome, so this is what came out of the oven on Monday. We had delicious soup and roast beef with the rolls for dinner on Monday night. I think I'm getting the hang of this. The rolls were crispy on the outside, and perfectly tender on the inside. I'll definitely be making more!

Brynwood Needleworks - "Ensemble" Bag
 
 
I've also been fulfilling customer orders. This one was my client's choice...black cork fabric, paired with a blue and green sea turtle batik. I'm especially happy with how this one turned out. I know it's going to get a lot of use, as it's first task will be as a carry all for a trip.
 
I'll be working on the second commission (for the same client) today. It involves preparing a lot of pieces prior to assembly. The hardest part for me is getting psyched to do all the cutting. It's never been my favorite (or even 5th favorite) part of sewing. I think I need an elf! 
 
So, I'll be working on the next bag, but I've given this style a name. I'm calling this one the "Ensemble" Bag. I hope my client loves it, because, if she doesn't, I'm going to keep this one to use for myself! 
 

Just a quick update on the porch project, too. The guys are painting the second coat onto the post and beam trim, and it's looking wonderful. (It's been raining, so my gardens are a mucky mess. I'll take photos at the end of the day today. Railing work won't begin until September 23rd, but I'm expecting the new lighting will go "live" late this week. We'll see...
 
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September 11, 2019

Eighteen Years Ago...

via foramerica.org
 
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September 10, 2019

Tuesdays With Tag - My Boo Is Back...

Brynwood Needleworks - Taggart

Hi, Everybody!

Well, it's sure been an eventful couple of weeks. Dad and The Black Dog have been gone since August 28th, but they got home on Sunday afternoon. They were gone a whole eleven days, but it seemed like at least six months to us! Mom and I were missin' both of them.

Anyway, they're finally home, and we're happy to announce (I guess) that Bellas and Rigby consummated their relationship...more than once! Now we have to wait to see if there are gonna be any baby Bella and Rigbys. We should know in a few weeks, but the vet in Texas tested Bella three times, and is quite sure that she should come out of this with a litter.

Brynwood Needleworks - Tag and Bella - Back Home Again
 
Bella did return home with some new hardware. We have to admit it's not her best look. From the stories she's been tellin' me, she tried an acrobatic jump where she shouldn't have, and wasn't quite up to the task. She fractured her foot and will have to be in a splint for five more weeks, and she's gonna have to have another procedure when it's safe to do so. (We have to consider that she may be "pupulated", you know.)

She's goin' to see our vet this week, and Dad will know more then. All I know is that she sounds like a wooden-legged pirate stumpin' around the house, and I'm gonna stay on her good side so she doesn't take a swing at me. That thing looks lethal! She also isn't allowed to rough house or run with me, and that stinks, 'cuz we both dearly love playin' our chasin' games.

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I think it's important to keep our sense of humor in such situations, so I'm sharin' a joke with you today. Neither of us have cone heads (or cone butts), but I have to admit, I've noticed that Boo is still interestingly aromatic. Mom and Dad told me to mind my "p's and q's" so I'm doin' my best. Just in case, they're keepin' the cutest pants on her for now.

Brynwood Needleworks - Tag's Tired
 
So between not sniffin' and not runnin', I'm tellin' ya I'm bored stiff. I think I'm just gonna take a nap. Maybe when I wake up this "treat her with kid gloves" phase will be over.
 
Don't worry, once we find out whether or not The Black Dog is "with litter", I promise to break the news to you here. Paws crossed, 'cuz I would love to be playin' with puppies! Gotta run. Nothin' to do, but even so, I'd better get after it.
 
 I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...
"Live Like Someone Left The Gate Open".
 

September 9, 2019

It Wasn't PCH...

Brynwood Needleworks - Friday Night Visitors

So, what would you think if you'd just changed out of wet jeans, socks and t-shirt (from working in the garden) into your most comfortable, but not-so-chic sweat pants and top, and saw this coming up your driveway?

Tag had sounded the alarm that someone was coming up the drive, so I got up from my chair to see a white limousine. What the...? I told him to quit barking his fool head off, and went to the door.

The front passenger door opened, and Tom (one of the masonry crew) stepped out with a beer in his hand. I asked him about the limo, and he told me it was his son's birthday - and that thirteen friends and family members were going out for dinner to celebrate. They were passing by on the highway, so he asked the driver (a family friend and designated driver for the night) to come up to the farmhouse. (Great "designated driver" idea, right?) He wanted to show off the new porch.

It was all I could do not to laugh. Upon meeting the rest of the birthday celebrants, I was told that the look on my face as they pulled in was priceless. Did I think they were the Party Patrol from Publishers Clearing House? I replied that hadn't crossed my mind, but I was a bit embarrassed to be caught wearing my sweats.

Tom made sure everyone saw his handwork, and that his wife knew where he'd been working the past few weeks. She was impressed, and then offered me an adult beverage. They were drinking Salted Caramel Sangria with apple bits for garnish. It sounded tasty, and they left one for me as they turned around to make it for their evening reservations.

Brynwood Needleworks - Moving On
 
Frankly, I'm surprised I had enough wits about me to snap a picture or two. I mean, isn't this a great story to share about our time here at the farmhouse? It's not every day a stretch limo rolls into the yard! I'm looking forward to seeing Tom today. It should be interesting!
 
Tag will be back tomorrow. Handsome and Bella got back home yesterday! All is right with my world again.
 
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September 8, 2019

September 7, 2019

Making Tomato Bruschetta...

Brynwood Needleworks - Tomato Bruschetta Ingredients

I've been busy in the kitchen, making a new favorite...Tomato Bruschetta. It's fresh-tasting, colorful, and delicious! I found the recipe on the Ball Canning website HERE. Now, understand, if you're not a canner, there's nothing to keep you from making up a batch of this and serving it to your family, or keeping it in the refrigerator to enjoy later.

The recipe is really simple. There are only nine ingredients: (not shown: white vinegar, balsamic vinegar, water and 2 T. white sugar), dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio), white wine vinegar, garlic cloves, basil, oregano, and tomatoes.

Brynwood Needleworks - One Batch of Tomato Bruschetta

The most time consuming part is simply peeling and chopping the fresh tomatoes. Mix the other ingredients together and bring to a boil, keeping hot as you pack the sterilized jars, top the tomatoes with the liquid mix, seal jars according to best practice and water bath process for twenty minutes (adding time for altitude - I process for 25).

I let it sit for about five minutes in the uncovered canner after the processing time to avoid siphoning, and so far haven't had that happen to any of my jars. (I've made four batches so far, with at least two more to go.) This will make for tasty gifts when placed in a basket with a pair of beautiful napkins, a loaf of French bread, and a wedge of fresh Parmesan cheese. (You might want to add a bottle of your favorite dry white wine, too. I chose Dark Horse Pinot.)

To serve: I thinly slice a baguette, brush with olive oil, and place in a 375° oven until it starts to crisp. Remove and top with the tomato bruschetta and a sprinkle of grated cheese. Return to oven until the cheese has melted and the tomato mixture is hot. Serve. 

Brynwood Needleworks - Home Canned Goods To Date (9/6/2019)

I thought I'd share a picture of our pantry as of yesterday. I have a couple other things to make (which I'll share later), as you can see I still have space!

Top Shelf (l-r): Dill pickles, bread & butter pickles, sweet onion relish, zucchini pepper relish, chopped and stewed tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, and salsa.
Middle Shelf (l-r): Strawberry/rhubarb pie filling, applesauce, strawberry/rhubarb jam, strawberry jam, raspberry jam, crabapple jelly, lemon balm jelly, lemon basil jelly, lavender jelly, lilac jelly, ground cherry jam.
Bottom Shelf (l-r): More applesauce, apple pie filling, pickled beets, pears, stewed rhubarb, pickled banana peppers, Mexican carrots (a gift from daughter-in-law #2), tomato bruschetta.

Brynwood Needleworks - Day's End At The Farmhouse

Late yesterday, I went out into the yard to put the newly-purchased plants into the ground. Except for the white mums, which I'll leave flanking the porch stairs for a little while longer. I didn't plant the yellow flowers on the right yet either, because I'm waiting until Monday when the gravel is replaced with black dirt in this area.
The skies were dark all day, but late day, the sun peeked through under the clouds, as it was setting. I had to just stop and look at it for a while. It was so beautiful. Shortly after, the sun was back behind the clouds, and then gone for the night.
Handsome and Bella stopped in Oklahoma last night, and they're planning to be home by tomorrow...earlier than I originally thought. That's great news. We'll start the new week together again. I know he's anxious to see the porch for himself, too. squeee!
 
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September 6, 2019

Farmhouse Renovation - Porch Project - Day 19...

Brynwood Needleworks - Porch Project - Day 19
 
Day 19 came to a close with much of the work completed. Tom R. began "wrapping" the posts, and his crew worked on placing black dirt on the excavated yard. We still need more dirt on the "downside" of the sidewalk, and some of the gravel needs to be removed around my large rocks so I can plant, but we can start to see the end of the project.
 
The work crew won't be back until Monday, and Handsome is starting home with Bella today, so I'm going to plant some of the new additions I purchased yesterday. I'm also going to move a few other things while the weather's nice.
 
Next week, our son will begin construction of the railings, too. The rails on the porch will be the same height as those that came off. They'll be 24", with the addition of a gate to close off the staircase when the dogs are outside. We're also changing the rails on the airing porch (above the "friends and family" entrance). They'll look the same as the lower railing, only they'll be 36" tall. It will bring some nice continuity to the look of the grand, old lady. Don't you think? 


I've been busy canning more bruschetta, so tomorrow, I promise there'll be photos and a recipe link for you. (Just in case you'd like to make a batch of your own.)
 
Tonight is high school football night for our grandson, so if the weather holds up, I'll be cheering him on. Handsome should be home some time Sunday, and we can't wait. Tag and I have been missing him and that silly black dog. It will be nice to have them home again.

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September 5, 2019

Needle Dancing Of Late...

Brynwood Needleworks - Latest Finishes

While the porch project has been under way, I've been busy, too. Today, I canned Tomato Bruschetta (which is delicious, by the way). I'll share photos another time, as I'm going to be making more of it, but I've also been needle dancing!

I decided to work on more pieces from my Primitive Gatherings Wool Boxes. These projects are from Box #4.

Brynwood Needleworks - Primitive Gatherings' "Luna Table Mat" and "Late Summer Blooms" Pincushion

I set up and stitched the "Luna Table Mat" first, featuring pumpkins, acorns and flowers. Of course, I changed up colors (the flowers were more tan, but I thought I'd give a nod to the purple coneflowers around here. The pumpkins were more gray, so I chose a cream with green/tan accents.),

Brynwood Needleworks - "Late Summer Blooms" Stitch Detail

Although I used the supplied wools for the "Late Summer Blooms" pincushion, I completed diverged by adding my own stitches to this piece. The only stitches that were suggested on the pattern were the crosshatching and bullion knots on the center motifs, and the fly stitch dividing each blossom. I did changed the pattern for the fly stitch, though, too.

Brynwood Needleworks - My Own Mini Design

Finally, the last mini from Wool Box 4 was designed to have words "Less Monday, More Summer". I decided, instead, to stitch my favorite late summer flower, Queen Anne's Lace.
 
Now, in each Wool Box, there are two blocks that will become one large piece. I haven't started those yet, because I'm going to change wool fabric colors. I'm planning to choose the colors today, and then start setting those up. That's the part that really takes the most time, but once it's done, I can pick up and stitch anytime...and that's my plan.
 
 
The stonework is finished on the porch, but I thought I'd wait to share more photos until the stone has been acid washed and sealed, and the soil has been placed to bring the grade up and cover the pink insulation around the base of the porch. 

The soil is coming in today, and I suspect the power washing and finish sealing will take place on Friday. Next week, railing will be built, and then I'll be painting all of it. So, I guess I'd better stitch a bit more in the evenings, so all my pieces are finished by the time I get the next Wool Box later this month!

Canning, stitching, painting...oh, my! You can guess that I'm sleeping like a baby every night. Handsome and Bella are planning to leave Texas on Sunday, so I'll keep myself busy until I see them coming up the driveway.
 
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September 4, 2019

Farmhouse Renovation - Porch Project - Day 17...

Brynwood Needleworks - Day 17 Porch Project
 
Yesterday was Day 17 of our farmhouse porch renovation. We have stairs! I'll take closeup photos after the stone has been set. (There'll be stonework on the risers and the sides of the staircase. The limestone treads are gorgeous, too!)
 
The crew also started laying stonework for the south wall, and I expect that will be completed today. I'll take photos when they're finished with it.
 
The posts and beam will be clad in white very soon. I went to get supplies with our carpenter son on Monday, and the railing project will begin next week. I'll be painting the rails before they're installed, but everything is moving right along.
 
Tomorrow, I'll be sharing my latest wool work projects, and show you what I'm going to work on next. 
 
Image via PicturesCafe
 
It's hard to believe it's already September. Summer has flown by, and the cooler weather is right around the corner.  I know it's terribly hot in San Antonio, where Handsome and Bella are, so I know they're going to welcome the cooler temperatures when they get back to the farm. I'm trying not to rub it in while they're away.

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September 3, 2019

Tuesdays With Tag - Meet Rigby...

Brynwood Needleworks - Taggart

 Hi, Everybody!

Bet you're dyin' to hear from me this week! Far be it for me to disappoint, so I'm gonna get right to it for you.

Dad and Boo left the farm last Wednesday (as last reported), and stayed the first night in St. Louis. The second night they stayed in Oklahoma City, and arrived in San Antonio on Friday afternoon. 

After a good night's rest, The Black Dog and Dad met with Bella's boyfriend's owner, Mr. Barrett. Then, Boo got to meet her boyfriend, Rigby. They were friends right away (according to my reliable sources).

Brynwood Needleworks - Rigby

This is one of the photographs sent to me for this post. I guess you could say Rigby is a handsome devil (for a black dog...and present company excluded). He's that perfect boy Labrador size, and I can see why Uncle Mike wanted him to be Bella's boyfriend.

Brynwood Needleworks - Rigby and Owner, Mr. Barrett

He's obviously a silly fool, just like our black dog, so I bet they're hittin' it off famously. Again, accordin' to my sources, there's been a lot of chasin' and playin'. And, I don't really need to hear about the rest of the story. I mean, I'm not some sicko who wants all the titillatin' details. Just give me the Cliff's Notes version and I'll consider myself informed.

We still don't know exactly how long Dad will be in Texas, but I'll be sure to keep you updated on their liaison and travel plans. I'm actually missin' Dad - and our silly girl. It would be okay with me if they just packed up and headed back home. For now, I'm just hangin' out with Mom and enjoyin' the weather. Dad says it's dog-kickin' hot in Texas, so I'm glad I'm not there!

I'm gonna close out early this week. It's too darn nice to be sittin' here at the computer. Places to go. People to see. No more burnin' daylight for me!
 
 I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...
"Live Like Someone Left The Gate Open".
 

September 2, 2019

Celebrate Labor Day...

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Tag and I will spend today together, after we drive down to meet #2 Son about materials for our porch rails. Once that's finished, we'll head back to the farm. I've been busy needle dancing, so more of that will be on my agenda.

Tag will be back tomorrow with updates on the travelers, so you won't want to miss the latest developments. 

Happy Labor Day, friends.

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September 1, 2019

Sunday Scripture...

Brynwood Needleworks via Web
 
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