December 31, 2019

Tuesdays With Tag - Happy New Year's Eve...

Brynwood Needleworks - New Years' Eve - Taggart

 Hi, Everybody!

This is our last visit of 2019. Next week, we'll enter a new decade. 
Lucky for you, I'm here to  help you say farewell to this year. 

We had a great day yesterday. My girls came to visit with their parents. It was awesome!

Brynwood Needleworks - Hangin' With My Girls

As soon as they got here, Boo and I gave them the once over. Then, the girls and I retired to the livin' room to chew the fat for a little while. I told them all about what I've been up to lately, and they were happy to listen...and give me lots of pettin'. These two young ladies are my favorite girls in the whole world. Sure. I love all kids, but these are ours mine. They adore me, too.

Brynwood Needleworks - Feelin' Pretty Cocky

Mom was lookin' at me, and our younger granddaughter shot her the sweetest smile. The whole room lit up! I, on the other paw, gave Mom my best, "What's your problem?" look. She says I'm fickle. Whatever.

Brynwood Needleworks - Ahhhhhh. Just Right.

All I can say is that this is one comfy place to spend the afternoon...so, I did! I stayed in this spot until it was time for my peoples to have dinner. I'm not allowed at the table. They only let me hang out under it. I don't mind, because I often find schnibbles that just happen to hit the floor. Of course, The Black Dog isn't usually very far away either.

Like I said, it was a very nice day. It was snowin' all day outside, but it was warm and cozy inside the farmhouse. Everybody left before it got dark outside, but we'll have great memories of this Christmas, and the time we spent with all our family this season.

This is the last time you'll see this signature. I'll have a new sayin' and a new picture to sign off each week in 2020 - startin' next Tuesday. Thanks for visitin' with me again this week. Wishin' everyone a Happy New Year from Bella and me to you. Stay safe out there.
 
 I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...
"Live Like Someone Left The Gate Open".
 



December 30, 2019

Taking A Sewing Break...

Brynwood Needleworks - Sewing and Needlework Tools
 
I completed all my Christmas projects...and all my handbag and wallet projects that I made for the holiday show. Handsome was surprised when I told him I was tired of sewing right now. I need a break from machine sewing. I think my machines need spa visits soon, too.

I'm going to be doing more needlework to start the new year, returning to my first love. I'll be catching up on the rest of my Wool Box projects...after I complete my stumpwork butterfly from my Royal School of Needlework class. I also have a few really wonderful pieces that I'd like to make in the new year. I hope you'll want to follow along as I work on them.

Don't worry. I'll get back to sewing soon enough. I'll definitely be creating more handbags, wallets, and a few new cork projects for my Etsy shop, but I think January will belong to needlework while I decide which new pieces I'll be making for the shop. I also need more portable projects the next few weeks, and needlework (and knitting) will fit the bill.

Tag will be back tomorrow. He's been a busy little bug, as he and Bella are enjoying the warmer weather. I'll be back on Wednesday.
 
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December 29, 2019

Sunday Scripture...

Brynwood Needleworks via The Gospel Herald
 
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December 28, 2019

Winter Needle Dancing...

Brynwood Needleworks - PG Winter Minis

Whether I have other projects waiting or not, sometimes I just need to slow down and stitch. It renews me. It makes me feel happy. So, yesterday, I took out some of the minis from the latest Primitive Gatherings' Winter Wool Box and set them up to stitch. By bedtime, I'd completed my embroidery on three of them. (I'll assemble the fronts and backs once I've completed all of them.)

Brynwood Needleworks - Blocking A Completed Shawl
 
I also finished knitting a beautiful organic cotton shawl. I cleaned and blocked it, so it will be ready to package and mail to my sister-in-law as an "extended" Christmas gift. 
 
All in all, it was a nice day finishing a project and tackling another. On another note, my trail cam had to be sent off to Browning. It's not capturing any overnight images, even though wildlife is triggering the shutter. The infrared flashes aren't firing. I contacted Browning, and it's already on its way back to them. (I'm hoping they return it - repaired or replaced - quickly. I want to see what's enjoying my evening buffets!
 
Heading into another fun weekend, so I'll let you know what else I manage to complete between now and Monday. I'm also contemplating what my "Inspirational Word for the Year" is going to be. I'll post about that on January 1st.
 
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December 27, 2019

Boxing Day Fare...

Brynwood Needleworks - Boxing Day Lasagna

Handsome and I prepared a tasty prime rib for Christmas Day. I made roast potatoes and cauliflower as our side dishes. It was nice that we had some leftovers for sandwiches, too.

I decided to surprise my dear husband with another "special" meal for Boxing Day, so I chose to make lasagna. I usually have everything I need to prepare this dish in the farmhouse, so imagine my surprise when I realized I had no cottage cheese or ricotta cheese to make this dish. What to do?

I was reminded of a sentence from a knitting book I read decades ago, when I was teaching myself to knit..."What would Laura Ingalls do?" I mean, if she didn't have an ingredient, she wasn't likely to hook the horses up to the wagon and make for town! So, in pioneer style I took to the internet (stop laughing), and looked up "substitutes for ricotta cheese in lasagna".

I initially stumbled over the "substitute cottage cheese for ricotta", but kept scrolling. I came upon this link, which specifically mentioned lasagna. Before homemakers turned to ricotta and cottage cheese, they made their own sauce. I continued following links to find this recipe for lasagna, utilizing a simple bechamel sauce. Here's the link for the lasagna recipe.

Brynwood Needleworks - Basic B├ęchamel Sauce

Another link for the bechamel sauce was this one. Because Handsome isn't fond of nutmeg and cloves, I made the simple version, adding only the bay leaf, salt and white pepper.

Brynwood Needleworks - My Lasagna Ingredients
 
I always assemble everything in one place before beginning the preparation for my lasagna. I use the "cook" version of my lasagna noodles, so those were already cooked and drained. The bechamel sauce was made and strained so it would be lovely and smooth. The sauce was prepared (sauce, browned ground beef, green peppers, onions and sauted mushrooms), and lots of shredded mozzarella cheese. I also used a foil pan for easy cleanup. 
 
Then, I assembled away, layering noodles, sauce, mozzarella and bechamel sauce. I repeated those steps three times.

Brynwood Needleworks - Boxing Day Lasagna, Oven Ready
 
Once everything was in the pan, it went into a 350┬║ oven for 45 minutes. Let me tell you that this lasagna was different from anything I've ever made before (and I've made a lot of lasagna over the years)! You could definitely taste the hint of bay leaf - even through all the other ingredients. 
 
The lasagna had a richer, smoother and deeper flavor. It was also a lot more filling. One serving was plenty, with a side of french baguette slices. Handsome and I agreed that this is how lasagna should taste, and I'll repeat this recipe from now on.
 
For now, we have enough leftover for another meal this week, and a full tray to freeze for another time. If you decide to try this recipe (with or without my amendments), please let me know what you think! I think this will become our Boxing Day tradition moving forward.
 
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December 26, 2019

Then, One Foggy Christmas Eve...

Brynwood Needleworks - Christmas Morning 2019 - East Field

This was our view from the farmhouse on Christmas morning. Doesn't it look almost ethereal? I had to take pictures to share.

The weather is unseasonably warm these days, getting into the high 40s, so it's not surprising that we'd wake up to morning fog. All the snow is melting, and we just know this isn't going to last.

It's strange. We had a blizzard for Halloween, rain for Thanksgiving, and now a full thaw for Christmas! We'll enjoy this warmer weather while we can. It's slated to snow again by the weekend.

Brynwood Needleworks - Christmas Morning 2019 - North Field
 
I'm going out to the feeders and "habitat" to fill them up every day for the evening critter show, but my trail cam has a glitch right now. Although the shutter is triggered at night, all I'm getting is a black screen image on my memory chip. I have an email in to Browning (the camera's maker) to see about troubleshooting. As soon as I get the issue resolved, I'll be sharing more pictures.
 
We're taking it easy between now and New Year's Eve. I've still got some sewing to do. We won't see some of our family until the 30th, so I'll have everything done by then. I couldn't show you photos until after they get their gifts anyway, so I guess it will be late December gift reveal.
 
We hope you all had a lovely holiday, and that you're finishing off your year with happiness and good health. I'm going to set up some wool work projects today, and then, perhaps I'll sit down and get in a little knitting therapy. I'll see you tomorrow.
 
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December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas...

Brynwood Needleworks via FB
 
 Merry Christmas from our home to yours,

December 24, 2019

Tuesdays With Tag - Merry Christmas Eve...

Brynwood Needleworks - Tag and Bella's Christmas Card

 Hi, Everybody!

Today is Christmas Eve. We've have lots of stuff to do today to help Mom and Dad get ready, so this is gonna be real short. (No Corgi jokes!)

The Black Dog and I just wanted to say that we hope everybody has a great Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year). I know there are going to be mondo treats in the farmhouse over the next few days, and we want to be as underfoot as possible to take advantage of any possible droppage. There shall also be much snugglin' and merrymakin', which is right up our collective alley.

Tomorrow is Christmas Day, and we'll all be countin' our blessin's...family, friends, good food, good health, and most of all...all of you who stop by to visit us every day. We know you're out there, and we love you all to pieces.

Merry Christmas to all, and well...you know the rest. 

 I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...
"Live Like Someone Left The Gate Open".
 

December 23, 2019

Happy 18th...

Brynwood Needleworks - Our Grandson
 
We celebrated our grandson's Birthday over the weekend. Grandpa and I can't believe he's eighteen already! He's the greatest guy. He studies hard, plays football, and among all his other fine attributes, he has a kind and generous heart. (We can add that he's a Sagittarius, too, just like his Grandma.)

Brynwood Needleworks - Posing With Our Grandson

I think you'll see in this image, just how much we love our little boy-turned-man. It seems we just got back to Wisconsin, and he'll soon embark on his college career and adult life. My how the time has flown by. We cherish every moment we have with him.

Happy Birthday, Handsome Grandson.

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December 21, 2019

Sunday Scripture...

Brynwood Needleworks via Majesty In A Manger Blog
 
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In Full Swing...

Brynwood Needleworks - Grammie's Jammies For "G"
 
I'm working with organic cotton flannel these days. Grammie's Jammies this year are going to be so comfy and warm! Sharing just a peek, because...well, you know.

Family here today for an early celebration, so we had the slow cooker working overnight. We awoke to the fragrances of delicious food. I have to run out to do a little shopping, but will be back before noon, when our loved ones will arrive. I'm going to be making more cutout cookies as soon as I get home.

Tomorrow, a bit more sewing to finish up, so I can just enjoy the rest of the Christmas festivities. I still don't know what I'm giving Handsome this year. It seems the older we get, the more we just enjoy the time we're blessed to spend together. I'm going to really have to put on my thinking cap this year!

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December 20, 2019

The Elves Are Busy...

Brynwood Needleworks - Christmas Sewing
 
This is what I worked on this afternoon (as I await measurements for this year's jammies). There's machine sewing and handwork. That's all I can say for now (in case there's a recipient trolling my blog posts). I'll complete it this morning, and then move on to the next thing. 
 
You'll excuse me for not hanging out with you a little longer today. I'll definitely share photos of the finished projects after they've been received. I'll be back tomorrow!
 
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December 19, 2019

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...

Brynwood Needleworks - Santa Ceramic

Handsome and I got busy decorating for Christmas! We brought all the boxes upstairs from their safe spot in the basement, and began opening them to deck the farmhouse in holiday finery. This is a piece I purchased a couple years ago from an antique shop in Plymouth, WI. I don't know who the maker is, but it reminds me of the beautiful Fitz & Floyd ceramic pieces, and I got it for a song!

Brynwood Needleworks - Our 2019 Christmas Tree
 
Of course, we got our tree set up, and then had fun unwrapping nearly fifty years of ornaments - some from before we even knew each other. I always think of Mom Grace when I take out this tree skirt. She taught me how to quilt, too, and this was the official first quilted project I ever made. I miss her.
 
We have more to do, but we sat in our living room last night, enjoying the glow from our tree. I'll share more photographs as we finish placing our treasures. I'll be setting up our Nativity today, along with a few other pieces. I'll also be sewing in the studio. I'm soooo glad I have elves to help!
 
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December 18, 2019

Another Day, Another Party...

Brynwood Needleworks - Pincushions - Made By Me

I attended our annual Primitive Gatherings "Sewcial Sisters" Christmas party at Lisa Bongean's home yesterday. Great food, good friends, and a fun time.

Rather than ornaments this year, we decided to exchange pincushions. I made a teacup pincushions and decorative pins for my exchange gift, and one of my Harris (the Tweed Rabbit) pincushions for our hostess. After I photographed this pair, I decided to embroider a heart on the rabbit, but didn't retake the photo. I chose one of Lisa's own hand dyed wools called "Dirty Snowman", so I told her this was a snow bunny.

This pincushion is available as a digital pattern in my Etsy shop. I also have paper patterns available. You can find the digital version HERE, if you'd like to make one (or ten) as gifts. They stitch up in about an hour.

Brynwood Needleworks - Exchange Pincushion

This is the beautiful wool pincushion I selected (blindly) from the gift bags. Isn't it beautiful? I love the colors and craftsmanship.

Brynwood Needleworks - My Pincushion Creator

About now, I could kick myself for not knowing the names of all our group members. I deeply apologize for not being able to tell you the name of the lovely lady who made mine, but I did managed to get a photo of her as she showed off her latest quilt during Show & Tell. I did, however, thank her profusely for her great pincushion. (We really need to have name tags so we can all know each other's names - or at least I can learn them, as they've all known each other longer than I've been in the group.)

Brynwood Needleworks - Exchange Pincushions

We took pictures of all the exchanged pincushions after every one had been gifted. My friend, Jodi got my teacup set, and Kathy D. made the one with the deer lid. Jodi made the square one with the wool pennies next to it. They're all so wonderful, and I'm pretty sure that everyone was a winner in this exchange. Mine's already in the studio, where I can use and enjoy it. 
 
Decorating has commenced at the farmhouse, and more signs of Christmas will be brought up today. I have a doctor's appointment this morning, so when I get back home, we'll be busy elves! See you tomorrow.
 
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December 17, 2019

Tuesdays With Tag - Cookies!...

Brynwood Needleworks - Awfully Comfortable

Hi, Everybody!

Today I'm comin' to you from a much most comfortable place. I'm up on the bed!! It's a very cushy place, and I think I'll just stay here while we chat this week.

Now, Saturday was another matter. If dogs aren't on the furniture, and there's somethin' goin' on in the kitchen, that's where you're gonna find us. Mom was makin' cookies, so you'd better believe I was gonna be under foot.

Brynwood Needleworks - Bear Paw Cookie Fails

So, it was real interestin' to me when Mom started mumblin' to herself. Then, she called Dad in and said, "This isn't workin'." I got curious. What wasn't workin'? It smelled perfectly delicious to me, even down there on the floor (me, not the cookies).

Seems Mom was gonna try out a new recipe for this year's Christmas Cookie Exchange, and it wasn't meetin' her exactin' standards. Hrrumph! What was her problem?

She said I should share the recipe with you, so if you click HERE you can read the recipe and see what she was tryin' to make. I guess last year she made those fun polar bear cookies, so this year she wanted to say she only found its tracks. Funny, right?

Well, she said the first two trays of the cookies in the recipe were flat, and didn't look at all like the cookies in the pictures. So, she decided to make cutout cookies instead, and put the paw print on those. But when she tasted the dark chocolate on top of the cutout cookies, she said they weren't sweet enough. By now I'm shakin' my head, and Dad knew his best bet was to stay out of the kitchen.

Brynwood Needleworks - Christmas Cookie Win!

In the blink of an eye, Mom changed direction and said, "I'm goin' back to what I know always works." Just like that, she was makin' Christmas tree and star cutout cookies. She told Dad she was even usin' his mom's cookie cutter to make the trees.

By 10:30 Saturday night, all the cookies were made and frosted, and Mom was one happy person. I might have even licked a spoon when she was done!

You know the sayin', right? Happy Mom. Happy Dad. Happy Dogs. (Oh. You haven't heard that one? Well, you have now!) Mom said that this week, she's also gonna make cookies just for Boo and me! We can hardly wait.

Next week is Christmas Week! You'd better believe I'll be back to see you again, and to show you how we've decorated the house. I've even got a few ideas of my own. heehee
 
 I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...
"Live Like Someone Left The Gate Open".
 
 

December 16, 2019

It Was A Funday Sunday...

Brynwood Needleworks - Almost Family-Friends

I drove off mid-Sunday morning to attend an annual Christmas gathering with dear old friends. This is our annual photo together before I had to leave to get to my niece's Holiday Cookie Exchange.

It's always so much fun to get together, catch up, and make new memories. Dear Linda (my hand on her shoulder) and I have been friends for over forty years. I first met her when I applied to work at a business where she was the manager. We quickly became fast friends, and remain so to this day. She and Handsome share the same birthdate, too!

Over the years, I've also come to love and admire Linda's children, her grandchildren, and now I'm meeting the next generation. Pictured with Linda and me in this image are her daughter, Marie and her granddaughter, Adrienne. I stood up in Marie's wedding, and was there when Adrienne was married, too.

These are good people, and I'm blessed to know them. I'm already looking forward to the next time I can see them, as this visit was much too short.

Brynwood Needleworks - Cookie Exchange Participants

I left Portage, Wisconsin where my friends live, and drove north to Neenah, Wisconsin for the Cookie Exchange my niece, Stephanie hosts. In this picture, Stephanie is in the middle row on the left side. I'm next to her. Her brother's fiance' (my dear nephew, Dan) is on my other side, and her sister is next to her. My great nephew's girlfriend is in green, holding my great great niece, Elizabeth.

We shared snacks, played games, and exchanged cookies. Prizes were awarded, and fun was had by all. 

Brynwood Needleworks - My Cookie Contribution
 
I hadn't planned to make cutout cookies again this year, but the new recipe I tried was an epic fail. I'm not even going to show you what they looked like. Suffice it to say, they were tasty and ugly. Not at all something I would take with me to a party.

As we all gathered and shared our cookie contributions, it seems I wasn't the only one who improvised. In the end, the (most generous) ladies said that my cutouts are always the best, so I guess I'll plan to just stick with what I know from now on.
 
Brynwood Needleworks - My Cookie Booty
 
At the end of the evening, the exchanging commenced, and I came home with quite the selection. These ladies (and Stephi's husband, Jeremiah - a culinary school grad who made the beautiful cherry thumbprint cookies in the top right corner) are some talented bakers. These should carry us through the holidays quite well.

Plans are to get the tree up today and do a little inside holiday decorating today. Tag will be back tomorrow. Who knows what he's got planned for you. I'm sure it will be good. Silly boy.
 
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