May 31, 2019

Farmhouse Renovation - This Is What's Next...

Brynwood Needleworks - Liljegren's Hickory Hill Farmhouse
I've been getting a few private messages and emails, guessing what our next renovation project might be. Most have been thinking it's the kitchen, but truthfully, I can't make up my mind what I might want for the kitchen and pantry spaces, and they're completely functional, as is. There's another project that really can't wait any longer. This beautiful, big, wraparound porch.
Brynwood Needleworks - Original 100 Year Old Porch - Newer Rails

The basic structure for the porch has been falling down over time. When it was originally built with the house, frost footings weren't a consideration. Usually logs and large stones were called into service. 

As you can see in the first image, there is a relatively new retaining wall. It replaced one that was coming down, and with it, the earth that supported those logs and stones...and the porch. Thankfully, the porch isn't pulling down the house, or the roof over it, as it's deteriorated. However, the southern section of the porch has quite the pitch to it, and the boards are pulling apart as the whole thing heads south.

Brynwood Needleworks - Porch Roof Pillars and Supports

It's a good thing small children don't live here, as the newer rails are wobbly, and unreliable. The concrete tops on the pillars are cracked from years of water expanding and contracting with the seasons. The stucco is damaged from water, wear, woodpeckers (yes, woodpeckers) and mousies.

Brynwood Needleworks - Original Porch Decking

If you look under my galvanized sinks, you can see that the porch has been this way for a while. When the siding was replaced, that bottom piece was cut to mimic the pitch of the porch at that time.

So, the plans have come in, we've got our budget, and we've chosen materials. This will be our major project for 2019...a new porch. It will include all new materials; new pillars and posts; a slight modification (removing the front staircase, to put a railing across the entire front) - but otherwise, the same footprint; removal of the sidewalk from the side staircase around to the front staircase; a new pad at the "friends and family" entrance, with a sidewalk to connect to the new side staircase; and (possibly) retainers for the planting area around the base of the porch (as that area will now have grass growing right up to it.
Our project will begin right after the 4th of July, and is expected to take about three weeks. Between now and then, I'll be slowly moving the hummingbird feeders away from the porch (they hang from the beam on the driveway side of the porch), so the hummers will be used to a new feeding area before the demolition begins. I'll also pull some of my kitchen garden plantings closest to the porch so they're not harmed during the project. 

We're really looking forward to this, and while the materials won't be the same (I'll reveal those at a later date), we always aim to honor the original house. We've traveled around our area, looking at the porches on many other farmhouses, and are confident that our project will achieve our goals, and still look like it belongs. It's going to be fabulous!

So, now you know, even if you're not getting all the details right away. Once the project is underway, you'll get regular photo updates. We'd love for you to share our excitement. 

I've got early appointments today, so I'm off and running. There won't be much studio time for me, but I'm hoping to get back to my Dresden plate table runner. 
I can't believe another month is almost over! It seems that just yesterday May began. sigh Thanks for stopping by. You know how much I appreciate it, right?


May 30, 2019

This Is My Life...

Brynwood Needleworks - De Wolfe Quote on Hickory Hill Farm Image

I saw this quote yesterday, and decided it needed to be placed on one of the images of our old apple tree blossoms (with our Compass barn in the background). It perfectly speaks to the life Handsome and I have built here at the farm. Our beautiful life together.

Brynwood Needleworks - Completed "Old Glory" Table Mat
Speaking of beautiful, here's the completely finished "Old Glory" table mat. I finished it yesterday afternoon, and it's now resting on our dining room table, along with my "Never Forget" Jim Shore piece. I'll add a few more bits for the 4th of July, but for now, it's time to turn my thoughts to a few projects that have moved to the front burner.

I attended our nephew's last senior high school band concert last night, so I'm putting off telling you about the renovation project until tomorrow. (sorry) I need to take a few more photographs before I can tell you about it. Tomorrow. I promise.

Have a great day!

May 29, 2019

Old Glory...

Brynwood Needleworks - Old Glory Table Mat

How wonderful it was to be able to work on this piece over the Memorial Day weekend. Handsome and I did some outside work, but there was still plenty of time after the weather turned to sit inside and stitch.

The front is complete and the backing fabric (shown above) is already fused (around the outside edge of the mat). All I have left to do is the blanket stitch to sew the two layers together, and then a decorative fly stitch around the inside front edge of the mat. I'll do that today.

Brynwood Needleworks - Old Glory Table Mat
If you're interested in creating your own "Old Glory Table Mat", you can purchase the kit from Primitive Gatherings HERE. It's from the book "Star and Stripe Gatherings", which has many more wonderful, patriotic designs. I have the book, and I know I'll make a few more projects from it yet this summer to enjoy here at the farmhouse.

I had a few friends ask about our summer project for the farmhouse. I'll tell you about it tomorrow Friday. It's going to be fabulous! If you're following our farmhouse renovations, you won't want to miss the scoop!

***DISCLAIMER: I have been in no way compensated for sharing the link to this design and kit.

May 28, 2019

Tuesdays With Tag - We're On Duty...

Brynwood Needleworks via Facebook
Hi, Everybody!
No photo of me today, but I did like this picture from the Memorial Day Weekend.
Dad's got a bad cold right now, and Mom's doin' her best not to catch it, so there was a lot of just hangin' around the farmhouse this weekend. Boo and I managed to spend quite a bit of time outside, though, too.

We were runnin' around while the yard tractors were runnin', and we had a fire in the firepit on Sunday night. Mom and Dad even watched the Space Station come north of the farmhouse twice while they were out there. Did you know that you can actually find out the best times to see the Space Station where you live? Yep. Just go to THIS SITE, type in your zip code, and then scroll down to the current day (or a future date). It will tell you what time it will be visible, and for how long. Check it out!

Well, as long as everyone else is just sittin' around (Mom's stitchin'), I think I'll keep this short so I can join Bella as we take care of the folks. You get it, right? It's what we critters do for our people.
I'll see you again in seven, 'til then...
"Live Like Someone Left The Gate Open".

May 27, 2019

Memorial Day 2019...

Brynwood Needleworks via
 Today will be time spent with family...remembering and honoring the fallen.


May 26, 2019

Sunday Scripture...

Brynwood Needleworks via Facebook

May 25, 2019


Brynwood Needleworks - Old Glory Table Mat
I admit it. I got sidetracked yesterday. I was pawing through my wool projects because I wanted to just sit and stitch the afternoon away. While sorting through kits, I came across one that I thought I should do this weekend, in honor of Memorial Day.

This will become a table mat, designed by Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings. It's called "Old Glory", and it's one of the patterns in her book, "Star and Stripe Gatherings". The book is filled with patterns for patriotic quilts, table mats, pillows and other embroidery projects, and I love everything! I know I'll be creating more items from this book, but for this weekend, "Old Glory" is on the workbench.

All my pieces were traced, fused and cut yesterday. I'll attach them to the ground fabric this morning, and will stitch the weekend away. I'll get back to my Dresden Heart Cardinal table runner next week. This patriotic table mat will be finished first. You'll see. wink
I hope you enjoy observing Memorial Day, and take a little time to honor the fallen before picnics and other relaxing family time. I'll be back to share a verse tomorrow, and a finished project on Monday.

May 24, 2019

Choosing Fabrics...

Brynwood Needleworks - Dresden Heart Cardinal Blocks
All three of my blocks are finished now, so I pulled yardage of the Moda™ Martinique line that I still have from making my quilt and these extra blocks. I'm going to use the top two for sashing and borders on the blocks. Then, I'll use one of the lower two as the backing for my table runner. (I'm leaning toward the light one with the geraniums.)

My little cardinal in the middle looks like he's wearing a red tie, don't you think? I'll get the runner assembled today, and then I'll decide whether I'm going to machine quilt it or learn to hand quilt on this piece. I'll let you know which method I choose. See you tomorrow!


May 23, 2019

Creating A New Table Runner...

Brynwood Needleworks - Dresden Heart Cardinals Table Runner Block
In 2010, I was working on a Dresden Plate quilt using these Moda™ Martinique fabrics. I completed the quilt in 2012, and then entered it into our Florida guild show in 2014, earning a Third Place ribbon for my efforts. 
Brynwood Needleworks - Dresden Heart Cardinal

In 2013, I had a "Sweetheart Valentine Giveaway" using blocks that looked like these. Rather than a a round center, I applique´d hearts. Instead of a button at the corner, as I did there, I decided to tie small bows to complete the attachment stitching on these.

After all this time, I pulled these last three unfinished blocks to make into a table runner for the farmhouse. I applique´d the hearts onto the Dresden plate blocks when I was in Menasha on Tuesday, and then attached the little cardinals yesterday.

The cardinals were drawn in ink onto the muslin fabric by my artistic friend, Michelle Palmer. She usually has her drawings available in her Etsy shop - MichellePalmer. She also will do commissions on request. I love everything she's created for me, and love her whimsical, happy view of the world. I can't imagine a better finish for each of these blocks.
Brynwood Needleworks - Dresden Heart Cardinal Block

Two of the three blocks are complete, and I'll do that last one today. Then, I'll choose the fabrics from what I have left of this line to sew them together for a table runner for our dining room this summer.


May 22, 2019

It Was A Wonderful Day...

Brynwood Needleworks - New Primitive Gatherings Summer Fabric Line

Yesterday began with a cup of coffee and then a drive to Menasha for our monthly Primitive Gatherings Sit & Sew group. There were a lot of ladies this month, as members who hadn't been in a while were able to join us.

Show & Tell (or as I call it "Bring & Brag") is always interesting, because we get to see what everyone is working on - or has created - and Lisa Bongean always shares upcoming projects with us, too. This one is a pattern she designed using her summer Wisconsin Shop Hop fabrics. You'll be seeing more of these soon, as I will be designing some bags/accessories using some of them.

Brynwood Needleworks - Lisa Bongean Showing Us New Summer Blocks of the Week

Decisions. Decisions. Lisa showed us one of the summer Blocks of the Week programs that will be available in two or three colorways. I have to decide whether or not I'm going to do this one, and if so, which colorway. They're all gorgeous!

Brynwood Needleworks - Lisa Bongean Showing Finished Moon Garden Quilt
We also got to see the finished Moon Garden quilt from one of the last Block of the Month programs. We all agreed the colors were really wonderful in this one, and many of the ladies who didn't get into this program, I'm sure, are planning to purchase this one after the fact.
Brynwood Needleworks - Grandson, Handsome and #1 Son

After lunch, I had to drive the hour back home a little earlier than usual. Handsome and I went to all Milwaukee Brewers ballgame in Miller Park. I only took a few photos, preferring to enjoy the game by keeping my phone in my (Event) bag instead. The guys are all just being silly in this picture, but I love it.

I'm going to work on a little project that will be a quick finish, so I'll show you that soon. We've got a meeting first thing this morning with a contractor. I can't wait to tell you about an upcoming big project here at the farmhouse. More on that later. I know. I'm a tease.


May 21, 2019

Tuesdays With Tag - Settin' Up For Summer...

Brynwood Needleworks - Firebug Tag

Hi, Everydoggy Everybody! 
('scuse the Freudian slip. lol)

I'm comin' to you this week, fireside at the farm. The weather was so nice last week that Mom and Dad set up our firepit and lit it up for the first time this year. Isn't it nice that Mom lets me sit on the chaise with her I let Mom sit on the chaise with me?

Brynwood Needleworks - Bella Butt

Mom made sandwiches for Dad and her, and they had a nice alfresco lunch. Of course, Boo and I supervised, just in case somethin' hit the ground.

Are you noticin' Bella Butt's sweet little gray chinny hairs? She's only four, and plannin' to have babies this year. We might have to dye her chin black so her "intended" doesn't think she's a cougar!

Brynwood Needleworks - Squinty Tag

Now, squint real hard and check out my chin. You don't see any gray hairs on this regal chin, do you? You sure don't!

You don't see me eatin' any lunch, either. Rats! I gave it my best shot, but sometimes Mom is completely immune to my beggin'. (Note to self: Must work on technique.)

Anyway, that was a really great day. It's been a bit colder since then, but nothin' those of us with built-in fur coats can't handle.

Brynwood Needleworks - Boo On The Bed (and Dad)

I have one more picture to show you today. Dad's makin' believe he's miffed with Bella, but he's really not. She jumps up there and just hangs out on the retriever quilt, thinkin' it was made just for her. I have to admit, she's one, cute black dog. Mom and I really missed these two when they were in Florida, and we're really happy that we're all hangin' out together again. We're makin' the most of every, single day. 

I've gotta run now. Mom's headin' up to Menasha for the mornin', and when she gets home, we're all goin' to Milwaukee. People are goin' to the Milwaukee Brewers baseball game, and dogs are all gonna stay home and play cards. It's gonna be a great time.
I'll see you again in seven, 'til then...
"Live Like Someone Left The Gate Open".

May 20, 2019

Winner, Winner, Chicken...Well...

Brynwood Needleworks - Embroidered Chicken and Honey Bunny Cottage Box
When artistic friends barter, it's a win/win for everyone! Such was the case when my friend, Gisselle told me she loved my recent "coop-ful" of chickens. She offered to trade one for one of her fabulous, handcrafted sewing boxes. She had recently shared photos of this one on Facebook, so I asked about it, and she said yes!

Well, getting one of her beautiful boxes warranted a little bit fancier chicken, so I got out some of my linen and white floss and set to making an embroidered one for her. Gosh! I had so much fun!!
Brynwood Needleworks - Embroidered Chicken - Closeups
If you're interested in owning one of Gisselle's boxes, you can find her as Honey Bunny Cottage on Facebook. She's also on Instagram @honeybunnycottage. This chick is flying away today with my thanks.

May 19, 2019

May 18, 2019

Nearly Finished...

Brynwood Needleworks - Patriotic Sunset
Some days just don't go as planned. I got up early and made poolish (my starter) for foccaccia. Then, read emails over my morning coffee. My plan was to sit and stitch yesterday to finish my special chicken. My back had other plans. Sometimes, it goes out for no apparent reason whatsoever.

I took a mild (mostly ineffective) pain killer, and settled in with a heating pad (which helped), to stitch. I almost finished my stitching, but not quite. I'll finish today, and then sew it together. I'll take a photo to share with you on Monday, but not today. boo
This past week, indigo buntings added their bright blue plumage to the yard. We also have one large crow that has taken a shine to the feeders I place near the lilac bushes. I think crows are extremely cool, so I hope this one will continue to visit over the summer.

As the sun set last night, Handsome and I noticed that the sky looked rather patriotic in its shades of red, white and blue. I set my exposure for the sunset, so it's too dark for you to see three deer in the field, too. There's always something wonderful to see at the farmhouse.
Here's hoping my back leaves me alone today. I have too much to do to just sit around. Wish me luck!


May 17, 2019

A Little Hen Pecked...

Brynwood Needleworks - Stitching A Chicken
Well, not really as much "pecked" as "stitched". lol I'm making a special chicken for my friend, Gisselle. She sent me a beautiful new needlework box, in exchange for one of my pincushion chickens. I decided to do something different for the one I'm making for her.

I intended to start this yesterday morning, and have a completed chick to share today, but Handsome asked me to go out on errands with him, and I just couldn't resist. We had a great afternoon, but alas, my project didn't get finished. 

I'm going to finish this today, and then I'll show you my chick along with Gisselle's gift to me. You'll love her work. I just know it! I'm off now for a little needle dancing.


May 16, 2019

Hen Party...

Brynwood Needleworks - Chicken Pincushions

I watched one of Jenny Doan's videos last week, and decided that I should make a few of these cute and simple chicken pincushions. If you sew, HERE'S the link to the information and video for you to watch.

Brynwood Needleworks - Doily Combs

You can see that I used red wool fabric for one of the chickens' combs, but the rest of them were made from this little, crocheted doily. The sections were perfect for the size of my chickens, and the cut edges were all captured within the seams. I love how they turned out!

I began each chicken with two half square triangle blocks. I used some of my farm-themed fabric (the gray with lettering) for half of the blocks, and paired them with a sweet floral fabric. I used the farm fabric on four of the chickens, and then flowers and dots for the pink one. Their beaks are all a yellow wool triangle, and they each have a little Prairie Point tail.

Once they were sewn (except for a small opening for turning and filling), I stuffed each one with crushed walnut shells, and then stitched a French knot eye on each side of the head.

Brynwood Needleworks - Five Finished Chicks
They really were that simple. Now I have five little chickens roosting on my cutting table, waiting for more. I finally have chickens at the farm! (Even if they are made of fabric.)

May 15, 2019

Keeping Track...

Brynwood Needleworks - Nature Journal
I love watching and feeding the birds that visit the farm every day. I've taken photographs with my iPhone and my "real" camera, and I can sit in the kitchen chronicling their visits to the feeders for hours on end. I also sat on the floor in the dining room, watching raccoons, oppossums, and even stray cats during the winter.

Handsome said, "I'm surprised you don't keep a journal of all the different birds that stop in every day." It got me thinking. After our conversation, I made a side trip when I had to be in town. I picked up a nice, inexpensive journal notebook to do just that. It has nice paper inside, and a soft, suede-like cover on the outside.
I'm not an artist with pencil or pens, however, I'm going to make an attempt to sketch now and then. I'm also making note of daily temperatures, what's growing on the farm, and furry visitors, too.

I began mid-April, noting the first bluebird that arrived, and have even had to look up a few birds that I couldn't definitively identify. (That part's been really fun for me.) I noticed a darker version of the Baltimore Oriole, and now know that it's an Orchard Oriole. Likewise with little birds that I thought were common sparrows with redder heads. Well, those are actually Chipping Sparrows. I've also identified the larger White Crowned Sparrows. Can you tell I'm having fun?

I may also use the pages of the book to press flowers that grow wild here...the tiny violets that peek out of our lawn, and an as-yet-unidentified purple flower that spreads like wildfire around the compass barn. I'm thinking it may be a wild oregano (that's what it smells like when I mow), but I'm still working on a positive ID.

The gorgeous irridescent feather that you see in the picture is from a wild turkey. In the light, it actually changes color from the green you see to a reddish-brown. It's truly beautiful. I'll be adding this to the pages of my book, too, along with the bluejay and other feathers I've found near the feeders.

My book won't be like my blog posts with daily entries, but I will keep track of the milestones here at the farm that bring joy to my soul. I'm looking forward to filling the pages. 

Have you ever done anything like this? Can you draw? What do you write within the pages (just vaguely, not anything specific)? I'd love to know.