September 30, 2019

On This Week's Docket...

Brynwood Needleworks - Fabric Selections For This Week
Yes, my friend. I'm still painting. Whew! This part of the project is taking me longer than I originally allotted. Plus, it's been raining. Have you ever stood in a pole building in the rain? Uninsulated metal roof. Even a light drizzle sounds like a deluge. It's so loud, you can hardly hear yourself think. I'm not complaining. Well, yes. I guess I am a little whiney. Sorry.

Let's get to the important part of today's post. I'm working on a number of commissions this week. I have two projects using the fabrics on the top half of this image, and two more using the fabrics on the bottom. They're all completely different, but they're going to be fun to make for my clients!

As it started raining again this morning, I'm going to stay inside and sew instead today. The hardest part will be deciding which fabric to pull first. (Hint: In order received, it will be one of the two Laurel Burch fabrics on the bottom, along with the black cordura below them.)

Tag will be back tomorrow, so I'll show you how far I get when I return on Wednesday. See you again in October! heehee

September 28, 2019

Sunday Scripture...

Brynwood Needleworks via

Be Kind...

Brynwood Needleworks via Internet
Social Media. The double-edged sword. A place where anonymity spawns harsh words and bullies, but also a place where you can choose to spread kindness. I'd like to share a story with you...
Last night, Handsome and I were watching the Milwaukee Brewers getting their hats handed to them. It was a painful game to watch, so I grabbed my iPhone and hopped on Facebook to see what was going on with my friends. I also belong to a local group of residents - past and present - of my hometown, located about fifteen minutes from our farmhouse.
In that group, a young woman asked for help from anyone in town who might be able to come and remove a cat that had been killed and repeatedly run over right in front of her house. It was especially disturbing for her, and she hope someone could help.
What I read, rather than multiple people in town offering to help, was a collection of unkind comments, shaming her for not just handling it herself. "Don't you have a guy to help you?"; "Shovel + Bag = Problem Solved"; "In the time it took you to write this, you could have taken care of it.". You get the idea. A whole culture of couch potatoes unwilling to do anything, but more than happy to make this young lady feel even worse.

I wrote, "Please send me a private message and I'll come and take care of it for you.". Within seconds, she sent me a message, giving me her address and being oh so grateful. Handsome said he'd drive; I grabbed a plastic bag, my gloves and our shovel. Did I mention it rained most of the evening?

It only took about twenty minutes to get to her home, and we just parked on the side street next to her address. We grabbed our gear and (at 10:30 pm) shoveled the remains of a thoroughly flat and messy feline off the road and into our bag. It took less than 90 seconds and it was taken care of.

I knocked on her door and introduced myself. I told her we had removed the cat so she wouldn't have to look at it any more, and asked if we could put the bag in her garbage tote, rather than carry it all the way back to our house. She said yes, and thanked us for being willing to help. After disposing of the bag and its contents, we were on our way back to the farm.

An act of kindness that took us less than forty five minutes round-trip, so that a young woman could wake up tomorrow without the reminder of this poor, flat cat. 

She sent me another message while we were on our way home, thanking us profusely and telling us that, if we ever need anything, she'd be happy to reciprocate. I told her it was our pleasure to help her, and suggest she pay it forward as she was able. She also commented back on her original Facebook post to thank us publicly. A few others also thanked us for helping.

It was that easy. A simple act of kindness to benefit someone else. We felt great. We were happy to be good neighbors - even if we live about fifteen miles away. Just be kind.

September 27, 2019

Jammed Up Again...

Brynwood Needleworks - Farmhouse Grape Jam
I finally got grape jam made for the pantry yesterday. The longest part of the process is separating the grape pulp from the skins. Once that's done, the rest goes fairly easy, but man! This batch was made from eight pounds of grapes...skinned one or two grapes at a time. I listen to the radio while I work. Eight pounds of grapes turned into nearly eight pints of jam. I have four pounds left to process, which I'll do today.
Younger son has built all the rails for the porch, so this weekend, I'll be doing the finishing painting on all of the parts. Today, he's installing a new storm door on the "friends and family" entrance for us.
I'm going to make the jam, clean up the kitchen afterward, and then I'm planning to sit and stitch the rest of the day. If I'm painting on the weekend, and making new commissions next week, today, I'll stitch.There! That's settled. wink
Happy First Fall Weekend!! 


September 26, 2019

Just Finished And Mailed...

Brynwood Needleworks - Latest Commission
I so love creating these! There really aren't enough hours in a day for all the things I want to do, so I try to pack my awake hours with as much as I can. The word "bored" just isn't in my vocabulary.

This piece was finished for a client who has become a dear friend. She has more of my strawberries in other colors, but wanted this blue one for her collection. It's already carefully packaged, posted, and is on its way to her in Minnesota. One of these days, we'll meet somewhere half way for lunch and a visit. I look forward to that!

It's already Thursday, and I can't believe another week has almost passed. A haircut this morning, and then I'll be back to work on my next project. 
The porch railings are coming along nicely, and all of the outside lighting is now installed. I hope to show you our finished porch some time late next week. Fingers crossed!


September 25, 2019

Farmhouse Renovation - Porch Lighting...

Brynwood Needleworks - Vintage Appleton Barn Lights
The electrician is working at the farmhouse, while our son is building the rails for our stone porch (and for the upstairs airing porch). Handsome and I found these nearly pristine, vintage barn lights that we had installed to replace the old ones.

Don't worry if you can't remember what the old ones looked like. When this project is finished, I'll be posting comparative "before" and "after" photos to remind you - and so you can see the difference.

While the guys were working on the house, I was busy baking bread for the next few weeks. By the time we sat down to dinner last night, I'd made two loaves of banana bread (you can find the recipe in the "Recipes" link at the top of my blog); and five loaves, plus three baguettes of French bread. In fact, we cut into one of the baguettes as a side for homemade vegetable beef soup at dinner time.

Today, Bella is going to the vet with Handsome for her twice-weekly splint and dressing checkup to make sure she's not getting any sores or irritations from the splint. (For those who don't know, while in San Antonio, our little jock attempted a jump but didn't land well. She fractured three toes on her left foot, plus did a little damage to a tendon. As a result, she's confined and splinted until everything heals. Confinement is really hard for a dog who's always on the go!)

When they get back, we're all going to pick up Concord grapes at a local farm, and then to Menasha to pick up my newest Wool Box from Primitive Gatherings. (Bella and Tag love riding in the truck, so of course, they're going, too.) Once we're back at the farmhouse, I'll break out the canning supplies, and we'll have grape jam in the pantry cupboard by dinnertime!

It's going to be a busy, busy, runaround-type day, so I'm going to enjoy my coffee while Handsome and Bella are at the vet's, and then we'll be off about our day together. I'll tell you all about it tomorrow. See you then!


September 24, 2019

Tuesdays With Tag - Oh, Say, Nurse...

Brynwood Needleworks - Nurse Taggart

 Hi, Everybody!

How's things with you since we last visited? Me? Oh, just peachy, thanks.

We could start out by sayin' that I'm gettin' regular rations of my favorite kibble and snacks, but nooooo. When we went to the vet, I was up a measly two - count 'em - two pounds, so now I'm on reduced rations. Oh, the inhumanity!

Then, there's a certain Black Dog who's managin' to steal all my extra attention from our people. They're always poppin' there head in the room, chirpin' to her to make sure she's comfy.

"Bella, dear. Would you like a treat?" or "Bella, sweetie. Is your leg comfy?" or "Bella, honey. Is that naughty Tag botherin' you?" What in tarnation is up with all that?!!!

Brynwood Needleworks - Recuperation Central

As if that weren't enough, then, this happens. That's right. A bloody great dog bed appears in the middle of the livin' room. Right in front of my sofa. Guess who it's for?

Brynwood Needleworks - My Patient
Ding! Ding! Ding! You got it. Herself must be comfortable when out of her safe, secure, secluded kennel. She's really soakin' up the attention, and milkin' it for all it's worth.
She sees the vet twice a week, and comes home with a new colored bandage. They're making sure she doesn't get bed sores on her leg and foot. I really don't mind, except she's showin' off her new bandages like she's Miss Black Dog America or somethin'!
Then, when Mom and Dad go about their business, I'm expected - as her Big Brother - to make sure she behaves herself. Well, behavin' in my book is runnin' around the livin' room like a maniac and barkin', so when I start doin' my thing, guess who gets hollered at. Yep. Mr. Healthy Pants.
I guess I'd better get a stuffed corgi dummy and start a ventriloquist act, because that's about all I'm allowed to do so that Boo stays quiet and lets her leg heal. Boy, the things I'm gonna teach that dummy to say! I'd better keep my (other) thoughts to myself for now, and start my newest crossword puzzle... sigh
 I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...
"Live Like Someone Left The Gate Open".

September 23, 2019

Watching Paint Dry...

Brynwood Needleworks - Painting Railing Parts
There are a lot more parts painted and stacked against the wall outside the frame of this image. Don't worry though. I'm not going to ask you to watch me paint. That would be unspeakably boring.
I'm only showing one of these images to show you what I haven't been doing. Baking, laundry, oh, yes...and needlework. Only loading the rollers with paint, and waiting for it to dry for the next coat. And, I'm not finished either. sigh
#2 Son arrives today to begin assembly, so I guess I'll be painting some of this after it becomes actual built railing. I'm good with that, but I'll certainly be happier when it's finished. 

I think I'll be in the studio while he works today. I wouldn't want to be in his way, after all. (We won't actually speak about my ulterior motives, right?)

September 22, 2019

Sunday Scripture...

Brynwood Needleworks via

September 21, 2019


Brynwood Needleworks via web
Every day, I'm thankful for my husband, my family, my friends, my blessed life, and you. Wishing you many wonderful things.
Today I'll be painting railing materials, enjoying our beautiful Wisconsin weather, and spending time with Handsome, Tag and Bella. Have a great weekend!

September 20, 2019

(Needle) Dancing In The Moonlight...

Brynwood Needleworks - Silk Roses
I'm working on other projects during the day, so I needle dance at night (actually while watching the Milwaukee Brewers play baseball). I've completed making the roses, so I'll work on the next part - the flourishes. 

More painting on my agenda today. We'll see how far I get on the strawberry tonight. What day is it again? See you tomorrow!


September 19, 2019

More Wool Box Projects...

Brynwood Needleworks - Primitive Gatherings' Everlasting Kits
Each Primitive Gatherings Wool Box contains two kits for an ongoing project called "Everlasting". I've been setting these aside as I stitch the other projects, but now I'm pulling my materials together to begin working on them.

The kits contain the pattern and fabrics used for each design, and while I'm using some kits as they were packaged, I am going to change some of the fabrics to some that will be more to my liking. Don't get me wrong. They're all beautiful, but I'm not sure I want some of the darker colors.

I've pulled some of the Valdani threads, but will wait until I've decided on all the wools to pull the rest. Then, I'll begin the process of fusing, cutting, placing, and fusing again, so I can embroider whenever I get the urge.

Today, I'll be in the barn instead. All our materials for the railings arrived, so I'm going to paint a lot of the stock. That way, I'll only need to touch up after everything is assembled. The weather should be perfect for working outside, so I expect I'll get quite a bit accomplished. We'll see if I'm up to my ambition! Photos tomorrow...


September 18, 2019

Embroidering With Silk Ribbons...

Brynwood Needleworks - Silk Threads
I spent the day yesterday with girlfriends in Menasha. Kathy D and Jodi M were there, along with the other ladies who participate in our monthly Sit & Stitch at Primitive Gatherings. 
I'm always inspired when I see the lovely things (quilts, wool pieces, etc.) they create, and I'm also able to share what I've been working on.
I took along the pieces I've recently shared with you from the last Wool Box, and then I worked on a Strawberry Roses Sachet that's been commissioned. The blossoms are silk ribbon, and the stems and leaves are cotton floss. I managed to do quite a bit while I was there, and hope to finish it by the weekend (working on it between other commissions and painting hand rail parts so they're ready by next Monday).
The weather has been gorgeous since Monday, so I'm going to enjoy as much of that as I'm able before the weather turns toward Autumn. The days are warm, and the nights are perfectly chilled. It's my kind of weather. More blessings from the farm.

September 17, 2019

Tuesdays With Tag - I Was Duped!...

Brynwood Needleworks - Tag At The Vet's Office
Hi, Everybody!
This isn't gonna be a long post today. I don't have much to say.
"Come on, Tag", she said. "It will be fun, sweetie", she said.
Stoopid me. A car ride? Sure, why not?
Well, I'll tell ya why not. VETERINARIAN! That's why not!
Sure, the girls think I'm cute. The vet (a nice man, by the way) thinks I'm a smart guy (he's right), but when you get right down to brass tacks, what the actual heck?! I get weighed (you ladies can relate, right? I know Mom can!), poked, prodded, toenails practically cut off my feet!!!, and the ultimate insult...SHOTS!

Frankly, I never turn down treats, but if they think they can bribe me with anything less than a steak dinner, they've got another think comin'! I took my snack, waited for Mom to pay the lady, and I was on my way outa there!

Bella had a vet appointment, too. No shots or meds for her, as she might be "pupulated", but she got plenty of attention, and her vet (Dr. Whitfill) gives her Cheetos™! Cheetos, I tell ya! Where can a guy complain?

I'm up to date for another year (or so), but I've got some meds to take, and otherwise I'm a picture of good health. (Well, I mean...I oughta be!) Mom said I need to lose two pounds to get back to my fightin' weight. I can do that. Hey! Has anybody seen my treat jar? I gotta go...
 I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...
"Live Like Someone Left The Gate Open".

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...

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.


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. 


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 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...

September 11, 2019

Eighteen Years Ago...


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.

Web Image

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".