January 31, 2021

Sunday Scripture...

Brynwood Needleworks - Psalm 23.4 via YouTube


January 30, 2021

She Loves The Snow...

Brynwood Needleworks - Liljegren's Suncoast Bella

 Two things on the top of Bella's Top Five Favorite Things...
• Running in the snow
• Fetching
The stars aligned last week with a deep snow overnight, and a fetching dummy waiting to be retrieved.
You're looking at one, happy dog...WMBBD (World's Most Beautiful Black Dog). 
I admit it. We're more than a little biased.


January 29, 2021

Their Gifts Are Finished...

Brynwood Needleworks - "Beauty & The Beast" Twin Bags
I woke up yesterday thinking I'd better make a decision and go with it. I decided to make two, 5 year old-sized purses for the twins. What better theme than a prince, a princess, and a castle? I had "Beauty & The Beast" fabric in my studio, and in no time, I was sewing away.

If you notice the colored tabs at the top edges of each bag, you can see which colors cork I chose for the backs. Red for one, and a lime green for the other. The tabs are for the d-rings to attach the shoulder straps.
Brynwood Needleworks - "The Beast's Castle" Bag

"The Castle" is backed in red cork, and even has a little "Chip" tea cup and saucer charm!  

Brynwood Needleworks - "Beauty & The Beast" Bag

"Beauty & The Beast/Prince" is front and center on the second bag, with a "Mrs. Potts" tea pot charm.

I'll tuck a little $$ gift inside, of course, because I never gift a bag without money in it. All the bags and wallets I sell contain a lucky penny inside, but I'll add a little more for the twin's Birthday gift bags. Add a Birthday card, and wrap them up. Now I'm ready for the party on Sunday!

January 28, 2021


Brynwood Needleworks - House Finches

I don't know whether or not you enjoy birdwatching, but it's become a favorite pastime of mine since we moved to the farmhouse. It doesn't matter the season, there are always beautiful, feathered friends to watch and enjoy.

I've been keeping the feeders full since the temperatures dropped and more snow fell over the past few days. The snow makes it more difficult for them to find food, so I help.

These pretty house finches usually come in pairs, but yesterday, they came in groups to eat their fill.
Brynwood Needleworks - Taking Care of the Little Birds
They don't have to worry. There's plenty for everyone. I fill these two feeders near the kitchen window, and am rewarded with a closeup view of these feathered gems, but I also fill four larger feeders near the old apple tree. I trudge through sometimes deep snow so they can reserve their energy for keeping warm. 
While these finches were eating here, cardinals, crows, juncos, blue jays, woodpeckers, and mourning doves ate their fill at the larger feeders. (I also put peanuts in the shell over there, which are a favorite of the crows, jays, and odd squirrels).
I'll keep doing this until the last snowstorm of the season...usually into late March. It's my gift to them for the joy they bring to the farm.

January 27, 2021

I Have To Do This...

Brynwood Needleworks - Inspirations Magazine Issue 109
My latest issue of Inspirations Magazine arrived last Saturday and I've been enjoying paging through it. The cover design features a gorgeous butterfly designed by British needleartist, Emillie Ferris. I actually have a few of her designs.  

This was just the first of the designs that caught my eye. There are a few lovely designs with crewel embroidery tutorials, and so much "inspiration"!
Brynwood Needleworks - Inspirations Magazine Issue 109 Baby Blanket
You have to know I fairly squealed when I turned the page to see this project. It's a beautiful wool blend baby blanket with a wee opossum front and center!! This piece was designed by Jenny McWhinney of Australia using a technique called threadpainting.
Brynwood Needleworks - Inspirations Magazine Issue 109 Opossum Embroidery Project

I have a brand, spankin' new great-niece, born yesterday (her name is Wynter Carol), and she's gorgeous. I think I may have to do this blanket project for her. I know I'm absolutely going to make the project, at least once!
I have to locate the blanket fabric first (the kit from the magazine is a bit pricey for me at $276.25.) I have lots of supplies (threads, needles, hoops) but I need to purchase the blanket and backing. I don't think that will be a problem. Once I locate that, I'll be ready to work on it in no time. 
Isn't it just adorable? I've come to really love the Hickory Hill opossums, and this little critter will be a perfect tribute to them.

January 26, 2021

Tuesdays With Tag - Squirrel Patrol...

Brynwood Needleworks - Bella and Taggart
Hi, Everybody!
I'm not sure how all you guys spend your days, but there are really important things that Bella and I do all day here at the farmhouse. Aside from our daily barkin' at the mail truck; beggin' to go outside so we can get snacks when we come back in; buggin' Mom or Dad to take us out for fetchin' sessions, and chasin' the almost resident cats, we have to make sure other critters don't think about takin' over our territory.
Brynwood Needleworks - Yes. We're On The Sofa.
Mom doesn't just feed the birds, opossums, raccoons, and cats. She also puts out peanuts and last year's cracked hickory shells at the base of the big maple tree in the front yard, where the squirrels live. 

There's a hollow in that big, ol' tree, where three squirrel babies were born last spring, and at least a couple of them still live there. Every day we see them rootin' around the tree. They're lookin' for the hickory nuts they buried last fall, but Mom likes addin' a few surprises for them.
Brynwood Needleworks - "I Don't See One. Do You See One?"

Which brings us back to a major segment of our days. Bella and I scan the trees and our front and side yards. You never know when we'll spot one of those varmints.

Oh, Oh!! And can you imagine our glee when we have to go outside to do our business, only to spot a squirrel anywhere on the ground on the other side of the Compass Barn? The chase is on!! Our hearin' goes (we can't even hear Mom or Dad hollerin'!), we tear off across the yard, and we feel like we've done our job - even if we don't catch them (which we never do, because they can run up the trees and we can't).

It's like this every day. From the minute we get up until it gets dark. We don't even consider it work. There's nothin' at all hard about bein' on squirrel patrol. That's if you don't count the part about not bein' able to open the door to let ourselves out. Remember, it's all about the thumbs. We don't have 'em, so we can't use 'em.

I guess we'll just have to settle for barkin' our fool heads off, and we're really good at that! We can hardly wait for Carly to get back so she can be our new trainee and join in. The more, the merrier!
I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...
"Corgi On, Corgi Strong!"

January 25, 2021

A Busy Week Ahead...

Brynwood Needleworks - Needlepunch Sunflower by Michelle Palmer

Isn't this a lovely piece? It was designed and executed by my lovely, talented friend, Michelle Palmer. I've had it since we lived in Florida, but I haven't been able to decide how I want to finish it. It's round, so should it be a cushion? Should I frame it? Something else? I just can't make up my mind. I'm sharing it with you today, because it's on my To Do List.
Next weekend will be a Birthday celebration for my twin nieces. They'll be five years old...already! I made dresses for them last year (See this post. They're still a hit, and worn often), so I'm trying to decide what I should make for them this year. 

Perhaps they'd like their very own handbags, or little lap quilts? Eeek. I guess I'd better make up my mind soon. They need to be finished in time for the party on Sunday. Whatever it is will be well-underway When I see you again on Wednesday. Tag will post tomorrow. (Ideas appreciated!) Toodle loo for now.


January 24, 2021

January 23, 2021

A Most Special Day...

Brynwood Needleworks - Handsome and Me
For the past forty years, Handsome and I have been enthusiastic supporters of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. We enjoyed attending concerts for many seasons prior to moving to Florida, and have attended more than a few special concerts since our return. 
Before we moved back, we had begun reading about the MSO purchasing this property, and turning it into their new home. So, when we were offered a private tour of the facility, we jumped at the opportunity!

Brynwood Needleworks - Bradley Symphony Center Grand Lobby
The new home of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra is a former historic downtown landmark, the Warner Grand Theater. The entire building harkens back to the Art Deco period, and this lobby immediately transports you to that era.

Our entry into the historic section of the new Bradley Symphony Center leads directly into the breathtaking Schmitz Family Grand Lobby (named for the family who sponsored the renovation of this area). While the ceiling resembles tin tiling, it's actually restored, painted plaster work. The soaring ceilings and all light fixtures are original (or in the case of damaged lights, completely restored to replicate the original).
Brynwood Needleworks - Concert Hall
When we entered the main concert hall, we actually gasped. This photograph really doesn't capture the oppulence and detail of the murals and trim. The decor is reminiscent of a French palace.
From this vantage point, we could actually hear the conversations of the workmen on the stage! That's how truly wonderful the acoustics are.
Brynwood Needleworks - Concert Hall Hanging Light
I took many photographs of light fixtures. (You can see them hanging on each side of the main stage in the panoramic photo.) There are two fixtures like these in the main concert hall. We thought they looked like bees, and they're huge! All the lights throughout the building were breathtaking.
Brynwood Needleworks - Modern Section of Bradley Symphony Center
As you pass from the west side of the building, past the Art Deco elevators, the wall opens to the newer east section of the building. There are more soaring ceilings, an entry from the street for ticket holders, and gathering areas for intermissions - with concession areas. This large area (as well as a matching area on the second floor) will be open to the public for weddings and other social gatherings when the Symphony isn't performing.

Brynwood Needleworks - Occulus Above The Staircase
At the top of the massive spiral staircase is an occulus that visually opens to the Milwaukee sky. I'm guessing that this staircase/occulus area is easily thirty feet in diameter, which is in keeping with the grandeur of the space. 
There are six more floors above this level, housing classrooms, an extensive music library, rehearsal rooms, and offices, but this is as high as we went.
Brynwood Needleworks - "Fritzed" Windows

Our personal guide, Daniel, made sure we saw a hidden secret on the salon level. He wanted us to see the windows up close, as he described them as "fritzed". If you stand within a foot or so of them, you'll see names of musicians and composers embedded in the glass...from floor to ceiling. Handsome and I stood there quite a while, pointing out names to each other. Isn't that a cool feature? We sure thought so.
You can imagine just how special this tour was to us as music-lovers, but also for Handsome as a musician. We're anxiously awaiting the return of live music events, and are really looking forward to attending concerts when the MSO begins playing in their new home. 


January 22, 2021

Still Dancing...

Brynwood Needleworks - Turtle Embroidery Progress

When I'm not homekeeping, I'm spending blissful hours with needle and thread. I'm making progress on my turtle embroidery, but not as swiftly as I did on the first half. It's alright. After all, it's not a race, right?

I'll keep stitching, and I'll share this one again once I've completed the embroidery. Then, you can help me with ideas of how I might finish it. What are you doing today?


January 21, 2021

The Sky Was On Fire...

Brynwood Needleworks - Sunset Last Night

Last night's sunset was like seeing the sky on fire. It was so fabulous, I had to share it with you. We've had mostly cloudy days for about two weeks. The sun peeked through on only about two days, and then ducked behind the clouds again. 
Yesterday was mostly cloudy, too, but the sun came out for a little bit before it went down behind the hill above the farmhouse. It was so cold and windy all day, that seeing this sunset made up for it. Handsome even helped me fill the birdfeeders (our feathered guests need extra support when it's this cold!), and then we took food down to the Habitat for the opossums, raccoons, and ahem...cats...who visit every night.  I was happy for the help, because I could get back into the house sooner. I got inside just in time to see this sunset and take a picture for you. 

If you live where it gets cold, I hope you're warm and snug inside. If you live when it's warm, don't rub it in! (Florida sure looks like a good idea again right now.) Let's hope tomorrow is sunny and warmer.

January 20, 2021

Work Before Play...

Brynwood Needleworks - My Steam Station
When I was a kid, I used to see a commercial with a woman who stood at her ironing board. She looked exhausted, with messy hair, and she'd say, "I'm Gertie Schmertz, and I iron shirts 'til my fingers hurts." I have no idea what the commercial was actually selling, but obviously, it left an impression on me. (I'm not even sure why!)
I was about ten when my mother taught me to iron my dad's white work shirts. He was a school teacher, so he had a clean shirt for every day. Not only did I learn to do his shirts, but I got really good at it, too. I enjoyed ironing shirts just for him. All these years later, I still think of Dad when I iron a white shirt. Handsome wears white shirts when he performs music, but he also loves wearing cotton shirts.
These days, I'm certainly no Gertie Schmertz at the ironing board. I have a number of irons, but when it comes to ironing shirts, I use my Rowenta Steam Station. It has a water reservoir, so I'm not constantly refilling the iron so I have constant steam when pressing those cotton shirts. 

You'll notice that the steam station is sitting on top of a cart. You've likely seen these carts somewhere before, as there are a lot of places that sell them. Here's one from Amazon to give you an idea.
Brynwood Needleworks - My Ironing Cart
Usually, the top piece is inverted from how I'm using it. It's another compartment for art or kitchen supplies, but that's not what I needed. I needed a platform to hold my steam station, so I flipped it over to make that surface.
I keep the rest of my ironing supplies (starch, pressing sprays, and linen sprays) in the bottom two compartments. In addition to those sprays, I have my pressing forms, and a couple other irons. Then, when I need to use my iron, I just roll the cart out of the studio closet and take it to where I need it.
That's what I did yesterday. Handsome had some shirts that needed pressing, and there were table cloths and napkins that were used over the holidays. I love cotton and/or linen, and they always need to be pressed after they're washed. It didn't take that long to do my work, and I watched a couple recorded shows (Home Town - home reno, and The Curse of Oak Island - about treasure hunting) while I worked.

The result was a room that smelled heavenly from my Cotton Linen spray, and all my ironing caught up. It's always such a satisfying feeling being caught up with my ironing. I have a tendency to put it off, but always feel so great when it's done. 

I'll get back to working on my embroidery today. I'll have a much more enjoyable time knowing that my tasks are caught up. Now I can just play again.


January 19, 2021

Tuesdays With Tag - Meet Hudson...

Brynwood Needleworks - Hudson

Hi, Everybody!!
Boy, have we got some excitin' news for you!
Meet our new Granddog, Hudson!
He's an eight week old Golden Retriever who's moved in with our Grandson and his folks. We haven't been formally introduced yet, but we're hopin' that happens this weekend. 
He only got to his new home last night, and already we're gettin' videos of him smoochin' on our Grandson. I'm sure they had a blast spendin' their first night together, too. (We're bettin' he slept upstairs in bed with a certain handsome guy we adore.)

This is the only picture Mom has of the little scamp so far, but if things go as planned, we'll get lots more to share next week.

By the way - Dad hasn't left for Florida yet. His plan is to be there to pick Carly up by February 1st. We'll know more when plans are finalized, so there won't be any Carly posts until she gets back. We'll amuse you with Hudson pictures instead. Gotta run. I have to check Mom's cell phone for messages from Grandson.
I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...
"Corgi On, Corgi Strong!"

January 18, 2021

Gentle Pursuits...

Brynwood Needleworks - Turtle Embroidery Progress
I spent more time working on my turtle embroidery piece over the weekend. In fact, slow and steady is winning. I made quite a bit of progress. I'm working on the center medallion now, but I have half of the motifs finished.
Brynwood Needleworks - Turtle Embroidery Detail 1

I have four of the outer motifs completed, with four more to go. They will be a mirror image of the first four.
Brynwood Needleworks - Turtle Embroidery Detail Two
I've also completed two of the inner motifs shown, plus the next two. The next four will also be mirror image of the four I embroidered yesterday.
Brynwood Needleworks - Turtle Embroidery Detail Three

These are the other motifs of the first four outer motifs section. They'll also appear on the opposite end of the turtle embroideries.

I used chain stitch on the outer motif boxes, stem stitch on the floral stems, satin stitch, and French knots on the same section. The outline of the inner boxes is a split stitch, with centers embroidered in bouillon  bars. and rosette stitch. I've also completed (not photographed) the other two inner motifs of blanket stitch wheel, and another padded stitch. I'll share photos of them later in the week.

I'm pretty happy with the way is progressing. I'm having fun just following my muse, and embroidering away to my heart's content. Isn't that what it's all about? 

Lifting blessings for a peaceful, joyful, and calm week, following your own gentle pursuits. Tag will be here tomorrow, and I'll see you again on Wednesday.

January 17, 2021

Sunday Scripture...

Brynwood Needleworks - 2 Timothy 1:7 via Bibleversestogo.com


January 16, 2021

I Danced!...

Brynwood Needleworks - Original Turtle Stool and Embroidered Cover
When I was a woman in my twenties, I stitched a piece exactly like this one. Not this exact one, but one just like it. I gave it away years later, and lost track of it.

One day while we were still in Florida, I came across this one in a shop and immediately purchased it. You know how nostalgia grabs you once in a while? This piece fairly demanded I bring it home. But it was in awful shape. I took the embroidery off the little turtle stool, tossed the deteriorating foam, and cleaned up the embroidery to use as a pattern. I wanted to stitch a piece of my own again. I originally wrote a blog post about it HERE.
Brynwood Needleworks - Preparing Cover For Tracing
I pulled it out of the closet yesterday and began by taping the embroidery to my light box (It pays to have a husband who is a retired photographer. He gave his awesome light table to me!). I then placed paper on top to trace the design for my pattern.

Brynwood Needleworks - Cover Secured To My Lightbox

This is my tracing in progress.
Brynwood Needleworks - Tracing In Progress
I'll keep the original embroidery handy for reference, so I marked the embroidery and the templace with a "v" so I can keep the orientation correct.
Brynwood Needleworks - Design Transferred To Linen
I used my wax marker to transfer the design onto the linen. This will just iron away and disappear if I have any marks showing after I'm finish stitching.

Brynwood Needleworks - Linen Mounted Onto Scroll Frames
I was getting ready to choose my colors, when I had the idea to embroider the design onto my linen fabric using only white thread instead. 

Brynwood Needleworks - Embroidery Has Begun

Of course, I had to start working on it right away, so before my day was finished, I was needle dancing...and smiling. I'm really looking forward to doing the embroideries on this piece. I'll be personalizing the designs with my own specialty stitches. 

I may not mount it back on the turtle stool...or I may paint the turtle stool first...or I may make it into a pillow...I just don't know. I do know I can wait to decide. For now, all I have to do is blissfully embroider and enjoy every moment.