April 30, 2021

Spot The Differences...

Brynwood Needleworks - Everlasting Bird Block Box 2
I took it easy yesterday. I had a few things to accomplish in the morning, and rode in the car with Handsome while he ran his errands. I was bushed when we got home, so I iced my knee again and fell asleep. I'm listening to my body and resting when I need to.
Brynwood Needleworks - Everlasting Bird Block Box 2

I did start and complete another block from the "Everlasting" project. If you're new, these blocks were a series from Primitive Gatherings Wool Box subscription over a twelve month period. There are twenty four blocks total, designed by Lisa Bongean. They'll eventually be available to the public, but not right now.

As always, I add my own personal touches, placing the pattern cover next to my completed blocks so you can spot the differences. I think my modifications will be readily apparent on this one. Don't you?

More embroidery tomorrow. More resting tomorrow...and a little sitting at my machine for some long overdue gifts owed some of my blog friends. 

Thank you to everyone who left a beautiful, caring message for me on yesterday's post. I'll answer each one individually on the "reply" feature to your comment, so you can go back to see how grateful I am for your notes. Big hugs.


April 29, 2021

I Remain Hopeful...

Brynwood Needleworks - Charlie Mackesy Art

Eleven years ago, I started my weblog as a simple daily diary. Imagine my surprise and joy when I realized that others actually wanted to read my musings. So, nervously, I proceeded to share my creative and sometimes personal life with you. Today will be a day when I write something more personal, as a way to chronicle another chapter in my life.

I've been dealing with a medical issue for the past nine months, with no current light at the end of the tunnel. I had a surgery that went sideways last July, then, a new doctor and two subsequent corrective surgeries. It's been frustrating, but I trust the doctor who's been trying to remedy my issues. I was supposed to see him for further tests a few weeks ago, but learned he'd had to undergo an emergency surgery and is now on medical leave until the end of May. I have another appointment, but not until the beginning of June, so I wait,  hopeful that we can find a solution.
Secondarily, I've had a knee that's given me grief since I was in my twenties. I had two surgeries within a few years of marrying Handsome, but now, decades later, the knee is acting up again. Prior to last July's surgery, I'd seen an orthopedist and gone through x-rays, only to learn that I have arthritis in the knee, and I was already bone-on-bone in the joint. That means I was even then, a candidate for a knee replacement. We opted for putting anything with my knee on hold in favor of my other issue, thinking that the other issue would be resolved with one successful surgery, I'd heal from that, and then we'd deal with my knee. sigh That didn't happen.
Now, a year later, I'm fairly crippled by this knee. I walk like the letter "S" with a limp, so I went back to the orthopedist yesterday, and discussed my entire current physical situation. After much talking, listening, thoughtfulness, and a few tears, we decided together (Handsome was there, too) that the non-knee issue takes precedence. We can manage my knee in the meantime.
I asked more questions, and being satisfied with the answers, I opted for a suggested cortisone injection. I've never been a fan of cortisone, but we agreed it would be a (possible) better option than prednisone. Another consideration is the fact that I'm also in barely-tolerable pain. The doctor was magical, and I actually didn't feel more than the freezing spray used prior to the injection.
I came home, Handsome set up an ice water pump (from his knee replacement a year ago), and I put my leg up for a while. It may take up to two weeks for this injection to work. I'll take it easy in the meantime, so I think I'll catch up on my needlework projects. That's my silver lining in this cloud.
I believe, deeply, in the power of prayer. If you do, too, I would appreciate being added to your prayer list. Thanks so much for reading to the end of this post. Please don't feel sorry for me. That isn't why I wrote this today. I promise to write something more fun tomorrow. I'll be okay. I'm sure of it. I just have to be prayerful and patient...and, I remain hopeful.

April 28, 2021

Newest Completed Blocks...

Brynwood Needleworks - Four New Finished "Everlasting" Blocks
I drove back home on Tuesday, so I'm home again as you read this. I took a few "Everlasting" blocks with me so I could sit and embroider them while I visited with my sister. 
I really enjoyed my short time with her and her husband. We had a lovely visit. These are the four blocks I completed while away.
Brynwood Needleworks - Rose Bud Block
I'm showing closeups of each of the blocks to show you how I changed my design from the original. I added Colonial knots around the buds on this block. I did add a chain stitch detail to these leaves (not shown).

Brynwood Needleworks - Geranium Block
My stitches are consistently smaller than the patterns, and for this block, this is about the only change. I love this design - geraniums being one of my favorite flowers. I may go back and add more detail to the leaves, too.

Brynwood Needleworks - Bird (Chickadee) Block
I added more leaf sprigs to my chickadee block, along with stitching to add dimension to the berries. I you compare the bird's tail on the pattern, you'll notice I stitched fly stitches on mine, instead of straight stitches.
Brynwood Needleworks - Box 8 Flower

Finally, I added Colonial knots to the center of the gold-colored section on this flower. I wanted to add a little dimension to it. I like how it changed the look of the flower. 

One other thing I wanted to mention for those who may not know. I cross my cross stitches opposite from the cross stitches on Lisa's patterns. It doesn't matter which way you cross your stitches, as long as you are consistent. If you cross them in different directions on the same piece, those mistakes will stick out like sore thumbs when the light hits them differently. Here endeth the lesson. (wink)


April 27, 2021

Tuesdays With Tag - Hangin' Out With Dad and The Girls...

Brynwood Needleworks - Taggart - April 26, 2021

 Hi, Everybody!!

Mom is in Minnesota with her sister, so Dad and I are hangin' with the girls. 

I'll tell you one thing...it's been interestin'.

Brynwood Needleworks - Bella - April 26, 2021

Mom moved the furniture last week. She told me it's because she got tired of me barkin' my fool head off, and jumpin' up and down on the sofas that are in front of the windows. She said somethin' about havin' to clean up dog schnozzle that got on the windows, too. 

So, she moved the sofas away from where they were so we couldn't do that. Bella sits on the loveseat now, wonderin' why she can't just lean on the back of the sofa and look for squirrels, turkeys, deer and cats like she used to. I think she's p.o.'d at me, to tell the truth. Sorry, Boo. My bad.

Brynwood Needleworks - She Wonders

Mom hung a picture above our leather sofa, too. There wasn't anythin' there before, so you had to know that The Kid would notice. She stood there for a good ten minutes just contemplatin' this new thing on the wall. She's startin' to get embarrassin'! (Actually, she doesn't miss a darn thing!)

Brynwood Needleworks - Curious Carly

Mom and Dad laughed out loud about this, too. Mom was sewin' on one machine, and her embroidery machine was sewin' out a design with nobody sittin' there. Carly walked in the studio and wondered what kind of magic this was. She didn't touch it, but she sure checked it out.

Brynwood Needleworks - Sleepin' In Her Dish

Then, when it was dinner time, we all got our dishes and ate. After dinner, I usually stretch out for a bit and take a quick nap. Boo does the same. Of course, Carly takes a nap, but she can't just stretch out. That gray thing is her water dish. She's gotta be different.

Brynwood Needleworks - Bella Dog

Even her mama isn't gonna try to explain it. She just looks at her kid and sighs. Take a break, Boo. You've earned it. You made one goofy kid, for sure!

I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...
"Corgi On, Corgi Strong!"

April 26, 2021

Safe Arrival...

Brynwood Needleworks - Brother-in-Law and Titus

I arrived safely in Minnesota early yesterday afternoon. It's the first time I've seen my sister's home and it's lovely, inviting, and comfortable. She and her husband are great hosts, and we're having such a nice visit that I only took one photograph yesterday.

I wanted to catch an image of my brother-in-law with Titus. Titus was my dad's dog. While my sister took care of Dad, he asked her to take Titus once he was gone. They all spent months together, and it was natural that Titus would go with her. He adores her, and as you can see, he's found his place in their family. It was heartwarming to see him again.

We have some things planned for today, and I'm looking forward to spending the time with my sister. I'll try to take a few more pictures tomorrow for you. 


April 25, 2021

April 24, 2021

Friday Finishes...

Brynwood Needleworks - BW Pinkeep - Love Birds
I got all my work finished for the week. I'll send out the orders and items I've completed, and I'll be able to travel, guilt-free, for my trip to see my sister.
Brynwood Needleworks - "Nocturne" Travel Bag

I'm actually meeting a dear friend today to deliver this requested order. She also wanted the turtle batik and cork fabric "Nocturne" Travel Tote. 
I'll spend the rest of today packing for my visit, so I can leave in the morning. I'm also packing a few more "Everlasting" blocks to take with me to stitch on in the evening. 
I hope you have a good weekend, and I'll have pictures to share with you. Sunday Scripture tomorrow, and I'll be back on Monday! Toodles!

April 23, 2021

Studio Sewing...

Brynwood Needleworks - The Elf's On Break

I have a bag-in-process for a Saturday delivery. I started on it yesterday morning, but had physical therapy in the afternoon, which interrupted the process. This one will get finished today.
I want to get all my orders completed and mailed by Saturday morning, as I'm taking a little road trip to MN to spend a few days with my sister. In the time that we've been back in Wisconsin, I've never seen her home in person. We decided it's time, so I'll be driving north on Sunday. 
Handsome and the pups will be staying behind this trip. Maybe next time! I'm looking forward to sharing what we're up to while I'm there, but first I have to complete my projects. Better crack the whip on those elves!


April 22, 2021


Brynwood Needleworks - Primitive Gatherings' Everlasting Block In Progress
I'm still working on "A Penny Gathering" blocks, but I decided I needed to work on something else for a while. I pulled out all the blocks I'd prepared for another of Lisa's designs, "Everlasting", which came over twelve months in the Wool Boxes.
Brynwood Needleworks - Primitive Gatherings' Everlasting Block
I completed this flower from one of the two that came in Box 11. You can see from the photo of the pattern (left), and my finished block (right) that I always change mine from the original. Remember, I'm first and foremost a needleworker. I think that's why I'm enjoying these as much as I do.

Brynwood Needleworks - Primitive Gatherings' Everlasting Block

I completed this one, too. One of two from Box 7. Aren't the wool colors lovely? I have something completely different planned for the center block. I'll show you what was designed, and what I'm going to do later. For now, I'll just keep working on the surrounding blocks.
I'll go back and forth between "A Penny Gathering" and "Everlasting" until they're all finished. I'm not in any hurry, but they're relaxing projects for me to stitch in the evenings. Imagine. I nice cup of tea and a biscuit, slow stitching on beautiful blocks. Bliss.

April 21, 2021

Done and Done...

Brynwood Needleworks - "Ensemble" Hobo Bag & "Nocturne" Travel Bag

I finished these yesterday, and they're ready to go to a my client/friend's home now. 
I have one more turtle batik "Nocturne" Travel Bag to make by the weekend, and then I'm caught up. To the ladies waiting for their surprise gifts from last week, I promise to have them out by Friday's mail. I'm so sorry for the delay, but I haven't forgotten you. I promise.

Today is bread baking day at the farmhouse. I have some exciting news to share next week. A little kitchen reno going on, and I'm really excited about it. It's going to help my kitchen organization immensely. I'll tell you more when I have the schedule.


April 20, 2021

Tuesdays With Tag - The Gift That Keeps On Giving...

Brynwood Needleworks - Taggart In The North Field
Hi, Everybody!
Well, it's been pretty nice around here this past week.
The weather has been good, even if it's chilly for Mom and Dad. I have a nice fur coat, so it never bothers me. We got lots of runnin' around time outside, and I even took a little hike into the north field (Dad had to come up and get me, 'cuz once I get a whiff of somethin', my hearin' seems to go. He wasn't real happy with me, so I decided it was best if I didn't talk back. I just ran back to the house.
Brynwood Needleworks - Romeo
You'll remember the visitor that showed up for my Birthday...my Birthday Pheasant! Well, he's back and hangin' around. He's makin' all kinds of noise, 'cuz he's lookin' for a girlfriend. Mom's called him "Romeo". Appropriate, right?
Brynwood Needleworks - Romeo and The Blackbirds

He hung around for a real long time. He was peckin' at the bird seed, stretchin' and callin' in an attempt to attract a pheasant of the female persuasion. He's wearin' his feathery finery, and lookin' goooooooddd! 
The redwing blackbirds showed up for a little chow, too, so it made for a real nice photograph. Mom called them "Romeo and The Blackbirds". Wouldn't that make a great name for a bird band?

Mom took out more birdseed (it has corn in it), after he flew off for the night, so he'll have more food the next time he shows up. The Girls haven't seen him yet, and woe be to him if they do. They were bred for birds like him! Good thing they can't fly, but they can run almost like they do. It would sure be a sight.

So, anyway, I wanted you to see he's still hangin' around here. He's truly a gift that keeps on givin'. What next? It's almost a surprise a day. 
Oh, wait! One more thing...Claudette's year old kittens (Crystal and Leo) are still here. Mom looked out the window a couple days ago and they were real focused on somethin' to the west of the Compass Barn. She went out onto the porch to see what was goin' on, only to have the cats bolt into the barn. So, she went back in the house and up to the sewing studio. 

Once upstairs, she looked out the door to the airing porch and saw a woodchuck runnin' up to the wood shed! So, we have another cool critter livin' here. She said we're just gonna leave him (or her) alone. No puttin' food out or anythin' like that. They'll be just fine without our help.

So, I think that's all the news that's fit to print this week. I'll be takin' notes, though, to make sure I don't forget to tell you anythin' important next time we're together. Bye for now! Smooches.

I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...
"Corgi On, Corgi Strong!"

April 19, 2021

Studio Fun...

Brynwood Needleworks - Fabric Studio Corner

This is the view from my cutting table toward the corner of my fabric studio. I really am paring down my inventory, but I still have more fabrics to list. (These are some of the ones I'll keep.) I'll get to the photographing and listing part soon, but I'm finishing up the companion "Ensemble" hobo bag to go with the "Nocturne" bag I made last week.

Yesterday Kathy D. came to the farmhouse for a little collaboration and brain storming for a project she's working on. Although I have lots of grommet hardware, I now know why I have so much. I really don't like using them, and working with them yesterday just reiterated that. In the end, we went with another idea which is much more user friendly. 

Even when there are glitches (like getting my bobbin stuck behind the mechanism in my sewing machine), or the punches not cutting through fabric as they usually do (sigh), we could laugh and be glad there were no video cameras running to document our mishaps. Luckily I have a tool with a magnet on the end, so we could extricate the wayward bobbin. Even though we got the holes cut and grommets installed, we were happier with the alternative.

I have a lot I want to get finished this week. My plan is to take a little road trip on the weekend to spend a few days with my sister who lives just over the border in Minnesota. So...I'm going to finish my morning cup of coffee, get my act together, and go to work. Tag will be here tomorrow, so I'll see you again on Wednesday to share my progress with you. I hope you have a great week!


April 18, 2021

Sunday Scripture...

Proverbs 3:5-6 - Brynwood Needleworks via Web


April 17, 2021

Taking Care Of Mama Cat & Kittens...

Brynwood Needleworks - Mama's Kittens
I made some tough, but unselfish, decisions yesterday...and it was pretty emotional for me. I made a phone call in the morning, based on recommendations from local cat people. I contacted Critter Junction Pet Rescue and had a conversation with one of their volunteers, Renee.

I had lots of questions about how I might get help for Mama cat. I'd actually written a post on FaceBook for our local town group, and Renee had been tagged by someone else, hoping she could help me. By the time I called, she said she'd seen my inquiry - and Mama kitty had already been the topic of conversation prior to my call.

She told me, 1) If the foot was broken, it could cost me upward of $2,000 to have surgery/casting/care (I gasped.); or 2) with her being a feral/full time outdoor cat, if her foot is broken, the likely option would be amputation. (I gasped again.). Neither option was palatable to me (cost or possibility of amputation), and I told them so. Then, Renee told me that there was one more option.

I could take Mama and her kittens to the rescue. They would get her vetted and get the best treatment for whatever is going on with her foot, let her stay with her kittens until they're weaned, and then place the kittens with loving homes. Mama would then be spayed, vaccinated, treated for fleas/ticks...and returned to me, because the farm property is her home. I've heard that if the adults are moved and manage to get out, they'll do their best to return to their original home (which would put her at risk of injury from any number of hazards). 

Understand that I was doing my best to keep my composure during the telephone conversation, but I had already considered the fact that as the kittens got bigger and started to explore their surroundings (outside the Compass Barn), they could be at risk of injury from predators - or curiosity from the dogs. More importantly, I needed to get Mama checked and treated for her paw injury. My voice broke numerous times, and toward the end of the conversation, the tears freely flowed.

So, I made the decision before I hung up with Renee to release Mama and her kittens to the rescue. When the call was finished, I blew my nose, told Handsome what I was going to do, and then I went to the barn.

Mama's been caring for her kittens in one of our dog kennels that I'd filled with straw before she had them. I originally had it in a south window so the winter sun could keep her and last season's kittens, Crystal and Leo (thanks for reminding me, Shelly) warm. I had taken the kennel door off, as it wasn't needed.
Once the kittens started opening their eyes, I moved that kennel down onto the barn floor, on top of and surrounded by more straw to insulate them from the cold floor. So, when I went outside, I gave Mama some warm milk to drink, and when she'd had her fill, I picked her up and put her in my lap. She let me cuddle her as I explained the plan.

I took the kennel door off the hook on the wall, moved some of the straw out of the way, and reinstalled the door. When I was finished, I picked Mama up and gently placed her inside with her babies. I spoke softly to her the entire time, and then placed the towel (that's been over the vents all winter) in front of the door to calm her as I put her into our truck for the trip to town.

When we arrived at the shelter, I went inside without them, and after introducing myself, asked more questions. She'd be able to stay with her kittens until they are weaned, right? (yes) She'll get the veterinary care for her paw, right? (yes) ...and if it's just a thorn in her paw or a laceration, should I come back and get her and her babies? (no. They'll still take care of her, placing her babies, and spaying her for me) Did I say they'll do all that at no charge whatsoever to me? That's right. And I'll still get her back to bring her home after all that. Then I asked if I could see where she'd be while in their care. 
They showed me the enclosure that was already waiting for her. A nice bi-level with towels that they change every day, fresh water, self feed dry food, plus daily wet food, and a nice litter box for her personal needs. Being satisfied that she and her babies would receive the best care, I agreed to go out and get her.
Brynwood Needleworks - Mama and Kittens

I didn't uncover the kennel until we were in front of her new, temporary home. It was suggested that I hold her kennel in front of the "apartment" and the lady helping me would open the door to the kennel so Mama could go right in the upper level. Once she was in, we got all the babies out, to put them in the bottom so Mom would know there's a second floor when she went to her babies.
Before putting the kittens in with her, I asked for a photo with them, which is the first picture in this post. I left my glasses on so you can't see the tears in my eyes. Her babies are beautiful, and upon re-inspection, there are two boys and two girls. (I'm glad they're in care now. I was already thinking of names for them.)
By the time the babies were ready to go into the lower level of the enclosure, Mama was already there, waiting for them. She stayed on the lower level shelf as her kittens were placed on the bottom below her. I told her she'd be getting the best of care, and that I'd be back for her soon.
Before I left, the ladies recorded my name and phone number so they could contact me to come get her in a few weeks. Then they asked me Mama's name. Well, because she has that sweet moustache marking on her face, I'd originally called her "Poirot" after the PBS detective series. (I thought she was a boy until her belly started to swell.) I then learned that Shelly was calling her "Groucho". Today, I decided this sweet Mama deserved a more fitting name, so I told them, "I'm going to call her "Claudette"...a nod to the French name I originally gave her. "
And so, with tears falling down my cheeks - a sniveling, sniffling mess, I told her I was leaving her behind so they could help her paw, and I'd see her soon; asked them to take really good care of her; and that I'd soon be making a donation to their rescue, I went out to my vehicle and cried a little more before coming back home to the farm.

I took food out to Leo and Crystal tonight. I put Claudette's kennel back up on the south workbench where they like it, in front of the window where the sun shines in during the day. I told them their mama would be gone for a little while, but she'd be back soon. Leo meowed at me. I cried a little more, and went back inside.
Call me a soft touch, but I like taking care of these tough, little cats. I like that I was able to earn their trust enough to be able to cuddle them instead of only catching glimpses of them as they'd run and hide from me. I went to sleep knowing I'd done the best thing for Claudette and her sore paw, and that her kittens would be loved and safe in forever homes, instead of living a rough outdoor life. I'm grateful that I could find a place that was willing to help.

I'm going to be making donations to Critter Junction. In the event that you might like to contribute a little something, HERE is a link to their website. They have a "Donate" button, but I know that many rescues also accept gifts purchased and shipped through Amazon to their door. A list of their "needs" also appears on the site. If you choose to contribute, I'd love it if you mention your donation is to help their rescue because of their care for Claudette and her kittens, with my thanks.

One more thing, they'll update their Facebook and website with pictures of Claudette and her babies soon, plus they said I can contact them to find out what Claudette's paw diagnosis is, or anything else I want to know. As they give me updates, I'll share those with you, too. She never made a peep before I left. I think she knows she and her babies are safe. Because she's okay with that, I am, too. I still have tears in my eyes as I write this, though. Happy tears.

April 16, 2021

Busy Thursday...

Brynwood Needleworks - BW "Nocturne" Bag - Turtle Batik

I had a productive day in the studio yesterday. I was creating the larger of two bags for a friend who's also a client. I completed this "Nocturne" bag, which is half of the order. The second bag is a matching BW "Ensemble" bag. I'll complete the "Ensemble" bag today, and then this order can be on its way to Minnesota to its new home.

I learned yesterday that Blogger is no longer going to support email subscription for its authors. That means that, if you currently receive my daily posts via email, that feature is going away. I was able to download the email addresses of everyone currently receiving my blog posts this way, so now I have to see if I can find another option to provide the same service to you.

I just wanted to make you aware of this in the event you notice that my emails quit arriving in your inbox. I'll let you know more as I do.


April 15, 2021

Kitty Update...

Brynwood Needleworks  - Two of the Little Girl Kittens
I kept this image just a bit smaller because the resolution was too blurry when I enlarged it. The back of the kennel that the mama and her kittens are bedded into is pretty dark toward the back, and I didn't want to bother them with a flash, and a grainier image is the result. Sorry.

I go into the barn at least twice a day to feed Mama (currently named "Groucho" because she has a moustache in the coloring of her fur); and her two offspring from last year (Crystal and ... Dang it, Shelly! I forgot his name again!...Crystal's brother with all-black fuzzy fur). I always check on the kittens, too, and they're starting to get active, now that their eyes are open.
Brynwood Needleworks - Mama With Her Kittens
After I fed Mama and the youngsters their late day meals, I saw down in a chair across from the kennel, but far enough away so I didn't alarm Mama. When she was finished eating, she walked up to me, to let me pat her head, and then she strolled in to lie down with her babies to feed them.

Brynwood Needleworks - Mama's Sore Paw
Mama has a sore paw and a limp right now. I'm not sure how it happened. I don't know if she got into a scuffle with another cat (there are others that usually hang around at Shelly's, but they may come down the hill to our barn at night. Mama wouldn't want them anywhere near her kids.). Or perhaps she just pulled a muscle?
I know feral cats are tough, but I still worry about any animal that's hurt, and I've been taking care of these guys since mid-winter. I care about them. I tried to make a few contacts yesterday for a possibility of getting a vet to look at her, but I don't want her traumatized while she's nursing her kittens. I may look into a remedy that would salve her paw without harming her or her babies. Of course, any advice from cat owners would be welcomed.
Brynwood Needleworks - Those Wee Faces!

I stayed and just watched the little family for a bit longer last night, and then finally said good night to all my charges before going inside. Perhaps she'll feel better throughout today. I'll keep track of her, and do whatever I can to help. 
Warm milk and fresh food are on their way in a little while. I'll keep taking her nourishment so she doesn't have to work overtime to be able to feed her babies. They all trust me now, and she appreciates every time I walk in to feed and pet them. We've come a long way together already.