December 31, 2021

New Year’s Eve…

Neil Gaiman Quote

I got the sweetest call yesterday. Out of the blue, a long-time blog reader and shop customer contacted me just to say "hello" and tell me that she enjoyed reading my daily posts. I let the call go to voicemail (I do that when I don't recognize the number), and she left a lovely message for me, along with her phone number. Of course, I called her back.

Lydia B and I ended up chatting for nearly an hour. She was delightful, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent sharing stories and learning about each other. We have a lot in common. It was the most wonderful way to end 2021. 

Lydia, dear, I don't think you know just how much I enjoyed talking with you. Thank you so much for taking the time to call and leave a message so I could call you back!

One of the things I shared with her is the fact that I've been contemplating my "Word" for 2022. I'll share that with you the new year. Can you even believe how quickly the last twelve months passed? Let's chat more about 2022 in my next post, shall we?

We're staying home (Handsome is feeling 100% better, thank you!), and we'll have a nice evening together to welcome the new year. If you're going out, drive carefully and stay safe. I'll see you next year. heehee

December 30, 2021

It's Back Home...

Brynwood Needleworks "Horicon Marsh Sampler"

I designed this sampler in 1993, and it was available as a chart. I chose Horicon Marsh - located in an adjacent county - because at that time, it was designated as a a Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention of the United Nations. I served on the Wisconsin Conservation Congress at that time, and this designation was historically important to our state.

When we moved to Florida in 2001, I gifted this completed sampler to a dear friend, Wendi (also my hair dresser now) because of her and her family's love of the outdoors. When the camper in which it was installed burned to a crisp, this piece had already been long-removed, so it survived.

Wendi had considered gifting it to the new nature center at Horicon Marsh...and she would have had Handsome and I not returned to Wisconsin. Now that we're back, she thought that such donation should be something I should do, not her. Hence, when I went for my hair appointment on Tuesday, she returned it to me.

Brynwood Needleworks "Horicon Marsh Sampler"

The sampler is in great condition, but the frame has seen better days. So, I'm going to keep it here for a while before having it professionally reframed. Once that's done, I'll make some telephone calls and see if this is something the people at the Marsh might like to have in their Center. If so, I'll donate this copy.

One of the things I'm contemplating in the new year is converting all of my samplers to pdf format to make them available for purchase again. I'd love some feedback about that. (If you need to see my samplers before having an opinion, you can see all my designs by clicking the link in my sidebar.) I actually have a few more designs that have never gone to print (yet). I'd add them, too. So, please let me know what you think.

Finally, thank you for the anniversary wishes. We didn't get to go for dinner last night as planned. Handsome woke up feeling ill, so out of an abundance of caution, he laid low and we stayed home. I'm happy to report he was feeling much better by evening. 

We'll make reservations for next week, and the owner of the restaurant already said that we'll just make believe the night we go is our "anniversary night". I already love the new owners, and can't wait to meet them!

December 29, 2021

Sweets For A Celebration...

2021 Holiday Cookie Assortment

I spent the past two days baking and decorating cookies, and making candies. There were a total of five dozen cookies, and two trays of candy.

2021 Holiday Cookies

I repeated the Santa cookies I made last year. They're one of my favorites. Of course, there had to be Labradors and Corgis, too. I thought the black-face sheep were a fun addition. I'll likely make more cookies before the end of the year, but these will be given away as gifts.

2021 Sweets

I also made one batch of fudge (top) and Reese's Peanut Butter Bars (bottom). I originally planned to make maple walnut fudge, but realized (right after Handsome got home from the grocery store) that I didn't have maple extract. 

Necessity being the mother of invention, I decided to switch up the recipe to use ingredients I had on hand. I made the recipe with hickory syrup and hickory nuts instead, and I'm so glad I did! I think the results were delicious. Then I made the peanut butter bars. I'm really going to have to pace myself so I don't gain back the weight I managed to lose in the past six weeks or so!

Today is Handsome and my wedding anniversary. We've made reservations this week to a restaurant in Plymouth, WI that came highly recommended by Son #1 and his wife. In fact, they gave us a gift certificate for Christmas, and this is the perfect time to use it. I can't imagine anyone I rather share a meal and a life with than my dear husband.

Happy Anniversary, Boyfriend. 

December 28, 2021

Tuesdays With Tag - Our Christmas...

Bella and Carly, Chillin' With Dad

 Hi, Everybody!

I hope you had a nice Christmas holiday. We had a nice one, too, but before I tell you all about that...I'd like to ask you...what's wrong with this picture? People are lookin' waaayyyy too comfortable, and seems somebody is missin'. Would it kill ya to give a guy a little boost? I can get up there if I really want to, but I have to conserve my energy and save the leapin' for important stuff!

"Whatcha Get, Mom?"

My favorite part of Christmas (aside from the food) is when presents are opened. Mom always explains what she got, and even lets me get a good look at her presents. ("It's not food. I'll pass, thanks.")

"Excuse Me!"

The bad part is that, as soon as I start to inspect somethin' good, two black nosey-pantses horn in and block my view. I'm not real fond of lookin' at the backs of heads - or worse yet, butts!

We Got Treats, Too!

The best part is that we got presents, too, and we got to share treats! There was a bag for each of us, so there was plenty for everyone. We scored!

We're lookin' forward to New Year's Even now. Mom and Dad will spend the night at home with us, and I'm pretty sure they'll include us. Then, Mom will go out and give somethin' tasty to Claudette and Crystal, too. We'll count our blessin's, especially the fact that our Hickory Hill family grew by two, thanks to the barn girls.

I'm gonna close out this year by thankin' you for stoppin' by to read my posts every Tuesday. I'm not shy about just talkin' to myself whenever the mood hits, but it's really nice to know that you listen to my silliness each week. I wish you were closer so I could snuffle and smooch you in person to say "Thanks". I'd better go before I start gettin' mushy. I'm workin' on a new signature for next year, so I've got stuff to do. Thanks again, and Happy New Year from the Hickory Hill Crew.

I'll see you again in seven. 'til then...

"Corgi On, Corgi Strong!" 

December 27, 2021

Grammie's Jammies Reveal...

Grammie's Jammies 2021

I can reveal the pajamas I created this year, now that the packages have been opened. Grandson got a onesie, too, but I wasn't sure about size for him, so we ordered a onsie that could be returned if they didn't fit. I promised a photo for us when he wears them, but he giggled when he opened them. I guess I hadn't considered that College Boy lives with three other young gents in his dorm, and perhaps he might (or might not) wear them after vacation. 

The ladies loved theirs. Soft fleece in whimsical prints. They were a definite hit...which you might be able to tell from the photograph they sent to me. I was told they were a perfect fit, and I'm happy about that. I feared the corgis would be too big, and that the deer would be too long (I added 3" to the length, and they fell at the ankle bone, so I'm glad they weren't any shorter!). I'm pretty sure I could make them again next year in another print and they'd love them just as much. 

I won't be sewing for a bit now. Destiny and Jane will be going to the spa for a much needed, post-holiday tune-up. I'm going to bake this week, and I always have knitting and needlework to occupy my hands and creative muse. 

Did you have a nice holiday? Did you travel or stay home? What do you have planned for this week, and for New Year's Eve? Do you go out to celebrate, or do you stay home like Handsome and I always have?  It will be a quiet night here, sharing a nice meal and seeing in 2022. That's how we best love bringing in a new year. More on that later. Tag will be back tomorrow for his last post of 2021. Hard to believe, isn't it?

December 26, 2021

Sunday Scripture...

Luke 2:11 via cross

December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas...

From All Of Us At Liljegren’s Hickory Hill Farm


December 24, 2021

It's Christmas Eve...

Brynwood Needleworks - They're Finished!

I'll be wrapping these this morning, and we'll deliver them this afternoon...just in time for Christmas Eve. I'm only sharing a peek, but I'm sure you can tell, they're fuzzy and whimsical. I them to you in full photographs next week.

Handsome and I will have a nice lunch as we make our way home from our gift deliveries, and then we'll tuck ourselves in for the evening. Lights twinkling, holiday programming on the television, dogs snoozing at our feet, and a quiet dinner together. 

Merry Christmas Eve, my friends. 

December 23, 2021

Almost Finished Sewing For This Season...

My Last Christmas Projects

These are the fabrics for my last sewn Christmas projects this year. I'll get them done and wrapped today, and then we can deliver them tomorrow. This project is making me smile. Of course, there had to be Corgis! (Just ask Tag.) 

I'll share more photographs after these are finished and delivered on Friday, but this is all I'm giving away for now. Gotta run. You know the rest...

Oh, and if you're traveling or spending time with family starting tomorrow, I'll keep posting and we can catch up together after Christmas. Please stay safe, don't eat too much, and savor every second of time spent with family and/or friends. It really is the best.

December 22, 2021

A Peek At The Finish...

Brynwood Needleworks - Just A Peek. Completed Table Runner

I can't show the entire finished piece until after it's opened by the recipient. Even so, I wanted to share this much to show you it's all done and ready to wrap.

I'll be working on Grammie's Jammies today, and we'll see how far I get on those. I want to finish them so I can get some baking in yet this week. There won't be a cookie exchange this year, so I want to decorate Christmas cookies to share here with family and neighbors. 

I guess I'd better kick it in gear. Miles to go before I sleep. How are you doing as we slide into the last few days before Christmas? I'm actually quite comfortable. Nothing is more important than the reason for the season. I always have a Plan B if I need it, and I refuse to feel stressed or panicked. I'm enjoying every day, and counting my blessings. If you're reading what I write every day, I'm sure you feel the same.

I hope you have a great day, my friend. I appreciate that you're here to visit every day. I only wish our visits could be in person, and we could smile across cups of tea as we chat with each other. I'm sure glad we have this as an alternative. Thanks for being here.

December 21, 2021

Tuesdays With Tag - "Twas My Post Before Christmas...

A Feline Photobomber

...and all through the house, Claudette brings Mom lots of presents. Yep. Another mouse!

Hi, Everybody!

I've been super busy helpin' Mom and Dad get ready for Christmas this year. Just yesterday, I guarded the yard while they put up new lights that look like a Christmas tree at night! Aren't they pretty?

We all went for a ride together so Mom and Dad could grab a tasty dinner at Culver's...and so we could all see the lights from the road at night. It was awesome! They twinkle, flash, and change color. 

Mom wanted to take my picture so she could show you what the light tree looks like, and I was bein' a good boy. I sat nicely near the walkway lights so you'd be able to see me, when look who sauntered up and booped me right before Mom took the picture! Miss Chonk Cuddly Cat herself! Mom giggled and said, "I think that's the picture I'll use, Tag." Great. More proof that one of our resident felines is smitten with me. (By the way, Crystal was watchin' from the barn door, but, bein' a normal barn cat, she doesn't want to have anythin' to do with us dogs.)

We didn't stay outside much longer. Claudette and I don't mind too, much, but poor Mom doesn't have the extra fur to hang around in the cold. I went in the house, and Mom went to the barn to tuck in the cats before comin' back to our heated farmhouse. She told Dad it's gonna be a long winter, with her worryin' about the cats bein' warm enough 'til it gets nice outside again.

I've been in the barn, and I'm here to tell you, it's like the Hilton out there. Heat-reflective beds, layers of strategically placed hay, enclosed and insulated sleepin' areas, plug-in dishes to keep their food and water from freezin', and don't even get me started about the cushy perch by a window so they can bask in the sun durin' the day! They've really got the world by the keester! It's like Christmas for them every day. 

We're gonna have family around for the next couple of weeks, so that means Mom will be makin' cookies, breads and all kinds of tasty treats for people and pets. Honestly, it doesn't get better than that for a Corgi! Nom, nom, nom. I think she'll start that pretty soon, and I won't miss it for nothin'.

So, that's my stream of consciousness for this week. Kinda bounced all over, didn't I? I admit, the girls and I are preoccupied, wonderin' what we're gettin' this year. We can't wait until Christmas Eve.  How about you? Have you been good this year? Gotta run so I can do a couple last minute good deeds...just in case.

I'll see you again in seven. 'til then... 

Merry Christmas from Bella, Carly, 

Claudette, Crystal and me!

December 20, 2021

On To The Next Step...

Completed Applique' Block

I completed the last block I needed for the crow table runner. Today, I'll complete the assembly. I like the way this one is coming together, and I'm looking forward to seeing this one finished. 

Of course, you'll get to see it before the recipient. Even if she snoops here (which usually only happens this time of year. lol), she won't know it's for her until she opens her package. I love the holidays. Don't you?

December 19, 2021

December 18, 2021

I'm Back, Baby!...

Working On My Crow Table Runner

I began my day (as usual) with a hot cuppa coffee, fed the cats while Handsome fed the pups, and then I headed up to my studio. I sat down at my sewing machine and began making 1" half-square triangle blocks. Then, I began assembling fabrics.

I decided to add four blocks I'd created from a Lisa Bongean design (I'd laid them out wrong for the original quilt project, but they're perfect here.) I hadn't done the stitching on the applique' block in the lower left of this photograph, so I began that process last night, and will finish it today. Then I can complete assembly of my table runner.

I'm meeting my BFF, Lee for lunch today, but I'll be back to stitching when I get home, and will share my progress with you on Monday. Only one week left until Christmas! Grammie's Jammies are on the agenda for next week. I've got this.

December 17, 2021

Completely Derailed…

Then This Happened

The day began with big plans and high expectations. One (little) dog derailed my day. Yep. Tag completely changed my plans.

I was sitting in the kitchen, and glanced into the pantry as Tag emptied his breakfast dish and turned to leave the room. On his way out, he looked right at me, raised his 10-1/2 year old rear leg on our Amish oak trash cabinet, and…!!! He stood there as I asked him (possibly in a loud voice) what he was doing. When he finished, he just sauntered out of the pantry, giving me a “What’s your problem?” look on his way. (I promptly kenneled him, as Handsome came to find out what had me all agitated.)

I explained the inspiration for my ire, and we proceeded to move the cabinet out so I could do cleanup. When the space was cleared, I saw that this had been going on for a while. (Please don’t judge. Who moves a heavy cabinet every week to clean under it?) I was really hacked. Yes, I’d been smelling an offensive odor, but was sure he must have hit the rug, so I kept laundering it like a madwoman.

I spent the next twenty minutes on my hands and knees, cleaning the floor. (Handsome had to help me up when I was finished.) Then, we took the next hour cleaning the cabinet. I didn’t want his scent calling him back to the cabinet to continue his infraction. I didn’t put the cabinet in the old location for the same reason.

By the time we completed all that, I went outside and fed the cats. The high winds last night had them more than a little rattled. I sat and loved on them for a while, fed them, and then came back inside. It was after 1 pm.

With my sewing mojo gone for the day, I went back downstairs, where Handsome and I decided to engage in a little online Christmas shopping. We finished our list, and I went back upstairs, hoping I could sew for a while. Instead, I shifted fabric around, without making any headway.

So, after making and consuming dinner, Handsome and I did cleanup. Kitchen sparkling, I again went upstairs. In light of the hour, I figured I’d start knitting a pair of socks. I knit socks in the round. That means, once the stitches are all cast on the needles, the row is joined, and then you knit around and around to build a sock. 

The yarn that feeds the process should be outside the circle. As you can see, after completing two rows, I realized my yard was inside the circle. As I knit more and more of the sock, this would be a major frustration. I decided to set the sock WIP aside, and will start over the next time I pick it up. That’s how my day ended. 

I’m confident today will be a better day, all around. I remain hopeful that today I shall not be derailed. Wish me luck…

December 16, 2021

Thinking About Crows...

Michelle Palmer Crows

I have a lovely tin, filled with the artwork of my friend, Michelle Palmer. I went through it yesterday to find something special to make into a few gifts. I found a Santa, and another with a sweet owl drawing which I'll reveal later, but I have to share the crows today.

I pulled a jelly roll of French General fabrics from the Maison de Garance line that I think will coordinate perfectly with the fabrics Michelle used for her drawings. I'm going to make a table runner for someone special as a Christmas gift. I'll do the layout today, and plan to share a finished top with you tomorrow. We'll see how this works out. See you tomorrow!

December 15, 2021

New Large Version Kirby Bags...

Selection of Black Large Version Kirby Bags

I finished five new Kirby bags in my larger version. My BFF, Lee commissioned one at the Craft and Vendor Show, and I had to wait for my cork order to arrive. She wants a "black one", so I made five so she can choose her favorite.

I'll see her this week, and once she's chosen hers, (I love them all!) I'll put the rest in my online shop, along with a sales button right here on my blog. Priority shipping will be free, so there's still time to get one for Christmas gifting (or to keep!). 

I'll be busy in the studio again today...or I'll bake cookies. I haven't decided yet. I guess I'll decide while I drink my morning coffee. See you later!

December 14, 2021

Tuesdays With Tag - Our Prayer Request...

My "Artsy Fartsy" Portrait

 Hi, Everybody!

Are you gettin' ready for Christmas yet? Boo, The Kid and I are bein' especially good these days. We know Santa's on his way!

Mom and I took a drive yesterday to see Mom's sister who had a recent surgery and is havin' a rough time of it. She's been pretty sick for a long time, and Mom wanted to visit her. I rode along to keep Mom company, and then waited in the car until she came back out. When Mom got back to the car, she told me that we need to pray hard for her sister every night.

My brother, Trip is havin' a rough time, too. His symptoms are lookin' like DM (it's like Lou Gehrig's Disease in Corgis), and we're prayin' hard for him, too. He's my full brother, and I really liked hangin' out with him when we visited him in Michigan at Aunt Marion's house.

If you have any extra time as you're gettin' ready for the holidays, we'd sure appreciate you joinin' our prayer chain for Mom's sister and Trip. God will know who you're talkin' about.

I'm not gonna try to be funny or yammer on today. I'm headin' back to sit next to Mom and keep her company. I know I can be a butt-head sometimes, but I can be a good, true-blue boy when I need to be. I can tell when Mom needs me, and I don't want to let her down. Thanks for understandin'.

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

December 13, 2021

A Wooly Bear...

Brynwood Needleworks - Wooly Bear - Joy

 I managed a little needle dancing on Saturday evening and Sunday. I purchased a pattern for the bear from Anna at AmuruToys HERE on Etsy, and added my own personal touches.

This bear is only 6" tall from his toes to the tips of his ears. Even though he's not smiling, he's very joyful on the inside! After stitching the face and embroidered design, I assembled him according to the designer's instructions. I think future bears may be a bit more full (I'll add more cotton stuffing). I'm not sure if he'll keep the scarf or not, but for now, I like it.

My idea is to create more wool bears like this one as bowl fillers. It's always a good thing to have a bowl, filled with positive, comfort, peace, love, grace, give, laugh, happy, kiss, hug (because everyone should have a bear hug!), and a few more. I'm also thinking I may do a series in linen as small gifts.

Brynwood Needleworks - Wooly Bear's Tail

I even decided this little bear needed a tail. If you'd like to create a few of your own, I can recommend AmuruToys' pattern. It's easy to read and follow. It's called "Felt Bear", and it's an immediate download in pdf format. You print it out once it's downloaded from Etsy.

I'm making bags today, and Christmas cookies in the near future. Watch for updates in my Etsy shop this week, too, for the large version of the Kirby bag. That's what I'll be working on today. I can still ship packages USPS Priority Mail, and they should reach you by Christmas. Time for coffee. Have a great week!

PS. I'm in no way compensated for my referral to Etsy or Amuru Toys. I just like to mention things I can stand behind.

December 12, 2021

December 11, 2021

Pattern Available Now...

Brynwood Buttoned Flannel Scarf
I've written the scarf pattern, saved it to Dropbox, and have made it available to my blog friends for FREE by clicking the link HERE

The pattern is also listed in my Etsy shop for a nominal $1 fee. (Etsy won't let me list for free, and they charge me 20¢ (plus selling fees) for every pattern downloaded.) After January 1st, I'll charge more for it on Etsy. I really have to set up my own website, which I'm setting my sights on for the new year.

So, thanks for following my progress on these gifts for family, and get your free pattern. There's still plenty of time to make your own as gifts for others or yourself. Hugs from me to you!

December 10, 2021

Christmas Scarves...

Christmas 2021 - Buttoned Flannel Scarves

I completed four new buttoned flannel scarves yesterday. I would have done more, but truthfully, the time just got away from me. Tag and Bella are having "gastric distress" issues - cause unknown - and Handsome has been sleeping downstairs to be able to quickly get them outside when they fuss. I've worried about him as much as I have about them. They had him up multiple times through the night and early morning, and it takes its toll on all concerned. 

So, we all got a late start, and when Handsome had to run out to get a few supplies, I held down the fort. We think they're out of the woods now (thank you, Imodium), so when he got back home, I headed to the studio. 

This project began with a trip to Primitive Gatherings for some of their beautiful flannels, and I'm so happy I took the time to do that. Sewing on these fabrics is a real treat. 

I prewashed everything (tossing in a couple of Color Catchers™ just in case, and after washing, tossed them into the dryer. When they came out of the dryer, I did a light fold to carry them upstairs. They held their shape, and stayed true to grain. I didn't even have to pull them back into shape for the edges to line up. That says a lot about the fabric quality. 

I got my scarves sewn, but didn't get a pattern written up before dinner time. I'm going to do that today. I also decided that the pattern will be a gift to my blog readers (FREE) through the end of the month. After that, I'll put it into my online shop to sell.

I'll show you more photos tomorrow to share what's different about this scarf design. You're going to love it! See you then!

December 9, 2021

Something Fun Coming...

Primitive Gatherings' Flannels
I have something new on the (near) horizon! I made a quick turnaround trip to Primitive Gatherings yesterday, just to pick up an assortment of high quality, beautiful flannel fabrics for special Christmas gifts this year. I'm going to be making them up today, and then creating a detailed pattern that will be available in my online shop so you can make some, too!

This is a project you could complete - start to finish - in about an hour if you're an experienced sewer (why does that always read differently to me? sigh), or two hours if you're a bit slower. It can easily be sewn "production style", so that you'll finish them in a flash! Either way, you could complete this project in time for Christmas giving, and still have time to make cookies!

Please be sure to come back tomorrow. You won't want to miss this fun project!