April 30, 2022

All That Glitters...


Metallic Check Purls
Well, some anyway. This is my assortment of check purls for future projects. Most of the colors are one meter lengths. You'd think in all of this, that I would have the color I ran out of for my Goldwork Floral Wreath project. Nope.

I contacted Clara to let her know that there wasn't enough in the kit to finish, and that I didn't have a matching color. She said color lots in the metallics are wildly different, and she immediately dispatched what I will need to finish the piece. (She's sending extras of some of the others where I may fall short, too.) How's that for wonderful?

In the meantime, I can't finish my piece, even though I could work on the rest of the branches. I may do that today, now that I can sit and stitch without letting my mind wander. I have an audio book that I'm going to set up so I can listen to that while I "dance". That way, when the package arrives, I can complete the rest of the design.

The weather will be rainy all weekend, so I'll make sure the barn girls are safe, warm, and dry while I stitch. The pups will likely be sleeping underfoot while I stitch. It will be a lovely weekend in spite of the rain.

Have a great weekend!

April 29, 2022

Goodbye, Sweet Friend...

My Dearest Krisann


I woke up yesterday to news that my dear friend, Krisann had passed. I had just turned on my cell phone, and fell into my bedroom chair, stunned to read the news. 

If you've followed my blog for any period of time, you'll know that Krisann and I became friends through Project Linus when we both lived in Florida. She and I then joined the Tuesday evening Paneras group, and spent a lot of time together. We used to joke that I was no longer one of the younger members of the group. She was the "kid".

She was Mom to Nathan, and at that time, wife to Tim. Tim is the one who sent the message to me. They had divorced years ago, and he had since remarried. After a series of sad events, Krisann had moved back to her home state of Massachusetts, and fallen in love with a great guy. 

We kept in touch via phone or FaceTime, and always shared a laugh and family news. I think I last spoke with her about two months ago, and just a few days ago, I'd added some crochet goodies (books and fibers) to a pile to send off to her. She had send a box of lovely gifts to me around my birthday. 

She started calling me "650" when we lived in Florida. I asked her why. Her reply was simply, "650 is DCL (my initials) in Roman numerals." Clever girl! The best I could do was call her "KA". 

Krisann had a wicked sense of humor, and a huge heart. She was a massage therapist with a gift for healing, and she frequently grew her beautiful dark hair to a healthy, long length, just so she could cut it all off and donate to Locks of Love. 

She was a bright light, extinguished much too soon. I thought about her and spoke with her all day yesterday. I cried. This was sudden, unexpected, and painful for all who loved her and are left behind.

I contacted many of our mutual friends to let them know she was gone. Friends who'd moved back to their home states and would have no way to know otherwise. The calls were cathartic as we talked about her, and then, through her, were able to catch up with each other's lives. Even in her passing, she shared a gift with each of us - the reminder to keep in touch, and tell each other how we feel about each other.

I'm going to miss her, but I know she rests in the arms of our Savior. I pray that she'll find the peace that so cruelly eluded her here on earth. 

Goodbye, sweet friend. Until I see you again...

April 28, 2022

(Not) Tuesdays With Tag - An Important Announcement...

She Just Turned Two

 Hi again, Everybody!

It appears I'm in the doghouse this week anyway. Tuesday, I talked about Carly, but I completely forgot to wish The Kid a Happy Birthday! She turned two yesterday!

Mom wants me to make it up to the Birthday Girl by tellin' the actual truth about how we all feel about her. We don't know what we'd do without this pretty girl in our lives. She's funny, silly, intelligent, driven, (annoying. It had to be said), athletic, and vocal. Man, can she tell a story or two! We're very happy you're ours.

I know you're glad to hear from me again, so I know you won't mind me droppin' another two cents' worth this week. See you next Tuesday.

Happy Birthday, Carlita Puppita Mummacita.
Two down...lots to go.


(Mom, Dad, Bella, Claudette and Crystal, too.)

April 27, 2022

Sparkling Needle Dancing...

Current Progress On My Goldwork Floral Wreath
In addition to baking bread and rolls on Monday, I also worked on my Floral Wreath. I’m making great strides on my third branch, so I’ll move on to Number Four (and final) very soon. 

Making Chippings
I thought I’d share one part of the process that I think you’d like to know. The blue sparkles in my flowers aren’t beads. They’re actually cut from a metallic coil called pearl purl. CORRECTION: The fiber is called “Check purls”. Pearl Purl is a different metallic fiber. Sorry for the confusion. I’m still learning. 

I have to use scissors devoted to only cutting metallic threads, as they dull the blades. Ideally, the chippings are cut in equal sizes, but it’s okay to make them a bit smaller to fill in a bare spot when needed. 

They’re then stitched in place (through the coil, like a bead) with another metallic thread called heavy metal. I’ve learned that fiber is Madeira 30 thread. The chippings are stitched in a random pattern, trying not to have them all going in the same direction. I think you achieve maximum sparkle that way. 

Tomorrow I’ll take pictures or a short video to share how the leaves are stitched. I think you’re going to love that process. It’s very zen!

See you tomorrow.


April 26, 2022

Tuesdays With Tag - Wasn’t Me, Babe…


Mom’s Slipper

Hi, Everybody!

It was a sad day. Mom discovered that one of her new slippers from Dad has been mangled. She was pretty upset. They were a Christmas present from Dad, and she loves them. 

She showed this one to Dad and he was so shocked. He said he’d buy new ones for her. They know I’m not a chewer…even when I was a puppersnapper. So, there’s a lot of speculation about who the culprit might be.

Could It Be?

I’m not gonna point any paws, but the evidence is pretty overwhelmin’. Bella isn’t one to randomly gnaw on footwear, or anythin’ else, for that matter. I’m gonna guess Her Cuteness is the culprit. I guess we might need to have a little chat.

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

"Been There, Chewed That!"

April 25, 2022

Craft Day Creations…

More Crafted Hoops (l-r: me, Linda, Deb, Marie, Kim, & Adrienne)
Saturday was another craft day in Portage. The weather was perfect for the drive over and back, and we had another fun day.

Adrienne had seen some other great hoop ideas, and we had hoops left over from last time, so we all got busy.

Deb, Cutting Up With Her Piece
I’ve known Deb (nickname “Derby”) since she dated Linda’s son decades ago. Like me with Mom Grace, Linda and Deb have remained close, even after her son broke up with his girlfriend. I’m sharing this picture of Deb because it perfectly captures her personality. I loved Deb years ago, and I love her still.

I left my hoop a bit understated because my plan is to add a goldwork insect to it in the near future. Perhaps it will be a ladybug, or just a small gold bug. I’ll decide when I’m ready to work on it.

I’m in charge of next month’s project. I already know what it will be, but you’ll have to wait to find out what we’ll be creating until the reveal photographs. 

I also made great progress on my Floral Wreath piece. More on that Wednesday. Tag will visit with you tomorrow. 

April 24, 2022

Sunday Scripture…

Psalm 61:20 via MeaganNeedham.com

April 23, 2022

A Little More...

Updated Progress On My Goldwork Floral Wreath

I’m off to Portage this morning for the monthly craft group, but I wanted to share my progress on the goldwork wreath. I love how it’s coming together. 

I’ll have photos from today’s craft project on Monday, and more of this piece, too! I can see real progress now. I may do a short video to show you how these elements are created sometime next week, too. 

For now, I’ve got to run. Playtime in Portage with my dear friends awaits!

April 22, 2022

Bright, Shiny Stitches…


Adding Stems and Leaves
I spent time stitching yesterday afternoon. I added centers to the large blossoms, calyx to the smaller buds, completed two leaves, and added most of the stems to one set of blooms. 

The leaves were especially fun to work on. They’re stitched using two needles with three threads in each one. I love the effect.

I’ll be finishing this first stem today, and then I’ll see how far I get on the second. I do love the look of these sparkling, metallic fibers!

April 21, 2022

A Good Day To Bake…


Farmhouse Sandwich Bread

The weather was perfect for baking, and making something warm and delicious for dinner. 
I made and baked four beautiful loaves of farmhouse sandwich bread, and then, Handsome 
and I made a hearty beef stew together. 

As we sat down to dinner, the wind was howling against the farmhouse as it was bringing with it a driving rain. The dogs had been fed, the barn cats were fed, safe and warm in their beds, and the house smelled of warm bread and stew.

The changes in the weather make my hands hurt, so yesterday was better spent not stitching. I’ll try that again today. I’m not complaining. I truly love homekeeping and making delicious things for and with my husband. It was a good day. Today will be, too. Living a joyful and creative life.

April 20, 2022

New Inspiration…


“Goldwork” by Hazel Everett
I’ve told you before how much I love books. It pains me that most of ours are still in storage. Much of my goal for downsizing my sewing/fabric studios is to turn my fabric studio into a library/guest room. 

So, it should come as no great surprise that I had to have a goldwork book recommended by my current class instructor, Clara Warschauer. It arrived on Saturday, and I’ve had my nose buried in it since then.

Clara told our class that it’s her favorite book for this technique, and she shared a piece she’s created from the book (shown on the cover!). It’s beautiful. Once I’ve finished my wreath project, there’s a smaller piece inside that I’ll attempt. I have already added some of the supplies to my sewing box, so I’ll be able to get right to it. 

For now, I’ll keep my blinders on and my fingers busy with my “Everlasting” embroideries, and the floral wreath in goldwork. I think it’ll be worth the wait.

April 19, 2022

Tuesdays With Tag - White and Wet…


Surprise, Surprise

Hi, Everybody!
How’s the weather where you are?
It’s gettin’ so we don’t know what to expect from one day to the next. One day it’s lookin’ like Spring, for real. The next, we’ve got snow on the ground again. Yesterday, it snowed all.stinkin’.day. It’s supposed to get up to 61° by Thursday. It’s pretty confusin’.
Playin’ In The Snow
Dad took Boo, The Kid and me out for a good romp in the white stuff. There was lots of stuff to sniff on, and lots of room to run. It was awesome! 

I was mostly methodical and deliberate in my tracking’. The girls, on the other hand, ran from one end of our yard to the other. Carly chased her mom, who had speed to spare to keep well ahead of her. By the time they were ready to go back in the house, tongues were hangin’ down to their knees. We really needed it, ‘cuz we were startin’ to get cabin fever.

We’re hopin’ Winter will be over soon. We’re all lookin’ forward to hangin’ around in the yard and soakin’ up some rays. Mom wants to get into the garden, and we all want to help. Come on, warm weather!

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

"Been There, Chewed That!"

April 18, 2022

Two Down, Two To Go…


“Everlasting” Quilt - My Version - Corner Embroideries 
I’m sharing embroidery progress on my version of Primitive Gatherings “Everlasting” quilt. I managed to complete two corners during our Sewcial Sisters’ retreat. 

Corner Two Complete
I already shared my first corner last week, so here’s Corner Two. I drew a bouquet on paper with a Sharpie. Then I traced it in pencil onto my fabric. I’m only drawing  a sketch of the stems and then fleshing them out with lavender blooms as I go. Just as in nature, no two plants are exactly the same, so I’m free to embellish as I please.

I’ll work on the upper corners soon, and will show you my progress as I have more to share. I want to work on my goldwork wreath, too, so I’ll probably go back and forth between the two. 

I’ve neglected responding to blog comments this past week while I was away, so I’ll catch up this week. Thanks to everyone who left a note for me. Apologies that I didn’t answer them quickly, as usual. 

Finally, I’ve got my Etsy shop on vacation for a bit. If there’s something you’ve seen and want that was currently listed, just let me know. I can complete a sale for you through Square. In the meantime, I’m working on an Etsy alternative, and will let you know more soon. (They’ve raised seller rates again, and it’s getting ridiculous, so I’m working on an alternative.) I’ll see you again Wednesday. Tag’s back tomorrow.

April 17, 2022

Sunday Scripture - Easter Sunday...


John 11:25-26 via quotesology 

April 16, 2022

My New Needlework Frame…

It’s Here! 
I ordered this table-mounted needlework frame last December from a talented needleworker in Russia…before everything went crazy overseas. We corresponded about what I wanted for personalization, and it was produced in January. My package shipped January 16th, and then I started tracking its progress. It wasn’t good. 

Russia to Poland to Germany. Russia for a long, long, long time. Once in Germany, it sat and sat. March 26th, it showed as being received in Jersey City, NJ. It was finally stateside! It languished in NJ until last week. When I saw it was in Illinois, I almost threw a party!

I greeted our postal carrier at the door Thursday. I actually got home from the retreat before she came with our mail. There it was. A compact box with packaging tape with Russian text on it. 

My Goldwork Wreath In The Frame
There are multiple accessories to create various configurations. I’ve chosen this setup for my goldwork piece. Having it flat will allow me to rest my goldwork chippings on the hoop as I work. You’ll definitely be seeing more of this frame in the future. 

I managed to complete two corners on my “Everlasting” quilt while I was at retreat. I’ll work on corner three over the weekend, and show you my progress on Monday. 

Happy Easter to my fellow Christians, 

April 15, 2022

Images From The Tour…

Office and Recording Studio
As promised, here are photos from the tour Lisa gave the Sewcial Sisters. I have many more, but am limiting it to these. 

We began above the shop space, in the main office for Primitive Gatherings. The large window area is where Lisa, Jess, or other employees film their live videos. We also got sneak peeks of upcoming designs, fabrics, and promos, but we’re sworn to secrecy. 

Where Kits Are Created
Once back downstairs, we continued our tour in the kitting room. The elves were busy putting together kits for the warehouse and shop. The room has large windows which flood the space with light. 

Print Shop
Next door, we saw the print shop. All Primitive Gatherings patterns and other media are printed in-house. You’ll notice the high ceilings, which will accommodate future expansion.
Tyler, Dying Wools
Tyler has a large space in the warehouse dedicated to wool dying. There are sinks, stoves to heat the dye pots, shelves of dyes, and washers & dryers for the final steps of the process. There’s also A LOT of wool fabric! 
Wall of Wool
Once complete, the wools end up on one side or the other of the wall of wools. All the colors are stored alphabetically. 
Partial Valdani Inventory
This area is warehousing threads and more. There are many shelves, and they’re ALL full. 
Longarm Area 
This is where the guys finish client quilts with their longarm skills. There are four machines here, with another one coming in soon. We got to see a few quilts under the machines, as well as one of the quilts they completed with a custom pattern.
Shipping Department 
Place an online order or become a member of one of their subscription clubs, and this is where it will be packaged and shipped. It’s the hub of activity every day. They also ship purchases guests buy when staying at The Gatherings (retreat house).

Some of the gals had been on this tour before, but we all were impressed with the entire facility. I hope you enjoyed a peek into the operations aspect of Lisa and Nick Bongean’s business as much as we did.

We’ve reserved our accommodations for the week before Easter next year. We’re also reserved for one day a month for our Sewcial Sisters. We shared brunch before saying our goodbyes and loading our vehicles. 

I got home late morning to my happy husband, excited dogs, and grateful cats. While it was great fun to spend a few days with the ladies, as always, there’s no place like home.

April 14, 2022

Time To Go Home…


Sewcial Sisters (l-r: Karen, Judy, Kathy D, MaryAnn, me, and Kay)
Our time is up at Primitive Gatherings’ retreat house. Did I tell you it’s called “The Gathering”? We’ll be taking a tour this morning, and then I’ll load up the Brynwoodmobile and turn for home.

I’ve had a wonderful time, got some things accomplished, and thoroughly enjoyed my stay, but I’m anxious to get back home. I have loads more photos to share, but I’ve been posting from my iPad, which is less than ideal for writing, so I’ll write a wrap up post tomorrow. 

I don’t want to miss the tour, so I’m going to close for now. Come back tomorrow to see the rest. Gotta run!

April 13, 2022


Name Tags and Room Key

I arrived safely at the Primitive Gatherings Retreat House Monday afternoon. Upon check-in, I was handed my name tags for the week, and my room key. I grabbed my luggage and turned down the hall to the guest rooms. 
Hallway To The Guest Rooms
Above each guest room hangs a quilt block sign. There’s also a room number, but it’s easy enough to just match your key fob to the sign above your door. (We’re the last room on the left, next to the beautiful, big dresser.)

My Bed Is Next To The Window

Once inside the room, we found comfortable beds, covered in vintage quilts (which are all for sale. Prices are on the back of each entry door.) Our room looks out over a small pond, the chicken coop, the resident sheep (Sundrop and Soda Pop), and the site of the cafeteria chef’s future garden. You can see my “swag bag” on my bed.
My Guest Gifts

Inside my bag I found a wool sheep pincushion, a pattern exclusive to Retreat House guests, a roll of wool pieces, a quilt-themed spiral notebook, a PG 2022 patch and keychain, and a ball of Valdani thread. There was also a gift certificate to spend in the shop. (I’d show it to you, but I spent it on wool already.)
Lisa Bongean During Show & Tell

Regularly scheduled Sit & Stitch was yesterday, so there were 49 people attending. We got to see what everyone was working on, and got to meet new people. I worked on the lavender corners on my Everlasting quilt. 
My Lavender Embroidery

It’s not complete yet, but taking a picture to share shows me where I need to do a little more work. I know I won’t finish the quilt top before I leave on Thursday, but I’m going to do my best. More photos tomorrow.