June 30, 2023

Red & Yellow Roses Sachet...

Here's a look at the completed embroidery I've been working on. If you'd like to see the completed strawberry, please click HERE to go to my Instagram page. The link should take you to an image of our Compass Barn and it will load a short video (turn on your volume if you'd like to hear anexcerpt of Ella Fitzgerals singing while you watch).

I'll be tending my garden for a bit today, and then my plan is to work on the goldwork hearts I started a few weeks ago. I guess I'm in the mood to finish my current UFOs, and then I'll be able to begin a very special brooch. I can't wait to share images and details as I work out what the finished piece will look like!

I'm looking forward to a restful weekend. How about you? What do you have planned for the next few days?

June 29, 2023

Back To The Roses...

This was all the progress I made yesterday during the day,  as we spent most of the day either traveling to the clinic about an hour away or traveling back home. In the meantime, I stitched when they weren't escorting me back and forth as Handsome was undergoing his procedure.

My fair Swede spent many years photographing boats on the water - usually without adequate sun protection, and he's paying for it now. His six month scheduled dermatology appointments were increased to every four months, and every time they find a spot or barnacle (as we call them) that needs to be removed. Yesterday it was an extensive area on his head, and it required a "mose procedure". Don't ask. I don't know anything more than that it took about three hours in the doctor's chair.

I tried my hardest to concentrate on my roses, but this was as far as I got before it was time to get him back home. Once back, I got him comfortable and managed to do a bit more stitching after dinner. I'm planning to do a lot more today so that I can complete this project, too. I can't wait to share what's next!

I'll see what I can get done today, and share it tomorrow. Have a great day!

June 28, 2023

Time For Me To Fly...

This is my completed goldwork Blue Tit from Clara's workshop.  I shared a short video on Instagram, so if you'd like to see it closeup - and also see the back - just click HERE. I've hung this in my studio for now with my cardinal and robin wall quilts. (Which reminds me, I should start work on the bluebirds soon.)

I hoped you liked following along as I created this piece. I'll be working on the red roses strawberry sachet today. Handsome has to have a procedure done, so I'll stitch while I wait. I'll show you how far I get with that piece tomorrow. Have a great day!

June 27, 2023

Tuesdays With Tag - Smoky...

Hi, Everybody!
Today, I want to check in and tell you what it's like to be me (or Bella or Carly, or any critter with a good nose). When we've been goin' outside that past few days (actually longer than that), we've been smellin' lots of smoke. I mentioned that to Mom last night, and she told me why.
She went on her phone's weather app and saw that there have been air quality advisories for a while now. She read to me what it said. It read, "smoke originatin' from Canadian wildfires will spread from north-to-south, impactin' air concentrations" and that people with breathin' issues should remain inside. They don't mention that our animal sense of smell is much stronger, and we're affected, too.
Mom and Dad have only been lettin' us out to go do our business and run around a little before we all go back inside. Mom checks on the barn girls all the time to make sure they're okay, but we're lucky that we're surrounded by so many air-filterin' trees. Even so, everythin' is hazy, and you can tell from this picture taken around 9 am, that the sun is obscured by smoke.
There was a lot of talk on the news about those fires weeks ago, and we didn't know that the fires must still be burnin' to send smoke all the way to east-central Wisconsin. It's a reminder how lucky we are not to be in the middle of the devastation.
We'll be prayin' for all the people - and animals - affected by the fires. I sure hope they get lots of rain soon to put out the flames. It must be awful for all of them, and it makes us pretty sad. We hope you'll keep them in your thoughts, too.
Mom wanted me to add a note for Miss Shirley about the raccoons, too, before I go. You were right. Mom moved all the cat food to the barn after my last post. Two nights ago, she heard a ruckus outside the barn. They'd eaten the food she had out there, and Mama raccoon was escortin' five kids back up to the woods! That must have been a scout she brought with her last time. 
It's been pretty dry around here - except for the blessed rain we got for two days - Mom doesn't mind sharin' cat food with them as long as they stay off our porch. It must be hard providin' for five hungry, little mouths. She's happy to help, and thought you'd like to know you were right, Miss Shirley! She's glad she listened to you!
I'll see you again in seven. 'til then... 
"Be A Good Dog."

June 26, 2023

June Craft Day...

l-r: Donna, Linda K. Adrienne, Kim's Daughter, Kim, Nancy and Marie

We had fun (as usual) on Saturday. I was the project leader this time, and wanted something simple - but new to the group - as I needed to be back home by 1 pm for my final goldwork class with Clara. I chose an old standby project that I've made before, and the ladies really leaned into it.
I shared how to "meld" a photocopy image (or in Linda's case, a small American flag - stick removed) to a candle, using glue stick and a heat gun. After the images were melted into the wax, we added trims and embellishments to finish our projects. 

Our candles only took about a 1/2 hour to 45 minutes to complete - even with sharing the heat guns - and the ladies will likely make more of them as gifts in the future. We had time to spare, so we visited for a while, and after hugs and goodbyes, I drove home.

These are the two I made - one as the teaching piece, and the other to go with it - as Birthday gifts for a family member. Simple embellishments, but I know they'll be appreciated. 

I completed my Blue Tit Goldwork Bird project yesterday, too. I'll share that with you on Wednesday, and Tag will see you tomorrow. Here's to another productive week!

June 25, 2023

Sunday Scripture...

Matthew 11:28 via GwenSmith.net

June 24, 2023

Red Roses...

Not one who enjoys idle hands, I started a new sachet last night. This one will use the colors shown on the project. Red and yellow roses will be the centerpiece of this strawberry, and it will be a small gift.

Today is Craft Day, so I'll be driving to Portage this morning. It's my turn to lead our group so I've chosen something quick and fun. I'll share it with you on Monday.  

I need to be on the road for home by about 11:30 to be back in time for my final goldwork session for the "Blue Tit Workshop" this afternoon. It's going to be a whirlwind day and I'm looking forward to every second of it.
Have a great weekend, dearies. I've got to run. I don't want to be late!

June 23, 2023


They sit in line and wait their turn. Shortly before I snapped this photograph, both boys were waiting for a little sparrow to finish his snack. It's a treat for Handsome and me to watch them flit in and away from the feeders all day. Each one's coloring is just a bit different from the others, but there's no mistaking that orange flash when they're flying around in the yard. 

The hollyhocks have begun to open so I'll be sharing images of all their colorful blossoms very soon. The hummingbirds love feeding from them, so I hope to catch a few special photos of them feeding, too.

Wishing you a lovely Friday, as another week quickly comes to an end. Wishing my mum a happy 86th Birthday, too. Lots going on today, so I'd better get going. I'll tell you all about it very soon.

June 22, 2023

Beautiful Resource Books...

When Clara (@clarastitching) first recommended Hazel Everett's book, Goldwork, I immediately purchased it. Last weekend, she also recommended Hazel's second book, "Goldwork and Silk Shading", which was published posthumously. Of course, I purchased that one before our class was over, and it arrived yesterday.

The second book contains much of the information from the first one, but has completely different designs. It also incorporated more thread work, and then combinations of silk shading (with threads) and goldwork. There's so much beautiful inspiration!

Clara has stitched the piece on the cover of Goldwork, and I intend to do that one also. I have a few other pieces to complete first, and I suspect this one will be more of a long-term effort. No rush, you understand.
If you'd like to learn goldwork, or simply read and learn, I can highly recommend either book for you. I ordered mine through Amazon, but I'm sure they're available from other vendors, too.  I thought you might like to know. 

June 21, 2023

Goldwork Progress...

I completed all the goldwork on my class project on Tuesday, so I'm ready for the next and last class session on Saturday. Part of this assignment was to make the legs and feet, so I've finished them, too.

I forwarded this photograph to my teacher, Clara and she said it looks great, so I'm happy. One of the wonderful things about taking these classes is learning the new techniques and becoming comfortable with a new skill. I'm already looking forward to incorporating some of them into designs of my own.

Saturday will be my last session on this project. I have a nest with eggs to yet create, and then we'll be receiving finishing instructions to create the ornament. I can't wait to share the completed project with you next week!

June 20, 2023

Tuesdays With Tag - Loony 'Coons...

Hi, Everybody!
Mom said it was likely that the raccoon mama showin' up on our porch to eat cat food every night was probably hungry and needed food to be able to nurse her babies. Mom said nobody better hurt this evenin' visitor, either.

Turns out Mom was right. Last night I started my usual "somebody's on the porch who's not supposed to be on the porch" growlin' and when Mom went outside to check, boy was she surprised! Not only did Mama Raccoon stand up and look at her, but she had a youngster in tow, too.

Mama Raccoon got of the porch toot sweet, but Mom didn't know Dad was lettin' Bella out for her nightly "squirt" from the other door. Mama Raccoon ran off the porch and Bella chased her. Mom freaked out 'cuz, in her haste, Mama Raccoon left her baby raccoon behind. Mom informed Dad of the visitors, and he called Bella off the trail of the Mama, and put her back in the house.  However, the temporary damage had been done. Mama and Baby were separated.

This little guy was feisty, too! When Mom tried to walk around the chair it was hidin' on, it growled a big raccoon growl! Mom stepped back and just made sure the baby was safe before goin' back in the house.
Before lights out, Mom just went outside one more time to check on the cats and to see whether or not the baby had left. As of "bed check", the girls were settled for the night, and the baby raccoon was still on the back of one of our porch chairs...waitin' for it's mama. The cats were watchful, but kept their distance from the raccoons. Usually they only growl at unauthorized visitors.

Mama eventually came back and got her baby after all the house lights were turned off. The cats' water dish was a sloppy mess, and all their food was gone. Dad has informed all residents that the cats will henceforth be fed in the barn. It's one thing for the uninvited to show up in the barn to steal food, but there will be no more wildies on the porch. Of course, the cats will continue to sleep on the porch as they've been doin', but they're gonna have to head to the barn when they're hungry from now on. The line will start at the barn door.

I'll see you again in seven. 'til then... 
"Be A Good Dog."
PS: Mom remembered that she hasn't been back to reply to all the nice comments last week. She'll do that later today. Thanks to everyone who left a note for her...and who care about me. We both appreciate it. 
- Tag

June 19, 2023

Embroidery Progress...

Whew! This part was harder than it looked. I did the goldwork on the belly of my wee bird yesterday. The class was great, and really, Clara made this part look almost effortless. Have I got a lot more practice to perfect this technique!
One thing I learned is that it's easier to see the thread against the gold if I'm not in bright light. I found shading my work with my hand helped me find the previous threads so that I could create the brick pattern required when couching down the vintage Japanese gold and gilt twist threads. Apparently, my new magnifier "glasses" weren't much help in my quest for stitch perfection. I'm not sharing a closeup because it shows all my wonky "less than perfect" stitches. I'll just remind myself that this is my first attempt at that technique, and I'll get better with practice.

The next step is to create the feathers on the upper wing, which I'll begin this week. First, I have to go around the inside of the wing with a green purl, and then the feathers will be created using small flat sequins. This part is going to be fun!

I'll share more when I finish the wing. After that, I'll make the separate feet for my little bird. Then I'll be ready for the final class next Saturday! Tag will see you tomorrow, and I'll be back Wednesday. We'll see how much I can accomplish between now and then.

June 18, 2023

June 17, 2023

My Garden Update...

Everything is growing well as of today. In the bed in the foreground (from left to right): marigolds, one green pepper plant, basil (grown from seed), a whole row of green peppers, a row of roma tomatoes, and more marigolds. I'm going to plant a row of garlic between the tomatoes and peppers this week, too.
In the far raised bed I have more marigolds, bush beans (from seed), and Early Girl tomatoes. It's interesting that the romas already have little tomatoes setting on them, but not on the Early Girl plants. hmmm 

In the stock tank, I have marigolds on the ends, English daisies in the pots (I have to clean out the kitchen garden so I can plant them over there), peas, and radishes (both from seed). I'm going to run cord from the tall plant hanger down to the ground so the peas will have something to climb.

I need to get the weed eater into the enclosure to knock down the grass. I'm looking to find a mat material (like rugs) that our younger daughter-in-law placed in her garden to keep the weeds down and have a tidy surface for walking around my garden beds. Otherwise, I'm contemplating a base of plastic or cardboard, covered with pea gravel.
Next to the garage/storage building I have leaf lettuce, onions, and garlic growing in the raised stock waterer. I have more onions growing in bags further down the line, and the honeysuckle transplanted from the old front porch location is loving this spot where it can climb the short section of fencing. I need to tidy up around it this weekend. 
I have an old Radio Flyer wagon nestled under it, and Claudette loves sleeping in its shade. Now that it's blooming, the hummingbirds are likely to visit it, so I need to make it a little lot less convenient for her to "watch" them while they sip from the blossoms.

Last of all (for now) is the galvanized tank that was my dad's. I have chives gowing it it, but planted fennel today. I have to build a 2 x 4' base for this, I think, as the metal stand that I brought home with it is really rusting and falling apart. Alternatively, I may see if I can't locate an old stand lacking the basin. I'd really prefer that.

Well, that's my garden tour for now. Handsome actually would like to purchase another galvanized stock tank like the one inside my fenced area.We still have plenty of soil from our delivery, and I could use if for carrots and herbs this year. We just have to find another one like the one I have. Our local Fleet Farm is out of stock now. Perhaps another one of the stores close to us will have one? We'll see.

I have my second session with Clara today (@clarastitching), so I'm hoping to do a little more stitching on my goldwork bird this weekend. I'll update you on Monday. The weather is supposed to be nice all weekend, so I hope you have something fun planned for outdoors. We soak it in while we can!

June 16, 2023

Bella's Strawberry and "The Hoop"...

Bella's Strawberry Sachet is finished, so I can share it with you today. Lots of little flowers, and a special silver paw print near the tip. Of course, I have a silver acorn attached to the top, too. 

I chose a grey houndstooth wool for our black Labrador girl, and the tassle top is composed of thread colors used in the embroidery. I stuffed this one with organic cotton so it's nice and firm. It will join the other berries I've kept in a pretty, oval creamware bowl.

I worked on this piece last time I was with the Sewcial Sisters, and Kathy D. noticed my hoop. You will have seen it in photographs every time I share a small piece I'm working on. It belonged to my mother-in-law, Evelyn, and when I'm working on something special, I reach for this one first.

Kathy asked if it was a Queen hoop, and I said, "I don't know. What's a Queen hoop?". I turned it in hand and sure enough, it said "Queen" on the edge. I asked what might be special about it, and she showed me a listing for an oval one on Etsy or Ebay (I can't remember) that was listed for a whopping $700! We agreed that it was probably an astronomical asking price, but while there were other circular hoops listed, this was the only oval.

So, I took my embroidery off the hoop and showed her the features that make it different from our other hoops. Queen patented the metal wheel tightening mechanism in the 1940s, and there is an imbedded wool felt liner on the inside hoop that helps keep needlework taut. Because of the wheel mechanism, the outside hoop does not completely open and come apart.

My understanding is that they also manufactured metal hoops with the same tightening wheel, and if I look hard enough, I'll find the one that I also got with my mother-in-law's embroidery things.

I have to say that if Handsome's dear mother had seen that $700 listing, she would have laughed out loud. If you look on the lower right image above, you'll see that written in pencil on the inside of the felt-lined hoop is "25¢". I can hear her chuckle as I write this.

All I know is that this hoop is precious to me because of who previously owned it. It has the patina of age and use that was worn in by Evelyn's hands, and no amount of money - large or small - will make a difference to me. It's priceless in my eyes, and I'll continue to feel close to her every time I use it.

June 15, 2023

Ready To Assemble...

The next time you see this piece, it will be a completed Strawberry Sachet. I began this one while we waited for Bella's ultrasound results, so it will be our reminder of the day we spent in Madison, worried about our girl. I'll be adding ribbon embroidery and a small "Bella" touch before it's all done. Then, I'll share it again so you can see the completed piece.

I have a story to tell you tomorrow about the special hoop I use when I create these strawberries and other small pieces. It belonged to my mother-in-law before it came to me, so it's special in its own right, but there's more that would thoroughly tickle her.

I'll put this together today, so you'll see it tomorrow, too. I'm going to be in the garden first, and then I'll be back in the studio for a bit. Hard to believe we almost have another week behind us. Somehow it just doesn't seem fair. sigh Slowing down time a bit would be nice.


June 14, 2023


I shared my progress on my class project on Monday. I thought I'd share a photo of Clara's Bird (the nest was still in progress in this image).

You'll notice that my bird head is slightly different from hers. My bird's cheek is a bit smaller, and the crown and neck "feathers" flow in different directions than shown here. It's one of the wonderful things about needlework, in that we can always make adjustments to make it "ours".

I spent the day following up on insurance claims for our dear Bella, along with transcribing my needlework class notes. I'm going to get back to working on two goldwork hearts I set up a few weeks ago, and then I'm going to finally get to the Tudor Rose goldwork project from one of Clara's previous classes (ugh. I've never even started it.) When I was at the Primitive Gatherings "Purge and Splurge" event, I purchased a beautiful oak Sudberry lidded box. Would you believe it only cost me fifteen dollars? It's roughly 8" square and 2" tall. I'll show it to you soon. My intent is to mount the Tudor Rose on the lid once it's completed.

I admit, I have so many goldwork projects in mind now, that I may just stitch all summer. Won't that be wonderful? My projects will sparkle all winter! Just a little something to aspire to, and I hope you'll join me on my stitching journey. 

June 13, 2023

Tuesdays With Tag - A Note From Tag's Mom...

Before I even begin, please don't be alarmed. Tag is sitting at my feet and sassy as ever. 
This is Donna posting instead of Taggart today because I wanted to share a few things with you. I'm doing it on Tag's Tuesday because I knew you'd likely be here to see what he's been up to this week.

If you've visited in the past couple months, you know that my boy turned twelve this year. That's not real old for a small dog, but even so, my boy has been slowing down. Climbing the stairs is getting more difficult for him, and he has to be really motivated to come to the second level in the farmhouse anymore. 
I've noticed while Handsome was in Florida that Tag was listening to me less than he usually does, and in more recent weeks, I've determined that he's suffering significant hearing loss. He usually barks like crazy when the mailman drives up, and he knows because he can hear the van (it's kind of noisy). He'll run from the back to the front of the house, and bounce up to look out the windows in the dining room. Lately, he doesn't hear the van, so unless he's lying in the back entry and sees it, he doesn't make a peep.

When we're outside, I keep him on a lead because unless I whistle a high whistle, he doesn't flinch, turn or react to my voice at all. If he's off-leash, he watches me a lot. I'll use a hand signal for him to come to me, or use that whistle to get his attention. He's always startled when Bella barks, and I think that's another indicator, as he must not be hearing her infrequent, but still present, low growl. Also, if I walk into a room, it's the floor vibration he reacts to, not that he hears me entering. If he's sleeping, me walking into a room doesn't wake him up, and most times when in his kennel, he now faces the back of the crate to sleep. That's new for him, but these are all signs to me that he's suffered a significant hearing loss.
Even though we let the dogs out last thing at night, I'm also having to wash his bedding about every other morning now. I think that his weakened back end accounts for this as well as his hesitancy with stairs.
Please don't feel sorry for us...dogs live in the moment, never feeling sorry for themselves. We're watching over him to make sure he's okay and that he doesn't hurt himself, or be in a situation to be hurt because he either can't mobilize or hear to keep himself safe. It's always been our jobs to be his guardians, even though he'll always consider that his responsibility.
So, if you come to hear of Tag's latest big adventure, please don't be disappointed if he only tells you that he had fun smelling the flowers in the fields that week. At his age, he's the equivalent of a 74 year old little man. We'll treat him as the senior he is, and continue to do our best to give him a rich and comfortable life.
He'd be really upset with me if he knew I was telling you all of this, so I hope we can keep it between ourselves. Tag will be back next week. I just told him I'd cover for him so he could have a little vacation. He said, "As long as there's bacon, Mom, I'm good!" He is good. That's the most important thing I'd like you to take away from this. We're all good, and we thank you for coming by each week to read what he writes. It really is his voice, and if you lived with him, you'd surely know I'm telling the truth.
So, until next week, please think good thoughts, and please come back in seven to see what Tag has to say for himself. Thanks for listening. Love from Tag's Mom...

June 12, 2023

Little Bird...

I started another goldwork class last Saturday with Clara at Clara Stitching. This one is called "Blue Tit Goldwork". The first (of three) session was to begin the basic setup and then do the stitching on the head. I've learned to take notes and watch the process rather than try to stitch along with Clara during the Zoom classes. That way I don't miss any of her steps.
So, yesterday I sat down late morning and began to make my own little bird. I began by tracing the design onto my ground fabric, followed by cutting out all of the padding pieces. I then stitched them down, filling with padding as called for.

Once that was done, I set about doing the goldwork on the head. I completed this after midnight, having only stopped for tea, potty breaks, and dinner. I just couldn't set it aside until it was finished, although I admit I almost packed it in a few times trying to thread my #12 sharp needle. I could barely see the eye on that darn needle - even with my lighted magnifier! Each time, I reminded myself to lightly wax the thread, take a deep breath - and miraculously the thread went into the eye so I could continue stitching.

Now, I'll work on something else as I wait for Session Two next Saturday. This one is going to be a fun project and a different finishing technique. I can't wait to share more!
PS. This blog title is a song from Don Quixote (Man from La Mancha). lol

June 11, 2023

June 10, 2023

Oops, I Did It Again…

I'm using this image because I really love it - even though there are no walruses, seals, puffins, penguins or polar bears around here. Apologies that I can't credit the artist. I'll come back and add a caption once I find that artist's name.

What we do have is a raccoon that's apparently hungry enough to show up on the porch during daylight hours to scarf up some of the girls' food. I had to chase him/her off three times last night, but it did manage to eat quite a bit before I made it go away. I'd love to have it well-fed, but I'm afraid that putting food in the habitat will draw the coyotes closer than they already get to the house, or that it will permanently move into the barn for the sustenance. I can't have either scenario, so I chase it off and take up the food for the rest of the day. I still make sure my girls are fed, but it will have to be done a bit differently than for me to put out food and leave it out for them.

I realized I never put up a Friday post. I'm so sorry there was nothing new to read if you came to visit. I planned to post first thing in the morning, but got sidetracked, and the day completely got away from me. ugh

So, here I am again. Nothing is wrong. Everyone here is fine. I just neglected to sit down and write. I'm purging clothes this week. Yes. More purging, and the frustration that goes with it. I'm still trying to fit 50 pounds of "stuff" in a 25 pound bag, so to speak. I really need to learn to let go. I have two bags of clothes to donate already, but it's not nearly enough, and so I persist. I'll get there. It's just taking waaaay too long.

I have done a bit more on my needlework strawberry, and love how it's coming together...slowly, but surely. I'll share more on Monday, after I add more flowers over the next couple days. I do hope you have a lovely weekend, though. We have rain in the forecast, and I sure hope we get some. I really don't want Andy and Shelly having to watch me do some crazy rain dance in the garden!

June 8, 2023

Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This...


I spent the majority of the day baking bread yesterday. I made five loaves counting this one. I buttered my bread pans so the dough wouldn't stick, and every loaf came out of the oven with lovely tops and burned bottoms.

I can take my plane grater and remove the black and the loaves will still be edible, but I surely won't share any of them this time. (I'll likely have another bake day for a couple loaves to send up the hill.) Even this loaf that I baked separately in my Dutch oven came out a little darker on the bottom, and I really didn't do anything different from what I usually do - including the temps I've set since I started baking bread. I guess it was just one of those days.

So, today, I'm not going to bake. I have lots of things to do upstairs in the studio after I check on my garden. It's beautiful outside, so I really would prefer to do something to do outdoors, but I'm going to behave and make believe it's raining so I don't get distracted.

In the meantime, before my next baking day, I'm going to do a little reading, too, to see what I can do to avoid black bottoms. (A note to some of my valued problem solvers: They were only in the oven 45 minutes, for regular sized loaves. If I take them out much sooner, they won't be baked properly.)

So, that was my day yesterday. How was yours?