Thursday, January 31, 2019

Sheep Rugs

The theme of the day is SHEEP.
I've gathered photos of my hooked sheep rugs for some eye candy.

This is my design from back in 2005-ish.
 I wanted the gentle arch for over a doorway or for the entrance to a room.
 Not baaaaa-d!
I'm not sure of the designer but I recall trying to channel Karen Kahle's style when I hooked it.
This one was one I put aside for years before completing- not common for me.
This pattern came from a store on Prince Edward Island.
Again, I am not sure of the designer and the photo doesn't show the
edges to justice. 
The border adds a bit of fun to an otherwise
stately sheep. 

Speaking of PEI, I took this photo when I was there too. 
It comes from Orwell Corner Historic Village, a real gem outside Charlottetown. 
If you've never been to PEI put it on your list. 
There are many things to do there beside Anne of Green Gables.
Just picked up the next read for the book club:
Kate Atkinson's "Behind the Scenes at the Museum."
I've never read any of her books but Mom is a fan.
This afternoon I'm having a hooking friend in for a cuppa and 
an oatcake. Very Maritime! 
Is anyone sad to be saying good-bye to January?
For me February brings more sunshine, a four day hook-in
and a wet and dry felting class. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Scissor Fob and Upcycling

I'm slowly sorting to downsize and came across 
a handwoven wool and silk dresser scarf
that an overnight guest had set coffee on and ruined.
(To be fair, my putting it in the washer finished it off).
Anyway, I stuck it in the Salvation Army bag 
but removed it after I started thinking about making
 a scissor fob with it.
A fob is a small ornament attached to a chain and the
idea of a scissor fob is for bling, but also for easy location and 
identification: these are mine! 
This is what I started with:

Isn't the material lovely?
Then, I cut out two hearts.
Lastly, I blanket stitched the two together in a DMC colour similar to the cloth.
If you look closely the stitch almost gives it a delicate lacy edge.
The chain is six strands of DMC.
Beautiful and simple.
 I didn't think I was a fob girl until now!
I could make a dozen more with the material remaining but I
think I will let my creative juices stew on other possibilities.

We have more snow falling today, but not the frigid temps slowing up the US.
Bundle up if you must go out and cover that face too...

Sunday, January 27, 2019

ATHA and Aunt Betty

Here’s a shameless plug for ATHA Art of Rug Hooking membership:
I was a member many years ago and therefore got their newsletter style magazine.
It was fine but I had too many subscriptions so I let it lapse.
Well about four years ago I saw a friend’s recent copy of ATHA
magazine and was pleasantly surprised by the polished look
as well as the helpful articles.
I’m a member once again.
I consider myself a die hard primitive hooker and this is the only hooking mag I get now.
Here is the most recent cover:
There is a challenge pattern inside by 
Cynthia Norwood so my mind has been busy thinking up ways 
to incorporate the design with some designs of my own.
The finished mat is due in August.
That’s all well now but my production slows around July. 
Too hot.

This fun pillow has been kicking 'round the house for a while now.
I cannot recall the seller but I know it's an antique pattern interpretation.
I loved hooking the cats- both little individuals.
Old green eyes


 Old Blue Eyes

The purple and blue plaid pillow backing
 was my from my Great Aunt Betty's skirt.
Betty was a teacher on Long Island and every few years my
uncle would buy her a two piece wool suit for her work clothes.
They were high quality suits.
My uncle was (reportedly) in charge of finances and extremely tight,
so the suit purchases were an extravagance and counter to his nature.
Some of the wool is too loose to hook, so this was a good way to re-use.
Before you judge my uncle too harshly, 
Betty had a mind of her own.
She would hop in her car and drive all the way down to see us in Virginia.
On a whim.
She always brought candy and gifts and we were mad about her.
Before she died my cousins sat with her and recorded family history.
Sharp and clever til the end she was. 
I love hooking in history!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Slowwwing Dowwwwn

I've been in an interesting season of life...
One which has lasted nearly a year.
A step back from my care giving business, 
a time to work on self.
Only now I'm restless for something new and more
(well aware I may soon look back on this and say,
 "oh for the slow & quiet days")!
How well I've known the race of the world.
There must be a happy medium? 
So today I will try to embrace this slow life,
 I will sip a cup of herbal tea more appreciatively
from the beautiful cup and saucer my sister brought me from
Beatrix Potter's home.
I will read other's blogs and savour the unique tidings and creative energies
they share
from their corners of the world.
Around the house
I will pause in front of past pieces I penned and painted in more prolific days. 

Embracing the way things are now,
I will reassure myself that some of you are in a similar place,
some of you are in quite opposite places, 
but nothing stays the same for long. 
Embracing now...

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Barb Carroll Rocks

I love, love, love Barb Carroll's rugs and books!
I've hooked two, both horses.

 This one (above) was an insert pattern in her Secrets of Primitive Hooked Rugs.
It's table top sized and hooked in 6 & 8.

This is another pattern bought directly from her former website
(now owned by A Nimble Thimble in Tx).
I hooked this in 2005-ish.
It was on my hubby's office floor forever and the cleaning lady took
great care of it. 
Spot the "purple poison" here and there?
I was always too late to get her for a camp teacher but I've met her and stayed at her former B&B in Ligonier, PA.

 I go back to this book again and again.
I was so sad when Emma Lou Lais passed.
She and Carroll co-wrote several classics.
Lais' rugs are timeless too.
There are some awesome living legends in the rug hooking world.
Do you have a fav?

 And sharing my first-to-open paper white greeted me today!
The scent is intoxicating...

In fact, too intoxicating for my hubby so I will move it
by my hooking chair soon.
We had an ice event last night so promises of Spring
are most welcome in my corner of Canada!
Going to have a cuppa English Breakfast and change bedding.
Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

O My Stars

O My Stars! 
Here are several star rugs I've hooked over the years.

I chopped the border with my camera, oops, but this is my version of an antique rug.
It hangs at the head of our bed and is about 30 X 32 or so.
I like the sawtooth edges and the imperfect balls lining the side.

This one I hooked in Rothesay, NB at a three day hook-in.
I sketched it out (simple simple) and got unusually bright with my colours.
(I'm dull dull dull).
Lucy dog warms her bum on this every morning as she waits in the kitchen for 
It's about 20 X 24.

This is a smaller table top piece.
I designed and hooked it for ATHA when Texas hosted.
Hopefully they made a little money from it for their auction.
The green blobs in the corner are cacti.

And here is another star, our Scottie Lucy.
She was on the sofa when I returned home today.
She's allowed there but she always looks guilty.
Lucy also said she's "tired of the white stuff and wants her deck back."

May you shine like the star you are today.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Paper Whites and Musings

My paper whites are looking promising.
They sit on top of a little round table topped with a rooster rug
in the corner of the kitchen
where only days ago our Lily cat would have her meals.
Life in the place of death.
Isn't that the way?
I find the little bulbs and shoots encouraging.
They seem to smile in the face of Winter.

Here is a close-up of my current project Guardians of the Orchard.
The various lights in the background do a fun dance
which make the apples and trunk stand out.
Some of the lights are warm, others cool but from
a little distance it works.

When I first started to hook (circa 2000), I thought
only those who could afford to make or buy hand-dyeds could create this
variegated look but after years of playing at it I found as-is wools,
carefully chosen, would do the trick as well.
I also discovered marrying wools ala Karen Kahle and
that was a tremendous help.
One thing I regret is that I didn't ask more questions early on.
I was too embarrassed by my lack of knowledge.

I bought this tool box for $5 at a yard sale last summer.
Love putting wools in it.
I have a weakness for baskets and wood containers and tote bags.

And my comfy hooking chair.
A French woman from across the river re-covered it for me.
I'm off to hook with my friend C soon.
Stay cozy.

Monday, January 21, 2019

This is the book with pattern from Edyth O'Neill that I was posting about on January 19th.
 It also has an Emma Lou Lais scarecrow pattern I'd like to hook- among
many other patterns by various artists.
A good book all around.

Being partially snowed in today, I turned a keen eye to my home decor.
Here are a few of the things that bring joy.

The horse was my father's from childhood. I cannot believe he rode the thing
without being held- it's small!
The clock is from my hubby's home.
We had it fixed to chime but it drove me bananas so it is a silent reminder of childhood.

The lantern is from an antiques store, the crocheted cover from a yard sale,
the pharmacist bottle from Germany and the cute table was
one of two I got from Kijiji (similar to Craig's list).

This beautiful old oil painting came from Kijiji too and was
gifted me from my hubby for Christmas.
I adore the dark background.
With downsizing in mind I am keen to follow William
Morris' saying:

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” 


Saturday, January 19, 2019

Edyth O'Neill Pattern

I'm a fan of  Edyth O'Neill's. 
I love her antiques, western jewelry, and her rug patterns.
Discovering her through her book, Rugs for My Red Cape, I decided at once I needed to hook one of her patterns.
 Only I didn't.
Year passed. 
Edyth lost her red cape to a fire and her husband Jack passed away. 
She moved into a much smaller 
apartment which she decorated in her wonderful style and which was featured in Early American Life magazine.
And I found her blog.
So she was once again on my radar. 
Then I happened to pick up a hooking book from our library which featured
 a free pattern of her "Pomegranates."
Being the Math whiz that I am, I ordered our local copy shop to print it way too big. 
But it also happened to be exactly the size of a piece of linen I had. 
Artist Bob Ross would have called this a "happy little accident."
I hooked up the rug which is close to 3 X 5 ft and it fit perfectly at the foot of our bed.

Hooked in as-is wools, #8

I was going through a difficult time when I hooked this, but strangely this rug makes me feel happy.

Well, I guess we're prepared as we can get for this coming storm.
The local authorities have asked everyone to stay off the roads tomorrow.
I got the newest ATHA yesterday so I have reading material!!!
If you're in the path of this lulu be safe!

Friday, January 18, 2019

 Lancaster Barnyard by Notforgotten Farm 

I hooked this in 2018 and took a good deal of the colour and directional hooking inspiration from Lori's model rug. 
The pink actually works- like an old faded red.
I purchase it in PDF form from her Etsy site.
My goal is to get my own patterns in PDF and up on a site too.
Not sure which marketplace I should use.
There are so many out there now and some nickel and dime you.

Today I was supposed to travel 90 minutes east to visit with a friend who has breast cancer but 
we were due a couple inches of snow and elected to postpone.
I'm always second guessing weather decisions up here.
Sunday we are in for a doozy.
We're due for 15+ inches of snow with strong winds and possible ice. 
We've got no non-electric heat source so we'd have to rely on a neighbour
to lend us a spot by her wood stove should power fail.

My son just returned to his home in NYC after visiting his sister and friends in Montreal.
He said returning to the warmer climes of NYC was a treat.
All relative!

The box of cozy mysteries is still available for exchange...

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Do you keep a photo album of all your rugs?
Sadly, I do not. 
I started an album of all my favourite rugs but they were made by other
hookers and I put them on my "want to hook list." 
Coming across some old photos today I found this one:

It's my hooked version of my mother's special Strasburg, Virginia pottery.
Strasburg is where I grew up and it was once such
a pottery producer that it was called Pottown.
Anyway, this is one of the rugs I hooked years ago and completely forgot about.
I like the bittersweet- a superb vine!

And yesterday I was writing about the centre where I volunteer. 
I just found a rug photo from a former attendee. 
"D" would draw a few squiggles on the backing and simply start hooking, adding 
figures and flowers free-form.

She often included birds. 
You can see one in the bottom right and one in the top left corner.
I believe she's a real folk artist.
Once D told me she couldn't find the right shade
of red for a rug.
 She happened to look down and thought the bathrobe she was wearing might do the trick. 
She cut the portion she needed right off the bottom!
I don't know what D is doing now but I hope it's rug hooking.

Who inspires you?

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Books and Hooks



I have about 30 cozy mystery softback books I'd love to swap with someone.
Most are newer titles.
If you or someone you know would be interested in trading box for box let me know.
  I'm ready to read some new cozies. Love that genre- light and easy.
Speaking of reads, I am in a small book club aka three women drinking wine and talking some about a book.
Anyway we are reading Gilead by Marilynn Robinson and I highly recommend it.


Today I resumed post-Cmas instruction with a small group of hookers. 
These women attend a nearby day centre for people with mental illnesses. 
An employee and I started the group about ten years ago. 
That woman has since retired but a
wonderful (and certified) rug teacher helps me now. 
Besides showing great courage in the face of trials,
 these ladies have proven to be creative rug hookers. 
Here are a few of the rugs they are currently working on:

 The deer standing in the water is being hooked by a legally blind woman.
One of us hooks the outline and she fills in OR we use a
row of safety pins to guide her.
That idea came from the group.
So, it's been a treat to get to know them and such fun to see what patterns
these gals will hook up next.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

 Another morning of hooking with my friend C. 
She has almost completed the inner area of her rug, then she moves to the border.
There are so many border possibilities that she is considering. 
Should she hook those leaves paler to bring focus on the inner design?
Should she hook fewer leaves on the border and pay more attention to the background?
Should she keep the same dark background she has in centre in the border after all?
She asks me those things and I only thwart her with new options.
The choice she makes will set her rug apart as her unique creation.
Whether we use a commercial pattern (C did not) or our own there is no question that one's individuality will come through.
I dug through my hooking library to see if I could find Fall rugs to help
her come to a decision.
I rediscovered this gem which came out in 2005. It's a classic.
For a sheer creative sparker it's high on my list:

I'm putting the finishing touches on my kitchen paint. So glad I changed the colour. 
Don't know what took me so long to do it. 
As I was putting things back on the counter I spotted this eco-craft project my 2 kids and I worked on over Cmas. 
It's homemade plastic or cling wrap. 

I had my doubts but the stuff works like a charm. 
We used the instructions from the site but we used only pure beeswax. 
No other ingredients.  
My friend told me she bought her health food store's version of the stuff and gave it out as Cmas presents. 
I have no idea what she would have paid but our project cost was $22 and we ended up with 15 good sized pieces. 
Less than $1.50 each.
 I use mine all the time. 
I'm sure the kids do as well as they are very thrifty.

Well, today's temps are brisk but the sun is very bright. 
That is one thing about New Brunswick that always amazes me.
Yes, North Carolina winters were usually mild but often dull and gray.
If it ain't snowing here it's sunny.
Speaking of snow, the weather bomb that hit DC is due here Sunday. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

I belong to a hooking group that meets twice monthly.
 It's very informal and small and just a super bunch of ladies. 
Usually we hook our own projects but occasionally some choose to participate in a challenge.
Doris Norman, of Celtic pattern teaching fame, walked us through making a covered brick door stop. We all drew up our own designs using a template. 
When hooked, we padded the bricks in quilt batting and secured the batting with a stocking--remember those? 
Sewing the hooking around the brick took very strong threads.
Underneath is a plain heavy duty piece of wool.

Here is how mine turned out. I like the fraktur style:

On a sad note, we had to put Lily cat to sleep today.
The vet found a large tumor a month ago and her
breathing had become very laboured.
Lucy dog is looking around a little.
Look what my wonderful neighbour E brought me
to cheer me.

Now I must figure out how to cheer Lucy.
Lots of cuddles for sure.
If you have a fur friend give them an extra kiss from me today.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

No Scents Makes No Sense

New Brunswick pushes the no scent policy hard. 
In public places signs proclaim: "No Sense Makes Good Sense." 
To be fair, there are some people whom you can smell from a great distance and that's repugnant to most of us. 
But a light Chanel Number 5 or Tom Ford is a signature most noses can handle.
I say most because there seems to be an increasing number of folks with allergy and scent issues. 
And I empathize and I roughly adhere to the policy and don't wear perfume out, but I do still have scent in my shampoo and deodorant. 
I've not seen a scent-free shampoo at the market and the unscented deodorants aren't plentiful.  
As you can tell, I have conflicted feelings about scents in public.
They are almost impossible to get away from whether it be the bubblegum a passerby is chomping on or a newly permed hairdo odor that wafts my way.
As for me and my house, we celebrate scent in private.
There is hardly a day that passes that I have not lit a candle or plugged in my diffuser. 

Gable House Goodes candles of Big Cartel marketplace are among my fav candles


Every evening I sniff my 1858 Potpourri which seems to calm me before I am off to Dreamland.

I feel like a covert scent-pusher. But I'm not hurting anyone in private.
And we do have friends who cannot tolerate scents and I make sure to keep all my scented goodies in the cupboard while they visit. 
But they don't seem offended by the odors of beef stew, baking breads, or even unwashed pets that waft their way.  
As marijuana is now legal in Canada, the government has opened shops to get a cut of the hefty proceeds. Perhaps I should suggest a Scent Shop to them.
 Hmmm... scent for thought...

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Dealing with my old adversary, anxiety, today. Grrrr. 
So much easier if I knew where it was coming from. 
I have many friends with anxiety issues. 
Once you are vulnerable about it, others are. 

My brighter kitchen is looking good.
I'm painting behind countertop appliances today.

The colour on the left is the old pale brown which my hubby called The Institutional Look.
The right side is the new creamy colour. MUCH warmer and more to my taste. 
Let's hope home buyers think the same.
And yes, that is a hooking mug in the back. 
I got it in a gift exchange and it reads: "Hookers Do it With One Hand."
 Don't know where it came from originally, but my kind of humour.
(That is a little fringe-y).

It's -12F outside and windy. 
All four of my cheeks froze on the morning dog walk.
Here is the scene currently out my window

The frost patterns are like little delicate feathers.
Or miniature fir trees.
Whenever I see frost on a window I recall Little House in the Big Woods
Laura and Mary take thimbles and make etchings in the frost. 
Can you imagine how cold their homes must have been? 
How uneven any heat distribution from the fire?
A historian told me that a woman in a mid-1800s kitchen would often find the back of her skirt singed from the heat of the fireplace whilst a rag in her hand would be frozen solid. 

Hubby managed to free my cutter blade, so I switched it from
a 6 cut to an 8. Bliss. 
Seven and eight cuts seem to be in
my comfort zone.

I'll leave you with eye candy for your day. 

This dresser scarf has been christened with tea and cat hairs.
I firmly believe in a well-lived-in-home.
This is by a local weaver. We have such talented artisans here in New Brunswick.
I purchase it four years ago and her 
prices have doubled since then- honestly more to what they should be. 

"In the depth of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer."
                                                                                         Albert Camus