Pattern of the Month Club & Contest
It's not too late to send in your piece!
Good luck to you all!
May's design will be posted tomorrow. If you haven't heard about the contest click this link:
Pattern of the Month Club & Contest
Tomorrow we will be judging February's Pattern of the Month rugs and announcing the winner.
It's not too late to send in your piece!
Good luck to you all!
May's design will be posted tomorrow. If you haven't heard about the contest click this link:
What an exciting day we had. My little rescued mink was coming home! I got an email from Hope For Wildlife that they would be delivering him to Mahone Bay today to be released back into the wild. It’s customary to do this whenever possible. I was thrilled to see the little guy full of life because when I first laid eyes on him I thought he was dead. He suffered a head injury that took the sight in his right eye so it was cloudy. They didn’t remove the eye ball and told me his eye lids would seal shut. It won’t impact on his survival and his sense of smell and hearing will improve to compensate for the loss.
Chelsea arrived from Hope For Wildlife around noon and we discussed the best place to release Mr. Lucky. The area where I found him was too close to a main road and it didn’t have any bodies of fresh water handy. I selfishly suggested behind my shop. There is an aquatic park with two man-made ponds and the Maggie Maggie River runs behind it. It is a private place and quiet, a nice habitat for a guy to set up housekeeping and be on the prowl for Mrs. Lucky.
There are minks in that area so he should be able to make a decent life there and be close enough so I might catch a glimpse of him from time to time. I have this romantic, somewhat foolish link with him. I’m just a smelly human that picked him off the road, a forgotten memory that has no consequence, but for me I kind of feel responsible for him, want the best for the little guy and need to know he’s okay and doing well. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about him over the past couple of weeks and his little face is my screen saver. I suppose this proves I should never work in an animal shelter because my home would be overrun with pets. I’d be known far and wide as that crazy dog, cat and bird, lady. My heart is huge when it comes to animals, there’s room in those four chambers for a lot more than my poodles. Seeing needy eyes that beg for forever homes would be my downfall. I’d be broke and run out of town by the by-law of only four registered animals.
So we grabbed cameras and Chelsea, hubby, Nancy and Michelle and I headed out the backdoor with our caged star of the hour. Shane was in the middle of stirring wool and couldn’t leave the shop. I said so what, this is a rare moment to experience but he was duty bound and wouldn’t budge. If possible, he has an even bigger heart when it comes to animals but his perfectionism overruled his curiosity and told us he’d watch the video.
We walked along the path to a more secluded area and put his cage on the ground. It was bitterly cold but Chelsea said he had a nice warm winter coat, which I wished I was wearing! We positioned ourselves around the cage and I did the honours of opening the door.
He clearly didn’t want to leave the warmth of the blanket and the safety of his confinement. He poked his head out, peeked around but didn’t budge. We waited but nothing happened. I lifted the cage in the back so he would slide out but he gripped on like he was on a window ledge three stories up. Chelsea pulled out his security blanket and he peeked out again but didn’t show any signs of leaving so I tipped the cage again, while Nancy and hubby waited, primed to capture his exit. Nothing. So I had to get aggressive with the cage and at one point it was completely vertical and yet he still held on so I gave it a little shake. He kind of oozed out and I set the cage down.
He took off like a shot in the dark towards his new lease on life. He moved so quickly there really isn’t any photo of his backside as he rushed to the river and disappeared along the bank. Free after two weeks of a head injury and pain killers, strangers poking and prodding him and solitary confinement, he was out of there. Free to get back to living the life of a mink. He was sleek, the most beautiful shade of brown and now nothing remained but the memory and the smell, and stink he did. Not quite as bad as a skunk but in the ballpark. Unfortunately one camera experienced operator failure and the other video card filled up but we did get a few decent shots of his head poking out of the cage.
When the excitement was over we went back to the shop for hot coffee and then Chelsea hit the road on her way to another release. If not for the pictures to document the event, it was over so fast it might not have happened.
After work, hubby and I went over to the release area to see if the chicken and kibble were still there, a meal left in case Mr. Mink couldn’t establish himself quickly by foraging on his own. Nothing was touched. Maybe when he took off running he didn’t stop, leaving the crazy humans in the dust. He might be all the way up river, as far away from town noises and houses as he could get, and who could blame him? Chelsea left more food to sprinkle today just in case he does come back and needs a bit more help to establish the area as his home. I’ll always look over there a bit more intently, hoping to see that little head bob up and down, that long, slim brown body playing in the underbrush.
That might be the closest I'll ever get to a real mink...both the animal or fur coat! It was cold enough to wear my faux fur but I worried photos would make it look like the real thing making me look like a hypocrite and insensitive when professing to love my little mink! Good luck in your new life Mr. Lucky!
The video below is not the best. The camera card filled up quickly so there is only a quick shot....just enough to see how cute he is! His poor little right eye is cloudy. We went over this morning and the chicken was gone, hopefully taken by the mink not a racoon. We didn't see him but this is one of those scenarios where no news is great news!
What a whirlwind day! It started this morning with the release of the little mink I rescued and delivered to Hope for Wildlife to be nursed back to health. He's a fighter that guy. After a run in with a vehicle he's blind in one eye but as feisty as ever. We released him in Mahone Bay today and he made a bolt for his new lease on life. We call him Mr. Lucky! I plan to write a blog about his release this evening with all the cute details! This is the closest I'll ever get to a real mink...coat that is!
The busy shop blind sided me so I didn't get upstairs to blog although I tried several times...it wasn't meant to be. Now it's almost 6:00 pm and I have to go home for dinner...where does the time go?
So I thought I would post some eye candy pictures of what Shane has been up to in the dye kitchen. We are stocking the shop to ceiling level! It was a cold day today and the need to "bundle up" fit in with all the bundles he's been creating.
We are busy stocking the back pattern room.
Rug hooking has taken off in Uganda! A week or so back Mary Schlech was in the shop to take some rug hooking supplies, Sock Monkey kits, frames and hooks to two young girls in Uganda. The hooking bug has bitten and Mary found burlap bags from a coffee shop, burly yarn, and crochet hooks for others that were excited to try. She says there is no stopping these amazing women and girls. She said she had trouble explaining a sock monkey, settled on "a doll"! Most completed their project in 2 days
On Sunday, as I wiped the sweat from my brow, a thought occurred to me. What is the meaning of a day off?
Always curious, I looked up "day off" on the internet and this is what it said: A day's vacation from work or school on what would normally be a working day. Well I disagree...maybe the definition should be revisited because there is no vacation or lack of work on a day off. Work starts as soon as you rise, cooking breakfast, doing the dishes. Generally, Sunday is the only day to do the laundry and house work that piles up throughout the week. To me, a day off implies putting up ones feet to take a load off, watching a bit of TV, read a book or nap!
So whoever came up with this ridiculous noun had it all wrong. A day off is really only a day off the clock, not off the work. To prove my point it isn’t called houseplay is it? Housework implies work! And being a female, women’s work is never done is it? We don’t even get a day off on Mother’s day or our birthday or even Valentine’s Day. When do we get a day off???? How many women get a day to do absolutely nothing but play...have someone wait on them hand and foot, cook and serve the meals, and clean up the mess?
"After work", is another misnomer? "I'm going home after work". As soon as you reach the house you don the housewife hat, but even if you're single there's no shortage of work to be done after the job work. We all have to eat and we all dirty our houses. It's our day to day living that forces us to clean it often, forces us to be slaves to maintenance or we have to live in squalor. I’m far more relaxed about cleaning house when hubby is away but try to make an effort when he’s home to preserve the illusion that I’m still the younger, energetic, woman he married.
Every day we cook, clean and do maintenance things, maybe scour a toilet, fill up the wood box, a bit of this and that. No matter how good your hubby might be in the chore department, the onus is usually on the woman to do the bulk of it or at least organize the work schedule. My hubby is great and as long as the dishes are done and the bed looks neat he isn’t overly concerned about the stuff under the rug. Fortunately for me, he does take orders well and was right alongside me sweating; stripped down to his T-shirt as if being caressed by a summer breeze. I complain my house is small until we have to clean it and then I curse the miserable 1500 square feet. Anything bigger and I’d cry so why I moan about an extension I'll never know, it'll be more space to clean!
So, Sunday was wasted on work. No fun, no drive in the country, no restaurant meal out, just work cleaning stuff. We cleaned right up until we stopped to make dinner which is really just another form of work and then did the dishes. It was dark before there was time to relax. Finally we could move into “after work”.
And while I'm doing this rant, what’s up with “time off”. Time off from what? Work? Time’s been on since the beginning of…..stopping for nothing and no one. So why is it time off? Time off the clock? A time that you don’t get paid? Work still remains. Work never ends and time never stops. Stupid things to say. Find new words, something more literal to describe not being at a paying job. That’s another bone of contention, all the shit you do at home might be an unpaid job but a job nonetheless. Ask a stay at home mom or dad.
My day off was anything but. There was bathroom detail, dusting, vacuuming and sheet washing, laundry to minimize, cooking, dishes, wood piling, reducing the clutter. There was so much work there were hot flashes and sweat. Windows had to be opened and ceiling fans turned on. All this to reach the part where I could relax “after-the-work" on my “day off”.
I finished my “L” pillow. I’m happy with it. I’ll sew it up at some point but right now I’d like to move to the letter “C”, maybe in reds, blues, greens and gold this time. I’ll do the M next for my son but I really want to hit the C.
I used our new dyed wool called Paradise for the background. Lime Green and Royal Blue, Turquoise, Orange and Lavender for the accents and flowers. The vines were all done in Lime Herringbone. It was fun and fast, hooked in #8 cut. Tonight, after work I'll start it.....
I couldn’t sleep the other night and after wrestling with covers, tossing and turning with a whole lot of groaning, this thought balloon popped into my head. Then, fired up, I couldn’t get to sleep at all, finally drifting off around 4:00 am. It seems the bedroom and the bathroom yield some of the best ideas!
So I’ve come up with 26 letters of the alphabet, a small project, 16 x 16 that is perfect for a pillow topper. I immediately jumped to the "L" and took it home last night to hook but didn't get settled in my hooking chair until late in the evening so didn't get it finished as hoped, but there is enough done to get the picture of how cute they will be. I worked it in bright colours to add fun to the design. Normally I would have used the primaries as my entire house is red, blue and yellow themed, but this one is for the shop and will have a price tag for the summer trade. Next I’m thinking about hooking the letter M for my son’s surname. I’ve never hooked anything for him so a pillow for his apartment would be a nice gesture. He wants it in colours to match his furniture, reds, browns, black and grey. A completely opposite colour plan but will be just as lovely. I hope to use plaids for a rich, study sort of look.
The patterns are not very detailed so I hooked in #7 and #8 for the speed factor but it can be hooked in smaller cuts for those who prefer it. The line of designs will be called "Initially Yours" so when ordering ask for Iniatially Yours and the letter you wish to hook.
I now have the red dots made for each letter and we will work on getting them on the website asap. The designs are all basically the same, featuring similar motifs arranged differently. The letters are a strong focal and uppercase. A perfect size pattern for gift giving, especially for a newly married couple! You can also use the letters for first names and have personalized pillows for each family member, an heirloom the kids can take with them when they move out of the nest on their journey to adulthood. A small project that packs a big punch.
Yesterday was all about taxes. The night before I was up until 3:30 getting the paper work ready and wasn’t capable of forming a sentence when I got home. Too stupid to blog. The trip to the accountants yesterday was unfavourable so the mood hung like a fowl stench for the rest of the day. I’ve learned not to write when I’m miserable as the drivel that comes out of my head is tainted with negativity and that isn’t the approach I wished to take. I can’t say I slept last evening because numbers were rolling around in my head like ocean surf, pounding my poor brain to mush. My accountant says every year I cry and wondered where the tears were for 2013, but I’m beyond those now. I think it’s time to face facts. I will never pull a paycheque from this business. Mahone Bay and surrounding area is too small a population base for the traffic I would need to be in the black. I’m not willing to pull up stakes and move to the city so it is what it is….a small craft business with limitations.
The thing that consoles me is that I provide a decent living for my son and get to work with him every day. That is priceless for me. If I wanted to get rich I’d be running a Tim Horton’s or one of the fast food joints that make fast money. For me the joy is being able to play and be creative. Thankfully I have the best husband in the world that supports me and allows me to have the freedom to pursue an artistic outlet without having to worry about lining my pocket. I’m a lucky girl…but if that hunk of man ever leaves me, my door will be closed in the blink of an eye and I’ll be brushing up my resume……so let’s hope I don’t piss the sweetie off!
I’m still reeling a bit from the grey day yesterday so it might be an opportune time to whine a bit about something that’s unfair. Maybe if more folks did this, business would be better so maybe it’s a fitting topic after a bad news from the accountant. I would also like to take the time to say thank-you to those that do this as I wear a smile you could see for a mile!
When you show off your gorgeous hooked rugs and have them printed in various newsletters or magazines it is paramount to list the designer of the rug. This is the way to bring awareness to our work and support our shops to keep us going. Having a rug featured in a magazine is a coup for the both of us. Bringing attention for your excellent execution of the piece, your hooking and colour choices is grand, but it is just as important to the shop, and or designer, to gets a plug for their contribution. That equates to future business; that means helping to keep the doors open.
The last newsletter of our NS Guild posted a picture of a rug that made the cut for Celebration’s Magazine but there was no mention of me or my shop as the designer for the pattern. I only pray that the Celebration editors know the score and I am mentioned there or I might have a bloody fit. Maybe I shouldn’t leave this one to fate and email someone to make sure they know but damn I shouldn’t have too!
Then there was a William Morris rug shown in the same newsletter that has been hooked as a fund raiser and although Will is the designer, I tweaked the pattern for rug hooking and it is sold in my shop so at least a mention of Encompassing Designs would have made me happy. That was two for two in one edition of the newsletter! What is the good of showing off a fabulous rug without mentioning where the pattern came from if purchased, so others can experience the fun of hooking it as well?
I can count the times this has happened to me on my toes and fingers and on Shane’s digits as well, maybe even more. It’s a standing joke around here, not that it’s a laughing matter. But I guess if you don’t laugh, you’d cry. We say, “Yup, forgotten again, hahaha”. I do notice it happens with other designers as well…back me up on this with a comment please so I don’t look like the only unlucky soul…if you don’t I might become paranoid and think it’s a conspiracy against me! I’m on the soap box for all of the unmentioned out there!
Rugs that receive accolades, are featured in shows and articles that don’t mention who designed them is unfair. I never know if it is neglect or done on purpose to claim it as their own. I’ve had that happen to me several times when someone asked me to design a custom rug and then the person says they did it. The design is my artwork, even if you brought forth the basic concept….my artwork, my design. So all I’m asking is to please give the designer credit so their work can be appreciated and maybe help support their shops to remain in business! Word of mouth is a bit of free advertising that we can all use to keep in business. Anyway that’s my rant for today…..
Years ago I had a friend build a wood box with finial feet so I could make a footstool. I planned to paint the legs and upholster the top and sides. It was going to double as storage unit with a removable top. Well, that was one of those good intentions that turned into a big ole procrastination so the box ended up in the basement out of sight and forgotten for twenty years.
One day while searching the internet I came across a site that had unique, hand painted beds and toy boxes for pups. Although amazingly beautiful, the cost was astronomical…$400 plus shipping for a toy box was a bit out of my price range. I lamented a bit, being a princess, I want what I want and usually get it, but I just couldn’t condone spending that kind of money on such a frivolous purchase.
That’s when I remembered that wooden box in the basement. All I had to do was throw away the top, cut a half circle in one side and I was in business! I used some house paints that coordinated with our house interior which covered the box itself and then artist paints for the highlights. Total cost....under $30.00!
It was a lot of fun to design and paint.....the proverbial labour of love. My four pups watched on as mommy transformed a plain old wooden box into a flashy, toy chest. Of course it was too small to hold all of their toys but it fit nicely beside their whimsical drinking bowl, filling the need to coordinate at all cost. We packed up some of the excess toys and threw out the well-worn, ragged ones. We bring a few of them out every now and then to re-introduce as new and put some of the older ones away for later.
You can’t show favouritism so every time I buy toys for my babies I have to get four of them. I let them choose which one they like by throwing them on the floor and they scramble to grab one, politely I might add, and that’s their special toy for the day. They love new toys! If anyone argues that they don’t understand about ownership I would argue. They know just as well as any two year old and share about as well. They coddle and covet their new toy to make sure they’ve marked it well with their own drool just to say, I had it first!
So now they have this great toy box that they pretty much empty every time we fill it back up. By the end of any day our living room looks like an explosion in a toy factory and that’s okay. The happiness of our pooches is all that matters. We haven’t been able to train them to pick up after themselves although Jake, our youngest, likes to corral a pile of toys on his bed and lay on top of them.
I love to watch my babies go to the box, sniff for the right toy for the day, hour, or minute, whatever suits the fancy, and dig it out. I guess it doesn’t take much to amuse me. Watching my babies at play or sleep brings happiness usually reserved for winning the lottery, world travel, falling in love and chocolate. What can I say ? I love those pups no less than if I carried them for nine months and gave birth to them. Only other pet owners could possibly understand!
To celebrate the bunny....here are a few designs we have honouring the rabbit!
Easter was different this year. It didn’t involve shopping, chocolate or eggs other than a delightful omelet for Sunday morning brunch. Shane is a big lad now and in the capable hands of a committed relationship. It’s time to pass the chocolate bunny reigns to Ashley. Some will say that kids are kids for life, they may grow but will always be our babies but for me there are other factors to ponder. I really don’t like shopping, and chocolate rabbits are made of cheap chocolate which is bad for the health. Maybe I’m a stick in the mud but that’s how I feel so…..no commercial Easter this year!
We didn’t indulge the pups with Easter prezzies either. They have enough toys to last a lifetime with backup bags filled with toy box overflow to bring out later for a second time surprise. There is nothing I want or need and Gregg never wants anything so why go through the bother? Having Friday off was all the gift I needed. It was a glorious day filled with doing nothing, or thinking about something, whatever, and all done, or not while lounging in my jammies. A blissful day off, to nap and eat and hook, without any need to even look at the clock. The day pretty much went to the dogs, but in a good way. We played, threw ball outside, they got scratches and massages, they napped and just cuddled close, happy they got an extra whole day with mom and dad.
Speaking of the dogs. Michelle, our newest employee gave hubby and I sweet little boxes of Easter candy goodies. After they were emptied I had the brilliant idea to fill them with the dogs squeaky balls. They were excited by the pretty little boxes and got right to work ripping them apart to find the treasure within. Paper straw was flying in the air as the wrappings were torn to shreds. Fabulous entertainment for the humans. Henri particularly liked the curly ribbon that he enjoyed pulling into long lengths....it look like he was flossing his teeth.
Sunday afternoon, I got the brainiac idea to make doughnuts. Not a wise choice when one is too many and a thousand is never enough, but the craving was there and so was the means to indulge it. So I heated some shortening, threw together the ingredients and voila, doughnuts were lining the counter and wafting through the air like sweet, sentimental perfume. I ate a few of the holes to sample the wares, very conscientious that someone could get sick.....such a delicious sacrifice for the cause.
Did I say delicious? Heavenly bits of dough and fat….so forbidden and desired! Everything I remember them to be since my last visit to paradise. Of course I overdid it, how could I resist that kind of temptation. I lost count of the holes and full doughnuts I devoured. I had to jog on the spot for ½ hour to beat the high blood sugar down to normal, but damn even that was worth it. Today I’m back on my two day fast so I'm hoping there won't be any left by Wednesday. We already unloaded some to friends and hubby will indulge for a few days so I might be spared because it is perfectly clear I can't be left on my own to be sensible.
The problem with making doughnuts, other than eating them until you go into a diabetic coma, is the smell that lingers. Cooking with fat, even with the doors open and the range hood on, is a recipe for disaster if you don't want your house smelling like a greasy spoon. Fat permeates the house, every crack and cranny. Only time will erase the smell, over-writing it with other cooking odors. The good part, it takes me back to my nana's house. Never a day went by when her pantry didn't yield a tin of doughnuts although the constant use of deep fat latched on her skin to become a personal scent, no matter how much Avon talcum she used to mask it. The bad part, it keeps me hangering for the doughnuts!!!
Every time I make this recipe, I tell hubby I need to open a little coffee shop and sell real honest-to-goodness doughnuts and he groans, starting in with "when would I find time to do this with running a rug hooking shop". I say foowey, I can do more than one thing, but we both know I'm fantasizing. I'm just filled with the need to share this incredible cake doughnut with the world! I’ll bet most folks wouldn’t know what a real doughnut even tastes like. Imagine their surprise when they devour their first morsel, so tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside. All of the add water to a powder mixture, poor facsimiles sold today are nothing like the real McCoy. You haven’t lived until you’ve tasted the real deal. I would love to run an afternoon coffee shop and serve my nana’s doughnuts. Plain or sugared, kept simple, not doused with piles of sugar crap that will stick to the hips and slow down the ticker. Customers would be addicted and lined up all around the block to get in for a taste of doughnut heaven, which might not be a bad name for the joint......
If you are interested in the recipe it can be found listed on my blog under recipes or click below:
Click on this link below to hear about a new drug offering hope for MS patients. Dorothyanne Brown, our Facebook friend and fellow rug hooker tells her story and she is rug hooking while doing the interview. Her project happens to be our "Pattern of the Month Club" rug. Great job Dorothyanne Brown spreading awareness for MS patients.....not to take away from your important message.....I love what you are doing with your March pattern!
If you are interesting in joining our Pattern of the Month Club & Contest click for details. It's never too late to join!
Yesterday, work ground to a halt when a fire broke out in the kitchen. Shane was off on an errand and Michelle was doing a bit of sewing when I got a whiff of something burning, a familiar scent ingrained from all the scorched rice I’ve managed to ruin over the years. Of course my first thought was for my precious sewing machine and when I looked over at Michelle, that’s when I noticed through the lattice work surrounding the kitchen, smoke barreling out from under a large box that was on top of the stove.
Now I hate to say I told you so, but I’ve preached for years about not putting things on the burners other than a pot of water to dye wool! It isn’t a desk or a table and freaky shit happens. Well shit happened big time!
A delivery guy had just dropped off Shane’s new super duper pooper scooper computer monitor, some kind of high speed, instant refresher gaming monitor for his home computer. Busy at his counter he put the box on the left side of stove over two burners. The box was fairly large and must have been pushed back enough to connect with the burner controls, pushing it in to engage the ON function and moved it ever so slightly to the right for the lowest setting. Then it was just a matter of time.
Slowly the heat built until the cardboard started to smolder. By the time I noticed the haze of smoke, it had burned a hole the size of the burner through the bottom of the box and had eaten its way through the plastic and foam wrappings and scorched the monitor front that had been face down in the box.
I hate to brag but I’m the person you want sitting next to you on an airplane in an emergency. I don’t panic, use a clear mind to do what needs to be done and then fall apart later when the what-ifs creep in. I’ll get the door open instead of sitting six rows back waiting on someone else to not lose control so that all the bodies aren’t trapped inside of an toxic off-gasing inferno, piled up in the aisles five and six feet deep. That’s why I demand a seat near or next too an exit door when I fly. The elderly and blind people aside, they will designate pretty much anyone with the charge of opening that door and I sure as heck don’t want my life hinging on the ability of a stranger when I know I can do the job.
So back to the fire. In one felled swoop, I turned off the burner, grabbed the box, turned it upside down to dump out the monitor on the work counter. I noticed the box flaps weren’t taped down so Shane must have examined it after it arrived or I wouldn’t have had the time to get it out of the box.
Once the smoldering box was removed from the burner and the air got to it, there was a burst of flames so now the top of the box is on fire. After the monitor was out, I put the box on the floor and grabbed the wet cloth used for wiping up dye water slosh and covered the flames trying to suffocate it first. I know that pouring water directly on a fire can make it spread faster so once the wet cloth was in place then I ran the tap to fill up a pan, opened the window to let the smoke out and poured the water over the cloth and killed it cold. Some flames had been licking up around the edge of the cloth but they quickly sizzled out.
Then I noticed the screen had debris stuck to it so I wet a cloth and wiped it clean to stop the smoking and further damage to the monitor. I could see a nasty couple of stains in the glass or whatever coating material they use. When Shane arrived back and plugged it in, the spots lit up like a moon and stars right in the middle of the screen. We’ve sent it back to see what they can do, or if there’s any hope. It might be an expensive error, with $400.00 down the crapper.
By now Michelle and I are coughing from the thick acrid smoke so I tell Michelle to open the back door and I ran to the front of the shop to throw that door open and gulp in some clean air. I now understand why people perish in a house fire, found demised just inside the door and so close to escaping. Smoke is certainly quick to stop you in your tracks and is blinding to the point of disorientation. This little fire, no bigger than a baseball, filled the shop with caustic smoke from burning cardboard and melting plastics and clawed at my eyes and throat.
From the time I discovered the problem and sprang into action about 20 seconds passed. My only regret is that I didn’t pick the box up off the floor immediately after the fire was out because some of the singed cardboard dropped off and burned one hole directly through the vinyl flooring and left a few scorch marks around it.
The fire had to be dealt with in the kitchen, moving through the shop to get it out the back door into the breeze of the day could have caused the fire to burn faster and I might have been more injured than a few singed fingers. The discoloration on my skin and fingernails makes it look like I’m a heavy smoker with a nicotine stains. I can still smell the smoke on them even after doing dishes and having a shower this morning.
The entire shop now smells of smoke, not that it will last. After a bit of airing out and dyeing wool the steam and vinegar should displace it. In all this I hope a lesson has been learned. I don’t ever want to see anything on top of the stove again other than dye pots and lunch heating!
Then to add salt on the wound, the sewing machine crapped out shortly after, what a day! Never a dull moment around here and it sure would be nice for a bit of the doldrums!
I've been accused of being a control freak a few times, maybe even this month! I like to think I have a passion for excellence, not that I have a need to control my universe. Some call me anal, but I take that as a compliment. Who wouldn't? It means I care about what I do and then do it to the best of my ability.
My son likes to pick and sometimes the joke is lost on me, same old stuff rehashed. He thinks I could let go of some of the mundane jobs I do at the shop, to free my time for the more important aspects of the business such as design and marketing. And he's right on that front. Heck, I would dearly love to do this, come to work every day and pump out a new design, maybe sit and hook it....well golly, that might be a preview of heaven.
My problems is the need for quality in all things. I strive for it and can't compromise in any way, shape or form. Not to the point where I become obsessive, sweat and wring my hands in a nervous way, no, but I do like being on the good side of perfection. In an age where the attention to detail is being flushed down the drain, along with patience and manners, I can't seem to get off my high horse to step down into mediocrity.
I have two new employees who are in various stages of training. One gal pretty much does patterns full time but that's because she is here for only a few hours a day, 10:30 - 2:00 and patterns are the stock I need most. She's fast and can pump out patterns quickly and we are getting orders out with a fast turnaround and stocking the back room for this years tourist boom.
The other gal works from 10:30 - 5:00 and because she is here for longer hours, she has been getting trained in different aspects of the business. She's a pouched employee from the Post Office so she's now in charge of mailing out our parcels, praise the lord. I sure handed that job off willingly, no tight grip on those reigns! She is also trained to do patterns. That's one of the biggest and most important jobs around here and labour intensive. They have to be transferred, then darkened, then the information needs to be written on and then sewn.
And this leads to my point today. All the sewing is done on my grandmother's machine, a hand-me-down that I covet and handle with kid gloves. My granny's initials are carved into the metal base, it's a very special hunk of metal!
It's a heavy duty Stylist, Singer machine, perfect for sewing the zig zag on burlap and linen. It's a busy machine too. Her motor is roaring for at least 1/2 - 1 hour a day, sometimes even more. I have her maintained once a year, an ounce of prevention and all, because we couldn't go a day without her. So I'm protective and anxious about letting anyone use her except myself or Shane who is now too busy in the dye kitchen to be fiddling with sewing.
But we are so busy, I have to relax and trust that others will show the old gal the same respect and gentle touch. After Michelle made about a hundred patterns for kits this week and the sewing part loomed up, I groaned at the thought of having to do the job. So I decided it was time to hand the chore off. First we went through sewing 101 and she worked on a few scraps for the end bin and then she was off. It isn't rocket science; only a repetitive thing that needs a gentle hand. I kept an ear to the machine, I'm the appliance whisperer around here and like it when a machine purrs. My son dubbed me that because I can tell even while upstairs if the vacuum bag is too full or if the motor is running hard. I might have made a good mechanic if I didn't mind the grease under my fingernails, instead I opted for dye and marker stains.
So yesterday she sewed a bunch of patterns, impressively I might add. So you see, I have no problem letting go, I just want the job done as well as I would do it, shoot me if that's wrong.
Ironically, the machine broke down today, one day after letting a stranger touch her. It's nothing more than a coincidence but wow, what timing! In all honesty, it had been feeling tight for a few days, which I regretfully dismissed as nothing. Something seized in the motor so the running of the needle became a hard pull. She's now out for fixing and we won't have her back until Monday. We're saved by the fact that it's Easter weekend so she won't be needed while the shop is closed.
Here's an announcement I'd like to share.
Hooking rope may look daunting but it is as simple as counting one, two, three. You can use either three values or six values depending how much detail you wish to see. If using three values you will hook only one row of the darkest value for the shadow and then repeat the other two values until the area is filled in. In these two examples of our pattern Grand Banks Schooner, the above picture was hooked with a three value swatch and the below one is hooked with a six value. Both are equally effective and beautiful.
Both projects were hooked using Ganache for the rope; a fabulous golden hue that gives an aged patina. This dye formula hasn't made it into any of our dye books so I'm sharing it with you today.
Ganache (Using Majic Carpet Dyes)
1/4 tsp Yellow
1/16 tsp Chocolate Brown
1/16 tsp Seal Brown
Use 1/2 cup replacement method for 6 Value swatches
For a 3 Value swatch, mix in 2 cups of boiling water, pour off 1/3 for the lightest value, 2/3 for the medium value and the 1 cup remaining for the darkest value.
For 6 Values, this recipe makes around 7-8 sets of 3" x 11" size pieces, so you would have to alter the formula by dividing it in half for 4 sets and again for 2 sets.
The rope drawing shouldn't be perfectly uniform. You want it to be irregular for more realistic appeal. For the sample below, I am using a 6 value swatch cut in a #5 strip.
Here is a template to use by right clicking to save to your computer and then print off and blow up to the size needed, then repeat the pattern to cover the area.
Last Sunday evening I donned my glad rags to attend a private Laura Smith House Concert in Marriet’s Cove, organized and hosted by Don and Lorraine Burch and friends. Mary, Peter, hubby and I piled into the car and headed down the road to bear witness to a spectacular performance. Her latest CD, "Everything Is Moving" was playing on the car stereo, a prelude to the real thing.
Laura is a Canadian treasure, singer/song writer, performer extraordinaire, who is a familiar face to the residents of Mahone Bay where she hangs her hat when not on the road. We’ve known her for years and being a fan I include her repertoire in the music we play at the shop. When one of her pieces queues up on the player I always pause whatever I’m doing to fully take it in. Up until now, I believed I was having the full Laura experience, knowing her songs inside and out, sometimes singing along to the ones I love most….but I’ll tell you, hearing her live changed everything.
There is no way to describe Laura’s voice, because there’s no one like her past or present, although one gets the feeling you’re in the presence of a master of the blues, folk and jazz. Without a microphone, the strength of her projection is astounding, reaching the far corners of the entire downstairs of the house we were in. I’ve heard Laura’s songs many times, the hauntingly beautiful to the whimsical anecdotes we all love, but listening to her intros brought a deeper meaning and a whole new appreciation for each song. The voice you hear on the CD is amazing, but hearing her in person causes the hair on your arms to stand at attention and tears to mist the eye. I reveled for days after; basking in the afterglow of her talent.
I love that she says “When I made this song”, not “I wrote this song” and I pondered that for a bit. A song has way more parts than just words and notes on a page. Like any recipe, a song is the sum of many ingredients. Laura pours passion on the words and music, whipping them into a delectable feast, satisfying the listener’s appetite for her music and artistry.
Laura is a genuine soul. Her life story has hills and valleys but good or bad; she draws on these experiences to spin her tale. She holds you amazed and amused, you laugh and cry. In front of an audience she appears as comfortable as sitting with you around a dining room table. She is an animated and a very physical entertainer, with joyful stomping, hand gestures and facial expressions that add titillation and fulfillment for the audience.
Her voice is commanding; not a whisper was uttered when she sang. Nothing was more important than the sweet melodies flowing from her lips, a sound that most assuredly radiates from deep within her heart and soul. She said many times how much she loves her work and it showed. You need only to look into her eyes to see the love and passion for her craft. It drew you in, held you tight, and you barely breathed for fear of missing a second of the beautiful heartfelt and passionate performance.
Thank-you Laura for sharing your amazing gift with us all. My husband and I particularly enjoyed your very bluesy rendition of “My Bonny” and I’m so happy you performed my personal favourite “I’m A Beauty” in the evenings selection. At this intimate concert there was definitely “A surprise there….you are a beauty!”
Mariotts Cove Music Society
Friends surprised me, big time. They asked me to do a house concert last night (because of the ECMA awards in PEI that I wasn't at...). The place was full of friends who wanted to celebrate me and my work. They gave me a beautiful bouquet in an ice bucket (smart friends) engraved with "Laura Smith, Artist of our Hearts". I was so very moved by their thoughtfulness. The effusive Tom Gallant made me blush with his glorious introduction. I am truly blessed. Thank you all for your loving kindness. Laura Smith
Note: Paul Buchanan is the owner of Buchanans Music Centre in Mahone Bay. http://www.buchanansmusiccentre.ca/
The little mink we rescued is alive and doing well!!!!!! Here is the email I just received from Hope for Wildlife.
Thank-you for contacting Hope for Wildlife regarding the little Mink you brought in! He is indeed a mink, not a weasel, but he is just a little guy! He is still a little dopey from his bonk on the head, but we could find no other injuries. We are keeping him comfortable with some pain medication, a quiet bed and good food so he can rest and concentrate on healing.
Thank-you for giving this little guy a second chance. It is because of people like you that Hope for Wildlife exists!
I must say that little guy wasn’t far from my thoughts since we delivered him to the Society on Thursday. I took the optimistic stance and used the no news is good news scenario. Hearing that the little guy is going to be okay brought tears my eyes and hubby had a bit of mist and a sniffle as well.
Coincidentally, we just happened to notice the TV show, Hope for Wildlife Friday evening and watched an episode of releasing deer and a bob cat back into the wild. Within just a day, I went from not knowing of their existence to watching their show. Boy, I need to get out more! All this good stuff going on around me and I’m in the dark! The Society is always looking for volunteers and it is unfortunate that we live so far away or I’d be planted on their doorstep but if you live handy to Dartmouth maybe you could spare an hour or two a week to help this worthy cause!! Thank-you Dr. Barry and all the other volunteers for giving this story a happy ending!
I wanted to call the little Mink “Lucky” but didn’t think it appropriate to put a moniker on a wild animal, but in my heart, that’s what I call him. Have a long and happy life little fellow!
This isn't our little guy....I just wanted to post a picture of what he will look like when he's totally recovered. Cute!
The day was shaping up badly from the moment the alarm sounded. Too tired to function, I turned it off and fell back to sleep. The night before I’d worked close to midnight on taxes and the long hours had taken their toll. I finally got up around 11:00 and it wasn’t until 1:00 pm before I headed out the door for work. All the ducks were lining up for what would happen next.
Midway to the shop, directly across from the sewer pumping station, I noticed a small dead creature in the middle of my side of the road. As I fast approached the still form, I noticed the animal must have been a recent hit because its little body was still roundish and plump, not the normal flattened pancake. It was lying between the wheels of my car and I drove over him, already thinking I should go back and remove the carcass off the road. I really didn't want to see what tires would do to the little guy on my way home from work later that day. I turned the car around at the Government wharf. Over the years I’ve pulled my share of dead animals off of highways, prompted by a childhood memory of my younger brother seeing his first road kill and immediately throwing-up in the car. It's traumatic for children to see a mangled body and that thought is always on my mind as I shovel the remains to the side of the road.
There was a surprising lack of traffic on the normally well traveled stretch of road and I didn't pass a single car on my way back to the body. I parked and walked over to the little brown guy that was slightly bigger than a squirrel but smaller than a ferret. There was a single dot of blood on the pavement and a tear shaped droplet of red on its head. His eyes were closed. I couldn’t see any signs of life and really, what chance would this tiny guy have against the crushing force of a monster sized vehicle going fifty clicks?
I picked it up by the tail and walked it to the side of the road. I wasn’t sure if I imagined movement or if it was because I’d picked it up and the muscles were settling from gravity, but I thought I felt a twitch. I laid the tiny body gently on some rocks on the side of the road and then noticed its paws were moving ever so slightly. It was alive! So I thought maybe it would be better to lay him on the grass, a softer bed and someplace in the sun away from the cool breezes off the harbour. I glanced around for a more protected area with tall grasses. That’s when the maternal instincts kicked in and I knew he was probably in shock and needed to be kept warmer than Mother Nature could provide. I knew that he probably wouldn’t survive but that didn’t mean I should abandon him in his hour or possibly minutes, of need. It now became my duty to make his transition from life to death as comfortable as possible.
I wasn’t thinking about personal injury as I scooped him up with my bare hands, cradling his potentially broken body as carefully as possible. Guilt had already set in for lifting him by the tail when I thought he was gone! I placed him in the back seat on one of my dog’s beds and drove home to seek hubby’s advice.
We both thought he looked the worse for wear. Still on the fleece bed we laid him under the lilac bush in a sunny area. He looked so tiny and vulnerable my heart bled for the little guy. Already invested emotionally I watched his breathing. Surprisingly it wasn’t laboured, just a steady rise and fall of his chest wall. He hadn’t lost control of his bladder or bowels and I took that as a good sign. We covered him with one of our polar fleece dog blankets to keep any body heat in. Hubby thought the little guy was a mink, and told me I was very lucky that it hadn’t attacked me. Minks are known to be quite vicious and I could have been severely bitten or scratched if he'd only been playing possum. I might be a romantic fool, but I like to think that he knew I was trying to help him, but more than likely, he was unconscious.
So I went to work but called home frequently to see how our little ward was doing, hoping against hope he would miraculously heal and sneak away. Hubby said he pulled the blanket back to check and the little guy scurried to be deep under the covers. I took that as a positive sign built on wishful thinking. That’s when I knew I had to save this little guy. Now on a mission; albeit a potentially impossible one, I had to do something proactive. I couldn't just let nature take its course, especially when there is nothing natural about a car hitting an animal. I phoned Chester Basin Animal Hospital and they told me about the Hope for Wildlife Society and gave me a number to call. They are located in Dartmouth, 91 kms away, so hubby and I discussed what to do. One option was to wait and see how fate would swing but that was dismissed quickly. We would intervene to determine the outcome, good or bad. If there was any hope for this little guy, it was our responsibility to seek it out for him. So I phoned and we were told where to drop him off so we put the bed in a large Rubbermaid container and covered him with a warm blanket and headed to the city. We peeked before placing him in the container to find that he had moved and was now curled up; we took this to be another positive sign.
We drove the distance with high spirits, as long as there was life there was a possibility of hope. We checked once to make sure we weren’t transporting a lost cause and he was still breathing and had come out from under the covers and was lying on top of the blanket. The top was cracked for air flow but the slit was too small for him to escape.
The people at the rescue center were lovely. He was taken away to be examined and I asked if it would be possible to snap a few pictures so I could write a story to bring awareness to their worthy cause. When Dr. Barry removed him from the container we were told the little guy was pretty banged up but another one they’d treated was in worse shape and had made it. They planned to X-ray him to see the extent of the injuries. The Doctor seemed to think the little guy showed some alertness but might have lost an eye and then informed us our little mink was a really a weasel. He also told us they are white during winter and turn brown in the spring. I snapped a few pictures and then we left so the professionals could do their work; our little guy was now in the best of hands. Animals tug at the heart strings so quickly and tears brimmed my eyes as we got in the car. At this moment I am not sure if the little guy was treated and is on the mend, or if he was beyond repair and humanely euthanized, but I will remain hopeful until I'm told otherwise. We may not get any updates on his condition for a few weeks but in the meantime his little life, or sadly his death, can have meaning by bringing awareness to this awesome society that is rescuing wildlife in need.
Having never rescued an animal before, I didn’t know the society existed so I appreciated the education and knew immediately that I wanted to spread awareness. Apparently over 1500 injured and orphaned wild animals will be given a second chance this year. Injured, freezing and starving can become a story of strong, healthy and ready for release back into the wild. While every animal at the Hope for Wildlife Society has sad beginnings they receive compassion from volunteers who care enough to help. A worthy cause that needs donations to run. Please join me in supporting Nova Scotia’s Wildlife, either by a “Like” on their Facebook page that can be accessed from the website link below, or by making a donation. www.hopeforwildlife.org
Thanks so much for sharing Dick!
This wonderful 21"X28" mat was estimated to sell for around $1500.00 at auction Tuesday night in Dover, NH. The estimate was WAY off as the gavel dropped at $5400.00. Worth every penny, I think. My poor adaptation will keep me happy for years…or until one of the kids "runs off" with it! A "tip of the hat" to the Grenfell Mission, the artists and the inspiration that the craft still supports. Dick Barr
Grenfell Mission is a medical and religious mission founded by Sir Wilfred Grenfell in the late 19th century in St. Anthony, Newfoundland and Labrador.
The purpose of the mission was to help the poor with food, clothing and medical care, as well as improving their global economic conditions. The mission was created by Grenfell and modeled after a Boston hospital founded and managed by Jessie Luther.
Grenfell Mission was famous for its burlap rugs, which were sold to hospitals in the United States and Britain. Encouraged and promoted by Dr.Grenfell, the rug makers of the mission used designs created by Mrs. Grenfell. Beginning in the early 20th century, the International Grenfell Association (IGA) hired Jessie Luther of Providence, Rhode Island, to set up and direct the Grenfell Industrial Department. Grenfell established retail shops in England and in several U.S. cities. These shops were staffed by volunteers and augmented by traveling salesmen. Following the death of Dr. Grenfell and the surge in machine-made rug production, the business gradually failed. Grenfell rugs remain highly prized by folk art collectors.
The quiet months of February and March were known as the "matting season" along the rugged coast of northern Newfoundland and Labrador. It was a time of respite from the fishing season. Generations old by the time the Grenfell Mission began, the roots of mat hooking lay with the founding English and Scottish settlers. The women all hooked, most from their earliest childhood.
In 1892, when Dr. Wilfred T. Grenfell arrived from England, he met courageous, hardworking people who were fighting terrible odds against chronic disease, hunger, poverty and exploitation. From his determination to alleviate their distress, Grenfell's medical mission began. His conviction that outright gifts of money, food and clothing would offer no long term help led to the development of a cottage industry known as "the Industrial," which produced distinctive handicrafts including hooked mats. The mat industry rose to peak production in the late 1920s and early 1930s. It began to decline as the effects of the Great Depression reached the region and fell off dramatically after World War II.
In 1905, Grenfell met Jessie Luther, an American woman who had set up a sanitarium with crafts as part of the treatment. Excited by her methods Grenfell encouraged her to come north. In 1906, Luther journeyed to the tiny settlement of St. Anthony on the northeastern most tip of Newfoundland to establish a weaving project by which the local women could augment their families' meager and unreliable income from fishing.
Map of Newfoundland (chrome).
Silk or rayon stocking material, dyed; 42" x 31 1/2";
Mat maker unknown, ca. 1938.
I didn’t realize I could have so much fun hooking something so simple. A customer asked for a Hit & Miss project on Saturday and we put the wool together so I could assemble a kit. She choose bright colours with a black grid and was pretty enthused but then changed her mind, thinking maybe she would rather hook something more relevant to her taste and wanted to think about it some more. After she left, I looked at the pile of wool and what came to mind? I swear I said......"Then I’ll do it myself, said the "Little" red hen!" I figured it would make a great new kit for the summer tourist trade. I didn’t realize how much fun was awaiting me.
So I made up a pattern yesterday and took it home and started around 9:30 in the evening. I watched it evolve and was struck by how soothing this traditional style of hooking could be. Most of my projects are thought provoking and more complicated as far as shading and colour placement go, but this straight line format was just as exciting, watching the colour pile up on the backing. The colours play off one another, complimenting and highlighting the one next to it, bold and strong against pastel and soft, perfectly matching as a whole. Line after line, hooked without much thought except for never using the same two pieces together sure makes for quick work. If only the clock hadn’t foiled me by running out of time. Begrudgingly I put down my work and went to bed thinking if only I had another two hours I could have finished it, but then again there is tonight!
I now have a taste for this very savoury dish and I think I’d like more. I’ve always admired Hit & Miss rugs but for some reason never thought to do it myself. I’m so happy for the gal who brought it to my radar. This old dog learned a simple new trick. Of all the hit and miss going on around me I wished I’d clued in earlier, but then again, better late than never!
Mary is back to hooking after her toboggan spill this winter and the broken arm that ensued. She's doing a sweet little terrier trivet. It's nice seeing her back in the saddle! Here are a few pictures of the hook-in.
Saturday and Sunday had lots of visitors to the shop!!! Janet Delo came in to claim her prize for the Pattern of the Month Club Contest. A 3 Pack of Natural Dorr Wool. Next month this could be you!!!
Julia Cochrane purchased the first rug of the season, Say Cheese. She is a real cat person so this piece was a perfect match so I know it will be going to the perfect forever home! I like to feel good vibes from a customer when I sell a rug. It's like I am a rug breeder and need to find the right home for my litter!
What a wild weekend! The annual Fiber Arts Retreat at the Atlantica Hotel brought a lot of rug hookers, felters, spinners, knitters and quilters to the area. I opened on Sunday to accommodate those who were venturing this way after check out so they could redeem the gift certificates I donated for door prizes. There was a constant flow of people dropping by to check out the shop or just pop in to say hi.
After we closed on Sunday I tore the shop apart to rearrange some things and make room for some new stuff. We are preparing to finish our video that we started last year, a tour of the shop so all of you from away can see what we see everyday! Coming through our door is like entering through a Gateway To Inspiration or at least that's what I'm told! Knowing that we inspire rug hookers is a savory dish. Hubby's back home so the filming will continue!
Due to the Fiber Arts Retreat being held at the Atlantica Hotel this weekend, Encompassing Designs will be open from 11:00 am - 3:00 pm.
As I've stated many times, I’m no fan of housework. But, now I'm thinking maybe I didn’t have the right tools to do the job. One of the many excuses to avoid the drudgery of domestic labour, was the lack of a decent vacuum cleaner. I’ve been hauling around an ancient Electrolux and although the suction was still capable, there were things breaking that duct tape couldn’t fix. The beater bar gave up the ghost several years ago and having to push and pull the wood floor brush back and forth over the pile of our oriental carpets made it easy to ignore the dirt.
The length from the handle to the brush was never right, causing my back to bend in a touchy position that irritated my old sciatica problem. And then there's the sweat and hot flashes from exerting that much energy, especially in the summer months, that just wasn't conducive to my being a happy camper. Hubby never minded the strenuous workout, so I’d leave that job up to him; a little home coming present after working in Alberta. He’s one of those men who are comfortable with house cleaning and is always willing to pitch in, especially to keep me from turning the air a blasphemous shade of blue.
It was time. We needed to invest in a new machine. So Wednesday afternoon we headed to Bridgewater. We like supporting local, independent small businesses and Dave’s Vacuum Shop was our destination. They are very knowledgeable and pack 29 years of experience in their well stocked shop. They took the time to answer all our questions about the various options of each machine so we could best match one to our needs. We walked out with a Germany built vacuum called the Miele. I checked on the net and it came with a very high rating but I will admit the attraction first began with the colour. My eyes landed on the blue beauty and it was love at first sight. My body gravitated toward it while the shop gal described all the units around it. There were many makes and models to choose from and each one offered different options, some with downsides while others did more than our little house would need. Coincidentally, the little blue Miele was the perfect match for our desires.....like connecting on a dating site she seemed to be made for us!
Happy with our purchase, we treated ourselves to fish and chips at Waves Restaurant because there wasn’t enough time to get home and make dinner before the hook-in that evening. I was torn, I really just wanted to fire that puppy up and clean the house. I wanted to see how she handled. After the hook-in it would be late and dark, and cleaning with only house lighting is never enough to see all the dirt in the shadows, cracks and crevices.
Most of the gals left the hook-in early to get home and watch American Idol so by 9:30 I was home and we were plugged in to go! We could hear the dirt and debris being sucked up the nozzle....to be fair, the house had gone three months without a clean so there was bound to be a mess. A lot of work for our little blue diva but she rose nicely to the challenge. Nothing about this little vacuum sucked, except of course for the suction! It has various setting strengths for carpets and Persian rugs and we had to lower it to keep the beater bar from sucking out all the wool.
We cleaned downstairs, taking turns to get the feel of it. My only complaint about the machine was that I had to wait my turn! Next we headed to the bedroom. The ceiling fan was turning fuzzy from the dust so we cleaned that first and then moved to the drapery and blinds, making quick work of each chore. The princess canopy over the headboard never looked so good. Then we tackled the cobwebs around the crown moldings. We sucked up enough webs and their manufacturers to put the common house spider on the endangered species list. So slick and smooth, the canister rolls behind you like an attentive puppy and the telescopic arm on the handle allows for the perfect height so my back wasn’t bent in painful angles.
Even though the vacuum has a powerful motor its whisper quiet. We always had a problem using the old Electrolux because it was deafening and the dogs didn’t like it. Henri would hide in another room and Honey and Fiz would take runs at it and bark. The real craziness happened when we pulled out the cord or retracted it back into the machine. Honey would lose her mind, and then the rest would bark at her. A four dog circus! I think maybe the cord had the appearance of a snake, surfacing the ingrained fear that most animals have for the coiling, cold blooded reptile. She would attack it with a vengeance, biting at it as it slithers and winds back into the machine.
When Honey was young it was cute. A little pup pouncing on the cord and all her funny antics made us laugh, but as she got older and then passed this annoying quirk to her sister and then Jake, it grew tiring. So this new machine provided us with the perfect opportunity to break the old habit. Honey watched us pull out the cord and ran toward the machine to receive a firm “No”. Voila, habit broken! She sashayed to the sofa and watched from her perch as the humans cleaned her house. Fiz and Jake, not having the usual neurotic show joined her to watch us work. Henri hovered close by but didn’t show the normal signs of distress. That alone makes the purchase worth every penny and means I’ll be able to clean on a more regular basis without losing my mind from guard pups trying to protect me from the loud beast.
So the rugs and floors are clean, the walls and beams are dewebbed and the horizontal surfaces are dusted. The house sparkles! Now my little Blue Beauty sits quietly, waiting for her next call to duty….if only the house would get dirty so I can play domestic goddess again........
I'd like to say thank-you to all of the participants. Great job done by all! Seeing these mats come in was like getting presents in the mail! Remember you still qualify for the year end grand prize of the $500.00 shopping spree!
Sorry, I can't post them all but I thought the top three would be nice to view! To be fair to all, it was blind judging and I didn't participate, but I do agree with our judges chooses.
Remember anyone can play and you can jump in anytime. February's submissions are due by April 30th. Win for Wool!!!!! See my contests page for details.
Janet Delo, congrats on winning a 3 Pack of Dorr Natural!!!
April's Pattern of the Month
April is all about beginnings. It represents new life, a transition season from the chills of winter to the summer sun. The first thing that came to mind was a childhood verse, "April Showers Bring May Flowers" and what could be more perfect for our pattern of the month. Instead of a May flower, I chose the Daisy which is April's birth flower that conveys innocence, loyal love and purity. It is also the flower given between friends to keep a secret, meaning, "I'll never tell" The garden is also growing colourful egg flowers, a sweet delight, let's pretend they're foiled wrapped and filled with chocolate!
Although Easter is a religious holiday, it is also a time for fun! The bunny is of course synonymous with this day, like a springtime Santa.....delivering baskets full of candy to delighted children, and all the young at heart who love surprises. Who doesn't love an Easter egg hunt! Mr. Bunny is sitting under a big umbrella to avoid getting wet by all the April showers.
Remember this paper pattern is free with any purchase, in store or mail order, but it can also be purchased alone. To find out about our contest, click the link for all the details. You can jump in at any time! We will be voting on January's finished rugs this during our hook-in this evening. Good luck to the person who will win a 3 Pack of Dorr Natural wool prize.
I'm feeling a bit responsible for this terrible weather! I swore I'd have my Spring Bunnies With Tulips done for April 1st and although I stayed up until 2:30 last night and made a valiant effort I fell short of the mark. There is only about two hours worth of work to complete so it will be finished by the end of the day, with the help of some toothpicks to hold up my eyelids. Unfortunately, the deal I negotiated with Mother Nature, to flush winter down the toilet had a March 30th deadline and I failed to come through. She prevailed with high winds, ice pellets and more snow! The punishment? We will now have 15 more days of winter. So sorry folks, I let you all down.....
I still have the lace to hook in the border, finish the two bunnies and that last tulip. I over-dyed a plaid with red violet for the border and Shane dyed up a very pale Lavender for the lace. The three fingers of the plaid in each piece of lace makes it look like cotton eyelet with a background showing through. So little left to do and then the whipping!
We've had some eye candy come in. Hopefully these lovely golds and greens will take the edge off the winter blues. This piece is called FENCED IN and was hooked by Tanya McNutt. It's listed under my Signature Designs. She mixed it up a bit and make the flowers proddy which gave this whimsical pattern even more punch. I love that she added a black sheep, one that jumped the fence. Clever and adorable!
This piece is called PUMPKINS 4 YOU and was sent in by Donna Thompson for her mom. Donna, tell mom she gets a 50% discount off her next pattern of like size. This note came with the picture! Thanks for sharing!
"To help you remember us, my mom Dot Chisholm and I visit your shop every year at the end of the summer. Mom loves your shop. When we were there last Sept she bought this mat and the wool to hook it and I think you told her you didn't have a picture of it. Here is the finished mat."
Patty Tyrrell hooked my Tails Of The Heart. I always knew it would be stunning and she proved me right! I love her choice of colours. The fun play on words describes the tails shaped like hearts. Being the first time hooked Patty gets a certificate of 50% off her next pattern. She's going for the Crocks & Jugs.
Mermaid Mosaic, designed by Sue Cunningham, hooked by Judy Gill. Blue being my favourite colour I can relate perfectly to this rug. To date it hadn't been hooked and I can't think of a better colour choice and this rug would fit in my home like a worn in pair of shoes, comfortable and at ease with my blue and white China. Judy is also entitled to a 50% discount on her next pattern for being the first to present a hooked picture.
Gift Certificates are available for that special rug hooker in your life! Any denomination, no expiry date!
Monday - Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Toll Free: 1-855-624-0370
498 Main Street
P.O. Box 437
Mahone Bay, N.S.
Canada B0J 2E0
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