If anyone is going to the Nova Scotia Guild Rug School this coming week and would like any of our products delivered to save shipping costs, I have several friends attending the school who have offered to drop them off to you! Orders would have to be placed before Sunday. Have fun at school!
They say write about what you know. Well, all I know right now is Varathane, gyprock dust, wood filler, primer, paint, cleaning and scouring. Same old stuff and getting older by the minute. I’ll be glad to see the end of it all and get back to the shop and hooking. All I do is work at the apartment all day and get home around 10:30 pm, grab something for dinner and crawl into bed. My dogs are wondering what is going on as I am never home. Poor guys, I’ll have to make it up to them with some ball time now that most of the snow is gone.
Tomorrow is the last day of the grind. I forfeited my house cleaning day for help with the apartment and Larry rearranged his schedule and booked me for the entire day, bless him. He’s arriving at 8:30 am to begin the clean and we will have to shift all the stuff from room to room because the construction is still going on. The carpenter had a deadline but fell short so now we are down to the wire. That is the problem with today’s trade’s people, they work more than one job and flit back and forth between them trying to keep everyone happy. I guess I was the last on the totem pole because my job is nowhere finished, the guy is moving in on Thursday so that puts the pressure on me to pull an all-nighter Wednesday to make sure it’s move in ready. I’d complain but if the carpenter gets angry and doesn’t come back I’m screwed so I’ll keep my mouth shut and work my arse off to make up for the short comings.
For those who never painted. First the sharp edges of the wood need a light sanding to make it softer to touch. Wood has knots that need to be shellacked at least four times and then Bin over that so they don’t bleed through the paint. Then the nail holes need to be filled with wood filler and that has to dry and then sanded. Then you can prime, that has to dry and then you start slapping on at least two coats of finish.
We are still painting but there is enough for Larry to clean for eight hours. There is a terrible mess of the front entrance and hall of the building so everything needs a cleaning. In the apartment, the guy that lived there didn’t lift a finger in seven years. Imagine the webs and dust and the ground in dirt, the bathroom, I can’t even go there, it’s a memory that I could have lived without...bachelors! Sure we are painting in there but it still had to be cleaned before we slapped on the primer.
I spent a couple of hours on my hands and knees liberating the floor of seven years grime. He must not have taken his shoes off and tracked in dirt from the outside and maybe there was a bit of black shoe leather rubbing off? The bedroom carpet had been brand new when he moved in. It was walked down and sticky, and the brown had turned to black so that was ripped up and replaced. The only way to get that kind of dirt out of a carpet would be with a blowtorch. The beautiful wood floors were sanded and recoated before he moved in and he created a pathway down the center of the hall a cadaver grey. At first I worried it wouldn’t come off and I’d be stuck renting a floor sander, a fate worse than running out of wool, but behold it came up with elbow grease, a wet rag and comet. The abrasive stripped the dirt and now all I have to do after everything is done is Varathane the floor on my way out the door.
I tried my best to fix the floor in the office where his office chair damaged it. It looks like crap and I’m deeply embarrassed so I have a spare wool rug I’ll contribute. I had no time to rent a floor sander and the palm sander made more mess of it than not. All the ground in dirt made the raw, exposed wood a sickly grey colour so when I applied the Varathane it went even darker. I’m livid those beautiful floors are now ruined and I look like I’m a slum landlord! Too late now to do anything about it, except hide it with a rug, I been sputtering over it but at this point I have to let it go.
I won’t be at the end of this nightmare for a few more days. The bathroom door isn’t coming in until Friday, that needs to be hung and painted. The washer and dryer were delivered this afternoon but there is a lot of work to get them hooked up and we have to make sure that area is finished with paint.
I am resigned that I’ll be working there while the guy is moving in. If not for this washer and dryer bathroom reno the apartment would have been move in ready a while ago. Now that Mahone Bay doesn’t have a public laundromat our apartments needed washers and dryers to attract tenants. The second and third floor didn’t have connections so that had to be rectified. The second floor didn’t have any space for them so we stole a small segment of the bedroom adjoining the bathroom and went through the wall to expand the room to accommodate the units. The bathroom was always too small anyway so we took out the shower/tub and put in a shower stall that alone made the room larger. Now it is spacious feeling and there is an entrance from the bedroom, a convenience factor that will be much appreciated and the second entrance for company. We took about 32 inches out of the bedroom but there is still plenty of room for a large bed and furniture. I ordered a frost single paned door to allow light in during the day, another feature that will please. So all in all I think the tenant will like the changes.
Although I am dirt tired there is a small light at the end of the tunnel. My hands look like ape paws. They are swollen and red and covered in paint and shellac. They are as dry and rough as sandpaper and no matter how much hand cream I apply it’s instantly absorbed. I look like a hard working woman, not a bad thing but I’ll appreciate getting back to my princess life. Last night I hauled my sorry butt up the stairs and poured a hot bath in the claw tub. I soaked in Epsom Salts to take the sting out of my weary bones. I slept better, soothed by the steam and heat my brain relaxed and I stop stressing enough to drift away.
Gorgeous staircase in the hallway.
Responsibility calls and I’ve had to put my hooking aside for a while. I’ve been renovating two apartments that need a complete overhaul after surviving long term tenants. I like this kind of work, it’s virtually mindless and rewarding in that it comes with instant gratification. There’s something to be said about working with your hands, the hard labour stuff, it’s invigorating even though every bone in my body aches.
I haven’t renovated for years and hubby and I swore we’ve seen the last of our hammer wielding days, but maybe I miss it more than I realized. Getting back in the trenches with the bruises, skinned knuckles, mud dust and paint fumes I’m feeling pretty nostalgic. I’ve started thinking crazy thoughts like updates needed in my own kitchen and flooring....if hubby is reading this, it's the devil fumes making me do it!
As I clean and scour with a toothbrush in all those hard to reach places it doesn’t bother me that I am removing years of someone else’s dirt. I forge ahead and leave a shine behind me that could blind the sun. The crow in me likes sparkle and when I finally shut the door on the apartment for the last time, the floors twinkled, the facets gleamed and you could see yourself in the tub. I’m sure the new tenant will appreciate this spit and polish start to his new life and home.
I have one complaint though. Let’s call it advice for those of you who rent but it's also useful a useful tidbit in your own home office. Do a landlord and yourself a favour and please buy a thin carpet to put under your desk chair. All the caster action of rolling in and out eats away at the flooring. Whether its hard or soft wood or vinyl flooring it leaves its mark from the constant abuse of a weighted chair on hard wheels. The other apartment floor I'm tackling now has gouges that will be impossible to smooth out. The best I’ll be able to do is knock off the roughness and slap a few coats of Varathane on it. I’m surprised the chap didn’t think to put protection down, especially after the wheels were cutting into the floor and his chair was lowering. When his chin hit the desk he must have realized he was digging himself into a hole. Beautiful, antique patina wood floors ruined. Hopefully the new tenant has a rug to throw down to hide the imperfection.
And don’t buy one of those hard plastic floor protectors either, they only work on carpet. If you put them on wood of any kind, small granules of dirt get under it and etch the entire area covered by the so called protecting plastic. As you roll back and forth you grind that dirt into the floor, the heavier you may be, the more damage. I’ve fixed enough floors that I’m going to write this condition into the lease, buy a protective carpet!
In the upstairs apartment flooring I had to hand sand the area by the entrance door with a palm sander. That’s work for someone half my age! My hands were almost numb and my fingers ballooned up like boiled wieners making holding a paint brush even more uncomfortable when I Varathaned over the weekend. The kitchen area is as long as a bowling alley that runs to the entrance door with rooms off to the side; a lot of square footage to cover. It was grueling on my knees, butt and the sides of my legs as I shifted position constantly. Sometimes I had to stand when backed into a corner, bending over in a U shape was a strain on my poor back, but hey, it wasn't any good to complain when I didn't have an audience. You just suck it up and do what you have to do to get the job done.
So the day after I’m a bit sore but not as much as I thought I’d be. My fingers are swollen from gripping the brush, they’ve been spoiled with simple rug hooking, a gentle tool to hold. Shane came by to paint the bedroom and asked why I was using such a small brush to do the floor and I told him that a larger one would be too heavy for my hand and I didn’t want to risk ruining my wrist. I'm a rug hooker and need my hands!
Even with the overhead fan and the windows open the fumes were nasty. It must have absorbed into my pores because I can still smell it. I tried doing what the dogs do when sniffing a new smell. They keep sniffing and then blow it out. I stood outside under the night sky and inhaled as deeply as possible and then blew it out my nose to expel the fumes settled at the bottom of my lungs. I have more floors to finish in the next unit and I will be happy that’s over. Painting walls are more fun, the paint is odorless these days. The floor might off gas for a few days but in the meantime it smells clean and fresh, like a new car.
I suppose if you’ve been following my blogs you’ve already figured out I’m a classic worrywart. I obsess about long lists of things that may never happen in true worrywart style. Do I mind? No. I would rather be aware and keep my head out of the sand to face a potential mishap or disaster head on than go through life oblivious to the dangers life can throw at us. “I didn’t know that could happen”, isn’t part of my vocabulary.
To a certain degree, it’s good to stress, it keeps me on my toes and besides, I might as well accept who I am, how can I fight genetics and environmental conditioning? I know things. I like to be aware of the conditions of my surroundings at all times. I am inquisitive and have an insatiable thirst for knowledge, crave tidbits, love to know a little bit about everything, that’s just the way I came out of the chute.
Some might think I’m over the top, but I’m just a little princess when it comes to worry, whereas my dad, bless him, was the king of worriers so I’ve learned from the master and it’s true, a nut doesn’t fall far from a tree. I’m sure some of my friends and possibly my husband will call me ‘tiring” but damn it, I wonder how many near misses I’ve curtailed though diligence and thinking what can happen next? Isn't prevention being the best medicine?
I wouldn’t change who I am for the world, and believe me; you’d want me by your side in a tragedy or natural disaster. The crap I’ve been storing up, waiting for a time when I can put it all to use, maybe then I won’t be so crazy eh? I could take charge, possibly save your life with all the tidbits I’ve accumulated. I took the Brownie motto to heart “Be prepared”, it’s been my mantra my entire life and I’m ready for almost everything!
What I am about to tell you is one of the latest worries in my repertoire. I need to warn you of this potential danger because I love animals, especially dogs and I know you do as well. My four pups mean the world to me. I would give up a body part to protect them. There are so many things that can happen to harm a pet. There are poisons in the yard, spiders, certain leaves, compost liquid, and coyotes to name a few dangers waiting for a bad luck moment. I’ve been there, gone through the pain of losing a precious fur baby to dangers in the yard. The only silver lining in that black cloud was the knowledge to prevent history from repeating itself. And now there seems to be a new growing concern that’s airborne and maybe watching even if you can’t see it. I’ve actually mentioned it before but now there is irrefutable proof there is a danger in the skies that needs serious consideration.
A friend told me that someone she knows heard a noise and went outside to investigate. Her small dog was outside in a fenced in yard. A bald eagle had set his sights on the dog and swooped down to grab it. The dog ran under the deck and the eagle slammed into the house. It was lying stunned when the woman went outside. It got up and flew away. If not for a place to scurry, and if the owner hadn’t come out, the pup could have been carried away and never seen again. Horrific to think about..... I’ve been hearing stories about cats going missing as well......the coyote population seems to be less of a threat, maybe there’s an another predictor taking over.....
I’ve been combing the skies since seeing that large adult bald eagle fly by the house a few months back. Although it is a magnificent creature, my maternal instinct kicked in and my flesh crawled at the sight of it. It had a wing span of about seven feet. That’s one big mother of a bird, capable of easily lifting a cat or small dog in its clutches. We have a large yard to roam but since the sighting, I’ve been paranoid and no longer allow my four pups to wander away from me. They have to keep close so I can do my best to keep ahead of a potentially bad situation. I told hubby that I would die trying to save a pup from the talons of an eagle but he told me that accounts of man against large birds of prey is like a wrestling match with a Ginsu knife; you get sliced and diced. It is best to take off your jacket or shirt and swing it at the bird to chase it away. Good to know! (I’m not condoning harming or killing the bird, that is against everything I believe in.)
So please be careful with your cats and dogs and any other pets that roam the yard. An eagle can spot prey from a great distance, even a small mouse scurrying about. Check out the trees and roofs around you, phone poles too. Don't leave small dogs unattended, even in a penned in yard. I’m hoping my presence will deter any attempts of attacking my pack but my eyes will be peeled. Henri might be too heavy at 20 lbs but my other three would get snatched up quickly. My guys depend on me to protect them and it’s a job I take seriously.
The only place I want to see a bald eagle is in a beautiful rug. I can appreciate the splendor of this amazing creature and I don’t begrudge it a meal as long as it isn’t anyone's beloved family pet. This creature deserves a healthy respect, it is a powerful, lethal hunter and very high on the food chain, pardon the pun!
When I posted this little counting contest I meant for it to be only the sheep in the blog. I'm on this page every day and I no longer notice the sheep along the sides but a lot of you did. So to be fair I put the names in the hat of those that counted only the blog sheep correctly and those that counted the sidebar and blog sheep. The total sheep on the blog was 72 and
with the sidebar the total was 86.
There were quite a few winners. Thanks for playing!
Nichola Hewitt and a friend drove all the way from PEI this morning just to visit the shop and take home a stash of wool! So I put all the names into a bag and had her draw a name and Kathy won. I'm not sure of Kathy's last name is but her email address is Krr@maine.rr.com I will email her for a mailing address and there will be a lovely piece of wool coming to her mail box!
Have a great weekend everyone!
It's a dismal day. Raining, damp and cool. I thought it might be fun to offer a little contest. Nothing hard, all you have to do is count the sheep in the pictures. Who isn't an expert at counting sheep? I do it every night! If you see a sheep or a picture of a sheep in this blog, count it. If you get the correct number and leave a comment, I will put your name in a hat and draw for a wool related prize....a surprise that will come in the mail...so make sure you leave your email address so I can contact you for your mailing address.
I've been collecting sheep for years. If I see one it's sold! They are all over the shop, peeking down on us, smiling from inside of a cabinet, they feel very comfortable surrounding by the wool of their cousins!
I was taking a picture of a few new arrivals (above picture) and thought of having some fun. Heather was in China and brought back the little red guy on the right. That's a well traveled sheep! Linda Ruth brought in the other three. She finds these little stuffed guys at Frenchies and I have a whole collection of them.
So count some sheep and leave a comment here on or FB and I'll do a tally at the end of the day and draw the lucky name!
What a great day! The weather was perfect! Except for a few remaining snow piles Mahone Bay is looking and feeling like spring. We had a hook-in today and three showed, two for hooking and one for a lesson on how to whip her first two completed projects.
Heather pulled the last loops on her second chair pad, lovely antique looking pieces with a hit and miss theme. A star and a heart, you can’t get more primitive than that.
Patsy is going gang busters on her peacock. She made a decision on her background colour today and both Heather and I agree that our Paradise wool will look fabulous. Stay tuned for updates!
I worked on my Initially Yours H. I see a real pattern with these rugs. I like all my finished letters but the current one on the frame always seems to be my favourite. I am totally enthralled with the way this one is turning out. It’s velvetlike in person and although it takes a fairly nice picture it shines in the flesh. I stated in a previous blog that this wasn’t a preferred colour palette but it’s turning out to be very special.
I had to leave mid-way through the hook-in for an appointment with a window guy but I wasn’t gone long and had a pleasant afternoon of pulling loops and catching up on news.
I folded back the excess backing and placed all of the finished Initially Yours rugs on the table. Without sounding too full of myself, they’re fabulous. All the beautiful colour plans, so different yet so blendable. Colour doesn’t discriminate, it all gets along, happy to just be. After the H, I’ll only have five more to go, so close to the end of this wonderful journey. I might be lost when it’s over, suffer a bit of withdrawal. Maybe we could add a few more letters to the 26 to keep me going! Someone asked for an ampersand and yesterday it was mentioned that there should be a Mc. Mmmm!
BBBBBBBZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz goes the Honeybee. The Initially Yours H will be the colours of bees. Golden Yarrow and black with a herringbone background sporting both. It might not be my favourite palette and you may not like it either but there is no denying it’s as bold as brass. Every letter has to be different and this one fits the bill. It will look handsome surrounded by all the brighter colours like crayons in a box......all colour is beautiful!
Last night I was really into hooking and didn’t want to go to bed but I should have cut it off at midnight. Waiting until 1:00 am meant a sleepless night. I’m not sure why, but I can be so tired I’m falling asleep sitting up with the TV on but as soon as I crawl under the covers my brain starts dancing to an upbeat tune and gets pumped into a frenzy by from all the plans and the worry that accompanies it. The weight of the world hangs out on my doorstep, follows me like a black cloud. I fought the assault, tried reciting the alphabet, meditation and breathing, I even envisioned a baskets full of puppies, but none of it worked and the last time I checked the clock it was 5:00 am. I was so frustrated I wanted to smash the darn thing.
I was a mess when the alarm went off this morning and I would have offered up a body part to sleep in, but I had to get up as the errands for today were as long as my arm. Today I had to pick out flooring, find a suitable door, order a washer and dryer set and pick up a few things at various stores. I then have to look at paint samples and make decisions. I interviewed a lovely candidate for the apartment we are trying to rent. She isn’t ready to move until June but I think she’s worth waiting for and it will give me more time to paint and get the work done that needs doing, a bit of the pressure has dissolved. Hubby will be home soon to help as well so that’s at least twenty pounds lifted from the fifty weighing me down.
Crap hold on, I missed my mouth and spilled some coffee on my new keyboard. Luckily it pooled on top of the number pad keys and didn’t seep into the guts to fry it. Coffee is okay, it’s the cream that causes the damage, the sugar in it. That would have added nicely to my already hectic day so things are looking up, maybe my lucky horseshoe kicked in. Anyway, off to Bridgewater. It’s a good day to leave the shop because the rain is hateful and no one is about.
For as much as I am enjoying hooking the Initially Yours series it will be nice to start something that doesn’t have a letter in it. I have a number of projects I’d like to do. A rug for the pattern room that says “Patterns” to hang inside the door jam. Surprisingly, people come in the shop and leave and tell others I didn’t have any patterns. No serious rug hooking shop would be caught dead without patterns to sell. So if you come in and don’t see any, please ask!
So I thought I would hook a long vertical rug with the letters “PATTERN” blazed down it, maybe on coloured burlap so I don’t have to hook the background and then mount it on a wood frame. Make it simple and basic so the letters stand out and are legible from the front door. If they still can’t find the pattern room, maybe the glasses need changing, just sayin!
As soon as the initials are completed I would like to begin work on the Welcome Mermaid, one of my latest designs that's as cute as a button. I plan to hook it and mount it to a board and hang it in the shop for this summer’s tourist trade so all the visitor’s, rug hookers and otherwise will feel welcomed!
And then I’d like to hook an art piece, show off a bit of my shading technique. My Temptation design that’s been calling me since the day I drew it out. This will be a challenge and I like a project that tugs on the grey matter.
I finished my Initially Yours Q over the weekend and I’ve pulled the wools to begin the letter H. I’m thinking Honey Bee so black and gold. It will be completely different from any of the ones hooked to date. The background will be a gold and black herringbone so I’ve chosen a matching yellow called Golden Yarrow, a new formula Shane created and several degrees of black. It’ll be interesting placing the colours. This will be 6th of the final patterns to hook. I’m saving the N for the very last. N is for Nova Scotia and it will be the most difficult to hook by creating a Nova Scotia Tartan background. Stay tuned!
Wood screen doors have been a constant throughout my life. As soon as I could walk, I was banging my Great Uncle Howard’s screen door. Like a cat, I was always on the wrong side and spent a lot of time rectifying the problem. His door was old and sun baked, with more bare areas than painted, the wood silvered with age and more cracks than a plumber convention. Sadly the house is now gone, torn down and carried away, the door a distance memory.
Back then the screen material was metal mesh and always had little rusted holes for mosquitoes and moths to gain entrance to dance around the ceiling light fixture or seek bare flesh to bite. My uncle’s screen looked pregnant, with a stretched out bulge from years of hand pushing it to open the door. I would play with that bump, flipping the bulge from one side to the next, in, out, in, out until an adult, crusher of children’s fun, hollered stop.
The door was an antique even when I was young, possibly the same one hung when the house was built in the late 1700’s. This door had a huge past, allowing several generations of family and visitors across the threshold of the one and a half story cape. The stories it could tell! As a boy, my father would have banged that door plenty and later would have courted my mother, she would have been taken home to meet the family and escorted through that very doorway, maybe she ran her hand over the tired screen like I would later. A door is special, a gateway to a home where love abides, quite romantic I'd say.
That door would have opened for my grandmother with her four children in tow, taken in by my great uncle after my grandfather, his brother, was killed in the war. And not all history is joyous. Doors are also witness to darker times. My great uncle’s father took his last walk out that very door and jumped in the well, despondent over his wife’s death. During a cold and bitter winter, my great uncle had a heart attack in the outhouse and tried to crawl to the door for help but came up short by a dozen or so feet and lay frozen in the snow until found. Doors are silent witnesses of our lives, seeing the comings and goings and all else in between.
For me, the best thing about a screen door is the sound it makes when banged shut. The spring that forces the union of door to frame is the most delightful clamour. EEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOWWWW and then the “snap” as the catch secures it shut. Every exit/entry door of my house has a screen door on it and when they bang I’m transported back to those summer days on the old homestead, surrounded by the scent of a wood burning cook stove and tired, dust worn furnishings. I’m reminded of the lilac trees that surrounded the house dripping heavy laden with fragrant blooms and the smell of fresh cut grass from an old reel mover. I see Bessie, the neighbour’s cow chewing her cud while hanging her head over the fence for a scratch.
When a customer asked me to design a spring pattern I didn’t have to ponder long. The thought popped into my head as if I put in a coin, pulled the handle and hit the jackpot. To me a screen door is all about spring. Around my house, the screen doors stay on all year and when the temperatures warm we trade out the Plexiglas panels installed to break the winter wind for the vinyl screens that allows the wonderful, fresh spring air into the house.
For some reason screen doors irritate parents and older folk. They don’t like the loud report of wood slammed against wood. That will never happen with me. When I’m 90, you can come over to my house and bang the crap out my door and as long as it doesn’t fall off the hinges, I won’t raise a wiry eyebrow. To me the sound is a memory, music to my ears, thoughts of my wonderful great uncle, it symbolizes the some of the happiest moments of my childhood, a simpler life, before I had to join the grownup rat race.
So I started with the screen door border and worked inward. The view from my own back door encompasses a birdbath so that was a no brainer. For me, three elements symbolize spring, at least in my neck of the woods. Robins, daffodils and tulips. They epitomize the intent of this pattern immediately. Spring has sprung just like the catch on my screen door!
First Signs 38" x 28" - $80.93 Linen
Another blast last evening at the hook-in. By the time I sat down to pull some loops people started to leave and I forgot to take photos of their work. Too much fun and not paying attention! We always have a good time and last night was lively!
Sue is back from holiday and came in to chat. She doesn't have anything on her frame right now but I'm sure that's temporary.
Charlene pulled her final loops on the third installment of her stained glass triptych. I can't wait to photograph them all together....it's going to be fabulous!
Deanna is almost finished her Tessellations rug. Looking fabulous!
Marta did a great job on her letter M and is now doing the floral motif. It glows as much as she does!
Pam is on the border of her circle rug. This rug proves you can have ea fabulous look with only few colours, if I counted correctly there is only four. Simply marvelous!
And last but not least, progress on my Initially Yours Q. It's going quickly!
I swiped this picture from Mary Doig's Facebook page. The deer are so hungry they're eating bird seed. Mary is handing out carrots. All two and four legged creatures have all had a rough winter.
When I was driving to work this morning I was stuck by how dirty the town looks. Like we’re burning coal on the outskirts and the dust is settling on the piles of snow. The positive part is that the dark crust will melt it faster, being that the sun is absorbed more, but in the meantime its grunge city around here.
And holes....the streets are like Swiss Cheese. There are areas with potholes almost a foot deep and the car wheel all but disappears if you’re unlucky enough to hit one. Trying to avoid them is like driving through a mine field. The holes fill with water so you can’t judge if it’s a shallow dip or a gateway to China until it’s too late.
Falling into one of them is enough to cause whiplash. Why the town can’t fill the holes temporarily with crush gravel to avoid damaging our cars is a mystery but maybe there’s a conspiracy here. The body shops are giving the maintenance crew kickbacks to drum up business. I hear talk of broken and bent axles, nothing that sounds cheap to fix. Fenders are being crunched and in need of hammering out. Shane’s had to have his front and back bumper fixed. It’s been a rough winter on our bodies and our vehicles.
Other winter related troubles have landed on our doorstep. From all the shoveling, Shane worked himself into a hernia and needs surgery. He’s big, tall and strong but after shifting tons of snow something decided to give. After surgery, while he recuperates, I’ll be on dyeing duty to help drain the heavy pots. Maybe we’ll find some softer work for him like teaching a few dye workshops.
Robins are out but I haven’t seen any deer. The snow is still too deep behind the house for them to come down the hill. I hear they’re starving. Mary has them in her backyard eating out of the bird feeders. If they come around I’ll throw some carrots and apples their way. Right now I’m doing my part to feed the birds. There is very little ground exposed for the robins to peck for worms and the song birds are singing their little hearts out for a handful of seeds.
I wonder what life cycles will be affected by the relentless winter and slow spring. Today, someone said that ticks have a long life cycle and will fall short starting late. Having four pups to protect, half of me did a high five but the other half knows any shift in the balance of nature causes collateral damage somewhere. We don’t want to lose any of our bird populations and other critters that feed on the tiny arachnids. We all have a purpose in the food chain and a break in a link can wreak havoc on a particular species. Luckily we’ve crawled our way to the top. Short of dinosaurs being replicated in a real life Jurassic Park nightmare, cannibalism becomes a new fad or aliens from a distant galaxy view the earth and man as a food source, we’re relatively safe.
If you are following my posts and website, most will be familiar with Sue Cunningham, the rug hooking enthusiast that created the Women of Abundance pattern line plus countless other designs. I speak of her often and fondly. She’s part of the Main Street Hooker’s group that meet at the studio and over the years has become a good friend. She’s a talented gal and we share a creative lingo when brain storming about a new project.
I can be a gloomy Gus and a visit from her is like a happy pill. Sue has way more energy than I do and I envy that, but there are hares and tortoises and all other critters somewhere in between, that’s just life. She’s like a battery charger, when I’m around her I plug in and get zapped into a creative nirvana. She’s full of fun, some might even say the devil because there’s never a dull moment when she’s around. At times, I’m sure I’ve dangled on her last nerve, I sometimes use her as a sounding board for life’s woes against her will but luckily she keeps coming back.
There is no disputing her creativity in the design and hooking department, but she is also a dynamo in other mediums. Sue recently launched a Facebook page titled Perfectly Imperfect by Sue to promote her upcycled furniture pieces. Taken from drab to fab, she breathes new life into antique and vintage furniture, sometimes repurposing them in the shift. She subscribes to the theory that all things have more than one purpose, such as an old floor radio, stripped of its parts and tubes, can now be a book shelf ready to serve another half century of use.
I have a very clear memory of meeting Sue, back when I was in the old shop on Pleasant Street. A pretty blond, full of enthusiasm, working on one of Mary Doig’s patterns called “Washline”. She wanted the clothing to be bright and cheery and was in to find some happy wool. She laid her work in progress on the floor and we discussed it. Why this particular encounter survived my overloaded brain I’m not sure, but it I'll chalk it up to her passion and personal magnetism. If not for the shop I may never have met her and that would be my loss.
I have a number of Sues painted pieces in the shop to display our wares. I like eclectic, boldly painted furniture and her pieces lend to the overall splash of colour that hits you in the eye as you walk through the door.
Sue has the gift of good taste. It's hard to believe she wasn't born with a bit of blue blood and a silver spoon in her mouth, although she’d probably say it would be too much of a pain to keep polished, because she has an eye for quality and puts a stamp of class on everything she does.
How about helping Sue reach a larger audience by clicking on the FB page link and give her a like. Below are some of the pieces I have in my shop and others I copied from her Facebook page.
We are running this workshop on
June 20th (Sat) and 21st (Sun)
Three of the available patterns for the workshop with all of the elements needed for special effects.
Dream Cottage Welcome
27" x 23" $57.97 Linen
If you don't see a pattern that strikes your fancy for this workshop, let's talk!
Shane cleaned out the storage closet and found my unfinished Bunnie's With Tulips, rolled up way in the back. Out of sight out of mind, that way the guilt and shame didn't bother me. I put a push on trying to finish before April 1st and when I fell short, the panic now over, I moved on to other things. I found the blog I wrote last year and was struck by the thought that maybe I'm responsible for the snow. Maybe I'm jinxing spring with my procrastinating yet another year. Maybe I need to finish this piece after the K, no more excuses and let spring shine. Give me heck to get moving people! The rug is so lovely and happy it would be great to hang in the shop to feel like spring even if winter's a hanger on!
Last years blog - 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!
Spring Bunnies comes in two versions. One with the tulips as above and the other with Easter Eggs in the tall grass.
29" x 33"
To view my New Designs Page, click this link and scroll down. http://www.encompassingdesigns.com/new-designs.html
I’ve been busier than a fox in a chicken coop. I won’t bore you with the list as long as my arm but my cup is overflowing. When I’m overloaded some things have to go and unfortunately the blog is the first victim, followed by meals and personal hygiene, not necessarily in that order.
The shop is busy, that’s great and no complaints there. It’s my personal life that’s clogging the drain. I like being busy at the shop, it makes the day fly and it’s stimulating but I don’t like a high octane ride at home, I want that to be slow paced and relaxing, a slow walking clip. My personal life is crazy, I can hardly believe it’s that hectic, if not for being in the middle of all this chaos, I wouldn’t believe it myself! It’s exhausting being me when my hubby is away and it doesn’t get much better when he’s home, then we’re both nuts. Our life is too big for any two people too handle, with too many obligations, too much plate heaped too excess.
Sometimes I think it would be great to have nothing to do, be a stay at home housewife or retired with only the daily chores to attend too and a bit of crafting on the side. Be a little old bumpkin in the country or a proud underachiever, someone who only ventures a short distance from home for provisions and lives each day in a kitchen with a lazy boy and TV not far from the table. No expectations, no desire for excitement, just waiting it out watching game shows and the weather channel. I would kill for a few days like this so my brain could rest, where the only thing pressing is what’s for dinner?
It’s good to be busy, it keeps life interesting but the degree to which I am referring is like a 600 lb woman trying to squeeze into slim sized hosiery. It’s impossible! Every day is a struggle to balance it all and still have enough energy to lift a fork to my mouth or brush my teeth. No friggin wonder I don’t sleep in this torturous morning and evening grind.
The only time I’m perfectly happy is when I’m at work, concentrating on what needs doing and temporarily forget my personal obligations. When it all boils down, my work is fun and I go there to play, too bad I can’t say that about my home life. Every single day, there are at least three things that need addressing or handling and it’s always, chop, chop do it now. Someone needs this, someone wants that. There aren’t enough hours for me to do it all. I’m not Ivana Trump for goodness sake, if only I were. I’ll bet she has people. I need people. If I was rich....if I could win the lottery or get an out of the blue call that some unknown uncle died and left me a bundle, first thing on the list would be a PA. Someone to delegate to and send on errands, shovel snow, laundry, dishes, sit in on my appointments, interview potential tenants, reply to personal emails, return calls from all the answering machine flashes, grocery shop, bring in firewood, do all the hardware shopping for our renovation, crack fill walls, paint, clean up, take the car in for the recall servicing and at some point get the winter tires off, my god I hope that will happen and soon, trips back and forth the airport, accountant appointments, groom pups, maybe stand in for my pap test, someone to take care of me so I can save what’s left of my hair and keep my heart from pounding out of my chest from all the rushing around and the stress of being me. I think it is time to make some changes, at this point in our lives it should be getting easier. We need to dump some of our responsibilities to loosen the noose. Hopefully by summer things will begin to slow down because there is going to be a boat in the harbour beckoning us to sail the beautiful and peaceful waters of Mahone Bay.
So I haven't had much time to hook lately but I'm rounding the corner with only a bit of background to go. I hope to finish it tonight with the phone off the hook. I'm anxious to start K next in a Khaki/Beige/Taupe palette. I love how the U turned out. It's vibrant and makes a statement. I kept it red, white and blue as a tribute to our south of the border friends.
Instructor - Heather Gordon
Date: Saturday April 25, 2015
Time: 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Fee: $50.00 (Deposit of 50% required to comfirm your space)
Venue: Encompassing Designs Rug Hooking Studio
Tessellations are geometric patterns created by repeated designed without gaps or overlapping motifs. You can have fun and create your own fantasy "Rainbow Village" design in just one day. In this workshop you will learn how to:
- Create your own tessellation templates
- Modify the design for different types of projects (chair pad, wall hanging or floor mat configuration)
- Transfer the pattern to your backing
- Colour plan for different effects
You will need:
- Your frame, hook, scissors, backing of choice, cutting machine
- Fabrics - a variety of colours for houses (approximately one square foot each) dark colours for each roof and window trim and yellow for the windows
- Ruler, pencils and light cardboard for templates
To register, contact Heather email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 902-640-2369
Tea, coffee and snack will be provided
Heather Gordon is a certified teacher with the Rug Hooking Guild of Newfoundland and Labrador – RHGNL…..Former Director, South Shore Region of the Rug Hooking Guild of Nova Scotia - RHGNS
Mary Schlech has been a busy hooker. She sent some eye candy for me to share. I've known Mary for sometime and really admire her richly saturated colour choices. It is always a pleasure to see what she is up too. Generally she designs and hooks relevant topics of her travels to far away places and people she's met so it is a thrill that she finds pleasure in hooking some of our designs. Above she has hooked our pattern "Holly" one of the 43 Christmas Stocking designs on my Seasonal Designs Page. I love the addition of the starfish and might incorporate them in the pattern as a keeper! She created the two flanking Santas for Jake and John, two lucky guys for sure.
The above design is called "Native Fish". Hooked in a rich palette of earthy tones Mary brought this piece to life. At first glance one might think it is only sky peaking through the trees but the design is more sophisticated in that the shape of the trees define the same shape from the opposite view. I love the multi-oranges and golds in the sun like a plumage of feathers are fanning out. This is a nature piece that incorporates a bit of geometric flavour. Great job! I am hoping Mary can bring this rug in for a better picture as the darkening on the ends aren't telling the true tale of it's perfection. Fabulous!
Susan Leslie's "Fish" design hooked in richly saturated blues. Always a favourite of mine so of course my eye falls on this rug with favour. Fish within fish without any background, how exciting!
As always thanks for sharing Mary. I look forward to seeing you and the new design you've been working on.....it's always a pleasure!
We were so grateful for good weather last evening so we could gather and hook. The winter has been tough on our crafts! It was a jolly group, with one new addition to our fold. Marta, a recent import to Nova Scotia from Toronto, took a beginning class a year ago and now she's starting her second project, one of the Initially Yours letters M. She loves lilacs and lavenders and these colours will be used for the letter. She plans to add pops of colour but will decide in what direction these will head after the M is hooked. A bit camera shy for now, I'll help her over that hump as time goes by!
Anne is on the outside border of Alice and then all that will be left is the whipping and the admiring. Ginny is going whimsical this time with our smaller version of Sailor's Lure. I absolutely love the pretty face and what she is doing with the hair. Mermaids make great redheads!
Shelley is working on a sari silk river. Pam is going great guns on her Joan Foster pattern. Winter is the last thing on your mind when you fall in love with this tropical palette.
Charlene is on the end stretch of her final stained glass pattern, the third installment of her triptych. She is using some of Shane's dyed butterfly wool and tapes the strips as she cuts them in typical hooked, stained glassed fashion.
Armenia started her new project "Twenty-Five Shades of Grey III". She fell in love with the larger version that Sue Cunningham hooked. We coloured planned it with 12 shades of grey and black and pinned samples of where each piece of wool will go. A quick and easy way to remember what colour goes where.
I'm puttering away at my letter U. Life is very busy right now so it's going slower than I would like but I'm very happy how it is turning out. I love the colours!
Gift Certificates are available for that special rug hooker in your life! Any denomination, no expiry date!