The shop will be closed on
Monday for the
Labour Day Holiday
We wish you a safe and fun filled day!
See you Tuesday!
The shop will be closed on
Monday for the
Labour Day Holiday
We wish you a safe and fun filled day!
See you Tuesday!
I met a very talented rug hooker and had a great chat. She came in looking for the pattern "Alice" but unfortunately it wasn't on the rack so I’ll make it up and mail it out. Helen Sands is from Ontario and she hooks with a group called the "Frontenac Rug Hookers" that meet Thursday mornings in Harrowsmith, North of Kingston. Usually there is 16-18 attendees every week for fellowship and to share the joy of rug hooking.
Helen herself has been hooking since 2006 and she has been enjoying it very much. She likes vivid colours although she says she doesn’t do any of the dyeing herself. I had a look though Helen’s portfolio and it was an impressive lineup of pieces and I saw a few of my designs in there so I wanted to show them off.
She said The Herd was fun and different from what she usually hooks. I like the vibrant rust background framing the sheep. She hooked the critters in yarn and the rest was done in #4 cut wool strips. The Strawberry themed pattern isn't mine but too pretty not to showcase. It's a Joan Moshimer design and although she couldn’t recall the name we figured Strawberry Basket was close enough. It was featured in the Ontario Guild Newsletter awhile back. Good job Helen!
The last rug is Condo Living. If I was a bird I’d be hanging out in this swanky neighbourhood. The primary colours bring this piece to life. They are my favorites so I love what’s she’s done with the colour planning. She said she bought the pattern from me when I set up shop in Belleville for the AGM.
Hubby Ron was in tow as most husbands are, although most prefer hovering outside the door to keep the sidewalk straight. Don't worry guys, a wing back chair is on the way for taking a load off while waiting for the better half to fondle wool. Poor guys, popping into stores all over town with as much enthusiasm as a pin in the eye. Guess they love us eh?
Ron didn't seem to mind and I found out he's also a crafter, teaming up with Helen to sell their wares at the local markets. Obviously proud of his wife's handiwork he was the one who mentioned showing me her portfolio that was filled with beautiful rugs. Helen also does crocheting and sewing and Ron makes Muskoka cedar lawn furniture. I wasn’t sure what a Muskoka chair was and he explained it has a curved back, like the Adirondack but more comfortable. Interesting and lovely couple, retired and exploring their creative sides together. A lovely couple!
Beth Miller holding Celeste
We've been having a lot of rug hooking visitors from across Canada and the States. At times I'm connecting faces with names or making a brand new hooking acquaintance. Facebook is a great place to meet rug hookers and I've seen Beth Miller on there before. She's opened a rug hooking studio called Parris House Wool Works in South Paris, Maine.
She came in hoping I had a few angel patterns. Her friend Wilder Oakes, a professional artist, saw an angel as a child with blond hair. She thought she would hook an angel rug as a gift and make the hair golden. What a thoughtful, special sentiment. She choose the pattern Celeste and was quite excited to find a design that fit what she had in mind.
We had a long chat about running a rug hooking business and traded a few experiences back and forth. Retired from the hectic world of real estate she is going the entrepreneurial route so now the work day is pure play. It's very obviously from her enthusiasm that she is having a great deal of fun exploring her creative side. She reminded me of myself when I opened my door, like a kid in a candy store. Best of luck Beth and it was fun chatting/getting to know you.
If you would like to look up Wilder Oakes work click the link. A worth see!
An angel in Glenna's clothing!
Hump day was exceptional! The shop was buzzing from the moment we opened until we hauled in the flag and dinner out capped off the evening. I’ve asked a rug hooking friend to help out for a couple of weeks to manage the crowds and free up some of my time to get the new pattern room up and running. She may look like a mortal woman, but really she’s an angel, sent to lend me a helping hand. Bless you Glenna! Just one day in and I know she’ll be a great help. She sews like a pro and is helping me prepare smaller kits for the shop as the baskets are empty and I have no time to make more.
Our deadline for moving into the new back room is the middle of September. And then we have to fill the area left vacant to the rafters with wool. Shane and I are going to hit the dye pot in the evenings and fill up that area with enough eye candy to raise your blood sugar or create a cavity!
So yesterday we were all hands on deck banging out patterns for mail orders. This has been the busiest summer the shop has seen since before they canceled the Yarmouth Ferry. The orders keep coming in, thank-you wonderful people and I now have received two requests to design Christmas Tree Skirts so that will be next. Once in the mode I’ll do several. I’ve always wanted to do a tree skirt and they'll be just in time to hook for the holiday season!
And how does one follow a perfect work day? You go out to dinner! So Mary, Peter, hubby and I went made a reservation at the Bluenose Lodge in Lunenburg. The restaurant is called Bay Leaf Eatery and the four of us were very impressed, we couldn't have found a darn thing wrong with the place even if we wanted too. My starter was exceptional, a Spinach Salad, with avocado, double smoke bacon, red onion, cranberries, candied pecans, plum tomato, soft boiled egg, Swiss Cheese, NS maple syrup aioli dressing. Hubby and Peter had the Soup du Jour, a mushroom cream soup with cilantro that they raved about and Mary had to Beet Root Salad with red and yellow Candy Cane beets, goat cheese and a balsamic reduction. There was soft moaning as the food tantalized our olfactory senses and then pure pleasure rushed in when it hit the taste buds.
Our mains were succulent and well worth licking your plate over. Of course, being the refined folks we are we only laughed about it but if we were home maybe it would have been different.... Three of us opted for the Chicken and Shrimp curry Pasta, with Penne, chicken, shrimp, shallots, sliced almonds, coconut, snow pears, granny smith apples, curry, and a white wine cream sauce. Hubby decided on the Sea Bearing Pasta with lobster, scallops, shrimp, haddock, salmon, mussels, snow pears, penne pasta with a fennel cream sauce. I joked I might order another main in place of dessert. It was a meal that will call to me and I'll hanker for it again and soon. I'm dying to try the Bluebeard Tenderloin, seared to perfection with potato whip, seasonal veggies and a blue cheese sauce. Mouth water description and it was highly raved about on TripAdvisor.
Last night I wasn’t a person with a pesky blood sugar problem. I was normal, able to order anything on the menu that my heart desired. When talk turned to dessert I ordered two with extra forks to share as I couldn’t decide if I wanted the Flowerless chocolate cake with cayenne or the frozen lemon pie. I needed to know which one was the best so next time I could order it again. The vote is in, the pie trumped the cake, but it was a neck and neck finish. Dessert was a treat for all my dietary good behavior. I carefully watch what I eat but there comes a time when you need to break out of those good habits and treat yourself to something bad. No I don't mean the pool boy or the gardener, just a little slice of heaven....there has to be a reward for hard work. And no guilt, you have to cheat and feel good about it so the stress doesn't get you! If last night took one day off my life, I have to say it was worth it!
Great company, fabulous food and lots of laughs. Is there anything better? The meal was a thank-you to Peter for helping Gregg do a number odd jobs and for the loan of his truck to shift a few items to the garage. The evening marked the best meal we’ve had in a restaurant in some time. I’d give it four stars. Equally good was the service. Our waiter Tony was charming and attentive, making us feel like Mahone Bay royalty.
Except for Sundays, in all the months I have been blogging, I've never missed a day. Yesterday was insane at the shop, and I'm not talking a bad thing, it was stream after stream of interesting people, some experienced rug hookers and a whole lot of wannabees eager to learn. I colour planned and cut wool all day long. I don't usually cut wool unless the shop is quiet, but I do offer the service for your first project. How else can you see if this craft is for you. The frustration of cutting all those skinny strips would be enough to hang up the hook before you even get started!
So from the moment I walked in the door I did demos, colour planning and cutting and never got up the stairs to the office until five o'clock. Oh to have such problems eh? Ask me how long I can hold my water before I burst and I can tell ya! If this keeps up I'm thinking catheter.....
I so appreciate the shop being busy this summer, lots of tourists and interested parties coming through the door. Nothing to complain about, but I will admit not getting out my blog needled me the day long. I enjoy writing, it's a vent for stress at the end of the day or just to relax my raging brain. Yes, it rages, like a storm on the ocean, continually in motion right up until I finally drift off to sleep. I'm either blessed or cursed, sometimes both at the same time!
In between the customers I had a kit to cut and prepare for the post office in a race against time so I made an emergency call to hubby to wrap the parcels ready to go out. What a great guy I have, always there to help when I need it. I tell him to watch out. If anything ever happens to me there will be casseroles galore at his door. Everyone knows he's a sweetheart and all those single gals who hear me brag of his character and who know there might be a shop full of wool as a dowry, well, that's pretty powerful incentive to whip up a lasagna and mosey on over.
I always panic about taking parcels to the post office. My dad worked as the assistant post master and we digested his rants with every meal of who did what at the wicket that day. Late comers and coin tappers, for some reason impatiently knocking a quarter on the counter drove him bonkers, and people who don't bring their keys so expect them to retrieve their mail, which apparently is a rule that is loosely enforced. His discontent was ingrained...maybe that's why I do a bit of unloading, you're all my dinner crowd, sounding boards....so it's not my fault....blame it on my pappy! But, I know he would turn over in his grave if he thought I showed up late like 10 minutes to 5:00 to inconvenience the gals at the counter but out of respect for him, I wouldn't ask for my mail if I knew there was a million dollar check waiting to be picked up.
So I get a little frantic as the hand gets close to five. My blood pressures goes up and my hair becomes unraveled, my nose shiny for the crazed look. Everyday I promise I'll wrap the orders and go early and every day I'm delayed. Forgive me dad!
Then after work hubby and I made a mad dash to Bridgewater for ink cartridges for the printer that gave up the ghost in the middle of labels so while out and about, we dined at Swiss Chalet and gnawed on the ribs. Not very ladylike but they were some good you....finger lickin!
I meant to go back to work last evening but my feet were swollen and my so was my head so I put my feet up and feel asleep watching TV. My ego is soaring with the eagles these days, everyone through the door has such lovely compliments I can't help but puff out my chest and get a swelled head. Truthfully, it's like someone telling me my son is handsome, I'm pleased as Punch. I'll try not to get too obnoxious or highbrow.
There was a young girl in today, a grade sixer who wanted to hook and her mother bought her a small pattern and we put the wool together for her very first project. She was very enthusiastic and I just know she is going to do a bang up job. She loves red and picked a simple primitive rose and I told her how to apply the colours to separate each petal and make the flower appear lifelike without fussing with values and shading. I look forward to a picture.
We've had a lot of rug hooking visitors from the states lately, and I have pictures and little stories to tell but that will be another day. We had new friends over for dinner Monday night and didn't get to bed until 2:00...my cerebral cortex is mush. The company left at midnight but all that talk of boats got the juices flowing so hubby and I were on the internet searching for our dreamboat. Hopefully there will be an acquisition before we're in wheelchairs. Don't want to wait until bucket list time to hit the seas. Sailing is for salty, virile men and damsels with a bit of adventure, not crippled, arthritic bodies.
Our new friends sailed here from Owen's Sound, Ontario and invited us aboard for a show and tell of their 30' boat. We really liked them so an invitation to dinner ensued. Mary Doig came by as well but her hubby was home sick. Yvonne and Joe have been mooring in front of Mary's house and that's how we got to know them. Also Yvonne had been following my blog for a bit so she planned to meet me at some point doing the visit. Funny how all the dots connected so easily. Small world!
We had a surf and turf, scallops fried in butter and steak on the BBQ, with the most delectable valley peaches and cream corn. I always used to I always boiled our corn but someone said it was better on the BBQ and they were right. Pull back the husk and take out the hair, reposition the husk and then soak in water for a minute or two and then wrap in heavy foil. The corn will be tender and juicy but not overly wet so it doesn't squirt all over the place when you take a bite. Also, all the flavour is steamed into the corn, not drained out into the water.
I made Smashers, small new potatoes cooked in foil with butter on the BBQ and then loosely cut up and tossed with a mixed of chive, white cheddar and sour cream. We had green fried tomatoes with a sprinkle of brown sugar and cayenne pepper, a Caesar Salad with the dressing I've posted previously and asparagus for a bit of green. What a meal, followed by a gluten free brownie smothered in a homemade chocolate sauce with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.
Our new friends Yvonne and Joe left yesterday afternoon for more coastal exploration but they are coming back to put their boat on the hard for the winter at Gold River Marina before returning to Ontario. We look forward to seeing them again soon!
A well fed bunch! Me on the left with Jake in arms, Joe and Yvonne holding a very content Honey, and Mary on the right. Gregg is behind the camera! What a great evening at the Little house!
Lotus, what a beauty you are! 35" Dia.
Saturday was a mixed soup of sweet and sour. The first customer through the door was the sweet; Margaret Tupper sporting another hooked masterpiece of one of my designs. My goodness she's brilliant and I have a great deal of respect for her work. Her colour sense and hooking execution is tops.
I swooned at the sight of "Lotus", with its Asian influence. A floral delight, with a large Shou center motif and stylized Shou's along the outer border. This pattern was certainly conducive to monochromatic colour planning. From white to navy the colour placement was such that the rug just glowed and blue being my favorite, the rug spoke to me in sonnets. Well done Margaret, I bow to you!
I knew Lotus was going to be a stunner, I imagined all kinds of colour combos while it was still on the drawing table from pastels to deep saturated colours. I've seen a partially hooked version at rug school in pinks and greens and it was beautiful but to choose blues, be still my heart! What a way to start the day, like eating the cake first, topped with whipped cream and French vanilla ice cream with a wedge of the finest Belgian chocolate just because.
My eyes misted as they embraced the rug and it lifted my spirit to a childlike enthusiasm. Right then and there I experienced a creative rush and I could have taken on the world, hooked my own masterpiece, finish writing my novel, cleaned my house and still got to bed by midnight! I was super charged with an electric energy. It was going to be one hell of an incredible Saturday in the shop, it could only soar from here.
Thinking back it seems less of a coincidence that she picked that particular day to bring in the finished rug. At times it appears that the world revolves around my ups and downs; it was as if the universe knew August 24th would be trying, directing Margaret's hand to hook this rug with extraordinary flavour in time to save me from what would happen next, balance the sweet with the sour to come out on the right side of normal. Sounds sort of narcisistic and believe me, I don't really believe the world revolves around me, I'm just sayin it seemed like more than happenstance!
And then came the sour. The chain that dragged me into the darkness, destroying the bliss of moments before. The kind of customer that makes me wish I didn't have the shop, was at home with my hubby and pups, gardening and living the life of a princess, no stress and no fuss, just me and my rainbow. I'm not happy that people can effect me in such a negative way but I think we all cringe to greater or lessor degrees from an ornery look, hurtful words and disapproval. Really? Who likes controversy? I'm working on handling these kinds of situations but it's baby steps. Just when the world is going along peacefully and I let my guard slip, someone comes along and sets me back a page or two. I'll eventually get to the point where I can deal with the situaton without loosing my will to live but in the meantime I'm a balloon that looses its essence with a pin prick.
A woman breezes in with shields up, ready for battle. She was out of breath and annoyed that I was a bit late. And I had been. I worked in the shop until 1:00 am the night before getting an order ready for pick up that morning and by the time I got to bed it was merging on 2:00 am and then I couldn't sleep because I was wired from buzzing around the shop at warp speed so I lay there watching the hours roll by and finally when I did fall asleep it was almost morning and then I didn't hear the alarm. Hubby and I figured out this Sunday that I've only had three days off in the past two months and I've worked more nights than not. I'm a bit on the exhausted side but you have to make hay while the sun shines and this is my busiest time of year. I'm not complaining about working so much but I'm not a Walmart, I'm only one person, running a little craft business, so if I'm late in the morning just know there's probably a good reason behind it.
Anyway, this woman came in with attitude, annoyed at the cutter I sold her years back. She told me it didn't work and her hooking group said it was definitely not a good machine. Before I continue on this tale, let me peel back a layer to explain how I handle the sale of any cutter. First, I inspect and try the machines as soon as they come in to make sure they are in working order. At the time of sale, I do a demo in front of the customer and usually teach them how to cut wool and they practice on a piece or two until they get the hang of it. If you buy extra blades I take them out of the packages and run my finger along the edge to assure the buyer that they are without any nicks and are sharp and smooth as a baby's bottom. I then sign the boxes and write on the date they are sold to prove they were inspected.
So this woman takes the cutter out of the box and I can see it's in sad repair. If this machine was a sick human it would have been in the fourth stage of a terrible disease and the last rights would have been performed. It had been severely abused. The tension knob had been tightened on so hard I struggled to loosen it and I'm no shrinking violet, I've got an arm on me and as strong as any man my size. All the cutting kits and stirring pots have built my biceps to an impressive stature.
To give you an idea how tight it was, the handle wouldn't move and because of this someone forced it and broke the internal gear so that it no longer was tight to the shaft, the set screw was stripped and needed tightening with an allen wrench. Even though it wouldn't turn, the handle flopped in and out of the housing, which is easy to fix with the right tool as long as they set screw isn't totally ruined. This was the least of the problems at hand.
Then the wheel was on wrong. I told her it was but she totally dismissed me. I took the wheel off and put it back on properly but she wasn't impressed. She wasn't willing to accept any fault on her part, the cutter was flawed and I was responsible. It wasn't tight to the base as it should be, almost 1/4 inch out which means it wasn't properly aligned over the roller ball so it only made contact with the right side of the blade. So she or someone in her group ground on the tension until it couldn't turn any more trying to make the contact between all three blades and the roller. She admitted the cutter worked until she changed the blade and that's when it went downhill. Well dah, the blade was put on wrong, of course it didn't work. We like to pick at men for not following directions or reading instructions but it just goes to show that some women don't read instructions any more than they do. The cutters come with pictures to show you how to work the machine, backed up with words if you like written instructions.
I've never felt sorry for a piece of metal before, but this was a good time to start. The right side of the blade was so crushed the metal was white and twice as wide as the fine points of the other two. It had to have groaned and protested as someone tried to use it. There had to have been the smell of burning material, maybe the reason the metal was white. And, with that kind of damage, I'll bet is wasn't 100% wool that went through it. I've seen some awful horror stories of what is done to cutting machines but I'd never seen this before. The wheel was toast...no sharpening would have saved it. It was DOA.
She asked what I planned to do. Her intent was for me to reimburse her for the machine and the two extra blades which she brought with her and actually pushed at my face. She also said repeatedly that she had to be on the road in 15 minutes to get to the airport and it was clear she was blaming me for being late. Clearly I was ruining her day. I had been open for about 20 minutes before she even came in, you'd think she would have been standing on the door step waiting for me, not out having coffee or shopping if the airport was that urgent. It was all Chop chop! She wanted me to jump, the question was how high. Why she brought it in last minute in a huff I don't know, why not the day before when the conversation could have been less hurried or less stressful for the both of us. She'd been living in this area for months. But then again, maybe that was part of her plan for me to be flustered and agree to let her dump it on me and bare the cost of the repairs and shipping? But....I don't know and shouldn't assume. I told her that I don't fix machines, that she needed to mail it to Crawford Purdy in Truro and if she left her credit card I would gladly address it for her and have it shipped to her home in Montreal. She looked at me as if I grew two heads and said that mailing the heavy cutter would be too expensive for shipping. I told her that he was the only one qualified to fix the problems, especially to the state her cutting machine was in. It was clear she was fine with me sending it away but she wouldn't be paying for it herself. I said the only recourse was to arrange to have someone drop it off at Truro as it really had nothing to do with me.
Clearly insensed, she huffed about the time again, having to leave for the airport immediately, fretting that it was too heavy to take on the plane. Her friend suggested the woman leave the cutter behind with her brother. She headed for the dor. I said, "Am I right in assuming you expected me to fix your machine?" She said yes, she felt I should have offered. I told her that I was not responsible for the damage, that she broke the cutter. I then reminded her that when the cutter left the shop it was in perfect working order but she was already banging out the door. Am I missing something? Why would I bare the cost of the repairs and shipping. Judging what was needed to resusitate it, with mailing costs it would have been at least $200 or more for parts and labour.
Another customer unfairly angry when I did absolutely nothing to deserve the bad press I will get from her wagging tongue. She mentioned several times the group she hooks with told her to bring it back to me as it was defective so the negative jam is on already spread. I know I can't control what people say, but it rots my socks! I work so hard to offer top quality and dependable products, to be maligned unfairly hurts my business and is the reason why I am telling my side of the story....hopefully it helps to balances things in the universe. This whole thing was beyond my control...like being attacked with a knife in the dark, you don't know when it will hit, or see it coming, but it sure hurts when it does!
What kind of world do we live in when you can break something and then take it back to the store to demand a refund. I don't live in this world. I would never do that in a million years to anyone. My mistake, my consequence, make your bed and lie in it was our family motto. Maybe you can get away with that at Canadian Tire with all their insurance and multi-millions or billions in sales every year, but I can't afford to clean up mistakes I haven't made. I'd be out of business! Some customers I can't afford to have and dealing with them absolutely knocks the wind out of my sail. I find myself traveling back to tougher times, my former life when I was a victim of an ruthless lout. I'm still working on growing a backbone but it's one vertebrae at a time and like Rome, isn't going to be built in a day.
So the woman left not willing to take ownership for the damage to the machine, thoroughly disgusted with me and will never shop in my store again, probably her friends will agree so the boycott begins. The banging door caused my shoulders to droop, my head to sag and the joy of the morning drained like an unstopped tub.
Margaret, still perusing the patterns, had overhead the conversation and said kind words, telling me the woman was out of line. She said people like that make her angry. I got a hug and that made me feel better. I took another look at Lotus until I was able to smile. If Margaret hadn't been there to save the day with that gorgeous rug and sweet hug, I would have been absolutely doomed and probably dragged the black cloud home to ferment in misery for the rest of the evening. One of these days I want that kind of negative situation to run off my back, I want to laugh at the silliness of it all, not beat myself up for things out of my control. I'm trying to elimiate stress through positive thinking and hard work, I'll get there eventually, if not, I guess I'll die trying..........
So the answer, as I saw it is 54! Lori of email@example.com is the winner!
It was love at first sight. Sid saw Sadie across a crowded toy room and was smitten immediately. He put his best (foot) forward and courted Sadie and the (pair) became inseparable. Within a few weeks they tied a (double knot).
They were quite the (pair) walking down the isle and at their reception they danced (toe to toe), taking a bit of (needling) for acting like a couple of (crazy socks). Everyone they knew attended the wedding; distant cousins the (Anklets) and (Kneehighs), Uncle (Tube) and Auntie (Crew). A jock friend, (Athletic) arrived last minute, while the (Thrum) family flew in from Newfoundland. Grandpa (Argyle) arrived from the British Isles. The (cast) of characters filled the first three (rows) in the church and Sid's brother (Bobby), a (sock) of the (cloth), officiated at the ceremony.
Like Noah's ark they arrived in (pairs) and pretty much everyone made it accept for a couple of (Leotards) that were totally out of fashion and not missed. At the reception, the crowd was (scarfing) down the food and watched as Sid did the (garter stitch) and made a few (yokes) about his bride. The guests threw (rice stitches) as they left for their honeymoon.
Their wedding was a blissful (yarn) and during the honeymoon, a (seed was stitched) and nine months later they were (stocking) their family tree with a pair of little (sockettes), (Knit) and (Purl). Unfortunately tragedy struck and the (Knit one) went missing in an unfortunate dryer incident and the (Purl one) disappeared after being (tinkered) by the (Afghan) Hound, family pet the following week. Devastated by the loss Sid and Sadie didn't have the (Red Heart) to make any more little (socks).
And because (knit) happens, in the fifties, during a mid life crisis, Sid got an (itch) and became a (woolmanizer), falling head over (heels) in love with Barbie, the new toy in the box. He gave Sadie the (slip knotty) boy, to pursue his new paramour but there was no (stuffing) to their relationship, she was only using him to keep her (feet) warm and (dropped him like a stitch) once Ken came on the scene.
Sadie had been terribly hurt, what was she a (muggle)? Sid knew he was a (heel) and didn't try to pull the (wool over her eyes) with lies but hoped they could (stitch together) their life and get over this rough (patch). He wasn't about to push his
affections on her when she had (two long sharp sticks) but dropped to his knees and begged for her forgiveness, and when it came down to the (knitty gritty), she decided to give him a second chance but not before (dropping a few stitches) on his legs so he couldn't wander off again. He was eternally grateful for her forgiveness and it saved him from totally (unraveling).
It was love at first sight. Sid saw Sadie across a crowded toy room and was smitten immediately. He put his best foot forward and courted Sadie and the pair became inseparable. After a little monkeying around, they tied a double knot.
They were quite the pair walking down the isle and at their reception they danced toe to toe, taking a bit of needling for acting like a couple of crazy socks. Everyone they knew attended the wedding; distant cousins, the Anklets and Kneehighs, Uncle Tube and Auntie Crew. A jock friend, Athletic arrived last minute, while the Thrum family flew in from Newfoundland. Grandpa Argyle arrived from the British Isles. The cast of characters filled the first three rows in the church and Sid's brother Bobby, a sock of the cloth, officiated at the ceremony.
Like Noah's ark they arrived in pairs and pretty much everyone made it accept for a couple of Leotards that were totally out of fashion and not missed. At the reception, the crowd was scarfing down the food and watched as Sid did the garter stitch and made a few yokes about his bride. The guests threw rice stitches as they left for their honeymoon.
Their wedding was a blissful yarn and during the honeymoon, a seed was stitched and nine months later they were stocking their family tree with a pair of little sockettes, Knit and Purl. Unfortunately tragedy struck and the Knit one went missing in an unfortunate dryer incident and the Purl one disappeared after being tinkered with by the Afghan Hound, family pet the following week. Devastated by the loss Sid and Sadie didn't have the Red Heart to make any more little socks.
And because knit happens, in the fifties, during a mid life crisis, Sid got an itch and became a woolmanizer, falling head over heels in love with the curvaceous Barbie, the new toy in the box. He gave Sadie the slip, knotty boy, to pursue his new paramour but their relationship lacked stuffing, she was only using him to keep her feet warm and dropped him like a stitch once Ken came on the scene.
Sadie had been terribly hurt, what was she a muggle? Sid knew he was a heel and didn't try to pull the wool over her eyes but hoped they could patch their life together. He didn't try to push his affections on her because she had two long sharp sticks but dropped to his knees and begged for her forgiveness, and when it came down to the knitty gritty, she decided to give him a second chance but not before dropping a few stitches on his legs so he couldn't wander off again. He was grateful for her forgiveness and it saved him from unraveling.
So to advance this yarn forward, although their love had worn a bit thin, with time they were able to patch the hole and lived a darned near perfect life.
Now lets get down to the knitty gritty. The first person to guess how many sock names and puns, wool terms and knitting references I have blended into the above tale you will win 2 patterns, one of Sid and the other of Sadie, in 16 x 16 size on linen or burlap...your choice. Click the comment button above and leave your guess. If no one hits the total I'll choose the closest number. Good luck!
I’m going to discuss something that disturbs my sense of patriotism. But just to be clear, I’m not some kind of freakish do gooder, straight as an arrow, squeaky clean, goodie two shoes. I have my faults like everyone else; I jay walk, cuss a bit, have a heavy foot on the open highway and tip my elbow for special occasions, but on the whole, I generally obey the laws of the land, don’t lie or steal and appreciate this great country beneath my feet. It’s not that I take this problem personally, I’m not responsible for the decisions of others, I just don’t like being put in a position to defend my own principles or be made feel stupid because I like to stay on the legal side of prison bars.
Asking me to sell goods without charging sales tax is not an option in my shop, so please don't ask. I’ve been bullied and basically called foolish for not partaking in stashing cash because apparently as the words have implied “everyone is doing it”. If this statement were true, no wonder schools close, programs are cut, highways don't get mended and jobs are in jeopardy. I personally don’t believe that statement to be true and if it is, that would be very sad for everyone in this country. But in the meantime, instead of being applauded for being honest, hardworking and supportive of this nation we live in, I've been asked to go against the grain and do something I’m not comfortable with.
Over the years I’ve heard a few shady things but I've stood my ground. One woman, a school teacher, asked me to write her a receipt for $300.00 for a beginner class and then she would buy things in my shop and get reimbursed when back to work. No wonder the world is in trouble if the masses cheat the system. I said no, I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing this and she walked out of the store. There was a part of me that wanted to phone her school to snitch but I can’t fight battles that aren’t mine. I keep my nose clean, mind my own business in the hopes that others will do the same; I have no interest or energy to take on the world. A hungrier retailer might have succumbed to the chance to make a sale but I have to do what I believe in to keep my head high. I wondered why a complete stranger felt so comfortable asking for such a dishonest favour? Perhaps she’d done it before, after all it was no skin off her back if I said no, and if I said yes, she would be the benefactor of some free goods.
Recently I was told by a customer’s husband that he refuses to pay tax because the government left him behind in Vietnam to die. His story was that “the government” wouldn’t spend the money to gas up a helicopter to come in and save him. I didn’t ask for details, even though I was a bit confused knowing that Canadian’s weren’t in that war, but hubby tells me that mercenary soldiers had the option to go to the states and sign up, which begs the question, why was he so pissed at our government? Regardless, trying to get out of paying tax is not a slight on the government. It’s a slight on the people. We elect the government to run our country…people think the government is separate from the people, but it is one in the same. You aren’t just cheating the big man at 24 Sussex out of a lobster dinner, which is what I am told repeatedly, you're ripping off all your fellow citizens. And yes there are politicians who are dishonest and pad their expense accounts, we hear it on the news, and those who take kick backs and so on, but that is where two wrongs don't make a right come in. I believe we all do what our conscience allows, and mine doesn't care about a bit of corruption in the system, there are laws to take care of that, I have to believe that most of our elected officials are honest and in the meantime, I have to live with me and what I feel comfortable with.
I only succumbed once because of a sob story attached to the demand and after they left I voided the slip, made out a proper one and paid the tax on the items myself, all the while swearing an oath never to do it again. I felt as crooked as a bonsai branch and a bit ill in my stomach. I worked for an accounting office once and witnessed a few corner cuts, borderline shady things and I never liked it. I don't even cheat on my income taxes which might made me a freak but I'm a freak that sleeps nights.
I'm told to write things on the sales slip as damaged and broken, sell them for reduced prices and then pocket the rest in cash, sigh, how does anyone keep it all straight. How do you know how much money you've made at year end if it isn't all accounted for legitimately. I don't have the time or inclination to keep a second set of books. Really I couldn't get up early enough in the morning to come up with ways to cheat the system.
A woman bullied me several times to sell her goods without tax. Being a business woman herself, I was surprised that the concept of inventory in, inventory out didn’t matter. She would say things like, "I’ll buy this hook but I’m not paying tax." matter-of-factly, leaving no room for negotiation. No tax, no slip. If I'm audited where am I supposed to say the products went when there is no slip to prove it went out the door?
This woman told me that everyone does it and I’m foolish not to pocket cash from the business. She told me I didn’t understand the process and after being pummeled with the reasons I should do it and how I didn't understand how the process words, I asked to be enlightened and she obliged. Example: The deal was for me to sell a$30.00 retail priced item to her at cost, say $20.00. The sale’s slip would reflect the tax of $3.00 for a total sale of $23.00. Then she would hand me cash of $7.00 to make up the difference to total the full retail price of $30.00. So she saves $4.50? And I feel like crap? Forget it!
My comment was, who in their right mind would sell items for cost? If I was ever audited that would send up a red flag. She said I won’t be audited and even if they did they wouldn’t care. I was quite surprised; I didn’t realize she was a practicing clairvoyant. Somewhere down the road cheating would bite me in the arse as quick as a flea on a dog, and I’d be stuck paying the tax for those items and probably fined as well, but there was no thought or care about that. One thing an auditor isn't....stupid......they've seen and heard it all so what makes the little shop owner think they can get away with financial indiscretions. I might not be the most savvy business woman in the world but I like going to bed without fretting if I'll get caught doing something underhanded. I’m hardworking and honest, my books are legit and I'm proud of that fact!!!!
I was getting pretty annoyed and the more I protested the more I felt like the word “stupid” was on the tip of her tongue. Instead of saying to me, Wow Christine, I have to say I’m impressed that you’re so honourable,” Instead she’s telling me I’m foolish not to stuff as much cash in my pocket as possible. She says she pays enough tax and doesn't feel she has to pay extra for recreational items. Well if that’s how she feels it’s her cross to bear, just don’t ask me to compromise my standard.
My closest friends buy supplies from me and I don’t sell under the table or give them tax breaks, why would I do that for a stranger or just a casual acquaintance? Who would risk a shit storm reigning down on their business for some random person on the other side of the counter? Who's to say they don’t work for Revenue Canada testing the waters? Why would anyone take chances when the penalties and fines could cripple you financially?
I am so happy to wake in the morning to the sound of birds chirping in the trees, rising from a peaceful night’s sleep with not a care in the world. The biggest quandary of my morning is how to cook my eggs. So many people around the world aren’t as lucky; they wake to mortar fire and the screams of their sons dying in the streets. Some people wake with gut burning hunger left over from the day before, knowing there is nothing to feed their children. People, and lots of times, small children work in sweat shops from the break of dawn to sunset, how they would love to live in a country where the water is clean and they have rights to prevent these atrocities. Living in Canada we are free, and freedom costs which I don’t mind helping to pay for.......
Sunday was beautiful. We managed to sleep in a bit and have a lazy breakfast on the back deck. The sun was shining and the boats were tacking back and forth in front of our house. What a marvelous day to be on the water or sitting in an Adirondack chair, sipping iced tea and watching the action. It certainly is a wonderful life!
I had a beginner class scheduled for 1:00 and arrived at 12:30 to meet a couple of gals who needed to pick out patterns and wool. I usually insist the students be organized for the day of the class so we can concentrate on technique and practice, but you can't always follow your own rules. We were a little late getting started but no one seemed to mind. I'm quick so we put colours together for different projects, not every bit of wool is needed to work on the piece for class, but enough to get them started. Once again I hit the jackpot with talented first timers, although two had a bit of experience, just wanted some tweaking. There is something magical about a group of women, friends or strangers, that sit together and share a common passion.
Anne with an e, chose a colour palette similar to the lovely summer dress she was wearing and also bought an aqua hook as well. Easy colour planning there! I lamented how I'd been cheated with a simple Ann for a middle name and she said, well add the e! I never thought of it but it makes perfect sense! Why the heck not! So from now on I am Christine Anne Little. Gosh darn it feels right! Ever since I read Anne of Green Gables at twelve, I longed for the more interesting moniker, felt sort of ordinary without that e. Amazing how one little vowel can make a difference! Most Ann's of note have the e. I think my mother considered the length of my birth name, Christine Ann Veinotte, knowing that at some point she would have to teach me to print all those letters and figured one less couldn't hurt!
The day was too warm to use the teaching studio upstairs so we sat in air conditioned comfort in the shop, gathered around my great grandmother's Mahone Bay Drop Leaf pine table, (defined by the finish of hand painted feathering), sipping coffee and spinning yarns as I hovered over them making sure they were forming good habits right out of the start gate.
Two of the students chose my new pattern Starfish Tango and liked the same colours so that was easy and there was talk of adding mystery fibers and possibly beads as highlights along the arms. Barb, chose my new See Seahorse design and we colour planned it funky with brights. Lori worked on a mermaid's mop of hair and Lenore brought her own kit of a fanciful sheep.
The class went an hour longer than planned but they were all so delightful I didn't notice. It also gave them a chance to hook a bit longer so they would have more for show and tell when they arrived home.
There is something extremely rewarding about teaching, especially with an enthusiastic group who take instruction well. It is interesting to watch their projects evolve, see them breathe life into a design with every loop they pull.
15 Ft. Tasar ready to rock and roll for someone else.
When I met hubby I learned very quickly of his passion for the sea. On the water since he was a young boy his eyes lit up when he talked of his sailing pursuits. Our first official date was a sail at the Lunenburg Yacht Club. I'd only been on the water once before, barely a teenager, sneaking around with a friend, hanging out with a couple of boys from Mader's Cove that took us out in a small speed boat. It was exhilarating to say the least but scary without a life jacket as I couldn't swim worth a plug nickel, but the boy was drop dead cute, and well worth a lung full of water.
I can't recall who had crushes on whom but I do know the gorgeous Paul spent more time goggling my school chum Cheryl, so I guess that answers the question, although I was secretly wishing I was the object of his affections. But truthfully, it was difficult concentrating on the boy/girl sexual tension when I was scared poopless, worried my dad would find out I was on the water, a fate worse than drowning. The dangers of water had been grilled into me since the first time I waddled in a diaper to the shoreline on a beach. Most babies say the word "dadda" first but my first d word was "drown"! If my father knew I was anywhere near open water, especially without a life jacket, he would have clutched his chest and died of a coronary on the spot. Getting caught would have meant a twenty year grounding so at full throttle, as we pounded over the waves, rearranging internal organs and hanging on for dear life, the fear of dying equaled the fear of getting caught so the hairy ride offered little in the way of pleasure.
But, that small speed boat experience was tame compared to hubby's 16 foot Tasar, a high tech racing sloop built for speed even in light winds. Hubby could coax a high octane response out of this small craft with a mere pull on a sheet and hand on the tiller. He had sailing super powers, reading the wind that I couldn't see, finding the smallest of gusts to fill the sail. The boat was an extension of his person, reacting as easily as lifting his arm and he commanded and controlled her with hair trigger responses, whizzing by navigational marks and moorings in a blur. He shaved so close to tied boats I screamed and braced myself for the crash, hoping I'd live to see my son again but he would veer off last second all the while smiling at my lack of sea faring sophistication.
He only fooled me a handful of times before I began to relax and enjoy the experience, knowing I was in capable hands and he was extremely safety conscious so I was wearing a life jacket. What could happen except get wet? Although I feared falling in and getting my hair wet, soaking down all those well placed curls I worked so hard to produce and would have made me look like a drowned rat, not to mention the running mascara....not exactly the look I hoped to bait this water fish with. But there was no chance of an unexpected dip in the brink, he was masterful and impressive, and I fell in "deep like" of him that afternoon. We went out several times after that and each time got a bit easier and I was a little more enthralled with the sea and its adventurous offerings.
The speed of the boat was impressive. It caught the wind like a catchers mitt and moved along the water at titillating speeds. We hiked out over the side and just when you thought for sure the boat would topple and we'd be going for an afternoon swim, a slight adjustment to the sail and we would be upright and becalmed. The sparkling, sun kissed surface of the water reminded me of millions of diamonds and of course, that appealed to the crow in me. Yes, my first taste of sailing was a delicious meal and one I looked forward to whenever time allowed.
In the early eighties, hubby and the Tasar placed first in several regattas at the Calgary Yacht Club before moving to the east coast. He likes the performance and quick response of her handling and the fact that it sails closer to the eye of the wind than any other boat designed. (Don't quite know what that means, and his explanation left me still in the water). He's held on to her all these years so it's bittersweet to let her go. A boat should live its destiny not be land lubbed; she's no longer enjoyed and takes up too much space in the new garage. We need to make room for other boats that don't float, derelicts that need endless hours of work to bring them back to their glory days. Hubby is a tinkerer of water craft. Right now he is working on a Thistle Class sloop bringing her back to her spit polished beginnings. A larger boat that will accommodate two adults and the four pups for family jaunts across the harbour and around the outer islands.
I don't have sailing in my blood, I'm more of a fair weather, weekend kind of enthusiast. My idea of being on the water involves a fridge full of food, a flushing toilet and working shower in the head, a stove in the galley, and a double bed in the berth....all the comforts of home. My dream boat is a Nonsuch 30 or 33 and there will be one in my future as sure as I am sitting here. I spend hours on the net looking for the one! I'll know her when I see her. It will be love at first sight. She's on my dream board on the fridge. One of those want items you ask the universe to to connect you with. It isn't feasible to have her just yet, but in a few years when hubby retires and is home full time, she will be moored in front of our house and I will gaze upon her beamy lines and dream of weekends away.
A Nonsuch is a one sail, sailboat, easy to handle for one person because hubby knows I won't be hands on deck when we skim over the water....Ill be down below napping, cradled in the haul like a babe in a bassinet. Sailing has a strange effect on me. I've thought about it enough to conclude that I might be reminded of being in the womb, the motion of my mother walking and the gurgling of her belly. I'm soothed on the water and napping below deck would be therapeutic mentally as I relax like I can't do on land. Ten minutes out and I'm nodding blissfully as the boat rocks gently up and down like a cork in a bathtub. The motion has never made me feel sick, I'll bet I could be deep at sea and not feel queasy in rough weather. I love my stomach flipping and flopping. The handful of times I drank too much (one glass of wine) and felt ill, I never got sick because I would lay there and go with it until I felt like I was floating on a cloud. Fighting the retching in the gut is what makes you sick...just lay there and ride the waves of nausea, it's an amazing ride. Truthfully!
I've been up in small airplanes a few times and the stomach knotted up and I began to feel sick, but I remembered my days on the water and I just let it go and rode with the turbulence and the feeling of dread went away. Throwing up in the bubble cockpit of an Ultralight plane is not an option!
So we've listed her on Kijiji and it will be sad to see her go....but all things have their day, and we will always have the pictures as a bridge to the memories. Getting older sucks, all the fun stuff is left behind in a fading contrail until it disappears forever. But come on down Nonsuch, we will make new memories, a cottage on the water with standing head room and all the amenities a spoiled princess could ask for and a place our four pups can romp and roam. Yes, bigger is better in all things....
A kaleidoscope is a cylinder with mirrors containing loose, coloured objects such as beads, pebbles and bits of glass. As the viewer looks into one end, light entering the other creates a colourful pattern, due to the reflection off the mirrors. Coined in 1817 by Scottish inventor Sir David Brewster, kaleidoscope" is derived from the Ancient Greek kalos, "beautiful", that which is seen; hence observation of beautiful forms.
A Kaleidoscope operates on the principle of multiple reflection, where several mirrors are placed at an angle to one another, so they form a triangle. The angle creates several duplicate images of the objects. As the tube is rotated, the tumbling of the coloured object presents varying colours and patterns. Arbitrary patterns show up as a beautiful symmetrical pattern created by the reflections.
Modern kaleidoscopes are made of brass tubes, stained glass, wood, steel, gourds or almost any material an artist can use. The part containing objects to be viewed is called the 'object chamber' or 'object cell'. Sometimes the object cell is filled with a liquid so the items float and move through the object cell in response to a slight movement from the viewer.
Recently a customer requested a Kaleidoscope design and having never done one I needed a bit of background. As my son says to me, every time I ask a question pertaining to the computer, Facebook or otherwise....I hear the annoying three words..."Google it mom!" I find that rather annoying when I just want the answer yesterday. I don't have time to waste on research when I have a perfectly computer literate, genius son available at my beck and call.
Apparently Kaleidoscope designs are relatively easy to construct in Photoshop if you know how to manipulate the program, so I turned to Shane to learn the technique and come up with a few designs. This is just one example using a simple Destilfink found on the internet. Two of the designs have the bird's head toward the center and the middle one is with the tails forming a cross as the center motif. he first and third design is the same except for the little hearts I had him add around the center square that seemed more interesting than the little smiley faces.
Art Hits The Wall - Rug & Quilt Show
Kaleidoscope designs were the topic of this years Art Hits The Wall rug and quilt display. Try and catch the show – you have several venues to choose from up until Nov 24!!
What do you see when you imagine a Kaleidoscope?
Entrants have captured these images in fiber art for the 2013
Art Hits The Wall event.
Imaginations have run wild with vivid colours in various
shapes and sizes. Designers have created pieces of art as unique as they are for this juried show. Don't miss it!
Aug 6 – 19
Coastal Queens Place
8100 Hwy 103, Port Mouton, NS
Sept 3 – 28
Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design
322 Charlotte Street, Sydney, NS
Oct 7 – 19
Nova Scotia Fibre Art Festival
Cumberland County Museum and Archives
150 Church St.,
Oct 23 – Nov 24
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia Yarmouth
341 Main St.,
I have a Fraser 500 cloth slitting machine for sale. It is virtually new, was only used for a couple of demos in the shop. It comes with a #8 blade and is priced to sell. The first person to contact me and it will be sold!
Call my toll free number 1-855-624-0370
Price is a firm $285.95 plus shipping and taxes.
By guest blogger Patricia TruesdaleCoastal Quilts 36 1/2" x 20 1/2"
I've enjoyed hooking Sue Cunningham's, Coastal Quilts rug design.
I used to accompany my uncle as he checked lighthouses along Lake St. Clair in south western Ontario. As we traveled from house to house he would tell me stories of his days on ships, the importance of lighthouses, and how someday they might all be gone.
He was my favourite uncle. He is buried by the water and not far from the one remaining (non functioning) lighthouse in the area. I often sit by the lighthouse and think of our times together. The Coastal Quilts rug reminds me of those days.
The design was printed on a linen foundation (my favourite backing), hooked with #8 cut, in a 'primitive' manner (no shading). I used all new wool, mostly from a wonderful and reliable shop I found online, Encompassing Designs! I used the one blue for the sky but turned the strips of wool over for a slight difference in the upper clouds.
I had fun hooking the rugs which I changed from quilts to rugs, on the line. I liked the boats on the distant horizon with their colourful sails. I wanted the water to look 'cold'. I think it does with the rich darker blue.
Thanks for the design!
Patty, thanks so much for sharing such a sentimental story! With so many lighthouses being decommissioned we are loosing an important part of our past. I appreciate you taking the time to write these lovely words about your uncle and I am sure Sue will be as touched as I am that a memory from your past was captured in her design. A story painted with wool!
Coincidentally, this pattern is listed as pattern of the week and will be featured until August 19th.
Meet lovely Marta, Toronto's newest rug hooker! She popped into the shop yesterday, got the demo and decided to take the hooking plunge.
Her first attempt at pulling loops was nothing short of perfection. Her line looked awesomely close to mine in appearance and I'm supposed to be an old pro. I said to her. "It's time you released your inner hooker girl" and she replied, "Well, I've let go of my outer hooker some time ago." Being in business as long as I've been, I've heard every joke imaginable on the hooking theme. Such an original response was worth a share.
So Marta left the shop with a Celtic knot kit, a hook, pine frame and a whole lot of enthusiasm. I liked her fun personality a lot. She's friend material and I hope she takes my advice and moves here!
Hot new pillow top or chair pad designs for the cottage or boat!
I've just completed a series of beachy style pieces perfect for pillow tops or chair pads. I hope to add to this collection with a few nautical designs but these eight starters were for a client who requested specific design elements. Details can be viewed on my website by clicking this link:
The motto for the Christopher Leadership course "It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness". I am second from the right on the back, third row with some white thing behind my head that looks like a tiny hat. My handsome dad is second from the right on the first seated row and to his right, sitting on the end is my beautiful school friend Deb who has Horsebuds Therapeutic Riding Center in Greeley, Colorado.
This story is a stroll down memory lane from back in 1986 and pertinent today as this class helped me to face an audience with confidence. As long as I'm prepared, I'm at ease speaking to a crowd and while teaching in my studio, I'm as cool as a cucumber. And don't worry rug hooking beginners, I'm experienced now; graduating beyond imagining you in your underwear......
My son was clearing out some things in his apartment and brought in an envelope filled with memories of my father. Some newspaper clippings of postal events and a brochure and certificate for the Christopher Leadership course we signed up for and attended together. Dad felt he needed a bit of confidence dealing with the public in his position as assistant post master, and well, back in the day, I needed a bushel full of backbone. I used to be a shy little thing that kept my head down and blushed at the drop of a hat.....hard to believe eh?
For those of you who have never heard of The Christopher Leadership Course, it is a watered down version of the Dale Carnegie Leadership training famous for teaching professional to sharpen skills and improve performance. The Christopher course has religious roots, helping people develop speaking skills, positive attitudes and confidence-building that foster God-given abilities. Over the years the Course has been enriched by the experiences of thousands of people who have taken the program worldwide. It teaches and explores these concepts through the framework of the Gospel message.
We joined the 10 week class and met a lot of nice people and dad was in his glory being only one of two males to sign up. My pop was a bit of a charmer, not a lady killer by any means, just a sweet man who felt comfortable with and preferred the company of the female gender.
The class pulsed with eager enthusiasm and we all learned to stand in front of one another telling tales with confidence. They say you should imagine the audience staring back at you wearing their underwear, or is that naked? I can't remember if that was suggested or if I practiced it but I learned to look into the listener's eye and speak without wavering. It wasn't a cake walk but at least there wasn't any throwing up in the corner as nerves hit like a tsunami. By the end of the class we were standing up delivering lengthy speeches and relaying stories with an air of new found confidence.....although our hands remained sweaty and our mouths were dry as dust, or was that just me? I equate this experience to the comfort I feel standing in front of a classroom full of beginning rug hookers; falling back on this valuable life lesson that shaped me into a stronger person that will remain throughout my lifetime.
My dad, the consummate leg puller had a lot of fun with the class and his introduction at speech night read as follows. Our next speaker can really "colour your world". As a young fellow he let the air out of tires, scared the chickens and hung out of school windows. He knows a lot about cars, and doesn't need a dipstick to check the oil. Please welcome Earle Veinotte!"
Yup, that was my pop...a bit of a devil in his youth and a leg puller all his life. I inherited his sense of humour and it has served me well over the years. I'm not much of a leg puller myself, I lack the poker face to pull it off, but I sure love to laugh and tell the odd tale or two.
My chosen topic for our speech had to do with Last Will & Testaments, reinforcing the necessity to plan for the inevitable. I'd recently been an Administratrix to an estate of my dearly departed uncle who passed away without a legal will and I had to deal with all the problems that ensued. Fresh from the experience, I wanted to impress on the captive audience the need for proper preparation to spare their loved ones added grief. We were told to chose a topic that was familiar so you don't have to rely on memorization to get through it. Know your topic thoroughly and draw on the knowledge to form the words with ease.
A former school chum Debra also took the class and her talents for graphic art provided us with a sweet brochure for graduation night. "If it is courage you lack....do what you fear and your fear will disappear" with an illustration of a cowardly lion. My friend Deb is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside and she is providing an amazing service in Greeley, Colorado with her company called "Horsebuds Therapeutic Riding Center" which is helping autistic children. Here is a link for her Facebook....maybe you could help spread awareness for this worthy cause by giving her a "like". https://www.facebook.com/HorsebudsTherapeuticRidingCenter
One of the leadership team members wrote a poem to commemorate the event
and I thought it might be fun to pass along.
As we gather tonight for the very last time
I gleefully seize my last chance for a rhyme
The evenings we've gathered make pictures so clear
You'll stay in my mind for many a year
As if in a dream they pass through my mind
With the laughter and stories and greetings in kind
Ella, the cleaning lady with goods essential
And June who is always harping potential
And Janet with books and her love of the same
While Earle's at his cars, rebuilding again
A giggle from Christine is to be expected
While Sheila remains cool, calm and collected
And Marie, our butterfly, flitting about
And Gina, the lady, just slightly remote
We're redeemed by Ethel who's always so good
and Clare who can make things sound as they should
Our nurse, Kay, keeps us well in the know
As Janice, our singer, goes on with the show
Bertie's potatoes we'll always recall
Like Debra, our artist, so stately and tall
A kitchen witch Brenda, we'll keep on the sill
Yes, Christine, we promise we'll all make a will
Nancy who tells us all to be kind
Vivian, with patience, clears up our mind
Michael's dry humour at which we all roared
And Juan would love us all to buy Ford
Donna and horses will always be together
And Jessie will bike no matter the weather
Barbara's sweet smile is right on the mark
But becomes much more dangerous as it gets dark
So now I must stop to wish you good days
But I won't ever put my memories away.
By Mary Hughes, Fellow Christopher.
There’s nothing funny about Alzheimer's although I hear the jokes all the time. You get to make new friends every day and a recent one, you can hide your own Easter eggs. We joke because the truth of the matter is too cruel to comprehend and humour helps lighten the load. But for those of you who have tended to a person suffering from this disease there is nothing to laugh about.
So far my family and friends have been lucky, but my nursing home stint saw the devastation first hand. What a mean spirited disease, stealing your loved one twice. The theft of the mind, and then the physical body.
We used to call the patients hall dusters in the home. Drifters going up and down the halls running their hand across the railing or wall. Back and forth, all day long, no idea they are even on the planet or at least that's how it seems to the observer...who knows what is really going on in the depth of the mind. The sadness that impacted me is something I will never forget. I hope my loved ones and dear friends never have to experience this devastation first or second hand. I can’t imagine being diagnosed and handed down that kind of death sentence. Knowing I will loose all comprehension, being a stranger to my son and husband is sad beyond words, but ironically...it might be easier than watching it happen to either of them. As in the little picture above, being able to forget might be a blessing as this disease slowly engulfs your memories, it's your loved ones that will have to learn to carry on with the shell that remains.
About a month ago, an old school chum dropped by with her mother. I was taken by how childlike the mother was, sitting on the trunk playing with my dogs. She seemed to remember me, looked around and said........"I walk by here everyday but never knew you had this store." My heart sank, for she had been in the shop several times and bought a piece of my jewellery. Out of ear shot, my friend told me that her mother was suffering from dementia. So sad. But, I was taken by her jovial, almost giddy personality. I'm not familiar with this stage of dementia. Most of the people in the nursing home were beyond this and some were quite depressed needing medication to quiet the anger. My heart bled for my friend as her journey will be long on a very rough road.
The other evening we were watching a show on PBS and they were talking about who will and who won’t contract this illness. They talked about social circles, the wider it expands the less chance of becoming ill. If you stay at home and wander out infrequently, not much farther than for provision shopping, it's a precursor to Alzheimer's. If you work and your social circle encompasses the job place and friends from that, then the chances decrease slightly. Exercise is also a factor in the longevity of neuroplasticity. The more you do and the larger your social circle the less likely you will succumb to dementia.
I’m one of those people who love to be in their home and although I go out to work I don’t venture much farther than that. I exercise my jaw more than my body and have a limited circle of good friends. If all these factors are true, I’m the poster child for the disease. The mileage on our car annually is around 8000 km, the average person puts on 20,000 so that tells you I don't go very far...mostly to the airport to pick up or deliver hubby. Being told your social circle influences the chance of getting Alzheimer’s wasn’t the kind of news I wanted to hear and I turned to hubby and spouted…."Oh my god…..I’m going to die of Alzheimer's!"
Apparently the more your brain is stimulated with relationships and adventures the more likely you are to escape the grips of memory loss. They did go on to say that creativity improves your chances so that might balance out my love of home mentality so I'll come out in a better place, otherwise I’m screwed. People who travel do well, experience the world and all its wonder. People with a large social circle, having a lot of friends and are active within groups do well so rug hooking can help keep our mind muscles flexing.
Now I know this isn’t carved in stone, just statistically we appear to fit into a certain mold and it was scary to hear. Whatever happened to the aluminum cause?...that was easy to avoid...I can't avoid my home, nor do I want too. So I felt inclined to spread awareness and say, get out of your homes people, go to parties, exercise, have fun, take up rug hooking or bingo or maybe line dancing, whatever it takes to get you out and active to stimulate body and brain to optimum health......apparently it's use it or loose it!
I suppose now I’ll have to make an effort to friend up a few more people and up my chances of keeping the grey cells intact. Guess I shouldn’t have turned down that dinner invite for Friday evening because during Chester Race week all the sailors and wives gather to break bread and catch up on news. I’m just tired this week and figured by Friday I’d be zonked so I begged off but if it will save my brain, maybe I should go…….
Monday (yesterday) was a day to stay in bed with covers pulled over the head. Just one of those days that come along once in a while when everything goes wrong and you don't have the energy to fight back. The entire morning I waved a white flag as I tripped over my own feet, stepped on dog bones, cut my hand and felt a deep rooted lethargy. I dragged my feet all the way to the shop and if someone had whispered in my ear...."play hooky, go to the beach" I might have grabbed a towel and the pups and turned right, instead of left, at the end of the driveway.
I'm a non-spontaneous kind of gal. I'm as inflexible as a wooden ruler so last minute suggestions are never popular. I have a mapped out plan and stick to it. The rule says, get up Monday and go to work and I obey, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. So I dragged my weary bones into the shop and didn't even have my purse tucked under the counter when a high energy, happy customer came bouncing in, pummeling me with sweetness. Even though my shields were up, her happy-go-lucky banter penetrated the fortress and I could feel my contrariness begin to dissolve. How anyone can be that cheery I'll never know, she must have had Wheaties, sprinkled with pixie dust for breakfast, not hard boiled eggs like me. I'm not a morning person at the best of times and throw in insomnia from the night before and I'm nothing short of a Grinch. In another life I was probably a cat, staying up all night and sleeping all the day long.
And then Chris McNeil dropped by with a completed Giddyup...! and that was an end to the Monday morning blues. My frown turned upside-down and I had a smile you could see for a mile. This little bear is as cute as a button, waving and smiling, how could you not smile back? A few months ago, Chris asked me to custom design a pattern with a bear, a rocking horse and a ball and this is the result. She did a great job hooking it and I'm loving the rug.
So the rest of the day carried on normally. The shop was busy with tourists and Deanna and Charlene dropped in for chats. I couldn't ask for a better time. Today I feel peppier and energized for week ahead. I don't know why Monday was so dark but I snapped out of it and I'm going full steam ahead. I guess we all have days like this, luckily fewer than not.
Sue left a comment on yesterday's blog to do a girlie sock monkey, maybe called Susie or Sally, with shapely red lips and a bow on the hat. I think that's a plan. Sid and Susie here we come!
The Giddyup...! pattern can be viewed on my site by clicking the link:
What is it that makes the Red Heel Sock Monkey such a beloved part of our lives? Is it their Nostalgic appeal, their charming personality, or some other mystical phenomenon. All we know is that we can't get enough of these little guys.
Children and adults have enjoyed Sock Monkeys for over 100 years. The original crafter who created this lasting icon is unknown, but the creativity behind this wonderful doll has brought joy to millions.
The Red Heel Socks were first manufactured in 1890 by The Nelson Knitting Mills in Rockford, Illinois. The Nelson Knitting Co. was the first company world wide to manufacture socks. These sturdy and comfortable work-socks were worn mainly by farmers and factory workers. In 1932, Nelson Knitting Mills first introduced the red heel on the Rockford sock, to distinguish their product from the many imitators.
The making of sock monkeys came about on its own by clever crafters using a humble sock to make a beloved toy. These quality socks were intended and used as work socks, but they became so much more when the Sock Monkey was born. In 1951 Nelson Knitting Mills started to include the directions for the Sock Monkeys with every pair of Rd Heel Socks.
So I thought I would devise a small kit with the sock monkey to help excite children of all ages and inspire them to hook. I'm asked a fair amount if I have kits for children but alas, although I've had a line of funky fish in the past at the moment there was nothing specific to kids. So this is my rendition, a simple square of smiling sock monkey...cute enough to pinch his cheeks!
He is hooked with black herringbone for the hat and outer border. A grey herringbone for one of the border lines and face to look like sock yarn. Heart Red for a border line and mouth and heart red herringbone for the hat pom pom. White for the face and hat stripe and one line of border. The eyes and nostrils are in black and the background is a simple beige.
Somehow my childhood missed this rage and I hadn't heard of the sock monkey until lately. I know my head was in the clouds for the first ten years of my life, but truthfully I've not laid eyes on a sock toy other than a few snake puppets I made out of old socks that my mother sewed button eyes on. Recently, I bought a knitted sock monkey for my pups and they love to tug on their gangly arms and legs. Ah well, no time like the present to experience a bit of history.
I was quite taken by the amount of monkey business on the net. Apparently I'm not the only one capitalizing on this antique child's toy. Everything from shirts to postage stamps are sporting the sock monkey's over zealous smile. I don't get the rage or feel the need to surround myself with paraphernalia but he's cute, I'll give him that, and makes a sweet little kit for the shop.
The gun sounds and they're off! There's not a sight more colourful than a fleet of sailboats regaled in full spinnaker. This will be the view at the Chester Yacht club next week.
Race week has been a part of my life for two decades but this year hubby is sitting it out, going back to his roots of puttering with small boats. He's done the Marblehead, St. Pierre Miquelon races and several regattas around the Maritimes but has decided to hang up his big boat sailing for enjoying the smaller craft.
Race week is a younger man's sport anyway. Early mornings, boat prep, long days in the heat or driving rain, getting beaten up by stumbling from port to starboard and back, loosing your balance and tumbling, pulling on ropes, skinning shins and other various boat bites, sunburn and aching bones. And then it's party central every evening with too much drinking, eating, then grabbing some ZZZ's and back at it the next day. Male bonding, salt air and rum soaked sweat...arrrr! Four or fives days of this and one needs a vacation to recover before entering back into a landlubber routine. This is the first year hubby opted to stay home. I can't say I'm upset as that week was always chaotic, upsetting our rather tranquil lifestyle. There comes a time when every man needs to stop playing hard and live a life that doesn't leave bruises or crippled joints.
A passion for the sea runs in hubby's veins. He's been sailing since a small boy when his father bought him a Flying Junior. His influence is responsible for my love for all things nautical and he actually came up with the name of my company of Encompassing Designs because I started this venture creating compass rose patterns. The name was perfect and grew with me, encompassing all that I would do.
Sue Cunningham did a great job on the Race week design above. The lettering along the top and bottom is the nautical alphabet from A-Z. Sue used a blue plaid with a spec of green for the entire background that pops out the boats.
Below is the compass rose that inspired my company's name. Called "Sunny Day", this was the first in my line of compass rose patterns. I hooked it in basic colours, as is finds from Frenchy's. This picture doesn't do the rug justice as the colours are dull or altered. I've used nautical gold and reds with vibrant blue and a bold teal. The rug is now dulled downd from being my German Shepperd's favorite resting spot and back in the day when this rug was hooked I didn't have the best camera so this poor quality photo is all I have.
Meeting Max started my love for dogs. Before him I was a cat person but he changed me forever. He was beautiful both inside and out. Sweet and gentle and handsome beyond words. I hurt so badly when he died I wanted to crawl in a hole and shut myself off from the world. Many years later Honey helped me heal and the love of poodles began. I still can't look at Max's picture without tears...for many years he was a best friend and companion and he will never be forgotten.
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Trying out different hooks and just pulling loops because they can!
Today's blog is short and sweet, just like the two friends who met and joined the hooking fold this summer. Two young girls formed a bond through rug hooking that could potentially last their life time. It sounds like a made for TV movie!
A family from Vancouver island, BC came into the shop and I got to meet Hollis who struck up a friendship with Laura while visiting in Nova Scotia. They both learned to rug hook. Their enthusiasm led to a couple of sweet designs and they are doing a heck of a job hooking them. You could feel the excitement that radiated from the girls as they chatted about the exciting journey they are on. It is so nice to see kids take up this craft to ensure the rug hooking torch will be carried on.
Hollis 12, and her new found friend Laura 14, have shown the same enthusiasm I had that evening fourteen years ago when I pulled my first loop. A craft is a skill that can follow you throughout your life, partaking in when time allows and putting it away when it doesn't, but like riding a bicycle you can pick it up at any time. I joked that as long as the girls were hooking they wouldn't have time for boys and the mother laughed, there will be plenty of time for those kind of relationships in the distant future, right now pursuing a fabric art comes with a greater comfort level for a parent.
With vacation now over, the girls were separating and you could see that it was going to be a sad parting, but with social media being what it is, it allows for constant communication unlike in my youth when pen-pal snail mail was the only way to go. Hopefully they will continue to forge a lifelong friendship, built on a mutual interest of rug hooking.
Audrey's sketch of her new bedroom rug.
We had our first Wednesday of the month hook-in last evening. A few of the diehards showed up. Glenna dropped in for a chat still on a high from celebrating her birthday all week. Glenna's cheery, outgoing personality attracts friends who want to shower her with gifts and throw parties in her name! I learned last evening that she's also a trained fireman/person/woman, I don't know what is politically correct these days but I was very impressed! Go Glenna! The love of her life arranged to have a surprise gift certificate from the shop........any man who supports the wool habit is definitely a keeper!
Armenia didn't show because she had a bit of a tumble the day before. She was walking on the road by her cottage and just fell down and then couldn't get back up. She doesn't know if she fainted or what might have happened, she just found herself on the ground. Luckily her hubby heard her cry for help and got her back on her feet. I worried about her all evening...she better be okay...she's my girl! She dropped by yesterday on her way home for a hug and a kiss, still pretty shaken and sore.
My aunt Audrey was in transferring her new design to the backing that will coordinate with her fantastic new quilt. She took elements from the quilt to create a pleasing rug for the floor that show vines of morning glory flowers and leaves with a geometric border. After the center was easily done with red dot the border squares had to be worked by hand with a lot of measuring and dragging the pencil along the grain for straight lines. A new experience for her and gained appreciation for what I do all day!
Charlene was doing a rug repair, an old Chetticamp piece that needed a new edge. Pam started a new project, a quaint regional fishing village with a shack and lobster traps. Shelley was working on the sky of her project from rug school that I hope to show you soon. And for me? Once again the road was paved with good intentions; I planned to start a sock monkey piece for a small kit I want to produce but I sat like a bump on a log without the energy to lay down a loop. The fact that I was too tired to get up and cut the wool put me off....it was a long day! Where's an assistant when you need one!
Wednesday's are long days for me, all day on my feet in the shop, traveling at speeds conducive of a much younger person and running up and down the stairs, sometimes taking two at a time does me in. By the time evening hits, my ankles are swollen and conversation is all I have left.....luckily, my mouth never runs out of steam.
A customer came into the shop a while back and I mentioned there was hook-in that evening and that it had been a long day so a nap would be appreciated before 7:00 rolled around. She said “You might be tired but you still put your lipstick on.” I thought it was cute and worth a mention. The fact is, I wouldn't be caught dead without my lipstick. As a woman ages the pigment in her lips seems to fade. Mine lips are paper thin and now that the pink is turning to a dull flesh colour, they are merging to become as part of my face and would be lost all together if not for a bit of colour. So I paint them to embrace that youthful appearance. The bright colour also hides the bit of rosacea in my cheeks...the darker the lips the more my skin appears porcelain. A little camouflage trick....make the attention go to the mouth so people don't see the rest of the face.....
How to manage a backing that is too small for the hoop or frame
Have you ever had a situation where the piece of backing was smaller than the top of your frame or hoop? It’s a common complaint, especially when pattern producers are chintzy on the excess border. In this case Gripper frames are less problematic because you can do a bit of maneuvering, but with a hoop there is no recourse but to sew material around the outer border. A customer was in the shop yesterday with a lovely linen pattern bought elsewhere and the excess border was barely two inches wide. Very little to work with so there will have to be some doctoring for her to hook out to the border edge, especially in the corners.
As long as you have a flannel gripper cover or some means to protect your arms and hands while you hook, the pattern does not have to fit the frame perfectly. You can adjust the piece off to the side and pull it tight on the top bottom and one side, to hook away happily as in the picture above. Once, thinking I was finished a project, I trimmed off all the tiny frays, steamed pressed it, zig zagged around the edge leaving 1 ¼” border and cut out the rug before I realized I wasn’t happy with one of the colours on the border. So I slapped it on the one end of my frame and hooked the change easily.
I sell little pieces of backing in the shop as scraps, sizes that don't fit in a 15” hoop. I promise every pattern in the shop will work in our hoops. We sew up the edges of these leftovers and sell them in a basket for those who like to do small projects like Christmas ornaments. Sewing strips of wool along an edge to extend it enough to put on a gripper frame or in a hoop works nicely but when sewing you should use a zig zag stitch because of the loose holes in the burlap or linen backing. Cotton Monk's Cloth is tighter holed so sewing with a straight stitch will work and rug warp is fairly tight as well.
Panty hose is a quick fix. Of course you won't be wearing them after the fact unless you're going for the shabby and not chic look. Just make a large hole in the backing with a primitive hook, fold the panty hose in two and pull the loop through. Then put the two ends through the loop, snug up and then the two tails will stretch over the grippers for a superman hold. The hose can be used over and over until they are picked to shreds.
Alex happily hooking grass on her whimsical pattern.
Alex, 17 from Ottawa, learned to hook at her Grandmother's knee at the tender age of six. She smiled recounting the memory of sticking her grandmother's favorite hook in the crack of a tree stump, tugged a bit too hard and broke it off. She was worried she'd be in big trouble but her grandmother was very kind.
Her first finished rug was an oval chick holding a flower and she has since completed two of Sue Cunningham's designs, Beach Ballet and Buoyant Beauty and a funky fish with pinks, blues and yellows. She likes the whimsy of Deanne Fitzpatrick's designs and she also likes to draw her own.
Mom and dad are very proud and tell me that Alex is a very talented actor who participates in drama class and in the latest production, she played a singing Snoopy. Alex is also very conscientious of helping others, traveling to Baja, Mexico on missions to build homes for the poor.
I formed a quick opinion of Alex and the parenting she has received, liking the family dynamic immediately. I listened to her interact with her mother, Jenna, as they picked colours from the rack. She knows a thing or two about colour balance and position. Jenna says she relies on her daughter for help colour planning and hooking her projects. I was impressed at her polite social skills and demeanor.
I also liked the way her parents haven't indulged or spoil their daughter. Parents come in the shop all the time and buy whatever their children request as if no wasn't a word in the English language. Hey, I'm not complaining but I found it interesting how Alex picked out what she wanted and then paid for it out of her own money and worked out what she could afford to buy and still have some spending freedom for the duration of her vacation. In all my years in the shop, this was a first. Teaching this kind of life skill is priceless, setting her up as a responsible adult who won't spend beyond her means. Not having every whim land conveniently on the plate is the best lesson any parent could teach a child.
Mother and daughter spent an hour or so in the shop hooking and chatting and later dad popped in to say hi as well. It was nice to have the company. Jenna also brought in a pattern that she hooked for a show and tell so that was the cherry on the day!
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