HAVE A SAFE AND WONDERFUL NEW YEARS!
2016 is going to be fabulous!
From all of us to all of you.....
HAVE A SAFE AND WONDERFUL NEW YEARS!
2016 is going to be fabulous!
We had our big meal on Boxing Day this year. We actually had turkey twice, spending Christmas Day dinner with friends. We are sharing our kids now that they’re married and this year was our turn for the day after. One day is as good as the next as long as we get to smell turkey cooking at least once! So Boxing Day were peeling, chopping and slicing and cooking the free range, grain fed bird.
Ever since we renovated our house I’ve been complaining about needing a second oven and once again the rant was taken off the shelf and dusted off over the lack of oven space. Cooking a large turkey in an even larger roasting pan takes up the entire oven. Having to cook sweet potatoes and dressing and manage a dessert is an impossible game of switcheroo. Timing this and then that to all be cooked and ready to serve at once is the work of a high wire act, precision timing is key.
This year I goofed. I under cooked the apples in the pie and over cooked the turkey. None of it is life altering but this is the one meal a year I like to exercise my culinary prowess on, outdoing Martha at her own game. But then I think, the queen of perfection has lots of ovens and help, more chances for rolling it all out on the table without a flaw. And I really can’t compete; she probably has back-up turkeys ready to take over if the need arises for plan B.
I’ve looked around my tiny kitchen and wonder where I would install a second oven. There isn’t much room there, we barely have space for the oven we have which means going upstairs and the laundry room isn’t an option. Getting to it would mean a bit of mountain climbing, over mounds of clothing waiting for a wash, definitely a recipe for disaster, and you know how socks go missing, finding one in the turkey cavity wouldn’t be a hit. Maybe when this current stove goes I’ll buy one that serves double duty with two ovens. Of course any problem you throw money at usually goes away but these stoves are unbelievably expensive, I might be swearing every Christmas for a very long time.
In the meantime I’ll put a meal out with a few problems, but no one will know but me and if I keep my trap shut they never will. They worst thing you can do, as people shovel grub into their gob, is to say something negative about it. Like faulty eyesight, most don’t have perfect taste buds so it’s all good in the end. My taste buds are over defined, and maybe why I fuss so. Most folks are only too happy to eat a meal they didn’t have to prepare so they don’t complain. Sometimes my sense of taste gets me into trouble when out at restaurants and the group I’m with rave how great a particular dish is when I can detect the rumblings of age or a hint that something is going afoul and they look at me like I have two heads. I would have made a great food critique and what a job that would be! Yum, tasting food for a living….I’d throw away my hook for a fork and go to town!
So despite a few glitches the meal was great. I always complain a bit because the perfectionist in me likes things just so. I’m always pretty hard on myself and a bit frantic that day. Charlene popped in for a visit in the afternoon and grabbed a peeler to help out. Much appreciated! She’s becoming a tradition. Anyway, she earned her tin of homemade short bread cookies.
One of my holiday favourites is the sweet and sour pearl onions that might have a lot of prep time getting them out of their skins and cooking but the taste is worth it every time. We always have a recipe hubby’s mom makes, cauliflower with an onion mustard sauce, broiled with cheddar cheese on top. Hubby made his famous parsnip/carrot honey veggie dish and we had the traditional potato trio of sweet potatoes with maple syrup, plain mashed and of course the crowning glory of the meal, the dressing. I love my tasty, homemade cranberry sauce with orange peel, cinnamon and currents. My least favourite part of the meal is the turkey which I baste it to a golden brown. I can give or take turkey; it would never be on my list for a last meal, but it is tradition and the crowd favourite. I wouldn’t mind switching it up with a ham or prime rib. Tired after a day on my feet, I made a comment that next year I might make a big lasagna or something equivalent like spaghetti and sauce. It was met with a lot of resistance.
A traditional Christmas meal is a lot of work, all day as a matter of fact, to have it shoveled in so quickly, bellies stuffed with stuffing and then suffer through communal groans while opening belts and wanting a nap, not to mention the dishes that run from one end of the counter to the next, is it worth it? After the company left, we cleared up and put everything away as the clock struck midnight, as tired as chickens in a fox coop. Ah well, we’ll see how I feel next year, like labour pains the memory fades and I’ll probably do it all over again.
Another Christmas is behind us. What a lovely day it was both inside and out. So peaceful and calm sipping coffee around the lit Christmas tree counting our blessings while outside the double digit temperatures allowed for someone to launch their wayfarer sailboat in Mahone Bay harbour and pass by our windows. There was a bit of envy thinking about our boat on the hard and away from our grasp, but then I turned it around and pinned delight on their joy. Those lucky so-in-sos brought forth thoughts of our boat and the fun we have, how could a catalyst like that be anything but wonderful. A sailboat is an incredible sight to see anytime, and this time of year it’s as rare as unicorns. I sure hope this is a sign of a mild winter; we could use one after last year’s brutal amount of snowfall.
After coming home from a Christmas dinner at a friends house, stuffed to the gills and too uncomfortable to sleep, we stayed up late listening to the dulcet tones of old fashioned Christmas music, the oldies and the goodies of Sinatra, Bing and all those that are now gone but have left a nostalgic legacy of ageless songs that bring on a cache of comfort and joy.
After hubby went to bed, I stayed up until 6:30 AM, dosing off and on, waking to drink in the beauty of our tree; a bejeweled fir so sparkling that the old crow in me can’t take my eyes off of it. Jake, my black toy poodle and I cuddled on the sofa enjoying the quiet, how lucky we are to have such peace and joy in our lives, sometimes I feel guilty knowing that many others aren’t so lucky.
It was a warm night, the fire went out and we didn’t need a blanket. I was wearing pajamas that hubby gave to me for Christmas 2014, which I dug out because someone hasn’t done laundry for weeks and it was this or my birthday suit. I was saving them for an emergency, one never knows when a trip to the hospital might occur and I would be embarrassed for anyone to see what I normally wear to bed.
These new jammies are brushed cotton flannel and luxuriously soft. They came from Victoria Secret but there is nothing sexy about them, not on me anyway, I won't be posing in their catalog any time soon. They are a two piece set, black and white animal print with a pink satin trim along the placket edge and cuffs. I thought hubby would be pleased that I finally wore them but his only comment was a question, asking when I bought them as he hasn’t seen them before. Aren’t men sweet? I told him that he bought them for me last Christmas while shopping in Calgary with his daughter and his comment was that he didn’t remember. He did recall buying me a meat cleaver that I requested to break up chicken wings for the dogs. Go figure, a man remembering a sharp tool that smashes things over a pair of pajamas, but then maybe giving me a weapon like object is memorable because it came with a bit of intrepidation......
We don’t want to ridicule or chastise a man’s lack of memory over something so trivial as a forgotten Christmas present, we just store that up for future reference. We understand they can’t keep trivial things straight even though we do; we know exactly what we’ve bought for them, what it cost and where it was purchased over the past few decades. It's all stored up here in the old noggin along with every word they've ever said.
What doesn’t deem important to the male brain will serve us when we’re sneaking something into the house that will easily be explained as being there for some time. We don’t intentionally want to deceive them, but it’s so darn easy, like taking candy from a baby, really....it’s almost like they ask for it! How else do our wool and quilt rooms fill up with stash so swiftly? If they saw everything that came through the door or we told them upfront, they might have a coronary so convincing them otherwise is safer for all concerned. We love them and want them to be around for as long as we are, really, we have their best interest at heart!
But I digress.....Finally Jake and I left the sofa as the sun was beginning to peek over the horizon and quietly mounted the stairs for bed. I’ve been sleeping in the spare room since my knee flared up so separate beds worked, giving me the freedom to shift and move my leg to a comfortable spot when necessary. Try that in a Queen sized bed with a man and four pups and it was a recipe for a bad night's rest, but now that my leg is better I’m running out of excuses to rejoin them. I'm rather enjoying all the space and reading with the light on until sleepy. I haven’t struggled with insomnia since I moved across the hall and after the books falls on my face I awake, turn off the light and resume dreamland.
Even though the sun was rising and it was getting light quickly, sleep be-felled me like a chopped tree in the forest. I dreamed I was sailing the ocean blue while Jake dreamed he was chasing a rabbit when we were roughed awake by the phone shattering the quiet. It was a double whammy, the ungodly hour of 10:30 AM and a wrong number! I listened with my feathers ruffled, my mood as sour as my morning breath. Hubby was also awakened by the ring, but he loves mornings, gets out of bed smiling. To him a morning represents a new opportunity for adventure, quite a contrast to my scowl, wondering what the heck will go wrong today.
Even though his voice was thick from a night of sleep; he was kind and sweet. They must have asked if they had awakened him and he said jokingly, no he was up....to answer the phone and he ended the call by wishing the person on the other end of the line a Merry Christmas. I don’t think I could have been that kind to a stranger still groggy with sleep, maybe that’s something I could work on in the New Year. Hubby spoke as if it they were old friends. I guess that’s why I married him, he’s lovely and in the stranger's defense, who isn’t up by 10:30 on a Christmas morning anyway?
Once up, we sat around for a couple of hours nursing coffee, chatting, eating chocolates and then had brunch at 1:00 PM. It was a day as sweet and smooth as pulled toffee. There was nothing but right now, being in the moment, without a care in the world.
The best Christmases for me have been the non-commercial ones. No stress shopping, pounding the pavement, traffic and crowds, suffering through aching feet and being tortured trying to find the perfect gift. Any time I’m not at my shop I want to be home, in my castle, self-locked in the tower until work calls. I am happiest here with my hubby and pups, home really is where the heart is.........
THE SHOP IS CLOSED UNTIL TUESDAY DECEMBER 29TH.
Closing New Year's Eve at 2:00 pm then back full time January 4th for an exciting 2016!
It’s almost midnight. The holiday tunes are playing softly, crowding the room with nostalgia. There’s nothing like the old tunes to bring on a festive mood. “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” is playing now, and it would be nice to see a little snow on the rooftops, but it doesn’t look good with the line-up of mild temperatures.
Our tree is adorned with all the twinkle and bling from boxes the attic. I love a well-lit tree. One of the greatest inventions was the miniature sparkling lights, like hundreds of little glittering stars. We have a really nice tree this year, perhaps the best one ever. It’s smallish and thin like me, ha! Our living room isn’t overly large so we choose a tree that doesn’t eat up too much space so there is less displacement of furniture to accommodate it. A smaller tree means more lights to cover it and therefore it’s ablaze this year.
Shortbread cookies are in the oven and I am starting to smell them. If anyone asked, what do I think about when i remember childhood Christmases it wouldn't take me long to zero in on this cookie. For me they are synonymous with the holiday, like butter is to toast. This sweet aroma wafting the air takes me back to my mother in her kitchen. She was the best baker; sorry Martha, you'd be a pale second. My mom made the best pies and cakes, especially her pound cake and her apple crisp, but the shortbread; they are hands down the best I've tasted. I do my best with her recipe and I come close but there must have been a magical ingredient that made hers better. Maybe I don't make them with enough love, maybe my baking is selfish, they’re basically for me, whereas she made hers for the family. Everything she made was better; more crunchy, fluffy and flavourful . She was a dynamo and I miss her at Christmas time more than other times of the year. My mother loved the holidays and had more peace and joy that time of year.
All the old traditions are gone now. We’ve had to adopt our own and Hubby and I never go over the top. The holidays are spent relaxing and unwinding, not shopping and beating the pavement for presents. This year, we are having a very subdued, low key, champagne taste on a beer budget holiday. We’re keeping it small, doing the two T’s of Christmas. Tree and turkey. Hubby might have a lean year in 2016 for work; there’s not much good news coming out of Alberta right now so we are buckling down for a long dry spell. We never really go big on Christmas anyway but this year we stayed clear of the stores. Hopefully others were out in spades to keep our economy going. We laugh and say once we are out of money we’ll start eating out every night. What evening would you like us at your house, we’ll pencil you in!
Quite frankly, although the crow in me likes to see foil wrapped gifts under the tree, there is absolutely nothing we need. We have too much stuff to begin with, let alone bringing more in to find a place for. We’ve had lean years in the past and I can’t say that it impacts on the day at all. Good food and good friends is what makes the holiday a thumbs up. We have a meal fit for royalty and usually play games or watch a couple of movies. We play with the pups. They have so many toys we have to rotate them so we wrap some of the older things and reintroduce them. They don’t care, it’s the crinkling tissue paper that thrills them, what’s inside is irrelevant.
We were invited out for Christmas day for dinner at a friend’s house. The Little’s feast will be made on Boxing Day. Now that Shane is married we have to share our kids between the two families, and we had them last year for the 25th. It’s no hardship, turkey either day is still a celebration. Traditions evolve to accommodate the changing times, all is good, all is bright.
We’ve been really busy with work so I haven’t had much time to write this week but then again you probably didn’t have much time to read so it all worked out. I get up in the morning, blink my eye and then it’s time to go to bed. If I could have one thing for Christmas it would be an extra hour in the day to get more done. I hope to hook over the holidays and do nothing more than sit on my rump, enjoy my family and being home. Maybe pile the last bit of firewood, eat turkey, cranberry and mayo sandwiches, and wear out my pajamas. That’s pretty much the way I’ll roll.
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is playing. Wonderful words for this beautiful season. From all of us to all of you “We hope you all have a safe and happy holiday”.
Yippee, today is my birthday! I’m 49! I’m feeling great, I still look good with my clothes on, and I can still wear the earrings I wore back in high school! I counted up the liver spots this morning, six on my left hand and three on the right! Not bad eh?
Usually I don’t celebrate or pay attention to my special day, but I’ll only be 49 for a few years.....I better get all I can out of this momentous number. Most say they’re 39 but that’s stupid, who'd believe it? If you’re going to lie, make it reasonable. Unless you’re backing it up with a plethora of plastic surgery it’s too much of a stretch, skin over bone that is, and stitched to your scalp. Of course I joke about being 49, I love being 57, wouldn’t go backwards for all the wool in New Zealand!
Someone was in the shop the other day and thought Shane was my fella and although creepy, not a bad compliment at my age, looking like I could snag a young, good looking “Big Boy” as she called him. The flattery only lasted a moment before my intellect told me to wipe the stupid grin off my face. I told her I wasn’t good looking enough, rich enough or Cher to snag a young man of 35. The fact that we were talking about my son made it a bit weird but Shane wasn’t embarrassed; as a matter of fact he’s used to this. Before he met his wife and with my hubby away most of the time he was my restaurant companion and all those that looked on wondered, some even commented. I viewed it as comedic, the opportunity for a good chuckle. I’m not that delusional, and my thought is always “perhaps they should look into cataract surgery”.
So I don’t want gifts this year but I’m trolling for hugs and smiles. My son pestered me, what do I want for my birthday and I thought and thought and thought, but there was nothing to say. I’ll appreciate a funny card, not one of those sappy ones full of fluff and malarkey. Make fun of my memory, hint that they invented fire the day I was born or perhaps with my failing eyesight, brushed my teeth with Preparation H. Give me a laugh, that’s the best medicine!
Other than that, I have everything I want in spades. Sure, world peace would be nice but sadly, I don’t think it’s ever going to happen. I’d like a healthy pancreas but that’s my cross to bear, everyone has one thing that does them in physically, at least it’s a manageable illness and a lot better than some.
I’m offered discount cards for seniors now. Quite frankly, I’d rather pay full price but it’s always nice to save. Some of my spring has sprung, there’s cracking and aches and it takes the short jaunt to the bathroom each morning before I’m fully erect.
My hair isn’t what it used to be although it was never what I wanted. It’s so flat and fine it won’t even hold a curl. Wishing it was curly and cussing that it wasn’t might have been a self-fulfilling prophecy. Maybe it got fed up from the lack of love and left. Thinking back from this balding position, I now realize my hair was divine, soft and silky, hair others would kill for, especially all those curly haired fools who couldn’t be satisfied with their divine crop. We’re nuts, the lot of us. Why can’t we be satisfied with what we have, stop comparing everything to others and get on with it?
I’d like less wrinkles but like stretchmarks, they’re badges of honour so being stripped of those numerous accolades might be defying nature’s plan and I always play by the rules. My laugh lines aren’t deep enough to lose parts of a sandwich in and I have all my front teeth so I’m still smiling with confidence. At 57, I have a ways to go before I’m looking like a Shar-Pei, I still have one chin and although things are shifting and eroding I look as good as most do at the halfway point.
I have much to be thankful for and I know my luck and good fortune runs deep. I married a very kind man, not by chance either, some things you can’t leave to fate once opportunity knocks. I met him at a dance, sensed he was lovely and then stalked him until we had a first date. I chased but he let himself be caught. The trick you ask? Open a few strategically placed buttons and unless a man is standing over an open grave with a banana peel underfoot and has those before-mentioned cataracts as thick as shoe leather, you’ll have their full attention.
In my fertile years, I gave birth to a handsome and intelligent son that I love to bits. I have lovely, wonderful friends and four dogs that are precious to me; they are my hairy prodigy; I couldn’t love them any more if they had sprung from my womb. I have a career I love and a house as cozy as polar fleece. What more could a gal want?
So what is there to receive? I’ll gladly accept a few hugs and smiles, these are the true gifts. I’ll remember them longer than something to unwrap, Wednesday at the hook-in party I grabbed hugs from all I could get too, there was a bit of a pile up at the door and the crowd was deep. I like to hug human beings, especially warm ones, those with a pulse that is; it’s awkward when they don’t move. (A long story for another time.)
Hugging is a great way to make a connection. I have it down to a science; I bend in and draw them tight to my bosom, constrict with a bit of pressure and then pat their backs. Over the years my personal space allowance has diminished for the better. I’ve gone from, “Hey, back off sunshine!”, to “How about a hug?”, putting it right out there for collection. I used to worry someone might feel my muffin top or notice how much back fat spills over my bra. Now I don’t care. I’m soft and squishy like bread dough and there’s comfort in that. Probably in a few years, I’ll be the equivalent of the Pillsbury dough boy but hopefully not as pale. No matter what age, I’ll still be happy, because what’s outside is nothing like what’s on the inside.
Well I must run. I smell bacon. Hubby is making my birthday breakfast. We had to get up at 6:30 AM to have the pups at the groomers for 8:00 AM for their Christmas clip. After returning home and a short nap while parked in the driveway, I’m now fully awake and hungry. What will today bring......
Last evening was our annual Pot Luck, Main Street Hookers Christmas party. I’m not sure where that saying came from, Pot Luck, because there was nothing “lucky” about last night. After a dozen or so years, we have it down to a science, every dish was fabulous, there was luck to it at all. I believe it was the best varied selection and feast for the taste buds ever! We should rename it, call it "Pot Treasure” night!
No one left hungry and the leftovers were quickly swept away by hubby, stored in containers for good eatin’ the rest of the week. I’m no dummy, I host the party to reap the benefits. I can barely keep focused today knowing the meal waiting for me this evening. Food is my bag baby….I love it, as all else falls apart or fades away, food crawls its way to the top of the pleasure chart.
As always the evening is filled with fun with friends gathering together, breaking bread and playing our special little game. We had a 21 head count plus hubby who hovered around helping, serving, snapping photos and cleaning up. I received lots of compliments on how well he's trained and although I’d like to take credit for his domestic prowess, I can’t, he came that way. I'm a lucky gal and I know it!
We had several desserts. I made butter tarts, Sue brought a delicious whipped cream, chocolate wafer cake, thank's Tait, and Pam brought her famous Microwave Fudge.
We played our traditional game. We all bring a present and draw numbers for the order in which to play. The first person selects a present and then the second person either can take what the first person selected or they can take a new gift from the table. An on it goes. Last evening there were several items that were big grabs as the gals stole back and forth. Sue brought another one of her painted boxes and there was a mug with hooks on it that was pretty hot. There was jewelry, Christmas items, wool, wool and more wool, teas and so much more to mention.
Some were absent due to work and vacations. We missed you!
Ginny stole a $30.00 Gift Certificate and a bundle of wool which she promptly stuffed under her shirt. The picture was too risque to post.
One of Sue's boxes was the grab of the night but ended by going home with Anne. She scored a box last year too!
All heads turn like leaves in the wind when someone opens a present.
Patsy showing off a very blingy owl ornament that she just snatched off someone. And no, you can't have my blue box that holds my remotes. Put it back!
Chow down time. So much food, so little stomachs!
Yum all the way down the line and back!
Aunt Audrey (pink scarf) thinks she died and went to food heaven. We sent her home with some leftovers.
Christine and Charlene discussing something pretty serious. "Which meatballs are you going to have? "I don't know, maybe I'll try both dishes." "Ya, that's what I'm going to do to."
I told Sue, if she's going to make faces when we snap her picture I'm going to post them. This one was nicer than then the one with the tongue. Look at all those yummy salads and star biscuit!
As 2015 begins to fade to black and 2016 enters stage right, we are using this time to reflect on this past year and all the wonderful people we’ve met and the beautiful rugs we’ve seen along the way.
At Encompassing Designs, we know the importance of our customers; we are literally nothing without you! Deborah, Shane and I want to show our appreciation by offering the continued top notch product and service we’ve done in the past and would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your past patronage and to let you know there will be changes coming in the New Year. We want to serve you better, offer you more and come up with new and innovative ideas.
We are head banging right now to come up with new ideas and your opinions are very important to us, so if you would like to drop us a comment on a change you would like to see, please let us know, we are open ears and hearts. This isn’t just a business to us....this is our passion, and Deb, Shane and I are going to work even harder to make our beautiful store a destination point in both walk in or virtual visits.
Stay tuned for all kinds of new, updated and improved old, and all else in between. Our mandate is to help you with the best rug hooking products to make your projects all that they can be. You the customer and our shop are a team so please leave a suggestion, we will take every one seriously as we redefine our commitment to serve you better, each and every one of you!
All the best, whether your preference is Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, we sincerely wish you happiness for the season. Have fun and stay safe!
This past Saturday was a wonderful day at the shop. Christmas tunes played softly in the background, the shop glows with red for the season, beautiful sunny weather and mild temperatures kept the town buzzing with visitors, there were stacks of new wool to process and eye candy walking through the door! Pinch me peeps….is this a dream job or what?
Jean Wentzell is always a welcome sight at Encompassing Designs. Seeing her means she’s in for show and tell and she always puts on a fabulous cabaret of colour and talent! Jean has hooked a lot of my patterns over the years, usually ones that I’ve custom designed for her and she always does them justice.
Recently we’ve been working on seasonal pieces of a specific size for her to hang in a special spot in her home. She likes to change the scene to match the season and always has a rug hanging to admire. So far she’s done Patches for the autumn, a medley of fall colours, with pumpkins and a delightful scarecrow.
Winter Games came next for winter and I can’t say enough about this standing ovation. Bravo! This beautiful creation just might be my favourite rug for the entire 2015, both for the whimsical composition, (I’m slapping myself on the back for this one), and of course Jean’s hooking!
Now Jean has completed her spring and I couldn’t be more pleased with the finished product. Looking through the screen door to the garden beyond, Spring Has Sprung, tells a true tale of the season. The majestic robin is always the first sign of this new season and the grass sheds its dull winter coat to don a rich mossy green. The buds on the bushes and trees blossom into canopies of green, each one unfolding in slow motion wonder. How wonderful to hook a rug depicting the season of new life and rebirth and bring a bit of that magic inside. We change our clothing for the period, some even switch up bedspreads and throws and pillows in the living room so why not coordinate rugs for the four seasons of this magnificent planet?
Not only is this piece lovely, there are teaching tools to be shared. I love making things look three dimensional and passed on these simple tips to create a big look in the fence and screen door. My Moonstruck Wanda rug was the first time I shaded a fence and it brought added dimension to a very low contrasting scene. The fence pops when viewed from a distance. The area was dark to work in but with the proper execution of shading to show a light source, you can really make a motif pop with proper manipulation of colour.
It’s really all about the light source. Pick where you want your imagined sun to be, or if doing something inside where is the lighting? Once that is established the shadows are easy. If the sun is on the top left, all of the darker shadows will go to the right of the object, and the lightest will go to the left as if the sun is shining directly on the surface. The middle will be just that, a middle value. Yes, it is as simple as that! Stay true to the plan, as not to confuse the eye and in the end you will have a rug that really pops to tease the viewer into thinking its lifting off the page. The horizontal braces that show between the fence boards would be treated in the same fashion. The top part is where the sun would hit so they are done with the lightest value, the middle value for the center and the darkest value on the bottom where the sun wouldn’t reach and the shadow would be.
Jean told me she wanted a yellow fence and together we zeroed in on our formula for Goldenrod, one of our Majic Carpet formulas from the book, Antique Colours & Spots, Shane dyed the three values over natural needed for the shading to give the fence prominence. We decided the light source would be coming from the top, right hand and after that it was a repeated hooked plan of the darkest value on the left, followed by the middle value for the center of the fence posts and then followed up by the lightest value for the right side. It turned out beautifully and the goldenrod was the perfect colour way for the rest of the rug. It picked up the tones from the flowers and the golden bits in the leaves in the hanging branches overhead, creating that needed triangle for balance.
The screen door was executed in the same manner. Jean had her mind on purple and purple it is. The left side of the spools and framing were done in the darker purple, a Jacquard formula that Shane cooked up in the pot. The majority surface of the wood is the middle value and the lighter gave it all a highlight on the right. It is more subtle in the darker woodwork but the eye detects a separation giving it depth and interest. Hooking it entirely in the one shade of purple would have made it appear flat, with zero interest or character. This way the eye is guided into the center of the design where the focal lies, not distracted by a wall of flat purple.
To view patterns click this link to my design pages: http://www.encompassingdesigns.com/signature-designs.html
Fall, Winter and Spring.....Summer to follow!
Give A Wool Widget for Christmas!
The best little gadget for dip dyeing ever! It holds the wool to reduce accidents; we’ve all dropped our wool into the dye bath using pins and tongs! No more burning fingers in scalding water!!
It will sit in the water if your dyeing is interrupted.
The round shape fits nicely in the pot
Beautifully turned oak with sturdy spool handle for gripping
Hooks hold the wool secure
Made in Mahone Bay!
Instructions come with the Widget
Take advantage of our FREE SHIPPING till Christmas!!!
On sale for $36.95.
Today was painful. Due to an appointment with the osteopath for my knee, I shaved my legs, chopping down a growth that would have rivaled the long hair of a dog. The razor scraped over my skin, time and time again, as I tried to eradicate every last hanger on. It left the surface bumpy and burning as the blade scraped the top layer of skin. I kept thinking, what the heck am I doing? Surely this medical professional saw au natural before, but my darn pride got the better of me.
If I shaved regularly it would have been a walk in the park, but I don’t worry about what can’t be seen. I’m past the stage of pantyhose and dresses, why bother torturing myself for the sake of a smooth leg. Who is going to be running their hand over it anyway? My pups certainly don’t mind, perhaps they even like that their mom is as hairy as they are and the thought wasn’t lost on me as I hulled the forest, that there was more hair on my legs than on the top of my head! I cut away a year of growth that washed down the shower drain, which will probably come back and haunt us down the road.
I fell this past summer and sustained a second injury next to the tissue where the old one had been. This time it was on the left side of the knee and was much worse. Where the right side was a mere pin prick, the left side was a saber slice. Much to my excitement, after picking myself up off the floor, I marveled that the old injury seemed to have gone away and for a day it seemed possible. But slowly after the new swelling began to subside, the old injury popped back up to rear its ugly head and ganged up with the new aches and pains for a bloody coup. Now my poor knee felt like it was being hacked across the middle, separating the thigh bone from the shin bone with a razor sharp saw. Then burning set in as the nerve screamed in protest and it felt like a blow torch thought my bone was crème Brule. It kept me awake at night, sleeping for a few minutes and then awakening as the pain seared across my knee. I’d move it slightly which would quiet the nerve and then I’d fall back to sleep and it would start all over again. No REM sleep for me, it was short and bitter.
I was constantly in pain and even tried a cane to see if that would decrease the agony of walking. My thoughts turned to Dr. House and his Vicodin addiction; I can see how someone in constant pain would seek release. At times I turned to Ibuprofen, two caplets of 400 mg to make movement possible but I hate taking pills and only did it when all else failed. This problem was particularly awful in that lying down didn’t offer any relief. Sometimes it was worse, the fire burning inside my knee made me long for amputation. At the very worst of times, I would have gladly cut off this appendage for relief.
At times there would be nothing to indicate there was a problem. Weeks would go by without a twinge and I would almost forget I had anything wrong with my leg. Then it would come back like a freight train and it was crying time again. I could never figure out the factors. I ruled out dampness and arthritis, it just came and went, lingering for a bit and then moved on.
So my Osteopath fixed it again. My leg was twisted a bit and he made the correction, lined up the bones as they should be. Now I need to do the exercises to strengthen the area and hopefully not be staring at knee replacement or amputation down the road.
I didn't stack our wood so artistically, I just love this picture and admire the creativity!
Monday seemed like a day of last chances. The weather was divine, reaching 13 plus. I figured I’d better get to the yard chores or else I’d be out in the freezing wind, perhaps fighting the driving snow to get it all done.
I’m a fair weather gal. I’ll do anything as long as it’s not too hot or too cold. I complain too much in extremes and no one wants me around when I’m sweating or chilled. Apparently I whine like the bagpipes warming up, and if that's the case, I can’t blame those who shun me. A long time ago, the stork dropped me too far north and now this is my lot, I must accept the things I cannot not change. I think I’m getting better with age, perhaps I’m more numb than old, but as it stands, I’m only satisfied a handful of days of the year and the rest remain a sore subject.
Monday I was as happy as a pig in poo. The weather was perfect for working outside. Not cool enough for layers, not warm enough for shedding and Hubby and I washed the garage doors and window frames with bleach to kill the black mold covering the surface. I'm not sure why it picks on our garage, but it grows quickly and covers fast. When it rains the black fungus is magnified under the water droplets and looks like heck. Early Monday morning, the dew clung to the building softening the staining so it was easy to clean it off with a brush and the bleach killed the rest. Now the building gleams and shows the brilliant white paint that had been hidden underneath.
It is never recommended to paint below 10 degrees so Monday might have been the last chance to top coat the house window sill I primed last week. So I played hooky to do various odd jobs and planned to go into work later in the afternoon but job after job stole the hours and then the firewood beckoned so we started stacking that. By the time we took a break it was almost 4:00 pm, time to stop and hunt for a Christmas tree. The Main Street Hooker’s annual pot luck is the 16th of December so I need to decorate a bit earlier this year and I want to be ahead of the game to avoid last minute pressure. I love our pot lucks. Such interesting and diverse meals on the night of and then heavenly leftovers for a week! It’s certainly smart having it at my house, hubby will agree!!
We are offering a "Gift Certificate Service". Something new and not only for the Christmas holidays! For any occasion; birthdays, congratulations, Thanksgiving, you name it and we'll match a card and mail it on our dime.
I used our wonderful Christmas bundles to hook Mrs. Cone Santa. She compliments our last years special of Mr. Cone Santa.
Special Offer!!! For $49.95 we will send you the bundle of wool (4 - 1/8 yard pieces for a total of 1/2 yd), 1 Mrs. Cone Santa pattern on linen and we'll throw in the two tone greens for the wreath, skin wool, black for the eyes, a thin red strip for her smile, a pair of wire glasses and roving for her hair. Wool in the bundle is a red plaid, buttercup gold, solid red and white. There will be a picture of the finished Santa included and instructions on how to hook and finish the project.
Wool is uncut in the package.
We have also made more of the Santa packages. If you don't already have Mr. Cone Santa, order both kits and receive 15% off the two.
Glasses are made from 20 Gage bronze wire on a jig for a perfect shape. A pair of specs will be shipped in your kit. Once Mrs. Cone is sewn together you would line them up over her eyes and easily push the arms through the loops and backing.
We will also be selling the specs in the shop for $3.95 a pair if you wish a pair for your Mr. Cone Santa.
Items can be purchased separately:
Christmas Bundles $32.95
Mrs. Cone Santa Pattern only - $25.95
Mr. Cone Santa Pattern only - $25.95
Wire Glasses - $3.95
Yesterday, I started the day like a sloth mired in cold molasses. The alarm did its best but failed in its task, droning on for over a half hour without breaking through. Hubby made three trips up the stairs to snooze it, barely conscious I acknowledged his presence and was told breakfast was in the making. None of these interruptions was enough to totally breach the fog and I was back in dreamland before his feet left the last tread. I was exhausted and without eight hours of sleep, my eyes open with the same degree of difficulty as unsealing a rusted jar.
Finally beaten to a state of awareness, I crankily swung my feet out on the cold floor. I sauntered into the kitchen at 8:30 with the enthusiasm of walking to the gallows, helped myself to now cold boiled eggs and sat in the living room with a scowl that could frighten a dog, none of mine of course, they’re used to my many faces, but a visiting pup might have scurried under the sofa.
I felt like the walking dead. Zombie like on the outside and mildly comatose on the inside. After feeding the pups I dropped to the floor in front of the wood stove and curled with Fiz, where I promptly dozed and stayed there until 11:00. I ask, who naps after waking, and on the floor? I read somewhere that this is a sign of sleep deprivation and it’s probably true, I barely get seven hours or less each night when I prove every day that I need eight.
The night before I had a ball of gas after a late dinner that hardened my gut and made me crawl into bed at the ungodly hour of 10:30. If there was a way to plug in, I could have lit the town Christmas tree till new year’s. Movement was torture; only my eyes darting across the pages of the book I was reading was tolerable. I loosened the catch on my bra to take the pressure off my rib cage, allowing my lungs to expand, each breath driving a sharp, stabbing pain throughout my midriff. I never get gas, my stomach is lined with steel, anything that goes in stays there and is dealt with accordingly. I’m not sure what created the solar flare beneath my rib cage; we had meatloaf and scallop potatoes for dinner, not exactly a potent accelerant, but I was in agony! My central core was so inflamed, I truthfully didn’t know what end was going to start and end this war. The trots or nauseousness teeter-tottered back and forth, both calling dibs on the nearest bathroom in case either camp fired the first shot.
I tried fizzy water to bring up the gas and belched like a beer totting barfly allowing enough relief to lie down. I had no idea what folks with acid reflux or indigestion go through. I’m normally a through and through, digestive slip and slide kind of gal, but now I have a new respect for your pain! To make a long story short, after several hours of slowly tapping the pressure, I began to feel normal.
All this gas didn’t bode well for a good night’s sleep. I was awake very late, cheated of sleep and wasted by morning. Now, well into a nap, I didn’t have much desire to leave the floor, let alone the house. Needless to say I was late for work, arriving unfashionably at 1:00 P.M. I wasn’t too worried, the shop is well taken care of by Deb and Shane and with the Wednesday evening hook-in, it makes for a long day so taking the morning off gave me a bit of a break to be rested for the evening.
There was a full house for the hook-n. We are still downstairs because of the beads upstairs covering the tables like a second skin. I wasn’t hooking, while forced to lie in bed the night before, bloated and useless, in between reading my my mind sought creative refuge. That afternoon, someone had sent a picture of a wonderful Christmas Tree made with leftover wool worms so I thought, why not make one with roses fashioned from selvage edges?
I had a Styrofoam cone form, dug out the glue gun that was still in its package from years before and prepared to burn every finger on my right hand. That gun packs heat! I scorched myself three times even before I put in the glue sick! I’d never used one of these self-torture devices before and now I’ve found something worse than needles! I’m either all thumbs or just careless but there was constant flesh singeing and yelps. My fingernails were coated with glue; there were webs, long strings like white hair everywhere. Tell me….why does crafting have to be so painful and messy?
I was rather thrilled with a first attempt. It only took an hour to make, especially when Deanna helped with some of the roses. I placed a few leaves, purchased from Atlantic Fabric and then dug out glass pearls for a bit of bling and viola, a lovely, Victorian style decoration. I can see trees done in different colours and different sizes. Maybe a Styrofoam wreath to hang on a door? A kissing ball? How about a workshop in it? Strap on your glue gun and come on over. I have hoards of Selvage edges. If anyone is interested I’ll pick a day!
Is hubby not great with hints? Maybe his attention isn't fully focused? Save him confusion and pounding the pavement this year looking for the perfect gift. Print off this form and fill out your wish list with specific items from the website and give to hubby. He can either shop in person or phone in his order with confidence that this years gift will be a winner! Fill out every category so he can pick one, or perhaps two and you'll still be surprised Christmas morning!
We all know most men loath shopping, trying to figure out what to buy can be stressful. I've seen it in the store year after year so I thought this would be the perfect way to guide them in the right direction. Hey, it works for Santa so let Encompassing Designs be your North Pole for gift ideas!
Some hubby's buy gift certificates so they don't have to make a decision and although that's great, you get to buy what you want, but it's not very exciting under the tree, not like a surprise package with a bow on it waiting to be opened and the goods played with immediately!
Help your poor husbands who don't understand or know what you need or want for your stash or a pattern you've been lusting after, maybe a new hook, a frame or a pair of scissors! Set him up for success this year, and he'll appreciate you for it!
This form can also be given to any loved one or a friend that would like to buy a little something for the rug hooker in their life!
To print, right click and choose COPY IMAGE, then PASTE to your Desktop or a file of choice. Then you can print it.
Mrs. Cone Santa is now complete. I had hopes to make a fun topper, a granny hat but the cone was too long so the hat had to be huge and it overwhelmed Mrs. Claus into looking like she had a big red mushroom on her head. Visions and best laid plans don’t always work out. In the meantime she stands perfectly lovely on her own. They make a handsome pair!
Last night was an evening of finishing the Ornamental Santa pieces I'd hook several moons ago. I had a light-bulb moment and figured out a way to make sewing them easier. They say, “Give a job to a lazy person and they’ll figure out how to do it faster”. Well, I’m not lazy but I do like simplicity and any time I can minimize using a needle and thread I’m all in.
You’ll need a bottle of fabric glue, fast acting and clearing drying. Cut a piece of material for the backing slightly larger than the hooked item, about 1/8”bigger all around. Add glue to the back of the hooked piece all along the edge and a bit in the center. Position and place the backing, hand press it down.
Even while the glue is wet, stitch around the entire piece. Put your needle through the center of every second loop all along the edge, enough to catch it solidly without tearing and then through the fabric and pull together closing the gap between the backing piece and the hooking. This will hide all of the linen or burlap along the edge. Gluing the backing on holds it in place and makes the job go quickly as you sew around the outside. I was impressed with myself big time! Before it would take about a half hour to complete one project, all the while pricking my fingers and almost bleeding to death. Now, from cutting out the backing fabric, sewing on the hanger and the edge was less than 10 minutes and because I wasn’t fussing to hold the wool and hooked piece together there wasn’t any fumbling, bleeding or swearing.
Now I would happily hook more as the finishing left the bad taste in my mouth. It almost took longer to sew them than to do the actual hooking!
Today I sewed together Mrs. Cone Santa. I first cut around the finished rug about an inch and a quarter out. Then I folded over the edge to the back of the rug and steam pressed it flat so it stays in place. (This illuminates the need to hand stitch it to the back, saving time). Then I hand stitched along the bottom fold to hold it in place as tha can be seen when looking at the inside of the cone. Then I brought the two right sides together and caught the loops in the middle with the needle and thread and pulled them together. When sewing the white bottom and top I changed the red thread to white so it wouldn't show. It's as simple as that!
A small shop tree filled with Ornamental Santas & Snowmen. Sweet!
Ornamental Santa & Snowmen kits.
Perfect for hanging on a tree, door knob, on a bottle of wine as a gift. Kits are $39.95 ea.
Gift Certificates are available for that special rug hooker in your life! Any denomination, no expiry date!
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