Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve

Back in the day I'd be laying out my special party clothing in anticipation of an exciting party night to welcome in the new year.  I'd have already been out shopping to get something new for evening wear so that I would feel like a million dollars when I stepped outside the house.  Those days are gone, as I enjoy a more tranquil evening now rather than shouting above the music and multiple other conversations twirling about in the bar/restaurant.

I'm not that crazy about the bubbly any more either, as I still remember having one or two too many Champagne cocktails when I was in my 30's; so champagne isn't my fondest beverage of my youth. 

Don't get me wrong, I'll certainly have a glass or two of wine and maybe even snack on some cheese and crackers.  Wow, sounds like a wild woman, huh?  har har

So when midnight arrives and the ball is dropped in New York City with the countdown, I will welcome in the new year behind closed eye lids.  So to all my friends, whether you go out or stay in, I hope each and every one of you has a happy, healthy and prosperous 2012.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Sheep is back

There's been a lot of switching of rugs on my hooking frame lately.  My daughter-in-love was very pleased to get her Snowman mat for Christmas (along with other gifts), my Sincerely Jane Rug is now close to completion, and my other E.S. Frost Sheep rug is back on the frame for it's finish.  Or at least I HOPE it is going to be finished soon.

I've contemplated, reconsidered, pulled out and replaced wool in certain areas as I questioned the rug colors.  All the while I realized that 'she' would have used what she had to hook this rug.  Yet I still questioned.  Here it is now and I sure do hope to make more progress during the New Year weekend while watching TV and relaxing.

A friend of mine asked me what wool I used for the sheep in this rug and told her it was a men's wool suit jacket.  Of course it was washed before introducing that wool to my other wool.  But there is something about the wearing of the suit, cleaning and worn in the sun which gives it a nice patina.  And then it makes it way to my rug after it is machine washed, dried and cut.

I'm planning on making at least one more post before the new year.  BUT, if that doesn't happen..... may you all have a very Happy Healthy and Prosperous New Year in 2012.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sincerely Jane Challenge Rug

The monthly update pictures are due in a day or two so thought I'd better hustle and pull some loops to make a little progress since the last month's update.  So I finished the last two blocks at the's getting close to completion, yippee. 

Now all I have to do is hook the remaining border triangles, steam and bind it.  I'm quite happy with the softness of the look and colors I chose and extremely happy that I chose a smaller size for the project.  I cannot imagine the work some of the gals have who decided to hook the entire Jane Stickle quilt dimensions.  Whew, that would be quite a task but sure would make quite a statement as a room rug.

For those of you who are just now joining or reading my blog, this challenge originated on the Yahoo Rughookers group and was inspired by the Jane Stickle quilt she made in 1863.  The challenge was just a personal challenge so that we could choose the size rug we wanted and pick any of the square designs we wished to put in our rugs. 

Brenda Papadakis wrote a book called Dear Jane and kept a journal to Jane as she followed Jane Stickle's quilt pieces to replicate the quilt.  Brenda also made those exact pattern designs into precisely shaped 4 1/2" square designs and provided those pattern pieces in the book as well.  Since the book Dear Jane is copyrighted we could not use that name for our challenge, thus calling it the Sincerely Jane challenge.   I chose patterns which could accommodate a #8 strip but used #8.5 for the sashing.  Here is a picture of the book from which I chose the pattern pieces.

You will notice that my border triangles aren't as deep as those on the original quilt.  Since my rug is smaller in size than the quilt I was afraid to make the border triangles deeper would over power the look of the rug itself.

So now I'll put my Frost Sheep back on my frame and work on that for a while.  Soon I'll need to draw out an 8" square design to hook for the Sensational Seasonal Swap which also is hosted by Yahoo Rughookers.  If you are interested in joining please check it out on

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

E.S. Frost Sheep Rug

Boy have I been extremely lazy today when I should have finished cleaning the rest of the house.  And, my excuse for not walking was that it was raining so only walked when my four-legged companion Ben needed or wanted to go out.  Otherwise I sat on my butt and hooked while I watched reruns of, I'm embarrassed to say,..... "Millionaire Matchmaker".  I think that show is a hoot, get a lot of laughs out of some of the antics, and admire Patty's chutzpah. 

During today's hooking marathon I did at least get all the background done and hooked another flower.  But maybe the other flower wasn't done the last time I posted so perhaps it will look like I accomplished a lot since last picture post.

Since it is getting close to the end of the month when the Sincerely Jane Challenge rug pictures need to be posted on Yahoo Rughookers, I'll have to put this one down and accomplish something on the challenge rug.

Can't believe it is so close to Christmas ~ where did this whole last year go?  It is mild here in Delaware and was close to 60 degrees today and Christmas day is to be in the 50's.  Thankfully all my gifts are bought and wrapped.  And, if I get some unexpected drop-ins I have a couple gift bottles of wine to give as well. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Santa at his Desk

Yes, even Santa has administrative duties ~ he makes a list, checks it twice....... 

This almost life size Santa was made by my very talented friend, Shari Lutz, who also hooks rugs.  This Santa was a special request order, as most of her life size Santa orders are.  The desk belonged to Shari's customer's father when his father was a boy in the 1930's. It is a Christmas gift for his wife who is quite ill.  Shari said that when the customer saw it he was in awe.

Shari hand sculpts the face and hands herself, she also created the book, created some envelopes which Santa would have received from children and tucked those into the desk cubby as well as around and under the book.  She also made a tiny mouse which can be partially seen at Santa's cap.  

Of course there were some handmade cookies, handmade candy cane, there's an ink bottle, pipe and other objects that Santa would need ~ Shari is very good at detail in her works of art and that is why she is in such demand. 

You can see part of her studio and tools of the trade in the back of this next photo.  I can see some hemostats which she and I use for stuffing our dolls.  While I make dolls too, I don't have a smidgen of the talent that Shari does.  If you look at Santa's right hand it appears to me there are even veins showing in his hand...detail, detail, detail.

Shari also shared with me that she sent a Santa to a customer who wanted replicas of her 3 children on it. She included sweaters that her children wore as toddlers ( her kids are now grown). Shari said the customer called sobbing and was so happy with it. Shari said it was things like that which make her feel so good and makes all the hard work worthwhile.

If you would like to see more of Shari's works, check out her web site:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Christmas Card Hoax

Unfortunately it appears that Evelyn and I, and perhaps even others who read that note at her local store, have been bitten by a HOAX.  A comment was left on the previous message about Max so I did my own investigation and the hoax was verified.  Here is the link if you wish to read it.

While the million cards did seem unreasonable I figured the 8 year old child really had no concept of the quantity but the sound of a million rolled off his tongue for a round number.  Now, perhaps there is a Max, Maxine, a Sue, Jane or John who was recently diagnosed with leukemia but we don't know to whom or where to write.

I had thought about removing the entire previous post but thought perhaps others should know what the hoax was about so they don't fall for it also.

I apologize for pulling on your heartstrings on a hoax which has been around a few years.  My heart was in the right place, I've addressed the envelope but didn't waste a stamp as it hasn't been mailed yet.  Had it not been for the comment on my post by beadbugbit, I'd never have checked out Snopes for myself. 

But, for a ray of sunshine, just wait until you see my posting for tomorrow when I show you what my girlfriend Shari just made for a customer.  But that will wait until tomorrow.

Please Send A Card to Max

I received an email from my friend Evelyn Lawrence (the same woman who hooked all the Magdalena rugs and co-authored the book about Magdalena and her rugs). This was her message:

"This morning at our local store there was a hand lettered note about someone's aunt, a pediatric nurse. Seems this 8 year old has just been diagnosed with leukemia and all he wants for Christmas is to receive a million cards. Can you put this on your site and let's see how many we can all get there."Vintage little boy Christmas angel ringing a bell

So in the spirit of Christmas, to bring a little joy and put a smile on Max and family during this holiday season let's all send him a card.  I'm sure he and family would briefly forget their recent depressing news to open the cards, read any messages and see the various states the cards come from.  I have already addressed my card and have written a note to Max from me and my rottie Ben.  Here is the address:

Ruby Memorial
Attn: West/Max
1 Medical Center Drive
Morgantown, WV 26506-8110

Thanks for helping fulfill a request from a sick child and may you have a Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Frost Sheep Design

With the Annie doll done, Christmas gifts wrapped and another doll in the process of being made, I've been able to pull a few more loops on the sheep rug.  What really needs some attention is my house ~ it is in dire need of vacuuming, the kitchen floor needs to be scrubbed, but it is much more fun hooking than cleaning.   Christmas count down is getting critically close so will have to do something about that before Monday for sure.  Tomorrow is out since my grandson is coming over; seems Santa has to wrap gifts so I'll be watching him for a few hours.

It is a good thing I hooked this design myself before offering the pattern to others.  Now that I've hooked it will draw the border lines a little differently on ones I offer for sale.  Initially I drew a wide zig zag thinking that my wool strip would fit perfectly in there and would make a better pattern.  But it might be confusing to others so instead of drawing two lines to indicate the border zig zag design shape I will draw just the one line to indicate the zig zag border so the points come together better when hooked.  And of course you can see the edges of my rug are curling so it looks a little distorted along the edges ~ sorry.

I was hoping to get a little more done on the rug to show greater accomplishment but it has already been 3 days since my last post to the blog and since I'll be busy tomorrow thought it needed to be done today. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

New photo of Annie and mini-Annie doll

Surely I must have been scatterbrained this morning when posting the Annie and her little doll on my blog because I forgot to do her bodice.  Actually think it was the excitement to make her a little doll that a big part of the process was missed.    So here she is and now believe she is finally done and mini-Annie is fully dressed.

Good thing I caught it before going to all the trouble of updating my web page.  It isn't that it is so difficult to delete the old picture, add the new and publish again, but it is the fact the software which built my web site is not compatible with Windows 7 so the software was kept and remains on my old slower-than-molasses other computer and that is what takes forever.

So now they are done and I'm happy as a clam.

Annie with her mini-Annie

As I mentioned on my blog yesterday, I got the brainstorm to make the primitive Annie a mini-Annie doll.  In the picture it is hard to see, but the mini does have hair but since I used two strands of embroidery floss it is a little hard to see.   Certainly thought she was cute yesterday today she's cute as the dickens!

Have got to go out and run errands but later today will have to put an updated picture on my web site and remove the other one I put on there yesterday. 

OOPS!!!!!!  I just noticed that I'd forgotten to paint on her top.  DANG!!!!  Guess I was so excited to get her done and a picture posted that I forgot that part of it...har har har.  Oh well, back to the drawing board when I return from my errands.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Primitive Annie

This slow poke finally finished one of the two dolls I started a few weeks ago ~ slow but finally done.  I think she turned out really cute.  If you saw the before picture you will notice the dress color changed from what I'd originally planned.  There was not enough of that fabric so I purchased another small yellow print with red in it.  Sure wish they had some of the other fabric but, nada.  And I just had an idea.... think I'll make a mini-Annie for her to hold, as in doll size for her.

There is another body sewn with arms and legs stuffed but that's all I've done toward its completion.  Since making dolls, Santas, etc. isn't as much fun as hooking guess I'll hold off making either the other Annie or the mini for a while so I can work on my sheep rug and in a couple weeks will need to give an updated version of the challenge rug so will work on that before the end of the month too.

Alrighty then, back to pulling loops on the sheep rug and watching another movie that has been on my DVR since early October.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sheep Rug Update

Had to move the rug on the frame so thought I'd take a picture of it as it is now.  Actually I took two pictures with different settings so will post both in case one shows the true colors more than the other.  In one of them it seems you can see the mound colors better.

I have had a lot of fun with the border because I'm using various worms to fill in the triangle since the antique was done that way because 'she used what she had'.  And, yes, I did pull out the light area near the rump of the sheep because I figured that if it were being repaired the new wool would more than likely be darker (maybe).  Not sure what I'll do with the other light wool yet.

Funny, I can't tell the difference between the two pictures.  When I removed the rug from the frame and turned it over I can see several 'vacations' which I'll need to fill in.  It is fun working on the rug but also want to finish up that doll so maybe I'll work on that a little tomorrow.  Right now I'm going back and pull more loops on the sheep rug.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Santa, doll, rugs and things

Tis the season and since I needed a new Santa for my web site I made this guy standing on a base.  He looks real cute there so think I'll enjoy him until he is spoken for; and if he doesn't sell before this Christmas I'm one up for my shows for 2012.

I've also wanted to do a whimsical and primitive Annie type doll and right now this is all the further I've gotten since I'd really rather be hooking ~ but at least it is a start. 

Actually, I have two bodies started but don't know what I'll do with the other doll's legs so will finish this one first and decide on the other.  There was a day (before rug hooking) that doll making was my favorite pasttime.  But now rug hooking takes that number one spot of enjoyment. 

I also drew out a couple more Magdalena Domestic Zoo patterns on linen so if I got last minute orders  for Christmas I wouldn't be in a rush to do them but could ship out right away.  There was a huge run on the patterns just before ATHA and didn't want to find myself scurrying around trying to draw them plus getting ready for Christmas here.

Today I'll wrap some of the gifts I have for family and maybe work some more on the doll.  But one thing I know for sure is that I'll be hooking on my Frost sheep rug.  Perhaps I'll have an updated picture for you tomorrow.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Busy Two Days

Yesterday ~ Around 1:30 I took Ben for an extra walk because I was to be at my gal pals' house to celebrate our closely connected birthdays (Karla's is tomorrow and Paula's was end of November). But, even before Ben had done his 'duty' my soon-to-be neighbors and 4 kids stopped their vehicle and said they had something for me. I couldn't understand what the heck it could be. 
But, I said 'okay' and he said he'd meet me at the house. Turned Ben around and everyone is standing on my front porch hiding stuff behind themselves. Then Bob turned around and had a chocolate cake with a candle on it and said "hurry and make your wish". I asked how he knew it was my birthday. Turns out even before he started breaking ground on the house it had come up in conversation and he put it on his Blackberry.
The two girls had drawn birthday cards for me and they brought ice cream, cake, drinks, paper plates, utensils, plastic cups and it was a no muss no fuss party for me; must say that I've not had an ice cream and cake celebration for my birthday since I was 16 and I felt like a kid again.
So after they left I finished the walk with my boy Ben then went to the gals' house where we had French onion soup, crab dip, crackers, wine.  One of the gals commented that it was having a Super Bowl party, birthday celebration and Christmas all in one since we were listening to Christmas music.  So I had a very nice birthday celebration the day before my birthday.
So Today ~ I treated myself to the local Chinese buffet where I enjoyed some baked salmon, rice and various steamed vegetables. YUMMY!!!!!  I do this for myself every birthday.
Coming home I stopped to pick up the mail and Joan, a rug hooker gal sent me some wonderful bird stamps, ink pad and stickers that are very classy and would make great stamping projects... AND a beautiful piece of over dyed wool.
Then if that was not enough, my girlfriend Shari gave me a gift certificate at Heavens to Betsy wool !!!!!!  I'm totally excited about buying more new wool but told Shari she had to come here and help me find a place for it in my room!  OMG does my room need some TLC.  Besides she is WAY overdue with her visit here to hook.

So that has been the last two days and tomorrow I should have at least one present to myself come in the mail ~ hey, we do need to indulge ourselves once in a while, right?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Second Thoughts and Reverse Hooking

Oh my I'm having a dilemma again.  I've already pulled out some of the border and rehooked it in a smaller cut to get the color combinations in there that I wanted.  And am again second guessing what I've hooked in some areas and thinking about pulling out the loops and using something else.  Here is what my sheep looks like as of right this minute.

One area I'm considering changing are the light areas in the sheep, which is supposed to represent an area that either faded or wore thin and had to be replaced.  So I'm thinking about pulling out the light and putting in a piece of wool which is the same as the area hooked to distinguish the two legs.  It is basically the same color as the sheep except has some darker value plaid in it which shows up occasionally when hooked.  So I've taken a picture of that wool and placed it on top of the sheep for you to see.

And then this is the third re-evaluation in the ground color under the teal.  I was going to use a 'dirty muddy' (as Lucille Festa named it) but was concerned it was too close in value and the sheep's feet would become invisible.  Instead I chose a blue with flecks of a golden tan in it.  But now am thinking that it looks kinda weird with the teal line and then dark.  So I have taken a picture of some of that dirty muddy wool so you can see what that would look like.

Still thinking that maybe it should be a color more similar to the teal already hooked, in my wool stash I found two other considerations.  There is a teal texture.

And here is a teal plaid.

So many choices to consider.  But in the meantime I will just hook what I know to continue making progress, let me ponder my options and would love to hear feed back on your thoughts.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Edward Sands Frost Sheep

Back on the frame is the Frost Sheep.  I have pulled out some wool and rehooked with a smaller size strip in some areas.  Since my drawing of this design is a little smaller than the original antique I couldn't use the #8.5 strips in some areas as I'd hoped. 

One of the questions I had as a newbie hooker and one that I often hear or read to be asked by other newbies on Rughookers group, "is it okay to mix sizes of strips in the same rug".  And the answer is 'yes'.  Heck, our foremothers did and they also used whatever textile they had available to hook in their rugs, whether it be red long johns, denim, calico, silk ~ in other words they used anything they had available so why shouldn't we be able to use different size strips and various textiles in the same rug too?

I'm really liking how the background colors are in blocks where the wool may have faded.  What is bothering me now is the hill the sheep is on.  I thought for sure this was the answer and I hooked the whole dang thing with what I thought was going to work.  Perhaps I should have gone with that piece of 'dirty muddy' wool I purchased from Lucille.  But the color was so very close in color and value as the lower part of the legs that the legs would be lost. 

So for now I'll keep hooking "what I know" (a phrase coined by Eric Sandberg) and will come back to the ground underfoot and deal with that tomorrow where I'll take another picture.  Since I've pulled out wool and rehooked today just want to feel as tho I'm making some headway on the rug so won't pull that out tonight.