Saturday, September 5, 2015

Time to Focus

Although its been a busy and hectic summer, it has also been a productive one. My husband and I have covered a lot of ground and made a lot of progress in these few months. He has been prepping a basement for renovations (not ours) and I have been maintaining our home, finishing rug hooking projects and starting new ones.
The summer started with a yard sale at our daughter's house.

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A few short weeks later, after their house being on the market for several weeks, an offer was made on their house and it was sold. Yippee! Hooray!!

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Too bad we didn't know about the sale before the yard sale, but everyone rallied together to pack and move our daughter and son-in-law out of their massive house. As always, everything got done, summer vacation started, and I went to Green Mountain Rug School for the first time. It is something that I have always wanted to do, and my husband joined me.
I designed this "Peacock Feathers" rug wall hanging, brushed up on my dyeing skills and met many nice hookers.
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With some of the wool I dyed a bright blue at class, I decided to hook "Whale of a Time" intertwined with some of my drab wool. From feathers to fish, it seems.
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I weathered an oak frame and it will be a pleasant surprise for our friends to find in their Cape House in Wellfleet after a visit this Fall.'s a surprise. I enjoyed the result so much, that I hooked another "Little Whale" for a certain somebody.

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While I wasn't rug hooking and my husband wasn't working, we were able to plan a few get-a-ways to search for treasures and to relax.
A rug hooking shop in Maine,
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Then, a French Brocante shop,
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Ohh La Laa, what nice French Faire!
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I found this rustic Farmhouse rolling cart for some goodies we found in Amish Country, I added a few pieces I had laying around as well.

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I had to take advantage of the nice warm weather to finish a few projects I had always intended to finish. An old seat cover I hooked that needed repair paired with a nice old oak frame...perfect.
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An old rickety mirror frame that I refinished and put a back on and converted into a chalkboard. So many phrases...endless possibilities around the year.
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I'm not a follower of horse races, but this I believe was the trifecta, three pieces all in need of attention, finished in one day. Whew, glad that's done.
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Before I retired, the blooms came and went, I never had time to pick, create a vignette, explore the possible photo shoots and choices to decorate our table. That has changed!
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My table has never looked better, and I can't believe what I have around the house to decorate with.

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Every once in a while I change up my Hoot Owl Trios, which I list on Etsy and Ebay. These Black-eyed Susans did the trick.
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I started this Bonsai in late April and it is still alive...just another thing I always wanted to try.

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Some lovelies I dragged out of the dust to create this photo, everyone needs a little inspiration now and then.
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Yes, this summer has certainly ticked off all of our boxes for sure. We had great times with our grandchildren, including a camping vacation and going to the beach and all the "night swimming" and sleepovers they wanted.

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As summer winds down and Autumn approaches, I hope that we can keep up the pace and reach all of our goals. We have had the nicest weather and hopefully the transition will be long and slow.
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And that we will make wise choices and continue to work together.

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I am canning tomatoes and salsa this week in between hooking a more seasonal motif.

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Thank you for stopping by for a visit, I hope you will leave a comment or just say Hi, perhaps follow if you liked my blog. I am still new at this and the technical skills required, but I strive to inspire you to create, use what you have, and plan a get-a-way as often as you can. Enjoy the "back-to-school" routine and the harvesting you may have ahead of you.
 photo 2015-09-03 08.35.58_zpsdtcxzqvv.jpg So now, if you will please excuse me while I get back to my canning. The salsa awaits...
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I welcome any questions or ideas you would like to share, and hope your creative juices are awakening as much as mine during this wonderful time of the year. 

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As my grandson would say, "Bah" for now. Marilou

Monday, July 6, 2015

School's Out...Rug Hooking School that is

My trip to Montpelier Vermont to the Green Mountain Rug School was a very pleasant experience. The accommodations were very nice and the hotel was located in the middle of town on a street lined with many great places to eat and little shops, even a farmer's market. I met many nice women "hookers" at  breakfast and lunch served daily in the ballroom.

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After our meals we all went to our respective classes to learn and hook. It was reminiscent of the quilting bees held in the olden days.

I wasn't really sure of what to bring in preparation of the class and spread my wool all over the house trying to decide what I would need.
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As usual, I made quite a mess. I've had to admit these days, that I make a lot of messes of my own.
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I started cutting bunches of over-dyed wool that I had in my stash and never really knew what to do with. I began formulating an idea of what my motif for the class would be. I had a lot of cool colors like turquoise and teal.
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Shortly after arriving and meeting some of the ladies, I met three ladies that live 20 to 30 miles from me. We are going to start hooking together. That fact, and getting to know my teacher are two of the highlights of the rug school.
My teacher, Karen Schellinger, is an author of the book Dyeing Wool and has a degree in Natural Health & Holistic Nutrition. She also teaches children and adults by employing  various forms of art therapy. She is an interesting educator and a very compassionate woman.
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We had the opportunity to dye our own wool in a workshop under her supervision and guidance.
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We came up with some awesome pots of wool.
This is one of mine with all the different scraps.

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Karen showed us a tip to try when your water is boiling and you haven't added any dye yet. She dropped two natural colored strips of wool into the pot with the scraps.

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Before adding any dye at all, a certain amount of color bleeds out of the wool creating very subtle results. This is a step worth remembering to get soft color for a certain background, in this case, sky or water.
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Karen had draped wool strips at our work stations that she had dyed while writing her book.

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Very inspiring pieces and all techniques are featured in her book.

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We turned the drabbest wool into pieces of art in less than 2 hours.

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I used shades of indigo and teal in my dye pot and my idea of what I wanted to hook really took hold. 

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That afternoon, with the rest of the class and learning about Zentangle, my idea came into fruition.

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Everyone had a plan on what to hook now and the fun began. I had to plan a motif around the colors I had before me and peacock feathers were all I could see!

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I quickly drew the feathery outline of the tail end of a peacock and some giant plumes and I was ready to hook.
By the time we had our Round Robin time of sharing, the pattern of bold colors and wispy feathers started to emerge.
The entire time at GMRS was so much fun and it was inspirational to see everyone's talent and styles. From whimsical to traditional to bold, everyone was working on something and I wished I had asked my fellow "hookers" if I could take pictures of their projects. The funniest part of the dyeing workshop was how everyone tried to dry their wool in time to start hooking with it the next morning or even that same afternoon. I had my wool draped over the windowsills, hanging from lamps and luggage racks and over the shower rod of my hotel room. It was a great learning experience and a pleasure to meet so many fellow "hookers". We will check in with each other from time to time to share our projects I'm sure. Many thanks to Karen for sharing her knowledge of dyeing and color theory, but especially for her wisdom and compassion.

One more thing, I promised to share my autumn rug pattern by Joan Moshimer called "Pine Woods".

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My goal for finishing is September.
Thanks for dropping by and feel free to comment or just say Hi.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Nature's Bounty

I am simply amazed by the bounty of beautiful blooms that have erupted this May, it's been quite a display. We got our flower and garden fix when we visited Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA earlier this month, but noticed when we got home that things were looking pretty lush and vibrant in our own gardens.

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We got home in time to see our Crabapple trees in bloom and the Azalea bush our daughter got us years ago.

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Some of the perennials that had been planted years ago really are thriving as well, to my surprise.

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You really have to persevere with your plantings every year, as you never know what will endure the long cold winters we have. Nature's bounty has been rich. So glad this Bleeding Heart is's the small things.

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I am always cautiously optimistic about what will show up in the rock terraces every spring. The Jonquils are thriving, as are the Lupines and a clump of Heather. I just planted the Day Lillies, adding a nice pop of color. The trick is to plant things that can get enough sun to get established before the leaves come on the surrounding far, so good.

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I love these irises that were given to me, this is the second good year of blooms...

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I have planted 70 Gladiola bulbs due to blossom mid August, always love the mystery of colors that I get!
I have planted many more perennials that I look forward to blossoming this year.

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Next up will be Hydrangeas, Foxglove, Black-eyed Susans and who knows. I'll take whatever Nature's Bounty has to offer.

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While I have taken a little break from rug hooking to enjoy the yard and flowers, do some planting, and get the outside areas ready for barbeques and swimming, I am ready to resume hooking my autumn themed rug to have complete by September.
I will tell you about it next post...meanwhile enjoy the beauty around you.