Thursday, December 23, 2010

Santa, I've been pretty good finishing things this last two weeks...   I finished a commissioned quilt for a friend's granddaughter. It is for her first Christmas, and has her complete name and birthdate. Since I don't want to help anybody whose hobby is identity theft, I deleted the portion of the picture that might help them.

The quilt looks even better than it does in the picture. The back is the same purple fabric that you see in the binding, and has a couple of pieces of her clothing cut into a heart (pink onesie) and an oval(embroidered portion of a bib) layered as an applique. Sorry, didn't think to take a pic of that, and the quilt had to be delivered to leave grandma sometime to wrap it. She'd purchased a Glowworm that actually had matching colors to the quilt. I had fun figuring out how to combine so many bright and diverse colors.

Livvie's Christmas dress turned out great. She is somewhat engulfed by it, but as it is a twirly dress for our twirly girl, that is fine. The poinsettia fabrics caught my eye when I was in buying fabric for the quilt. I behaved myself that day, but went back later for the fabrics I needed to make the dress. It is my goal to have made a willing sacrifice of sugar and spending this last week on the Solstice. Excess is out in my goal. Balance is in. :)

I doubt there will be any more posts for the next couple of days. So Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Good Yule, to any readers who wander by. Hope that you get to spend some wonderful time with family and friends. Our family was enlarged by one beautiful baby born on the Solstice. Her parents are in Alaska, and I won't post pictures of her either, but I'll think of her as a light bringer. Each day will grow longer until the summer Solstice.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Craneyolla ?

Today our granddaughter showed how much she is trying to read. :) She commented to me, "That word is craneyolla"   Hmmmm, craneyolla?  Wonder if you can guess what she was pointing to...

If you are the first to guess correctly, I'll split my values strips of blue violet that I'm hoping to dye during the week between Christmas and New Years! Leave your guess, a way to contact you, or just come back to find out who is the winner. My plan is to mail out the package before New Years' Eve.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Wonderful Animated Card

A friend sent this to me, and I hope as it was okay for her to share it with friends and family, that it will be okay to post it for you to see as well.  We've been enjoying her Advent Calender this month, found here:  

We got one for our computer and another for Livvie's as well. Some of the best $$ spent this Christmas. :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Livvie's Birthday rug is Finished, Bound, Whipped and Steamed!

With still 2 months and one half I have finished completely the rug I'm making for Livvie's 3 birthday. It is a design by Karen Kahle, Primitive Spirits. The rug is called "Waterlilies", and I fell in love at first sight with it.
Maria helped me to find lots of luscious blues, lavenders, and heathery purple tones when I was at rug camp last May. To that I added a variety of colors from my TX palette, mostly the shades found in the blossoms. The sky is one of my jam jar dye jobs, using my reformulated blue.

The largest frog, closer to the blooms has a number of shades of green. Sadly, I'd run out of most of them when it was time to hook the other two croakers. .. So the rug sat for awhile then at the Kirby Hookin last July, I found the perfect blending green and purple wool. That worked both for lines of water, and for the submerged bodies of the two frogs poking their eyes above water.

Didn't make too many changes from the way the pattern was drawn on Monk's Cloth. Added the little rainbow shapes at the sides, and although it is difficult to see, I used the adjacent colors changing as I moved along the sides. There is also some type of insect, that froggie 3 has captured with his long sticky tongue. Like my rugs to have some science in them. At the bottom, I hooked Grandma Loves You, as my way of signing this rug. The outside of the rug was zigzagged about 1.5 inches from the edge of the design, wrapped around large soft cotton cording, and then whipped with a luscious yarn that is hand painted in Peru. The blues, purples, oranges, and browns blend well, and I think set the rug off perfectly!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

This year's Baking Day was a Super Sucess!

Baking Day is over, and we baked several dozen cookies, and decorated Livvie's first Gingerbread house. I truly earned my nickname of Swedish Chef, during the construction of that house! But when it was finished, we all agreed it had been fun!
Grandma is super exhausted, grandpaparazzi needs to download the photos/ videos of the day so just this short update.
Lemon spritz cookies-melted in your mouth but still a flop because the cookie gun was having a bad day.
Gooey butter cookies -  DELICIOUS!
Super sized sugar cookies - good but just big sugar cookies, no complaints from anyone
picture cookies  snowmen and reindeer ala Pillsbury  hey, they help fill up a cookie plate and add some zing. Nobody's gonna think I made these myself...
frosted bar sugar cookies simple and fun to decorate with Livvie...yes her hands were clean...all the way up to the elbow! :)
Still have gingerbread train cookies to make for Papa, and Mexican Hot Chocolate cookies with chile in the mix... an experiment, but maybe a repeater next year.
Jen has a couple more she wants to make too.
Missed Stash Sisters, and wished for not the first time, I had a clone. But the clone would never get to do the family part. Hope I remember today when I'm in the home or heaven!

 Hmmm, the directions didn't say anything about this.... would you have evicted the home builder(me) about then?

 Jen called this one the money shot! LOL this was after the "royal icing" had made a puddle in my hand out of the top of the bag.

 When all was said and done, it stayed together and we had a great time putting on the candy, frosting, and sprinkles.
 Jen our beloved daughter who put up with all the craziness and mess sent these pictures of the construction and final gingerbread house. This wasn't her first rodeo with my creativity and excess of confidence. In the end it usually does turn out fine. Leap without looking into what you desire...
Remember the disastrous beginning and that the main decorator is less than 3 years old and I'm sure you'll agree it was a miraculous finish. ♥ If not, remember beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Quinoa for Christmas or New Year's Eve

If you haven't tried quinoa, the two upcoming holidays are a great time to try to rather different ways to serve it. Another benefit is that it is gluten free.

I cook ours quite simply. I buy a small box at grocery, dump the contents into a stockpot along with stock (chicken is my favorite but any stock works). 1 can + 1 of water. Bring the stock to a full rolling boil, stir and cook at boil for about 3 min. turn off the heat, and put on a lid. I usually get busy doing other things and forget it. lol
Once the pot has cooled down, empty the quinoa into a covered refrigerator container . It stays good for about 7 days without things added to it. Once you add veggies and greek yogurt, I don't keep it longer than 1 day. But for the two of us that isn't a problem. Of course, I'm only using a part of the quinoa.

With so many sweets around right now, upping your protein intake helps you stay feeling full longer. Too many sweets equal a blood sugar roller coaster that can leave you feeling shakey, and trigger excess snacking.

Quinoa Salad and Quinoa with Herring in Sour Cream and Onion are two recipes I shared earlier. Click on the link for salad and you'll find both recipes (rather more like guidelines). Happy healthy eating ~ this time of year it is even more important~

Monday, November 15, 2010

A wonderful Giveaway on Old Farmhouse Gathering's Blog

If you win the Warm Winter Hugs Giveaway going on now on Old Farmhouse Gathering's Blog until November 15th, it will be like getting Christmas in a box. I'm a member of this group, but because of being in too many groups, have been rather a deadbeat with consideration to them. Too many wonderful things in life, too much time on computer, but now that Etsy has opened a group area I can check in more frequently! 

Anyway, if you celebrate Christmas you really should go over and sign up by making a comment.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

What fun this is! Grandmas and Moms who love to decorate cookies!

Our daughter refers to me as the Swedish Chef, mostly because my cooking messes are a given. Plus there is nothing like cooking together over the years, to go from mom on the pedestal to mom, the Swedish chef!

I added the above to today's post, because the Swedish Chef rather than Julia Child has always been my kitchen hero. This one is short, and well to the point, but if you enjoy him too, click on the title to take you to You Tube for more of his delightful creating.  
My first, but definitely not my last creation!

We're starting to get ready for our annual "Baking Day" on the first Saturday in December. This started after our daughter was about 5 and we lived in TX. DH had the Scout Fair on that day, so he was gone all day, and would come home worn out, but pretty quickly revived after smelling the wonderful creations of the day. His favorites are Spritz cookies, and this recipe for Lemon Cheese Spritz Cookies is one I plan to try this year.

But the fun(and work!) of the day is in making cutout cookies to decorate. You might do sugar or gingerbread, and probably have a favorite family recipe. But especially for those of you out there who have older kids, comfortable with using a mouse, the site below is free, offers a great tool for practicing designing Christmas fun, and best of all calorie and mess free! Lots of colors of frosting to chose from, one button icing of the whole cookie, sprinkles, candy... well you really can have some fun. On the first page there is a link to the official rules, if the sweepstake is the most important part for you, and someone is going to win $1000. (Just saying...)  But I've already created a couple while writing this post, just cause they are so much fun. Went in to count the available shapes and got carried away and sent one to our dd. :) Just couldn't resist, and you can personalize them with a message and email them to someone you love. If you have a son or daughter in one of the armed services, this could be a great beginning to a wonderful Christmas surprise of getting cookies in the mail...

URL below is the entry point to the cookie creator    Have you some free fun!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Two tertiary tones ~ TA DA!

I've been away from my dyepot for awhile, and even though these were both dyed in October, it was to use for various projects, so no pictures to share. These two don't really have names that are necessarily Texas sounding although I can assure you that we have dragonflies and fiddle-heads in plenty around Houston. You may think of Texas as more like a desert than lush, and some parts of it definitely look like they could be part of the background in a cowboy shoot em up.

Around these parts, we have a semi tropical climate, so summer is our main season. Even spring and fall are quite often hot and humid. This is the first weekend all fall, we've been able to turn off the air conditioner and let the doors stand open. It is pure heaven! 0 :) When we first moved to Texas we heard that it has two seasons, Summer and February. :) But other parts of the country have hot weather too, it was while we still lived in Missouri that I heard someone remark, "I believe someone left the door open, between here and Hell."

I was trying to come up with shades for the Luna Moth in the Wizard rug, which has a lot of Yellow Green tones in it. So the first attempt looked like this.

These shades are really nice, and remind me a lot of the lush mosses that grow on the moss rock beside our pool. But they didn't stand out much from the background.

April showed me the combination I needed to dye for a great tone, but since I hadn't finished my color wheel yet, ignored the advice(I'm hard to lead) and went with the blue green my TX palette dyes produce. Since I prefer mottled strips, I seldom stir, so in this case the forward edge of the darkest strip appears out of order.

These are the wools I worked into the finished Wizard pillow for the Luna Moth. Not actually the color of a Luna Moth, but they worked for the pillow. I'm going to offer my formulas for dyeing eventually, but still have a few more shades of the color wheel to complete. My blue violet and red violets will be next, and I'm actually beginning to wonder what they will look like. For awhile, with the heat, my health problems, and changes going on, I'd kind of lost interest. Add in to that the cost of white wool, and it just didn't call me quite as much. But one good thing about down times, is that you know your mood will eventually go back up to where it normally centers.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween giveaway!   But you have to hurry, the sign up period ends tomorrow night at Midnight! Hope the winner is someone who needs it most! :)

Final Finishes :)

 Any of you with kats know that as soon as you put something down to get a picture, kats will come from the other side of the house to get into the picture, and examine the new item. :) Here Kirbykat gives you a sneak peek of my sampler finished as a pillow. This design, by Prairie Schooler  (link to all of their available designs) is called Sweeping  Cobwebs, available in latest designs.

 Here you have a better view of the finished pillow which is currently available on Etsy.  It is so close to Halloween, will probably be there for awhile, since Halloween is just two days away. But if you don't care whether it is October or not for witches, black cats, jack-o-lanterns to be on display. Check it out!

The second finish today is my Wizard adaptation of the "2009 Santa" by April Deconick. I've used quotes, but that may not be quite the actual title. April taught a class at our Kirby Hooking Circle, on hooking by value. My wool selection really didn't lend itself to a Santa, so she gave me permission to adapt the pattern to make a wizard. I thought about the wizard, Radagast, from LOTR as I designed my version. It has a number of added features from her Santa, but I'll design my own wizard before offering a pattern. It is currently under development. :) Sounds very professional, huh?

Chose to finish it as a pillow, with rectangular dimensions, before checking out the available pillow forms. Did you know that the majority of forms are now square? There are a few rectangular ones, and the one I selected was wide enough, but not tall enough. So although it isn't obvious in this picture, the upper part of the pillow isn't supported by a form. This pillow contains both as is and hand dyed wools, The colors in his cap were hand dyed by April. The remaining hand dyes are my own, from my Texas palette. I still have a few colors that need to be dyed, and then the formulas will be available, including swatches.

This design is supposed to suggest both a wizard and an owl... He is turned looking back toward the viewer, and I hope you can feel his piercing gaze. The luna moth is an homage to the LOTR movies, where they used a luna moth to take a message that Gandalf needed assistance. Luna moths live in TX, and have always been one of my favorites!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Halloween is just one week away!

Halloween was always one of my favorite holidays as a kid. Costumes to imagine and make, special treats to eat, and a party or at least a costume parade at school.

Soon after becoming a teacher, I discovered a wonderful sort of scary story that was called The Red Room Riddle , by Scott Corbett. It was a dark and storm night, the first time I read it, and just like many adult books it was a book hard to put down. It was a great book for reader response's and it had two boys as it's lead characters. So I could always count on keeping the attention of all the kids in the room, as I read it aloud ~ usually after recess.

I  googled it today and found that there was a weekend program back in 1983, right during the time we were relocating to TX. I watched three videos on YouTube, and while they were well done for their time, they had to change up the story a bit for tv. I guarantee the book is a great book. I especially liked that at the end the author, let the reader decide whether it was a real event or the lively imaginations of two boys on a special Halloween adventure. Ordered a copy on Amazon today, so that Livvie can know the fun of the story when she is old enough to enjoy it. Right now Tinkerbell is scary, so the hair raising tale in this story wouldn't be appropriate. It is a chapter book, with lots of good stopping points. when kids groaned and wanted more that meant sometimes we'd work a bit harder so we could finish earlier for a bit more story before the buses came and the bell rang. :)

  After watching this and the two other clips, I want to read the real story again. As a matter of fact, I'd love to read it to a group of kids again!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Grateful for a wonderful Circle of Friends!

Today was our regular meeting for the Kirby Hooking Circle, and although Halloween is not this weekend, we planned some activities to have a party for all of us. We brought salads to share or other foods. I made a "spider web pizza" Wish I'd left enough time for myself this morning to take a picture. Here's a quick description, pizza crust bottom, sauce in the middle, and string cheese torn apart to make the spokes and connecting threads that looked like a spider web. Pepperonis added here and there to look like a few spiders on the web. If I were serving this at home, I'd thought about cutting some short piece of onion into 4 legs and sticking one side under the pepperoni while fanning out the other side.

A few of us brought some "costuming" mostly witches hats.  Lurie's hat has black and purple stripes on the crown. She is holding a piece she recently finished. It has a giant Jack-o-Lantern rising behind a little cottage. A great mat for this time of year, when big ole Harvest Moons hang in the sky.

April is the  one wearing a witch's hat and a jack-o-lantern t-shirt . She worked on ATC cards for our group exchanging on Rug Hooking Daily. These use "leftovers" from her Got Wool? rug, where she hooked and evaluated different materials. She is doing a column/series of short articles? in the ATHA newsletter telling about each of the alternative materials, how it was to cut, hook, and general appearance in the rug.

Pat is holding some hooked Indian corn she brought for our show and tell. The colors seemed really perfect to me. Louise has a make do black cat with wire whiskers that doesn't really show up well against her shirt. It was super cute!

I'm the old crone on the right wearing the hat with a veil and cats eye glasses. You can't really see how great a hat this is from this angle. I may add a pic tomorrow to show the wonderful features it has.  My almost finished Brown Wizard rug is an adaptation of April's Santa design from last year. She gave us a class on hooking by value in February or March. I didn't have very many shades suitable for a Santa(a brown Santa seemed sad to me) hadn't started dyeing yet at that point in time, so April gave me permission to transform her design into a wizard that combined features of a man and an owl. Cindy , Barbara ,  and another Barbara  (holding the wonderful sheep rug), and Toni are the other ladies between Lurie and Pat.

I'm hoping to construct a pillow from the Wizard mat, that will be for sale at our Artisan's of Houston show next Saturday, October 23rd,  at Bethany Church of Christ, 3223 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX. Open to the public from 10 am ~ 3 pm with free entry.  If you are in the Houston area, hope you'll drop by!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Gift of the Spirit

Was touching to hear about the rescue of the Chilean miners in general, but especially touching to me was a comment I heard on the news that one of the men who was rescued gave rocks as a gift of remembrance to onlookers after being pulled to the surface. This article on Yahoo gives sounds and sights to  5   touching moments.

Next time that you or I have a gift to give, and wonder how we'll manage, lets remember that it isn't the gift that matters. It is the loving spirit of gratitude, celebration, humility, or whatever was in that miner's heart or our own. The most magnificient gift in the world, won't satisfy if the person receiving it, knows it was done merely because of a had to do it spirit. But I imagine all of those who received or even heard of the rocks as gifts will remember how a simple gift can speak volumes.

I wish for you the feeling that you have enough, and the knowledge that for most of us, we have all we need right here in any moment.

Friday, October 8, 2010

One of my best birthdays ever!

Last Saturday, was my birthday and I'm way older than 29 so not telling how old. But I did learn how to use a phone when they were all black and had rotary dials. Or at least the standard phones installed were like that, and that's all my family ever had. Even years after my sis and I were married and came home, the same paint spattered phones were right where they always had been. That was a good thing.

My parents have been gone for years now, and died within less than a year of each other. Our family is small, and wanting to have more family has been a lifelong wish of mine. When our daughter wed, her husband has two brothers, his mother is a wonderful warm hearted hostess who seems to want all the cooking and mess of all the families combined. And my wish began to come true. When his younger brother married, it just got better!

Now, they are living away from TX in Alaska, for a time, not long I hope, but since TX is so large, they lived far enough away we only got to see them occasionally. I am going to learn how to use Skype, so that I can stay in touch with them.  They were back to be in a wedding, so all of the parts of our families got together for a baby shower. We only contributed 4 to the gathering. By coincidence the shower and my birthday were on the same day, we got to help prepare food the day before, and just a little bit on the actual day of the shower. The day was a swirl of conversations, hugs, watching babies, toddlers, and teens. Seeing baby pictures and well just a great day in general. You can see me behind the trio posing for a picture. Not too clearly, which is just as well.  A 4 or 5 story cake sat on the table...but not a candle in sight. :) So right now, I feel like a wish made long ago on some birthday or other came true, and my family has grown in ways unexpected but delightful.

I also wish to thank Kim of My Field of Dreams the giving me an award on her blog, which I appreciated, but don't participate in awards any longer since it was weeks before passing on the honor...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A family party ~ baby shower coming up this weekend

Depending on your personal role, baby showers can be fun, entertaining, or lots of work. We are going to help get food ready for the couple's shower being given to our darling daughter's brother and sister -n- law. Her dh's brother is working in Alaska for a local company, and they moved to Anchorage back in June. Not so long, but since I still haven't figured out how to Skype, my dh and daughter both tell me all I have to do is turn on the camera, but I've been so tired this summer.(heat, heat, and more heat) Anyway, it seems lots longer since I saw them. Especially as they are expecting their first child.

Last I heard, there were more than 60 folks coming to the shower, lots of family members + friends, so even if I'm just chopping celery for the chicken salad sandwiches...(don't know what we are making) they'll appreciate an extra set of hands. Livvie and Jen will be there too, so part of the time may be just my regular Friday with Livvie, which will also be fine with me. Son in law was supposed to get the pinata today, I bought some of the candy for it yesterday. There will be lots of kids at the party too. So, this is a really exciting event, and as usual my imagination has been working overtime.

It seems like a lifetime since I had my baby shower for Jen, and it was 30+ years ago, so a few years short of half of my life. Just about 3 years ago this sister in law and her sister gave Jen's baby shower for Olivia. A blink of time...

At that shower we played two games that were partly gross, but mostly fun so here are quick directions for them. Who knows who may be planning a baby shower out there.

First, was the name the baby food game. The plastic containers of baby food were passed around, and we got to guess, taste if we wished, then write down the veggies each of the numbered containers contained. It wasn't as easy as you might think, as many of the foods contain blends of fruits and veggies....

If tasting baby food doesn't seem all that bad, this one was fun but definitely gross. I wished I'd thought to take pictures of the contestants gently sniffing the diapers. In about 8  diapers, the hostesses put a different  fun size chocolate candy bar. (think Baby Ruth, Milky Way, Snickers) Then they stuck them in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Just enough to melt the candy into a glob. The diapers also had a number on them, and we had a list of candy used and had to figure out which was which. Not telling who, and it wasn't anyone I'm related to thank heaven, one of Jen's friends stuck a finger into one glob and then tasted it.... she didn't win, but we all teased her about it!  This game was much harder than the one with the baby food. Many of the candy bars look a lot alike when they are semi melted!  Wonder if we'll play that on Saturday?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Too sweet not to share...

Olivia asked to email you. the below is from her - good luck!
xxxxxxnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn ( I love grandpa)
7777777 (I LOVE GRANDPA!) she was yelling
all498888888833333333333333333333333333333311477 (I LOVE Grandma!)
ooozddddddddddddddddddwwwwaaaa,,,,,,, (hello)
66644waaa,////////////////////000000000000000000000099999999999-pppppp (I love YOU!)
222ttttrrrrrpmmwwwwww (ice ice baby)
on this note. hope you guys are having a fun day :)
Our daughter typed in the translation of her message. Hoping all the time she spent on the keypad is an early indicator of a love of math! ♥

Know what is scarier than finding a Black Widow in your storage unit?

Finding a black widow spider and her egg sack.... to be continued if I survive! Off to mail a package, and spray the daylights and black widow(hopefully the only one) to infinity and beyond!

Didn''t mean to tease, but didn't want anyone worrying if I don't post till Monday. Still now that you know, I wouldn't mind you saying a prayer for me to drive the beast and her progeny out! (Actually, I took care of the egg case already.) But wasn't dressed for battle when I discovered the spider under a rolling hand cart. Flip flops not being my considered best footwear for battling poisonous spiders. Which turned out to be against more than I'd hoped.

Within minutes of getting the door open on the unit, out of the corner of my eye, (Thank you, Lord) I caught a furtive movement on the back of the ladderback chair I keep over there. I'd stopped at the store and had a new broom(to sweep clean with) and a gigantic can of bug spray for crawling insects. Grandma was ready to bring it on!

They say a brave soul dies but once, but a coward dies a thousand deaths. To that I'd like to add that an old lady who gets the creeps from spiders and yet loved Eight Legged Freaks, and Arachnophobia(both great spider movies) will suffer at least 500 imaginary attacks during the scourging of a storage unit. I only had one real battle today, and that was with a male black widow.

Before leaving to do battle, I mailed my witch rug to its new owner. She had been out of town, I'm not just that tardy about getting it into the mail. Went to the store to stock up on spider nuking items, and had googled for:
Black Widow Spider Bite Symptoms The black widow spider produces a protein venom that affects the victim's nervous system. This neurotoxic protein is one of the most potent venoms secreted by an animal. Some people are slightly affected by the venom, but others may have a severe response. The first symptom is acute pain at the site of the bite, although there may only be a minimal local reaction. Symptoms usually start within 20 minutes to one hour after the bite. There are several pages of info, and none of it made me feel better. Who is most vulnerable? Elderly and children are the most likely  to die from such a bite.

Now some- THATS GOOD, they aren't very likely to bite humans, NO THATS BAD unless they are tending an egg sac... THATS GOOD I smooshed to smitherins the egg sack several days ago, NO THATS BAD WITH NO SIGHT OF THE FEMALE BUT A SIGHTING OF A MALE..... BTW males can mate several times before being devoured by the female. Me, Oh My, why did I have to google about them?

In the end, it was the TX heat that forced me to abandon my Search and Destroy mission for today. We are supposed to get a cold front in tomorrow, but today after 45 minutes in blazing humid sunlight, I felt dizzy and  weak. She who runs away, lives to fight another day. After returning home, I showered and put every stitch I was wearing into the washer. Now I can relax and work on finishing my ATC cards for October 1st.
I really would appreciate your prayers of protection for my next foray into the storage unit early next week.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A new season is starting!

Today was still muggy and humid when I went out to go to Livvie's today. It was a great day when we came back over here for lunch and about an hour of pool time. Around 2 pm we had a typical summer downpour...

And yet, there is a real cold front coming to us on Sunday! I endure Houston summers for the pleasure of the remainder of the year. We will have some fall color in December, and a few cold days in February when chicken and dumplings might be considered a must. Chili is acceptable at any time of the year in Houston, but we generally save it for cooler weather.

Best of all, we've been enjoying new tv shows! My favorite so far is Hawaii Five - O  A friend ;) told me it will be rebroadcast Saturday if you missed it on Monday(CBS). Bluebloods the new one with Tom Selleck and Mark Wahlburg is due to start in a few minutes.

I may have an exciting adventure to share after tomorrow.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sunrise Sunset Swiftly Fly the Years....

Today is our daughter's birthday, and since she is older than 29 I won't say by how much. But last Sunday as we were sitting next to each other at church I was thinking that it really doesn't seem that long ago that I was going to church with my mom and grandmother. My attention was on the sermon, so that thought just skittered through quickly and was gone for then.

Later, my dh and I planned a dinner for our daughter and her family. Today*Thursday* is the day she stays late at her office. So we had the dinner last night. I fixed chicken and rice, a dish she'd liked as a girl, and one that can stay in the oven a little longer if traffic is heavy. Peas a veggie Livvie loves, salad and her favorite cake.

Every week on Thursdays she gets to sleep a tiny bit later, because her hours are shifted so that she can answer the phones in the office until 6. She works for an international company, and although she talks to people around the world, the majority of the business for her office is here in the US. Sleeping in is a good way to begin your birthday. I made sure to post a HBirthday to her Facebook, and called and left a message on her was busy for all of us. :) The world has changed so much since I was the granddaughter until now, when I'm grandma.

My Grannie was born before the turn of the twentieth century. She grew up in a time completely different from the time I  did. No electricity, no indoor plumbing, no cars, no tv, no lots of things that I consider pretty good stuff now. My infancy was filled with illness, in fact if there hadn't been antibiotics it likely I'd never have survived. Life is so fragile in those early years.

This all is starting to seem pretty random to me. Premiere episodes of my tv shows are about to begin, so guess that is enough for now. I wonder what the world will be like when Livvie is the grandma.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tra La the Witch Rug Sold, Oh Happy Day~ October sold! :)

I just got an email saying that my witch rug of Lori Brechlin's October design, as made into a backing by Kris Miller of Spruce Ridge Rugs sold for its opening bid!  I am so excited, I could dance! I had a great time hooking this rug, and hope it brings much happiness and fun to its new owner. Now what new pattern of Lori's will I get?

LOL, well, maybe I can put off shopping for awhile. I do have those wonderful birdhouses to hook.

Sometimes things just work themselves out

Okay this is a TERRIBLE picture, but I had to take it while I still had some of the wool left! I've been sitting here looking at my unfinished brown wizard rug. Unhappily, because the  background needed to suggest a deep forest to match my mental picture of what I was trying to create. The wizard has stopped and is looking behind him, before turning to disappear from sight. Once I began cutting strips and filling in the areas of the background it was perfect to me. Isn't that a wonderful feeling when your mental picture and reality converge? It has been sitting for a long time, because I couldn't find the right background wool. Then rug camp came along bringing the wonderful stacked jack-o-lanterns rug from Maria, and I also worked on the rug that will be for our granddaughter's birthday next February, the Karen Kahle design, Waterlilies. In fact, this summer was the first for a long time, where quilting didn't eclipse hooking.

I finally began palette dyeing in May. It has taken me 5 months to get to Yellow Green, so this wonderful wool nearly was overdyed several times earlier... but it would always have disappeared in my "creative piles" just at the time I needed to find it to presoak. I can be looking right at something and not see it. If you are the same you understand. If not, well although there are times it is a curse,  but sometimes it saves something special from being used or thrown away. Of course this wool was never a candidate for the trashbag. ;)

What is he looking at? I hope you will feel he is searching your soul. His face is the merging of a human and owl face. I especially love his eyebrows, which are somewhat like proddy, but merely very long loops cut to twist this way and that.

This jacquard wool is a piece of Pendleton wool, that was transformed via my Jam Jar with extra Khaki Drab added to my yellow green formula. The large white area will be a luna moth, my nod to LOTR movie where a luna moth is a messenger to Radagast, the brown wizard. This design is an adaptation of April DeConick's Santa for 2009. She used that rug to teach us value hooking at the Kirby Circle. I hadn't started dyeing my wool yet, and had more brown than anything. A brown Santa seemed sad. So with April's permission, I adapted her pattern to be a wizard instead. The beautiful lavenders of his cap were a swatch pack from April, to add an extra memory of the class and her teaching for me. This rug will be finished as a pillow most likely.

Quick and Easy Breakfasts from Grocery Store Staples

Ok, so not everyone keeps flaxseeds in their fridge. We do have them and so do people who are aware of how good flaxseed oil is for their heart.  My favorite breakfast didn't make this list, Honey Nut Chex, blueberries, and a cup of vanilla yogurt or soy milk. It just says summer, and starts the day off with a smile.

 Quick and easy breakfasts    For those of us on the run first thing in the morning, it will taste great and take less time than the drive-thru!

A thank you to Cheryl for her Generosity

Cheryl  McKenzie had a contest for at picture finished of one of her rugs  to be sent to her. I really didn't remember, but had finished her rooster from the Peaceful Valley series for my sis in March, and wanted to show Cheryl how I'd done it. I love Cheryl's designs and also have the sheep from Peaceful valley and a couple of her quilt square designs. So after a couple of contacts by email and Facebook, she told me I'd be getting a rug pattern from her as my prize. Her next series of rugs was based on Bird Houses, so I requested one of those, expecting a smaller pattern of one of the individual houses. Wow, did my face light up when the package arrived this week. This is the largest of the rugs, that shows the individual 4 small houses altogether in one rug. This rug is almost as large as my retirement rug, so it will be awhile in the working. But what a fun rug this will be to work on! My dh and I have been birders(backyard variety) not checking off a lifetime list(other than verbally to each other). Still we have always fed birds to draw them in.

I haven't decided for sure, but think it would be fun to hook this as if the season is autumn. The colors would be wonderful to work with, and because we have lived in northern states it would whisper to us of lots of memories of our younger lives. Winter would be fun too, but it would change the look of this rug so much... I remember looking out the dining room window at my grandparents home at their bird feeder. Once that opens, it can bring several versions, grandpa filling the feeder, or feeding his "pet squirrel", snow swirling around and lots of hungry birds at the feeder or eating off the ground, and so many others.

Cheryl was in the midst of family illness and injury at the time this was all going on. She went the extra mile at a time when she was already dealing with so much. So gratitude for her gift really doesn't seem like enough. I can be such a drama queen, that her quiet dignity was quite touching to me, and inspires me to try harder. I do thank her with my heart and will enjoy working on her design. Nostalgia will be with me while the loops are pulled one at a time. The good old days of our life...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Catching up with a much overdue thank you!

I received a box filled with wonderful treasures a few weeks ago. I'm not sure if it even got mentioned here. Our AAPG An American Primitive Gathering celebrated it's 2nd anniversary and I receive gifts from my friend Merrie. She was stupendously generous, and I've long admired her work. She gets some of the credit for the beautiful red in my TX palette, as it is based in part on her favorite shade of red.

She sent me lots of wool, what hooker doesn't love that. But she sent two categories of it. Some for hooking and a couple of good sized pieces for the dye pot. I'll make sure her generosity is returned with one of the tertiary colors that will be coming up soon. Or maybe a neutral. She sent me a new color of dye that I haven't had a chance to use before, but it was on my list for my next order. A wonderful np of lavender, filled with lavender and backed in the most wonderful upcycled tweed from a gent's coat. She know what I like!
Charm squares, a kit to make a cat toy, the market bag itself, walnut shells for filling pinkeeps, even a swimsuit for our granddaughter. One of those great ones that help prevent sunburn... Tags, a pin for my hooking apron... well, a girl couldn't possibly ask for more. All of it "artfully" arranged on a rocking chair made for my husband's mother by one of her uncles. So now 4 generations of toddlers have rocked and used it like a very tricky step stool. Plain and simple, we'll keep it till she's older and has a babe of her own.

Not sure if these are less expensive, but way cool Solar lights

Handmedown House Blogspot  has some great directions for making nifty hand crafted solar lights. I'm telling you, ya gotta go see these. I think this project could even be done with a scout troop(girls or boys) and I'm definitely gonna go looking for out door Mod Podge. We already have some solar lights similar to the one shown, now I just just gotta talk DH out of one to try it out!  :)

Another road to success with this project is to see how to tint glass. This tutorial is from Gingerbread Snowflakes  She shows the process of coloring the jars and used some tea lights in hers. This technique is great! The blogger about solar lights also gives this link, if you are like me and likely to go clicking quickly.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Prairie Schooler xstitching for Artisans of Houston Show on October 23rd

It will be awhile until I start showing finished pieces, but I've been having so much fun x stitching this year. I hope lots of people like Prairie Schooler's style. It is somewhat primitive and definitely an old fashioned look, with lots of variety in Santas, Old World style too.  Fun for me, as I'm only doing one of each design, hopefully fun for shoppers too. Each piece at my booth will be one of a kind for that show....

Because she has given me permission to sell her designs, with the request that I provide a link to her website. I'm going to do that right here, inventory form. The inventory form is very well designed. The titles are linked to a picture of the front of the chart(s), so if you aren't already familiar with the designs, you can view stitched samples.

You might prefer to look around at the whole site, before hitting the inventory form, so here is the home page of     Most of the charts don't include finishing tips, although the later charts sometimes do have a tip or two.

I started doing handwork when just a girl. Beautiful colored flosses, stamped goods, and later counted cross stitch charts provide a way for me to transform a blank piece of cloth into a sampler, Christmas ornament, or a decorative pillow... like the sampler I made for my friend Debbie St. Germain(Woolen Sails). She is one of the leaders of USA PRIM, and my recipient of the alphabet sampler I showed in progress a few weeks ago. I finished it with some jam jar wool, stuffed it with wool, and was pleased with it overall. She let me know she was happy to be the owner! :)

Haven't been doing cross stitch recently, and have discovered or rediscovered the technique. One favorite trick is when doing a single line "frame" or a long line of stitches in a row, it is easy to keep track of what stitch you are on by actually crossing every 10th one. :) Senior moments or a houseful of kids, can mean easily losing count, but that little trick makes finding your place in the count a cinch!

After completing a chart, I sometimes add a sticky note, or even write on the card something that could make it easier the next time. For example, the size count of fabric I did it last time, the size of the whole piece of cloth I actually used, and for example with the alphabet sampler, grid count was 21<-> but only 15 up and down... Right now, it seems easy to remember, but a year from now? And next time will definitely start by stitching the entire grid first. Instead of working some grid, some letters, and discovering a big OOPS again.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Liberty's Crown Rug selected for Etsy Treasury! :)

Ev'ry heart beats true
'neath the Red, White and Blue,

Whos doesn't get a thrill seeing the Red, White, and Blue?  If you don't check your pulse! :)

ETSY TREASURY  GRAND OLD FLAG I LOVE YOU!   A rug of my own original design, it is available in this one finished, or as a rug pattern on linen. Design area approx. 14 sq. inches.  Love each other, fellow citizens! It's fine to take different positions, but respect another's rights as much as you guard your own.

TX Palette has two new Colors Pumpkin Patch and Wine Cup

Just in time for some fall pumpkins, I've finished the Yellow Orange strips in my TX Palette Color Wheel.
 For a primer look I just increase one of the dyes in the formula. I do love clear colors a lot, but at times one needs to change it up to achieve a different look!

Driving along the highway in the spring is a real treat for the eyes. One of my favorite blooms to spot is commonly called a wine cup, and comes in a whole range of shades. This is the purple from my palette. You can see how the effects of my strong red are still bringing the secondary colors into a redder version. It's going to be fun to finish this set of colors, then explore more. After all, after dyeing 12 different colors, in 8 shade gradients I'll finally be able to say I'm no longer a beginner! And I'll have 96 colors of wool that work well with each other, from the lightest to darkest values. Because of the way I've formulated this palette, all strips in a 2 jar have the exact same value, although the color varies... :) Should be fun to "play" around with that and see where it leads. And unlimited supplies of my favorite colors...wowzers!

It is still only partially done, as the only tertiary color dyed so far is the Yellow Orange shown above. But, here's a pic of the partially done color wheel for my TX Palette hope you like it as much as I do!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Items Good Enough for the Fair!

The smaller photo gives a more accurate picture of RedlocksCreation's Prize Pumpkin, but kinda hard to see. I enlarged it to show more details, but then it get blurry.

C&PLG is having a launch all through the month of September for Items Good Enough to take to the Fair. Maureen, is our resident ribbon winner. Each year she enters items in an Ohio Fair, and comes home with ribbons.  Our launch items aren't actually ones we entered at a fair, just ones good enough to enter!

This launch has Maureen's wonderful  doorhanger of a witchy owl! I've already put in a bid, but if you beat my bid, I'll understand... I've also bid on a set of hand dyed bottle brush trees from Barefoot Primitives. All of these wonderful treasures and more can be found by searching EBAY for C&PLG! Hope y'all will take a look and do some shopping. You couldn't buy them at the fair, but these items are all yours for the right bid!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Jam Jar Dyeing ~ Easy Peasy but only if you like mottled wools

This may be something those of you who dye do all the time, but I've had some great results using up the remains of the dye solution, once I set up my 8 jars. April suggested using all the dye or pouring the remainder down the drain, so I wouldn't have to worry about Livvie getting into it. Couldn't even imagine pouring it down the drain, so I've been using my big ole pickle jar that I did koolaid dyeing in. (Vlasic Dills about 60 oz or so ~ found 'em at Wallyworld.) It's still technically summer for awhile, so they might still have some.

Anyway, after the pickles are used(or down the garbage disposal if you prefer) or if you have an empty glass mayo jar, I do the presoaking of wool, yarn, embroidery floss, whatever... couple of squirts of plain Dawn dish soap and lots of warm/hot water. JAM as much as possible into the water. That is how I got the name.

Next step is to take out all the soaked items after 30 minutes. Approx half of the wool in the jar goes into my small jars, and the other half plus yarn, upcycled wide strips, etc get put back into the jar after  setting up my graduated strips. I'd say generally about 1/2 of the original solution(1 cbw+Cushing/Prochem dyes)

Add dye solution remainder to jar of presoaking water that contains a small amount of dawn. Stir. Jam the rest of the wool, yarn, etc back into the jar.  Leave it along for about an 45 minutes, and then glug in plenty of vinegar. I set mine outside like a sun tea jar. Usually leave it alone until the next day. Most of the time, the solution isn't taken up completely, as this isn't ever really heated, (except by the sun). So rinse the wool in washer, warm water, then dryer with a dryer sheet.

I've gotten good reactions from other hookers to my jam jar results, so you might want to try it with some upcycled strips, yarn hanks(I put mine in 10 yd bundles) or maybe some ugly floss that you'd like to alter. If you like the results, then take a formula you know and love, and risk some white wool. I can't guarantee you'll love the results. But then, life comes with so few guarantees, and most of them are from hucksters...

I visited with April at our last hooking circle, Stash Sisters, about how I do this. She suggested that the jar should be heated, as that is the way the dyes "take" in the wool. So from here on out, I'll be using one of my big pots, to simmer the jam jar for at least 30 minutes. :) Very fortunate girl I am, to be able to run it by her. I've had great success with my formulas, but really am still a novice at dyeing wool. :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My October Rug is up for auction right now!

October Rug Auction

When I finish a rug for selling, it is near and dear to my heart. For that reason, and especially if I feel there is something special about it, my willing to part with it price is higher. It is now almost a whole year since this rug was completed, and it has been taken to the Green Market, and displayed at a couple of shows. It has not been used as a rug in my home. So it is new, even after celebrating its' first birthday. But it is also time for this rug to have a home. Starting bid is the lowest it will ever be, no reserve, and I'm seriously thinking about sending it to Lori if it doesn't sell this time...  Lori is the original designer of the artwork that inspired this rug. I got the pattern from Spruce Ridge Rugs who is allowed to offer Lori's designs as rug patterns. I'm interested in a couple of other patterns, and a piece of jewelry from Hannah Willow, so an old fashioned bidding war would be grand!

The right side of the rug is hooked with more control, and somewhat more muted colors. This side of the rug represents the little witch's everyday life. So lines are straighter, shadows realistic and so on. The left side of the rug represents a magical moment as this "witch draws down the moon". So the hooking is more chaotic and there is evidence of what is happening. Down her spine runs a brilliant blue line, where the power is flowing through her. Her hand is extended, but worked in a blue similar to the background so as to be somewhat camoflaged. Behind her the colors are swirling and richer, and the shadow she casts is the Triple Moon symbol favored by Wiccans.

I love to watched CHARMED  and fantasy has always been my favorite reading genre.(Lord of the Rings, Dragonriders of Pern, etc) but the thing I love best about Charmed is that these witches are on the side of good and vanquish demons. Plus the stories are often funny, costumes cool, and just the general concept intrigues me. Some of the music in my playlist is Wiccan, and that took a decided upswing after I went to Avatar. The spirituality of the movie may have seemed unlikely to you, but that was part of what really connected with me. Growing up on the plains of Nebraska, learning to do Indian beadwork, teaching about Native American traditions(very limited way) deeply connected my soul to the Earth. Sure, I don't really like to sweat,  so a sweat lodge would definitely not be high on my list. LOL As I said earlier, fantasy has always been strong in me.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Red Jack Rugs is online in a different location

April has moved her blog over to her new website. It (so far as I could tell) contains all the posts from when she set up the blog in 2009. The links at the top of the page are easier to use, than they were on Blogspot. You can float over a topic and subtopics will dropdown. :)

She will be offering wool for sale, but due to some problems with a flood in her home while she was away at Sauder, that part of the site will not begin yet. She has put up a follower button, and is having a giveaway on September 6th, for people who have signed up. Whatever she is giving away will be a great prize! :)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Yoda Yoga - a creative way of celebrating a 30 year anniversary

My yoga days are over, sadly, due to a hip replacement. It is one of the few regrets I have. Especially wish I could try some of these poses! :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Always love being chosen for a treasury! ♥ at Etsy

catnapinnprimitives an Etsy seller wrote to let me know my kat pattern called Sharing My Wool  has been included in her treasury called More Prim Treasures I Love. :) Hope you'll go check it out if you like Prim Handdids.

If you are not a hooker, but would like a custom rug of your own cat or dog, sleeping in a basket, or a rug and have a few good pictures of that pet, I invite custom orders. As a matter of fact, if you haven't been to Etsy in awhile, you might like to go check out its new look. Let my shop be your doorway!  Or you might click her link at the beginning of the post, for a different way to begin.

My New Favorite Breakfast Recipe --- Experimenting in the kitchen :)

Even though it is nearly 90 degrees outside, I made cooked oatmeal today. ? Puzzling?  As my dh and I continue to search for ways to lose weight and lower our cholesterol, breakfast is one of my hardest parts of the day.

Used to love bacon, eggs, and homefries for breakfast. drool   As a matter of fact, writing about them makes me wish I could dig in right now.... a thing I did with unhealthy abandon for years. Not every morning or even every week. Nope, worse yet, I frequently skipped breakfast and sometime even lunch on the same day. Was young, full of energy(and diet coke) so why worry? Returning home after a day of school ready to eat the linoleum off the floor. Big dinner couldn't possibly hurt... I'd skipped two meals already anyway. WELL, LIVE AND LEARN!

Now, twice the weight I should be, from years of overindulgence and a sedentary life, reforming my ways ain't all that easy. Not complaining...just putting it out there. Pretty sure no teenagers are reading my thoughts, but if you are, start eating right  ~ right this minute! It never gets easier to lose weight or reform bad habits.

Okay, off the soapbox!  This morning I made a pot of cooked oatmeal, something I've enjoyed since childhood. My dh had pointed out to me that oatmeal can be refrigerated for 3 to 5 days. I've bagged it up by servings and am trying whether most of the bowl can't be frozen. I'll let you know how it works next week. I can cook a pot up easier on the weekend, because I'm still getting up around 5:40 most weekdays, and out the door in less than an hour. Not that cooking it takes all that much time, but showering, taking meds and fasting bloodsugar, do leave me looking for something quick and easy.

I bagged up per bag
2/3 cup cooked oatmeal   about 27 g carbs (but low glycemic index)
6-8 raisins or Craisins per serving <10 g carbs guesstimated high
1 tsp brown sugar     4 g carbs
1 capful of almond flavoring (or another you prefer)  free?
Total carbs <40 g carbs    Our dietitian recommended hitting as close under 35 carbs as possible per meal, but I'm hoping that a good breakfast will give me a jumpstart for the day. This kind of thinking is my typical how can I bend the rules to my favor.

Especially, as adding 1/4 cup of  plain greek yogurt adds just 5 g carbs more to create an absolutely decadent and fairly large serving of oatmeal good enough to be a dessert flavor wise, although I shouldn't use it that way!

I'll be nuking the contents of the baggie,  and adding the yogurt this next week. Will try to remember to report back to all y'all whether it is worth trying. (with regard to the freezing) The actual results from freshly cooked oatmeal this morning were divine!

Have a great weekend... I'll be working in my dyepot this afternoon hoping to come up with some prim pumpkin tones...  Quite behind on photos, so won't even promise tomorrow!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thank you Lord, for an answered set of prayers!

This has been a long week, after our daughter went to the doctor, and he found something to be concerned about. Her test was today, and the big C was NOT her diagnosis! I' ve prayed many times this week, for that result, and that we'd have the strength to live with whatever God's plan for her life was. Still WILL CONTINUE TO PRAY that the plan does NOT include Cancer for her or our Granddaughter.

I've said my prayers of Thanksgiving, but want to say to those of you who knew my worries...All is well, and God's Grace is just that~ :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hoping Everyone has a Wonderful School Year!

Tomorrow another school year begins for teachers and students in my old school district Humble ISD and many others across Texas. I wish everyone a wonderful school year filled with homework done and turned in on time. An understanding that learning things really is fun and essential for life.

My retirement rug was completed a couple of years ago. After 36 years as a public school teacher, thousands of wonderful kids, (the ones who weren't so wonderful were generally dealing with some mighty big issues), and the chance to be an American school teacher during a time that spanned the year preceding the first Moon landing until the year Barack Obama was elected our President. From chalkboards to Journey North and the Jason Project it was quite a wonderful career.

I do wonder if our country will ever put the proper value on things. The $$$ spent on kids education and health care can never be too much.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Finished my donation for Central City Co-Op auction in September....

This will be turned into a pillow shortly, but just finished hooking and steaming it this morning. It has a combination of upcycled wools, my TX palette red chilis, bluebonnets,and yellow rose  wools. Hope you like it and think it might be worth a bid.

The design is by T J JohnMartin, and has things TX Women say....such as Love your hair!, How's your momma? and Bless Your ♥ It came with 3 other designs in TX Rounders.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

6 of one, half a dozen of the other? Grateful to have achieved Half Way!

Half way through my personal palette of wool colors. Have the 3 primaries, Bluebonnets, Yellow Rose, and Chili Red, and now the three secondary colors! Hill Country Herb Garden, Red River(oranges), and soon to be debuted Wine Cup! That is half way to the development of my own palette, and although I've been looking at the color wheel lots more in the last 6 months than probably ever in any other 6 month period, surprised me that there are as many tertiary colors still left to dye. I'll most likely do Yellow Orange next as April suggested it for great pumpkin tones.

I love plants especially wild flowers, so I'm naming as many of the colors in My TX Palette as possible after one or another of our wonderful wild flowers! Red River would really work for Paint Brush, so if I hook a field of wild flowers next spring.... :)

Got a bit distracted when finishing up on these. The first four jars had absorbed all the dye, and the "jam jar" and 4 darker values needed to still absorb some dye. I'll finish them in the morning. :)

I call it a "jam jar" because I basically jam as much wool, yarn, this time yards of cotton triple knotted fringe from a chenille bedspread, upcycled scraps... and what comes out is very mottled and incredibly great to me! You can see an example of what jam jar wool can do by looking at the sky in the Waterlilies rug.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Knocked My Socks Off! :)

I just received my copy of April Deconick's book describing her methods.
The Wool Palette
click above :)

Pretty sure I'd never have been tempted to try the graduated strip process on my own. It is a bit time consuming, but very doable. I've been very delighted, and gotten good feedback from other hookers on the colors that I've created. She shares her technique for dyeing yardage using the formula as well.

Even though I've begun my adventure into palette dyeing, I didn't really understand how simple it was to have an organized (by April) method for creating not just the 12 shades of the color wheel in 8 value swatches which would be 96 individual colors.  But by following her method for extended colors and combinations from the color wheel there are 976 possibilities. This was the part that knocked my socks off! Not that doing this would be extremely difficult. For years I wanted to dye wool, and whined online while doing just a little experimenting with koolaid dyeing. My whining was just that the whole possibility of poisoning my family by improper handling was a big STOP sign. After meeting April, seeing her beautiful wools, and even "consulting her" on how to avoid having our granddaughter be harmed, it was not only doable, but compelling!

April has a link to her book on her blog, Red Jack Rugs, but I so strongly recommend you get this book I'm putting a link in this post to make it easy for you to do so. Haven't asked April's permission, getting nothing in commission, just want you to have a chance to transform your hooking. I've had fun experimenting with my own dye formulas. I've only gotten one color I didn't want, at the time, and yet used already in my Waterlilies Rug, recently shown. LOL because these wools work together, even the  shades of that Unwanted color worked, and in fact added(in my opinion) some spark to the finished rug.

There is a place in the back of the book for putting samples, plenty of room to write down the formulas you use, and some lovely pictures of rugs I've watched April working on over the past year. She is a phenomenal artist, and I believe this book will become a new have to have for rughookers who dye their own wool.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

 A hibiscus blossom in the outstretched hand of our granddaughter might not ever win a prize in a photo contest but seemed perfect for use on the blog. Much of this summer has been spent in our pool, staying cool and watching as she has improved her swimming skills. She is on the brink of a great dog paddle, and with two more months of pool time left that should be a lock by the time it takes Vikings to get into the water.

My dh loves to float hibiscus blossoms in the pool, and I've been known to tuck one behind an ear, silly ole bear that I am. She loves it when grandpa tosses them in. Here is a chance to offer a lovely blossom to you!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Redeux is under way

Redeux (my nonsense Frenchified spelling of redo) is underway. I don't like making mistakes ~ who does? But reverse hooking is kinda fun by comparision with this. :(  Pull a wool strip and toss it like confetti!

LOL, didn't know the camera was in catepillar pic mode. So the metamorphosis shot is rather fuzzy in two ways. Snips of floss and out of focus! Almost ready to go forward to finishing that last row. Life is good!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Oops! Grrrrr

Some people are able to concentrate and work on complicated charts to produce wonderful heirloom quality cross stitching. That group would not include me. But, none the less, I love Prairie Schooler charts, as well as Blackbird Designs.

This shows the progress I've made on a sampler I'm stitching for our Anniversary Swap(2nd) in AAPG. If you are my swap partner, I want you to see this, because when you receive the sampler it will be redone correctly. :) I was stitching the L, M, N this afternoon and having a heck of a time with the chart/sampler matching for M. I'm not really the ideal type of stitcher for counted cross stitch. I've yet to make one without a major error. At least most of the time, I've learned not to adjust....find the mistake and fix it!  Well, today, I kept comparing the pattern and the chart, knew it was wrong, and "adjusted", because I couldn't spot my mistake Know better, and should have set it down for awhile. Ah duh! Slapping forehead once the light finally came on. An afternoon's work that has to be picked out and redone. My recipient does absolutely perfect work. She deserves my best efforts. I'm hoping to still make the mid August mailing guideline. Especially as Patijane and I are sharing the job of Swap Mamas.

It is humbling to realize I spent the afternoon stitching this very area, looking so hard, and yet missed the forest for the trees! In case you are having the same difficulty I did, notice the pattern of double green bars separating the letters is missing for M and N. sigh.... now why did I start stitching the letters without finishing the grids?  Had red thread in my needle....

Friday, July 23, 2010

Almost finished with Livvie's Birthday rug. A Better Look without Kirby :)

It is more than 6 months to Livvie's 3rd birthday, and I've finished most of the hooking for her first rug from me. This is a rug design by Karen Kahle, "Waterlilies" I fell in love with at first sight. Livvie's birthday was the Leap Day in 2008. So frogs have become something we connected with her design wise.  In Grandpaparazzi's mind and wasn't that much of a stretch. :)

I added a small strip to the bottom of the design that reads Grandma Loves YOU so that she will remember who made it for her. We've had wonderful times together in these early years of her life, but I really don't expect to be around by the time she is 30 or so. No one but the Good Lord knows the number of our days, but my years are piling up.  Trouble is, Grandma has some values problems. Not values like personal beliefs, my own are fairly apparent if you are a regular reader. If your's are way different, like the creep that keeps leaving comments in some oriental alphabet that will never be approved(link to a girlie site) you probably aren't returning.

Not as obvious to the eye when you are working on it as in the top picture, but I've learned that a picture often reveals surprises. And check it out in grayscale! So reverse hooking will take place this evening or at least sometime this weekend. After the pizza (a Friday night tradition) is cleaned up, I plan to do the new green. This will be completely different as Hill Country Herb Garden, as the reformulated blue and yellow are very different from my first tries. In addition, I plan to majorly increase my unifying color. I love these clear colors, but do want some primmer colors. So after asking advice at AAPG (An American Primitive Gathering) I'm going to increase my "secret ingredient" :) Not a secret to Merrie, Debbie, or anyone who reads that forum. from 1/32 to 1/2 tsp....should make a dramatic difference.

Happy that Green Woman Rugs has reopened!

Just today, I got an email saying that Green Woman Rugs has reopened their website. :) I have a permanent link over in the blogs column to the right. The style of rugs at the website I'd think of as similar to stained glass, or Tiffany lamps. Complex designs that would be fun to hook. If you need a gift for someone who is a Mason, they have a wonderful rug called Masonic Allegory and that isn't something you find every day. In addition, a couple of Southwestern Pottery Designs for rugs. Some great stuff!

Friends for a short time, but moving to another state in this century doesn't have to mean losing touch.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Grateful to have finished my Tyler Star rug camp project!

Back in May I attended my first rug camp at Tyler, TX. Texas Star was a wonderful experience on so many different levels. First and foremost was getting to meet three ladies I've known online for years. Maria Barton of Star Rug Company is a great teacher!, designer of this rug called "Toppling Down"  She helped us color plan our rugs, brought lots of wonderful wool pieces that we could shop from, and supported us throughout the time we began work on our rugs. Special stitches like using a knot, herringbone hooking, beading, and a "chicken eye" were other special lessons. These will all reappear in my rugs from here on out, but with this group of jack o lanterns it was easy to find a spot to use them all! Using them right away was a help to remembering them. :)  Also my own idea to add eyelashes to the third pumpkin added some whimsey to the rug as well.

Maria has been one of the most formative people/teachers of my rug hooking style, first with a challenge in PRHG to hook a sheep design. That challenge provided me with 400 woolstrips in 40 different colors. Eyeopening to say the least! Up until that point, I'd been doing kits or using upcycled wool from local thrift stores, and strips from ebay. These were handdyed, as is in wonderful weaves, and the challenge of using them all in a design. Maria complimented my rug in the group, after receiving my picture showing it finished. I was delighted! It was the beginning of my hope that I had the makings of a real rug hooker in me.

Within the last year, she again offered a challenge. This time to our group in An American Primitive Gathering. I truly love these ladies! With the exception of my family it is the most powerful and positive force in my life. This challenge was to use a background color we'd never tried before. Antique black is a fairly common background for primitive rugs, but one I hadn't tried. Many of my rugs tell a story, and thankfully those backgrounds have been filled with light and color.

We again had an exchange of wool strips, and the ones I received in dark shades of color really helped me to get excited with this background. This rug tells an imaginary story of a cat regaling a sheep it is barn-cat to with "Hair-raising Tales From the Other Side of the Fence".  I made only a few changes to the basic design~basically adding the moon, fence, and a scarf on the cat. The sheep's forehead and body have some raw wool worked into the curls that projects above the loops, my intention was to resemble the way one's hairs stand up in goosebumps when cold or frightened. :) It was possible to suggest the moon's real shape, a pinetree in the background and just have lots of fun with the background. I may never rise to the level of success I aspire to, but it is not as important as the enjoyment and learning that can continue as my skills grow.  Thank you a million times over, Maria!

Friday, July 16, 2010

A sneek peek into my hooking basket :)

 I'm currently working on a Karen Kahle design called Waterlilies for our granddaughter's 3 rd birthday. I absolutely fell in love with this design at first sight. The pattern was available at a wonderful shop in Tyler, TX called THE NIMBLE THIMBLE. 
Maria helped me to color plan, but I've combined some of the new hand dyes in my personal palette. The waterlilies are in shades of my orange called Ruby Red, because it is a rather unexpected series of shades that reminded be of our(TX) delicious grapefruits..
The rug is coming along nicely to me, but then it's my own work, and like a child, it generally does. :) I am using a technique I admired that Carol used in her Santa rug. The froggies are hooked organically with movement, but the water is basically hooked in straight lines, except where it touches a frog... 

Although it is as hot as can be, KirbyKat has given this rug his blessing and approved it! Not every rug is worthy of a nap! :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

Red River turned out to be more like Pink Grapefruit, so Ruby Red! :)

Well, it isn't the orange I was hoping for.... but Ruby Red/Pink Grapefruit. I'll be photographing them soon, but they were really a surprise! Was hoping for a nice burnt orange with those deep golds and dark reds.  A mottled red orange from lightest blush to a dark shade. This dyeing adventure is really fun, but this isn't an orange for just any project. Oh well. Guess it was bound to happen... Definitely will have to tone the red down for this to be a great pumpkin or utilitarian orange.  Believe it or not, I've already been using some of these in a rug for our granddaughter's 3rd birthday. The Karen Kahle "Waterlilies" It might be too bright for many folks, but these tones make a gorgeous waterlilly to me. I'll try to get a pic of the rug so far later today...

 After thinking about it for a short while, I decided to reformulate the yellow. I have the recipe for the original batch which had lots more deep gold tones than the one in the pot at the moment :) seems to have. After they cool down and I finish rinsing, drying them I'll add a new post.

Here is a picture of my reformulated yellow dye. I'm calling this one Yellow Rose in my official TX Palette. One of the light shades is the exact color of lemon ice box pie! The second picture is my new orange, the change is subtle, and really not at all obvious in the picture, but the oranges combining the red chilies and new yellow rose formula has a warmer more yellow quality to it. The Orange is called Red River in my official TX Palette. A friend said that some of the shades are exactly the shade of the red dirt in East TX, which I was privileged to see as I drove to Tyler for Star of TX rug camp. I'm much happier with this orange. One of the shades reminds me very much of orange pop! As a girl, that was one of my favorite flavors ~ especially if it came out of one of the old time pop coolers, where the bottles hung down from a metal rack into a gigantic pool of crushed ice and water. They were especially good and cold after riding in a car with no air conditioning other than the rolled down window.