Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year! Just hours from 2012

Wishing You and Yours a wonderful New Year's Eve, filled with safe celebration of the turn of the year. I have temporarily left the path of dyeing and hooking, because of a failing left hip.  I'm hoping to return to my adventure with my TX Palette extended colors after recuperation from my hip replacement. At the present time, it isn't yet scheduled.

2011 was a year of changes for me. Most notably in the direction this blog probably best shows. I will try to refrain from political discourse in the next year. However, even if my posts offended people, they were an exercise of my American Right to Freedom of Speech.

While I was a growing up girl, both my mother and Grandmother discouraged me from speaking my mind. As a Grandmother, I can understand this, for we want our children and grandchildren to sail through life with happiness, abounding friendships, and good manners. As they both put it, "A lady doesn't discuss politics, religion, or sex." I've broken their pronouncement many times in my personal life, and after the fact pondered on the wisdom of their rule. However, I shall try to remember it in the New Year.

Currently, I'm working on a Karen Kahle rug, called "Sweet Bower" It was intended to be a Christmas gift for my dh, but as many creative people do, especially those of us with Adult ADD, my focus has lately shifted to counted cross stitch. So much easier to carry a project somewhere. I'm starting to think about hooking again, as I am less and less out of my chair.

Happy New Year. It may be awhile until I post again, Wishing you and myself a healthier New Year, and hope you vote in the upcoming November election, using information you can rely on. Tricky in these times, but it always has been. Follow your heart and brain, choose your Congressmen/women well and vote for the Presidential Candidate that best represents your vision for America. After listening to all the speeches and thinking about what their carefully worded speeches really mean, cast your vote, it is not only your right but your responsibility.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot....

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

An Open Letter to Ted Poe, Texas Representative

Dear Mr. Poe, I tried to reply to the email sent to me, but it goes to an unattended mailbox. Hmmm.
At the bottom of the automated response was a link to a different site... unfortunately, that link says "Request URL is not found" Another thing that makes me go Hmmm.  So I'm am posting your original email to me, and my reply, surrounded by the automatic reply message I got back. Chances you'll be reading this are fairly low. But hopefully a few other Texans googling Ted Poe might.
This mailbox is unattended.

Thank you for your correspondence, however to better serve the constituents of the 2nd District, I have established a contact form on my web site. Please go to:

If you are contacting my office regarding casework or if your request is timely and requires an immediate response, please call one of my offices: Residents of Harris County, please call: 281-446-0242; Residents of Jefferson and Liberty Counties, please call: 409-212-1997; For my Washington, DC office, please call: 202-225-6565.


Ted Poe
Member of Congress

-----Original Message-----
From: "Jo Leland"
Sent: 12/6/2011 12:27:41 PM
To: "Congressman Ted Poe" <>
Subject: Re: A message from the office of Congressman Ted Poe

I don't agree with much of what you are suggesting. Again, it favors those with means over middle class and lower class American citizens. If I have to pay 23% sales tax on top of 8.25% state sales tax that reduces my buying power by 33 cents per dollar. With no disrespect intended, as a retired teacher, with insurance and medical costs that keeping get higher, and all of the impacts of the recent wall street frauds that as yet seem to go unpunished, that seems ridiculous.

While it is true that my one vote is not enough to remove a Representative from office, I will clearly never be able to vote for your return to Congress. I was pleased and proud to vote for you the first time, as I didn't really understand your positions clearly. The second time I was beginning to have doubts, but as a former teacher I believed that sharing alternative opinions with you was possibly a way to let you know your constituents don't all agree with them, and my civic duty. Now, it seems clear to me, that our visions of the future of America are so different, that it would be irresponsible for me to give you my support. I worked with children, while you worked as a judge, with the results of disenfranchised, uneducated adults among the many types of criminals.

You talk of individuals cheating the tax system, and if by that you are referring to corporations that don't pay their fair share of taxes, I agree. If you are talking about individual citizens, and you mean the 1% of the population that doesn't pay their fair share, I agree. Tax Preparation companies give JOBS to people and reassurance to customers, do you really want to do away with them? I trust our tax preparer fair more than you to protect my families welfare.

From: Congressman Ted Poe <>
Sent: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 8:20 AM
Subject: A message from the office of Congressman Ted Poe


Dear Mrs. Leland :

Thank you for you for contacting me regarding taxes. I appreciate having the benefit of your views on this important issue.

Our tax system is broken. It is now so complicated that getting help for your taxes is a multi-billion dollar business. I believe we need to completely overhaul the system, close loopholes, and reduce the burden that we put on our taxpayers every April. There are many proposals out there, and I am open to new ideas that accomplish the goals stated above. One of those proposals is the Fair Tax Act of 2011, of which I am a cosponsor. The bill would replace the individual income tax, the corporate income tax, all payroll taxes, the self-employment tax, and the estate and gift taxes with a 23% national retail sales tax. We would no longer have the need for the IRS or a serious problem with people cheating the system and not paying their fair share. People simply would pay their taxes every time they purchased a good. But, there are many other good ideas as well. The important thing is that we reform our tax system and do it soon. Whatever tax vehicle we end up adopting, it n! eeds to result in a simpler, less burdensome tax code for households and small businesses.

I also believe we need to drastically cut the corporate income tax. At a combined government rate of 40%, the U.S. has the second highest corporate income tax rate in the world. This means that businesses are more likely to move to other countries where they will not be taxed as much as they are here. The result is we lose our jobs and become less competitive in the world market. We have to stop this trend and restore America to the business-friendly climate it once was. The U.S. corporate tax rate should be set at or below the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average of 26% to eliminate the incentive to move businesses and jobs overseas.

Thank you again for contacting me with your thoughts. Your continued input is important to me. For additional information regarding current legislation and my representation of the 2 nd District, please refer to my website: While you are visiting the website, be sure to sign up for my electronic newsletter.

If you are contacting the Office of Congressman Poe regarding casework or if your request is timely and requires an immediate response, please call one of my offices: Residents of Harris County, please call: 281-446-0242; Residents of Jefferson and Liberty Counties, please call: 409-212-1997; For my Washington, DC office, please call: 202-225-6565.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Be Still My Beating Heart... I've Got Alpha Male Mail

Imagine my delight to open my email  this morning, to discover an email FROM Robert Redford, with the subject line "I haven't heard from you, Jo". 

Of course, it will be no surprise to you to read I'm a tree probably is a required subset of my liberal views, so I'm going to share the link to the contribution site.  If you have children or grandchildren consider making a small donation to save one of the best parts of our heritage for future Americans.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

So sweet....

Our daughter just emailed me a picture of the play table in our granddaughter's room. The two elves are Poppy and Moppy and anyday I expect another may appear to watch me. But what I so wanted to share was Livvie's note to Santa on the drawing board. It says"I will be good for toys..."

When she was less than 2 was her first Christmas with an elf. One time while she was on the changing table, I was talking to her about Santa, and being good, and she literally did an eye roll signal to me to look up at the elf... lol. I made sure to brag about how nicely she was cooperating, whenever the elf was near.  She is a good hearted little girl, with a streak of mischief. The elves may have to turn their heads a time or two between now and Christmas.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Put some $$ where you want your mouth to be...anyway!

Have you made a trip to Starbucks lately? Would you like to help create some jobs in America. This project reminds me of Kiva, where a small amount of money from lots of individual donors, can mount up to a substantial amount of help for individuals.

We can't do it all, but until Congress gets involved, we can get something started. I'm tired of the politics and rhetoric. The founder of this fund, Starbucks CEO? is also contacting businesses to try to get them not to contribute to any campaign funds until Job Creation gets rolling from the government. Of course, we're not naive, that only means the people who are already supporting candidates who campaign fairly will most likely quit. "Corporations/People" who are using underhanded campaign donations will still do that, because that is how they gain their "owe ya ones". 

Still, I bought myself a wristband, and one for a Christmas gift. Got a smaller size Eggnog Latte, and still didn't use quite all of  my personal $20. The wristbands and cards are made in America, so those jobs are a start at least.

If you need an excuse to treat yourself to a Latte, Machiatto, or whatever, drop by and invest $5. in job creation. Who knows the job you create might help someone you know and love. Anyway, Americans pulling together can show politicians, that they are done listening, and are digging in to get job creation started. If everyone  invested only $5. between now and Christmas, that could help, and if the line at your drive-through StarBucks is like the one at ours...well, that could be alot of money. Consider giving them as gifts to coworkers, family members or even kids that are college students.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Put some Soul Cakes into Your Halloween or Samhain Celebrations

Soul Cakes: Hallowed Offerings for Hungry Ghosts

For a fuller history of Soul Cakes, check out the link above...  You really didn't want to get the burned cake.

It is always fun to learn something new, especially if it is really old... We never made Soul Cakes when I was growing up, so I learned about them just this week. So of course had to try them.  As these are originally a pagan food, later adopted and blessed by Christians a perfect treat this time of year. 

Soul Cakes

T. Susan Chang for NPR
Soul cakes get stale within a day or two, so eat 'em while they're hot.
Makes 12 to 15 2-inch soul cakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground fresh if possible
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground fresh if possible
1/2 teaspoon salt
Generous pinch of saffron
1/2 cup milk
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup currants
For the Glaze:
1 egg yolk, beaten
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine the flour, the nutmeg, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Mix well with a fork.
Crumble the saffron threads into a small saucepan and heat over low heat just until they become aromatic, taking care not to burn them. Add the milk and heat just until hot to the touch. The milk will have turned a bright yellow. Remove from heat.
Cream the butter and sugar together in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon (or use an electric mixer with the paddle attachment). Add the egg yolks and blend in thoroughly with the back of the spoon. Add the spiced flour and combine as thoroughly as possible; the mixture will be dry and crumbly.
One tablespoon at a time, begin adding in the warm saffron milk, blending vigorously with the spoon. When you have a soft dough, stop adding milk; you probably won't need the entire half-cup.
Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and knead gently, with floured hands, until the dough is uniform. Roll out gently to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Using a floured 2-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out as many rounds as you can and set on an ungreased baking sheet. You can gather and re-roll the scraps, gently.
Decorate the soul cakes with currants and then brush liberally with the beaten egg yolk. Bake for 15 minutes, until just golden and shiny. Serve warm, with cold pumpkin juice.

 Tips from Cotton Eyed Jo
******Important tip to self, brush the cookies with egg wash before putting on raisins to make life simpler... :)  
  • I used Parkay, rather than butter as we don't generally keep it in our fridge except for Christmas cookies.
  • lightly floured board and hands would keep yours from being too floury. It didn't make them taste bad, but not better either.
  • In my oven, (electric) it took the full 15 minutes for them to be finished. I know cause I always under time, but the second sheet full I set at 15 minutes and they came out great.
  • Next time I'm adding a little more milk too, I added about 9 tablespoons of milk or slightly more if I forgot.
  • Raisins instead of currants, cause we don't keep currants on hand, but do almost always have raisins.
When you look at the recipe and think about the middle ages or renaissance, it's clear these wouldn't have been baking up in a serf's or poor person's cottage. Saffron, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt... all those and the currants too would have been in very limited supply. So count our blessings today for the easy availability of  all kinds of wonderful ingredients from all over the world, at bargain prices, at least compared to gathering it yourself.

Happy Halloween.  Grandpaparazzi will be in his traditional pirate costume, I'll be a somewhat whimsical penguin at the request of Livvie. She will be Belle and has the Disney store tiara to toes and everything beautiful in between version. Her mama and Daddy will go with her as Mrs. Potts and the Beast.  Ya gotta love when parents are willing to be the supporting roles so Belle can trick or treat safely.

Ps Grandpaparazzi and I are making Mummy Wraps and Baked Apples for dinner. We'll hold down their candy bowl and answer the doorbell while they are gone...  The mummy wraps are hot dogs with breadstick wrapped around them, part of some great quick Halloween foods that don't take much time. Check our the others by visiting    Anybody want some spiderweb soup?

Post script.... sadly, the stomach flu hit two of the three cast members. Belle and her daddy, weren't able to go on the trick or treating tour. Grandpaparazzi and I just ate regular hot dogs, and the first evening in November used a couple of the left over soul cakes as a base for serving baked apples that didn't get done on Halloween. I'll be planning baked apples ala soul cakes from now on out. :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Knitting bug bit me...

I've had some fun the last couple of weeks knitting little and bigger caps. My first project was all the sizes of the pumpkin caps. A teacher friend now in another state, has a precious preemie son named Eli. She's used Facebook to share all his growth during the first weeks of life, and I wanted to knit him a little cap or two, so he will get a package this week with the smallest pumpkin, and the smaller of the two variegated caps.  The larger variegated and pumpkin caps are for Livvie. Her two cousins will get the cap with the snowflake and the one to its left. Our Alaskan part of the family will be coming back for a short visit! Visits from faraway family and friends are always too short!

My rug hook has been calling my name the whole time, I'm working on my Karen Kahle "Sweet Bower", and have a new one from Kris Miller, Spruce Ridge Studios. It is Kris's adaptation of Not Forgotten Farms *Lori Brechlin* original note card of a Mermaid. I'm in the thinking about a story part of the planning.  I've been thinking about weather above and below the water, whether I want a "fancy Nancy" type mermaid, or one more simple and elegant. Thinking about the colors I'll want above and below the waterline...

So even while I've been using my hands to knit, my mind has been hooking, rehooking, and the rug is starting to come into focus for me. Sometimes that daily 10 minute rughooking stretches out to much longer even without picking up a hook.

I've started dyeing the extended colors for my personal palette, and again love April DeConick's organization method, for her book, THE WOOL PALETTE.  Just heard that Lulu's book's will soon be downloadable on a Barnes and Noble Nook, so that might be another way to get a look at and try her method.

I can choose colors for MY grays, blue greens, yellow greens or deeper blue violets. The extended colors are even easier than the original 12 because of her method... but no less exciting to see in the reveal. At one point in my life, I'd have enjoyed combining to see what happens, now I appreciate knowing that combining orange and yellow green will give me.... if you'd like to know the answer to that her book, or try dyeing it to find out. ]:)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater

  If you FB, you may have a friend who shared this video, but it is amazing. I learned a bit more about growing pumpkins by watching it as well.

Another amazing feature this week, was how quickly our pool cooled down to too cold for ME once our 100+ degree weather left. Today's high was ? but at 6:48 it is still 82 degrees, so we aren't exactly having a cold snap. Sadly, the gulf water isn't cooling as quickly, fire danger is back up, no significant chances for rain in the forecast either. Still, although we miss the pool and will for several months, I bid a fond farewell to the weather from HELL!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What I hope to do on September 11, 2011

This will just be a short post tonight:
I hope I'll remember to tell all the people in my life how much I love them. If you are reading this, my love includes you.

I hope that I'll remember to pray for the families of the people lost on 9 -11 or as a result of something that happened because of it.

I hope that the choices I make Sunday and at least most other days, will be ones to help make the world a better place.

I  hope and pray that the rumor about another attack on New York on Sunday turns out to be just a rumor. But if it is true, that Americans will once again draw together.

I hope that all the people in TX who are threatened by fire, or have had their home destroyed will find a place of shelter and love. I will try to dial back my political upsets. If a fireman came to my home, I wouldn't care if he was Republican, Democrat, Tea Party or Libertarian. I'd say thank you for helping me and my family. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

 I have totally cleaned  this e-mail from all  other names, sending  it to you in hopes you will keep it going and  keep it clean.  This is something I will  fight for and  I hope you all read it all  the way through.  You will be glad you  did. from my friend, body of the reform is below. Feel free to share it with anyone or to link back to this post. I didn't write it, but I'm sure ready to share it!

The 26th amendment  (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds)  took only 3 months & 8 days to be  ratified!  Why?  Simple!  The  people  demanded it.  That was in  1971...before computers, before e-mail, before  cell phones, etc.

Of  the 27  amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1  year or less to become the law of the   land...all because of public pressure.

I'm asking each  addressee to forward this email to a minimum of  twenty people on their address list;  in  turn ask each of those to do likewise.

In three days, most  people in The United States of  America will  have the message.  This is one idea that  really should be passed around.

Congressional Reform Act  of  2011
1.   No Tenure  / No  Pension.
A Congressman collects a salary while in office  and receives no pay when they are out of office.  

2.   Congress  (past, present & future) participates in  Social Security.
All funds in the  Congressional retirement fund move to the Social  Security system immediately.  All   future funds flow into the Social Security  system, and Congress participates with the  American people.  It may not be used for  any other  purpose.

3.  Congress can  purchase their own retirement plan, just as all  Americans do.

4.  Congress will no  longer vote themselves a pay raise.   Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI  or 3%.

5.  Congress loses  their current health care system and  participates in the same health care system as  the American people.

6.  Congress must  equally abide by all laws they impose on the  American people.

7.  All contracts with  past and present Congressmen are void  effective 1/1/12.
The American  people did not make this contract with  Congressmen.  Congressmen made all these  contracts for themselves.   Serving in  Congress is an honor, not a career.   The  Founding Fathers envisioned citizen  legislators, so ours should serve their term(s),  then go home and back to work.

If each person  contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will  only take three days for most people (in  the  U.S. ) to receive the message.   Maybe it is time.

           If  you agree  with the above, pass it on.   If not,  just delete.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Etsy shop @Cotton Eyed Jo

I've just started adding quite a few rubber stamps and stamping supplies like chocolate scented ink for reinking a brown stamp pad. At one time, I used stamps on student papers instead of stickers, for recognition of good work, such as a halo stamp that was stamped over 100% on a Spelling Test.

I had a tax license and then ordered stamps to share with other teachers. This had the down side of ending up with an additional stamp, if they were the only one interested, and the company had a required 2 as a minimum. But it was also a great way to get wonderful stamps to use, and I hauled them out at garage sales etc... but still have many that were unsold.

In addition, I got the most lovely feedback from a customer recently, after my Witches Pillow sold. :)
After nearly a year without being sold, I was about to give up on listing it again, so it was especially nice to read:

WOW!!! Lightning Speed Shipping of a Fantastic Piece! The Work put into this special Pillow! It is a work of Art! I love it!! Thank You for sharing Your Talent! Take Care,  (I've left off her name as I didn't ask permission to reveal who she is).

I've got permission from Prairie Schooler to stitch and sell some of her designs, only my hands working on these things. But after all the nonsense(to me and many other American citizens as well), I stitched up a small sampler, and some cabinet hangers from her American Primitive Book 8.
One of her requests is that I provide a link to her website, and since Ebay isn't allowing links off site in just a few days, I figured that this might still be in order.  It will be on my Etsy site sometime tomorrow or Monday. I've also come up with my own Tea Party design, so look for a cabinet hanger for them as well. That inspired me to complete an alphabet for the few letters I did use and need, so I'm now working on a Sampler design of my own. :)

If you've read down this far, and like Prairie Schooler designs, here is a link to her free one for July.  (A Christmas Tree). Plenty of time till Christmas if you start now!

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Great Tool for Beginning Quilters

I love to buy fabrics at   but now there is a really nifty new tool for beginning quilter's that have a hard time selecting fabrics. Check out the link above, and prepare to be dazzled. You might not use it right away, with the economy like it is, but save this link!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sometimes You Just Don't Know

Grieving the loss of a family member, can sometimes be soothed with remembering events during happier times.

We've been cleaning out our garage, well, in all honesty, my dh has been cleaning out the side with his treasures gathered over the years. We haven't gotten to his baseball cards quite yet, and it has been an inspiration to see how easily he is releasing things. I have definite issues about letting go of things with emotional memories, or anything with more than a square inch of possibility left in it.

So when we were working on listing one of these items for ebay, it came as a small shock to me, when he wanted to list his knife and pouch for it. So many of my memories as a young wife include that knife and pouch. Camping, fishing, coming home from camp with his extra cute tan...wearing shorts and knee socks in uniform left some strange untanned areas. :) In all those times, that faithful knife, snug at his belt waited to be used, and was many times. He thinks of it as  "opened more boxes with it than anything else" knife. And of course, he is most likely right. We sure had lots to open unpacking in the move to this home we've been in for the last (impossible but true) eleven years.

It sold today, so before it gets packed up to be shipped away, I wanted to officially wish it God speed. My dh says the guy collects all kinds of Swiss Army style knives. Hope it doesn't go into a box in his garage. The knife might like retirement from use, but I prefer to remember it on my husband's belt, then off to  sharpen a branch for a hot dog stick.  That isn't a made up memory...

So sometimes you just don't know when the grief of losing a spouse may begin. We are still in each others' way, smiling, snarling, and hugging. Parting most often with "luv you!" or now with Livvie about it is more likely to be "later gator"... I hope that won't change for years, because I could bearly stand the loss of his old knife and pouch. Silly old bear.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Giveaway of Heavens to Betsy Wools - but be quick!  Hop on over to Alice Frazier's blog and leave a comment telling why you like being a Hooker, to be in the running for 1.5 yards of the new Summer Assortment of wools. 1/2 yard of 9 different great wools!  I particularily like Jinx and need to get some for a cat rug I'll be hooking for Halloween. On these sweltering Houston Days, I'd rather be thinking about pumpkins, and black cats than sweating and skeeeters! I'm adding Alice's blog to my blog roll at the right. If you haven't been reading her blog, you'll be able to easily link there from mine.

Before we know it, the 4th of July will be here. If I don't get back to blog before then, have a happy and safe 4th and God watch over our Armed Service men and women and their families. God bless America and you!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Jam Jar Jubilee and a Whole Lotta Pickles

This post is a bit overdue, but not too late yet. The giant pickle jars I love to use for scrap and using up my dye solution in a technique I call Jam Jar Dyeing are in the store now. Got mine at Walmart and in all honesty, they may be there year round. Have always found them in the summer, so that is when I think to look for them. This year, instead of being a special display near the grocery aisles, they were actually on the pickle aisle. Look toward the lower shelves.

This one was a bargain! At under $3.00, it was the least expensive. But even at just under $5.00 Vlasik had the same sized jar in dill spears. We are blessed to have an old fridge in our garage, and mostly keep sodas, adult beverages, and defrosting turkeys in October or November. ;)

Here is a link to the description of how I do Jam Jar Dyeing.   This summer, I've finally gotten a big dye pot, so that I'll be able to just use one burner for strip dyeing. April DeConick mentioned to me, that she thought that heating the jar would make the color less likely to fade. So my second burner will be used one of two ways. Dyeing some 1/2 or 1 yard pieces, or heating up that jam jar...

Here are some of my jars cooling on the outside baker's rack we use for herbs. This picture was taken last summer when I got to my palette purple which I call Wine Cup because the shades do remind me so of those  spring wild flowers along the sides of the road.

With summer entertaining in full swing, now is a great time to buy an 80 oz jar of pickles. If you can keep it in a "backup fridge" you can put a smaller sized pickle jar in your kitchen fridge and refill it as needed from the big jar. Before you know it, you'll have a jam jar of your own. Least wise if you eat pickles almost every we do. My dh's mom home canned some of the best pickles you could ever imagine. So the guy likes pickles on the side of almost any sandwich we eat. (Me too!)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The last day of School (and the first day of Summer Vacation!)

If you are one of my Facebook Friends, you may have already read about the moment of joy I saw today. It was only a few minutes after school let out for the summer at the middle school near our home. The first thing I saw was four  middle school boys leaping like gazelles along the green belt. If not for having reveled in nearly the same way (without their athletic ability) it might have made me wonder what was happening.  But, as a teacher, I saw that joyous moment acted out before my eyes many many times, and felt that joy myself, once all the paperwork was completely finished, bulletin boards cleaned off, books and supplies packed away....

My best memory of the beginning of summer vacation happened on my last day at my first TX school. I was leaving for another building that was opening in the fall, so that meant everything that was mine must go in the trash or the back of my car. Just as the door clicked behind me for the last time, I heard in the near distance, the delightful tune of an ice cream truck. If you saw it in a movie, you might think it was an unbelievable coincidence. But such miracles surround us, if we just allow them in.

I've got lots to write about in the next few days. Finished the last of my 12 colors(Red Orange) and absolutely love the way it turned out. I'll be calling that family of shades Crawfish Boil.  Which allowed me to finish my color wheel project, except for the binding and whipping. Which really must be done to take a picture for the pattern envelope.

Our challenge rug for the June Hookin, is nearly finished and I'll be showing a pic of it real soon too. Can't find the wool for finishing it...hate to use black, but that may be exactly what it turns out to be.

Hope your summer is as enjoyable as can be hoped for!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Making things for Children

I just learned today, (I'll admit I just gave up on trying to understand it) and well worth taking your time to read it. Sarah Faix of Bit  of Whimsey Dolls was the lovely lady to give the information to me.  Whimsical not prim at all, but I enjoyed making these dolls for our granddaughter and sold several locally when I was doing the Sunday Market at Discovery Green.

If you make items for children, you might think, well that is OLD NEWS, but perhaps you are like many of us, we make dolls as carefully for others as we would for our own grandchildren. I couldn't afford testing items that are basically one of a kind, so I quit making dolls for young children. Having seen kids reactions to some of my creations with Sarah's patterns, it was disappointing, but necessary.

I want to be sure that items I buy for our granddaughter are made with reasonable care. But dolls with rusty pins or rusted star garlands should clearly be for decorative purposes only. Parents and grandparents should chose things that are safe, and supervise their use. With infants and toddlers, most folks do just that. If you have a grandchild that loves dolls, younger than 12, please purchase appropriate items for their use.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Kirby Hooking Circle will be having our Second Annual Hook-in June 25th

Kirby Hooking Circle at our 2nd annual hook-in to be held on June 25, 2011 at Bethany Christian Church in Houston.
Our theme this year is "Out of Africa -- A Rug Hooking Safari".. All the information and a registration form are attached.  We've got great vendors, door prizes, a rug challenge, and rug show featuring the ATHA Seeing RED Challenge rugs.  It's a great way to spend the day.

We had a great time at the first one last year. If you live in the Houston Area which for Texans means San Antonio (shout out to Cora) and beyond, this year we'll be having two rug displays. Here is a tiny peek at my rug for the challenge. It's way bigger than last year's, and called "Cape Town Musicians" . 

An American Primitive Group has lots of very talented artists whom I'm pleased to call friend. One of them, Rebecca, goodwool on Ebay, recently shared a rug with an interesting technique for doing her background. I wanted to try it in hooking my design, but saw it first in one of her rugs. Another person who inspired my idea this year was Martha Lowry winner of the Peoples' Choice award at the first rug show. Her whimsical "cow jumping over the moon" helped me think outside the box...   Rug Hooking is one of those crafts where we are so lucky to see individuals styles, and can then use them in our own way. Every rug show I've attended including those on-line, I've been amazed at the diversity of styles in the rugs created.

I'll have to add the pic later as my dh is currently using the camera...

Below is a copy of the email sent out to people who attended last year or are current members of Kirby Hooking Circle.  It has a delightful graphic at the top that didn't make it!

Out of Africa – a Rug Hooking Safari
Take a walk on the Wild Side and join the Kirby Hooking Circle on Saturday,
June 25, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Bethany Christian Church,
3223 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX 77098
Registration $25, includes boxed lunch, & is limited to 70, so sign up today!

Come for a day of beautiful rugs, great shopping, door prizes, & spending
time with your friends, all while working on your latest project!

Shop our wonderful vendors: Cal Creations, Country Gatherings,
My Little House Rugs, and Red Jack Rugs

Special Features for 2011:
ATHA’s Seeing RED Challenge Rugs will be on Display!
Bring your own finished piece to place in our rug show from
1 p.m. to 3 pm., complete with Viewer’s Choice Award!
Participate in this year’s Safari Rug Challenge: Create a rug with an animal
theme (any animal – not just jungle) with a minimum size of 12x12 inches
(or 144 sq. in), and in any shape you wish. All Challenge Rugs will be on
display as well, with an opportunity to select your Viewer’s Choice!
Register today by completing the registration form below, and mail your
registration and check payable to Lurie McAdow at 11210 Huggins Drive,
Houston, TX 77035. Contact Lurie at for more
information. Any proceeds from the Rug Hooking Safari will benefit the
Houston Zoo!

Out of Africa – A Rug Hooking Safari – Registration
June 25, 2011 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Name: __________________________________________________________________
Address: __________________________________________________________________
Phone: ____________________
E-mail: __________________________________________________________________
Registration: $25 (limited to first 70 registrants)
Choice of Boxed Lunch (Please indicate your preference)
__________ Mixed Green Salad with grilled chicken
__________ Turkey Sandwich on Multi-Grain Ciabatta bread
****Please note: no outside sales are allowed.****
I agree that the representatives of the Kirby Hooking Circle, Bethany Christian Church or any vendors attending the Out of Africa – Rug Hooking Safari shall not be held accountable or liable for any damage, loss, harm, or injury to person or property resulting from my attendance at the Rug Hooking Safari on June 25th.
Signature: _____________________________________________ Date: _______________
Please mail your completed, signed form and $25 registration fee by June 10th to:
The Kirby Hooking Circle, c/o Lurie McAdow, 11210 Huggins Drive, Houston, TX 77035

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Trying to Complete my Color Wheel and a Pattern for It

I have one last color to dye in 8 shades for my Texas Palette to be complete. *Red Orange*. Seems like this could get done pretty quickly, but I'm also working on hooking the palette parts already dyed into a rug, and making a pattern for it. Have gotten some good reactions to how I did the color wheel, with all the primary and secondary colors to the inside, and all the tertiary color pointing out. One thing that you might be wondering about is the numerals.  
Here is a picture of the finished red orange shades. This one is called Crawfish Boil. The lightest tones are the lovely color of boiled fresh gulf shrimp!

I included them, because April refers to colors by number, so this is going to help me start thinking of them that way too. She started with Red as the first primary in her palette, while I started with blue. That confused me for awhile(I'm easily confused), because although I've hooked quite a bit, there are so many things in the rug hooking culture I don't know. For awhile I thought red was always first in a color wheel...Anyway, since she would refer to these first 12 by number if we were talking, wanted to learn them that way too. You might want to know that before starting a palette of your own, by using her directions.

Should I include the numerals on my pattern? I think they might be rather confusing to someone who doesn't read all the accompanying pages, what do you think? My numbers aren't hooked very well, would rehooking them for the final picture that goes on the pattern be a good idea?

 Originally, I started out with this design for my own project to display the colors in my palette. After a couple of good reactions, and since I've done paper patterns of my own drawings before, decided to do a paper pattern for this one. If you leave a comment, I'd truly appreciate your opinions on a couple of things. Finishing the rug as a hexagon would be the most economical in terms of wool, but would it keep you from using the pattern? Most rughookers adapt things readily, so changing it into a square would be as simple as hooking an outline along woven lines, as shown in the picture below.

To hook it into a round rug, a circle drawn onto the backing prior to hooking seems like it would be the easiest. Should I include a circle on the paper pattern? I've learned a couple of the pitfalls possible while hooking my own, and will give some tips to avoiding those problems...  For example I didn't tape the shape completely perpendicularly for 8 between 7 and 9. As a result, it sits a bit closer to 7 than 8. I plan to sell the complete design, and include a single of the base shapes for photocopying.

Last but not least, I also have small numbers on the paper pattern referring to the space's placement within the 8 values. That can be explained in the directions. But if you don't do value strips would you have any interest in hooking a color wheel using wools in those colors that don't necessarily shade as well. Would the hunt for 8 shades of blue violet (etc.) turn you on or off? Because although you'd have some of the colors already in your stash, it could mean having to buy 8 x 12 =96 smallish pieces of wool if you were starting from scratch.  Of course, it would be quite simple to choose a color of yellow you like and hook the whole design portion in one color. Should I say that in the directions?

Hope you will give me your, how do I say this, honest feedback implies hookers are a bunch of liars. What they are in actuality is kind ladies... so while tact is always appreciated, I am asking for constructive criticism that will help me to market a better pattern.  Any other comments about improvements, or how beautiful the colors are together (she wrote modestly wink wink) are also welcome. Thanks in advance!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

One of my Favorite Hymns

302. Christ the Lord Is Risen Today
Text: Charles Wesley, 1707-1788
Music: Lyra Davidica, 1708
Tune: EASTER HYMN, Meter: 77.77 D

1.    Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
    Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
    Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
    Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!

2.    Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
    Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
    Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
    Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

3.    Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
    Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
    Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
    Where's thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!

4.    Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
    Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
    Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
    Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

5.    Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia!
    Praise to thee by both be given, Alleluia!
    Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
    Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia!

6.    King of glory, soul of bliss, Alleluia!
    Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
    Thee to know, thy power to prove, Alleluia!
    Thus to sing, and thus to love, Alleluia!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pure Joy!

Try to remember when you got into a wading pool on a hot day, remove most of your fear, like most three year olds and hope this is what you feel like!

Monday, April 18, 2011

And the Winner is.....

Before the announcement, this turned out to be one of my followers. A relatively new follower, but old friend, and  I used a random number generator to select the winner.

Sharon Bennett, Moosecraft, is the winner of the eight value strips in the colors of Red Violet. :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What a greal tool! Find recipes by What's in Season

Trying to eat healthier and save some money can be a real challenge, although of course if you are eating in, chances are it is going to be healthier in terms of at least knowing for sure what it contains and how it was made. Aside from turning a blind eye to how much sugar you are adding, or cheese, or sour cream, or whatever, you know. Can leave out ingredients that someone has an allergy or doesn't like, and so forth.

Beside recipes it has portions on preparation and the nutritional parts available. Simple serving tips, and tips on what to look for when purchasing that ingredient. We'll be checking this out lots!

Monday, April 11, 2011

April 12 is Equal Pay for Women Day

April 12th is  Equal Pay Day, the day that marks how much longer working women need to work to catch up to their male counterparts’ income from the previous year.

That’s right. A woman has had to work an extra three months this year to match a man’s income in 2010. Minority women have an even greater disparity in their wages.

To acknowledge this staggering discrepancy, fair pay supporters nationwide will wear red April 12th to symbolize that women’s wages are “in the red.”

So many women are the heads of households, especially in minority families. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Giveaway of Heavens to Betsy Wools at Back to Larkrise blog

Cheri at Back to Larkrise is a participant in the Heavens to Betsy Giveaway of wool. I hope my blog will also be selected to participate in giving away some other wools from them at a later time.

The drawing will be on April 10, so you need to scoot on over to Cheri's blog soon. There are rules to follow and a way to add an additional chance. But that isn't featuring her giveaway on your blog. I was going to put a picture of my latest project that is done with regard to hooking. I'll add a photo to this post in the morning,  While you are looking at the rug, I hope you'll agree that the background wool sets off the floral design wonderfully and still has an "old" look to it. It was wool from their samples in January, called "Kermit the Frog". It quickly sold out, but I was lucky enough to get some for this rug.

 First, the lovely rug was designed by J. Soehnge in 2001. I was a lucky duck to get it in 2009. Another story for another day.

Second, it is one of the larger rugs I've hooked at 28 x 52 inches, and the first I did color planning on.
Clearly, this is a rug that is designed to be used on the floor, so that was different about it as well. I am toying with the idea of it across the foot of a bed, say in our guestroom. :)

Enough teasing, here is Kirby examining the rug and giving it his blessing. The "Kermit the Frog" wool from Heavens to Betsy, combined with the beautiful hand dyes done by Christy Mason of Double M Wools on Ebay.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Giveaway ~ Saturday Night in my Dye Pot!!!

Just about to glug in some vinegar, for my next to the last color in my basic 12 colors for the color wheel. I've been calling my palette my TX Palette, so now I need to name my blue violet and red violet colors.

Red Violets
FarmGirl Kim has a prior claim on the blue violets shown below, so she is excluded from this giveaway. If you wonder why there is a label on them called identifying mark, look at the post below this one. :) If you have already received some of my palette strips, sorry, but you too are not eligible to win. Leave a comment to let me know you'd like the hand dyed strips. The one exclusion to that will be my new follower as of last night. But the rest of you entering the giveaway need to let me know that you want the wool. Maybe you come because of my music play list. It gets lots of nice comments. But the wool is for someone who works with wool.

If you are a follower of my blog, you will automatically be given a second chance. So if you aren't already a follower, you can double your chance to win by becoming a follower. :) I'll post pictures tomorrow, but you can be thinking already of good color names that match up TX and red violet!  Y'all come back now right soon, because the giveaway will close as soon as there are 5 or more suggestions. Even if I don't choose to use your suggestion, you may win. If you are not a regular follower of my blog, you might need to leave an email address or some other way for me to contact you. Good luck!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Red Violet ? Blue Violet? How I could Tell

First off, you might be thinking, who cares, or why would I want to know for sure!  In the palette dyeing I've been doing so far, it usually has been quite simple to identify the hue of the color. But for these two colors, there was only a 1/4 tsp difference in the formula. That might be a mistake, but it is how it figured up, and how the formulas were measure for the dye pot.  Hmmmm, seemed to me like it could make them very similar.   The blue violet had an identifying permanent mark on one of the strips. So that meant I could keep them straight, no matter how they came out. Washed and dried separately, pinned as soon as they came out of the dryer, so confident that these are correctly divided into the two colors and their 8 values.

So here they are side by side.

On top of that, these were the first two batches I added kosher salt (1/2 tsp) to the jars of water. This is to help maintain a more uniform color. Why did mine still have mottling? Because I didn't stir them during processing. I like mottled wool, feel like it gives my hooking more depth.

My red formula contains quite a bit of turkey red, and this has led to a very red orientation of the palette colors. I had to redux the blue and yellow formulas to come up with more balenced hues of the secondary colors. In all honesty,  it seems likely that the red formula will now be undergoing a redeux.   That will mean a completely different palette, even if I keep my current blue and yellow formulas.  Like them alot, and so I will. But the original red can always be dyed, now that I have the formula. Turkey Red has some orange undertones, which as a new dyer, I didn't realize.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

When the Moon is in the second house, and Jupiter realigns with Mars

We just got a box filled with a major connection to our younger healthier selves. I'm going to start sprouting again. More than 25 years ago, my dh and I, were on a camping trip in Leadville, CO with friends. We ate our first deliberately veggie sandwich. I'm sure both of us had eaten tomato sandwiches as kids, but didn't really store those memories for easy retrieval. *Just remembered PB&J are also veggie sandwiches. Both of us ate tons of them growing up.

On that trip, we literally sat around the campfire, singing "Rocky Mountain High", caught and cooked lots of trout, and I learned about sprouts. For years afterward, I faithfully sprouted mostly alfalfa sprouts to add to salads and sandwiches. During that time, I was also making homemade whole wheat or rye bread and we had a Salton Yogurt Maker. We weren't hippies or vegans (although we did go to Colorado in a van ☺), but the times were encouraging to eat healthy foods, and we didn't have a child yet. Although one of her earliest favorites to eat was alfalfa sprouts...  When we moved to TX, she was still a preschooler, and still eating those sprouts, but then the differences in climate did in my sprouting green thumb. High humidity and air conditioning for a much longer portion of the year didn't bring much success. Luckily, at about that time, sprouts began appearing at the grocery store.

We got our sprouting supplies from Sprout People so if you've sprouted earlier in your life, or miss being able to buy sprouts at the grocery store, check 'em out. We decided to add sprouting to Greek yogurt and quinoa in our attempt to  get back to healthier eating. But I don't intend to give up marshmallow creme, which for me is a quality of life decision. Back in the good old days, I used a Mayo jar and a set of plastic screen lids with increasingly larger openings. The new and improved EasySprout has 6 parts and came with a set of directions, which to be honest I had to read through several times. Back then, there were health food stores that sold bulk alfalfa seeds. Good luck finding those in your home town now!

I'll let you see some pictures in a day or two, and give you our favorite variation of ingredients for veggie sandwiches. But for now I'm off to scrub the sprouters before using them. We'll be doing alfalfa and a seed mixture called LongLife for our sprouts.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Paper pattern for Sharing My Wool now available in my Etsy Shop

This rug was finished finally just this year(binding and whipping are just not fun~) but I have taken it around, showed it online to help people who might want a pattern on see how it might turn out, and probably on here as well. The rug has been chosen for several treasuries, and always comments about it tend to include words like cozy or homey.

You might paint, needlepunch, rug hook or do applique, and like the rug, but don't really want it traced on linen. I'm now offering a paper copy of the basic pattern in my etsy shop Cotton Eyed Jo. If you'd like to make it larger or smaller that will be permitted in the paperwork of the pattern.  This pattern is approx 11 inches by 15 inches.

I fiddled around getting the paper pattern done, because I thought if another rug (completely different) say more primitive style, with a Siamese  cat with much simpler markings it might seem more achievable. I worked from photos of our Kirby Kat, and captured his likeness well enough to make it a keepsake. He won't be with us forever, but the rug will last longer than we do.

Don't forget to turn out the lights for Earth Hour tonight!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Earth Hour 2011

For the third year in a row, my dh and I will be turning out our lights for an hour (or longer) to join with millions of other citizens of the earth. Sustainability is an important issue, which will probably not impact our life too much. However, we are grandparents, and this has changed our perspective on so many issues.

8:30 PM, Saturday, March  26 , 2011    Whether you want to save a bit on your electric bill or save the world for our descendants, join in.... and switch off your lights, computer, tv, whatever!

I created this lantern at the site. 

Here is a list of suggestions from Miranda Kerr, I found on the news release at

  • Buy local produce from markets thereby reducing food miles
  • Walking or riding the bike wherever possible as opposed to driving
  • Ensure the car tyres are always inflated to the correct level as they use less fuel
  • Use fuel with Ethanol
  • Turn off the lights and use organic or beeswax candles a lot of the time
  • Unplug appliances when they are not in use
  • Use heating and cooling when absolutely necessary
  • Wash in mostly cold water
  • Use chemical-free dish washing, washing powder and cleaning products
  • Recycle, recycle, recycle
  • Buy products with the highest recyclability
  • Purchase clothes that are ethically made, not mass produced
  • Dress in Organic clothing
  • Install water-saving nozzles on all taps including showers
  • Compost scraps whenever possible
  • Prepare food plans so as to avoid food wastage
  • Grow herbs and spices
  • Have timed showers to use less water
  • Water the plants of an evening
  • Bury food scraps in the garden bed to feed the earth worms or compost
  • Collecting grey water from bath and use it to water plants
  • Using Certified Organic personal care products (avoid using chemicals)
  • Wash the car on the grass with environmentally friendly car wash
  • Buy Certified Organic or Farmers markets produce. I understand that certified organics can be expensive, but local farmers markets for the most part are usually reasonable. On my blog ( I include a list of Farmers Markets from around the world so that people will have ready access to the same.

See many of these suggestions are not that difficult. Maybe, you can actually do your own garden, nothing tastes better than veggies you've grown yourself.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

How cookies can stay with you forever...

I'm pretty sure you know the story on cookies that you eat at the holidays, so this is about those other cookies. You know, the ones your computer gobbles up when you are not looking. What? My computer does cookies too? But here is something I observed just a night or two ago while entering one of my two favorite games over at Facebook. If you know me, you probably know that a lot of my discretionary time is wasted that way now.

A while back we were having trouble while in our Yahoo mail accounts, with a warning message that came up from our internet provider about a dangerous site. The interesting thing was that there is a little check by safe site inside Yahoo, so clearly something else was triggering the alert. My dh and I used to be fairly nimble and quick at computers, although I could tell a few stories about our early days that might make you giggle. Just one and then on to the point. When we got our first PC set up, I was 100% a MAC/Apple user and lover! Did Appleworks spreadsheet on one of the early 2Cs!(just bragging and none too good at it, but hey, was a mindblowing program for me at that point. Manual was written for geeks -definitely not for grade school teachers)  So anyway, one of us, won't tell who, switched off the toolbars inside Word, just clicking around... and requested the other of us to restore them. Well... how the heck do you do that? Might as well have been a CRAY running linneux.... and I don't even know if that is a possibility. Think I got that fragment of might be knowledge from watching Golden Eye(Bond, James Bond ♥) That exploration cost $30. for the book at BookStop, plus whatever else I picked up making the trip....

ANYWAY, hope you skipped ahead if you found the story lame. We reconfigured our Firefox Browser, so that every new cookie has to be approved by the user as presented. NOW here was something that AMAZED me. As soon as I accepted a cookie for one of the game pages set to expire at the end of the session, a veritable blizzard of other cookies from the same site were INCOMING!!!!!!!  Most of those cookies expired in anywhere from 1 year to 9 years.  So if your computer is slowing down, it might be bloated with cookies. On Firefox you go to Tools/options/privacy. If you can't read a pathname, don't just click around or you may have to go buy a $30 or more book. Just saying....

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Do You Remember the Alamo?

Even as a child growing up in Nebraska, the phrase "Remember the Alamo" was a thrilling call for brave behavior. Like jumping off a tree branch a little or lot higher than was comfortable. But I didn't really know what it meant or about the courage and sacrifice that it honored.

" Let your tongue speak what your heart thinks."
Davy Crockett Read more:

With fewer than 200 known defenders of the Alamo, these men held off thousands of Mexican soldiers under the leadership of General Santa Anna, for 13 days. The first time we visited the Alamo after moving to Texas I viewed a diorama, that put this into real perspective for me. You can feel the sacredness of this place.

Growing up in the 1950s the names of Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie were both familiar to me, from tv shows I loved to watch. I even knew from that show, that Davy's rifle was called Old Betsy. I nearly passed out, standing there on a hot summer day looking down into the display case on this actual artifact. (Our daughter teases me about it to this day).

He had been a Congressman, who views on taxation were undoubtedly different from mine. If I continue to reflect on that, it might make it possible for me to vote again for our current representative, Ted Poe, although I doubt it ~ and digress. I read that the Mexican Army flew a red flag during the battle, which meant that no quarter would be given to the defenders. (An earlier version of the saying, "We take no prisoners")

Texas, Our Texas
Texas, Our Texas! all hail the mighty State!
Texas, Our Texas! so wonderful so great!
Boldest and grandest, withstanding ev'ry test
O Empire wide and glorious, you stand supremely blest.

God bless you Texas! And keep you brave and strong,
That you may grow in power and worth, throughout the ages long.
God bless you Texas! And keep you brave and strong,
That you may grow in power and worth, throughout the ages long.

Texas, O Texas! your freeborn single star,
Sends out its radiance to nations near and far,
Emblem of Freedom! it set our hearts aglow,
With thoughts of San Jacinto and glorious Alamo. [to chorus]

Texas, dear Texas! from tyrant grip now free,
Shines forth in splendor, your star of destiny!
Mother of heroes, we come your children true,
Proclaiming our allegiance, our faith, our love for you. [to chorus]

I hope our Livvie, never lives through times like those, but if she does, that she will stand Texas true for her beliefs. Although through no accomplishment of my own, other than giving birth to her mother, I'm so proud to have a native Texan in our family.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Back home safely, despite the weather!

Awful storms and flooding between home and the hook in this morning! Well, since I woke up sore from head to toe, and it was pouring, this was a great excuse to roll over and catch a few extra winks. ;) I did get up, and after a hot shower finally start moving easier...The restorative power of hot water is nearly miraculous.

I headed out, and despite obvious signs of heavy rains earlier, the trip passed without any difficulty. I'll post a couple of pictures tomorrow, but the best one will be the water just in front of the sidewalk leading to the door. That was literally, the only deep water (only 2 - 3 inches worth at that) that I had to deal with...  Came on in settled in and hooked, or looked at the rug show, other people's work, a couple of sketch books, etc....

More tomorrow, or maybe Monday... but didn't want anyone worrying while I was just playing my froggie game on facebook!

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Recipe to Share...

First off, one of the best things about Rug Hooking events is getting to see people you've met at other ones. I was disappointed not to get a visit with Nancy, Katie Hartner's mom, who is recouperating after surgery. But delighted to bump into Cora and Marsh, who were both in Maria Barton's Star of Texas Camp class with me in the spring last year. :)

Last week, my good friend :) shared a muffin recipe called glazed pear muffins with me. It was delicious, but a since I'm a lazy cook a bit labor intensive for my tastes.... even though they tasted wonderful to my tongue. I'd omitted the glaze to save on carbs. Anything that starts out with 3 bowls, doesn't usually get a return visit to the kitchen.

Here is my lazy cooks version of  "Spiced Pear Bread" It went out on the serving table at the Hook In this morning, and so I got to actually try it.(yes, sadly it is true, offered it without ever having tried it).

Store brand of "Cinnamon Swirl bread" It came with premade Cinnamon Struesal (my kind of mix!) To that I added 2 eggs(glues the bread together) and a can of pear halves I'd drained and rinsed to get rid of the nasty high fructose corn syrup. Oops, almost forgot the spices, which were 1/4 tsp of ginger and 1/4 tsp cardamom. Next time (yes there definitely will be a next time) I may add a bit of nutmeg as well.

Put everything but the Struesal mix in one bowl and fired up the portable mixer.  :) The pears blended in completely, and since I've replace oil the box calls for with applesauce before, I crossed my fingers and finished construction on the loaf. Half the batter in the pan, and a layer of strusal then the other half of the batter and topped it with streusal again. Followed the directions for baking on the box, and it came out nice and finished(clean toothpick test).

I snagged a piece from the serving tray, and was delighted to bite into a moist slightly pear flavored bread. A nice dense well crumbed bread at that! Hope you'll give it a try, it was tasty, and it certainly was easy to make.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hankamer Hook In next two days!

We set up tables, brought breads, wiped off tables, helped vendors bring in some luscious wools, Katie has one I'm planning to buy a piece of for sure! I wasn't much help with a cane in one hand and another appointment next week to see my orthopedic surgeon. But it was great to get together with the Stash Sisters today to make things ready for the next two days!

Lots of fun ahead, I'll take some pics if I remember, but will be in hooker heaven for the next two days. Surrounded by friends, wool, meals taken care of, and still sleeping at home. It just seldom gets better than that. :) Have a great weekend, I know we will!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wow does time fly!

It is a whole week since the last time I got in to post, but that week has been a busy one. Gpa and I made a trip to the zoo, with our favorite toddler. She had her third birthday on Saturday, and of course, I've been hooking as much as I could. Almost finished whipping a small Easter mat I made for her, will finish it this afternoon. It is a redeux of a mat from before I had control over my supplies.(learned to dye)Will post a before and after shot sometime soon.

This week looks to be almost as busy, as I'll be headed off to the Hankamer Hookin on Thursday - Saturday. This hook in is hostessed by Stash Sisters, the Atha Chapter that I attend once per month. This will be the anniversary of my first hook in ever attended, and my first exposure to wool vendors in the same room. I did fairly well last year, keeping my spending under $100. Not entirely by choice, ;), but it was just as easy to stop there as it would have been to stop anywhere below a $1000, and a good deal more realistic.  As in "Get Real", and I was saving up for my first rug camp at Tyler in May. Last year was a memorable one in my rug hooking life. Began dyeing as well as traveling for fun. This year, still working on finishing the last 3 of my 12 basic color wheel colors. In all honesty, I need to redye some of my favorites as well, but standing is more difficulty this year.

Our granddaughter's birthday will always be a good way to keep track of how many years I've been retired. She turned 1 the first year I retired, so that will always be a way to remember. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Progress is so slow.... but worth the time, a conundrum

Hooked rugs have to by their very nature be made one loop at a time. Here is the rose floral rug I've shown before. The BRIGHT yellow outlining near the top left is a place holder. I've begun filling in the background with wool recently purchased from Heavens to Betsy. Wanted darker green to help separate the floral motif from the varied greens in the background. Christy Mason of Double M Woolens dyed the remainder of the wools for this rug, as I had not yet begun to dye... Although the colors in my personal palette tend to look very similar to what you see here. 

Being in the moment isn't absolutely necessary to pull loops, but it makes such a difference in how much enjoyment you can derive from hooking. This rug has been in progress for well over a year, and it will be awhile until it can be bound and whipped. So important to me, to finish it with consciousness. Life is made of such moments.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!

This has been a lucky month for me, in many large and small ways, but the win that delighted me the most was the result of posting a picture of our grandaughter's birthday rug, on Rug Hooking Daily in the 10 Minute Rug Hookers Group.  The purpose of this group is to encourage using 10 minutes every day doing rug hooking. Now although my favorite form of rug hooking activity involves pulling wool through the backing, April has made it clear that other kinds of things like dyeing, sketching or making your foundation, cutting wool for a project also count. So if you've been thinking about joining, but think you might not be able to keep up, give it a try! It has given me the impetus to dye my own palette in 8 color strips, draw several patterns of my own, and definitely finish much more than I had previously. (My biggest problem could have been to limit it to 10 minutes.) Being retired, but busy does make that a beginning not a limitation.

April is one of the most generous people I've known in the rug hooking community. If you are a rug hooker, you know that generosity is a trait common to those people who create. But none the less she would be near the top of my list for a lifetime. She shares knowledge freely, and has helped me to grow as a fiber artist without a doubt to me.

She gives prizes to people who finish projects, and post a picture of the finished rug, purse, or whatever. I was one of the lucky winners this time! I received an apron with the motto "Dyeing to Hook" and a pack of palette wool from her as well. I requested her Macintosh Million 101 ~ Red. (Haven't seen a batch of her wool I didn't want)

Hi, Margaret! ;)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How bout some Boom Boom Pow?

While we're waiting for the kickoff and then half time.... here is one of my fav black eyed peas songs/videos. Caution to parents/grandparents it does have the s word in it... your call.

This is a great video shown originally on the Oprah show, I dare you to watch it without feeling happy!
This one is family friendly!