Friday, August 15, 2014

Twice As Nice

On Tuesday I attended two monthly meetings - one for rug hooking - and one for quilting - doesn't get much better than that, huh?

Kathy has finished piecing the top of a quilt she plans to give to her daughter - the pinwheels are bright colors and the background fabric is sort of a pinstripe - a fun combination! I'm so impressed that she got all the pinwheels spinning in the same direction - I'm sure I would have a few of them going backwards! LOL

Nancy is nearing completion of her German Village by Sharon Smith.

Myra has only one flower left to hook on her poppy rug.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Rugs In Progress

Last week my rug group met on the brick patio in my backyard. At first I was worried that we'd be too hot out there, and then for a couple days I worried that we'd get rained on, but it turned out to be a beautiful day with perfect temperatures and I think we all enjoyed ourselves.  So fun to see what everyone is working on. I snapped this picture of the group when I came inside to gather some food for us to eat - busy workers!

Sandy has nearly finished this Sharon Smith design - mostly just the water to hook and then it'll be done.

Cora Lee getting all her umbrella ladies hooked and then she'll get started on the fun background.

Jeanette's poppies are 'popping' off that black background!

Sharon is working on a gorgeous design she found on the cover of an antique prayer book. The colors are exactly 'her' and I look forward to watching this progress.

Tonia was hooking her own design - I can't decide if I like the birds with their crowns, or the background treatment, or the border the best. She's got it completely finished now and has shared wonderful pictures of details of the rug on her blog BaaRamEweDesigns if you'd like to go look.

Sadly, three of the gals left before I thought to grab my camera, so I don't have pictures of the rugs that Kim, Angela and Leisa were working on. Sorry 'bout that!  I have finished my star runner and will be taking it with me to my Salt Lake rug group tomorrow to whip the edges with yarn - then I'll share photos - soon!

Sometimes we take all our modern conveniences for granted - until we have to go without - and that's what happened to me recently. I live in a small city and our water supply was compromised so that it was not safe to drink or use. The city did a fabulous job of keeping everyone informed with daily automated phone calls and everything is back to normal now. Drinking bottled water was an easy solution, but not quite as easy as turning on the kitchen faucet, huh?

I've been wanting to try some Greek yogurt, but have no idea of which ones are good. Can any of you give me your recommendations for a brand to buy?

I used to enjoy reading a blog called Fancy Wool Flowers, but every time I try to pull it up now I get something in a foreign language - almost like it's been hijacked by someone. I wonder if Nan knows about this and if there's anything she can do to get control of it back. There are actually a couple on my blog list that have had the same thing happen - very strange.

And one last thing - - - after my last post about my sunflower quilts, I unearthed one more that I have. This one has Dresden plates for the four flowers - embellished with 3D leaves on a vine and a fun little bumblebee and crow. I'll leave you with this.....

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sunflower Season

I've started to notice that the sunflowers are beginning to bloom - they're so dramatic and eye catching - especially the big ones - I love to look at them.

One day at the Sharon Smith Workshop last month, we were each given a kit to make a wool sunflower mounted on a rusty old bed spring. I got mine made recently and it turned out nice - although a bit different than the sample we were shown.

I've displayed it with another sunflower I made several years ago - I think it was a pattern in Create & Decorate magazine.

I decided to pull out a couple sunflower quilts that I've made through the years.  This one was a guild project ages ago - the center of each flower is embellished with buttons to represent the seeds.

When I pulled this one out I was surprised to see that I had quilted word 'SUNFLOWER'  into the border. My name is at the bottom too, but I sure wish I'd included the year I made it in there - I'm so terrible at making labels!

This one with a cheery checkerboard border is small and easy to tuck into a display.

Hope sunflowers grow where you live and that you enjoy them too!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Home From Vacation

Hubby & I explored Western Montana with our 5th wheel all of last week - sure saw some pretty country! We stayed in my favorite campground for two days where I could hear the breeze blowing through the trees, smell the pine in the air, and listen to the gurgle of this small stream all night long - loved it!

Our truck rides too rough to do any stitching on the road, but each evening when we parked I was able to do a little work on these small hexie flowers - - -

- - - and I got nine more stars done on my hooked table runner - only six more to go, plus a piano key border at each end.

It's kinda funny how I was seeing planted wheelbarrows wherever we went! I saw these at Flathead Lake all lined up on the lawn alongside the road we were travelling. There were a few more scattered throughout the yard too.

And there were two of these outside a junk shop in Helena that we stopped at.

Now I'm on the lookout for a few more for my own yard! I've had this one for many years under the trees by my front door.

Hooked rugs are rarely seen here in the west, but I spotted this one at an antique store in a very small town called Choteau. It was priced at only $50, but I didn't love it enough to buy it. The hooking was completed but the edge hadn't been finished yet. The tag said it was needlework so I educated the proprietor a little about rug hooking before I left.

One of the things I usually dread about camping is mosquito bites! I always seem to have a bad time with them - they turn red and swell up terribly - and the itching drives me crazy for at LEAST an entire week!

I've been learning about the benefits of using essential oils lately, and when I read that lavender oil applied to a mosquito bite will help it feel better, I decided to pack my bottle and give it a try. WOW! What a difference it made! I applied a small amount each time I was bit and almost immediately I found relief! They healed quickly and and the itching stopped completely. I'll never travel without it again. I used doTERRA brand, but I'm sure any of them will work the same way. Just thought I'd pass that info along to anyone who might benefit from it too!

We got a late start on our garden in the spring, but we are finally eating zucchini and the green beans and corn will be on soon - YUM!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mostly Hooking

I've been spending most of my time working on rug projects lately - this star runner has nine more 'blocks' completed for a total of eighteen so far. However, I'm not loving the background on a few of them so they might need to be pulled out and replaced.  BTW - see those green strips across the top & bottom of my picture? Those are pieces of polar fleece fabric that I sewed onto the linen to make it big enough to fit my rug hooking frame - I bought a remnant for just a dollar or so. My friend Sharon does this and I thought it was a great idea since my linen only had a couple of inches on either side.

Last week at rug group there was some nice show & tell. Nancy finished this floral which is an adaptation of a Pat Cross design - she added her own border and it looks great.

Nancy has made good progress on the rug she started in the Sharon Smith class. She purchased a kit and is determined to only use the wool that she received for this project. I especially like the flower boxes beneath the windows of the purple house - it's an antique paisley that is perfect for that!

And she is done with the stockings she made for her two new grandsons and a grand niece. Christmas in JULY!

Yvonne finished this little log cabin rug while she was there with us. She has a spot all picked out for where it will be displayed on an antique table in her home.

My little quilt group met at Jackie's this month - she has crocheted cotton rugs scattered all over her log home. These were being aired on the deck railing when we arrived and I thought they looked so neat hanging there.

And finally - I wanted to give you all a heads up about a great sale. The shop "I Have a Notion" is having a clearance sale on books - each one is only $4! I bought eight of them and they're all wonderful. There are still a lot to choose from and include some for rug hooking and quilting - check it out HERE! Shipping costs are reasonable since she uses book rates.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sharon Smith Workshop

I sure enjoyed my workshop last weekend with Sharon Smith from Off The Hook Wool Rugs - she drove to Utah from California hauling a trailer FULL of supplies behind her vehicle - LOTS of eye candy and shopping opportunities! A lot of her rugs reflect the places she has traveled - she definitely has her own style. Amazingly, she has only been hooking for five years - and has hooked over 70 rugs - can you believe it?

I was one of just a handful of students who didn't work on one of her designs - but still learned a lot and definitely enjoyed spending three days in the company of good friends. This is the geometric/mosaic that I drew for the class - it's pretty big and will take me awhile to get it finished. It will be totally scrappy, with no two blocks having the same color combinations - I'm still trying to decide what to put in the center of the diamonds...

Each day we received a special treat from the class organizers. First was a kit with all the fixins to make this darling sunflower pincushion on a rusty bed spring.

Then we got birds - with instructions to fly - filled with candy.

And on the last day a fun paper mache box with inspiring words and treats inside.

You can see class projects on the Guild's blog HERE. I sat near the four gals who were hooking the poppy rugs and it was so fun to watch them each develop their own style - with their own slightly different colorway!

Sharon told us how she dyes some of her splotchy wool, so when I got home I pulled out some pastel yellow fat quarters that I won as a door prize years and years ago - b.o.r.i.n.g.!

This is what I ended up with after spending an afternoon in the dye pots - not exactly like hers - but definitely more usable than they were before I started.

I have started another new rug - it will be a table runner. Lots of antique blacks for the backgrounds - and various golds for the stars.

My sister's birthday is next week so I made a postcard quilt with a bouquet of flowers to send to her - lots more fun that a card from the store, huh? (Jeanette - this is some of the crocheted trim that I bought at the yard sale with you)

Heading out for a weekend of camping with hubby - so if you leave a comment and don't hear back from me, I'm not ignoring you - LOL!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Finished Rug

It seems like a long, long time since I've spent much time rug hooking, let alone actually FINISHING a rug - but that day has arrived - YAY! Yesterday I pulled the last loops on this rug that I call Fraktur Paisley. I used a #8 cut and it finished at 20" x 25".

I saw this picture on Pinterest years ago and fell in love with it - I'm pretty sure it is a piece of old painted furniture - a chest perhaps? Anyway, the design & colors just spoke to me so I duplicated them in wool.

Last week at my monthly meeting with the Salt Lake rug group, Myra shared this fun 3D birdhouse that she had made - the inside is hollow so she wants to cut a piece of wood to fill the opening and help it stand up more easily - I love the proddy flowers that she added to it - and the direction she hooked the roof. FUN!

This is not the greatest picture, but Nancy was working on some Christmas stockings for new grandchildren. Notice how she hooked on both sides of the piece of linen to make the best use of it with the shapes... Good idea! And how smart of her to make these during the summer months so they'll be ready for the holidays!

Thursday is the first day of a three day workshop that I'm taking with Sharon Smith of Off The Hook Wool Rugs from California and I'm really looking forward to it. Our Guild is bringing her in - she is the third national teacher that we've had and I still have to pinch myself to think that we're able to do this! I have my project prepared - and my wools are packed - we'll see how it goes....