Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Tiny Bit of Halloween

For some reason I really don't get in to Halloween much, which is surprising! I love seeing all the prim stuff on other blogs, but it just doesn't make it into my house. But, I have a friend Clydene who does enjoy it, so last year when I saw this witch design in Rug Hooking Magazine I made it up and gave it to her for her birthday. I also designed a little ornie to go with it and I think she liked that more than the rug! LOL It was a lot of fun to make these. I need to get busy and get out my fall decorations now - that's the stuff I really like.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rug Progress

I haven't posted pictures of the two hooked rug projects I'm working on lately, so I thought I'd do that and share the progress I've made. The stair rugs are coming along nicely - just need to get leaves on the pineapple and I'll have four of them all hooked. Do you think that red star is too bright?

I'm not so sure about the face on the little girl below - maybe I should re-hook it with a tan color instead of the peachy pink that I used? I didn't get the motifs spaced very well on this one, but it's too late to change it now so it'll have to do. I'm really enjoying these rugs - the borders are fun to do - I'm rummaging through my worm piles to use for that part. And the motifs usually just need a little of this and a little of that.

My Portugal rug has the horse finished, and the background. All that's left to do is the border, which will be a rich, warm, dark brown that I've already dyed. I'm trying to decide if I should hook one row of a bright color - like red - between the background and the border. Any thoughts? It will measure about 29" x 35" when it's done.

I'm trying to decide what to do next, but there are so many designs running around in my head it's hard to choose!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Our Hook-In & I Had to Laugh!

Our hook-in on Saturday was so much fun. When I got home I fixed dinner & cleaned up, then spent about an hour working on my rug. I had to laugh when I realized that I accomplished more during that hour than I did all day long at the hook-in! Was just to busy visiting, looking & listening to get much hooking done. Maybe that's normal? I'm still new to this hook-in business so I don't have a clue. LOL We had a demonstration on crock pot dyeing which was eye opening to me - Lisa actually dyed leftover worms which was great cuz they could all be used together in a design after being treated to the same dye bath - I have worms coming out my ears so I'm definitely going to be doing this (as soon as I find a good crock pot at the thrift store). Arline shared different ways to finish the edges of rugs and different ways to hang them and/or display them. I think the most educational part of the day was when Londi gave a short impromptu lesson on color theory - she taught us about "Mother Color" - not sure if that a proper term, or if it's something she coined herself, but it sure made a lot of sense to me. She's a professional artist, but explained it all in terms that we could understand and relate to - awesome! Lunch was catered Mexican food - so delicious! There were enough door prizes donated that every single attendee received one - people were so generous in their support!

Anyway, here are some pictures I took during the day - not all-encompassing, but a glimpse of what went on.

I really liked this rug that Tami made - she's a new hooker and this was her very first attempt at making a rug - took her only two weeks from start to finish! She used all as-is wool from thrift store clothing, and designed it herself using her love of quilting for the inspiration - she did a great job and I think she will accomplish a lot with her rug hooking. Oh, and she cut all her strips with a rotary cutter! Her 16 year old daughter was there with her working on a locker hooking project - so fun that mother and daughter share the same interests.

Tami brought this rug that she had borrowed from a neighbor, hoping that someone would know something about it. It's a shirred rug made of bias cut wool strips - so thick and cushy on the feet! One of the gals in attendance has made these before and explained a little bit about how they are made. She's never seen one with a design worked into like this - I guess usually they're just done with concentric rows.

LeeAnn designed and made this small rug - how fun that it's in a frame. And I think it appealed to me because of the quilting influence I could see in it - so fun to combine two loves.

Victoria made this for a little granddaughter - we all loved the soft colors - the background had the palest hint of pink in it.

This is MaryJo's first ever rug - she's moved on to fine cut rugs after taking a class from Jane Olsen at Cambria Pines last year.

Marianne made these two sheep rugs - the one laying flat is HUGE! And I love how she framed the long skinny one. She works at a local quilt shop and dyes all the wool they sell there. I would say she is a wool expert because she also makes wool quilts.

Marianne is also making this brightly colored geometric - each square is about 6" I think.

These next two rugs were made by Jennifer - she designed them herself - I love the braided border around the edges.

Marilyn got her flower pokes all attached to sticks from her backyard. I think she plans on adding green leaves to them - most she will give away, but I hope she keeps a couple for herself. So many fun colors - great way to use up scraps!

Lisa designed this beach rug to symbolize the time she spends with her Grandma on the beaches of Florida - she had it published in Create & Decorate during the summer. The aqua wool is so perfect for the ocean, and you can't tell from the picture, but the starfish is sculpted a bit.

Here is Angela's newest rug - a wonderful Lady Liberty design - I love the movement she hooked into the background. I'm sure the design is available for purchase on her website if anyone is interested.

This is a terrible picture, but these rug hooks were so beautiful - made of blown glass! This one is more of a pencil hook, but there was a ball handled one too. The weight of it was so comfortable in the hand. They are made by a local guy so if anyone is interested I can get the information for you.

So - that was our day. We're discussing now whether or not to create a State Guild, and how often to schedule the hook-ins. Utah is starting to arrive in the rug hooking world! Yay!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Amazing Artwork

Mister Sister (that's my hubby, LOL) graduated from USU many many years ago - he receives an alumni magazine every 3 months that's always interesting to read. Today in the mail he received the latest issue and I was so taken with one of the articles highlighting Australian Aboriginal Artwork. Talk about primitive! These paintings are just amazing and beautiful - at first I thought they were textiles - I think they would be great inspiration for a hooked rug. Here is one of the paintings, and a link to the website where you can see lots of other ones.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fun With Name Tags

Tomorrow is our 4th Utah Hook-In and I'm getting so excited! Rug hooking is still mostly unknown in Utah, but our numbers ARE growing all the time. We are expecting around 30 people to be in attendance which is HUGE for us. I know in the east there are often 500 people at a hook-in, and we might attain those numbers some day, but till then we'll be content with our 30. LOL Anyway, when we had our first hook-in a few years ago, I helped with the planning a little bit and also volunteered to make name tags. I knew it would be boring to use the classic "HELLO my name is ______________" stick-on variety, so I put my thinking cap on to make something fun & original, and I've done something different every time since. The money for making these comes out of my own pocket, so needless to say I have to do things on the cheap. I've been told that the name tags have become collectors items and that people display them in their studios - maybe I should start signing them! (chuckle) Here are the name tags I made for our gathering this year. I bought some chipboard drink coasters at Michaels (using a coupon of course) that were priced 12/$1. I covered them with fabric using tacky glue and then added a wool sheep using fusible interfacing - punched a hole and added the ribbon hanger. My penmanship is terrible so I talked a friend into helping me out with writing the names. Cute, huh?

These are the sunflower tags from last year. I had some super heavy thick wool that I couldn't use for rug hooking, so dyed it a golden yellow color. For the center of the flowers I used sheets of fun foam from the Dollar Tree. Stitched the petals on - glued on some buttons - and had a friend write all the names. I put pin backs on these instead of the ribbon hangers.

I wasn't able to attend the hook-in before that, but I still made the name tags. This time I went to Lowe's and got some formica samples from their display. I cut a hand stencil from a piece of contact paper and spray painted the hand on. Glued on the wooden red heart. I also made some small rug hooks using a 1/4" wooden dowel and a bent paper clip - it was glued on to the hand between the thumb and the pointer finger (mine seems to have gotten lost). The names were stamped, but I had to ink the stamps with a red marker cuz neither paint or ink would stick to the formica.

And this is the first one I ever made. Picked up some gift cards from Walmart - they're not worth anything till they're swiped at the register and a money amount is added on - so I just grabbed a handful of them for free! I then crumpled up some paper grocery bags, smoothed out the wrinkles and glued them to the front of the card (after I sanded it a bit to give the smooth surface some tooth). I punched holes to add the wool fringe at the bottom and stamped the name using a vintage set of stamps that I have. Inked the edges to add some detail.

I've had a lot of fun making these over the years - hope I don't run out of ideas any time soon!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bluebird of Happiness

My dear friend and her husband are currently living in Toronto for 18 months while serving a church mission. I know she misses her rug hooking terribly, and I'm sure she took some small rugs with her to make her small apartment feel homey. I wanted to make her a special little something so she'd know that she's missed and thought of often. I got the pattern for this little 3D bird from a recent issue of Create & Decorate magazine. It hooked up pretty good, but things went south when I started stitching the pieces together so I could stuff it. Hopefully when she looks at it she'll see the love it was made with, instead of the puckers and globs of glue. I told her it was the Bluebird of Happiness and he was going to be watching over her till she comes home again. He's flying to Toronto tomorrow!

A few days ago I shared pictures of Carol's rugs and mentioned that I really liked her paisley one. Here is a picture of a paisley that I hooked a few years ago. The seat is sorta like a piano bench with a lid that lifts open, and it was in terrible condition when I bought it at the thrift store for $4. I painted and distressed the wood, and hooked a new cover to replace the awful stained one that came with it. MUCH better now!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Just Like My Friends (sorta)

As I read other blogs, it always tickles me to see what kinds of things people share - I get especially excited when I have done something similar or own something similar - I guess it just makes me feel like I have extra good taste to see that I'm not the only one doing that! LOL

Case in point #1 - A few days ago Linda at The Wool Cupboard shared a picture of her alphabet plaque and mentioned how she has an affinity for collecting them. I immediately thought of this one that I made a few years ago after seeing a similar one in a catalog. The frame came from the thrift store and had a mirror inside it which I had to remove.

Case in point #2 - Even earlier, she showed a picture of a stack of trunks that she has in her living room, which made me think of my own stack. Yes, yes, I see the pink carpet too! Replacing it is on the 'to do' list - after I repaint 3 of the 4 walls in this room a more neutral color - just too much red for the size of the room.

Case in Point #3 - My friend Mimi Sue recently shared a tutorial on how she bought an relatively inexpensive set of roller shades and customized them to be exactly what she wanted for her bedroom door. I too, did this several years ago. I bought cheap vinyl roller shades - removed the vinyl and replaced it with a poplin type fabric. I then stenciled stars on the shades in colors to match the decor of my living room. It wasn't TOO hard to do, and the results were fantastic!

Have any of you had similar experiences?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Rug Hooking Today

Today was my rug hooking meeting (well, one of them anyway - I go to three different ones!) and we got such a treat! We just discovered a new rug hooker in the area who recently moved to Utah from CA. Carol came for the first time and brought lots of her rugs to share with us. She's been hooking for 8 years, and the second rug she ever made was selected to be published in Celebrations magazine a few years ago - can you imagine? Anyway, I took pictures of the rugs and will share them here. This first one is my favorite - her inspiration for this beautiful paisley was one of her husband's neckties - is that a great story, or what? The colors in this are my all time favorites - I could have brought it home with me easily and it would fit right into my house. And it's BIG! At least 4' x 6' - most of her rugs were large.

This next picture didn't turn out really well cuz I didn't get a get shot of the border. I love the colors and the way there is movement in the purple center.

This is a Laurel Burch design - one of the hookers in our group was familiar with her work - I guess she started her career designing jewelry, then fabric and quilt designs. Carol is a cat lover and owns several - several of her rugs had loose strips courtesy of her cats! LOL

This is the cat rug that Gene Shepherd recently blogged about - more cats!

This is a rug about Joseph and his coat of many colors. I didn't hear any details about it so I don't know if it's her own design, or what......

A whimsical Christmas rug - please notice the reindeer plugging in the lights on the far right side of the rug. She had bells sewn on to the corners and it made a cheerful jingle when it was handled.

This is the one she is working on right now - an unusual depiction of the Tree of Life.

It was fun to meet Carol today and we look forward to getting to know her better.