I almost gave up on the snow yesterday. Heard it was going to start at noon...oh no, not until 4:00, and wait....around 10:00pm. Needless to say I was starting to think it was a joke, but around 10:00 last night it started and didn't stop until early this morning and boy did old man winter deliver!
Our deck and the chairs I forgot to put away!
Our front door before the shoveling commenced!
I do love snow.....and rumor has it we might have more snow Christmas Eve into Christmas Day....now that would be a hoot!!!! I'm off to shower than start baking. It's definitely a baking kinda day!!
I am so excited! I've been crossing my fingers for a good snow storm forever!! Of course, the weathermen are covering their rears by saying it could just give Connecticut a glancing blow or it could really hammer us with over a foot of snow from early Saturday evening to early Sunday evening. Either way, Sunday is my day to bake and I'm definitely going to stock up tonight.
Seriously....this is one of the reasons I love living in New England.....the snow and the history.
Busy, busy, busy! I decided a couple of weeks ago that I wanted our upstairs to be decorated with just less. More hand-made decorations and less lights, I guess. So far, it's working out pretty well. I have dried oranges and made gingerbread ornaments for a small prim tree by the door as well as using things from nature to spice up the place. Last year, I dried oranges by slicing them thing and putting them in a 200 degree oven for about six hours. Since we use propane to cook with, it wasn't really cost efficient. This year, my mom found an article in her local paper about how to dry them quicker but still in the oven. Here's my first try with this way (with pictures of course!)
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. My oven has a convection setting, so I did use that. Kind of makes sense that circulating hot air would dry the slices faster.
Slice the oranges as thin as you can get them. Then line a microwave plate with a paper towel, line up the orange slices and cover them with another paper towel. Microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on high and transfer them to a cookie sheet lined with foil.
Put them in the oven for one hour, flipping them about halfway through. My slices are a little too thick, so next time, I'll try for even thinner. Then you wait with your trusty assistant until they look done.
Meet Ranger, my trusty assistant.
Here's how they look right out of the oven.
I let them cool on the sheets for about half an hour just to make it easier to handle. Once you can handle them, I add a few cloves, some gingerbread ornament stars and one whole orange studded with cloves into a small wooden bowl underneath my prim Christmas tree. Here's a few pictures to get the effect.
It's a little dark, but you get the idea. Here's a couple of pictures of my tree.
You can see some of the gingerbread men I made last weekend as well as homespun stockings that are stuffed with fiberfill, then topped with cinnamon sticks and a little dough star. I think I'm going to make a few more of the stars as well as hearts and small gingerbread men to put in mason jars along with dried orange slices for little take home gifts.
I have been doing some rug hooking as well as cross-stitching, but can't show the cross-stitch. It's a present for the daughter and fiancee of my absolute best, best friend. Her daughter is getting married in August of 2010, and I'm hoping to be there for the celebration along with a beautiful handmade present.
Work tomorrow, so I'm off for now. I'll post pictures of my current project as well as a couple of vintage hooked rugs that I'm going to attempt to restore.
I thought I'd put some other fun work I did in a separate post. While trying to get rid of my creative block, I tried doing something other than hooking, and had a great time! The last time I was at our local Goodwill looking for wool, I ran across this great shelf/mail holder that was on the weekly 50% off list! So, I splurged the $2 for the shelf, and brought it home. Here's how it looked when I got it home.
Not much to look at, I know, but after a few coats of paint, some sanding to approximate wear, and stain, I think it turned out great!
After that, I was ready for another project, so I headed down to our cellar to see what else I could "antique"! I bought this great little two-drawer chest about 11 years ago at the Harvest Moon Festival here in Naugatuck, and had run out of room for it in my kitchen.
Of course, using the same paint techniques, this is how it looks now. The picture's a little blurry, but it really turned out great.
I grabbed the idea for this refinishing project fromThe Pickled PepperPatch. She has some really great ideas, so head over to your Goodwill, Salvation Army, and tag sales for some great and inexpensive things that can be made over!!
I hope this post finds everyone enjoying their summer, rainy days and all! After a few days of absolutely gorgeous weather, we're in for another week of rain. Since my gardens have had time to recover and dry out, I think my tomatoes are enjoying the rain!
Some hooking has been happening here, but it was a tough go for a while. Every once in a while, like all artists, I think, I had some kind of block. I wanted to hook, almost needed to hook (lol) but just couldn't seem to figure out what I wanted to hook. Then, I headed over to Betty Dekat's blog, Primitivebettys and grabbed one of her freebie patterns. It was great fun to hook, and kind of put me into a fall hooking mood. I haven't bound any of my recent rugs yet, so just imagine away the white border! If you're looking for some great free patterns, head over to Betty's blog. She is one of the fiber artists in the Ebay group PRHG, and always delivers beautiful items!
After finishing that rug, I started on another small mat that will fit on a primitive stool, and a Christmas candle mat. None are bound yet, but I will save that for another day!
If you're near Woodstock, CT this Saturday, June 27, drop by the Woodstock Fairgrounds between 9 am and 3pm. It's the annual Quiet Corner Guild's Rug Show, and I hear it's wonderful! The speaker is Elizabeth Black, there's over 100 rugs on display plus vendors, demonstrations, and door prizes. I'm so excited to be able to go not to mention that Barb and Sarah of Hallowed Hill Primitives will be vending again this year. I've run into them two other times, and besides having some gorgeous rugs, patterns, and supplies, they are two of the nicest people to meet up with for a chat off-line! lol
Hey folks! I spent Saturday manning my booth at the Woodbury Flea Market, and had a great time. Saw some old pals, and met new people, both of which is fun! While chatting around, I did notice a running theme. Many people commented that their mother/grandmother/aunt/neighbor,etc, hooked rugs, but they never took the time out to learn...or just wasn't interested. I guess that's why so many of the old art forms are dying out, and I think that's a shame. But I'm also glad that there's so many out there that still appreciate handmade in the US items as opposed to look-alikes from other countries.
Three of my smaller rugs sold on Saturday, two of them traveling out of the country, to the UK, I think. The barn red star on the black/brown herringbone background, and the wooley sheep both took a ride on a jet plane, and the Bee Happy mat went home with someone from our happy state. One of the rugs that didn't sell on Saturday went up on Ebay tonight, and I think it's a great combo of colors and would look great anywhere year 'round.
A sweet fraktur tulip, and as always, some of the colors look brighter than they really are. Maybe one day I'll hit the lotto and buy a camera with more pixels! lol
I did spend some time gardening on Sunday, and as soon as it stops raining, I'll post some pics. He bought a pear tree for the front of the house, and two beautiful Abraham Darby roses that he planted against the garden fence. Those roses smell wonderful, and have a great creamy/apricot color on multiple petaled roses. The tree and roses were my anniversary present....22 years on Saturday. What a guy!! I got him socks...hey, don't judge, if you know Aaron (hubby) you'll understand!! LOL
Good morning! Two whole days without rain...imagine! I shouldn't complain really....all that rain has really greened up our yard. Our backyard is small, but surrounded by trees so that when the leaves come back, it's like a cozy little room. I have been very lax about our vegetable garden, and will probably just buy plants instead of starting from seed.
On the hooking front, I put the rainy days to good use. My plan is to vend at the Woodbury flea market this Saturday, so I hooked up a couple of chair pads and table runners as well as taking stock of what wool and patterns I have. My family must think I've lost my mind with all the hooking, but I really enjoy it. Here's a few pictures of my accomplishments!!
This is a double pie carrier with a hooked mat on top. The sheep is hooked with off white wool yarn and gives it a great wooly look! It's not fixed permanently to the lid, so different mats can be exchanged for a new look!
I wasn't sure if I was going to like how this runner came out, but I actually love it! I picture it in a little girls room with a farm or animal theme.
I was inspired by our neighbor's bees buzzing around when drawing out this mat.
Just a simple chair mat showing a spring flower!
An adapted hex sign was the inspiration for this chair pad. I'm thinking of doing three more that will go together. This mat was quick and easy with a great outcome!
This is a small runner I hooked about a year ago. Hooking circles takes a bit of practice, but is a great use for any scrap pieces of wool.
This little mat is the first pattern I've ever done that is someone else's. The latest Create and Decorate magazine has the second installment of antique rug adaptations by Sally van Nuys, and this one is really great! It's not as dark as it looks in my picture, and is just the right size for a shelf on a primitive cabinet. I might just keep this one! lol
More hooking planned for today as well as drawing out some patterns for Saturday. Wish me luck!!!
Hey....I'm seeing a whole bunch of Connecticut visitors lately!! No matter where you are visiting from, leave me some comments....I love to hear about your primitive projects, decorating, rug hooking, (or really any crafty project), or opinion about our mud season!!!
It's beautiful, sunny, and COLD!!! The seed catalogs have been pouring in along with my new subscription to Garden Gate (thanks Mom!) and I'm just itchin' to get my fingers in the dirt! I've planned the front garden three ways to Sunday, and can't wait to start my seeds for the vegetable garden. My father-in-law called last week, and we talked gardens for about 20 minutes. He lives in Maine, and grew up gardening. I'm taking his advice and waiting a bit later than last year to start my seeds. Our indoor plants are more than ready to spend the summer on our deck, let me tell you!
On the artsy-frontsy front, I've been doing a bit of hooking, dyeing, and needlepunching. I finished the chair pad, and am quite pleased with it. Two days of wool dyeing, and yesterday was spent starting a needlepunch project. On the job front, I have been given a home tutoring assignment in a local school district, and I'm really excited about it. It's supplementing history lessons, and I LOVE history! (thanks dad..lol). Here's a few pictures of my last week's work:
Pretty chairpad all ready to announce spring...albeit to someone'sbackend!
Dyed wool all ready to be sized, stripped and made into a beeyoootiful rug! This is my latest project, and I kinda like it! I wasn't sure about the cows, but I think they add whimsy to the flowers, and I got to use some great purple wool for the flower petals. The background is probably going to be a light blue/white combo.
I also went to a local antique shop on Saturday and bought a gorgeous hooked rug that's labeled "Occupied Japan" I used to collect Occupied Japan figurines, but sold them when I got tired of dusting them, but this rug really intrigued me. I've got to do some research on these rugs!! Here's a couple of pictures of my newest acquisition.
An up close of the center medallion. This rug has a great soft feel and faded vintage look. I think the backing is monks cloth, or some kind of similar material, and seems to have held up really well. Here's a picture of the label on the edge. It's a bit blurry, but you get the idea!
Oh yet another subject, go visit http://thepioneerwoman.com/ Her blog is really great on so many levels, and I actually solved a quiz under her homeschooling tab and a prize! Thank goodness for a dad that passed on the history gene to me!! It looks like there's a second round for the winners of yesterdays quizzes, so cross your fingers that my brain decides to dial in today! lol Oh, and check out her recipes. I've tried quite a few, and they're all delish! My hips agree, btw! lol
While still pretty cold, the sun is out, and it's been gorgeous for a couple of days! How lucky are we to have some real sunny days in mid-winter?!! I think that the sun has nudged my creativity a bit, so today, I drew up two patterns. One is for a fellow hooker in my group, and one I'm going to start on today. I am considering doing a local flea market to get my name out there as a fiber artist and teacher. I'll hook up a few chair pads and a couple of table runners to do with some rugs I already have, then have a dyeing weekend!! I swear, I really feel it when I don't hook for a while. It's like something's missing!The wool on the upper right is the background (kind of a prim springy green), the blue solid and plaid is for the bird, and the two on the bottom right is for letters (lighter color) and underneath the birds feet (the dark brown). The colors will show up better once it's hooked up and I have it on a white background. Changing the subject, I might be heading to my parents house at the end of the week, and I'm quite excited! My parents and sis and her family all live in Arkansas, so I don't get to visit as often as I'd like. Well, hubby has worked some magic, and I may be able to hitch a ride down on a small private jet heading to the Little Rock airport for some kind of inspection. All I'll need is a ticket back, and it's a go!! I'm very excited to see my family, but I hear there's a great hooking shop in Hot Springs that I'd love to visit. They have hooking camps there every year, and I've heard great things about the artists. If anybody has any scoop on it, let me know!!
I absolutely cannot believe how freakin' cold it is today!! Weather.com says it's 14 degrees but feels like zero! The wind is whipping around the snow, and my loverly daughter is scheduled to go snowboarding after school! Jess joined the ski/snowboard club at her high school again, and just let me know that they are still going tonight. I'm not too happy about it, but can't seem to talk (bribe) her out of going so she doesn't get frostbite on the mountain. I really am at a loss to explain why these teachers don't call this stuff off when the weatherman says it's even too cold to let kids stand out at bus stops for very long.
Anyway, with that rant over, I've heard from the ladies in my hooking group, and it looks like a near full house for the hook-in next Thursday! One of the ladies has recently found out she is going to be a grandma, and is itching to do a rug to commemorate the occasion. Someone else also said they were interested in learning how to do needle punch. It's going to be a fun night!! After my next round of classes starts, our group just might grow a bit bigger, I hope! It's great fun to be able to get together with people who are interested in the same types of crafts you are, and just chat, nibble on goodies, and have a glass (or two) of wine!!
I'm off to try to contact the high school again to see if they really are planning on going to the mountain today *sigh*
Ok, so a bit more snow, and luckily nowhere near what the original forecast, thank goodness! The kids lucked out with an early dismissal, and I baked a bit. A bit pot of chili for dinner and chocolate frosted brownies for dessert. Yep, my butt is growing just thinking about the pan of leftovers!
I did work on my sampler a bit last night. I also worked up the pattern for my Pennsylvania friend, and picked out some wool. I'm still not itching to hook, and would really like to finish the sampler. Here's a stock picture of it, and when I finish mine, I'll post a picture of it. I have missed cross-stitching, but I figure once it's finished, I'll be ready to hook up a spring rug.
Speaking of hooking, it looks like a hook-in is in the works for the 13th! A few have rsvp'd, but I figure whoever shows up, then great! My next round of classes starts on February 24, and I'm hoping for another full house. I'm also going to throw in an hour lesson on punch needle if there's time. I've tried out three different types of needles, like two, and HATE one! The one that I hate just doesn't work on so many different levels. It's very difficult to thread, and once I got it threaded, the needle portion would bend to one side or the other and not want to go into the material. Maybe tomorrow I'll drop in a little post about needle punch and a quickie review of the needles I've tried. If you are a floss collector (like many cross-stitchers, embroiderers, and quilters) this is a neat new craft for you!
Well, it's off to drop some laundry in and start on the sampler. I'll stitch til about 10:00am then start cleaning up our spare room for an office/guest room.
This winter has really blindsided me! I'm usually a snow gal, ready to bake and crock pot with the best of 'em on snowy days, and get outside for walks as soon as it's possible. Not this year. I'm in hibernation mode and my crafty imagination is tough to muster up! Since I'm not one to wallow for long, I'm taking a very proactive approach to this nonsense! lol We are looking at another stormy Tuesday/Wednesday, and I've stocked up on goodies for the day in, and I've already strapped on my snow boots and headed outside. I hate feeling blah when there really is so much to be happy about. I believe that looking at things from a positive view is very much a choice, and I've just got to "reprogram" myself this week!!
On the rug hooking front, I've managed to finish one pretty big rug/wall hanging, and even got out an unfinished cross-stitch project. I've got a ton of bare walls in our newly decorated guest room, and this reproduction sampler will look great when it's finished and framed. The current rug is quite the primitive valentine type, but would look great hanging year round. It measures 21"tall by 15" wide, and is bound on the back with strips of the same wool as the background. It was on Ebay twice, but no bids. On the positive side, it's going to look great hanging from the inside of my armoir door in the living room!
I also sold my first pattern to a rug hooker in Virginia, and I really hope she enjoys hooking it. I am planning on offering more patterns here and at my Etsy shop, but I'm waiting on a monks cloth order to come in. For me, monks cloth is the easiest backing to use that doesn't cost an arm and a leg! Scottish linen is dreamy, but a bit beyond my budget.
Now I'm off to draw a pattern for a friend, collect a bit of wool for her, and get it into the mail. I'm also going to get in touch with my hooker friends here in town and try to get all of us together for some hooking finally! Time to shake the winter blues and get creative!!!