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Monday, October 28, 2013

'Hand-Spun'

Wait till you see what the next design is! What you see is a little girl, a daughter. She is handling the wool that her mother just spun. There is a mother! And some sheep! This one is truly sweet! I have it hanging in my living room as I do with every single design as I change and contemplate colors and if everything is in place- what do I want this rug to say? How do I want the colors to feel? I have two versions of the same design. I will be hooking the larger one and my good friend, Cindy is hooking the smaller one. I told her to come up with her own colors - I am setting her loose on this as I really want to encourage ladies to make the design a part of their own home and personalities. I want the design to be an expression of each woman's own heart and hands.
Do you know I have never been to a rug hooking group? I have never been to a hook-in either! However, the past weeks Cindy and I have been meeting each week and it is wonderful to share in a handi-work that we both love so much! We feed off of each others ideas and skills- it is wonderful. If I ever make it to a group or 'hook-in', I do think I might think I was in heaven! One of my life dreams, besides having my own at-home business is to teach classes to women and I have even given thought of teaching disadvantaged teenage girls if they would be interested. I am slowly collecting rug-hooking frames just for that day! 
More to come on 'Hand-Spun!'

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What A Joy!

Cindy Brown- Look at the way she put her lavender in!
Stunning!

Christy Mason- This is being made for a lady
who has a sentiment for wheat.
Anne Marie Lewis
 I have been asked many, many times if it is OK if someone deviates from my colors and just how I have done my own rug. With everything in me, I say, "YES!" I want more than anything of all for you to enjoy the whole process- choose your colors, experiment, hit road blocks, find something that works wonderful for you. I want each piece to reflect the heart and mind of the lady that has chosen the design as something to work on with her hands- I want her hands working, her mind thinking and her own heart poured out - I want the design to have personal meaning to her. I want that rug to be more than a 'project', I would hope that it could be considered a 'journey.' What things were going on while making it? What special colors or little touches can you add that add personal meaning to you? What things did you think of, discuss with other ladies while creating? Were there memories created while you hooked your rug? So most assuredly I say absolutely yes! Make it your own!

This afternoon while visiting with a friend, I expressed to her how I truly believe that fiber arts are a way to bring women together - women that maybe would have never otherwise met. I want to share a video that was shared by 'Fiber Art Now.' It is Renate Hiller - I very much enjoyed this as she really validated my thoughts that I have had of as she says, "listening with your whole being."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfoByYLSBY8


My Own
Elaine Tackett, Finished and Beautiful!! 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Re-do!


There is something that I try to describe that  seems to be only understand by my  son, Justin, who also has a creative mind. In all the years that I have been painting and making rugs, when I am in the process, (here goes that difficult to explain part) it feels as though my heart and mind are coming through my hand and onto whatever I am working on. It is a complete expression of what is in my heart. So it brings me joy when what is in my heart can bring joy to someone else. A few weeks ago I saw a picture of a customer, Elaine, holding up her 'Lavender Lady'. It made my heart want to burst. I saw a sweet lady smiling and I saw that design- one that hung in my living room for weeks as I stared at it thinking and re-doing- many, many late nights of standing over it with my music, an eraser and pencil in hand. And there it was- bringing joy to someone!

When a project is not coming along right, I feel as though there is a misunderstanding between me and the 'canvas'. It seems as if the more I try to fix it, the worse it becomes, that  what started with my best intention turned into something not so good. My heart sinks until I find a way 'to make it right'.

I had to have a 're-do' of the sky in this piece. I loved the first sky but something was wrong and I had looked at it too long to 'see' it. All I knew was it wasn't right. My best friend, Louise, came over and she was able to identify for me what was the problem- the sky I was so sure was going to work was overwhelming the picture. We spent time with different pieces of wool I have, figuring it all out. Yesterday I received the 'new' sky and spent the evening putting it in. I feel better. Over the weekend I will play with the snow - and make a decision as to if those birds will be Cardinals or Blue-Jays. Or should they be there at all? 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

She Is Clothed With Strength and Dignity

Day three. I just came back from the Fiber Faire that I have been preparing for. I have not been working at this in an intentional manner. It feels more like sneaking cookies out of the cookie jar. I can hardly help myself. It started with my curiosity as to if the wool I chose for the trees would look like the bark I had envisioned- it did! In fact, as I look at it in the day light it actually looks like a bit of sun is hitting it. Well then, I had to find out if the bucket to the left of the man would contrast nice against his pants which turned into doing his shirt and hat as well. My idea was to fill in all the objects and then put in the snow and sky- but I so wanted to just see- just a peek-  would it really look like the snow I was hoping for? Well if the snow is falling, 'Joseph' here needs 'Abigail' to come to life and make him smile and win him. I hear her laughter and hear him sigh with contentment in his heart.

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Preparations



First of all, here where I ended last night. It's a design that I love so much that I think I will speed through it just to know what it will look like when I am finished. If this is your first time hearing about this rug, I will tell you that it is a very special one to me. My son, Joseph, is engaged to a very lovely young woman, Abigail. I am making this rug and when I sell it, whatever I make on it, will be theirs for things they may need for their wedding. The name of this rug is 'Joseph' as I see so much symbolism of their future life together.

If you received this in your email and you are also aware of my blog on my Squarespace website- I would think that you would be confused. I will explain. I am having to 'redo' the website. I have hired some ladies to build  a new website for me. It is all about having a permanent domain address of my own. So, this, Blogspot, will be my permanent blog 'spot' and my new web address is vintageheartprimitives.com. You could go there now and see that it is under construction. I have transferred over the blog-posts I wrote from Squarespace to here. When it is all said and done- this will be my blogging place and I will have a website address of my very own. I hope that clears up some confusion. 

I have few ideas for the coming months- ice skating, spinning wheels, lambs, oh, I have a custom rug to do with a Tuscan theme. So, lots to do and lots for you to see!





Monday, October 7, 2013

Joseph

Next week I will begin a new design. You are seeing a little piece of it- a rough piece. It has been pinned up in my living room for weeks and many nights after the house is quiet, I have worked and re-worked areas to my liking. The most recent are some blue-jays and a shawl, some leaves. I am naming this rug 'Joseph' as this will be a rug intended for my son Joseph and his fiancee, Abigail. When you see the entire picture, I hope that it tells a story of how he loves her. Dedication, loyalty,  assuredness, and goodness are what I want this rug to say of all the qualities I hope my son gives to Abigail all the days of his life- even on the cold days that will surely come their way. I want every detail of this rug to be symbolic of the days ahead for this engaged couple.
 " Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 1 Corinthians 13\

I'm Letting the Cat Out of the Bag!

I went to a friend's house today. I brought her a project that has been waiting impatiently for me- every time I pass it, it pokes me and reminds me that it wants done. This little rug knows that it's season is NOW and it's been pleading to get all dressed up and admired.
This was the second design I ever came up with on my own. I have had the plans rolled up in a basket on top of a shelf, waiting.
I, for years and years, have painted. I have about three hundred paints. I have finishes and glazes and all sorts of brushes. For years, I enjoyed 'thrifting' and finding 'junk with potential.' I would haul it home and it would sit- glum and depressed looking in my living room. Day after day, I would look at it and study it. An idea would start to surface- then I would begin and I would paint. My favorite part was the look on someone's face at a show- overhearing conversation, often a women in a hushed voice bargaining with her husband. Amused, I would answer questions and feel overjoyed as I saw such happiness in her eyes as her husband carried her purchased treasure for her. That item that I poured hours into became complete and often I would hear exactly where it would be in someone's home.
This crow was my second design- the one right before I did 'Lamb and Crocks.' It was much bigger than this and the colors different. I do love it and I want to quickly add it to my Etsy store while ladies are enjoying hooking autumn rugs. Originally, it was a rug I placed on E-bay. The original is in Missouri and a second is in Maine. 
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I was told yesterday that it is OK that I share that a rug of mine will be featured in a well known magazine this coming summer. I was challenged by Christy Mason to submit something. I didn't submit. I emailed samples and a rough sketch of a possible submission asking if I should even try. Expecting a form letter of denial in 6-8 weeks, I was shocked when I opened my mail four days later and the publication director said they would take it. So now my rug sits many states over along with hours of measuring and writing and editing. Am I pacing the floor?
YES!!!!!!!!!
So, I have been working, working, working trying to bring all my sketches in my books to life- on canvas and adorned with strips of all colors so that when publication day arrives, I will be ready. This has really caught me by surprise. The only reason why I am not sharing which publication it is is that I am still pinching myself in disbelief. It's too good to be true and I am afraid if I tell- it won't happen. LOL
I have asked my friend, Cindy to help me and I am most grateful for her helping hands. As I write this, she messaged me asking how I wanted this and that on little crow. God bless her!!
Anyway, the cat is out of the bag and the crow is being hooked on the crock! LOL

How to "Paint A Sky" With Wool for the Lavender Lady

Last week my hubby told me that I need to make a brief video on how I put my sky in on my lavender rug. I know nobody that has worse stage-fright as I do. The last video I did was enough to require 're-cooperation.'  I hyperventilated over it. But I am a very visual person and learn easiest if I can see something explained rather than just written out. Videos make sense to me. I am also the mother of many young adults and teenagers therefore I don't have a shred of dignity left, and so why not? 
I told my husband that if I had one single request I would do it. I woke up to a question about it this morning. Here is a link to me explaining how I put my sky in for you.  

Color list for 'French Lavender Lady'

 Here is the list of colors and where you can purchase them for the Lavender Lady.  All the colors listed are available through Double M Sheep and Wool except for the sky, so I will start with that.
The sky was purchased from Michele Phillip's Woolley Mammoth Woolens. I found this store on Etsy. Provided below is a link to that shop and the specific color, Italian Marble that was used for the sky.On the large version, I suggest a half yard. That is what I used. There was plenty left over but I used just about every bit of the blue in that half yard. You'll be 'painting' your sky in and so you will want a generous blend of colors. Here is the link to where you can purchase that wool for the sky.
Woolly Mammoth Woolens
That pinstripe that frames the picture- I used a cream and even a few pieces of leftover sky- the part with cream and gold. The rest of the colors are available through the Double M Sheep and Wool, which I will also provide a link to.
Border- Espresso Brown- I recommend a full yard for the large version of this rug. For the smaller version, a half yard-3/4 yard should be enough. Three quarter yard if you are finishing your rug the way I do with the one inch strips. You will have enough to hook the border and enough left over to tear 1" strips lengthwise to finish your edge as I do, if you wish. I will HUMBLY provide a link that I made showing how to do the border with the one inch strips and what it will look like.
Soil in between lavender rows- Moose Brown- For the large pattern, you may need more than just a fat quarter- I think it is safe to say that you may need a bit more than that.
Rows of lavender- Sweet Plum and Gruby Grape
Both houses I used a terra cotta color for the roofs. House on the left is done with 'Clementine' Gray . The tower was done with a plaid tweed blend of rust and brown. House on the right is done with a piece of gray plaid I had on my shelf- probably an old skirt. I love the stony effect both have. Scraps I had of browns were used for the windows.
Trees- Colonial Green
The lady:
Her skirt- Sapphire Blue
Her apron- Red Rum
Her Shirt- Natural White
Her face- Flesh
Her bonnet- Cornflower.
Basket- Textured Cinnamon Toast. I did a row of 'beading' using this color and a cream.

Stems on all lavender- Storm Clouds
Lavender in border- Dried Lavender and a bit of Gruby Grape. Notice that the lavender that the girl is harvesting- I did some 'beading' on those pieces to give dimension and interest.
Bees- black and gold scraps and light tan plaid wings. 
I suggest that when you hook in the flowers in the lavender that the woman is harvesting- that you do it, hook everything around it- pull those flowers out and then re-put them back in so that they are not all crammed and bunched up.
I will post a finished picture in the next day or two as a guide.
 Here is the link to Double M Sheep and Wool. If you do not see all the colors you need, Christy is wonderful to work with and can certainly help you select the right pieces. I, of course would be happy to answer any questions my as well. I suggest that you go to Double M and then simply use the search option and search each color. 
Colors Available Through Double M Sheep & Wool
Yvonne Explaining How to Bind 1" Srips


A Symphony of Color

I have a wooden tri-pod that my husband built me years ago. I hang my work on it so that through the day- as I come in and out, do housework, talk to the teenagers, take calls, in anything I am doing- I am constantly 'sizing up' what is hanging up. Yesterday, as I sat with my coffee and studying, I could not help but think of music. To make a great piece of music, it really takes a symphony of talent. And that is the case with this design- the beauty of it is really in all the colors done by the hands of some very gifted ladies. 
This is my design that have been thinking on for quite some time. It started as a lady and young girl walking past a field. Then I remembered the beautiful French Country scenes I had been admiring in a decorating book I have. As I reacquainted myself with the pages, my eyes fell on a field of lavender. Several days later, I found a french postcard of women harvesting lavender. Digging through my pile of drawing pads and books, I found the original idea- scratch it all! I had it! A woman harvesting lavender with french style structures in the background. Weeks passed as I was busy making rugs for ladies and working on a special project that I have had. I had the Lavender lady drawn out in full size hanging where I could see it and let my mind wonder- rehearsing the colors over and over. 
I will be creating a color list for this rug that will be a permanent part of this website and links to where you can purchase the same colors. For now, I will say that the lavender, the soil, the border, the greenery, the bees, the skirt and basket were all done by Christy Mason at the Double M Sheep and Wool in Fort Worth, Texas. That fabulous sky was done by Michele Phillips of Woolley Mammoth Woolens in Saratoga Springs, New York. 
Thank you ladies!! 

"All wise ladies grow From little girls like me."

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As many know, I get a lot of the wool I use from Christy Mason of the Double M Sheep and Wool. I have pieces that are inspirational - visual story starters, you might say. I have a piece of what is called, "Well Water." When I look at it, not only do I see a blue that is crisp and clean but I can feel a spray of water and I can smell a forest of pine surround me. The color transports me to one of my favorite places -the mountains. I have another  rug idea coming- it is a pioneer rug. There is a stream with a cabin and mountains. The whole rug started with that single piece of wool- a need to bring to life the color that traveled across country to me in a mail truck.
Christy Mason is my friend. I often share with her ideas I have. When I started talking about the lavender rug, she told me about a color that she has not dyed since the passing of her grandmother, Helen Frances Gregg ten years ago- 'Dried Lavender.' It is a color that her grandmother taught her when Christy was young. Christy dyed some up and sent it to me. I knew I wanted to share the story. I asked her if I could share it as I create the rug.
One thing I love about this friend of mine is that she is so down to earth- very real. A Texan!! She is one strong woman and as I have got to know her, through our correspondence, I have learned that her strength was passed on to her from Helen.  Fourteen hundred miles between us and I can see it. When it comes to wool- she is the 'genuine article'- a sixth generation dyer, spinner, rug hooker and sheperdess. In the months that I have known her, I have picked up from her what a significant person her grandmother  was in her life. Helen had Christy dyeing when Christy was probably still learning her ABC's. Significant is that lavender was adored by Helen and 'Dried Lavender' was her favorite dye recipe. 
I am honored that I am using 'Dried Lavender' as part of this rug of mine. As I have said earlier, this is a rug about devotion and provision- simplicity and lavish gratitude. The name Helen means 'shining light.' Helen, if I could speak to you, I would thank you for being such a light in Christy's life and teaching her everything you knew so she could bless us all with these generational gifts of hers.

"vous etes mes bons amis!"

You are my good friends!! This week I have been doing a 'survey' among my Facebook friends. I have been asking customers to leave me a comment in my private messages.   I have been wanting to gain knowledge into how I might make my patterns better. I have come to the conclusion that my very highest goal is the very best customer service that I can give. I want every single customer to feel my deep appreciation.  When I decided to do the survey, I held my breath but was willing to hear anything- to gain understanding. What I did not expect is that my messages would be full and all the very very kindest words- even from ladies who admire the patterns but have never personally purchased one. I even received one last night that choked me up! 
Saying good evening FRIENDS with a photograph of smaller version of the upcoming Lavender Lady rug. It will be available on both monks-cloth and linen. 



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A French Country Rug

Over a couple weeks time, months ago, I kept receiving messages from customers that they enjoyed the stories I tell. Interesting. I never intentionally did that- it's part of the playful part of me, I guess. I confess that I have a house that contains my doll collection. Every one of them ('the girls') has a name and a character. My Vera is pretty cranky and I often have keep her apart as she fusses at the others. Alice is quiet and timid. Ruth is so industrious. Dot is sweet and inquiring! Oh and Cora! She is my African -American girl. Had to hook her her own cabin complete with a stream. Just so visitors know where she lives!
And none of 'girls' will ever give me gray hair!  
angelus.jpg
So this is how I think and it's part of why I love telling stories about my 'creations.' Each one deserves a story. The night I sketched out the Colonial rug, I was trying to think of the story behind the rug- well, it became a rug of fidelity and loyalty. The yellow ribbon in the girls hair was a symbol of her fidelity to her soldier while he was away. In the 'Buttery', Mr. Tibbs the cat is watching his mistress as she prepares the holiday roast and bread pudding. The pattern comes with the VERY fabric that the mistress used in her dress and to adorn little Tibbs with for the holiday.
Lavender, I understand, is a symbol of devotion. Years ago, I became intrigued with the French painting ' The Angelus.' For quite a while, I would think on how that in those days it was common for people to feel their absolute dependence on the Creator. I was really troubled by how far we have come. Today, as I tell my children frequently, we can buy anything in this world with money- minus bringing someone back to life. We really do not feel that dependence on Him anymore. Really, it's true. But to think as I gaze at that painting, I see people who literally ate from God's very hand and thanked him all day long. Nothing in the way- a real intimacy with the Creator. Nature, His handi-work made for us!
So this rug is about simplicity, about God's provision not only of our 'daily bread' but all that is beauty in this world.