Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Here's My Heart!

"Here's My Heart!"

I love this little rug. At first glance, you may see a little girl- probably smelling of sunshine and a kitten- offering her mother her heart.

"Mom! Look what I made for you!"

 But then again, it could be her mother that has handed her own heart to her sweet daughter!

"Sweetheart! I hand you my my heart, my life, my sorrow, my joys-everything I have! It's yours! There is nothing you can do that would lessen my love for you! You are my world!"

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Kindred Spirit

It seems that either I am at a stand-still with everything I want to do or I have so much I do not know where to start. Right now, I am trying to finish up my 'Wool-Inn'. Also, I have mentioned in the recent past that I have a 'berry picker' design. Well, I have it- I have just been so stumped color wise. I have decided that I will simply start hooking it- beginning with areas I feel confident color wise and then go from there bit by bit.

Then as you can see in my first picture, I depleted any fun money I had and I bought this little rug. I have been drooling over it for a couple of years but I now own it. It came out of an old log cabin in Northern Kentucky- when I look at it, my mind starts asking questions about the woman that hooked this? A kindred spirit, for sure.I want to recreate this gem. However, I want to add onto it though- a log cabin. 
Last summer, I found a pile of wool that I had long forgotten about. What was intriguing though was that I had left it and when I came back to it it looked 'ruined.' I wanted to see how it looked hooked though and hey! at least that batch of abandoned wool looked old and worn. I put that in my mental file of important things to remember as I knew that someday I would want to recreate an old rug. If I had known on that day that it would be this little rug, I would have been squealing with delight.
Lastly, I have been working late into the evenings on my 'Wool Inn.' This is one of those rugs that as you hook, you are not sure if it is looking OK- and then you finish the edge, and add an eye to the bird and sheep. And add an old bell- it's beautiful- one of my very favorite and appropriate to celebrate my one year anniversary as "Vintage Heart" as this little design was my first. I had no idea- no clue- that in the near future I would be making patterns and selling them. Not one clue! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Vintage Heart's One Year Anniversary

I have told this story before but many of you do not know it. A couple of years ago, for our 25th wedding anniversary my husband surprised me with 365 pounds of wool! It started with an E-bay auction. I spotted an auction for a closet of wool- textures, solids, hand-dyeds- it was all there. A lady in Missouri who had injured her hand and could no longer hook was auctioning off her wool collection. There was one catch- it was a 'pick up' only! I am in Idaho. I considered driving to get it...for about a minute....but I did, indeed, lose a lot of sleep thinking how that that wool would help me make my dream come true- a home business. No sleep for me as I thought on all I could do with those precious pieces that had collected by a sweet older lady in Missouri.
 The morning of the auction it still did not have one single bid. The starting price was $500. Before I left that day, a mysterious bidder appeared. In a jealous exitement, I wondered who she was. Lucky! Lucky! Lucky! Where was she going to put it all? What were her plans for it? I wondered if a group of friends had bid together.
 Oh well, it was a nice thought.
 That evening as my husband and I sat and talked over the days events, I mentioned that that wool had sold. He tried very hard to play innocent. "What wool is that? Are you talking about that piece you were looking at last night?"
Twenty five years of marriage.
I knew that look in his eye!

"You bought it! No, Neil! I am serious! You bought it!!"

"Happy Anniversary," was all he said.

He had arranged with the shipping and receiving department at work to send UPS to the home of the 'retired' rug hooker to pick up 16 large boxes weighing in at 365 pounds of every color, and texture that I could imagine. While we waiting for it's arrival, he built me floor to ceiling shelves in our bedroom. 

So this rug you see, was the first design I came up with when I received my wool. The purples in the lavender sprigs- I was in purple heaven. The reds. The little blue bird. I used a chocolaty background that today I order as 'Espresso' from Double M Sheep and Wool. It's my staple color.

So this particular design is very dear to me as it signifies a starting point to me- the first design. As the months went by and I had other rugs on Ebay, I kept getting asked if I would offer patterns. Never crossed my mind. Eventually during the year, I drew out 'The Woolery' in a pattern and my very first pattern sale happened one year ago, January 26.  In April, Primitive Quilts will be putting out their Summer issue which one of my designs will be featured in. This all started with a 'a few boxes' of wool. 
Neil's name proposal to go with the wool. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Pieces of News

I have been pretty busy. It started with needing some time to organize and re-group and it ended as me doing a lot of playing with my wool. Needed time away from my hook which led me to my hook! HaHa!

This design started as something entirely different- not even close. It wasn't going right and I was feeling quite frustrated. My best friend was over one evening and she said that I needed to just do something else. So this design was like no other. Normally, my designs start as a little sketch- tiny- and then I keep making it larger. I always want there to be easy curves and avoid anything tedious. This design I hooked without drawing out elements of the design first- truthfully, I almost ripped out the little Shepherdess a couple times and now I love her to pieces.

Another thing I want to mention is that I found a wonderful spinner from California who is working on wool that I can provide for you for your big sheep like this one- I want to include a little bell like mine and the ticking.

This next little rug is for sale in my Etsy shop. I wasn't planning on selling it as a pattern until I was getting messages for the pattern!! So, this rug is available as well as the pattern. It is not very large at all- perfect for a beginner or a gift for someone dear to you! It measures 16" x 8." I will include some little bells for you!

Another exiting thing I have to tell you about is a purchase I made this last week. I have been seeing on and off for the last couple years a very very old rug that I have wanted so badly. Well, one night, I just did it- I sold the house and all the kids for it! (Just kidding!) I have it and the only things I know about it is that it was made in the 1800's. The woman I bought it from says she purchased it about 15 years ago in an "OLD OLD log cabin in Northern Kentucky." I am going to re-create it and when you see this little piece, you will see why I love it so much. About two hundred years ago, there must have been a woman that hooked this that just had my same 'style.' Oh, how I would love to meet the woman who made this little piece that you will see later. Her and I are definitely kindred spirits! I am guessing, I don't know for sure, but at least I am wondering if there is another like it in the world- was this just a little rug that she made for her cabin- it surely appears so. Here's a teeney-tiny peek!

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Grandmother! Tell me a story about when you were young and lived in France. Please.”  Marianne pleaded.
Celine Thibault was loved by her children and grandchildren. Every nook and cranny of her home in Massachusetts was filled with photographs and little treasures of the past. Her grandchildren would visit and Celine always was able to transport them to a different place and time. Stories of her girlhood, stories of Papa, stories of relatives faded in black and white photographs- all brought to color with Celine’s stories.
Today, Celine and her little grand-daughter sat at the kitchen table as she poured raspberry tea and set a plate of macaroons down on the freshly pressed blue and white checkered tablecloth.  Marianne loved her grandmother- dancing blue eyes, a pink in her cheeks and that sweet powdery smell that only grandmothers have. She loved Grandmother’s hair- white and soft and always curled so nice.  She loved the way that Grandmother’s wedding band looked as they clasped hands and Celine’s sweet blue eyes looked into hers.
“Marianne. Today I think we will go to France. I will tell you about when I met your Papa!” Marianne leaned in to listen.
“This was so many years ago. Fifty! My family grew fields of flowers, Marianne. Roses, lilies, and lavender- See! Now that’s what makes YOU such a sweet violet, my dear girl! It runs in your blood!” she laughed as she hugged her.

“ I was twenty years old. I would go to the outdoor market in Paris every week with Mother. We grew flowers and brought them every week.  There were many other flower vendors but ours was known for our lavender.  I worked out in those fields harvesting the lavender. We sold it and it was used for so many things- soaps, perfumes, even cooking! I loved going to the market. I loved to hear all the stories the women had to tell each other. It was so fun! And, of course, I was always hoping to spot Papa- he was there often enough with his family selling vegetables. One day, he came over and bought some flowers from me. He told me he wanted a mix as he had someone he admired! I felt envious of the girl that I was creating the bouquet for- but I did my best- that lucky girl!  He paid for it and then handed them back to me and asked if I would like to accompany him to a play. Oh, I was in heaven!”

“ Grandmother, I wonder what Papa would say about that day.”
“Well, I know because he has told me a million times! He would say,  ‘Celine! That day I saw you in that pretty white blouse and your blue skirt and that red apron. You wore a blue bonnet and your blue eyes sparkled and your cheeks were pink like the roses that you sold! I could wait no longer to make you mine!” Marianne was unsure why her grandmother’s eyes became distant and teary and did not dare ask why.
Many years later, Marianne became an avid rug-hooker. She loved the history and the craft itself. One day in her home full of children, she tried her hand at a woman in a field of lavender- a youthful lady, in a white blouse, a blue skirt, a red apron and with the eyes of her heart, Marianne could see those dancing blue eyes and soft cheeks like roses.  With emotion, she could feel Celine’s hands clasp hers and she could see that little wedding band in her mind’s eye. She would always remember what grandmother told her- “ See! That’s what makes YOU such a sweet violet, my dear girl! ”

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sing A Song of Six-Pence

As you may know or not know, I am writing little books to go with my patterns. Today I am working on a book for my 'Crow and Crock.' I need a black berry pie recipe- any one have one? 
Would you like to know what comes to mind as I think about crows?
I learned many little nursery rhymes in my kindergarten class. When Mrs. Roberts would make her way to her piano and open the song-book, my heart would leap as we would begin to sing songs that would liven my imagination- a dog named Bingo, a farmer who had a wife, a red-nosed rain-deer, a popping weasel, but by far, my favorite was, 'Sing-A-Song-of-Sixpence.' So many questions would fill my mind as we sang the song. What was six-pence? Why a pocket full of rye? My father never ate from a dainty dish...my mother was busy with babies...I never saw her eating bread and honey. But all these questions seemed to fade away as we sang in wide-eyed disbelief, 

'The maid was in the garden hanging out the clothes,
When along came a blackbird and pecked off her nose!'

Mrs. Roberts seemed so matter-of-fact and unfazed as she shut the song-book and asked us to line up to go outside. I was still wondering if a blackbird truly would peck off someone's nose. Images of that fateful day in the king's garden kept my mind busy as I played hop-scotch and jumped rope always keeping an eye out for a wandering blackbird. Or did those things only happen when hanging out clothes? Whatever the case, more than forty years later, the words to that song are burned into my memory and I have sang it to all my children and my grandson. 'Sing A Song of Sixpence' has been a song that has kept the wide-eyed girl in me alive!
Both this pattern, and the rug itself will be available by the end of this week-end. This rug is a scaled down version of one I did a couple of years ago and sold. It was during that time that I was being messaged with questions wondering if I sold patterns. The thought had never crossed my mind. Ha-Ha! So, I am a bit sentimental about this design as it represents when I started trying my hand at coming up with my own ideas. Below are photographs of the original- it was huge! I loved it anyway!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Will You Be Mine, Valentine?

My friend, Christy Mason, and I chatted last night. She was asking me about what sort of creative ideas were on my mind. As I rambled on, I mentioned that I really want to do a Valentine rug. I had no sooner said that that the wheels in my mind came to a screeching halt. Why it is, what, like 7 weeks away!

What do I love about Valentine's day? For sure, it is the red hearts and the feel of impending spring. It's better than my birthday and I confess, I love it more than Christmas! My very favorite day of them all!

So today, I drew out a design that I really like. I will tell you about it. It is a little girl who is handing a heart, her heart, to the 'apple of her eye.' 

Can you guess who that might be?