Busy January and a DIY Light Table

Well, I’m going to throw in the towel on updating my goals every week. Nope, not quitting on the goals, just on the updating. I got to thinking, and my blog should be primarily about rug hooking. I’ll throw a bit of real life in here and there, but I’m going to stick to what I love, and stop trying to be something else.

So, a DIY light table. I had such light table envy when I first started creating my own patterns and selling them! In the very beginning, I would draw patterns directly onto the backing, and as soon as somebody wanted a pattern, it was stress-city! No matter how hard you try, if you are free-handing a pattern each time, it will be different each time! So, back to light table envy…..I started shopping around and realized that for the size I needed, it was quite expensive! Then one day, I was looking around at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Stratford, CT and saw several glass-topped computer tables. You know the ones, glass top, slide out keyboard platform and typically metal legs. They were all $25.00 and under, quite the bargain for what I had in mind!

Very similar to this!

Very similar to this!

So I took a picture, sent it to my very handy hubby, then called him. I explained what I was thinking, told him how inexpensive the table was, and said I was putting it in my car now! :o) Heavy sigh on the other end of the phone, then an “ok”.

Once I got it home, I put it in the garage and hubby started working on it. All that was needed was a board a few inches smaller than the keyboard drawer, two fluorescent lights, and a piece of plastic about the size of the glass top. Mount the lights onto the board and just set the board on the keyboard drawer. Make sure the cords hang out the back. Attach the piece of plastic to the underside of the glass top so that when you turn on the lights, it disperses the light instead of getting two bright spots from the lights below. I’ve added a slide show below that shows the different components.

The only item bought was the table itself, and it was $15.00. The rest hubby had in the garage, so it was pretty cheap to build, but if you had to buy the lights, piece of plastic, and board, it still will be cheaper than a brand new light table, and works just as well. Honestly, best addition to my studio!

Class Scheduling

I’ve been busy trying to find a space in our town where I can hold rug hooking and punch needle classes, and it’s pretty tough! I did have one beginner rug hooking class at my home last year, and even with just four people, it was a tight fit. I need a bigger space! I’m back on the phone today, and hopefully will have my schedule posted and a new newsletter emailed out by the beginning of next week! Thank you for being patient!

Let's get this party started!

Good Monday morning! Back from walkies and ready to dive into 2019!

So, my plan was to update my goals each Sunday…..missed that deadline. But no worries, here’s a quick update!

2019 GOALS

  1. Try a new rug hooking technique once a month

    Last week I pulled out some of my vintage rug punching tools and gave them a go. Definitely a learning curve on most of them! The Columbia MInerva punch needle was the easiest to work with. I’ll post a sample of the stitches with the name of the tool on the picture. These tools are pretty easy to find and fairly inexpensive. I think it’s a great way to get started punching on a budget.

  2. Make one recipe from The Great British Bake Off once a week.

    Ok, so my first recipe was homemade English Muffins. Definitely a learning curve here as well! On a technical challenge, I think I would’ve been in the bottom five, and the bottom of those five…lol If you’d like to give it a go, here’s a link to the recipe. https://www.bbc.com/food/recipes/english_muffins_56640

Supplies gathered

Supplies gathered

Dough made and proofing

Dough made and proofing

Muffins on the griddle. Yes, weird shapes.

Muffins on the griddle. Yes, weird shapes.

Finished product. A little doughy on the inside, but all in all, not a horrible outcome.

Finished product. A little doughy on the inside, but all in all, not a horrible outcome.

3. Schedule monthly classes as well as open hooking days.

I’m researching a venue here in town and should have my class schedule updated by next week.

4. Beekeeping

Bees ordered, pick up some time in April!

5. Have a monthly clean out

Nothing cleaned out yet.

6. Garden

Seed catalogs out and ready to be read.

7. Top Secret Goal for Raven’s Gate Primitives

Working on it!

Textile Sale Treasures!

This past weekend, the Monroe Historical Society had their annual Textile Sale, and of course, I was there before 10am, ready to shop! Now I usually don’t find much related to rug hooking as far as hooks, cutters, books, etc, but I do find some wonderful wool yardage. The wool is usually $2.00 a yard, so a definite bargain. I started looking around, and right by the book table, I spotted my friend Dawn from Coon Hollow Farm, and we started chatting. While chatting, I was scanning the books, and lo and behold, there were several rug hooking books! Well, if it had “rug hooking” in the title, I grabbed it. Didn’t look through it, just grabbed it.

Such interesting books!

Such interesting books!

Two Pearl McGown Books….with treasure inside!

Two Pearl McGown Books….with treasure inside!

This one has Pearl McGown’s signature and pictures of the previous owner’s rugs and where they are.

This one has Pearl McGown’s signature and pictures of the previous owner’s rugs and where they are.

More examples of the previous owner’s work

More examples of the previous owner’s work

This woman was a prolific hooker!

This woman was a prolific hooker!

After that, I wandered over to a lidded plastic box, opened it, and there were a ton of different types of rug hooking/punching tools. There was even a Pearl Mcgown hook!! Yep, grabbed that and others…lol.

Pearl McGown Hook

Pearl McGown Hook

I am planning on using some of these tools and making videos! Stay Tuned!

I am planning on using some of these tools and making videos! Stay Tuned!

Gorgeous wool and a sturdy yarn winder.

Gorgeous wool and a sturdy yarn winder.

Of course, arms full, I headed into the textile barn and found two bundles of beautiful wool that will be going into the dye pots some time this week.

Just the history in the two Pearl McGown books are amazing. A rug hooker recording her projects, and how they are used in her house, is wonderful to read. I might just do a little research to see if I can find this rug artist. I feel like I have a part of her history in my studio.



Busy Weekends

Fall is finally on her way, and that brings the start of fair/show season!  I spent my last two Saturdays vending at two different shows, and they were a blast!  I met some pretty cool people that are really interested in learning how to hook rugs, dye wool, how to create with punch needle, and even make their own goose feather trees!  So today I'm making a schedule and creating my first newsletter.  It's a bit daunting, but I'm pretty excited about this next level of my business.

A view in my booth

A view in my booth

A child's beach chair with a star mat

A child's beach chair with a star mat

Some kits, hooked rugs, and a few punch needle pieces

Some kits, hooked rugs, and a few punch needle pieces

More hooked pieces and my dyed wool

More hooked pieces and my dyed wool

While talking to people, I like to show that you can create whatever kind of rug you'd like.  When I teach a rug hooking class, I bring books, magazines, and show pictures from other rug hooking artists.  This way, any style can be incorporated into a rug for the floor, a table runner for a holiday, a set of mug rugs for your tea or coffee, or what have you!  A hooked piece can be incorporated into any decor, it just involves finding the right pattern and colors. 

Hand of Hamsa - made by myself for a Bat Mitzvah gift.

Hand of Hamsa - made by myself for a Bat Mitzvah gift.

A beautiful rug by Rachelle LeBlanc.  A great example of hooking figures as well as using a picture.  https://rachelleleblanc.wordpress.com/

A beautiful rug by Rachelle LeBlanc.  A great example of hooking figures as well as using a picture.  https://rachelleleblanc.wordpress.com/

A primitive little crow checking out the sunflowers.  Hooked by me.

A primitive little crow checking out the sunflowers.  Hooked by me.

This was hooked from a child's drawing. I'm afraid I can't find the artist's name (hooker or child...lol)  But it shows that you can hook anything!

This was hooked from a child's drawing. I'm afraid I can't find the artist's name (hooker or child...lol)  But it shows that you can hook anything!

I am now off to create my very first newsletter!  If you'd like to receive this newsletter, you can sign up on my contact page.  I would love to hear from you!

 

Rain, rain, go away!

So, lots of rain, lots of high humidity, but we're still walking every morning!  When I left my job to start my rug hooking business full-time, one of my goals was to make sure our giant puppy Jackson, went on walks every morning.  There's no way I can handle the energy level of a 60 lb puppy stuck inside all day, so we walk for about an hour every morning at a beautiful park near our house.  He didn't dig the walks at the beginning, but now I think he loves them. 

Jackson Walkies

 

Along with all the rain, I've noticed a big increase in fungi, toadstools, mushrooms, etc all over.  Some are really beautiful.  Also, the whole forest is just so lush and green.  I'm taking pictures now so I can remember this when the snow flies!

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I've been working on a fairly big rug lately, and am almost finished.  Then it's back to working on smalls and my feather trees.  My most recent tree is about two feet tall and as soon as I get it in it's stand and decorated, there's be pictures!

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A LIttle Catch-Up






Yesterday I saw down and watched the documentary,  Mister Rogers and Me.  It was, in a word, wonderful.  I honestly don't remember watching Mister Rogers Neighborhood as a child, probably because we lived in Germany (Rhein Main AFB), and didn't get much American television.  This was 1970-1975, so no internet folks!  But watching this film really showed that Fred Rogers was exactly who we all thought he was.  Kind, gentle, in the moment, and if he was interacting with you, or an audience, you were the most important person to him.  There's so many lessons we need to still learn from him, or if you watched Mister Roger's Neighborhood, remember them.  I think some Fred Rogers reading needs to happen this weekend.

I spent last week in Arkansas with my parents, and it was a wonderful vacation.  Catching up with all the goings-on, swimming, and visiting.  It was too long between visits, but that won't happen again.  

Once I got back, I dove straight into creating.  I've found that I need a project with me at all times to stay sane! lol  

But first, I took a kind of inventory.....here's the results.




I may need to start paring down a bit.    Today it's computer work, then back upstairs to work on my tallest goosefeather tree yet.  I did a quick vid of creating a branch, and will do a separate post on goosefeather trees and their history. 




  Lastly, needlepunch.








So, it's been a month.....

Looking for his girlfriend Ruby.  Ruby is a Vizsla that is out for walk/runs every morning.


....since leaving my office job, and life is wonderful!  Yes, the paycheck is much smaller, but so are my expenses, and my stress level is at an all time low.  I knew it would be different, but I am so enjoying being home!  I've been selling wool online, designing and hooking new rugs, doing a bit of punchneedle, and taking daily walks with this handsome boy.


Pretty little flowers alongside the trail. 
 
A little throwback Thursday....here's Jackson the day we brought him home.

Coming home at four months

This morning hanging on the couch after our walk.  He's about eight months old.
We were told by the rescue he is a Lab/Jack Russell.  The vet informed us that he is a Great Dane and probably lab!  But no matter, we love him even when he's eating like a horse and trying to chew everything in sight!  Training will begin in August!

I have a couple of new designs, one completely finished and ready to be fixed to a vintage picnic basket.
A close up of the flower


A top view

Front view


A little pumpkin.  She's a little wonky, but another steam should fix that right up
A needle punch piece mounted on a vintage lunch box

A close up

And currently on my frame.  I hooked all day yesterday and it was just so much fun!  I'm going to work on the background today after a trip to the post office to mail out some wool.

My version of  a yin yang

The sun.  The rays are hooked using sari silk

A little luna moth.  I'm definitely doing more butterflies, moths, and dragonflies. The color planning on this one was fun!
Have a great day!!


Quiet Corner Hook-In


This past Saturday, I was a vendor at the Quiet Corner Hook-In in Woodstock, Connecticut.  This is their third or fourth year, and I've vended since year one.  This group of ladies are some of the most welcoming and helpful people I've met.  The hook-in is held at the Woodstock Fairgrounds, and it's surrounded by beautiful countryside, farms, and little shops and restaurants.  The other vendors are make it alot of fun, and there's time to catch up with friends as well.  I'll just start with the pictures because words can't really convey how much talent and fun there was inside this building!

Vendor pics first...
Mill River Rugs - Margaret Arraj   
Diana Nylen - Punch Needle Artist

More of Diana Nylen's beautiful punch needle artistry

Nancy D.Jewett - Fluff & Peachy Bean Designs

More Fluff & Peachy Bean Designs

And more Fluff & Peachy Bean Designs
Benita W. Raleigh  Fancy Work Rug Barn
More of Fancy Work Rug Barn


The Paisley Studio ( I see you Barb)!

More of The Paisley Studio - Sarah was wandering around somewhere!
Yankee Peddler Rugs


Tonya Azzaro - Yankee Peddler Rugs

Woolen Memories

The Glass Action Studio

More of The Glass Action Studio



And lastly, me!  Raven's Gate Primitives - Naomi Allen
Next, pictures of the rugs on display.  The talent in this building was amazing!



















This rug was brought in by a young woman and it brought quite a lot of attention!  Her mom is a rug hooker as well as an art teacher, so the talent was definitely inherited!

Her plan is to draw up a companion piece from the same french tapestry showing a lion and another unicorn, I think.  I really hope she brings it in to the next hook in!