RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: August 2011


So how many people do you know who can turn a boxed dessert into a flop?  Well I can – twice!!!!!   Lemon Meringue Pie – out of a box!  the lemon part worked but I had to do the meringue 2 times to get something that was not watery and runny and then it turned out to be only about 1/4 inch high!  So it was pretty obvious it was not store bought (well the box of mix was but we won’t go there!).  Key lime cheesecake – 1.  the cheese went curdley and grainy and 2. would not set!  The oreo cookie crust did not say bake!!!! does one bake these things – I did!  I think it was a tad burnt!  Slapped in that key lime filling and hmmm 3 hours later in the fridge still not thick enough to cut – thick enough to spoon but grainy – texture is good in hooking – but not good in cheesecake!!! So in a panic I called hubby who was on his way back from the hospital and he hit the first bakery in Perth and bought a tarte – unfortunately with nuts (oh oh nut allergies!) so off he went to the bakery in Westport where he bought a pie.  So now we had 3 edible desserts.  Left the runny key lime at home to be eaten by who knows! Hmmm might have to have some friends over for dessert!!!!

Just finished dyeing Mad for Maud blues.  We have a retreat this November with Pam Langdon teaching us how to hook Maud’s paintings as mats.  We all ordered our patterns from Highland Heart Hookery who have the rights to reproduce the paintings as rughooking patterns and now I am madly dyeing all those wonderful brights Maud used in her paintings. My pattern is either Springtime or Mauds Farmyard and both have a lot of that wonderful blue in the sky or water.  Here is the blue formula (see second rug down for sample of the blue):

8/16 Magic Carpet Blue

4/16 Prochem 425 National Blue

over about a yard of wool.  If you want a deeper darker value use more dye or less wool.

This is a Maud Lewis pattern I hooked in Pam’s class a few years ago at Trent School of Rughooking:

This is Andrea with her Digby Gut:

and… Pam with one of the MANY Maud rugs she has hooked:

Now off to do some of the greens!

Don’t forget SUNDANCE STUDIO TOUR this weekend in Maberly – Saturday to Monday.  This is a wonderful show and is in its final year (sadly) :-(.

MITTENS (unfinished!)…

Okay, so yesterday I said  that I would post a picture of the finished mittens today – well I did not finish them as I need polar fleece to line them so did not post and I have been getting rather pushy emails (would that be you Wendy!!!!) asking for pictures 🙂 (wow I have been seeing those little smiley faces for ages and just figured them out – yes I know – a little slow!!!!)  So here are my (sadly) unfinished mittens (I folded in the cuff a bit so they LOOK finished!):

You can actually see lovely FINISHED ones on Tish Murphy’s website where you can also order the kit at a very reasonable price.  The kit I ordered included the pattern drawn on monks cloth and instructions (don’t do as I did – READ THE INSTRUCTIONS). But you can also order the entire kit with wool and polar fleece lining – then YOUR mittens would be FINISHED!  I used about 1/4 yard of wool to do the actual mitten and used the balance to hook my background.  So having the entire kit is not a bad idea as it would have been cheaper than me hopping into the car to drive 45 minutes to the nearest store that would carry polar fleece!
Today is gourmet cooked dinner evening again with Donna and Wendy and spouses! My turn for dessert – I was really debating taking my pie plates to the local bakery and having them make something in the pie plates that I could pass off as home made!  But decided I would actually try to make something – probably will not work out and I will still have to make a trip to the bakery.  Ohhhhh, must go and dye wool! Reaction to cooking again!


Well I have been dyeing those fall colours again.  It is getting nippier in the morning – fog on the lake!  Wonderful weather! Here is a lovely colour I came up with a number of years ago and named Brick Red:

1/16 Turkey Red (Cushings)

1/16 Red Brown (Magic Carpet)

1/16 Chocolate Brown (Magic Carpet)

1/128 Bottle Green (Magic Carpet)

1/64 Red (Magic Carpet)

This will give you a nice deep value over 1/8 but I dyed up well over a yard and a half by multiplying everything by 12 – if you want lighter values pull them out once they reach the value you want (remember though that when it dries it will be lighter again) and then put it back in the pot once the dye has been absorbed to set.  I love this mixed with olive green and rich gold…

and a new Punkin (a bit more orangey than Antique Punkin):

8/16 Orange (Magic Carpet)

4/16 Red Brown (Magic Carpet)

2/16 Yellow (Magic Carpet)

over about 1 1/4 yards of mixed medium tones of camel, oatmeal, yellow etc.  I did not use any offwhite when I dyed this because I thought it might be a bit too in your face orange but there is a piece of grey houndstooth that shows you what the colour might look like over just plain old offwhite.

Yesterday I visited a friend, Val, who took one of my beginner classes me about 3 years ago (or was it 4 – time flies!!!!).  Val took to hooking like a dog to water! She hooked the first piece from one of my kits – her second piece, which she designed herself, drew out, colour planned and dyed for was the bluejay and then the robin was her third.  She has also done an amazing raven and just finished a big yellow finch on coneflowers.  Her next piece will be a cardinal in winter.  I love the way Val finishes her pieces – nothing ordinary about these finishing techniques!!!! and the birds are BIGGGGGG!  Val has a wonderful texturey look to her hooking and hooks, rips out, rehooks, rips out and hooks again. I am sure some of these pieces have been hooked 3 – 4 times! But when you have a vision!!!!

This weekend I started hooking mittens – well one pair!  This was a kit I got from Tish Murphy – one of Tish’s kits is what got me so excited about rughooking years ago.  Anyway, the hooking was easy but wow when it came to sewing and putting together I thought I was a tad dyslexic!   Kept putting things together backwards so decided hmmm instructions are there for a reason!!!!  Tish has great instructions and once I read them slowly! and thoroughly! I actually put the mittens together.  They are wonderful so once I have finished I will post a picture and Tish’s website so you can check them out for yourself. I think they will be a great addition to go with one of my purses.


I have been very good and not posted pix of my cats butttttt they are my babies and I have 4 of them so here is the darling Mr. Fleatwo in real life and hooked:

Mr. Fleatwo is on the left and his sister, Peanut, is on the right

I have hooked many cat rugs over the years – not usually realistic!!!  I much prefer to do more primitive folkart rughooking – Mr. Fleatwo started out more primitive and somehow morphed into a realistic interpretation. To hook his face I took a photo and uploaded it to my Mac.  Then I enlarged it and cropped it to what I actually wanted in the finished piece and colour planned from there and actually ran back and forth between my studio and the computer to make changes.  I am happy with the way he turned out – still have to decide how to frame this small piece (mostly 6 and 8.5 cut). Probably will have hubby make a frame for it so that it has a bit more presence. Someone suggested a pillow – this piece took me WAYYYYY TOOOOO LONG to become a functional pillow!   Too much sweat and agonizing over strips!  

On Thursday Andrea shared her cat rug which is totally hooked out of yarns.  It was wonderful! and texturey and fun.  Andrea has hooked a lot of pieces in her  relatively short hooking life – most of them BIG!  and many of them incorporating a variety of strips and yarns.  
I am not sure whose pattern this is – will have to check with Andrea – but I think her interpretation is glorious!


So it appears it MAY NOT HAVE BEEN A MOUSE in my tent box afterall.  Watched this morning as Chippie who was prancing around on the front porch driving the cats nuts through the screens climbed up the etagere where we store our shoes and into a birdhouse where he presumably has another stash of seeds.  So far we have found them inside the running shoes, in the dirt of a potted plant on the etagere and now in the birdhouse!  So was it him(her) building a soft nest in my tent box? Well as long as they all stay OUT OF MY HOUSE and OUT OF MY CAR I don’t really mind where they nest or deposit their stash – a stash is very important as we all know! and many stashes are exciting!!!

Had a great day with the girls yesterday.  We have an annual retreat at Camp Iawah in February every year and have a challenge piece.  Next years challenge is Frakturs so we all got together to look at Andreas great stash of Fraktur templates (Susan Fellers sets!) to come up with our rug ideas.  Some of the group are not hookers and will be interpreting the Fraktur in another medium which adds even more excitement to the challenge.  We also worked on snowmen heads – since I am sure you are wondering here is a picture of what we are going to be doing at the retreat:

Aren’t these too much fun!  I collected(well bought!) some wonderful old bottles at the junk man in Rideau Ferry to make these up as well as vintage buttons.  Louise actually used antique Christmas light reflectors for the collars of some of  hers.

Some of the ladies who attended yesterday had just taken a workshop in mosaic glass with Cindy Laneville (who is one of our guest artists during the Fall Colours Studio Tour Thanksgiving (Canadian) weekend  Cindy does amazing pieces but also teaches classes and is a wonderful teacher.  I am totally amazed that these pieces were all finished in the one day class – with a break for a gourmet lunch!  So if you can make it to our Fall Colours Studio Tour in Westport we are stop number 2 and you will see Cindy’s own work here.

Karen’s sunflower in a wonderful half moon antique window frame.

Donna’s dragonfly in a 10.00 old window frame she bought and dragged around at the Odessa antique show – this piece is huge! and will hang in her garden eventually.

Louise’s house piece – this was only about 15 x 12 and so sweet.

Wendy’s 4 seasons – ungrouted.  All the other pieces were grouted but Wendy did not grout hers (intentionally – not just because she forgot!)

It was a wonderful day of fun and inspiration and getting together with old friends – although we did miss a few people!


The other day I posted a picture of a small Daisy mat by my friend Linda Beckel – not to be confused with Linda Heatherington of the wonderful gardens and antique rugs!  or Linda from Rose Haven Farm!!! There are a LOT of Lindas out there it seems – and very few Lorettas!  Linda kindly sent me the following pictures of her wonderful rugs – check out all the different textures (yarns and hooking techniques) she has used in her rugs.

“Quebec-Memories of Home”, designed The Country Mouse (that would be Linda)

“Hi There”, pattern from Rittermere Hurst Field, with adaptation

“Canada Geese in Flight”,pattern from Rittermere Hurst Field, with adaption

Grandparents’ house…”Neuville”, designed by The Country Mouse

I will be teaching a class at Rose Haven Farm Store on November 19 about introducing texture to your rugs using wool strips, yarns, silks and different hooking techniques.  This replaces the class previously scheduled for September 24 on landscapes, however, we will also look at using these techniques in landscapes in the November class.  If you are interested in the class please call the store to register.

Just added Midnight Beaver as a kit to the online store. A few years ago we were only coming up to the house on weekends.  We noticed that a lot of saplings were disappearing – not that I minded as we are built on 8 acres of bush and there are a LOT of trees and these were just scrubby poplars.  It was all cleaned up neat and tidy. One day hubby came in and dragged me out of the house and THERE WAS MR. BEAVER CHOWING DOWN on one of our trees in the middle of the day – you have to understand that we are up a steeeeeep hill from the lake and it was a long climb up but an even longer climb down with tree branches dragging behind him.  It was so funny – had to make it up as a rug! Only wish we had met up with him earlier – we could have marked the trees we needed taken down to build the house and saved a lot of money!!!  In the meantime, he has moved up and down the lake taking down the occasional tree along the shoreline.  He is rather industrious!


Welllll we found out where the mouse got some of the rest of the fluffy stuff – our landscape cloth which was also stored in the garage!!!! it is now swiss cheese!!!! They certainly were industrious! but still worried about that blue, pink and red!!!!!  What worries me even more is that hubby put the tent box in the car the day BEFORE the show – is there a mouse running around loose in the car now???  making nests in the seats!!!!! holy cow!!!!  That would NOT go over well…

Finished framing a small rug yesterday – I love the idea and finished look but must admit to not loving the putting together part!  Anyway it is done and ready for the next show.  I do still have a few of these very primitive frames available for sale so if you love the look, get in touch and I can send you pictures and sizes and prices…

Yesterday we made a stop in Picton at Rose Haven Farm Store.  Linda (yes another! Linda) the owner, carries some of my kits so had to drop off a few new ones for the store.  The store is one of my absolute favourite yarn shops – I no longer knit but Linda carries amazing yarns and fibers that can be used in rughooking.  I love the look of yarns mixed with wool strips in rugs – particularly landscapes as they add wonderful textures to the piece.  I have used yarns in some of my purses and smaller rugs but I also have a couple of friends who hook almost entirely with yarn and their rugs are wonderful.   Sooooo, I added the following beauties to my stash!!!

Linda also carries some rughooking wool (hand dyed by yours truly!) and kits AND has made up hookers hanks of some of the favourite hookable yarns so that you don’t have to buy the entire skein – you can add a bunch of smaller bundles to your stash. So if you are looking for a great source of yarns for rughooking and are in the Picton area or just want to have a fun day trip check out Rose Haven Farm Store on Main Street.   Website is

This is a piece I finished recently that used a lot of yarns mixed in with wool strips:


Oh so sad – a great loss to the world of studio tours – this is the last year for the Sundance Studio tour.  This is one of THE BEST studio tours around – 20 artists all in one location – the home, gardens and woods of Carmen and Cam Allen in Maberly. Live music, amazing food by Fall River Pub and “facilities!!!”.  I have been part of this show since it’s inception – cannot believe it has been 5 years – and am so sad to hear that this is the last year.  Carmen and Cam have put a lot of work into building this show up to its amazing high standards and into promoting the “greenness” of the show.  Many of the artists are recyclers.  I have loved being a part of Sundance and if you have been or have never been try to take advantage of its last year.  You will not regret the time – it is a destination!!! For more info see the website

Sooooooo what do I say about The Women’s Art Festival yesterday – the location and artists were  wonderful as usual.  But the weather was disastrous!!!!   Got to City Park by 7:30 (which meant leaving home at 6:30 with only one cuppa!!!!! – not a good start!).  Enroute it was drizzling – not tooooo bad.  Parked in our spot and started to unpack the tent – ONLY TO FIND that one of the mice I rescued from my home this winter and graciously put in the garage (so it would not freeze to death) and fed peanut butter decided to make a home in my tent box.  There was a wonderful fluffy HUGE (god how many babies do these things have?) nest in the box. Fluffy mixture of grey, black, pink, red and blue – not super colour planning but very antique looking.  What had they chewed up to make this lovely little nest?  THE GUIDE WIRES FOR MY TENT!!!!!!   Nothing was left but fluffy ends!  but the guide wires are black and grey – where did the colourful bits of wool come from?  not sure! but no doubt next time we open up something else we will find out!  So in the huge downpours we had most of yesterday I also realised they had started chewing on the roof of the tent as drip drip drip landed on my kits, rugs and me!   Out came the duct tape – which we realised does not stick really well to wet tent fabric and is also not water tight!  So it was a soggy day all round!  Did meet up with some hookers from Kingston and some friends I had not seen in a while so despite the weather it was a fun day.  I only wish I had listened to hubby when he suggested jackets – noooo I said – it is going to be very humid and warm today – we won’t neeeeeeed jackets!!!! hmmm it was cold and wet and I kicked myself a few times!!!!   When my neighbour artist, Ditty Van Tol offered me a garbage bag so that I could walk around and visit all the other artists I almost accepted!!!!  All joking aside, it was such a shame because it really is a wonderful show and location.  The musicians could not plug in because of the lightning and thunder!!!! (now that also got me a bit worried – inside a leaking tent with metal structure under a big tree in a thunderstorm – not a good place to be!). I do hope that the show organizers did well as the proceeds go to such good causes.  Hopefully next year will be a dry year.

Today back to dyeing more Karla colours – well and Maud colours for the workshop we have organized with Pam Langdon.  Again a bit more eyeball dyeing.  Doing a lovely teal and blue green this morning…


Yesterday not only did I have a visitor to the studio who had done a fun proddy mat out of three sweatshirts:

Norma’s Proddy Mat (sweatshirts were cut in the up down direction rather than across the shirt and prodded into burlap)
but a friend of mine, Linda, emailed me a picture of her little wall hanging which also incorporated proddy:

Linda’s Daisy Mat (proddy, quilly sun, beaded dragonfly, roving clouds, wool applique leaves, wool strips and yarn!)

Linda is a very innovative rughooker who likes to try various techniques.  She has incorporated into her rugs sculpted wide cut, chain stitch hooking, beaded hooking, proddy,  pieces of jewellery, buttons.  Her smaller pieces are fun and funky but her large pieces are stunning (wish I had pictures to share with you).

This reminded me of my trip to England where I met up with a group of rughookers in May.  They were hooking at The Olde Post Office in Tintagel and hook primarily with rags – no wool to speak of!  A lot of their work incorporated proddy similar to Norma’s piece above.

I was really surprised at the absence of wool in their rugs – cause I LOVE WOOL! And there were a LOT OF SHEEP hanging around!!!  Although I have hooked with other fibers invariably I come back to wool – strips or yarn.  But in England they recycle a lot of man made fibers in their rugs.  It has a very different look but is very interesting and definitely durable.  The rug below was one that I saw that I particularly liked – very colourful and well planned and not a strip of wool!!!

I think that one of the things that attracted me so much to rughooking was the flexibility of this artform.  So many other artforms are rigid whereas rughooking allows you to be as structured or unstructured as you wish.  It allows you to use whatever type of fiber you want to use or can afford to use and still end up with a beautiful rug.

Today hubby is golfing! yeah!  I have the whole day to dye wool, finish rugs (yup GYT is still not finished!), hook a footstool cover, design a purse to hook at the WAF tomorrow – oh maybe vac up the dust bunnies! well maybe not!  I hooked a small piece to go inside a picture frame yesterday – once the stain on the frame has dried I will finish it off and post a picture.  The footstool cover should be interesting. Usually I hook pieces to go inside a recessed top of a footstool but this time I am covering the top of a twig footstool.  Have never done this but worth trying.  If it works I will post this when it is done.  So it should be a fun day…

This is a picture of the footstools – these will accomodate a finished piece 17 x 11 and are strong enough to stand on – they are for sale for $75.00 through my online store (although I only have 1 left):



Well Karla is becoming very very popular!   I have had a number of requests for her patterns but since I only bought 5 for myself and have sold 2 of them I would suggest taking a look at her ebay store.  She shows her paintings and rughooking designs for sale on this site – they are wonderful.  Have fun…