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Monthly Archives: December 2011


Well another 364 days or is it now 362 till Christmas! Still have company so have been busy cooking (well make that heating up!), entertaining and eating and not hooking or posting! But most of the entertainment is being provided by our local wildlife – amazing how caught up we can become by the turkeys and deer at the feeder. We have 2 turkeys who come a few times a day and a mother and fawn (well yearling I think) who are also returning to the trough daily. Yesterday a buck (hmm is an antlerless male deer called a buck? don’t want to ask my neighbour until December 31st evening!!!!) also came. Has been wonderful. And now with more snow just so picturesque. Hope those black shapes by the feeder look more like turkeys when I post than they do right now – click on the photo and you should get a larger and clearer version. These guys are supposed to be skinny but are getting pretty chunky!

I just got in a new order of Karla Gerard patterns. Karla has given me permission to actually draw these patterns out on linen for sale. These are the patterns I have in stock and will be putting on primitive linen (good for number 5 cut and up…I do 8.5 which is 5/16’s inch with no problem):

20 Blooms

Blooming Tulips

Gertrude & Elizabeth

Seaside Town

Primitive Blooms

Bird in Blooming Tree

Bird 10 houses and Tree

Large Moon Landscape

2 Houses

Evening Moon

Blooming Circles

3 Owls

3 Blooming Birches

Some I will do in the size of Karla’s actual patterns but some I will enlarge 50%. I will post prices for the hand drawn patterns shortly. Pictures can be found on Karla’s website

Hope you are also enjoying a wonderful snow day!


SO COULD THE SNOW HAVE WAITED one more day!!!!! With company arriving this morning I was hoping to avoid snow but… it arrived! Oh well – actually rather lovely to have that coating of white on everything. Not sure how my mouse is going to enjoy it!!!

We started filling the deer feeder again – usually we wait until after December 31 (end of deer hunting season) before we start enticing the deer back. Our neighbour is a hunter and his wife always cautions us to NOT FILL THE FEEDER until after the season is over but we hoped that this year his cold! and the spirit of the season might convince him to leave the wildlife alone! So the feeder has been filled since Monday with a wonderful mixture of corn and grains and molasses! Smells wonderful and definitely has been attracting the animals – the squirrels of course have been living in the feeder but also yesterday we noticed a pair of wild turkeys and DEER!!!!! Of course last year we filled it and after the deer found it some other critters moved in – and I MEAN moved in. Big fat racoon ate and ate himself into a stupor and fell asleep in the feeder! So far this year no racoon…

Off to dye up some tan which is a wonderful colour for snow in a primitive rug but also just a great background colour. Try this formula (using Cushings dyes) over half a yard of off white:

1/16 Khaki Drab

1/128 Golden Brown

1/128 Wild Rose

1/128 Old Gold

mixed in 2 cups of boiling water. I usually add about 3/4 of this formula to cool water with vinegar already mixed in the water  and add my soaked wool immediately. Then gradually bring the water to a simmer and don’t stir. Abrash with the rest of the formula. The wool will be beautifully mottled. You can see this background in the rug below but I also used it in my most recent Winter Wonderland rug mixed with some as is tans. Really GREAT primitive snow!



Spent this past weekend in Montreal. Hard to believe that my friends are turning 60!!!!! I remember about a year ago Gord getting up one morning and telling me he had had a nightmare that he was married to an almost 60 year old! I replied that the real nightmare was that he was almost 60 himself! Funny how we don’t feel 60 though – I still think of myself as 20 – just don’t have to work for the next 40 years!:-) … So while we were there we decided to take a trip down to Burlington and Stowe. Of COURSE on the way I managed to squeeze in an antiquing side trip in Essex Junction. A friend of mine told me about a shop she had discovered on the internet called Five Corners Antiques. Wellllll it turned out to be a huge architectural salvage shop with tons of stuff and a wonderful antique store upstairs full of primitive antiques and smalls. Soooo did I buy – oh my god I could have bought a TON of stuff. Reasonably priced great primitive antiques. But I think I restrained myself and bought only a big “berry basket”. Not sure exactly what they used it for – looks like maybe it would hold about 10 of the quart sized baskets in it. But I think with a hooked rug in the bottom it would make a great centerpiece on a big table or magazine basket! So added that to my collection of MANY many antiques that I am going to hook pieces for! (someday!!!). This is a top view:

Then on to Stowe which sadly has changed and does not have the same wonderful shops I remembered it having years ago – or have my tastes just changed. I reallllly prefer to not buy items made offshore and find that unfortunately so many shops carry few North American made items. Although I did manage to find a couple of lovely shops with primarily local artist/artisan work in Stowe and bought a wonderful pottery mug. Then off to Burlington where we had dinner at our favourite pizza joint – Kens. I was totally shocked when I turned around and there in the window was THE LEG LAMP from The Christmas Story complete with FRAGILE sign. Had a great laugh. Then found out that at the Frog Hollow store (which carries only Vermont made arts and crafts) Dug Nap was signing his prints. I love Dug’s sense of humour – you can see his work at I found a wonderful big orange tabby cat – very folky – and had Dug sign it for me. Now to get Gord to make me a primitive frame for it!

Even had time over the weekend to hook a new small winter scene that will become a kit. Spent time with friends and parents and had a great weekend. The birthday party was held at a Brazilian restaurant in Montreal called La Milsa. They bring huge skewers of MEAT to the table and slice off what you want – the selection is crazy – every kind of beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey you could want. Unfortunately, I am not a big meat eater!!!!! and this is a MEAT WITH A CAPITAL MEAT! restaurant! But they did have salmon on the menu and it was delicious!

So today back to hooking, dyeing wonderful Holly Hill Red from Dyeing for Color by Susan Quicksall and packing up the last of the presents. Here is that beautiful red and my new kit with this great red and the dark navy I posted last week:




My all time favourite Christmas movie arrived last night – Gord had gone curling and I was curled up in my Bed, Bath and Beyond Pj’s (2 years ago Gord bought me these as my Christmas gift – made out of those vintage looking offwhite sheets and pretty ugly but really comfy) watching Jam and Jerusalem when ding dong the doorbell went. Well we live out in the bush – neighbours out here do not ring the doorbell nor do they visit at 8 at night! So I WAS NOT ANSWERING the doorbell dressed in swaddling! However, a few minutes later I heard a motor driving away and found a wonderful little package at the door! If you have never watched this movie it is wonderful – nostalgic and funny without being stupid. The movie takes place in the 40’s and Ralphie – the hero – wants a BB gun for Christmas but is constantly told he will shoot his eye out. I laugh just thinking about the movie and some of the scenes – like Ralphie’s friend getting his tongue stuck on metal in the cold and the firetruck coming to his rescue (didn’t we ALL do that? just to make sure!!!), the winter days when we would be so wrapped up in pants, skirts (back in the days when you wore a skirt to school) stuffed into snowsuits and overboats and scarves and mittens (attached to each other with a string that ran up one sleeve and down the other so you could not lose those mittens!) that if we fell over we were stuck there until someone came along with a crane to lift us up again. If you are looking for a fun movie that will take you back to your childhood (well assuming you are my age!) get this movie!!! It is sure to become a Christmas tradition!

I finally did some decorating – not much! Put up my Charlie Brown Christmas tree (which I wrap up in sheets and put away decorated with all my primitive ornies wrapped so that putting up the tree takes 5 minutes!), my small feather tree (made of goosefeathers by 2 girls in the states manyyyy years ago), my hand carved santa collections, my collection of smoking men (only smoking that goes on in my house!) from the town where my father few up (Seifen in the Erzgebirge – try to pronounce that!), my sheep collection (well part of it!) and a few more things. So tonight we will watch the movie, light the smoking men and enjoy a glass of eggnog (well I will have tea – chai!).

Yesterday my friend, Linda, emailed and told me that there was a video of the Hooked in the Mountains show – check out this blog where you can watch the video ( It is quite good and shows a lot of the rugs at the show as well as interviews with some of the visitors and featured artists. In it Jen Lavoie is wearing a hooked hat. Well, Linda always challenges me and asked if I had ever hooked a hat as she would like to make one. NO I replied however, I did remember seeing instructions in one of the first rughooking books I bought years ago so out came the book, have read through the instructions and am now going to play and see what I can come up with. In the meantime, I have dyed navy wool and if you like a real blackish navy here is a dead easy formula. You can overdye many textures and pull out as the value is achieved that you want so it runs from medium periwinkle to ultra dark navy. I usually like to mix in some brown/navy plaids and textures with the darkest navy to give the background more visual interest:


3/16 413 Navy (Prochem)

3/16 Black (Magic Carpet)

over 1/4 yard mixed fabrics


Had a bad day Tuesday – took the cat to the vet and the car died – well that was quickly fixed by the local mechanic who was only 5 minute walk away. Then got home and my IMac died! Panic set in very quickly!!!!! how do we live without our computers – address book, photos, internet, agenda, email, blog!!! Thankfully I have an old laptop which we plugged in and I was able to do my emails – albeit very slowly because I could not remember how to use a PC as the programmes on the Mac are very different. So Gord spent the day in Ottawa Wednesday getting the hard drive replaced then Thursday we loaded on the backup (thank GOD for the backup!!!). Still a few quirks that need to be fixed – like Iphoto is totally different and I seem to have lost pix and we also needed to change the RAM (ginko did not work!). Hmmmm wouldn’t it be nice if we could just change our own RAM when we become a little mentally bogged down! Anyway things are moving along but it was a couple of stressful days! Friday Gord went all the way back to Ottawa to get the new memory put on the computer. Unfortunately that meant the day I had been planning to spend in the U.S. hitting one of my favourite antiques and primitives stores (Colonial Housefitters in Jamesville south of Syracuse) got flushed! How sad!

Yesterday, Lydia and Elizabeth came and we spent the day overdyeing really ugly recycled plaids! I love doing this because it always amazes me how beautifully they turn out. We did some wonderful greens and golds and reds – one of the reds bled out and I threw in some lights at the end and sucked up the leftover red “juice” and got the most beautiful soft aged pink. I am not normally a pink person but this was so pretty I may have to work it into a rug! Today I decided to dye all background colours – eggplant, dark olive brown, maple sugar, navy and dirty black! Here is a formula for dirty black that is so easy and gives you a nice aged black with a touch of a old green gold tone. I find most black out of the container is too blue based for my rugs (I don’t LOVE blue!) and needs to be “dirtier”:

Dirty Black:

10/16 black (I use Magic Carpet for all the blacks required no matter what dye book)

over 2/8 yard of mixed wool.  Once all the dye has been absorbed I overdye with 2/16 moss green (Magic Carpet) and 2/16 orange (Magic Carpet).

Needless to say I did not do 2/8 yard but rather 1 full yard of mixed wools. This is great for using up those really ugly wools.

So now I am going to try to load on a picture of one of the wool applique stockings I made this year as Christmas gifts and yeah it worked! These were such fun to make up – the sewing actually did not take too long however all the embellishing took much more time. I have some wonderful antique and vintage buttons I got from the Junk Man in Rideau Ferry that I have been using in the embellishing. The one that I gave as the handmade Christmas gift in our exchange last Saturday had snowmen and a moon all made out of buttons – antique mother of pearl buttons. If you flip them over they have a wonderful yellowish tinge that looks very primitive.


party was wonderful.  Location is always amazing – I spent the first hour walking around taking photos of Laura’s home and her decor! and decorations! Thank God for digital cameras!!! Our gift exchange was such fun led by our games master, Linda (aka Alec Trebec – spelling???). New game this year for the exchange of gifts went somewhat awry and I ended up with nothing!!! BUT NOT FOR LONG! Love this whole – STEAL THE GIFT YOU WANTED FROM THE BEGINNING rule! In the end we all had a great gift and here are a few pix. Next year not only are we doing the gift exchange butttt we have decided that we are also doing an ornament exchange (for those who wish to participate) all hand made – each person will make enough for every participant of her own particular ornament and in the end we could get 10 – 12 wonderful hand made ornaments for our trees! I realised my Charlie Brown tree actually could hold a few more so I am in!…

Laura supplying us with inspirational material – tons of magazines!

The “games master” getting primed – unfortunately SOME OF US don’t listen well to instructions and things got a tad confused! Next year we hand out Ginko – the memory drug of choice!

The start of the games!!! We had to balance clipboards on our heads and draw a Christmas scene as we were dictated elements – the resulting “artwork” was ratherrrrr primitive!!!!

One of the gifts Laura won in a previous exchange.

So sad – some of my pictures did not turn out well enough to post – darn camera!!! out of focus and really fuzzy!!! oh no – that was because they were felted! Karen made 3 beautiful felted ornaments and Laura made a wonderful birdhouse and bird – felted! I am hoping someone else got a better picture of these that I can post. Anyway you get the gist – these were our under 10.00 hand made items – some took a week of work but materials were under 10.00 :-)!!

So the mouse saga continues however, now instead of 3 in the morning we only have one! and they now get transported (rather like the prisoners in Britain in the 1800’s) to Perth or Ottawa! Wellll maybe not that far – but at least a km away. Plus we take away their little GPS’s and point them facing north! So only one in the trap in the morning! Got a little or rather HUGE mousetrap from friends, Louise and Karen, on Saturday night. I thought they were being realllllly cruel giving me a killer mousetrap until I realised it was a cheese board! So my mouse memorabilia continues to grow!!!


So yesterday was part 2 of the mitten class for our Guild – Rideau Valley Boots and Baskets. What fun seeing the mittens that had been hooked and getting them finished – well some were ALREADY finished!  Here are a few pix – more to follow next week …

There were a few ladies who had not finished hooking or were not present so I hope to get pix of their mittens to post. It was such fun to see how different each pair was.

In addition I have a few pix of some of the purses created during and after the purse class earlier this year:

I am always amazed at the creativity of rughookers – we seem to grab an idea and fly with it!

Today I am getting ready for our primitive Christmas Party. For a number of years now a small group of us have been getting together the first Saturday in December to celebrate the season. We potluck (and yes I am cooking something!), bring food for the foodbank box anddddddd exchange a handmade (by ourselves! I am reminded every year that it has to be made by ME after the fiasco of the first exchange!) under 10.00 (yeah right!) gift. This is always sooooo exciting – exciting to make and exciting to receive and steal and receive and steal! I cannot wait to see what everyone has done for this years exchange and will post pix of the gifts next week. We always celebrate at Laura’s wonderful home – an old church from the mid 1800’s that is decorated with the most amazing primitive pieces. As Laura always says – the uglier the better! But her house is FAR FROM UGLY. It is warm and exciting especially at this time of year when it feels like a wonderful shop! I keep hoping for price tags on pieces so that I can buy them and take them home!

In the meantime here is a new beautiful dirty gold colour I came up with yesterday (instead of the light green I had wanted!):

8/16 Moss Green (Magic Carpet dyes throughout)

8/16 Orange

2/16 Yellow

over 10 fat 8ths of mixed wools.