Sunday, June 19, 2016

I know I haven't blogged since cancer and heart trouble interrupted my life, but I didn't realize how much time has passed.  Anyway, I'm back.

I just got home last night from my driving adventure to and from California.  My original goal was Cambria Pines Rug Camp in Cambria, CA.  The drive out was uneventful until I found myself lost on a winding road that ended at a gate with a sign saying, "STOP  Private Property  You can't get to the ocean this way".  I knew then that I was at least somewhere near the ocean.  That whole little trip took three hours, an hour and a half in and the same going out.  Every time the car was going faster than 10 mph I thought it was going to go over the edge - there was a steep drop-off on both sides.  The best part was when I stopped and a turkey ran across in front of me and then a deer trotted across the road behind me. About an hour later I arrived a day early at Cambria Pines Lodge.  I tried to camp at the state park, but it was full, so I slept in my car in the lodge parking lot.  Slept pretty well, too.

My teacher at camp was Monika Jones and she gets my high recommendation. I arrived at camp with a vague rug plan.  I had drawn two horses and thought they could go in a tall narrow rug that could fit on the wall with my rainbow bridge rug.  My explanation was vague and Monika didn't seem too interested - so I made a new plan.  I drew four new horses, each in a different part of training.  Each horse represented one of my late horses.  One in western pleasure training, one in dressage training, one going over cavaletti preparatory to learning to jump, and one bowing the way Chuck Grant taught me to teach my stallion, Dan Bally, to bow.  The four horses were quickly hooked and then Monika suggested I do the background in what she calls "messy hooking" and I call "antigodlin". June Mikoryak explained antigodlin to me by saying it was the way the old hookers did it and that was what they called it.  She said the loops should look like someone had dropped a handful of rice in the bottom of a bowl.
                                  Rainbow Bridge rug, unfinished

                                  Drawings for my original rug plan

                                  Horse training rug in process

I'll show/explain more in another blog - it's almost one AM and I'm ready to pet my dogs and go to sleep. I'd like to finish the training rug and then explain with photos how I developed ideas that resulted in the rainbow bridge rug.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Notecards Printed from my paintings For Sale

I have been doing more watercolor painting than hooking for some time now.  Some of the paintings have been made into notecards, and those notecards are for sale in my antique shop.  They can also be purchased by sending an email to and payment to Paypal.  Be sure to include your selection names and your shipping address in your email.  The cards are $2.00 each, with shipping and handling $1 each. Plain white envelopes are included.
1. Behind the barn
2. Gadget with bagel
3. Happy Gadget
4. Horse:  Knight
5.  Horse:  Mare

6.  Horse:  Mare in Foal
7.  Horses in Fall Pasture
8.  Pig:  Wilbur

9.  Pig:  Grazing

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Visit to Poland

Went with some friends to the city within the city, Hamtramck, the city within Detroit that once had more Polish residents than lived in Poland.  Like everything else around Detroit, this city has changed and has financial problems, but there is still a wonderful essence of a past culture available in the form of a new museum, a wonderful art center, a bakery, a meat store, and a really wonderful restaurant.
                           This was a newspaper ad from World War II
                         The art center had lovely amber jewelry, pottery, dolls, and rugs. The rugs were woven, not hooked, but very interesting anyway. They were hung quite high, so I couldn't get a close look at them.
                               This rug showed the Polish national symbol.

                           These trees are some kind of fiber art, a combination of weaving and braiding and I'm not sure what else.
                      This store is a polish grocery - with fresh kielbasa and more kinds of pierogies than I've ever seen.  I brought some home to try.
                       The bakery was amazing - such smells and sights! I avoided buying anything, but couldn't help thinking about eating all of them.
This last photo shows my half eaten dinner - in the Polish Village restaurant.  I had kielbasa, stuffed cabbage, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, potato pancakes, and city chicken - and every bite I had was better than the one before.  I've never had a restaurant meal as good - every single item was delicious.  I didn't eat all of it - I have a great big doggy bag to have for dinner tomorrow (and maybe the next day, too.)

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The Rest of the Story

I arrived home Monday night, played with the dogs, fed all the animals, went inside to rest for a few minutes, and woke up Tuesday. I had to catch up on commitments most of Tuesday (our new little free library grand opening next to my store, for one), came home, fed the critters, went inside to rest for a few minutes, and woke up this morning. Had to catch up on commitments (painting class) most of Wednesday, had dinner with friends, came home and finally brought my laptop inside.
My father, if he was still alive, would absolutely croak if he knew what I did on the way home.  He planned our trips to the last second.  He spent the winter with maps, a drawing board, and a little measuring wheel, and planned where we would go each summer weekend plus a three week camping trip. He planned where we would eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner and where we would camp every night and exactly how long it would take to get wherever. By the time I was in college and had summer jobs and no more family camping, I had slept under canvas in most states of the union and all over Canada.  My dad's planning worked well for us - but somehow, I have not been able to be that precise (did I tell you my dad was an accountant?).
I left Old Salt early Saturday, got to Amherst, NS about 2:00, visited Deanne Fitzpatrick's shop (where I learned there were no more stone handled hooks :( but there were lots of other great things) so I then went to Frenchy's where I didn't find any good wool but did get some dog toys and a Dick Francis book.  The next time I stopped was at a McDonald's in Monkton, NB. where I ran my seat back and picked up my Dick Francis book to read for a while.  A car pulled in next to me and the driver made a pleasant comment.  When they came back later, they noticed the Ann Arbor car dealership ad on the front of my car and told me they live in London and have spent a lot of time in Ann Arbor.  They said they travel back and forth a lot and suddenly had me talked into traveling home through the states.  I knew I could go into Maine at Houlton, but followed their advice and went to Calais - which was a lovely ride through Bay of Fundy influenced land, much more interesting than the Houlton route, but it put me on a small, windy road when I got into Maine.  The two-lane road might have been interesting in daylight, but a lot of fog lowered visibility early and made driving after dark hazardous - but there was nowhere to stop.  It took hours to finally get to 95, the main expressway that goes south through Maine. When I found the first rest stop, I crawled into the back seat and slept for 8 hours.  I did that part of the trip without planning or a map or anything and was pretty darned pleased I reached somewhere reasonable, but I could picture my dad shaking his head.

By the time I got down to Massachusetts the next day, I was doing the same thing I did on my trip to California - I was thinking about my family connections along the way.  At one point, I even passed an Otis town line, and Otis is my mother's family name.  The Otis family came from England on the ship that came after the Mayflower (one of the Otis men married one of Richard Warren's daughters, so I can claim to descend from a Mayflower passenger.)  There are some great early Otis stories - one John Otis, I forget which generation, was captured by the French and shipped to Martinique where the French promised to return him and then poisoned him to death.  His son, another John Otis, went to sea against his widowed mother's wishes and was captured by pirates.  He was such a good sailor, the pirate captain agreed to let him free if he sailed with the pirates for a year.  The captain didn't keep his word, so John Otis and his friends mutineed, captured the pirate ship and turned in the captain to be hanged.  Massachusetts went by pretty fast while I was thinking about pirates, so I reached New York and stopped for the night.

In New York, I had a family story that is also part of the story told in rugs in one of the displays in the museum.  One Otis family moved to New York and lived in a block house.  One night, they made a huge mistake and let some of the local Indians spend the night in the blockhouse.  Those Indians opened the gates and allowed a war party in to slaughter and capture the entire family.  The youngest child was murdered in front of her father (another John Otis) who was then killed, and his third wife and two young sons were marched off to French Canada.  The boys were raised by priests who pronounced their name Oddise, and their mother was married to a Frenchman.  Years later, after the Frenchman died, she left her French children behind and walked alone back to New York. There was a surviving son in New York who was later killed by Indians when walking home from church.

Another, as yet unrelated, branch of my family was also in New York, and I'm reminded of this part of my family when I see signs for the Mohawk Valley and Herkimer, New York.  In Germany, in the 1600s, there was an area called The Palatines, where for decades people were starving.  Warfare and bad weather had ruined crops and thousands of people left.  Many walked to Amsterdam and found passage to England and too many stayed in Amsterdam. There was a false rumor that England would give them land.  Soon, there were too many Palatine refugees in London.  The English Queen (Anne, I think) solved a couple problems by sending the Germans to settle on land grants between the English settlers and the Indians, a clever buffer or line of defense for the English settlers.  One of the Palatine families was the Spanknebles (Anglicized spelling) and they had a son Johan (our family needed another John!) who fought in the bloodiest battle of the American Revolution, the Battle of Oriskany, under General Herkimer.  When this brave young man pioneered in Illinois many years later, his name had evolved into John Sponable.  His daughter married Harris Otis and became my second great grandmother.  Her beloved husband was killed by an exploding anvil when celebrating the Union winning the Battle of Vicksburg.  She took her four childen to Vermont to be raised with family back where most of the Otis family still lived (someday I'll get to go to a Green Mountain rug show and tell the stories about that era in the family) Last year, I met Otis cousins who live on the original Sponable land grant in Marengo, Illinois.  I slept Sunday night at a New York rest stop.

Somehow, on Monday, I stayed on 90 all the way to Buffalo and found my way to the bridge back to Canada.  In Buffalo, I thought about Millard Fillmore, nephew of my great-grandmother's great-grandfather, his grandfather would be my sixth great-grandfather but that is too complicated to sort out and I quickly got into Ontario and forgot all about family stories.  I was southwest of Toronto for a while and even toyed with the idea of staying there overnight and surprising Jo-Anne at her new store on Tuesday, but the pull of home and Gibby and Gadget and Patches was too strong.  A few hours in Ontario, the 403 to the 401 and then the 402, and then the Bluewater Bridge from Sarnia to Port Huron and I was back in Michigan, an hour or so from home with lots of fantastic memories of Old Salt and the Hooked Rug Museum.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ferry to Tancook Island

Four of us took the ferry to Tancook Island today.  There was quite a bit of fog, but the ride was very smooth.
Little Tancook and Big Tancook are the islands I can see from my bedroom window at Old Salt.  We boarded the ferry at Chester.
The ferry went first to Little Tancook, then Big Tancook where we got off and walked to the local (and only) restaurant at the top of a hill that was steeper than it looks.
Suzanne and Sherry had fish chowder while Lucy and I were treated to the last two lobster sandwiches in the restaurant - very good lobster sandwiches.
When we returned to Chester, we went over to Suzanne's house to spend some time with Hugh - who knows more about the history involved with rug hooking than any person alive.  He is an energizer bunny when it comes to doing historical research, and he shared some of that with us today - too bad the day didn't hold more hours!
For the evening, Lucy Richard demonstrated her Wooly Mason Jar dye system.  By organizing an exact system of measurement, Lucy has taken complications out of dyeing.  If you can understand a color wheel with primary, secondary, and tertiary colors, you could become an expert swatch dyer using the Wooly Mason Jar System.  That was a pretty full day, so I'm off to bed!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hooked Rug Museum

The pictures show a very small portion of the rugs on display in the galleries of the Hooked Rug Museum of North America.  The last photo shows a rug hooked with burlap on burlap.  Throughout the museum there are rug collections organized by theme (such as rug patterns by Edward Sands Frost or rugs that depict the story of the War of 1812, etc.)

In addition to enjoying the museum today, we did some shopping at Frenchy's in Bridgewater and Liverpool - which meant LOTS of driving.  I've added more than 400 miles to my odometer since my arrival at Old Salt.
Tomorrow, I'm looking forward to a ferry ride to Tancook Island - if rain doesn't ruin our plans.

Mahone Bay

We spent today in Mahone Bay - the town famous for it's churches.
There are a number of churches right on the bay.  Three of them have tall steeples and those three often end up as paintings and rug hooking patterns.  We had lunch (haddock chowder) across the bay from the churches,  but visibility wasn't great so my photography suffered.
After lunch, we went shopping at Encompassing Designs, a great rug hooking supply store right on the main street of this lovely, old-fashioned town.  We also did some antiqueing during the day - found some great old rug hooks and other essential collectibles.  We got back to Blandford just in time to have fish and chips at a nearby restaurant.  One of my purchases today was a book about the history of Blandford - my bedtime reading for tonight.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Peggy's Cove

Yesterday went by too fast.  Pam and I spent the afternoon with Suzanne at the museum.  I was surprised that two of the visitors were Yahookers, Phyllis Smith and her daughter Joanne.  Funny when you meet people you've known for a long time on the internet, they don't look at all the way you had them pictured.  I thought Phyllis was a tall, willowy, dark haired Tallulah Bankhead-esque sort of person - but, I was wrong.  She's my kind of person!

We went to Peggy's Cove and saw the lighthouse pictured in dozens of mats donated to the museum by the wonderful people in Ontario.  After seeing so many hooked versions of the lighthouse it seemed appropriate to view it in person.  While we were there, we had a delicious dinner of baked stuffed lobster tail.
We had a corner
 table in the restaurant, so I could see the ocean to my right and to my left.  Wonderful place to eat!
The early settlers in Peggy's Cove were given land grants for this area, and, although it's a very popular tourist area now, I think they got the raw end of the stick - the land is all rock.  Not rocky, rock.  Solid giant rocks of granite.  No soil for farming.  No soil to support a shade tree.  No soil.  Just huge, gray rocks.  Fortunately, those brave souls could make a living on the ocean because the land sure wasn't going to help them.  So, it was an isolated fishing village on the very rocky coast of St. Margaret's Bay.  We drove around on the other side of the bay when we drove down the Aspotogan Peninsula to get to Old Salt.  In that bay, 15 years ago, a Swiss Air plane crashed and all on board were lost.  There are memorials on both sides of the bay to those lost on that flight.  One man I met on Saturday thought I was a family member of someone lost and thought I had come such a long way because the 7th is the 15th anniversary of the crash
.  The fishermen on both sides of the bay went out to the crash to rescue survivors, but there weren't any.  They had to deal with the gruesomeness of  finding
hundreds of bodies.  The local people took in the family members back then and would probably be just as kind today.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Old Salt, Blandford, Nova Scotia

I'm up early at Old Salt this morning, enjoying the sunrise and some toast made from homemade bread Hugh and Suzanne brought over yesterday.  They came to visit early in the morning, but I had already left to see them at the museum.  I took a wrong turn and ended up miles (well, kilometers) in the wrong direction before I turned around and actually got to the museum. I was able to do a lot of sightseeing and a little yard saleing along the way.  There were only a few small things that caught my eye and my wallet at the yard sales - I bought a set of Japanese dogs, an old children's book, and some earrings - all good stuff.

After my museum visit, I did some beachcombing.  I'm looking for the perfect stones to make handles for rug hooks.  I found some that feel right in my hand, but they are shale or slate or sandstone.  I really want granite, for the beauty and strength, so I'm putting more beachcombing on my schedule for today.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sauder Village Rug Show 2013

Thursday morning, I suddenly remembered this week is Sauder Village rug show week.  I cancelled my other commitments and made the almost two hour drive to Archbold, Ohio.The rug show was HUGE.  I think there must have been more rugs than any other year.  There were several shows within the show and all were impressive.

 There were vintage shirred rugs, part of a collection that goes with a book that I didn't buy :(
 There were President rugs, a rug for each American President, with an extra display of Presidential dolls - a knitted and needle felted doll for each President.
 There was a set of color challenge rugs:  the gorilla was hooked by April Deconick who was assigned "light" as her challenge.
 Lisanne Miller hooked the forest with dark trees and darker trees.
 This great aurora borealis was hooked in response to the challenge, "green".

And so on,,,
Hundreds of rugs and dozens of great people, lots of old and good friends.  Rug shows are great!  and I survived the drive, a good test for my Nova Scotia trip.