Friday, July 27, 2012

Family Tree Addition
This link leads to a page that shows the home of Judge A. G. Otis, of Atchison, Kansas, maternal grandfather of Amelia Earhart (her mother was Amelia Otis Earhart).  Amelia grew up in this home.

I haven't posted my family tree here on Blogger, but accidentally found a surprise addition and the source for the photo wouldn't let me save it in my documents, so I saved it here.

I had chosen a book from the collection at my store, planning to see what repairs were needed, and the book opened to a page of photographs of "Popular Heroes of the Spanish-American War".  One of those heroes was Major General Elwell Stephen Otis.  While perusing his bio on Wikipedia, I found a curious link to Amelia Earhart.  I had never suspected she was an Otis, but maybe I should have, given how her strong deterined personality is similar to so many of the early Otises.  Many of the early Otis women were feminists, even before that word was part of the language, and Amelia Earhart fits right in with them.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Two Flowers and Five Leaves

Two flowers and five leaves to go! With any luck, I should have the hooking done tomorrow. Then my problem will be how to finish - I'm sure it shouldn't be whipped and I've gone beyond the point where I could fold it back and hook through two layers, so I guess I'll either fold it back and hemstitch it down or fold it back and cover the edge with tape. I think tomorrow I'll go upstairs into my studio and check out a few of the antique rugs and see how they were finished.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

I haven't given an update on Gibby for a long time. He's doing well. Fortunately, he has taken on the job of raising Gadget, and Gadget isn't an easy pup to raise. Gibby and I spend several hours every morning working together to turn Gadget into a decent dog - and it's very hard work. Gadget has had dozens of toys, but only one survives, the rest have been beaten up and chewed up by Gadge when she's in her divil dog moods. Poor Gibby either has armor for skin or he has tons of bruises hiding under his beautiful fur coat - Gadget bites him, leaps on him, and throws her toys at him. Once in a while, usually when she's chewing on his tail, he gives her a warning growl. She runs back and forth through the house and Gibby tries to keep up with her but quits after one run. She can recuperate with a ten second rest, Gibby needs a deep sleep. I am soooo glad to have Gibby, raising this wild puppy would be a disaster without him. I only have a chance to write this now because Gadge is busy chewing up a leash and my favorite white blanket - wait, that's MY blanket - STOP!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Working on the Lion

I've been spending every spare minute working on the Frost Lion. The lion is finally done and now I'm working on the grass under the lion - doing some antegodlin with 6s near the sky and ground boundary and 8s in the rest.

On Friday, I started working on the rug in my quilting group at the community center, ate lunch there, and then just moved my project into the large dining room so I could watch the life painters while they worked and get some hooking done - so, I hooked from 10 to 3, then moved to the store and hooked from 3:30 to 7:30 - wouldn't you think so much hooking would have filled up most of the pattern? I basically hooked an area that I could cover with my hand. I guess I'm a slow hooker.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Lion Roars

I didn't get as much done on the lion as I expected to last night. A man came into the store wearing a big Russian fur cap, so he said "Hello" in Russian, and I said, "How are you" back, in Russian - the full extent of my high school Russian. We had quite a conversation, turns out he was a student, in fact, the class president, at University High back when I was a teacher in the same building. I was teaching first grade in University Elementary, almost 45 years ago. He came back a second time and brought with him a book of Edgar Guest poems -- a book he had taken from the school library way back when. Since the school has been closed since 1970, he felt giving it to me was as close as he could come to returning it to the school library. Talking with him reminded me of a lady who had been the much admired school librarian, Ms. Sarita Davis. She was the most caring and dedicated librarian I've ever met. She encouraged me to write stories for children, was even going to send one of my books to a publisher, when she literally dropped dead in the hallway walking between the high school and the elementary libraries.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Less Frosty Lion

I removed the yellow/cream tweed that was showing up in photos as bright white and am now hooking the mane with mostly yellow/tan/light brown tweed. I like it a lot better. It's too bad the photos don't show the colors more accurately, the black background is a very active antique black - lots of colors showing through. I wish I could get a photo that would show those colors. I decided that hooking at the store just isn't enough, there are always too many interruptions, so I'm packing a bag and taking the lion home. We'll have a lovely eveing of dogs, television, and hooking. I think I'll even bake some scones - I found an "easy" recipe that uses lemon-lime soda.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lion Too Frosty?


I haven’t been able to hook since Thursday, but while I’m resting at home, I’ve been thinking about the Frost Lion.  I’ve been working on the head and basically only looking at the head – and, by itself, the lion head looks a lot like some kind of unusual space monster.  I decided it was time to take a good look at the whole pattern and see how the head is going to fit in.  I’ve been anxious to get enough hooked to see how the antique black background will do, so I have hooked just a little bit around the top of the mane.  When I look now, I see way more of the very light colored mane hairs than I should….

Frost Lion Head

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Frost Lion Day 3

Again, not nearly enough hooking time. I had a computer lesson with a really nice gentleman whose children told him he needs to join the computer age - taught him how to search for dump beds for pick-up trucks. He's coming back tomorrow to learn how to use a laptop. Then I had a one person hooking lesson. Dee is hooking a picture drawn by her grandaughter that's really cute.

Next I had a visitor, a really nice woman who visits every so often and frequently brings me special things. She met Gadget the last time she was in, so today she brought me a book about a farm with border collies. After she left, I couldn't get into hooking until I'd read at least the first chapter. My job is supposed to be selling things so that things leave the store, but some of my best days are filled by the kindness of people bringing me thoughtful things and/or just stopping by to talk.

Anyway, it was already sundown by the time I got to hooking. I'm trying to close up and go home around sundown, but I felt I had to do some hooking anyway. I gave the lion some ears and a few strands of mane - I wanted to get some mane bumping into antique black, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. I'm wondering now what the lion is seeing - maybe he heard the noise of a hooker sneaking up behind the flowers on the far side of the rug.

Frost Lion Day 2

Only a little more done on the lion today. I didn't get to the store until 3:00 and then had customers in and out the rest of the afternoon. I had one Indian chief who bought an antique microscope for his medicine woman's valentine present, and then I had a little woman who grew up in New England but has always wanted to live in England, in high society a century ago - she makes button greeting cards.

Funny what you learn about customers. I think I almost like talking to customers as much as I like hooking! I had one grumpy guy who strode in, strode to the back of the store, strode back, said, "Got any local photos?" and I said, "No". I do, but he walked right by them twice and I didn't feel like sharing them with a grump. I'm thinking about putting whatever local history I have into a little book - I may run an ad asking people to share stories about my building. I heard one the other day from Donna at the Senior Center - she met her first husband at a dance upstairs (in what is now my rug hooking studio). She went to the dance with a girlfriend. This man walked right up to the girlfriend and then turned and asked Donna to dance - and then she said, "and we danced together for twenty years!" Lots of people have told me stories over the years and I should have written them down. I guess I can't start any sooner!

Monday, February 06, 2012

The Frost Lion

I've started hooking the lion in the Frost Lion rug. I've had a hard time trying to decide what colors to use for the lion. I've researched photos of lions several times now and had thought I would use wool that I dyed with Cushing's gold and old gold, plus some wool I bought on eBay called "lion's mane", but the colors just didn't seem right.

I'm having a terrible time trying to get Blogger to let me put my photos where I want them, so I guess I'll just leave them at the bottom. I looked at a lot of photos taken of live lions and I also had a lot of fun studying Edward Hick's paintings with his Kingdoms that included lions that changed and aged as his paintings changed over many years. You'll be able to see in the first photo that I've decided to do a shadowed gray/buckskin lion, although right now, with so little hooked, the lion looks more like a goat.

This is one of Edward Hicks' lions

A second Edward Hicks lion

Close-up of an African lion

My favorite lion photo - I'd love to know what he's thinking.

I decided to use Hicks' lions for my models. I'm guessing that a post-American Civil War rug hooker would not be familiar with live lions and would have to rely on available books or paintings or photos. Edward Hicks, a Quaker minister, painted at least 62 different "Peaceable Kingdom" paintings and they all included a lion. Those paintings could have travelled from his Pennsylvania to other Quaker meeting houses in New England and elsewhere, so I'm guessing our early hooker could have seen at least one of them. Of course, the pattern gives some information about how the lion should be hooked. The pattern gives a longer face to the lion, but that's all workable.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Martin Luther King Day

This is not one of my normal blog posts, but I wanted to send the top photo to the Ellen Degeneres show. After a wonderful concert in Hill Auditorium (bottom photo for you non-wolverines) a group of us were walking to the parking structure when we passed the store that carries UofM sporting goods and saw this mannikin in the window. Whoops.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


My SJ rug is done! Well, at least the hooking is done - I still have to do the whipping, but I'm putting that off until some time in the future. I may want to add a border, but I'm anxious to get started on my Frost pattern and I want to think about border possibilities for a while. With the extra monk's cloth folded back, the rug seems a lot smaller.

And now, Gibby and Gabby are really pals. Gibby is soooo patient with the puppy - she jumps all over him, chews on his ears, bites his cheeks, puts her paws on his nose, etc. and he just takes it. Sometimes he comes to me for attention, but as soon as I pet him, she's all over him again - I think she doesn't want to share.

This morning, I was in the barn cleaning up after feeding the chickens and Gabby walked in. She and Gibby had been in the dog pen and apparently she figured out how to get out. I was a little panicky because I didn't have the driveway gate closed, but she ran right to the house - whew!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Poor Patches.

Ever since her mother died before Thanksgiving, Patches has been in hiding. She's been hiding in a destroyed couch in my library, a room that is now basically only a pass-through to the door that leads to the dog pen. A few days ago, she spent about 36 hours hiding in the bathtub. The last couple days, she hid behind some boxes under my desk in the library - when I found her there this morning, she was shaking from head to toe. During this whole time, she would come out to eat, but only eat about half of a can of canned dog food, and if I tried to pick her up she gave a small growl and let me know she might bite me.

One of my motivators for getting a puppy was an attempt to bring Patches back into the world. She has always been a playful dog, so I was hoping she would play with the puppy - but, so far, she doesn't want anything to do with the puppy and even leaves her food bowl if the puppy looks at her sideways.

So, today, I begged Patches to come out from under the desk and was surprised when she came to me. I put a leash on her and led her out to the car - and then I realized how much I had been neglecting her - I used to take her with Blue and George in the car almost every day, but after Blue died, I had gone in the car alone or recently taken the new puppy - so, anyway, Patch was glad to be in the car - she went right away into the very back part where the sleeping bag and pillows are. She stayed in the car while I had lunch with friends, then I took her to the store.

I had just gotten Patches settled at the store when a young girl opened the door and waved to the driver of their car to come in - and here's where the world becomes a funny place. The woman who came in had not been here for a dozen or more years - she moved to Illinois years ago. She is the person who rescued Patches when she was only a year old. I had sold Patches as a small puppy to a grandmother who had never let her out of the basement for a year. Neighbors were talking about how horrible the grandmother's house smelled and that's how I heard how badly Patches was being treated. One of my weaving students volunteered to go get Patches, and she did.

She rescued Patches again a year later when she visited the dog pound and saw Patches being taken to the "euthanization" room. She stopped that process and called me and I, of course, was anxious to take Patches back. She arranged the adoption for me.

We had not seen her since that phone call, and here she was today in the store. Patches jumped all over her. I saw Patches happy for the first time in weeks. Patches is about fifteen years old now, and hadn't seen her rescuer since she was a young dog, but she obviously remembered.

Patches is better now, not hiding. She made a nest behind the counter at the store and has been acting like her old self all afternoon, even with lots of people in and out of the store. She even shared my supper with me.

Monday, January 09, 2012

New Dog Toys

Gibby and Gadget, who is now being called Gabby, have been playing wildly for days now. Poor Gibby gets worn out long before Gabby is ready to stop, so he takes a nap while she shreds every piece of paper she can find. The noise of their wild playing gets really loud and sometimes their play includes leaping from sofa to chair to chair to dog bed and back to sofa - a wild whirlwind that makes sitting in a chair in the same room a little uncomfortable - so, I decided it was time to get some dog toys. I studied a catalog, read up on "unstuffed toys" called skins, and then I added dog toys to my shopping list. When I went shopping tonight, I picked up one toy, but trying to get a lot of toys was going to be expensive - so I bought some toe socks instead. The toe socks were on sale, 3 in a package for $2. When I got home, I gave the purchased toy to Gabby and it scared her - the toy talks and does some heavy breathing just like a playful dog. After a few minutes she played with it anyway. Then I gathered up a few coke bottles - bottles that had already been stripped of their labels by Gabby - and I stuck them in the toe socks. They made great toys, the crackle and pop when chewed on, there's enough left at the cuff end to hang onto for teasing and throwing, and Gabby likes to pull on the toes - great toys. Gabby wore herself out with the new toys and is now sleeping on the back half of my chair.

I got a little more hooked on my SJ today, now only three blocks to go. I also have a couple blocks in the middle that need to be redone - I must have been in a pretty dull mood when I hooked them.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Welcome Gadget!

I had intended to spend every spare minute this weekend working on my Sincerely Jane rug. I thought I would have everything finished except the binding, but I haven't even picked up a hook. This little critter under the table, sitting on my wool bag, has occupied every spare minute.

This is Gadget, also known as Gidget. She joined us a week ago and is a wonderful addition to the family. Gibby has learned to play with her. Patches stays far away. She's in perpetual motion, always looking for a toy - like an empty dog food can, a toilet paper roll, or anythng that can be ripped and torn (just rescued my checkbook as the bite and double-twist were being applied).