Thursday, April 10, 2014

Birthday Girl

Hello All
My daughter Leah's birthday is coming up, so it was important that I get this rug of Mij done in time for the birthday party.  Please note that Mij has her left ear cocked forward…..that is because a squirrel is hiding behind the flower on the top right hand corner. Mij is a big squirrel fan and only lifts that ear when she sees one.  You would not think that lifted ear would present much of a problem, but it did.  I hooked it about 10 different ways and finally walked away from the rug in disgust.

Jan Goos was here visiting and I said to her, "I have had it!  Do something with that ear, will you????? And left the building.  Fortunately when I returned, my clever rug hooking buddy had hooked the ear and I must say she did a marvelous job.  Thanks Ms. Goos !!!!!

I hid the letters M I J above the dog's back and apparently did such a good job of hiding them that you cannot see them in this picture.  In person, you can pick them out, hidden so nicely in the background.

Of course, Leah has Mij's sister Dolly living with them now.  It was a rough couple of weeks as these 2 litter mates played the getting acquainted game, but now they are fast friends.  I am sure that now I will be required to hook a rug of Mij AND Dolly, but maybe that can be for Leah's next birthday.

We are having a big weekend here at the store.  Jan Goos is coming to teach a 3 day workshop.  She designed a wonderful runner called BARNYARD FOLK ART and we will all hook the same rug, but make them distinctly our own.  They will be fun for sure.

Stop by when you are in the area.  As always the store is full of antiques, hand dyed wool and over 750 rug hooking patterns.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

In the Dog House

 I am in the dog house, for not blogging for the past several weeks, but it has been crazy busy around here.  We finished FIDDLER, it went very well, was a nice, tight production.  Then I began dyeing day and night preparing for the Diane Stoffel class here last weekend.  17 of us worked under Diane's amazing tutelage and the rugs were absolutely phenomenal.  I am working on a photo adaptation of my son.  I will show it when I am  finished.  Lots of people worked on dog rugs, but since I did not, I have to show pictures of Blue.

On top is a picture taken at the groomers a few weeks ago.  We are still going to the groomer, Mandy McMenamin at Unleahed Dog Spa, every week.  I told Mandy we would come every week until Blue will stand for grooming like a show dog.  We are NOT there yet, but he does get better every week.  He hates having his feet clipped, but with some treats and Mandy's amazing patience, things have greatly improved.

Blue is 4 months now, weighs 40 lbs and is 22.5 inches at the shoulder.  We have been attending a puppy socialization and obedience class every week and he is smart, smart, smart.  So smart, that he figured out how to open the back yard gate, how to pop the top on his dog food container to steal his lunch, how to untie his leash from whatever he is tied too.  It is great to have such a wizard of a puppy.

The bottom picture shows Blue with me at the theatre.  I was working with a student on the stage, Blue is in his normal position.  Notice he has blocked me off, so I cannot move without him noticing.  That is because he is my absolute shadow.  He is everything I wanted in a dog, smart, loving, out going and social.  He has also developed a big bark, he definitely sounds like a baby Rottweiler when he does not like the looks of someone.  I like that about him too.  No wimpy Poodle here!

I will be putting pictures of our rugs from class up soon.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Sorry blog followers, I have been busy, busy with the show at the theatre.  Tomorrow night is opening night for FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, so we have been having rehearsals every night this week.  I am sure everyone in the cast is pooped, but after the shows Fri Sat Sun this weekend, we have 4 days off from the theatre until we do the 2nd weekend of shows the following weekend.

Blue has been going with me to visit rehearsal a little bit each night.  He goes with me to the theatre for voice lessons, but I thought it was good to get him up on stage and under the lights we all the people and sets and activity around.  He takes it all in stride.  This is a picture of him at his last haircut.  Mandy at Unleashed Dog Spa has to be one of the most patient women alive.  Blue still does not like have his toenails trimmed or his feet clipped, but he is getting better each time.  He looks a little grumpy in this picture, but he had just finished his beautification ordeal.

Below, is a picture of Pat Shafer's beautiful rug that I talked about in the last blog.  This rug is a CELEBRATION finalist in the original category.  Pat calls this "Lessons From My Son".

It is a gorgeous rug and will be displayed at Sauder Village this August with the other CELEBRATION finalists.

Pat will be teaching a mahogany Santa face class this Tuesday at the store.  We have been working on our traditional Santas but thought it might be fun to try something different.  Let me know if you are interested in participating in one of our one day Santa face classes.  Pat has promised to teach some more in the future.

We also have a date selected for our Wayne Kalal 'Color" class.  We will have that one day class on Saturday March 29th.  Contact me if you would like to be on that list!

Diane Stoffel will be here to teach another March workshop in just a few weeks.  That class is full, but if you would like to be on a waiting list for any of her future workshops, just drop me a note.

Coming soon, April 11. 12, 13 is a three day workshop with Jan Goos.  She has designed a rug for this class called "Barnyard Folk Art".  We are all going to do the same pattern and see how different we can make them.  This should be a lot of fun!  I have 2 spots in that class, so contact me if you are interested in doing a Jan Goos original.

Off to the last dress rehearsal.  It will be a very good show, with some rug hookers you might know in it, as well.  Colleen Cochrane is one of the people of Anatevka and Ken Petersen plays the Rabbi.  Pat Shafer, who was supposed to be in it, will now be helping in the box office, since she broke both her ankles a few weeks ago.  They are healing well, but she is not up to tripping the lights fantastic….at least yet.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Color Class a Success

WAYNE KALAL came last Saturday to teach us a class on color and it was a terrific success.  Wayne is an Omaha artist, working in oils and pastels, but has a broad background in many art forms.  He was at my store before Christmas and we had a fascinating conversation about color and placement and balance that was really helpful with a rug I was hooking. I thought……others would enjoy this and the class was in the works.

Wayne talked about color theory for the first part of the 4 hour class, then we got out our rugs and patterns for help with color planning.  I encouraged everyone to bring rugs they were having problems with or completed rugs that had not turned out how they expected.  It was really interesting to hear Wayne's suggestions about possible color changes.  We spent a great deal of time just throwing wool around, talking about VALUE, HUE and CHROMA.  We learned about greyed value markers and how he prepares to paint a piece, by first doing a values sketch of it.  All these tips about painting, we found valuable for rug hooking as well.

It reminded us that we are indeed artists!  Many of the problems that face painters, designers and other artists, are remarkably similar to the challenges we rug hookers experience.

Wayne enjoyed learning more about rug hooking and meeting the textile artists.  We are planning another class with Wayne, later this spring.  I will let you know the date when it is set.  This is a class that I think every rug hooker could learn from.
Thanks Wayne!

Pictured on top was our 'Color' class.   There were 6 of us and it was a perfect size.  We will keep class size to 6-8 for the next class, as well.  Below, is Wayne looking at an unfinished rug, dispensing advice.  Look in the middle, who made it to class too.  Yes, Blue was there.  Although at 26 lbs he is getting a little heavy to carry around for long.  Blue enjoyed the class and the activity as well.  A great day all round.

Next time…..

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Georgia O'Keefe Floral

Sorry bloggers, so much has been going on, I have not had a chance to log in.  We had another great Santa FACE class a week ago Saturday.  Several of us took both classes that were offered on Saturdays this month at the store.  Pat Shafer did a bang up job of teaching us the shading required for the face and beard of the each Santa.  Each one us made an entirely unique look, but they all turned out great.

Taking both classes really helped cement the information into solid application.  I feel like I can tackle an eye with much more confidence than before.  We will be having more of these classes in the future, so let me know if you would like to get your name on a list.  We are going to do a mahogany Santa in an upcoming class.  Pat is already completing the sample Santa and it is beautiful.  Thanks to Kathy Morton for her beautiful Santa patterns, I try to keep all of them stocked in the store.  We have gone thru lots of them in the last few weeks.

Speaking of our good friend and dedicated Friday rug hooker Pat Shafer…..she had exciting news in the last week.  Her beautiful rug was selected as a finalist for Celebration this year.  Pat worked on this rug in a Pris Buttler class and many of you may remember it.  It commemorated the life of her son, it has a piano key board, top hat, theatre faces etc.  Remember it?  It was a work of love as well as a work of art.  It will be going to Sauder this summer for display.  We actually will be driving it back with our 'Ladies' rugs that will be displayed there this August.  We did those rugs in a Pris Buttler class too.  Am I seeing a trend here????

That is a perfect segue……we are having Pris Buttler back in Sept on the 5,6,7.  A few years ago, we worked on rugs inspired by Gustav Klimt with Pris, here in a class.  Last year we did our lady rugs, inspired by the work of Jan Toorop.  This year we will do these beautiful florals inspired by Georgia 0'Keefe.  Pris teaches at the RETREAT every year in an open class, there are few spots left for her class this year, if you would like to attend.  This floral class had been full, but suddenly I have 3 spots that have opened up.  If you are interested in working with Pris on this specialty class, contact me.  We are sure to learn lots and tackle a new technique and style.

Of course, I had to include a picture of Mr. Handsome.  He got another haircut yesterday at Unleashed Dog Spa in Elkhorn.  Mandy was again a patient sweetheart with his less than enthusiastic attitude about his grooming.  He was better tho, than the last time, so progress is being made.  He got the first clipping of his puppy body hair and is starting to look like a grown up poodle.   Oh, they grow up so fast, don't they.  Of course the house revolves around him, as it should be.  He is one adored pooch.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Santa Revisited

I spent a few minutes today working on Santa's eyes.  If you scroll down to my last post you can see the Santa with the alluring eyes.  Too much mascara!  Pat suggested I take out the black eye lid and replace with brown.  I did and I think it is an improvement.  Pat will have some more suggestions for me on Friday, but I am happy with him for now.  He looks alert, but not sexy.  Much improved!

Till next time…..


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Unleashed Dog Spa

Blue survived his first professional haircut, but not without protestations.  Fortunately for him, we found  a gem of a groomer in Mandy McMenamin of Unleashed Dog Spa in Elkhorn Nebraska.  This darling young woman could not have been more patient and understanding of this 20 lb mass of wriggling, uncooperative fur.

A friend who owns three poodles recommended Mandy to me.  Then at the gym, I brought up my impending need for a dog groomer.  I told the other ladies that I had gotten a terrific recommendation.  Our trainer spoke up and insisted he knew the BEST dog groomer ever and said I needed to try her.  I told him I felt pretty good about the recommendation I got, since this woman works out of her home and will even let you wait and watch your dog being groomed.  The trainer said "Well, this one is close by, just in Elkhorn."  I said "Well, the name I got is just in Elkhorn too!!!"  It was at about this point that we realized we were talking about the same person.  We were both right, she is a terrific, super nice, sweetheart of a dog groomer.  It turns out Mandy's mom lifts weights at the same gym that I go to!!!!

Even Blue had to agree that Mandy was really swell, even tho she was involved in some puppy torture, like blow drying and toenail clipping.  He had forgiven us both within minutes of his hair-do completion.

I decided to make this an every 2 week event until he gets used to the process.  I don't think it will be long before he gets the drift.  And it is soooooo much better to teach him to like grooming at this age and size instead of as a 60lb 6 month old.  Mandy agreed it is a good plan, so in two weeks, we go back for more.

 The plus side to this, other than the really terrific smelling, adorable dog……is that Blue preferred to be carried around like a baby all day.  I had Carl take the picture below to prove it.  Yes, it is true, this spoiled pooch has me soooooo wrapped around his little paw.  However, he is getting to be quite an armful.  Perhaps he would consider some kind of papoose arrangement.  Thank goodness, I lift  weights as a past time.  It has prepared me for this moment.  Sort of like Owen Meany for those of you who have read it!

Pictured above is Blue and Carl and me at Jean Miller's in Seneca Nebraska the day we picked him up.  Jean posted this on her website at Solo Standards.  It is no wonder this dog thinks I should carry him everywhere……we started out that way!

Next post……Santa is going to be de-mascara-ed.  My pretty boy Santa is going to lose some of his eye liner to see if we can make him look like a little tougher, yet still jolly old elf.  Stay tuned.