Thursday, August 13, 2015

Hooked Houses

Dear Blog Followers…..
I should be admonished for not blogging more regularly.  And although I have a million different excuses, like there was another pot of wool that needed to be dyed or Blue needed some attention, there really is no excuse.  I could promise to be better about my blogging, but no one would believe it at this time.

However, I have made some nice rugs lately and thought you might like to see them.  The top photo shows a Lori Brechlin design from Kris Miller's Spruce Ridge Studio.  Kris was here teaching a class in June and this was my class project.   I love the sunflowers and outhouse and the bright blue door.  All of Kris' patterns are great and I have a zillion of them here in the store to choose from .

The bottom rug is the second of the rugs I color planned with Maggie Bonanomi when she was here in May.  The first was the floral with the bunting shown in my last blog.  This HIDDEN HOUSE pattern is a charmer.  We strayed from my usual color palette and went with chrysanthemum and pink mums, persimmon and sittin' pretty.  The greens were blue greens, yellow greens, poisony greens all mixed together.  I used Maggie's method of tearing each strip wide, then hand cutting it in half.  It gives such a uniquely primative look and I actually find the hand cutting sort of relaxing.  Who KNEW?  I whined and complained about it enough when we first started, but grew to LOVE it.

It has been pointed out to me that I do whine and complain a lot when doing something new or difficult.  This became most immediately apparent during the July Diane Stoffel class.  I did the hardest rug I have ever tackled.  And….according to all who attended, whined thru most of the first two days.  Was that me?  Yes, I guess it was.  I will try to blog soon to show you the difficult little devil of a rug.  It is all done now, and looking at it, I think….what was so hard.   With Diane Stoffel standing next to you, everything seems doable.

Did you hear we are having a 3 day hooking weekend starting tomorrow.  This is FREE to all, we will potluck lunch and finish our unfinished projects, to get ready for more of the wonderful classes we have coming up this fall.

Pris Buttler is here for the annual MASTER CLASS this September.  Then I will do my yearly HEIRLOOM RUG CLASS in October.  The Hook-In Weekend will be Oct 3 and 4, with lots of great hooking here at the store after the Omaha hook-in is over.   Then Oct 31 Nov 1 and 2, Diane Stoffel will be here to teach, along with Pris Buttler for the RETREAT, then Nov 13,14,15 Donna Hrkman and Ali Strebel will be here for their RETREAT weekend.  Contact me if you are interested in signing up for any classes.  We bring in fantastic teachers every month.

All for now.  There is wool on the stove, better go.

Monday, June 22, 2015


Our Maggie Bonanomi class last month was terrific.
We loved Maggie, we loved her patterns, her color style and her unique hooking technique.  I tried to follow everything she recommended and the rug to the right is the result.  I love it!

She brought many one of a kind patterns and we all went nuts over them.  Some people had her help them color plan 3 or 4 rugs.  I got her help color planning 2 patterns and bought 5 more for the future and to have here at the store.

I love the bunting on the urn of flowers.  The colors are so soft, faded and worn looking.  Just like an old flag should be.  Of course, I have lots of wool here in the store that Maggie likes to use!  She picked Persimmon for the red, Grease Monkey for the blue and a textured birch bark for the white.  Gloriously dirty and old looking.

The flowers were a mixture of marmalade, dijon and pumpkin pie.  The background was a mixture of textured and mottled Spunkey Monkeys.  It made for a wonderful faded, dark blacky brown background.  The urn was Itty Bitty Moose, another favorite here at the store.  Loved it, loved the class, loved Maggie.  She is coming back next year for a 2 day rug hooking class and a 1 day appliqué class with an original pattern drawn just for us!  Can't wait.  Thanks again Maggie.

Now in case you have been wondering what Blue and I have been up to.....we just finished our therapy dog training class, 10 weeks with Domesti-Pups.  Saturday was the big testing day and the Blue dog passed with flying colors.  He already had his Canine Good Citizen rating, but had to take it again along with the advanced Community Canine test too.  Of course he is a genius and he and I take our higher education very seriously.  We start 3 months of supervised therapy visits in nursing homes and then in the fall, we will also be in the
'reading pups' program, where we will  be assigned  several students at our local elementary school who need help with their reading.  They say reading to a friendly canine listener can make reading fun and something to look forward to, for the young reader who may be struggling.  Blue and I can't wait for our first assignments.  We plan to work with 3 kids, every 6-8 week session.  

In the picture, Blue is giving me a big slurpy kiss for being his best friend and driving him around to all his fun classes.  We start Rally class tonight and have agility on Wednesday.  He is agile.....I am not....but there is much to be learned in every class.

See you soon,

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Maggie Bonanomi is coming!

Exciting news!  Maggie Bonanomi is coming for a 2 day class next week, Friday and Saturday May 15 and 16.  Maggie will bring along her patterns for you to choose from and color plan from wool here at the store.  I know all her favorite colors and there will be plenty to choose from.

If you don't know Maggie, you are in for a treat.  She has a really beautiful color sense and her style is primitive.  She has wonderful books out and promises to bring along some of those too.   Her creativity is endless and the ideas will flow, I guarantee that.

The two day class is $185.  Please contact me if you would like to attend.  It will be a fun time for sure!

Email me at or call at 402-359-2699 for more information.



Saturday, April 11, 2015

Finish Your Projects Weekend

Guess what we are doing next weekend, April 17,18,19??   We are having a FINISH YOUR PROJECTS weekend here at the store.  Join us to finish up some of your projects, and get ready for some new ones!  The weekend is only $50, Carl will make us lunch and we will have a relaxing 3 days of rug hooking, chatting and fun!   We have room for a few more… going us!!!!!

You may have been wondering what the Blue man has been up to lately, and frankly, he has been very busy.  A few weeks ago, we started a Competitive Obedience class at Companion Dog Club in Omaha.  The teacher is awesome and we are really enjoying that class.

Last night we started classes for Blue to be a certified therapy dog, thru Domesti-Pups.  After classes and testing, he will do a 3 month trial visiting nursing homes and assisted living facilities.  When he graduates he will be ready to go for nursing home visits several times s month.  Blue is already my official theatre dog and store dog, this will be a new adventure for us.  Blue loves children and old people (after all, his mom is an official old person, difficult to admit but true, haha).

Blue loves going to these classes as much as I do.  I think he knows he is pretty awesome and always a well behaved boy.  I have learned so much in the competitive obedience classes.  I had no idea of the detail and nuance expected of these dogs.  But Blue is a game guy and tries his best at everything.  I couldn't ask for a better dog.

See you soon….
Janice and Blue

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hayden's Rug Complete!

This is Hayden Moss, one of Leah's voice students that I taught to hook over Christmas break.  Here is Hayden with his finished rug, a great little star with an very nice coral and turquoise background.  Hayden left it with me to bind, maybe as a Mother's Day present for his mom.  (I am actually going to try to talk Sandy into binding this one… is so winky, Sandy could do it in a flash)

Hayden spent quite a bit of time with me here in the store in the last few weeks.  He was a member of our cast of MUSIC MAN at The Elkhorn Valley Community Theatre.  He played the part of Tommy Dijlas, his favorite voice teacher (my daughter Leah) played Marian the Librarian, and I played Mrs. Paroo……therefore playing my own daughter's mother in the show.  We had a wonderful time on stage and during the rehearsal process, but also had some fun on the nights that Leah and Hayden stayed over at my house, between shows.  On Sunday afternoons, Hayden had plenty of time to work on his rug….and VOILA… is done.  Congratulations Hayden!!

Till next time….

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Hooking Faces

I have not been blogging lately, but I certainly have been doing a lot of hooking.  These two rugs are from 2 classes we had here at the store.  Please excuse the slight distortion, I photoed them on the floor and it always monkey's with the top of the rug.

The little dancing girl is my daughter Leah, age 5 at the time.  I tackled this project in Pat Shafer's face class in January.  Leah loved wearing make up for recital, so I wanted to emphasize the blush and mascara on this little doll.  The face was a breeze with Pat's excellent tutelage.  The tough part was the ruffles.  Who knew.  I particularly enjoyed the tile floor and striped wallpaper.  I drew in lots of straight lines before hooking, so I could keep my stripes straight.

The picture above shows my son Will, at about age 5 with his little red rope.  He got that rope at age 2 and it was rarely out of his hands for the next many years.  He was dangerous, for sure.  If you moved, he roped you.  Even if you didn't move, he roped you.  I got used to having skinned shins and bruises on my legs.  Of course I threatened him within an inch of his life, to get him to stop, but after a brief reprieve, he was always back at it again.  He roped the dogs, the cats, his sister, dad and the various customers at his dad's training stable.  One of the customers, Sandy Weller is the person who took this picture.  Sandy is also the one who talked me into taking my first rug hooking lesson with her in 2001.  I didn't want to learn to rug hook at the time, but am certainly glad I went along for the lesson.  I loved it with my very first loop.

The little roper rug I tackled in the Diane Stoffel class we had here last weekend.  I blew up the photo, and transferred it onto the linen with red dot.  Will's face was fun to do, because not only did we have to get the shading right, we had to make it look dirty as well.  Diane is the master and she lead me thru the process without too much whining on my part.  In the background of the picture, you see Will's dad and another roper, heading and heeling a steer.  These were little tiny figures, but with the 3 cut, it was fun to do.  Diane helped me with the sky process before she left and I tackled the dirt by myself. She pulled the colors during class and we decided to make the dirt in short strips.  No hooked line is more than 4 or 5 inches.  It really help give the variegated look.   Dirt should be easy to do, but as I found in last year's cowboy rug "The End of the Day"  dirt can present it's own hooking dilemma's.  

The little roper's face is a 3 cut, the rest of the rug is 4 and 5 cuts.  Little Leah's face is 3 cut and the rest is 5,6 and 8 cuts.  I have to admit after all the wide cut rugs I have made, I am enjoying these narrower cuts too.

I have more rugs and more pics, but I better wait till tomorrow.
Bye for now.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Santa Face Class

We have had Santa Face Classes for the last two Saturdays, here at the store.  Pat Shafer teaches them for us every January.  Here is my Santa face from yesterday.  It is a Spruce Ridge pattern.  Most of the ladies hook those beautiful Santa faces from Kathy Morton Mullvain at Oak Ridge Cottage Designs.  Since this is my 4th Santa face class and I have already done 4 of Kathy's designs, I picked this one from Kris Miller's studio.  Kris is coming to teach a workshop in June and we are all excited to work with her for the first time.

Pat Shafer is a wonderful rug hooker, who just happens to be a former china painter and artist.  She breaks doing these faces down into easy to understand steps, complete with visual aids and take home extras.
I must say, that each time I do a face, it becomes easier to accomplish and less intimidating.  I love this beautiful Santa and will enjoy completing the rug.

When will I be completing the rug????  Well on Downton Abbey Day of course.  Tomorrow, because it is MLK Day and many people have the day off, we decided to spend the day with our favorite things…….rug hooking, rug hookers, Downton Abbey and FOOD.  We will start at 9am and watch until we are thru with the whole season….we think around 6pm.  Fortunately, Jeanette got this season and is bringing it out for all to watch.   Carl and I bought a new, bigger, TV for the store at Christmas time, for this very reason.  I can't wait to see what will happen with Mary and her suitors, and that darn sister of hers with the disappearing baby daddy.  Of course, we know Thomas will be making trouble somewhere, but will they finally catch up with Bates for the unfortunate accident involving Anna's rapist.  My head is spinning……I just can't wait.

If you happen to be available tomorrow and would like to come watch with us… are welcome.  We have 13 coming and I am sure we could squeeze in a few more.  Just remember, we will all be speaking with a British accent by the end of the day.  Even Blue will bark in Cockney.

Can't wait…..