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…..


Friday, January 2, 2015

Brand New Rug Hookers

 Happy New Year!  I hope you all had wonderful holidays.  We had a terrific time this Christmas.  Carl hates the holidays, but my daughter Leah and I make up for it because WE LOVE CHRISTMAS!

Leah borrows some costumes from me, or actually, The Elkhorn Valley Community Theatre, here in Valley.  She often brings her students along to help load or unload or just to have company on the drive.  They stop at the store to get the key to the theatre, so I know many of her students from their performances at Leah's theatre in Lincoln, Theatre Arts for Kids, as well as their visits to our theatre and the store.

Several of her students expressed interest in rug hooking, so Leah asked if I would teach them over the holiday break.  I said SURE… long as Leah learned too.  This was very funny to me, because Leah has longed expressed NO DESIRE to be a rug hooker.

So here they are….8 kids, Leah and Shelley, a mom who came along to drive.  Little did she know that she was going to learn to rug hook too.  I drew simple stars on linen, cut up bright colors of wool and let them pick their colors.  They were 5 to 14 in age, and all did a fine job.  Peggy, above with Claire, is a foreign exchange student from China.  I am not sure she understood why she had been kidnapped and drug off to learn rug hooking, but she was a champ and did a fine job.  Our only boy student, Hayden was the one most interested in rug hooking and he did a great job too.  He is a leftie, so I had Ken Petersen, another leftie, come show him how he holds his hook etc.

Because I have the best rug hooking group of ladies EVER…..I asked several to come out to help….you know, more eyes, more hands.  Well, Pat Shafer, shown right with Ken and the kids came out, as did the mother/ daughter team of Jackie Brown and Jeanette O"Brien.   Sandy Weller, (a real lover of small children haha) came too, always game to help.  I noticed she stayed close to Leah the whole time for protection. They were all wonderful, patient teachers and we all enjoyed it as much as the kids.

I had to include this picture below, right.  This is Maddie and we should all look so happy while we hook!!!!!!!

Of course, no trip to the farm would be complete without a visit to the barn.  It was a miserably cold day, so the horses didn't get turned out that morning.
Perfect….so they were inside and happy to be visited and petted by this rug hooking gang.  Hairy, always the gentleman, was first and stood patiently for all to pet.    Next we went to Ava Crowder's stall.  Ava took one look at all those kids and must have decided that her life of leisure being Carl's personal mount was all over.  She was a lesson horse for a while in the last few years.  One look at all those kids and she went and stood in the corner.  I think she was happy when they left and she was unscathed.

Last but never least, was Tooey, pictured on the bottom.  Tooey is a girl who knows what she wants.  When it is dinner time, she bangs the stall door til dinner arrives.  When those kids walked in the barn, she started in.  Banging the door, while we paid attention to Hairy.  Banging the door, while we took our passing glance at Ava.  Then it was her turn.
She fairly oohed and aahed at those children.  She would have
stood for days for their attention.  You can see her at the bottom with little Maya.  Tooey is just soaking it up.  Fortunately Tooey missed the comment, when one little girl said "Oh, she looks like a mule".   Hmmmmm…..well in the winter her chocolate buckskin self, does get light around the muzzle.  We didn't mention it again, so as not to hurt Princess Charming's feelings.

If you need to brighten your day….I recommend teaching children to rug hook.  Or at least teach THESE children to rug hook.  It made for a marvelous time for MAN, WOMAN, CHILD AND BEAST!

Remember, 1st Saturday hooking is tomorrow January 3rd from noon to 5.

Auditions for Music Man are Sunday, January 4th at The EVCT at 6pm.

Pat Shafer's Santa face classes are on Saturday Jan. 10th AND another one on Jan. 17th.  Write me for more info.

Pat Shafer is teaching 2 weekends of REAL FACE classes in Feb, the 7th and 8th and the 14th and 15th. Bring a picture of any face and she will teach you to hook it.

Wayne Kalal is going to teach an ART and COLOR class on January 24th.  This is $50, lunch included.  Wayne will talk about everything color, value, perspective etc.  This is a wonderful class for all rug hookers, to incorporate what painters know that we should know.  Great class, wonderful teacher.  Bring a problem rug along for problem solving.  Contact me at 402-359-2699 or janicelee@me for more information.

Whew…that is is for now.

PS  Leah turned out to be the most perfect and meticulous rug hooker you have ever seen.  Far more persnickety than her mother.  See Leah….I knew you would be a GREAT rug hooker.  What do you want to do for your next project?