Thank you for visiting my blog site. I own The Rug Hooking Store at Black Horse Antiques in Valley Nebraska. I have had the antique store for the last 31 years and the rug hooking portion of the store for the last 12 years. I specialize in hand-dyed wool and all supplies needed for rug hooking. There are over 750 patterns available in the store and online. I particularly love color planning rugs and will be happy to help you select wools for your latest project. Visit my store at www.janicelee.biz
Just in antiques......on top is a milk cupboard, mustard over black original paint. Absolutely gorgeous if you like original paint pieces. This one is early and right. About 37in across, 17.5in deep and 39in tall in the back, 36in tall in the front. There is an angled backsplash on three sides. Fantastic early piece.
Below is one of the prettiest homemade pieces I have had in a while. It is made of yellow pine with white pine inserts, making the striped effect on 3 sides. This piece came out of the dining room of a Wyoming ranch. The maker undoubtably wanted to make something 'fancy' for the lady of the house. There is a scalloped edge around the top, with a decoration on the backsplash. Absolutely lovely, but still primitive and oh, so unique.
I spent the day making room in the store for more people. We will have a lot of fun this Friday and Saturday with our Hook-In weekend events. Open hooking and dinner on Friday, then free classes, lunch and more projects and open hooking on Saturday.
Come join us, it is free to all. There are door prizes, $5 OFF all patterns and more. Register to win a $100 GIFT CERTIFICATE with purchase. Spend $50 and get a fat quarter of wool FREE.
I just have to show you the new hay bale decoration that Carl and I made to greet you as you come down the driveway. Neighbor Mark stacked some bales there and said we were welcome to decorate it any way we wanted, his cows, who will later eat this hay will not mind the paint fumes.
Tooey, the chocolate buckskin mare pictured below, has turnout every day in a pasture by the hay bales. Literally, standing at her gate the only thing you can see are these hay bales. Carl put her out the morning after we painted the bales, she stood all day and looked at them and then when walking back into the barn.....FREAKED OUT, jumping 10 feet to the side and staring at the little pumpkin man like she had never seen him before in her life, he clearly was from the risen dead and was undoubtably going to kill her.
This, is who Tooey is. She can be sweet and good natured and wonderful, or she can be a half crazed drama queen. I like
her, Carl does not. Carl and Tooey have a battle of the wills going. Tooey treats Carl like he is stable help and he better clean her stall and get her dinner and make it snappy. She sees me and is all gushy and gooey and says "come pet me and give me attention, because I LOVE YOU!!!!!" She has definitely figured out the system around here. Irritate the elderly woman and you are out of here, the man.....not so much. Carl is so Italian and jumps up and down in what I call his Rumplestiltskin impression when Tooey does something he doesn't like. I tell him she does these things because he is so entertaining to watch having his little hissy fit because she dumps her freshly filled bucket of water or fidgets the trash can until she gets it to her door and then dumps the whole contents in her stall. I think that shows how smart and ingenuous she is. He thinks that shows her intent to be as irritating as possible with the ultimate goal of making his life miserable. Tooey is sure lucky that we are kindred spirits, she and I are really two peas in a pod (I should rethink my description of her, especially the half crazed drama queen part, oh well)
REMINDER: It is only one week until the Omaha Hook-In to be held at St. Robert Bellarmine Church from 9-3 on Oct. 4th. I will not be vending there, I no long leave the store to do hook-ins, but AFTER the hook-in we are having 2 days of fun filled events here at the store. We will have open hooking until 9pm on Oct 4th and then extended hours on Saturday the 5th from 9-6. Jan Goos will be here and we will be teaching lots of free classes on Saturday including a original design project made just for this event. There will be door prizes and a free fat quarter of wool with a purchase of $50 or more, also with purchase your name goes into a drawing for a $100 gift certificate. There is more information about the Oct 4&5 events on my website www.janicelee.biz, just click OCT 4&5 in the toolbar.
I haven't written much about Mij lately, I have been trying so hard to stay with rug hooking or antiques, but tonight I can't resist. Today Leah and I took Mij to Petco and the picture tells it all. Mij does not like the sliding doors at Petco. I feel for her, they are sliding back and forth with an apparent randomness. Remember, Temple Grandin did not like sliding doors in the movie about her (GREAT MOVIE by the way. I went to Lincoln to hear her speak at the ag college last winter, fascinating, brilliant, autistic woman who revolutionized animal handling in cattle feeding and slaughter operations)
Anyway.......Mij did not like the doors so Leah picked her up and decided that the cart might be the easiest mode of transportation. Mij thought the cart was A-OK. We tried on some new collars and purchased a black leather one with pink rhinestones on it. It will go beautifully with her Halloween outfit, shown below. I bought that for her at a trip to Petco last week. She is going as a princess to a Disney themed performance this weekend. For Halloween Mij will be Sleeping Beauty, please note the crown on her head, and Leah will be going as a pillow. You know.....Sleeping Beauty sleeping with her head on a pillow. Brilliant.....sure to win any contest they enter.
So there you have it!! I made an appointment to have my head examined and suggested the family put a lock on my checking account, I have made so many trips to Petco lately for Mij accessories.
More dogs with a rug hooking theme tomorrow.
Bye for now.......
Carl and I went tonight to watch Smith and Lennox while their mom and dad went to dinner. Rachel, their mom, is Carl's youngest and she and husband Matt have 2 of the cutest boys alive. We laugh that their names sound like a law firm "Smith and Lennox". They love to come to the farm and they particularly love their 'Poppa'. I am 'Nana' to them and they like me alright, but I am nothing compared to Poppa.
Well, tonight Nana rose slightly in popularity. Smith had a kindergarten class assignment. It was to be a family project, they could get all the help they wanted. There was a paper print out of a scarecrow that was to be colored and decorated in any way desired. Rachel asked if I would help Smith with the project while we babysat. I was on it!!!!!!
I must tell you, that I had the most wonderful mother ever in this area. I cannot even compare. Have you seen the commercial where the mom makes the kid an outfit to look like a president 15 minutes before the kid walks out the door. Well, that was my mom. My brother once told her that he needed to look like Abe Lincoln for a school project. The problem was he told her about 20 minutes before we needed to leave for school. Without missing a beat, my mother found some black paper and cardboard and within minutes made him an Abe Lincoln outfit, top hat and all. I thought she was a miracle worker. My mother was the queen of low budget costuming. It didn't matter if my daughter Leah told her at 10pm that she needed 45 elf hats for a production the next day, my mom would stay up all night making them. This was when she was in her 70's and early 80's. She was a woman, oh yes, she was.
Well, tonight I channeled my mother. I asked Smith what he wanted this scarecrow to look like. He said he didn't care, he just wanted it to be the BEST!!!!!! Oh, yes, he is indeed a first born child. He has taken kindergarten by storm. He was singled out for 'making good decisions' and will receive popcorn with the principal for a 'random act of kindness'. He told me tonight that he figures there is pretty much nothing he is not good at. In other words, this scarecrow had better not ruin his image as a top notch kindergartner. The pressure was on. We decided to make ours out of wool instead of paper. Fortunately for him, I packed a bunch of wool and raffia and other items I thought scarecrow makers might need.
He cut out all the paper pattern, selected the colors to be used and even learned to sew on one of the arms. The rest he left me to do, while he watched a movie with POPPA. Lennox, who is a year younger and not as concerned with being an over achiever, stayed with me and stacked the spools of thread and was ready with the stapler if I needed any help. He is a good boy and I will make him a scarecrow when the time for his class project comes.
Above, is the finished project. It required much hand sewing, which I hate. I could have hooked the whole thing faster!!!!! And all I could think of while stitching all his little scarecrow parts was "My mom would have done this soooooo much better." And that's the truth.
Well, it is back to work for me today. All the wool from the Heirloom Workshop needs to be put away. There will be lots torn and put in the bits and pieces bins, so it is a perfect time for quilters and appliquers to come out and get a big variety of smaller pieces. Of course these work for rug hookers too. You can find the very small piece needed for hooking a star or flower, without buying a whole fat quarter. There are also hundreds of 1/2 yards of overdyed on the shelves and those you can tear off just the amount you need and we weigh it and sell it by the ounce. Of course, as always there are thousands of fat quarters in every imaginable color, too. And don't forget the yard pieces....there are over 300 hand dyed yard pieces, that I will sell as yards or divide into 1/2 yards.
So before I skip off to the store (which is right outside by back door, right here on my farm, so it is a short skip) I thought I would show you some new patterns I got in right before the workshop. I met Bea Brock when I was at Sauder and loved her beautiful, unique patterns.
She does lovely geometrics, some quilt inspired patterns and has a whole series of barn signs, similar to the hex signs used on the Pennsylvania Dutch barns. She also has some beautiful florals and the Fraktur inspired pattern on the bottom shows the colorful and whimsical nature of her work. I was smitten with them and ordered a large variety. They are here now, so Friday open hooking ladies, expect a pattern show. We love a good pattern show here at the store. That means that while they hook, I stand up and show off what new patterns are in that week. Well, this will be a good one. There are several in the batch that I would like to do myself! They make a lovely addition to the 750 plus patterns here at the store from a large variety of designers from across the country. Doesn't that make you want to come visit?
This was a perfect timing for the patterns arrival because of our big events coming up on Friday October 4 and Saturday October 5. I will talk more about those events tomorrow and perhaps you will be enticed to journey in the direction of Omaha for that weekend. It is going to be a good time for rug hookers that is for sure!
Talk tomorrow, I better get to work on that store!!!!!
Mission accomplished! We finished up our Heirloom Workshop today. After three days of hooking and eating and laughing, everyone headed for home.
Shown in photo, left to right: Linda Walton, Kathy Berkshire, Sharan Keegan, Karen Gregg, Me (Janice Lee), Suzanne Burgoin and Larry Walton. Sandy Weller was also in the class, but she was busy being the photographer for this picture.
Kathy Berkshire did a pattern from Vermont Folk Rugs. We colored planned this rug to have two black horses, in Whole Wheat echoes. The Old Maine hearts are sporting lovely gold stars that Kathy will carry out in color and theme to her border. The wonderful geometrics will all have black 'gridwork' around them. Then wonderfully muted colors in blue, green, reds and golds will help decorate the geometric shapes. This rug is going to look very old and Kathy embraced the ideas of making a vintage look rug.
Next, is ol' Sandy Weller, a problem child for sure. You may remember that I talked about Sandy and her 'pretty' rugs a few weeks ago. This time, I was determined she was going to make one of those 'so homely only a mother could love it' kind of rugs. Well, things went better, but it is still darn pretty. We used lots of black grid work, different shades of Molasses and Brown Sugar for her basket and a Maple Creme background. Her flowers are pastels, but hopefully the outlining and similar values will help give it an old look. We can only hope.
Larry Walton is doing a great rug from Designs by the Lady. This rug has a rooster, pig and sheep, standing on top of one another. The animals are all going to be done in white, tans, browns, with a touch of gold and red. They will be simple and plain, because..........Larry's background is going to a rockin' blue. He found a rug in a book of antique rugs that had a great blue background in several different values and hues. Larry plans to make his background to resemble the old rug and we selected lots of different blue colors, royal blue to turquoise, that he is going to hook in straight lines horizontally, like a skyline. This is going to be challenging, but Larry is up to the task. He is a great rug hooker and should be.....he was taught by his daughter Cammie Bruce who is a great rug hooker and teacher, herself.
Next is Linda Walton, Larry's wife and Cammie's mom!!! She too is a great rug hooker and took on the challenge of a Tree of Life pattern from Barb Carroll. She selected a variety of brown sugars for her tree, and reds, corals, turquoises, blues and tans for the polka dots on the tree. There are a million of them and I don't envy her having to hook all those dots. This rug is going to have a hit and miss background and Linda will use everything from the tree and polka dots and incorporate them into the striking background. She also wins the most photogenic award for this picture. What a great smile.
Sharan Keegan is relatively new to rug hooking, but joined in the fun for this class. And did a great job!!!!!! She selected a Needl' Love pattern, the turkey gobbler. She wanted to use a great poisony green, burgandy, rose, some Moose on the Loose for her turkey and a smutty blue/grey called Funky Monkey for her background. She got a lot down and I can tell she is going to be a very good rug hooker.
Karen Gregg chose a patten from Patsy Becker based on an antique design. It has a very simple flower pot, stems and leaves with petals on top. In the corners are stars, and Karen
decided to put her initials inside the stars to personalize this special rug. The pot is an assortment of blues in a turquoise hue, the stems are a poison green and the flowers pinks and corals. This very simple color scheme is going to have a background of nearly white. We selected oatmeals that had been over dyed slightly with green and blue and yellow washes. The result is cool and dramatic. We saw a background in a book of antique rugs and just had to try it. I think it will be stunning.
Last, but not least, we have Suzanne Burgoin. Suzanne picked another Patsy Becker pattern, a very old looking pair of cats in a heart shape, with a simple vase with 2 flowers coming out of it. We picked an assortment of my blacks for the cats, 5 different colors of Molasses for the pot and a rich red for the flowers. Then it was time to hit the noodle bins. As an exercise in value, the whole class helped select Suzanne's background color. It is a rich assortment of greens, golds, browns, blues etc. and will be applied in a horizontal hit and miss pattern. This rug is already looking old, old, old and I think will be one Suzanne is going to love hooking.
Thanks to all who attended. I had a wonderful time getting to know everyone better and enjoyed watching their rugs progress. When they get them done I will get photos so I can put them on the blog. For now, I am off to bed. Who would think that a little rug hooking could wear a person out so.
Heirloom Rug Workshop starts tomorrow here at The Rug Hooking Store at Black Horse Antiques.
For 3 days, eight brave souls will work with me to make their own rug, 'so homely, that only a mother could love it'. I wrote a workbook for this class and each student receives a copy of the book. It describes 15 different ways to make your own rug look 100 years old from the very minute it is finished.
These rugs will look old and faded and worn. It may look like their maker ran out of the right color wool in the process and had to borrow from the neighbor. Or perhaps they had to tear up their husband's worn wool work shirt and dye it with walnuts to get the right color. But what if walnuts were out of season? The problems of the prairie hooker will be addressed and SOLVED in this class. Of course, I have been dyeing wool for weeks, to get the right look. Unfortunately for the prairie hooker, she did not have my store near by!
I have dyed hundreds (thousands really, but it sounds like a disease when I admit that) of pieces of wool to make those old, vintage looks. We will use some as-is wool, but most of what we will use has been over-dyed and is wonderfully mottled and looks faded, worn and old, old, old.
I have pictured a rug I just started to have that old homely look. I have 2 dogs, Torrey and Biscuit. I have made many rugs of Biscuit, a black labrador, but only one of Torrey, who is a Blue Heeler or Australian Cattle Dog. Both these girls are getting old, so I decided it was time to put them both in a rug. They live in my kitchen and are underfoot for all my projects. I have never dyed a batch of wool that Torrey was not directly under foot for. "Torrey, move" is the most often heard phrase in our house. She is a little blind now and a little deaf. However, even at 11 years of age, she has a vertical leap that would be admired in any sports program. That little fat Blue Heeler can steal a bunch of bananas off the counter, peel them and eat them, leaving only the blackened peels on the floor for evidence. If she was smart enough to put the peels in the trash, Carl would never know about the theft at all. Once on Easter Sunday, I was putting the food out for a large crowd who had come for dinner. I set the plate of deviled eggs on the dining room table, and fortunately looked back, just in time to see Torrey headed down the center of the table, winding her way between the salt shakers and butter dish.......headed straight for those deviled eggs. Under these conditions....what to do? what to do? Do you yell loudly at the dog to stop the action and let the entire house full of company know the dog was on the table. Then they think....Good GAWD what else has that dog been into. In one of those split second moments that we all have, I hissed "Torrrrrreeeeeeyy" in my softest, yet most menacing whisper. She was not so deaf at that point, nor blind enough NOT to see the look on my face, and jumped off the table, like nothing had happened, she was a completely innocent bystander and really had been on the table to make sure the silver had been place correctly one inch from table's edge.
Carl considers Biscuit his dog, so I consider Torrey mine. I am constantly running interference between her and Carl. He just gets so Italian when she eats all the hamburger buns right before a large holiday cook out. It is just best for him to think that I ran out of mustard and had to make an emergency trip to the Quik Shop. He, of course, forgives my every lapse. Torrey, not so much. Of course, she has no little lapses. Her thefts are major and always untimely.
Oh my, I better go see what she is into now....more tomorrow
As promised, here are more of the 'lady' rug pictures. The goal of the class was to personalize or tell a story thru the figure in the rug design.
On top is Luci Bolding's lady. Luci is from Kansas, so her lady is wearing a polka dot dress of Kansas colors, purple and gold. She wears red shoes, just like Dorothy Gale of Kansas. The silhouettes to her left represent her friends, the scripture and stained glass, a tribute to her faith. Look for the hidden notes, that tell of Luci's love of music and singing.
In the center is Ken Petersen's rug. He made this rug for my daughter Leah. Leah is a theatre and voice teacher, so Ken has his 'lady' holding a treble clef. Her name, Leah Arington, is hidden in the background. The notes play the last notes of her favorite song "How Could I Ever Know" from The Secret Garden. This rug was a large project for Ken. He thinks he may have permanently damaged his shoulder trying to get this finished in time for the photography session. I told him it was nothing a little ibuprofen would not cure!!!!
The bottom rug is Mary Jo Lahner's project. I showed this rug to you a few weeks ago, when we were comparing our projects. Here you can see it in it's full glory. This 'lady' is a statue in a winter scene. It's cool colors depict the loss of a loved one. The warm yellow sky symbolizes hope.
All these rugs are marvelously different. The single form of the Toorop lady tells a unique story for each of us. The rug hookers involved in this project all had terrific imaginations and used them to the fullest in telling their stories
We have Pris Buttler to thank for the terrific class, the wonderful inspiration and her patient guidance. Each rug presented it's own set of challenges, but the amazing results were well worth the trials.
We have 4 more rugs to photograph upon their completion. It will be November before we have all the pictures, but I promise to show them to you when we do.
Hope your September weather is cooling. We had some rain today that feels good after the sweltering weather we have had the last few weeks.
I am now officially ready for pumpkins and scarecrows. Come on AUTUMN!!!!!!
On Saturday, we had a big day here at the store. Scott Avery, my actor/ photographer friend came to take pictures of our lady rugs. Scott is a volunteer at The Elkhorn Valley Community Theatre, the theatre that I run. He is very fine on stage, but is also a great photographer. He is the one that does all the pics of summer theatre for me. You can see more of his work by visiting www.theevct.com
All the photos on that website and the website itself are thanks to Scott.
Saturday we set up for the photos and were able to take photos of 11 of the 'lady' rugs from our Toorop class with Pris Buttler. They are as beautiful as they are different. I showed you some in a previous post, but I will try to show them to you in full photo beauty a few at a time. On top is the rug Elsie Ulland hooked. She calls it "Out of the Darkness".
In the center, is Colleen Cochrane's contribution. Colleen's lady is holding the Book of Kells and it standing on the stone at Newgrange to commemorate her Irish heritage.
Below is Pat Shafer's beautiful "The Way Home". What started out as a study of sea and sky turned into much more as the hooking progressed. Check back tomorrow and I will try to show a few more of these masterpieces.
Not another blog about horses, you must be saying! But yes, I have had a fun filled horse week that I thought I would tell you about. My son competed in the Pitzer Ranch Invitational on Wednesday so Carl took the day off and we went to see Will. This is a very interesting competition in 5 parts. First each horse and rider team must complete a ranch based obstacle course. First they cross over a barbed wire fence, the rider dismounts, holds the 6 strands of wire down with his foot, the horses crosses over, then the rider sets the strands back on the post, mounts and heads off at break neck (literally) speed across the Cedar River. It isn't terribly deep, but there were some interesting mishaps in that part of the course. Then, they cross a bridge with some geese flapping underneath, navigate some tricky brush, jump a 3 1/2 foot log, land and jump another log, race like crazies thru other obstacles, then pull a goat who is safely in a cage, with a rope attached to the cage....about 50 feet, replace the rope on a post, race back thru the river, stop and load the horse in a stock trailer. The team that does this the fastest wins that part of the competition. Then they all take turns being timed taking 2 cows away from the herd, driving them down the length of the arena, and penning them. That sounds easy......it was NOT. The cows were irritated from the get go and kept returning to the rest of the herd. Not many cowboys managed to get the job done. Then there was team roping, heading and heeling and finally they each had to run a timed barrel pattern. They finished at MIDNIGHT. I was long gone for home, but the parts I got to watch were fun. Will did very well on a young horse, just a four year old. He told me that this one made the cut to the keeper pen. That means he likes him enough that he will not be for sale, at least for now. The horse is Quarter Horse, so he has a registered name, but I asked what Will calls him and he said he hadn't named him yet. He thought now that he did so well, he just might give him a name. In Will's world, a horse has to earn a name. Men are certainly interesting creatures, aren't they.
In my world, all horses have a name, so I thought I would show you a rug I made for 3 of my horses several years ago. I was taking a Pris Buttler class, here at the store. I told her I had a picture in my mind of the very moment I call their names to come in at night. We stall our horses at night and let them graze in their pastures all day. When I go to bring them in, when they hear their names they come on the fly. Pris asked if I knew the work of John Nieto. I did not, but looked him up and found that he is a very well known southwestern artist with a very unique style. She suggested I adapt my drawing to favor his 'look'. This is the result......Butter, Sunnee and Copper, all in Nieto style. Of course, all my rugs have to tell some story, so I incorporated something about each horse in the hooking. Butter, was a beautiful bay mare that was totally honest. What she said she would do, is what you got. No tricks, just an honest horse. I made her bay, with blue to show that she was true blue to the end. Copper was a horse we bought for Carl a few years ago, he would try anything and was always game. I showed that he had a big heart in his chestnut body. And Sunnee.....is Carl's old horse, we have had for 16 years. He has carried Carl safely for all those years and for that he is outlined in yellow, to show that he is solid gold.
The rug was a joy to make. It hangs on my kitchen wall and I am looking at it as I type. Three good horses, each earned their name.
I have just enough time for a quick tip. Flowers drying up? The black eyed susans gone away for another year? Are your hostas looking scorched and your lily's gone kaput? Run yourself down to your nearest Lowe's store. They have mums on sale for a ridiculous price.....even cheaper than Wal-Mart (sorry Sam). I spent $25 on mums in various colors and have had the best time decorating the yard and antique yard items with them. I did such a good job yesterday that I sold both the red painted feed trough and the blue wheelbarrow, in part because of those gorgeous mums. Keep them in the container awhile, water them and move them around into various buckets, pots and boxes. They will never let you down! Then plant them a little later in the season when the weather isn't quite so blazing hot. There you have it, $25 of mums and you look like a master gardner!