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I finally bit the bullet and gave in to the idea of prescription drugs to help with my blood sugar problem…..oh how I hate saying the word….diabetes.  Although I was doing a decent job keeping the scores down by watching what I eat and exercising, one evening over the Christmas holidays I had a bit too many dark’n stormies and starting eating snacks being offered and I elevated my blood sugar to scary levels.  The sugar alone in the ginger beer probably did me in, add in the rum,  potato chips and chocolate, sigh…my bad.

When I got home and tested myself I was over the limit of the machine capability so it didn’t even register a number….it said “HIGH”.  I was still tipsy but it sobered me up instantly and I started dancing and jumping around the kitchen until I knocked it down to 20.  Although still scary, at 2:00 in the morning that would have to do and I went to bed exhausted.  I must have damaged my pancreas beyond what was my normal because after that I could no longer keep the scores below 10.  It was very disappointing and made me review where I was headed if I couldn’t keep things under control.  Diabetes is nothing to fool with. The eyesight is effected, the heart, the kidneys and there could be toes and even limbs amputated. 

So I made an appointment with my doctor to get a prescription and walked out with Metformin.   I was on it for three weeks before I noticed any difference in my scores, but it was a nominal change.  Somehow I was under the impression it lowered them to a normal range, that being of a non-diabetic person, but found out with a subsequent trip to the doctor that they really only reduce the number by one.  The misconception I was under was very disappointing and I questioned how other people I know on this drug eat pasta, rice and potatoes, desserts with abandon and drink alcohol like it’s a cure for the disease.   I still had to work very hard to stay in check so I wondered why I even bothered with the drug, especially once the side effects hit like a Mack truck.

Not that I hoped to lay back and let the drug do the work and eat what I wanted, that was never my intention, but only having a slight bit of help didn’t seem worth what was to come when the debilitating side effects started to rear their ugly head three weeks into taking the pills.  At first it was subtle; an ache started in my thighs and then gradually spanned my entire legs, creeping into my hips like a slithering snake.  I might be 60, but I can honestly say that I’ve never had any aches in the morning, I’ve been able to bounce out of bed like a thirty year old.  Now I could barely get my legs over the side.  I tend to cross my ankles and feet in bed, something I learned to do after an injury to a knee that helped to stabilized it, but I tried to do that and couldn’t get my left leg to position over my right.  This is weird I thought.  I’d read all the information that came with the drug, a three page print out from the pharmacy and there was a list of potential side effects including muscle and joint pain.  These new developments couldn’t be a coincidence and seemed the only explanation for what was happening to me. 

Then the diarrhea hit. Another listed side effect.  I’ve been down that path a few times in my life, we all have the occasional illness or eat something nasty that causes the fiery trots, but this was a whole new caliber of the runs.  This was like a road side bombing, no warning and no time to get to a bathroom before the blast.   Three times this crippled me, oh the mess….and brought on fear to leave my home.    

But although I was struggling, I continued with the drug until  one night when I woke up at 3:00 am and bolted upright in bed with the most powerful urge to vomit I have ever experienced in my life and by golly I’ve had flues and morning sickness from hell to compare it too.  I swallowed like mad to keep it down as I struggled to get out of bed with my stiff and painful joints, hoping against hope that my hand would hold it all back, protecting the pups and the room from an explosion of stomach contents.   I remembered reading that nausea and vomiting were side effects and that if these symptoms start after being on the drug for a while it could be the result of developing  lactic acidosis, rare and life threatening, to stop the drug immediately as this would, not could, result in death. 

That was enough for me, I’d taken my last pill.

So another trip to the doctor and she gave me Januvia.  This came with a long list of side effects as well.  I waited three weeks until all the physical problems the first drug caused had all but disappeared and my legs once again were pain free.   I was only on the Metformin shy of two months and in that time I ruined my perfect bowels and could barely walk.  It seemed wrong on many levels.  It was like trading a witch for the devil. 

So this new one caused constipation, oh joy, and once again I pretty much ruined my perfect system that had been as regular as a clock on the wall.   The pain began in the third week, once again I could barely walk, with hips that refused to move, thighs that were painful to touch, the mere brushing of the fabric of my jeans sent me into spasms, the muscle screaming when I touched flesh against the bone.  I could barely lift my knees and I had pain in my back where my kidneys are.  One of the lovely side effects of this drug is kidney failure. When I mentioned it to the doctor she said that diabetes will destroy my kidneys all on its own so it’s a lose situation, but I feel this drug was probably speeding it up.  I feel doomed! 

My stomach area was so sore that I couldn’t lean up against the kitchen sink to wash dishes.   I had gas so badly that it felt like a knife was rammed between my ribs slicking my lungs.  If I turn too quickly the pain ripped across my torso so that I almost passed out. 

I’ve never taken drugs, mostly because I’m in good health, but I knew that every drug has side effects and my concerns were confirmed.  I am very aware when it comes to my body, I notice every subtle change.  Maybe some don’t equate aches and pains to drugs but my body went from day to night for me, there was no disputing the drugs were the blame.  I know there are many different medications for blood sugar problems on the market but quite frankly I don’t want to try anymore, I’ll have to find something else to help with this disease.

There are herbal remedies I am going to try and also it’s been suggested I make an appointment with a Dr. Wu to see if there is anything that can help to stimulate my pancreas into working properly.  I’m willing to try anything.   I’m open minded about acupuncture, it gave me my life back when I was stricken with environmental problems in the past.  In the meantime I’m eating very carefully and waving my arms up and down, one of the most effective ways of lowering my numbers, and as soon as my legs stop hurting I’ll be jumping up and down on the trampoline and walking up and down the driveway, perhaps even while I eat my meals.  Whatever I have to do I will do and keep things in check for as long as I can.  Maybe once I get older and joint and muscle pain is prevalent I won’t notice the extra struggles and go back on the pills.  We will see how this evolves.   If any of you have had success with alternatives for diabetes I would appreciate your sharing!   
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I haven’t ranted for a while so I guess this is due….I have a reputation for telling it like it is so here goes. 

Every designer of patterns hopes that the occasional lecture about copyright will inform and educate, but there is another side to this topic that isn’t mentioned often and that’s how copying hurts a business, especially a craft businesses that has little mark-up on product and depends on every dollar to survive. 
  
It was brought to my attention recently that yet another one of my designs had been copied and hooked.  I have a photo of this rug to prove it but I won’t post it. It isn’t my intention to humiliate this person, and after the last egg on my face for being too quick to judge, I’m just going to put this out into the universe and if I touch and educate on more person I’ll be happy. 

Don’t worry, I’m not going to rant about copyright infringement again today, once a year will be enough and 2019 is already covered.  What I am going to chat about is an old saying that used to float around, I’ve even said it a few times as a lay person, but now that I’m a professional hooker with a studio, it has ramifications.

CHARLES CALEB COLTON said “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”.  I beg to differ. Is it flattery when someone has an original thought and everyone else jumps on the accolade trail?  Is it a compliment to copy someone’s work or style to claim it as your own, because the message you relay is, “Look what I did!”   

On the flip side, it’s an incredible rush when a customer buys one of my designs and hooks it.  Now that’s tenfold, mega dose, flattery!  My chest pumps out, my mouth forms a toothy smile and that in a nutshell is the reason why I do this!  Why I spend hours and sometimes days penciling out a design, with you, my valued customers in mind!  Hell yes I’m flattered, I almost choke over the lump that forms in my throat and turn my head to hide my leaking eyes.  You talented rug hookers make my day, week, month and year!!   And after a purchase of a pattern, I have income to forge ahead and make more designs and offer more products for you to peruse and incorporate into your precious rugs; that’s how business works.   

There are cases where flattery is legitimate and wanted.   The clothing industry for instance.  If someone is sporting a gorgeous scarf that’s a ‘must have’ you go out and purchase one exactly like it, the original wearer may or may not be flattered, but the designer would be most gracious to have another sale.  Of course in this scenario copying a style is wanted and expected, so the designer and the middle man can make money, support their families and pay their mortgage.  If someone wishes to own that beautiful scarf they don’t try to create one like it or go to the store and steal a copy (well, some do but for this scenario we’re concentrating on the honest folks), they go out and pay for one.  It’s a rule, it’s a no brainer, it’s the way of the world, it’s proper and expected.   So why should rug hooking be any different?   

So some believe that people who copy patterns don’t really understand what they  are doing and I say bullshite to that.  We are supposed to be civilized; we walk erect and have an evolved, modern day brain so we have no excuse taking something that doesn’t belong to us!  Period!  I’m told all the time that it’s okay to do one copy for personal use, and if you change the title, or alter the design say 10%, by taking something out or adding something in, it’s acceptable.  NO IT’S NOT, but I do digress. This rant isn’t about copyright rules, this is about the ramifications of copying and how it affects a shop owner/designer.

Seeing my pattern copied and changed slightly, I didn’t feel flattered at all.  Angry, sad and violated was the bag of emotions than ran rampant through my mind.   To me the rug represented money lost that could have paid one of my employees for the day, helped buy supplies, kept the lights on and cover some of that expensive overhead a legitimate, registered business creates.  This loss came directly out of MY pocket because I have to make it up.

Through the disappointment of seeing this rug, my dark sense of humour brought forth a cynical laugh.  Although 99% of it was an exact duplicate, the copier added a few bits and bobs.   An improvement?  I think not. This particular design was one of my more clever ones and was a great source of pride for me, so it came off as a lame attempt to make it their own and in my opinion they ruined the entire balance of the pattern.  I’ve got this steel trap of a brain that forgets nothing and now every time I look at that design I will see their rendition and it’s going to feel tainted.       

Ignorance is no defense.  If you drink and drive and hit someone, is it the fault of the alcohol or the willingness to drink and get behind the wheel?  I didn’t know what I was doing is no longer acceptable.  When copying a pattern, somewhere there has to be a little niggling in the pit of your stomach telling you this is wrong and Sista, it’s not gas, it’s guilt causing that flutter!  And if for some reason you truly didn’t know, once you read this that excuse is out the window, and if you continue to offend that makes you an out’n out thief, no different than if you walked into my shop and stuffed a pattern in your purse.  In this day and age when social media screams about Copyright infringement, magazines write about it, the Guild advocates for it and it’s a regular conversation between rug hookers, we can no longer claim that we live in a cocoon.   

So the person that prompted this rant and anyone else that has done it in the past and seemingly gotten away with it, you are the kinds of people that help cause the demise of shops.  Every pattern stolen is money out of the owner’s pocket that is needed to buy supplies and produce more beautiful things for you to purchase.  Bank accounts don’t fund themselves, its money in for money out.   My shop in particular is large and has a lot of overhead and most of the time we struggle to keep our heads above water.  Perhaps if I let Shane and Deborah go and do all the work myself or sell under the table and cheat the government by not reporting actual income like some, I could reap a bit of financial reward from my hard work, but most of the time, especially now with our dollar so poor and the US exchange being so high we lose close to 40% right off the top so there is little or no profit left.  We can never afford to be copied but in this economy it is even worse!  You can’t take flattery to the bank, so no, Mr. Colton, imitation is not a form of flattery….sincerely!   
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I am so very proud to share photos of an amazing gallery of hooked rugs from Tokyo, Japan. Supported by the Pearl K. McGown Guild, this display of beautiful rugs would have been spectacular to be viewed in person, but thanks to Chizuko Hayami for transporting us there through the magic of digital technology. 

She photographed rugs of the designs that originated from our studio. Both she and her students have been wonderful supporters of our patterns and I am always thrilled to see these skilled rug hookers bring each pattern to life.  I am honoured to see our combined efforts creating international eye-candy. 

I even spotted a few other rugs that had been hooked in previous years that Chizuko has shared with me.  Thanks so much for making my day and I know you all must be so very pleased with your efforts. Thank you all for loving rug hooking and sharing with the rest of the world!     
This view would really invite you in!  
How Much Is That Doggie.. Bell Pull
Our Happy Hooters Bell Pull - Daytime.   
​The same pattern but so very different colour plans.  Lovely!
Mahone Bay Three Churches Framed
Designed by Charlene Scott, a whimsical Mahone Bay's Three Churches beautifully hooked. 
Both of these iconic patterns are called Historic Lunenburg. 
​Two very different styles, both beautiful! 
All Gulls, No Buoys, Sue Cunningham Design
Designed and hooked by Yoshiho Nara, she has graciously offered this pattern to the studio.   
No Crib For His Bed
This William Morris Orange Tree looks like a sculpted Persian rug, I can imagine running my hand across its velvety surface.  Excellent!  Beautiful colour plan.  
This pattern is SHIRLEY, a whimsical Jacobean design from our collection.  It was expertly hooked by KYOHO OKAMURA as a stitch sampler.  Everything about it is truly amazing, from the special techniques in the Jacobean flowers, stems and leaves, to the hooked plaid border.  Zoom in on some of these flowers to see the clever detailing.  I really like the bit of hounds-tooth patterning in the flower in the upper left corner of the center design.  She has done a basket weave for the center design background.  Every square inch of this rug has been lovingly brought to life. Beautifully done Kyoho.  
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The Dye Guy has been dyeing like crazy.  80 plus yards have gone through the dye bath this week and more coming!  The elves are working the evening shift as well!  The shelves are looking plump!  
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Friday April 19th : CLOSED
Saturday April 20th: 10-5pm
Sunday April 21st: CLOSED
Monday April 22nd: 12-5pm
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A couple of years ago I’d never heard of a Dorade box.  Then we buy our first sailboat and we remove them and I find myself getting an education on refinishing tired teak.  The wood was in pretty sad condition and I remember arguing that we needed to replace them with new, because the crumbling finish was exposing mold and the wood underneath looked dyer than the Sahara. Surely it had breathed its last breath and would fall apart in my hands. 

But then I stripped them with the heat gun, cleaned them with a teak product and after only one coat of varnish, I had to tell hubby he was right.  That doesn’t happen often, well not as often as it should, but he just smiled and reminded me that he had 50 years’ experience with boats and I barely had a couple of months under my belt….point taken.

So I stripped the boxes, the cockpit table, cockpit floor, cup holder, the wheel, the swim ladder steps and the handrails and made them look brand new. It was magic.  Teak is hard and tough and amazing wood and working with it has bumped its way to the top of my list of things I like to do. It gleams of gratitude.  

Twelve coats of Epiphane later, the boxes were installed and looked good as new and will last our lifetime with a light sand and recoat every couple of years. This year I hope to have canvas covers made for them to slow the sun damage and cut down on the work needed to keep them looking fresh.   One disappointing thing I have learned, nothing lasts forever on a boat, maintenance is ongoing, the sun and salt guarantee it.   

The deck under the boxes was a sad sight.  Forty years of grime and hardened sealer took a while to remove.  The sealant now dried and hard, had filled in the dips of the nonskid surface that would need a lot of gouging out with a small chisel.   There were a few broken fingernails, scraped knuckles and a bit of cursing, the air a sickening shade of blue under the canvas cover. Our Nonsuch 33 has two boxes so that meant double the work but there is a deep satisfaction knowing these newly rejuvenated boxes sit on top of a pristine area.  Call me crazy but I wish the boat had more teak items to refinish like a lovely combing top that I drool over on other boats, but hubby thinks I might change my mind over time so we could use less.      
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This year is the 40th anniversary of the Rug Hooking Guild of Nova Scotia.  Forty years!  Wow!   This is a big deal peeps!  Of course, Rug Hooking has been going on a lot longer than forty years, but organizing the craft into a guild and starting our rug school has really brought this craft into focus. It brought us together and made us part of something bigger than a simple little past time, giving many the opportunity to explore and share this passion.  Like a tiny seed the Guild has grown like a mighty, 40 year old oak.  

Rug hooking has provided many with added purpose, something outside the day to day comings and goings, something creative and special.  Ask any rug hooker that travels across North America and even further afield to take workshops, attend schools and congregate for hooking events, how this craft has enhanced their lives and you’ll be inundated with smiles and abundant tales.

Most of us will agree rug hooking has enriched our lives and for someone like me it’s been life altering.  I’m immersed up to my chin with both feet planted in this business providing quality supplies, unique designs and wool to drool over.  It has certainly added a dimension to my life that I would have never thought possible back in the day of 9 to 5, pushing a pencil in the office grind. Being able to explore my creative side in a job that can’t really be classified as work, I thank my lucky stars every day that my circumstance has allowed this blessing to happen and continue. When I turn the key and walk through the door of my studio, I’m met with the most beautiful array of colour and this visual feast shapes a broad smile across my lips, and a flutter in my heart. Truly, entering the door is like receiving a hug from a rainbow.  I can hardly believe my good fortune and I pinch myself occasionally to make sure it’s real.  

I’ve been thinking about a commemorative pattern to celebrate the four decades of the guild. I think about the rug hookers I’ve met, some have passed while others continue carrying the torch; some have been here from the start while newbies continue to join in and jump on the bandwagon.  I’ve been hooking for 20 years, have been a guild member since day one, yet it seems only yesterday that I pulled my first loop.

Although when one thinks of hooking people come to mind, all the many friends we have made, teachers that had given their time and shared their knowledge, but we mustn’t forget the real hero behind our passion, the magnificent sheep. Whether you hook with wool yarn or wool fabric cut into strips, it is clearly the most desired medium for this art form.  The  blissful, peaceful sheep; heavenly creatures working behind the scenes, growing and providing us with the best, hard wearing , soft and abundant material in the world to create our rugs. 

So obviously my vision for the guild anniversary had to represent a sheep.  It’s leaping through the number 40, perhaps being counted by a sleep deprived soul tossing and turning under the covers.  I made the legs and feet primitive hooks, the most important tool of the craft and deserving of a mention.  The background has fireworks, stars and steamers shooting out in all directions for this grand celebration of our Nova Scotia Guild. 

I envisioned hit and miss for the four corners, an old style tradition to use up leftover worms.  A simple design of the past that has been carried to modern day rugs, a style never aging, never losing its appeal.  I wasn't able to create that in Photoshop, my skill level there is one out of ten.   
  
I hope you like this pattern and if you do, it can be yours.  I am offering it as a paper design that is free with any purchase, either from shopping at the studio or mail order.  Please remember to ask for it when placing an order as it won’t be automatically put in your parcel.   This pattern is copyrighted and meant for a one time personal use only so please respect this.  For those not interested in transferring it to backing on their own, we will be selling it made up on Linen as well.    

If you hook this piece and send us a photo we will vote on the one we like best and there will be a reward of a $150.00  Gift Certificate to the studio to add whatever you desire to your stash.  The cut-off for this contest will be June 30th, 2019  so that’s plenty of time to hook it.  I’m not worried about numbers, if only one rug hooker sends a photo; well that’s a guaranteed prize!  The size is 18” x 19.  The paper pattern will be available until the end of April.  I look forward to seeing this design spring to life in full colour from the creative minds of our customers.  Cheers! 

I used Photoshop to tint the pattern in a soft and simple plan to show how delightful it might be once your wool colours it in.  Cheers! 
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I’m torn.  Back in 2014 I designed this flying horse to commemorate the Year of the Horse in the Chinese calendar.  The Horse is the seventh in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac sign. The Years of the Horse include 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026...  The 12 Chinese horoscope animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.

About 25 years ago, Hubby and I were visiting his parents in BC and spent a day wondering around China Town on the waterfront of Vancouver and came across this little gem in one of the many shops. He was always interested in the flying horse; feeling it was unique from all the other horse statues, art and stories in history so we purchased it.  When I set about to design the pattern my first thought was the Flying Horse to represent this year in the Chinese calendar and even used our statue for the reference.     
 
The Chinese characters in each corner stand for Happy New Year and felt they framed the horse perfectly. I thought running the animal through the 0 of 2014 would be clever and create a balanced picture.  I like the design, but I’m not sure if I should remove the 2014 and characters and finish only the horse and swallow with the background and a border, perhaps making a pillow for our home study.

Although I love the look of this pattern I’m not sure if I want the already outdated year to be such a focal point and I’m not Chinese, so this symbolism means little to me.  We are going to produce patterns with the horse only as I it will make a lovely rug.  A photo of just the horse would probably be less off-putting to anyone purchasing the design, than having to ask what all the other stuff is for? 

I can easily remove all the red and fill in the body and background but my dilemma is that I love the red influence, how it plays off the antique bronze green finish of the animal and that creamy beige background.  I can’t only remove the year and leave the Chinese characters either because the horse is balanced on the date and if that is removed the horse is too far to the left and although I’m not a great fan of symmetry, this would be too lopsided even for me. 

I want to finish the hooking but I’m stymied by indecision on which way to go forward because there are as many pros as cons for me.   A week later after digging it out of storage, it’s become a stumbling block because I’ve promised myself to complete this project before I move ahead with another and I don’t want my frame being empty when there is so much I want to do.   Just make a decision Christine and stick to it instead of pitching it back and forth like a ball.  I usually know exactly what I want but for this case I could use a bit of help.  What would you do?   If I choose to erase the motifs in question I will set some red in the border, a line or two before the outside plaid I’ve selected to frame it.  


A brief History of the Flying Horse Of Gansu
Eastern Han dynasty, 25 - 220 AD 
Gansu Provincial Museum

This outstanding bronze horse has become an iconic emblem of China. Racing through the skies, it treads on a swallow (base of statue) that looks up in amazement. Unlike Pegasus, the Western flying horse, the wingless Han steed is meant to be understood metaphorically rather than literally; it represents an ideal horse that can gallop so fast that it seems to outrun the wind. The sculpture is perfectly balanced on only one hoof, to complete the illusion of flight.

The Five Elements of Horse is Fire (Huo), which symbolizes enthusiasm and energy. The animal gives people an impression of independence and integrity. Its spirit is recognized to be the Chinese people's ethos - making unremitting efforts to improve themselves with passion and diligence.
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I awoke yesterday and realized it was March 20th, the day before the first full day of spring.  Another year and the season has snuck up on me.  Now spring is a great source of happiness and joy, but and there always seems to be a but, it signifies another year passing without finishing my Bunnies With Tulips rug.  It’s been so long I can’t recall which year I started it and I could look back at previous blogs to find out, I have been hauling it out with optimism for some time, but I’m just going to move forward and do it! 
 
Yesterday there were two hook-ins at the studio; the weekly afternoon one and the 3rd Wednesday of the month for the evening. I figured this was concentrated hooking time to finish the few loops needed to complete the rug, steam it and then go home for dinner.  When I got back for the evening gathering, I zig-zagged stitched around the edge, cut it out and began adding the cording.  I managed to whip one side before we said our goodbyes around 10:00 P.M. and then I went home determined to finish the job no matter how late the clock ground away. 

It was going to be done for the first day of spring.  I was up till 3:00 A.M. working at the speed of sound until my right arm felt a bit unhinged from tugging the yarn through the hole, but I don’t begrudge the yawning today at all.  There’s the rug binding to be added but that can be done down the road but I’m notorious for not doing that job.  I hate working with needles and prick myself silly and last evening as I sewed in the cording, I rammed the needle under the skin around my right thumb nail for a big ouchy.  I don’t know why I’m so clumsy with sharp, pointy things but I spazz and injure myself every time.

So the rug is done and I am over the moon.  I was inspired by a saying I saw on FB and copied to my page.  The only thing standing between me and finishing this project are the three hundred others ones I want to start.  So true!  But is this really a viable excuse for procrastinating this long?   So yesterday morning I dug out the wool to go with the rug and in the bag I discovered three other projects in various degrees of completion and I made a promise to them that I would do them before starting anything new.  It’s time to put the horse before the cart.  Shed all the weight of unfinished projects past to clear the way for future creativity.  Inanimate objects seem to ferment guilt which clogs up my ability to embrace anything new without baggage. 

There was a lovely flying horse I designed for the Year of the Horse in 2014 that’s niggling me next.  I love the verdigris horse and the red Chinese letters for New Years.  With only one or two evenings worth of work to be had I’ll mark another forgotten soul off my list.  I’ll be so light and carefree after this purge of guilt from unfinished projects I might just feel unencumbered glee when starting the next riser.      
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Although our yard is still packed with several feet of snow, the temperatures are all above zero this week; a sign that spring is around the corner.  The driveway, already melted of all the white stuff, is actually a mud pit as the ground thawed; I got out my rubber boots, a positive sign of spring and better weather coming.   Saturday the clocks went ahead an hour so the days are longer, good times are on their way.   
 
Spring, my favourite season, always takes me back to my childhood.  All my best memories evolved from springtime, a simpler age when my family was young and blissful. It was a season of newness and discovery and freedom from the heavy clothing and harsh winters that we suffered through.  One of my favourite memories is of the classic pussy willow.  I remember tickling the soft buds under my nose, teasing our cat with them, and we always had a vase full on the kitchen counter.
 
I think my generation was so fortunate to be nature walkers, taking strolls on Sunday with mom and dad to explore the wooded area behind our house.   The smell of outdoors was intoxicating. Pine scented, it would tattoo itself on my nose and my clothes so I would carry it with me throughout the day. 
 
There were so many treasures to be found and mysteries to unfold to intrigue an inquisitive kid like me. Spider webs spanning the paths glistened with morning dew.  Beads of water shimmering like diamonds on the web, intoxicatingly beautiful; my five year old brain was mesmerized.  I was a constant question back then, one leading directly into another like a string of pearls. I needed to know the why and the how of all things, what bird was singing, what is the name of that mushroom, does a fairy live under it?  My questions probably disturbed my parent’s ears as well as the flora and fauna of the quiet woods.  The wind in the swaying trees sounded like whispers overhead while the soft pine needle carpet felt like walking on clouds. 
 
How I remember the May flowers with their delicate pink petals and their exquisite scent. If I close my eyes I can easily relive this delicate sweet perfume.  Lady slippers, a dainty pink, so abundant and elegant, like ballerina shoes peppering the forest floor, so very many of them back then, so few of them now.  So much beauty in nature, one only has to look to see her bounty
 
There are many versions of how the Pussy Willows got their name.  One such story is this old Polish legend. 
 
The story began many springtime’s ago with a mother cat crying at the bank of a river in which her kittens were drowning. The willows at the river's edge longed to help her, so they swept their long graceful branches into the waters to rescue the tiny kittens who had fallen into the river while chasing butterflies. The kittens gripped on tightly to their branches and were safely brought to shore. Each springtime since, goes the legend, the willow branches sprout tiny fur-like buds at their tips where the tiny kittens once clung.
 
There are other versions of the tale, although not as sweet and without a happy ending, so I chose this explanation as the one that best represents our darling pattern.  The design was inspired by my mother-in-law who showed me an old drawing she’d found on a vintage post card.   I embellished it more by adding the fun border to frame these sweet little kittens. 
 
A kitten is the poster child for all things soft, fluffy and adorable and this pattern offers the option to make it all three as well.  I have seen several versions of it hooked, each one telling the story perfectly.  Sometimes the pussy willows are sculpted for extra texture and interest.   I smile every time I see it and recently caught a glimpse of another version of this rug on Facebook, hooked and hanging at the show at Ross Farm.   
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