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Two Cats and Dog Hooking by Ellen Marshall - 2d ago

Well, it’s up and running! Welcome to the shop! you can now purchase rugs and some patterns directly right here on the website.

I am the first to admit that it has taken way longer than expected and needs some tweaks here and there that will be ongoing.

Just letting you know that the work has been long and will never be totally finished. That’s all OK though- life is a work in progress right? and so is this site.

Now that things are somewhat figured out I feel confident that work will be added and changed and updated as needed.

Whale rug in progress

Phew! now to get creative again with a rug or two. There are so many ideas and several that need some finishing touches before they can be listed.

If you need hand dyed wool you can still go to the ETSY shop for that. All of my patterns are there, along with my finished rugs and other items. This is simply another way to get things out into the world- because who doesn’t enjoy handmade goodness?

Want to play ball?

Gracie calls…and it’s close to her dinner time, so that’s it for now.

Welcome- visit often and make yourself comfortable. Dream about how great these rugs feel and hopefully you will take a chance and experience one for yourself.

The post Welcome to the Shop appeared first on Two Cats and Dog Hooking.

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Two Cats and Dog Hooking by Ellen Marshall - 2w ago

Where have I been? well, right here at home actually trying to keep all of the “plates spinning” but letting some of them fall- like the writing part.

Gracie – so helpful


The puppy

My puppy, who is now nearly 9 months old, has taken quite a bit of my time- she is very stubborn, demanding and energetic- but at the same time, sweet, smart and loving. She has been training me even though it is I who has been trying desperately to train her…hmmmm, not sure who is winning at the moment. She has just been outside and we walked and walked, now she is napping but will awake soon and be ready for mischief. Must be quick!

The Website

The website, oh the website- that has taken some time, some tears, some learning, some frustrations, some more learning and is SO VERY CLOSE to being ready to take to the next level. Do you ever get to a place where you aren’t even sure what questions to ask at a certain point to move forward? Help is on the way and I am really excited about that- stay tuned!

The winter

The snow is now all gone from our yard and we see some flowers poking their heads out of the ground. It was a long winter- lots of snowshoeing, which was great- but also lots of shoveling which seemed at times like a full time job. That kept me busier outside cleaning and clearing- keeping me from dyeing, hooking and designing inside. Well, time to get back at it now while the time is right.

Dyeing Wool

Dyeing some wool, doing some custom dyeing, listing items in the ETSY shop and working on some new patterns. Hooking the pieces and getting them on linen to be ready for you should you want to hook them has been keeping me busy too. These things are a joy and it’s been great to get back to it.

The upcoming Sailing trip- Get Hooked at Sea

The sailing trip on the J&E RIGGIN is coming up in August. Things are pulling together for the “sailors” on my end along with some fun things and surprises for them. To be honest- just being out on the water off the coast of Maine, in a gorgeous wooden Schooner for a few days is quite enough. They will get more than that with the class taught by Susan Feller of Artwools and some goodies!

A new grandchild is expected

My oldest daughter is having another baby so there will be time spent with her and her newest family member soon. We have plans to take the other grandchildren for some overnights to give her some time before this little man arrives. The daughter who lives in the UK will be visiting then too while welcoming the new baby and helping her sister out.

That’s some of where I’ve been

So, that is where I have been- not all of it certainly, but some of the time is accounted for. It feels like a lot to me but I am still determined to keep all of the plates spinning. How about you?

Until next time

I’m going to check in again soon to let you know about how the Vejibag is working and what new packaging I am moving towards with my shipping.

Let’s keep in touch.

The post Where have I been? appeared first on Two Cats and Dog Hooking.

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Well, it has been snowing and snowing and snowing… Today though- there are bright blue skies and WIND- lots and lots of wind. The windchill is hovering around -18. Gracie isn’t bothered by it at all- so getting her to come in out of the cold is a challenge. She is a good Maine dog.

Snow-covered trees

Mt Washington can be seen from my area. It is about a 1 hour car drive over and through the mts. As I looked at their weather site this morning I saw that the top had -66 degree windchill, 98 mph wind gusts and a low of -19.4 (without the wind chill factored in). Tough spot- but beautiful none the less.

It’s the end of February folks- but on the bright side the snow is gorgeous! I admit to wanting to just cry because I had to push more snow up ( yes up) a hill that we have made to get it off our deck. My arms ache from the work.

The gear you might need

It occurred to me that we have to be prepared for every event. Four pairs of boots are on hand every day- just to be able to get into town or go outside with Gracie. Several weight jackets and coats, several weights of wool socks- (what would I do without Smartwool?), several styles of mittens and hats.

My current go to for hand warmth is a wool mitten used as a liner with an overmitt that is made from a waterproof material. So in thinking about all of this gear I am reminded that it is expensive to live where we do. The fuel bills have been very high this winter and we keep our home on the cool side. The plowing? yup- way up too. We even had to have an excavator come and relocate some of the snow from our driveway so the plow guy would have places to put the new snow.

Then come the basic tools- snow shovels- we have several – snow scoops- we have broken some but currently have 2 that are in constant use- a roof rake, again- we have 2 of those AND we have someone that plows for us. We have several roofs to keep cleared and 4 walkways to clear with each storm. Did I mention the studded snow tires that I need?

Lucy in the pulk sled

There is the fun stuff- the snowshoes, skates, the ski boots, skis, snow-tubes, sleds, etc. If you are going to survive winter you may as well make it fun! Lucy just waking from her sleep in the car to be put into a pulk so Sarah could pull her while we skied.

Gracie loves the snow

Snowshoe paths for Gracie are essential for her to scoot around on. If you happen to go out and step off this packed path you literally go up to your hip in the softer snow. I have been diligent about packing these paths with each storm but am a bit behind with the past two storms. They came together rather close and I just couldn’t keep up. I have gotten the yard paths sorted but the woods paths are still a work in progress.

Gracie – devil dog?

Winter preferred over summer

I have realized that I spend much more time outside in the winter than in the summer. I may complain about the cold from time to time but I really am bothered by the heat and sun. Having more than my share of skin issues and surgeries from skin cancers the summer sun is not really my friend. Plus- there aren’t any bugs in the winter- hooray! the only thing biting is the cold bite of the wind on my fingers, cheeks and toes and I can deal with that just fine thank you.

A Barred owl resting on the bird feeder

I can reach the bird feeders right now without a ladder too. We erected a system last summer to try to keep the bears away by putting them up quite high. It seemed to work- let’s see what happens this year. The bears will be hungry when they wake up.

Gracie- Queen of her mountain Fun rugs for spring

So – we march on with this winter- I’ll continue to enjoy the beauty of the white covered trees and fields and the quiet of the woods as we tromp through the paths. Gracie will continue to enjoy the snow- her hill that she perches on to chew whatever she finds that has blown down from the trees. Spring IS coming- sometime…. The spring rugs are coming out and being listed in the ESTY shop. Hop on over if you want to see them and add them to your home for a bit of color.

Nursery or Easter rug Easter time rug

The post You have to be tough to live in Maine appeared first on Two Cats and Dog Hooking.

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Two Cats and Dog Hooking by Ellen Marshall - 4M ago

Who is training who? I’d like to think that we are training Gracie, but in fact, she may have equal billing right now.

Gracie the “lap dog”

We started puppy training classes- we are going into week 4 now. Art joined me last week for the first time and now is on board with the lingo. Our trainer is very skilled and good with both dogs and horses. She seems to really enjoy Gracie but does acknowledge that Gracie is a dog that will greatly benefit from this training. Gracie is very receptive to the food reward training regime. I feel like a crazy person with my training bag strapped around my waist filled with carefully prepared chicken cubes, but hey, a person has to do what a person has to do!

Chicken used as a reward for training Gracie The training pouch we use

We are learning to use the clicker as a signal to good behavior. It works like this- behavior, click, treat. Gracie is very patient as I rifle through the training bag, or my pocket to find her treat – but patience has its reward in the end- that lesson she seems to be quite skilled at.

The clicker we use and the “squeaky ball”

Gracie has just turned 5 months old so she is still very much in the learning phase of her life so far. Our goal, of course, is that she will come when called. In time we can let her be off leash in safe situations.

Every dog owner has these as goals but not every owner achieves them. I stumbled upon this blog post while I was searching for the toy maker of a favorite toy of hers. This toy seems to be indestructible- a plus for a Lab owner! If you have time, give it a read. It’s short but gives an interesting history of the Labs roots and why they are the dog they are today. Happy go lucky and a dog who needs plenty of exercise.

Right now Gracie happily watches the wild turkeys, on leash, in our yard. She seems to be fascinated with them and has only tried to chase one once. They are quite large- particularly in the winter months as they “fluff up” their feathers to stay warm. I am glad that she sees them as just another thing in the yard and not as a challenge so far. Squirrels are about the same too so maybe there will be hope for calmer walks as she grows older.

Wild turkeys in our yard

Walking in the city is much different with the cars, people and other distractions. I wish that I had brought her in sooner to experience these things so they wouldn’t seem like something to lunge at. Here is where the true work will pay off. We did a quick trial over the weekend. My fingers were frozen reaching into my pouch for the chicken! It went well for our first time.

We are- and when I say we I mean me- tasked to take her on field trips to town and introduce her to these different scenarios. I am in Portland often- usually twice a week. I need to get walking on leash under control so that it is a pleasure and not a hazard walking her near all of the distractions. Phew!

Chicken in pouch- dry biscuits in pocket ,we will journey out into the world and see if we can master the fine art of “being a good, well trained dog”. I don’t remember all of this work in the ownership of my past 4 dogs, 2 Labs, 1 boxer and 1 Mastiff mix. I guess you only tend to remember the best and not the worst of situations.

Wish us luck- share any and all of your tricks and I will keep you posted with our progress.

The post Gracie in training appeared first on Two Cats and Dog Hooking.

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OOOOh, it’s cold outside! Wow, taking Gracie out, who has to find “her spot” before she does her business, is quite a challenge today. I think that , according to my weather ap, the air temperature feels like -28 degrees right now. BRRRRRRRR

So- I have been doing what I had promised for some time. It takes quite a while to get things listed in my ETSY shop. Don’t even talk to me about the website as a sales platform- not sure when that will happen. I have been getting some kits listed and have hopes to list more as the weeks go on.

So- if you are looking for something to do during this cold snap- hop on over to the ETSY shop and pick up a rug hooking kit to keep your hands busy. And wool- well that is just cozy anyway! I have beautiful Irish made rug hooks for sale and will be listing some frames made in the US too.

Here are a few that I have been working on.

Rug hooking kit Wool rug hooking kit

Have fun inside- maybe do some reading, some organizing, some cooking or some crafting. Whatever it is- stay safe, stay warm.

Sly Fox rug hooking kit

The post OOOOh it’s cold outside! appeared first on Two Cats and Dog Hooking.

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photo credit John Mark Smith


“I feel healthy, happy and terrific”. While at a celebration milestone birthday breakfast I asked the vibrant 90 year old about her secret. She thanked everyone for coming and made this announcement of her daily ritual. “Every morning before my feet hit the floor I say, I feel healthy, happy and terrific”. When asked how long she has been doing this she responded “as long as I can remember”. This woman always has a smile on her face- is always so very positive and dresses “to the nines” every day. She will be celebrating 62 years of marriage this year as well. Their love affair is storybook. They are often seen holding hands and beaming at one another.

There was another woman at the table. It was not a milestone birthday for her, she had hers 2 years ago! She is 92 , still lives in her own house , and she too is a “smart dresser”. She attends one of the book groups I attend, is quick witted and positive. A widow for almost half of her life, she still remains positive and says that she looks to the future with each day ahead of her. A teacher by profession, a mother a volunteer and friend to many.

photo credit John Felise

Then there was the 89 year old who drove a number of the women to the breakfast. I think of her as being quite “young”. She is vibrant, interesting AND interested in life in general. And yes, she too is super positive. Her home is welcoming and fresh and always open to both friends and family. It is an honor to share a part of her life.

Each of these women are fortunate to still live at home. They volunteer and are quite spiritual in their daily lives. Coincidence? I’m not sure- they come from different backgrounds, had different jobs in their working lives.

How lucky am I to be surrounded by such magnificent role models who greet each day with vigor and anticipation. “Once a day is gone, it’s gone. You can never get it back, so why not treat each day with a positive outlook. Be productive each day too.” I am still working on that…it has been a battle for as long as “I” can remember.

They are all from a different era than I so the dressing up each day is a bit different than how I grew up, and hold myself today. I am much more comfortable in jeans and a flannel shirt these days- whatever I can do to keep warm! They have a style that I just never seemed to have. But, it is nice to put on some nice things and feel a little good about yourself!

Oh, by the way- I didn’t mention the 93 year old man who still lives in his own home- has a quick wit and is often cracking jokes. When he was younger, perhaps 75, he volunteered at the school and my son learned to play chess with him. A sweet man indeed.

Words to live by, women to aspire to. Read some- well , maybe read a lot, dress up, feel proud and smile. Our world would be a much better place if we all listened to these women who have figured out just how to live each day of their lives with grace, curiosity and hopefulness.

The post I feel “healthy, happy and terrific” appeared first on Two Cats and Dog Hooking.

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Do you think you might need a spoonful of sugar- (you know like the Mary Poppins song)to make the fire cider and elderberry syrup go down? Well, I say you don’t.

Fire Cider beverage

Adding 1 teaspoon of fire cider vinegar in water a day is a part of the daily routine. Then a teaspoon of Maine Medicinals Elderberry syrup straight from the bottle for good measure. Both have a unique favor and are quite tasty, so I don’t really need the spoonful of sugar to make either go down.

Since Gracie, the puppy has come into our lives, I have been hiking daily when at home. Being out in the fresh air never hurt anyone. Today might be different since it feels like -7 degrees out there!

What do you do to keep yourself healthy ? In the winter months when windows are closed tight, the air is dry and people are often in enclosed spaces together happily spreading their germs, how do you cope? It can be hard to stay above it all. Let’s hope that this helps a little bit.

Try the fire cider- there are recipes to make your own. A link to another blogger mommypotomus who has a lovely explanation of how to make it in your own kitchen if you prefer is included here. I intend to make my own some day- but for now, I’ll drink mine from the bottles that I already have in my cupboard.

Let me know if you try to make your own and how it turns out.

Heading outside to brave the cold, Fire Cider and Elderberry syrup taken…

Later to warm up I will bring out the wool and hook on my secret project. This will be revealed as I continue to hook away on it.

The post Fire Cider and Elderberry syrup appeared first on Two Cats and Dog Hooking.

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Thank goodness for dogs. I have a puppy and sometimes she can be a real joy, and sometimes , well… a real challenge.

The joys:

Having a dog lets you see the sunrise each day. Getting up before the first light in the winter can be absolutely stunning. Without a puppy, I would rarely see this time of day.

Having a dog lets you see the stars at night. Sure you go out at night but do you really spend time looking up and remain outside even when the cold winter air is biting your fingers, nose and toes? This is a special time of the day that is under appreciated.

Get outside

Having a dog makes you get outside in all sorts of weather conditions. It has been snowing off and on here since mid November and it has stayed- so each time it snows I need to go out and create a new snowshoe path for Gracie to be able to walk in. As she grows she is better able to romp through the deeper snow, so maybe this pathway that I create is more for me now. In any event, it has made me get outside and walk and walk and walk…I even just got myself some new snowshoes since my 20 year old ones were starting to have some issues. Having a 30 lb puppy walk on the back of them as you try to walk through deep snow may be part of the problem- let’s see what she does with my new ones!

Having a dog makes you “stop and smell the roses”. She stops at every twig down, stump exposed, pine cone dropped from it’s branches- many stops on our way out- less on our way home. But I get to notice the animal tracks, the woodpecker holes, the gorgeous mushrooms growing on the trees so that is a bonus in and of itself.

Fox tracks found

Chaga mushroom on birch

Busy woodpecker hole

Having a dog makes you meet new people with and without dogs. A store clerk talks fondly about his aging dogs and the new puppy welcomed into the family. Would that exchange have happened if I only asked for a replacement for my headlight? He reached for his phone to share a photo. So sweet.

Having a dog makes it easier to talk to strangers. People stop to ask if they can say hello to the puppy- otherwise they may simply walk past. Last evening while walking rather late in my sons neighborhood a large man was approaching out of the darkness. Gracie was worried and I admit, so was I. He stopped, smiled , gave a quick hand to smell , ” good puppy” and was on his way.

Having a dog makes you realize that there is truly unconditional love between two living things.

The challenges:

Having a puppy who chews absolutely EVERYTHING

Gracie chewing my LL BEAN shoe

Having a puppy who pulls on the leash. My shoulder is suffering… but maybe a few yoga moves will help with that. I’ll give them a try.

Having a puppy who jumps up on little people. The three year old has long curly hair- I guess it looks like a toy because Gracie really loves to jump up and grab it- Lucy is getting more tolerant, but really?? is that necessary? We are working on that behavior every time Gracie and Lucy are together.

All in all it looks like the pros outweigh the cons.

So it’s snowing again- time to start the process of making the snowshoe paths- time to shovel – to get the snow off the roof- winter, you gotta love it! thank goodness I have a puppy to share it with again!

I’m glad we jumped back in and got another puppy- she is a lot of work but brings a lot of joy.

We start ” puppy training” this week. Look out world- we may have a good dog on our hands before we know it.

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If you remember, a while back I wrote a blog post about my love affair with zip loc bags. Well, I have just received a very promising gift this holiday season and am very excited about the prospects! Let me introduce you to the Vejibag.

This organic cotton bag claims to be able to keep your produce fresh for 2 weeks instead of using plastic bags. What? really?? I have struggled with this because plastic has been the only way I can seem to keep, for example, my carrots and greens staying fresh without going limp.

Gift received this Christmas
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Hooray! this may be a new love affair I develop. Check them out through the link and see for yourself how you might be able to reduce the use of plastics in your home and life. I’m going to give it a try this week. I’ll give you an update if all goes well ( and even if it doesn’t).

If you have any other ideas I am totally open to them.

The post Plastic wars getting better; meet the Vejibag appeared first on Two Cats and Dog Hooking.

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Two Cats and Dog Hooking by Ellen Marshall - 5M ago
A walk in the woods

Each year we all think that we have a fresh start, a new beginning when the calendar turns to January. Here we are, January of 2019! Can we really start fresh- do we need to? or do we just need a moment to step back, think about the year that has just passed, remember the good, let go of the bad and allow ourselves to forge ahead with new ideals, thoughts, ambitions, hopes and dreams.

I intend, once again, to try to be healthier, more fit, better organized, read more, create more, learn something new, be open to more ideas, be kinder, be more forgiving, think before I speak, and yes, start fresh again. Tall order? maybe, but then again, maybe not. Life is what you make it and these things shouldn’t be hard to do throughout the year.

What ideals will you press on with? will you find yourself being more creative? more forgiving? more open to other peoples points of view? more apt to go for a walk than take the next cookie? more politically active?

My hope is that I will be able to build into my life the time it takes to let the creativity flow, get things on paper, make them a reality. My dream is that I can figure out how to improve my terrible habit of leaving things wherever I drop them and pick up as I go- it WILL save me time in the long run! time to walk with the new puppy, time to play in the dye pots, time to draw patterns and get them on linen, time to photograph my items and actually get them listed! Time to develop my website and let people know what I am doing, who I am and that, yes, you can trust that you will get a quality piece of work from me when you decide to order. So maybe, just maybe, learn to say no so I can get these things in order. Hmmmmm

Red hand dyed wool in the making

Well, here we go…a fresh start again…what will you do this year to make yours memorable? No excuses, no “but I”, no “what if”, no “I really should be doing…” Take this opportunity to take a moment ( or two or three) and decide to make this year one for the books. Good luck with however you decide to make this year “yours” , one to be proud of, one to look back on with pride and fondness. Keep me posted and I’ll do the same.

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