kitty companiona

kitty companiona

Sunday, July 31, 2011

When it's Done...It's Over

My toy sheep rug is finished.

I always start out thinking primitive, and somehow as things evolve, they end up, well....COLORFUL.

The whipping took longer than expected because I changed my mind again.  I had planned to do it in navy like the border, but after pondering, I decided I wanted the small outside edge to look like the background.  I went to several yarn shops trying to find yarn with the right combination of dark green, olive and brown with little tweedy flecks of tan.  I guess you figured it out before me, that particular yarn is impossible to find.  I didn't think trying to spot dye to match would be successful.

My next best choice was to do the whipping with wool strips, but I only had a little piece, approx. 6 x 8, of the background fabric left.  I had purchased this piece of plaid wool several years ago in East Berlin at Woolgatherings.

Off Zip and I went on a field trip.  Hopefully not a futile one!  Thank goodness Carol had two pieces left.  The day was saved!  To celebrate Zip and I went to eat, of course.

This is Hog Wild on the main street in East Berlin.

They have THE BEST smoked pulled pork sandwiches!  Other specialties are smoked sliced pork, pit beef, barbequed ribs and chicken.  We have been buying sandwiches from Rick and Tina for years and they just keep getting better.  If you are in the area, stop in and try these delicious sandwiches filled with meat smoked right there in their back yard.  It's worth going out of your way to try this place.

I love this planter they have out front with the water running out of the pump.

Now for the reason for the post title.

Quite a few people ask me what I do with my rugs when they're finished.  Do they get put on the floor?  No, they'd be a mess with cat claws and hair sticking all over them.  Do they get hung on the wall?  No, I don't have that much free wall space.  Do I give them away?  Not usually.  Most of my friends are also rughookers.  Giving a rug to a rughooker seems kind of...redundant.

What I do is photograph them and then roll them up and into the top of the closet they go.  When I tell people, I see shock on their faces.

Why would I do that???  Because for me all the fun, the ROMANCE, is in the designing, color planning and hooking.  I love the designing part, the drawing and tweaking, copying and enlarging.  Then there's the excitement and angst of color planning, looking for just the right piece of wool to make it look the way I hoped.  I love the sitting and hooking while listening to a book on CD, it's hypnotic and relaxing.  Then there's the little snags along the way when a planned color doesn't quite work out and the hunt for another better wool keeps it interesting.  Then when all the colors come together it's smooth sailing, with just the joy of mindless hooking.  I even like whipping the edge.

For me all the fun is in the creating and doing.

When it's finished, the love affair is OVER!  And I want to be on to the next challenge without a backward glance.

No sense getting attached.

I guess I'm a HOOKER.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Trying to Beat the Heat

As everyone who lives in the northeast and lots of other places across the country, we are in the grip of a major heat wave.  The temperatures here for the last few days have been hovering around the triple digits.  We don't usually need air conditioning because our house is surrounded by large shady trees.  Yesterday and today A/C was a necessity if we wanted to be able to catch a breath.  Our air conditioner is a small one and only is effective in two rooms.  Right now those rooms are the kitchen and Zip's flytying and guitar playing area.

I moved one of my sewing machines to the kitchen table so I could at least do some work.  I haven't been very productive because even with the A/C it's not exactly COOL!  Just barely bearable!

I do not like the having to close all the windows and doors.  It makes me feel closed in.  In summer I LIKE all the windows open with the breeze blowing.  I remember as a child, Mom and Dad did the 'closing of the house' thing with all the windows closed at a certain early time in the morning to conserve the little bit of coolness from the night.  All the curtains and window blinds were pulled shut to keep out the sun.  We sat around in stifling darkness every summer afternoon.  Then late in the evening, the house could be opened up again.  It used to drive me bonkers!

I was so thankful this afternoon when a small front of cooler air went through and we could turn off the A/C and open up the house.  The kitties loved it too.  One of their favorite places is on the windowsills.

They did attempt to find their own cooler spots during the hottest part of the day.

Some cornhusks right out of the fridge are a cooling treat for Deiter and Izzy.

Reggie likes to lay on the cool metal of the woodstove.

Mom and Tippy have the fan and a book on CD to enjoy while hooking.  In fact, hooking is all I've wanted to do while sitting and sweating.  My sheep is now done except for finishing the edge.  Picture next time.

Deiter finds the porcelain bathroom basin to be a nice cool bed.

I never thought I would hear this from Zip who HATES the cold.  But today he said at least with cold you can put on a sweatshirt, wrap up in a blanket or throw another log on the fire.  With the heat, you just can't get away from it.

I want to show you a picture of one of my young willow trees.  Two years ago this tree was a little stick in a bucket of dirt, given to my by my friend Dottie.  In just two years it's taller than Zip.They are so beautiful!  And grow so fast.  A all it takes to start one is a small branch from another willow tree.

Hope you are keeping cool!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Thank You, Blogger Friends!!!

Zip and I would like to express our heart-felt thanks to all of you for your concern over his recent health problems.  He's doing MUCH better!

Zip read every one of your kind comments.  He sincerely thanks all of you.
He also would like to thank you for the excellent suggestions and encouragement for quitting smoking.

He has cut way back on the caffeine by mixing regular coffee with two thirds decaf and hasn't had any negative side effects.  He's not smoking, at least not that I have SEEN.  I have to TRUST that he will do what is best for his health and not be a NAG!  His family doctor seems to think he has the motivation to quit without medication. 

With just a few days of changes, his pulse is already skipping fewer beats.  The doctor has asked that he wear a 24-hour heart monitor tomorrow to rule out any other problems.

My stress relief during all of this has been working on my rug.  (NOT eating!!!)
The blue really shows up bright in the picture!  I may have to tone it down a bit.

I usually work inside at the kitchen table where I THINK the light is good.  But does it ever make a difference when I take the piece outside and see it in natural light!  I know my eyesight isn't the greatest any more, but I can't believe it makes that much difference in the way I see the color.

I've fallen behind in leaving comments this week.  I am sorry!!!
I have been READING your blogs and hope to spend some time going back and commenting later today.

Thanks for stopping by!
I sincerely appreciate all of my Blogger Friends!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Big Scare

On Sunday evening Zip went fishing.  Because he usually fishes till dark, he came home about 10 p.m.
We were sitting around talking and I noticed him looking at the inside of his elbow.  I asked what he was doing and he said 'I never saw it do this before'.  He has thin arms with very big veins and you can see his pulse in one of the vessels.  The pulse was beating
    *** *** ** *** ******** *** ***!
Lots of skipped heartbeats.  I checked his pulse and it was the same thing.  I mentally go into panic mode but try not to show it.

I check the internet and don't like what I see. Too much caffeine or nicotine (guilty as sin!), heart disease, congestive heart failure, heart attack.  NOT GOOD!

So I ask if he wants to go to the ER and he says let's wait till morning and call the doctor's office.  We go to bed and I cannot sleep.  I keep checking to see of he's OK.

In the morning he is still sleeping and I call the doc.  The nurse consults and comes back with 'the doctor says go to the ER'.  I call Brad and Kami and they are spazzed too.

Zip gets up, pulse is the same, and showers, shaves and gets dressed.  He says that he isn't in any kind of distress, no weakness, dizziness, or chest pain.  I am WORRIED SICK!

After having done an EKG, bloodwork including cardiac enzymes and electrolytes, and a chest xray, the doctor says he's OK to go but mentions that he should switch to decaf coffee and try to quit smoking.
We stopped on the way home and got a big can of decaf.  The quitting smoking is going to be the rough one.

Brad and Kami now are on a campaign to keep us on the straight and narrow healthwise.  They also decided to come down once a week and do some of the chores around the house so us old folks don't get so stressed and tired.
They bought us a cell phone.  I've been thinking that it would be a good idea, but hadn't wanted to make that technological next step.  I'm glad they did it!
They win the award for being The Most Caring Kids of the Year!  Thank you guys!!!  We love you!!!

                                                    Brad and Kami - Christmas two years ago
Today Zip seems fine.  He's drinking the decaf and I don't think he's had a smoke.  This evening his pulse is steadier. 

Tomorrow we both have doctor's appointments.  His is a follow up from the ER visit.  I have some questions for sure, like how can such an irregular heartbeat be 'OK' and healthy?  But what do I know???
I'm having a sebaceous cyst removed from my scalp.  Good grief!  I have fatty things growing on my scalp.  I just can't seem to escape the fat!

We are just very thankful that the Old Guy is going to be OK!  We want our dear husband and dad to be around for many more years.

 We love you!!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Old Dog...No New Tricks!

The rug is progressing nicely when all of a sudden I run out of navy wool.  I start digging through the stash.
My wool stash is now a large plastic storage bin with a messy wad of small pieces.

Isn't that PATHETIC for a rughooker???
I do, every once in a while, take it all out and make an attempt at organizing by color, but within a few weeks, it's back to chaos.

After digging through the whole conglomeration of pieces, there is not one scrap of navy!  I will also add that there are less than half a dozen nice intact quarters in the whole mess.  I keep trying to get it whittled down to where I can feel not-so-guilty about buying some new wools, but no matter how much I take out and use, the bin always seems to be full.  It's some kind of wicked magic!

I picked out handfulls of little narrow junky pieces and proceeded to the dyepot.
This is the kind of stuff I try to use up when dying  any DARK backgrounds, borders and other large areas.

All dyed, dried and ready to hook.  The navy really is darker than it looks in the picture.

As I'm pulling my first loops in the border, I think OH NO!!!  I could have dyed my yarn for the whipping!!!  Where is my brain??? 
I do this EVERY TIME!!!  The Old Dog just cannot learn even one new trick.

Do you think this will help???

Tipper just sits quietly and looks at me as if to say, 'the Old Woman is just plain crazy'!

While I am dealing with my rughooking, Zip has been at a harvesting demonstration being done by Amish farmers at our local Rural Life Festival.  They were cutting grain, thrashing, and digging potatoes with horse drawn machinery.  When he got home, his allergies were going strong.  Runny nose, couldn't stop coughing, his face beet red, he was in misery.

We had plans to go out for dinner with Willa and Chuck, but Zip took some medication and decided to go to bed.  Chuck was golfing with friends and we were to meet him at the restaurant, so Willa and I drove to Mechanicsburg to the Bombay Junction.

I'm so glad we went!   
Of course we wanted to try everything on the menu!

These are the appetizers.  The long tube is a dosa.  It is a crispy crepe that comes with several side items of lentils and vegetables, spicy ginger mustard, extra spicy cooked potatoes and onions and a coconut sauce.  Totally funky!
The little fried things are vegetable fritters called pakara.  The small dish cntains a cilantro dipping sauce.

My entree was lamb in a mild mango curry sauce.  It was delicious.  I didn't take a picture because by that time we were so involved in talking and eating that the camera was forgotten.  The rice pudding for dessert had to come home with me.

This is a delightful restaurant located on the Carlisle Pike in Mechanicsburg near the junction of route 114.  They have a buffet lunch Tuesday through Sunday (closed Monday).  The buffet is a great way to sample a variety of interesting dishes. 

I can't wait to go back!

Hope all of you are having a great weekend!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Heat Wave!

It's been hotter than blazes this week.  And there has been no significant rain in about a month.  The grass is dried up, the yard is brown.  We get our water from a well so there is no garden watering.  That means our garden is a loss this year.  We have Swiss chard that usually grows about 12 - 18 inches tall that's only about four inches high and it's been the same for weeks.

I check Weather Bug's doppler page several times a day, watching storms going all around our area, but not on Newburg.  It's like the desert here.  But the thing I will NEVER understand is how the ground can be dry as a bone and the humidity in the air is so high.  It's like a sauna!  Does that make sense???

I'm trying not to think about the garden situation.  My time is being spent inside with the fans on and rughooking and listening to books on CD.

Last week before going to Grant Street I decided to do this small easy pattern that I happened to have made up long ago and never started. 

I didn't want a stark white sheep so I cut some textured grays to take with me.

I started pulling loops at Grant Street and right away did not like these three fabrics together.
I bought some tans.  Lucky I was in a wool shop, huh???

The tan sheep was OK.

Until I hooked in a yellow base with red wheels.  The tan and yellow did not work at all well together.  I liked the base and wheels a lot, so the tan sheep had to go.

Yeesh!  Now what?  I dug through a bag of wool that Doris had given me about a year ago.  In it was a piece of very textured tan and gray with nubs of natural.  I was skeptical of using this fabric because of the nubby stuff, but decided in desperation to give it a try. 

Whoo-hoo, it worked to perfection!

Next I had to choose a background.  I thought of blue but didn't have anything that seemed right except navy.  Not very exciting.

These dark olives seemed like a possibility.

They didn't really look that great right next to the sheep so I outlined in the navy.

I don't know why something that was supposed to be small and easy always seems to turn out to have so much trial and error.  Even after 20 years of rugs, I'm still doing major reverse hooking.

Now I have to decide how to do the small squares in the border, or even IF I want to use that border.  I was also thinking of stars...

Thanks for stopping by.
Hope you are having a good summer.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

This lovely patriotic display was in Linda's shop, Grant Street Woolworks, on Thursday when we arrived for the hook-in.

What a day we had! 
I'm sure you've read Kathy's, Joanne's and Doris's blogs and already have heard the news that we had visitors from afar.  Lauren who writes the Rugs and Pugs blog and her friend Mary came from northern Ohio on an antiquing trip and stopped at the wool shop.

I'm just going to add a few more pictures.
Not much hooking was being done, but plenty of talking.  Meeting blogging buddies is like a reunion with old friends, we seem to know each other right away.

Joanne and Lauren sharing a laugh.

Mary is a coverlet collector.  She's contemplating Linda's collection.

There was a lot of shopping going on.  Everyone was stocking up on much-needed supplies.  I think there are going to be some new rugs in the near future.

Lauren kindly brought us gifts, which included treats for the dogs and kitties she sees on our blogs.
My guys were digging in the bag the minute I put in on the kitchen table.

I am so impressed with the 'rug hooker' spoon pendant that Lauren made herself.  Isn't it beautiful.  The hammered silver almost has a mother-of-pearl look.  Thank you so much, Lauren!

Speaking of kitties, this little guy is one of the wild outside babies.  We call him/her the 'baby bat', because he's the runt of the litter and has these big ears and such a tiny face with beady little dark eyes.

The tiny one is not afraid of heights!!!
No, he did not jump off the roof, he's just looking from the high vantage point.  He comes back across the roof and jumps onto the front porch.  The outdoor cats also climb two stories up in our huge maple trees.  So far the fire company hasn't had to come to get anyone down.

Whenever I pay bills and have my papers strewn all over the table, I always have help from the big guy.
He seems to think it is his special obligation to help Mom keep her papers from blowing away in a stray breeze. 

Doesn't he make a great paperweight???

Cats can do so much more than just keep mice out of the house.  They can be useful to Mom in so many ways.  Don't forget to mail these envelopes, Mom!

And when I've been working long enough, there's the gentle paw to remind me that I should stop, take a sip of coffee, and pet the cat.  Deiter, you're my Hero!!!

Hope all of you have a wonderful July 4th!
Ours is going to be corn on the cob and steaks on the grill for two.
Quiet, relaxing, just the way we like it.