cat and dog, an antique adaptation….

ellis blogs

ellis blogs

There’s something to be said for a warm friend on a winter’s day, like today.  Ellis and I (and Lilly and Otis) are snug inside, watching the snow swirling and dancing in the wind, and keeping an eye on the birds, through the window, who are enjoying the peanuts and suet “we” put out this morning.

Last week, I worked on a punch needle adaptation of an antique rug.  Here’s the original rug…

original antique rug

original antique rug

I’ve been wanting to hook this design for a while, but hooking, in my house, involves so many helpers “organizing” my wooly worms and supervising my progress, that it will be some time before I get to this one.  So, I decided to punch it for now.  Here’s the tracing I made ~ feel free to print it for yourself, if you’d like!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love doing these antique adaptations!  However, I always experience moments of despair in the beginning ~ does that happen to you, too?

i just don't see this working out for me

i just don’t see this working out for me

At this point, I’m thinking that I should just quit while I’m ahead.   I mean, it all feels so messy and not the least bit cohesive and I’m sure I’m a failure and there’s no way this will ever resemble the original in any particular.

But, I persevere…

oh golly, this is too terrible for words

i think we should break up… i mean, there are lots of other designs i’d like to go out with… it’s not you, it’s me…

Even at this point, when I have the dog and cat done, it all feels disjointed ~ the dog looks emaciated and the peppermint pink background coupled with the black is almost too much for me.

It isn’t until I’m completely done, when the piece is totally punched, stained, and mounted, that I think, “hey, it’s not so bad, after all.”!

maybe this relationship can work, after all!

well, what d’ya know…

well, what d'ya know!

maybe this relationship can work, after all!

I recently dismantled an antique trunk and have some lovely bits and pieces to work with.

antique trunk bit

antique trunk bit

I think this piece, in the above picture, will work splendidly as a backdrop for Cat and Dog.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe blues, pinks and antique whites of the punch needle are reflected in the plaid paper ~ serendipity!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI guess, the moral is that being a puncher is a lot like being a shark.  One has to keep moving forward, and just punch through the doubt to survive!

(Would you like to visit Cat and Dog on etsy?  Click here.)

 

May you always be more confident than I!

 

rebecca

 

 

finish, start, work in progress…

friends and neighbors ~ lyn hosford design

friends and neighbors ~ lyn hosford design

I managed to put together a pillow over the weekend using my finished Friends and Neighbors punch needle.  For the front of the pillow I left the weavers cloth, nicely stained, in its as-is condition.  For the back, I used a piece of my favorite plaid wool.

pillow back

pillow back

I stuffed the pillow with lumpy snips and scraps and used a fraktur inspired punch needle as a patch on the back.

Then, I tried to get some work done on my rug…

lilly, "i'm so glad you got out your hooking ~ i've been looking for a spot to lie down..."

“i’m so glad you got out your hooking ~ i’ve been looking for a spot to lie down…”

Lilly had other plans, however.

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“wouldn’t you rather play?”

She felt that my time would be better spent throwing wool puffs for her to catch than hooking wooly worms.

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ah, me

She’s very persuasive and difficult to resist!

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“let me see that”

However, she did allow me to hook around her, so I got a few rows done…

Despairing of finishing my rug with Lilly’s assistance, I moved on to an ambitious project which I’m hoping will resemble a weathervane, of sorts, when I’m through.

table leg and twirly bit

table leg and twirly bit

I took apart an antique dining table and will use some of the bits.

future rooster

future rooster

Then, drew this rooster on a large piece of weavers cloth.  I wonder if I’ll be able to pull this one off….  Perhaps, if I can find a quiet space ~ sans cats ~ it can be done!

Wishing you the time, ability and personal space to meet all your goals!

rebecca

winter white…

outside

welcome winter

As I stroll through our woods I find that one thing we have is snow…

clean, unblemished, snow snow snow snow....

clean, unblemished, snow snow snow snow….

beautiful, glorious, cold, snow, snow, snow.

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oh! just look at those lovely neutrals

 

Outside, everything is shrouded in a soft veil, and it is brrrrrr ~ COLD!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe shoulders of my bell from Mackinaw Island wear a feminine ruffle of white.  While the Queen from my chess set is dressed to the nines in her soft, white hat and cloak.

woodpecker heaven

woodpecker heaven

Even the snag looks respectable topped with a soft, creamy, heap.

no snow here

no snow here

Back indoors, I find more wintry whites, but no snow.

oh! heavenly paper whites!

oh! heavenly paper whites!

After my walk in the wintry wood, I’m greeted by warm kitties and the fragrance of Spring.

otis is never far from the action

otis is never far from the action

My mother gave me these narcissus bulbs for Christmas.  Otis has been waiting impatiently for them to bloom.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHe’s almost as delighted by the fragrance as I am…. or is he considering a snack?

ho hum

ho hum

Evidently, Ellis doesn’t think the daffs live up to their hype.

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my friends against a backdrop of white

 

 

Winter White, indoors and out!

 

What color is your world, today?

 

may warmth and happiness be yours,

 

rebecca

 

 

 

 

un~finishes…

I seem to be falling behind….

As I look at the calendar, I see that February looms, and I have yet to finish, “t’was the night before christmas”.  Do you remember “t’was the night before christmas”?  I started it many moons ago and actually finished punching it the night before christmas.

t'was the night before christmas

t’was the night before christmas

I’ve even aged “t’was the night…” but now I’m stuck…

Bird in the Hand Primitives design

Bird in the Hand Primitives design

…I just can’t decide how to finish this large piece.  Perhaps by next Christmas I’ll reach a conclusion?

Friends and Neighbors, a Need’l Love design by Lyn Hosford, is another project that I drew on weavers cloth…

friends and neighbors

friends and neighbors

…punched using some of my favorite Valdani colors…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA…with a neutral background…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA…and aged.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt least, with Friends and Neighbors, I know I’d like to make a pillow.  I just haven’t done it, yet.  Perhaps this weekend?  I seem to be planning everything for this weekend ~ finishes, cleaning out the basement, organizing my supplies, dying wool… It’s good to have goals!

 

Hopefully, by Monday, I’ll have some progress to report!

 

Do what you love!

 

rebecca

 

 

 

phm update…

little love bird

little love bird ~ available for purchase in my PHM shop. :~>

Primitive Handmades Mercantile just updated its site last Friday and there are lots of fabulous new prims to purchase and, in honor of our one year anniversary there are lots and lots of giveaways to be had!

crow and posy ~ phm giveaway

crow and posy ~ phm giveaway

It’s easy to enter the drawings to win one of the wonderful handmades available.  Simply click here to go to Primitive Handmades Mercantile homepage and follow the instructions.  Best of all, you get to choose which giveaway you’d like to win!

Until next time, wishing you warmth and happiness!

 

rebecca

quiet inspiration…

What do you say when someone asks, “where does your inspiration come from?”?  Is it rich, exciting colors that get your blood flowing and make your fingers itch to hold a hook or needle?  Do you look outside your immediate surroundings for inspiration?  Maybe, you’re inspired by a little bit of everything?

When someone asks me about the origin of my inspiration, I always want to say, “Color”, but I feel like something of a fraud.  What one seems to notice most about what I do, is the absence of color.

Usually, I just pass through the rooms in my house.  What I typically notice is how much cat hair there is all over the place (and I just vacuumed! Ack!)  This week, I took a good look  at my own space, I saw beyond the flying fur, and I was surprised by how much color inspiration I found when I really saw my home, how much my work reflects the subtleties I see in my things.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy mom’s bread-making bowl sits on a window ledge in my kitchen.  Looking at mom’s bowl I see the soft buttermilk yellow I use so often when punching and hooking.  Beyond the bowl, just outside the window, I can see the quiet orange I like to use when making pumpkins or a snowman’s nose.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn the deck, a fountain burbles throughout the winter.  Ice formations build up on the edges of the concrete bowl, but with the help of a little heater there is always water available for any little creature who’d like a sip.  Seeing beyond the actual function of the fountain, I notice more of the colors that move me ~ slate grey, the subtlest of pinks, and a touch of copper.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn the mantle, white dominates, so many different shades and moods of white, it feels like the whole picture is a washout, until I look more closely and see what’s reflected in the mirror.  Reds, browns, and greys ~ just a teaspoonful, please ~ break up the cream and sugar view.  I realize that this expanse of white, with color sprinkled on with a light hand, has been inspiring me all along.  When I approach a punch needle project or start a hooked rug, my first thought is, “quiet, quiet, soothing, neutral, white, white, white”, and then, somehow, a bit of color creeps in, quietly, here and there.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI don’t think I require a lot of color, but I’m wrong.  Like this scale, at first glance I see, basically, black and white, an object lacking color.  On closer inspection, wow! there is a lot of color here!  Rusty red, brown, a whole host of  greys, silver, even yellow…

So, next time someone asks me what inspires me, I’ll be able to say, without doubt or hesitation, “Color!”.

Look around… What inspires you?

May your day be filled with those kinds of things, the things that inspire you the most!

rebecca

cats hook, too….

I did something minor to my thumb, the other day, which made punching uncomfortable.  So, I set aside my punch needle and picked up my hook.  Instantly, I was set upon by dozens of cats!  (Actually, it was just my three companions, but when one is trying to hook, three cats seem like a bushel!)

can i help?

can i help?

This is the only picture you’ll see of Lilly in this post.  The rest of the time she was attempting to curl up on my lap under my frame.

oh boy!

oh boy!

Otis is a perfectionist, watching every loop I pull.

"i'm not sure i approve of your color placement"

“i’m not sure i approve of your color placement”

He would like to be in charge of all wool ~ pointing out which techniques he likes, and those that he doesn’t.

"no... no, I can't agree that this strip should go here..."

“no… no, I can’t agree that this strip should go here…”

He often takes matters into his own “hands”, and he’s really, really good at….

"let me help you with that"

“let me help you with that”

…REVERSE hooking!

Ellis takes a completely different approach, much less subtle than Otis.

"'scuse me, this is my spot"

“‘scuse me, this is my spot”

Ellis doesn’t even pretend an interest in hooking.

"keep the noise to a minimum, please"

“keep the noise to a minimum, please”

Meanwhile, with Lilly under my frame enjoying my lap, Ellis on top of my frame taking a snooze, and wool all around me, I’m beginning to feel rather too warm.  It’s time to put an end to this frivolity, get up, and move my backing on my frame.  This will give me the opportunity to photograph my progress, so far.

"ta da!"

“ta da!”

Otis misunderstands, believing that he is the object of my camera’s lens.  I distract him with a kitty toy, and…

ta da!

ta da!

This is one of Lori Brechlin’s fabulous, prim designs.  I love the simplicity of this pattern, which is from one of her Notforgotten Farm design booklets.  I would love to tell you which booklet it’s from, but at the moment of writing this, I have three cats on my lap.  It may be possible to get out from under one cat, but three?!  So, I’ll add the link to Lori’s blog, where you can find so many good things and a brand new punch needle pattern!  Click here to visit Lori.

 

Wishing you a quiet and happy day!

 

rebecca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

finishing hearts….

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i feel loopy!

Ellis got out his catnip toy while I was finishing my Notforgotten Farm hearts ~ wheeee!  He had a good time!

finished punching

finished punching

I’m looking forward to seeing how a little coffee stain will blend and soften my colors.

care for a cup?

care for a cup?

After the hearts soak for a while, I’ll twist and wring them out ~ rather gently of course, but with a firm hand.  I discovered that the twist and wring method leaves the kind of mottling that I’m always trying to achieve.  I just hope I haven’t broken any punch needle laws!

nicely aged

nicely aged

Can you see the mottling?  It’s always difficult to tell what’s what on a computer monitor.  No matter ~ the aging is there and the floss colors have softened (I hope).

Let’s take a break and check in on Ellis…

zzzzz....

zzzzz….

Looks like he’s done with his catnip toy ~ resting up for the next round!

While Ellis sleeps, I work like a busy bee and back, stuff and hang my hearts.

tulip heart

tulip heart

 

I like these hearts hung from my curtain rods, but over a doorknob would work just as well.

sampler heart

sampler heart

Would you like to see more pictures of the finished hearts?  You can click here to visit them in my etsy shop, if you’d like.

wishing you lots of love, today, and every day!

 

rebecca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cats and hearts…

otis

otis

Otis is one of those comfortably plump cats…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

He loves having his belly rubbed!

notforgotten farm hearts

notforgotten farm hearts

I’m working on two of Lori Brechlin’s heart designs, Tulip Heart and Sampler Heart.  Both are big, beautiful patterns which you can purchase from Lori, if you’d like, by clicking here. This will take you to Lori’s blog where her contact information is available.  Lori always includes directions and DMC floss color charts with her designs, which is so nice if you want to take the guess-work out of color choices!

my colors

my colors

I’m starting with Tulip Heart and going my own way with colors.  I’m getting into a nice rhythm and making good progress when…

lilly

lilly

Lilly demands the use of the left side of my body.  She curls herself in a tight enough ball that I’m able to extricate my arm and continue my work.

at least one of us is comfortable...

at least one of us is comfortable…

I’ve limited my colors to four for this project ~ Valdani 5, 6, P3 and JP6 ~ I love this kind of color combination.  Simple, quiet, soothing and peaceful… all the things I crave.  It will be a different scenario once I get to Sampler Heart.

sampler heart

sampler heart

I’ve decided to challenge myself and get LOUD!  Well…. as loud as I ever get.  I’m using V106, which is a bright (for me) yellow mixed with ecru and a bit of olive-y grey.  I know this heart will take me quite a bit longer than the first one.  I’ll have to do a lot more convincing, of myself, to keep me from tearing it all out and starting over with my “safe” palette.

Wishing you all the best today, and every day!

 

rebecca

 

 

 

making an old box “new”…

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outside

This may, or may not, be a project that you would be interested in trying.  It’s simple….

inside

inside

…and pretty, and doesn’t cost much more than the price of floss.

I started with a jewelry box from a thrift store given to me by my mother-in-law ~ She’s always finding fun things for me to work on at the Goodwill! ~ but you could use a new wood or paper mache box.

outside

outside

This box was in very good condition with hardly any wear, but a well-worn box could be used instead.

inside

inside

The first thing to do is to take the box apart.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABe sure to keep all the little pieces together!  In addition to taking the lid off and removing the hinge, I also took out the guts of the jewelry box.  Much of the cardboard and glue stuck to the inside and at this point the box looked simply dreadful.  However, after  the next steps which are lightly sanding the exterior and giving the entire box a coat of white paint, the outlook improved.

a coat of paint always helps

a coat of paint always helps

Then, paint the box again, and again… and again! ~ or, until you are satisfied with the look.

ready for distressing

ready for distressing

I let the paint cure for a few days, which is not actually necessary, but I needed time to decide on a design for the “windows”.  I took my inspiration from one of my Fraktur books (you can use any design that appeals to you!).  These are three of my favorite books on Fraktur:

fraktur, fraktur fraktur

fraktur, fraktur fraktur

Next, trace the opening(s) of the box windows on weavers cloth and draw your design.  (If you have a box without windows, you can easily make a punch needle mat and adhere it to the top of your finished box.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANext, choose your colors….

some of my favorite colors

some of my favorite colors

…and start punching.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI aged my punch needle, later, with a coffee bath, but you don’t have to!

Now, distress your box to your liking…

i'm so distressed!

i’m so distressed!

I used my vintage windows, with all their chipping, cracking, and peeling, as inspiration.  I sanded the edges of my box and then took a paint scraper to it.  At this point, I felt like the contrast between the “wood” and the paint was too great, so I went back in with a rag dipped in white paint and whitewashed over the naked areas.

Now, you’re ready to choose some clip art for the interior.  If you’d rather not pay for clip art, be sure to use some that’s free.  The Graphics Fairy (graphicsfairy.blogspot.com) is a fabulous resource for free clip art!

i love bird and egg graphics

i love bird and egg graphics

After printing the clip art, measure the interior of your box and cut your graphics accordingly.  Then, using Mod Podge, adhere the clip art to the inside of your box.  A couple of coats inside and outside the box is a good idea.  Be sure to coat the outside of the box with your Mod Podge or another clear sealer before going on to the next step.

Next, using an antiquing paint (or just some brown paint, which is what I used) age your box inside and out with a light coat, wiping any excess off with a rag (a damp rag will remove more age, a dry rag will remove less).

When the antiquing paint has dried go over the whole box again with a coat or two of Mod Podge.

Now, you’re ready to insert your finished punch needle piece(s).  I did not use adhesive on mine ~ I just set my punched piece into the windows.  The removable back on the lid of my box keeps my punching in place ~ but you may need to glue yours.

Voila!  My new old box looks old in a new way!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Whether you try this project or not, Have some Fun today!

 

Until next time…

rebecca