Might As Well Go To Mt Rushmore

Life sure can be unpredictable. Especially when living with my hubby. On his birthday a few days ago, I gave him a birthday card that said he is my biggest adventure, and it’s true. We were only supposed to be going to Illinois to see family for a couple weeks, but suddenly he said, “Well, since we are going that far, we might as well go to see Mt Rushmore.” That man knows how to make me happy. I packed with a huge smile for this trip. Not only would I see precious family, but I’d be going on an adventure too.

First we spent almost a month with our son and his family, which includes our three adorable grandchildren who have absolutely stolen my heart. We were able to see Jonathan fulfilling his role as campus pastor at New Hope Newton church.

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We experienced lots of rain and even a couple tornado warnings while in Illinois. I smiled as I did my Bible reading this morning. It was Mark 4:37-41 where Jesus slept in the boat during a terrible storm. His disciples were terrified and woke him with the question, “Don’t you care?” I admit that storms do scare me a bit. It might have something to do with watching the house next door burn after being struck by lightening when I was 4 years old. But as I get to know Jesus a bit better, I am learning just how powerful and loving he is. He said, “Quiet! Be still!” and the waves and wind totally died down. During the storms of life, I am learning to trust that God will still the storm. So as we waited in the basement of our son’s house during tornado warnings, I attempted to share the faithfulness of our almighty God with my granddaughter. With all that rain, we had plenty of time to do art.

Oh, how those children love art! Even one year old Aaron will not be left out. If he sees me sitting down with his sisters to do “arting”, he fusses until he is on my lap and holding a pencil. He’s happy that way for an hour!IMG950460

My daughter-in-law, Johanna, and I learned a new artform: mosaics. Here we are with our instructor, Dinah Nuelle.DSC_7894 3

And I had the privilege of teaching my first two students how to do rug hooking. Johanna and her friend, Morgan, enjoyed designing their own projects and I got them started.  Aaron wanted to get in on the rug hooking too. I started calling him Leonardo because he seemed interested in so many things.

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It was difficult to leave those wonderful people, but it was time to explore. After stopping in Nebraska to visit Matt’s sister, we made our way to the Badlands in South Dakota. I found the lovely green plains and the big sky fascinating. I could see forever! It was the first time I had seen a speed limit sign for 80 mph! Don’t worry, I didn’t go that fast with the rig.Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Beautiful bright blue butterflies flitted around and I snapped this pic of two mating.Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

I had made reservations right in the park for our camping. It’s almost boondocking, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. There is electricity at the site, but no water or sewer. So, we filled our holding tank with water ahead of time. I like that we are one step closer to being able to camp with no hook ups! The Cedar Pass campground is right next to beautiful Badlands formations.Badlands Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Our neighbors were lovely people that actually knew of the college where Matt and I attended and met, Houghton College. Not many people know of it. We enjoyed visiting with Max and Betty for a bit and then went driving in the Badlands.Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

What lovely formations!

Badlands Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com Badlands Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

The mounds had stripes and the ground looked quite parched.

Badlands Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com Badlands Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.comBadlands Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

What a great day. The sunset was amazing and bathed our camper in warm light. We hadn’t made it to Mt Rushmore yet but that’s next! Stay tuned.

Badlands Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Treasured Shells Rug

I’ve written about my love of hunting for shells. Well, I decided that I needed a shell rug for next to our bed in the camper. We are always staying in our camper when I have the opportunity to look for shells and our bedspread has shells and fish on it. At first I planned to model the rug after our bedspread but I love to come up with my own designs. As I reminisced about our time shelling at Gasparilla in Florida, I had a brilliant idea. Why not make a rug that featured shells I had found?!My shells

I ran to the closet in my studio to pull out my favorite shells and my eye caught something on my desk. A wonderful memory flooded through me of standing on the beach in North Carolina, watching the sky. As I stood there, a plane approached and I watched as one, two, three, four, five people jumped from the plane into the ocean. That’s why I was there… to watch our son, who is a U. S. Marine do a jump. I scanned the sky trying to figure out which one was our son. I told Matt which one I thought it was because of his long legs and looked like he was doing so well. Pride mixed with fear filled my heart as I waited for each Marine to land in the water. Whew! It looked like all were safe. I relaxed and looked down at my feet. There was a large, perfectly whole sand dollar! I had never found a whole one before. What a treasure! As I now looked at the sand dollar on my desk, I decided that it would have to be the centerpiece of my rug. I sat down and started to draw while holding each shell.01-Shell Drawings-001

Even though it was December, I was looking forward to heading down to Florida after Christmas. As I dreamed of warmer weather, I began hooking each shell while holding it in my hand.04-DSC_6585-001

What wonderful colors were in each one.05-DSC_6589 3-001

I had to remind my hubby that what I was doing was an artist’s interpretation of each shell. With my limited wool stash, there was no way I would have each color I needed to make the shells look realistic. And I had also decided to make the colors a bit more vibrant than the shells looked because the sun and bleach I had used to clean them had taken away some of the beauty. It was coming along pretty well.06-DSC_6598 4-001

Finally, we made it to Florida. This would be the perfect project to work on while in the sunny weather. I was also excited to reach the sunshine state because I was going to meet a rug hooking friend that I had made on facebook. What a wonderful time we had chatting about rugs and everything under the sun. Susan Sutherland was working on her own beach themed rug.07-DSC_6605 2-001

I told her of my plans to make this a neutral toned rug that I wouldn’t mind putting on the floor in our camper. But I had tried putting colors in the background for sand and I just wasn’t liking it. Susan excitedly ran to her wool stash and pulled out a lovely turquoise piece. “How about that color?” she exclaimed. Oh yes! That would be so pretty. But I stuck to my idea of earth tones so I wouldn’t mind stepping on it. No matter what I tried after I got back to our camper, I was not happy with a sand background. I started dreaming of that lovely color Susan had put next to my shells. I attended a hook-in with the ladies from Searsport and they had a gorgeous hand dyed yard of wool that was just perfect! I forgot to take a photo of it before I cut it up to use, but here is some of it.1-DSC_6770

Would I be able to make it look like water? Susan suggested twisting my hand back and forth as I hooked. She called it the higgledy piggly stitch. I gave it a try. I also decided to take out the sea glass and put in more shells.08-DSC_6746 3-001

I loved how the water was looking, but it was quite a shock after envisioning sand all that time. Did I like it? Everyone else who saw it said it looked great. It was time to go to the Searsport Florida Hook In and I was excited to work on my project there.  What a wonderful time I had meeting other people. Susan and I enjoyed meeting Kay LeFevre. I was almost done with my rug!09-DSC_6995 3-001

My shell project was nearing its end. I took a pic of the shells that were my models on top of the hooked sand dollar.13-DSC_7242 4-001

And here is my shell memory rug! Not sure it will go on the floor in the bedroom. Such lovely memories might just have to go on the wall.Shell Rug designed and hooked by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Sanibel’s Amazing Shells

Sanibel Island is one place that I have wanted to visit ever since I heard of it. This beautiful island off the shore of Fort Myers, Florida is regularly listed as the best place in the world for shelling. Where we stay in Florida is about 2 hours away and we just never seemed to get there. Finally, we had a day when Matt didn’t have to work, so we took the trip to see what we could find. We got up much earlier than I usually do, so I enjoyed seeing the sunrise and had to take a quick pic out the windshield. It was going to be a lovely day!Sunrise on the way to Sanibel Island www.joyfulwonder.com

Many things were in our favor this day and that was the reason we chose it. I had been researching, especially here, about the best times for shelling. It is said that after a storm is best and just before low tide. Then there are also the factors of the moon phase and wind. Plus it is wise to get there to find the shells before the crowds arrived. Everything was just perfect! We munched on hardboiled eggs and cold bacon as we drove the miles to this famous beach. Would we find anything? I’ve been to several beaches where I never found a whole shell. I was excited to see if this beach would live up to its reputation. We were early enough to find parking for our huge truck, Sherman, but we were definitely not the first ones there. I should have gotten up earlier. Maybe all the shells were already taken. Here was my first glimpse of Sanibel Island’s beach.Lighthouse beach at Sanibel Island photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

It sure looked like there was a lot of something on the beach. I ran down and started looking. There were a LOT of shells! I picked a pretty one up, but the animal was still living it. One rule of shelling is to let the ones with live animals alone. So, I put him back on the sand. I picked up another one. Yikes, another animal! The shells were beautiful, but partly because they were still occupied and useful to their owners. I was getting an education on what these fascinating creatures were like. This shell, called a tulip shell, was just gorgeous…and still occupied.Tulip shell photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

We always chat with the other people on the beach and we were privileged to meet Ken. He volunteers at the shell museum on Sanibel Island and was a wealth of information. He explained which shells were more rare than others. I joked with him that I planned to find a junonia shell. He looked at me like I was crazy since those shells aren’t found very often. I’ve heard they are found once a week, but Matt said once a season. Anyway, Ken said I probably should have gotten to the beach a bit earlier than 8 am to get a junonia. Here he is holding some tulip shells.photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

While chatting with him, I found a tulip with another shell hanging on to it. He told me to take a photo of it. I had found a tulip animal eating the animal from another shell and Ken said you didn’t see that very often.Tulip shell photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

We saw many other types of shells too. Scallops, penshells, olives, fighting conchs, clam. Matt found a horse conch shell which is the Florida state shell. It still had its bright orange gastropod occupant.Horse Conch shell with gastropod photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

There were so many shells most of which still had live critters in them. We did find a few without, but were starting to wish we could find a large empty shell. The tide was at it’s lowest and Ken had explained that a sandbar would become accessible. We tried to hurry over to it, but by the time we got there, many others had been there before us. There were indeed many shells, but every single one of them had already been turned and left because they were live. I wondered what treasures the early birds had found before us. Matt found a big horse conch that had a hermit crab in it and decided to move it for me to take a photo. It slipped from his hand to the sand and when he picked it back up, the crab fell out of the shell. It was not alive. The shell was ours! Horse Conch shell on Sanibel Island photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

After shelling for a couple hours, we decided to get a geocache. There was one close to the Sanibel Lighthouse.Sanibel Lighthouse photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Matt found it quickly. His first geocache of 2016!Matt geocaching photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

I decided to look at the beach right at the lighthouse. It was even more cluttered with shells than the other part we had been on. Look at all the fighting conch shells.Shells at Sanibel Island photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

The beach was just covered with stuff and the birds were feasting.Beach on Sanibel Island photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

But it was time to go on. I still wanted to see the shell museum: Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum.Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

Here I was able to see the elusive junonia shell. Probably the only ones I’ll ever see.Junonia Shells photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

And we saw record breaking shells. Matt at the museum photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Lion’s paw shells were another that I would have loved to find on the beach, but at least I saw them at the museum.Lion's paws and angel's wings photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

We took a break from the exhibits and went to two different talks they had there. I learned so much about shells and the animals that made them. Really fascinating. I’d highly recommend the museum. After the talks, we saw shell art. Cameos.Cameo photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com Cameo photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

And Sailors ValentinesSailors Valentine photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

But it was getting late and we had a two hour drive yet to do. It was time to go back to our camper and see what we had shoved into our bags while on the beach. Here is our haul.Sanibel Shells photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Did I have a great time at Sanibel? Yes! Did it live up to its reputation? It was amazing! Do I want to go again sometime? You bet!!Janine with shells from Sanibel Island photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

 

One Day in Switzerland

After traipsing all over Italy for Matt’s work, we were able to relax and explore during a week of vacation. One area we had not yet been to was the mountains of northwestern  Italy. After saying fond farewells to Sergio and Ceclia, we took off for lands unknown. Sergio said that we must stop at the coastal town of Lerici on our way. What a picturesque spot!Lerici, Italy by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

We only had an afternoon to spare, so we strolled along the coast and ate gelato. We had been told by Sergio that we needed to go to the top of the hill and see the castle for lovely views.Lerici, Italy by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

I’ll never get enough of seeing the wonderful colors of the homes in Italy.Lerici, Italy photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

It was time to head to our next agriturismo in the Aosta Valley. We had spent more time in Lerici than anticipated and now I was concerned about making it to La Vrille agriturismo in time for check in and dinner. But we got there in plenty of time to eat a meal fit for a king. They were ready for my dietary needs and even served me a special dessert. This was the first place we stayed that looked like a Swiss chalet to me.Agriturismo La Vrille photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

We were in the mountains of northwestern Italy and yet it was so gloomy that we couldn’t see them. Off to bed we went with hopes of clearer days ahead of us. I wanted to see those mountains! We had plans to go on a cable car up into those mountains. Would tomorrow be the day? But alas, we awoke to no mountains. I was beginning to think there really weren’t any mountains they were so well hidden by clouds. We decided not to do the cable car since we wouldn’t be able to see anything. We were, however, very near to the border of Switzerland. Always in pursuit of geocaches in new places, we decided to drive through the mountains and see if we could get to Switzerland. Windy road in Italy photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

The roads were quite windy and steep and we couldn’t see much.Road to Great Saint Bernard Pass photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com Beautiful scenery in the alps of Italy photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

We also had to go through a 3 mile long tunnel. I used to feel panicky in tunnels, but Italy cured me of that. The Great Saint Bernard Pass, the third highest road pass in Switzerland was our destination. We finally arrived and climbed out of our car. We saw someone walking around and he came over to us. “It’s too bad you weren’t here yesterday,” Anthony Schrag said, “the mountains are spectacular!” But, we only saw clouds and fog. Still, we could cross the border into Switzerland and look for a geocache. We invited our new friend to come along with us. As we drove over the border, Anthony explained that he was walking from Scotland to Venice. Wow, was I ever impressed. He had not heard of geocaching, however, and we had fun enlightening him. Just into Switzerland, we climbed up a bit from the road, and there it was.Our first Swiss geocache photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Our first Swiss geocache!! As we celebrated the find, Anthony continued to express disappointment for us in the weather. Suddenly, the clouds lifted and the beautiful Swiss Alps came into view. What a glorious sight!Great Saint Bernard's pass photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Then Matt continued to climb up for a better view. I tried to follow him on the wet, slippery rocks with my sore knee. He looked down and told me to scramble up one particular rock. I said, “Honey, I’m not much of a scrambler.” Suddenly a man on the other side of the rock started laughing. He said, “That’s pretty funny…Honey, I’m not much of a scrambler. I think it’s the quote of the day.” Well, I’m glad he was amused. I finally made it up there. See how little that cross is in the next photo?

Great Saint Bernard's pass photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

The “scramble” was totally worth it. Oh, the majesty! It was not for long and the clouds came back to cover the beauty again. Here are the buildings at the pass.Great Saint Bernard's pass photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Then the clouds came back. Just like that, they were gone!Great Saint Bernard's pass photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

I was determined to have a meal in Switzerland and we did, right over the border. Potatoes and cheese.Meal in Switzerland photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

We learned a little bit about how Saint Bernard opened a hospice there to help people in the harsh mountains. He must have pointed people in the right direction too.Statue of Saint Bernard photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

He trained large dogs to search for missing people. They still had St Bernard dogs at the pass.St Bernards at the Great Saint Bernard pass photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

And some in the souvenir shop.souvenirs at Great Saint Bernard Pass photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

There was also a museum of religious artifacts. This ancient Bible reminded me of doing Bible Art.ancient Bible photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

What a glorious day in Switzerland, even though cloudy. We were excited to have stepped foot in another country and I’m always happy in the mountains. And next exciting day?  Well, you’ll just have to wait for another blog post!Matt and Janine in Switzerland www.joyfulwonder.com

You may enjoy previous posts about our trip to Italy.

DIY 6-Sided Snowflakes

Through the years, my family and I have decorated in the winter by making snowflakes. It all started when I was a little girl. My folks had Childcraft books and one of them had instructions for making six-sided snowflakes. I made a lot of those as a kid. But then life got busy and I forgot how to make them. snowflake collage www.joyfulwonder.com

Enter a really smart husband! Shortly after we got married, we had no money to decorate for Christmas. I wanted to make snowflakes, but could not remember the special fold. Matt figured it out and we’ve been making them ever since. Every year, our sons and I would make snowflakes and hang them all over the house, especially in our big living room window. snowflakes in the window www.joyfulwonder.com

When facebook came into being, I posted photos of the snowflakes and got many questions about how to make them.Six sided snowflake www.joyfulwonder.com

So, Matt and I decided to make a video showing the secret fold. I hope you enjoy it! And I’d love to see your snowflakes!

Italy 2015 #6 Sergio Does It Again

I’m all about going to new places and meeting new people, but there are some people and places that you just have to visit again. My friend, Sergio, is one of them. Driving from Verona to Sergio’s agriturismo wasn’t going to take too long, so I talked Matt into a bit of a detour to Lucca, a city in Tuscany. Tucked inside the modern city is a treasure surrounded by walls dating back to the Renaissance. We found this gate and walked inside to explore.Gate in the wall of LuccaIt was a lovely town inside those formidable walls.LuccaWe didn’t have much time, but I was eager to see a church that was mentioned in our tour book. San Michele in Foro, Lucca www.joyfulwonder.comThe facade of San Michele in Foro is just incredible. Each column looked different!San Michele in Foro, Lucca www.joyfulwonder.com ©Janine Broscious 2015 San Michele in Foro, Lucca www.joyfulwonder.com ©Janine Broscious 2015As Matt and I wandered around Lucca, we looked for all the towers that were featured on a coin purse I had purchased. We found them all! And I admired the lovely Italian pottery. Oh, I love it!Lucca, Italy www.joyfulwonder.com ©Janine Broscious 2015I wished we had time to ride bikes on the top of the wall. If we ever go back, I want to do that. But it was time to move on.Lucca, Italy. www.joyfulwonder.com ©Janine Broscious 2015We arrived at Sergio’s agriturismo, Settesoldi, and were greeted as old friends.  As they prepared dinner, Sergio and Cecilia assured me that they still had “my” plate, silverware and pot that they saved special for me and others with food intolerances. Sergio asked about my jewelry business and I explained that I had also expanded to designing patterns for rug hooking. It took a bit for him to understand what I meant, but he got excited when I showed him my latest design that I said was inspired by the Italian pottery that I love. He ran inside and got a book for me to look at. “This is the ceramic that is typical of this area. You and Matt need to go see where they make it.” My latest design:Life Goes On rug hooking pattern by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com www.gentlespiritcreations.com

During a scrumptious dinner, Sergio poured what I thought was a LOT of olive oil on his pasta. I told him that lately I was hearing that what was sold in the USA as olive oil was poor quality. He proceeded to explain the difficulties of producing quality olive oil. Constant inspections must be done to the olives to make sure that a worm isn’t ruining the crop. In fact, he said that Cecilia has just that day used a scope to check the crop. Many places spray heavily to fight the worm, but then the pesticides end up in the oil. Sergio doesn’t do that, but he said the worm won this past year and his production was low. As I ate my dinner, I was much more appreciative of the delicious olive oil that we poured on our food. Our meal and wonderful conversation lasted well after 10:00 and it was time for bed. I slept well in the beautiful room with lavender sprigs under my pillow.

The next day, we planned to explore since Matt was supposed to work in the evening. We were about to take off when Matt called to make sure the schedule was okay with the customer. They hadn’t gotten the emails telling them he was coming that night, but preferred for him to go immediately to do the work. So off he went. Suddenly, I found myself alone at Sergio’s place. In fact, everyone had taken off, even Sergio. So, I opened our room door to let in the sunshine and set about writing a blog post. Soon after hearing a car arrive at the agriturismo, I heard Sergio call up to my open door. “Janine, are you here?” I explained that Matt had had to go to work and I was writing a blog. But, Sergio was not happy with that. “No, this is not good.” He asked if I would like to visit a pottery factory. Would I?!?! I sure would!

As we zipped around curves and flew down dirt roads, Sergio apologized for the state of his vehicle. I assured him that being a country girl myself, that I was not interested in a car being pristine. We passed by some of the many cypress trees that were planted in rows. I had always admired these trees and just thought of them as some extra beauty in Italy, but Sergio explained that cypress trees are planted to keep soil in its place…erosion control. We laughed a lot as we drove through Tuscany with the windows down. Conversation always gets interesting with my lack of speaking Italian. But Sergio knows a lot of English! Still, it took much longer to get thoughts to be understood and sometimes we would need to use Google translate. We stopped at an arch in the middle of a town and he showed me caper plants growing on the side.Arch in Tuscany. www.joyfulwonder.com

I’ve always wondered what capers were! I had found them a bit confusing. Usually when I saw them used in a dish, they seemed like little seeds. But Cecilia had served them with dinner the night before and they almost seemed like large olives. They were both capers?Capers in Tuscany www.joyfulwonder.com

Sergio pointed out the flowers on the plant and then some buds that hadn’t bloomed yet. The buds are what I had usually seen used in cooking. The capers that we had eaten the night before were the fruit of the plant. Mystery solved!Capers in Tuscany www.joyfulwonder.com

Finally we arrived at the ceramic factory, Ellepi. I already loved the charming looking place!Ellepi Ceramiche Montopoli Italy www.joyfulwonder.com

Sergio spoke with the man that was there and told him that I write a blog. He agreed to show us around the place.Ellepi Ceramiche Montopoli Italy www.joyfulwonder.com Ellepi Ceramiche Montopoli Italy www.joyfulwonder.com Ellepi Ceramiche Montopoli Italy www.joyfulwonder.com Ellepi Ceramiche Montopoli Italy www.joyfulwonder.com Ellepi Ceramiche Montopoli Italy www.joyfulwonder.com Ellepi Ceramiche Montopoli Italy www.joyfulwonder.com Ellepi Ceramiche Montopoli Italy www.joyfulwonder.com

Of course, I understood nothing that they said to each other. We came to a room where there were items for sale. Even though the ceramics for the area were not as brightly colored as I was used to seeing in Italian pottery, I was drawn to it. Sergio explained that these colors had been used for centuries. He was going to buy a plate. I decided that I wanted one too, the one on the upper left.Ellepi Ceramiche Montopoli Italy www.joyfulwonder.com

Sergio and the potter spoke at length in expressive language about the price. At first I tried to understand what was going on, but failing at that, I just wandered around taking photos of the beautiful pieces.Sergio haggles over the price. www.joyfulwonder.com

Finally, a price was agreed upon for our plates. Sergio also bought a ceramic duck. I was given the task of keeping the duck safe as we flew back to the agriturismo and then he asked for my help in finding just the right spot for the new decoration. He grabbed a sickle and chopped weeds and lo and behold, there was another such duck sitting on the hillside. It was just waiting for a companion. Matt came home from work and we rested until dinner time. Was I ever surprised when walking into the dining room. The duck had made it’s way onto the dinner table!Ceramic duck at Sergio's dinner Italy www.joyfulwonder.com

Cecilia served another scrumptious meal. So much so, that I asked if I could look at her cookbooks. All in Italian, but I took photos of some recipes with my cell phone. I asked which recipes were her favorites. She pointed to her head. That’s where the cooking magic came from. Oh, I wished for longer with them so I could learn Italian cooking from her. Sergio said, “The next time you and Matt want to come for two nights, I am going to say no. There is so much more I want to show you!” Matt and I laughed. “You won’t allow us to come for only two nights? How long do we have to stay?” I asked. Sergio smiled, “At least fifteen days.” Fifteen days sounds good to me, my friend. I have much more to learn from you. In the meantime, I’ll have to be content with looking at the ceramic plate hanging on my wall and reliving Tuscan memories.My friend, Sergio and me. Italy. www.joyfulwonder.com

Check out previous posts about this trip to Italy! Italy 2015 #1Italy 2015 #2Italy 2015 #3Italy 2015 #4, Italy 2015 #5

Binding a Hooked Rug with Wool Strips

I love rug hooking and the technique to hook a rug is really quite simple. You just pull loops up through a backing fabric. But when it comes to finishing the rug, I’ve been quite baffled. There are many different methods of binding a handmade rug. The one that appealed most to me was whipping the edges with wool yarn. I found it challenging, however, to find yarn that was good enough quality and a color that I would like to use. A yarn store about an hour away from me had a great selection and I thought I had a solution, but then they closed down. I decided that I would give binding with wool fabric a try and I love it! This is what it looks like:Binding a Hooked Rug with Wool Strips joyfulwonder.com

Here is a video explaining how I do it.

I’d love to hear if you try it and how it goes!