Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

While in Hot Springs, several people said, “You’ve got to go to Crystal Bridges.” I had no idea what they were talking about but they said it was an art museum that featured the art collection of Alice Walton. It didn’t even ring a bell who she is. But, I looked it up and we decided that we did, indeed, need to stop in Bentonville, Arkansas to visit Crystal Bridges.

Alice Walton, the daughter of Sam Walton, who was the man who started Wal-Mart, has loved art all her life and began collecting it as a young girl. Finally, in 2011, she opened Crystal Bridges which houses part of her vast collection. The public is invited to enjoy her American art for free! The architecture itself is a work of art and was explained by a tour guide.

This photo shows a sketch that the architect made on a napkin to give Alice Walton an idea of his vision. I find these quick sketches that artists do fascinating.

He nailed it!

The gardens were beautiful as well and there are many hiking paths that include sculptures to enjoy along the way. We enjoyed going into the geodesic dome. Great selfie opportunity!

See the little people inside? It was big.

And Matt got a great bear hug.

And found a guy he tried to cheer up.

We showed up at just the right time. There was a display of the work of Chihuly. His blown glass sculptures are amazing.

Alice Walton bought and moved a house built by Frank Lloyd Wright. I love touring his houses!

I saw several quotes on this excursion that I loved. Here is one of them.

After enjoying the grounds, we made our way inside. I just know I could spend several days viewing all the art inside the beautiful museum. In my lifetime, I have not been to that many art museums and I’m making up for it now. It is intriguing, the whole idea of art. What makes something art? Why would people care about and pay money for some “art”. I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but some art puzzles me. Here are some of the pieces that I enjoyed.

“Kindred Spirits” by Asher Brown Durand. Matt decided that this was his favorite piece in the whole museum. I loved it too! Later, I looked it up and found out that Alice Walton spent $35 million on just this one painting. Again, I was amazed that she shared such a wonderful treasure with us!

Famous portrait of George Washington by Charles Willson Peale

Mrs. Theodore Atkinson Jr. by John Singleton Copley

I’m amazed at how he painted the fabric in this painting. I studied it for quite some time since I am working on a rug hooking piece that includes clothing.

Landscape by Mark Tansey

The Big Black Bang by Ghada Amer

I asked one of the people working there if there were any fiber arts in the exhibit. They told me there was a quilt, but that’s it. We need more hooked art pieces in museums! Maya’s Quilt of Life by Faith Ringgold

Time by Max Ferguson What amazing detail!

Circle of Flowers by Alma Thomas

Self-portrait with Drawing by David Bates

Coca-Cola by Andy Warhol

Rosie the Riveter by Norman Rockwell

Florida Mexicana by Alfredo Ramos Martinez

Jimson Weed by Georgia O’Keeffe

A New Jersey Village by Bluemner

Summertime by Mary Cassatt

View Near Polling by William Merritt Chase. I find that I love paintings of sheep now that I use wool all the time in my rug hooking.

Arboretum By Flashbulb by Stuart Davis

Another quote that I thought was perfect.

Inspired is how I felt after going to Crystal Bridges. And thankful that Alice Walton has shared her love of art with us all. We found out that there is the Wal-Mart museum nearby too. The Waltons sound like wonderful people. I loved the quote that Alice’s mother, Helen, is known for. They are words I want to live by too.

Finally, Matt and I took THE BEST SELFIE EVER!

Rug Hooking in Florida

When I think of wool, I think of cold nights snuggled under a warm blanket…not Florida! And my latest art form uses a lot of wool. I love rug hooking so much that I’m willing to work with wool in warm temperatures, but I wasn’t sure other people in my RV resort would feel the same way.

Two ladies heard that I hooked rugs last year and approached me about showing them how to do it. Unfortunately, by the time this happened, it was already Spring and time to head home. But I promised to send them information about rug hooking over the course of the year, I signed up for a room in the Rv park, Sun N Fun, to hold our meetings and they said they would order what was needed to begin rug hooking. With that, we parted our ways for nine months.

All summer long, I sent out messages with ideas of where to buy a hook, frame and kit. I kept wondering if they would actually show up and want to learn. And the big question was would I be able to teach them how to do it.

Well, let me tell you that this season in Florida has been the best one for me yet! Here are the two lovely, FUN ladies that urged me to teach them.

Trisha and Sherry love to have fun!

And then another who parked her camper next to mine and saw me hooking my project from her window decided to come and join us.

I loved being Donna’s neighbor!

Donna, Sherry and I were already on the same street in our RV resort and Trisha decided to move over and join us. Our street became lovingly known as hooker alley. (I do at times wish this wonderful art had a different name!) We sure had fun getting together mid week to hook outside by our campers.

Hooking at the campsite

Even though I was still working on my hummingbird piece, I felt the need for a more simple piece to work on while teaching others. Something quick and easy that I could start and finish while showing the ladies each step. I designed the “Love Always” love bird piece. 

Of course, the birds are my sweetie and me. And of course, he had opinions as I designed it. At first I drew the birds to look pretty much the same. But he thought the male bird should be fancier, like in nature. We had a good laugh when he suggested a top knot! Even though he is bald, he thought the bird to represent him should have more feathers on top! So, I drew it out and liked it very much. I was able to start and finish it in a few days. I love my twist on Pennsylvania Dutch folk art. Pattern available here: Love Always

So, then it was time to design something else for me to work on. The hummingbird piece still needs to be finished. I don’t know why I’m dragging my feet on that one…. Anyway, there was one photo from our trip from Maine that I really love. I feel that it captures much of what my life is about: nature, travel and LOVE! Here is Matt and me by Bass Harbor Light.

I love the photo, but thought that the design needed to be tweaked a bit. Wanting us to be the focal point without having the piece huge, I made us a bit larger.

I had not yet hooked a sky, so I decided to follow the advice of Cindi Gay in her book: Pine Trees, Grass and Sky. What a wonderful book! And since I have’t done any dyeing of wool (although I am sorely tempted), I ordered “sky wool” from Cindi. It is just beautiful! My photo had no clouds in the sky, but I added some. Since I started the piece, I have spent quite a bit of time staring at the clouds in the sky. They are so varied and beautiful! Here is how it looks so far. My first hooked sky!

Bass Harbor Kiss by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

My friends and I also went each Monday to participate in hooking time with others an hour away. They were doing some overdyeing with ice. So I took some wool and gave it a try. What gorgeous colors! I really am getting quite interested in the dyeing process.

Well, my RV lady friends actually each finished a piece. Here is Sherry with her beautiful mat. (Notice her AWESOME name tag!? If you don’t have one yet, here is where you can order one: Rug Hooking Name Tag)

Sherry did great with her first hooked mat!

And Trisha finished her version of my “Happy Campers” rug pattern. She put the words, Joy, joy, joy, into it because RVing gives her and her husband such joy. What a joy to see her finished piece!

Happy Campers design hooked by Trisha Senterfitt. Design by Janine Broscious

So, rug hooking in Florida has been an amazing experience. I’ve had a great time seeing others enjoy learning a new art form. And I’ve made some lasting friendships! We are all looking forward to next season with many others promising to join us.

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly Rug

I finally finished off one of my favorite hooking projects! Because of my love of butterflies, I decided that I would hook a wall hanging of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. It all started with a photo that I took in 2009 at Longwood Gardens in PA. It was the first time that I was able to get a sharp photo of one of these gorgeous creatures with my new camera. The butterflies there almost seemed tame and this one posed nicely for this photo.Butter and Honey www.joyfulwonder.com

After editing the photo on the computer, I had a nice image that would help me to see the use of colors more easily.Tiger Swallowtail www.joyfulwonder.com

After sketching the butterfly onto linen, I laid different fabrics and yarns onto it. This would be my first hooking project to include fibers other than wool. I was really excited about trying them out and a bit apprehensive too.  I used sari silk, velvet, satin and yarn.Tiger Swallowtail www.joyfulwonder.com

Even though I hadn’t yet drawn up the background or the flowers, I decided to jump in and start the hooking. Maybe the rest would figure itself out!Tiger Swallowtail www.joyfulwonder.com

Black yarn worked great in the butterfly. And I was excited to try the blue silk. At first, I thought the pale yellow wool I had purchased would be just right for the butterfly. But I found that I liked it better if I hooked various tones of yellow with it.Tiger Swallowtail www.joyfulwonder.com

Here is a closeup of the various fibers. I loved how the velvet looked with the silk.Tiger Swallowtail www.joyfulwonder.com

Then it was time to tackle the flowers. I had no idea what kind they were but online friends identified them as Joe Pye weed. That helped as I was then able to look them up online and view various photos of them. I decided it would be fun to try making them puffy since that’s how they really were. So I hooked them with yarn and then snipped some of the loops.Tiger Swallowtail www.joyfulwonder.com

I’m not even sure what sort of ribbon that was that I used in the leaf, but I wish I had more of it! I’m hoping to get some of it from a vendor at Sauder Village this year. My edited photo really helped to figure out the background.Tiger Swallowtail www.joyfulwonder.com

And here’s the finished product! Tiger Swallowtail Hooked Art by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

I thought this project would be really tough and I did learn a lot from it. But really, it was one of the easiest hooked art pieces I’ve done because God already did the color planning for me! I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know his marvelous creation just a bit better by studying this beautiful creature.

Now on to a new project…Garden Love… which features a hummingbird and hibiscus! Something new to shop for at Sauder Village Rug Hooking Week.

Mt Rushmore and the Black Hills

I’m not sure why but Mt Rushmore has always intrigued me. Why would someone carve faces into a mountain?! But the faces of four of our presidents are carved into a mountain in South Dakota, which is a fair piece from where I live. I figured I’d never get there, but I did! Last weekend, Matt and I drove from the Badlands towards Mt Rushmore. The famous mountain stands 5725 feet high in the midst of the Black Hills. As we drove through the bright green grassy plains, it became obvious as to how the hills acquired their name. They did look black and I saw that they are covered with evergreen trees that have a dark bark. It was pouring the day we arrived, but we were due for some rest and took it gladly. I took time to look on the internet for tips for photographing the presidents. One article said that it is difficult to get a good shot and recommended just buying a calendar. It was mentioned that early morning is best before there are sharp shadows on the faces. So we got up early Sunday morning and as we drove up the mountains I told myself to just enjoy the moment and not worry about getting an awesome photo. Then we rounded a corner and there they were! Bad photos? No way!Mt Rushmore photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

I started snapping pics as soon as we parked the car. Thankfully, there weren’t many people there since we got there shortly after it opened. But we did make friends with another couple that knew all about Cedarville University where our son and daughter-in-law attended. We swapped photo taking favors.Mt Rushmore photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

After enjoying the view from the Grand View Terrace, we walked the Presidential Trail which winds among the pines right under the sculpture. There were many places for more photos including through a crevice in the rocks.Mt Rushmore photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

There was an opportunity for close up views of each president. I especially liked Teddy Roosevelt with his glasses and nice mustache.Mt Rushmore photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

We ended the walk and a ranger, Erin Green, said she was about to give a talk about Mr Roosevelt. She stated that it was her first speech of the year, but she did an amazing job of presenting Teddy as an adventurer. I decided that I wanted to be like him and keep exploring and doing interesting things.

Mt Rushmore photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

This is my most favorite shot of the sculpture. Such an amazing piece of art that was accomplished mostly with dynamite. Four important presidents keep watch over the Black Hills because of daring men working during the Great Depression to fulfill the vision of the sculptor, Gutzon Borglum.

Mt Rushmore photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

We ended the Presidential Trail and couldn’t believe our eyes when we ran into our new friends from the Badlands, Max and Betty. We wondered if we would see each other farther down the line in our travels. I hated leaving the presidents and kept looking back as we drove off. But I shouldn’t have worried. I would get to see them many more times that day. The first was from a pull off where we ate our picnic lunch under the profile of President Washington.

Mt Rushmore photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Continuing to drive on the scenic Iron Mountain Road, we stopped many times for geocaches and I saw Mt Rushmore again and again. One time was through a tight tunnel.Mt Rushmore photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Here was my view as Matt searched for one of the caches. We were just behind Mt Rushmore.Behind Mt Rushmore photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

At this overlook, you can see the presidents just to the right of Matt’s head.Mt Rushmore photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

I zoomed in and saw some lucky people getting a helicopter tour.Mt Rushmore photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

After saying good bye to the much enjoyed Mt Rushmore, we continued driving through the Black Hills. We were told that if we drove through Custer State Park we would see some Bison. After driving for quite some time, we saw cars stopped ahead. We got into an actual traffic jam with our big pickup truck but finally got to stop and see the majestic beasts.Custer State Park photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

We were told of a woman recently being gored by a buffalo and I decided not to get close. I was surprised how close some people did go and with children too. There were many baby bison.Custer State Park photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

At one point in the drive, we were unable to keep a distance from the creatures. They were right next to the road! I took this shot through our windshield.

Custer State Park photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

This one was close by and decided to roll around in the dirt.Custer State Park photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com Custer State Park photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

We saw a few antelope and the song “Home, Home on the Range” kept going through my head. I didn’t hear any discouraging words!Custer State Park photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

After Custer State Park, we drove through the Needles. Such grandeur that God created.Needles, South Dakota photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Finally, we drove through Spearfish Canyon. Yet another beautiful place in the Black Hills. We saw lovely waterfalls and nature.DSC_8699 DSC_8731 2 DSC_8713 2DSC_8741 2

As we drove back to our home on wheels, we truly felt that we were in the wild, wild west. We passed through Deadwood where Wild Bill Hicock was shot. Buildings had false fronts like old time towns. And there were signs all over for gold mining. The gorgeous Black Hills have so many fun things to do and see. Even though we couldn’t do it all, it’s time to move on. Maybe someday we’ll come back to explore some more!

Mt Rushmore www.joyfulwonder.com

Check out previous posts about our westward trip: Might as well go to Mt Rushmore, More Badlands Photos

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

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!

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!