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.

Butterfly Bliss Hooked Rug

It all started with a simple line drawing. I kept having an image of a butterfly flying towards some coneflowers flit through my mind. Finally, I grabbed a piece of scratch paper and drew it out quickly. Could this be a pattern for a hooked rug? I wasn’t sure since I have only been rug hooking for a few months. Maybe there was too much detail? I knew one way to find out and that was to post it on the facebook group page for hooked rugs.
Sketch for butterfly rug. ©Janine Broscious 2015
What a response! Each person that commented said it would be a perfect pattern for a rug and several even asked if I would make the pattern available for sale. I certainly didn’t expect that. Such an encouraging group! This left me determined to make the butterfly rug happen. After redrawing the design on a larger piece of paper, I needed to plan colors. I hoped to make this rug from the leftover wool that I had from my Happy Campers rug. Color planning for butterfly rug

The butterfly really wanted to be hooked first, so I began with the brightest color I had from the camper rug, the sun color. This is how it looked.butterfly rug that looked more like a moth

My resolve to use wool I already had was dissolving. This looked more like a moth than a butterfly. Moths are pretty too, but I LOVE butterflies. No matter how many I see, I still stop and exclaim, “Look, a butterfly!”, each time one comes my way. They are flying jewels of happiness! Such bright colors and lovely forms. No, this rug could not be a moth rug. Thankfully, I found some nice orange wool on Etsy and promptly ordered it. While waiting for it to arrive, I decided to visit a store in Frederick, MD, Primitive Homespuns,  to see if they had any colors that would work well on this rug. Primitive Homespuns

They did have some colors that would work well in the rug AND I made a new friend, Kathy Makers, owner of Primitive Homespuns. Of course, I took my rug project with me in order to color plan and when I pulled it out of the bag, Kathy exclaimed, “Wait, I saw this on facebook, didn’t I?! It’s gorgeous! I can’t believe you live near me and brought it here!?Kathy Makers of Primitive Homespun, Frederick, MD

Yes, I decided right then and there that I liked this lady. And, it made me think that maybe there really was a possibility of selling patterns of this design. If that was the case, I decided that I should give up on the idea of trying to use wool that I had leftover from one project and instead purchase what I needed to make this as beautiful as I was envisioning. First up was to make it a butterfly rather than a moth.Butterfly Bliss hooked rug by Janine Broscious

It was well on its way. I liked the orange tones much better! It was slow going though. This wool was not pre cut like for my 3 other rug projects thus far. I didn’t have a wool cutter so I ended up using my rotary cutter. Not fun, but necessary.3-DSC_2981 2

I was making more progress. Many times I pulled out colors to substitute others. This was a project of learning for sure.Butterfly Bliss hooked rug by Janine Broscious

Then, a real blessing came my way. My niece, Yvonne, told me that she had done some rug hooking years ago. A surprise, but not really. We keep learning that we have more and more interests in common. “Would you like to borrow a wool cutter?” she asked. Would I? You bet! Here she is with her projects. She designed the distelfink one on the wall to go with the decor of her farmhouse. Yvonne with her rugs

Now, I was able to work faster and better.  It was strange though. I would work on one area and really love it. Then as I began working on a new area, I would feel all insecure and wonder if it would go together as well as I had thought it would. My poor, very patient, husband must have thought I was a little crazy. I did appreciate his reassurance as well as the kind comments from the facebook group as I posted ongoing photos of the progress.Butterfly Bliss rug by Janine Broscious

The struggle was huge when I began adding the blue background. I was concerned that it might compete with the rest of the rug. My goal was to keep the butterfly the main subject but I hoped that I would be able to make the viewer linger while looking at the rug and have the eyes roam around the whole and then rest on the butterfly again. I decided to add neutral colored swirls within the blue to tone it down a bit. Too, I was hoping that the swirls would add movement and life to the project.Butterfly Bliss rug by Janine Broscious

As I continued posting photos of my progress, ladies on facebook started asking me to put them on the list for a pattern. I was going to have to make these patterns happen!Butterfly Bliss Hooked Rug by Janine Broscious

After doing much research on getting patterns drawn straight on the fabric, which linen was the best and how to transfer a design, I made my first pattern to sell.Butterfly Bliss rug pattern by Janine Broscious

My knees were beginning to feel it because the only place I could find to work was the kitchen floor. Don’t worry! I’ve since gotten a folding table to use.1-DSC_3417

Here are my first ever rug patterns. And they sold quickly!Butterfly Bliss Rug Patterns by Janine Broscious

I learned some things with this rug. Never underestimate what you can do. Don’t get freaked out in the middle of something, since you can’t see the end result until…well, the end. And just run with awesome things that you find yourself in the middle of!Butterfly Bliss pattern by Janine Broscious

After taking time off from my rug to make patterns, I finally finished it last night. Am I happy with it? Oh yes! It’s not only beautiful, but it will serve to remind me to trust God even though I can’t see all of what He is doing. I can look at that bright, lovely butterfly and know that just as God takes care of butterflies, He will take care of me and my loved ones. Well, here is the final product! You can order a pattern hand drawn on primitive linen here: Butterfly Bliss Rug Pattern

Butterfly Bliss hand hooked rug by Janine Broscious

 

10 Things I Have Learned From My Flower Garden

  1. Don’t trust other gardeners. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the yellow flowers my mom gave me, assuring me that they grow easily. They are beautiful, cheerful and lush. They are also TOTALLY OUT OF CONTROL! I’ve had flowers given to me by other gardeners too. They are always given by lovely ladies with a big smile. But you need to watch out for the twinkle in their eyes meaning that actually they are giving you flowers that they want OUT OF THEIR GARDENS! Okay. Not really. I know my friends were only trying to help me get started. Just think twice when they offer you something that “won’t fail to grow.”

    This is my garden after being away for 2 months

    This is my garden after being away for 2 months

  2. Be ruthless. You know those lovely yellow flowers? Yep, I have to pull a LOT every year. It seems so awful to pull out gorgeous plants of cheer. But if I didn’t, they would choke out all the other pretty things that I’ve planted, especially those that I paid money for. Those plants never seem to grow easily or just take off. Hmmm… there must be a lesson there. Oh, and mint! Think twice before you start an herb garden. Those, too, seem to love growing in my garden. At least they smell yummy as I pull them… all summer.Butterfly in my garden
  3. Know when to stop planting. Okay, I haven’t learned this one yet. But it seems like a rule I may need to apply in the near future. It’s just difficult while walking around the gorgeous nursery in my home town. All those amazingly beautiful flowers calling my name…Butterfly in my garden
  4. Plants grow at different heights. My plants seem to grow much taller than what I’m told they’ll do. Are they trying to keep up with me? Do I exude height to my plants? Lol. I read the labels and listen to those grinning gardeners that give me plants. But, oy! My garden is simply not laid out as I envisioned. This leads to #5.Butterfly in my garden
  5. Decide if you want a manicured look or an artistic look. Yes, that’s what I’ll call it, artistic. This seems to be a reoccurring theme in our household. I love things to be artistic, asymmetrical and homey (also known as a bit out of control). But the other person in the house, who won’t be named but is extremely handsome, likes things to be organized and neat.  I look at my flower garden and see bright colorful flowers with butterflies flitting about. He sees the mismatched plant heights and the weeds. This has yet to be resolved.Butterfly in my garden
  6. Water is a must. Recently, I was having a conversation with my 5 year old granddaughter discussing the merits of water. She had a hard time believing me when I said we couldn’t live without it. But it’s true! Make sure you drink a lot of water while gardening. I know as you persistently weed and pull out that mint that the sweat falling off your face lands in the garden, but your flowers need water too. Lots of it. This may be a problem if you travel. You’ll have to make friends with other maniacal flower gardeners that are willing to water your jungle, I mean, garden oasis, while you gallivant.Butterfly in my garden
  7. If it grows abundantly, it’s a weed. This is one thing that still befuddles me. Of course, I’ve only been attempting this gardening thing for 3 years, but each spring I am totally confused as I stare into my garden. Which one of the green things growing is a flower that I want to keep and which is a mean old weed? I’m still trying to figure this one out. I suppose as I continue this project, I’ll get to know my plants. But, today as I tried to make sense of the mess that confronted me after being away for 2 months, I decided that if it looked like it was growing easily that it was most likely a weed. Either that or it was one of those plants from my lovely gardening friends. Butterfly in my garden
  8. Gardening gives you something to talk about. I think there is a secret bond between flower gardeners. We know that to those that don’t garden, we seem amazing. I mean, look at those beautiful flowers! So, when gardeners get together, secrets are shared: what’s growing this year, how to kill those bugs, and what the bunnies are eating. And when you are around non-gardeners, they admire your attempts and ask all sorts of questions you may or may not know how to answer. Either way, it’s a fun topic.Butterfly in my garden
  9. It’ll be messy, but worth it. I don’t like to get messy. I hate it when my hands are dirty. This makes being an artist interesting and I have to battle it all the time. So, with gardening I get the best gloves I can find, but I still get dirty hands. Ugh. Isn’t that how life is, though? It seems everything worth doing is messy. And gardening, dirt under my nails and sweat on my brow, yes, those flowers and butterflies are totally worth it.Butterfly in my garden by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com
  10. Don’t give up. This gardening thing is quite a teacher. I thought my mom had it completely figured out. Her amazing garden brings joy to all that see it and it is the complete inspiration for my efforts. Yet, every year she tells me new things that she is learning from her garden. So, I think I’ll keep plugging away at my messy, out of control, oasis of beauty. It has much more to teach me!

    This is my beautiful mom, Shirley Updyke, in her lovely garden. Check out her blog: www.shirlandyou.com

    This is my beautiful mom, Shirley Updyke, in her lovely garden. Check out her blog: www.shirlandyou.com

Hope you enjoyed all the photos of butterflies that I have taken in my garden. My garden looks a bit wild, but the butterflies love it! What has your garden taught you?

Watercolor Journaling

I’ve pretty much fallen in love with journaling.  Although I like to write and always thought I should keep a journal or diary, it just didn’t happen. Filling an entire page with words seem intimidating. So did art journaling, at first.

But, it’s just paper! I can fill it however I want…words, drawings, paintings. I might even start taping things into it. Some things just beg to be painted, like the man in the hat at the pool. I’m not sure he realized he was begging to be painted, but I just had to do it.DSC_0888 2-001

In trying to paint each day, I’m finding it a bit challenging to find subjects. It was time to paint the Portland Head Light again, this time for me. I felt very brave and sketched this one in pen first. No pencil!DSC_0890 2

Working from my photographs is really wonderful. It brings back all kinds of memories and is a way to notice each detail once again. This nuthatch was one that I photographed on Christmas day one year at my son and daughter-in-law’s house. As much as I love the bird, this also brings back fond recollections of our time with family.DSC_0886 3

Next, I worked from another photo to paint a building in Sarasota that reminds me of Italy. I got even braver and did this one by painting without sketching first at all. I added some ink lastly.  This one I need to do again, on location!DSC_0934 2-001

While looking for subjects, Matt kept saying, “Why don’t you paint the roses I gave you?” Those beautiful red roses of love looked really difficult to me. So, I put it off until they were on their last legs and then thought, “Why not try?” I laid these three on the picnic table and gave it a whirl.DSC_0944 2

Now, I’ll always remember the lovely Valentine’s gift from my sweetheart! So glad I tried it out!

One last watercolor to show you. I’ve been working in journals that are made for watercolor and thought they were fine. But I am enjoying being part of a artist journal group on facebook and kept hearing about Moleskine journals and how wonderful they are. I decided to get one and try it out. What a difference! I think I’ll be using Moleskine from now on. What better way to start the new journal than with one of my favorite creatures?DSC_0948 2

Have you kept a journal? I’m sure glad I started. Already, I love leafing through the pages I’ve completed. It shows a journey of art and adventure. Well, I’m off to look for another subject…

You may enjoy another post about watercolor painting here and this one too!

Practicing Watercolor Painting

Between going through torture at the physical therapist’s for my frozen shoulder, yoga, doing laundry and sight seeing, I’ve been practicing painting. So much to learn about the play of color with water over the paper. I’ve just jumped right in with painting from photos I took.

Here is one based on a photo that I took in Annapolis, MD. I thought the flowers looked so lovely coming through the railing.DSC_0854 2DSC_0839 3

Although I was happy with my sketch, the colors seemed to compete with each other. Hmmmm, I must make sure to keep whatever is the main object to stand out more. Next, I worked from a photo of a butterfly in my garden.

Such a gorgeous butterfly and flower! So fun that they were in my garden. I’m wishing I had left more white paper on the page. Also, I want to learn to add more depth. But all that will come with practice! I may try painting from this photo again.DSC_0846 4

One of the classes here at the RV park was teaching about mixing colors. It only took part of a page, so I practiced some continuous line drawing. Without lifting my pencil, I drew the tulips, leaves and bottle that they were in. I was surprised that they turned out that well! Hand lettering is a challenge for me. I am so used to typing on the computer. Maybe if I slow down when I write and think of each letter as art too.DSC_0853 3

I thought I had purchased good watercolor paint, but at the art class, the teacher told me that I had student quality paint. They seemed good to me, but I decided that I wanted to experience some artist quality paint. After pricing tubes of paint at Michaels, I decided to purchase a small palette of pan paints. These will be great for using while traveling. And who knows how long I’ll stay with painting anyway! I had fun painting my palette and making a color wheel.DSC_0845 3

It seems challenging to find subjects for painting in our camper. I finally put some fruit on a plate along with our weird blue knife. I had it laid out just right and someone came along and ate some of the slices of orange! Took a bit of rearranging to get the composition the way I wanted again. I used the continuous line drawing method again and as I was drawing it I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to turn out well. But, look! I’m actually pretty pleased with it. I drew a decorative birdie that way too. Practiced a bit more on lettering.DSC_0848 3

I want to work on painting some everyday. But on this particular evening, I was very tired and couldn’t find anything in the camper to draw. I finally just doodled this and painted it. It was a blessing to write things I’m thankful for around the outside.DSC_0842 3

Finally, I’ve always wanted to paint on site or “plein air” as the art community calls it. Since I now have a little palette, I decided to jump in again and give it a go. John Ringling made his home in Sarasota, Florida and I find the mansion intriguing. What better subject to practice on then one with lovely colored windows?! I told Matt that it was quite intimidating to sit out in view of other people and paint. Very vulnerable. But what a way to learn. As I sat soaking in the bright sunshine, I became oblivious to whatever  was going on around me. Total absorption. A few people did come over to see what I was doing and they were sweet about it. Some day, I will be better at it….if I keep practicing!

You may enjoy another post about watercolor painting here and this one too!

Rainy Day: Perfect for Hobbies

Today is cool and raining. I have a feeling I won’t get any sympathy from those of you that are covered in snow. But I still need to find things to do and I just don’t want to go outside. Thankfully, I have a few hobbies. Well, maybe a lot of hobbies. So after finishing breakfast dishes, I contemplated doing laundry, but those creative things were calling my name.

I’ve been making progress on the doily that I began over Thanksgiving weekend. Only a couple more rounds to go and then I can block it.Thanksgiving Doily

Last year I made this art journal page. Things have sure changed! No more pop-up! So, I definitely want to work some more on my drawing and painting. DSC_0441 3

The Butterfly Rejoice project is almost finished. I just realized as I photographed it that I haven’t put my initials and date on it. Must do that. Then I am contemplating how to finish the edges. I’ve thought of painting them different colors. Or maybe add fabric. Here are two fabrics that I’m considering. Still not sure.DSC_4850-1-2b

Lastly, I’m excited about a photography venture. This is my “new” camera! I will write more about it at another time, but isn’t is gorgeous?! It’s a treasure that we found on ebay. I just loaded some black and white film into it yesterday. Next sunny day, I am going to try it out!DSC_4835 2b

So, what do you do on rainy days?

Complete It

As I wrote in another post, I am working on an embroidery project. This is only the second piece that I am designing myself and it’s an interesting journey. It’s actually the first piece that I am not drawing out first but rather just doodling with thread. It started like this:DSC_0244 3

But here is how it looks right now:Butterfly embroidery

It’s amazing how self doubt starts to creep in with projects like this. I mean, who am I to think that I can just wing it and come up with a good embroidery piece? I do think with the next piece I will plan it a bit more. Maybe draw out several versions from which to choose.

And that self doubt. Well, it comes honestly. I’ve let myself down so many times. And sometimes it is difficult to think I’ll ever really live up to my potential. But God….

I love that, don’t you? But God. …  It’s not up to us! That really struck me again today as I read in Philippians. Verse 1:6 says, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” What a joy to realize this and really internalize it! God began the work in me and He WILL complete it. Sure, I have a LONG way to go, but He is in charge and doesn’t give up on me. I don’t need to worry or to feel guilty. Those things are from the enemy of my soul. But the Lover of my soul is sweetly crafting me…bit by bit. Unlike my project, He does have a plan…a perfect plan…and he is absolutely going to complete it!Butterfly photo

So, I continue to be inspired. Not by my own efforts, but by the Master Creator and Finisher. Who knows how this butterfly embroidery will turn out, but it will be my tiny effort to reflect His beauty.