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?

Art Along the Way

This crazy life of mine has kept me traveling a lot lately. I’m thankful that art supplies don’t take up much room. I just “art” along the way. This flower doodle was fun, but I wonder if it’s too bright?Flower doodle bright by Janine Broscious JoyfulWonder.com

So, I did another and took a pic before I colored it in case of wanting to do it another way. Flower doodle #2!

Flower doodle by Janine Broscious. www.joyfulwonder.com

Flower doodle by Janine Broscious. www.joyfulwonder.com

This time I used pastel markers, They are Faber Castell PITT artist pens. You’ll have to let me know which you prefer: bright or pastel.Flower doodle colored. Janine Broscious of JoyfulWonder.com

I decided to try another one with a word in it. Rejoice in the Lord always!Rejoice by Janine Broscious JoyfulWonder.com

It was wonderful to spend time with my grandchildren who live 12 hours away from us. These sweet girls kept asking if we would be “arting”each day. I had no problem complying!Beth and Emily "arting"

Our oldest granddaughter, Beth, was really watching as I drew flowers. She helped me decide what colors to paint these roses. I’m always relearning to trust God…no matter what. I used InkTense pencils on this one.Trust by Janine Broscious of JoyfulWonder.com

The girls say such sweet encouraging words to each other while arting. Both of them loved on each flower as I did this “Be Still” page.Be Still by Janine Broscious of JoyfulWonder.com

Beth surprised me by showing me her page the next day.Beth's artwork

We had a lovely time discussing what it meant to “Be Still.” I explained that we need to get quiet with God and learn about Him and trust Him. At times it means to take a deep breath, stop what we are doing and remember that He is in control. We don’t have to worry! I don’t know if she understood it all, but I think she got some of it. And she loves looking at her page which I know will not only be a reminder of our time together, but also of God. What a thrill to be able to have a conversation like that with her…and all because of art!

Just had to add one more pic of my lovely fellow artists!My fellow artists

More Color in My Life

Lately, I’ve decided that I need more color in my life!  I’ve always taken a fairly conservative approach to color in decorating. But my daughter-in-law, Karlin, has used bright colors in a marvelous way to decorate. I love what she has done in her house and so I took a plunge into the color world.

One room in the house was begging to be spruced up. It had always been a boy’s room which is not surprising since we have three sons. But boys have grown and are not in that room anymore. Did I really need to keep a boring dark brown comforter on the bed and a desk in the corner for doing homework. It think not! This could become a room that I could enjoy viewing each time I walked to my bedroom and one that could be a cheerful guest room. But where to start?

You may be thinking that this would be a no brainer for me since I enjoy being creative. If you think about it, however, I tend to focus on making small things: jewelry, doilies, art journal pages, handbags. Large projects still seem unapproachable. In fact, over a year ago, I had purchased a large canvas to make myself branch out a bit. But that 24×36 inch canvas sat unwrapped in my studio. It stared at me each time I went in there.  It mocked me. I came to affectionately refer to it as the Big, Scary Canvas and tried to ignore it. So, when it came to redecorating a room, I froze for a bit. Then I decided to roam around TJMaxx/Home Goods.

Now that store is one to get the creative juices flowing! I really didn’t want to spend much money on this project, so I was thrilled when I found a spread for $30 that I liked.DSC_6909 2

That spread would be the basis for the decorating! I got a few other things: a lamp, bedside table and a few pillows. Soon, I had the room looking spiffy. It was so cheerful and happy that it made me want to tackle the Big, Scary Canvas. My thinking was to just throw some paint onto the background and then go from there.

My intent all along was to cover it with flowers. Blue skies in paintings have become a bit boring to me. So, why not make a yellow sky? Trying to use colors from my paint stash that would match the spread, I took a wide brush, blew caution in to the wind and slathered paint on that intimidating thing!20140613_201545 3

Huh! I liked the background! It was tempting to just hang it as it was. After all, I’ve seen artwork like that in hotel rooms and doctor offices. When I posted a photo of the background on facebook, my sweet friends got excited over the background too. Several, including my hubby and son, said it looked like a sunset over a pond. That would make a lovely painting. One person even suggested lily pads and frogs. I’ll admit that for a bit I was rethinking my original plan. Flowers kept calling out to me, so on I went.DSC_6845

At first I drew my flowers. I was conflicted between the desire to just paint without planning and to carefully draw out each detail. So, the first three flowers were drawn first in pencil.DSC_6853 2

Soon I tired of drawing. I wonder what would happen if I just painted? A flower explosion, that’s what!DSC_6863 2

A lady bug still needs to be added to the painting and I should sign it, but I couldn’t wait to hang it in the new, improved room.DSC_6866 3 4

Now, I’m really happy with the room! But creativity does seem to spawn more creativity. Even though I loved the little church painting that I bought from a talented artist at a local craft show, it was too small for the space I had placed it. There were beautiful mirrors that I had contemplated purchasing for the room, but I wondered if I could get one to decorate. Off to ACMoore! And there I found a large mirror with a frame of unfinished wood. Now for more color.DSC_6875

This lovely color is called Ripe Tomato. Hmmm, it looked sort of pinkish orange but I suppose it is hard to come up with names for paint. It also seems difficult to photograph the color correctly. In fact, all the colors in that room tend to confuse my camera. So, I’ve edited and corrected, but the real colors look even better! I added a light green with a stamp and then distressed it so it looked more antique.DSC_6878 3

Laser cut wood items at Michaels slipped into my basket even though I didn’t know what I would do with them. They almost jumped onto the mirror frame. DSC_6886 2

Finally, I wanted to add words to the mirror. What a perfect time to contemplate and get our thinking straight when gazing in a mirror. DSC_6896 3 DSC_6893 3

I found out that photographing a mirror is pretty challenging. Where could I put it to take a shot with a beautiful reflection? My garden!DSC_6899 2

Finally, I hung it in the pretty, fresh room.DSC_6904 3

I’m now wishing that I had done this decorating in my bedroom! My sweet hubby said that I’ll just have to do that one next. Only problem is that I used all my favorite colors in the guest room. But being the fixer that he is, he had a solution to that one too. “Just pick new favorite colors!” Sounds good to me!Handpainted Mirror with Inspirational Words. www.joyfulwonder.com

Joyfully Shout “Spring!”

I realized this morning that I have a First Day of Spring Shirt. Do you? I love the fabric of this shirt and it just joyfully shouts, “SPRING,” to me.  DSC_1797 2

Usually, I don’t see the sunrise. It happens too early for me. But today I did. Look at this gorgeous beginning to Spring. See the buds on the dogwood tree?DSC_1782 3

No flowers are blooming yet in my yard but they are working on it! Here are grape hyacinths coming up.DSC_1786

I am enjoying my spring wreath.DSC_1788 2

And my spring bouquet. It’s on my newly finished doily.DSC_1796 2

Here is another view of it.DSC_1781 2

Two days ago there were bunches of robins in our yard.DSC_1759 3

And today THERE WAS A BLUEBIRD ON THE BLUEBIRD HOUSE!!! Can you tell I’m excited about Spring?

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The Finished Wren Embroidery Project

My beautiful embroidery piece sat as a UFO for several months! But I finally finished it. It all started with a pillow that I saw in an Annapolis shop. I loved the pillow. But I have this problem of looking at things and thinking, “I should just make something like that!” I captured a photo of the pillow and here it is.DSC_4418 2

After getting home, I decided to do a sketch from the pillow photo. I was pretty pleased with how I did.Bird pillow 2

But I really wanted to make this my design. I kept the main ideas in the piece but changed it a bit.Bird Pillow 3

Before this I had only done embroidery kits and hadn’t even done one of those in quite awhile. I found transferring the design to be quite challenging. First I tried a method that involved scanning the design, printing it on wax paper, dampening the fabric and then ironing the design onto the fabric. Well, that didn’t turn out too well. I tried transfer paper and pencils. Finally, I taped the paper and then the fabric onto a window and drew the design onto the fabric. Maybe my fabric wasn’t the right kind. It seemed difficult to see the design on the fabric when I used transfer paper and pencils. I was quite attached to the idea of using this fabric though. My family and I went to Gettysburg on the 4th of July during the 150th battle anniversary. I purchased the fabric from a vendor there that was selling fabric for reenactors to make their costumes. Isn’t that fun?! Well, the design was now on the fabric and then I attached it to stretcher bars. It took a bit for me to jump in and stitch. It was totally up to me to come up with the colors and what stitches to use. That was a little daunting. My neighbor, Kathy, came to the rescue. She loaned me a book about embroidery. It was a simple book that seemed to help me get over the hump of starting. I just jumped in.DSC_5046 4

It seemed to be going well. I was working with embroidery floss that I had purchased in a variety bag. I soon determined that I needed to get different floss. This did not have the nice sheen that I was used to and looked rather dull. It doesn’t pay to buy cheap supplies with art. Thankfully, DMC floss looked nice and was easy to get. I continued working on the flowers, trying to work myself up to stitching the wren. Did I want the wren to look as it did on the pillow? No, I had to make this mine. So, I dug through my photo files and found a photo I had taken of a wren back in 2009. It was perfect to use as a reference.DSC_9652 wren

Folks that knew I was working on this project kept asking, “Is the bird done yet? When are you going to do the wren?” So, again, I just had to jump in. It seemed like a good idea to start with his beak and then his “eyebrow.”DSC_5362 3

I loved working on the wren! I decided to make him look as lifelike as I could. I started noticing all the details on the bird in the photo. What a beautiful creature! I noticed that the tail that I drew just didn’t look right. I always call wrens “twang tails” because it looks like if you pushed their tails down and let go, it would go “twang” as it sprung back up. I stitched and tore out and stitched again, finally deciding that the tail was too long! I had to get creative to cover the ink of the drawing and yet make his tail look as I wanted. I was happy with my wren!

I tried new things as I worked on this project. I used different colored threads at the same time. Also, I tried out variegated threads. Here are some closeups of the details.DSC_9854 3 DSC_9886 3 DSC_9885 3 DSC_9881 3

The stitching was complete. Oh, I loved how it turned out! But now I had to decide, would I make it into a pillow as I first planned? After spending so much time and pouring love into the piece, I shuddered to think of it as a pillow, being drooled on, have dirty feet propped on it, threads being pulled. Nope…not a pillow. I determined to get it framed. It was an odd shape and would not be easy to frame. I feared that I would have to get it custom framed. The young man at ACMoore was very helpful in choosing matting and frames. But none of it looked right. Thankfully, I had to leave to meet a friend for lunch so I couldn’t place the order at that moment. He did give me a quote though. Framing was 65% off, but still it would cost $170. Wow. After lunch, I headed to the store again. I searched through the ready made matting and frames and found something that would work! It’s not as beautiful as if it had been custom framed, but I love the price: $14. And I think it looks pretty too!DSC_9889 4

I’m sure enjoying it in our living room.DSC_9878 2

So, what did I learn? It seems that when I want to try something new I go through a period of immobilization. That’s okay, but I need to recognize it and then, after preparing, just get going. I also relearned that trying new things may mean that you start over a couple times as I did when transferring the pattern. Again, I noticed all the incredible detail that God puts into everything that He creates and it made me want to do the same. And I have to remember that things don’t always turn out the way I imagine, but rather take on a life of their own…and that’s okay too.