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.

Matt Makes 3D Name Tags

Wow! This 3D printed name tag thing is really catching on! Lots of you have had questions about how they are made, so I thought maybe some photos would help. Here is Matt with the 3D printer.3D Printed Name Tag www.joyfulwonder.com www.gentlespiritcreations.com

After designing each name tag on a computer program, Matt puts the information into the printer. It takes over an hour to print each name tag. Think of it more like manufacturing than printing. The plastic comes on spools sort of like weed-wacker filament. It is threaded through a nozzle that heats the plastic.3D Printed Name Tag www.joyfulwonder.com www.gentlespiritcreations.com

These nozzles then move all over as the program tells them to and lay thin layer after layer. The build plate moves down after each layer.3D Printed Name Tag www.joyfulwonder.com www.gentlespiritcreations.com

The designing is an exact process, but the print is always a challenge. Will the printer heat to the proper temperature for the filament? Each filament color seems to have it’s own special needs. Sometimes, the colors will drip on other colors. But overall, it is a fascinating process! I took a little video of it making a name tag.

Here are some name tags that Matt printed to show the different colors.3D Printed Name Tag for Rug Hooking www.gentlespiritcreaions.com www.joyfulwonder.com

I’m the lucky girl that has all these yummy colors to wear!3D Printed Name Tag www.joyfulwonder.com www.gentlespiritcreations.com

We have offered the name tags for purchase on my website, Gentle Spirit Creations, at this link. I’ve always wished people had on name tags when I’ve gone to rug hooking events. My poor memory just can’t keep up with all the new names! Well, they’ll remember mine now!3D Printed Name Tag www.joyfulwonder.com www.gentlespiritcreations.com

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.

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.

20160508_095500

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.

20160517_151211

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

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!