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

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.

Wisconsin’s Beautiful Rocks

For some reason, I’ve never really heard much about Wisconsin, well, except cheese. And I admit that I have a limited experience here, but I’ve been impressed with Wisconsin’s rocks. Our first stop was Pewits Nest, a 40 foot gorge formed by a glacier in Baraboo, Wisconsin.  It was challenging figuring out which path to take to get to the gorge.Which path to take?

We did indeed find it. There were many steep drop offs but here we could catch a picture. Pewits Nest, Baraboo, WI

The next day, we were off to Devil’s Lake, Wisconsin’s largest state park. We had only two hours of daylight left since we were visiting it at the end of a work day. The lake was beautiful and many people were enjoying the beach.Devil's Lake, WI

In the hills surrounding the lake, there were many trails. We could have easily spent a week there exploring. But since we were fighting the clock, we chose to walk on the Tumbled Rocks path. This path took us along the lake’s shoreline that was covered with huge boulders of pink, lavender and red Baraboo quartzite. What lovely colors!Baraboo Quartzite at Devil's Lake

As I post photos of our walks, you’ll see that Matt is usually ahead of me. I often have a difficult time keeping up with my energetic tour guide! And if you are wondering what is in the ubiquitous backpack, well this sweet man carries water, snacks, extra camera lenses, tissues, flashlight, bug spray and anything else I decide I need. Aren’t I spoiled?!

It was finally a day off from work! And I knew just where to go, Wisconsin Dells. This area along the Wisconsin River is, again, lined with beautiful rock formations that are best viewed from a boat. We toured the Upper Dells.Upper Dells

Our tour guide regaled us with stories of Indians, loggers and thrill seekers. Each rock formation had a name and story.DSC_8045 2

I asked a fellow passenger to snap our pic.Matt and Janine enjoying Wisconsin Dells

Our boat made two stops. The first was at Witches Gulch which had fantastic rock passageways.Witches Gulch

My ever present tour guide leads me again!Matt in Witches Gulch

We then stopped at Stand Rock which had been made famous by H.H.Bennett, who was known as “the man with the camera.”Standing Rock

Bennett loved photography and set about to document the Dells. His photos made tourism in the area explode. People looked at his photos in 3D stereoscopes and determined to see the area for themselves. Bennett also invented the instant shutter and decided to show case it by photographing Stand Rock. This beautiful sandstone formation is 47 feet tall with a platform on top and was the subject of Bennett’s award winning photograph. The photo shows his son, Ashley, jumping across a chasm to the platform. Our guide told us that Ashley had to jump 17 times for his father to get the shot.Bennett's award winning shot

For awhile, tourists would come and make the same jump. This is no longer allowed but instead trained dogs make the jump for us. Here is our canine, waiting for his turn.Dog at Stand Rock

He did it and with seemingly no effort. Dog makes the jump

What a beautiful place were the Wisconsin Dells. Yes, Wisconsin is a lovely place…and not just about cheese!Beautiful colored sandstone at the Wisconsin Dells

To See What We Can See

After visiting with our son and his family for two weeks, we are on the road again. The song, “The Bear Went Over the Mountain,” kept going through my head. Just the part, “to see what he could see.” We’ve never seen Wisconsin, so off we go. I actually have gotten so I enjoy driving the rig while Matt works in the passenger seat. Here is where I parked with the big rigs at a rest area. We sort of fit in, don’t you think?20140902_120304 2 I liked this sign at the rest area. My driving limit seems to be about 6-8 hours. I can’t imagine driving for 11.20140902_120544 2 We have arrived at our first place in Wisconsin, Sky High Camping Resort. Here is my view from our campsite. I’ve been doing laundry and catching up on emails.20140902_160955 2 And while at the laundromat, I met a fascinating woman, Ida Gannon. She was so friendly and said I should come to her site to visit her. Then she mentioned that she was an artist. That was it! I was absolutely going to stop by! As I approached, I heard a drilling sound.DSC_7929 First she draws her beautiful designs on the gourds. Then she does wood burning. But today she was cutting out portions of the design.DSC_7930 2 Ida, who is in her 70’s and is a widow,  says she loves to stay busy. But sometimes, she works so long that her hands get completely numb. She was glad I stopped by and gave her an opportunity to rest.DSC_7932 As I admired her beautiful art, I heard a tiny crunching sound. I kept looking behind me and finally Ida said, “It’s a little red squirrel.” I moved slowly hoping to get a photo. He was quite tame and just kept eating.DSC_7944 3 There always seems to be fun experiences to be had while camping, even on the days when I have to stay at the campsite. Right now new neighbors are setting up, Mike and Janey. They are pulling a toy hauler that carries their motorcycles. Who knows, maybe I’ll get a motorcycle ride!

Does Anyone Want to Hear About Florida?

We escaped! In one way I feel bad because so many of my friends are still in the cold winter weather, but WE MADE IT TO FLORIDA! Even though I put the spring dogwood wreath on my front door at home, ummmm…it was still cold, cold, COLD.DSC_4807

But we had planned way back in July to make the trip south with all the other snow birds. And all the snow the week before we left made it all the more appealing.20140121_125757 2

That fluffly, cold, white stuff swirled all around my face as I loaded the camper. I caught this orange headed man helping me out. lolDSC_4812

Icicles on the camper?! Yep, time to leave.DSC_4809

Finally we were all packed up and ready to go!20140124_085432 2

And now, we are settled. I wondered if all the freezing folks up home would even want to hear about the warmth and sunshine. But, here I am and I want to write, so if you read anything here for the next few weeks, it might look pleasant! Hope you enjoy it along with me!

Here I am enjoying the warmth in my new flip flops and with tea in my new mug. Both were presents from my awesome DILs!

Here I am enjoying the warmth in my new flip flops and with tea in my new mug. Both were presents from my awesome DILs!