Thursday, April 23, 2009

What's New


Garden Gate Sewing Book & Pinkeep is one of three patterns just added from Stacy Nash Primitives. Stacy's use of soft, muted lighter colors in her new cross-stitch designs feel fresh as spring. Also new is her foray into the Dolls category with Velveteen Rabbit & Pinkeep Egg. See pictures of all the new patterns on my What's New page.

I've been feverishly recording ideas for rugs and needlepunch designs in my notebook, spurred on by the upcoming shows later in the year where I've been invited to vend. Will share more info and pics as these ideas take shape. What to do first??

We are in store for a beautiful weekend here in mid-coast Maine. 70s, might hit the 80s! Can't wait! I do need to get out and do a bit of pruning of old flower heads on my Japanese spirea before it starts to bud again. The mulch in the front planting bed needs replacing and I really want to replace our front walkway. It's currently a white stone and slate stepping stone arrangement but I'd like to have old brick out there. That might be a project for another weekend. Then there's the arbor I'd like to put on the side of the house with clematis planted on either end, hopefully to twine up the sides and meet at the top. I'm tired already!

Enjoy your weekend, whatever your weather...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

So Ugly They're Cute!

Meet two of my new BFFs: "Sprockets" and "Pendleton"! This "ugly" doll design is the brainchild of Kim Dubay of Primitive Pastimes. I was so taken with Sprockets, whose name came from a clothing tag that's stitched on her backside, that I just had to make one of my own! Now mind you, I'm a beginning hooker, but I thought this would be a relatively quick project to sort of cut my hooking teeth on. My version, a boy named "Pendleton" (named for a Pendleton sweater tag that will be stitched on his backside) is shown on the right. Kim's version is done in a #6 cut wool and obviously gets a finer definition with that. For mine I used an 8 cut which definitely gives a more primitive look. I think for my next doll I'll go for the 6 cut too. Pendleton is unfinished in this photo, still needs to be stuffed so he is shown simply turned right side out so I could scan his ugly/cute self.

Kim embellished her doll with a cute crocheted flower. I am going to put some small buttons down the front of Pendleton's striped shirt to finish him off. The eyes on both are black shank-style buttons.

Want to make your own Sprockets, Pendleton or ??? Just make a Comment on this post and I'll send you information on getting your own Sprockets design on linen to hook yourself.

Happy Hooking!

Monday, April 20, 2009

It's Show Time!

The first event I have scheduled for fall will be the First Annual Fall Hook-in - "Fall Fling", sponsored by Camp Wool in Wells, Maine. The date is Sunday, September 13 from 9:30-4pm at Coastal House on Rt. 1 in Wells. There will be room for approximately 220 pre-registered participants, first come, first served! Contact info for this event will be forthcoming. Along with me there will be seven other vendors including Kim Dubay (Primitive Pastimes), Crow Hill Primitives, Payton Primitives, Woolen Memories, Camp Wool of course, and two more that I don't remember right now! Pencil this event into your datebook, you won't want to miss it!


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunny Sunday

It's a beautiful, albeit slightly chilly Sunday morning in midcoast Maine today. I popped three ibuprofen a while ago to help soothe my aching feet and knees after being on my feet all day Saturday at the Spring Fever Rug Hook-in. It was very well attended and I'm happy to say I was busy all day and sold a lot of things to a lot of ladies having a great time. Thanks to everyone who attended and stopped by my tables! As usual Cherylynn Brubaker (Hooked Treasures in Brunswick, Maine) did a great job pulling it all together. The rugs both on display and in-progress by the hook-in attendees were stunning and I'm overflowing with inspiration! Could barely sleep last night! The other vendors had some great stuff too, there was wool everywhere, patterns and all manner of needful things. I also got invited to vend at a rug show put on by the Bath Historical Society in Bath, Maine in mid-June and another hook-in at Camp Wool down in Wells, Maine in September. I need to update my events schedule. Now I've got to get my gears turning and get some new things ready for those events. Oh, and I almost forgot my friend Kim Dubay (Primitive Pastimes in No. Yarmouth, Maine) and I will be hosting our 2nd Annual Folk and Fiber Art Flea Mart, a fiber artists yard sale sometime in mid-July. I'll have a firm date for that once I hear what works for Kim. We had a great time and a great sale last year and have heard from a lot of folks eager to come back again.

Enjoy the day!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Let's Go to the Hop!

If you're in midcoast Maine, or want to head north for a great weekend, plan to take part in the Mainely Fun Quilt Shop Hop April 30-May 3. It's a wicked fun thing to do with a carload or two of quilting buddies. Check out the Hop's web site for a list of participating quilt shops then make your way to one and purchase a "passport" that you'll get stamped at each shop during the Hop. At the end you'll turn in your passport and be eligible for some cool prizes. Find a link to the Hop's web site under Links You'll Like on the left.

One of my dear quilting friends Jackie is coming north that weekend to stay with us for a few days and we'll do the Hop together. In years past we'd have another dear friend Phyllis with us (the Three Quiltkateers!) but she and husband Peter have moved down to NC and warmer climes. Ah, retirement! I can only dream of it right now!

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

On the Road Again

I'll be one of several vendors at the Spring Fever Hook-in sponsored by Cherylynn Brubaker of Hooked Treasures this Saturday, April 18th at the Knights of Columbus in Brunswick, Maine from 10am-4pm. My friend Kim Dubay of Primitive Pastimes will be there as well as the gals from Crow Hill Primitives from Kennebunkport and others. I believe the vendors are open to the public but pre-registration was required for the hook-in itself. Hope to see some of you there.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Bird is the Word

I was saddened today to learn about the death of major league pitcher Mark Fidrych, otherwise known as "The Bird" because of his resemblance to the famous yellow character of Sesame Street. Picture at left is from an old Sport Illustrated cover. "Fiddy" as his friends called him grew up in the town of Northborough, Mass., the town neighboring my native Westborough. Our towns had an ongoing sports rivalry and we still meet Algonquin Regional for Thanksgiving Day football games. My ex went to school with Fiddy and he often talked about him and their antics growing up, especially after Fiddy made the big leagues - small-town boy hits the big time; it made all of Worcester county proud!

A little about Mark's career - he had a "fairy tale" year in 1976, being named Rookie of the Year playing for the Detroit Tigers. He played five seasons with the Tigers until injury cut his major league career short. In 1982 he signed with the Red Sox and pitched a bit for their triple A team down in Pawtucket but further injury prevented him from returning to the majors. He was called a colorful character, the fans loved his habits of grooming the mound in mid-game, talking to himself and to the baseball, and he truly loved the game. I am awaiting some published news of funeral arrangements and may try to get down there to pay my respects to someone from back home.

All this has taken me a bit more aback than I imagined. Mark Fidrych was 54, the same age as me, and it sort of makes you stop and think about your own mortality. Actually, my high school class has lost members younger than me but still... It's sobering to think about it all and makes me want to seek out and reconnect with old friends. Since my 36th high school class reunion last October I've managed to do just that but some of those reconnections from fall have faded and I think I need to sit down in a cozy chair and make a bunch of phone calls. Life's too short.

Take good care all,

Monday, April 13, 2009

Starting Fresh

It's lambing season here in Maine and this is "Flash", the first new lamb born at Wolfe's Neck Farm in Freeport (photo of Flash and mother Mo courtesy of Stacey Cramp). Wolfe's Neck Farm is looking for volunteers for "Lamb Watch" and I'm thinking about giving them a call. Three to six more new lambs are expected within the next couple of weeks. Volunteers can do shifts helping groom the expectant mother lambs or just hang out and keep an eye on them should things start happening. Wouldn't it be great to see a lamb being born?

Birth and re-birth - isn't that what Spring is all about? I've got the re-birth part covered by getting my blog back up and running. Hopefully I will keep up with it! Lately I was coaxed into getting on Facebook and have been out there almost every day posting my little statuses and comments. Then I got to thinking - it would be much more satisfying for me to return here and write something with a bit more substance. The whole "pursuit of creativity" thing - when my fiber art creativity is blocked there's always writing. Coming from a family of writers I guess it's in my blood!

Re-birth is also coming in the form of re-shaping Simple Folk. Like most businesses, especially the small ones like mine, I've been hit hard by the economy and I must admit I was blind-sided a year or so ago with a dramatic drop in sales at one particular quilt show I vended. This show had always been a great shot in the arm to all the vendors, but 2007 was not what any of us expected. I was left with loads of inventory that I'd purchased in anticipation of selling and the downward spiral had begun. That holiday season was not good and the entire year of 2008 saw a drastic drop in sales - and more inventory on-hand that remains unsold.

I've made a very good friend since moving up here to Maine, Kim Dubay, who has her own small business, Primitive Pastimes in North Yarmouth. She and I are something of kindred spirits, loving many of the same things. You know, the kind of friend whose sentences you can sometimes finish because you think so much alike? We have discussed at length on many occasions our businesses and a mutual growing feeling of needing to do something else, although we haven't figured out exactly what yet. But, I'm feeling a real yearning to pursue more creative ventures myself rather than merely maintaining a web site and packing orders. After seven years I feel it may be time to turn the page... Kim has helped me with my rug hooking skills (she is probably the most awesome rug hooker I know!) and I'm practicing diligently. I joined a local rug hooking chapter. My sketch pad is filled with ideas for all sorts of fiber artistry that need to be born - like my new friend Flash the lamb!

More on this metamorphosis as it unfolds. For now I think I'll give that farm in Freeport a call. I feel like celebrating spring!