STATE FAIR

Recently, Hubs and I spent a day at the Maryland State Fair. It was a day of perfection as far as the weather was concerned.

Our travel mugs were full, an audio book babbled over the traffic noises and a stop at an exotic wood store made the travel time worthwhile.

As always, we enjoyed our fair date.

As we have grown past the teens of yesteryear, we no longer hit the rides, but instead are content to grab a jug of iced tea and stroll the exhibit aisles.

I especially enjoyed seeing the beautiful hooked rugs displayed by guild members. I am in awe at the workmanship in each piece. It is great to see the ribboned pieces finished and hanging, after so many months of watching fellow hookers labor intensively over them.  Maybe one day, I will even enter one of my own.

Hubs, a photography hobbyist, loved  seeing the photos.  Such a variety of  subjects. Farm animals, puppies playing, fuzzy lambs, bashful babies, delicate flowers and magnificent sunsets graced the framework.  I am glad I was not a judge. With so much talent, I would have run out of ribbons if I had to choose!

Isn’t it amazing to see a carefully preserved snowflake, enlarged to show its uniqueness? How about the emotion provoked by the image of a tiny newborn? Can’t you almost taste the saltiness of the ocean when you gaze into the waves?  There is such artistry behind the lens.

Move with us down rows of long-labored-over creations. These pieces hold so much history in their carefully crafted stitches. Hours upon hours were required to turn simple threads and linens into delicate needleworks.  Afghans showed neat rows of rhythmic stitches and lacy tatting edged fine cotton. Feel the love and hope knitted into small booties and blankets for swaddling.

Do you smell the cedar, see the grain of butternut and feel the smoothness of the polished walnut? Imagine the skilled hands that carefully carved, sawed and sanded the wooden objects that line the shelves? Shorebirds carved to perch on branches, hinged boxes awaiting treasures, and sturdy furniture pieces were exhibited  by master woodcrafters.

Next comes the culinary artists display. Hear the laughter of children as they helped mom turn dough into shaped and iced cookies. Touch the cool silk of flour as experienced fingers work on latticed pies. Can you smell the dill and vinegar when you see the stately pickles jarred ? And look at the size of the pumpkins harvested along with ruby tomatoes, husky corn cobs and prize-winning melons! Can you feel the warm sun and soft mounds of dirt underfoot as you admire the shelves of produce?

Amazing quilts, florals  skillfully arranged, paintings… so much to see!

Next, we headed out to meet the animals, all groomed and tethered, waiting to be shown. Goats, chicks, sheep, pigs, bunnies, alpacas, cows–waited patiently for us to camera them.

I wonder if they realized these portraits would become subjects for future projects, adorning rugs, felted into shapes and carved into figurines?

I will have to say the highlight this year was getting to witness the birth of a baby calf. As we happened by a large crowd, we slipped in to see what was drawing the focus of so many people. A beautiful example of motherhood, a mama labored over bringing her baby into a world of onlookers. She swayed restlessly, obvious concern for her baby’s safe entrance slowing her progress, and finally required support from the compassionate veterinary staff.  As the mother bathed her newborn with her long tongue strokes, the hushed crowd slipped away to let her nurture the new babe. What a sweet reminder of God’s gift of life and  His creation. True Perfection!!!

Of course, a late afternoon lunch was next on the agenda. Fair food, who can resist it?  Shying away from such luxuries as funnel cake, cotton candy, deep fried concoctions and kettle corn, we opted for samplings of shaved lamb and smoked pork to accompany sides of fried green tomatoes and Maryland’s sweet corn. We were not disappointed. Yum !!!

Tummy’s full and feet ready to brake, we spent the next few hours volunteering in the guild’s booth where we distributed information and demonstrated the art of hooking rugs.  It is always so much fun to see the enthusiasm  as beginners pulled loops for the first time.  Children were especially eager to attempt it and a few adults tested their skills, also.  Hooks and kits were sold to the ambitious ones. I hope to see their finished pieces someday displayed, too.

The day was full. The sounds of laughter, the  aromas of food, hay and barnyard life, witnessing new life, all made a happy memory.

Actually, the whole day was perfect.

Are you one who loves an annual trip to a county or state fair? What is your favorite part? Do you love the thrill of the rides, the unique menus, the celebration of winning exhibits and well groomed animals? Do the happy sounds, lights and motions against an evening sky thrill you ? Comment below and tell me what you enjoy most.

Until later,

Blessings,

Pamela

Please follow and like us:

HOOKING HEARTS

         As an artist,  I am continually fascinated by and collecting supplies for new techniques expressing creativity. For years, I have painted, beaded, stitched, knitted and more. For the longest time, the one thing I admired, but never tried my hand at, was traditional rug hooking.

I love all things vintage and enjoyed seeing this art form displayed  on the walls of a cousin’s home.

I often watched a close friend as she hooked rug after rug. These “rugs” were displayed as table runners, chair  pads, stool covers, wall hangings and even coasters called “mug rugs”.

My artistic friend begged me to give it a try.  “No.” was always my response. Because  I had my own business and spent much of my day designing and painting products to sale, I felt I had no time to start anything new.

Even though I refused to attempt it, I was always eager to see her latest project and hear the story behind her original designs. As I fingered the stacks of wool that filled her work space and unrolled bundles of her handiwork, I gained a greater  appreciation for this art form.

Just before I moved away, she presented me with a kit, one of her favorite hooks and the strips of bright-dyed wool needed to complete one of her simple designs.  Giving it a couple of feeble attempts, I tucked it inside one of our moving boxes to revisit another day.

After a few months of living in our tiny apartment, I was starved for the company of other creative souls. An internet search revealed a rug show and guild meeting within walking distance from me.

The Hubs and I attended the rug show, chatted with the artists, and I received an invitation to join them for an upcoming class. From that first meeting, I was “hooked”. I immediately finished the two small Santa pieces in the kit, then joined not one, but two local guilds. I attend weekly hook-ins, workshops and guild meetings as often as my schedule and the weather allows. Because of the generous support I have received from these guild members, teachers, and long-time “hookers”, I have found a new passion. This past year, I was even able to teach a few projects of my own design.

There are many rug hooking chapters across the nation and I strongly urge you to see what they are all about.

Although many miles separate us, my sweet friend and I talk about our hooking projects now.  To honor her,  I wrote this in remembrance of our times together:

**************************************************************************************

HOOKING HEARTS

She holds out her petite hands. She shows me the fingers that time has marked.“Years of hooking rugs will do this.”

She is beautiful like the rugs that are piled high in her spare room. Her life a story of God’s love, His turning trial into triumph. Romans 8:28 is worked out before my eyes.

She tells me of her childhood, of growing up in the Alaskan village, of hardships that make one strong.

She, a beautiful soul of grace, loves God. I am blessed as we visit, inspired by her gentle faith-words, encouraged.

Her hands are rapid as she works the wool into art. These little strips that she has dipped into dyes yield to the hook and stand firmly in the linen’s weave.

I bend over, watch fascinated, try to learn. She passes the hook to me. Awkward in my grasp, I received instruction and draw in breath and hope and loop. Again, I test, try, pull  through, compare my work to hers. My rows show the wobbly uncertainty that I feel standing next to her practiced handiwork.

We talk over breakfast biscuits and jam. We share food and sweet fellowship.

I learn more of her story.

She draws out my hopes and dreams, concerns and news.

We sit, heads bowed close, and work on rugs. She works her faith and courage into my heart, like the rows into the hooped fabric.

It is time to go. We gather up the scraps of wool and friendship. I pack away the hook and the bits of wisdom that she gives me to take home and work into finished beauty. I hold her tightly in embrace, this sister God has given me.

**************************************************************************************

I love the history of this art form. I try to make it a goal to learn from those before me and pass it on to those behind me. I think having that connection is so important and otherwise, so many skills and history will go away in time, if neglected.

As a novice, I am blessed to learn from ladies who have hooked for decades, several having generations of hookers to teach them. The oldest in our guild, still attending meetings, is a beautiful lady, 100 years old. How fortunate I am to glean tips and instruction from their experience and artistic skills.

I am dyeing wool, and working on my  design patterns and will have some kits available in the future.

I would love to hear your own stories. Are you a rug hooker, know someone that hooks rugs, have guild meetings or workshops nearby?  Looking for specific designs or wool?  Feel free to comment below or on my social media spots or email me directly.

Until next time,

Blessings,

Pamela

Please follow and like us:

Get Packed!

I am so excited to begin this journey with you and I cannot wait to see what we will discover together!  As with every trip worthwhile, planning is a must. I have been in the planning stage for way too long, so now it is finally time to get going. I am gathering up a few supplies and getting ready.

I hope you will come along with me and see where adventures take us. Just as every day is different, I hope every step will be an eclectic mix of something you will enjoy.

I am blessed to be in the middle of the road, sketching maps for those that will follow, and running to keep up with great leaders just ahead on this life quest.  I am passionate about people, and with that passion burns a deep conviction. I am convinced that I should leave a mark, a legacy, if you will, for the ones who will catch up, and most likely surpass me, and live well and sincere before them. Also, I should strive daily-humble-attentive-to soak in the wisdom of the ages from those well-traveled.

We have so much to learn!!!!

My backpack is stuffed full, an overflow from my studio upstairs. Brushes, paints, sketchpads, rug hooks, dyed wool, knitting needles, yummy balls of yarn, a cookbook, my favorite mug, for sure my bible, journal, a good writing pen, –camera, check, map, check, a few tunes on my phone, and of course, photos of the grands……

I am of a lover of many things, so expect never to tarry long in one spot.

Come on, Hubs, Chloe! Let’s go!

I hope you will travel along with me as I explore… travel…cook…create…live an artful life.

Oh and before I forget, be sure and share our blog, sign up to receive updates, grab our free gift, chat with us in the comments, meet us on our Facebook page, because we love to hear from you !!

Blessings,

Pamela

 

Please follow and like us: