Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Small Piece

I am having the darnedest time settling in to work. The holidays preempted several weeks of work, as did getting Clara ready to go to Florence for the semester, as did dealing with the contractor. Then I got sick. After three weeks, I am 99.9% better, but construction is now in full swing and my brother-in-law Clem is here for nine days . . . My life is off kilter. When I have free time I am so discombobulated that I don't do anything.

I am trying to get back on track, now that there is an open pathway to my studio, albeit a very icy one. So here is the one small piece I have to show for the month of January. The colorful wools, of course, were hand-dyed by my sister Barb (Thimblefolk on etsy). The black is as-is. I used a technique called beading for the dots. Let's see how long it takes me to finish the edges . . .

Monday, January 26, 2009


This McNamara girl had a good laugh when she opened her email today.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Peconic Ruggers Hook In

It is time for our annual winter hook in -- today! I am behind in everything because of the head cold from hell and the construction on our house, so this post is late. Come join us if you are in the neighborhood. We will be at the Grange, Sound Avenue and Church Lane in Riverhead from 10 am to 3 pm. Drinks and desserts will be served and there will be some vendors, as well. Hope to see you there.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rug Hooking Buzz

Rug hooking is a pretty sedate sport . . . Sometimes someone comes up with a new way to dye wool or hooks a particularly beautiful mat, but sparks rarely fly. This month, however, we've witnessed fireworks with the start of Wanda Kerr's The Welcome Mat.

I belonged to the former Welcome Mat, a pay-to-participate forum that Wanda created awhile ago. I signed up, paid my money, looked at it twice and never visited again. I meant to, but I belonged to a host of other rug hooking forums on Yahoo, MSN, Topica . . and I could hardly keep up with them. Some of them are rigid they have so many rules, some of them have no rules at all. Some have lots of off-topic chatter, whiles other stick to the point. None of them is as wonderful as the new Welcome Mat.

Whenever I go to visit, another 25 people have joined. There's another book review, or a new event listed. There's a question of the day -- and lots of answers -- and interesting websites to visit and photos of great rugs to look at. I think it's a combination of the ease of use and Wanda's energy that makes it so special. Even my sister Barb, known for dyeing beautiful rug hooking wool , but not for actually hooking, has a hard time tearing herself away from the computer when she logs onto the Mat.

Want to visit? Click here: The Welcome Mat . It's worth the trip.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What's More American

than apple pie? This was my contribution to my neighbor's inauguration party earlier today. What a great day for our country! Here's to hope and prosperity for all us in the coming year.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Hope-Filled Holiday

We woke to winter again this morning. I had a great walk with Cairo. Everything was hushed -- the neighborhood kids were still in bed and no one had started to shovel their walks. We don't get snow like this much out here on Long Island and it was a delight to be out in it. Cairo liked it, too.

I rushed around like a madwoman trying to get some pattern orders filled so I could get them to the Post Office. I came to a screeching halt when I finally realized that it was Martin Luther King Day and the Post Office wasn't open! I had watched the morning news, but it didn't sink through this stuffed up head of mine that it's a holiday today.

This head cold has kept me inside for more than a week, so I had to venture out for groceries -- Pete could survive a scraped together meal, but I was out of cat food. (Try telling a 14-year old cat to eat ramen noodles.) On my way home from the grocery store, I listened to a recording of Martin Luther King delivering his "I Have a Dream" speech on National Public Radio. What a piece of writing, and what a delivery! It is particularly poignant listening to King on the eve of Barack Obama's inauguration.

I'm enjoying watching the news -- witnessing the wave of hope that is lifting up the country after last year's financial woes and the long hard years of the Iraqi war. The number of people descending on Washington D.C is just remarkable. I particularly love the story of the family in Virginia who listed an invitation on Craig's List to anyone who wanted to stay with them this week. They had an Indian couple, some Cubans, some Germans. Their kids gave up their beds for strangers, so they could be a part of tomorrow's festivities. Such a great thing to do.

My neighbors are hosting an inauguration party tomorrow. It will be fun to watch such a momentous occasion with good friends. I'm hoping that Clara will find a television in Florence so that she can witness this sea-change, too.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Hooked Rug Goes to Washington

This is a great story from the Bangor News. The White House needs a hooked rug . . .

Click here: Seal of Approval

Also love that a long-time Republican voted Democratic . . .

Sweet New Critters from My Sister Barb

Barb (aka Thimblefolk) has a quartet of sweet valentines available for sale on our PictureTrail site. Go take a gander at them -- you'll fall in love. Click here: Hallowed Hill Primitives on PictureTrail

While you're there, click on her etsy shop and our ebay shop -- she's got lots of beautiful hand-dyed wool for sale, and I have some new rug hooking patterns listed.

Vicks Revisited -- Yet Again

Pete and I were watching a show about the history of comedy in America on PBS the other night. They had a section about nerds and showed a Saturday Night Live skit with Bill Murray and Gilda Radner. They were sitting on a couch, skinny Gilda with her over-sized spectacles, rigid as a board, and a very young and handsome Bill Murray is nuzzling up to her and asks her what fragrance she's wearing. The answer -- of course -- Vick's Vaporub! Too funny.

On another note, I have to add my voice to the millions exclaiming over the remarkable emergency landing of the US Air plane landing in the frigid Hudson River yesterday. What a feat and what an amazing sight to see the plane floating with all those people on the wings, the ferries coming to the rescue so quickly and everyone survived without major physical injuries! Kudos to the pilot and all the rescuers.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Who Knew?

After I wrote yesterday's post, I turned on the local news and they had a piece about Vick's Vaporub. Apparently, it should never be used on children under 2 -- it actually caused a constriction of airways in an infant. They have tested it on rats and it doesn't relieve any breathing problems for them. The scientist figured that people believe it works because of the "noxious" smell. Noxious! I love the smell of menthol . . .

Anyway -- it seems that not only the cold is all in my head . . .

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I Love Vicks Vaporub

I had every intention of being a better blogger this year. I figured once the holidays were over and Clara was safely off to Florence, I would block out my days to include all the stuff I wanted to accomplish. Well, that's easier said than done. Pete came down with a seriously bad cold last week, and even though I rarely get colds and used my Zicam religiously, I got clobbered by this one on Sunday. It is all in my head. I am so stuffed up it hurts. I'm not sleeping well because I can't breathe. I got up at midnight last night to look for the Vick's Vaporub -- the magic elixir from my childhood. My mother always put Vick's under my nose when I couldn't breathe, or on my chest when I had a chest cold. Just the smell of it makes me feel better.

When Clara was little and had a cold I tried Vick's on her. She screamed like a madwoman. She hated it. I was sure she was mistaken (Mother knows best, right?), so I waited til she was asleep and gently rubbed some under her clogged nose. She woke up and started screaming again . . To this day she hates Vick's and if I mention the night I surreptitiously applied it to her upper lip, she accuses me of child abuse. I just don't get it. I think it's wonderful.

Here is the other reason I am not getting much work done:

That is my studio waaaayyyyy in the back of the yard, behind the pile of stuff that came out of the demolished potting shed and behind Pete's boat. To get to it, I have to walk on a very narrow path -- one foot wide, maybe, that is right on the edge of the pit and is currently covered with snow and ice. Not safe. Also, I can't have wood delivered for the wood stove I heat the studio with until the new walls are backfilled. There isn't enough room to get a wheelbarrow through . . .So all my tools and stuff are out in the ice cold studio, and I am stuck in the house. I am way off schedule for the year, and it is only January 13th . . . How depressing.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I Can Take A Breath . . .

Pete and I are just back from Kennedy Airport, where we put Clara on a plane to Zurich. She'll meet up with a friend there and they will catch another plane to Florence. She will spend the entire semester studying abroad, the lucky girl. She'll have so much fun -- the Ufizi, the olive oil, the handsome Italian men! Oh, no, what have I done? She'll either come back fat or married!

I've got to get to sleep, since her check-in call from Zurich will come around 5 am . . . and obviously, I'm not breathing enough to think straight . . .

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy 2009!

We woke to snow on New Year's Eve -- snow globe snow -- the kind that falls and swirls and lifts and falls again. Lovely. I watched it fly from my favorite chair with a hot cup of coffee and the Christmas tree twinkling in the window.

Our second surprise of the day was a visit from Susan Borger with a giant Chinese food carton filled with scones: cherry & pistachio, candied ginger & white chocolate, and cranberry & white chocolate. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Susan and I kaffee klatch periodically and our favorite place to go is Aldo's. He roasts his own coffee, which Susan loves (not me -- too bitter), and he makes fabulous pecan & raisin scones. He moved his shop months ago and hasn't reopened, so I have been sconeless for months. Well, Aldo better watch out! He's got major competition. Susan's scones are fantastic! The scones were accompanied by a jar of Bellini jam with Proseco. (When Susan and her husband came for Christmas for dinner, we had Bombay Bellinis (champagne with mango nectar -- yum!) I am sad to say there is only one scone left. I'll be sconeless again. Many thanks, Susan for the thoughtful and delicious gift -- and for driving through the snowstorm to deliver them!

The scones fortified us until it was time to go to dinner at Ann's house in East Hampton. We hemmed and hawed about going because it was still snowing and the roads were icy. Although East Hampton is only 12 miles away as the crow flies, we have to take 2 ferries and traverse Shelter Island to get there. The desire to see Ann and Paula won over reason, so we headed out at 5 o'clock.

I haven't been on the ferries or Shelter Island for a long time -- not since Clara graduated from East Hampton's Ross School three years ago. I love riding the ferry, especially in the snow. No matter how hurried or harried I am, being on the ferry makes me stop and breathe. The sound and sight of the water is soothing, and the view of Greenport harbor from the water is wonderful. (One of my rug hooking resolutions this year is to hook a large pictorial of this scene.)

Shelter Island Heights, built as a Methodist camp around 1870, was a spectacular sight. The snow had stopped, but everything was sugar-coated and many of the old houses had Christmas lights sparkling in the windows. When we reached the South Ferry, the snow started again and was still blowing when we reached Ann's lovely little Art Deco house pictured above.

Paula and Ann were both dressed in twinkling attire -- Paula in a black and gold kimono-inspired tunic and Ann in her "Eiffel Tower" fancy shoes (they remind her of the Eiffel Tower when the light show starts!) The table was magnificent -- all gold and glitter and snowflakes!

We toasted with champagne and had a delicious dinner of crab cakes with red pepper aiolo, crisp green beans with a lemony vinaigrette, roasted potatoes and tangy cole slaw -- all very yummy. We popped the crackers and put on our crowns. I got a whoopie cushion in mine, which Clara promptly appropriated to take to the party she was attending later in the evening. (Yes, she's turning 21 in June, but who can ignore a whoopie cushion?)

Guess what dessert was? A giant snowball! How cool -- and appropriate -- is that?

I shouldn't have eaten any, I was so stuffed with everything else, but who can refuse a piece of giant snowball that's all chocolate inside? I ate every bit of it and had to refrain from licking the plate.

We watched one of Paula's favorite movies, Benny and Joon, featuring a very young Johnny Depp. It was sweet and funny and heartwarming -- the perfect way to end the old year and start the new. Thank you, Ann & Paula, for the delicious meal and our enduring, glittering friendship. Happy New Year, Everyone!