Friday, July 31, 2009

Time for TEA!

I am a proud member of a small but select group of artists called The Eclectic Artisans. We are lucky enough to offer quarterly web shows of our work, thanks to the hard work of Lana Manis of Honeysuckle Lane. Lana will be opening our newest show featuring tomorrow evening. Please join us!

Click here for the main page: The Eclectic Artisans

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Table Has To Go Back . . .

I hate the Bjursta table from Ikea. It's out of scale for the room and the color is not working with the rest of our stuff. Poor Pete has to take it apart and take it back . . . And now I don't know what to do . . . Arrrgghhhh!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Retail Woes and Wows

Restoration Hardware's Larkspur Extension Table

Pete and I need a dining room table. Since we will probably never be able to afford the table of my dreams -- a vintage George Nakashima -- we've decided to settle for less in terms of quality for more in terms of size. We both have big families, lots of friends, and don't like forcing kids to sit at a separate table. We received a Restoration Hardware catalog last week, which featured a nice craftsman style table that would work perfectly in our space -- on sale for almost half price, plus an additional 10% off coupon! How great is that? So I went on line -- no table. Called -- no table -- they are all sold out. Rats. Then my Yankee ingenuity kicked in -- maybe one of the outlets had one!

The only Restoration Hardware Outlet in the tri-state area is in Riverhead, just 25 minutes away from us. How lucky is that? So I called -- and they had the Larkspur table with two leaves! Even luckier. So we drove up to Riverhead. Then our luck ran out. They had just sold the table -- for $1800+! I was shocked and appalled. The original price in the catalog was $1720. How could a damaged table at an outlet cost more than a perfect table, new from the regular store? The salesman said something about including the shipping cost, which they don't do in the catalog. But when we looked at another table and asked the price, they added an extra $50 for shipping. So what gives? I'm still infuriated by what seem to be deceitful business practices. So Outlet Buyers Beware. You really aren't getting any deals, especially from Restoration Hardware!

We really need a table -- we keep hitting our heads on the new lighting fixtures. So we continued on to Ikea, where we had seen a large table last month. We've been buying from Ikea for over 20 years. We actually drove to the Philadelphia area Ikea from Brooklyn when that was the only store around. We moved on to the Elizabeth, New Jersey store when that opened, and then to the Hicksville, New York store, which is where we went yesterday. We don't think the quality is as good as it used to be, but until we replenish our bank account after paying for the renovation, we have to watch our pennies.

Ikea Bjursta Table

So we bought the Bjursta extension table. Not as exciting, but wider and longer with 2 removable leaves that store right under the table top and only $499 (less $50 in coupons). Pete put it together last night. Sadly,one half off the top was damaged, so he's returning it today and getting a new one. (That is a common problem with Ikea furniture -- beware -- but they are good about replacing things.) We figure it will hold up for awhile until Pete's cousin's husband, Lee Gutterson, visits from New Zealand and we'll have him build us a table. (Lee built some amazing bookshelves for us a few years ago. He's really talented.)

One of Lee Gutterson''s Tables

By the time we finished shopping at 2:30 PM, we were famished. We needed food fast, but we don't like fast food. As we were pulling out of the parking lot, I spotted a Chipotle Mexican Grill. I had seen a show about the restaurant on tv not long ago -- they use organic beans, and meat from animals raised humanely. They call it Food with Integrity. So we tried it. We both had chicken burritos, so big I couldn't finish mine. They were loaded with romaine lettuce, black beans, chicken, guacomole, salsa - and they were delicious, fresh and not too spicy. We like the food. We like the decor. We like the philosophy. There are merchants with integrity out there! Hurray! Be sure to patronize them!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sunny Skies . . . and Hooking Progress!

We had another wild storm last night -- torrential rains (not good when you don't have your gutters up!) and lots of wind. Our Bradford pear tree split in half. (I am secretly happy about this, because I hate the way the inedible fruit makes a mess on the cars. I thought ornamental fruit trees weren't supposed to bear fruit . . . ). Anyway -- this morning there's a cool breeze blowing down from Canada and the skies are as blue as blue can be. I'm taking advantage of this weather, because we're actually supposed to have real July weather (read: heat & humidity) this weekend. So I am going to whip up a blueberry pie this afternoon and hook my little heart out.

I have been invited to participate in a rug show at the Southampton Historical Society next month. The invitation arrived in March and is due on August 22 . . . I just started the rug yesterday. Actually, I'm supposed to do two 18 x 26 rugs. I wrote about sisters Susan and Sally and their rugs for the show a couple of posts ago. They're both almost finished. I know. I am a procrastinator. It's genetic. Ask my sister Barb -- she's as bad as I am. Ask my daughter. She'll tell you she works best under pressure. Ha! We all make ourselves crazy, but we haven't found a cure for it yet.

The show is called It's What I Like About You - Long island's East End. Rug number one is of a striped bass, my favorite local eating fish. I hooked a bluefish several years ago (with wool, not fishing line), and I've wanted to do a striped bass companion piece since then. (I've looked for a photo of the bluefish rug, which is now in a private collection in Montauk, but I couldn't find one . . .) I wanted to hook him with wool from my stash -- no dyeing or buying allowed. Here's what I've come up with so far.

I love him.

Here's a close up.

He looks so good I could eat him for dinner . . .

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer, Finally

Pete and I woke to blue skies and birds singing this morning, seen and heard through the six new windows in our bedroom, which do not have shades or curtains on them yet. Last night we went for our first swim of the season in Widows Hole and came back to have our first corn on the cob of the year, too. Now all we need are some ripe tomatoes!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Happy Hooking at Hallockville

We had a glorious afternoon at Hallockville yesterday. The sun was shining, the sky was as blue as can be, and a breeze swept across the farm fields the entire time. We sat under the crab apples in the backyard of the Hallock House. Barbara and Judy strung rope between the trees so members could hang their finished pieces likes clothes drying on a line. Across the field to the east the two sheep grazed on the lawn (no mowing needed!). To the west the cows grazed with the Chicanowitcz House as a backdrop. It was so charming, and the perfect place for a hook in!

Jack's Casket hooked by Barbara Blossey-Chuvalas

I worked on the raffle rug when I wasn't distracted by conversation. Barbara was working on a version of my Juggling Jack pattern called Jack's Casket. I enlarged the pattern and changed its shape so it would fit on the top of a miniature casket she owns. I think she's done a brilliant job: the florescent green around his bones and the purple circles in the background really make her mat special. I cannot wait to see it completed.

Susan Egan's version of "Wool"

Susan Egan brought along her version of my Wool patten. I love the colors she chose. (Can I say once again how thrilling it is for me to see other people's versions of my patterns?) Susan's current project is a rendition of her handsome corgi, Henry, which will be part of an invitational rug show curated by Gail Horton at the Southampton Historical Museum in August. Her sister Sally is working on a piece for the show, too -- an adaptation of a painting by local artist Jacqueline Penney.

Denise Johnson's Original Design

Denise Johnson brought her colorful completed mat neatly framed. I love the way Denise hooks. She mixes up brightly colored strips of thinly cut wool in a bag and just picks and chooses as she hooks. The results are always spectacular.

A fellow stopped by with a collection of his grandmother's hooked rugs. He proudly displayed a McGown floral, a large carousel horse and some chair pads. What a treat for us.

We had a pot luck lunch of quiche, carrot salad, ambrosia, cherries, and carrot cake -- all very yummy. It was the perfect day. We hope to repeat it on August 22. Stop by to visit, see the rugs, or to learn how to hook. You won't find a more welcoming guild or a more pleasant place to spend the day.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Peconic Ruggers Hook In -- TODAY!!!!

In my renovation-induced stupor I forgot to post about our guild's hook in today. So sorry. We'll be meeting at the Hallockville Museum Farm in Riverhead at 10 am this morning.

Here's the press release from Hallockville:

Peconic Ruggers Hook-In at Hallockville Museum Farm

July 11, 11 AM to 4 PM

Rug Hooking is a primitive folk craft with roots in North America going back to the early 19th century. Women collected scraps and remnants from old household fabrics, cut them into thin strips and weaved them through empty burlap feed sacks to create beautiful floor coverings for their homes. The Peconic Ruggers is a craft guild dedicated to the preservation and celebration of this traditional American pastime. The Ruggers Hook-In brings together artisans from all over Long Island who share a passion for hand hooked rugs. Visitors will learn about this fascinating art form and have an opportunity to purchase finished products, ready-made kits, patterns, and other supplies. Call Hallockville at 631-298-5292 for additional information and directions. The event is free and open to the general public.

They got the time wrong -- we are starting at 10 am. I will try to remember my camera this time!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Greenport in the Gloaming

The light was beautiful tonight, so I rode my bike down to the bay to watch the sunset. Dark clouds were roiling overhead, but there was sun to the south over Shelter Island. Sailboats were tacking across Peconic Bay, racing to get out of the rain and a fisherman was perched on a wall, casting his line for bluefish. I rode back home and got my little camera and managed to get a few shots before the sun disappeared. Aren't I lucky to live here?