Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year One and All!

Just wanted to wish you all well before we start on another whirlwind weekend of celebration.  Cairo and his humans say HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Heading Toward the New Year

The weeks leading up to Christmas were rather hectic for us.  We planned to spend Christmas with old friends in Massachusetts, but Clara called to say she had to work and wouldn't be able to come.  So we changed gears and planned to spend a couple of days in Brooklyn at Clara's apartment so she wouldn't be alone.  The Sunday before Christmas we got another call -- she didn't have to work after all and wanted to come home.  So we changed gears again.
On Tuesday, I woke up with a miserable head cold, but soldiered through it to finish buying and wrapping presents, grocery shop, decorate and pick Clara up at the train station.  I called Barb and told her we would be here and would make Christmas dinner and she should join us.  She booked the ferry.  I called some friends who were home alone for Christmas and asked them to join us, too.  I finally made some curtains for the mudroom.  Then we started the storm watch: possible blizzard conditions on Christmas.  Two days later: no blizzard on Christmas, just snow the day after.  On Christmas Eve: the blizzard is on it's way and it is time to batten down the hatches.

We spent most of Christmas Eve prepping for dinner the next day while listening to Christmas carols.  We had unexpected visitors stop by with gifts, which was a gift in and of itself.   The visits were such an old-fashioned, neighborly gesture.  We opened a bottle of wine and set out some cheese and crackers.  Barbara (the basket maker) and her husband Ron came by.  They were kind enough to give us our beautiful Douglas fir Christmas tree a couple of weeks ago and came loaded with gifts for Clara, who they adopted this summer and taught to horseback ride.  We sent them home with a bag of homemade cookies and 50 pounds of horse feed for our favorite four-legged friends.

Dan, our contractor for the renovation (which we started two years ago just before Christmas), stopped by with peanut brittle and fudge, homemade by his wife Tina.  While the renovation was in progress, Dan and I had coffee almost every morning.  He is a great, family-oriented guy and is always up on the latest Greenport gossip and I miss our morning chats.  So I was really glad to see him.

Christmas Eve was low key.  We had fancy hor d'ouevres -- seafood wontons, little lobster rolls, stuffed mushrooms -- while watching Despicable Me (a really nice and funny little movie).  Our friends canceled for Christmas dinner (they got the same cold I have). so we got up late, ate Pete's pecan sticky buns at 10 am and put off dinner til 7.  We played Banagrams and watched more movies and worried about Barby getting home on the ferry before the blizzard started.  Dinner (crown roast of pork, Wisconsin wild rice, applesauce, roasted cauliflower and broccoli and a chocolate coconut charlotte for dessert) was delicious.
Barb left here at 8 on Sunday morning and caught one of the last ferries.  Snow had already started, but the winds held off until later in the day.  By afternoon the winds were blowing so hard it sounded like a freight train was running down 5th Street.  We ended up with very little snow, maybe 6 inches, unlike the City, which got close to 12.

Now it looks like the sun is going to break through and I won't have to shovel!  I'm cleaning up the studio, organizing my ideas and looking forward to the New Year . . . and getting rid of this cold.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Celebrating the Season

My rug hooking guild, the Peconic Ruggers, celebrated the season today at the home of sisters Sally and Sue.  Their beautiful house, not far from the shores of Peconic Bay, was a wonderful place to spend the afternoon.  We have had  torrential rain and lots of wind all day, but who cares about gray skies when there's good company and good food around?

Sue and Sally had decorated for Christmas -- there were handcrafts and antiques throughout the house. I fell in love with this tree in the kitchen.
And how about this rug?  The border makes me smile . . . 
A sweet tableau on the sideboard.

Decoys in the kitchen.
Thanks to Sally and Sue for a great day, and to my fellow guild members for another year of crafting and companionship!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Happy Monday

The sky has been alternating sun and spritzing snow all day with a gusty wind that makes us wish we had installed a fireplace or wood stove when we renovated the house.  I am investigating pellet stoves for the kitchen, between the two north windows where there is currently a rickety and unattractive little desk that no one ever uses.  I'm not keen on a wood stove.  I had one out in the garage and there was always a mess around it -- ashes and bark and schmutz -- and I hated cleaning it.  Pellets are much neater.  So we'll see.

My other plan for warming up the kitchen: oriental rugs.  My sister-in-law Fran told me she had great success buying Oriental rugs on ebay.  So I bid on one and won it.  It came today and I love it.  Instant warmth for not a lot of money.

Clara was home for just one night to print out some photos for her portfolio and pack up some more belongings for her new apartment, so I spent the afternoon hemming pants and looking through my stash for fabric to cover a bench for her.  It was a brief visit, but it is always fun to have her at home.  I've also been doing a little Christmas shopping on line as well as gearing up for creating my own website -- a daunting task, but one I need to address. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Primitive Gathering Christmas Shop

Yes, another post within an hour of the last . . .   I forgot to mention that The Primitive Gathering opened its Christmas shop this morning.  My sister Barb, aka thimblefolk,  has some festive and beautifully made woolen creations available for sale there, as well as in her Etsy shop .  Please take a look!  The Primitive Gathering

The Earth Moved!

I was sitting at my sewing table yesterday morning and it started . . . . dancing!  There's no other word for it . . .  I thought the oil delivery guy was in the driveway -- that always makes the house shiver a bit.  But then I realized he filled up the tank last week . .  .  I got up and looked out the window -- nothing was happening -- so I sat down and went back to work.  When I turned on the evening news, I discovered there had been an earthquake, just off the south shore of Long Island.  Earthquakes aren't unheard of on the east coast, but they aren't common, and I can't remember actually feeling one here before . . . 

I woke up this morning thinking about Christmas.  The holiday feeling has escaped me until now.  I haven't thought about the decorations or the shopping or the wrapping or the cookie baking. But I'm working on it now!  I unearthed my Christmas music and am listening to it as I type this.  I've started my gift list and I think I am going to do my tree in snow this year:  white lights, snowflakes, and glass icicles.  I'll post pics when I put it up, which won't be for a week or two -- it is still a little early for me.

And thinking about the upcoming holidays -- today is the first day of Hannukah!   I almost missed it, it is so early this year . . .   So Happy Hannukah and Shalom to all of you celebrating today.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

November Rose

I picked this rose on Friday . . .  it almost doesn't look real.   It's nearly December and it has been cold, but obviously not cold enough to kill this beauty.  It makes me happy.  I'm hoping it will last three more days until the first of December.

Pete and Clara and I had Thanksgiving in the City.  We made a stop in Brooklyn at Clara's new apartment in DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass).  It really is under the overpass.  The apartment is a spacious fourth floor walk up which she'll be sharing with one of her roommates from her semester in Florence.  I became very nostalgic driving in on the BQE, always our route home when we lived on St. Marks Place.  I miss the City, although I am glad not to live there full time anymore.

There's a park at the end of the street -- isn't this bench cool?  Something you would expect out in the country . . . .

You can see the Empire Street Building across the East River . . .  and the Brooklyn Bridge Park, built after we moved away, starts just around the corner.  The neighborhood is filled with great stores and bistros.  It's an exciting place to be for a new college graduate.

We had Thanksgiving dinner in Soho, at Pete's cousin's home.  They have a great loft, and after dinner we climbed five flights of stairs (burned off all that stuffing) to look at the roof top the neighborhood.  There's a lot of magic in New York City, as well as all the yucky stuff, and I love being able to partake of that sometimes.  I guess that's one of the things I'm thankful for this year . . .

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wilton (AKA Fine American Craftsman Show)

 Here are some photographs from Wilton.  We had a moderately successful weekend -- not bad for being first timers.  Sadly, the show is a shadow of its former self.  When Barb and I attended in past years, it was at least double the size and attendance was much higher.  One vendor claimed the reason for this was a "perfect storm" of events:  a change in management, the economy, and some prima donna crafters who ended up leaving the show and starting their own.  That's our booth pictured above and below.

 Friday night set up.

 We met the owners of Hidden Treasures, Kathy and Jeff Graybill.  Kathy designs and hand paints a vast array of wooden furniture and smalls that her husband Jeff designs.  They are prolific and their both was quite a sight to behold.
 The most amazing items they had were these large hooked trade signs.  My jaw dropped when I saw them.  You can get an idea of how large they are in the second picture with the woman off to the left.

 Kathy hooks with the widest piece of fabric I have ever seen -- it is at least an inch wide!  She thought the 8 cut I use in most of my rugs was tiny.

Monday, November 8, 2010

How Did This Happen?????

Snow on Long Island in early November.  It's crazy.  I am still figuring out why I didn't get in the last swim of the season and why the rest of my Brandywine tomatoes won't ripen.  We are in the middle of a nor'easter I didn't even know was coming -- not surprising, given the pre-show fog I am enveloped in.  The snow is not falling here along the shore, but about 20 miles west.  Big, sloppy, wet flakes are coating the traffic and weather cameras and sending me into a panic. 

We turned the clocks back before bed on Saturday night, so I woke up in the dark and cooked dinner in the dark.  I don't like so much dark.  I need lots of hours of sunlight to keep a smile on my face, so the winter months are often difficult for me.  I do look forward to Christmas -- I love putting up the Christmas tree and getting out my collection of ornaments again -- it's like meeting old friends.  I even look forward to the first snow.  But the 21st of December is a holiday for me, because I know that each day will bring a few more minutes of sunlight.

That said, I had a brisk and energizing walk on the beach with Cairo this morning in 30 mile per hour winds.  I needed that -- my bottom is actually starting to hurt from sitting so long at my hooking frame and sewing machine.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Next Week: Wilton

Barb and I always call the shows we do by the name of the town they are in: Rhinebeck, Fairfield, Woodstock . . .  and now, Wilton.  The real name of the show is the Fine American Craftsman Show, sponsored by the Wilton Connecticut Historical Society.  This is its 25th year, and we are very pleased to be a part of it for the first time.

Barb and I have spent many a chilly November morning waiting in line to get into the Wilton show.  It's a shoppers delight.  Every imaginable craft is available here, from doll making to floor cloths, from furniture to pottery, and jewelry to quilts.  We are hoping our woolly folk art will appeal to the customers waiting in line this year.

Please come and see us if you can.  We are in booth 5, not far from the entrance.  Because we are not selling supplies at Wilton, just finished goods, we are simply going by our names: Barbara and Sarah McNamara.

Here are the details:

Wilton Historical Society
25th Annual Fine American Craftsman Show
Saturday, November 13, 10 am - 5 pm
Sunday, November 14, 10 am - 4 pm

Wilton High School Field House
Danbury Road, Wilton, CT

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wow! What a Weekend!

My guild, The Peconic Ruggers, hosted their biennial rug show this weekend, in the beautiful Naugles barn at Hallockville Museum Farm.  I have been a member of the Ruggers since its inception almost a decade and a half ago, and I believe this was our most successful show ever.  Guild members, led by the young and innovative Jennifer Faulkner, worked magic Thursday and Friday to turn the barn into a hooker's dream.  The weather was wonderful, the guests were great, and the rugs were spectacular!

We had lots of vendors, including the delightful and very funny ladies of The Wool Street Journal and G. Woolikers -- all the way from Colorado and Georgia!  Our potluck on Friday night helped us get to know each other, and what a lot of laughs we had, as well as good food.   Saturday morning brought a full house, drawing people from as far away as Queens.  My daughter, Clara Jauquet, kindly brought her fancy camera along and photographed the barn from top to bottom before we opened.  (All the photographs seen here were taken by Clara.)

Jennifer issued a challenge to the guild a few months ago to hook a gravestone for our cemetery, an appropriate addition to any Halloween weekend. 

On a sad note, I send my condolences to our co-president Judy, whose husband passed away unexpectedly last Wednesday.  It was good to see so many Peconic Ruggers at his wake on Monday night.  We were all there, as we will always be,  to support Judy and her children, who face many difficult days ahead. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Peconic Ruggers Rug Show and Sale

Peconic Ruggers

2010 Hooked Rug Show & Sale

meet the ladies from
The Wool Street Journal 
and GWoolikers
Saturday, October 30 and
Sunday, October 31


Hallockville Museum Farm
in the Naugles Barn
6038 Sound Avenue, Riverhead

Rug exhibit, International & local vendors, raffles & light refreshments
Admission: $6
For information:
JEN 631-793-3511

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rhinebeck Aftermath

I spent the week unpacking the car, processing checks and credit card orders, filling pattern orders from Rhinebeck (if I don't have a pattern in stock at a show, I will ship it postage free), getting ready for the Peconic Ruggers show next weekend and BAM!  I got miserably sick with a stomach flu Thursday afternoon.  I caught it at Rhinebeck -- how can you not catch something at fair with 50,000 attendees?  I was pretty worn out all weekend from not sleeping well, so I guess it was inevitable.

I slept all day yesterday, surfacing periodically to sip cups of ginger ale delivered to my bedside by Pete and Clara.  (That was my Mom's thing -- the ginger soothes your stomach and the sugar gives you a little energy and you stay hydrated -- if you can keep it down.)  I finally got out of bed at 5 PM.  By then the chills had stopped, but my stomach was still tender.  I felt really weak, so I made myself a poached egg and dry toast -- another of my mother's remedies -- and I felt better.  I also had to deal with a headache all day yesterday, because I could not bear to drink my beloved morning cup of coffee and was going through caffeine withdrawal.

I am better this morning -- still feeling a little under the weather -- but I had a bracing walk on the beach with Cairo earlier and I am going to get back to work today.  I'm hoping no one catches the bug from me  -- sorry if I spread it around -- but it does pass in 24 hours and the ginger ale helps.

Today is my sister Barb's birthday.  Stop by her blog and wish her a happy day.  Click here: thimblefolk

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Another Wild Wooly Weekend at Rhinebeck

What a weekend!  This was the warmest Sheep and Wool Festival we've ever attended.  We overdressed on Saturday, remembering last year's snow flurries . . .  We didn't sleep well Friday night after set up, so we were a little bleary-eyed on Saturday.  My exhaustion kept me from my usual tours of the grounds, so I have very few pictures to share today.  Despite our sluggishness, we had our best weekend of sales ever.  Barb and I want to thank our customers -- both the loyal friends who stop by to see us every year as well as the fresh new faces who appeared for the first time this weekend.  You all make the show a delight for us, no matter how little sleep we get!