Saturday, July 30, 2011

We call ourselves "Hookers"

Ha!  Got you with that title didn't I?  That or you may have run screaming the other way, gathering your children as you went and shielding your eyes from "too much information".  Well, sometimes Rug Hookers like to refer to themselves, and other like minded folks, as Hookers.  I dabble in lots of different arts, jewelry design, quilting, rug hooking, and many, many crafts and DIY projects.  I shouldn't say dabble because when I decide that I want to try something I must have ALL the tools and supplies.  My husband looked ready to weep when I thought I might want to try pottery and blowing my own glass beads.  Rug Hooking is something my Mother introduced me to 6 years ago.  I truly do enjoy it, even though I seem to be a bit side tracked right now!  Primitive Rug Hooking is an old craft (not to be confused with latch hooking yarn) where you take small strips of wool and, with a hook resembling a crochet hook, pull a wool "loop" to the top of your background, usually linen or monks cloth.  It is not for those that must have instant gratification, nor is it an inexpensive art.  Quality wool is not inexpensive, nor is linen right now, but you have to remember that you are creating a piece of art that will be around for generations.  Here are a few examples of my work.
"Summer Basket Oval" designed by Primitive Spirit

"Friendship Rug" also designed by Primitive Spirit (I have a thing for her patterns!)

"Jack-O'-Lantern Moon" a Need'l Love  pattern by Jody Aman.  Sometimes you need a nice small piece that you can finish quickly.
"Three Owls", and I can't find the card with the designer.  This is NOT my design, but some very talented person drew these darling little owls.  I hooked this one as part of a Neutrals challenge my friend Janice Lee thought up.  Janice owns The Rug Hooking Store in Valley, NE and I buy all my wool from her because she is the "Wool Dyeing Queen" and has the most amazing, rich colors.  She is also a whiz at color planning.

This is my first original design for a class I took at The Rug Hooking Store taught by the uber talented Pris Butler.  Pris is an artist and hooker from Georgia, and is a nationally recognized teacher.  Ok, I know drawing a cornucopia is hardly original, but it was my first time.  With Pris I learned to be more adventurous with color as she left a new strip of wool (sometimes in rather bright tones) in front of our workspace.  This rug is still waiting to be bound.  Most of my primitive rugs are hooked with 1/4 in. strips of wool.  Some like wider strips which really gives it a really primitive look, some like to hook with tiny little  strips sometimes no bigger than spaghetti.  Those artists create some of the finest shading and rugs which really do look like a painting from a distance.

This rug is my 2nd original design.  Pris Butler returned to Nebraska to teach a 2nd class.  At Pris' recommendation we all studied the work of Gustav Klimt and designed rugs that were in the style of Klimt.  Some in the class mimiced design elements, some mimiced colors, some created rugs that mimic Klimt works.  It was a wonderful time and I learned so much.  I call this my Klimt dragon.  It was designed based on Klimts' Asian period.  He often included elements from the orient in many of his works during that period of influence on his art.  This is for my oldest daughter who is adopted from China and wanted to decorate her room with an Asian theme. 

There you have it, a lecture on primitive rug hooking, and a brief show of some of my rugs.  Now you can say you "know" an actual "Hooker"! 

Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The 5 Minute Challenge

Hello again!  I wouldn't want you to think I'm slouching too much here.  What with VBS last week, swimnming lessons, 2 different band camps, summer physicals, orthodontist appointments, church fund raisers, city parades, and the rest of life I'm just not getting much done quickly.  Of course I also picked last week to start a really large paint project, so no reveals yet.  It will be a cool one when I get to though!

Preparing for this first Prairie Pickers & Peddlers Market has been a learning experience for me, and probably all of us here.  We want it to be fun for us and for a bunch of customers.  We all have busy families too and so there is that balance that we have to maintain.  I just haven't had as much time as possible to get out lately and do some "pickin".  That being said, I do have an entire house with at least 25 years of collecting accumulated throughout.  Some of it is just gathering dust though in corners and storage areas.  That brings me to my title today.  I gave myself 5 minutes to run around the house and collect as many things that I could find to add to the Market pile.  Here is a photo of what I came up with.
I went shopping in my own home's closets, storage room, trunks, and garage.  Now, this is just in 5 minutes.  Imagine what I could come up with if I gave myself an hour...or two!

15 or 20 years ago I went on a vintage hat buying binge.  They were fun, fairly reasonable, easily found, and great decor for a guest room.  I've decided that I don't have a great place to display them, and they should move on to a new home.  I have more, but I may have to let them go in small quantities.  I get attached. 

You already know I have a thing for tins.  I have plenty of cake tin carriers, this one needs to move on.  The key rings...I used to collect old, odd pieces of sterling silverware to cut up and make into key rings.  These are the left overs from other sale adventures.  Cute metal basket, hidden in a closet.  Shame on me!  I do love old jars too.  Love those lids, and all they will hold and display.  Some will be moving along I hope. 

Neat old books, pretty little candle stick, old jewelry chest, all fun, all used in various groupings over time.  But what fit 6 houses ago (retired military, we moved a LOT) doesn't necessarily make the cut here and now.  I do sincerely hope that someone else will love some or all of these things.  And there will be many more over the next few weeks joining them.  Some will be recent finds, others will be from collections that were important a few years back!  How about you all, could you stock a store or Market with what you have in your closets, trunks, and storage rooms?? 

Have a great week.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Dog Days of Summer

Nope, no pictures of our cute pooch here.  I'm talkin' the Summer weather.  The suck the air right out of your lungs, hot, humid, drippy, days of July that have me draggin around here!  It's just stinkin' hot and no chance of getting out and about to do much of anything unless you enjoy "glistening", as in dripping the whole glistening lake off the end of your nose.  Yuck.  This is my least favorite time of the year.  Now I know I've bragged about my great Mr. before, but you want to know what that Saint of a Man did for me?  He went and added an air conditioner to my workshop.  Ok, it's his workshop too, but I'm in it way more than him, so I'm going to pretend it was all just for me!  I love my Mr.!  Ok, enough PDA for today.

I do have a reveal, and of course, I don't have a before.  Why?  Because I was just itchin' to work on this piece and impatiently dived right in.  This was another rescue piece from a neighbor's garage sale.  It had lived in their garage for quite some time.   It was dirty, the paint/heavy stain was scratched.  It was dinged up and the drawers needed some realignment and shoring up.  Lots of sanding later, and some Aubusson Chalk Paint, Ebony stain, Antique Oil, and handcrafted knobs from Vintage Skye and this is what you get. 

With the original sanding I made sure to leave some of the old stain so that it would show through when distressed.  After painting I pretty heavily distressed this dresser.  The Mahogony top looks great with the ebony stain on it, and I love, love, love the way the Antique Oil just melts into the wood and stain and gives you a nice hard, hand rubbed finish.  The knobs are fabulous and I was so excited to get them on this piece!
This dresser's dove tailed drawer's sides and back were all made out of cedar.  If I were keeping it I would store my completed hand hooked rugs in this dresser to keep away any stray moths or buggies that managed to get in.  
One of these days I'm going to have to show you some of my more neglected hobbies!  This dresser will be for sale at The Prairie Pickers and Peddlers Market (see the tab above for info.) unless someone wants to take it home before then.  So, if you wait until October you might just be too late!

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Have a Wonderful Week!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dreamy Cream

Why are post titles the hardest part?!  Anyhoo, I've been working on things, just had a hard time getting some completions.  It's too darn hot and humid to work most of the day so I've been limited to early morning and late evenings.  Pictures are tough too right now with all the foggy cloud cover the humidity has brought along with it, so forgive the photos.

Here is a lovely dresser that I bought a little while back.  It appears to be an Art Deco piece with some pretty details.  It has some "wrinkles" and "freckles", as do most older pieces, but for me they only add charm.  I love the cabinet doors, the beautiful legs, and the hardware is gorgeous. 
I opted to paint the outside rougher areas, but left alone the stained interior drawers which were in wonderful condition.  So much storage!  And I love the small shallow drawer on top.  I imagine it full of jewelry or men's ties, or a ladies hankies at one time it's life.  What would you use it for today?
I adore these details on the bottom trim and the gently fluted legs.  So pretty aren't they?  I painted this with ASCP in "Cream".  It does have the lovely pale yellowy tones of clotted cream.  Dreamy Cream...(lame title tie in here)!  Ha!

Have a fun day!
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Monday, July 11, 2011

I Like Tins

I LOVE all sorts of vintage tins.  Rusty tins, beat up dented tins, tins with pretty appliques, faded tins, you get the idea.  If I can save them in their vintage condition I do!
If not, I'll think of something.
It all started with a cute dog named Ginger who kept sneaking snacks from the pantry.  She seemed especially fond of the rice crispy treats.  Can't have that now can we?  So, I bought a rusty bread box, primed and sprayed it yellow and it became a doggy proof snack container.  From there it went viral...
Girly tins to hold special fancy stuff!

Tins to hold little pirate treasures...

Tins for hobbies...

Tins for writing on!  Yup, I sure do like vintage tins!
Go take a look at the Sisters of the Wild West blog.  They are super creative gals!
Have a fantastic day!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Frick & Frack

Are you ready for a pair, a couple, a duo, for Frick & Frack?  They were part of a set that included the 2 dressers and a desk.  I really wanted the desk for Dear Daughter #2.  DD#2 did not need the dressers.  Here is the only "before" photo I can find that I took.  I am really bad about "before" photos. 
To make up for it I try to take lots and lots of "After" photos.

These were nice solid, dove tailed backs of the drawers, clean, pine dressers.  I painted them with Annie Sloan's Versailles Chalk Paint.  Distressed the edges and applied a finish of paste wax.  I am very pleased with the way they turned out, and hope they find a lovely new home. 
Sorry about the photos on the furniture pallets, but I couldn't be patient enough to wait for the Mr. to get home from work.  My wonderful Mr. built these so that I could move the larger pieces of furniture about the workroom by myself.  Isn't he just a genius?!  And all mine, lucky me!
Have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Prairie Pickers & Peddlers Market

Did you notice the new button that went up on my blog yesterday late afternoon??  It's basically the reason for the new blog and all the blood, sweat, and tears around here.  Well, really just the sweat, no blood or tears.  Last winter a group of my very talented friends and I from the Omaha and Lincoln, NE area decided we wanted to DO something with our interests.  So with lots of laughs, a few meetings, and some great ideas and enthusiasm the Prairie Pickers & Peddlers Market was born.  We will be holding our first sale on Friday and Saturday, October 14th &15th, here in Gretna.  Times and address to be released later (check the tab often for updated information)!  We are beyond excited and have lots and lots of goodies for you to check out, and even more in the works.  I hope to be able to highlight some of the gals as we get closer to our Market Days as some have opted not to start a blog.  You can expect to find lots of restyled and repurposed furntiture and furnishings,  new ways to look at found objects (we have some fantastically creative "pickers" here), home decor, textile treasures using wool and fabric, beading, lovely embroidered pieces, jewelry, and many other handcrafted items.  It's going to be fun, fun, fun!  If you live in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Missouri, or Kansas it will be an excellent time to have a "Ladies Day Out" or "Road Trip".  I'll be updating my blog as we roll through the next 3 months of prep time and gear up for the first ever Prairie Pickers & Peddlers Market!

I do have to shout out to Sharon of Elizabeth & Co.,   We modeled our Market from their Vintage Tag Sale format and she has been wonderful about sharing their experiences with us and answering a few technical questions.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart Sharon!  They are getting close to their Summer Sale in Maryland and it always look so fabulous I wish I could go.  If you are on the East coast somewhere you should go for me and shop!! 

Two of our ladies have begun their own blogs, one just 2 days ago.  Kathleen at is a dear friend and uber talented lady.  Don't know that there is much that she can't tackle.  She is especially good with textiles though.  She just sold her first hand hooked rug on ETSY last week!  Woo Hoo!  She is a whiz with a sewing machine, embroiders, needle punches, quilts, hooks (rugs, people) and does a whole multitude of other creative endeavors.  Whatever she touches turns to gold, well almost :-)

Tammy at, is another dear friend and she is a lady after my own heart who dabbles (wholeheartedly) at all kinds of projects.  Her ability to take trash and make treasure is unbelievable.  She also sews, quilts, and embroiders.  Tammy makes amazing jewelry, sometimes out of cute little store gift cards,  she is working on restyling some furniture and has a bunch of other crazy good ideas. 

And this is just 2 of the many gals working together to create our weekend Market!  I'll highlight a couple of the others soon. 

Just had to share my excitement.  Visit all of the above ladies when you get a chance.  Tell them Deb said "Hi"!

Have a fabulous hump day!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mixing it up with Versailles!

Hope everyone had a perfect 4th of July!  Grandparents pried all 3 kiddos (who were blessedly unscheduled for a change) off of our pant legs for a nice long weekend visit.  They all returned for BBQ and fireworks on Monday.  Everyone had a wonderful time!

It's amazing what you can get accomplished without having to stop and fix a meal, taxi someone somewhere, solve a problem, referee a disagreement, etc. You know what I mean if you still have shelf shifters at home!  I spent a lot of time out in my workshop working with the Mr. who was lending me his amazing "I can make that drawer close properly" skills.  Then he'd take me out to dinner!  Perfect and Even Better!

One of the pieces that I tackled this weekend was a cute little desk/side table.  Sorry, I spaced out taking a before.  It was in pretty decent shape, but it looked like it had been dipped in polycrylic.  LOTS of sanding people! I had pulled out my Versailles Chalk paint and decided that I wanted to brighten it up just a little bit.  I was planning on doing a lot of drybrushing over some dark stain for a super chippy kind of look.  I poured off a bit of the Versailles and added in a few dollops of duck egg blue.  Here's the end result.

I really like the color and think I  need to play around with mixing more of the chalk paint colors to expand that pallet.  The Mr. is less fond of the "prim" look of this piece than I am.  I look hard to find pieces like this when I go antiquing!  It's not for everyone, but there's a secret part of me that would love a really old primitive cabin  somewhere to decorate.  Hopefully someone else will love it and need it to complete their home!  The top was revived with a fresh coat of Dark Walnut and protected with Minwax Antique Oil Finish.  Gives it a nice hard, hand rubbed finish.

Isn't it rustic?  Do you like to mix styles and throw in some primitive looking pieces with your more traditional or modern ones? 

So, how about it, have you been mixing chalk paint colors to create varying shades or brand new colors?  I'd love to hear about your experiences with it if you have!
Hope to see your projects there too!
Have a super day!