Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Completed Custom Piece

We've had such a pretty Fall, I just had to start with a picture of our lovely lake.  This is the view out my front door.  I just can't get over how absolutely lovely the weather has been this year and we are in store for another 65+ degree day again today!
In the meantime, I've been mostly indoors finishing up a custom piece for two dear friends who wanted to make their mother's 70th Birthday something special.  After much debate, the pattern was chosen and they were able to give me some idea of colors. 

It's always a little nerve-wracking to work on a project like this, making it for someone else to gift.  Will the giver like it?  Will the receiver like it?  Will I like it??
There is just nothing worse than putting 25 or 30 hours into a project that I don't like.
Fortunately, I like every single thing about this beautiful little Table Runner.  It measures 12.5"x52" and worked up quite quickly.

Loved the colors, loved the pattern, had fun with all of it, including the dark brown binding that so perfectly framed the piece.

It was delivered yesterday and will be shipped off to the West Coast to hopefully be enjoyed for years to come.
We've had a round of Strep and Whooping Cough go through our household so the last couple of weeks have been a bit dicey.  Everyone appears to be on the mend now and we are looking forward to the Holidays.  Next week, I get to go to the annual Rug Hooking Retreat in Nebraska City with my pal Deb! CAN. NOT. WAIT.  No cooking,  no cleaning, no running errands in the car.  Three plus days of rug hooking and chatting with other lovely rug hooking ladies.  Until then, I am working on craft fair items for a Craft Sale booth that I will be hosting with my girlfriend, Gail.  More on that to come.  In the meantime, God is good, life is topsy-turvy and wonderful and the weather is fine.  What more could a girl want?

Until next time,

Friday, August 22, 2014


W.I.P. = Work in progress.  Does everyone know what that means or is it just at term for crazy people like me who have far too many projects going on at one time?  Yes, I have a lot of WIP's going right now....always - they are food for my soul.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to show my "work in progress" on the Cape Ann rug that I am making to gift to my dear friend Sandy.  I've started it late last Friday afternoon.  And, while I have had a few other things going on - my actual paid job, some running of children, etc., I really thought I'd gotten a lot done.  That is until I pulled it off my frame this afternoon and realized I've only finished 2 flowers, 2 leaves and a wee bit of background.  Eek!
Part of what is taking so long here at the beginning of the project is deciding where certain colors go and what accent colors to use in what spots.  I re-hooked the top of the "pointy" flower twice, first in the reddish-pink (hated that!) and then in the yellow spotted wool (called Maple).  The Maple wool looked fabulous next to the flower but just died out next to the light background.  Next, I tried outlining it with the Cocoa wool and that was just plain ugly, but the solid gold does the trick - at least I think - ?

I also had to experiment with 1 or 2 lines of dark chocolate border - and I think 2 lines are best.  Next, I played around with the brown accents in the leaves and flowers.  This is a must since the rug will be bordered with this dark chocolate to match Sandy's couch - it must come in to play in at least a few other places in the rug.  Happy so far, but lots of work to do.

I do have a reveal today as well.  "Owl" was one of those random, spontaneous purchases for myself.  Saw the pattern, had to have it.  I love owls and had been looking for something to hang in my front entry that could mostly stay up year around.  Keep in mind, Owl has not been pressed, blocked or bound, so you might see some lumps and bumps.

I'm most proud of the fact that the ONLY wool I purchased for this piece is the background.  The rest of the wool was in my stash or already cut into noodles.  I looked at hundreds of photographs of owls to get some idea of how to hook him.  The best compliment I've received in a long time was from my son.  He  asked me if we "get to keep the owl?"  When I told him yes, he said, "Good, because I think he's really cool and you did a really nice job!"  Wow!  Sometimes, I'm not sure my family even realizes I actually hook rugs!  It feels nice when your (almost) 16 year old son actually LIKES something you've worked so hard on.

I have to admit that I also purchased another pattern this week and the wool to hook it as well.  Our family has been going to the same lovely piano teacher for almost 8 years.  Four of the five of us (all but dad) have gone to her for piano lessons at one time or another and she has also given my eldest and my middle child, trumpet lessons.  She is a FABULOUS teacher!  Through the years of lessons, we've become friends and I've had the privilege of making a few little things for her two darling girls.  Anyway.  I've been thinking for a long time now that I wanted to get back to piano lessons, so Rebecca and I have been deciding on days and times to meet up.  The thing is, I am really, how shall I put this?  Musically non-gifted.  Well, that's a nice way to say that I am actually pretty horrid, I have very little ear for music and no sense of timing.  I couldn't keep a tune or "clap along" if my life depended on it, but I love, love, love music and I really enjoy playing the piano.  So, my dear friend asked if rather than me paying for lessons, we could exchange goods and services and in so doing, we decided I would make a rug for her to gift or keep.  Now, if I take lessons for a year, I'll have to make her several rugs and that will be such fun!

Here is Rebecca's choice for Rug #1.  It's a looonnng runner (I think it would look fabulous on a table) measuring 12.5"x52".

And these are the colors I chose to get started.  I based these colors on Rebecca's desire to have a rug with a light background (that lovely pale, off-white is called Ecru). 
It's Friday and we have a busy weekend planned.  Our eldest is flying home tomorrow for a week.  Kaitlyn is going to be doing training with the Matthew 28 Mission Program in preparation for her year in Hong Kong which starts in January.  Such an exciting time - and just a teensy bit scary for mom.  Looking forward to spending some time with my girl and making plans for her next adventure.  Maybe I'll get just a bit of hooking done or maybe even a bit of crochet - who knows?  It's suppose to be blistering hot and muggy all weekend.  After church on Sunday, we have plans to take my youngest shopping for a Homecoming dress.  Ugh.  How can she already be a Freshman??!  Here come the tears.  I. MUST. STOP!  Here's to a blessed weekend for one and all.

Until next time,

Monday, August 18, 2014

Back in the Saddle

I'm getting back in the blogger land, that is.  Summer came and went with a flurry of activities that left me exhausted and behind on everything.  With two kiddos in High School but neither one quite to the point of driving, I spent my summer behind the wheel of the mini-van. I had to remind myself many times "this is only a season."   I know one day soon, I won't have kiddos to tote around and I will find myself bored and lonely.  Okay, maybe not bored, but lonely for sure! 

Kathleen Salazar-Salak's photo.Kathleen Salazar-Salak's photo.None of this is to say I didn't get any projects completed over the summer.  I worked on small knitted and crocheted items for a dear friend who is expecting any day now.  Those were fun!  At momma's request, I knitted an apple cap and crocheted a baby cocoon and a puppy hat and diaper cover. It's amazing how quickly those little items can be finished up.  I also finished a small summer-sampler cross-stitch that I get to pick up from the framer's today and began a tiny Halloween necklace cross-stitch. 

I crocheted this afghan for a friend's birthday .
Kathleen Salazar-Salak's photo.

Kathleen Salazar-Salak's photo.
And two of these sweet little jumper dresses for another dear friends darling little girls. 

I also finished a small Owl rug for my front entryway - reveal on that later this week.

But now school is officially back in session and so last week, I spent several hours at The Rug Hooking Store color planning two rug patterns for myself, as well as two wool applique quilts.  These two quilts will be in different color-ways and while one is for me, the other will be gifted to a friend who has her very own classroom and office this year!

Over the summer, a very dear friend celebrated her 80th Birthday.  This is quite a milestone, especially because she doesn't look or act a day over 50!  Wanting to do something really special for this DF, I kidnapped her one morning and we took a drive out to The Rug Hooking Store.  We spent several hours choosing the perfect rug pattern.  Next, we went back to her home in Omaha and took pictures of her family room so that I could color plan a rug that would be the perfect fit.  Sandy wanted a rug for the mantel so it had to be fairly sizable.  Here is the final pattern she chose, a Woolly Fox pattern called "Cape Ann" drawn by Barbara Carroll based on original artwork by Edyth O'Neil. 

Pardon Bentley the Cat, photo-bomber.  He is in LOVE with all things wool and anything that lies on the floor and promptly claims them as his own.

Based on colors from Sandy's living room, Janice helped me with the color planning.
Greens and golds and cocoa are the predominant colors in Sandy's house and we threw in some lovely peachy-reds and mahoganies.

Janice saw a need for a bit of blue-green and some olive for sure.  I'm never sure about greens but these are just lovely as I hook.

The pale peachy-reds are going to be perfect in the flowers.
We chose off-white for the background, to match Sandy's carpet.  These off-whites are named Dusty Peach and have loads of color in them.
Check out this piece of wool.  Delectable, isn't it?  It's called Maple and works so well with the other golds we chose.

So today, I have an entire day ahead of me in which to hook or stitch and this is a rare occurrence, what joy!  So, I am off!  The weather is heating up for the first time all summer; this will be the perfect day to stay in and hook and enjoy the A/C.  Blessings on your day with hopes you find the time to do something that brings you joy.

Until next time,

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Coming up....

Originally, I had no intention of posting today.  My son is playing Junior League Baseball and prior to rainouts, they had a total of 2 days off in the month of June.  Yes. 2.  Anyway, his team had a tournament this weekend that was suppose to include a minimum of four games.  The tourney began Friday night and by the bottom of the 3rd inning, we were hiding out in the car, worrying about hail damage. That game was postponed until Saturday which ruined my plans for a play date with a dear friend attending a Quilt Expo and the ever-so fabulous "Junk Stock" in Omaha.  Ah IS baseball season, after all.  Both games were played yesterday and a 4th game was suppose to be played today but it has already been cancelled due to incoming storms.  I never do well when plans are changed, I have a hard time switching gears.  But, with all the kids have going on this summer and the crazy weather we have been having, I'm finding myself getting more adept at change-ups.

The great news is that this week I was finally able to replace our camera which was stolen when our car was broken into in March.  I took lots of practice pictures at yesterday's games and decided to download them this morning after discovering we were not going to be traveling to a game today.  At first, I was very intimidated by my new Canon Rebel EOS.  I went straight to my IT department (Maddie) and while I read the manual, she played around with the settings.  Between the two of us, we figured out some great basics and I took several fun pictures at yesterday's baseball game.  Once I downloaded those pics and discovered they actually turned out rather decently, I started snapping photos around the house.  THEN, I decided to share some fun things I have coming up. 

My eldest daughter Kaitlyn and I have decided to re-open our ESTY shop.....TroddenTrail.  Kaitlyn already has several cool and fun things for sale out there and I need to get on the ball.  While I haven't had a chance to work anything up, I have been making plans for a number of neat items that can be purchased for gift-giving or for personal use.  I spent several hours at one of our local quilt shops last week, choosing some delectable fabrics for a couple of simple lap quilts.  I started out wanting something different, contemporary, more on the modern side (which I am NOT - at all).  This fabric is just too fun.

It kind of had me at the little red bird.
And then I noticed the Hummingbird.
I also purchased two new pattern books by the Missouri Star Quilt Company.  Both books contain ideas for several new twists on old quilt patterns.  Couldn't resist and I thought this fun fabric would be just perfect for a funky new lap quilt.

I'm an old fashioned sort of girl though and I can never resist a tone-on-tone fabric.  I spotted the tone-on-tone 1/2 yard cut of this lovely line and just had to have it.
So pretty.

Can I get an "oohhhh"?  How about an "aahhh"?

My lovely quilt shop cashier was telling me how well both of my new quilt books worked with charm packs and a yard of coordinating fabric.  While she was ringing up my original purchases, I raced around the shop finding my favorite charm pack. 
Love, love this line.
Did I mention I love it?  I love fabric with script, stamp or postcard pics and of course bars of music.  How could I possibly go wrong there???
So, in the next few weeks, I hope to be showing works in progress with these great fabrics.  I also have a rainbow baby afghan that will go up for sale on ETSY and maybe even something fun for July 4th.  As usual, so much to do, so little time.
Kaitlyn and I may have a third partner/creator who will be adding to our ETSY inventory.  My dear friend Gail who is crazy creative is working on some lovely items that we hope to be able to add soon!  Between the three of us, TroddenTrail will be a fun place to find great gift items or even something nice for you, just because.  You can check it out now at
Prayers that scary storms stay far way and that you have some time for your creative self.
Until next time,

Monday, May 19, 2014

Onwards and Upwards

This past weekend, we celebrated our eldest child's graduation from College.  Kaitlyn graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Human Development and Family Studies or HDFS.  We spent an extended weekend in Northern Colorado with lots of wonderful family and friends and had the opportunity to spend some much needed time with Kaitlyn. 

The CSU graduation ceremony lasted 2.5 hours with over 700 students graduating from the College of Health and Human Sciences.  I have yet to replace my camera and each of the following photos are from one cell phone or another, so please excuse the horrible picture quality.  We arrived 45 minutes early and still ended up sitting quite high in the back far reaches of Moby Auditorium.

Despite our not so great seats, we were able to hear most of the speeches and our daughter's name being announced as she walked across the stage.  After the ceremony, we were able to capture some fun family photos, as the auditorium quickly cleared out.

As of this coming Friday and until Kaitlyn returns to school for her Master's Degree, I will only have two children IN school - a Freshman and a Sophomore in High School.  Time is just flying!

We could not be more proud of this child if we tried. 
This kid's not bad either.  :)
Oh and this one, whom we lovingly refer to as the "little one",  is a keeper too.  However, she's not so little, having recently passed me up on the tallness scale (not all that hard to do!)
Here we have three generations of family - huddling to keep out of the rain and chill of the Colorado Spring!
We drove to Colorado, a nearly 9 hour drive and when I wasn't driving or freaking out about the fact that my middle child was driving, I worked on a tiny needlepoint of an owl.  It's quite lovely, with a fun specialty stitch called "cashmere" for the background.  Unfortunately, blogger is refusing to upload the photos I took.  Might be time for me to go buy a new camera.
Today's been spent cleaning house and catching up on laundry.  I am so thankful for all of my children but today, especially for Kaitlyn and all of her accomplishments.  God blessed us with safe travels and wonderful family time this weekend and here's to a wonderful week ahead!  I have lots of stitching to do but also this week - flower planting and vegetable garden planting.  Better get to it!
Until next time,


Thursday, May 1, 2014

O Glorious Day!

Despite the fact that I was one week and 2 days late (from Easter Sunday), I managed to finish "O Glorious Day!"

Technology has gotten the best of me this morning, and for some reason (surely NOT user error), BlogSpot won't post several of my better photos.  In fact, the best photo, insists on transposing itself so that the words are backwards.  I've no idea what to do and my IT experts, my children and husband, have better things to do at school and work, and are not home to help me.  The nerve!  This photo will have to do.  Ugh!

Anyway!  This rug was conceived by me and drawn up by a dear friend.  After a series of adorable pencil sketches, we met and decided on key aspects that would go into the rug.  I love the pencil sketches so much, I've kept each one and pinned them just above my computer screen.  It's fun to see the process of the rug, from the very first sketch!

The background of the rug was worked in 4 different tones of Janice's hand-dyed "Khaki Drab" wool and in straight line hooking, which I've never done to this degree.  The bottom of the rug starts with the very darkest value, while at the top of the rug, I've hooked the very lightest value.  Within each segment, I pulled in a bit of the lighter and darker values.  I love the look of the straight line hooking.  It was more challenging than I expected, but I think it gives the rug a rich, unique look.

With about 2" left to hook, I ran out of background.  That was not a glorious day!  Searching my stash, I found a very mottled "Lichen" wool, cut the very lightest part of that piece and hooked it into the rug.  I like the way it looks - it's a happy accident.  Can you see where this little accident occurs?

Also, this week, I worked up 2 needle keepers for a friend.  She gave me dimensions and pocket specifications and I worked up my own pattern.  These were fiddly and took a lot of time but it was kind of a fun challenge.  At first, I was horrified with how they turned out.  As I look at them this morning in the light of day, I am beginning think they are "ok", but still not great.  At least now I sort of, kind of have a pattern and learned much in the making.

Here's the inside, Bentley the cat thinks he needs to be involved in everything I do!

Also this week, I've worked a bit on a crocheted afghan for Stitch & Study, served lunch at the kiddos school, done a bit of needlepoint and a little bit more cross-stitch.  Oh yes, and I worked at my actual, paid job as well! 

We've had cool, cool temps here in Nebraska, cloudy skies and some rain.  The critters were cold too so our youngest kitten took advantage of a huge wool rug to warm up.

Another day of cool temps and clouds today and then warming and sunny come tomorrow and the weekend.  Everything is plush and green and the trees are just spectacular in color.  Blessings have abounded this week, including a scrappy, homemade lunch with a friend and even a little bit of quiet, chatty time with each of my teenagers.  Those downtime moments are few and far between and I plan to enjoy and appreciate each and every one, before the time completely flies.

Wishing you luck with whatever technology you find yourself using today, Spring blessings, pretty things to look at and quiet moments.

Until next time,

Monday, April 14, 2014

Holy Week

Well, the last couple of weeks have been a bit on the rough side.  Two Saturdays ago, our mini-van was broken into at my son's first High School Baseball game.  Two windows were smashed and a multitude of things were stolen, not the least of which was my camera.  I spent the entire following week getting things fixed and replaced; the week was taxing and exhausting but there were blessings a-plenty to be found.  To start, a dear friend had come out to watch my son play ball and had the where-with-all to pray with me right there smack dab in the middle of the park, amongst all the broken glass.  I was astounded by the folks who were SO incredibly good to us throughout the week - the lovely people at our amazing bank who canceled cards and accounts, set-up new accounts and then diligently watched for signs of further theft AND for incoming debits on the cancelled accounts that they knew needed to be paid.  I met a lovely gentleman who was at our home within 2 hours of my phone call to fix both car windows.  Friends sent flowers, others prayed for peace and then there were the amazing folks who allowed us to hold off paying for things after our entire April budget was blown paying for new van windows.  Burglaries are a yucky thing, the personal violation felt is beyond comprehension or explanation but through it all we also found the undeniable comfort of friends and family and more than our fair share of the Lord's blessings.  And, after all, as my girlfriend prayed, it was just "stuff" gone, broken, taken.  Everyone was healthy and whole and here, the rest - well, it just doesn't matter.

I week after the van was broken into, I got terribly sick.  I'll spare you the details but I spent the wee hours of Saturday morning in the ER at our local hospital.  Pain meds and a quick prognosis helped so much but it took me a full week plus to begin to feel human again.  And again, it was such a little thing.  Thanks to great pain meds, I was still able to hear my daughter's Junior High Band play at church on Sunday morning.  I was still able to meet a friend for a birthday lunch celebration.  Bottom line, I was still able.....

Anyway!  Today is the start of one of my favorite times of the year, Holy Week.  I am a practicing Lutheran now but was raised Roman Catholic and during Holy Week, we always went to church to pray the Stations of the Cross.  This is a beautiful way to remind ourselves of Jesus' trial, betrayal and walk up Mount Calvary to the Cross which He endured of His own. free. will.  This fact never fails to astound me and in light of the last couple of weeks, I have to admit I am a bit ashamed that I certainly cannot fathom willingly taking up that Cross or another such trial.  All of this of course, just brings me back to remembering all of my many blessings, even in the trials of life.  I am forever thankful.

So!  I am in a mad dash to finish up Easter projects.  Recently, I have gotten back into something my dearest friend and college room-mate taught me eons ago - Cross Stitch.  This is a pattern by one of my favorite designers, a mother/daughter team from Kansas - "Lizzie*Kate".  It was a quick and easy finish and I like the way it looks in an old frame I had on hand. 
Sorry about the glare....trying to learn to navigate with cell phone and iPad photographs since I no longer have a camera.  Sigh.
Several months ago, an artist friend offered to design an Easter rug for me, based simply on this -- "O Glorious Day".  She drew more than eight tiny sketches, I chose my favorite and she drew up the pattern on paper.  After deciding that I needed bigger bunnies, I re-drew the rug with just slightly bigger bunnies and chicks and am hoping to have it finished this week.  Janice Lee (of Blackhorse Antiques/The Rug Hooking Store) helped me color plan this rug and I am just thrilled with the colors.  Once again, I was able to give Janice my decidedly vague ideas and frame of mind for this rug and she helped me chose the MOST perfect colors and wool! 

The smaller bunny definitely needs more eye's funny what you see in a photograph.

Finally, just after Christmas I started this tiny, bunny needlepoint.  I've never done such a small needlepoint and I am finding that I need a lot more practice.  I am having a hard time keeping my stitch tension even, although I don't seem to have this problem on larger works.  Anyway, it is just for me and I think it is just too cute, despite my horrid stitching. 

See if you can find the leaves whose stitches I need to remove because they are going the wrong direction!  What in the world??

Praying peace and blessings on your week and wishing it is Holy indeed, for each of us.

Until next time,

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

An Untitled Post

I think the hardest part about writing a new post is coming up with the Title.  My thoughts for the title of this particular post ranged from "I'm back....." (sounded spooky) to "Honey, I'm home..." (spookier) to "Ugh" (pathetic) to "What have I gotten myself into again?"  I think I'll go with "An Untitled Post".

But I AM back.  It's true.  For months and months I have been thinking and praying about coming back to blogger land.  I follow a wide variety of wonderful, inspiring blogs and each time I read another writer's posting, I'd feel so inspired to write my own.  Events of this past weekend, which were crummy but not life shattering, pushed me over the crevice of whatever had been previously holding me back from posting.  

I stopped posting early last year because at the time I felt one too many pulls in my life and just didn't think I could justify spending the time to write a blog.  At that time I was attempting to blog daily - which truly, is just plain silly.  My goals this time around will be to post as the Spirit moves me, which may be weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly. 

I have to come clean with another reason that I stopped posting.  I was feeling rejection and criticism for my writings.  It has taken me a year plus, many conversations with wonderful and supportive friends and my family and the inspiration of an excellent writer's perspective on criticism (Michelle DeRusha) to decide that regardless of anything else, I have to write from the heart.  I will hopefully not offend anyone with my words, but I realize that some may not agree with what I have to say and that is perfectly okay.  If folks feel offended or radically disagree, they certainly don't have to read my posts.  I will not, for one second, be offended.  

I thought a lot about changing the nature of my postings, but have decided against that.  I kind of am what I am which is a mother, wife, Jesus loving, people loving, Christian and a textile artists.  (I didn't say crafter because that word just makes me cringe, sorry.)  I'm terribly human, quite sinful and a little nuts sometimes -- okay, a lot of the time.  I also have a terrific family and a huge variety of wonderful and amazing friends which will all play a part in what my postings have to say.  It will be interesting to see how things go.  Since I am letting the Spirit move me, I may blog about textile art or I might blog about my faith.  One day, I may want to chat about my job as a mother or wife or maybe the latest book I'm reading.  Off the Trodden Trail will have variety, if nothing else.  

There are lots of exciting things happening in my life right now.  My eldest child will be graduating college in May (yes, I feel old). 

My youngest will be a Freshman in High School in the Fall and my son will be in the 10th grade!  Still feeling old.  (And yes, I am speaking of these children, who were just BABIES in the photos above!) 

A dear friend and I recently got a group of lovely women together to meet monthly, study Scripture and knit or crochet for charity.  It's a group for fellowship and support and has been an immense blessing.  More on that later.  

In the world of crafting (ugh, I used the word) I am working on an Easter rug that another dear friend helped me design, an Easter needlepoint, several small cross-stitch projects, knitted socks, a hand-pieced quilt and lots of other fun needle-arts type projects.  If you know me, it's no surprise that I have so many projects going at once.  I will hopefully have a completed project or ten to show soon!

So there you have it.  If you are reading this first posting, it's because you are my friend or in some way related to me and you received it in your in-box.  If you enjoyed it or decide you like future postings, pass it on.  

Until next time,