In my studio…

WIP-Dancing-Tree-6

This week I am focusing on the background for Dancing Tree.

It is also looking warm enough to open windows and dye some mid-tone and light blues.

And I want to be thinking about what to hook next.  I’m seriously thinking something scrappy might be in order.  For those of you who do not know, a scrappy rug or piece of hooking is a piece made of leftover scraps (also known as worms) from other projects.  I have a huge bag and some boxes of worms that seriously need to be used up.

Weekly Review

BEG-on-wall

It’s been a busy week.  I finished the hanging systems for Sprouts and Blue-eyed Grass.  Hubby hung them on the wall for me.  They are now up for sale folks!

Sprouts is 6″ x 36″ and $225 CAD + shipping.  Blue-eyed Grass is 7″ x 36″ and $260 CAD + shipping.  Shipping via UPS runs about $75 CAD.  All pieces are insured for shipping.  Both pieces come with a Certificate of Authenticity as well.  Also, the hanging system (dowel) is included.

I had a delightful lady in Wednesday afternoon for a finishing class.  She is doing a wonderful job with her rug hooking and I hope to see her again soon.

I managed to package up Prairie Sky, the large version, and ship it off to its new owner.  Hopefully it will arrive safely.

I’ve been updating my business books as well.

AND, last, but not least, I actually cleaned up my studio!  I sorted out a mess of worms (small leftover strips of fibre).  I am feeling the need to do a scrappy wall hanging.  Hmm…will have to think about it.

Sprouts-on-wall

WIP Thursday

S and BeG hanging sleeves

I finished sewing the hanging sleeves on Sprouts and Blue-eyed Grass.  Had to make a run to Lowe’s to pick up some doweling to use as hanging rods.  Just waiting for Hubby to help hang them as they are both being hung in high places I cannot reach even standing on a chair!

Not much accomplished on the knitting the baby blanket again.  I’ve been busy with teaching a finishing class and tutoring this week.

Today I’m focusing on putting new patterns on backing.  I still haven’t decided which patterns I’m going to put on backing.  So maybe I’ll just put a bunch on and see what strikes my fancy to start hooking.

Happy Easter everyone!

WIP-BEG-3

Today is my last post before Easter holidays.  It’s been a mixed up week for my blog, what with the router going and the snowstorm interfering with my plans for an outside photo shoot again.  However I did manage to work some more on Blue-eyed Grass, as you can see above.

I did cruise through another sketchbook, but I have not scanned more sketches into my computer for editing yet.  I am deep in debate with myself over what direction to take my work.  I seem to have two streams going: realistic work based on nature, and abstract…also most often based on nature, but not necessarily.

This angst is holding me back in starting new pieces.  This is part of being an artist.  I just have to continue my work and let it decide my future I think.

 

Internet down

I’m posting from my iPhone. We’re having a doozy of a spring snowstorm here and power was out for a while. I cannot get our modem up and running again. 

So on today’s agenda is more hooking.  I did do some research yesterday on eagles for a wall hanging based on my youngest daughter’s poem. She wrote it in grade 9 I believe.  But I’ll leave it till I finish the wall hanging to share.  

I will also be sketching and planning more wall hangings. I badly need a new footstool cover and may work on that as well.  

In My Studio…

WIP-BEG-2

This week the emphasis is on Blue-eyed Grass.

I also intend to put more patterns on backing.

And I intend to do some research and more detailed sketching for more poetry pieces.  We’ll see how that goes.

I also need to clean up my computer a bit.  My business email is out of control.  Plus I need to create a digital file of recent work completed.

It promises to be a busy week…

Weekly Review

IMG_1066

I was able to finish removing the colour from the nylons.  It required a trip to Micheals for more RIT colour remover, but I did find a couple of packages.  I started hooking Blue-eyed Grass this week.  I’m afraid I did not accomplish much, but it’s a start.

I didn’t accomplish much because I also took time to go through my sketchbooks and scan in potential images for future wall hangings.  I also edited them and resized them into something that might approximate a wall hanging.  Note, these are not small 6″ square wall hangings.  They are larger ones.

That’s about it from here for this week.  Not much, but it’s something.  Spring is in the air and I’m busy cleaning out the basement at the moment.  We’re preparing for the new boarder come the end of April.  We have a ways to go to make room for him. 🙂

Weekly Review

sprouts-finished

I finished Sprouts. And I started Blue-eyed Grass.

I removed most of the colour from the nylons, but need more RIT colour remover to finish the job.

I scoured my sketchbooks for more wall hanging ideas.  Will transfer some on backing today, as I still have to wait to pick up the RIT colour remover.   I will be spending some time sketching as well today.

I was to the opening of the Art Gallery of Regina 40th Salon Show this week.  It was a great evening celebrating a diversity of styles of art and craft.  My work showed well and I was pleased with how it was hung.  A big shout out to the people who made it happen.

It’s a nice sunny, warm day here today, and I hope to go outside with my camera.  Nothing like a little spring inspiration.

Have a great day everyone!

WIP Thursday

IMG_1009

Hi everyone!  How’s your morning going?  Mine is going great.  I managed to put Blue-eyed Grass on backing the other day.  Today, if the temperature warms up to above 10 C, I’ll be popping open windows and taking some dye out of the nylons.

If not, then I’ll be drawing more designs on backing for some hooking fun.

In other news, I knit a few more rows on the cellular baby blanket, but not enough for another photo shoot.

IMG_1010

In my studio…

blue-eyed-grass-sketch

Sketch I will base my Blue-eyed Grass on.

It was a busy weekend.  I dropped The Barn, Wascana Creek, and Dead of Winter off to be exhibited in the Art Gallery of Regina 40th Salon Show.  Now to focus on this week.  I’ll be busy finishing Sprouts and starting my next piece.

I think my next piece will be a tall, thin, blue-eyed grass wall hanging.  I’m thinking of trying to bleach some nylons for the background for it…to mix with wool and silk yarn and fabric.  But first I need to put the pattern on backing.  So I’ll be enlarging it considerably.  The piece will be about 3′ high.

In my studio…

Sprouts 1

Today is technically a holiday here in Saskatchewan, Canada.  It’s Family Day weekend, meaning we have Monday off to spend with family.  My family does not live nearby, so I will not be spending much time with them.  Instead, I’m going to work on a new piece.

I spent some time going through my sketchbooks with a friend this weekend and picked a couple of designs out to use up some pieces of odd sized backing I have laying around here.  I prepped the backing, enlarged the drawing, and traced it onto backing.  It was a lot of fun for my Saturday evening.  🙂

So today’s plan is to finish colour planning this wall hanging, which will hang over the archway in our dining room, and possibly start to hook it.  Depends what Hubby has planned.  Could be I end up helping him with chores.

WIP Thursday…

The Barn 2

What’s on the go this week?  I’ve been having fun playing with different ideas and working on different projects.

  • The Barn is started and the actual barn is mostly hooked,
  • I continued knitting the baby blanket.  I tried stitch markers for the lace pattern, but it did not work due to the nature of the pattern.  So I am back to doing without.

Hardanger oval christmas ornaments

  • I went through my Hardanger box to file everything away on shelves, and came across a couple of kits, one already started.  Both are for Christmas ornaments. I decided to work on the one that was already started.  It has some nice cotton, linen, and metallic thread oval ornaments decorated with beads.

Needle box 4

  • I am still working on the Granddaughter’s Needle Box.  It requires a lot of gluing and I spend time waiting for it to dry.  By the time it’s dry I’m onto another project!  I am not going to have enough glue to finish this.  I’m thinking I may need to make a trip to Walmart to pick some up.

Planning Journals

  • See these lovely notebooks?  Aside from being inspiration themselves, I use them to help organize my days.  These have been in use since 2009, when I first read David Allen’s Getting Things Done.  I use David Allen’s ideas to keep me on task and productive.  Why are they in a WIP post?  Because I updated them. 🙂
  • Work on my portfolio has halted because we are running out of ink.  Need to buy new colour ink cartridges for our printer.
  • I haven’t even looked at my spinning yet.  Maybe this weekend.

Well that’s my works in progress everyone.  Hope everyone has a great day! 🙂

Lists

IMG_0822

I am told people are either List Makers or they aren’t.  I am a List Maker.  Primarily because I have such a poor memory.  Lists help me stay focused and on task.  I am not married to my lists however.  I am very distractible.  Just ask my Hubby!  But lists help keep me centered and coming back to what’s important to me.

How did I come by using lists?  Well of course there was school…lists of homework and “To Do” lists.  But that didn’t really give me my list addiction I have now.

I guess it started as a young mom with all the distractibility that comes with that job.  I made lists so I wouldn’t forget things.  I was so tired some days I couldn’t remember what day it was or where I was supposed to be.  Hubby was a young manager trying to figure out his place in the career world and I was a stay-at-home mom.  I tried working for a while after we had children, but it did not work for our family and I ended up being a permanent stay-at-home mom.

I received good-natured ribbing from my friends about being a stay-at-home mom.  I can assure you, stay-at-home moms do more than sit at home and eat bonbons!  It would have been nice if I had the time to make bonbons.  But even if I had that time, I can guarantee the girls would have been into them before I had a chance to sit down and enjoy them!  (I’m thinking of a particular experience with homemade marshmallows here.)

But lists?  They came to my rescue.  Menu planning, to do lists, children’s activities to plan and list on calendars…

Maybe that’s where it started.  The calendars.  I had a real hard time remembering who was supposed to be where and when.  I found this lovely Polestar Family Planner calendar that I used for years…until the girls grew up and left home.  Now I use their Business Planner calendar that combines home and work.

But the calendar didn’t give me a master list to work from.  I found my life overly busy and scattered into different areas with no headway being made in any one area.  I decided I needed to organize my life.  How?

I read a lot on time management.  I looked at different areas of my life and organized each one with one, five, and ten year goals.

Ah!  There you have it.  The genesis of my lists.  All those goals!  Totally unrelated to each other.  Totally unrealistic…well most of them were.  But there they were in black and white.

Following the goals was breaking them into lists of steps to complete.  Hmm…

Then I was reading about bucket lists.  And watched the movie “The Bucket List”.  Another list of unrealistic things to do.  Hmm…  I think I have a bucket list around here somewhere to dust off.  I decided bucket lists are best for the young, the healthy, or the wealthy…at least mine was.

Then I read the book Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber.  Suddenly my 20 wishes list appeared.  I actually still do one of these every year.  They aren’t big wishes.  They are aimed at helping me create a balanced life for myself.  I have wishes or goals in all areas of my life: spiritual, work, home, family, personal, etc.  These, too, are broken down into steps to be worked on week by week or month by month.

Oh, and then there was David Allen’s Getting Things Done, with its action lists, to do lists, etc.

And when I’m burnt out on doing things on my lists?  Well I just consult my Artist’s Date list (courtesy of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron) or my nurturing list for some relaxing activities to do.

I found a blog the other day that used a list of things to do that make you happy, as a pick-me-up, especially for those suffering from clinical depression.   Taming the Black Dog is about clinical depression.  This new blog author shares her experiences suffering with the illness.  I wouldn’t normally go searching out blogs on depression, but it was part of an assignment in Blogging 101 that sent me this blogger’s way, and I’m glad I landed there.  Her experiences give me valuable insight so I can understand my clinically depressed friends and relatives better.  Not only that, but finding her and Blogging 101 have encouraged me to make another list…of blogs that are very different from my own to follow and read.

I have just a slight addiction to lists.  And when I get tired of looking at my lists in a vertical format, why I just make a mind map (courtesy of Tony Buzan The Ultimate Book of Mind Maps) with all my list elements on it!

Course, sometimes I just play hooky, like now, and don’t do anything on my list…but blog about lists!

 

In My Studio

Hardanger Bellpull 1

This week in my studio I am…

  • busy organizing my receipts from last year to file away for any future use.
  • finishing the hardanger bellpull.
  • sewing a hanging sleeve on Wascana Creek.
  • start to hook The Barn.

The barn pattern 1

I am also considering work on a laptop case and a footstool cover.  My footstool cover is sprouting holes.

Footstool

I have the laptop case drawn on linen backing, but haven’t started hooking it.  I am not happy with the actual design of the case itself.  I need to do some zipper shopping online and off to see if I can find what I need for it.  Local selection is limited.

I am also looking at more sewing.  I have everything I need for a camera case except some foam padding.  Hmm…

Lots to keep me busy the next while!

 

And so it begins…

Last Import - 1 of 4 Happy New Year!

Hope everyone had a great holiday season!  I know I did.  New Year’s Eve we held an impromptu party and had fun getting to know people and playing word games…and eating. 🙂

For those of you new to the blog, let me introduce myself…

I am Jean Ottosen, a fibre artist working in the medium of traditional rug hooking.  I am a folk artist hooking with primarily silk and wool fibres on primitive linen backing.  I sell my work in shops and exhibit across North America.  I work out of my home studio located in beautiful Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

I blog to motivate myself to finish projects, and inspire myself to create new work.  I hope it inspires my readers too.  I look for inspiration around me and post photos to inspire others.  My motto is “Seek – Create – Inspire”.

Last Import - 4 of 4

I also blog to share the daily life of an artist with my readers.

And, I blog about food, because what’s a good hook-in with friends without food?!  Recipes appear not only on this blog, but can be found indexed and linked on the page “Recipes”.

Since Christmas I have been busy working up plans for this new year. Things will change a bit on the blog. Well, really it’s more a formalizing of what I’ve already been doing. Here is some of what you’ll see…

  • a Monday post on my plans for the week,
  • recipe posted once a week,
  • inspirational photo(s) once a week,
  • WIPs (works in progress) not only in rug hooking, but also in other crafting areas,
  • a Friday post summarizing what was accomplished this week.
  • there will be no posts on Saturday and Sunday.

I hope you like the changes and, if there is anything you’d like to see on my blog, either leave a comment below or email me at jo6865@gmail.com

Thank-you for following my blog and “liking” my posts. 🙂

A busy week ahead…

Last Import - 1 of 1

WIP – Wascana Creek

Lots happening here.

~ Laundry and housework must be done!
~ Christmas shopping with Hubby, and with a friend.
~ Hubby manages two work places.  At least one has their Christmas dinner this week.
~ An acquaintance is coming over so I can teach her how to use Facebook for her business.
~ Company coming mid-week, just for the day.
~ A friend coming in the evening later this week.
~ Possibly another Christmas outing happening towards the end of the week, but we shall see.

In amongst all that, I hope to finish hooking Wascana Creek.  But first to get my sunroom studio back into order!

Busy Day Today…

Last Import - 2 of 2

I’ll be hooking more on Wascana Creek today.  More colour planning.

Hubby has this morning off, so we will be running errands.  I am hoping to pick up my new OTT Lite bulb from the post office. 🙂

I am also hoping to take my shoes in for repairs.  Well, at least for someone to look at them and tell me if they are salvageable.  It’s so hard to find shoes that fit me that I hang onto my shoes that do fit me properly as long as I possibly can.

A Happening Day

Last Import - 1 of 2 (1)Today I will be busy this morning running errands.  And this afternoon I hope to be productive in rug hooking!

I decided instead of trying to decide which design to hook next, I am just spending today putting a whole bunch of designs on backing.  Later I’ll decide what to do when.

The excavators are coming tomorrow, so I will not get much done then.  It will be too noisy to concentrate on colour selections.

Last Import - 2 of 2 (1)

Weekly plans

Errands and housekeeping day today!  Just came back from doing errands.  I am finally culling my books.  A trip to the liquor store for boxes was in order.  Also stopped by the pharmacy for medication and my annual flu shot.  And, I finally went for a haircut!  So all the errands are done this morning.  That leaves this afternoon for…

Housework…

This is a short week so my plans are few.  Not only is Remembrance Day smack in the middle of the week, on Wednesday, but Hubby is home today and we are focusing on housekeeping chores.   And, sometime this week the excavators are supposed to be coming to replace our sewer and water lines.

So…

  1. Draw a new pattern on backing – poppies?, studio piece based on the plein air barn I hooked last year?, or a studio piece based on the plein air scenery piece from this year?
  2. Colour plan rug,
  3. Take Christmas ornaments to shop,
  4. Get caught up on reading of business related material,
  5. Order OTT light bulb.

Mid-week pause

Old clock

Old clock

Well this pause has turned out longer than I thought.  What with the sewer line issue and other things, I’ve been considerably sidetracked from my hooking.

One piece I want to work on is a larger piece with old clockwork gears in it.  I want Hubby to open up an antique clock we have so I can sketch the gears, and then enlarge the sketch for the design.  However that won’t happen for a while. He’s very busy right now with the yard, house, and work.  I might try to get into the clock myself, but I’m afraid of ruining something.  Maybe I should just look at reference photos on the Net or in books.  I prefer to use my own photos or original sketches for my work though.

I have other larger pieces and more medium size pieces to do for fun.  Not sure if they’d sell, and maybe that’s what’s holding me back – thinking everything I make has to sell.  There are benefits to creating just for the sake of creating.  Some artists best works come when they do that.  But still, it’s one thing to know this in your head and another to do it, when you know your supplies and materials for a piece will cost hundreds of dollars.

I did review my 2015 business plan and I’ve managed everything on it and then some. That is good.  Now to gear up for next year!  I am working on my 2016 business plan.

Tackle it Tuesday

It’s time to look over my business plan to see what’s up next.  Today will be a regroup and refocus day.  I couldn’t sleep last night, so I took the time to go over my plan for the year.  I am almost there, but won’t make my income goal.  I am trying to focus on the positives instead of the negatives.

  • I earned more than last year.
  • I learned more too, thanks to my business mentor.
  • I was able to exhibit more and get more exposure.
  • I was able to reach out within my field and create a larger network of people to share ideas with.

All of that is good, but I need to do better in certain areas…

  • Bookkeeping and my accountant.  I’m hoping Hubby will take this over when he retires.
  • Handling customers and students.  Interpersonal skills.
  • Online sales.  I really need my own sales website instead of using Etsy.  Too many fees associated with using Etsy and too many restrictions.
  • Classes.  I need to bite the bullet and advertise somewhere.

So that’s what I’m thinking about today.  How about the rest of you?  What’s on your plate today?

Works in Progress Wednesday

Christmas Ornaments

Christmas Ornaments

Hi all!  What am I up to?  I am working on the Christmas ornaments this week.  Variations of burgundy and gold.  Lots of fun and quick to do. 🙂

Also still working through my photos sketching interesting images.

Projects I’d like to work on…

  • The Barn, a studio piece from a plein air exercise,
  • The Creek, another studio piece from a plein air exercise,
  • a larger poppy wall hanging.

I’m finding myself drawn towards more abstract images these days. Well, actually close ups.  I am fascinated by what goes on in our lives and around us at the microscopic level.  I am a firm believer that it is the small things that matter in life – both in how we interact with people and in what is beneath our feet or in front of our eyes.  Small things are important.  They grow or support or build bigger things.

I discovered I love curves.  A lot of the images I am choosing to sketch from photos include scrolls and curves.  This surprises me.  I have been fond of straight lines for a long time now.  Maybe I am having a style shift?

Other upcoming projects?  I’m designing a mini-course on hooking curves, lettering, and different backgrounds. I am also looking at developing a course to show beginners how to design, transfer to backing, hook, and finish a piece.

For now…it is time to do some sketching and finishing of Christmas ornaments…

Ready to be cut apart and finished.

Ready to be cut apart and finished.

Friday Finale

Christmas ornaments 2015

WIP Christmas ornaments 2015

Sorry for the late post folks.  The Internet was down today.  So in its absence I knit a bit, reassessed my blog plans, looked at a projected retirement budget for DH, and hooked up four of those ornaments!  I am in need of purchasing some burgundy wool felt for the backing, but otherwise they are finished.  I may need more work to do on this trip!

Everything is now packed and ready to go…including my clothes!  But that’s today’s job. 🙂

Looking forward to meeting people along the Highway 1 Studio Tour in Saskatchewan, and at TIGHR in Victoria on Oct. 4th.  Until then I’ll be off and on here as the mood strikes.  No promises folks, as I want to spend some quality time with family and friends in real life. 🙂

Planning

A few of my many sketchbooks...

A few of my many sketchbooks…

What’s a girl to do when she’s sick?  Why planning of course!  I spent most of the afternoon yesterday going through my sketchbooks and coming up with some ideas for next year.  Look forward to new products, new wall hangings, and new ideas! 🙂

In other news, Okra and Paisley Prairie Sky made it back from a very successful summer in Weyburn, SK as part of their Fibre Art Destination 2015.  The exhibits were a huge success, attracting many national and international visitors, as well as more local ones.   Hopefully there will be another Fibre Art Destination in future years.

For now, Okra and Paisley Prairie Sky have gone up on my Wall Hangings for Sale page as of today.

As for my week in review…hmm…not much done that I’d planned.  Too sick/busy processing food.  I did over dye the yarn that arrived the other day.  Here are the results…

Over dyed to yellower greens, but too dark for my purposes.  Would work for a Boreal forest scene though. :)

Over dyed to yellower greens, but too dark for my purposes. Would work for a Boreal forest scene though. 🙂

orange-FA-overdye

This one worked just right for my purposes! 🙂