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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Margaret's Lemon Shortcake Bars: A Hit Item at the Christmas Luncheon

image credit: Fine Cooking

Lemon Shortcake Bars (Fine Cooking, Dec 2006)

7 oz. (14 Tbs) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to "just warm"
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp table salt
2 cups plus 2 Tbs all-purpose flour
Line a 13 x 9 inch metal or glass baking pan with foil.  Lightly brush melted butter on the sides (not bottom).
Stir together first three ingredients and mix in the flour to form a stiff dough.  Press the dough evenly into
the bottom of the pan and ad prick all over with a fork.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.  Bake in
the centre of a 325 oven for 30 minutes or until golden and set. 

Lemon Topping:
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
1 Tbs (generous) finely grated fresh lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
1 Tbs confectioners' sugar
Whisk eggs, sugar, flour, and salt together until smooth (about 1 minute).  Whisk in the lemon juice and zest.  Pour topping over the hot crust and return to oven, increase heat to 350 and bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, or until set.  Cool at least one hour, then list from pan using the tin foil and place on cutting board.  Pull the foil away from the sides of the bars and sprinkle with the confectioner's sugar.  Cut into squares. Will keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days, but should be served at room temperature.

-from Margaret

Christmas Luncheon Fundraiser and Recipes

Last weekend, we had a lovely Christmas luncheon at Margaret's.  Margaret's lemon squares and Gloria's Cranberry salad were a BIG hit, and everything was so good...... Thank you Margaret for hosting this event and we very much enjoyed being in your lovely home and appreciated your hospitality.
Image: MoToMo on Flickr Creative Commons

With the donations of silent auction items, we made $136 for an African orphanage that a medical student Margaret knows, supports. Margaret is matching  this amount so it is a great day today to know that this money will go to a very good cause.

We plan to print some of the recipes on our blog, once those who attended submit their dish recipes.

Have a safe and happy Christmas season for 2011, and a big "thank you" for this year's donating of auction items and time, organizing, giving presentations (schoolchildren, Dye Class), fundraising, donating to AIDS Saskatoon, driving,  lending personal items for the school, and opening your homes for rughooking.

What a great group of ladies!
Craberries. Image: TAHbKA on Flickr, Creative Commons

Gloria's Cranberry Salad

2 packages cranberry jello
2 cups boiling water
3 apples peeled and chopped
1/2 orange peeled and chopped
1/2 lb fresh cranberries chopped
1 cup sugar ( I think you could use less)
1 cup chopped celery
1cup chopped walnuts.

1. Dissolve jello in boiling water. Place in fridge for half hour until it starts to gel.
2. Mix together cranberries, orange, apples and sugar. Mix well coat fruit and dissolve sugar.
   Add jello, celery and walnuts.
3. Pour in a glass bowl. Chill in fridge until firm. Can be made a day ahead.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Winter Reads & a Chance to Win Blundstone Boots

Looking for some good books to read this winter? Go to Deanne's blog. She is giving away a pair of red Blundstone boots to someone who sends in a suggestion of a book that was very meaningful in their life. There are over 200 suggestions of good books. (Hope I win the boots for my choice, Gabrielle Roy's  "The Tin Flute').

Deanne's favourite:  red Blundstones. You could own your own pair. Image: Deanne Fitzpatrick

Gabrielle Roy's The Tin Flute.  Image: Digital Collections at McMaster University
Liv's favourite book at the moment.  Image:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New Supplier on Our List

Blue Heron Rug Hooking Studio is a new Canadian supplier listed on our site.  They sell backing, frames, hooks, scissors, and patterns, including some stunning Emily Carr designs.  Check it out!

Blue Heron Rug Hooking Studio in Victoria, BC

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Video: World's Largest Hooked Rug Exhibit

Photo credit: "Corn Stalks" by Jen Lavoie
Patti emailed to the members of the group a posting at the "Stuck in Vermont" Vlog: a video of the 15th Annual Hooked in the Mountains exhibit.  Watch at 3:17 for a couple of rugs that Rita admired on another blog recently!

"Aries Woman" by Mariah Krauss. Photo credit:

Heritage Rug Hookers Display at Sundog Tomorrow

Check out the group's handiwork this Saturday at the Sundog Craft Fair! Rugs and rug hooking will be on display.  Have a look and see if you'd like to give rug hooking a try.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Teaching Children Rug Hooking

Rita, a former educator, and I (a wannabe/beginner rug hooker) went to a Grade 1-4, 15-student Montessori school last Friday to introduce the children to the history of rug hooking, and to give it a go themselves.   It was a bit of a scramble to get things ready as we haven't done this before.
Anna gives rug hooking a try for the first time.  Photo: Julie Davidsen

On a roll! photo: Julie Davidsen

The children admire a few rugs by Rita and Patti (shown).  Photo: Julie Davidsen

Rita and Liv.  Rita holds up one of her beautiful rugs.  The children were really interested and engaged.  Photo: Julie Davidsen

The children were enthralled with the rugs that Rita and I brought, especially Rita's leopard rug. Rita was so amazing with the children and they just loved her.  One boy proclaimed, "Rita, I like you."

Here's how Rita tells it:

I serged some of my linen slightly larger than the picture frames Patti and I collected (very
inexpensively, about 25 cents each) from thrift stores and garage sales. Liv's husband, John, stapled the linen on the frames. One frame fell apart, but the other 7 worked very well. The frames were heavy enough to stay on the table so the children were able to use them without much trouble- a much better solution than flimsy hoops.  Each 10x12 frame held two designs- rectangles to outline and fill in with  hit and miss. 

After a brief chat about the history of rug hooking, we worked with 7 children at a time. Each child worked on one of the designs, which helped cut down the number of frames needed. We
gathered a variety of hooks from our personal collections.

On the whole, the children did very well and seemed to enjoy the process. Most caught on immediately. They all enjoyed choosing their favourite colours of wool from a huge pile of left-over strips.

It's been proposed now that we have some hooks on hand for teaching children when the occasion arises.  The Montessori teacher would like to make it an annual event since it ties in nicely with the elementary curriculum.  She reported that one of the children, who took her project home for the weekend, just loves rug hooking and would like to do more!

Update: The Brilliant Star Montessori school will be purchasing linen and hooks for future projects.  Looks like they are "hooked"!  Also, the rug pieced together from the 16 rectangles fetched $750 at the school's fundraising auction.  Photos of the rug, once properly framed, will be posted soon.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Island Sweet Fibre Arts and Red Spruce

This summer, Gloria was out east and showed us some great textured wool that she purchased at Island Sweet Fibre Arts in Newfoundland.  They have handspun merino, shetland, mohair, NL heritage wool, angelina, bamboo and novelty yarns. Gloria plans to incorporate this wool into her rug hooking. 
Wool from Island Sweet Fibre Arts in Newfoundland

Also of note is RED SPRUCE in Dartmouth, Novia Scotia. Hooked rugs are handmade in Nova Scotia with colourful abstract designs by Canadian artists. Michael Christie runs the shop, and works with a cottage industry of hobbyist rug hookers. One 6 x 9 rug took 450 hrs to complete. This fall Red Spruce plans to introduce needle punch construction, a method that gives a nubblier texture.   (phone 19024820460 or Patti

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Looks like Rag Rugs are showing up in a trendy West Hollywood hotel -- The Farmer's Daughter -- with the description "LA modern meets country kitsch."
The Farmer's Suite (look bottom left)

Rug Hooker Profle: Maureen Ellis

Maureen Ellis, July 2011
Liv and I visited artist Maureen Ellis at her home for a coffee and chat about her experience with rug hooking, one of many different art forms she's explored over the years. "Rug hooking was .... a way to make art [that was] focused on women's work," says Maureen, who has deep respect for and interest in traditional women's art forms and all the work that goes into them.

At the time she started, Maureen was home with a small daughter, now grown, and didn't want to expose her to the chemicals used in painting.  Since Maureen was anchored to the domestic environment, using it as a studio, she made use of it for inspiration, taking pictures around her house and yard to use for hooking projects. She would study the photos close up and represent pieces of them; for example, piece #1 here shows the bottom leg of a weathered old bench with interesting colour and pattern for her beautiful rug. The piece almost appears to be pixelated, and is made entirely of recycled wool.  Image #2 shows a detail of the rug where you can see just how many colours, wool types, and variations of thickness went into it.
image #1: rug that Maureen hooked based on a photograph of a bench leg

image #2 detail of bench leg
#3 proddy rug that Maureen picked up second-hand

#4 detail from proddy rug

image #5: mid-process locker hooking project in beautiful colours
image #6: rug hooked from image Maureen's daughter painted when very young.

Only using the library and experimentation to learn how to rug-hook, Maureen is entirely self-taught. She says, "I'm not a rule person," and didn't enjoy fussing with the dyeing process.  She really liked the idea of recycling and was interested in colour and fabric.

While we visited, Maureen showed us examples of proddy (a rug she had purchased, image #3), locker hooking (which she hangs on the wall, frozen in mid-process for a long time now, she jokes, image #5), and an endearing hooked rug from a picture her daughter painted as a young child (image #6).

Maureen is a former member of the Heritage Rug Hookers of Saskatoon, but is now moving with her husband and daughter to Kitchener-Waterloo, ON: our loss and their gain!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Grain Elevator Rugs on Moose Jaw Western Development Museum Site

Here is a link from the gallery where the rugs are currently on display.
Very appealing!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Natural Dye DIY

Beetroot, cabbage, red onions + recycled cream wool skirt = table runner?
top left: red onion::bottom left: red cabbage w salt::top right: red cabbage w vinegar::bottom right: beetroot

Photos, Caption, and DIY rom Whip-Up via PoppyTalk.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mary Sheppard Burton's Family Rugs

Mary Sheppard Burton created a wonderful series of rugs which she entitled the "Tell Me 'Bout Series."

Each rug recounts a family story.

Mary passed away recently. One of her major accomplishments was creating her own designs and encouraging other hookers to do so, at a time when the majority of the North American hooking community used only McGown patterns. This was considered an act of rebellion at the time! --Rita

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Good use for buttons and leftover wool pieces

Gail Ducois Lapierre has a good use for small pieces of wool and all those buttons from recycled garments. She makes folk art garlands. --Rita

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dye Class

Some photos from last Saturday's dye class.  You can find more photos, a description of the process on Susan's blog "Mouse Droppings."

Maple Oat Scone Recipe

Photo Credit: From Monica at the Homespun Heart

Maple Oat Scone Recipe
1 ¾ C all purpose flour (I used whole grain organic flour)
1.5 C old fashioned oats
2 tsp baking powder
10 TBSP cold unsalted butter (I used 5 tsp butter & 5 tsp organic Coconut Oil from health food store)
1/3 C heavy cream
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
1 large egg beaten
½ cup chopped walnuts...about 2 oz.
Maple Glace – recipe to follow

Maple Glaze Recipe
Combine 1 TBSP melted unsalted butter, 2 TBSP Maple Syrup, 1 TBSP heavy cream & 1 C icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl & whisk together until smooth & lump free...drizzle glaze on scones when they come out of the oven...then let cool before eating....if you can wait that long.

Mix the dough – heat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine the flour, oats & baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Use a pastry blender or your fingers or knives to cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is the size of peas. Add the cream, maple syrup & egg...mix with a wooden spoon until well combined. Stir in the nuts.

Bake the scones – Turn the dough out onto an unfloured surface & form into an 8 inch round about 1 inch thick( I pressed my dough into a greased large deep dish pie plate & precut it into pieces with a metal flipper before putting it in the oven.)  Cut into 8 wedges & place on a baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned...about 15 to 18 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Recipe from Country Living’s book “The Farm Chicks in the Kitchen” by Teri Edwards & Serena Thomson.

Hope you & yours enjoy this great recipe...Hugs Susan

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Good Day for Wool Gathering

Saturday, Feb. 26, is half price day on clothing and accessories at all Salvation Army Thrift Stores. Maybe there's some wool out there waiting to be recycled into rugs.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Free Patterns from Primitive Bettys

Free pattern on Primitive Bettys' blog
"By My Hands" sampler pattern
Primitive Bettys is a blog with a link to several free patterns. They can be used for cross stitch, rug hooking, or whatever you like.  She also has an Etsy shop where she sells her handiwork and some other patterns.

Great Rug Hooking Blog from Texas

Check out Beehive Hooking.  Laura, the blogger, posts her progress on rugs as she makes them.  This one is stunning!

Hooked Purses

Check out these beautiful purses on Jen Manuell's blog (Ontario). She sells patterns, too!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fun with Colour!

Here is a site with brilliant colour, an example of "generative art". Watch how the hue changes. --Rita

How to Make Vegetable Dye (on Re-Nest)

I came across this great post from Re-Nest on how to make natural vegetable dyes for fabric and yarn.  Enjoy!