Monday, February 28, 2011

How 99 Cents Can Lead To Addiction Problems

It started last week. 

I read online about some nifty apps to download for Ipads and Ipods.

I kept reading about a little game app called “Angry Birds”.



There was a free trial for it, so “what the heck” I told myself.

I downloaded it onto my IPod and took it for a spin.

Pretty fun!  After just playing a few minutes of it, I knew this would be the perfect time killer game to play while waiting for my car to be serviced, or waiting for a dr appointment … you know … something to do when you have to kill some time.

The problem is though, it was so much fun to play that I’ve found myself carrying it around the house with me.  I can play a little while waiting for my morning coffee to brew. 

I can play it while waiting for the car to warm up a bit.

I can play it between commercials while watching tv and it’s excellent to play it between periods of the hockey game. 

Last night, I was so involved in completing level 5-8, that even though Amazing Race was on, I just listened to it.  I’m not even sure who the last team to arrive was but I did complete level 5-8!

I think it was at that point, I realized that, yes indeed, I have an addiction problem. 

Did that stop me from playing more? 

No, silly, that’s why it’s called an addiction!

Forget about hand-stitching while watching tv.  I don’t even need to watch tv now .. I have Angry Birds to play!

Ok, I’m going to post this and then work on my newest design … well maybe I will.  I think I’ll squeeze in some Angry Birds in between stitches.  Instead of eating lunch, I’ll play some Angry Birds. 

Maybe we’ll just order some pizza for dinner tonight.  Angry Birds can be played between bites. 

Did you know that you can go on YouTube to find videos which show you how to complete a level????   Amazing!

For only 99 cents more, I can buy the Angry Birds Seasons, which I think has holiday season themes for each of the levels. 



Happy Day Everyone!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Pattern! “Bunnies In Spring” Wool Candle Mat

Finally, the new pattern is ready to go!

bunnies in spring b I don’t know about you but with the 9 inches of snow we got yesterday, I’m certainly ready to get some Spring in my home.

Easter is late this year, falling on April 24th.  The“Bunnies In Spring” candle mat can be made in plenty of time for your Easter decorating. 

The finished size of this cute penny rug candle mat is 14” (not counting the the overhang of the ears)

This is shown made with 100% wool but can easily be made with wool felt to save on expense.

The pattern comes with complete instructions, the pattern picture, a layout guide and of course, the pattern itself.

Bunnies In Spring candle This looks so pretty with a candle in the center, but I bet it would look really sweet with a bowl of Easter eggs in the center or a vase of pretty spring flowers. 

The special pre-sale order price of this “Bunnies In Spring” pattern is

$8.50 which includes shippping cost.  (US & Canada …. international customers, please email me for the extra shipping cost of around $1 more.)  After next Saturday, the pattern price will go up to the regular price of $9.50.

Just click on the Paypal button over there on the left sidebar to purchase.  Those wishing to pay by check, just email me at and I’ll send you my mailing address.

The pattern should be ready for mailing on Friday. 

hand dyed wool I will also have Wool Kits available for this pattern.  The wool kit price of $36.00 includes the shipping cost, the pattern and all the felted wool (except the backing) needed to make this candle mat. 

The wool included is my own mottled hand-dyed wools. 

I’m not including a backing in the kit for this simply because most of my customers already have extra wool in their stash that can be used for the backing and don’t need that added expense.  If you do need a backing for this, just figure in an extra $5.00 and I’ll include felted off white wool with the kit.

To purchase the wool kit with pattern just email me at and I’ll send you an invoice.


Happy Day everyone and THINK SPRING!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

“Bunnies In Spring” Candle Mat Tutorial (part 2)

Usually I enjoy making just one of the same design.  Making any more than one becomes like a chore to me.  Not that I hate doing it, it’s just the sense of “been there, done that, let’s move on”. 
This cut bunny one, however, I really enjoyed making it the second time.  I think once those eyes are stitched on, the bunnies are just so darn cute, they become fun to make.
So anyway, this is the second part to the making of the Bunnies in Spring candle mat.
The first part finished with stitching the eyes and defining the bunny cheeks.
Now, I’ll do the whiskers…
CIMG0049 I made 4 french knots on each cheek, just under the nose.
To make the actual whiskers, using ecru, size 5 pearle cotton, I took a stitch on the flip side of this, knotted it and then pushed the needle up just beside the french knot.  I snipped the thread and one whisker was created!
CIMG0051 Three whiskers on each side.
I recommend using pearle cotton thread for the whiskers, but regular
floss can be used instead.  The regular floss, because of the separate strands, will give a different look.
CIMG0052 Now I’ll work on the ears.  Each ear is pinned together with the backing.  I blanket stitched around the edges, starting and finishing the stitches at the top of the ear. 
CIMG0053 I pinned the finished ears on and whip stitched the very top of each ear onto the mat.  I attached them only at the top so that the ears are loose and free to flop. 
Once the first set of ears are attached, I want to be sure that the other sets of ears are spaced exactly the same.  To do that, I measured from the center of the tooth up to where the two ears meet and also measure the distance between the bottom of the ears.
CIMG0055 Ears are all attached so now, I’ll work on the flowers.
These little flowers are time consuming and tedious to cut out.  I find that cutting a few a time in between other stitching, helps to control the fingers from getting sore.  Also, if you have one of those nifty die cutters , certainly use that to create your flowers. 
CIMG0058 The flowers are attached by stitching a french knot into the little center circle.  Then I put one stitch into each of the flower petals, pulling the thread tightly so that the petals pucker a little. 
Close up of the stitching on the flowers. 
Now all that needs done is the backing!   The green backing is centered under the front and pinned.  I measured carefully to make sure that the edges were all equal.  I pinned the ears up just to keep them out of the way during the stitching.
CIMG0062 I blanket stitch around the edges.  When I get to the bunny tooth, I skipped over it and just stitched through the bottom brown layer. 
I’ll stitch the tooth with white thread after this.
CIMG0064 Once all the edges are blanket stitched, with ecru thread, I stitched the bunny tooth.
CIMG0066 And it’s almost finished!  Aren’t they just so cute?!
All I need to do now is blanket stitch a backing onto this to finish it.
I’ll show the completed mat in a few days and when I’m ready to announce the pattern sale.

Happy day everyone!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

“Bunnies In Spring!” New Design Tutorial (Part 1)

Last week, I gave a sneak peak of my newest design. 
Let’s get ready for Spring …. Here it is …..
CIMG0026 “Bunnies in Spring”  will be ready next week as a pattern to purchase.
Until then, I’ll show you step-by-step how this is made so that you can see how easy and quick it can be done.
As always, keep in mind that this is not a free pattern.  Please don’t make this candle mat without purchasing the pattern first.  It’s stealing!
The candle mat shown above will look slightly different from the candle mat in the tutorial.  The one difference is that I used super thick wool for the ears and face.  I’ll be using regular weight wools in the tutorial.  There will be a few more differences too but it will still look basically the same.
CIMG0030 I dyed my wools just for this design.  Colors needed: Camel brown, light brown, natural (white), pink, foam green and a little bit of black.
CIMG0028 I traced the pattern pieces onto my freezer paper.  I needed to trace 16 ears so I made a plastic template for it.  The template makes it a whole lot quicker to trace.
CIMG0032 With a dry iron, I ironed the freezer paper onto the wool.  Now it’s ready to cut out. 
Tip: the freezer paper pattern pieces can be used over again, several times, so save them all.  If you decide to make this candle mat again, much time will be saved because your pattern pieces are all ready to go.
CIMG0036 I’ll start with the bunny face.  Pin the cheeks onto the wool.  The tooth is pinned on too.
CIMG0039 Blanket stitch across the top of the bunny cheeks and along the bottom of the cheeks, making sure to catch the tooth wool in with the stitches.
I won’t stitch the sides of the cheeks or the bottom of the tooth since that will be done later when the backing is stitched on.
CIMG0040 All 4 are stitched on now and it’s not looking like much of anything!
CIMG0041 The cute little pink nose is centered and pinned.  It gets blanket stitched on now.
CIMG0042 Now the eyes are pinned and blanket stitched.
CIMG0045 The black pupils are whipped stitched on and it’s now starting to look a little like a bunny!
CIMG0046 I gave each eye a highlight with one straight stitch using white thread/floss.
CIMG0047 I made one straight stitch from the nose down to the tooth to define the bunny cheeks.
That’s all for this time.  I’ll be back with part 2 in the next day or so.
I still have to do the bunny whiskers to finish the face.  Then all that needs done are the bunny ears, the flowers and the backing.

Go to the Part 2 tutorial for "Bunnies In Spring" Candle Mat HERE

Happy Day everyone!

Monday, February 14, 2011

How To Care For Your Wool Penny Rugs

We spend so much time and quite a bit of money to make these pretty wool mats to display on our tables and floors so we need to know how to care for them so that they last …. well, I want to say forever, but if your children are like my daughters, it’s very likely that the dumpster will be where all of mine go once I’m gone.  :)

Really, caring for your wool penny rugs is easy.  Dust is the probably the most problem that you will have. 

Simply pick up your penny rug and give it a good shake.  You can also vacuum over it with your sweeper attachment as long as you do it from the backside of the penny rug. Vacuuming the front might loosen the stitches.

For lint, just use a sticky lint roller.  I always have a lint roller close by while I’m working on my projects too.

For spots of dirt or spills, dampened a cotton cloth or towel and dab at the area gently.

Don’t ever put it in the washer and don’t ever try handwashing it.  It will never be the same.  Dry Clean if there is dirt that can’t be removed.

If you set a vase or bowl or candle in the center of your penny rug, be sure to remove it every once in a while to give the wool a little rest from the weight.  Sometimes, if placed too long, a candle or vase will leave an indentation in the wool.

If this happens, shake the penny rug to fluff the wool back up. You can try brushing at it lightly with an old toothbrush.  If the indentation is still there, try misting it very lightly with water and then rub the indent gently with a cotton cloth or towel to fluff the fibers back up.  Don’t use paper towels .. the paper fibers will embed themselves into your wool and never come out!

NOTE:  If the indentation is in Wool Felt, it’s pretty much in there permanently so be really careful to not keep things sitting too long in the center without shaking it out once in a while.

Since I have so many, I hang most of mine ….

102_4935 Haha, this is not a good example of how to hang your wool penny rugs!

This wall in my dining room has pretty much evolved into what it looks like here.  When I finish something, it gets put here for later use.

I kinda like how it’s all displayed, although I should take the time to arrange it properly so that everything can be seen. That’s on my “to do” list. 

If you do hang your penny rugs, just be careful that they’re not exposed to too much sunlight, which will fade the colors.  They collect dust just as easily as the mats laying on your table, so be sure to shake them out once in a while.

Someone told me a long time ago that rubbing a scented dryer sheet on the penny rug will keep moths away. Supposedly moths don’t like the smell.   That’s what I do every once in a while to my older ones.

I haven’t had any problems in all the years (knock on wood) that I’ve been working with wool, so perhaps it works.  If anyone has any other suggestions for keeping moths away, leave it in the comments!

I always welcome other suggestions or help so if you have other ways that you care for your wool, just leave a comment.


Also …. Sheree, you left a comment question in one of my older posts.  I don’t have any way to contact you since you didn’t give your email address.  I think you might find my post HERE about how to attach tongues, helpful.  If that’s not what you mean, email me for help. :)


Happy Day everyone!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wool Felt & Felted Wool <—What’s the Difference??

There’s rarely a day that goes by that I don’t get a question for help or advice in my email. 

By far, the most misunderstood subject  and most asked question I get  is about the differences between Wool Felt and Felted Wool.

For those of us who work with wool, we know that there is a difference. But those who are new to Penny Rugs and working with wool, it is confusing. Most who are just starting, think that it’s the same thing.

Wool Felt and Felted Wool are completely different.  One is Felt material and the other is Wool fabric.

They look and feel different.

I’m going to attempt to explain the differences.

First, we start with the common factor, which is of course …

sheep Sheep!  Well, wool can come from other animals too … camels and llamas for example but sheep are the most commonly used.

Sheep are sheered which creates the wool fiber.

The wool fiber is cleaned and combed to create the wool roving…

il_570xN_12390466 It’s at this point where the differences between Wool Felt and Felted Wool are created.


Wool Felt is tightly compressed wool fibers. 


Using lots of moisture and heat, the fibers are rubbed and compacted together … much like the matted hair on a dog or cat  or dreadlocks… the fibers are compressed tightly and that creates the felt. 

Or if you’ve ever made handmade paper … the process is similar.

100% wool felt tends to be stiff and rough so to make the felt more pliable and soft, it is mixed with rayon fibers to create a blend.

Most wool felt that is used for penny rugs are a wool and rayon blend.

The wool felt blend is usually a 65%  rayon/35% wool blend.   This type of wool felt can easily be found in lots of assorted colors.  Joann Fabrics has a nice selection of it.  It’s found in the aisle with their bolts of regular craft felt. Once you actually see it and touch it, you’ll know the difference between it and regular Wool fabric.

The rayon blend of wool felt is ideal for penny rugs because when the fabric is washed, the little bit of wool that is in it shrinks, and the wool felt becomes soft and puffy when dried.  It’s pretty important that it’s washed before using, otherwise the wool felt looks just like regular cheap craft felt.  (that last sentence could possibly be my own opinion…some might like the look of the unshrunk woolfelt).

Once it’s washed and shrunk, it becomes … Felted wool felt.

The rayon blend of wool felt is a lot less expensive than 100% wool so your projects will still look nice, without that high expense of using 100% wool. 

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that wool felt can not be used for traditional rughooking.  But for penny rugs, wool felt is a perfect substitute for 100% wool fabric.


Felted wool is wool fabric which has been washed and dried with heat.

That process shrinks the fabric to make it thick and soft.wool-stack

To create felted wool, the wool fabric must be created first!

The wool roving/fiber must first be spun into thread …


The wool thread is then woven to create the fabric, much like any fabric is created.  Cotton fabric is made the same way, only using cotton threads.

We buy the wool fabric, bring it home and then deliberately throw it into the washing machine, set the washer to “HOT” water wash and let the washer and dryer shrink our fabric.  The shrinking condenses those fibers and that wool fabric become thick and soft and fluffy. The threads in the fiber won’t unravel, so it’s perfect for penny rugs or rughooking because unlike cotton, the edges stay intact without fraying.

Wool fabric from knitted or crocheted sweaters and scarves may also be washed and felted and used for penny rugs, but …

Knitted or crocheted items use wool yarn instead of wool thread.

The yarn, since it’s thicker than thread, creates a thicker felted wool.  If it’s not felted enough, the yarns will pull away and unravel. Because the knitted/crocheted felted fabric is so thick, it can’t be used for rughooking and has limited use for penny rugs.


I hope that helps with the wool felt / felted wool confusion. 

Since I don’t use wool felt, I have limited knowledge of it.  If you do work with it and can think of anything else that should be mentioned about the differences, please write it in the comments … or email me and I’ll add it onto this entry.

(Note: all of the pictures shown in this entry, except for the cute little sheep, were found in Google Images.  If you are the owner of one of these pictures and don’t wish it to be used, please let me know and I’ll remove it.)


Happy Day Everyone!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sneak Peak For Easter!

Did you know that it’s February already?  Where the heck did January go?!?

Before you know it, Easter and Spring will be here.  I like working on Spring projects this time of year to help me get through the tough winter. 

Here’s a little sample of what I’m currently working on….

CIMG0003 I hope to have the completed candle mat ready to show in a couple days.

I’ll be doing a step-by-step tutorial on this one too.  I’m overdue on doing tutorials so it’s certainly time.

The pictured tutorial will show how easy this one is to make.  I was able to get most of my stitching done on this just while watching the Steelers lose in the Super Bowl last night.

(Yes indeed, the Steelers lost, but I think the Packers deserved to win.  They played a much better game.) 

I’ve been absent from blogging, but I’m still stitching and answering emails and writing blog entries in my head!

My sister, Casserole Carol has been nagging me to write, as usual.

She’s resorted to emailing me a list of topics that I should be writing about, just to get me inspired, I guess.

I might consider asking her to be a guest writer during some of my absences,  but I’m kinda worried about what she might write about me.  :)


A big thank you to all of you who’ve purchased my newest pattern: “Showers Bring Flowers”. 

I will keep the special price of $8.50 for this pattern until this evening, when it will go to the regular pattern price of $9.50.  If you haven’t purchased it yet and want to, now is the time to get a good price!

I’m going to try to find time to dye up the flower and umbrella wool colors this week, so those of you who wish to purchase just those colors, check back later in the week for the purchase info.

Also, I’m going to try to get going on sending out a newsletter.  If you’ve not signed up for it yet, just click up there on the top of the left sidebar to subscribe.

That’s all for now!  Busy, Busy!


Happy Day everyone!