Friday, February 27, 2015

My Trip to Iowa - Part 3

For YEARS I've been telling myself that I was going to learn how to hook rugs. I know... you're thinking - "How hard can it be? Buy a latch hook and a printed pattern...."  No, I mean real rug hooking with a linen background and strips of wonderful, rich wool fabric. I've been saying that for maybe 25 years. And for a good 10 years I've been determined to get out to my 2nd cousin's rug hooking shop in Osage, Iowa. 
Well, I finally made it!          Ewe and Eye Designs was everything I'd hoped!

Now for that little tour I've been promising.

They have rug kits, printed patterns, and linen backing fabric by the yard.
The samples were so inspiring!

They offer several counted cross stitch patterns and kits as well.

Marge and her daughter Beth are wonderful!! They are so helpful. They started me out with a star pillow kit. The strips were all precut so all I had to worry about was learning the technique of hooking.

And ooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh the WOOLS!!!!!!

Such an assortment!

Even the green cupboard is gorgeous!!!

Beth was working on a large new rug.
There's my star pillow in the foreground.

The shop has a great farm table in the middle of the room so we were able to just sit and hook. It was wonderful having access to Marge and Beth for immediate help.

What can I say? FABULOUS! If you're a rug hooker or like to work with fabrics, this picture probably sends tingles down your spine ... and maybe even a little bit of drool down your chin!

The carrier on the table holds irresistible dyed velvets. They also have Kay Cloud patterns.

Be sure to visit their site!   

My day was all I'd hoped! After being treated to a delicious Mexican dinner (my favorite!), I headed back to my hotel to perfect my hooking skills enjoy working on my new pillow. (I suppose HOTEL and HOOKING in the same sentence could raise a few eyebrows.) I think I stayed up until 2 a.m. Once you take up rug hooking you find it's relaxing and addicting at the same time.

And of course, my beautiful roses made it to my bedside where I could continue to delight in them.

NEXT STOP - a Dubuque Bed & Breakfast

                                        Graniteware Gal

Saturday, February 21, 2015

My Trip to Iowa - Part 2

Well, I suppose you thought I'd fallen off the edge of the earth! I guess life happened. Nothing huge, but I tend to get sidetracked on other things and just didn't get back to the rest of my post. Soooooo, here's part 2 of my wonderful trip. I'm still floating when I think back on it.

Decorah, Iowa, here I come!

First stop was the Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum. Sadly, it was closed but the sun was out and I wanted to get some pix of the front of the building.

I love the architectural details!

And this, I believe, was a mill. What a beauty!!

With such lovely weather, I took some time to explore the town and take a few more photos.

This beautiful mansion was The Porter House Museum.

The fence was particularly intriguing! 
When I got back home, I checked their website and found that the wall is made up of "rough rocks, polished gemstones, and ancient fossils." I certainly had a unique look!

There were several churches in town and again I was drawn to their beautiful styles and stained-glass windows.

The sunshine of the day couldn't have been more inspiring.
The stately church spire pointing up to God.

The courthouse was a stunning sight as well.

What a lovely dome with the perfect patina. I'm not so sure I'd want to venture up on that ladder though!

Next, I headed across town to the college to find the Decorah Barn. Well, actually it has a different name but to me it is the Decorah Barn. I was thrilled to see this old gal being so well cared for.  (Sorry about that grammatically poor sentence.) It breaks my heart to see old barns going by the wayside. I'm so worried that there won't be many left for future generations to enjoy.

The Decorah Barn - actually called the Ashmore Jewell Barn at Luther College, was the subject of a painting by my friend several years ago. CJ Brown (CJ Brown Studios) and I went to church together during our childhoods. She is a wonderful painter! Her paintings of this barn sold out quickly!

I believe you can find her painting here on her Facebook page:

Finally, before heading out of town, I had to find the magical place that our family visited many years ago. I wasn't sure exactly where this place was or what it was called. In fact, I don't think it even had a sign at the time. Our family stopped to get gas (and it was even a FULL SERVICE gas station run by an elderly man. I thought for a moment we'd been transported back to Mayberry!) Anyway, the man saw that we were hauling a camper and knew we were out-of-towners. He asked if we'd been to Dunning's Springs and proceeded to give us directions to get there. We almost declined but at the last moment decided we could spare a few minutes to check it out. We drove a short distance and entered
a small wooded drive that lead us around a corner into the most lovely, lush, green area backed with a rocky hill. Out of the rocks, flowed an ice cold spring that ran towards us through the thick green grass in a little stream only about 12 inches wide. It was beautiful! Like a hidden gem! There was a picnic table or two and only enough parking lot for about 4 cars. (Sadly, I don't have any photos to share.) We spent some time just enjoying the solitude of the place. The only problem we encountered was leaving. The dear man neglected to tell us that there probably wouldn't be room to turn around with a truck and pop-up camper. I think we had to back out. That part is a little foggy in my memory. (I'm sure that if I'd been the one driving - and backing- it would have forever been blazoned in my mind!)

Soooooooo, I was determined to find the place and see if it looked the same as I remembered.
It was certainly well marked now.

Too bad everything was still brown and boring.  The green grass hadn't started to peek through yet in this area. It was April and we were probably here in late June the last time.

I know you're expecting some gorgeous photos here but, because it hadn't greened up, it wasn't as beautiful as I remembered. I'm sure it would be lovely in the summer. Surprisingly, the stream had grown from 12 inches wide to about 5 feet now!

Sooo, if you are passing by Decorah, IA, next summer, stop and experience this little hidden treasure. Take a picnic lunch and spend a little time!

Next stop - my cousins' rug hooking shop - Ewe and Eye Designs in Osage, Iowa.

                                        Graniteware Gal

Friday, June 6, 2014

My Trip to Iowa - Part 1

Hi Everyone!
I'm sooooo excited that my blog in working better now, and I can once again upload photos! I mean, what's a blog post without pictures! I've been anxious to share with you about my recent trip to Iowa. I rarely ever take a trip by know...kind of a ME-TRIP. In fact, I don't think I've ever taken a ME-TRIP by myself just to go do something just for me. I even felt a little guilty! But, at the same time, so excited!! I needed this time of refreshing and rejuvenating to be better for those around me.

For years I've been saying I was going to take a few days and head out to Iowa to my cousin's rug hooking shop. Well, actually it's my 2nd cousin...or 1st cousin once removed...I always get confused about that. Anyway, my 2nd cousin Marge and her daughter, Beth, have an AWESOME shop in the sweet little town of Osage, IA. It's called Ewe & Eye Designs. Check it out here! I'll be showing you lots of great pix of the shop later.

Starting out on my trip, I made preparations for my guys (who assured me they'd be fine and wouldn't starve). It was hard to leave my beautiful Lion's Club roses that my husband had gotten for me and that had just been delivered a couple days earlier, sooooooooooo...I put a couple blooms in a bud vase and brought them along in the cup holder of my van. They were gorgeous and were a constant reminder of my wonderful family at home!
Notice the Starbuck's drink! (I had been on the road for several hours by this time.)
It was a beautiful sunny day! Of course, I had my camera ready. The great thing about driving all by yourself is that you can pull over to take a photo at ANY time (without driving your husband insane!)
 I couldn't resist this shot.
Somewhere in southern Wisconsin.

When I crossed over into Iowa, I make a quick detour just to get a photo of this PINK ELEPHANT near McGregor. There's a long story behind this guy in my childhood...but I'll save that for another time. For now, I just HAD to get that photo.
The next place was one of those swerve-off-on-the-shoulder-and-backup photo opportunities. Again, good thing I was by myself...and no one was right behind me! I couldn't resist this beautiful old cemetery in the morning sun.
Actually, the sign was a little difficult to read against the blue sky. I was just repositioning myself for a better camera angle when suddenly, the perfect oblong cloud moved right behind the sign and perfectly framed the words. Thanks, God!
The old monuments were stunning.

On this trip churches and steeples and architecture seemed to call to me. I found myself pulling over to take photos of the tall spires and graceful, majestic, soaring lines. I loved the image of this one off in the distance!

What a day of rejoicing as I drove!

Next stop - Decorah, IA. I'll save that for the next post.
                                                                                                     Graniteware Gal


Monday, March 24, 2014

Problems with my Blog Page

Hi Friends!
I've been wanting to make a new post for quite some time,
but I've run into a snag.
What's a blog post without pictures?! I LOVE pictures!!
Ever since my Christmas post, I haven't been able to add
any photos to my posts. I keep trying...
and my sweet hubby (who can fix anything)
keeps trying to figure out what happened.. but so far
it still isn't working.

It's very frustrating because I have so many things I'd love to share
but it kills me to not add pictures!

I even have a fun trip lined up with reservations at
a great looking B&B, but how can I share it with you...
WITHOUT pictures?!?!

Hopefully, it will all be resolved soon!
Thank you to those who check back in with me every so often.

Graniteware Gal  :  )

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas to All!

I can't believe that tomorrow is Christmas!
It's practically here!!
Truly, where does the year go?
We are enjoying beautiful snow on the ground here in northern Illinois -
truly a White Christmas!
My family and I are cozy & warm at home -
busy putting up a few more decorations,
wrapping a couple more presents for family,
getting ready to fire up the oven and make a couple batches of Chex Mix,
playing a few board games on the dining room table,
and planning to start up a movie to watch together as a family.

What a joy
to be with family
and remembering the
reason for the season!
From our house to yours,
a Merry & Blessed
                                       Graniteware Gal