The Old Tattered Flag

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Autumn is finally here!

I was born in New Hampshire and raised in Vermont for the first 20 years of my life.  Though I lived in Europe for a couple of years and then for the remaining 24 years of our military life lived many places in the US, I always knew we'd end up back in the Northeast.  Home is always home and we adopt many of the "feelings" of home.  For me something happens in August...a restlessness with summer and the heat.  I become tired of outside activities, flowers, cookouts....I know it sounds crazy doesn't it?  But, my thoughts start to turn to earlier evenings, cooler nights, hunkering down.  It's probably a good thing we decided to settle in Northern New York because we have plenty of time to "hunker down".  For me, Fall is such a warm time of year even though cooler temps move in.  I remember as a little girl watching my dad prepare the wood pile for the long winter ahead.  Craft fairs would occur in little churches or halls.  Cooler evenings where you needed a hat and gloves became more frequent, though as kids we would try to get our time to play outside as long as we could.   I often asked Marcky, the girl who worked with Mom and I what they did in the fall for festivals.  She was from New Mexico and I believe she told me something about chilis or tamales...I'm sorry Marcky, really, I was listening, but you know my memory.  The reason I had asked her this was because she had attended a hook-in with Mom and I and we were heading home and stopped off at a pumpkin stand where there were tons of apples, cider, baked goods.....the true beginning of fall.  For her, the chilis were her "home comfort".  We all have those yearnings.  For me, there is a special feeling, I start to love see the glow of a candle (apple scented of course) as the sky darkens earlier....

....and the first Macintosh apples.  Oh, the crispness!!  I love them!

...and of course anything pumpkin....even if it is a pumpkin cupcake from Walmart!

And I don't know why but I get this overwhelming urge to cook Pot Roast!!  Is that a New England thing?  I think it one understands pot roast like a New Englander!

I think I love Fall because it  is the beginning of Holiday season and you know you are going to be digging out your decorative items.  Pumpkins and bittersweet will be followed by feather trees and ornaments.  I just love it all!

There is also nothing like a Fall sky.  I don't know why, it's just different.  Probably because as you stand on the deck getting the picture it is chilly and you know it's time for your wool socks....

So,  that is why I love Fall.  Many of my friends here think I'm crazy, but I know some of you must feel the same way because I see an increase in patterns, woolens and kits flying out the door.  I think as women we are like little squirrels, packing away all our projects for the long winter.

So, I hope you are all feeling the comforts of "home" as Fall creeps into our lives.  Take a moment to enjoy the season, check out the leaves, go to a farmers market or craft fair.  Or even grab your favorite craft (punching or hooking hopefully), a cup of cider and enjoy the evening! 
Until next time.....

Sunday, September 18, 2016

On the road again.......

Last weekend we were in Danville, In with the Woolkeepers Rug Hookers.  After a quick week home, with some adjusting of goods in the trailers it was time to hit the road again.....

We were on our way to Wyalusing, PA to join the Old Barn Rug Hooking guild.  This was a small and intimate hook-in and Mom and I had a chance to talk to lots of people and the other vendors.  The pace was nice and the ladies were too!  We saw lots of beautiful rugs which I'll show later in the week. 

We have a new booth display as you will see below.  I actually came up with the design of our booth specifically for our week at Sauder village.  I wanted to bring our shop to you, so to speak.  So, last winter I drew my idea out for hubby fully expecting him to say, "no, it can't be done", but to my surprise, he didn't. So, this summer my new booth design came to life.  It has the rustic feel of my shop and I am able to feature certain rugs and have the patterns and kits displayed right below them.  The problem we were running into was that we were losing so much space under the tables, so I decided not to use any tables at all.  Our booth is made up of several different sized bookcases that are made of pine so they are very light.  When traveling we can put the crates of wool in the bookcases so everything fits in the trailer like a puzzle.  The lattice pieces that we display the rugs on lock right into the back of the bookcases.  I'm very proud of this booth set up but hubby tells me he has another idea for our next one.  It's usually me that's gets bored easily.  Maybe some of my "scattered" brain has rubbed off on him.  

So, now we are back home where we can settle back into a normal routine for another month until our next hook-in in Kimberton, PA.  I say normal but not really, because we are in the process of moving production into the house next door.  All woolens will be washed and dyed as well as all pattern drawing, serging, and pretty much everything else will be "made" next door.  It will feel good to spread out!!

And, now that I am home, my mind is racing all over with new design ideas.  Here's a little teaser of things to come.....what a wise guy huh?  But honestly, sometimes this is how things start for me. 

Bo and Hobbes are unimpressed!

So, keep watching as I hope to release a few new designs in the coming month while we have some much needed time at home.  
Until next time.....

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Ugh!! I had to say goodbye again!!

The hardest part of being an Army wife was always having to say goodbye.  I hated it!  Every 2-3 years my husband would get orders and then I would start the classic "distancing".  I am an introvert so usually would not have a lot of friends, but would always make 1 or 2 good ones.  There was Karen at Fort Jackson, Kirsten in Germany, Renee at Fort Stewart, Lynda at Fort Polk, Evelyn at Fort Drum.  I have talked with a few of them over the years and we were able to pick up where we left off...that's how you know they are a good friend.  
I thought that when my husband retired two years ago that the goodbyes were done, but then one day in August Marcky walked through my door.  Things with my business were getting a little hard to handle and I needed help with some computer work.  My son Josh had met Marcky as she was a volunteer at the USO where he works.  He thought she might be a perfect fit for us and he was right.  Marcky was 21 years old and married to a young soldier.  I felt an immediate need to "shelter" her and take her under my wing, but truth is, Marcky did not need to be sheltered.  This was one confident and self assured young lady!  She did great things for The Old Tattered Flag for the two years she was with us.  I think it was about March that she told us her husband had learned that they would be moving to Fort Hood.  I knew it was coming, it was inevitable.  But now I had two reasons to be sad, the first, because Marcky became my right hand, quickly became known as "my assistant" and secondly because she was so damn young I felt like one of my own kids was moving away.  Marcky fit right in with Mom and I and we had lots of laughs.  Before long she knew what I was thinking before I would even say anything.    Marcky, if you are reading this, I feel bad that I wasn't able to express how grateful I am for everything you did.  You TRIED with some success to get me organized, helped build our website, beautified our patterns with gorgeous covers and so, so, so much more.  You weren't just an employee either!  You see, Marcky and her husband moved in to the house next door, so she wasn't just an employee, she was our neighbor.  The reason I wasn't able to express my feelings is because the ugly cry would have happened and I had to avoid that for everyone involved, lol!  You can see below how Mom took over on Marcky's last "open hooking" Thursday.....

So, I guess it's silly for me to think that  "goodbye's" are just a part of military life.  We will always have to say goodbye to people we are close to.  I just wasn't prepared for this one!  Marcky, I truly appreciate everything you did for Mom and I over the past two years.  I am very happy that you will be closer home while stationed at Fort Hood.  As I was able to say during dinner, you know you always have a place here at The Old Tattered Flag.   We WILL miss you!
Until next time.....

Monday, September 12, 2016

What's your favorite time of day?

What is your favorite part of the day?  I'm not much of a morning person, but I have found that the older I get, the earlier I wake up.  What is that about?  I've always been a night owl, staying up to punch or hook until midnight or better, but lately I can't keep my eyes open past 10:00.  I tell you this because night time, right after dinner is my favorite time of day.  There's nothing better than finishing dinner, cleaning the kitchen and having a full night of what I call "chair time".  I love my chair time.  I love the anticipation of starting a new project, or continuing or finishing a project.  My husband often says "why are you doing that?  You're still working!"  There could be nothing further from the truth.  Chair time and my punch needle or hook is my decompression.  I can keep my hands busy while my brain rests.  
Tonight I am working on an oldie but goodie, our Santa's Hat design.  I won't mention that we have now gone to two hook ins with 20 kits for it but no finished product because we can't find it!  So, yes, an oldie but goodie that I a hooking again.  You know once I finish it I'll find the original that Mom hooked.  (Should I also tell you that she is hooking a Santa that has come up missing too?)

I did put the finishing touches on this cute pattern for me to actually hang in my own home.  It is called "tombstone sunflower" and is a Spruce Ridge Studio adaptation of a Lori Brechlin design.  I love it!


 And though I post a LOT on Facebook and have shown this many times before I thought I'd share my Antique Coverlet #2 with you here on the blog in case you are not a facebooker.  Mom refused to hook this one as she felt there was too much math in it, (not really), so I had to do it.  It is probably the most satisfying design I've ever done from inception to completion.  I'm very proud of it!



So, that's what I've been doing to keep my hands busy.  What's your favorite time of day and what are you working on?

Until next time.....

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Long time no see!

Hello everyone!  I have no excuse for my absence from my blog....of which I have great regret.....except lack of time. A pitfall of a small business owner is time management which I still grapple with. I've often talked about the fact that I don't think woman can have it all because if you have a successful business something is going to suffer!  Home cooked meals? Once in a blue moon!  Clean house?  Only because I have help!  Vacations?  Only if you include road trips to Hook Ins!  It's important for you to know that I am not complaining at all!  Today as I write to you from the truck as we drive back home from the Woolkeepers hook-in, in Danville, IN I head home with a renewed energy to get my life in order. Organization has been a big road block for mom and I as our business has grown so fast we just don't have room to move anymore, so when we get home we are moving production for the business to the house next door. Mom will have a nice big dye kitchen with plenty of room to move  around. I will have a room dedicated just to drawing patterns and there will be plenty of room for wool and pattern inventory.  The shop will remain in the back of the house as will my office. We are so looking forward to more room and saying goodbye to the frustrations of constantly having to shift things around to work. 
I'm telling you all this because with my hopes of more organization and bettering my time management I'm hoping this will mean I can write on my blog more. I plan to write from my iPad as I sit in my chair at night ....or at least a couple times during the week, so bear with me!!  It is so good to be back on the blog!!
So with that, here are a couple photos of the hook in with the Woolkeepers guild. We love this one because they are such a nice group of ladies and to add to that we got to visit my brother and his family. Just look at baby Keegan, oh my goodness, what a cutie!!  So, as we head back to NY, I thought it was funny to be following a coffee ad on this kind of represents my renewed energy. Stay with me, I will try!!

Until next time......

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Gathering of Friends ~ 2016

Hi Everyone,
Yes, two months since I have last written.  There just isn't any time.  Sometimes I think Fall and Winter are the busiest times of the year with the holidays and all, and then spring comes and there are gardens to weed, the yard to fix up, mowing, and preparing for our 2nd annual "Gathering of Friends".  In addition to the day to day business of running The Old Tattered Flag, we have been consumed with Gathering preparations.  I'm going to let the pictures do the talking and will try to be a bit better about checking in more often.  The day was's a lot like a wedding....when you in the moment you don't notice all the little things.  I thoroughly enjoyed looking through all the pictures that my son Jeremy snapped throughout the day.  There are over 100 photos so you may want to get a beverage...:).  Enjoy!!

Dragonfly Pottery
T-shirts from Folk Doodles
Above and below ~ Heavens to Betsy 

Coffee, donuts and conversation on the porch while waiting for the gate to open!

Our home

My Sister and I

The shop was busy all day!

The Potty Shed ~ we hid two ugly porta pottys behind this facade....

Above and below ~ Folk For All Seasons

Above and below ~ Silver jewelry by Denise Smith

Some snapshots before the guests arrived....

Here they come.....

Gail and her friend Linda traveled all the way from Indiana for our event.  We were honored!!

My son Josh was a wonderful emcee, he and I handed out prizes all day...

We had lots of lovely ladies from over the border (Canada).  Thank you ladies for making the trip, you are a fun group!!

Here's Mom holding a hefty prize from my Sister (Folk for All Seasons)

We had a delicious lunch, catered by local Johny D's.  Summer salads and breads.  Thank you to Maddy, Shelby, Brian, Clancy, Marcky, Ashton, of course my hubby, my son Josh and my son Jeremy for helping out.  Your smiling faces in these pictures showed that you did your jobs well!  The ladies enjoyed you all!

Speaking of Marcky and right and left hands.  Thank you for all your help!!

...and now the rugs....oh the rugs......


 Mom's choice winner, above, hooked by Gail Huff from Rochester, NY, the rug was designed by Gail and is called "Angel Blessings"
Voters choice winner, above, again by Gail Huff from Rochester, the rug was adapted by Gail from a Dover Steampunk book and is called "Mistress of the Birds".   

I was amazed at the beautiful rugs brought to our event this year and it was very hard to choose a favorite, each one had details, colors, design that were appealing.  There were also several Punch Needle entries.  I promise to be better about snapping pictures of the punch pieces next year.  I chose The beautiful Sunflower and Sheep piece you see in the bottom left of the picture below.  That was also chosen as Voters Choice.  I know this piece was punched by one of our talented Canadian guests but for the life of me I cannot remember your name so if you are reading this, please contact me so I can give you proper credit as well as the designer.  Thank you to all those who submitted  rugs and punch pieces.  You created a beautiful Rug Show!

...and then there was dessert....
Thank you to April's Cake Shop for the gorgeous cake and brownies. 

I always get emotional when I am saying my closing comments.  That's because you ladies make Mom and I so happy!  We are honored that you come to our home/shop to spend the day with us.  We love what we do and are so happy to be able to share it with so many of you who are bursting with talent and creativity.  I also get emotional because I realize that our event is really a family run event.  My husband always does so much to help Mom and I, including trekking to hooking events.  We would not be able to do this without him.  Shelby and Brian were up for the weekend to visit Shelby's sister Marcky who work's for us and they said, "sure, we'll help".  Ashton hand wrote the beautiful name tags.  Maddy was sweating as she hung rugs on the fence (I pestered her to make sure she was drinking enough water) and of course my sons, Josh and Jeremy who have to listen to me constantly talking and planning and come through to help as well.  It was an amazing day and yes, we are already talking about what we can do next year, so mark your calendar's for the 3rd annual Gathering of Friends to be held on June 24, 2017.

Until next time......

About Me

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my blog. I am married and just entering the second phase of my life as a Army retiree's wife. My husband and I did 25+ years in the Army. He is now officially a retired Colonel and has just entered the civilian workforce and I am happily settled in our 1830 Stone house. I (along with my Mom) operate www.theoldtatteredflag and currently we are building a small shop in the back part of the house. We live in Northern NY, right near the Canadian border. I have two handsome sons and 2 puggles. Life is busy for us, but I wouldn't have it any other way.