The Old Tattered Flag

Sunday, September 24, 2017

September....Fall......are you there?

I have decided that September is my favorite month of the year.  I remembered that I felt this way last year but as we neared September I couldn't remember why.  Then it all came back to me.  September is that month where Summer struggles to hang on, so you have beautiful, warm sunny days and cooler nights.  The skies are crystal clear and a million stars shine at night.  And I think the #1 reason is...tomatoes.  Yes, I've heard that for many of you your gardens have been providing tomatoes for quite some time, but ours are just coming in now.  We've had a random one here and there, but this week....oh YES!! 

I do feel a little angst though....what will I do with them all....

It doesn't matter, they are so pretty I just love to look at them.  My sister started several heirloom plants and gave us a bunch with no rhyme or reason....we didn't know what we would get, but oh what a symphony of color!!

So, now is the time when you start to feel like Bubba in Forest Gump.  We'll have tomato sauce, roasted tomatoes with sausage, fried green tomatoes, tomato basil soup and the list goes on.  I'll try to make it so not one tomato goes to waste.  I love them!!

Sundays, as you know are my favorite day of the week.  It's when I have the time to be more "domestic", and to this busy girl that means, folding laundry, changing the sheets, spiffying the house and cooking.  So, it's only fitting that we have Lasagna on this "tomato Sunday".

And a nice Dump Cake for dessert.  That's probably the only time "nice" and "dump" will ever go in the same sentence.

I always feel very content in September.  Though we are always busy and are just coming off two events where we traveled, we have made some small changes to our business and even more are coming that will both grow our business and make it more manageable.  I am a dreamer and for me and my business, the sky is the limit.  Have I teased you enough?  More on that later.
Anyway, back to my contentment.  In addition to the red of the tomatoes you see little bits of orange appear more and more in the decor.  We FINALLY have bittersweet.  Mom planted 3 bittersweet plants.  Yes, you need a male and a female bush......or in our case a bisexual.  Yup there is such a thing that that is what is yielding these pretty orange berries.

 In September I find that my creativity is in high gear.  I LOVE designing for Fall and Christmas.  We are in the final stages of Fall designs and will be rolling out Christmas very soon.  
I love that we are able to offer our customers versions of a design in both punch needle and rug hooking.

I hope you are all enjoying your September.  It is unusually hot here but that's the good thing about the last ditch effort of Summer in September.  It's just hot enough that it makes you look forward to those cooler days and hunkering down for the long winter. 
Have a great Sunday evening everyone!
Until next time......

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Finding some calm in the Zucchini patch...

There is one thing I have always been very good at and that is self diagnosing myself.  When I am down I can recognize my "funk" and pull myself out of it.  When I am angry I need to rant, sometimes for a few days (to my family's dismay) to get it out and figure out a situation and fix it.  When I am stressed I tell myself to step back and chill. (it doesn't always work but I do tell myself that)  One thing I have recognized is that my life has gotten way too busy.  Mom and I have created a successful business quite by wonderful accident.  In 2010 Mom asked me if I thought anyone in the area would like to learn how to rug hook.  So, she had me draw up some beginner patterns and a business was born.  I think you all know our story by not, check out my website, and you'll see what we're all about.  For the past 2-3 years I have felt like it was becoming a bit of a monster.  Don't get me wrong, I love every minute of what I do, however, when you look forward to getting away to fold that mountain of laundry that has been piled in your room for days you realize that you may need to shift gears.  

I need to STOP and literally smell the roses....or flowers in my own yard.....

Life had become so busy that I wasn't taking pictures anymore, or writing on my blog like I use to.

I use to stop dead in my tracks when I saw a busy little bee tucked in the flowers and snap a photo.

And I had forgotten just how magnificent that plain white flower actually was on it's own.

Before I knew it it was mid-August and the bittersweet berries were popping...

The black eyed susan's were starting to look a little tired....yet still beautiful.

Even Max knows how to take the time to stop and smell the "roses".

Mom and I decided to make some small changes to our business hours....changes that most won't even notice but that will allow us to get creative again, not just in our business but with our personal lives.  Changes that will allow us to maybe knock off work a little early so we can enjoy the beauty in our own yard.

We always say that in our next life we want to come back as one of our dogs.

Baxter certainly knows how to relax.

So, you may ask how I got to "finding some calm in the zucchini patch"?  I was in my office the other day, at the end of the day, and my husband was doing yard work.  I asked him if he'd like some help....sure I'll mow.  I love to mow...I love the smell of fresh cut grass and I get some of my best thinking done on the lawn mower.  So, I was mowing and lo and behold, 2 giant zucchini peeked out at me.  Little did I know that Mom had plunked a zucchini plant along the fence line.  So, I picked them and planned my Sunday.  I love Sunday!  I've talked about it before.  It's the day of the week I can take my time with a soup, baked good or a well thought out meal for my family, instead of a quick throw together.  I can "putter around" the house, re-arrange things, fold that mountain of laundry and actually take the time to put things away and even write on my blog.  

When I was a teenager, my friend Kelley's mother made the most delicious Cream of Zucchini soup so that was first on my list.

I don't really use recipes for soups.....though I did briefly glance at one.  I sautéed some onions, added 6 cups of shredded zucchini, water, parsley, S&P, chicken stock, boiled it down, then pureed it.  Made a roux with butter and flower, added 2 cups of milk and 1 cup of half and half. It was a bit thick so I added more chicken stock, about another cup.  
Usually with soup it's better the second day, but this one was so good right away that we had it for lunch.  Thankfully I made a double batch so there is plenty left over.

Then it was on to Zucchini bread.  Plain old Zucchini bread!  No chocolate chips, no banana.....ok, maybe a little cinnamon sugar in between the layers.

So, I am a big believer in signs.  To me those zucchini's were telling me what I already knew.  Stop working so much and enjoy life.  If I had not hopped on that lawn mower I would not have seen those zucchini's and they may have rotted away.  Sometimes as women I think we take on so much....we don't say "no"......we are all about pleasing others so much that it can be a detriment to our own well being.  I know myself well, and I know when I need to stop and smell the zucchini bread.  Have a wonderful Sunday everyone and as usual,
Until next time......

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A very old rug......

A Couple weeks ago Mom and I traveled to Vermont for another quick trip.  This weekend had been planned for 2 years.  You see, 2 years prior we had joined my sister at the Orford antique and flea market in Orford, NH.  We were not able to go last year as we were preparing for Rug Hooking week at Sauder Village and we sure missed it because, wow, what a great flea market.  
You can see below, the deals are amazing.  We did not have a big enough car.

One of my goodies had a safe spot with Mom.  I use this old gumball machine in the shop to hold balls of Valdani thread.

And somehow, just somehow, we were able to fit it all in!!

One fabulous piece I came home with is this Eagle!!  Just look at this beauty.  It is not old, but sometimes if you just "feel" it, you don't care.  I collect eagles and this one was going to fit in just fine!

Just look at the patina!

Right now he is hanging over our TV, but it's just not right so he will be moving.  He will be proudly displayed over my large hooked American flag rug.  

Below is some gorgeous scenery from the village of Orford.

So, back to the flea market....I had intended to get more pictures of the goodies, but got so swept away with it all that I forgot to snap pictures.  I did happen to love how one vendor displayed 
their pieces of vintage jewelry.

This next fellow had a wonderful booth.  He had a couple of antique hooked rugs that I was eyeing...

This one was a nice example of hit or miss hooking and had a wonderful repair that the gentleman had done.

But then, all of a sudden....I swear to you, it was if the heavens opened up and a ray of light shone down.  The angels were singing and I spied this....

Yes, this beauty came home with me.  Tell me you see it!  Tell me you see the same thing I do...because my husband just doesn't get it.  Never mind the fact that I own a Rug Hooking business.....I think that ray of light would have still been there.  I knew I had found a treasure.  When he gave me the very reasonable price, I said quickly "I'll take it!!!!"  I believe that was the point my sister quietly said under her breath "you bitch". Said with love of course.  You have to understand the playful banter my sister and I have during a flea market.  The words "don't get ahead of me bitch" are said often as we are afraid one will see something before the other."  Of course we both know what the other is looking for and will usually concede if we must on something fabulous.  My sister did tell me that if I had hesitated at all that this beauty was going home with her.  

So, back to NY it went!

The wonderful thing about antique rugs is that you just never know what they are made from because women back then did not care that they were hooking with 100% wool that was cut perfectly.  They were making these rugs out of necessity, to block drafts and keep their homes warm.  You know that there was some creativity involved as you can see the naive designs.  You also know that at one time perhaps the color may have been more vibrant.  Over the years they dull and take on the look that many of us hookers now aspire to.

This particular rug looks to be made with several different materials, mostly nylons.  I love the tufts that appear here and there.  It's not perfect, yet it is perfect to me.

When they were done hooking, they probably did not steam them with an iron to make their loops lay flat.  

This rug is hooked in the wonky or hickety Pickety way that I would love to hook but just can't.  See the one strip of darker color amidst the light color....a repair, or intentional, or necessary...a last strip? 

I have made up several stories in my mind of the origin of this rug.  I like to envision a small woman, wearing an apron, sitting in front of a fire on a cold New Hampshire night.  All her chores for the day are done.  She sits to hook her rug most likely from a primitive tool, not the hooks we use today.  She's hooking it to block a particular draft in their small farmhouse, but the hooking brings a sense of calm after her long day.  She's tired but she has to  pull a few loops!

  I  was lucky to have found this rug already mounted.  It is not a perfect mounting job, yet, it seems just right for this rug.  It will hang proudly in our old stone house.   Do you see it's beauty?  I do!
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.