Who is Orange Sink?

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My home town is Rice Lake, a small town in northern Wisconsin. I own Red House Wool Studio~ an in-home wool and rug hooking business. I enjoy collecting and decorating with antiques and primitives. Orange Sink Blog is a journal of my interests and ramblings about life. Cathy Greschner

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

My Newest Rug Hooking Pattern Release! ~Tree Birds~ 18 by 28 1/2

Well it's been a long time coming!  But I finally have a new design to add to my pattern selections! I am happy to present to you "Tree Birds"!  I went days trying to come up with a name for this rug... nothing felt just right...but the song Free Bird ( a favorite old rock song of mine..tee hee) kept popping into my head.  Hence... Tree Birds!  LOL!  I guess you just never know where inspiration may come from. 

But seriously... the birds are inspired by those I've seen on antique fractur art. The tree is patterned after the tree of life that is often seen on antique textiles and artwork, with my own spin on it of course!  The heart at the base of the tree signifies the love which nourishes and holds family and friends together and keeps the tree strong.    There is plenty of opportunity for you to personalize this pattern... perhaps adding initials to the heart for a newly married couple or older couple celebrating a milestone anniversary.  The date can be changed appropriately if you so desire. 
It's an overall antique inspired design that I hope will add warmth and meaning to a special area in  your home.

I have the paper pattern listed in my Etsy shop HERE.  

The pattern is 18 by 28 1/2 inches and ready for you to transfer without having to enlarge it. 

I thank you for being patient with me and also for your continued support of me and my little pattern business!  Life for me right now has been pretty stressful dealing with my Mom's congestive heart failure and keeping my studio and shop going as well.
Maybe one day I'll be free as a bird!  

Until then I'll try to find contentment in the present.
It's not always easy....but 
hooking and designing and teaching others the love for this craft keeps me 
thinking positive!
It's all good!

Cathy G

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Snowbirds Return to Second Tuesday Hook-In!

Nancy is not one of the snowbirds... but then neither am I!  LOL!  We only dream about heading south for the winter and returning home to northern Wisconsin in the Spring!  Today we welcomed our "snowbird" friends back to our monthly gathering here at Red House Wool Studio! More on them in a minute.  First you must feast your eyes on this marvelous finish by Nancy for her wool and velvet applique piece ( pattern by Rebekah Smith)! She attached it to an old wooden shelf given to her years ago by her mother! She painted the shelf with chalk paint to compliment the colors in her appliqué! Very well done Nancy... I love the creativity and the repurposing of an old piece!  Nancy tells us there used to be a mirror in the opening where she mounted the appliqué piece and a door that covered the little cubby space.  Quite the transformation of this old shaving mirror don't you think! 

We also welcomed a new face to our group today!  Meet Eileen! She's working on a beautiful kitty hooked piece that will be stuffed when finished!  It is a project I have to learn more about from the Wool Street Journal.  Isn't her hooking and use of color just great! Eileen has been hooking for 3 or more years and can't get enough!  I sure am glad she found us here in the north woods!  She is such a sweet lady and may have felt a bit timid meeting us wild hookers for the first time!  But I think she had a great time and we welcome her back next month!

Any body recognize this darling "Snowbird"?  LOL! It's BETSY!  Joining us again for the summer and working on a fun, colorful rug that I didn't get time to find out who the designer was! Betsy when you read this maybe leave a comment about the design for our readers! It's as if she brought all that Florida sunshine right back with her! Welcome back dear lady!

And Betsy's SIL who's name is Betsy is back too! ( below)  A "Snowbird" as well but if I heard correctly may be staying longer than the summer!  Wouldn't that be MAHvelous!!  
And... oh my... you won't believe this fun sheep rug she is working on! It's her design based on a photo!  She's cutting a piece of beautiful artisan dyed spot dyed wool ( of which I didn't get a photo of and could kick myself) and using it to hook the background. It's going to be a gorgeous background!  She plans to proddy hook the sheep's body and you can see one  she's already done!  This will be a fun one to watch as she progresses!  It's sooooo good to have both of our Betsy girls back in town!! 

Had to share a recent find that our second Betsy was able to snap up at an antique shop.... a wonderful vintage rug hooked with nylons!  In great shape and get this.... for only 12.00!   The colors have faded to that wonderful old softness I love in antique rugs!  What a buy!  Thank you for sharing it Betsy... it sure looked good on my old worn wood floors!  

Sharon our gal who survived a ruptured appendics last month and surgery is now doing great!  She looks younger than ever without those appendics doesn't she!!  And look at her going to town on a her latest rug, a design by Emma Lou Lais!  Wonderful  and classic.  Love the weeping willows! 
And it's VERY large!  We LOVE big rugs here don't we ladies!  Seems like everyone's working on a big rug except me!  LOL!

A  close-up of the house... using a big #10 cut I believe makes the hooking go so much faster!  Sharon is an expert with the wider cuts and does it with ease!  What a beauty this rug will be!! 

Celeste is not a "Snowbird"!  We won't let her go to Florida or any other place! LOL!  She is the most outstanding wool appliquer and rug hooker and always brings her latest creations to show and tell!
Her "Broken Arrow Alpaca" rug is hooked for neighbors who have Alpaca's and of course she used the wool yarn and roving from their animals to  hook into this piece!  I just LOVE those eyebrows!  What a wonderful gift Celeste!  And did you see her latest wool appliqué... a pattern by Buttermilk Basin!  It was started in the class she took when Stacy West attended our quilt show here in April!  Nice nice work!  

Remember Lorena and Saundra?!  Well they have returned as well from travels and winters in Fla. Hooking flowers and bringing more of that sunshine and warm spirit to the studio we welcome them back! I didn't get much of a chance to talk with them today... but I'm sure we'll see more of them this summer! I NEED to hear all the latest happenings in the hooking world down south!  

                                                           Every one concentrating so hard and waiting for lunch to be served!  How did I NOT  get a picture of all the goodies everyone brought to share.... let me say there was rhubarb in some of the baked things!!  And Gluten Free peanut butter cookies to die for... I could eat them... as I'm now living a Grain Free life... more on that in the future! Don't forget Celeste... I NEED that recipe!!

Wow.... look at the sweet rug MYA is almost done with!  A pattern by The Old Tattered Flag that she has adapted for a wedding gift for a young couple in her family! She's added the family name and date on the bottom to personalize it! 
Fun, lighthearted colors will be perfect for this couple she tells me! Mya has been hooking for such a short time and was lucky enough some friends of hers were able to snatch a townsend cutter second hand!  Almost unheard of to find one used!  But now she will be able to cut wool and hook to her hearts content!   Congrats on that cutter Mya!  It's every rug hookers dream to own one!!

A close-up of Mya's rug!  Great hooking and wonderful colors!

So there you have it! Some of the things going on here in the studio!  Did you happen to notice my new header photo?  Well... it's a sneak peek of a new design I've been working on!  Don't fall over!
I plan to release it as a paper pattern.... it's a bit larger than all my patterns I've released to date so need to work on the specifics a bit more!  
So stay tuned for a better look of the entire pattern!  I do like it myself! Quite an accomplish for me and long overdue!

Cathy G

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Old Photos & Mother's Day

While going through some of Mom's old photographs.... she has boxes of them.... sigh...
I came across a couple of old black and white snapshots that I think really capture the essense of Mother's Day for me.  Of course my Grandma and Great Grandma are no longer living. 

In December of 1953, my Great Grandmother looks a little skeptical, perhaps because I was my Mom's firstborn!  She was probably thinking that Mom was going to have her hands full before too long! LOL! 
I loved my Grandmas dearly!

Here is a photo I cherish of my Mother when she was very young. I will have to ask her how old she is here because I'm not sure.  For a time, they lived in the log house you see behind her.  Can  you spot that little wooden rocking chair in the photo?   It was made by a neighbor for Mom.  She still has that little chair.  My mom is 85 now.  Can't believe that chair has survived 5 kids and countless grandkids!
Mom is doing fairly well these days... dealing with congestive heart failure.  We take each day as it comes.  She tried to go down and pull some weeds out of the peonies the other day and got so out of breath and heart pumping so fast she had to lay down when she came in the house.  She loves her flowers and yard work. Sadly she just isn't going to be able to do much of that anymore.
We are trying to get her unsafe deck replaced this spring so she can container garden a little easier and safely as the deck has seen better days. 
She deserves it so much... but the carpenters who came by to do the work last fall still haven't returned to start the work.  Frustrating, but I hear this story more often than not from others who are wating to get work done.

And another old photo that just makes me laugh.  Mom and I and our dog Zippy. I remember Zippy as if it were yesterday!  I think he must have been one good little Boston Terrier to have put up with that head strong little Cathy!
Hoping you all have a beautiful Mother's day this Sunday... and remember... even though you may not BE a mother, we all have a mother to celebrate!  
Cathy G

Thursday, April 28, 2016

"The Better to See You With My Dear"

You might wonder what the title of this post today is referring too!  LOL!  You'll have to read to the end to "see"!! 
 After my last post you must be wondering what kinds of things I keep in my sewing baskets.
Some contain jumbles of this and that and change on a regular basis.
But this one... my most favorite and workhorse of them all, pretty much always has the same contents. Every now and then I straighen and take out balls of thread, bits of fabric, and maybe a pattern or two of the current project I'm working on... but the basics pretty much stay the same.

The basket itself is one I found several years ago for $5 at a thrift store. It's very sturdily made by a craftsman in the USA.  Found in it's natural color ( a light oak) but then I stained it a dark walnut.  That HUGE god's eye where the handle is attached has always intrigued me.  It makes me think God must really have an eye on things around here... I'd like to think so anyway!

The handle on your sewing basket ( yes, in my opinion it MUST have a handle!) should be very sturdy. 

Your basket should be medium sized... not too small or too big. Every stitcher probably has a feel for what size she prefers.  Mine has to be big enough to hold at least 3 or 4 pincushions!
Yep... pincushions are my love and my greatest needful item in my basket!
I love keeping my pins and needles seperated and in different pincushions. I made all of these from wool and stuffed them with the wool lint ( from the dryer after I wash my wool) and walnut shells.
The one with the sewing machine applique'  is a quilted piece with wool applique' done from a kit by Primitive Gatherings.

I try to keep my other sewing supplies to a minimum in this particular basket.  Embroidery scissors, a needle threader, a couple of spools of thread in neutral colors, a couple of hand wipes, a pocket sized package of Kleenex ( for which I made a cute fabric cover from a sparkly acorn fabric), a piece of chalk for marking on wool, a retractable tape measure.....

an air erasable fabric marking pen, some little plastic Clover wonder clips, and my newest found sewing item I can't stitch without a thread conditioner called Thread Heaven!  Waaaaayyyy better than wax!  It's very cool stuff! Their website is www.Threadheaven.com   I carry it here in the studio for you local gals who might like to give it a whirl! 

So there you have it.... a little run down and glimpse of items in my personal sewing basket.  

Now for the title of my post..... if you're still with me... I had to buy some new specs this past week.  My prescription had changed from a couple of years ago....seems my arm wasn't long enough when holding a book or my phone anymore to read...lol!  So I decided to get some new frames.  In the past I've always picked something kind of wild, red ones, vintage frames with rhinestones, etc.  So I picked the wildest ones I could find at my eye Dr.s!  Still getting used to the prescription change however and I take them off when reading... I thought that I wasn't going to have to do that! ?? 
Any how... the better to see you with my dears!!

Cathy G


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Handwork to Sooth the Soul

I swear.... I haven't quit blogging!  But sometimes I feel like I'm hanging on by the skin of my teeth! The days turn into weeks and then MONTHS! 
So much of life seems like it's passing by in a blur...
A blog post is in order...  
but of what shall I speak?
Perhaps the subject doesn't matter as much as that I am here
I am alive... and able to type a thought or two
and keep in touch with a much loved audience. 
Thank you for reading and listening.


I do try to keep my thinking on the positive.... with world events swirling about 
the mind tends to try and follow the madness.
Handwork helps immensely... soothing the soul, quieting the mind with each stitch and cut of the scissor.
This lovely wool Red Geranium mat I'm working on is by Primitive Gatherings.
There are lots of tiny red petals to cut out (80 to be exact!)  
When I first sit down and start cutting it seems at first like an overwhelming task. The petals are sooooo small. 
Then as the cutting begins... a little soft music playing in the background... each little flower pot 
starts to take shape.
Before I know it I'm half-way around the mat.
I keep thinking about the stitching now... which thread will I use?  How am I going to stitch these tiny little things and which needle would work the best?
Oh... not to get ahead of myself... as there will be some steam pressing 
of all the little pieces to the background  before any stitching can commense!

The preparation before the stitching can be therapeutic as well... but give this some thought...

Keeping supplies organized and at hand,  perhaps in a medium to large sized basket can make
preparation more enjoyable.
Putting together a basket of supplies and sewing necessities can be fun and soothing to the soul as well.
I have many such baskets about the studio.
One can never have too many you know.
Maybe a post is in order about the contents of one of these baskets...what do you think?

Keep on stitching and making beautiful things....
soothing your heart and soul.

Cathy G