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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Sunday, July 17, 2016

From the Heart of a Caregiver

This morning was the breaking point for me.  I've taken care of my mother now for over seven years, ever since she had heart surgery in 2009.   There have been good times, yes.  Times I shall cherish forever and ever.  I wouldn't change a minute of times we've spent together.  Including last saturday night in the ER of Marshfield Medical Center.  All seven hours of it.  It ended with me taking her home and being told by the Dr. on call that "your mother is in the final stages of this Congestive Heart Failure.  There's nothing good at all about her situation. Nothing good at all" he stated again. Exept for the fact she has you as her daughter."  I sat stunned... perhaps because this prognosis was coming from a Dr. that had not seen either one of  us before but had taken time to read my mother's records.  I suppose each Dr. visit, hospital stay, countless waits in waiting rooms, offices, phone calls, trips to pharmacies, grocery stores, trips back and forth to her house, endless days and nights taking care of her every need and care shone through on those records.  Finally a Dr. in the system took the time to care about the caregiver.  Cared enough to spend a few minutes at 1:00 am in the quiet hall of an Emergency Care Center to recognize how it was my mother had even made it this far in life with all she's been through.

A week has past since that long evening we spent in the ER.  Hospice/ Home health care is helping us now.  Sadly my mother's conditon is deteriorating rapidly.  The past 4 days or so I've felt a kind of hopelessness and inadequacy about my role as nurse, medication dispenser, 24 hour a day presense required for her care. Not only that but I am totally physically and mentally wiped out.  I woke up this morning and the tears started flowing.  For the first time... I actually let tears flow.  Trouble is now all day they have come in torrents off and on.  The realization that this may be out of my hands and that mom may have to  be moved to a facility has pulled the rug out from beneath me.

This huge change in life at the end of her life will rip my heart out.  It has already been broken and I struggle now to keep some kind of strength about me to go through this.

Every one will say it's for the better.  That may be so.  The better for all who've not really been involved on an hourly, daily, yearly basis.  Maybe there's not the same thought process from those who've decided to show up for visits this past weekend after seven years of mom living in her own home and needing visits desperately.  I'm just saying.  Time escapes us all. It has a way of turning precious moments into years. Caregivers can tell you that.  Caregivers will tell you too that when the time eventually runs out for the one they've cared for... they will have NO regrets. That they would have done nothing different.  "For the better" perhaps in the end for some.  But the  caregiver would keep on giving.... if it were physically, mentally and emotionally possible. I bet they would all tell you that.                                                           Cathy G

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Smash Hit Garden Junk Sale and another "smash hit"

Our Garden Junk Sale went off without a hitch!  The crowds came, bought and compl
imented us on the great displays and merchandise!  What more could we ask?  Now the plan is to have another Pop-Up sale in the Fall at a soon to be disclosed location!  
The added bonus of having our sale here this last week was that our garage FINALLY is cleaned and organized!  We painted a wall black and I free-hand painted some lovely birch trees in one corner!  
Here are some random photos of the sale.... and if you reach the end of this post you'll find out the other "smash hit" I took this week....

Here is a photo from yesterday I took of my two fur babies Smokey and Max with Lizzy our beloved groomer and dear friend.  She has been a god send in our lives and makes the grooming so much more pleasant for the boys and I!  We have been going to her for the last 3 years or so and of course I showed you Lizzy's house in an earlier post of her Halloween decor.  Well we got some bad news this week from Liz that she is going to retire  from grooming at the end of the year..... I am devasted  at the news but totally understand her reasons. She is taking care of elderly parents as I am.  Life gets so complicated and sometimes we have to weigh the priorities.  We love her and want the best for her. My doggies are going to be 14 years old this Fall and grooming is very hard on them.  We are treated special when we go to Liz' and I am able to stay and visit when she grooms them.  She only takes one client at a time and that works so well for us.
So time will tell what we will do... but we get two more groomings before she hangs it up.
A "smash hit" of the negative kind for sure.... and as long as I'm talking about the not so fun things I thought I'd mention I get to have a tooth pulled tomorrow!  What a perfect way to end the month of June!  NOT! 
But it has to be done.... and just maybe while I'm recuperating I can actually pick up my rug hook and finish a rug for a client that I started a few weeks ago! 
Looking forward to July!

Cathy G

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Our Hook-in Today Here at the Studio~ And a mystery rug video!

Mystery Rug Video

Our Hook-in today at the Red House Wool Studio!  Betsy brought some vintage rugs which we all had fun trying to figure out what they used to hook them!   Enjoy the video!  If anyone would like to chime in with what you think the  rug is made from please do so!  My personal opinion is wool... but I'm no expert!

Progress is being made on the garage, the sale and my Mom's deck!  Will try to post pics soon!

Hugs to all!

Cathy G

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Wools I Used in "Tree Birds" Rug... and What is Going ON!

It's been crazy busy around here lately... even more than usual! But I wanted to show you the wools I used in my latest hooked rug design "Tree Birds". You may recognize some if these as most of us rug hookers puchase our wool from the same suppliers!
Speaking of which.... The newest samples from Heaven's To Betsy has nearly bankrupted me... I ordered so much!  LOL!  But you know what they say... the time to buy a wool you love and know will hook up fantastic is when you see it!  Am I right!? 
My customers and friends here are anxiously waiting for the new wools to arrive!
Lisa has started hooking the Tree Birds and wants to use the new neutral wools for her background!
Back to the wools I used in my rug.... I just love how the wool above( middle one) hooked up for the border!  I think it looks like old barn board! It's called Lattice Work from The Wool Studio. 

That lighter plaid in the lower right hand corner is a wool called Favorite Khaki Background  from The Wool Studio and it is just that... I used it in the inner background on my rug!
The blue wool..... OH that gorgeous shade of blue is one I dye here in my kitchen!  Yikes... I have sold out and used the last bit I had in "Tree Birds" for the birds and just a touch of  it in the leaves! So one of these days I have to hit the dye pots ( read on and you will see why it won't be REAL soon however...) 
The other wools pictured are a hand-dyed olive, tan,  and that great brown one is ( Kodiak) from The Wool Studio. I hooked the thin line #6 cut that seperates the inner and outer border using Kodiak.  The wool on the bottom is a wonderful green/brown check called Whistle Stop from Heaven's To Betsy! I used that one in the big flower centers and a bit in the leaves.
I hooked most of the rug in #9.5 cut and #8.5. 
So there you have it... hope this helps for those who've purchased the pattern ( available in my Etsy Shop). Look in the upper left of the blog for the link to Etsy!
Has anyone started to hook theirs yet?  LOVE to see photos if you have... just email me ( button up there in the left as well).

 What else is going on around here?  Well Mom finally found a new guy to build her a deck! My brother's Ron and Tracy with my hubby Dave's help tore down the old one!  Ron said it probably would have fallen down in the next year if they hadn't gotten to it! Very dangerous, as Mom walks under it daily to take her dog out the back patio door.

Just a start here ... and I am so thankful to have found this guy.... 
His name is Ty Skaar!  Last name is pronounced "score"

.... He tells us his Dad and mother were huge baseball fans! Seriously... a name you won't forget!
He has help today with the big timbers they are putting in for the posts!  They are HUGE!  If this deck is as nice as I think it's going to be I am gonna hire him for a couple of things I want done around here that Dave can't tackle! 
So we're happy and thankful to have found Ty to build this deck for Mom! 
It was really hard to find someone. All the contractors and builders are booked solid for the whole summer and some until next year. Ty had a job cancel so this project worked out great for him too. 

What else is going on?
  Well... this is OUR garage! FINALLY after years of me harping  about what a mess it is...Dave has finally agree to let me help get it cleaned and organized!  Now I know why he never started on it himself! What a dirty job it's been!  Thankfully it hasn't been hot here (weather wise  LOL!) ... just comfortably cool and lots of rain.  Perfect garage cleaning weather.
There's also another reason I want the garage all cleaned and prettied up!
Tell me I'm not crazy but my friend Roxy (who did the Christmas Sale with me) are having a Pop-up Vintage Garden Junk Sale here in our garage!  I have plans to fix it up cute as well as organize and clean years of ( bad junk) that has accumulated!  Make way for the GOOD junk! 
Stay posted for more pics as this thing progresses!  Have made lots of headway already.
But now I have a few orders and a rug to hook for someone too... so no rest for this old gal!
Hope your summer is sailing along smooth!
Cathy G

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Featured Artists at the Red Barn Theatre!

One of the things I am most proud of here in our little town of Rice Lake, Wisconsin, is the Red  Barn Theatre!   It is a most loved and favorite summertime activity of locals and tourists alike!  An old dairy barn was renovated back in the late 60's and serves as the theatre to a lively and talented group of thespians who entertain throughout the summer (as the barn has no heat... or air conditioning).
The former haymow of the old barn serves as the theatre. The lower level is the art gallery and popcorn and coke bar where guests go during intermission for refreshments and to view the artwork of featured local artists.  And I am very proud to announce that my hubby Dave and I are the featured artists for the opening play which starts tomorrow evening!

Dave, as many of you know is a super talented outdoor and wildlife photographer!  He has never displayed his work before so the last few weeks we've been busy framing and organizing some of his best work.  We used mostly old barn board for frames as it fits in nicely with the rustic aspect of the old barn.
My rugs, displayed as art, add the softness and textural feeling to the display.

I had to show you the steps coming down in the former silo!  You can still see the round shape of the cement wall where the silo once was.

The set for this play entitled "The Spitfire Grill" ( a musical)  was designed and painted by our friend and artist Nancy Dutmer.  Nancy sings and acts in many of the plays at the barn, too. Dave and I have complimentary tickets to see the play Saturday night!  I can hardly wait!  It's our anniversary this weekend too!  What better way to spend it than at the Red Barn on a nice summer evening! 

More shots inside the old barn...

Dave and Don Ruedy (left) standing in the silo stairwell!  Don is a fabulous artist and often displays his artwork here in the gallery.  He is the art director for the Barn and was an art teacher at the local college campus here for many years.  I actually had him for a teacher back in the day when I attended college. 

A shot of the dressing rooms for the players!  

Lots of work goes into the upkeep of the barn and the grounds. 

So wish us luck for our first show here at the Red Barn Theatre!  

Thank you for all the nice comments on my last post and the debut of my newest rug and pattern~
Tree Birds is part of the display at the Barn... 
I will answer your questions about the wools I used in the next post!  Thank you to all who ordered the pattern!  I think you'll enjoy hooking it!  
Talk to you soon!
Cathy G