Sunday, July 15, 2012

Lamb Mat on a recycled rice bag

I thought all of you might like to see this little hooked mat I made from a old basmati burlap rice bag..-- I took it apart and drew on the inside a picture of some lambs and hooked away...Here are some pictures in stages..

 The fabric sewn on the edges is just to help it fit my hooking frame better..They will be cut away after the rug is done.

 On its way.. a bit each day...

what shall I make next? I am thinking chickens since I spent a couple of hours at a lovely annual poultry show... hmmm maybe chickens?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Rug Hooking

Awhile back I stumbled upon some beautiful rugs on the internet - lovely primitive ones that were hand made by hooking thin strips of wool through burlap. I was facinated. This was a craft born out the need to make do and keep ones family warm and ward off cold stone floors. Many of the rich folk had beautiful carpets in their homes  but the poorer ones could only resort to sacks and such to keep their floors warm. Then some enterprising and crafty soul discovered that by hooking fabric through burlap - old clothing could be recycled into rugs. They used old sacks and drew out their own patterns and designs with coal from the fireplace- and an art was born..For a hook - an old nail bent and with a handle attached became a hook for hooking these rugs.

Since then a whole world of hooked rugs have been created from the simple to the ones that resemble fine paintings. Rug makers have resorted to dyeing wool to get just the right shade and using special frames and hooks to create their art.Life and loves and home and family became inspiration for the designs on these rugs.. some featured the family pet while others the old home stead or an event in life. These rugs told stories and put memories into form. They became history.

I started making rugs with the help of some online friends from a Yahoo group RugHookers.. I was talked through the art of hooking given advice and told what to do. My next door neighbour happily game me her cast off clothing which I cut into strips with my mat and rotary cutter. I used what I had and drew a simple cat pattern as my first rug. I struggled to find the right tools here in New Zealand and it almost moved me to tears when one day a huge box arrived from the USA with a rug hooking frame, hooks, burlap and enough wool to get me going. The generosity has not stopped with gifts of old magazines, photographs taken at rug fairs and even wool fabric. These were people who loved their craft and dearly wanted to make sure it continue and spread. I even hook with tools from a deceased member of the group who wanted to make sure her tools and hooks went to a new hooker. She would have been surprised to find it made its way to me all the way in New Zealand.

I love the craft and each memory has potential to become a handmade rug.. from the birth of puppies to the  antics of of our pet pig. I need to be frugal as that is what both Greg and I strive for - so I reuse rice bags and horse feed sacks. I hunt old woolen skirts and clothing in charity shops and stalk Greg's closets. I also draw my own patterns..

and each evening I hook just a little more of my rug...I hook  a warm rug for our floors to be enjoyed by cold toes and cold paws. I hook our life and our dreams..I hook our history.

Monday, June 25, 2012

optimism or failure?

This Blogpost has been written by Greg, the other half of Mystic Hills Ngaroma. I make this distinction because last time I randomly wrote a post without informing our followers I caused some confusion as the activity I wrote about didn't seem to fit with the normal activity on this site. How-ever, there are two of us and we have wildly differing interests at times and this blog is about me and my interest.

This is me, just so you know who's talking!

A few weeks ago I went on a long anticipated trip to Stewart Island to hunt for whitetail deer. Stewart Island is a smallish Island about 25km south of the South Island of New Zealand. Its really little more than some rocks and sand dunes in the way of the wind and waves of the Great Southern Ocean. There is a small settlement on the sheltered eastern side of the Island but the whole Island is now a National Park with the exception of small pockets of privately owned land. We of course flew onto a windswept beach on the exposed western side of the Island.
It is, to say the least, an amazing landscape. We landed in strong winds and eight days later we flew out in gale force winds and in between we had about eight hours where the wind died away enough to hear ourselves think. During that eight hours it snowed and then froze leaving a magical shoreline to wander along in the light of the full moon. I took very few photos as the sand and salt spray being blown everywhere was not an environment I wanted to expose my antique camera to. Even my rifle had to be cleaned, the barrel taped over and then loaded inside so as to avoid jamming everything full of sand as happened on the first day.
The morning, the only morning that dawned clear was when I photographed the scene below. I call it 'Optimism' but some would say it is a memorial to failure. True, the farming enterprise that is a remnant of is no more. It succumbed to the harsh environment and bleak isolation and difficult financial times some years ago, but this lonely post and stay spoke volumes to me of the courage, tenacity and hope of those who once braved the immense seas and violent weather of this lattitude to make their dream come true. And I ask,"have they really failed?" for now in it's place is a national park that is the pride and pleasure of so many.
Our national icon the Kiwi roams here in great numbers and are easily seen, whereas on the mainland they are struggling for existence.
It would be easy to think of the failed dreams of those who tried to wrest a living from this land, but it is just as easy to be grateful for those lived and loved and left a legacy for those who followed. I suspect that the descendants who still own a small pocket in the shelter of the dunes think of the current state of this land as a success not a failure.

As our Puppies Grow

I thought our readers may enjoy some updated pictures of our beautiful Bearded Collie puppies. Some have already moved on to wonderful new homes and with families who will love them . Here are pictures of what we affectionally call "Our Minnions of Evil " They are all so different and yet all from one litter!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Online Art lesson

I just love to play with paint and paper , crayons and pastels and have always wanted to do a lot more painting. Sadly living in the middle of no where and far from the nearest town has meant that it is not always possible to attend art lessons or courses.Many too are out of my budget or at times not possible for me to attend.  Enter the wonderful world of online learning. This is wonderful for the rural crafts person who wants some added inspiration.

Mark Making

Oh the joy of scribbling...this was so good
 The first online art Course I signed up for rather a cautiously was Paint Your Story. by artist Mindy Lacefiield. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it dispite the demands of taking up part time. work on the weekend just as the course started. I have long admired this artist on Etsy with her  wonderful free childlike quirky style of art. To meet her online and learn from her was a wonderful opportunity - as was the contact with fellow students who shared and inspired and encouraged each other. It is quite something to find all borders fade when people who love art come together...

Pin board of inspiration in my studio
My red haired girl painted during Mindy's class

Love this little elf like creature I painted
With Mindy's videos and insights I rediscovered how to play with paint like a child and to enjoy and use marks and scribbles in my art work. It was interesting to see how we all learned Mindy's style and yet evolved into our own way of painting . Best of all was the inspiration to just play and paint...Mindy Lacefield is a wonderful giving teacher who just is one of the nicest people to meet and learn from. She plans to hold another course on journalling later int he year and most of us already want to sign up.

Art journal page

A Work in Progress

When the course ended I was so thirsty for more and more that I signed up for Suzi Blu's online art lessons. This series was heavily discounted due to it being self directed. Still the wealth of information and ideas is wonderful....I have began to play with stylized drawing faces and images. I am just loving this and I have yet to even go through a quarter of the videos.Dispite the quirky and slightly crazy personality  Suzi has ( that makes her fun to watch)  she teaches well and carefully , explaining theory and reasons for doing this. I was so surprised at how carefully she leads her students through projects . I am able to understand now why she has such a following. Suzi has just released her new book on painting and also a series of delightfully cute rubber stamps I am dying to own too.I am just loving learring from this fun teacher.- who has a love from dogs too!

Working on homework from Suzi Blu's class on Portraits

What is next on my plan ...well I have just discovered another favourite artist Micheal De Meng is to hold a online assemblage art course in mid I am saving up and hoping I will be able to join . Is it possible to learn so much off videos and online lessons. Yes, for me it is.It works so well as I watch when I can -- at off peak internet times-   I can re-watch parts that I am uncertain about and learn at my own pace and in my own home. Its a pretty good deal I think. Wonderful if life or circumstances keep you at home . Keep learning and trying and experimenting - its one way to always remains young and enriched in spirit..


Its been too long since we have posted on life and times in Mystic Hills Ngaroma but since then we have had a wonderful new additions to the family. Our dog Pip a Beardie has had puppies and produced 6 delightful bundles of fun and fluff. We can only keep  2 ( after much pleading on my part ) and will find good home for the other four. Beardies are wonderfully clever , affectionate and loving dogs and this bunch are well on their way to being just like mom and dad. We thought you might enjoy seeing some pictures of the bunch..

About 1 week old with eyes still closed

Lots of lovely different colours in the one litter

Little Meg take a look at the world - she is the runt of the litter but sooo sweet.

Buddha - such a laid back contented and serene little soul

Momma Pip with her beautiful pups - they will all grow to be just like Her- shaggy

Monday, March 5, 2012

Grungy Monster Doll Shamus the Leprechaun

Ahhhhhh do you believe in Leprechauns......I do ! With the call deep inside me of the Irish I have always believed in the wee folk...the little people...

Shamus is a slightly wild and very impulsive wee fellow....he loves a good yarn and is quite full of the blarney..........but tuck him in your car or on your computer or even in your bed and I am certain he will bring you a good dose of Irish luck!

Wee Shamus is not very big...only a mere 7" tall . He is made from an original design- one of a kind...with vintage and new farbrics. He has a hand and machine embroided face and button eyes. His sparkly green hat can be removed . He has wild yarn hair!

I am a New Zealand Doll Bear and Creature Artist and I live and work on an old high country sheep station in New Zealand.I make my creations one at a time and with love imagination and a dose of Irish magic! I love using recycled materials, vintage fabrics and all sorts of finds.

Here are some of Shamus friends..each one unique and special!! Come visit us and see the gang...