Monday, October 3, 2011

blog update

So maybe you've noticed and maybe you haven't but I've made some changes to the old blog again.

The same elements are still available, as usual. The blog labels are now located on the sidebar along with cute new icons for following via Twitter, Facebook, and the like.

I did add one thing that's completely new and that something is a link to my new Etsy shop, IW by IdleWife! Yes, I finally worked up the nerve to open my own shop. That's what I've been secretly working on for the last while.

Currently, I have it filled with crocheted rugs. Can I tell you a story about them?

Maybe I've mentioned it, but I grew up on a farm. It was a working farm meaning we had (at one time or another) one of every farm animal but mostly we specialized in beef cattle. Anyway just down the road from us, lived this older lady named Tootsie. Isn't that the best name you've ever heard? I don't know if it's true or not, but I was always told that by the time her parents got to having her, they were tired of coming up with names so she got a unique "non-name."

She had an adopted border collie named, Lady. (Tootsie got her after Lady's old owner passed away.) Every time we drove past Tootsie's house, Lady was lying there on the deck staring off at the road.

Those two had the funniest love/hate relationship as Tootsie was such a matter-of-fact, say it like it is type of person. She talked to Lady like she was a person. No baby talk or patting, just straight forward conversations.

One day I got home from school and Lady was at our house. I didn't recognize her as Tootsie's dog at first. Strays are always turning up on a farm. It wasn't until my dad pointed out that Lady had to go back to Tootsie's because it just wouldn't be right if we kept her.

So that same day, we stuck Lady in the truck and drove her back to Tootsie's. Tootsie laughed about this, thinking that Lady just wanted to see what was down the road and we returned home.

It wasn't a day later, and I arrived home from school to find Lady in the yard again. As usual, we went about our chores and Lady followed us around doing them with us. But, as usual, the time came to take her home and this time, she wouldn't get in the truck. I'm sure she knew we were going to take her back to Tootsie's so she avoided the truck completely. We managed to trick her into following the quad down the road and back to Tootsie's house again. Tootsie seemed a little more annoyed at this point but didn't let it surface. She scolded Lady a bit over causing so many problems but generally laughed it off again.

Then Lady visited us a third time. Again, after "helping" us with chores, she refused to get in the truck. And this time, she refused to follow the quad if it went anywhere that was out of the yard. We ended up walking Lady back to Tootsie that day. Thank goodness she lived fairly close!

The final straw came when Lady showed up at the farm and refused to get in the truck, follow the quad, or walk anywhere that was out of our yard, so we had to inform Tootsie there was no way we could get Lady to come back. She said that Lady had obviously chosen a new family and wanted more adventure in her life so she let us keep her. We felt awful that we took Tootsie's dog and Tootsie made sure to bring Lady up in almost every conversation afterwards, but it was and still is one of the most interesting animal stories I have.

We had Lady for about 6 more years and she did everything with us. Feeding cattle, daily runs around the pasture checking up on things, leisurely walks, and even mundane trips into the city. I think it's true. She just wanted a more interesting life and didn't want to spend another year sitting idly on a deck, watching the world go by. I think it's really funny how she made the decision herself. That's completely what a Tootsie dog would do!

Anyway, through all of this, I got to know Tootsie a little better. It was around this time when I learned that she specialized in making crocheted rugs. I'd never seen anything like them and they were absolutely gorgeous. She'd make them out of all sorts of things (mom has one made from old men's socks -- super nice on the feet!), but mostly she used torn up sheets and everyone would donate them to her. She had an entire room devoted to it, with stacks of sheets organized by colour and stacks of rugs waiting to go to new homes.

Through some amazing chance, I ended up with one. She just gave it to me one day. I really couldn't believe my luck. She thought it was one of the ugliest rugs she'd made and had long since decided she'd never be able to sell it and told me so. I just couldn't get over that. I thought it was one of her best. After that, Tootsie was more than happy to teach me how to make them (besides, I was at her house returning her dog almost every day anyway).

She bought me a crochet hook and gave me some sheets to work with, and I practiced making them for a while, but soon school and life and stuff just took over. While I really did want to make them, I just didn't have the time for it and the whole thing fell to the wayside.

Lately, making these rugs has been on my mind. I don't know what made me think of it again. Maybe it's because I still had them in my life. My practice round is being used as a trivet on our dining room table and I keep Tootsie's "ugly" rug in my kitchen. I just couldn't stop thinking about it and almost exactly to the day I decided to try making them and started practicing again, mom informed me that she'd read that Tootsie had passed away that same week. It's kind of mysterious to me how I've been thinking about her, Lady, and her rugs and then learning of her passing all in the same time frame.

It was such a sad thing for me to hear, but it made me want to make them again even more. So I did. My first attempts were fairly bad. I was coming out with fabric bowls rather than rugs. It was so frustrating because I couldn't ask Tootsie and all I could remember was how easy she made it seem. Finally, I found the knack for it again and I'm super proud with how they came out. I love the colours and the texture and they feel amazing underneath my feet. It's no wonder why I took so long posting them in the shop. I would be just as happy keeping them all to myself!

I think I did Tootsie proud.

I've posted my first four rugs in the IW shop. I'm not sure if I'll always have rugs in there or if I'll also post other little ideas swirling around in my mind (maybe some vintage finds -- like mismatched vintage sheets, the ones I can't bear to tear! -- or photography or jewelry), but I'll definitely be having shop updates as necessary to let you know what's going on from now on.


Laeli said...

Ok, spooky. I just learned to crochet so I could make rugs. A friend at my daughter's school told me about them..

This is a lovely lovely post. I feel like I know your Tootsie through it:) Those rugs are stunning!

Lisa Davis said...


Kim said...

Wonderful story! I Judy purchased a large crochet hook about a week ago to make a rug too!!! I already have a zillion sheets I've been using to make a quilt...

danielle and dinosaur toes said...

i loved that story about tootsie and lady! and i'm glad that lady chose you guys, and you were happy to have her. that just makes me smile.

when my brother and i were younger, we made friends with a lady in her 80's who lived down the street. once we moved, i always thought about her, and i think it takes a unique person to make such an impression on a child.

your rugs are beautiful! i'm so glad you opened a shop, and i'm going to take a look in just a minute. and how funny to see these rugs - over the weekend, chris and i went to a mennonite sale with all sorts of food and quilts, and of course these rugs! i went through my fabric and decided to try my hand, so i especially loved seeing yours this morning! i have a feeling i'll be making all bowls and no rugs though ;)

Ash & Kimmy said...

Love them! I did an oval one recently and posted a tutorial here:

GALaxy said...

Lael: I never learned to crochet! I guess I could probably do something a little more crochet-y now that I've got this down!

Lisa: Maybe... we'll see! There are plenty of tutorials around the web, though. It's something that you can learn the steps to, but you really have to practice to get it working properly.

Kim: I'd love to get into quilt making. I have tons of fabric I think would work really well for that.

Danielle: Thanks so much! I seem to get along with old ladies really well. They just ooze a certain cool, don't they? Oh, the crochet bowls are nothing to sneeze at. I definitely had a moment where I thought hey, bowls are pretty useful too, right?

Ash & Kimmy: The original Tootsie rug is an oval one. She never got around to teaching me oval, but I've been studying her rug like a crazy person so I think I've figured it out. I'll have to pop over and check it out. Thanks!

Lindsey @ Hot Polka Dot said...

Kristin, I am so thrilled you started an etsy shop! It looks great and I look forward to seeing what else you decide to add. I really enjoyed your story about Tootsie and Lady too!

Anonymous said...

hi there, welcome in the etsy comunity! i just came by after reading all that comments on danni's blog discussion. i totally felt like most of you all too, so i was curiousing what kind of people some are and i found your blog. now i am enjoying!

GALaxy said...

Internodiciotto: Ah yeah, that was a really good discussion, wasn't it? I'll have to go back and read more of the comments. There are so many great blogs out there to find, aren't there? Thanks for reading and enjoying mine!

Make handmade said...

Love them! this action is green craft.