Monday, February 23, 2015


The Valley

Many years ago, when I first learned to hook. I was newly married and working part time while my husband was in grad school.

On the days I had off, my hooking project would consume me, and I would hardly remember to get dressed. Luckily, in those early days I was taking dyeing and hooking lessons from a spirited and generous "Norwegian" woman, Gretchen Leiberg. She played the part, of her husband's Norwegian heritage well, wearing her gray hair in braids, a long skirt hiked halfway up her middle, and said certain phrases with a lilt to it, followed by a "don't ya know." She was a very talented artist and rug hooker. She could easily free-hand draw a detailed pattern onto a burlap backing. In her retirement years she did rosemaling paintings on her husband's handmade furniture that they sold at local art fairs. Her past was interesting and colorful and she loved to share many details through her lively gift of gab!

"Before you begin to hook each day" she admonished me, "you must do these three things."

"One, get dressed!" She assured me that I didn't want to still be in my pajamas when my husband came home at the end of his day!

"Two, make the bed." She believed it would give the appearance that I had done some chores in the house, if the bed was neatly made.

"Three, put something in the crockpot." The house would smell of the delicious dinner, and again, hubby would be lulled into thinking I had been busy cooking all day!

Bless you Gretchen!

This very day, before I allowed myself to get lost in my hooking, I showered and got dressed. I made the bed. And I made a hearty chicken soup in the crockpot. I have to admit, I've added a couple of tricks to my "look busy repertoire". Leaving the vacuum out as if I am ready to use it at any moment, and wearing an apron makes it look like I am perpetually in the middle of some important kitchen chore.

Funny thing is, my husband probably wouldn't mind that I had hooked all day. And, if truth be told, why can't we spend a whole day every now and then immersed in our own creativity.

Wise, dear, Gretchen wasn't saying not to hook, or paint or get lost in your passion. In fact, she encouraged it. She wanted you to be able to concentrate on your rug making without getting distracted by the list of "shoulds"! So, I challenge you to turn off your internal taskmaster and focus on the here and now. Your work deserves your full attention! Your time to make and create beauty is now! Gretchen once said, "Art has been my soul" ...and so it should be!

Thus, before you begin, do these three things!