Who is Orange Sink?

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Rice Lake, WI, United States
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, March 28, 2010


This post will be a menagerie. Mainly because I can't seem to get my brain back in order after this past week of happenings. Mom had her cataract surgery and is doing fine. It was a rather difficult surgery to remove a really thick cataract resulting from the staph infection that infected her eye as well as damaged her heart valve. We have been waiting for months for this surgery. A lot rides on whether she can ever see out of that eye again. When the bandage came off the next day in the Dr's. office I thought the worst had happened. She wasn't seeing the biggest letter up on the wall. Then after a few minutes she could see the big letter E on a card held about four feet in front of her. Okay Mom! That is a good sign! We have another appointment this week to see if things have progressed. It's been a long haul since last May when she got sick. I have learned a great deal about myself. I've learned patience the hard way. I'm afraid that I'm still on that page in the lesson book of life!

Back to the home front. We have a new project going here this Spring. Our front deck entrance was in bad need of replacement. Dave has started to attack it and by next post I hope to show you some progress. We are fixing up this old ranch style house a little each year and on a very limited budget.
Oh I almost forgot to tell you about the photo of the rug at the beginning of the post. The rug is an antique rug I bought from my friend Sue. I've had it a number of years intending to repair it. It is going to be a big job because the edges are really falling apart. It was hooked on burlap and has an extra piece of burlap sewn on the back for protection. It's a pretty rug with vibrant colors. I think maybe it was hooked sometime in the 1930's or 40's. Not sure when I can embark on the job of repairing it. Maybe not in this lifetime due to the menagerie I've got going presently!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Have You Hugged Your Friends Today?

Friends. I am blessed with many. Today my thoughts are weighing heavily and thankfully towards one of my best friends, Sue. This morning I got a call from her and in her 'just like any other day voice' we chatted about what we've been up to lately. She asked about my Mom as she always does. I ran on about this past week's Dr's appointments with my Mom and life's trivial comings and goings. She talked about all the calves being born out there on the farm. Thirty-nine I think she said had already been born with about six more due in the next couple of days. They raise beef cattle. And no, they didn't tap the maple sugar trees this year like they usually do. Then in her soft and overly calm farm wife voice she said......"well, I got hurt last week."

Eric and Sue with Grandkids Ella and Sean

I felt my heart skip a beat. "What?" I replied. "How?" "Are you okay?"
Turns out my dear friend was cornered in a pen in the barn with a 1300 pound heifer who had a new born calf. The cow went after her, knocking her into a corner and proceeded to mall her repeatedly in the head and chest area. Sue screamed for her life and tried to get away. The cow hesitated for just a moment and Sue was able to get away and out of the pen. Eric, Sue's husband was in a nearby shop building and heard the outdoor cattle making a ruckus. He thought he better go out to see what was going on. As he came out the shop door Sue was stumbling out of the barn. (This is perhaps enough detail as you can probably imagine what someone who was just mangled by a 1300 lb animal probably looked like.
Then our conversation resumed to "Oh yes, I did spend the next night in the hospital. Pretty badly beaten, shaken,bruised, .... nothing that a few shots of morphine and a few stitches couldn't fix."
Lot's of tests and Xrays showed there was nothing broken. Physically broken.
When you've farmed all your life I guess you take these things in stride. There isn't much choice. You know you have to go back to the barn, back out to the field. The mother cows with their new babies will be waiting for you. You're probably scared out of your mind knowing what these animals can do out of instinct in the flash of a second. It gets buried, I'm sure, in the recesses of ones mind because you know the livelihood of all in your care depend on you going back out and doing your chores. Perhaps now though, not so much like any other day. The sweet smell of Spring on the farm is maybe a little sweeter. The beautiful bond between new born calf and mother is appreciated a little stronger. The miracles of life and death that are witnessed each day on a farm are given a little deeper thought.
After I hung up the phone I raced to tell Dave what had happened to Sue. The look on his face was one I've seen only a few other times when we've had calls announcing sickness or tragedy in our family. The look quickly faded as I assured him she was going to be alright. We "dodged another bullet". We didn't lose a dear friend. How close we came is only a thought to be filed quickly away and replaced by thoughts of good times we will be sharing together this Spring. Good times so precious and sweet with the sweetest and dearest of friends.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Trying to Win This Book!

Blomsterverkstad: Vinn min bok Blomstrande idéer * Win my new bok I thought I'd try and win this book but won't be able to read it because it's in Swedish. But the pictures will be wonderful I'm sure. I am going for it as my luck at winning these things has been pretty fair recently. So what the heck, may as well give it a shot!

A new little boutique opened in our town this week. I stopped in there briefly and signed up for the door prize. The main prize was a free purse every month for a year! Guess what! No, I didn't win that. darn. I did win a little door prize though. I don't know what yet because they were all wrapped. I will be picking it up the next time they open in April. They are only open 4 days each month. A new concept for small businesses these days. It seems to be working for them.

Hope you had a wonderful St. Patrick's Day. Gorgeous weather today but we may get some snow this weekend. I put away my winter boots yesterday. Was that dumb or what?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I Got Mail!....Real Mail!

I have to tell you this past week the mailman was very good to me! He brought me a package I was eagerly anticipating. You see, my winning streak on winning give aways on blogs hasn't dried up yet! I was fortunate to win the give away on Jacque's blog The Doodles of My Mind This girl is one talented quilter as well as a rug hooker! OMG you should see her quilts! It boggles my mind that she can  find time to pick up a rug hook too! Come to find out she is a fellow Wisconsinite!   She lives a few hours away but nonetheless we are neighbors in comparison to the world wide web! Well, on to the loot! A couple of books I've had my eye on and a cute lamb coaster pattern on linen. I've always wanted that pattern .......but being the cheapster that I am never bought it for myself. Here's a pic.
The Deanne Fitzpatrick book is really wonderful. I am so happy to have it in my library! Thank-you Jacque for a very generous give-away. You've made my little hooker heart happy!
The mailman wasn't done yet!
All the way from Sweden this next package came! I took an online survey on the site I told you about a few posts back. Gudrun Sjoden . Just for filling out a survey they sent this cute bag, shown in the photo above in one of their fabrics I love. If you haven't visited their website do so. It is so full of fun bright colors that you can't help but be inspired! Click on the link to watch an inspiring video clip of Gudrun in her studio.
I am in a lull right now with hooking. I still need to mount the last rug I hooked on a frame. Yesterday I worked on digging through my wool to try and start organizing it. I'll save that for an entirely new post! My studio looks like a tornado went through but it's time I have some organization out there. It has a calming effect while I'm sorting and working with the wool. I'm hoping the next project can materialize if I give it some room and a place to settle! I think I see something in the far right corner of my mind a brewing!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

An 'Otterly' Delightful Spring Day


For lack of something to write about I thought I'd share this photo Dave took the other day of these two furry creatures. He was driving past some open water on the edge of the lake where they were frolicking and having a good time! Otters are playful by nature and when Dave stopped to photograph them they perched on the edge of the ice and gave him some stares as though saying "what are you lookin' at?" Dave said that when he approached them they were playing like two puppies rolling around with each other. Then they stopped to give him the once over before splashing into the water to continue their play. I've read that the otter's efficiency at catching fish leaves them a lot of time to play. Carefree and full of fun they'll pick up a small pebble from the bottom of the pond, bring it to the surface and drop it. Then swim down under it and catch it on their forehead. They'll flip and turn with the pebble still on their forehead as they surface then drop it again and start all over.
It is a treat to see them here. Recently they've managed to increase their numbers in the northeastern United States where human populations had nearly decimated them in some areas. Some of this info. from (Tracking and the Art of Seeing By Paul Rezendes).

Living here in the far north lands of Wisconsin we are never too far from the wonders of nature. It seems that on every walk or drive to the local business area there are sights and displays of wild life that delight and sometimes take us by surprise. If we are attentive and take the time to stop and appreciate these wonders around us, we'll be rewarded. The more we learn and understand about the lives of others we share this planet with, the more we'll be aware of how their lives connect with and affect our own.

Thank-you for stopping by today. Thank-you too for leaving your wonderful comments in the last few days! I hope to have some Spring time rug hooking projects to share with you soon! May Spring shine her lovely face upon you and warm the little seedlings of creative energy to grow within!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Banana Bread Warms This March Day

Since March has come in like a lamb here so sunny and warm, I thought I'd bake some banana bread. I've been thinking about banana bread for the past few weeks and dog gone it today I just went for it! I haven't baked in so long I nearly forgot how and besides that my friend and neighbor Lisa phoned and we chatted the whole time. Those head phones you plug into the phone work great for me. Lisa and I live only two houses apart but we gab on the phone nearly every day.

I didn't fire up "old Betsy" my wood cook stove today to bake the banana bread. She hasn't been fired up now for a couple of years. We burn wood to heat our house as some of you regular readers know. Dave tells me he can't keep up with fire wood for TWO stoves. I have baked quite a lot with her over the years. Mostly for Thanksgiving turkey and hams. When the nieces and nephews were little tots we would fire her up on those cold days when they came over to slide down our hill. Little wet mittens and boots warmed and dried quickly as we all rubbed our cold hands and cozied up next to "old Betsy". I inherited her. She was left in this house by my friend Helen, the previous owner who named her Betsy. Helen passed away this last week. She was 90 years young. She raised nine children in this house and old Betsy delivered many golden loaves of baked bread.

So after my golden loaves of banana bread came out of the old electric oven, Smokey and Max showed up for a little bite.
Then Max's head took a spin when I dropped a piece on the floor. Taking a picture with one hand while getting them to do something is no easy feat. I thought this picture was pretty funny if not a little Excorsist looking LOL.
I guess I haven't lost my touch when it comes to baking banana bread. I have to tell you it turned out pretty darned delicious. Slathered in Smart Balance Spread and downed with a tall cold glass of my favorite iced tea, the winter doldrums melted right away!
I doubled the recipe and threw in some dried craisins and figs(dates). I used pecans for the nuts. One of the little loaves is for Lisa since she is the sweetest of neighbors and friends. The other one is for ??. Maybe I'll freeze it for a gift.
I took the dogs for a walk today. Yes, by golly I think maybe Spring will arrive yet in northern Wisconsin. It's been a long time comin'!!
I'll share one more photo today of an old oak cupboard that sits next to "old Betsy" in our breezeway. Back in my antique dealer days I bought this piece and had ten coats of paint stripped off of it. Now that it's so popular to paint everything white maybe I should have left it! It really was a terrible mess. Not the original kind of paint you would have wanted to see. It still has the original piece of old gray marble set in the counter top for baking. It holds some of my pieces of Red Wing pottery.

Monday, March 1, 2010

It's Magic! Finding Gold In My Wool!

I've had this strange looking wool in my stash for awhile. I inherited it from my teacher a couple of years ago. It had to be some kind of sweater or jacket. At first glance it looks rather plain but once cut into strips and hooked something magical happens. Buried inside the fibers is this metallic gold thread. When you hook it a little bit of the   gold pops through and shimmers like little stars popping through the night sky.  I've used it in several of my rugs when I need just a little bit of sparkle or magic to happen. I hope you can see a bit of it hooked in the photo above. 

I've used it in this latest rug to add a little sparkle to the night sky. You may have to study it in person to  see it as it is very subtle.  I finished the hooking of this little mat last night. My rendition of "glow" in hooking needs some practice. This is my first attempt at trying this.  Wanda Kerr so generously offered this free pattern on The Welcome Mat. I modified it by elongating and narrowing the pattern. I used left over strips from previous rug projects. I plan to mount it on a fabric covered frame like I did the Funky Birch Tree rug. 

I enjoy doing these smaller mats.  My time is limited with caring for Mom so these little mats go quickly.I learn something new with each one and my patience isn't tested quite so much as working on a larger rug.  Of course once I start a rug my inner wild woman takes over and keeps me up till 3:00 A.M. That has always been my favorite time to work in my studio.