Art, Inspire

Busy Hands – Happy Heart

In the evenings I like to sit with my husband and watch a little TV. Probably like most creatives it is hard to just sit there, so I need something to do with my hands.  I wanted to find something that would keep my hands busy but not over stimulate my brain and keep me from being able to sleep.

I admire Michele Palmer’s art work and am friends with her on Facebook.  She was advertising a punch needle class that she was teaching in Mumford, NY.  I immediately loved the projects because she took her designs and use of color and turned them into punch needle designs.   I convinced my husband that this would be a perfect birthday gift for me and how far could Mumford, NY be from Harrisburg, PA, anyway?


So we headed to the Genesee Country Inn last Thursday for the class the next day.    When we got up on Friday it was snowing 1-2 inches per hour and was predicted to last most of the day.  The innkeeper Debbie was busy handling the phone as cancellations came in, but 7 lovely ladies, Michelle and her daughter Alaina made it.


Before working on our “real” project Michelle gave us a little sampler to work on.  She was very patient with us, showing us how to use the punch needle and the best ways to do the technique.  I actually decided to complete the practice heart before starting my real project.  I am glad that I did. You can see on the left side of the dark blue all the little open holes where on the right you can see that I am getting it.  I did the light blue and dark blue in two evenings.


Michele is an excellent teacher and has so many beautiful patterns.  You can find out more about her below:

I also love the possibilities this class has opened up for me.  I could do punch needle of some of my own designs.  I could also incorporate punch needle into some of the other things that I do.

Michele’s daughter Alaina does printmaking.  I bought this beautiful bag from her. She carved the heart from a linoleum block.   See more of her work at her Etsy store:


Michele and Alaina are both really lovely ladies.  This is a picture of the three of us.


One of the other wonderful things about taking the class was meeting up with other like-minded ladies who like to create.  And like most of us, they do more than one thing.  They were all so nice and I enjoyed sharing and learning from them.

Michelle is an artist, so she will paint a design and then turn it into a punch needle design and also a rug hooking design.


Most of the ladies attending the class were rug hookers. There is a large network of “hookers” in their area who meet on a regular basis to share their love of hooking. Debbie the Inn Keeper is also a rug hooker and sells beautiful pieces of boiled wool in a section of the Inn. They cut the wool into strips for the rug hooking.  Of course, I had to buy a few pieces…more ideas.


The  following day I went to an event where ladies come together to work on their projects and fellowship together.  It was at another larger inn in town and they served a fabulous lunch to all of us.


Truly everyone I met was so nice. It was a wonderful, creative weekend.  I encourage you to take time from your schedule to connect with other like-minded people and try something new.  It is good for your creative soul and will give you a happy heart.



PS.  Just a fun side note.  When we got there our room key was in the front mailbox and it had my last name on the fob.  I thought how nice to personalize that for everyone.  Here one of the rooms was the Allen room and that is were we were staying.  Debbie the innkeeper was wonderful and we enjoyed our stay at the Genesee Country Inn.


25 thoughts on “Busy Hands – Happy Heart”

  1. This sounds like a most wonderful adventure…..your post makes me smile on so many levels 🙂❤️….I hear the happy in your voice just to create.

  2. This sounds like so much fun! I grew up in Lancaster, NY, outside of Buffalo, and I remember my mom talking about something going on in Mumford, a big craft show, maybe? I’m in Chattanooga now and I can pretty much guarantee that there’s nothing like this here. I’ve lived in various states in the south for @40 years and the love of crafting is much different than in the NE. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you Laura, they seem to have a very large network of ladies that do hooking and needle punch, maybe it is the long cold winters. I am glad you enjoyed the post

    2. My mother taught Hooked Rug in adult education in several of the towns in the East Bay. She taught for many years. In her later life she taught in her home to a few ladies she became friends with through adult Education. She made many beautiful rugs. She made rugs for all of the great grandchildren. She also made a rug that was 8ft x 10ft. She used it in her living room for years. Then I used it in my dining room for many years. It hurt to get rid of the rug. But, she kept telling me to toss it, it was worn out. Finally i had to toss it.
      I am going through some of her things now. She was such a great artist. She dyed all of the wool and cut it. She also made a beautiful bag ready to be finished. The serenity prayer all ready to be framed. Some embroidery flowers on burlap. A quilt unfinished.So many
      beautiful things. Lots of UFO’s .
      It was so interesting hearing about your trip. I really enjoyed hearing about other Hookers…Thank you for that!

      1. Hi Agnes, I am sorry I am just seeing this. Sounds like your mother was very talented. It must have been fun growing up in a creative home. It wounds like you have many treasures. I glad the post let you take a little trip down memory lane.

  3. What a wonderful weekend. It is So exciting to learn something new. I can’t wait to see What you create. I bet the snow was beautiful.

    1. Hi Patti, it was a wonderful weekend, I did not realize how close we were to you on our trip north. If I had known I could have dropped off rolls for Barry 😊

    1. Thank you Doris, I loved the rugs, I would love to try hooking but don’t want to overload myself

  4. OH my Jane…..what a fabulous get away! My hands NEED to be busy all the time. I used to do a lot of cross stitch and needle point at night but it became difficult on my eyes trying to follow patterns. I have tried to teach myself needle punch and have had difficulty….I love it!

    1. It was a wonderful weekend just like going to net. I do have the same issues with my eyes at night, this is not so hard on my eyes. The class was nice because there are quite a few tips that make it easier. I am glad that I finished my practice piece because it took until the end to really get it.

    1. Thank you Sheila. So many people are commenting that I think I will do another post in the future with more how to info.

  5. Thank you Jane for sharing your creative life with us. You are such an inspiration. These things are beautiful.

    1. Always glad to share Mary, I am also inspired by all the creative sewing art that you and the sisters do, we will have to have a play date soon.

    1. Thank you Jayne, once I get a little more experience I will do a how to post. I would also be glad to meet up and show you.

  6. How fun, it’s always exciting learning new ways to be creative and artistic. Your room was so totally New England in it’s look.

    1. Hi SUSIE, you use theDMC embroidery floss. We used the medium needle and used 6 strands of floss which is how it is packaged.

  7. Jane it sounds like you had a great time. I ❤️Michelle Palmers designs. I actually purchased 3 of her ink design drawings last fall. Love them. Thanks for sharing.

    1. You are very welcome Susan. Michelle’s designs and use of color are what attracted me to the needle punch. She has so many beautiful designs, check out her Etsy store. Michelle and her daughter are both very sweet.

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