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Ode to beauty pink…

Before I get things started, I just wanted to say…

Hi.

Welcome to our home.

Have a snake.

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It was the original unfortunate garter snake Olive was playing with the other day. It’s flatter and more dehydrated since the first time I saw it, but it was evidently stashed away for safekeeping. I wonder if she thought I might like to play with it for a while, because she deposited it here, twice. I swept it to the edge of the porch one night – not wanting to throw it away because I know how much she enjoys playing with it – only to look down the next morning and see it right side up and placed so it looked like it was moving towards my foot. Achk! It’s days like these I am grateful I don’t have a cat door…who knows what she might bring in.

Matty, aka “Bratty”, was up to her own shenanigans. We came home from the city yesterday to find she’d done this. I suspect it happened in her efforts to reach the fish, who live farther up above this plant.

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Always fun to clean these up.

I really can’t complain. They are very good girls, super sweet, and other than a few mishaps are a joy to have with us.

On the pink front, I was thinking about dying more, how it seems to unify things and bring other colors together. I had a baggie of pink embroidery floss I was given some time ago, a garish pink I didn’t care for. I’ve given a lot of it away in swaps over the years. This morning I picked out a few skeins from the box. These threads, as you can see, are quite old.

5 cents! How about that? There were some other pinks in that family of threads. Some of them are currently getting the tea treatment. I might follow Jude’s clue and just tea dye them and not rinse them out. I left the wrappers on just for grins, to see what would happen to them.

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I hope they are enjoying the earl gray leftovers, brewed in my new tea pot, which I already LOVE.

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I had some funny money to spend with Amazon, a Christmas gift card, and my box of goodies arrived yesterday. Besides the tea things, I got some new Fiskar products: snippers, a scissor sharpener and an angle protractor for drawing class.

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I’m iffy about the snippers. They are sized super small and don’t fit well in my hand. Still, I will use them. They are super sharp. The sharpener was helpful. It did improve an old pair of Fiskars, worked on my Mundials (which are STILL quite fabulous after 20 years of never being sharpened), and slightly improved a pair of cheapie scissors.

After becoming a little disappointed that the ends weren’t sharpening well, H informed me that’s a trouble spot for scissors. He said it used to be his job – at some point in school – to sharpen all the scissors, so he would know. The scissors that sharpen up the best are the old style all metal silver ones with the black handles. You can use those forever, he said. My mom has a pair of all silver Fiskars, I think. I remember the day she got them. When I cut a thread with them she lost it. But then, she was always losing her cool.

I’ve started a new project. I wanted something I could just pick up and stitch on, without having to spend time thinking about composition or styling, and this beautiful tablecloth I found at the local thrift store came to mind. It seems the perfect host for a word cloth.

I’m currently basting it with this thread, which is a favorite to do basic sewing with. I’m on my second spool of it.

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It’s super strong (made for jeans) and has such a fabulous sheen to it. Oh, look at that: Coats.

I was originally thinking of using the striped blue and white tablecloth for the backing, but instead switched gears and am stitching it to a large piece of a green organic cotton sheet I’d worn out and started cutting up for smaller backing fabric. So far, the two pieces are coming together beautifully using Jude’s glue stitch.

By the way, each of those tablecloths cost me $1 a piece at the local thrift store. There are so many antique linens that show up there and are such a treasure. I always stop by that part of the store on a visit and usually come home with something great. This blue one is SO soft and has such a nice feel to it. It was obviously used and has some stains, but I don’t care. I’ll cover them up.

I’m currently searching for a nice piece of lace, tatting or crochet to stitch in the center, just to get things started and have something to work around. I have a lot of nice trinkets like this that might find a home here. I thought about stitching 2017 in the middle, but I want this to be about the months and the things that happen in them, rather than a focus on the year. I might save stitching the year to the very end.

While the tea soaks into the pink threads, there is one other beauty pink for which I am anxiously waiting.

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All day to do nothing…

I saw this online just now. It summed up the past couple of days, especially yesterday, perfectly.

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I feel like a char woman a lot. A bad one. I’m not dedicated enough to keep everything spic and span. I basically do the bare minimum. I cook from scratch a lot so it can create a big mess, then we eat, more dishes to do, etc… Even when I do try to keep the house up, the next day it’s like I did nothing. The washer has been down for over a month I think. Last week was about doing laundry at the laundrymat. It’s great to have it done and feel caught up again.

Anyway, I didn’t stitch at all yesterday. The day was filled with computer work…biz work and then trying to find a suitable place to stay for my workshop in Denver in two weeks. Happily, all that is resolved after weeks and weeks of emails getting lost in the shuffle. Besides us, I know of two other people having major computer malfunctions. I nearly missed out on the workshop because of it, sort of. I mean, I know I’m supposed to be there. It’s in the stars…not really, it’s my intent to attend. Therefore, it will happen.

Yesterday was also about trying to get seed organized. This year’s tomatoes, okra, Japanese sweet pea…were all grown from seed I saved in 2014 and previous years. I didn’t garden last year, won’t go into why except it was a hellish year. Some of the tomato seed, amazingly, was from 2007.

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So, a lot of times I think I really need to post here, but I’ve nothing to say, nothing to share, especially when I haven’t been creatingmaking… Then I remember all the photos I’ve taken, and that gives me a platform for discussion.

I’ve had some more dye experiments with walnut going on. Some really amazing things happened.

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Look at that.

The photos don’t do it justice. I need to shoot in better light, get a better camera, but there it is. That’s walnut dye on silk. That’s my clothespinori (my personal spin on shibori.) The happy accident, where I got the COLOR that is like little windows…that happened when dye caught up in the wooden clothespins leached onto the silk, giving these amazing colored impressions surrounded by walnut. These look like houses, castles…magical.

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A lot of things happened with this piece of silk. I actually dyed four of these pieces, they were so wonderful.

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This is what the silk print used to look like, that purple and white striped one at the top.

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This cloth was simply twisted and tied, much like you would a hank of yarn. The purple bled all over the place. Amazing.

Here is a collage I’m working on which includes some of the orange silk pieces which were clothespinoried.

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The feature fabric in the middle, the one with the Lovers, has obviously been walnut died. All these pieces have. I didn’t like the results of the feature fabric to begin with. In fact, there were a handful of pieces like this I wasn’t all that impressed with. It was the silks and the laces that took my breath away. The other fabrics seemed dulled, not all that impressive.

But, a few nights ago, I couldn’t sleep, so I got out this latest batch of dyed fabrics and just started looking at them. Suddenly, I could SEE. The walnut had completely framed the Lovers, antiqued them. This grew into a collage, a scene, which I am continuing to work with in the sewing room. I will post more photos another time, as it has progressed since then.

I kept wanting to really see things, in my search for finding my own niche in the textile artist world. Like I said, many of my latest efforts did not seem all that impressive. But then I SAW this piece. Ghost trees.

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Ghost trees, like the swamp I visited in Louisianna.

I hope I can do these fabrics justice.

 

 

 

 

Another one…

I feel I have to write another blog entry since I have things I need to catch up on after not having a computer for several days. I need to get these thoughts and photos out of the queue so new things can come…

As I have mentioned, I go out barefoot most days to check the garden. I have realized this time, this practice, is a communication with the earth. I know all about grounding and have for years now, but after getting past some foot phobias (now THAT’s a story!) I have become braver about venturing out barefoot. I know, logically, I am exchanging positive ions (inflammation/bad mojo, etc…) for the earth’s healing negative ions, but there is a relationship, a conversation I have with the earth through my feet when I walk on the ground barefoot. It is a sensory experience, one without words or thoughts, but in the space between words and thoughts. I pick up on moisture levels, ground temperature, vegetation, and probably other things not consciously considered. I FEEL. I walk around my plantings, observe volunteers, monitor growth, all the while my feet talk with the earth. I always feel so much better after, and find myself wanting to go out several times a day just to have the experience.

I picked a lot of the pecans barefoot at the park. Funny story, I actually stepped in dog poo, but didn’t realize it until I was a bit downwind and could smell it.

Did I just step in dog poo?

I looked back and saw it. I remembered registering soft and cool. Lucky for me, the poo was nearly dried and my feet bottoms already had a fine protective layer of dirt, so none of it stuck. It cracks me up to think about it. One of the hazards of walking barefoot: you might step in poo.

I shot more photos while I was out.

I don’t know what these little berries are, but they are very endearing. I believe the blossoms were white this spring.

My marigolds are again blooming profusely. I will be able to harvest a 3rd batch of flowers before the first frost. I’d better get on that. The marigolds on one side are completely entwined with the tomatoes. On the other side, morning glories have come up through the branches. I pulled most of them, but allowed one to remain.

 

I discovered what was sprouting up in the courtyard…lemon basil. I’m actually thrilled because I am going to cure some herbs in salt.

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I am still enjoying the zinnias, too.

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On the topic of fabric, I mentioned in my last post my goal about creating. Really, a huge part of my goal is to use up the fabrics, threads, laces, yarns, etc… I have accumulated over time. I have fabric from when I worked at a fabric store well over 20 years ago! I want to turn these materials into creations and send them out into the world, to be enjoyed by someone. I want to reduce the amount of materials I have, get things moving. When your cup is already full, there’s no room for something new.

Proudly, last week I set up my craft room. I have lived in this house for 2 years, will likely move again soon, and had not committed to using it. It is a luxury to have so much space. There are only two of us in this big house. You can see how many materials and supplies I have…although this is just one corner.

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It is nice to have a dedicated place to stitch, by a window, where I do get some sunlight streaming in.

I have made progress on the SunMoonStars – inspired work.

I find I have worked a bit too dark in places and need to do more to lighten things up.

Here is a work co-inspired by Jude Hill and Grace. Still very much a work in progress. This is my looser piece.

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It has some nice elements, but I have not begun embroidering yet.

Here’s the first effort after finding Spirit Cloth. Not yet finished, either. (Color: Walnut dye and violet Rit on old manpants.)

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Last night I got out yarn. It felt good to be crocheting again. Playing with color schemes, strange moons and square-ish shapes.

I read on another blog about how the writer felt she worked in such a literal way. I have felt the same about myself, (have even been told that: “You are SO literal…) hence, the attempt at loose work. I know my work will never be tidy and perfect, and I like that and am embracing the idea of my own imperfection. My own way of working looser may just be to not worry about perfection and embrace the un-square corners and loose threads. I will keep trying.

 

 

 

Dip it in Brown!

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I couldn’t resist posting another marigold photo.

After pruning the marigold bushes of mature blooms earlier this month, the plants exploded, putting on more flowers than I’d seen so far. It was quite impressive. The amount of petals I harvested from the blooms was easily 4 or 5 times that of my first harvest. The dried petals produce a nice yellow dye. I’ve experimented with just a small amount of petals and the dye was pale. I’ll try more seriously another time.

I had some leftover walnut dye and dunked these items in yesterday. I left the pot simmering on the stove for quite a while.

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I have quite a stash of ribbon, lace and tatting, mostly left over from my crazy quilting days. I hardly used any of it because most of it was white, and I wasn’t into dyeing. I had tea dyed a bit here and there, but not much. The walnut dye is very easy to make and so far I am really loving the shades of brown it produces. Many items turn out quite similarly to a tea dye while others come out a rich, earthy brown or even pinkish-brown.

One of the best lace dyers I know once told me if you don’t like the color of something, dip it in brown! (My friend doesn’t have a website to link to, but here’s a link to a story I did about her.) I didn’t like the color of several items, including the tatting on the left and the (now) pinkish rose lace, which were both garish pinks, so, I dipped them! I love the way they turned out.

I also had some very ornate trim I’d never used, also because the color never went with anything, so I dipped it, too, along with a plane lace leaf. This was when the dye was a bit stronger before I added more water. I love the way they turned out. The trim is nicely antiqued and the leaf looks almost like copper.

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Anyway, I’m going to have fun with these.