Friday, October 21, 2016


A few weeks ago I picked a bag of polk berries. (The berries are poisonous to humans). I usually never fool around dyeing with berries as they change color and fade quickly. But after reading of different techniques I thought I'd try.
After picking the berries I froze them.
They say to have a long lasting dye to mordant the fabric with vinegar not alum, and mordant right before dyeing.
I simmered a piece of wool and a piece silk fabric an hour and half in a pot with approximately 1 gallon of  water and 1 cup of white vinegar.

That evening was Herb Society meeting at one of our members house. I demonstrated dyeing in a pumpkin cauldron. Being our herbal Halloween meeting I don't think an ordinary pot would work!
Before the meeting I cleaned out the pumpkin (toasting the seeds in the oven for the grandkids, placing them on a cookie sheet with a little melted butter and sprinkling on a seasoned salt, 325 degrees until crisp).
At the meeting I placed the thawed berries in the pumpkin, squished them thoroughly, poured in 1 1/2 gallons of hot water and 3/4 cup of vinegar in, stirred well and added in the fabric.

Some of the members are knitters and weavers so they will strain out the seeds before adding the yarn.

I saw this pumpkin idea on Pinterest and knowing I didn't want to cook the berries this was the perfect pot.

We always have lots of goodies.

A wonderful punch, apple cider and vanilla ice cream whipped together with pumpkin pie spice sprinkled on top.

Back home I'm leaving it as long as it doesn't get moldy.
The vinegar should help lengthen the time. Right now it smells like wine,

and looks like a dripping bloody pumpkin. That ought to give the trick or treaters a scare:)

My husband and I went to visit our friends on the Mississippi, she gave me this wonderful bird bath sculpture she made,

filled with an bowl, sea shells, broken tiles an old handles.
I love it, thank you Donna. Next summer I'll have it on a cement pedestal.

This is our grandsons dog dressed up for Halloween,
a lady bug or

a bumble bee!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Signs of Fall

For the final study of Capisicum pepper, (herb of the year), my Herb society group learned how to make a hot pepper ristras. The best kind to use for this  is thin skinned cayenne peppers. They will dry well without getting moldy inside.

A beautiful selection for everyone.
We used disposable gloves, fishing line and a large needle to string them.

We tied a raffia bow on the top.

Even if you use green peppers they will turn red as they age.
Through out the next year these will be ready to cut and use in your favorite dishes.
This is Denise with her flower dyed scarf from last meeting.

Homemade salsa with peppers was enjoyed with the rest of the snacks.

And of course a fall punch was made with cinnamon sticks, cloves, apple cider etc. We have the best Herb Society.

A first birthday present for my grand niece.

Wish I could say I knit it but no I bought it at the Farmers market from the knitter.

ArtPrize is here. For the past 10 years or so Grand Rapids, Mi. has hosted a international Art Show. Artists are represented from all over the world. The whole city becomes a art gallery, inside buildings and out along the streets. I spent a day hiking around the city enjoying the art especially the textile art.
I loved this piece, a traditional rug woven in a non-traditional way.

This is the artist name and her country she is from.

A couple of days later I read that her rug was picked by the jurors as one of the finalists for the $200,000 prize! I love to see textiles in the same category as fine art.
2 years ago a large, large pictorial quilt of the Sleeping Bear Dunes won the grand prize.

Another textile piece from Poland.
This piece was knitted from flax cord,

into a very organic looking piece.

A needle felted piece of the North.

Love this cement sculpture.

This was displayed in the entrance of a high end hotel. The winged horses  were magical.

Their shape is made only with individual wires hanging from the ceiling.

This was the entrance at Fredrick Meijer gardens and sculpture garden where there were more art pieces.

I think this was my favorite "sculpture" there.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Full Harvest Moon and Herbal Harvest.

Friday with a storm coming in the Lake was kicking up the waves.
Down I went to quilt and enjoy. The paddle boarders were out,

with the wind surfers riding the waves.

In our area parts of the Lake you can park so close the waves splash up on you car. With the windows open you feel like your in a boat!

With the Full Harvest moon that night, I brought along my table runner (I started last year) and began appliqueing on the wool moon and pumpkins.

I finished weaving in all the great bodies of water on the loom.

After the Mississippi I wove in The Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic with sea shells we picked up while vacationing there. Next is the Pacific with driftwood from a tiny spit of land jutting out into the Pacific. A wonderful  little village called Homer, (Alaska) resides there.
The next weaving will be a sunset or sunrise depending on your location to the water!

It's time to harvest here before the first frost comes. I cut back some of my herbs to make herbal salt for the winter. Simple process:
chop up your favorite herbs in a bowl,

mix in sea salt (or your favorite salt).
Pour on a cookie sheet, I cover mine with foil first. Put in a 180 degree oven for a couple of hours, every once in awhile stirring. When the herbs are dry, let mixture cool.

Put in food processor and whirl until fine.

Store extra in a cute jar. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

My "new" kitchen

This summer we had our kitchen redone. What a joy to cook in an updated area! We kept the original 1950's oak floor.

New quartz countertops and faucet.

Love this "Edison" light for a night light. The bittersweet vine I grow in my yard and hang new every Fall.

Next to the refrigerator I had glass doors to show off family pieces.

Another side. Grandmothers yellow ware bowl that holds fruit.

The back splash with the insert of "stone fence" tile.

My handles on the 3 glass doors are vines and leaves.

The top cabinet doors have small leaves.                                  

And the bottom cabinet doors.

In the corner cabinet with a glass door I put in my mom and dads wedding china (60 some years ago).  When they were getting married all my mothers friends were buying rose pattern china, my parents were moving out of town to the "wilderness" so she bought this pinecone and leaf china. It's a beautiful, large set, I don't use it much because I'm afraid to put it in the dishwasher!

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo