Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Playing with summer flowers

(I've been hating to post on my blog as my pictures are so blurring and grainy not from my camera but from the blog site. Hopefully I will find someone to help me figure it out. With that being said I'll show you what I've been up to.)

My little neighbor girl came over and put a few rows in the loom. We picked daisies and added a row of them, then a row of wool.

The daisies looked like a row of white lace.

Our last row was a whole mullein plant.

I planted dyers chamomile last Spring and there were few blossoms ready to use.

They look like yellow daisies and are full of dye.

I placed them on wool and a silk scarf. Steamed and let them set a week.

The silk scarf doesn't show the detail to well but the wool really does.
I'm now making a wool scarf with the flowers for my daughter for winter.

My gaillardia  (blanket flowers) are ready to pick and dye with also. I rolled these up in a silk scarf.

After a week, the silk scarf is full of color, some purple, yellow and a little rose, it looks like water coloring. The wool scarf on the right I dyed a couple of years ago, the color stayed wonderfully.

Spring, Summer and early Fall my favorite Saturday morning ritual is to get up early, make a chai latte and wander around the yard picking flowers for the house. If there aren't many flowers blooming I pick a bouquet of herbs or in the Fall branches of colored leaves.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

St. Johns wort and Vacationing

St. John's wort (also know as St. Joan's wort) is a medicinal and natural dye plant. It grows along the  roadsides here.  I've been very busy working and packing to go camping but that didn't matter it was time to harvest and dye with it. Working with plants you go by their time not yours. I love that, it keeps you moving, no procrastinating! My post is about dyeing with the flowers but Peggy womanwithwingsblog.blogspot.com has a great post on preserving St. Joan's wort for medicinal use. "Peggy we need to know more about what you will use it for".

Close up, see the tips of the stamens and the raggedy edge to the flower petals,
the moment they made contact with the wet wool and silk red dye came off them.

You can see the dye coming through before I even steamed them.

A week later I have spring green and purple print fabric.

It looks a lot greener in real life.

The left over stems I wove into my weaving.

I don't know if I already showed you this wonderful face/neck toner but this one is worth repeating. It is very easy all natural toner any one can make:  1/2 cup of distilled water
1/4 cup of witch hazel
8 drops of your favorite essential oil scent
Pour into spray bottle and shake.
I keep mine in the refrigerator, it's nice and cool when you come in from the heat or wake up in the early morning. You'll love it.

Off we went last week to our favorite wilderness campground.
The boys fished,

and fished.

Learned to kayak (thank you Vicky!)

The wild roses were in bloom all around the lake,

the water lilies were blooming,

the mushrooms were just starting to peek through,

I've never seen such a variety of mushrooms,

can't wait to come back.

When I had free time I sat on our little dock and quilted. This was printed with dyers coreopsis. I'm quilting around the spots to make them into little flowers.

I put a few stitches in leafy boarders.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Enjoying Summer!

Saturday, the first official day of summer found my husband and I out all weekend enjoying the sun. We worked in the gardens, everything is so lush and wonderful with all the rain we've been having.

All the plants are so happy.

and so is the family of boxer turtles we've had living in our brush pile for years.  They were celebrating in their own way.

In the evening my husband lit a fire while I worked on my loom.
I've had a very frustrating time with it, it really needs to be warped differently next year.
But none the less it's so meditative to work on it.

Fist I added a row of woad, next another wool strip,
(you may think it must be cold out for a polar fleece jacket, no it's not but with all this rain our mosquitos are also very lush).

After the wool, I wove in a row of skinny cherry branches, another wool strip and then a row of roses.

So this is the pattern so far, wool strip, dandelions, wool, woad, wool, cherry branches, wool, roses and wool. What's next? If I can find enough St. John's Wort which is named and blooms on St. John the Baptist day (which is today) I like to add a row of that.

I'm still trying to make the best natural mosquito repellent possible before we go camping. This is my next try, catnip!

From this book by well know herbalists they recommend catnip seeped in apple cider vinegar. Let set a week, then strain out the herb and throw it away. Put in a spray bottle.

The authors who I heard speak a few year ago at the National Herb Conference are well respected in the herb community. This book is full of wonderful recipes.

Anyway if your interest read this blurb about why catnip is so good. The only thing is with natural repellents you have to apply them a lot more frequently. The natural oil is very volatile and will evaporate quickly.
Any other ideas Peggy, my herbalist friend?

             Sunday afternoon we took a picnic "up north". The boys just got their new helments

for their new dirt bikes.

                         Michigan is fill with State land full of "two tracks" to ride the bikes on.

                                            Following all our beautiful rivers and creeks.

I hope your enjoying Summer (or Winter) your way!
See you next week.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Welcome Summer!

If you ever want to give your house a little "perk up" for any season a quilted table runner is the answer. It's a wonderful way to use some of the new fabrics that are out, (without spending a lot of money) or a large investment of your time.
Last week at my quilt bee we each brought our own fabric and made a new table runner.
My friend Jamie picked the pattern ahead of time and made a sample to show. She used some beautiful Japanese fabric with a great focus fabric for the center blocks and boarders.

I have several winter/Christmas/autumn table runners so this was the time a make a summer one. At our local quilt shop I found these great batiks looking summery.

                                              After cutting the fabrics the piecing begins.

Laura choose to make a festive Fourth of July table runner for her cottage. (We'll be looking for it this fall Laura!).

Jamie made another one with Christmas fabrics.

Joni's with fewer blocks finished into a square for a little table.

                                       Jody's batik fabrics, an elegant one for her dining room table.

Now even though we all spent the same amount of time piecing, there is always one over achiever, Cathy, maybe it's because she works without talking!

Sunday my husband and I took a ride North gathering wild flowers for my herb meeting. Isn't this a cute picture of a small maple tree growing in the curve of a poplar tree.

Our herb meeting was our Summer Solstice gathering. After our long winter/spring we were all ready. We met at P.J.'s farm. Everyone brought an herbal dish to pass and lots of fresh flowers to make into head wreaths.

                       Two kinds of punch, rose geranium lemonade and a fresh berry punch.

                   This is the only time everyone can wear flowers in their hair and no one wonders,

                                                            from our young members,

                                                     to Mother Nature! Isn't she so pretty.

And afterwards we hang our wreaths in our homes for summer. As some of the flower do not dry well I pull them out and add roses from my garden to the wreath.

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo