Monday, June 20, 2016

Herb and Flower Gardening

We've lived in our neighborhood for 40 years now, when we moved in we were the young couple with babies. Now were the old couple with grandkids. One of our original neighbors still live next to us. Another very elderly neighbor (Marge, in her late 90's now), who was a wonderful friend is  living in a nursing home. Her children are getting ready to sell her home and contents. This big iron caldron was Marges' mothers'.  Her mother used it to make soap and do her laundry in. It's well over 100 years old. A couple of weeks ago her grandson asked if I wanted to buy it. Absolutely, I did! I love it and it's history.
Now, the rest of this story, Marge's great-grand daughter is my little neighbor girl that always comes over to gather herbs, make creams, weave and natural dye with me. I told her this caldron belongs to her and told her it's history. I also told her when she owns her own home come back and I will give it to her. She was so happy.
(There are reasons why I have it now and not her but we won't go into other family dramas).
I now have it filled with different types of basil.

Setting next to my herb garden.

I found this flower at a greenhouse, it's Safflower. It can be used to dye cloth a red or yellow color. I've been picking the "petals" and drying them hoping I get enough to try dyeing silk.

My girlfriend took me to Ann Arbor a week ago. Ann Arbor is a wonderful college town with lots and lots to do.
She took me to great restaurants, this is a picture of our meal at the Ethiopian restaurant, with traditional honey wine.

At another restaurant we ordered this drink. It is made with champagne  poured over a dried hibiscus flower. It was beautiful, too pretty to drink.

Another restaurant was Indian.
With lots of fun textiles.

We went to the largest peony garden in the United States.

They smelled heavenly.

Have a great Summer Solstice and enjoy the Full Moon, I off to weave on my Earth loom and distill my rose petals in to rose water/essential oil. I'll post about it soon.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Native Teachings weekend

Friday my husband and I packed up the RV and went North to spend the weekend with good friends learning about natural medicine of the Native people in our area. We camped on the grounds of this old catholic church.
It was built in 1911 on a Natives American reservation. In 2000 the Catholic church gave it back to the Native people where it is now used as a special gathering center.

The Native people work hard to keep the old church in good repair.

A fire was lit and kept burning all weekend.

Saturday morning Deb (a medicine women and pipe carrier for her people) began by telling us 2016 is the Year of the Women.
She is a knowledgeable and dynamic speaker. I could hardly keep up taking notes on all her teachings.
This weekend was centered on "Spring" with the awakening of the earth and plants. We learned about which plants in Spring are used for cleansing and healing.

Grandma's grandkids came and spent a day, in between teachings Grandma helped the kids make turtle pouches with teachings for the little ones.

Time to go home. Everyone was not happy about it.

In between teachings we worked on our own crafts.
Windi began a pine needle basket.

I quilted in my very favorite place to quilt, outside!

Sunday morning drumming under the cedar tree.

Cedar is considered "Women's medicine".
We learned to make a tea. It is drunk to cleanse the body getting rid of the toxins and keeping you in good health.
Men drink it before going into a sweat lodge.
We clipped a few branches from the cedar tree.

Left tobacco as an offering of thanks.

Only using the small greenery, pull them off and put into a pot. No brown parts what so ever.

Filled the pot with water.

Brought the pot to a light boil, let simmer until "midah" comes to the top.
(midah means-let the oil come to the top of the pot).
Seep awhile, then strain through cheesecloth. Add honey if desired. Then enjoy a cup everyday, hot or cold.

Windi finished her basket rim with dried cedar and a handle made from one of the cedar branches.

We also went to the ancient ones cemetery. Hidden away in the woods, left natural so not to be disturbed. These are the few "steps" leading up to the burial ground. They try to bury their dead in hills being closer to the Creator. Many of the graves are from the 1700's.

Ones with markers, 1800's.
This one being the Chief from the area.

It's just beautiful left natural, columbine flowers growing all around.

One side of the burial ground is the baby side.

If you look closely you can still see a little bit of the sheep outline.

Back at the center we learned to make fry bread.

Those who know me know I'm on gluten-free diet so I wasn't able to have them. They smelled delicious! Next teaching weekend I'm bringing my own flour to make them.

We had wonderful infused drinks. This one was a simple honey syrup, oranges, limes and mint.
Over ice it is very refreshing.

Driving the country roads we came onto this wonderful old abandon farm house and roosting on top of the chimney

a turkey vulture.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Earth Loom and dye garden

My husband and son went North camping last Friday, I had the whole weekend to myself! I spent it playing in our back yard. It all began early Saturday morning, made myself a chai latte and picked a bouquet of white lilacs. The purple lilacs bloom first and when their finished the white ones are ready.

Time to put few rows in the weaving.

I used the pussy willows from my flower pots on the porch (time to fill them with flowers) and wove them in. Next 2 rows were eucalyptus dyed wool. ( I use all my wool dyed "rejects" for the loom. The bright sun is not kind to the weaving by the end of the year.
A few more "earth" rows and it will be on to the "lake" rows.

Last year at the base of my loom I planted moon flowers, this year morning glories. The plan is for some sunrise/sunset rows.

My good friend on her beach walks collected some Lake Michigan drift wood to be woven in. Thank your Deb C.
Don't let her show you up Deb H. I'm looking for some drift wood from Homer, Alaska.
Oh, and Donna some beaver chew sticks from the Mississippi will be woven in. I think I have a few little ones left.

Most of my weekend I spent on my knees in the dye garden. (by Sunday night I could hardly walk).
Planting doesn't take long it's getting the soil ready! I weeded, weeded, weeded and added organic compost to it.

A few pictures, the back right corner, white sage coming up with dyers chamomile and madder root in front.
The back left corner lavender. The soil area I planted coreopsis tinctoria seeds.

I beautiful mullein plant with calendula seeds planted behind it and orange cosmos seeds in front. Another row of cosmos along side.

Strawberry and raspberry plants in front with a few tomato and pepper plants in back.

In another garden I planted 3 red gaillardia (blanket flowers) plants in with daisies and black-eye-Susans. They give the most wonderful permanent blue flower eco print.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dyeing with shaving cream

A "marbling" fabric dyeing class was offered at our local sewing center. I signed up and spent the day with my girlfriend laughing and designing fabric.
This was a type of dyeing I've never done. On our plastic table mat you squirted on loads of shaving cream, smoothed it out and on top of the shaving cream you put dots of paint on, then swirl it around making designs.

The paint we used was Lumier. I've used it before designing fabrics, it has a  beautiful metallic, soft finish that's washable.

So, you get your design ready then lay your fabric on top, gently press the fabric into the paint, pull off, then comes the hard part, lifting off the shaving cream with a piece of plastic trying not to smear the paint.
This is not always successful.

Dye ready,

fabric after lifting off the cream.
I made two of these,

when it dried I place bird stickers on one, then I painted the entire fabric with the purple paint. When dry I lifted off the stickers reveling this wonderful bird fabric.

Dye ready


I then swirled the dye

and printed another piece of fabric.

We scraped our used shaving cream in a big community pile.

It became a beautiful sculpture.

Later flattening it out we laid our fabrics on it.

My "collection"!

Our lilacs are at peak, the house is smelling heavenly.

The bee skep is coming along, adding flowers, with leaves and bees coming!

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo