Monday, July 25, 2011

Dyeing Silk Scarves

I took a natural dyeing class at the Herb Conference, this was our instructor Anna, her and her husband just retired 2 weeks before, selling all their greenhouses, home and almost everything else they owned. They are now moving to Hawaii to build a new house and start a new life. She was a really sweet lady and I learned some new dyeing tricks.

We each were given 3 silk scarves to bundle with dried herbs. Look at our selection. Although some of these you don't get much color with.


And still more. I tried different herbs I don't normally use.

OK, instead of premordanting the silk with alum, we laid out the scarf, sprinkled on the herbs and then wrapped the scarf with different wires. This scarf has dried carrot powder, annantto seed and steel be bees wrapped up with steel wire. Then I placed it in a zip lock bag with white vinegar. I let all the scarves soak for a week in their own bags before washing them.

This scarf has dried kelp and St. Johns wort wrapped with copper wire, in a solution of balsamic vinegar. Using copper gives green tones.

The last one is barberry and dried hibiscus flower with copper wire and soaked in balsamic vinegar.

After a week I rinsed them out, left to right: kelp and St. Johns Wort, next barberry and hibiscus and the last one that I wasn't too excited about but turned out beautiful is the one wrapped with carrot powder, annantto and steel be bees. This was a fun workshop but I wouldn't use the wires on my wool, on one of the scarves the copper wire with vinegar ate away the silk. I would be afraid to use the wool fabric dyed this way in a quilt.

Back to the Dow Home we toured while at the conference, this is a little side entrance with it's own little garden.

Mrs. Dow had her own beautiful beautiful sewing room which now serves as a library. This silk quilt was on the master bed, I don't know if she made it or it was purchased as she had beautiful antiques and art from all over the world. This is a silk whole cloth quilt with hand sewed oriental trapunto (stuffed & stitched) designs.

Another design on the quilt.

This is a needle pointed stool in the sewing room. It was well used.

And in a guest room were two beds with hand crocheted spreads with a trapunto "D" hand monogrammed in the center.


They had a lot of beautiful paintings, this one hung in one of the living rooms. I love this, the woman and girl are knitting while at the sea shore and the little boy is playing with a boat.
(Veronica this would be you)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

International Herb Conference

Last Friday and Saturday my girlfriend and I went to the International Herb Conference in Midland, Mi. What a wonderful conference, the local herb society hosted the conference and they out did themselves.

A nice welcome bag and herbal bouquet greeted us when we went into our hotel rooms. Homemade cookies, chocolate dipped pretzels and kettle corn, herbal soaps were in the bathroom.

We signed up for the garden tour around Midland, one of our first stops was the Lavender Fleece farm. What a beautiful farm and a very ambitious lady who owns the farm (with her husband). She has a large lavender garden which she uses to make lavender products for her store and for bouquets for weddings.

It smelled heavenly.

Look at one of her garden fences. The whole farm was charming!

The owner is a wonderful weaver. I love these rugs, how good would they feel on bare feet. Click on the picture to see the close up details.

Their made from her Icelandic sheep she raises. They also raise lamas, peacocks, goats, chickens etc.

This is her weaving studio and store.

With her lavender door. She had lavender tea, cake and dip with crackers for us.

Her pottery studio with a lavender door. What a farm, it would be a great place for a retreat.

Our next stop was Dow Gardens, this is where Dow Chemical's original owners home was. Actually, I think it's still in the family. Anyway there are acres and acres of gardens and the original house from the late 1800's is open to the public. There was a great blown glass exhibit by Craig Mitchell Smith displayed throughout the gardens. Here are just a few. A tall dandelion seed head.

Some of the seeds blowing in the wind.

Jumping fish in a pond.
This is just the beginning of the tour and the conference hadn't even begun, next blog will continue with the conference and the natural dying class I took.

I love this piece of blown glass with stones stacked in between. When I went to purchase it my girlfriend had already bought it for me! How nice was that. I has hoping it was made by the artist featured but no it was made in China!
I have it in my white sage bed.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Last evening our local quilt guild celebrated our 20 anniversary. PALS- Patchers at the Lakeshore. All the past chairwomen who could be there brought in their quilt they received when they finished their term in office. Here are a some of them, (I missed the first few). I was the 4Th chairman, here I am with my quilt.

Some years we had "group" chairwomen, with different styles of quilts.

This wild boarder fabric was a guild challenge fabric the chairwoman had for her year so the board used it in her quilt.

A sampler.

These 3 ladies called the 3 amigos all received a quilt, only one brought hers.

Crazy quilts.

My good friends Kay and Mary.

My friend Judy with her co-chair Kathy.

They made all the past chairs a wonderful "corsage".

One of the founding members Pat Holly came back for our celebration. Yes Pat, the famous quilter who has won numerous 1st place awards at Paducha and is published in many quilt publications.

She shared with us one of her newest "India" inspired quilts made all from silk. It was beautiful, the intricate detail and the richness and shimmer of silk. My picture does not do it justice.

She also made a small piece for her daughter titled Pink Elephant.

I took a close up of my quilt at home, the little girls are our quilt guild logo. The different guild members who made the blocks made the girls in their image, (hair color, clothing etc.). This quilt has so many memories of great friends with some of the blocks of friends who have moved away or passed away.
Mel that is you, third from the left bottom row. The only one with a 3 dimensional dress that lifts up.

A few of the blocks, my friend from Alaska in her parka with silk ribbon embellishment.

Sue, in her corduroy jumper who moved to California. Joni with her lace vest and tote bags full of fabric.

Jody with her pearls, Kay with her quilted vest and quilt.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Ok, I'm at work with extra time on my hands, I thought I'd share with you just a few more of our family vacation photos. Hopefully your not too sick of them. After spending a week at the first campground we regrouped and took the kids camping in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. On the way we stopped at the Mackinaw bridge. Crossed over and went to the Tahquamenon Falls State Park campground.

After setting up camp we rented this little row boat (from the park) and rowed across the Tahquamenon river to this little island that the falls surround. You can hike around the island and see all the little falls. Its a great little hike.

One of the first falls on the hike.

Little islands surrounding the big island. Beautiful.

Another set of falls.

Another fall.

Then went drove to the Upper (much larger) Falls and hiked back to the Lower Falls. This was a much harder four mile hike, through the woods and along the river.

Over woodland creeks.

Along the Tahquamenon river.

This is a beautiful, woodland hike.

Back at our campsite there was this cute little chipmunk who would take peanuts right out of your hand, run it across the road to his home and then come back for more.

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo