Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Past Week

Last night I had some of my girlfriends over for supper, this is my table before they arrived with my natural dyed table runner and dyed linen napkins,

and a shaker full of herbal salt I made for each.

Sunday afternoon everyone in our house was sick except for us (it had been a long sick, cold, snowy week) and I needed a breath of Spring so I loaded up the twins and off we went to Fredrick Meijer Gardens to explore their indoor glass house. Starting in the arid section,

and moving on to the carnivorous plants, which they liked the best

we spent a lot of time studying these plants.

The tropical house is my favorite, the smell from the orchids was wonderful.

What wonderful color inspiration for quilts. A delicate lady slipper orchid,

this tropical plants color scheme is breathtaking, fuchsia flowers with periwinkle tips.

A natural purple orchid (not a artificially dyed one that I see in our grocery store).

Love, love this type of orchid.

Fuchsia/raspberry lady slipper orchids,

and a display of bright pink orchids.

And in the cafeteria a display of bright glass "flowers" from the glass artist Dale Chihuly.

Color inspiration everywhere in the heart of winter!!

And what do we do on the next snow/ice day off from school?? Grandma runs to the local dollar store and bought all kinds of cute Valentine stickers, doilies, and construction paper for the boys to make Valentine for the special people in their lives.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Let it Snow

This past week we've had lots and lots of snow, long over-due and beautiful.

Yesterday the sky was blue for the first time in a week, everything was crisp and clean.

And what have I been doing this past week during the storms (besides working)? Dyeing wool fabric with natural dyes, trying to get the right shade to make myself this jacket. Not that I'm good at sewing clothes but the pattern says "3 HOUR Jacket". I figure I should be able to have it done in 7 hours and hopefully it will fit right!

I got this wool fabric from a friend, beautiful wool but I'm not a mauve color girl. I wanted a rusty-red.

So I started with cutting up madder root and simmering it on the wood stove, along with cochineal in an other pot.

Simmered overnight then added the wool to the madder root, it hardly changed the color at all.
I then added the wool fabric to the cochineal.

It became a little too berry bright for me with lots of pink undertones. Still trying to get a Autumn rusty-red color I brewed up a pot of Osage-orange tree bark, put it in the pot and simmered it overnight...

and I got a good color with lots and lots of undertone colors. These pictures are not great at showing the true colors but I took pictures everywhere trying to show the color and these were the best.

I wan't sure how overdyeing with natural dyes (except indigo) would work but I'm very pleased.

right to left:original color, cochineal, finished color.

This week I also made a batch a ginger tea. A friend from Korea gave this recipe to me and it is heavenly. First my husband and grandson peeled fresh ginger root (with a spoon is the easiest). I then put it in my food processor and ground it up.

Mixed it with equal amount of honey. I do one cup of each at a time.

Keep it in the refrigerator. I add a heaping teaspoon to my cup of black tea everyday. Ginger is good for the digestive system and for the joints.

Also this week school was closed and the grand kids were home. So what do you do on a snowy day? We made hot chocolate with lots whip cream and then made snowman. We started with premade snowmen bodies I bought awhile ago. They stuffed them,

and carefully sewed them shut.

Then they cut a scarf and a hat made from the finger tips of gloves.

Each ended up with their own cuddley snowman.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Elderberry-Herb of the Year

This past weekend I played around with some wool fabrics that I natural dyed last Fall making a new table runner.

Not wanting to cut up the fabric into small pieces so the leaf and flower prints could be the "Star" of the runner, I just cut the sections apart and pieced them in a pleasing manner.

The blue flower print were bright red flowers with orange Cosmo flower lattice strips and blue indigo lattice strips in between.

The leaf prints were from ornamental cherry trees. I machine quilted this piece.

Before I put the table runner together I went in the studio (with all my little helpers) to indigo dye some flannel for the back. Miss Tigress sitting on her perch by the stove.

One grandson slowly pulling the fabric out of the pot. Trying not to get any air bubbles in the dye.

After a few dips we got a nice blue.

I wanted to show you the wool I used for the binding, I dyed this 16 or 17 YEARS ago, first I dyed it yellow with goldenrod then over dyed with indigo to get green. It looks as great now as it did when I first dyed it. This is when my friend and I first started natural dyeing, before there were any good dyeing books. We had such a wonderful time experimenting and learning.
(Miss those times with you Deb!!)

On to 2013 Herb of the Year- Elderberry by the International Herb Association

This is a fabric panel with a print of The Elderberry Fairy by long ago artist Cicely Mary Barker. I believe she designed them around the 1930's (not exactly sure of the year).
I folded it around a pillow and hand-stitched it for the refreshment table at our Herb Society meeting last night.

Their are so many edible and medicinal qualities to this plant. Last night their was a lot of discussion on it's healing ability for the flu. It was even discussed on ABC World New Tonight with Diane Sawyer as a medically proven remedy. Different herb members brought in their elderberry tinctures and cough syrups that they swear by and make yearly.

Teddy and Chrissy shared a lot of information on this berry.
 The elderberry is considered by some to be a magical tree and is sometimes called "Elder Mother". In ancient times people would pray before elder bushes to bring good health to themselves and their children. some say she helps ward off the devil and would drape their doorways with elder boughs for protection. In times past many folks refuse to cut down or burn an elder bush without first asking permission of its guardian. Legend states that if you sprinkle elder flower and berries or leaves on a person or place, one can make wishes come true.
Susan Betz The Michigan Herb Journal
After studying about the medicinal benifts of this berry you can see why peole long ago thought it had magical powers.

Jody and I were in charge of the treat table, along with making deviled eggs with dill weed  and a warm cracker dip with herbs,

we made deserts using Elderflower concentrate by Saft Flander from Sweden. purchased from Ikea.
Jody made cupcake using the concentrate in the batter and frosting, I made sugar cookies using it in the dough and the frosting. (their suppose to look like mushrooms with snowflakes on top).

P.J made a punch with her preserved elderberry syrup, she also uses this syrup over ice cream, pancakes etc.  We made a drink using the elderflower concentrate and water (directions on the label).
If your interested please take time to research this berry there is so many wonderful, wonderful qualities to it.
Also I checked with our local Health Store and they carry the elderberry tablets, teas and syrups for all your health needs.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Wool Quilt Boarders

Our son has lived in big cities the past 10 years and just moved back to our small town to work and live. We are very happy, our conversations now have a lot of hiking and camping in them. As soon as he was settled he put up my husbands tepee in our back yard. Their friend made it for my husband years ago.
It looked so peaceful and serene in the snow.

After it was set up a little neighbor boy came over and asked if he could look inside and see the steps leading to the top!

That night our son slept out, he had to get all the city out of him.

(I don't know why this picture is on the side and some are bigger than others, I've been having a terrible time with Blogger!)

He lit a fire inside and slept wonderfully warm.

Last weekend I finished putting boarders on my wool quilt. The first boarder was a small peach colored one I dyed with cosmos flowers.

Then came the green leaf boarders that I dye-printed last fall with bright red leaves. The corner squares were cosmo flower dye-printed.

The sun was out. the snow was melted, calling for a tepee/ quilt photo.

They look good together.

 I will layer the quilt with wool batting and a flannel back and hand-quilt it (that will take a few years), but I love it and will sleep under it while the quilting is in progress.
All hand done from picking the dye plants and dyeing the wool, to hand-piecing the blocks and finally to hand-quilting it. Lots of good family memories in this quilt and more to be made.

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo