Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Summer Solstice/ Full Moon Weavings & potions

It was the first day of Summer and in Michigan (with all our cloudy days) I celebrate the Sun.
I spent the afternoon and evening doing some of my favorite things.
First, the looms been calling me to put in a few more rows,

not to worry though its not been idle the bitter sweet vines have been busy weaving their way in. I finished weaving two vines through.

Next some yellow wool for the Sun. I dyed this with my friend in 1996 using golden rod. It's almost as yellow as the day we dyed it. I recognize this wool because it as it was a funny kind of weave, one I haven't used since.
Then a row of dyers chamomile flowers to complete the Summer Solstice weaving. 

I've been picking my most fragrant roses (mostly rosa rugusa) saving them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until I had enough to distill a pot of hydrosol rose water. I've been studying about this how the condensation/steam collects with pure rose water and it's essential oils.

I began by putting in a over turned Pyrex pot and laying all the roses around it.
Then I poured water up to the top of that pan.
next I place a bowl right side up on top of that pot to collect the rose water that will form when the pot is simmered. Do not boil. I did this for about 1 1/2 hours.

Next the lid on upside down as the condensation/steam will wash down and drip into the bowl in the pot. That will be the pure rose water/essential oil.
Adding ice on top to keep the top cool will produce more condensation.

I kept spooning out the ice water as it melted and added more ice.
After a good hour I shut off the stove and let it set until morning, My bowl inside was filled up almost a quart of wonderful smelling rose water. I poured some in a glass spray bottle and am storing the rest in the refrigerator. Everyone in the family loves spraying their face with it. It is very good for dry skin.
I did two pots of rose petals, then I harvested my lavender and distilled a pot of it. Smells heavenly.
One very important note- Do Not Use Rose petals from the Florist!! They are full of pesticides and have no smell.
There's some good videos on the you tube if your interested.

I also picked some St. Johns wort and began an infusion in olive oil. In Michigan St. John's wort is at peak on the First Day of Summer. It is very, very healing. I do mine in a jar in a crock pot full of water on warm for 4 or 5 days.

Strain it well in layers of chees cloth and throw the plant material away.

A jar full for burns, sun burns, and skin problems.

My girlfriend sent me a yard of this paisley wool. I've been trying to think of what to do with it. I used a little to make a paisley full moon.

I used a resist to block out the moon and then brewed up a pot of indigo.

I also dyed some of my regular wool needing blue so I can get back to my appliqued Sun and Moon quilt.

Nothing more magical than indigo dye but especially during this Summer week.

I used one of the moons to make a small block for my moon journal quilt, quilting in the background a Sun and a few moon beams.
(The pictures a little fuzzy but it was the best I had).
I wish all of you a wonderful Summer!

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.

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo