Monday, May 20, 2013
Sunday afternoon I spent a lovely time playing "mad scientist" by dyeing wool. It started out with just wanting to overdye some old faded jeans. Since I had to soak them in water before hand I just threw in some wool fabric to dye along with it. Once I got started I couldn't stop. Lost count of how many pots I dyed. But started out using koolaid. Raspberry lemonade. I dyed the first piece of wool in it with the jeans and then realized my jeans were not overdyeing well. Took out the once piece of wool and added some blue ProChem dye. I don't really like using it that much but for my jeans I thought they would be perfect. Added another piece of wool to it. Here is my pot with just the koolaid. I then dug out more wool and this shows it soaking in jetdry water. I always soak my wool in Jetdry water before dyeing to make sure all the wool fibers are wet to take dye completely through. Next was lemon lime koolaid. Koolaid is perfect for dyeing as it already has citric acid. I use citric acid as a fixative to set my dyes. Some use vinegar but I don't like the smell it makes. On some of my other pieces of wool I used cushing dyes. They and koolaid are my favorite to use. Here is the result of my dyeing. One color was an accident. It was supposed to be purple and I had a small jar of dissolved dye that looked pink and thinking it would bring a more red purple color out...Wrong..it was an orange so it muddied the dye and the wool turned out a purply grey. I do like the color though and will use it in my rugs. You will notice I save my dryer lint. It is great for needle or wet felting. Here were my steps in dyeing" Soak wool in Jetdry water. Set up pot with water on stove and begin heating. Add koolaid or dye of choice, stirring with wood spoon. Once it is almost to boil point, I add my wool. I do not let it come to a boil as it makes your wool harsh feeling later. I add my citric acid and keep stirring to keep the colors even. Those that are blochy are ones I left alone without stirring much. I love the looks of them too. Then I put a lid on the pot and turn off the heat and let sit for about 30 minutes to absorb the dye. Once the water is clear (there will still be some color left in the water) I pour out in sink and rinse with hot tap water. Press out the water and put in big metal bowl to transfer to my washing machine. I run the wool (not mixing the colors) through a permanent press rinse cycle and then dry in my dryer. I repeated this process for each color you see.
Posted by Barbara at 12:21 PM
Friday, May 17, 2013
Since hubby and I love iris and I have an old friend from high school who raises iris to sell and lives in the north part of our state....we decided to make a quick trip up there to view her iris before the bloom ended like ours have ended. We both were so amazed at how many she had and all the different colors of the rainbow. She has worked long and hard to make her place just gorgeous. And we think it was worth every drop of sweat she has put into it. We bought a few and she even let me buy one she has propagated and has named it for herself. Then she and her husband followed us to our motel and took us out to eat at Salsa's. We had such a lovely time visiting with them and enjoyed her iris so much.
Posted by Barbara at 2:47 PM
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
I have a love affair with iris. I absolutely love them. They are called "fancy ladies" and they certainly are that. My love of iris began with my grandmother who also had lots of iris growing in her place in the country. When my grandfather died and she moved to town, she dug up many of her iris and transplanted at her house in town. Then after she died, I went to her house and dug up many of hers and over years I have taken them everywhere I've moved to. So many of mine are the antique variety that originally came from her. In 2001 I had my first knee replacement and a friend of mine who was beginning to develop her iris business of growing and selling iris sent me a big box of her bulbs as a get well gift. She had each marked on the leaves but by the time I could get out and about to plant them they were all mixed up and you could not tell which was which. My hubby and I had prepared a bed the autumn before so we transplanted all my old bulbs and these my friend sent me to this one bed. It is like looking at a rainbow. I have every color under the sun. Here are just a few of the colors that made a show this year.
Posted by Barbara at 1:54 PM
Sunday, May 5, 2013
We have had such unusual weather this year. We have broken state records for the month of May. We had a freeze on May1st. We had to cover our tomato and pepper plants and the flowers in our planters the night before. The garden now has all come up so we cannot cover it any longer. The next day we checked our fruit trees and most seem to have fared ok. The fig tree leaves were bit back quite badly as was the potatoes. The tops of the muscadine grape vines were bit as well. This is showing the green leaves still hanging down but you can see how dead it looks at the top of the arbor. On May 3rd this is what our garden looked like. Our lettuce bed. We have thinned it out 4 times and still it looks thick. We have pulled 4 big plastic bags full from it already. Gave away 3 bags full and kept one to eat. It is so tasty this time of year and sweet and not bitter. It will turn bitter as the weather heats up and it tries to go to seed. This is our mint bed and it started out as one tiny plant 2 years ago. It has spread as has the garlic which is also shown in this picture. We re planted an old sage plant in this bed and it also shows my rosemary which I almost killed earlier by trimming it back off our electric fence. But it seems to be coming back. I need to cut off the dead stuff but am a little afraid of stressing it too much right now. This is a view of our house and gazebos we have built. One is over our patio table, the one on the far right is over our grilling area and the one new one in front is over our fire pit. We plan to concrete around the pit soon as the weather warms.
Posted by Barbara at 11:33 AM
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Been busy around the house and working on my crafts as usual. Here are my latest creations..First is a flamingo biscornu. One of my daughter-in-laws collects flamingos and she also sews so made this for her birthday in May. And a friend of mine in the UK has begun hooking rugs and she wanted a hollyhock rug so I drew her and me one. Hopefully when she finishes hers and puts on her blog I can give the link. But here is my red hollyhocks. Spring has slowly tried to break out. We did get our garden planted including our tomatoes, peppers and sweet potatoes. Then visited a plant nursery on Monday and picked up a few flowering plants for my comode planters. I need to get some shade plants next for another planter. Our tulips have finished blooming and here is one. Our apple tree was amazing and just full of blooms. But think the cold temps we have had at nights have done a number on our fruit. But here is what it looked like. The bees absolutely loved it. If it warms some in the next few days we should have a good show of our iris.
Posted by Barbara at 2:21 PM
Friday, April 5, 2013
This is my latest rug. I just finished it yesterday. The background is "as-is" blanket wool. A friend gave me a mint colored blanket that had been eaten by a mouse. I used it for the background for this one and my lamb rug. It was harder hooking than regular felted wool. I did use mostly a #6 cut with a few #8's. The Eagle is worked with "as-is" recycled plaid wools. There is a tiny bit of hand dyed wool. This one will be on my door for the 4th of July. Now on to my next rug.
Posted by Barbara at 3:22 PM
Saturday, March 30, 2013
I surf around the internet when I have time looking for tutorials to share with my yahoo group. I was so fortunate to have parents that allowed me to "play" and use my own creativity. They would give me a box and I could use it anyway I wanted. If it was big, it became a playhouse. I remember once my mother going to the store and she brought home all kinds of boxes. She had gotten a new washing machine and it had come in a huge box so she got other boxes to go with it. She and I worked on unfolding the sides and made a huge fort playhouse with tunnels that took up the entire back yard. She would cut out windows and we played with it for days until the rain melted it to mush. We sould take old shoe boxes and make doll beds or doll houses for our smallest dolls. She would give us old spools and yarn or string to make necklaces. We never thought of this as recycling or upcyling it as they call it today. We made mud pies and we had a sand box which we used to build cities from blocks of wood and small tin cars. My mom was not afraid to allow me to start using her old singer sewing machine at age 6. I sewed my own dolls at age 8. I could take apart her sewing machine and clean it at age 10. But We PLAYED and used our creativity....I bring up all this to tell you what I'm noticing today.... We think of kids today as sitting in front of a tv, computer or game console which is true to an extent. And I know we raised our kids with tv and pac-man etc. but we also made our sons go out side and play. My hubby and I would use scrap lumber and help them build a tree house and they used their creativity to a bigger extent that kids do today. I see my son's kids having their time occupied with school, studying and sports. They rarely take time to just play. But I have noticed that my DILs are now starting to do some creativity of their own. I've noticed more and more young adults especially women doing things and sharing things they are making online. I have noticed some young mothers spending time with simple crafts with their kids and sharing it on the internet. Today I even saw a blog where a young mother had helped her daughter make a shoe box house for her tiny dolls. I'm seeing my DILs do more and more themselves. So maybe all is not lost with them becoming more creative. One DIL is now sewing and making cute things for Miss Molly. Other DIL is making things for her house. And she asked me for another rug to start hooking. I had given her one with cut wool etc. and she said she is almsot finsihed. I gave it to her over a year ago and thought she had chunked it in her storage along with her other things. But she said she was about ready to hook another. She is the one who showed no interest in crafts. But have noticed some things she has been making lately..burlap wreath, a cute gumball-candy holder, a cake plate made from thrift store finds, etc.
Posted by Barbara at 12:16 PM