Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Blizzard Post

Our daughter has launched a new blog, "A Running Story" in my sidebar. If you want to know what it feels like to be marooned in this Boston blizzard, yesterday's post makes it clear. We are driving there tomorrow. I don't think we will have any issues getting there, but where to park our car may be a problem. Most spaces are already taken!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Silk Cocoon Mini-Book

I bought silk cocoons and showed them a few posts back. They are naturally white, so I dyed some for crafting. We all get ideas from the web, blogs, Pinterest, etc., and I've wanted to try making a mini-book with a silk cocoon since Katie of TheRedTin blog originally made one a few years ago. I've tried to put my own spin on it by using my handmade paper for the book's pages. This paper has many things embedded in it including lavender buds, grass clippings and weed seeds. I've done my own style of simple beading, but I plan to do different stitches on the next one. This cocoon is tea-dyed and has 8 pages, each with it's own special word collage. Alhough silk cocoons appear to be fragile, they are actually very sturdy and take handling well. Yet you can still see delicate silk threads if you look closely. Thankfully, I enjoy working small!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

PS from Last Post

The curved rusted object in the last post was too large to lay flat, and it didn't make enough contact with the fabric to dye it. So I wrapped it with a strip of water/vinegar soaked white muslin, tied it tightly with string, put it in a plastic bag overnight, and look what happened!

PS...Gene asked if the lines are from a design on the fabric. The fabric was plain white muslin, so no, the lines are not from fabric design. They resulted in the rust-dyeing process, the thinnest lines being from the string I used to tightly tie the fabric to the curved rusty object.  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Rust-Dyeing Fabric Process

There are many ways to rust-dye fabric, and these are the steps that work well for me. It doesn't take a lot of supplies or much time to do this, and you may enjoy it if you like surprises. I'm not good at tutorials, but here goes.

CAUTION...wear rubber gloves whenever coming in contact with rust. That's a universal suggestion no matter what instructions you read. 

Here is my rusty stash outside. Whenever I find another worthless piece of junk with rust, I toss it here.

Use a shallow flat-bottomed plastic container with a lid (mine is about a foot square, from Target, around $6) and a plastic spray bottle (also from Target for 99 cents). Line the bottom of the container with a piece of fabric to be dyed, 100% cotton is good. 

Mix equal parts of water and white vinegar in the spray bottle and spray the fabric in the container until it's saturated. 

Lay rusty items of your choice on top of the sprayed wet fabric.

Put another piece of fabric to be dyed on TOP of the rusty items, and spray again until that piece is also wet. Then cover it all with plastic (Saran Wrap works) and push down in and around all the rusty items for the fabric to make good contact around them. Then close the lid and put in a warm place. This is how it looks before closing the lid. I put mine near our heating vent. 

After a few hours, rust starts to dye the fabric (exciting!). You can quit then for subtle rust-dyed effects, but I left mine until the following morning to get darker results. 

When you want to stop the dyeing process, take the box next to a sink and start to remove things beginning with the covering of plastic, which goes in the trash.

Then remove the first layer of fabric laying it in the sink.

Next remove all the rusty items and also put them in a pile in the sink. Then remove the bottom piece of fabric, into the sink it goes with the first piece. Everything smells like rust, so put it all in the sink to be rinsed. 
The rusty items will be saved after rinsing for next time.

Soak the two pieces of rust-dyed fabric in salt water (15-30 mins) to stop the rusting process before washing them (in the washing machine is fine, I put mine in with dark laundry). 

In the end, here is something like you may have on your two pieces of rust-dyed fabric. I started with peach and yellow cotton fabric. For the most dramatic results, I like using white. 

I love doing this, and I find myself looking for rusty things everywhere I go. Now for the biggest challenge -- deciding what to create with my new rust-dyed fabrics! 

PS...if your rusty objects are too large to lay flat like in this tutorial, you can wrap your vinegar/water soaked fabric around them, tie with string, and put into a plastic bag for dyeing. The tightly tied string produces a very interesting striped effect. I will show that result in my next post, a shorter post, I promise! 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Handmade Paper Additions

I've been collecting things to add to my handmade paper pulp in this box. I like that they are all at my fingertips while I'm working, but I often can't decide what to choose. So sometimes I add a little bit of everything, and I love the surprise I get in the end! 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Silk Cocoons

These 1 1/2" white silk cocoons were offered on Etsy uncut with a dead silkworm still inside, but I didn't want to deal with cutting and removing the worm. Thankfully, the seller was willing to do that for me before shipping. They are very sturdy, and I have some crafting ideas for them. However, at this point, I'm just experimenting with dyeing some them. The tan ones are tea-dyed, and the red and green took a couple drops of food coloring. More to come! 

Monday, January 19, 2015

January's Group Mini-Quilt

I just wrapped up this little12"x18" mini-quilt for mailing tomorrow to my assigned Facebook group swap partner. It's made entirely of light and dark batik half-square triangles, and is tied with DMC floss. There are so many layout options with light and dark half-square triangles. Picking one was fun!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

NJ Pine Barrens Sycamore Trees

Driving through the small NJ Pine Barrens town of Nesco on a sunny day, one can't help but notice the way the sun brightens these big Sycamore trees. The old house is a bit dilapidated and interesting as well. I wonder what they all might say if they could talk. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Handmade Paper Getting Better

Here are four new sheets of handmade paper. They started with junk mail, then 
added some things for interest and texture to the pulp -- rosemary leaves, weed seeds, pressed poinsettia leaves, snips of yarn, and small bits of fabric. I like to add scraps of construction paper for color. I've been using these papers for folded note cards with paper inserts, but writing directly on them with a fine tip marker works pretty well too. The most fun of doing this is the surprise of how the sheets turn out!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Kathy's Special Hand-Dyes For You!

Don't miss Kathyinozarks fantastic hand-dyed giveaway! The colors are awesome.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Rust on my Wall

After numerous December posts detailing my progress, here is my 30" x40" finished rust-dyed piece hanging from a grapevine. Much like a traditional quilt, it has three layers secured by DMC floss ties. Then I added a fourth layer of burlap to the front to showcase the fabric, and secured it with big yarn stitches. I enjoy rust-dyeing fabric a lot, but not so much working with burlap. It's stiff, scratchy, frays too easily, and sheds a great deal. However, I like the finished look it gave to this piece. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Making Paper Again

It's hard to see the details, but these sheets have lavender buds, yarn scraps, flower petals, dandelion fuzz, and weed seeds embedded in them. The yellow wonky pieces resulted from a homemade mold with shallow sides. I'll find a way to use them, but think I'll stick with the taller mold I bought next time! 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Martial Arts Gift

The first photo is the top of the belt holder my husband made for our grandson, Ian, who is working his way through belt colors in his martial arts school. The second photo shows how it's used to display past belts earned and to keep the current belt coiled on top between classes. This is about 2.5' tall so there's plenty of space to fill on Ian's way to the important black belt!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Quilt Gift

This is our new daughter-in-law with the lap quilt I made for her for Christmas. It's constructed of Civil War prints and hand-tied with DMC floss. I've learned an easy rule for tying a quilt. Place the ties as far apart as the length of your hand. They live in the Chicago area, so I hope it helps keep her warm! 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Few Minutes of Light Each Day

This is my son's photo across the bay from the Atlantic City skyline at sunrise. The sun is shining brightest on The Revel, the newest and tallest (57 stories) of Atlantic City's casinos/hotels. After being built only 2 years prior, it declared bankruptcy along with 3 other Atlantic City casino/hotels last summer. It's ironic that the rising sun can make an immense dead hotel shine so brightly.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Wall-hanging Third Step

Referring to my 12/15 post about this rust-dyed fabric project, here's a sneak peek of the next step. I'd like to have this done by early in the new year. Here's hoping!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Captcha Issues

Has Blogger started putting the Captcha feature in every blog's commenting section? It seems a lot of my favorite blogs have it these days, and I'm having trouble with duplication to prove I'm "not a robot". I understand why some want it, but I wish it was more user-friendly for me. I'm afraid I will not be able to comment when I run into it. :( 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Doll Quilt Facebook Group

I joined a mini-quilt group on Facebook a few months ago, and these are the quilts I've received from my assigned partners for October, November, and December. They are an average of 15" x18" and incredibly creative. This group is so much fun, and I've already made friends all over the country!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Special Gift

From our daughter and son-in-law, the gift of homemade Blackberry Mead with instructions to be sipped on Christmas Eve. It's too pretty to open!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Have a Merry!

Since I'm not finding time to work on my current projects, I'm leaving this cute photo as my wish for the holidays. Much joy to one and all!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Wall Hanging Next Step

This is my idea in progress for using my rust-dyed fabrics (post below). This project is barely half done, but I've already learned one thing for certain -- I don't like working with muslin! There hasn't been much time to work on this, but at least you know I haven't been totally lazy.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

December's Group Mini-Quilt

This 15" square mini-quilt started with a Bessie Pease Gutmann print fabric. I added batik and Aunt Grace borders, a batik binding, and secured it with lavender buttons and glass beads (hard to see). All done for December! 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Wall-Hanging Started

This is the first step in creating a wall-hanging that uses my rust-dyed fabrics. I stopped looking for images and joined the pieces together. I learned that a super thin machine needle is the way to avoid resistance while sewing through rust-dyed fabrics. Soon I'll go to the next step, but this is enough sewing for today. In spite of not trying, I'm still seeing new images! 

Friday, December 5, 2014

New Rust-Dyed Piece

I just keep dyeing these pieces without a clue how I might use them. I'm having fun, so I guess that's enough for now!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Latest Weaving

This piece is on my loom, but will come off today. I experimented with a new yarn needling technique and sort of like it, but my hands can't continue doing it. So this woven piece will become something else, perhaps a doll?

UPDATE: This is off the loom and looking pretty nice as a table topper, so it may not go any further! 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Onamori continued

The white birch bark pieces described in the last post were brushed with the Sanskrit character representing the monastery's guardian and sealed with vermillion ink. They are now ready to be enclosed in embroidered silk pouches in preparation for the empowerment ceremony before being given to contributors.


My son (an Aikido instructor and Buddhist priest) is building a monastery near Madison, WI (last photo) with the help of volunteers from his Aikido school. I'm excited about the hand-made gifts for his contributors. They are called "Onamori" -- an embroidered silk pouch from Japan that is sealed shut and never to be opened. Inside will be placed a piece of white birch bark harvested from the monastery's property (second photo). Each one will have a Sanskrit character hand-brushed onto it representing the monastery's guardian figure. These protective amulets will be empowered in a ceremony before given to contributors. I wish I was there to take part in their creation!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Hand-Made Paper

Three new sheets made yesterday which my daughter may use to make a book. The pink one is embedded with dried parsley. The second yellow sheet has glitter, and the third sheet is infused with lavender buds. I had to scrape some buds off because I added way too many, but my kitchen smelled great!