Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Birthdays and Bugs

Well, we couldn't be at our granddaughter's birthday this year because we are being serious isolators. She had her 2 little besties over and apparently had the best time ever. 
Last year, my daughter arranged for an "animal expert" to come over and teach/show the children various animals and bugs...think we all had the most wonderful time. I never got to post about her birthday and thought I would do so today in honor of her  birthday.

Mr. Bug Man (think he called himself that) was so incredibly patient and made sure he showed each child the animal or bug...even let them hold it if it was appropriate. Even us "big" kids (jan below, the other grannie) loved holding the bugs as did I.

Here is Audrey (left side) with a big lizard type of animal in her lap...petting it gently.
There is a scorpion in top right picture...locked in a glass cage...fun to see but a tad bit creepy also.

I wish I could remember the name of these wonderful animals...well a tortoise on top but below left...I can't recall. He was gentle and I made it a point to hold them all...the kids..braver than myself did also with great enthusiasm.

The day ended with a pinata which all the kids loved. And our little leopard...Bye bye....I had a great day!!

Saturday, July 25, 2020

A Nice Surprise

I've been doing little odd projects during the Pandemic...things I ordinarily don't get to do. One of these was to cover an old footstool. When I was in college and majoring in Home Ec...we had a Home Managment course.... I loved it as a lot centered around creative skills...We had to learn how to keep bills and budget, create a blueprint of the house we wanted to live in...make a drapery panel, refinish a piece of furniture etc....
For my furniture project, I wanted to choose something reasonable so I would be able to finish it in time....It was smaller than some but it did come out nice and done on time. I covered it with a piece of upholstery fabric I had kept from something else. Mind you, this was 55+ years ago and the stool belonged to my mom....I was giving it back to her when I was done....AND she loved the new look (above).
Fast forward 55 years to present day and I now have my mom's stool which I've used for years (some things are too functional and sentimental to give up). In redoing the family room several years back, I had picked up lots of fabric samples in our new color...some were very big pieces..
and I thought....one of these might work to recover the stool...BUT first I had to remove the old covering from AND AGAIN I SAY.......55+ years ago....hmmmmm.......I wonder what kind of condition it will be in and what I'll find underneath....One never knows.
The old covering was in remarkably good shape....but wait...there seemed to be something else underneath acting as a padding.
Oh Wow..... There....in perfect condition was this beautiful needlepoint my mother had done ....just waiting to be discovered again one day. My mother was a lover of needlepoint and I don't have anything that she's done so you can image my joy at finding this....a great surprise....I'll frame it or make it into a small pillow but it will be out somewhere for me to enjoy....love you mama!!!

And here is the newly covered footstool which goes far better with current decor....I might add, if you're thinking of taking on a project like this...it was very easy....no sewing involved...just staples and a few long nails....Til next time.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Dyeing Linens

A short time ago, I posted about my ice dyeing adventure ....all in all, it took about a week to get done  what I wanted to get done.  It seems like it would go very quickly but soaking and choosing fabric, labeling it which I do for scarves as I want to have a color reference. It's helpful to know what colors are selling for future dyeing sessions. Then there's preparing the fabric in the tray with ice, sprinkling dye and then nuking it. I let it cool and then dump it in a bucket of cold water...several buckets actually as the excess dye doesn't always come out that quickly. AND THEN THE IRONING....which is time consuming but fun to see the wonderful colors.
A friend of mine gave me some old linen napkins and tablecloths to dye ...a few I kept and most gave back to her...I have so much fabric already and know she'll enjoy these. I have no idea what her color palette is so she got a little bit of everything...
As I dyed each scarf I included a piece of linen in with it.....It was interesting to see the difference in the way the China silk takes color to the way linen does...sometimes very different.
But I'm loving the colors. Each piece has 3 different dyes used on them...
and sometimes some rogue dye particles would wander over to a piece being prepared and voila another little splat of color.
I do this technique which I talked about in my previous post in my studio using a designated microwave. I also use a mask and rubber gloves....seems to be the same as when I go to the grocery store now...Well, I hope you enjoyed the small show and tell. Linen dyes as beautiful as cotton and silk with the Procion MX dyes as you can see...Til next time...

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

A Little Ice Dyeing

I've spent some time ice dyeing during the last 2 weeks. I started outside as you need warm weather to do this....but found I had better results using a designated microwave in my studio.
These are about half of my dyes...the rest are outside used during my outdoor session. I've collected so many over the years and they have held up well and the color remains bright.....maybe it's because they've always been stored in a climate controlled room. It's nice to have such a selection although I tend to gravitate to my old faithfuls.
I start with fabric compatible for dyeing with Procion MX dyes and soak it in a solution of soda ash and water. This time I was using silk scarves and old linen napkins...both were good candidates for this process. The fabric is left to soak for @ 10 mins, rung out and crumpled in a bowl or on top of a screen (which is on top of a tray - lower right). Next comes the ice. I don't like crushed ice as it melts too fast and sometimes big cubes don't melt fast enough. I personally like the bags of ice I get at Food Lion....a good size, not real smooth cubes so easier to pick up and seem to melt in the amount of time I use. You'll find the one you like best. Wear a mask for this next part - working with powdered dyes. Also know that any equipment, bowls etc that are used here should not be used for anything else.

Next comes the powdered dye which is sprinkled on top of the ice. I do not put one powder on top of the other but rather leave openings in the ice (below) to put second and third color. I find 3 colors seem to work the best for me. When this is done, cover with clear plastic wrap and microwave anywhere from 4 to 6 minutes depending on the strength of your microwave. If when it's done and the ice cubes are not melted, I'll nuke it for another 2 mins.

Let it sit for a little while as the steam can be very hot and dangerous...remove cover by tilting it away from you...do this slowly and carefully. When fabric is cooled, put into a bucket of cold water. I will change the water every 10 minutes or so until it is clear. The pieces on the left are silk organza and mercerized cotton, which will be dyed in the same batch so the sheer can act as an overlay. The scarves on the right are China silk which is a type of silk often used in scarves. You can see how bright the colors are...just 4 - 6 minutes in the microwave.

More scarves done in the microwave...below.
You get a beautiful crystalline effect because the ice melts at a different rate allowing the dyes to strike the fabric at a different rate which creates this effect.

The are all going down to my gallery space #235 in Woolworths artist gallery in Asheville, NC. Enjoy the "show and tell" which follows

This is my favorite piece...I love the colors and realize that one of the colors has been discontinued so I was very careful where I used it. I did do several in this color way so hopefully I'll have enough to play with for a while...Next time, all the linen napkins I did...some great colors so stay tuned.