November 2, 2018

Eco-Dyeing Results

The leaves I used all had some Fall color, so I hoped for more colorful results. However, the paper images  are mostly shades of dark green and brown with some lime green/yellow tones. There’s also a red blotch that started out very strong and soaked through other papers in the same location. While taking the bundle apart after steaming, I couldn’t figure out what caused that. The faint row of papers on the left resulted from leaves that were not soaked in the rusty water. I think Kathyinozarks knows the chemistry of a rusty water soak (with a splash of white vinegar). Several of you asked, so I hope Kathy comments and explains it.

November 1, 2018

Eco-Dyeing Urge

I see colorful leaves while walking and decided to do some eco-dyeing. I got all my supplies out, pressed the leaves for a couple days, put them in rusty water (suggested by Kathyinozarks) and got my papers ready to soak in Alum. Then I couldn’t find my container of Alum! I’ve been away from most projects for months because of my hands, but that creative urge is strong! So I will go for Alum when the stores open. In the meantime, here are my leaves still soaking. I hope I haven’t overdone it!

October 28, 2018

Test Post

I don’t have anything new to share. My latest painting has undergone numerous new lives, and I’m keeping Gesso manufacturers in business. However, Gene Black suggested trying the Chrome browser instead of Safari, so this post will check out how well that works for posting. I also hope it works better for commenting, and solves at least some of my Blogger issues! In the meantime, here is a NJ sunset I photographed on my evening walk. 

October 22, 2018


Having trouble commenting again, but I’m enjoying following everyone! 

October 20, 2018

Smaller Painting

This 9x12" painting has had numerous lives. It started as a landscape with rocks, but I didn’t like it, and I delighted in using Gesso to start over. Since I’ve lived in New Jersey most of my life, I’ve seen the ocean many times. This is not an attempt at realism, just an impression of what I remember on a grayer day.

October 16, 2018

Cotton Plantation Update 

I haven’t shown these plants since mid-August. They’ve been brought indoors now and placed in a sunny window. I didn’t have room for all of them, so I kept only the hardiest. The tallest is about 1-1/2 feet. I am eager to see if they thrive indoors, and will put them back on our outdoor porch in the spring if they are healthy. I’ve never taken care of a plant so thoroughly, and I feel like I have new "pets"!

UPDATE: Like all pets, Jennifer of Hot Chocolate in the Pines decided they need names, so she sent "Cotton Top", "Cotton Candy" and "Cotton Tail". Now I’m hoping they produce some actual cotton! 

October 3, 2018

Finding a Style

I’ve had my necessary blogging vacation and am back with something I haven’t done in about 35 years, acrylic painting on canvas. This started as a realistic rendition of a cabin in the woods with a footbridge, but many attempts and much Gesso later, I decided tedious realistic tiny brush strokes are definitely not for me! Faced with an 11x14" blank canvas yet again, I switched gears to a scene in my mind of water and sky applying the paint quickly and loosely. I just hoped it would look like something in the end. It’s definitely not realism, but I’m happy enough with the impression it gives. 

August 22, 2018

Mess O’ String Blocks and Counting

Whenever I need to create something and don’t have an ongoing project, I go to my machine and scrap bin to make a couple more string blocks. I enjoy making them on a foundation, and these are what I have so far. But I have no plan for them. I don’t want to make even one more quilt, nor am I up to making anything else large. I thought of placemats and table toppers, but I’ve done many of those and interest wanes. I need someone to think outside the usual box. All other suggestions welcome, please! 

August 21, 2018

Tuesday Eco Prints

This eco dyed batch is the result of a mix of Maple, Sassafrass, and Ornamental Japanese tree leaves, Pine Needles and Onion Skins. I followed the instructions in my tutorial post below. I’m eager to see if Fall leaves give more colorful results. Kathy’s results are lovely with the addition of some Rit dye (see her blog). I haven’t tried that yet. However, there is always a surprise in any result. For instance, my small round reddish browns resulted from waning yellow flowers! I commented on Kathy’s blog that I have a large stack of these papers now, and I don’t know what I’m going to do with so many.  My original plan to make note cards is still good, but another idea I had was to make bookmarks and gift tags. They were blank strips I had cut off my watercolor sheets to get the correct size for my steaming pot, and I laid them into the bundle at the last minute before steaming. 

August 20, 2018

My Delightful View

On pulling into my parking space on our property, this is what I often see, our neighbor’s 2 horses. There’s a wire fence between us hidden by vegetation. 

August 17, 2018

Tutorial for Eco Printing on Paper

There are many Internet sites and videos on how to accomplish eco printing (or eco dyeing). I’m sure they are good, but I always want to keep things as simple as possible. This is the process that works for me.

I plucked this selection of leaves and waning flowers from our yard after some rain.

Pressing them is necessary and can be done any way you like -- under a stack of books, etc. Since my plant materials were wet, I used paper towels between layers in a wooden board press overnight.

The next day I removed the pressed materials and covered them with plain water to soak. Then separately I mixed enough water with a generous sprinkle of Alum (from the grocery store spice section) to cover the 9 watercolor papers I was dyeing. I left both soaks for at least 2 hours. Longer is fine too, even overnight.

I poured the liquid off both soaks and arranged the wet plant materials on my 9 wet watercolor papers. Leaves should be placed backside down to get a good image of a leaf’s veins. Following are a few photos of my 5x7" (a good size for making note cards) papers after arranging plant materials on them.

I sprinkled dried rosemary on the one below.

This one has a sprinkling of chili powder. Experiment with whatever comes to mind!

When all my papers had plant materials, I placed them in a neat stack in the middle of a larger piece of wax paper (also can use parchment paper or similar). Then I put another sheet of wax paper on top of the stack.

Next I put this stack between 2 wooden boards (anything sturdy can be used...2 ceramic tiles, plexiglass, or even cardboard will work). I folded up the wax paper on all sides, and secured the bundle tightly with string, jute, yarn, etc., securing it for steaming.

For this next step, you can use an old double boiler, a vegetable steamer, or whatever you can put together for steaming that will keep the bundle above the steaming water. I used an old small round roasting pan with a rack in the bottom. But the rack wasn’t high enough to keep the bundle above the water line, so I added a flat rock. The bundle went on top of that rock, then another rock went on top of the bundle for weight.

I added water to the pot, brought it to a boil, lowered the heat to simmer, then covered the pot tightly. After simmering for at least 2 hours, I turned the heat off.

Then I allowed the pot to cool (sometimes until the next day) before taking the bundle apart to see the eco printed images on my 9 papers. Such fun, like opening a gift! After opening, I laid them flat to dry naturally. Once dry,  I pressed them in a stack with weight to flatten them even more.

A caution especially when the papers are still wet from steaming: handle with care. They can easily tear and even get surface damage from handling. If some of the plant material is hard to remove, wait until the paper is dry to nudge it off.

Some Internet instructions say not to use an aluminum pot, but others suggest it doesn’t matter. My pot is aluminum, and I’m very happy with the results. Also, once you have used a pot or utensils for any kind of craft, NEVER cook food with them again.

Be sure to let us all know if you decide to try this! ☺️

August 15, 2018

Cotton Plantation Update #3

The seedlings needed more space, and I ran out of pots. I shopped, but none are available now, so empty milk jugs will have to do. I found the roots to be fragile when I transplanted them, so I hope they survive. I don’t know where I’ll put them when they need to come indoors. I have never paid this much attention to growing any plant in my life!!

Next post: promised eco printing tutorial.

August 13, 2018

Eco Printing

In helping a friend who is interested in trying eco printing, I made the prints below this past weekend. I’m working on a step-by-step tutorial with photos, and I’ll post it here soon for anyone else who may be interested. In the meantime here are my 9 prints from plant materials in our yard. I’m happy with them especially because I’m getting more color. This is so much fun!

With these prints, I’m linking to Art Journal Journey. The theme is "Thankfulness" this month, and I love the peaceful wooded area where we live.

August 7, 2018

Getting Back to Drop-Spinning

This is something I used to enjoy doing a lot before my hand issues started, and now I’m finally able to do it again. I’m working at getting the yarn thickness more even. It’s one of those things where practice helps, but pacing myself is important so I don’t overdo it. If I can knit again someday, that will be a good way to use some of the yarn, but in the meantime I’m looking at trying some simple weaving. The brown wool skeins were spun from undyed Romney sheep roving, and the pink in progress is from dyed Merino sheep roving. Merino wool has a good length for drafting to spin, and it’s my favorite to work with!

August 6, 2018

Going Forward...Whatever!

Well folks, I love blogging, but my favorite platform, Blogger, has been betraying me. I can do everything here as always, but sometimes my visitors can’t leave a comment. I’ve tried everything to fix this, but it only works sporadically. I’ll keep posting for now, and please keep trying to comment. If you can’t and really want to be in touch, my email address is on my "View my complete profile" page.